Sunday, August 22, 2010

i am gideon

I know, it's been a while, but I have been writing. I've been debating about whether to share this with the few or possibly many who might come across this blog. Today a friend of mine said something like, "You never know who it might help." I said in the beginning, 'I hope you can use it, find a muse in it, or at least be amused by it.' 

Withdraw is just another word used to euphemize other words like quit and fail. –P. Sodeke

Some people are pushers. They may try to listen, but mostly they just push.

“If your heart is not in it…”

IT NEVER WAS!! I want to yell, but I don’t.

“…then you should withdraw,” she is calmer now. But I know I did not push anyone into this. I was pushed. I was just very good at making her think I wanted to do it—so good, I made myself think so too. Maybe I should get an agent and become an actress.

I do not yell. I am silent, contemplative. Are there other normal people, aside from bums, who are this lazy, unmotivated and ineffective?

She is still pushing even though she appears to be giving me a real opportunity to decide for myself.

i am gideon.

When the angel of the LORD appeared to Gideon, he said, "The LORD is with you, mighty warrior." --Judges 6:12

These days, every time I hear someone say that I am meant for “great things”, I think about Gideon. I'm a woman and a minority, the least in my family, and full of doubt. I lie awake some nights trying to untangle the imbroglio of real and imagined fears caught up between my head and my heart. I find myself pleading to God for some unmistakable sign like dew on fleece but not on the ground, though I'm never that specific. But if my family and friends have actually been passing on some divine memo, then, maybe I am Gideon. It’s like getting a memo at work—be sure to wear a fake mustache and dress in all red this Tuesday. Yes. That is about how bizarre their words sound to me. I wonder if Gideon had any trouble holding back a laugh at that “mighty warrior” stuff.

Maybe something is about to happen, but if I’m supposed to be doing something to speed or rather receive it in its coming, well then, I think I might have missed something—like, whatever it is I should be doing other than waiting.

He is in my corner. I shouldn’t doubt that. The Lord is in my corner. I have a lot of prayers in my corner. That is, people praying and therefore prayers for me.

I fear that I am not brave enough to do what it takes to live—well. I am scared stiff, literally paralyzed with fear. I am ashamed too. I have only admitted this to one person, because she was sitting across the table from me with black coffee and open ears.

Today, a friend told me that one of his friends died. I wanted to say something comforting. I just said, “I’m sorry,” and that was all. Why does it seem like we never have the right words when it matters the most?

My sisters are different. They are, what you might call, determined. At this moment I feel most determined to sit right here with my head resting on my arms in front the computer. Yesterday, I was most determined to buy some professional wear for my interview tomorrow. Someone asked if I was nervous about it—the interview. Not anymore. I figure it doesn’t make too much difference whether I get nervous or not, the outcome has been the same so far. If anything different should happen, it will not be anything of my doing. It is out of my hands—always has been. I am determined to do one other thing at this moment. That is, I am quite determined to write. At least that is one small thing I have accomplished already. 

In the words of Michael Westen, I’ve been burned, and I’m not going anywhere.

The word unemployed has a totally different meaning when it applies to you. —P. Sodeke

This is NOT how it was supposed to be. I’m not exactly sure what I was hoping for, but this is most definitely not it. In the beginning, I couldn’t imagine making it to the point of being able to produce good design on my own. When, or if, I finally got there, I hardly noticed it. Then, looking back at my work, at least four months ago, I thought, this is pretty good stuff. Four or five months, a blur of applications, and seven interviews later, I’m not so sure anymore. Let me back up to what you actually wanted me to talk about—the ‘what I was hoping for’ part.

I remember being inspired, early on by Martin Venezky of the Appetite Engineers. One afternoon, after a particularly discouraging day of classes in fine art and pre-graphic design, the words he spoke lifted my spirits. I soared for quite a while on a gust of wind—the words from his mouth, the images that lit the front of the lecture hall. In those moments, I believed that I had something to look forward to. I thought that the many days ahead of suffering and striving would be worth it, if I could one day be a part of the same profession that allowed Martin Venezky to do what he did. I gave an oral/visual presentation on him in my History of Graphic Design class. I attribute my interest in and use of collage and other Venezky-esque tendencies to his lasting influence on me as a designer.

It has probably been almost four years now, since the day Martin Venezky came to give a talk in the basement of Biggin Hall. The day I became so naively optimistic about the profession I was pursuing. Now, I feel like I have been lied to, cheated, and shoved out into the snow with nothing but a wind breaker, when what I really needed was a down, fur coat and a snow mobile. I was hoping for something closer to (not exactly, but closer to) the moon and I got handed a boiled egg instead. Future employers of bacon and eggs benedict:

--“Well, your portfolio was a nice boiled egg, but unfortunately for you, we decided to go for the bacon.”

--“Hey, thanks for trying, but your boiled egg just wasn’t enough. Next time, dress it up as eggs benedict.”

I’m sorry, but I’m not Jesus. I cannot turn water into wine or boiled eggs into caviar.

Writing is the only thing I still feel like I can do well. Perhaps because it hasn’t been exposed to public opinion, outside university. It is raining. The Parents are watching CNN and cracking peanuts. I don’t want to destroy the only pure piece of enjoyment I have left by trying to get it published. But what if that’s the one thing I should be pursuing…? What if I’m not Gideon? What if the situation I’m in, same job, still at home, still in the same city is the belly of a whale? What if, like my mom suggested, I’m Jonah? Maybe I’m a combo. Maybe it doesn’t matter. I’m leaning towards the latter.


  1. I'm so intrigued by the way you write. It's introspective without being completely explicit.

  2. I like your description of feeling cornered and pushed when trying to get a job! i feel the same. it's really frustrating for me to sell myself when i don't know who i am and what i want.