Making My Own Way/ Re-Routing Integrity

I wrote the following 3 Months ago, before accepting the very job that I wrote (and warned myself,) about. The same job that took up all of my energy and ability for the past 2 and a half months, leaving me too spent to continue my thoughts or monthly blog posts. I quit my job (again,) after the final straws of anxiety and exhaustion broke my back.

I’ve revisited the draft to remind myself of what my intuition was already telling me before I dove into the perils and efforts of over-working myself for the sake of a $10/hr full-time non-profit wage… And I’m continuing the conversation with myself that I started 3 months ago; Trying to discover and uncover the ultimate happy-medium of work and life… whatever that is.

I just had a wave of excitement and inspiration telling me to start my own shit;
I went on an interview the other day and although I felt like I made them laugh and made a great impression, I couldn’t help feeling my anxieties over the shift changes, the irregular hours, the emotional labor involved in the responsibility over the lives of others. I felt the anxiety of constantly remembering the underpaid hours I would spend wishing I was working on my “own thing”, on being unstable and happy and irrational and full of passion for hours on end.
And I’ve been rationalizing the need for stable hours, for regular pay, no matter how low for half the effort of “doing my own thing.” And now, just when I’m comfortable and content living out mediocrity and what would still be my own special mission- I have abandoned ship. been trying to move back in perspective and see the problem as blandly and blankly as what it is- a decision between wants and goals.
I want steady income. I want to help people. I want to have insurance. I want to have paid vacations. I want to have security.
But when it comes to goals, I want steady income that doesn’t tax my body or soul to levels that hurt me. I want to help people through art and expression. I want to have enough health to only need insurance for random illnesses rather than chronic fatigue and physical issues traced to the very job given to me. I just want therapy. I want to be able to schedule my vacations whenever. I want to have the peace of mind knowing every night when I go to sleep, that I have been making and meeting my ultimate goals.
They say not to turn what you love into a job, because it will suck the fun out of it, the creativity of it…but truth be told that already happened when I went to school for it. Having the full time job of school in creativity made it a burden. And so i’ve already been treating my creativity as a job. I just haven’t made the plunge in making my own separate way with what I’ve learned. I’ve just been hoping that someone at some point would show up and offer me the fees I deserve with no provocation. But if I’ve already been having to make that decision and those moves for myself before, what makes this time so much different?
I finally have a stable home, stable food, and a stable sustainable way of life with people I love who love me back, again. Why waste and rock that stability with the addition of so many layers of stress through underpaid work?
Just because I’d be good at something doesn’t mean I was meant to serve that purpose. I need to keep reminding myself of this, constantly. Always. And I need to never forget it. I need to remember that not every opportunity is for me, and that I need to keep emotional balance in mind first and foremost.
And I need to find and remember the integrity to do so.
To demand payment for my labor, on my terms and in my wages.
To find my ganas de vivir in my day to day,
by doing what makes me most happy, every day.
By following in what I do by examining how it best feeds into my goals.
The problem is always the timing. always the timing.
thinking that I’m totally done today with all the yesterdays worries and whining. To remember that there is still much to do that I haven’t even started. To remember that my privilege (is) in (my) ability to live for free at this moment. (That) time is a privilege I need to wield proudly in the direction of my career decisions. To use my ability to survive for free right now in loosening the shackles of my need to have a ready-made job, with all the comforts that I could only afford with sacrifice. I gotta keep that integrity somehow.

And I’m back to keeping the integrity.

After that job turned out to be everything I feared yet everything I wanted at the moment… And I don’t regret it, for a second.

I learned so much about local resources that I could one day use to help others with, and for that I’m so grateful. Hours of training that triggered and re-traumatized me from Domestic and Sexual Violence have helped me be able to maintain my calm in the face of fear and another’s trauma. Hours of gauging safety and lethality in situations have helped me now maintain a steady head and hand in making logistical decisions in my day-to-day life. And I have pages and packets on so many topics that interest and affect me now, that I could use in the future by being a resource to others.

I could be grateful for days and years but it wouldn’t change the fact that the job wore me out and weakened my immune system to the point of anxiety attacks and collapse. It wouldn’t change the fact that I was taking 3 melatonin, holy basil oil, and hemp capsules just to sleep, and then drinking a kombucha per shift to wake up and relax into alternating shift hours. It wouldn’t change the pain and fear I felt realizing I would probably need to go to a doctor to get something stronger to be able to relax, much less sleep. And knowing that the only relationship I’d ever had with medication was one of no restraint and irresponsible dosage, I didn’t know how I’d be able to handle a new medication.

That last fear in particular was the one that tipped me over the edge in my decision; knowing that I would literally sacrifice my personal integrity for the sake of a full-time job was the last thing I wanted to realize.

But in realizing it, I renewed my integrity in doing what I love and nothing less.

Financially and mentally I’m still not ready to “start my own shit” and take on the responsibility of depending solely on myself to develop opportunities; but I’m going to here on out only take opportunities that make me happy and fulfilled.

I am going to use my privilege in shelter and safety to allow myself to not pummel and push myself into another job that only fulfilled 3/4 of my needs, and 1/4 of my goals. I want to be all in and passionate. I want to be fulfilled and full of life again.

And I want the balance and peace I lost over this expanse of time that I’ve been chasing what media and other millenials claim to be our ultimate goal; a job that makes us look like adults and reliable and smart and financially stable.

Fuck that noise.

If you’re out there struggling with your mental health and the demands of others your age and your social media telling you that you’ll never be anything until you are some ideal of stable and grown- you’ll never get there, and never be happy.

I learned that shit the hard way, and ain’t turning back to personal torture for the sake of professional gain- especially when the profession isn’t exactly the one of my choosing.

Cheers and love to all my millenial, debt-ridden, mentally grief-stricken babies out there. We will get it “right” one day. And not right in the way that everyone else is telling us is the one-size-fits-all version of adulthood; the right way for each one of us, personally and professionally.

May you be well, May you be happy, May you be free from suffering

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