Hello blog readers. I find myself once again apologizing for the radio silence on here. I’ve been spending all my nights working on the third installment of my vampire series and it was taking up all the space in my head. I’ve neglected the blog which is a shame, because I really do enjoy blogging.
With that out of the way I thought I’d talk today about one of the worst decisions I’ve ever made, why I made it, and why I’ll never do anything so stupid again. The decision I regret may shock you. I know it will certainly ruffle the feathers of any teachers who read this, but that’s par for the course.
So, what was one of the worst decisions I’ve ever made? Going back to school. That’s right! You heard me! One of the worst decisions I’ve ever made was going back to school to take a Legal Administration course. Back in 2007 I was working full time in a gas station and beating myself up for being in my thirties and having such a ‘menial job’. If you follow the blog at all you know that during my high school years I was coping with a pretty nasty mental illness and as such ended up dropping out of school.
Truth be told I was never a great student, largely due to the fact that I had a piss poor excuse for a human being of a ‘teacher’ back in grade 3 (or 3rd grade as you Americans like to call it). I was berated, humiliated, and told I was stupid, pretty much on a daily basis by this woman. I had nightmares and would hear her voice as I was trying to fall asleep at night telling me how much I disgusted her (yes, she actually said that). I gave up on school that year and started just living in my imagination. I was eight. I had to escape somehow.
My ability to pay attention seemed to dwindle after that. I lost interest in trying. I had a few successes here and there but mostly school was a place I loathed, mainly because it seemed like it was just an opportunity for adults to pass judgement and let me know what a useless piece of garbage I was.
Many times I remember being told, as we were all being told, ‘you’re nothing without an education.’ While I certainly do see the value in an education I think this is a bit harsh. You’re nothing? Whoa! Back up the train. I’m still a human being. I still have value and worth, high school diploma or not. Although this is not the way I was made to feel. I understand the sentiment behind this bit of ‘tough love’ that was being heaped upon me, but it only served to question my worth as a person.
I bought into this argument, hook line and sinker, and went back to school in 2007 thinking this would be the answer to my problems. I’d get a better job, make more money and finally be ‘something’. Don’t get me wrong. I know lots of people who took the same program at the same school I went to and it seems to have worked out beautifully for them. They do indeed have good jobs and seem to love their lives. Kudos to those people. Unfortunately, I’m not among them.
School itself wasn’t a bad experience. The other students were great and most of the instructors were great people. I succeeded in school for the first time in my life and it felt good. I graduated with a 93% average and only a 4% absentee rate. Not too shabby for someone who was told they were a disgusting waste of space as an eight year old is it?
I found a job at a law firm right out of school and worked there for six months. The most miserable six months of my working life. Have you ever seen the movie, “Mean Girls”? Well the women in this office would put the characters in mean girls to shame! These ladies were close to retirement however, so it was more like, “Old Mean Girls.” That’s the movie Lindsay Lohan will star in when she’s sixty. I was good at the actual job, but found it tedious. I could blame the fact that I have no interest in working at a law firm again on the people I worked with, but truth be told, even if I had been working with a bunch of saints I don’t think a job like that is for me.
So to sum up, one of the worst decisions I ever made was believing that I was stupid and falling for the argument that I had to have a certain type of job/education to have any value as a human being. Then going back to school, getting that education and paying through the nose for it, only to realize that it wasn’t for me.
What I should have been doing, instead of worrying about how I looked being in my thirties and working at a gas station, would have been to keep working there (I really did like that job!) and focus on writing and creating.
Recently I’ve been having a lot of discussions with other writers about the subject of money. Some are really pissed off that they’re not making money at it. But you know what? Writers not making money is nothing new. It’s been going on for centuries. Inevitably when you tell people you’re a writer they say things to you like, “I hope you get rich”. Someone asked me recently if I was making any money doing it. When I said, “no not really,” they came back with, “Well what’s the good of it then?”
What’s the good of it? Are you kidding me? Look folks, in life we all get two paychecks. One financial, and one psychological. If you are going to go into the arts at all you have to decide how you want to live. Does having a big home, a nice car and vacations down south every year really mean a lot to you? If so, don’t expect to get that from your art. Most artists never live off their art. If you love it enough you’ll want to devote a large portion of yourself to it, and for a lot of us that means taking a job that is not very demanding so that we can have the time to really focus on it because creating something is the payoff. The psychological paycheck.
Is money necessary? Of course it is. You need to eat. You need to pay bills and care for those around you if you have a family. But how much of it do you really need? Stephen Pressfield says in his book, “The War of Art” that, “A true artist focuses on the work and allows the rewards to come or not come. Whatever they like.” In other words a true artist doesn’t write, paint, or play music to get rich. If they get rich then boo ya! If not they’ll still be writing, painting and playing in the poor house, that’s just the way they are. It’s who they are.
We all need to make the decisions that serve us. Not everyone is well served by an impressive job. When I was working at the firm I would come home from work every night and go straight to bed. We’re talking out by six o’clock because I was so exhausted and unhappy. Finally my husband said to me, “You need to get out of there. You’re a miserable person and I can see it.” I was in denial for a long time. I had this ‘great’ job and should be happy right? This was a job that would enable me to have respect for myself right? Wrong!
I’ll never set foot in another office again, even though I have the education to do it. I’d prefer McDonalds or dishwashing or street sweeping. I’ll do whatever you want but please oh please don’t make me work in that miserable environment again.
So what’s one of the worst decisions you’ve ever made? Comment below. 🙂