The day I wrote about losing confidence in my writing, I discovered a television series called “800 Words.”
“It’s a sign!” I thought. The show is on the Acorn channel (British-y programming). It’s about an Australian columnist, a widower with two kids, whose column always comes in at exactly 800 words.
That’s a game I love to play, too. He even uses the same trick of hyphenating-things-to-count-as-one-word.
It’s more about grief and the stupid impulsive decisions (often stupid financial decisions) you make when coping with loss.
I watched the first episode of the first season and was hooked.
And then I discovered I had to pay a subscription fee to watch the rest of it.
Curses! I coughed up my Roku account and subscribed.
More money spent that I shouldn’t be spending, without a day job.
That sent me into another spiral of anxiety and doubt.
How could it be a sign? Yes, I like to write blog posts of exactly 800 words – but my book is 60,000 words.
The protagonist on the show actually had a job as a newspaper columnist, left it, and was coaxed back.
I’ve lost or had to leave jobs I wanted and was never, ever “coaxed” or asked back. It was more like “don’t let the door hit you on your way out. Buh-bye.”
My recent job search experiences make me feel like I couldn’t buy a job – if I had any money to spend – which makes me more anxious about getting a job.
I’ve got an idea for a business, bought the domain, and I’m hoping to get a website designed and the business going by September.
But the numbers for this blog (over 5,300 views and 2,300 visitors, but only 162 followers) indicate I suck at social media self-promotion.
I’m going to have to force myself to return to Facebook to build pages for this blog again and for my new business. AAAAAK!!
I’d rather curl up in a little fetal ball and pull the covers over my head, but as I lie there whimpering, I’d be picturing myself wearing a name tag, saying things like, “would you like fries with that?” or “have you tried our new spicy shrimp?” or “can I get you that dress in another size?”
Between the morning workouts and the yard work and the house work and grocery shopping and the meal preparation and the caring for and helping Angelic Daughter, I can’t seem to find the time to write more than one or two blog posts a week, and no time at all to search for other places to submit writing for a chance to get paid.
Much less apply for that glorious future name tag job.
All the job search engines I’ve got going keep sending me jobs that have nothing to do with me.
LinkedIn seems to think I’m a nurse or other health-care worker, just because I’m looking for jobs in non-profits, and there’s a big non-profit hospital near me.
Glassdoor keeps sending me technical writing jobs that I probably could do but I’m sure I’d never get hired for, and the idea of making a mistake writing technical manuals or pharmaceutical label information sends me into paroxysms of anxiety.
All the NPO’s want fundraisers (“development” people) but asking people for money makes me squirm, and researching how much money people might have to give makes me feel like a creepy voyeur.
I indulge in silly rescue fantasies, typically involving younger men who know how to do things, and who are willing to do them for me, for free.
And who then move in and pay for things.
While also making wild, passionate love to me.
Hey, I said it was a fantasy.
I’ve figured out what’s wrong with me, and what went wrong in my career, but I can’t fix the past and the past follows me everywhere I go.
I try to focus on the now – on the incredible, cool air we have today, on the squash blossoms growing in the former chicken run, on the green beans starting to come in.
But I spend more time feeling frustrated by the dozens of bean seeds I planted that haven’t sprouted at all.
I’m a whiny, self-doubting mess.
The ancestresses are getting restless – I hear them telling me to get my ass outside and weed something. Not self-improvement, but yard-improvement, at least.
Perhaps other improvements will follow.
And as for signs?
Just as I was editing that line about anxiety and doubt, a monarch butterfly fluttered down and landed on the beans.
The ones that are growing.
Thanks for the Sign, Mike – of love and understanding – and the reminder to enjoy this beautiful day and stop taking myself so seriously.
Because what matters is now.
About-to-get-sweaty-and-dirty-and-feel-virtuous-about-it, I remain,