Wednesday, June 6, 2018

It's Time to Retire This Blog

Hello all. I had a sudden urge to retire this blog in the last 24 hours. And since that's how my life usually goes, where I get sudden urges or sudden inspirations, I'm going to go ahead and do it.

I think I'm ready to write other things. I'm ready to stop channeling my energy here instead of into actual projects. I'm ready to stop spinning in circles and instead roll down the street and into the sunset. I'm ready to stop procrastinating.

This has been a good place for me to vent for six years. I don't know where I'm going next or what I'm doing, but I know that I'm ready for something different.

Life is very uncertain for me at the moment. I feel like I'm in a black box and can't find a way out, and I'm just running from wall to wall, top to bottom. But that's ok. I'm going to embrace it I guess.

Make something good out of what seems like a lot of bad.

I'll see you all in my next adventure.

Monday, May 28, 2018

Lessons From Audrey Hepburn

I just finished a biography of Audrey Hepburn and overall it was a delight. I've never been a huge fan of hers but I stumbled across an old interview on YouTube recently.

She was near the end of her life and had granted Barbara Walters a rare conversation on camera, and something about her presence and her answers felt familiar. It was like we were the same person in some way or had lived something of the same life. I knew her. Or I knew how she felt. If she hadn't died in 1993 I might have thought maybe I was her if I'd existed here before.

So I ordered the book.

It turns out she was, in fact, just like me. She was a multifaceted human being with a range of emotions who loved animals, was rather easily bruised, and dreamed of having a garden. And also like me, her life was a constant grasping at happiness amidst a deluge of misfortunes, heartaches and childhood scars. I don't think she ever quite got there and I'm not sure I ever will either.

I was struck by something she was quoted as saying toward the end of the book. And this was that even at her age (60 years old), she still suffered from an extraordinary case of stage fright anytime she had to perform or make a speech. She also said that she was not alone in this nervousness and that every real artist she'd worked with seemed to have his or her own version of it.

Gary Cooper's hands used to sweat while he acted. Cary Grant worried himself sick over his performances.

It made me feel like my recurring feelings of disgust about my work, my non-linear overall progress, and my almost constant feelings of inadequacy aren't so abnormal after all. Maybe nerves are universal. Maybe they're just part of the deal if you want to be artistic in some way.

Last week I picked up my book manuscript and tried to continue writing. When I couldn't do that because it seemed like I didn't have anything else to say, I started editing it instead. Maybe, I thought, I'd simply reached the end.

I was plunking along and then quit in frustration. I wrote my last blog, then I think I cried a little bit, and then I pulled up my pants and started working on it again.

I'm only 28 pages into my editing and I've got a long way to go. I know that I will fight many negative feelings as I go through this process, and I know that I will probably want to give up on it again. In fact, I can almost predict that I'll throw my hands up in disgust and put it away for another few months before gathering enough courage to come back to it. This seems to be my pattern.

But the knowledge that what I'm feeling isn't unique or odd is nice. The knowledge that others have felt the way I feel and have still gone on to success is enormously helpful.

Thanks, Audrey, for the lesson.

Wednesday, May 23, 2018

I Tried To Write Something

I tried to write something after another long break and I failed miserably. I wrote about two pages and closed the document.

I'm frustrated. I'm deflated. I'm not feeling well.

What am I ever going to be?

I say that I want to be a writer but I just can't seem to be one. I say that I'm good at what I do and then I pull out my keyboard and tap out nonsense. I say that I can finish my book but then I read my essays and close my eyes in disdain.

Being a writer is a really hard thing to be. I mean, maybe it's not hard for everyone but it is hard for a large percentage. I suppose I know how to write the things I'm good at - the things I've practiced for over 14 years in the business world. But personal things? Things that matter to me?

I suck.

I'm sitting here at my keyboard because I'm at a loss as to what to do with myself and with my time. I've got a myriad of health problems that are dragging me down constantly and I've given up hope on the job I thought was mine for the having.

I don't want to say I'm a failure because I'm not, really. But sometimes I don't know what to call the feelings I have inside.

I long to do something more, something "better." And yet I just don't have the talent and I know it. So what comes next for me? What do I do besides sit here, a ball of disease and frustration, wondering which door is finally going to open?

I tried to write something and I failed. But I did write this.

