which way?

the right pathI’m going to try to be short since I’m hella behind here. I owe my readers three blog posts by tomorrow.

I haven’t been around because I’ve been busy–thank goodness. Although, I wish I was busy in a way where I could fully support myself. I’m slowly, very slowly, gaining new clients. And I’m grateful. But I’m not sure if I like this.

I think I do, though. I hate that my posture is being jacked up from sitting in my bed all the time, but I love not dealing with the disdain of working with white women in the workplace. I hate that I’m still behind on my car payments, but I love not commuting for hours a day to and from work. I hate that this has become such a journey of solitude, but I love having more control over my day.

Maybe the title of this blog post and the picture have had their own conversation: question and answer. But I’m not really happy with the answer. Today, I wrote about some scary steroids, and then I applied to a few jobs, including an administrative assistant job. Yet my freelance work is increasing.

I really don’t want to waste my time, period. If I knew which path to go down, I would just commit to it and go full speed ahead. But I don’t know. At least now, it’s not scary anymore. Now it’s just annoying as I see my credit score go down further the longer I’m on this path of being and becoming a writer. And yes, I am divorcing my self-worth from my credit score–out of sheer sanity’s sake.

I still wonder what I’m doing, what I’m doing here in Florida. Should be elsewhere? I don’t have the energy to explore every last option, even in writing. As I approach month #7 of underemployment, now I know that this is a little more permanent than I thought. And no one will save me from this.

So, this is the path, the “I don’t know what I’m doing but I am pleasing my clients” path, the “this is what my MFA is going towards? really?” path, the “I feel like I’m wasting my talents and am so unseen” path, the “I guess it’s just the Universe and me” path.

The path, the path, the path, the path, the path.

There are a few people that I met at a writers’ conference a few years ago. All of them are getting national press for their work. One won a national award. Another has a movie option. It’s wild what’s happened after four years, and how divergent my path is.

And in my throat right now is bubbling, choking emotion: the pain, the sadness, the jealousy, the WTFness of what my life has become.

But I know these two things 1) Those folks have oodles of support that I don’t have access to (sure I have angels, etc., but clearly the Universe has other things in mind. 2) Knowing that most people couldn’t walk my path helps me to hold my head up when there’s that shame of unrecognition and failure pressing down on me.

So, that’s all there is. The path. My path.

I had my phone cut off for about 10 days and I tried to fundraise for it. Nothing happened. So it was off. The thick silver lining was that the telemarketers stopped for a while. But I had to just be OK with my phone being off, with no help, even after asking for it over and over. I deserved the help but didn’t get it that time, or the time I wanted it in.

So that’s my path, and it’s not some lack of abundance consciousness–because really, who likes living hand to mouth? NO ONE. No one consciously chooses poverty–or even subconsciously.

Anyway, this dispatch from the path is that it’s almost kind of boring, but then I get little surprises, like when I got my first bonus for my writing, all $1.70 of it. It meant something. There’s a little glimmer of recognition.

I have to keep going, even when I missing a writing opportunity this morning, while I was still blurry on sleep; even when I got rejected quite quickly for another technical writing job from the worst recruiter I’ve ever spoken to; even when my sleep has been disrupted because my brain can’t turn off; even when anxiety tries to choke me out into the next life.

I guess I’m saying I’m more comfortable here now, the quotidian plodding along. It may be like this for a few months longer, and I think I’ll be OK with it.

If there’s one thing I’m good at, it’s survival. I just hope that someday soon, I can try out thriving.

what to say?

stencil-blog-post-image-1

I really hope this is short. I’m sorry if it’s really disjointed.

Um, it has been a time. On Wednesday, it’ll be 5 months of underemployment. I can’t keep asking why anymore. It just is.

My body is becoming an exquisite corpse for this chapter of my life. It’s not at its prettiest. My hair is greyer and thinner. There’s weight gain and skin eruptions and tight joints.

I definitely didn’t think that I wouldn’t be working full-time at this point. I’m getting calls for two jobs back at the last gig (same manager, too), two jobs that I’ve already applied for. I’m still waiting to hear back about the second writing exercise I am sure I over did–for the managing editor position.

I keep having to solely pull myself and out of the pits of doom together every day. I’ve gotten really good at it. And, for once, I’m not really resentful of it. My self-reliance is why  I am still alive.

I want to say this as dispassionately as possible: I feel like how my parents raised me, with very little affection and encouragement, is helping me now. There is no one saying on a daily basis–hang in there, keep going. The only voice I hear consistently is my own.

There must be a reason, though, why real help hasn’t arrived. The answers are all awful, so let’s skip that.

I have to keep hope at bay. I’ve ridden the waves of hope from shore to shore. From a couple of readings saying I’d get job offers this month, well…I did get new clients.

It’s scary to push hope back, because then–what is there to look forward to?

The general message I’m getting from the Universe is to hang in there, to keep going. No savior, no deliverance, no big red bow on an expensive car, no unbelievable happy ending. It’s keep crawling, keep scraping, keep it moving.

Keep. Going.

Things are bad, but I’ve been through worse. I wish I had new insights about this time, besides that I am grateful that I am resilient since the relief I need hasn’t shown up. I’m just getting battered and there’s no energy to resist it.

I’m sorry that I have to keep writing this boring ass story over, and over, and over: of underemployment, of fear, of anxiety, of poverty, and how it’s all messing with my head and my soul like I’m on the frappe speed of a mixer.

How many cliches for my resiliency can I come up with?

I’m putting one foot in front of the other.

I’m riding the wave.

I’m hanging in there.

I’m staying strong.

I’m waiting for the light at the end of the tunnel.

I know that it’s darkest before the dawn.

I know that something is waiting for me around the corner.

I’m treading water.

My mind is tired, so that’s all I have for the list of cliches. Right now, I don’t care about potential or hope or predictions or even faith. I only care about relief. Real relief. The Universe only seems to be sending big raindrops, like the ones that happen right before a big downpour–but no downpour.

I’m impatient and unhappy about it. I’m parched. This is an ugly, disillusioning journey. And as many people I’ve walked with through tough times–there’s just me on this trip (that’s a whole other post that I will never write).

This agitation is somehow tempered by gratitude–of still having my car, of having gas in my car, of paying my car insurance, of having enough to eat, of having dessert, of having any work at all.

But underneath is unending exhaustion–a different type of soul exhaustion than I’ve experienced, but that even with getting a new full-time job, it won’t easily disperse. It’s like a middling kind. Not the “where I am sleeping tonight?” kind. Nor is it the eviction kind. It’s not even the being unfairly shamed by others kind. It’s the “I’m not quite at a place of stability and I’m really tired of trying to make it happen” kind. It’s the “I have no choice to keep going” kind. I have the strength but it seems so, well, stupid to spend so much effort on this type of writing and merely on survival, especially when the stakes are high, but the cost to keep me going is so low.

But there’s nothing else. This is the muddy, weedy, lonely path. One foot in front of the other. A faceplant. Mud on hands. Grass stains. Pain. Get up. Keep going. So complaining about it is fruitless. It just makes me more tired.

And that’s also why I haven’t made time to write here. What is there to write about? Not much, nothing of pleasure or of insight.

And that’s that. On Monday, I keep going, keep hanging in there. I will try to renew my SNAP. I will write two articles. I will hope that the hundreds of dollars of work that I did last week will finally be paid out. I will keep going and compartmentalize the exhaustion until I can safely unload and unpack the burden.

I will not wait for relief to come. I will somehow be an alchemist and create it myself, for myself, by myself.

I will persist, and I will win–because I have no choice.