Little bit of a backstory about me: In 2005, I got pregnant with the ever delightful Sprog 2. While the little Aidertot is in fact, one of the biggest loves of my life- his pregnancy and birth was absolutely one of the most physically and emotionally …aaaaah, it was like a wrecking ball. First off, my then-husband was working at a humane society. A small one, with very little funding. They told him that he was going to get a promotion in a month. Then another month. Then another. If you think anyone in shelter work is in it for the money, find someone to slap you on the back of the head. Turn over rates are actually pretty insane at shelters, particular kill shelters, as this one was- with good reason. (He actually wrote a Craigslist rant, which did go viral- but people took it and added things in that he never said. I can’t find it just now- but it goes into for-profit euths, and he had NO part in any of that.)
In the beginning, being broke aside, the pregnancy wasn’t so bad. The usual puking, tired, but pretty much thrilled thing applied. I worked as a dietician at a local elder care place and we were just barely getting by. (Which, point of fact- I was utterly terrified of the elderly when I started, but ended up both loving and hating the job later. LOVED the people, absolutely loathed their families for dumping them and just forgetting them. That’s an anecdote for another time.) We were living in a very old Victorian-style house, again- we both loved it and had plans to fix it up. One day, I was going downstairs to do some laundry and the cat tripped me. I fell down the stairs. I was bleeding and cramping, so we went to the hospital. Now, anyone local to that particular hospital can tell you: it’s a dump and it should have been shut down years ago. It is rife with stories of gross …uh, can I even use the word without courting legal trouble? I won’t. You get the idea. We were told I was miscarrying. We were told there was nothing we could do. They asked me to book a D and C- and I didn’t even think. I just refused. The full phrase I used had quite a few more swears, but the general gist of it was, “Absolutely not.” I said that if I was miscarrying, I’d rather do it at home, where I was in comforting surroundings. They gave me care instructions and we went home. If you’ve read The Fish’s birth story, you know: instinctual momma listens to her instincts.
We were spiraling pretty quickly, moneywise. I was scared out of my mind, so I turned to the internet. I wondered if there were ways I could still make money. Instantly, landed on phone sex. I thought, “Well, heck, I come from a theatre family.”
Matthew’s response was, “Yes, but your sense of humour, ah, man, I don’t know about this.”
And he was right. I laughed so hard I am pretty sure I gave that poor guy on the other end of the line a complex.
Things got really, really bad. Then, I discovered that my talent for counseling others and my hobby could come together. If you’ve ever been on late night tv and seen ads proclaiming you can find out your future, your destiny, does he love you and all manner of things, if you just text whatever number in to whatever number? I did that. For a couple of companies. I used to be embarrassed by these things: but the truth is, the very same people who were judging me based on that would have also judged me based on being on welfare (Which we were at one point) and probably also for not being a stay at home mom. Well, I found a way to be a stay at home mom and work, while still keeping to doctor’s orders. And, I pretty much learned no matter what you do, someone’s going to make the cat butthole face at you: so you may as well do as you will, anyway. Still, Matthew’s promotion never came. After Aidan was born, I went ahead and took a part time job at an Arby’s. I got into vocational rehabilitation, and started going to college. (I am in fact, tenacious to a point of being stupid. Seriously.)
We got a really weird power bill that made no sense. They were charging us a couple of thousand and no matter who I called, they refused to do anything about it. We were on some weird payment plan because the winter months hit us hard, but the bill also included gas- and point of fact: that house didn’t have anything that ran on gas. I called the attorney general’s office. I did a lot of research. But in the meantime- we went to stay with a friend because we didn’t have the $500 spare bucks just laying around, and until we paid it, we had no power in the house. My big mouth and quirks of fate or whatever have been known to save my bacon, since I was a kid. One afternoon, I happened upon a news piece about a book. That book was Nickle and Dimed, by Barbara Ehrenreich. I had hit a point where I was just sick of reading about people who did these little experiments, because they do so with the knowledge that they’ll be returning to their lives. Poor people don’t have that luxury. You can be as pugnacious and determined as you want- but you’re still living in fear, was the gist of my comment. She hired me to write about it. (I’ll tell you, in retrospect? I can see my own glaring naive privilege blasting through in that essay. Working with UNICEF has opened my eyes and broken my heart in the best ways.)
