Will I be happy when I’m successful? Or will I be successful when I’m happy?
My life sounds awesome. I’m an international Graphic Designer for Victoria’s Secret and PINK, in a professional dance company, member of Columbus Editorial Society, painter, illustrator, and of course a writer for Whine Night. How cool does my life sound? People use that word to describe me a lot. Cool. It honestly makes me so uncomfortable and kind of guilty too. Because I’m pretty unpopular. And I feel like I should be way more happy with where I am if everyone is telling me that I’m doing well. Why don’t I feel like my life is cool when everyone is telling me it is?
A friend recently told me how she sees my pictures on Instagram and gets jealous. I really didn’t know how the react to this. Just because what I do involves getting great photos of myself doesn’t mean shit. I’ve modeled for many photographers in Columbus just for fun. The dance company I’m in has photoshoots to promote our performances and we have photographers present at our performances. Somehow this makes me look like I’m successful/happy/cool. Of course I’m not posting pictures of when I’m having a rough day or look like crap, so instead you see these highlights taken by photographers with nice cameras that make anyone look like a super star. Really I’m spending my time being a fake model and dancing for free and photographers that are also working for free are present.
This is where money gets involved… of course money doesn’t mean success or happiness. I know that. But the majority of what I do – design, dance, fake modeling, etc. I do for free or for very little pay. Artists get taken advantage of. We are so passionate about what we do that we donate our talents for free. But then when the first of the month comes and my preposterous one bedroom apartment rent payment is due, I’m wondering where all the money is that I worked my ass off for. Why did I design those promotions for free? Why do I spend so many hours every week dancing for no pay? Of course I love to design and dance, but I also love getting compensated for the work I put in.
Do I sound ungrateful? I live in Columbus where there is a big enough art scene for me to be involved in all these awesome groups, but small enough that an amateur like me can get lots of work out there. I get to perform frequently, collaborate with other artists often, and work for an incredibly successful lingerie brand. Should I be happier with what I’m doing? This makes me wonder at what point I’ll feel like I’m successful and if at that time in my life more happiness will come.
For now, I’m going to focus on enjoying the journey. I can design, paint, dance, and model all in a single week. I’m still young and trying to get my foot in the door. I’m still working on saying no to projects that demand too much of me for no or little pay. I’m picking up more freelance work to keep the creativity in my life. I’m promoting myself, networking, and gaining confidence in my abilities. I’m realizing how much bullshitting helps you in getting what you want. If I want to charge $3,000 for a painting I made in 46 minutes, I will. And I should. Why not. When you’re an artist, turning your passion into money is a constant challenge.
I’m trying to stay positive despite all these doubts and frustrations in my mind. If you know me pretty well, you know I’m easy-going and to hear I’m not ecstatic about my life may come as a shock. If you know me really well then this isn’t a surprise to you because I’ve discussed this with a couple very close friends and family members. And they’re so awesome and supportive that I know they’re reading this. But I’ve decided to brave the scary internet waters and put myself out there with this post. After all, it is Whine Night, and this blog was started to bring up what we want to whine about.
So thanks for letting me share that. And thanks for the compliment, but actually no, I’m not cool. Enjoy this unflattering picture of me 🙂