Starting over is hard. Like, Monumentally difficult. My contract in Flagstaff ran out at the end of August. I had long decided that the distance was too great and the opportunities a bit too limited. So it was on the road again. The road home. It has been a whirlwind. Seeing old faces and trying to chisel out what life after AZ looks like.
Right now that means Blick. The art materials retailer. As all my best decisions, this one was also born out of a bit of panic. A chance peek at a “now accepting applications” poster and then I had an apron and a box cutter and was immersed in the wonderful world of retail. My final service industry frontier.
The work has been agreeable, the people a bit more so. It’s so odd to take a place that I’d frequented countless times as a customer and transform it into a place I inhabit for eight hours at a time. But I feel like it’s starting to center me. I feel rejuvenated to tackle the challenges I know are standing off at the horizon. Every day in the store is a reprieve from thinking about loans or job applications or internships or packing up an moving again.
My days are spent opening boxes and moving things around. The best moments are when I actually get to help a customer. Answer the questions they didn’t know they had. A father came into the store the other day to buy some items for his daughter. She’d become interested in illustration, the same cartoon/anime/comic infatuation so many of us went through when we started creating. I got to walk him through what she needed, steered him away from some unnecessary items and put his mind at ease that he’d gotten all the right materials.
Seeing people come into the store and learning about what it is they use art for in their lives helps. Art is important because it’s for everyone. Not everyone is going to wind up in a museum, hardly anyone will make a living doing it, but everyone can improve their lives with it. Everyone can paint, and I want to spend my life helping them feel comfortable doing that.