Block 618: March 1, 2015

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Thankfully Sunday.

Date: March 1, 2015

Crane: 618

Days Spent on Project: 740

Location: NW Portland, OR

Person I would have sent it to: Right before the ill-fated show debacle happened in the late Spring of 2013, I was called by my friend Sydney, who asked if I might help her with an opera that was being produced at a large company in New York.

I came in, and for about three weeks, I worked with Sydney and a designer on the shopping for that opera.

At the end of the experience, I was excited by the show (having seen a dress run) before they went in performances. It was a funny opera and all the design elements really worked together to make the absurdity that much more apparent, even though it was a “period” piece.

At the end of the experience, I submitted my invoice for the weeks of work to Bettina B., who- as the Wardrobe Supervisor for the production- would be in charge of getting me paid. Weeks and emails passed, and I was finally told by Bettina that no money was budgeted to bring on another assistant. I wouldn’t be paid for the work; she assumed that I was “volunteering my time.”

At the time, I was frustrated and a little angry. I was eventually paid, by the designer out of her own pocket, some time later. Now, as someone who’s managing a shop of my own, I understand the position that Bettina might have been in.

It’s another reason I’m incredibly sensitive about the work load that my shop has… and making sure they get the work hours they were promised by the company… and also to all the overhire people I work with and trying to keep them compensated fairly and on time. Having been freelance, I still understand how companies can mistakenly take advantage of people.

Music I listened to while sewing: Beyonce again, for the win. And loudly.

Thoughts/Feelings behind the block: So much to say today after yesterday.

As my birthday wound down on Friday, and I sat in my apartment watching TV late at night (#winningatlife), I wrote the following on Facebook…

“As my 36th Birthday draws to a close (still 4 more hours to wallow in the glory of it all!), I’d like to say a big thanks to all of you who’ve taken the time to wish me well today.

The past seven months and 12 days have been incredibly challenging and educational and eye-opening for a variety of reasons. Dropping everything and moving to Portland to pursue an opportunity was a bigger decision than I realized at the time; it was big. I’m not sure I could have dealt with New York City for much longer at the time that offer was extended- so I’m well aware the extreme change was needed- but I’m becoming so much more aware of just how big that choice was to me… as a both a human person and a theater person.

I’ve learned the friends I had there in New York and Chicago- however close or distant or tenuous or strong or sincere or political- are so much more important to me than I ever knew. I know a lot of people, and every single one of you has been needed and appreciated and necessary for me to get HERE, both physically and emotionally and mentally. I know so many great, inspiring human beings here on Facebook and off-line, and I’m thankful to have you all- at least virtually- if not in real life.

Trust that I will see you all again, and some very very soon.”

And I think that sums up so many of my feelings. While the move away from New York was needed and welcomed last July, that move happened so quickly that I never gave myself time to think about what exactly I was doing.

Moving 3000 miles across the country to a city I’d never visited for a job at a theater I’d never personally stepped foot into was a HUGE decision. But, however, I did see it as an opportunity for change, and I knew I needed change. Seven and a half months after the move, I’m beginning to understand how much that move cleft my life in two halves. I was a designer; now I’m a manager. I was a New Yorker; now I’m a former New Yorker but not yet a Portlander. I was a freelancer; now I’m an employee. I was a part of a community in New York, however small or large depending on your definition; now I’m in a city that doesn’t seem to have an equivalent to what I had. Or thought I had.

I’m lonely. I’m tired of being alone.

I’m upset that I work in a theater that is run by leaders who are fairly upfront about their belief that design is unimportant.

I’m tired of talking to other employees and hearing people talk about being underpaid or being unknown or being resentful or feeling unexcited about the work or looking for other jobs.

I miss opportunity. If I stay here my design career is over. I wasn’t aware that I was leaving my hopes behind me in New York.

This isn’t a positive post and I apologize for that, but I need to write it out somewhere.

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