And wow. Just wow.
It’s amazing how palpable the change feels at work.
Date: August 6, 2015
Days Spent on Project: 898
Location: NW Portland, OR
Person I would have sent it to: TBD
Music I listened to while sewing: When I was sewing this, I was listening to… What?
The time between 6am, when I start sewing, and 8pm at night, when I start writing, is enough to make me forget. Although, possibly it was the “Fresh EDM” playlist on Spotify.
Thoughts/Feelings behind the block: I’m not sure what I want out of life anymore.
When I was on the cusp of graduating from Kenyon College, in the fall and spring of that senior year, one internship I was applying for at a Philadelphia theater asked me to write an essay on my “Five Year Plan.” Incredibly green, how could I even answer; my plan was so intently focused on trying to find a city to move to and a (theater) job to fill my time. I think I was so unaware of the reality facing me, as someone with a desire to work in costume design, that I had no idea what freelance meant and what was required to put together a (good) portfolio or a (good) resume or find survival work and so on. Five Year Plan?
All I wanted was a diploma and a city to move to and something to do.
In the end, I didn’t get a call back for the job. My tepid response of things I thought people wanted to read most likely didn’t raise anyone’s interest. I didn’t know what I wanted.
But, instead, I fell into a job at Actors Theatre of Louisville and I worked there for two years. From the designers I assisted there and the work I did, I managed to get accepted into the Yale School of Drama. I moved to Connecticut in 2003 and graduated in 2006. I moved as quickly as I could to Brooklyn, NY and dived into the Life. I freelanced. I took whatever jobs came my way. I struggled. I overworked. I drew. I saved. I designed. I labored. I got by.
And in 2014 I was offered a job in Portland. I took it and left behind the freelance life for a full time job at a theater, managing a costume shop. My dog and I boarded a plane and six hours later were met in a strange airport with strange carpet by one of my new colleagues. From then on, I was a shop manager and rode the roller coaster.
Tonight I had the good fortune of finally being able to go out with one member of the leadership team, to get a drink that we had been planning and scheduling and re-scheduling for the last year. Enlightening, it was.
Over a martini, a glass of wine, and a plate of prosciutto, we talked about the season ahead, the challenges facing us now, the things to work on, the relationships to forge, and the opportunities that lie ahead.
I am a member of the team, still. I have signed on and am board for another year, a year and a season only four days old but a year wherein the change and smell of opportunity is noticeable. Change is underfoot. Possibility is within reach.
There is a comfort in the work and the place and the people that wasn’t there before. This is my job now.
This is not where I thought I’d be at 36.
I don’t know where I thought I’d be at 36.
I didn’t know where I’d be at 27.
Why am I still confused?
I see myself standing in a room, wherein each wall has at least one door, shut closed, and several windows, latched shut. Behind me, the door that lead me from New York is exactly that: behind me. In front of me, the choices seem directly ahead, but general. A door could lead to something else. A window could show me something else. There is something to look forward to, but I feel like I need to make the mental commitment and make a choice.
Portland The Job wants me here.
Portland The City feels aloof about having me here.
New York couldn’t give two shits about me now, like it kinda didn’t then.
My freelance career would welcome me back, with bruised and broken arms and tired eyes.
My full time job will hold onto me as long as it can, but wants complete commitment from me.
There is an opportunity here. I don’t know what it is besides a steady paycheck and benefits and slow summers. Maybe the opportunity will grow and develop, but it will take time and patience and hard work.
But that is that. My dreams, my side projects, my gym time, my social life might evaporate. Yes, certainly, with time they’ll be replaced by something else. They will! I just don’t know what they will be.
When I was 22, I’m sure I saw myself going to grad school. I’m sure I thought I’d be in a relationship. I’m sure I thought I’d still be working in theater and making theater. I’m sure it wasn’t nothing more specific than that.
The California Project doesn’t want to end. I don’t want it to end. I don’t want to be single and lonely in Portland forever. I don’t want to give up the gym. I don’t want to put down my pencils and paper and markers and research and pick up receipts and schedules and time off requests.
I’m happy the season started. I am. I’m happy for the work. I am. I’m glad the season has started. I am. I’m excited that I may be getting some recognition and some acceptance from above at work. I am.
I don’t know where I’ll be in Five Years, if I’ll open a window or walk through a door or sit in the middle of the room I’m in.
My plan has always been to go where the opportunity took me, and perhaps I’m only just now aware that I’d like to shape the kinds of opportunities that open up my life.
I’m learning so much and the atmosphere has changed incredibly this week.
I wonder where it’ll lead.
I wonder if I’ll lead it.