It all started with my unexpected unemployment, when I finally thought my life was on the right track. I was going to be a teacher and mold young minds! I would have holidays, summers and flood/snow days to work on my novels. And then that fell through. My ideal teaching job opened up, I subbed in it for a term and applied, but that wasn't meant to be either. And the crappy customer service job I left is exactly where I ended up. Yet I'm okay with that. I've realized some other things that are better left between God and me. And that's okay, too.
In just two years, I have done a complete 180 on many opinions I held about life, careers, college, and other things that are important. I hoped that a death in the family wouldn't cause such a falling out, but it did. What a nightmare that was! I thought college was important, and while I cherish the experiences I forged there, it only resulted in a stagnant, staggering debt that I've carried for years. I thought I would never be able to lose the weight that threatens to kill me, and I'm more focused than ever, dropping pounds right and left with the RIGHT mindset. I thought I'd never get married, that I'd either die long before it happened or no one would care enough to marry me. And on November 11, I married the man I love.
I thought having that stable, logical, safe, obvious, comfy career was what I needed and should continually seek. Even though I didn't really want to. (I wanted the creative things!) But though I love teaching, I can't get a job locally and can't afford to move for just a one-year job guarantee. Then I thought having any job that would pay the bills would be good. And I now have that job. But it's just a Band-Aid on the real issue:
I have spent most of my life NOT doing what makes me happiest from all standpoints, particularly the career point! The creative things make me happy. Telling stories, making artwork, creating things with the talent born of hard work and the talents God gave me makes me happy. And at my lowest point, I wondered why everything was going wrong. And then, the Almighty slapped me on the forehead with the obvious answers:
Because I wasn't following the path set before me. I was walking the hardest, out of the way paths that didn't have my name on them at all. And God was having to let me learn things the hard way. My barrel-ahead attitude saves my mind from cracking, but shrouds my spiritual listening. I didn't know how to trust God to carry me when I'd walked so long my feet bled. God's encouraging me toward a leap of faith.
Why couldn't I keep a teaching job? Well, I started the teaching program because it was the logical path to move forward. I learned important art things I can use, but the rest of the program is essentially crap. But God let me finish the program and teach art for a year. I got to use that time to touch lives. And I got to see the worst in some people. My season there ended. Then I taught the last term at the other place, nearly a year later. Man, I had improved my methodology! I got to touch lives, and influence some very intelligent, creative minds. And I got to see the best in people, to heal my heart of the scars left by the last place. My three months there eclipsed my experiences at my first teaching job. And my season ended. I learned what I needed from the experience. Now it's time to move on.
Why can't I find a market for my creative work? Because I haven't finished, polished or marketed them! (God's forehead slap of No Kidding!) Guess what? If I don't build it, ain't nobody gonna come! So I created Tamara Henson Studios, bought a domain name, and created a website. After I cut back on the million dreamer's possibilities, I'm down to three: art, storytelling and dolls, with various sub-categories. Those are my focus areas. No commissions now, no three-ring-circus. Just the bare-bones of things I'd love to make a career in. And when I prayed, I felt at peace about it. No straining to make things work. No walking through mud uphill both ways. God's in it.
And step one of this new leap of faith is the self-publication of my novel. I laughed so hard when I read this blog entry from January of this year, back when I apparently planned to write in phases. Go ahead, I'll wait right here while you do:
Such pretty writing and clear justifications for an archaic system of the time-suck of subjective checks and balances! Compared to my last post's "Big Scary Thing", it's hilarious. I'm a converted woman, obviously, from that glaring example of egotistical swill to this world of infinite possibilities. The second draft flowed easily-- a full rewrite in a month and a half! (Oddly and ironically, thanks to 2011 NaNoWriMo!) The other things will come with practice.
The season I'm in now... it feels like Spring! So warm and inviting, so comforting, as bright as the kingdom of Heaven. Almost. The green down here doesn't seem quite the right shade! But that's another story for another time...