Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Money and Value


a stack of 11 afghan squares


This post is a continuation of my post from last night.

I am searching for a way to make a career/livelihood from doing these things I have loved doing these past few years, but I am not sure I can do that.  I am developing a sense of myself as an artist; something that I have always known deep inside that I wanted to do, but it never seemed "practical"  Always that voice inside warning me that i would never be able to support myself that way wins out.  I went to college to be a teacher, because I love kids and it would make it possible to live anywhere, even abroad. After teaching middle school, I had a really hard year, with very little support.  I was convinced that I was never going to be good at it.  I was not a very good "classroom manager"--I could connect with kids, but I was not so good at "controlling" them.  I decided to try counseling.  I went back to school and got the education to be a counselor. I worked as a therapist for a very short while; but then had my son, moved to Portland, and found that childcare was not going to be cheap.  My heart was with my son; I did not want to give away over half my pay so someone else could raise and be with him.  

My career as a counselor halted, except in the skills I try to remember while parenting.  And now, it has been ten years, my credentials long expired; to go back to doing it, would require more money spent, to internship; to take some classes to refresh/catch up/retread. The system is not set up to help mothers keep up with the careers while they are "away" taking care of their children. Those years do not seem to "count" professionally.

When I was eight years old; I had decided I wanted to be a writer.  I started journaling and never really stopped all these years.  I loved to write in school and felt I was really good at it.  I also took art in high school, and some art classes in college and loved painting.  Sometimes I'd latch hook; and wold spend hours doing that. I had this thought before I had my first son; that I could write a novel while home with my kids.  My kids took my all; and writing was a frustrating, and impossible experience for me.  Still, in my mind, it has been a bucket list goal.    

Here I am.  Now, I really want to figure out how to do this; and if even I can find a possible combination of ways to provide income for my family.  

Some artists and writers do their work without expecting money.  Sometimes you have to be detached from that.  The integrity of creating--the need to create is so strong--You just have to do it without hope of financial gain from the craft.  Our culture reflects value onto the money something can make--BUT--Just because it does not carry financial reward; does not mean it does not bring value and beauty into the world..  Volunteering in the school is not for any gain.  Serving a religious organization often does not bring any kind of financial support either; but it is still valuable.  Non-profit organizations..and so on..

But what if I can't entirely justify the time I put into it; unless it has some kind of financial gain in mind?  I need to help put money in a fund for my kids' colleges; help replace the roof on our house; help with special lessons and classes for the kids.  I want to be able to help pay for that, but I don't want to have to hire a babysitter which will eat up most the income anyway; or not be home when my kids come home from school.  I am quite right brained, but I cannot ignore the left side practicalities.  

I want to do this art, for the sake of its own value--I have been doing that with the knitting; well, usually, I knit for other people; what I "produce" is a service to myself, because I enjoy it, and it meets a need of my mind to continuously improve myself, my skills, making something beautiful; but I also have a product, I can give to someone, a friend, a relative, my child, my husband..  When I write; what is my product?  Does anyone even read this?  Do they care?  Am I being an idiot in front a an audience who can now scrutinize me? Will someone only see the grammar I miss correcting and discredit everything I have said?  When I am in a bad mood, my writing reflects the darkness and weaknesses of my very soul; lays it bare in front of others to be judged.  On a good day, I have something to offer; on a bad day, I might bring others down too.  Am I helping, hurting; or boring theirs pants off?

Am I even likable as a writer?

Yet, I really really want to write. And I need to be less concerned what anyone thinks.

  I want to create something better than this blog/blogs..  I am ready for something more sophisticated.  maybe?  But, I am also not there yet.  I still have a toddler at home; and possibly a homeschooler next year.  I really do want to do it all; don't I?  Supermom; only I'm not even close.  It may look good on facebook, but in actuality; it is tupperware.  I can only work on one corner at a time; and I may get that corner really nicely locked in; but in the time I get that corner; the other one pops up.  I am writing right now, but the dishes are sitting in the sink and my baby is watching TV; and I am not even dressed yet.  I have been up since 5:30, made breakfast, lunches, got the kids up, drank 2 cups of coffee, nibbled on some beans from their lunches; held the baby in my lap, nursed her, got the kids out the door; talked to them (not in this order), I have broth going on the stove.  And now I write. Almost 9AM. Ok, that sounds productive when I write it down. I wasn't feeling like I had been productive at all.  I need to do better today for my kids, and the house.  I really don't want to go back to using my left brain just yet..don't want to get busy with the dishes..I want to "know"--work and work and work and find out--If I can/am able to write something "valuable"
But--I  need to get my youngest out today; and I should get some exercise; have her exercise too-- After school, there is a violin lesson, homework, chores, dinner, more dishes. This may be all the creative I can do; until after bedtime.  

Did this moment have value to anyone outside of myself? It certainly will not provide any income, but I practiced writing; and the more I write, the better and more fluid I will write.  That may be the extent of its value right now.  And I think I may just need to be patient.  One stone at a time; and eventually it will become a structure.  Not today; not tomorrow, but hopefully someday.

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