My undergraduate degree is in rhetoric. (What does someone with an undergraduate degree in rhetoric do, you ask? Go to graduate school, that’s what.) Anyway, this background has me continually looking at how things are ‘framed’ when it comes to my communication and my perception of life.
Take my current post-lay-off’ situation for example. I could see this experience as ‘unemployment,’ a ‘glass half empty’ situation, and focus on the losses associated with being without my previous job. OR I could look at this as a ‘glass half full’ situation. For example, I’m now available for new opportunities I might not have previously considered, but might love. AND, though I’m not working at my old job, I’m not UNemployed, I’m just doing something different.
Now I’m a full-time mother and homemaker who’s pursuing a more creative path to contributing to the family financially. [Pause for a moment while I grab my soapbox…] Simply because American society tends to under appreciate so called ‘women’s work’ and not recognize the importance of ‘domestic sciences,’ doesn’t mean what I’m currently doing all day isn’t a job. Ask anyone (man or woman) who takes care of children, pets, a yard, and a house all day if what they do is ‘play’ or ‘work’ and I’m certain they’ll say ‘work’ – under valued, not always glamorous, often tedious ‘work.’ That’s not to say there’s no joy in this work, just that, like a profession out of the home, it requires effort, skill, and not 100% enjoyable labor. [removing soapbox.]
A rose is a rose
All that to be said, I’m no longer going to call myself ‘unemployed.’ It makes me feel scarred, like I’m wearing a scarlet letter. When I say I’m ‘unemployed’ I feel ashamed despite the fact that I know it’s not my fault, despite the fact I know I’m not alone in this predicament, and despite the fact that I’d never think poorly of anyone else for having been laid off. Despite all that, when I wear the ‘unemployment’ label I feel the heavy weight of the negative associations surrounding ‘unemployment’ and framing my experience this way doesn’t seem productive to me.
Therefor, when someone asks me now what I do, I’ll tell them, ‘I’m a mother, a writer and an artist.’ (Please note: I hesitate while writing this because I feel worried about failing and currently unworthy of using those labels for myself. However, I’m working on getting over judging myself and putting my fear of failing behind me. Now that I’ve written these words, spoken them out loud, I feel like I’m standing naked in front of a room full of people, but there it is. Writing and creating art is my dream. If I fail, oh well. At least I tried.) Don’t we all deserve the right to frame our own experiences? Shouldn’t we all have the opportunity to try on the life we want and run with it? I think we all do. So, here I am, creating my reality. I’m having a glass is half full of opportunity and my current employment situation has me happier than ever!
PS-I feel it must be said that I WAY over used quotes (or bunny ears) in this post. Let’s just be clear though, I’m aware that I’m over my grammatically and cosmically allotted amount of ‘bunny ears’ per blog post. My apologies. But I’m an artist, I can’t be fenced in by convention 😉