the many faced goddess.
The question has now been posed in the conclusion of part 1, and to be honest, I am not any closer to an answer at the moment. Sorry if I have disappointed you. Part 2 will come at a later date.
This is a theme in my life, and unfortunately the most definitive quote I can dredge up at the moment is from Sylvia Plath’s “The Bell Jar.”
“If neurotic is wanting two mutually exclusive things at one and the same time, then I’m neurotic as hell. I’ll be flying back and forth between one mutually exclusive thing and another for the rest of my days.”
So there we have it: the root. Where did this indecisiveness come from? From where did this general uneasiness and shiftiness manifest? When I was younger, I could never decide on a single career goal. Most children at some point or another proclaim that they want to be a scientist, or a doctor, or a police officer, or a mother…but I always had multiple dreams. I watched soap operas with my mother over lunch, The Bold and the Beautiful and The Young and the Restless so naturally my goal was to be a fashion designer of some sort. This was further solidified by the stacks of W, Elle, InStyle, and Vogue that my grandmother would deliver up to my mother and I from the salon she was a receptionist at and my mother and I’s bonding over trips to the mall. But on the flip side, I always admired their makeup as well, which is how I ultimately ended up in beauty school.
In my childhood home’s basement, my dad had some sound equipment that included (for some reason) microphones, large noise-cancelling headphones, recording devices, and a speaker system. I would dress up in my old Halloween costumes (often as a movie star) and perform radio shows recorded onto cassette tapes in the basement by myself in a makeshift “recording booth” I made out of a chair, table, and my scripts with the microphone.
When I got bored with that, I would knot together yarn and knit useless things, make coin holders and make stamp art and invite my parents into the basement to look at my store, and maybe buy a piece of my work for a quarter.
Then I discovered painting, and I would spend hours and hours painting water colors in the basement. I never mastered it, and it was never “fine art,” but mixing colors and textures brought me such great joy.
In 4th and 5th grade, I discovered the school newsletter and our morning news broadcast. I would get to school early and sift through the newspapers for headlines that might be interesting to the other students, learned what was on the lunch menu, got the weather forecast, and awaited the selected class to come down and lead the Pledge of Allegiance. This was also the first year that my teachers started pulling me out of a regular Reading class and put me into a “special” group where we studied the plot lines and dialogue in Shakespeare’s “Macbeth” and “A Midsummer’s Nights Dream.” In 4th grade, I was also pulled out of class to work in a group on a ThinkQuest website on Japan. (This was back when printers still printed on connected papers, and floppy disc drives were life). Before hormones and insecurity took over, it seems, I was a very ambitious little girl with lots of potential that others seemed to recognize.
Throughout elementary school, my dreams and ambitions included (but were not limited to): artist, fashion designer, painter, makeup artist, journalist, broadcast journalist, radio personality, writer, storm-chaser, website builder, business owner…and then maybe I’d be a mom. At that point, I never even thought about needing a boy in my life. There was about a six-month window where pastel colors were my favorite because they reminded me of babies, but Ken was consistently thrown by the wayside because unless he was driving Midge (I liked her more than Barbie) to the beach in their limo, I was interested.
Middle school was a time of losing all of my confidence, as I sweat through t-shirts for no reason, got chubby while still wearing a 34AA, and had bad bangs and a difficult time in Algebra. Nobody likes middle school, so there’s no reason to continue bogging this self-analysis down in these years.
High school, oh high school.
Freshman year was normal. The boys were worse, and by sophomore year my metabolism sped up and my chest and hips suddenly emerged. Suddenly, it was less about my brain and more about being the quirky, sorta-hot girl. I listened to metal and emo, and worked hard to never be alone. This led me down a darker path that I’m sure is part of where I am today. I was taken advantage of, physically, in school and after it, and in the class where it proved most dangerous, Astronomy in the Planetarium, my dreams of existing in the scientific realm died as my classmates groped me in the dark and the teacher mocked my questions and difficulty in the class (including handing me back a test I failed with little minuses framing the page, flowing and returning to the big, red “F” he put at the top of the page).
Actually, writing this all out is pretty damned therapeutic, and revealing.
By the time I started college, I was seeking male approval more than I was seeking my own success. Still, I started college with the idea that I would get a Business degree with a concentration in Entrepreneurship, with the express interest of opening up a coffee shop that would both be a creative gathering and work space during the day and evenings, and a thriving music venue on the weekends. I know, the hipster dream, minus the DSLR and Photoshop subscription. The dream didn’t go far, because marijuana and pineapple rum was more fun than studying, and I failed two semesters in a row, which led to my plan B of beauty school being put into place (and the promise to myself that I would return to college within 5 years of quitting, which I did.)
Substances and dark rooms aren’t my enemy anymore. I’m not afraid to speak up or slap someone who need is invading my personal space any longer. My inner strength has grown enough to know that that sort of bullshit no longer needs to be in my way.
I need to somehow recapture my passion, drive, and creativity I felt when I was a child. My pre-teen years were extremely productive and full of passion, where I felt like I could do anything. I suppose moving forward, in any direction, whether it is here or in a different location, is going to be difficult until I can do that.
The distilling of one’s life into a passion project and priorities is an ongoing task, I’m sure of it, but writing through this struggle brings clarity.