I tried

The words “I tried.. I tried…” come from my itunes… Deerhunter’s “Activia” plays on my itunes… its sounds like my own personal mantra. “I tried.. I tried…” Maybe lyrics from a Modest Mouse song is more suiting: “Life handed us a paycheck and we said we worked harder than this!” Worked hard I have… and will continue to do, probably till I just drop dead. Every single day, I get up, eat breakfast, check my email, check the job posting sites and get to work on my art. I work until lunch, sometimes I continue on after lunch and into the afternoon. Sometimes I take a break and do something else, but I always go back to it at some point. Will I get the recognition that I could possibly hope for? Is it overly ambitious? Maybe foolishly ambitious. Maybe I shouldn’t shoot for the stars, shouldn’t shoot for the best of the best while those who only work half as hard get the bigger rewards. Like that girl in my typography class in college who everyone claimed never did anything but got an “A,” while I got a “B” when I put blood, sweat and tears into my final project. She also was offered a way more exciting sounding position when we graduated. I got an internship that lasted two weeks before they told me not to come in until they had called me. Its been ten years, I don’t think they’re calling back.

Maybe some people are just lucky. Sometimes I feel lucky, other times I feel like a complete f’n failure. I have a degree in art and design. I’ve had few jobs as a designer. My art career seemed to be going better than my graphic design career, now I don’t know what happened. I was having steady solo shows and group shows now I’m lucky anyone even responds to my art, let alone purchase it… or exhibit it. I was incredibly passionate about design, unfortunately, I was unable to find a job in the field that I was equally passionate about. I stare at the AIGA website and think, I used to be like that. I used to be up on the design world. I used to care that my designs were more than centered, in a script font, and looked nice. I was a form follows function type o’gal. I cared about typography. I cared about an interesting composition. Then, I became bitter about the whole thing. I couldn’t find a creative design job that seemed to follow the design beliefs I did.. I wasn’t good enough for those. I was good enough for whatever came my way and on paper that’s not good enough. Needing to pay bills isn’t a good enough excuse to go from graphic designer to waitress to photo assistant.

My sole comforts became not my job but painting, drawing, writing, photography. They make my own personal world a bit more tolerable. Like the Anaïs Nin quote: “When you make a world tolerable for yourself, you make a world tolerable for others.” Thinking on that quote I realize how sad it really is. How she must’ve felt when she wrote it. If your world is just satisfactory and “tolerable” and not “joyous,” “wonderful,” or “happy.”  I want to believe in the book “Zen and the Art of Happiness” and all those other self-help books. I want to believe that “YES I can.” Now if only the rest of the universe would comply with me…


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