Valarie's Blog

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Getting Back to Work

I realize it has been a long time since I have posted anything here in my blog, so I'm going to give it another shot. :) I also haven't done much designing in the past year, which is a shame, because I really enjoy it when I feel I'm being successful at it.

There have been a LOT of areas of my life with which I have been unhappy in recent years, and if you think a few months of random depression are bad, wait until you have had 20 years of time alone with your thoughts, and an inner critic who really does blame all of those bad events of the past on you.

My mother died unexpectedly in January, but I got to have her last two days with her, and literally in her last hour, I made my peace with her about several things, and then she was gone. I know I didn't cry much at the funeral or for a long time after that, but now I cry whenever I think about her and it doesn't show signs of ever stopping. I suppose that's just how I deal with it - put all the hurt on a shelf and push it to the back of the closet, and it eventually falls out on my head.

The conscious part of me tries to know better, but subconsciously, I really believe I should have had some kind of superhuman ability to keep bad things from happening to me. Like that gut feeling I should have been able to stop 2 different exes from trying to kill me, just for a thrill. I didn't do anything to provoke it - it was just something in their twisted little heads that led them to it. Jennifer is right... my creep meter seems to be broken. I don't actually like this type of man, and I sure as heck can't spot them early on. *sigh* Now you know why I don't date anymore. There are good ones out there... I'm just not interesting enough for them. :)

So anyway, I guess I am going back with a fresh start! I am now teaching a Technology class, which incidentally, includes teaching Photoshop CS4 to my students. Now, how about that?? I would never have dreamed of the possibility, but as luck would have it, I'm pretty decently versed in Photoshop Elements 7 now, so CS4 is going to be a subject I can shine in, and give me a feeling of confidence, once again.

I was burned out on teaching English. Yes, I will always love reading and having kids enjoy reading in my class was a huge happy boost for me. Unfortunately, most kids don't like reading, and they are downright resentful when you make them do grammar and writing, and reading they don't like. They expect high grades without earning them, and these days, some kids are savvy enough to know which lies to tell to endanger your job. And they will because they don't care if they literally ruin your life just to get out of doing homework. (I know, they'll have some serious Karma to deal with, but that doesn't help me.) There are plenty of wonderful kids out there - but those others tend to overshadow their presence. I'm an effective teacher in a wonderful school system, but knowing that isn't always enough.

Throw into the mix the understanding that literally all I have to look forward to in my day is my teaching job, and you can probably tell what kind of toll it takes on my psyche to come home from work feeling defeated. Then to get home and find critical emails about my designing work... it creates an environment of fear, and I avoid what I am afraid of. I know I need a thicker skin, but other people should consider that perhaps cutting me isn't helpful to anyone.

As a classroom teacher I KNOW how to provide a useful and caring critique without crushing someone... I wish others cared enough to do the same. And I wish they understood that I am not a stay-at-home mom with all day and all night to be working on my computer, with no worry about paying the bills. So here goes - I am a single woman, a full-time teacher, and I have to take care of everything myself, with nobody to take care of me. I LOVE designing things - it boosts my mood and gives me confidence, but all that spare time people mistakenly think I have is taken up by other things, like all the household jobs they leave to their husbands.

So hey, if you like my stuff, let me know - it keeps me designing and happy. :)

And you know something else - if I'd had a clue about what a graphic designer was, or any confidence that taking art classes in college would have been a success for me, I would probably have taken a different direction in my life. Now, oh NOW I can afford to pay for an art degree for myself, but there are no night art classes that I can get into for degree credit. *sigh* So I teach myself out of books, and never really learn to draw my own stuff...

I do not believe that online classes can really teach me how to draw or paint. (Though I know what fantastic money makers they must be for their respective schools, and that is why they put so much emphasis on them. It's like learning from a book on my computer.) It took being in a class with teachers for me to finally "get" One Stroke painting, and then I took off. There is no substitute for one-on-one interaction with a live teacher in an art class.

It feels a little bit like being stuffed into a jar and somebody putting the lid on it tightly. I can see what's out there, but I can't get to it. If somebody would just take the lid off and let me out....

Anyway, I'm trying an experiment on getting myself to think out of the box with my designing - sort of a takeoff on the journaling jar that some folks use. I can't give details right now, because it is simply a tool I'm in the process of creating for myself, to spur me along when I feel blocked.


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