It may be my rebellious, anti-authoritative spirit.
I feel like the world of vocation is set up against me.
This is the blog I wanted to write a year and a half ago, when I was laid off from my office job.
I wanted to write about how much it sucks being an artist in an overachieving society. America. We love extraverts, type A’s and keeping our schedules overplanned. We like lists and tasks and doing everything perfectly. We are expected to get a steady-paying full-time job, while going to graduate school to learn more information we can use vocationally, while keeping up with your fitness, and pursuing the idea of having a family. Having friends or a community becomes a means to an ends.
Have you ever been in a social crowd where everyone looks at members of the opposite sex as options and members of the same sex as competition? I have. Too many times.
It seems like I got off the topic of jobs, but really I am on the same topic. Our society makes us strive towards perfectionism. That means if you are not married with a baby on the way, and settled into a career by your mid to late twenties, you are then a failure.
In many ways, I have felt like a failure. And strangely, I know it’s not all my fault.
Here are some things about me:
I am an artist. That is my primary function in life. That is how God made me. God made me to love art, make art, and serve and be involved in community (I use art here as an encompassing term, and not one practical craft).
God uniquely designed me as a human being, like everyone else. I am different but the same as everyone else. He has stirred in me many different talents, interests, and intellectual hobbies.
And in northern VA, in America in general, it has felt like a big waste.
It feels like there is something essentially wrong with me just because it is hard to function in an office envrionment or in any competitive environment. Some artists are competitive and ambitious. Those are the ones who succeed in their crafts. But sometimes (not all the time) they do this by choosing themselves over everyone else.
I am what I will call a Gentle Artist. My heart is literally worn on my sleeve. At any moment, a perceptive person might be able to tell how I am feeling just by reading an expression on my face or a tone in my voice. I am sensitive. I am weak.
A lot of Americans get by on pretending. They hide away who they are as part of creating a perfect, successful version of themselves.
I literally cannot do this. I am an emotional, soft-hearted human being.
God created me. I am who I am. Praise him.
But sometimes, I feel like everything out there is set against me.
That is the biggest spring to my overall anxiety.
Even though I am technically more privileged than others, I feel marginalized by my personality alone.
It’s always I am too slow, I talk too slow, I think too abstractly, I wonder out loud about many things people think are kinda weird to even start thinking about, I tend to be obscure.
This keeps me from feeling confident when I search for jobs. If someone finds out the truth about who I am, then why would they hire me?
Yes. I am incredibly smart, competent, reliable, dependable, trustworthy, determined, a solid teamworker, sticks to procedures, personable, polite, caring, compassionate, thorough but efficient, big picture, ideas, visionary, communicates well and often.
I can tell a potential employer all of this, but if they find out my secrets, then I am doomed. If they call a previous employer and find out all of flaws and failures I am done for.
When really, I have only been laid off/fired from one job. My boss at that job wrote one of my recommendations to go to seminary, and he was excited for me when I told him I wanted to be a counselor.
I have done a competent job at all these jobs I have worked in since college.
But still, some where in me I feel like there is an underground mass marketed campaign against me. Widespread, throughout the whole United States:
Do not hire this girl. She is a stupid, introverted Type B. She is too soft and slow. She spends half her time on a moon collecting space rocks. She asks too many questions only showing how easily confused she really is.
Oh, hey, I do spend some time on the moon, collecting rocks. I am a very internal person. Ever since I was small, I would process a lot internally, and I would sit there and reflect. Or with people, I would look off in the distance and reflect on nothing. This usually actually reflects a comfort level I have with established people. Not that I don’t want to engage in relationships with others, but I am on the level where I am comfortable bringing “more Janelle” into the picture.
I am a spacey person. I very likely have attention deficit disorder. I think about too many things at a time, or I dwell relentlessly on one thing (both ADD characteristics). I have learned to cope with this.
I am not against medications. Some people need them.
I hope to never need them. I hope to be able to come up with healthy habits which help me focus better. I have been able to cope. But do you know how many teachers suggested to my parents, maybe not in exact words, that I needed medications to fix my flaws?
I was a dreamy child. An INFP, a number 4 on the enneagram. Just like I am now. I am grateful to be who I am. Within me lies a richness of language, thoughts and artistery that some people may never have (but they have their other gifts). I love that about me.
But I just get insecure.
Especially about jobs.
Do you ever struggle with not feeling liked, wanted or needed simply due to your personality?
I think everyone does to some extent, and we are all very different people. We all come at our insecurities from different angles.
But it sucks to be like Luna Lovegood. To feel like you are actually loony and that people don’t take you seriously, and they are going to steal your shoes, put them somewhere hidden up high, to make you wander around for hours, wandering, as if you actually were picking up space rocks.
It sucks to chase down the hero, who doesn’t take you seriously, for you to tell him a super critical truth that will help him win the day. It is like you have to yell and yell louder to every be heard even though you have a naturally softer voice.
But at the end of the day, I am who I am. And I am in Christ and I am walking in his grace day after day.
I love who I am, but still, it makes me super insecure.
At the epilogue of the last Harry Potter, it shows different characters grown up. But there is no mention of Luna. That bothered me. It bothered me because in a sense, Luna never grew up in society to thrive as who she really and truly was created to be. I want to know how she grows up, if she has been wandering around like me, failing at type A expectations and picking up little nuggets of truth from these space rocks- in those moments where she could go into her heart and mind and explore the deeper truths of her soul.