Saturday, June 22, 2019

Focus on My Mental Health - pt. 16 - Finding More Purposes

    Skip forward a bit over a week from the last time I wrote here about my mental health, and I'm still having dreams about my old job.  I dream that I go in and am asked to help, to put something right again, and I do so very willingly as I'm needed, and it's about halfway through the dream that I realize, or rather, remember, that I no longer have that job and I just put it down and walk away.  Or sometimes I give the task to someone else (rather in a managerial way) and even in my dream I have to remind myself that I no longer have this job.  My purpose for so many years has gone, and I feel like I have no purpose.
     But, I shove on, and I put out those applications and I waited my turn for another purpose to come, because, maybe everyone has more than one purpose on this world.  God can't just give us a single purpose, He is too great for that, right?  I can't imagine making us in His image means that He gives us only a single purpose.  Some it's to work, be a wife/husband, mother/father, sister/brother, daughter/son, etc, and maybe for others it's to become famous or be a role-model or politician, or lawyer or judge or priest or some other thing.  And maybe you fulfil your purpose and maybe you screw it over royally but never know until you're standing at one of the gates (pearly or firey) and realize that you did good or fucked up.  But, you really don't know until that time, and if the people who don't believe in those things don't go anywhere, then I guess you'll never know because there's no heaven or hell waiting for you on the other side.  But it is what it is.
     So, me thinking about the depths of how many purposes I actually might have, leads me to think that Insurance is probably not one of them.  I applied to the first place and it just didn't fit with me, and then I applied with another (who, I'm told, I may still be under consideration with, even two months later, although it's rather hard to believe at this point), and then yet another (the one I told you about with the phone interview) I got a rather blunt letter saying that they had filled the position with someone else and that I didn't have what they were looking for.  'Nuff said, end of story, don't bother to apply for a different position.
     Trust me, it hurt.  But then I realized that just like I said last time, I didn't really want to work there and I guess Insurance really isn't my thang.

     But, what then, is my purpose?  I can go back to the very beginning, back to when I first could write, and I felt my purpose was to share the magic of unicorns and awesome stories and drawings with people.  My third grade self felt her purpose was to write books about unicorns and dragons and even though she had completely ripped off a story she had read to make this book her own (well, she did change a few things to make it unique, so it was her story now, right?) and Miss Williams was still the best 3rd Grade teacher a girl could ever have, encouraging her to write and then perhaps bring back stories to her younger students years later (and she did) to teach others about drawing and writing.

     That writing purpose was still strong when the 13 year old me learned how to type (slowly) on a typewriter she borrowed from her aunt in order to start her very first novel.  She wouldn't finish it until she became 17 year old me, but she plugged along at it for a very long time.  And not only that, wrote a bunch of other stories as well, and learned how to draw and paint, and painting was a really awesome thing.  And she painted on walls and she painted on doors and inside her closet and she painted on wood things and later on canvases, but she liked to paint, and her mom bought her ceramic things to paint and she got to paint at school and so painting and writing became her purpose.

     College me felt her hoped for purpose to write would actually mean being an author, but that didn't work out so well.  But college me also met a bunch of friends who taught her how to play games and paint miniatures and that was pretty cool for college me, so I worked really hard to paint up an army to use at my very first Origins and my friends and I never did play in a tournament, but we did play games together until they all moved away or stopped going to college together.

     After-College me learned to really like artwork and learned how to work retail and it was pretty cool, even if it was boring so she thought that maybe retail merchandising was my purpose.  Especially in art type situations and she still wrote and tried to re-write that book that she had finished at 17, but only got in a few chapters.  But she liked the retail world and really wanted to get into the framing world too because she liked being around art so much that she eventually got a job doing just that.

     Twenty-two year old me's purpose was to custom frame, but also draw manga, and paint.  Lots of painting was in order as she did a mural at the store and still painted at home and gave away paintings to her friends, and it was a lot of fun.  My purpose at that time was to make other's happy with her drawings and paintings and manga, and also, to a lesser extent, writing, because she had discovered fanfiction and had been writing that since her college years and it really made her friends happy when she wrote for them.
     But that was also around the time that she realized that might be the only reason her friends liked her and each time she would stop writing for her friends, those friends would go away.  And those friends would eventually disappear, every single time she stopped writing for them, and that made her sad on multiple occasions because it just kept happening... first with Highlander, and then with Trigun.

     Twenty-something me realized maybe her purpose might be as a wife, so when she married and settled down, she tried to be the best home-maker she could and budget-savvy and saved and scrimped at the retail job which wasn't as fun, but she still liked the framing purpose because that certainly seemed to make people happy.  And she wished she had never attempted to find a management purpose because that did not make her happy, and as she got older she wondered if maybe her purpose wasn't that at all but people kept telling her that maybe it was her purpose.

     Thirty-something me felt that everyone who told her that her purpose would be to run a store was full of bullshit and was miserable for literally years.  She couldn't make friends as a manager, couldn't write as a manager (she'll admit, she still felt her writing purpose was there since her manager used to leave her alone in the frame shop and she wrote things regularly when they had forgotten her) and couldn't really do much of anything except work and sleep and be a wife (and cat mom) and that was slowly taking the life out of her.  So...maybe the manager thing wasn't a good purpose?  But she knew that she did serve a purpose because people liked her and she knew the job and she was a good manager even if the woman above her made her purpose seem drab and worthless.

     But then thirty-eight something me discovered stories again.  She discovered painting again.  She discovered, of all things, Dungeons & Dragons, and then allowed her to be creative again.  It brought her friends again (to hell with that saying "managers shouldn't make friends with their staff") and she started writing and creating and painting those miniatures she'd felt her purpose had been as a college-her and she was still a wife, and she felt like all of those things were coming together nicely.

     She still....rather, I still, worry about my purpose as a dungeon master and whether or not I'll still be friends with these people if I ever stop my story, but it makes them happy and it makes me happy, and I'm a very big fan of being happy.  I know my few purposes at the moment are:
  • Painter
  • Writer
  • Dungeon Master
  • Friend
  • Wife
  • Cat-Mom
  • Daughter
  • Sister, Cousin, Niece
  • ????
     The problem that I have now, as I try to fulfill all of these purposes in my life, is to see if there's actually another one out there.  I used to think so before I was fired.  I used to think I'd be in retail my entire life and that would have been fine with me, but I don't think management was my purpose, and I think that's the reason I've always had such a tough time of it.  (Come to think of it, my first boss took months to promote me to assistant, dithering over a couple of us, and my last one did the exact same damn thing...which basically sums up my entire life with those two jobs, honestly.)  And this Insurance thing I keep trying to get into (come on, who doesn't want a 9-5 job with weekends off?) just doesn't seem to be working either.
     So am I just trying too hard to find the missing purpose?  Am I searching for something that just isn't there?  I really wish I lived in another country where healthcare actually helped people rather than hurting them, because I think all of those purposes above would be a lot less worrisome, not having to think about the fact that my birth control runs out in three months and if I don't get back on it I have no idea what might happen.  I'm 40-something me now and I really don't want to add "Mom" to the purpose list because it's hard enough being a cat-mom.

     I have a lot of thinking to do, a lot of painting, a lot of writing, and a lot of praying and working to do to find this last purpose.  And maybe it's not my very last purpose, I'm sure there will always be more.  But, as you can tell, the writing and the painting thing seem to be at least two purposes that are probably always going to stick.  So besides making people happy with them (and myself) on a rather small scale, is there a way to make these on a large scale where I can make life work for me?  I don't know.... but until another purpose rears its head, I guess that's all I've got.

     And maybe being one or two less purposes for awhile isn't such a bad thing.

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