Limitations

I surrendered to the universe last week.

Universe

Or to God.

god

Or to whoever or whatever “higher power” you believe in, but I surrendered: I threw myself onto my bed, opened my arms, and said, while staring at the ceiling and fighting back tears, “I surrender!”

Surrender

Last month, I lost my job. I was working as an assistant editor for a pet website, where I wrote and edited a variety of articles covering the latest and greatest pet stories from the abandoned dogs of Hurricane Harvey to the two-faced kitten.

Two-Faced Kitten

The layoff pretty much came out of nowhere. (I say “pretty much” because there was some restructuring going on within the company, but I didn’t think it concerned me.)

“We’re changing the direction of pets,” my boss told me over the phone during a conference call with a human resources guy who kept quiet in the background. “So your position is no longer needed.”

“Okay,” I said, too shocked to say much of anything else.

Shock

My boss wished me luck on my second novel, which no one is interested in publishing, and told me that I have her number before disappearing off the line.

The human resources guy then spoke up and did the whole “if you need a reference” speech and told me to email him my PayPal information so they could pay me for the past week.

The entire conversation lasted about two minutes.

start over

People loved that I worked for a pet website because people – get ready – love pets. In fact, many people love pets more than they love people. As a person who thinks most people are idiots, I would have to agree; however, some of these people who love pets are fucking crazy – especially horse people.

horse

My initial reaction to the layoff was to never-ever-EVER work for some company again where I am so easily disposable and figure out a way to become financially independent. The only problem is I don’t really know how to make money, as I have spent the majority of my adult life focusing on writing, which has yet to make me a dime.

penny

I never expected, by any means, to get rich off writing, but I figured if I worked hard at it, I would find a way to earn a modest salary, say around $30,000/year.

type

My main downfall was that I made writing my central focus and was determined to stick with it until I’d “made it.”

Well, I “made it” alright. I “made it” to where I have no real skills and am no more qualified for a job than your average high-schooler.

now hiring

I do have a master’s degree and decent amount of work experience, but when it comes down to it, I really don’t have much to offer, which is why I surrendered to the universe.

Universe

It felt great to surrender, like a weight was lifted off my shoulders. I was finally free of any and all expectations that lived inside my mind. But then I talked to my dad on the phone, and he started talking about jobs and 401k and benefits, as if I didn’t just surrender to the universe or to God or to whatever “higher power” you believe in!

therapy

I’m old enough to know that my dad tells me these things because he loves me and doesn’t want me living on the streets, but I’m also old enough to know that that sort of pressure doesn’t do me any good. I’ve stressed myself out for YEARS about “making it” as a writer to the point where everything in my life has suffered: my health, my relationships, my hair, my sleep, my everything.

writing warning

I don’t even know what I’m doing anymore – especially when it comes to writing this blog. This is like some diary of an insane person. What purpose does this serve? I tell myself it’s comedy, but it feels toxic. As an artist or whatever, you’re supposed to question everything and live this life where nothing ever really makes sense. Who wants to live like that? I still don’t know how to dress myself properly or talk to strangers or do a lot of basic shit a 33-year-old should be able to do all because I feel some need to write out these thoughts and send them out into the world with the expectation that there should be some form of monetary compensation – YIKES!

narcissist

Someone once commented on an old blog I wrote, years back before Babushka Heaven existed, “Keep your insane, ill-formed thoughts to yourself.” I probably should have listened to that person and given up while I had the chance.

give up

If I were being honest with myself, a part of me feels like I was born to be just another slave to the system, yet another part of me feels like I don’t want anything to do with the system. I was on a solid path to achieving the American Dream in my early 20s but everything exploded after my girlfriend at the time moved to another country and my colorblindness led to me abandoning my original plan of becoming a cop to become a writer, and now, more than a decade later, I’m still battling these opposing forces, which have left me with nothing but a stain of insecurity.

laundry detergent

I should just keep a journal, like most normal people who suffer from raging thoughts do, but I’m so used to posting my writing online for others to read that I don’t see the point. I also like knowing that there are people out there reading this, as it makes me feel a little less alone.

alone

I suppose I just wanted to create my own world with my writing because I don’t understand this world, but maybe this world isn’t for me to understand and I should stop trying to figure it out.

figure out world

Being an assistant editor for a pet website was nice – not only was it a highly-respected profession among my peers, but it was also a job in the field of writing. I could apply to another job in the field of writing (which I have), but there aren’t many writing jobs in Reno and I’m not sure if I even want another writing job. Like I said, being an assistant editor was nice, but when you write for work and for “pleasure,” it can become a drag.

all day and night

Ever since I was 21, various friends of mine have been telling me to become a bartender. I was never interested in becoming a bartender due to my hatred of people, which I had acquired after working a variety of customer service jobs. In my mind, most people were idiots and the less I interacted with these idiots, the better. But maybe I need to go back and re-examine that hatred and stop calling everyone idiots, as I have done my fair share of idiotic shit in my own life to where I, too, consider myself an idiot.

the more you know

I’m just over the whole idea of “making it” as a writer or “making it” as anything in this life, and if all I do is become a bartender or work some other menial job, then what-the-fuck-ever. I will continue to write and do what I can to contribute to the field of art, but I can’t predict the future and for me to keep on worrying about what I’m going to become is pointless.

praise

Before I started applying to bars, which is a whole other story, I landed an interview at a private school (grades K-8) that was looking to hire a teaching assistant.

teacher ruler

The woman who interviewed me visited Babushka Heaven and expressed some concern. It wasn’t that she, personally, was offended by the content, but if the parents of the students stumbled upon some of these blogs or videos, she would most likely have some explaining to do.

angry

I told her that I understood her concern and tossed in a serial killer reference to defend myself.

