Depression: Making a room with a view, part two

With All My Heart Art's studio, with a great window
With All My Heart Art's studio, with a great window

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.

2 thoughts on “Depression: Making a room with a view, part two

  1. Hooray for your wildly feminine room!

    I empathise with the work thing – I never, ever talk about my son unless one of my male colleagues mentions their child first. I am determined to not be seen as the woman at work who is secretly wishing she was at home with the child (it couldn’t be farther from the truth – I work to keep the post-partum at bay). However, I love my son so much, it seems sad to ring fence off that aspect of my life so harshly, for such sad reasons.

    I liked your transmutation of depression into joy by the way. A true alchemist at work.

  2. I’m sorry to hear that the same sexist limitations apply in the UK as here. What a sad world it is when women have to hide their maternal instincts to be seen as equal, or at least to not be used as surrogate mothers (and hated as such!).

    I do love my room. Now if only I could make myself go back in there and work. Cabin fever this winter makes me shun being locked up in even a very good room. I want to be free! That’s why I love summer, I feel free.

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