I gave up.
But not in the way you're thinking. Let me explain.
Part of my journey in life are those next steps after graduating college. Stepping into adulthood, getting a job, paying bills, experiencing new things, etc. I think those are things everyone expects.
No one really shares, though, how depressing, discouraging, and incredibly stressful the job hunt is. I graduated in May 2015 from college, earned that piece of paper that validates my education, and began my step into the real word with a much-deserved vacation with my partner.
After vacation, my freelancing took off and I was booked most of the week with assisting gigs and it was great.
But then it slowed down. Like really slowed down and the need to support myself became even more evident.
Side note: while not many people may be talking about the dreaded job hunt, I have read plenty of material talking about how hard it is to maintain a freelancing career.
Back to story time. Yes, I knew freelancing was not going to be easy or consistent, which is why during my time freelancing I was looking for a full-time job to start my photo career. Not only was I doing that, but come October 2015 I decided to not just be a freelancer, but a business owner. That's right, I own Mariah Texidor Photography- all the ups and downs of starting a one-woman business (for now). Woop woop! *throws confetti*
My mom's happiness here is pretty much how I felt when I created my business.
But like we all know, we all only have 24 hours in a day and 95% of the time I like to remain hopeful, positive, and grateful during that time and all I may be doing.
But that other 5%? That's the small percentage that hurts, mentally and sometimes physically. I can only speak for myself, but looking for a full-time job in a field of my interest felt something like this:
"Oh! A photo position!... 'Must have 3-5 years of experience, solid portfolio, and know how to travel into space with a cat while juggling tractor trailers'"
Or it felt like this "take photos of visitors, we have the equipment, we train you, we tell how to jump and dance for customers all while giving you pennies and nickles for being utterly brainless.'"
The reason I say the job hunt is depressing and discouraging is because I either felt extremely over qualified or nowhere near qualified. There was no middle ground. And just so you know, I'm a terrible liar. So for me to go in smiley and wide-eyed, or in some cases seem extremely enthusiastic on paper about being a sales associate or cashier in a supermarket, eyewear store, or anything that had absolutely nothing to do with what I want, is very difficult.
I wrestled with myself about dumbing down my resume and myself to fit into these roles because I needed the money. How do I convince an employer that I'm applying to their place not just for the money when that's exactly what I'm doing?? You do what you gotta do and I respect everyone who does what they need to in order to make ends meet. Salute.
But after 10 months of the same feelings, you begin to question everything. I began questioning why didn't I study advertising photo instead of fine art? Why didn't I get an internship sooner? Why did I even go to college? I began to think I wasn't smart enough. I don't work hard enough. I am not any company's cup of tea. And a lot more terrible things.
The truth is deep down I know I am smart enough, good enough, and a damned good hard-worker. But man, not that long ago I truly began thinking the opposite.
My partner is amazing at what he does. He'd talk about how much he improvised, thought on his feet, troubleshooted, and engaged with a customer. During those talks, I'd just think "I can't do any of that". The longer I was without a full-time job, the more I felt like I was getting dumber, lazier, and just overall suckier as a person.
If it wasn't for talks with my loved ones especially my partner, I could only imagine how far down that hole I could've gone.
So I gave up. I let go, mentally and emotionally, the stress and tension I'd felt in my chest and mind and body in general. I don't know how else to describe it, but honestly, I just let go. I exhaled extremely loudly, cried my eyes out, and said I'm done. Universe, God, just please do your thing.
No, I didn't just up and stop looking for work. I continued the same way and with the same energy towards looking for a job and clients and assisting gigs, but with a sense of weight lifted. I felt like I gave up the responsibility of it all but still did the work.
Meditating and doing yoga and practicing gratitude all helped in maintaining a level head.
But ever since that day which maybe was a month ago? Work came to me.
The same day I gave up responsibility if you will, I got a call from a potential client looking for a photographer to shoot her Jewelry line and I applied to a photographer position I didn't think existed. (at a car dealership of all places!)
And you know what happened after that? I got invited for an interview at said job, got on a super kickass brainstorming call for the Jewelry gig and felt lighter and happier.
I still do. Almost a year later, seriously just 3 weeks short from my graduation date last year, I found a full-time job that I am *excited* about. That's the crucial part. It's new, challenging, exciting and more.
So to all of you out there on your journey, to my classmates and friends especially, if you've felt anywhere close to how I've been feeling- you're not alone. Perhaps this form of giving up/letting go will work for you too, but know that you are good enough to make it where you want to be. You're more than good enough, just be sure to put in the work.
I think it's important to share this because I wish someone would've written it. Maybe they have and it just never crossed my path. Either way, take what you will from this but know that I'm here for ya. I feel ya. Seriously.
No matter what though, FOLLOW YOUR GUT. It's your best guide on this journey of ours.
With tremendous gratitude,