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2003-07-28 @ 11:02 p.m.
broadway geek readys for a job interview

I have to admit I watch Fox TV's "Fear Factor" on a semi-regular basis, but my version of Fear Factor would never involve cars jumping through flaming hoops or hanging upside down from a 25 story building. Mine would just involve going on a job interview.

Selling myself to a perfect stranger is the most terrifying thing I could ever think of doing, including drinking a cockroach daiquiri. Why? Because self promotion is not my forte. I don't believe in myself and I don't have the acting chops to pull it off.

And I work in a specialized field where it is acceptable to ask for anywhere between $25-$500/hour, depending on how good you are. (I am an artist). I just recently raised my rates from $15 to $22/hr. But having the nerve to ask someone to pay me that amount has been traumatic. I have talent, skill, a decent portfolio and 8 years graphics experience. Besides my visual gifts, I have published hundreds of newspapers stories, and am a kick ass editor. I've published over 25 photos in newspapers and national magazines and my work has been displayed in museums and won prizes.

But when we get to that unwieldy subject of financial reward, I am like a deer in headlights. I don't feel like I'm worth anything. I've had 25 years of success. People have chosen to publish my work hundreds of times. Hired me to do their newspapers. Chosen to hang my work in their museums. Yet, I feel funny asking to get paid for it. I feel like I should make a go at it at McDonalds.

Self esteem is a funny thing. I don't know if you can ever recover from the stomping you took as a kid. Every single thing I ever showed my mother, artwork, stories I wrote, flowers I picked, the way I looked, were always critiqued to the nth degree.

If it was artwork, I had the wrong colors, or I colored outside of the lines. If I was forced to play the piano for guests, she'd dramatically cry out "whoops!" everytime I hit a faintly incorrect note. Writing was always what I was best at, so she really had a hard time nitpicking at that. She'd have to find fault with things like the names of characters or typos. I think that really pissed her off.

As far as my looks. Well, that was one of her favorite subjects. I had a small gap between my front teeth when I was little and she used to tell everyone, while surpressing laughter, that she bet they could drive a train through the space in my teeth. And then the one two punch involved a joke about my nose. I had one of those slightly bulbous Irish noses. She always said, if she could hit my nose full of nickels, she'd be rich. I never quite figured out what that meant, but it always hurt and I would frequently cover my nose during pictures as a child. This chip-chip-chip at the ego continued well into my adulthood, when I developed breasts. She would later comment on how much "bigger" she was than me. The joke was actually on her because I had absolutely no desire for big TA-TA's. So big tits back at you, momsy. You can have them.

Shit, this was supposed to be about job interviews. I had one today. Not really a JOB interview. Just some occasional freelance work. I was scared to death. I took a clonopin. I usually listen to the song "I Hope I Get It" from "A Chorus Line" before interviews to psych myself up, but when I went to pull it out of its sleeve there was no record. I panicked. I've listened to this song before every job interview since 1977. It was only an hour before the interview and I didn't have time to pull out all 150 of my records to look for it, so I had to substitute. Hmm. Something upbeat. Thought about Aretha Frankin's "Respect" but wasn't sure if I could find that in a timely manner, and it seemed a little too sassy, so I ended up playing "Oklahoma". Just the title song. So there I am standing in the middle of my living room spelling out O-K-L-A-H-O-M-A at top volume. I'm such a freakin' Broadway geek. But it did help a little. Ok, the clonopin helped more. The interview went ok. The woman was pregnant and kept saying, every minute and a half, her baby was kicking her. I was thinking of offering her and junior a clonopin. Thank goodness, she didn't ask what I was on disability for. Guess maybe that's not politically correct anymore and I couldn't be happier.

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Lyrics by Lennon/McCartney. All angst copyright by awittykitty