I’m a creative, experienced, multi-purpose artist
who can take projects start to finish in a variety of styles.
Good designs sell – mine sell out!

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Friday, February 24, 2012

"Capable"

I moved out on my own when I was 17. I wanted to have my own space and make my own decisions. I took some truly horrible jobs just to cover my bills. Some of those early jobs were pretty funny too. I am capable of polishing the brass pole in a strip club for instance. I didn’t know what the brass pole was used for at that time, but hey, I’m capable of polishing brass. I found a lot of dollars lying around on the floor at that job too. Let’s see… what else am I capable of doing? I’ve shoveled dung from horse barns, planted crops with illegal immigrants, worked in a rubber factory, cleaned toilets at a hotel, planted and sold vegetables, changed diapers, shelved books, sold hot dogs on the street from a cart… I’m not sure why I don’t have some of these things on my resume.

Maybe my best career move in crappy jobs was production and photo retouching at a department store. I heard about the opening after a string of my fellow college students had turned it down for being “beneath” them and because it only paid $5/hour. I wasn’t so proud. I scheduled my hours around my classes and had an actual job on my first resume. In fact, that job enabled me to get my first “real” job. It also allowed me to learn important stuff that I didn’t get from my expensive college education which I’ve used in every job since.

Sometimes people will comment to me that I can do anything. Sure, why not? Can’t you do anything too? Once, a friend made that comment when I offered to fix the drywall in her house after her abusive husband went on a rampage. My remarks were: 1. leave the SOB, 2. have him fix what he tore up, and 3. I’ll teach you how to fix drywall. She said she couldn’t leave him because he made the money, couldn’t get him to fix anything, and didn’t want to learn how to fix drywall. Okay, keep your black eye and the hole in your wall.

Another friend told me she “couldn’t” get to work on time. When I pointed out that of course she “could”, she came up with a string of excuses that I kept swatting away until she admitted that okay, she didn’t “want” to get to work on time. She wanted to sleep in and fluff her hair to perfection in the mornings. The world becomes a lot different when we realize that we are capable of whatever we value. We really do create our own reality.

When I was a child, my older sisters learned how to do most things before I did. Since my sisters were very different from each other, their combined skills covered a lot of ground, but then we went to Girl Scout camp. This was an excellent proving ground for me because my sisters camped in a different area. Bliss! Freedom! Mom dropped us off early, so I got to choose my tent and cot before other girls started creating the pecking order. When my tent mates started screaming about spiders on the ceiling and mice nests in the rolled up tent flaps, I moved the unwanted wildlife outside and earned my place in the social hierarchy. My skills were put to continued good use because the mice and spiders moved back to the tent every day, and I moved them out every evening. I found I was good at a lot of stuff city girls didn’t know how to do. I baited their hooks, took their fish off the lines, did my share of mess tent chores, started the campfire, rowed them around the lake, and explained how to macramé a lanyard. I was a hit at GS camp.

Sometimes, the secret to feeling capable is knowing what we’re good at. Sometimes it’s being willing to try new things. Sometimes it’s just learning from whatever situations we find ourselves in. But mostly, I think being capable of taking care of ourselves is a form of happiness. We don’t have to feel trapped or helpless. We can make decisions towards our goals and bliss.

34 comments:

  1. Love that last paragraph

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  2. Heeheehee, cute little spider.

    But honestly, in real life, *shudder*. Will you please come and help me remove my spiders?

    My parents always taught us to be self sufficient.

    Except for spiders.

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  3. Aw thanks! I'll admit this was the least amount of drawing effort I've ever done for this blog, but I just liked the spider as is. I guess spider control could be a whole 'nother career path Bella :)

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  4. Love the story and the cute little spider Linda. Sounds like we are very similar. Tell me I can't do it and I will certainly learn how and give it my all. For the most part, I believe that we are capable of doing anything that we want to do.

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  5. This is one of my favourite posts Linda. You really have lived such a full life. I so agree with you about trying anything and I am also a chip off your block! People hide behind the "can't " attitude and never given anything unfamiliar a chance. We should live a carpe diem existence and realise we get one chance at living the life we are given. I truly love spiders (mind you here in the UK they are not terribly venomous) and your illustration is a cute one...but don't mention snakes to me as try as hard as I have I just can't love those guys ;0)
    Enjoy your week.
    Jane x

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  6. As always, I love your self-reliance!

    Polished the pole? Really? Well I guess SOMEbody has to do it!

