You don’t start a revolution by fighting the state but by presenting the solutions. – Le Corbusier.
This past year I attended training and began taking a new direction with my work. I have worked as a caregiver for elderly patients off and on throughout my life. I never considered it to be my career, it was just something I was good at doing. So I did it, all the while still working to build my career as a visual artist.
But over the past couple of years, I found myself discontented. I really wanted to have a career that I could be proud of, that challenged me, something that I could excel in. The art market has just become so oversaturated, excelling in it just began to seem further and further out of my reach. And in art education I always had a hard time teaching the subjectivity of art, and no one I worked for seemed to offer much support for that. Everyone wanted me to teach the technical fundamentals, and it was something I just didn’t have the heart for.
Furthermore, I began to picture what my life would be like as an artist if I did manage to become successful and make a living from it. The more I thought about it, the less appealing it became. I imagined day after day in the studio, trying to force inspiration even when it wasn’t there, and all of the elitist art shows I never go to would suddenly be required attendance for the sake of my career. It just wasn’t for me, I concluded.
So I settled on advancing in my healthcare career, and at first, it felt like I was just giving up and selling out. There was definitely a mourning period, and there were times when it made me resent my training altogether. But once I got in there, it all started to make sense. I was reminded of how much I truly do enjoy caring for others, and I also remembered just how good I am at it. In addition to that, I was reminded of how screwed up our healthcare system is. Even in training, the emphasis is on the books and treatments rather than on the heart of the people carrying out the practice.
I can honestly say in all of my experience, it is disgustingly rare to find someone who is in healthcare because it truly matters to them. Almost everyone goes into it for the money. Also, there are pretty much no options for holistic health or alternative therapies in our area. In a way this is frustrating for me because it reminds me of all of the obstacles I encountered in building my art career. I would much rather work for an organization I believe in and care for than have to work for myself and attempt to change our ways all on my own, but when those organizations are nowhere to be found in your home, what are you to do? You can either move away or stay where you are and attempt to create change.
Also, improving my home, which I love despite its flaws, has always been a goal of mine in everything I do. It has had to be, really, because everything I’ve ever wanted to do always seems to be against the norm for Middle Tennessee. But the more I allow all of my experiences, in art, education, healthcare and social activism to flow together, I realize how much it all makes sense. I don’t know that I would be as good in any one of these areas without the experience from the others combined. Everything has brought me to where I am, as this person I have become, for a reason. I may not know exactly how that reason will change over the years or what it will morph into, but for now I am proud to be an artistic healthcare provider with a heart for speaking out against social injustices in any way I can.
I hope to bring more education about holistic health care to my clients and their families, and I hope my community can embrace the possibility of change with an open heart and an open mind.