So….

Emotional management

If you get to the point of holding the kitchen knife against your wrist and tracing all your visible veins but not actually cutting into yourself, is that a suicide attempt?

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On floristry and the meaning of work

Diabetes, employment, Floristry, Work
altar at home

Altar piece, with delphiniums, carnations, roses, nigella and foraged foliage and grasses. Photo by the author.

As I woke reluctantly this morning, I saw one of the pieces I made for my show night sitting on the chest of jarrah drawers that I inherited from my Nan. It made me smile, a deep, from the gut kind of smile.  In floristry speak it’s a vegetative symmetrical arrangement, which means to the rest of us that it looks like a round garden. Like it has grown out of the container I’ve put it in.

I feel both sad and glad that floristry is over. I have passed, and I am now a fully qualified floristry assistant. An unemployed one though…

Unlike the PhD which I regularly regret doing, I have no regrets about this course. No regrets about the time and the money and the lost income spent pursuing it. This, I think, is a good sign. I’m sorry that I will not be showing up regularly to class each week with my buckets and my hopes, and enjoying the company of the many wonderful women that I met. Given that Cert 4 is not available in Canberra, I had hoped that I would be able to repeat but it seems that I will not be able to do so. Admin and rules and all that clap trap.

So I am a bit stuck now.

I haven’t been able to get a job and my two formal job interviews so far have been extremely bruising. I’m also worried about my body. I seem to wake up each morning feeling like I have a hangover, and while I can be a big drinker, hangovers only last a day. This week I’ve had a really good massage and been to Pilates and I should be feeling fabulous. Instead I feel like I’m an old tea bag, wrung out and of not much use to anyone. So it’s bad that I should feel like this generally but if I want to be a florist, it’s terrible.

Floristry is so physical. And I took it up because it is so physical, I need physical because of the diabetes. But at the same time I am afraid that if I was employed as a florist and I keep feeling like this, what’s it going to do to me? How do you know what is physically normal when you can’t get inside someone else’s skin?

Commercial floristry is fast paced, apparently cut throat and most of the people I’ve met in an employee/employer context haven’t been all that nice. I might be good at flowers (always with room for improvement of course) but I’m not fast, I abhor this commercial context and my life is far too precious to hang out with arseholes. What to do? Who wants a diabetic florist with a dicky back and anxiety issues?

Career plan D?

employment, Floristry, PhD, Stress, Work

There is one good thing about unemployment.

It’s the fact that when you spent the night alternating between crying and getting drunk because another interview/job trial flipped you over the edge, you can simply crawl into bed and stay there.

When I dreamt that my kitchen exploded recently I was fairly sure a meltdown was on the way.  Well, here it is.  Obviously, meltdowns involve long term baggage and the precitating event is just that.  Nevertheless it was horrible.  I don’t think they meant it to be horrible, but it was.  Four hours of it.  The only saving grace of it is that I got paid.

They were very particular, even down to how the buckets had to be filled.  I thought their method was more inefficient, but I didn’t say so.  One of the women has no filter.  She might not have said ‘God that’s awful’ but her face did.  She undid everything I did and remade it.  Not that they gave me a demonstration first, just showed me a picture and said do that.  One was a posy in a pot which had paper around it in the picture, so I wrapped it like a bouquet and put it in the pot only have it all ripped off and redone.  Pot, with paper pushed in and then filled with water.  WTF?  I got into trouble with her for making the boss angry but I have absolutely no idea why.

I walked away from that job trial feeling utterly incompetent and like I never want to set foot inside a florists ever again.  Or that I am capable of handling a retail environment.  Which would be fine except for the fact that I am no longer getting interviews for work in my other areas.  I am totally baffled by this.  And I’ve asked for feedback and what you get is total buraucratic dribble that is not remotely helpful.

All dogged by the green eyed monster which is directed toward my friend.  She’s not even graduated with her PhD and she’s been offered not one but two lectureships and won a huge research grant.  She’s had the luck I hoped for myself post PhD.  It either works for you, or it’s a career killer.

so here I am faintly dead and career plan c (floristry) in tatters around me.  Career plan D?  At this rate I’ll be scrubbing the loos at the mall.

 

On being a student florist

employment, Floristry, PhD, Stress

I was heard to mutter, as I left class this evening, that doing a PhD is easier than becoming a florist.   Correction.   A floristry assistant.  Those who were remained in the class thought I was being melodramatic and anxious about my paid trial for a job tomorrow.  This is partly true, but I meant my comment seriously.

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Bouquet with delphiniums, green carnations, white rose and some very mixed foliage. Photo by the author.

Starting over in any new field is faintly terrifying.  Most of the time I handle this with aplomb, but not currently.  I’ve got the full trifecta happening.  Job hunting, final assessment, and PMT.  These things should never happen in a sentence, let alone an actual real human being’s life.  The worst thing is that knowing it’s your hormones fucking you round doesn’t make them stop fucking you round.

The bouquet above is one of this evenings efforts practicing for our grad show.  In addition to this, we also have to display a hair piece, corsage, buttonholes and table centrepiece.  It’s OK.  I can do it.  But I would seriously find it easier to sit down and write several thousand words on, say the history of Australian policies on native vegetation protection than it is to pull this off.  If you’ve been accepted into a PhD it means you’ve already attained a high level of skill with words and concepts.  This is completely useless in floristry, because you can’t write a breathtakingly beautiful bouquet into existence.

Floristry is more than learning a new language or discipline.  It’s all very well to learn colour theory, but an entirely different process to pull it off in practice.  Flowers are real.  They have likes and dislikes, and they’re not shy about them.  I thought that silvery olive foliage would be a brilliant choice for this bouquet, but actually when it came to it, it was stiff, ungainly and ugly.  I threw most of it in the bin.  Earlier today I tried a vertical parallel arrangement, which I’d missed somehow through the year.  You’d think that grouped flowers in lines would be easy.  It’s not.  And I have the photo which shouldn’t be shared to prove it.

Let me deconstruct this bouquet in the way that I might pull apart an chapter or an essay.  What I have done well is the colour.  Soft green, muted blues, touches of silver and plenty of foliage is a combination that works well.  It gets a tick on our brief for muted and gentle colours.  It is quite soft, romantic and unstructured. But, the fern is too prominent, as is the rice flower.  There should be a balancing third piece.  I’ve left the roses too deep.  More eryngium more evenly placed.  Should I include some wired ageratum?  Green bells?  And so on…

I’m worried that my anonymous assessor will not perceive the story behind the contrast of this bouquet and my chosen wedding dress.  I’ve chosen a very unadorned thirties style sleek silk satin number.

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Sleek dress, and an bouquet that is the exact opposite.  Together, I hope they will make an understandable unity.

Meanwhile, the only sensible option is sleep.