Sunday, January 24, 2010


At a stupid hour to be awake, running out of time and money, I decided to make some important decisions in my life. Never a good idea but its done. And it all worked out just as I "planned".

I am now working for a local, high class, high expectations, high stress restaurant chain. My whole working life I have avoided the restaurant biz. Now, as I think about it, I'm not exactly sure why. I love people, I love action, I love food. Seems like a good fit. But the whims and particularities of people and their comforts (ie. food) seemed like a tall order for me, a person who wants to ensure that everyone is pleased as pie. There were always a few too many variables in that picture for it to be a happy one for me.

Yet here I am, getting shirts professionally dry cleaned, buying "spec" shoes and skirts, memorizing ingredients, learning how to answer a phone and put people on a wait, maintaining a smile, always a smile.

I cannot help but say that I am disappointed. I love, absolutely love, this restaurant. I would not work for another restaurant. But here I am, 26 and working in a restaurant (not even able to be a waiter yet since I have no prior experience), struggling to find the time and energy to devote to art and struggling to make ends meet. I am stressed learning the details and spending more money than I've made so far. I would be lying if I didn't say that at this point, I'm loosing sight of the light at the end of the tunnel.

These are the moments that I think I should throw in the towel and walk away. But that's just it. When I think of walking away, what is it that I'm walking away from? Dreams. Now, that word has become so cliched it almost makes me roll my eyes to say it. But really, that is what I would be walking away from: a dream. "A strongly desired goal or purpose", something to consider as a possibility. I was talking to a friend about some of this and he had the best response, "I know it is overwhelming and stressful at times, and if that is the case, you need to march your butt downstairs and throw some clay around. That will get your mind off of things and calm you down a bit."

Any fool should be able to see that merely because a dream is not realized at this particular moment does not mean that any towels should be thrown in any direction but over your shoulder for more work to be done. The key word there is "should", any fool should be able to see. But my sorry excuse for patience and hard work blurs that sight completely and I am struggling to wipe my eyes clear. While I'd like to be present, be aware and active in the now, I need to keep that strong desire, that purpose, that goal in mind.


  1. It isn't easy to keep reaching for that dream, especially when life beats you down. Your friend is right, take the stress out on the clay. I do the same thing, except it is cake.

  2. Sarah, you're such a hard worker, any restaurant would be blessed to have you. And your sweet smile will brighten people's day. And when a customer is requiring extra grace, memorize that face because there will be a caricature in wire coming out of it some day... or maybe some arrow prayers at the time!

  3. Your not alone in your struggles. We walk a similar path. I've found when I want to give up painting and go back to school, or get a career that pays, I can't. I don't think it's in me anymore. To compromise the process of making pictures for "security." You may find that to give up at this point is harder than to keep creating. Even if it's not as much as you would like.

  4. So many talented & passionate people have found themselves in this position, in our culture & others more or less like it through time, that there seems little left to say, beyond the cheerful statistic that some artists do 'make it.'

    Except — none of all those other stories of artistic lives taking their carefully planned or their utterly unlooked-for paths, to achievement & success or to something else, is yours.

    Your story has a classyish Northern VA chain restaurant in it now, seems like. Could be an interesting twist. Looking forward to seeing what comes next!

  5. Thank you for the encouragement all. It will be interesting to see where this leads. Right now its leading to a bad attitude. My sister had some great points of wisdom and positive things to say this morning and I really didn't respond well. So, if you have any practical ways of climbing out of a hole, please pass them along!