all the jobs i’ve had

It’s the end of my first day as a non-traditionally employed person. Today I am a full-time artist. This has been a dream of mine since living in San Francisco in 2007, after graduating college. I worked three jobs over the summer, saving enough money for a cross-country train trip with my college roommate, ending in San Fran where I had decided to live. I had enough money for two months of living in a residence hall where we got two meals a day included in the rent. This was a test, living my life as a writer and artist, to see how it felt. Could I really do it, live each day in my own way, truly answering only to myself and my work? I woke up early, ate breakfast, wandered the city and wrote and drew. It was easy for me to sink deeply into this life. After two months I was sure this was what I wanted, and that some day I would make it for myself.

I ended up moving back to New York after those two months. I started office-temping, to make money quickly enough to pay rent right away. The office work made me feel trapped and sad, I hated everything about it. One day, I was walking down 6th avenue after a terrible appointment with a therapist, the first time I’d ever tried therapy, crying a bit to myself, and feeling angry. I looked up at West 3rd Street and saw the IFC Center, an independent movie theater. I walked in and applied for a job. After working there for a couple months, I quit office temping, resolving to never work another job that made me feel so retched (unless I absolutely had to for survival). I worked in movie theaters from then on– leaving IFC (and NYC) in late 2010 and starting at Images Cinema, where I have been ever since, until today. I’ve eaten a LOT of free popcorn.

And now, here is A List of All The Jobs I’ve Ever Had (that I can recall):

babysitter
dog-walker
restaurant busser
shop clerk
spotlight operator/backstage hand at a local theater
day camp counselor
health insurance office receptionist
stage manager for a lesbians and cowboys version of Romeo & Juliet 
bubble tea barista
essay writer for a woman who didn’t speak English well
counter-person at a hipster fast-food joint
substitute teacher
sleepover camp co-director
waitress/bartender
office temp
movie theater box office staff
movie theater asst. manager
phone message voice recorder
nude and clothed model for artists
film projectionist
cinema membership coordinator 

In early September, or late August, I can’t remember the exact day, I was crying on the floor of the bedroom. I knew it was time now to start living the life I’d been building towards and wanting. As good as my job at Images Cinema was, and as much as I cared about that place (and still do), I needed to commit myself to being an artist full-time.

Greg sat on the floor next to me. “Quit your job,” he said. “We can make it work.”

We didn’t know it then but I was already pregnant. A couple days later we found out for sure, and the timing seemed right for everything. I’d work until a month or two before the baby came, and then be done. It seemed like so far in the future, and now it’s here.

I couldn’t do this without Greg. On my own, I know I would have made it eventually, because I wanted it so badly and know how to work hard. But I get to do it now. And I get to be a mom, at home with my baby. So, thank you Greg. My partner, husband, love of my life. Thank you for taking my work seriously, and for supporting me in doing it.

 

 

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