A Portrait of a Wannabe Artist as a Young Woman
I’m envious of people who have set their minds on what they want to do for the rest of their lives.
I’m especially envious of people who have a single calling, who have a single vocation, because with me I haven’t set my mind on one thing that I really want to do for the rest of my life, simply because I feel that I’m being called by a lot of things, and it’s as if that those things all want to be my profession.
I had a test of character a while ago as I was uploading a couple of photos to another site of mine. It was taking a lot of time to be uploaded, as always, and I was having short fuse. I love photography, and I even went through a rabid period where I wanted to be a professional cloud photographer and nothing else. But a while ago, for the first time, I felt exasperated about it. Well not photography itself, but the process of uploading the photos – which makes up the great chunk of what photography means in this age.
The thing is I tend to multi-task because I don’t want to sacrifice or miss out on the other things I love doing. While I was uploading, I had verses in my head that wouldn’t stop running amok, I was doing the draft for my reply to a formal letter by long-hand, I was looking at Pollock’s paintings – all while I was taking notes of the guitar tabs of a Catalan piece on a website.
As one can see I don’t have discipline, and didn’t even bother to concentrate and prioritize. This goes the same with the way I deal with my life profession:
Because I don’t want to have just one.
Well actually I don’t really give a hoot about titles and labels. I’m not the kind who obsess over designations and appellations, unlike most people who invest on them so they could use them to scale the barometer of society. I won’t mind getting called a career nomad. I know myself, anyway. I don’t have to explain. As long as I’m getting fulfillment from doing my interests and immersing myself in them, then I don’t feel the need to prove anything.
Sometimes though I wish I could just be an obscure poet and nothing more, because I’ve always wondered how it’s like to have a single outlet to which I could solely pour my creative energy. But the expanse of my interests is too complex: I also seriously want to be a sculptor, an astronomer, a linguist, a curator, an archaeologist, a secret agent, an educator – among my other natural inclination towards arts and letters, music, cinema and photography.
I’m afraid I’m spreading myself too thin, and as a result I’m becoming a Jane of all trades but a master of none, because the way I’m tackling all of my passions is with equality. Nothing is superior than the other; I enjoy them all fairly. I read up on them and do a lot of research. Zeroing in on a particular passion because that’s where the easy money is breaks my heart, because although it is also heartbreaking to be penniless, focusing on just one aspect of my life takes away a great deal of time from doing the other things that make my spirit feel truly alive.
How many times I’ve wished that money didn’t run this world, so I could just live life exactly how I want to? Luckily I don’t have harebrained delusions of enriching myself with money. But still, I got to put food on my table too, you know. And I’m not stiff to forever abuse the fact that I’m the youngest in the family (and relatives) and that no matter what they will always have my back.
If I had it my way, I’d just want to be a modern-day gypsy, or some sort of a traveling artist, and be a random blessing to the wonderful people I will meet along the way. I know I will push through with these whims of mine, but not now – in my 30s, definitely. Yes, I’ll spend my entire 30s (and beyond) realizing my ultimate dreams. Because I simply cannot imagine myself going through the typical life of a woman! I’m too much of a melodramatic wanderlust for that. I want to live the Life, my version of it.
As for now though I would have to do with spending the rest of my 20s studying and learning, volunteering, working and saving money (to fund my future globe-trotting) and going around the islands of the country while I’m still here. Then after that I’ll see if my efforts at becoming a traveling photojournalist and a travel writer for international magazines will work for me as sources of income.
I’m thinking that the reason why I say I’m envious of the people who have figured out what they want to do is because is I’m likening the question What is your vocation to the questions that I always get asked: What is your favorite book? What is your favorite song? Your favorite movie? Your favorite band, artist, photographer, poet, writer? Most people could answer these questions with quick finesse, but when it comes to me I find them impossible to answer. (Although my default answer to the question What is your favorite book is A Portrait of an Artist as a Young Man by James Joyce.)
How could I possibly answer these questions? There’s too many of them calling me.
I wish I could answer these questions effortlessly like most people, and besides a part of me is curious of how it is to have my influences in order according to their impact on my being. But I’m glad I could not. I like being an oddball that way. And anyway, I don’t feel like I have to template myself just so I could be conveniently categorized.
In this case, let me be forever envious.