Mi.Vida leaves for a five day trip late Tuesday.
This evening I had one of those realizations that I can’t, I just can’t be underwater before he leaves. I need to be standing on solid ground. Getting there is going to require a lot of work.
I know some of you hosted Healing Salons this weekend. I wanted to apologize for not participating. While I’m sure that the discussion generated in these “rooms” will be beneficial for some, it’s not right for me. I’m realizing as I move farther and farther away from the drama of last week that it has fundamentally changed me as a blogger and transformed my relationship with this community. And while I do think some important discussions should be had, I doubt anyone wants to participate in them, because they ask the truly difficult questions, questions I don’t think this community is ready to answer yet. And that’s okay. Perhaps they are unanswerable.
Last Monday, when all the shit was going down on Mel’s blog, I was at a local cafe writing my feature for the magazine I volunteer with (I took a personal day from work to get it done). I must admit, sitting there, researching and writing, I felt happier than I have in a long, long time. That feeling of bliss, after so many months of feeling so unhappy at my current job, has prompted me to look long and hard at what I want to do with my life.
On Friday I met with a woman who has authored and illustrated several children’s book. She was kind enough to meet with me to read my book and give me some pointers on how to look for a publisher. I’m also writing a piece about her for the magazine, where she will, coincidentally enough, give advice on how to get started as a writer and illustrator of children’s book.
I felt at home with this woman and I enjoyed our discussion immensely. She assured me that if I wanted it enough, I would probably eventually get published, but she also admitted that it took her a full five years to get published. I have to admit, that was disheartening to hear. Trucking back home in the cold wind, with my tired and cranky daughter in tow, I realized that my book probably wouldn’t be published anytime soon, if ever, and if I wanted to do this, really write and illustrate, I’d need to make a significant commitment to the endeavor. And I’m not sure this is what I want to do. I’m not sure how many more stories I have to tell. And I know we don’t have the resources to support a full fledged commitment to this path. I also know that writing and illustrating my first book required an incredible amount of time and energy on my part, and left our apartment, and my relationship, in disarray. I don’t know if I can continue to write and illustrate while working full time and being a mother. It just might be too much.
Needless to say, between Monday’s bliss, Friday’s reality check and the drudgery of the school days in between, I’m totally clueless what my next steps should be. I doubt I’d be able to get there even if I did decide on a final destination, which makes thinking about it feel self-indulgent and foolish. I just wish I knew what I wanted to do with my life. I wish I had a definite calling, one I was sure was worth the sacrifice on my part and my family’s. In the meantime I’ll continue to write, here and at the magazine, I’ll continue to try to sell my book, but with little hope it will be published, and I will keep teaching to support my family.
For most of my life my job has been about making money – I have worked to support myself and now work to support my family. Trying my hand at writing for the magazine and writing and illustrating my book have shown me what it could be like if my job were about much more than making money – if it were about fulfilling a much deeper personal calling. I wish I could do work that fulfills both my personal and financial needs and I don’t know if I’m being negative or realistic when I assume that doing so will never be possible.