The fight

Some days the words that want writing are beautiful and clear and easy to find, and are a simple joy.  Some days the words want chasing, and they may still be beautiful, if one is able to seek them out, and occasionally they are all the sweeter for the search.

Other days, though, the words are clear, and one’s immediate desire is to turn and walk the other way.  To just be silent, rather than say the thing that is waiting to be said.

Nine months ago my old job ended.  I’ve been living since on mostly savings, thankful that I had enough savings to live on, but those are mostly gone.  I’m down to the reserves, and today I’m fighting hard against the panic this situation tries to induce.

Many people have lived and are living similar stories.  Every one of them has their own circumstances and their own struggles, their own panics and their own hardships.  This is about mine.  This is about the truth I don’t want to see and don’t want to own is mine.

Here’s the part that feels shameful: I’ve had months and months since my last job, and I haven’t been looking for a new one.  Perhaps now and then, in a very desultory way, I have skimmed job listings and toyed with the idea of freelance work.  But fundamentally, I’ve been avoiding the whole damn business.  Everyone close to me know it, including myself; not fooling anyone, and I’m not happy to have been an avoider and deserter, but this is nonetheless the case.  I haven’t been looking seriously for a new work situation, and today I feel like I’m stuck and in trouble, and it’s my own fault, and I hate that.  I hate that I have done this thing to myself.

Not the whole story, though, not yet.  I left the old job mired in depression and burn-out, unhealthy and grim, and I know why I haven’t looked for the next thing: fear and hatred.  Fear of landing back, ultimately, in that depressed, unhealthy and unhopeful place.  Hatred of a system that pays people for time rather than work, that steals their lives and health and only gives them money in return.  I’m not using hyperbole here; hatred is exactly the right word for what I feel toward the way mainstream work is mostly structured in the modern world.

Nonetheless, a girl still has to pay the bills, and today I am struggling hard against feeling trapped.  I feel like I’m going to be crushed, one way or another; either with horrible anxiety about not being able to pay for stuff I need, or with another soul-killing job situation that will undo all of the hard, good work I’ve done this year in healing and growing.  The thing I need to do now is be calm, organize myself and find a new income.  The thing I am doing is being stressed and feeling like I need to do every relevant job-looking thing AT ONCE, RIGHT NOW.  I want out of this pinched place I have created for myself, and I rather hate myself at the moment for constructing this pinched place and inserting myself into it.

Fear is a horrible, horrible thing.  It creeps and lurks, whispers and misdirects, fits itself into our corners and manipulates us like marionettes, pulling our strings so deftly that we don’t even know we are being danced to their tune.  Sometimes we get a hint of them, but it’s as though they are draped in a Doctor Who-style perception filter, making us simply not want to look at what’s sitting there in plain sight.  You can only glimpse them from the corner of your eye, and it’s so much easier not to look.  Until the day we really do look, can no longer put off seeing that which is present, and then fear raises itself up into a monster, like Tolkien’s balrog, all shadow and flame and ancient, powerful evil.  Even knowing the monster is all shadow and no substance, it’s still hard to face it.  To want to face it, and know the only possible way to disperse the fear is walk through the middle and risk getting burned.

My lurking fears have risen up today into balrog-monsters, and I am daunted and paralyzed in the face of them.

I am not going to be eaten by fear.  My body is still full of stress and tears, but I am not going to listen to them, even when convulsed and weeping.  I will claim and reclaim the truth I know, even if I don’t feel it now: God is on my side, and he is not done here, not out of options, not in the least baffled.  I have grown in so many good ways this year, faced down other monsters, and I’m the one that’s still here, not them.  I have a wonderful family and such good friends, I have skills and ideas and things to say, I feel driven to go forward toward doing some good in the world.  As much as I hate the typical system in which it happens, I like to work.  I like getting things done.  I especially like helping other people get important stuff done.  Somewhere, there’s a place for me to do that.  Just because I don’t know where it is yet, doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist.

Sometimes the thing that needs saying is unpretty and hard, and tonight that’s what I have to say.  I am not eloquent and I have no conclusions, but I won’t be quiet.  The fear-monster wants me to shut up, and that’s why I’m writing unpretty, unpolished words.  That’s why I’m telling the world about what a twit I’ve been and how scared I feel.  Because this post is a kick in the fear-monster’s damned ugly face.  Claiming my own fear and stupidity is the first step toward changing them.

Bring it.


6 comments so far

  1. InJuneau on


  2. Dee on

    Geeze, Louise, who wants pretty and polished when you can experience the liberation of honesty? You have already accomplished the major task of disengaging from a job that was without apology sucking the blood from your veins, and as you stated, you are alive a well, and full of ideas that you are capable of investigating.
    You can do this. Say YES

  3. naomi on

    Good for you. Also *hugs*.

  4. Dee on

    p.s. sounds to me like you have been doing a lot since you left your job. i think regrouping is necessary and i also think it is a state of immense activity, despite the fact that it may be a kind of activity we have in the past dismissed as not being legitimate.
    add my hugs too..

  5. Mardi on

    you go, girl! inspiration for all of us – I mean it.

  6. Cat on

    Hugs and good luck with fighting the demons.

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