I surrendered to the universe last week.
Or to 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!”
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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?”
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.
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.