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  7. Lovely post. I especially liked the bit about you roping the cattle on the range and stripping bark with your teeth to build canoes. :o)

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  8. I did help build a canoe Rand, but I didn't strip bark with my teeth to do it! (Cedar strip with fiberglas)

    For some reason I thought of you Abby when I wrote about the brass pole LOL Though to be fair, it was because of your crossing guard job, so no direct relationship there.

    Spiders aren't poisonous in Ohio either Jane. They just have too many legs -- which is a problem snakes seem to have solved :)

    Karen, if we're alike, does that mean you get called "stubborn" once in a while too? I prefer to think that I have stick-to-it-iveness :)

    Thanks for the comments everybody! I hope everyone's having a great weekend!

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  9. Wonderful post. I sometimes think that we are all capable of more than we ever believe we are. You just have to do it. Challenge is a good thing that keeps you curious and engaged. I think if someones decides they can't do something they can't. If you believe you can you just might!

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  10. This is a great post. As always. Yes, we are usually capable, but not always willing. I bet the stripper pole cleaning is at the top of your resume! Hilarious.

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  11. You are a woman of vast experiences and, obviously, talents! I love your little sketch :)

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  12. very great blog post! the spider is cute aswell!

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  13. Thanks everybody! I wonder how cleaning the stripper pole would go over with an HR dept? Funny thing is that I made a lot of money at that job while keeping all my clothes on :)

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  14. What I like about your weekly reflections is how you place a seed of inspiration into all your readers. I wonder, do you realize you do this?
    Have you submitted your writings to any publishers? Psychology Today perhaps? Good work, and carry on, Linda!

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  15. I love that little drawing...very simple and sweet and to the point. :D love it...

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  16. Yes, I do believe you are capable! Great post, Linda.

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  17. Survivors survive by seeing what's in the fridge and making something out of it; they just think that way.
    Defeatist bemoan the lack of Hot Pockets and curl up and die; they just think that way.

    hooray for the survivors!

    .

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  18. Mardi, sometimes I think I'm trying to inspire myself with my reflections. The idea that someone else gets something good from it is icing on the cake. Cream cheese frosting :)

    I like your analogy to looking in the fridge Richard. I guess I do want people to learn how to cook.

    Thanks for the comments! You make my day!

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  19. That's too funny...but that what makes life interesting. You are certainly more than capable!

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  20. You have a wonderful resume. By the way, please send your postal address to dosankodebbie@yahoo.co.jp You may be able to guess why, but it's not official till March 3 (Japan time).

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  21. Thanks for the comments! And oooooh! I sense a prize Debbie! Yay!! We've just got to love the blogosphere :)

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  22. I don't know that I could have done everything you've done; like handling mice, however, I'm sort of like that now. I like experiencing "real" life. Sometimes, you gotta roll up your sleeves and do it. And, it doesn't always have to be drudgery; it can be things that just make you feel good and glad that you did it.

    Very good post!

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  23. Thanks Anita! And I agree, sometimes it can feel good to just do things that make you feel good :)

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  24. To 'know' that we are capable of taking care of ourselves is truly a form of happiness, I agree. It's fantastic to have a helping hand along the way but that should just be a bonus.

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  25. Excellent post! Cute little spider, too!

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  26. Well well, a woman of many talents! I always suspected that! Now, to be perfectly honest, the poles around here don't need polishing --- they need replacing a lot but never need polishing (well not the one's I've danced with anyway) So lucky you weren't brought up around these parts, less you would have been out of a job.

    Linda, i just LOVE your writing - it's so refreshing and funny yet it has that twist at the end wherein lies the message (so keep your black eye and the hole in the drywall had me chuckling!) Gee I'v only washed cars, changed films in a projection box, mopped floors, put shock absorbers on differentials, and shot one leg of countless house spiders with an elastic band so they can't get away from the coope de grace. I did watch a video on how to skin a squirrel recently figuring all the squirrels round here would be pretty safe (seeing there aren't any)

    See you've had a much more exciting life than me :)

    Thanks so much for the entertainment - again.

    Good move taking that 5 dollar an hour job. There's a lesson there-in, eh?

    greetings from Oz :)

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  27. Ps my mum asked me to leave when I was 17 but I hung on till I was 23.....

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  28. Plenty of squirrels around here Andrew, but I'm not so sure I feel like skinning any of them. I skinned a deer once though. I'm laughing at the idea of you pole dancing :D

    Thanks for the comments everybody!!

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