“Like the career of any athlete, an artist's life will have its injuries. These go with the game. The trick is to survive them, to learn how to let yourself heal. Just as a player who ignores a sore muscle may tear it further, an artist who buries his pain over losses will ultimately cripple himself into silence. Give yourself the dignity of admitting your artistic wounds. That is the first step in healing them.” Julia Cameron, The Artist's WayI get it. I finally get it! Week 8 makes sense!
I didn't get that part time job I applied for — you know, the lifeline, the one thing I've been depending on to protect my income and make sure I didn't start losing money and falling further into debt when I get put on a reduced income just 10 days from now. I was a shoe-in for the job, referred by a friend, overqualified, well-liked during the interview and told so by the interviewer. But the job is no longer open to me. It has been snatched away. I wish I was exaggerating or being overdramatic when I say this, but I actually almost blacked out when I found out. I felt nauseous, cold sweats. What the hell am I going to do? I tried to block out how I felt, only to have my emotional state overwhelm me — how on earth could I not get a stupid piddly call centre job?
That's when it hit me.
I was wounded. The very emotions I've been reading about this week in The Artist's Way were manifesting. The key thing was the way I reacted; I was telling myself the job was beneath me anyway, just like a poor wounded artist who has read a bad review and vows never to work again.
“Most blocked creatives have an active addiction to anxiety. We prefer the low-grade pain and occasional heart-stopping panic attack to the drudgery of small and simple daily steps in the right direction. Filling the form means that we must work with what we have rather than languish in complaints over what we have not.”Right again, Julia. That's how I've always reacted around money: anxiety. Deep, terrifying fear, in fact — and understandable given the circumstances and problems I've experienced over the years. But as Julia says, we can languish over what we don't have, or we can concentrate on what we do have. There are other part time jobs out there if that's really what I need to do. I can try again until I find something that suits.
I can focus on what I have.
Here's my new reality:
- I have a reduced income. I need to deal with it. Things might get tough, but I'll survive. None of my friends or family are going to stand by and watch me starve. There are people much, much worse off than me. Perspective, Kris.
- I didn't get a job that ultimately I didn't even want: it was a short-term means to an end, one of many possibilities I could explore. The truth is I've probably been spared months of exhaustion and stress. Phew. Move on.
- I suddenly have a whole extra day in my week in which to be creative. The hours of my day job might be decreasing, but the real Kris — the writer and performer, the theatre-maker — well, he just got his hours extended! How exciting!
- I have a lot of opportunities open to me right now. I need to cast the net wide and snare a few projects to work on. I need to do these well and aim for success. My first proper year of freelancing as an artist hasn't been so bad — in fact, the past 9 months have been awesome. I need to build on this and make my artistic career profitable: it's time to focus wholeheartedly on my creative goals and move away from dependence on a second income.
My sense of power is building. I may actually be starting to believe in myself!