Wow, that’s a long preamble. Anyway- so, basically, I bounced around, busting my butt until finally, I found myself doing content writing, dabbling in internet marketing. Let me tell you, for someone who loathes commercialism, it just doesn’t get much more soul-gutting than that. (My favorite bit by Bill Hicks comes from Revelations and you betcha. Language warning for those it bothers- but do yourself a favor? Open your mind enough to see past being offended. Hicks was a truth bearer. Big time. Remember, all your Biblical heroes, in their time were quite offensive to that society, also.) I started helping others learn to do this with a friend, got some attention for that. I think a big part of me thought I could get around the gut check by helping people who otherwise couldn’t find work, find work through it.
Somewhere along the lines, I discovered this blog- How To Quit Your Job, Move to Paradise, and Get Paid to Change The World. BEEEONG. It still resonates with me, to this day. I started dreaming about taking it back to the land, I’d always wanted to simplify life, I’d always wanted to rescue animals, help, be a part of some solution, DO SOMETHING. Nothing clicked. Nothing came together. There was no simple “Aw, look at my platitude, it’s not falling apart, it’s falling into place!” moment. No hallmark stuff. No sudden personal truths revealed. Just a slow, creeping hope, combined with the abject terror of self doubt. I promise you now, I am the most Fortunate Fool you will ever meet, too. Man, I don’t know anyone else who gets scooped up and saved as many times as I have, in such random ways. I’ve made a life journey of falling flat on my face. Right now, I’m still not where I’d like to be. Not by a longshot. Heck, I am not even entirely sure WHERE I want to be, but I’ve got a good idea.
When I was a kid, some thought I’d go into ministry. No kidding. Can you imagine this foul mouthed, skeptical yet awe-struck little dork preaching in front of your church? Don’t, because it won’t ever happen. Though, yes, I suppose you’d call me a believer: I won’t step foot into a church that spends grotesque amounts of money on glorifying its pastor, and if your pulpit looks like an altar: you do. There. I said it. If a church craps all over notions of liberty, peace, and loving your fellow man or woman? Again, not with a ten foot pole. Ministry appeals, but ministry the verb, not the noun and I promise you: I’ve got absolutely no desires in this arena. Fact is, as much as I do like to talk, I do my spiritual business in silence. Why do I bring this up? Because in my own sorta (Gag) journey- my faith has helped me. But it’s not just my faith in my inner light, it’s faith in people. Faith in humanity. It wobbles to and fro from time to time, but I have seen so much good come of human kindness. So much love. So much giving. Not because a book told them to, not because they’d been groomed- but because. Feeling this way will break your heart, it will shatter your soul into a million pieces, and if you let it: it’ll make you hate people. I’m not exactly keen on them, which probably seems odd. Ruminate on it a while, you’ll figure it out.
I don’t believe that whatever your own personal inner light is, it has to be “of God”, because, well, I respect the fact that not everyone believes as I do. As such, if I speak of that, and I often do- your inner light may just be you. I mean no disrespect in acknowledging what I believe mine to be, and so, in closing- all I’m trying to say here is that I’m pretty sure mine’s this weird mish mash of things. At this point, while I might not know exactly where I am going with things, I have a general idea and it’s based on what hits me in my guts, what feels right and what I’m passionate about. My light.
I can’t tell you how to quit your job and move to paradise. I can’t tell you how to reach your dream. What I can tell you is- sometimes, the biggest moments of clarity you’ll have just suck. They suck, they hurt, and when you land on your butt- the only way to stop hurting the bruise is to get back up on your feet and walk it off. That’s just the way it goes, man.
I can also tell you that some nights, you don’t dream. Some nights, you don’t remember your dreams. Some nights, you have nightmares, and some nights, you remember. Some nights, your dreams don’t make any sense at all. Other nights, they’re perfect and wonderful.
“But I, being poor, have only my dreams;
I have spread my dreams under your feet;
Tread softly because you tread on my dreams.”