In between hospital trips, I managed to do some work. Very light work. And one of these was a visit to Eastwood’s Art Market last weekend. There was a healing experience in each artistic expression. I wanted to embrace it fully. I always have. I always will. Now people have formal art schooling and writing schooling. And I have none of those. I only have the passion and the fire to keep writing to my heart’s content. In this blog. In another person’s blog with a platform of readers. In a magazine. In my diary at home. In a news website for Hollywood gossip. Anywhere. As long as it’s writing. I really cannot live without writing; it’s just something that I need to do regularly to keep myself normal and sane. Personally, it has been 19 years of writing. Professionally, it’s 11.
I have found this year as one of the most difficult and fascinating of times in my life. This is the time where I am more fully aware of my strengths, my weaknesses, and my triggers. I think that I have been staying on the fence for far too long and it has cost me my health to do so. I was on the fence and I did not want to go certain directions to please other people.
This year, I was really jolted when my husband told me: “Just do whatever it is that you want to do, not because you need to, but because you want to do it.” And it had a liberating quality to it. I was able to find healing in different places, especially in art. I gravitated towards things I did not formally train for. Like a magnet, I continue to be drawn to writing even when everything else falls apart. It’s the one thing that keeps me glued enough to stay in front of a computer screen and at least do something in a day, anything. Even just one tiny paragraph. A well-taken picture. A walk in an event that needs to be covered. Streams of words flowing in my head and I try my to catch each of them before the moment passes me by.
I was in high school when my father first told me not to take Creative Writing in a university of my choice. He said it was an expensive school and that there is no money in writing. I took one that supposedly had more money and explored my other favorite subject math: engineering. He held no objections to this math-intensive background. But you know what’s so ironic? Every single time that my life falls apart, I fall back in that soft bed called writing and it sustains me. Right now, it sustains me again when I am at my lowest. As it had done infinitely many times in the past. For something that has “no money” in it, I found a lot to live for and give and take from what I have written personally and professionally. How many times do I have to resist the fact that I am actually meant for this thing? How many breakdowns… How many dilemmas.
I continue to be thankful for being able to finish an engineering degree. I still get stymied by writing opportunities that discriminate with badges of “For Journalism Graduates” only. There is always this stigma over a piece of paper that you chose to work for in college. I find myself not able to handle a field surveying instrument (cause I took a computer-based line of work then) in the same way that a mediocre journalism graduate can have a good job job but not have the actual skill. These are all just pieces of paper, in the end. What you do after is what makes you.
I honestly don’t know what to make of this now. This world is full of things that do not make sense. I’d gladly give over my license to someone who has been doing traditional survey for 40+ years and still cannot get promoted only because he could not pass the multiple choice exam. I am more than 50% sure that I no longer hold any interest in working within the degree I originally signed up for. But anytime I do I still get paid higher than the non-passing veteran dude because this world is unfair like that. It will never be fair. It was never a given that life is fair when we enter this world.