I don’t mean a retrospective “What if” as in, “What if I had only…”
More along the lines of, “What if I really CAN do that?”
For as long as I can remember, people have been telling me that I am a compelling writer. A compelling writer in need of an editor, definitely- but, people often tell me that the way I tell a story is at the very least, interesting.
Problem is, I have four books now. They sit in files on my computer like a garage full of projects in various states of disrepair, scattered thoughts laying on their sides and just…doing nothing. Every now and again, I will pick them up, dust them off, and tinker a little, but mostly, I lack the initiative to do much about it. Some of that is, “Oh, I suck. This is stupid.” Some of that is, “Who’d wanna read that anyway?” And, even more of that is, “Every time I make time to write, something happens and I can’t focus for shit.”
Any one who has known me for very long knows I am also Queen of the Hairbrained Idea That Goes Absolutely Nowhere. I’m actually somewhat proud that it’s usually just the result of failing. I try and fall on my butt, or, I try and realize that I am in over my head. Sometimes, I try and realize it wasn’t the good idea I thought it was in the first place. Point being, and what I am proud of: I try. I sometimes get called a “flake”- which, you know, I am totally fine with. I’m a flake who isn’t going to settle on something less than. In the meantime, I’m blessed to have people around me who, though probably thinking I am a flake, still rally together, still support. Random twists of fate also support that. It is, however, exhausting. The only things I’ve ever truly known is that 1. I don’t want to be a slave to the “normal” 9-5 kind of life or, well, the kind of depressing resignation that comes of working the low-rent gigs available to my skill set. I do when I have to, but it’s definitely not my long term cup of tea and 2. I don’t want to be a slave to a monster debt that often comes along for the ride when you’re scrapping to educate yourself to get up OUT of that situation.
I’m finding myself in a weird place, here, lately. I’ve been friends with Sandi for years. She and I met via a work at home board where we were both helping other people find freelance jobs, and actively worked on scrapping for our own incomes. I watched her story unfold with my own eyes. She and I- both people who would sit in front of the glowy green of a computer screen eeking out a living. She wasn’t happy with it, or, well, not fully satisfied. Knew she could do better. Started small. Planting, growing, then selling. I watched Hexamus Farms pretty much be born. For someone like me, a perpetual dreamer: that’s awesome. I mean, we all read these wonderfully inspiring stories, but how often do you know the person that made it happen? How often do you get to watch it all unfold on a personal level? I did. I’ll tell you- that’s one of the big reasons I don’t completely loathe social media. Because, well, I got to see that.
An inspiring story really only goes so far with people. Human interest may prompt people to go the extra mile, but generally speaking: you smile, you think, “That’s great!” and you move on after the feel good. The lessons I took away from our mutual freelance days were many- I knew that I absolutely loved helping people. When someone did come to me with the right mindset about working from home: magic would happen. I could rant for days on that one- probably one out of every ten who would knew it was going to be a discipline thing, it was going to be an actual busting your butt thing, and took the chance, ran with it and made it work. One took my bright eyed optimistic ideals, made it work, then twisted it into something ugly- started exploiting people for her own gain. Made me puke. But by and large those who did take my advice- made it work. I love that. I love helping someone who thinks that they have no options and I love watching them find the options to change their lives.
I still do that, from time to time, but, mostly these days- I find myself doing some more digging on my own, for my own. Because I don’t particularly like working for SEOs and content providers. I got a couple of good clients, but mostly- the stunner sort of switcheroo came with my relationship and ensuing pregnancy. I’d been the breadwinner for years. I’m still wibbly wobbly on my feet adjusting to the fact that, now I am not. Kurt is. Between Jim and Kurt, I have no pressure to perform, no need to worry: yet, in that, I worry quite a bit because this is totally unfamiliar ground. And now, I get to ask, “What if?”
Don’t think I am unaware of how privileged that makes me. I’m totally humbled by that. And grateful. Very, very grateful. I firmly believe you can do anything you set your mind to- but I also know damn well how hard it is to set your mind to doing anything but surviving when you do not have a chance like this. When the fear and exhaustion of being extremely poor come together, it’s nearly disabling. It takes hope out behind the bar, and turns life into a dark alley- then proceeds to beat the shit out of hope. But it doesn’t kill it. Not unless you really give in and die- or live dead. Living dead is another rant all together, though.
Jim and I have a common love of dogs. It is the kind of love that makes sacrifices for what most would think is a “lesser animal”. (I don’t, and I don’t speak for him, but I’m pretty sure he doesn’t see them as “lesser” either.) He had been trying to rescue out of state dogs for some time now- loads of places have much worse laws about pit bulls, in particular. Transport is always an issue with those places. Well, he was in contact with someone about a dog in Arizona. I spoke with her and really, it took every thing I had not to just chirp, “Oh yes! We will help!” but, I did. I’m still not quite used to consulting a partner about things- but, I stopped a moment, muted the phone and told Kurt what was going on. Next thing I knew, we were talking about going to Arizona to help get this dog. Then…another. Tell you the truth, looking through the Phoenix shelter’s photos on Facebook is gut wrenching. We do have local animals in need- but even in Saint Louis, the sheer volume is nothing like I saw there.
Arizona has always held a special place in my heart, and I’d always wanted to get back out there. I was (And am) just over the moon about being able to put those two together. Well, three, actually: because I know how much Jim’s wanted to be able to do something like this for a while now, and that adds yet another element into the mix- making him happy, which makes ME happy and…yeah.
It wasn’t too long ago that someone in the homesteading bloggers community suggested I monotize a youtube page, too. He painted a very realistic picture- and toss in my interest in the paranormal, Kurt and I have been digging a little and ….there’s…a weird spark of, “What if?” to it all that is nigh on intoxicating to me. Multiple opportunities converging in a way that isn’t just a nudge, but a big push.
So, here I sit, this morning on the verge of yet another hair brained “What if?” wondering, well, “What if?” and thinking.
Could I really go from the solid foundation of Jim’s original act of kindness, take it and turn it into my own dreams unfolding while at the same time, helping him to rescue animals and a whole slew of other things?
Right now, it’s all potential and a few scattered bits of hope sliding into the cracks of a side walk and I am, as always, ever curious to see what grows.