In order to thrive…

I have been writing so much about my life lately as I try to force myself to pursue my more creative interests. Yesterday, since I am, again, not enjoying my new job, I went to Work Source. Work Source is a resource I finally decided to check out to get myself the heck out of the same industries I’ve always worked in. Namely, these are cash handling, food service and customer service. While nice to bide my time, these are not remotely the types of jobs I truly want to be doing. And now that I’ve come out, I made a promise to my mom and myself that I would push myself more creatively. So, at Work Source, I learned about ways to find better jobs and I took an aptitude test. I have a tendency to thrive most in careers focused on creativity and in social services. In that order.

The thing is, my life is a constant remembrance of every single thing I ever dismissed due to religious beliefs. One such opportunity I dismissed was going to school at an Art Institute. It was expensive, I didn’t know if I could really thrive creatively (if I was good enough) and, my personal favorite, I feared the dark influences inherent in art school. I wasn’t ready to be a light to such a dark place. It’s crazy to think now, how much I wanted to change the world but felt like the evil was so overwhelming. No wonder I was constantly writing back then and planning and brainstorming how to be more Christian. I thought the whole world was out to get me, I needed all the help I could get. Today though, I know that the world is not this terrible horrible place full of perspectives I have to change forcibly as if I’m in battle with an unseen evil. The world is full of unique, deeply creative people with hopes, dreams, and fears. These people are not automatically the subliminal evil to my overriding good. They are just working to make ends meet, following their passions and letting their ideas out to breathe. This is more than I can say for myself in the last few years.

Since ministry school, I have been stunted and trying so hard to find myself. The thing is, when they tell you that you have nothing to offer, nothing about you is special unless you live your life for God, when everything falls apart, so do you. I don’t know how to live my life for me. I’ve never tried. So instead of vibrantly engaging my life, I’ve gotten lazy and just watched TV shows and movies, looked online at art, or read copious amounts of fanfictions. I’m living in another world and longing to be a part of it. And finally, finally, I am creating. Yesterday at Work Source, I followed a link to The Art Institute of Seattle, I requested a brochure. Soon after, a woman contacted me.  She had a smile in her voice and an authenticity about her that I hadn’t experienced in awhile. Maybe she seeks to lure me into debt and the program, but I get the feeling she understands what I’m going through personally and how that has affected my art and self expression. I’ve been thinking lately about how much better at art my friends were than me in high school, even though in elementary school I was essentially hailed as a prodigy. (I didn’t draw stick figures so they thought I was incredible.) I had three teachers who taught me art in high school. But only one who taught me drawing. I thrived in Mixed Media, I plodded along in regular art. And I thought that was because I was bad at it, but I wasn’t. I just had the input of a singular teacher.

What I’m thinking is this: I love art, singing, writing, drawing, sculpting, more than anything. But I’m trying to get by with just a basic knowledge of each of them, as if not knowing is the same as being bad at something. This is also, of course, a cult thing. The idea of you expressing your own feelings in writing or in some concrete presentation, if it wasn’t prophetic and made in prayer, it wasn’t good. God was more important than your opinions, your self-expression, your happiness. So I thought that if I trained myself to be better at things, it was warping who he made me to be. It was assuming that I knew myself better than he did. This is why I insist on no longer being religious. This was detrimental to my personality. Now that I can put my finger on what went wrong, I have hope that I can journey to find my creativity again. I can have someone to help hone my skills in all these aspects of myself and then someday, I will thrive in my artistic ability. It’s hard to admit I’m not good enough on my own. It’s harder to admit that connecting with God about this doesn’t feel right to me. I need to stand or fall on my own merit for once. If I want to change the world, I have to start with me. God or no God, if I’m not me, I can do nothing.

I want to make a difference in the way I want to make a difference. Not in a way that is tempered by religion. I want to see diversity in filmmaking, representation from talented actors from all walks of life. I want to write stories that are deeper than I’ve written before and I think  the best way I can do that is to be trained and challenged at the Art Institute. I’m excited, whatever life holds for me, I will create.

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