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):
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
sleepover camp co-director
movie theater box office staff
movie theater asst. manager
phone message voice recorder
nude and clothed model for artists
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.