A Little Bit About...

Monday, October 17, 2011

Family, pt. II

I've had this feeling brewing inside of me for a while. I couldn't quite put my finger on it. I have not been quite myself since my father's diagnosis, and I knew that, but I wasn't really sure why.

My father is doing well, by the way, he is undergoing chemotherapy and just had his eighth treatment. Aside from all the crappy side effects, he is in great spirits, and my family continues to be of great support to him. My father has always been my pillar of strength, but right now we have to be strong for him. It is a strange thing, to suddenly realize your parents are mortals, and that one day, as much as we don't want to accept it, we will have to experience their departure. I know it's morbid, and not a good way to think in times like these, but in private, sometimes, it's all I can think about. "What the fuck will I do when he's gone?" I am positive that that day is nowhere near today, and that he has many days ahead that are bright and wonderful. He will live to see my children born, to watch them grow up, and to be a grandpa again. I am sure of it. He is kicking cancer's ass.

But I've had this feeling, underneath all these waves and waves of optimism. I could not define this feeling of dread that did not wash over me so much as it brewed deep down inside of me, far below the calm surface waters of my soul. I'd been thinking a lot about my legacy, versus his. My father moved from Alabama to Oklahoma to build his own life, to start his own family and create an empire that has supported us, up until this very day.

Our family then:

This was before my brother came along and ruined everything (just kidding Clint I love you!!!!!).

Our family now:

I can't believe the most recent picture of us all together was two years ago, but anyway...

My dad created a life that put all three of us through college. Something to be admired. This is why I gave Dad my Stole of Appreciation after graduation:

Not to downplay the significant role my mother played during school, as she made my life much, much easier by covering cost of rent, books, supplies, etc.

I guess with all this stewing inside me, I finally had a word to put to this feeling that had been developing for months: disappointment. I've been disappointed in myself and the state of my life, because if, god forbid, something ever does happen to my father or mother, I want to have accomplished so much more than I have before they pass on. I really want nothing more than to make them proud. I graduated college two years ago (TWO YEARS AGO?!?!), and still have not landed a job in my field. Although, I can offset some of this blame to our really crappy economy, which is a very real thing and has affected everyone I know that I went to school with. In fact, I really don't know many people that I graduated with who have landed jobs in their field, and a lot of them still live at home with their parents (ain't no shame in it). But nonetheless, it has affected me in a very real, very personal way. It's made me question my talent, my worth. Some days, it was hard to even get out of bed, wondering, what is the point? The point of a lot of days were to just muddle through to get to the next one, and spend as little money as possible. College taught me a thing or two about survival on a tight budget, and I can always manage, but I am tired of just managing. I am 27 years old and I'm ready to thrive.

So I've done the only thing I know to do, which is to apply, apply, apply. Write cover letters like it's my job and send my resume out to anyone that will listen. The thing is, even though I have a fancy art school degree from a fancy art school, my degree is kind of bullshit (sorry SCAD) because they did not teach us any computer programs. The only reason I know Photoshop as well as I do is because I taught myself. So, I am having to teach myself other programs in high demand, like Illustrator and In Design. I am on the upswing, now, but I was having a little bit of a quarter-life meltdown for a few weeks there. I really do try as hard as I can to stay positive, because I believe attitude is everything, but it is very hard for something like this to not shake a person.

This year has been a rough one, I won't lie. Moving to a new city, my father's diagnosis, plus that bike wreck I still deal with physically (my shoulder has not been the same since), and the job market on the fritz...it hasn't been easy. But I always have my family to support me, they are a great resource to me for sure. My father getting diagnosed was like putting glasses on, it made me that more acutely aware of all the imperfections in my own life. The new city high has long since worn off, and now I'm just trying to figure out how I can start building my own empire.


  1. I can't relate to the bits about cancer diagnosis for a family member (although I'm VERY happy to hear that your father is in such good spirits---that can only help, right?), but I wanted to say I completely understand the way you feel about not having a job in your field and feeling very low because of it.

    While I do have a job that supplies me with benefits and an income, like you I manage to get by and want so much more than that. I also had one of those quarter-life crises and am now trying to turn it around. Even though it completely sucks I am taking some comfort in knowing that I'm not the only one who has gone/is going through this.

    And by the way, I hope you're not still questioning your talent and worth. I don't know if it means too much, but I always thought you were a very talented and accomplished gal. :)

  2. Erin, I just want to say that you're not the only one going through this. In fact, more of us than you know are dealing with the same stress of finding a "good" job, making a difference, making ends meet, and heck, having a little cash left over to afford a social life. It's not easy. But you're not letting this stress get you down, and that's what's important. You're taking an active approach to better your situation and that's admirable and inspiring. You are an incredibly talented artist and I know you're going to thrive. We're lucky we have great friends who are there for us emotionally and occasionally, financially. We'll get through this slump that is our quarter-life together, and we'll probably even have some fun doing it. And girl, if you inherited any of your spirit and determination from your dad, I'm confident he'll win his battle as well.