About work

Some days I feel really good about life and about me. I’ve been doing so much work, hard work, in order to grow and change and get stronger and better. Sometimes I can feel that difference, I know I’m stronger and better than I used to be. Sometimes I know the hard work is worth it, and I want to keep going.

Sometimes the only thing I can think about is that I don’t have a paying job, and that’s the only work that matters in the world. Because I don’t have that, I don’t have anything worthwhile. Because I’m not working harder, impossibly hard to make a new paying gig happen, I’m useless.

Some situations and people make me feel more the first way. Some make me feel like the second. Today has been torn, waffling back and forth between. I’ve done some good personal work and some good house work and now I’m doing some writing work and I’d like to do more writing work before the day is over, but I struggle to feel like it matters. Because I don’t have work. You know, work work. The kind that everyone calls “work.” As if the rest of our lives aren’t all work too.

I’ve written so much in this space about fear and fighting with fear, and some of it seems like it’s changed, and some of it doesn’t seem to have changed at all. How deep does fear really go? Because on a lot of days I’m totally afraid to even try to find work that pays. It’s a hopeless cause. It just is. Even if it’s somehow not a hopeless cause, I’m afraid of restarting the cycle I escaped from last year — finding a stifling corporate job, like a nice padded coffin, where the days and years slip by and I get disillusioned and crazy and hate where I am but am too scared and weak to leave. I’ve lived that once, and it was once too many times. I can’t force myself to walk back in that direction. I’ve tried. I can’t do it. But I don’t know anything else.

Is there something else? Is there a possible other way, a way that actually fits me, where I can do some good in the world and not get tired and crazy? I’m not scared of hard work. I like to work hard. I like big projects and getting things done. But I have no idea how to find the chance, how to find a place to do it. I don’t know who would want me.

It doesn’t matter how much I’ve learned about being strong and not giving up. Today I can’t beat the fear. I don’t know if I will ever beat the fear and find new paying work, instead of just the rest-of-life work I have now. Today I’m just plain scared. I have no idea what to do but own that, and hope it’s not the last word.

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