It’s odd talking about my old government job as a negative because what happened today may someday make government jobs a positive. One can hope, right?
In my earlier post, “Depression: Making a room with a view, part one“, I talked about the 35,000+ hours I spent in an environment that turned sour. There was no natural light, friends had fled, and various toxic elements were ruining my health. You know what makes me maddest? They subverted my identity. This was a sexist organization, no doubt, and to keep my government office “professional”, I didn’t even have pictures of my family on my desk. Men could, but women tended to be thought of as “just working to help support the family” rather than professionals in their own right. If they scattered photos of babies and children’s drawings around their cubicle, the division was heightened. I studied the men and followed suit (no pun, sorry), even going so far as to (almost) never bring in food. Bringing in food was the mark of a great female (subordinate) employee. Eventually, I became a full-fledged government robot. Here is a quote from Wikipedia that sounds about right: “This is achieved through forced assimilation, a process which transforms individuals and technology into Borg, enhancing individuals by adding synthetic components.” I was Borg! I shudder that it took me so many years to leave and years to grieve the loss of identity after leaving.
On my own, I made art inspired by my reaction to life, using love, anger, euphoria and depression as central themes. I named my business “With All My Heart Art“, a daring name, since it might sound like art for women only. I set up a studio in my home, and because it was really important to me, I decorated my window with things that make me happy every day. Since my art was criticized at work (by a male superior) for being “too feminine”, I let my feminine side run loose in my studio with hearts, flowers, beads, jewelry and crafts. I have spent the last few years creating art inspired by whatever mood strikes me. It seems that I have found a style that is completely my own. A happy enough ending for me.