Confessions of a Frustrated Nurse

Although she enjoys the pay of a nurse, she longs to earn a living making her art.

by Julie Snyder • More.com Member { View Profile }

Recently my artistic pursuits have become wildly pervasive and time consuming. I want my world to be filled with these pursuits, and the freedom to explore them. My family comes first, naturally. That is not a conflict. They are all supportive, and even participatory. My art is my focus; where I want my life direction to go. I don't see myself in the nursing field for the rest of my life. I do see myself as an artist no matter what, for the rest of my life. My focus on creative endeavors has exploded into a plethora of events. I'm performing more burlesque, hosting a show, singing, writing a memoir, dancing in a movie, "extra" work in another movie, participating in a TV show on Nickelodeon, and modeling. While these things don't make me as much money as nursing, they make me balanced, fulfilled and happy. Now my dilemma is how to make the leap to full time artist while still being able to pay the bills.

I won $100 from the Power Ball Lottery today. There was a time when $100 was a big deal. When I was on public assistance, I received $84 every two weeks and then $100 in food stamps for my baby (Kena) and me. It was a struggle, but I managed. It was this struggle that made me decide to go to nursing school to "get a career" and set a good example for my daughter. I also wanted to be financially independent.

Well, I did that and now I'm a nurse who makes almost $100,000 a year. I still struggle financially because of various reasons. My apartment is the main expense. When I was on welfare, my rent was $428 a month for a one bedroom in Park Slope; rent controlled, paid for by Jiggits (public assistance). Now my rent is nearly $2,000 a month for a three bedroom. I could get a smaller place and force my children to sleep in one room with me. Personally, I don't think that's appropriate, especially with teens. My only reservation with leaving nursing is the financial aspect. I will really need to hustle in the arts to make enough to support all of us. I still won't make as much...in the beginning. But I will be healthier, better rested, and have reclaimed my hearts desire. When you are happy, your children feel safer and more content. So this is for them too. I will need to pare down drastically on the restaurants and shopping sprees; but then I will have more time and energy to cook and less need to placate myself with shop-therapy. There is a mentality with people who work in an awful job for good money that they deserve treats (and we do). These treats can add up; spas, new clothes, night out on the town, day trips, trinkets, toys...etc. The money is addictive, but I can do without the treats if I can be happy in other ways. The good thing about my "hobbies" is that they are usually compensated. I've invested a great deal of money in costumes, wigs, makeup, rehearsal time and music. Now I have a few go-to repertoires and established numbers. My expenses are starting to decrease and the hobby is more than paying for itself.

There are different ways of seeing this. I can look at it with fear and insecurity, lack of faith or just plain negativity. I can simply accept that this is the right thing to do, to take the risk and to believe it is happening. If you are presented with a continuous stream of opportunities to do something you love; it makes you happy and whole. Why deny yourself? If I say no, out of fear and financial concerns, then I will always wonder: Could I have been a success at doing what I love? I don't want to have that regret at the end of my life. I aim for another 40 to 50 years in this life, and I refuse to squander it in a thankless job that is a form of indenture. It's a vicious cycle. We need money to live and afford the necessities, but we are not living while subjugated to such work.

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