Day 2 of being unemployed found me full of anxiety and self doubt. I’ve had a few interesting offers and I am fighting the feeling that I need to jump on them right away. I want to take some time, figure out exactly what I want to do with myself and make sure I’m making the right decision.
This is the 4th time in 7 years I’ve been laid off. I know the part-timer is always the first to go and I really prefer to work part time, so I guess that’s the downside of it. When Edie was born, I did have plans to go back to work full-time and then just found I couldn’t. I couldn’t bear the thought of someone else spending all that time with her while I was at the office. Couldn’t stand the thought of what was I going to miss out on if I wasn’t around her. I began to look at things in our life as how much would I have to work to pay that bill. Things like car payments, cell phones, cable tv, were all measured in, do I truly need that? No, I was quite happy to drive my car until it needed too much money sunk into it to stay on the road, almost 16 years. While there might be some great shows I’m missing on cable, we just don’t watch that much tv and quite frankly, I didn’t want my child to regularly watch most of the garbage on the Disney Channel. The fact that she had gotten comfortable turning on the tv and tuning it to that channel by her own toddler self was one of the deciding factors to let go of cable all those years ago. And you can stream just about everything online these days anyway, so as long as you have a decent internet connection, you can get by. Honestly, the only time we’ve come close to caving on hooking cable back up has been during college football season. Thank you ESPN, for streaming so many games online and fixing that dilemma for us.
I am sick and tired however, of getting laid off. There is still a blow to the ego, despite knowing everytime that budget cuts have to be made. There is still a feeling of I’m just not good enough. I’m a walking textbook on our state unemployment insurance policies. I am sick and tired of having to reinvent myself, of having to conduct a job search all over again, again wondering how long is this job going to last.
It seems everytime I’m unemployed, many people around me tell me I should figure out how to make money at just being me. I cook, I sew, I’m creative, if Martha Stewart can do it, why can’t I? I made a small effort at it a few years ago and it went nowhere. It was during Edie’s toddler years, when after getting laid off twice in a year and becoming extremely unsatisfied with my choices, or lack thereof, of decent, affordable, love-my-baby-as-much-as-I-do-options in childcare, I decided to heed what I thought was a message from the Universe. I went back to waiting tables at night, so I could be home during the day and tried to operate a home based business while being a stay at home mom. When she started school, I went back to having an office job. Which lasted for 2 years, until I got laid off. I spent that summer pondering how to not go back to work and while I came up with some great ideas, I just didn’t go anywhere with them. Instead, I got myself another part time job that has yet again, ended in a budget cut. A cut of my salary.
I did however, come up with the idea of starting a blog, because I knew whatever creative, self-employed steps I needed to take, a blog would be an essential part of going about it. I got sidetracked by that whole stomach tumor thing, but once I got through that and started making things again, I started this little blog, in hopes of just keeping my creative spark alive. Over the years, I’ve started many things, but not finished them. I have a huge pile of unfinished projects upstairs, some of them I promised friends years ago.
Through a good bit of the work I’ve done in therapy, as well as some of the other work, reading and research I’ve done outside of therapy, I’ve realized that it’s completely par for the course for people who’ve had mothers like mine to leave a trail of unfinished work, to not try as hard as you could. To have a good bit of self doubt. To think that you are always going to fail, even when everyone around you thinks you are the greatest thing since sliced bread. I don’t see the talent I have and I definitely don’t take credit for a good deal of my accomplishments. I truly am my own worst enemy. I am working to overcome this, but some days, like yesterday, it’s a struggle.
A few months back, I discovered a new to me blog, thanks to the posting of it on Facebook by a friend. I immediately loved it. The last few days, as I have struggled with myself, wondering, what am I doing to do now? Can I really pull off something where I figure out how to do things without actually having to go to an office several days a week? What exactly is it that others see in me that is so great, this blog had a few posts that just spoke so directly to me, that I began to think it was a message from the greater Universe. So, after reading this and then this and finally this, I realized I needed to start by first of all, cleaning ‘the happy corner’ as Edie calls it. The corner of our bedroom upstairs that is home to all my creative supplies. I spent the day cleaning, purging and organizing things. I used to save every cooking & design magazine I subscribed to and while years ago, I realized I turned to Epicurious when I couldn’t remember what old issue of Bon Appetit a certain recipe was in and finally got rid of all those, I still had a good 5 years of House Beautiful, Southern Living, Southern Accents, the old, dear, departed Mary Englebreit’s Home Companion, Martha Stewart Living (and Baby), taking up valuable space. I went through them all and put them to the test by which I now allow myself to buy a magazine – are there at least 3 articles or projects in there that capture my attention to warrant giving up space? Two big shelves of magazines, at least 6 stacks of them, have been reduced to half a shelf and 2 stacks. I also purged a big stack of old craft books that I’ve received as gifts over the years that just didn’t do it for me. I sorted through all the little bins I toss bits and pieces of things into, I cleaned out and organized the drawers I keep supplies in, I purged things I’ve been hanging onto thinking, oh I’ll use that. You know what? I haven’t and I won’t and if I do feel the need to use electric scissors, I’ll just go buy a new pair.
It felt cathartic as hell to do all that. I feel rejuvenated and just so I wouldn’t reconsider, I dropped all the books and magazines off at the recycling center this afternoon. (The place where I was going to drop off the craft supplies wasn’t open, so I left that bag in my car. Hollar if you want a pair of unused, new in the box, vintage electric scissors. Or any other crafty stuff….). I spent the day considering my talents. My current reading list are “The Martha Rules” by Martha herself, “Inspiration Sandwich” by Sark and a little self help book I picked up a while back entitled “It’s Your Life, What Are You Doing With It?”. I’m making lists of what I think is feasible, I’m setting up coffee and lunch dates with a variety of friends who know or do some of the things I’m considering. There’s a few of them. I have a short attention span, I like multi-tasking, it’s really the only way I can think and work to be honest, is by doing 10 things at once. I fail miserably if I’m only doing one thing at a time. I also thrive in chaos, thanks to my childhood, so maybe I can make this work this time. I have the support of my dear husband and many friends. What do I have to lose?