When I was in New Orleans, I had a reading done at Marie Leveau’s Voodoo Shop by a lady named “Hope”. She’s from South Africa, but that’s not important right now. What is important is that, in addition to letting me know that things were going to get rough but everything would work out fine, she’d also indicated that now was the time to really put my foot down and develop a plan for my future. This had a lot to do with career versus jobs versus time.

I’m planning on doing a reading a little later, just to see if I’m on the right track.

That stint in the hospital made me think that maybe I needed to start school soon and get a Hospital Administration degree, but in the end, would that make me happy, or would it just be a compromise that ultimately would leave me bitter and resentful at a system that will, in all likelihood, resist all attempts at reform?

The fact that the question is formulated that way in the first place is kind of a telling thing.

So, this leads me back to the Big Picture. What do I do well VERSUS what will provide reasonable income? Am I forever destined to work a J-O-B in order to support my C-A-R-E-E-R?

What IS my career anyway? What have I truly spent the last 34 years developing as a skillset?

Lo these many moons ago, back when I was a fresh young lass of only 14, I had a little button on my denim jacket (all the rage back then). It said, “I do many things well, none of which generate income.”

And that, unfortunately, has become the motto of my life.

When someone tells me how talented or skilled or smart or lucky I am, I smile sweetly and try really hard to take it in stride because, ultimately, none of those things mean anything. Sure, I’m a genius (Really, I am. Says so on this little piece of paper right here.), but that means somewhere between “Jack” and “Shit” in terms of employability and income-generation. These days, learning something at a scary pace doesn’t mean f**k-all if you don’t have initials after your name.

And that brings us back to the Big Question:

What am I going to be if I grow up?

I think I have to definitively say, with only mild reservation, that college is really not an option right now, past the LCCC level and assuming that I get a LOT of grants and scholarships – and then that’s assuming that I’d even have time for it. Working full-time and having four kids AND home-schooling… that’s a lot to put on anyone’s plate, and if there’s anything that the hospital stint taught me, it’s that all the perception awareness in the world does not change the fact that there’s only 24 hours in a day, and making the most of them is a matter of perspective. Do I really want to use all 24 of those hours working my ass off to try for some vague promise of a brass ring, or do I want to use that time to enrich my relationships with my family, develop some skills and hobbies that actually enhance my life?

(Hobbies?!? Who the hell am I to even trifle with the idea that I have the time or luxury for hobbies?!? I’ll tell you this: Hobbies = Sanity, especially with as much as I have going on, because sacrificing everything until all hours is not a healthy way to have anything left to give to family.)

My skill set already has the “Healer Path” written all over it, but, again, how will that generate income? (Correction: How will that generate income without having a hefty chunk of change with which to invest in a local brick-and-mortar establishment and inventory plus heavy advertising and promotion? I’m not exactly walking distance from anywhere.) I’m a hell of a writer, except that my talent seems to come in spurts, and when I set aside time to write, that’s the signal for the whole f**king universe to crawl up my ass to do something else. (Me? NOT make Nano this year? The world is taking crazy pills.) I can knit, I can do PR, I can do lots of stuff… but no initials, no recent job experience, no real prospects.

At least, not that I don’t make for myself.

So, outside of the video game job (which I’d love to count on, but am still having a hard time trusting in the long run), what kind of prospect should I build?

Dawn Written by:


  1. December 10, 2007

    Wow. We’re quite similar. Except, I think you have more faith in your abilities than I do in mine. I think I’m fortunate that I have this teaching gig, but I keep wondering when they’re going to wake up and say “d’oh, we should get someone who knows what she’s doing.”

    *hug* good luck.

    • December 11, 2007

      But you DO know what you’re doing. The dirty little secret of all teaching materials is that SOMEONE HAD TO MAKE IT UP. Someone had to sit down and pull all of those diagrams and text boxes and passages out of their butt, then try it out to see if it would work. It’ll work okay for some students, not so well for others, and it gets tweaked… but every teacher has to do it, because a class taught well is just as much about the instructor’s comfort as the students’.

      How would you teach a 100-pound waif to belly-dance?

  2. December 11, 2007

    I still wrestle with this question myself. I don’t think I’ll spend the rest of my days working with maps but then it’s a good career too.

  3. December 11, 2007

    I wish I had some kind of advice or answers for you… Unfortunately, I am in a similar boat myself.

    Ever since I read Harrison Bergeron by Kurt Vonnegut Jr when I was younger, I’ve suspected that nature or fate or whatever you want to call it, has a way of trying to “even things out” amongst us. No one ever gets it all… sure people can pretend (or convince themselves) they have everything they want and need, but in reality there’s always something or some area very lacking. We’re all handicapped in our own ways… may be not equally, but it does seem that the more potential a person has, the more chains they also have.

    Meh, just a rough theory I’ve had for a long time. It has been on my mind a lot lately because I realize that to truly try to reach my own potential, I have to risk my sanity and perhaps lose myself to a point where I won’t be able to come back. Chances are I’ll wimp out and just do what I need to survive.

    One of the things I admire about you Dawn is that you are very honest and out there about what you think and feel and I think not as afraid to take chances as many people are.

    • December 11, 2007

      When you get down to it, risk-taking is all about honestly assessing what’s at stake. A little pain doesn’t scare me, so having kids was not a big deal. Losing our son was a horrible thing, but having crossed the threshold of “worst thing ever” changed the perspective and made more things “acceptable risks” – like developing GDM or being in the hospital for over a month (things I would otherwise never willingly do).

      I’ve stared my own death in the face a few times, even stared down someone else’s death by my hand, gotten the living crap beat out of me, been homeless, left my kids behind, took them back without permission, been violated, gotten fired, quit, been on stage, worked behind the scenes… and so much more, and NONE OF IT KILLED ME. Some of it made my mental state a little flaky for a while, but it didn’t kill me.

