Little Miss Homo Sapien's Cave

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.

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16 responses

  1. Mihir Vatsa

    I’ll do an M.A. after y graduation is over. Then I’ll do M.Phil, Ph.D and publish a bestseller novel full of teens indulging in love with vampires, centaurs, goblins and hobos. After that, some university will give me a D.Litt. as well.

    Oh, did I make you envious by any chance? 😉

    22/05/2011 at 23:37

    • Um, not really. You more of made me happy for you. 🙂

      22/05/2011 at 23:48

      • Mihir Vatsa

        Damn! Damn!

        22/05/2011 at 23:52

  2. I can definitely relate to this post, and as always your brilliant point of view. If only I colud express my thoughts about a career so clearly! You know exactly what you want out of life it’s just not simple for you. For the record I think you have a special gift to convey messages through writing.

    Lester Crews

    23/05/2011 at 00:14

    • Thank you, Lester. Truth be told I’m not a big fan of the way I write so for you, who is a great writer, to think otherwise is very flattering.

      23/05/2011 at 21:51

  3. Pingback: A Portrait of a Wannabe Artist as a Young Woman (via In Other Words) « Why Do You Write….

    • Hi Little Miss… thanks for your comments on my work – I’m very grateful.This is a lovely little piece (Wannabe) highlighting, as it does, the dilemma between thinking, planning and considering the future and doing what fulfills us today! Your mention of the realities of our economically dependent lives provides the context in which your discussion of passion, multi-track lives and your dreams is correctly set.

      Your comment, “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”. is an issue that returns to me regularly and often. I feel that for me at least as long as I focus and commit to the moment I’m living in, then the more content I feel. Of course the future does prod and poke me now and again – on those occasions the moment may be best devoted to planning or at least considering the future. It’s important to plan but more fulfilling (and more difficult) to realize those plans, especially when on the road to fulfillment and distractions that are simultaneously, interesting, useful, entertaining, necessary, urgent and sometimes none of these(!) combine to derail ones thoughts and plans. Some of those moments have led to the best moments of my life!!

      Here’s a link to a couple of pieces I’ve written which make similar related points.
      ‘Gone’ – http://pakinwunmi.wordpress.com/2011/05/03/gone/
      ‘Eagle of Desire’ http://pakinwunmi.wordpress.com/2011/05/06/eagle-of-desire/
      (or even the ‘creed’ on my welcome page.)

      23/05/2011 at 21:26

      • Thank you for your views, Pete. I hear you. Will absolutely read your pieces. Your poems are some of the best that I’ve read lately.

        23/05/2011 at 23:27

  4. The round character is always better than the flat one, I say. 🙂

    That being said, as long as you can still rant about it and still be witty means you’re not doing as bad as you might think you are. 😉

    24/05/2011 at 11:24

    • Never have I once though that “I’m doing bad”, despite myself. My self-deprecation springs from a deep-rooted sarcasm 😉

      24/05/2011 at 20:59

  5. In whatever you do, doing the best to make the most of it is what you need.

    24/05/2011 at 16:16

  6. I had set a goal since I was a little kid. And all the things I ‘ve so far done have that goal on my mind. Well, I wanted to be a doctor. But, that goal has slowly slipped away from my grasp. The spirit is willing, pardon the cliche, but the straight As didn’t come. So, I just have to accept the next best thing, be a good microbiologist. Uhm, I was going to use the word “settle “, instead of accept, but that’s lame. I won’t settle for anything, I’ll accept wholeheartedly.

    26/05/2011 at 03:23

    • I’ve always fantasized about the idea of breaking away from the zone of familiarity and jumping into something that is entirely new but interesting to me, e.g. signing up for a program in marine biology or rocket science. Knowing my temperament, I might just do something in that strain.

      26/05/2011 at 21:29

  7. You wonderfully presented the internal conflicts, external combats, and the (sweet?) agony of being someone not exactly moulded for the generic template of the larger society.
    Here comes unsolicited advice from someone who has a similar calling in life, and started the journey a few years before you did (not necessarily further along the journey though):
    As you have rightly decided, there is absolutely no reason for you to try to fit in; Stay the course and continue to be what you are.
    Yes, all said and done, we do have to keep paying the bills. Don’t let your ideals, rebellion, even the sense of who you are come in the way of making money when there is money to be made. I am not suggesting to go after money; far from it. But just don’t run away from it when it finds you. If it means giving priority to an aspect of what you are for a while, so be it.

    14/06/2011 at 12:32

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