Learning to be intentional again

Art with a woman in distress by Sneha Mahajan

I'll be honest. Last month I spent a good amount of time making my basement art studio cozy and cute. I got a few rugs. Set up everything to be accessible. Put up pictures and my old art. New art. On the walls. But, after all that effort, I've still had trouble getting down there to make art. Or even spend time regularly.

A part of this is me still adjusting to our big move from Canada to US. Another part is procrastination. Another part is the *constant* and very unwelcome company of spiders and bugs. And yet another part is the inability to sell any of the art I would make there. Since we moved to the US, I now need to have work authorization before I can work / earn a living. This has been weighing on me.

I've been thinking of how basic that right is. The right to earn a living. The independence that comes from it. The ability to make money. It's a basic necessity. As an immigrant, a better part of my life has been defined by the presence or absence of this right. The right to earn a living. I definitely took it for granted when I had it. 

Until very recently, everything I did or didn't do, revolved around that one thing. Being employed in a very specific profession and make money over a very specific amount to be eligible for the visa I was on. Every decision, big or small, revolved around having employment. And then a very big thing happened. Everything changed. We became Canadian citizens. Which meant this right to earn a living was now ours to keep forever. Canada became home. And as long as we lived in Canada I could earn a living freely.

And then another big thing happened. We moved. Again. Displaced again. And, now I can again no longer freely work. Again. I'm back to the limitations of what can and can't be done on a visa in US. Immigrants will understand this feeling. For everyone else, its somewhat hard to grasp just how much this can affect ones life. The understanding of the trials of this experience comes only from going through it. You cannot put into words the many things in life that get put on hold from not being able to earn a living freely. 

So, yeah. That's how things are right now. I patiently wait for my employment authorization to arrive. It could take 1 month. It could take 7 months. There's very little predictability and it's not a very fun place to be mentally. The uselessness of it all can eat at your soul. When we were about to move, I was very aware of this process and the possibility that it could take a while to settle all the details of me being able to earn, but it was a "future" problem that I honestly didn't think very much about. I didn't imagine it to be so soul sucking.

In a way, I was quite excited to have all this free time. I was going to make all this art. You know? Turns out, there's a very high level of intentional actions required to make art consistently. Its not something that just happens. Its has to be very intentional. On most days. Yes, even if you love making art this is true. And its especially true on the days when a natural flow of ideas and energy is somewhat missing. 

You have to be intentional. So, I'm learning to be intentional again. 




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