Wednesday, May 2, 2018


I have the jitters right now. I'm jittery because I'm waiting to do a phone interview with a hiring manager on Friday, for a position that would not only pay me well but that would allow me to be what I am - a writer.

The best thing about it is that they want someone who just wants to write all day long. Someone who is talented at this one thing above all else, but probably also someone who understands technology because it's an IT company.

That's me. That's me all over the place.

I'm hesitant to get too excited about things but I also don't have much else to grasp onto right now. So I'm tossing at night, I'm pacing during the day, I'm checking email and LinkedIn obsessively, I'm networking to try to find another way "in." It feels like when I used to get sucked into a social media vortex and to be honest I don't like it. And yet I'm not sure what to do about it.

At 2:00 a.m. last night I told my brain to shut up. To stop thinking. To stop mulling and scheming and worrying and hoping. Because none of that was going to make any difference and especially not in the middle of the night.

At 9:30 a.m. I was pacing, because I still hadn't heard back on whether or not I was going to get the interview. And I was a few minutes late to PT because I couldn't stop the magnetism of my computer screen.

At 3:00 p.m. I crashed out a bit, landing on the sofa but with my phone in hand, swiping and refreshing and reloading. Just in case.

As I've been obsessively trying to figure out how to make this job happen, it's felt like I'm on speed. I can't relax. I can't stop. And it's doing me no good to be this way.

I did do my meditation practice this morning and that's the most calm I've probably been all day long. But I can't live like this because if I get another rejection after spending days or weeks in this state, it's going to hit me harder than I can handle.

So yes, I'm jittery because I might get to be a paid writer after all. Not necessarily on my terms or doing anything romantic or noble, but at the same time, doing the thing that I do without having to backtrack into documentation. And isn't that romantic and noble in a way? To be able to use your skills in the world somehow, even if it seems insignificant? It means I'll be doing my part. I'll be putting into use my gifts.

It also means that I can do other things like hope for a house again. Buy some shirts without holes in them. Get a new comforter for the bed. Resume saving for retirement.

And all of this is really important, too.

I think I'll go soak in the bath and resume reading my Everyday Zen book to see if I can calm myself down for the next 36 hours. Practicing non-attachment is helpful, but it's not as easy as it sounds.

Saturday, April 28, 2018

The Wallowing Piece

Sometimes writing feels like such an awful chore. It's hard, it's taxing, it's time consuming. To sit down and try to produce something takes more effort than I have to offer sometimes. And I'm also back in my mindset of not wanting to write anything at all, which is rather disconcerting because that mindset leaves me with no options.

I've been failing so much and for so long. A quick glance at the number of years I've had this blog up and running helps everyone chart the course of my failures in my personal work. But now that I'm failing professionally, too, I find myself wanting to retreat into a hole.

Am I even a writer at all? Do I even want to be? Maybe I'm just a failure and I should bide my time until I shrivel up and die.

This all sounds very dramatic I know. But I'm extraordinarily depressed these days between my illness and my career struggles, my lack of family and my lack of direction. I've never known what I wanted to do with my life and I find myself in that same place, wondering what a feasible option is for me to make a living as I move forward into my new existence.

And I can't come up with anything. I did tests, I read articles. I've done this for years and I just can't come up with anything.

I come up with things that I like to do but nothing that I want to do all of the time. Or that I feel like I can do and make a decent living at. Writing has always been one of the few options available to me that I could transform into money. But these days, with the proliferation of wannabe writers, cheap labor, etc...well I just can't seem to make it anymore. Not when Uncle Sam requires me to pay a tax rate that is now double that of a corporation, but then said corporation won't pay me enough to be able to survive. Let's not forget said corporation won't offer me any benefits, either.

The life of a freelance writer really can suck. I think I realized it early on, and that's why I took a long-term role with a company that had me doing things that I didn't want to do: I just couldn't make a living as a writer. I couldn't. I tried, and I couldn't.

So what made me think that I could again? And now, what makes me think that I even want to?

Some people have a calling and a drive to do something and maybe it's been there their entire lives, or maybe it hasn't. I have nothing. Nada. Zilch. This goes back a long way and maybe it has to do with a total lack of confidence in myself and my abilities. Maybe.

Or maybe life is just a wad of stress for me and that's how it's going to be.

