Day 69: Work Will Set You Free

I set up a hammock on my rooftop. Just because I spent my life in my apartment didn’t mean I didn’t appreciate fresh air once in a while.

It had been a few months since I decided to be a hermit. That is, to quit work and friends and boyfriends and all the bullshit of the universe and just cocoon myself until I was ready to emerge a higher form of human. But I started to miss the world. I started to miss work. I had to keep myself busy painting and reading and dancing and whatever other hobby I desperately sunk into. Doing crafts was fun. Who knew I could be so handy?

But here, sitting on my roof-hammock, watching the skyline over the river valley, I sort of wished I could be a part of all that again. Not a part of people, of social circles, maybe, but of an earth to explore. It would be a much better place without all those humans everywhere. Peaceful. The whole world a hammock.

I slept up there often, once the summer made it feasible. The rooftop was a great place to set up an easel and paint, as long as it wasn’t windy out. The freedom to be able to do this kind of thing was nice. Work was a cage, a black hole of time. So why did I miss it so much? Surely I didn’t want to go back to the drudgery, the phoniness, the lack of recognition.

Maybe there was something fulfilling about being paid for effort. To be rewarded. I studied the psychological effect of reward-based incentivization as it compared to passion-based effort. And ultimately, I decided to try seeking monetary reward for my craftiness.

At first, I started selling my paintings. Then I made an Etsy shop for all the scarves I knit and decorative cards I designed and tiny furniture I crafted. Most of it went unnoticed. But I sold a few small things.

It made me work harder. Find a niche. And soon, I was working more than full-time hours, just crafting away. I grew stressed about fulfilling orders, about shipping concerns (especially since I had to hire someone on Kijiji to take my stuff to the post office to mail). I had to worry about emailing customers, about having an effective online presence, about taking flattering pictures of my products for upload. And even after all that work, I made less than half of what I would have been making at my old retail job.

But I felt like I had a purpose. Work wasn’t a cage–it set me free. And that scared me. It wasn’t what I was trying to accomplish in my apartment-cocoon experiment at all.

It hurt, but I closed down my Etsy shop. I brought my hammock down from the roof and stuck it in my closet. The outside world was too distracting. I wrapped myself in a blanket on the floor of my bedroom and thought about change.

 

 

Today’s three random prompt categories were, “A hammock,” “On a rooftop,” and, “Work will set you free.”

I managed to avoid any Nazi-ish connections, I think. After recently reading Maus, I’m not sure I’m ready to go down that road in my prompts just yet.

– H.

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