Monday, July 12, 2010

On Certainty / On Creativity

In this time of drawn-out unemployment, I've gotten used to the cloud of uncertainty about my career direction that hovers over me each day. It had plagued me much more seriously a year or two before, where I would work myself up and want to scream out in frustration. Instead of continuing this way, I took a step back and examined what was buried behind my confusion and fear. Looking back, I see that all the major decisions in my life were made somewhat haphazardly, without too much research or deep thought, and I have usually acclimated myself to how it changed my life. Overall, I am satisfied with those decisions, even the ones that were most heavily influenced by others. I am just not someone with a raging individuality. (Yet I am enticed by people with that personality.) Although I have come to terms with this, relaying to this a prospective employer usually doesn't help me along. From my interview experience, I gather that most employers want to see that you have a business-oriented passion, and then have you direct that passion towards the company's success. So, I need to change my game plan by either a) picking a career based on some research and cultivate a stronger interest in it, b) picking a career, any career, and practice getting good at faking passion, or c) if there is nothing out there I can get, create my own job.

Job articles are constantly going on about how to set yourself out from the crowd using creative methods. I have done that before, and even thinking about it makes me tired. I do not consider myself a "creative person." Sure, I have created things before, some of which I liked, some of which I felt were failures. My mind does not think outside its box on a daily basis; it is lazy in that area and I was not brought up to stretch myself that way. Success meant doing what you were told and getting A's in school. I tend to look at famous artists and artist friends alike with a mixture of wonder, jealousy and longing. How are they like that? In college, I had a friend who was so imaginative and was always coming up with neat projects for us to do while hanging out. I really craved that creative companionship, because it took all responsibility off myself to learn how to entertain myself. Now I see that it's possible to take the reins and be OK, even proud of my ideas. Reading this article helped me to see that instead of judging and censoring my occasional creative thoughts, I need to loosen up, stop comparing myself to others, just create and not stop. (My self-worth is not based on the quality of my output... or is it? And by whose standards?) As a child, I had perfectionist tendencies, as my world was so small things could often be done 100% correctly. I can honestly say that because I could not stand to not be the best at something, I could not choose a career path in college. Clear-cut success or I'll have none of it. There is no transition from being a star child to being a mediocre, ordinary adult. What a blow to my complacent ego. Obviously, that has been debilitating to me in entering adult life, and I hope to move past all that soon, and find personal meaning in my actions. In terms of a job, that may mean that I do something now to pay the bills and know that I probably won't be doing it forever. I have to be aware of the options available to me at the moment and take advantage of them while they still stand.

Thursday, July 08, 2010

Ode to Boo

It's a dreary, grey, dripping wet afternoon here. Natural light, come back. Texas is weird like that. The cats have been napping lazily all day. They certainly have the right idea. They have been a constant source of companionship for me these months, when I am usually home for half a day. Especially Snorri (Boyd had his turn late last year), who has grown into a half-sized, ever-playful kitty. I've been calling him Boo as of late. I love that he is still small. It fulfills my wacky desire for a perpetual kitten. I love that he is a downy soft white with large orange patches of fur, which is funny, because I thought he was one of the uglier kittens at the shelter when I was first choosing one out. He looks fabulously contrasty on our dark blue bathroom mat and on our wood floors. I never thought I would enjoy having a pet so much. The only pet I had before (besides roommate ones) was a beagle when I was about 10 or 12. Half the time of I was afraid of it chasing me around the yard and nipping at me. And he was so stinky, as outside dogs can be. Spud met a sad end one scorching summer a few years later when he knocked over his water bowl and the heat got the best of him. We grieved for a bit, but even my mother was openly relieved about not having to scoop poop every day anymore. That is my least favorite chore by far, but it's still very doable because it is contained a box. Besides that and needing to sweep up wisps of hair every other day, I can enjoy picking up a soft, warm, cuddle-monster whenever I like. Bonus: when we lay on the couch, Snorri will jump up and make himself comfortable on top of one or both of us. He is fair like that. And there are few grown things cuter than a sleepy, cozy cat. They are an animal of beauty! I find myself constantly entertained by their graceful (and sometimes not so graceful) movements and positions. I am also careful to refrain from gushing about them to guests and friends, yet it is somewhat unnerving to find myself acting like a new parent might. My cats, my husband, and a humble abode, what more could I want in a home?

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