Monday, September 1, 2008

"The soul intention is learning to fly/Condition grounded but determined to try"

The Central paperwork came in while I was home last week, informing me that I needed to be in county to register for classes on the 2nd of October. After some juggling of paperwork and phone calls to STA, I was able to change my flight to the 30th of September. So I'm leaving four days earlier, and missing my best friend's wedding consequently. I find it interesting that huge life changes are happening to the two of us at the same time, even though they are vastly different happenings. I'm sad to be missing Kate's day though, and my first chance at bridesmaid-dom, though I am certain this will not be my last opportunity. I got word today that I would be able to check into my housing earlier, so I'm all set those extra few days, which was a relief.

My biometrics appointment for my visa was the other day, and was done in about ten minutes. I showed up, got finger-printed, and went on my way. Later in the afternoon, while running into Jim True-Frost at the post office, I mailed the following items to the British Consulate, all support documents to my visa application:
  • A passport sized photo (that I had taken earlier in the morning at a Walgreen's)
  • A copy of my current passport
  • A copy of my expired passport
  • A copy of my bank statement
  • A copy of my acceptance letter
  • A copy of a second acceptance letter, specifying the hours I'm to spend in school
  • A copy of my plane ticket
  • A copy of my completed visa application (10+ pages long)
  • My stamped biometrics appointment confirmation paper
  • A copy of my college diploma
The sooner my visa comes, the better, and one more weight will be lifted from my mind. Also, I hear they're awful pretty.

Still, missing Kate's wedding reminds me of a fear I've had all my life: that I'll have to sacrifice people, or significant events in my friends' lives because of my commitment to my work or my life as an artist. Maybe that's just me "seeing the red lights," as some one put it to me recently: identifying my artistic sensibilities as the problem when it's really just that sometimes a person's life conflicts with another person's. But because of the significant amount of self-examination and introspection that comes with this kind of lifestyle, there is always a question of how to balance art production as a career (something that is hardly "stable") and that other thing, what some people refer to as "real life." This somewhat mythic "real life" includes things like marriages that actually function, having and raising children, some kind of mortgage or property management, possibly a 401K, and maybe even a traditional yearly vacation. This "real life" is the American dream--did I mention there's a pool?--and comes with hard work, small sacrifice, and more easily with a typical 9-5 job with an annual raise than with hocking clown pieces and doing a tap dance. (If you don't believe me, ask my mother.) So how do you do what you love and feed your soul, and still make rent, and put away for that college fund? And can you get to all those weddings in the meantime?

I have no intention of compromise. I will have my life, and maybe a mortgage too (though out right ownership is always preferred). But sometimes living your life means missing a wedding.

Take lots of pictures, Kate. I'm sad to miss it.


Dani said...

Good musings, LMMG. I hope we'll stay in touch enough so that I may have an idea of how you integrate your career and your real life.

Understandably, you focus on weddings, but I also think about this when it comes to funerals. Whose funeral would I drop everything and fly across the country to attend? In what cases will I decide that I shouldn't abandon an ongoing research project.

Lea Maria said...

I hope we stay in touch, too, Dani. I'd like to have you be one of the things I have to take into consideration while go after that balance. :)

Funerals are a good one to probosculate upon. Also babies--like, whose birth would you absolutely have to drop everything and be there for? Teddy's kid?

clayton said...

i think that, as artists, the ideal would be to have our career and real life be one. unfortunately, i think too many of us realize that that's not always possible (after all, that's why i'm sitting in an office, in front of a computer at this very moment). i think that venturing into the possibility of having our career be all that we do is always neccessary, and only when it doesn't work (or at least until it DOES) should we compromise on our dreams. and even then, should we really?