Sometimes you have to go on a journey and sometimes that journey is filled with challenges that will forever change you. If you allow yourself to face the challenges and if you allow yourself to metaphysically die and go through the process of rebirth, you are forever transformed. Folks often get stuck in the mire of challenges, refusing to accept the pain as part of the process. Others see death as the end of the journey and give up hope. And then there are some who embrace the Hero's Journey. Like a phoenix, they rise from the ashes, stronger and wiser.
“It's an awful truth that suffering can deepen us, give a greater lustre to our colours, a richer resonance to our words. That is, if it doesn't destroy us, if it doesn't burn away the optimism and the spirit, the capacity for visions, and the respect for simple yet indispensable things.” Anne Rice, Queen of the Damned
It's been a very long fifteen years and a lot has happened -- some good, some horrific, all life-changing. I'm no longer the same person I was when I set out on this journey. I lost a lot in those fifteen years. Both of my parents died. Ed's father died. I had a hysterectomy. Friends came and went. I had a crisis of faith and a crisis of self. I realized that I never really had my siblings in my life because they were so much older and because they never treated me like their sibling. This became glaringly apparent when my Mom died. I lost my childhood home.
I also gained a lot. I got my Masters and PhD in Art History. I published some essays, though not nearly enough. I presented at many different conferences and met some awesome colleagues and friends. I chaired sessions, was a member of boards, and spearheaded multiple projects. I landed a full-time, non-tenured gig at a huge R1. We moved to Texas, then back to NYC, and now to Salem. I quickly figured out that full-time teaching just wasn't for me ... or maybe that university wasn't for me ... or maybe that university and Texas wasn’t for me. Needless to say, my experiences brought me back to museum work. I had a false start at the MLS program at Queens College. And then the pandemic hit and I lost my job at the New-York Historical Society ... a job that I loved with a curator I respect and adore.
Now I'm at Simmons for an MS in Cultural Heritage Informatics, and yes, they transferred six credits from Queens and waved the core classes. The best thing is that they gave me a merit scholarship! A MERIT scholarship! Do you realize this is the first time in my life that I got any money for school? I start classes on September 1. I'm over-the-moon.
|And here we are.|
I would be lying if I said that I haven't had any trauma from all this, that I'm ok and not at all depressed. I'd be lying if I said that I haven't been lost. I have. Horribly. Somewhere along this journey I lost my religion. I lost my sense of direction. I lost myself.
As I worked towards building my career, I forgot that the self
is very much a part of the whole package. I toned down and normed out to be accepted by hiring committees. I lost sight of who I am when no one is watching. It never worked. It doesn't matter what I wear or who I try to be, I either get the job because of what I know or my experience .... or I don't. I'm only coming to realize that it doesn't matter.
|Sunset over Salem Common.|
I'm also coming to realize that this whole hoopla around maintaining an "professional" online profile is usually
bullpoopies. I fell into this trap. I thought that I needed to create "professional" content and to "clean up" so that prospective employers would be impressed, or, at least, not offended. Sure, there are extremes, but let's be serious ... how many employers are really going to be offended by the fact that I'm an old Goth who's into some cool stuff? How many employers are going to rustle over the excess eyeliner? How many are going to say, "Nope. This gal is a Witch. We can't hire her!" And if those employers are thinking this, do I really want to be employed by them? No. No, I don't.
|My happy place ... at least one of them.|
I'm into some seriously cool stuff. Yes, I'm a Goth ... and old Punk Rocker, thank you very much. Yes, I have tattoos and often wear a lot of makeup. I listen to all sorts of music, though my CD cabinet is fulled with Goth CDs. I'm into vintage clothing and antiques. I love visiting historic sites and would love to get into Reenacting. I go camping and I go dancing ... sometimes in the same weekend. I can spend hours at a museum or a zoo. And it's no secret that I ADORE. LOVE. art and visual culture. The eighteenth and nineteenth centuries are my jam, especially if its a printed image in a book or magazine or on ceramics or other household goods.
I'm complicated and that can often be confusing to me and others. I originally wanted to make this blog a reflection of my scholarly interests. My Analog World, my other blog (now deleted), was going to be personal. I realized today that my personal interests are my scholarly interests and my scholarly interests are my personal interests. I also realized that I'm tired of hiding who I am because I'm so afraid of being passed up for a job.
|Yet another happy place: an old cemetery.|
Dear readers, if you don't mind, I'd like to speak to prospective employers. Hello, person with whom I'd like to work. Take a look at my CV. Read my published essays. I'm working on more essays to be published. I'm an awesome educator. I'm a DIVINE researcher -- if it's out there, I will find it. I'm a fabulous colleague and an extremely hard worker. I have enormous amounts of patience and tact, especially in situations that might be ... challenging and politically sensitive. Yes, I can tone it down in the workplace, but this is who I am. Tattoos and all! If you hire me, you WILL NOT be disappointed. I promise that I will bust my tush and move mountains. You need to promise that you will support my endeavors and goals. You need to promise to provide me with opportunities to grow and learn. Most of all, you need to promise that you believe in this weirdo.
|A Goth Mermaid in her natural habitat ... well, one of them.|
Today is the first day of June, my birthday month. I'm going to be 49 this year. 49! Good grief. I'm tired of compromising my dreams, my values, myself for something that may or may not happen. This is me in all of my messy, wondrous, crazy, and insanely fun glory. I have no idea where this blog is going to go, but I can tell you it's not going to be boring. The only thing I can promise is that I'm just going to be me and write about all of the things that I love.
It's time to start another journey together. Are you ready?