Oh, man. It has been a busy, busy few weeks for me. It’s been mostly good, but there’s still that monster of panic and anxiety lurking in the deep. It woke me this morning, the first morning in weeks I’ve been able to sleep in. I rolled to my left, wrapped my arm around my Fair Ginger Lover and my fingers found my son, sleeping soundly in the curve of his daddy’s body. My boys were dreaming away, so why was I awake?
I peeled myself out of bed, tiptoeing because God forbid I wake that little dinosaur-in-training. He’s been screeching nonstop all week and though my mind is racing from the vivid films I watched in my sleep, it’s still quiet outside my head and I’m going to enjoy it while I can!
So I came downstairs this morning, found the cat snuggled in my spot on the couch, though he may argue it is, in fact, his spot on the couch, shooed him off, (because it is MY spot on the couch) and here I sit, trying to figure out how to put into words, the roller coaster my life has been on this past few weeks.
Let’s take an inventory of my most recent month. I have taken a new position with an amazing organization. I’ll wait to go into details until I can post my business card (!!!) but I am thrilled to be part of something bigger than myself, something that serves our community, something that allows me to use my heart in my work. I get to speak to dozens of people every day, hear their stories, find solutions to their setbacks, and send them on their way with a renewed sense of hope. For all of the time I spent seeking out the same sort of people and services, it feels amazing to be able to give back. My karma is singing!
This week, especially, has been tremendous. I began two weeks ago. Already, I have risen to taking calls myself, holding down the office fort, and praise has been heaped upon me regarding how well I take the stress in stride. What is there to stress about? I realize I cannot help everyone, but the vast majority of callers have been given some hope and I hold onto that. I know that no matter how dire the situation may seem in the big picture, if I can sort out at least one detail in one person’s life, I will have made someone’s day better. That’s what I came to do. I’m here to help.
My boss has asked me if I’ve cried yet.
Yes, yes I have. I have cried in the car on the way home as I think about how low I dipped last month, wondering if I would be able to stay in this beautiful apartment. Wondering if I had made a huge mistake in transplanting our family back to my hometown. Wondering if my children would see me as a failure for leaving a bad job with good pay for a job I liked with little to no pay. Wondering if there was anything I could sell, anything I could part with that wouldn’t hurt too much. Wondering if I should consider finding a new home for my dog so I could make sure he would never end up at the pound, should I be forced into subsidized housing. (But after that one I laughed, knowing damn well I’d live in my truck before I lived without my Ziggy.)
But things have changed, and so much so for the better. I have left that job I liked with little to no pay, and replaced it with a job I was afraid I would never have. For years, I have taken jobs that have served as placeholders. I told myself, “I won’t be a waitress forever; this is just until I get a real job.” Every day I put on a uniform shirt, a little name badge, and an apron. I have put on a facade that I could no longer deny was degrading my very soul. I did not want to pretend with people anymore. I did not want to sell them something they did not need. I did not want to prostitute my conscience and sell myself for tips. Now, I work for a real wage, a real non-profit organization, a real cause, and real people with real problems. I find real solutions and receive real thanks and it makes me feel really, REALLY good.
For the first time since I began college almost ten years ago, I feel good about my decision to let it wait. I have spent so much time chasing something I still have not accomplished, but it has given me the leg up I needed, and maybe that’s all I needed it for. It sickens me to think I’m almost $50,000 in debt for something I still don’t have, but life has given me a strange set of circumstances and some have been expensive. If I could do it over again, I’d probably ditch the crappy ex-husband a lot sooner and finish what I started, but at the same time, if I had not slunk back home with my tail between my legs, I would never have been given the opportunity to set that regret on fire with the spark my love has reignited in me.
And I can tell you this, the life I have built in the last five years is worth far, far more than $50,000.