Block 15: March 4, 2013

athousandquiltedcranes15

Hello, ladies and gentlemen!

Number 15 done and pressed and labelled; 985 more to go still.

Date: March 4, 2013

Location: Apartment, Washington Heights, NYC

Person I would have sent it to: my step-nephew, Price.

Music I listened to while sewing: Spotify suggested I listen to a CD called “Dance Dance Dance (Vol. 3).” Now, I’m all for spontaneous dance parties in my apartment, like any other person should be, and the track list seemed intriguing. Well, Spotify meant well; it was a CD of covers of popular dance songs. While a noble effort, it was a little lacking. And at only 40 minutes long, it was a wee bit short. Thanks, but no thanks!

Thoughts/Feelings behind the block: What gives us our sense of self-worth? Today I started questioning (and therefore doubting) what it is I am and what makes me unique. Yes, I call myself a costume designer for theater. But I’m going on a month without a concrete show in the pipeline, just picking up some random assisting work, shopping for shows, and illustrating and researching for another. This life, this freelance life, isn’t easy. The trajectory of this career isn’t linear. It’s not straightforward. You have projects that consume you and inspire you and transform you and move you. You also have projects that feel torturous or tedious or small or inconsequential.

I’ve been lucky. I’ve lived in New York for almost seven years now. I’ve had one really rough patch (back in 2008) when the economy first imploded, but that wasn’t entirely a time of professional difficulty (a long-standing boyfriend and I were also coming to the end of our time together). Back in 2011, I worked my a$$ off, but only found jobs that paid minimally (if at all); I spent that year wanting to network and advance myself and my reputation. Yes, it worked for the most part, but I found myself more in debt than I had ever been before.

Besides those years of difficulty, I have worked on some pretty amazing projects and met a lot of talented and inspiring people. I’ve worked on projects that confirmed my love of theater. I’ve worked on productions that compensated me fairly and overly well.

So far, 2013 isn’t going to be one of the “up” years. Only two months in, I’m starting to fear that things aren’t going to progress nicely. And that just SUCKS to be perfectly blunt.

I know a lot of my frustration is stemming from this current project where I’m not being paid a fair wage and, therefore, feel a little resentful of a good friend. But it makes me question what I’m doing to make progress, what more I could do to right this year, what my theatrical design aesthetic is, and if there exists anyone that has the same taste or work ethic or design sensibility as I do.

Big question, right? If I’m not working on a project that fulfills me- if I’m not designing something but helping others randomly on small projects- who am I?

I feel like I need to come to the conclusion that my work does NOT define me, but is simply an *aspect* of who I am. I am so much more than the work I produce for the stage.

Right?

More tomorrow. Good night and thank you.

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