Tuesday, May 20, 2014


It's true, I've been absent, dormant, fallow, in a slump. Or maybe in a chrysalis, waiting for the right time to re-emerge in a new guise. Or just really busy, depending on who I'm talking to. The constant, nagging need to make money seems to end up outweighing most other things, and yet I haven't gone and put on my big girl pants and seriously looked for regular, salaried, decent paying employment.This isn't a new struggle; it's been going on for years. I remain stubbornly freelance, as I've been for lo these many years. From a financial standpoint, as a mom with a family, a still-unemployed spouse at this point, and two boys hurtling quickly towards college, it seems like a ludicrous, willfully destructive position to take, and yet I can't bring myself to just go do it. All of the common sense, merciless voices in my mind tell me that I'm being unforgivably selfish, that I'm a slacker, and much worse. They are such pitiless voices. And yet there is a tiny voice that rings clear through all of the negative voices. Life is short, that little voice whispers, I want to create things. It's surprisingly persistent against all of the angry, shouting voices that ridicule it and try to drown it out. I'll die inside if I can't create something, it whispers. I don't want to waste this...
My personality is much better suited for being a freelancer, I think, though there are aspects (like a regular paycheck) and people I miss from my days as an employee. But my life now is wound around with the boys' needs, my own reluctance to give up my time with them, and the inescapable knowledge that time is flying by. They're 13 already, and they may not need me in the same ways that they used to, but I remain convinced that they still really need a parent at home, maybe more now in different ways than when they were tiny. So I nose around for projects that allow me to work within my self-imposed constraints.
Paul and I have been taking a workshop on career transitions being given by my dear friend Terri, and it's been helpful for both of us. I don't really fit into the traditional mode of employee seeking employer, unless I decide to go the Big Girl Panties route and look for a regular job. I do have my regular gig with Boldly Me, but it can't pay enough, at least for now, to be my sole paying gig, so I need to seek more money from other avenues. Terri's workshop has helped me clarify my thoughts on the confusing morass of small money-making gigs that I have been pursuing, and her workshop content and feedback from the others in it has allowed me to look at my own situation with a much less critical eye. Most of my own internal voices have been merciless, and there's no doubt that they damage me and hold me back. I know, I'm working on that too. It's a real gift to find that other people see my abilities with a fresh, and surprisingly positive perspective.
When I went through and made a list of the various career/money-making gigs I have been doing or have wanted to pursue further and actually really enjoy, I surprised myself with about 10 different professions, though they're all art related in one way or another. I've known for a long time that I have serious hangups about money, and asking for money is actively painful. I've been working on it for years, but that's peeling layers of an onion. It goes right along with the hangups about asking for help, accepting compliments, all that self-esteem stuff.
At least I found that I do have a deep-seated sense of confidence in my art abilities, though even that has taken a beating in the last few years of being mainly a mom, with my art always taking a lower priority. The endless cycle of care-taking chores can really wear a person's self esteem down. It turns out that my little voice is really right; if I don't get to create something of my own regularly I get depressed and my self esteem takes a dangerous nose dive, and it was never robust to begin with.
What if my time is short? I was given a gift to be used...
Life is slipping through my fingers...

1 comment:

  1. We've been having the same discussions here... Recently we were made aware of a 9-5 job with an acquaintance that either of us could just walk into - selling double glazing and conservatories. The conversation about whether a regular paycheck was worth the inevitable misery for either of us was a harrowing one. We both love the hodgepodge of musical things that we do, but between the two of us, the music only brings in what one unskilled manual labourer would earn. One of us getting our Big Girl Panties on would make a number of things much easier, but would almost certainly end up in misery, argument, relationship decline and possibly being unable to keep an unequal marriage in place.

    We're still circling it, looking at it and hating that we even have to consider it.