Thursday, September 16, 2010
I am what I am
It's the second week of school now and I have successfully recovered from my "back to school" cold. I swear I always get sick after any school break because I have to get used to everybody's germs again. Well now that I have enough energy to walk I realized, once again, how much I love my new art major. Well actually how much I love my life.
Previously I was a graphic design major for the sole reason that "I don't want to be a starving artist, I want to be able to find a good job, graphic design is art that makes money". Turns out graphic design is nothing like art. At least it isn't for me.
Graphic Design = computers.
Computers = frustration.
Graphic Design = Frustrated, unhappy, crazy Claire.
When I was a Graphic Design major I dreaded my homework, I mean really really really dreaded it. Even though it was seemingly fun projects, like making a book about your daily life. Yes, I would love to do that using scrapbook paper, glue, pictures, buttons, ribbons...you know using my own two hands to build something. I hated doing this for graphic design because I had to use Adobe Illustrator or some other computer program in the creative suite. At first I thought I hated using these programs because I didn't understand them very well (which is probably true).
So...I turned to my parents...and at first I politely asked, but that soon turned into...
And nothing short of throwing temper tantrums until...
I had the very best, top notch, most expensive gadgets for graphic design. You know the entire Adobe Creative Suite, a drawing tablet, a brand new MacBook Pro (even though I hate computers this is one of my favorite purchases ever). But after I had all of this great graphic design stuff it still didn't cover up the real problem.
I don't like making art on computers.
Making art on computers is not like making art with my hands.
I do not understand computers and do not want to understand how computers work.
Most of all I hate sitting on a computer ALL day long and having my life depend on touchy files that are prone to crashing. (Mine usually did crash because I didn't understand how to code things right or whatever).
For me computers represented a lack of control. Now some people think I have control issues...but I think when anyone feels like their life is out of control they become very unhappy. Which of course I was last year. I didn't sink into some deep depression, and I don't only have bad memories of last year, but I do remember calling my Mom frequently and having major meltdowns.
Example? One night I couldn't find my running watch, and I really wanted to go for a run. I called my mom to see if I had left it at home, no such luck. I ended up screaming and crying and yelling at my mom that, "I just want to go for a run!!". Well I found the watch amidst all the tears, right where I always put it.
So why had I started crying and screaming over a watch? Misplaced emotions. What I was really upset about was my major and classes that I hated. I didn't know this though because in my conscious mind GD = high paying job = good future = happy Claire. While my subconscious was screaming at me GD = UNHAPPY.
Thankfully for me I have the best parents in the world. Parents that are also very perceptive. They both witnessed the mood swings and irritability and started talking to me. At first I was resistant about the idea that GD was not the major for me. GD has so many great opportunities! The more I thought about it, the more I realized, yes GD is great. For someone else. Not me. Best of all IT'S OK I DON'T LIKE GD, there's no reason I have to! Realizing this felt like lifting a ton of bricks off my chest.
Yet I didn't land on art and art education as my new major immediately. To me art still seemed like something that would leave me starving and living out of a cardboard box. Or even worse working as a receptionist somewhere. And teaching didn't seem like an option because "it wasn't challenging" and "that's what my mom does". So how did I eventually come to accept that I wanted to major in art education?
I sat. And I thought. A lot.
I mean really really thought. Thought about my favorite things, thought about what I really want in my life. Thought about how I want my DAILY life to be(not just how extravagant I want my vacations to be because I slave away working 80 hour weeks to pay for 2 weeks of bliss). Most of all I thought about how much money I actually need to be happy.
This is what I came up with.
-I like creating. Always have. Whether it be in the form of art, sewing, scrap booking, writing, cooking etc etc. (Although I don't like creating poetry).
-I like running, walking, biking, hiking, exploring, weightlifting, yoga and just in general being active. I want time for this in my life. 30 minutes on the elliptical squeezed in on my lunch break will not ever suffice.
-I don't like stress. I don't want to work in a high-stress competitive environment.
-Money does not make me happy. Buying things does not make me happy. Both only make me think of what I don't have and then I feel like I need to go buy more things. All I really want is happiness. (I will always love shopping for the fashion aspect, its like visiting an art show. And new clothes are fun because then I can create new outfits!)
-I love being able to take my time.
-I love talking.
-I am both highly introverted and extroverted. Depends on the day/time.
And you know what I came back to? One of the very first majors I thought of, Art Education, but dismissed because the world told me I would be poor and unhappy.
So whats the moral of the story?
Save yourself the frustration, and sorry to be cheesy, follow your heart. Had I stuck with GD I would have been poor and unhappy. Simply because I didn't want to spend time on GD, I didn't care about it. I would never have gotten a good job because I most likely would not have put my best effort in.
I will find a good art teaching job. Or maybe even some job with solely art, not teaching. Why? Because I love it. I want to spend time on it. As much time as it takes to become great. Yeah, sometimes it is hard to go to the studio instead of sleeping in or going to a party, but it is SO worth it.
After all of this frustration I realized many of my friends are having these same revelations and changing their majors/life around. My question is, how come it took us so long to figure ourselves out? How could we not know what we wanted? My theory is just that society dictates what we "should" be and what is "good" and "normal".
In reality there is no good or bad, right or wrong. What's good for me, may be awful for someone else. What is normal in the U.S. may be extremely bizarre in China.
So in the words of Winston Churchill "Never, never, never, never give up" and Aristotle "We are what we repeatedly do, therefore excellence is not an act but a habit".
Never give up, strive for excellence in your everyday life because it will make your whole life excellent. Don't settle for anything less than what you love. Never give up on being yourself. Because you are your best when you are true to your own nature.
Nerdy enough for you? Inspired? Maybe I'm just practicing for when I become a teacher...but I really do believe this. Make fun all you want I don't care cause I'm just being Claire :) (thanks Miley for the inspiration).
What makes you, you? What makes you strive for excellence daily?