I wrote this piece and I wrote something yesterday, but I wrote them out of anger and frustration and depression. I was and I am wallowing. I can sure write when I want to wallow, but who wants to read that?

Friday, April 27, 2018

The Rejected Writer

Almost two months ago I made some goals for myself and I've spent the last eight weeks or so hustling like crazy. Networking, applying, praying, searching. And the net result of all of these things is that I'm kind of a reject. I've been getting a lot of "No" and a lot of silence after having some momentary interest that breathed life into my flailing ego.

I think that after almost 10 straight months of rejections I'm about at the end of my ability to absorb them. I'm also worrying about things like money, purpose, lost time, and what the heck to do with my days going forward. How do I work around this illness of mine? What can I do besides communications? Anything?

I know that I'm a good writer but I'm starting to feel like there is no place for me to work as one anymore. The market is too congested, labor is too cheap, the value of the written word seems to have declined. I wonder if I'll need to keep my writing to my private time, in the moments when I feel inspired, and try to find somewhere else to devote my energy to during the day.

I have no idea what that might be and I also know that I'll probably fall back into looking for jobs in a few days. But for now, I'm exhausted and dejected and lost. I'm like a balloon with a slow leak, except now I'm all the way down to a wrinkled mass of rubber.

I have a deep fear of being trapped, and office jobs make me feel trapped. I think it comes from my controlling childhood and all of the turmoil of my twenties. I vacillate between staying the course or changing entirely, always wondering if I've somehow missed the mark on the thing I'm supposed to be doing with my life.

Because isn't life supposed to work out a little better if you're doing the think you're supposed to be doing?

I don't know. Maybe and maybe not.

I'm to the point where I'm not sure if I'm supposed to press on through the failure or throw up my hands and walk away. I got to this place once with yoga teaching, and I eventually stomped off into the setting sun. Am I there again now? With the one real skill I feel that I have?

Am I all washed up?

Thursday, March 1, 2018

New Goals

My life is evolving day to day, week to week, month to month. I never know how I'm going to feel or what I can expect when I wake up in the morning, so I continuously evolve in my approach to life based on what I encounter on any given day.

I've been off work for a few weeks and except for a glorious day or two, I've spent most of it not feeling well and also fretting about finding meaningful work. I've wanted so badly to work on my book during this time but I've honestly had no physical or mental energy to carry it out. After going from doctor to doctor, and medical test to medical test, and applying for this job and that job, I just haven't had anything left to give. Not to a book. Not to this blog. Not to anything, really.

But being confined to the couch has given me some good time to think (not that I need more of that, although I guess I do if that's what's been given to me at this time in my life). I've sent pleading cries of desperation into the sky. I've stared at the wall in frustration. I've tried to figure out what actually makes my life meaningful on a day to day basis and what doesn't. Frankly it's been a long few weeks.

But I've started making some new goals for myself so that I can have something long-term to strive for:

  1. I still want to finish my book and someday write a few others. This is a deep goal that I will not let go of, but as I have always suspected, I can only write when the other parts of my life are more in alignment. That means when I have a better medication regimen, when I've got a new "normal" that at the very least isn't interrupted constantly by doctor visits and testing, and when I've got something meaningful to do to earn money and feel like I'm contributing to my marriage.
  2. I think I want to go into medical writing, which is not surprising considering how much I've gravitated toward healthcare companies over the last decade AND how much free time I spend reading medical publications now. I'm not sure how to make it happen yet but I've started turning it around in my brain as a the first step. I've also reached out to a couple of people and started doing some research, and I'm thinking I can worm my way in if I just am patient and work strategically.

While all that's been going on, I've had one job interview, which was nice after a big sea of "No" for the past nine months. It seemed to go pretty well and has left me hopeful. And although it wouldn't be my passion, it would be something to do that would make me feel useful, pay bills, and allow me to keep the doors of my writing business open until I got things figured out.

My other goals now are to just be content in my days as best I can. Maybe I can't walk outside sometimes, or go places, or eat, or socialize. Maybe I don't feel the way I used to feel and I often can't do the things that make me happiest. But I can still do some things, like read, and watch my favorite movies, and care for my rescue cats, and give my husband a hug. These are not big things but they are something, and I'm striving to be more grateful as best I can.

I don't have a nice way to wrap this up today so I'll just leave it there (I'm sure I could come up with something but my body is saying enough is enough). Until next time...