A lady of leisure. A lady who lunches. Retired. Housewife. Kept. Now that you don’t work… Since you’re at home now…. Now that you don’t have a job… What’s it like to have to not worry about work anymore? Must be nice to be taken care of…
I have heard all these things since May 19. The day after I quit my job. And they make me crazy. Insane. And maybe angry. Okay, very, very angry. The truth is, I am sure most mean it lightly, as a joke. But I have an issue. A pretty big one that has made this transition so very, very difficult. And the phrases above cause my ‘issue’ to REALLY flare up.
A little history.
I was raised by my parents to work. To work HARD. They taught me that if you couldn’t make it happen, perhaps you should examine if you were really working hard enough. Most times? I found I could work harder. And I did. I could hardly wait to get my first job at 16 – the legal age in New Jersey. I never stopped working since. Even as a freshman in college I tutored college kids and a 6 year old named Sabastian. I adored that child. I wanted to name my son Sabastian. My sister almost named her newest Sabastian. I BEGGED her to. Alas, no Sabastians. She was over-ruled by her hubbie. I digress…
When I decided to take six months off from college because I had decided physics and math was not my true passion, my parents said I could live at home as long as I had a job within a month. I had a full time job within 2 weeks working as an office assistant in a podiatrist’s office. I actually loved it! I got to inject toes and feet, I assisted in in-office surgeries, got to observe in a hospital surgery and even got to work on cadaver feet at a teaching hospital! I briefly considered a career in this, but I knew it was not truly what I was passionate about. But boy, was that interesting!
When I decided on art school I had to work a 30 hour a week job while going full time school to pay my tuition not covered by student loans or the part my parents STILL graciously paid even though they thought dropping out of a bachelor’s program in PHYSICS to get an ASSOCIATE degree in graphic design was LUDICROUS. At the time, “I” knew it was COMPLETELY the right decision, but as a parent now? Oh my word, are my parents not SAINTS to have still supported me 100%? Wow. What children put their poor parents through.
Even when I got pregnant (yes, not planned – ahem.) 6 months before I graduated, I worked 3 jobs to make sure I could pay my bills and have money. Let me tell you, mounting and framing portfolio pieces at midnight with a giant belly at 7 months preggers when you can hardly breathe and having to wake up at 5:30am to open up a coffeeshop – well, in a way it was a BLESSING I was 22, no WAY do I have that kind of energy now!
I freelanced after my son was born. Taking him to a job when he was 4 months old with a lovely woman that understood my predicament and was AMAZING to me. I held him on one shoulder and designed with my one free hand on the computer. I took him with me to vendors and to press checks and did it unapologeticaly. Guess what? If you don’t apologize for your baby? No one has a problem.
Even when I got pregnant with The Soph I continued to work. I had to work from home. I took any and all freelance jobs. I even once took a job answering calls for a week when I was 9 months pregnant with Sophie for a woman wrestler that had a side business. THAT is a blog entry for another time, but let me tell you, people have some interesting fetishes!
When Soph was 18 months old I went back to work at an office full time. I hated leaving my babies, but we needed the guaranteed income and stability and insurance. And I thrived. I do love to earn my way.
I have never stopped working harder since then. I want my children to know you CAN have ANYTHING you want to if you are WILLING to work REALLY hard. And I am. And I always have been.
And the issue my friends? Right now for the first time in my life, I have no income at the moment. I am not freelancing graphic design jobs so that I can concentrate on my art and writing career. No graphic design jobs means no money at all until books sell, school visits and events begin, or I sell new books. All the prep work for my books coming out in late summer is A LOT of work. I am networking, talking to people, making promotional pieces, applying for grants, checking out vendors, making websites, starting esty and cafepress shops and working on new books and having other books edited. And guess what? NONE of that is making me money NOW.
So my lovey, amazing husband has to support me. Ugh. I hated writing that. SO MUCH. A man support me? That goes against everything I have been taught, learned and ever thought was okay. It KILLS me to not contribute a paycheck right now. And while I know all this hard work has to pay off, oh my lord, it HAS TO, it currently only COSTS money.
So in between hyperventilating and the nightmares I have had just about every night since I quit – oh DOOSIES, lemme tell you, I am working. Or thinking. Or making sketches or taking notes or writing emails. WORKING. REALLY, REALLY hard with no guarantee this will ever make money. And holy hell that scares the bejeesus out of me!
So when someone ask what it is like to be a lady of leisure…or kept…or…AT HOME AND NOT WORKING ANYMORE?!?! Well, thank you, you just fueled the nightmare I will surely be having tonite. Thanks, tooootally appreciate it.
I have to believe what my parents and every teacher in the history of the world teaches. Hard work pays off. Don’t quit. Persevere. I have to have faith in a work ethic. In MY work ethic.
So next time you see me? Just ask, “So, how’s work?” Because my work? Is AWESOME! I ADORE it! I LOVE it! I am passionate and so filled up to the brim with the knowingness that I am doing what I am SUPPOSED to be doing and I would LOVE to tell you ALL about it! (Just don’t ask how much money that pays.)
And I better get back to it. I have a cat to paint on wood. So I have to go work. And maybe take a xanax. 😉