I’m new to the Phoenix area so I don’t know a whole lot yet on how to get involved in the art scene, but by the luck of hashtags, the art curator for New City Studio discovered my floral artwork on Instagram and asked me to be a part of their January showcase. The theme was “All Natural” and featured many artists in the area. There was no fee and all commissions were 100% the artists.
This was my first “Phoenix First Fridays” which is a monthly art walk in the city. Galleries open up, bottles of wine are shared, friends gather, and Phoenix artists get to showcase their work. Unfortunately, I haven’t had the luxury to enjoy these nights fully on my own, but I had so much fun being a part of it. There’s something about seeing your work up on white walls.
Probably one of my favorite moments was taking my niece to the gallery. I love being an auntie to her and I love being closer to my family. For 6-8 years, we were all living in different places in the world. Italy, Guyana, Texas. I think at the time it’s what we all wanted, but I think we’re all searching to lay some roots down somewhere. At least I am. And I’m incredibly happy to have started here in the desert.
Ironically, the day of the opening reception was also my last day of work in community nutrition. If you didn’t know, I had been pursing a career in nutrition for the past 6-7 years. Graduating with a degree in Dietetics, working as a diet technican for awhile, and to my own distaste widely referred throughout my Peace Corps service as “the nutritionist”–it seemed like I was on track to achieving the security I thought this career would give me.
Post graduating, post building years of experience, post serving in Peace Corps… I got a job in the field WAY below my means to be financially independent. And time and time again, I was told in order to get better paying positions (and by better, I only mean 45-50k starting) I needed to go through a 9-month internship (that you pay for) and potentially a Master’s Degree (that you also pay for). Looking at those odds and also how miserable the work made me, I finally quit. Haven’t I already done enough?
In the movies, I feel like people are so happy when they give up their corperate jobs and pursue their creativity full time. I half expected there to be music playing and a party thrown in my honor. But I did not feel happy. I did not hear the music. And I did not throw a party. I was crushed.
6-7 years of my life, tens of thousands of dollars into a degree, and all the hard work/sacrifice… for what? It just all felt like a waste and I felt so disappointed. Not because I quit, but because those things didn’t give me the life I needed it to… that I thought was guaranteed to me.
It took time to process that.
In the end, I learned again that nothing is ever guaranteed to me. No matter how many years I put in, no matter how much money I invest, no matter how many prayers I pray. It’s always about what choices I make and living with those results. I had to change what that meant entirely and ask myself “what do you want out of this life?”
I want to choose to take a chance on myself.
To grab hold of new opportunities that make me feel good.
To do something I never thought I could.
To make choices that are for my health and well-being.
To say yes to what recognizes my value and talent.
And to say no to what doesn’t.
Being a nutritionist, I didn’t accomplish a whole lot of that.
But as an artist? Well, that’s what this is all about for me.