Like most of the country, we folks here in Georgia are totally done with winter. Every now and then we’ve been blessed with a warmer day (warmer meaning actually hitting 50 degrees) and you bet your butt we take advantage of it. The outfit seen here was worn on such a day and it felt unbelievably good to only have two light layers on!
There’s something I haven’t been telling you, but you may have guessed it by now.
The year of 2013 has been quite a doozie for me. I’ve had three different jobs and teetered back and forth between “my dream is to become a full-fledged professional artist” and “god, I really want to be able to buy this pair of boots”. It’s driven all of my friends and family crazy, I’m sure, but is also completely necessary for me to move forward. Underlying all of the insanity, my ultimate goal (which maybe I’ll see a glimpse of by the end of the year) is to navigate the roads to achieving balance. Balance between being practical and being a risk-taker, balance between being a homebody and a busybody, balance between listening to others and listening to myself. Balance between art and life.
Art and life have always been at war with each other within me. It’s always been, choose one or the other. Be great at one or the other. But I’ve never been able to give up on either and so I’ve been struggling, pulling both of them along at once, sometimes equally and sometimes not.
During my college years, I spent many a night (and morning) toiling away at projects in my various classroom studios. At the time I dreaded it – the lack of sleep, the feeling like I couldn’t possibly have enough time to make something worthy of presenting, the endlessness of it all. Little did I know that not too many years later, it would be a lifestyle I miss.
I want to write on something a bit different today. The Love Yourself Linkup has been a great way to explore ideas and personal stories on self-image, but for this post I would like to focus on something we tend to forget about until it’s corrupted – the value of our professional work. It’s a different kind of self-love that’s not often given attention due to cultural norms in the American workforce. When I say value, I mean in it a variety of senses: monetarily, creatively, metaphorically. As young professionals in a depression era, we’re unfortunately subject to a skewed value system in which the unemployed abound and the employed tread lightly for fear of losing their coveted positions, even if they’re really not so great. Too often we let our desire to be liked dictate the course of action we take when wanting to take a stand for our worth.
I wanted to speak on this topic because I have way too many talented friends and colleagues who are being taken advantage of, without them even knowing it. Unfortunately, I’ve experienced it firsthand as well. It’s become so evident to me recently because I’m a mid-20-something meaning all of the people I socialize with are going through a similar professional crossroads. You usually begin at the bottom of the totem pole after you graduate college. I graduated 2010 with a Bachelor in Fine Arts, entering the workforce at probably the worst time to have such a degree. And so the imposed societal instinct is to suck it up and take what you can get, if you can get anything at all. Prove yourself worthy, exceed their expectations, and stay quiet. While I still believe this sort of work ethic is important, it also underscores the rip current that takes you further and further away from reaching the status and value you actually deserve.
Please find the courage within to fight for what you are worth.