Friday, September 17, 2010

Be Relevant

So I'm sure you all know what the economy is like...

It's hard enough to get a job you're qualified for these days, but it's 100x more difficult when you live in the bowels of Hell. A desert wasteland where dinosaurs go to die. The only places that have anything for me are in LA or SF... and since money makes the world go around, I'm stuck at home until I can fly away with a trail of green Washingtons following me.

I've been thinking about something for awhile now. As far back as I can remember, I felt I was a performer. An artist. An actor. It kept me thriving. My life on the stage was a drug. In the fifth grade, I remember my teacher signing my yearbook with "We'll see you on the silverscreen someday!" And I really thought it would happen.

There's something strange about being a child. Everyone tells you that if you believe in yourself, anything can happen. You can achieve whatever you want. People praise and nurture your talents. Then, you reach an odd stage in high school. The mailbox starts getting packed with college pamphlets recruiting you, and your teachers tell you its time to start thinking about your future. Your schedule is packed with classes like biology, calculus, literature, foreign language, trigonometry, chemistry, and psychology... and after you graduate, you will probably use less than half of what you learned in your coursework.

Your teachers, school counselors, parents, and loved ones start to groom you for a respectable career. Maybe you'll be a nurse, or an insurance adjuster. If you're lucky, you might be encouraged to go for graduate school and be an academic. But those dreams that were instilled in you are forgotten and discarded. If you're like me, still hungry for stage time, it becomes "community service" and everyone tells you that this will be a great activity for college applications.

Go to college, grow up, work in an office, retire at 65, cash in your social security, play golf or bridge, think about how great it was when you could walk with a spring in your step, start to deteriorate, die. If you're fortunate.


I can't get a good job. It seems so funny because I could have been a working actor by now. Even if I wasn't remotely successful, I wouldn't be saddled with over $60,000 in debt. I keep telling myself that it's never too late, I can start acting tomorrow if I wanted to. But something happened to me in college. I'm no longer the confident, assured person I used to be. I'm riddled with insecurity, I feel fat and ugly and talentless. It takes every ounce of me not to let anyone else see that.

I don't know. There's something about me that I want to fix. I need to change. When I was 8, 12, or 17 I couldn't wait to get out of my small town, with its horrible resident townies, and make something of myself. I suppose I've done that, but I want to get back that spark, the drive, and the passion that kept me going every day. Nostalgia is killer.

But honestly, it wouldn't even matter except this tiny voice in the back of my head keeps telling me that I'm meant for more. Something about me is destined to be great. I battle my emotional insecurities and the hubris that tells me I could be famous if I only tried. And I can honestly tell you, I have no idea why this is important to me. If I'm doing something I love, I should be perfectly content to live in utter obscurity. My wise Irish friend once said to me, "Don't strive to be famous, strive to be relevant."

What does that even mean?
"The relation of something to the matter at hand."

How vague. I suppose that's my life though. Blindly, I wander my world, following a trail whose destination of which I am not aware. Sometimes, I wish I could escape and move into a tiny town in the middle of no where, somewhere in the heartland of America. I'd live in an imaginary town where everyone knows each other.

I just want to get away from this desire for greatness because I'm afraid it will never happen.


Char Vicki said...

I think we all feel this . . .

Pasco said...

We do.

The thing I find most distressing about my career right now is that I don't hate it nearly so much as I WANT to hate it. Being forced to push through uni by everyone around me even though I desperately wanted to quit, and the only thing I looked forward to was to throw it back in their faces when I finally came out the other side, miserable, and it was all their fault.

"It will be worth it"

and suddenly... it is.

Not that I'm happy, but I don't hate it. I WANT to want more. I WANT to be someone and be special and be famous and be relevant. And here I am. In a rut. In the rat race. And it doesn't bother me. And I want it to!


Piglet said...

god...i can relate to this so hard...on so many levels

K said...

i still read... comment to prior post but i wanted you to see it!

Changeling said...

Bleh I relate to this all to well. Except that I'm 17 and I already have lost that passion. And it was replaced by nothing. I always wonder how my friends do it, how they can push and push without wondering what purpose it serves, without have dreams of greatness in a career that one feels *meant* to do. I wish I could get my mind off the mundane desolation that seems to await me.
Good luck with your job search; hang in there

Honor Regzig said...

I also feel this. I've actually been dragging my feet on a mere bachelor's for years because in my area it's plain that there's no use for my degree. And I have no money to go elsewhere.. and my degree will not help me make more money... not here anyway. Sigh.
You are not alone.

Leena.Leaner said...

Listen to that voice hon...go for your dreams no matter how big. Even if you fail at least you can leave this world knowing you tried, instead of regretting every day that you never did. I'm rooting for you, as are many others.


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