On Skinny Jeans and Bangs (or How I Got Here, part 2)

About the time that I was starting to turn more toward my own art as a way to satisfy my creativity, the maker movement was starting to become more visible. Etsy was taking off and every day I’d check out their front page and read a success story by someone who had “made it.” The design blogs I read started focusing on small businesses – usually one or two people, most of them women – who were turning their creative endeavors into successful, thriving businesses. These were creative people, like me, who had learned the business side of things and transitioned into making a living from their passions.

   I admit, I was envious. There they were, these smart, beautiful women in L.A. or Brooklyn, living the dream. In their photographs, they are standing in their offices, bathed in natural light. Their offices have a color story. Their offices have mood boards and there are not piles of paper “to be taken care of later” stacked on the immaculate desks. They are wearing skinny jeans and look amazing. They can pull off bangs.

     At the same time, the economy is going into a nosedive. As a journalist, I am in an industry that is shedding jobs like a black cat sheds fur on a hot summer day. I am also seeing the impact of the recession on the people whose stories I am telling. Life without a job, without health insurance, is not easy.

     I call my father and tell him I want to start a business with my art. “Keep your job,” he says. “Whatever you do, DON’T QUIT YOUR JOB.” I can hear in his voice the fear that I will, on a whim, decide that I need to be an Artist with a capital “A,” He’s worried that I will jump off the cliff that is the move to self employment without first ensuring I have a hang-glider or wings. Or even a parachute. That I will leave the relatively solid ground of a steady paycheck, jump into the unknown and slam down hard into unemployment, foreclosure, and starvation.


   I am of two minds. I see many women jumping into business ownership and self-employment and look at them – they appear to be happy, rested, beautiful and successful. I assume they can pay their mortgages and rent (because it’s very hard to sneak yourself, your stylist and a photographer into someone’s home or office for a full-on photo shoot). According to their blogs, they have time to cook amazing meals and eat them with their amazing friends.

    On the other hand, I see the consequences of losing your job or leaving without a backup plan. I sense the fear in my father’s voice. I don’t want to lose my house -- the house that I alone pay the mortgage for. I’ve got an aching hip and don’t want to lose my heath insurance. I have no hang-glider. I don’t have bangs or skinny jeans.

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