Friday, October 15, 2010

30 days: love

The truth for Day 2 is something you love about yourself.

Maybe it's because I'm, well, OLD, but this one comes easily, too. If there's one thing I love about being me, it's the way my creative mind works. I guess this is probably the same for all of us - there's got to just be something in each of us that drives our individual forms of creativity and registers as pleasurable in our brains. For me, though, that spark is ignited in the form of making.

I've been a maker-of-things since I was little. I remember well begging scraps of polyester from the bolts in my grandparents garage, cutting out circles, and making poodle-style skirts for my dolls. Paper dolls, embroidered pillows, ornaments, weaving... I'd make things for my younger siblings, friends, and parents.

My pursuit of making isn't limited to a single medium - I'm just as happy plunging my hands into wet clay or a vat of paper-making material as I am sewing bits of fabric into a quilt. I work contentedly with xacto blades and silk screen presses. I love the thinking aspect of it - guesswork over measurements, moment-by-moment evolution over planning. It's how I create the tangible, and it's also how I have lived my life.

This style of make-and-do also makes me something of a jack of all trades, which has both up and down sides. It's made it challenging for me to focus on a single discipline professionally, since what I love most about work is the learning. I have been equally engaged as an ESL teacher and a marketing director. In college, I loved my chosen field of international development, but wondered if it wouldn't be better to study psychology, or English, or art.

At this point in my life, I am facing yet another professional rebirth - going back to work after a 3-year absence. I'm nearly 40 and have no defined career. No 401k, no retirement savings... and it seems, now that I have two children, that it's probably time to knuckle down and settle on something.

I have postponed my application to a MA in teaching ESL for over a year - a course of study I could do easily but without much inspiration. Now I have found the program of my dreams, and like my long process of becoming a mother, it has led me to examine not just the what-I-can-do of life, but the what-I-long-to-do. It's a risk, but I'm ready to jump off the cliff once and for all. I am applying for an MFA - it gives my stomach a little tug every time I think it - a Masters of Fine Arts. Daring, isn't it, to say this is the thing that makes me special, and then go pursue it with every last shred of energy and resource we have?

This Friday, I am taking another step in the direction of LIVE WHAT YOU LOVE - I'm meeting with someone from the grad school I am going to attend. In the midst of the tremors of insecurity that are plaguing our daily lives right now, this is my light at the end of the tunnel. Just like the risks involved in pursuing motherhood while I was (am) single, pursuing a career in the creative arts seem daunting, but honestly, it's the only thing that feels right.


  1. Sounds like you have an awesome plan that's perfect for you! I'm sending you power and positivity today. :-)

  2. Awesome, C! You've shown time & time again that anything is possible. Your are such an inspiration!
    You'll do it w/Sisu!
    (i've always been a maker, too <3 )

  3. you're such an inspiration :)