Saying it’s been a while would be a massive understatement. I’m pretty sure I haven’t legitimately blogged since August. To be fair, I spent September through December finally finishing my last semester of graduate school, and am now the proud owner of a very fancy and very expensive piece of paper.
In all seriousness, my degree is in urban studies and community arts, and I am endlessly proud of myself for actually working through this and finishing, regardless of how long it took me; and I’m endlessly grateful for those people in my life who have supported me and encouraged me throughout the process. I am also pretty grateful that it’s over. Don’t get me wrong – I have always loved school, and I have always been a good student, but I was ready to be done this particular phase of my life.
I spent January and February recovering from the process. I know, that seems totally dramatic, but it felt like I worked nonstop for months and months and kept promising myself a break that never came. When January arrived and I had actually graduated, all the breaks I promised had added up! The last two months have seen me functioning. Not really reaching out and doing anything huge or worthwhile, but maintaining. Keeping the house, keeping my standard clients, doing a few small artistic projects, getting dinner on the table most nights, and not much else. For the first two or three weeks, I felt intensely guilty about this. Intensely guilty about not doing enough, taking advantage of my new skills, doing something that justified having this new degree, and, frankly, not blogging.
Guilt is a funny subject for most creatives– we all seem to feel it much more intensely than others because, many times, our creative productivity (and sometimes our jobs) rely solely on our own internal motivation. Most of the people in our lives don’t eve recognize our art as anything more than a hobby, and if we’re lucky they may classify it as a “side job,” let alone do they realize the work, effort, and constant self-motivation it takes to do something because you love it, and not simply because you get paid for it. No one pushes you to be a creative– it’s something you’re born with, and it often has to begin and end with the resources we have on the inside as individuals. There is no boss pushing and motivating, no company offering incentives and raises, and sometimes, there aren’t even parents and loved one pushing and hoping for your success as a creative. If I had a dollar for every time someone in my family asked, “Are you working yet?” I wouldn’t worry about promoting myself as an artist. Continue reading