If i had to say two things about the holiday season, they would be: 1) how lovely this time of year is – the contrast between light and dark, how people are more joyful and kind, the way the weather makes you want to just curl up with a book and some hot chocolate. 2) I wish the generosity and kindness would extend past January 1st. If people can be so wonderful around the holidays, why can’t they be that way all the time?
Henri Bergson’s quote about change feels as though it is directed right at me.
In many ways, I accept my imperfections. I also find myself wanting to improve how I live in the world. I don’t necessarily see these things as contradictory. I believe you can love who you are and still want to be a better person. Most of the time I like that I always want to grow and change. The problem is that lately I’ve been “working” really hard on myself and it’s exhausting. It’s been getting to the point where I spend more time being hard on myself than not.
When I wake up in the morning, I’m hard on myself because I didn’t get up earlier. When I’m applying for jobs, I wonder what more I could be doing. When I react with big emotions to something that later I realize wasn’t that big of a deal, I want to work on having more control or see the situation in a non-biased way. If I feel badly about something, my initial reaction is to change and do it better. I have to realize that my actions and feelings about things are okay. Even when they aren’t so great, I can still just accept that it happened. It is the fact that I am so hard on myself for having them that is not okay. And then, I realize that I’m trying to not be so hard on myself and that too is working on myself.
Yesterday, I had a “work” free day. Every thought I had about self-improvement, I just heard it and let it go. It was actually pretty nice but when I was going to bed, I started to think about how I want to eat better. I would end this post by saying that I will try harder, but I don’t want to. I have to stay away from try as much as I can and just embrace my imperfections.
“To exist is to change, to change is to mature, to mature is to go on creating oneself endlessly.” – Henri Bergson
I’ve lived in New York since August and I still don’t have a job. It’s certainly not for lack of trying. I’ve applied for job after job and have even had several interviews. At this point, I’m applying to jobs that I am not excited about at all. I feel utterly discouraged and frustrated. I completely understand that we are in a recession, the unemployment rate is nearly ten percent and the competition is tough. Everyone around me tells me not to take it personally. But how can I not? Everyday I go through waves – one minute questioning my skills and abilities and the next wondering why no one can see how good I am. I say to myself that I will only spend three hours a day searching for jobs and enjoying myself the rest of the time. But, I find myself searching and applying all day. At the end of the day, I feel isolated and frustrated that I’m not making better use of my time by exploring New York or being creative. I know that when I do finally get a job, I will crave more time.
I can’t stop thinking about what my life would look like if I didn’t have a 9 to 5, but instead could make a living doing something creative. The other night at a holiday party, I was reminded yet again of how few people actually get to do that. I met a woman who crafts lamps (very cool ones too!). She has a studio in her apartment and does all of her creating in her free time. Her business is growing and she has even been on HGTV. But she still has another job to pay the bills. I am going to move towards this. I think my path right now is to have a job and still pour myself into creative things.
I’m struggling with being vulnerable here. The whole purpose of this blog is to stretch myself. When I started thinking about writing, I kept (and still do) thinking about how textured the world is and how much that effects all of us. I thought, well, this might be an interesting way for me to write about that pulp in my own way. I’m the type of person who is honest. I am willing to express my emotions to others – or maybe they just come out – but the thing is, while it can be wonderful and it can also be difficult. It makes me feel very vulnerable. My thought was that, the blog could be a place where I could practice what this vulnerability.
So, here I am, struggling with how much to put myself out there. Do I write about my family? My relationships? My insecurities? Maybe all of it, I don’t know. I think I just have to be myself and do what feels right. I’m scared though. I guess that’s natural because when you challenge yourself fear usually comes along with the goodness.
All the art of living lies in a fine mingling of letting go and holding on.
- Havelock Ellis
Yesterday was the Handmade Holiday Craft Fair at 3rd Ward in Brooklyn. I couldn’t believe how inspired I felt to do be creative. It’s pretty amazing to be around so many people who are doing what they love. I talked with one of the vendors for a while. She works at the library and a design collective in Park Slope. She produces her collages and other crafts in her free time.
I work very hard at being present, but when I am around crafters, I want to jump ahead in time. I imagine myself sitting on the other side of the table with my framed collages and note cards talking to people about my crafts. I know that I am not there yet and that I have to spend time with a craft and then see what happens. When I think about it though, I realize that I have done a lot of different crafts (and other endeavors) that have been short-lived. One winter I decided to try knitting. I knitted a number of scarves and was in love with yarn, but for some reason I stopped doing it. A few years ago, I decided to create my own note cards with my collages on the front. This too lasted only about 6 months and then I stopped making them. I was also into poetry and writing for a long while. I even took a course on poetry from UC Berkeley Extension and had a few poems published. I still write poetry from time to time, but it is not my focus right now. There are so many other things I have started, been passionate about and then stopped.
I don’t know if I am just the kind of person that has many interests and loves to try things, or if I don’t have the motivation to continue them once I’ve started. I have every intention of really staying with a craft, but then something happens (usually fear or my excuse that I have no time) that prevents me from moving forward. I am very hard on myself. I tend to think that because I have tried so many things, it is because I am flaky or have trouble committing. It may just be that I am a passionate person and I want to try all sorts of projects. I know that I don’t have to figure this all out right now.
I found a new café today in Bed-Stuy. I loved it the minute I saw the door. It sits just below the street. The place was all vintage and a little bit sass. I loved the green ceiling with free-hanging light bulbs, the blue tiled floors and the red stools. I sat and read at the table in the corner in a patch of sunlight.
It was a perfect find for a day like today. It seems that there are two competing ventures happening right now. One is discovering “New York.” There is so much to see and do – so much culture and richness here. I have certainly been exploring and adventuring around while taking in the sights and sounds. In some senses, this makes me feel new and sometimes even naive. The other piece of living here right now is finding “home.” This is huge. I’m sure it will come up over and over again. The idea of home fills my head constantly. I truly believe that home is where your *love* resides. (more on that later). In hopes of creating a place where I won’t feel so new, I spend a lot of time in my neighborhood. I take walks all the time and am getting to know the shops and restaurants.
I know that it takes time to feel like you belong somewhere. I don’t quite feel like a New Yorker yet, but when I walk up my stoop, I definitely feel like I am coming home.