I have spent a lot of time not understanding my own motivations but trusting my gut. Quite often I feel lost when I compare myself with other people. Now I learn that INFJs are only one percent of the population. Go figure.
So you asked me about my dreams? Somehow the question makes me nervous and sweaty. I feel like I have to explain myself. I'm an INFJ. Right? To me this means that I will continue to try and order my dreams around strong ideals and intuition. I will get lost and actually that's ok with me. I will always be creative. I will focus on process more than destination. It means I don't know.
I have tried being an art historian. A baker. An arts educator. A Pilates instructor. A seller of fine fabrics. An artist. A blogger. A waitress. A stagemom.
It always goes something like this.........
When I went to college I had no idea what I wanted to do. Then I attended a lecture given by a beautiful woman in the dark. She flashed sultry images like some sort of fever dream. Fleshy Rubens nudes made me want to lick something. All my muscles relaxed. I decided a major in art history was the most sensual thing I could possibly do with my life.
But later, when I try to turn art history into a job, everything seems hopeless. At The Art Institute of Chicago crabby women scuttle around frowning about grants and docents. In graduate school professors make art theory sound like some sort of political diatribe. Tension crackles through hunched shoulders. Overly clever words beg for relief. I am in the wrong place. Change scene.
I have changed scene my fair share of times. I think this seems lucky.
Mary Beth, I want to tell you all these stutter steps are totally fine with me and make perfect sense. That would be my 1A.M. lie in the mirror. What's the point? Self doubt sinks in constantly. I feel like I should pursue a practical thing like nursing and help take some pressure off Frank. Currently my sweet workaholic husband is having a meltdown over his job. He feels the corporate suck. He would like a break. Talk about drawing a bad hand. I was hoping if Frank liked his work I could fly under the radar. No such luck.
I often believe I am a huge fraud at 1A.M. Really. And selfish.
I like to write and I want to tell you that my dream is to be a writer. I have no clue. It sounds weird to say it. But I do write. I also draw. Does this mean I should be an illustrator? It just doesn't follow in my brain. I recently had a friend who was making a line of herbal essences with animal themes. She needed images for all the little bottles. I drew her the animals. She loved them and couldn't believe I could draw like that. I laughed because I can't believe it's anything special. People can't draw animals? Why? It's really just that my skills don't seem to equal cash money.
Money is an issue for me currently. I feel guilty about not earning any. It helps that we don't have a mortgage anymore. I am slowly getting rid of things. I want to live more and more monastic. I have realized that in order to not value money you have to live cheap. This is not easy in California. In California children are luxury items because rent goes up by a grand with each extra bedroom. Why can't we all just sleep together I wonder? The older children cringe.
I haven't been spending hardly any money lately.
My favorite place in Los Angeles is called Clementines. I go there every Saturday and buy myself a special pastry and tea. I try not to blanch at the $10 price tag. Last week I was in line behind a beautiful California style family with two kids and they were ordering food for the entire weekend for pickup. They were using Clementines like a grocery store. They left with almost $400 dollars worth of seasonal soups and breads and little delights for their weekend. Done. I wanted to tear my eyes out -- not because I thought they were silly, but because I wanted to be them and I hated myself for it. When I sat down I made myself pause and feel super grateful for my ten dollar afternoon tea. It really was enough.
My dream is to transcend. To find beauty and magic in all the little things. To stop asking myself such hard questions about what I'm going to be when I grow up as if I'm ever going to come up with the answer to that riddle.
I just want to live effortlessly, you know? This may sound like Zen spiritual mumbo jumbo, but I can't really put it any other way. My dream is not a destination but a style of living. I want to keep things simple and graceful. Everything I have ever pursued has been about grace and a real aversion to struggle. I can't compare myself with the Beverly Hills types, but I certainly admire their taste. I hope taste isn't just about money. I don't think it is.
On the subject of education, we all need to bring more grace to the table, right? We are all losing it. Fear reigns supreme. The expectations we place on our kids are crazy unreal. There are Mandarin lessons being taught after school all over the place. Private tutors galore. Are there high school classes that aren't advanced placement? I know of two month SAT prep classes over the summer. Two months. These kids are getting perfect scores on the SAT after taking these classes. So then what is the value of the test? Do all college bound kids need to take these courses just to keep up? Kids need to read before entering kindergarten. Really? Shit. I better get Charlie to work. There is this huge inflation bubble hanging over higher education that could burst at any moment. I used to be the person thinking that we were not doing enough. I know. I have changed my mind. Now I just think kids need to find themselves outside of school. And forget about concepts like permanence and financial aid. I don't even think that home school is necessarily the answer for everyone (especially not for extroverts), but I think that having time and fluid expectations will ease the pain.
And kids should not look stressed out. We need our kids to look beautiful and lithe, otherwise who will? I am so happy to hear that Peter is six feet tall. Amazing.
I just want my kids to have time to figure out what's interesting to them. Time to figure out self worth and style beyond grades and transcripts. I am not signing them up for enrichment classes or telling them what classes to take. Jimmy is going back to public school next year. If we move to LA they will all be in the craziest public school system in the country --- LAUSD. gasp. This should be some awesome new material for our blog at the very least. The bottom line is I'm not a tiger mom. I just can't fake it.
I also want to respect my kids if they don't have dreams or ambitions that are traditionally predictable. The Myers Briggs test can also be taken by children (after a certain age of course). If you have a kid like me, there's no education formula obviously. Remember in college I just wanted to lick things and look at sexy Rubens nudes. Do I want to pay for that fun if one of my kids is an INFJ? I think in the future any INFJ child-o-mine will be encouraged to follow their intuition outside of the bounds of traditional education.
More later. Miss you.