Ladyguide: How to Keep on Keepin’ On

The past couple of months have been very hard for me. I’ve been jobless and broke, and I know that a lot of you are in the same position. My normally optimistic demeanor began to fade and an oppressive fear began to take its place. This fear was unlike any that I had experienced before. I mean I’ve been scared of things, everyone has, but this was different. It was a new fear, the fear that things were never going to change, and that maybe my life would always be this hard. That maybe I wouldn’t ever have a stable and healthy life.

I gained an awareness in the darkness. In what seemed like a hopeless situation, I found an immense sense of power. Maybe my life right now wasn’t all of the amazing things I imagined for myself, but perhaps it could become that way if I just started small.

One of my big problems was that I found myself wandering around, not quite sure what I wanted. So I sat down and thought about it. I wrote it down.

 “What do I want? How do I want to live my life?”

It seems so trivial, but so many times we have big, vague goals and we never stop to think about the specifics. When you split the big goals into small goals and easily achievable tasks, you have a purpose. You have forward motion. When I started moving forward, I felt more like a human being and less like a moving meat sack born and raised only to pay student loans.

Once I started moving forward, little ideas came to me that I would have dismissed a few weeks earlier. I thought about emailing a friend and asking her if she needed help around the house by watching her daughter. I decided to do an acting showcase that I hadn’t done in months because I had started to feel discouraged. Now I work twice a week babysitting for a super awesome kid and I just signed with an acting agent yesterday.

Am I still broke? Yup!

Do I still live in a teeny tiny studio with my boyfriend and our three cats? You betcha!

Do I still get calls every day from student loan collectors? Uh huh!

But now I know that it won’t always be this way.

Take Heed

10 replies on “Ladyguide: How to Keep on Keepin’ On”

I was unemployed, from full-time work, for 11 months and 17 days. (I worked at a coffee shop for 6 months for no more than 20 hrs a week. It helped to extend the unemployment benefits.)

After getting the job I currently have, I had a hard time shaking the habits I developed over the prior year. Habits like planning no more than 1-2 weeks in advance. At any moment back then something could change and everything I had planned out could be turned upside down, or right side up. I even began paring down my possessions in the event that I had to move. (this was useful actually because I did end up moving back in with my parents for 9 months) Life became day-to-day. If enough time had passed in this situation, I’m certain I could have fit my life into a backpack.

I still have a hard time planning out beyond the month. I once had a 5 yr plan all set up and ready. That’s gone. I can’t even remember what it was. Every once and a while, I start thinking about things 6 months from now, but nothing gets written down. That fear of upheaval is hard to shake.

Now, at this job, we have goal-setting meetings for where we want to be in the next year. All I can think is, “I want to still be working for this company.” My boss and I are working on it. It will just take time…

But, I got a lot of practice hanging on to hope in those 11 months. I think I can hang on to this now? So, there was some good.

Having dealt with depression (though according to my therapist and doctors, it doesn’t qualify as severe as I’ve never really thought about ending my life… frickin’ medical community and their arbitrary nonsense) over the past year or so, can I just chime in with an enthusiastic “I feel ya, sister!”. Up until a few months ago, I was still finishing my degree and while I was nervous and stressed and crying for the better part of my waking hours, at least I had some purpose. I had to finish my project, I had to go see friends, I had to study. Being jobless and not really knowing where to start with living the rest of my life has been all kinds of not fun. I finished my degree that will not get me a job (seriously, we need to stop telling kids that a science degree is worth anything unless it is a chemistry degree) and I’m not even sure I want to even be involved in my field any more. It gets to that point where you just say, “Fuck, why bother waking up in the morning if I’m just going to send in a bunch of applications that no one will read? I’d much rather ignore these issues.” But I can’t. As soon as I allow myself to stop trying, depression is right there to greet me.

I’m so fortunate that I have my boyfriend to look after me while I deal with this. So many people have to struggle through joblessness and depression alone. I don’t know how they deal with all; I wish I had that strength. But until I get better (or at least achieve some level of consistent happiness), I’ll also just keep on sending in the applications, forcing myself to leave the house and resisting the temptation to lose myself in sleep, food and video games.

Well… That was a touch more pitiful than I intended it to be. So counteract that:

Rah, rah! Optimism! Here is a picture of me with a cat on my head.

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