Why it is so depressing to be told I should be an artist now

…because it is one more obligation. I was always told I had to do this kind of thing because in our social class nothing else was acceptable. But I wanted to do so much more in life, and do things outside the arts. And I want to work at a high level. If I had to become a full time artist I would never be able to work at a high level or dream of it, even, and it would be like choosing death now, renouncing even the desire for a different life.

In prison, the prisoners are all working on their freedom. It is a way to fend off despair. They may never be free but they are working on their freedom. I am working on mine. I want to work at a high level. Of the things which were acceptable I chose the one in which I was the most interested and could work to the highest level. The one that involved the least cooking, the least manual work, the most mental work. The one that was the most interesting.

It is so painful to be told to only do recreation. All my life it is what I have been told.

…the key words for the day: exhaustion, disappointment, sadness, sounding like a suicide, distorted, conflicted, IN AGONY, needing my life back, needing to take better care of myself (needing to sleep among other things) but not doing so because late at night is the only time I feel I can be myself with myself, not just be that geisha who meets other peoples’ needs.

I want to die or sleep. Perhaps Hattie is right and I am upset because of this, and because of looking back at all the devastation.

Axé.

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5 Comments

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5 responses to “Why it is so depressing to be told I should be an artist now

  1. Hattie

    Since I’m not a therapist, I’ll just say that what brings me joy is not mere recreation but the source of my vitality. I respect your resistance, though, especially to the easy blandishments to housewifery, consumerism and so on.

    And I also understand that you are way too young to retire!

  2. Hattie

    Also, of course that I respect your research work even though I can’t understand it. That is true as well of my husband’s work as a scientist. The teaching part I can understand because I have done similar work.

  3. Z

    It is this: the point of the original post was not that I do not consider myself an artist, but that I destroy work.

    I really, really wanted a research career and everybody else seems to be against it. “Teach.” “Do at work, but not seriously, just as recreation.” It is SO not me, I would rather sign up for Iraq.

  4. How can that be? This is not my picture of academics at all. I expect them to be at least as involved in their special areas of expertise as they are in teaching.

  5. Z

    Call me or read the whole blog and I can explain the situation here. And my situation. But mostly I am referring to people in general, the general public, and in particular my mother who was very anti intellectual but very much for professorships as positions to hold.

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