I lost my job last week. I worked there two months, and in that time I learned an absolute ton, discovered I enjoy office managing, and made less than I would have made on unemployment (due to taking some time off for BlogHer and getting sick during what turned out to be my last week of work). So often these days, I feel like everything I say and do is wrong, leads down strange paths and into unexpected pitfalls, but I keep plugging along. All this twisting, turning, and learning, learning, learning has to lead somewhere.
I've always known that I have to work to support myself no matter what. I borrowed a lot of money to get this far, and I have to pay it back with interest. This has always limited my options in L.A., and I've always accepted what I can and cannot do. I've known that my limitations were going to make the journey longer, and I've known that I'm not interested in straying from this path. What I hadn't thought about until this week is wolves.
UsingEnglish.com says, "If you keep the wolf at bay, you make enough money to avoid going hungry or falling heavily into debt." Well, I'm certainly teetering on the edge in those regards -- again -- but I've realized those aren't the only wolves at the door. In fact, those wolves are rather straightforward types.
But they've got some nasty friends. Call them concern wolves. I've found that the minute I'm really struggling, in come the suggestions that I leave the entertainment industry.
- That I move.
- That I date differently.
- That I dye my hair.
- That I use social media and the Internet differently.
- That I get pulled into a life I ran across an entire country to avoid.
It always feels like some variation of, "Aren't you finally ready to grow up yet?" Or, "What's wrong with you?"
What's really creepy about it is how struggles affect people's perception of you. It puts you in a position where people feel free to judge. I mean, you're struggling, so clearly you're doing something wrong.
And after all, when you can't take care of yourself, what is your standing, really? Add to that the phenomenon that people want to believe that we get what we deserve in life, and soon you've got wolves on your heels, hungry to pull you down to run with the pack.
One of the wolves even lives inside me. When I found out I'd lost my job, I dropped everything and sat on my couch for 24 hours, listening to "The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo." Well, OK, I did a couple of constructive things before I slipped into my shock coma, but within an hour I was utterly useless.
It took me days to reach out to a friend who's shooting this month to see if could work on her shoot. (I got two days, hooray!) And only this morning as I'm typing this did I remember another person I should have already reached out to in a similar vein.
I find it completely terrifying to have bills coming and no sure money coming in. I find it completely terrifying to contemplate not having health insurance or paying a credit card bill late. These fears are my own little foot in the door of what I sometimes think of as "normal" life. I don't know if I'll ever shake them, if I'll ever be able to function when there's worries of unpaid bills and eviction.
Meanwhile, I have legitimately shootable, awesome screenplays I need to read and work on for development. I've got to get up next Monday and apply to more jobs and work my network. I've got to stay pulled together and positive.
I've got to stop crashing around life like a damn bull in a china shop, and yet every way I turn, every decision I make, every word out of my mouth seems clumsy. I continue to flounder and flail. I continue to fight against the wolves who would have me decide that I can't be who I am and fight this fight. Who would have me question, again and again, who I am and what I'm doing.
Who would look at me and think for even one second that I'm not making conscious, considered, educated decisions, even as I'm struggling to move forward and be OK.
Who see my troubles and think I should stop doing what's right for me simply because it's a difficult, questionable path. The one less traveled by, if you will.
And on this path, so thankful for those who walk with me. So thankful for those who stay positive. And who hopefully regard my every false step with a confidence in who I am and where I'm going. With an enjoyment and an acceptance of my dorkitude. It's a confidence I struggle with, but what can you do but shake your head and keeping taking steps?
That's the one confidence that I have, actually. That's all mine to hold in my heart. That my wings may be broken, but until the end, I will continue to hop.
Tat by Wade at Shamrock.
I blog at Everyday Goddess.
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