For me, the hardest part about freelancing isn’t the constant hustle to get jobs, really, but a general feeling of being disliked or an annoyance. Every time I send out an email telling publishers “Hey! I’m available!” I feel like I’m saying “Hey! I’m desperate! Please like me! Be my friend! Think I’m funny!” Then again, I think this fear of being disliked is my main insecurity in life. Blame it on a tough childhood, an absent father, or the 6th grade class telling me, literally, that I wasn’t liked. (It happened on the playground. A group of girls called me over to tell me that they’d had a meeting and they all decided I wasn’t liked and they wouldn’t be speaking to me anymore.) It all adds up over the years to a major complex, enhanced by a career where if I’m not liked, I won’t get work.
Why did I choose this? I didn’t really. It wasn’t a choice, exactly, but an inevitably led by following my passion: words. I’ve always loved words, but particularly words out loud. They have a music when they’re said out loud, and I’m in love with that. Most of my own work sounds better out loud. And I love reading a new book, an author’s works, and bringing out that music.
These last few months have been particularly tough on my little tender spirit. I think it’s growing older, but also the complications my son has been having. I wrote a blog about that here, but since posting that, we’ve discovered that he’s probably on the Autistic spectrum. It makes sense. All his meltdowns, his awkwardness, his inability to connect. But as his symptoms have increased, I’ve had pull back on some of my career…travelling to jobs, seeking things out, and being available last minute. It’s been hard.
The industry ebbs and flows. I get that. I’m breathing through it and I’m not complaining. I love narrating. Passionately. But along with my son’s issues, I’ve been trying to find an agent for my new book. Every day I wake up to an inbox of rejections. I have faith that my work, my writing, is good…so if it’s not about my work…then it must be about me? So couple that with auditioning for titles that go to someone else, or reaching out to publishers and not being answered, and then add in the stress of the last few months of a huge move, some family issues, and those ten extra pounds that aren’t really extra anymore but seem to be part of me for the long haul…and what I really need (besides a gin & tonic and a girl’s weekend with Rachel and Kim), is a big old, heavy, ugly cry.
And then I need to pick myself up, dust myself off…and get back to it.
I get through it by continuing to do my best work, even with the swirl of chaos dancing around me.
This is life, isn’t it? It’s ugly and painful, and goddammit, it’s also beautiful.