“A lot of guys who are model citizens are the ones who are really screwed up,” I said. “I’m just writing comedy and being honest – does that make me a bad person?”

jail

The woman told me how she was angry most of her life and refused to play the game until her mid-30s, and how if I wanted to make life easier for myself, I needed to start playing the game as well.

adult game

The whole interview kind of felt like a lecture, and I left not knowing if I should feel offended or upset or what. But then, as I was driving home, I thought about something one of my writing teacher’s once said about art and how all art has to take some risk, so – I suppose – if my writing is making it so I can’t be around children, I must be doing something right.

[end]

8 Comments Limitations

  1. AvatarShawn

    I know how you feel. Even with a job I constantly question if I’ve done enough, am good enough etc. Basically, have I “made it”. I hope you find something that pays the bills but continue writing. I’ve read night burger a few times and always enjoy it. I understand if you leave this blog but hope to hear about future books still. Never forget, you can always self publish.

    Reply
    1. jlsarnajlsarna

      Thanks, Shawn! You’re probably the only person on the planet who’s read that book more than once! Haha, so thanks for that! I’ll keep writing. I’m going to start doing some video stuff and want to write a short story or two. May self-publish the novel in the future but don’t have the cash to pay for an editor. Will let you know if I do!

      Reply
  2. AvatarVivienne

    Hey there,

    My husband sent me a link to this blog post. He has read your book 3 times and the two of you have shared some correspondence.

    I’m also a writer, and will probably have my first book out this year or next. I also went to art & film school, and am myself a weirdo person who does not fit in this world. My input may not be wanted at all, and that’s fine, but maybe it could help! So here goes….

    I’ve had a lot of those moments where my world shatters and my guts splatter everywhere. Usually, in those moments, I find that I need a new perspective. I usually start asking myself lots of questions. Often times this helps me use the shit as fertilizer.

    Right now I’m wondering if you’ve thought about following in the shoes of many other great writers, and just trying a bunch of strange jobs. This would be the perfect opportunity. You’d get a lot of writing material, and a lot of the experience you say that you don’t have.

    Also, have you thought about self publishing? There is a lot of good research on how to do it that’s very recent, and you’d get to keep I believe 70% of your sales on Amazon. You could market here, get a Twitter, maybe an Instagram – BAM. Over time it could build up to a good amount of sales. In the meantime, write for fun and get a bunch of new experiences for new writing material. Just a thought.

    This might all be obvious, and you might be rolling your eyes. I get it. But if you Don’t know about this stuff, and I keep my mouth shut…..well, then I’m kind of a jerk. I see that I have to put in my email address. If you want some of the links I’ve been researching, let me know.

    I hope this helps. These types of things are never easy, but they can be great jumping off points. And while maybe surrendering to the universe is good [I’ve done it quite a few times myself], giving up and becoming a normal adult probably just isn’t in the cards for someone like us.

    Keep your chin up and Stay Weird!

    Reply
    1. jlsarnajlsarna

      Thanks for the comment, Vivienne! Congrats on the book, too! It’s such a long process. Your input is appreciated – always willing to hear other people out. I did a lot of those weird jobs in my 20s. Before I made this website, I wrote about 200+ pages of blogs that pretty much chronicled all that time. I self-published my first book in 2014 and probably wouldn’t do again. Not that I regret it or anything, but I’m not really into marketing, which I should be, especially when it comes to self-publishing, and I don’t have any money to pay an editor at the moment. Haha! I’m not rolling my eyes! Yeah, I hear you on the whole normal job thing. Just need something at this point to pay the bills. But, I’ll keep at it. Going to be doing some video stuff with a friend and work on shorter pieces that I can start submitting to places. But yeah, good luck on the book and thanks for the comment!!

      Reply
  3. AvatarMartin Murphy

    Adversity sucks, but it builds character. This is the best piece of writing I have seen from you. It came from personal experience, it’s written truthfully, creatively and it’s not purposely exaggerated for comedic purposes.

    Your character shows through in this blog post. I agree with Vivienne, stay weird. The last 3 yrs of my life taught me two things:

    1. Never give up on your principles and
    2. never assume anything.

    Not everyone shares the opinions of your interviewer. Do what makes you happy! If you need help marketing/advertising…I am here to help.

    Reply
    1. jlsarnajlsarna

      True words from the Irish! But yeah, agree. Best piece of writing!! Wow. Everything’s from personal experience! The exaggeration may be toned down some but that’s just my style, brother! Yeah, my principles are have no principles! Haha, so don’t fit in as well in society. But yeah, get it. If I need anything will let you know!

      Reply
  4. AvatarIris

    I’m sorry about your job.

    I greatly enjoy your blog and have read Night Burger and enjoyed it too. “No Bother” policy has become a motto of mine. I don’t always comment, as sometimes I don’t know what to say, but I’ve read every one of your posts.

    The whole online life vs personal one is why I’ve kept my online identity locked down, never posting a photo of myself and not using my real name publicly unless necessary. I know it’s not a choice for a lot of people, especially creatives and writers.

    I hope you do continue this blog but if you decided differently, I understand your decision. I wish you the best, and keep being you.

    Reply
    1. jlsarnajlsarna

      Thanks, Iris! Appreciate you reading all that stuff throughout the years! Haha, glad the “No Bother” has become a motto of yours. It’s a great policy, but it’s just getting others to follow it that’s the problem. That’s smart about keeping things private. I think I was naive or I didn’t think it would be an issue, but it obviously is. I’m not going to post anything new for awhile. Maybe down the road sometime – who knows. But again, appreciate you reading and all the best to you as well!

      Reply

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