The Black Sheep

eggs in tray on white surface
Photo by Daniel Reche on

I’m an artist at heart. But I didn’t come from a family that values art. I come from a family of high-achievers who have titles like attorney, doctor, business owner, entrepreneur, Vice President, etc. My value was measured based on how high my grades were, where I went to college and how much of a workaholic I became. No value was based on artistic pursuits as they don’t often return tangible results IE, financial results.

So, upon graduation from high school, I abandoned my dream of trekking to Los Angeles, gaining in-state residency, going to college and working in the entertainment industry. Had I followed through on that plan that I’d crafted with one of my best friends, I would’ve earned the ire of my parents and also lost any financial support they would provide for college or living expenses. At 18, having my parents basically forbid me from following my dreams did lasting damage. Once I accepted the path they wanted me to go down (going to in-state college and trying to find a profession where I could write for a living), I relied on them increasingly to tell me what to do next. Because it was a path I hadn’t chosen for myself, I got lost in it. I placed value on what they did (status, money) and accepted that the dreams I once had for myself would never happen.

I struggled with the path I was on. Once I had children, escaping from corporate America became an easy choice. How could I leave my precious baby girl to go to a job that I was barely passionate about, working for an abusive woman I despised? It was an easy decision to be home with my baby but it didn’t come without shame or pressure for leaving what was supposed to be my beloved career.

Another baby girl later and steady freelance work mostly as a writer and digital marketer, I eventually went back to corporate America full-time. And I’ve struggled ever since. Constantly seeking my parent’s approval for the career path I chose, the amount of money I was making, how much I worked, etc. left me so exhausted, I didn’t even know what I wanted anymore. I loved the chance to be creative in my work and also loved connecting with people and making friends in my jobs. But the structure of corporate America and the opportunity for damaged people to play out their complex emotional dramas through a forced hierarchy of compliance has proven too much for me time and time again. I guess you could say I have a problem with authority because I just can’t take the corporate bull$^&% for very long, even though I’ve been pretty successful by most people’s standards, climbed the corporate ladder and made a comfortable living.

I just don’t want any of this “success,” I guess, but am still so lost in my family’s expectations that I can’t find myself. I feel too burnt out to start an entirely new profession (going back to school sounds like a nightmare) so I remain stuck for now. Unsure of what to do next.

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