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Archive for February, 2011

It’s done.  The monster that has haunted me for so long found its end with the closing of January.  It was a bitter fight, but I managed to prevail, if only by the barest of margins.  It took me a while to recover from that marathon.  After sweating about it for so long, it left me empty.  My husband opined that I was suffering postpartum depression, having birthed my baby and handed it off to the real world.  Sometimes he just annoys the hell out of me with his insights.

I’m talking about the novel, of course.  Finally finished the writing after fifteen months and now it’s off to several people for critique.  Once those comments come back, I’ll do a final polish on it and start sending off query letters to agents.  If I’m repped I have a better chance of getting published at one of the “better” publishing houses, not to mention probably a better advance and overall contract.  Yeah, there’s a growing market with print-on-demand and self-publishing, but, despite the struggles the publishing industry is suffering, it’s still the gold standard.  I figure I’ll start at the top and work my way down.  You only get to the moon if you actually shoot for it.

Ironically enough, I finish the writing and the job market starts to open up.  I’ve actually had a real interview for one job, and finally got a top-tier placement company to notice me, after I-don’t-know-how-many applications I sent in for jobs they had listed.  Got to talk to an actual person face-to-face.  Blew the doors of their tests and left the placement counselor baffled as to why I was still unemployed.  Right there with you, sister.

But it also opened up a whole ‘nother can-o-worms:  I don’t wanna.

The thought of going back to the land of 9-5, power suits, office politics, thermostat wars, and whiny execs who can’t find their own butts in the dark has actually made me nauseous.  It is a visceral, physical response the likes of which I have never experienced.  The logical mind understands it for the anxiety attack it is and tries to work past it.  But the emotional mind just bull-dozes it all and I find myself wondering how to get my big fat ass under the bed to hide with the cats.

I was side-tracked for so long in cubicle-ville and so unhappy for most of that time.  Yes, I’m good at being an administrator.  Damn good, in fact.  And I can partition myself so those at work will never know just how much I don’t want to be there.  Once given a job, I don’t know how to do it half-assed:  I can only give it the best I can all the time because that’s the work ethic that was instilled in me from my parents.  But it’s a good thing the average person can’t read minds, ‘cause some of the evil fantasies I’ve had about some of the people I’ve worked with would scare the likes of Stephen King.

All those years I was a good little soldier in the fight for the American Dream, I was miserable.  My bills were paid, my chores were done, I kept up with the Joneses, but I was crippled creatively.  I was so mentally exhausted from dealing with the office bullshit and the sheeple that perpetuated it I couldn’t do anything that entailed tapping into that right brain stuff.  I found myself rotting away from the inside out, losing more and more of who and what I really was and turning into another empty shell just going through the motions.

Two years ago I had a good job with a well-respected firm.  I actually liked most of the people I worked with, and I enjoyed being financially stable enough to not have to worry about how the bills were going to be paid or if we could afford to hop out to the movies one night.  But I was dead inside.  A putrid cancer rotted my soul and I realized that had happened because I had stifled the real heart of me.  I found myself having a serious conversation with the Goddess, wondering where I needed to go, asking for guidance, a hint, a bat up-side the head, something.  A week later I was let go.

It was oddly liberating.

The logical, practical side was scared to death, even with the nice severance package and the coming unemployment.  But the creative, intuitive side was overjoyed at the opportunity.  Within a few weeks I had returned to my natural state, up until the wee hours of the morning and sleeping until noon and doing all those creative things that had been so hard before.  For those two years, and despite the perpetual fight with my chronic depression, I’ve actually been more at peace and happier than I’ve been in a long time.  I know it probably sounds oxymoronic to be a happy depressive, but trust me on that one.

But now it looks like I’ve been told my time is up.  The unemployment is ending, I’m not making any money as a writer yet, and my husband can’t carry the bills by himself.  I have to get back to The Office.  Not that I haven’t been trying for the last two years, but now it has become a red-alert imperative.  It means shelving the creativity and hoping the metaphorical cancer that has been in remission doesn’t explode into full bloom again.

And then there’s waiting for the commentary to come back on my novel.  The wonder at what the readers will say.  This is the first time anyone outside of family and class mates (and a couple Hollywood types) has read any of my stuff and I find myself worried.  Not if they hate it or love it.  Those extremes can be dealt with in their own ways.  But what if it’s just okay?  What if it’s just ordinary?  What if there’s not anything really special about it?  It’s not failure or success I fear:  it’s mediocrity.

For awhile I had my dream, but now it looks like the nightmare is back.  I just want to know who I pissed off in one of those past lives, that keeps me from being one of those people who gets to make good money at something they love.

Damned if I do and damned if I don’t.

I was hoping I deserved better than that.

(c) 2011  Cheri K. Endsley.  All Rights Reserved.

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