      So, why not take the chances? As my late aunt once said, “Sometimes you have to grab your ass with both hands and jump.” Why? Why bother jumping at all? Because the best growth comes through adversity, and the universe doesn’t let you get in over your head without 1) giving you the tools to deal with it or 2) giving you a way out – and most often it’s the former. Most people flail and fall either because they still need to learn more about the problem or they have given themselves self-imposed arbitrary limitations that keep them from shining. Silly, non?

      • December 12, 2007

        Fittingly enough, you’ve reminded me of a favorite quote by Kurt Vonnegut:

        “We have to continually be jumping off cliffs and developing our wings on the way down.”

        Hmm, I don’t know, sometimes I think I lack the courage to live. I’m good at surviving… like you, I’ve survived so many things that could have destroyed me. Living though… much scarier and harder.
        I hate it, I see people with so much less making so much more of their lives and know I am wasting too much, but I don’t know how to force myself to do what I need to. Or I don’t have the skills. Or my chemistries keep me from using them. Or I’m too lazy. Or whatever.

        I don’t think I am as brave as you though. I know I can withstand pain, way too much of it, and I’ve withstood everything life has thrown at me (sometimes barely) thus far. But I live in pretty constant fear of worse. I know I have limits, I just don’t want to reach them. I don’t want to completely break, you know? I don’t know if I’m making sense or not.

        • December 12, 2007

          But, honey, you can’t break unless you’re already fragile, and everything you’ve been through only proves that you AREN’T fragile. Broken hearts aren’t proof of vulnerability – they are an opportunity to be strong.

          How do I explain strength…? How do I explain courage…?

          It’s all about choosing to do so…? Power is the will to do something that others are determined NOT to be done…?

          Hm… Perhaps this will help:

          “For Strong Women” by Marge Piercy

          A strong woman is a woman who is straining
          A strong woman is a woman standing
          on tiptoe and lifting a barbell
          while trying to sing “Boris Godunov.”

          A strong woman is a woman at work
          cleaning out the cesspool of the ages,
          and while she shovels, she talks about
          how she doesn’t mind crying, it opens
          the ducts of the eyes, and throwing up
          develops the stomach muscles, and
          she goes on shoveling with tears in her nose.

          A strong woman is a woman in whose head
          a voice is repeating, I told you so,
          ugly, bad girl, bitch, nag, shrill, witch,
          ball-buster, nobody will ever love you back,
          why aren’t you feminine, why aren’t
          you soft, why aren’t you quiet, why aren’t you dead?

          A strong woman is a woman determined
          to do something others are determined
          not be done. She is pushing up on the bottom
          of a lead coffin lid. She is trying to raise
          a manhole cover with her head, she is trying
          to butt her way through a steel wall.
          Her head hurts. People waiting for the hole
          to be made say, hurry, you’re so strong.

          A strong woman is a woman bleeding
          inside. A strong woman is a woman making
          herself strong every morning while her teeth
          loosen and her back throbs. Every baby,
          a tooth, midwives used to say, and now
          every battle a scar. A strong woman
          is a mass of scar tissue that aches
          when it rains and wounds that bleed
          when you bump them and memories that get up
          in the night and pace in boots to and fro.

          A strong woman is a woman who craves love
          like oxygen or she turns blue choking.
          A strong woman is a woman who loves
          strongly and weeps strongly and is strongly
          terrified and has strong needs. A strong woman is strong
          in words, in action, in connection, in feeling;
          she is not strong as a stone but as a wolf
          suckling her young. Strength is not in her, but she
          enacts it as the wind fills a sail.

          What comforts her is others loving
          her equally for the strength and for the weakness
          from which it issues, lightning from a cloud.
          Lightning stuns. In rain, the clouds disperse.
          Only water of connection remains,
          flowing through us. Strong is what we make
          each other. Until we are all strong together,
          a strong woman is a woman strongly afraid.

          • December 12, 2007

            Hmm, it might be more frighting to think that you wouldn’t break… I do understand what you’re saying I think. And I do like the verse a lot. Thank you. 🙂

            I really didn’t mean to make any of this about me. Sorry.

          • December 12, 2007

            And what if it NEEDS to be about you this time? If it means that my experience or observations have maybe helped you a little to find some peace and light in the world, then it’s completely worth it.

            Never, ever apologize (to me, at least) for sharing pieces of yourself, regardless of the format (my journal or your own, for instance). Friends share themselves that way, and that is always a beautiful thing.

            That poem always gets to me. It’s been my inspiration and my touchstone for… wow, over twenty years now, maybe more.

  4. Anonymous
    December 11, 2007

    What do you do without thinking about it? Do you find yourself writing or drawing in your head?

    You should probably turn your focus in that direction. The rest will snap into place as you go along bit by bit — not overnight, of course.

    That’s what I want to say. It’s probably as good an answer as any.

  5. December 12, 2007

    I was going to remind you that the vendor registrations for Ft. Collins and Denver prides will be coming up soon, and you at the very least could set up reiki booths at both of them for more of the word of mouth and money during the summer. And, since you’re not going to be pregnant this year and I don’t think there’s a wedding, you could probably set up a reiki booth at the vendor carnival (or one of the earlier days) at Rendezvous this year. You know the gays like the alternative stuff, have money to spend, and WILL recommend you if you’re good, which we both know you are, love.

    • December 12, 2007

      I might be able to do the first two, but Rendez-Vous is still out – even without weddings, we still have Magestock, and this year is Mardi Gras themed! (WOOT!)

      Can you get me some dates and contact information? PJ also suggested that I talk to his school about teaching some classes or giving some lectures.

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