Concepts aside...Going from one lifestyle into another one is weird. I've mentioned before that I'm not exactly sure where I fit these days, that particular moment was in regard to my age. That unsteadiness also applies to where I am in my lifestyle. I've somewhat gotten past the feeling of boorishness when I'm around my instructors or chronological peers, I still don't feel quite "there" yet with them though.
It's a biological and societal norm to run with those who are similar to yourself: e.g., office ladies do lunch, teachers congregate, etc. Looking deeper into that, lets say business in your particular area is high end: brokers, attorneys, building management...those are the people who will mingle, lawyers will marry other lawyers, or perhaps a doctor...we tend to bond with those we are most similar. So it's no weird thing to see art teachers with other artists, teachers, or writers...creators in some form or fashion. Well...what happens when one person ditches the common denominator, they stray from the herd? Honey and I have worked together pretty much the entire time we've been a couple. Even Ex and I worked together for a time, when we didn't we were both in retail until I joined up and did that whole thing. Even then, my day job was logistical; I provided a tool for a job to another person, very similar to what my spouse at the time did in the store. Moving from one field of work and life into another one is a strange situation. Art has very little in common with oil field logistics or office work.
In going back to college, the assumption has been that this is to garner me a new or better job somehow. That was never my intention. Ever. Honey asked me a few nights ago what the driving force behind it was. Not the excuse I used to get past the selfishness of the act: "I get paid to go, it's economically sensible right now." The real reason. Why do I get up every morning and go? Well. This is the first time in my life since I was around 20-ish that I have been able to do something for myself. While going to college is of benefit to my family, it wasn't necessary. I have a job. I have a good resume and a good reputation in the field I worked for almost 10 years, so doing something for the sake of necessity wasn't a driving force here. This is goal fulfillment. This is allowing myself to be something more than a desk, a pile of paperwork, a number in someone else's file folder.
I have no desire to be a jeweler by trade. I enjoy making the jewelry and it's nice to have things to sell and pay for the art end of things, but it's not my thing. Trying to explain this to people in my own societal circle is nearly impossible. In the beginning, the question was, "what can you do with an art degree?" Honestly? Whatever I want, it's a Bachelor's Degree. I can go right back to the Caterpillar dealership and apply for the same job I applied for when I worked there and probably get it this time. Simply because of that one little piece of paper. But....that's not the point. The point is, my entire life I wanted to be an artist. When I was younger I wanted to be a designer and have models display my work around the world. I let life get in the way. I let necessity displace anything I wanted. I have a chance at a redo so that's what I'm going for.
So here I am. Finishing up formal education and struggling with the idea of artist vs crafter, concept vs sellable object. Freedom vs practicality, struggling with breaking out of the necessity mindset and embrace one of creativity and freedom. I had worn a uniform of some sort 5-6 days a week from 2001 all the way to 2013. Twelve years of not having to choose what to wear in the morning. Twelve years of not having to make any kind of conscious, creative decision on something as simple as putting on clothes. Writer Caitlin Moran made the comment in one of her books in regard to women taking so long to get dressed some days: "There's nothing here for who I'm supposed to be today" (How To Be A Woman). Well, for a very long time I was told who to be. How easy do you suppose it is to just let that go and suddenly be this person....this Person. This. is who I Am.
If that's not a life metaphor, I don't know what is. Suddenly I am in an office with a very flexible schedule, working around studio time, wearing florals one day and plaid the next. I know at some point I need to develop that balance between what I call "real" life-job, house, kid, pets- and "my" life-art, books, articles, galleries... I wish I could say it's a fine line, but it isn't. It's a big, fat, Sharpie line that is very bold and very difficult to erase. At some point it should morph from, "I work for my husband but I also make art" to "I'm an artist who helps my husband at his business".
Maybe it's like this: Maybe I didn't know who I was back then so I allowed myself to be put into a mold. Maybe now I know who she is but I'm afraid of her because that means being real, and not just to myself, but to everyone around me too. Because then...the mold no longer fits and people in general don't like things that don't fit in.