I am both blessed and cursed by the ability to step back from situations and see things from every angle. Blessed because it makes my ability to understand and work with other people very easy and cursed because it can give fodder to my inner critic. The evening the Paris attacks began and the other terrible events worldwide were brought to my attention in succession, I had to continue working on a very sparkly fairy tale commission because otherwise I wouldn’t be able to deliver on time. And it fully struck me how really ridiculous my job is, both my day job and most of the commission work I do. Incredibly frivolous. In the daily disasters occurring in the world, the discussions and problem-solving and creating that I am doing is fluff. I should be devoting my energy instead toward actually helping people or at the very least toward more meaningful art.
In that frame of mind, I left for a fast work trip to NYC. I was helping the lead on our next project pull it off under very tight time constraints. I managed to squeeze in seeing a Broadway show (Hand to God – very funny) and as I walked through Times Square with my local friend, two NYC officers stood in a 4’x4′ barricade each holding an automatic rifle at ready, scanning the crowd. My friend didn’t even notice them as we walked by. Very few did. And that alarms me more than the officers standing there on guard. So that thought also was on my mind as I worked.
Back home, the lead and I frantically scrambled to get things ready Wednesday, running out and buying certain needed items as part of our prep work, and the ball of stress and tension and minor annoyances just built and built. Finally, while in one of the stores, someone stopped and asked what I was doing/working on, and I told him, and he responded with “your job is so cool! that’s really cool!”. In that moment, feeling sweaty and disheveled and annoyed and guilty for being all of that in such a frivolous field, I didn’t feel very ‘cool’. I thanked him and smiled though, and then commiserated with the lead about how people have no idea what the job actually has to deal with and the amount of work involved. Wah wah wah.
But upon reflection, my job is cool. It is ridiculous and at times very stressful but also joyful and unlike anything else that I could possibly find to do, and maybe while frivolous on the surface, it gives me the opportunity to meld all of my interests into one process that then allows me to help other people tap into their own creative process and build their confidence and occasionally tap into dreams/fantasies that they have. And the joy and confidence they feel because of my work then spreads out to others. Since that is one of my main missions in life, to be a ripple that causes waves, to help others find their own transformative abilities in their lives, the fact that I’m able to do so and get paid for it while simultaneously being creatively fulfilled is really cool. It’s not easy in the least, but it is cool. And for a self-acknowledged lifelong dork, that is really neat to discover.