For a long time—the entirety of my stay in Austin, precisely six months (and the three preceding months of travel, stolen luggage, heartbreak & contracted head lice), I have felt like a complete failure.
I’ve lived in 4 houses. Changed 3 flat bike tires. Worked at The Gap, the famers’ market, a church, as an extra in a commercial, and done research studies at UT & for a mobile app for money. One of them was a lot of fun, because all I was required to do was write my truest, rawest feelings and emotions in a journal twice a day for two weeks. I kind of feel bad for whoever was tasked with reading those entries (there was no word limit).
I’ve been an unpaid intern for the fifth time, but had a lovely go of it, and gotten to meet some very talented, interesting folks along the way, and have been exposed to local culture I’d never have been privy to otherwise. I’ve slept on numerous couches, bummed countless rides, and have had kind people offer to buy me lunch, dinner, or drinks more times than I deserve.
I have been cordially rejected from over 20 companies and businesses. Not even the local grocery store or juicery wanted my skilled cashier hands and charming demeanor on their teams. I’ve taken a zillion and a half (that’s a real number) copy tests and asked scads of my heroes for their personal stories of bootstrapping and dues paying.
Time after time, people have complimented me on my writing and other work, told me to keep my head up, and that things will surely get better soon. Any day now.
But none of that has taken away that giant, aching chasm inside. That feeling of failure. Of, “if one more person asks if I’m just being ‘picky’ and only applying specifically for staff writing positions, I’m gonna throw a cow pie in their face.” I feel the way I assume the ancient must feel when they are marched off to be euthanized— alone and useless. With nothing of much worth left to give.
I’ve found it difficult to fake a smile in the midst of those feelings, so I’ve cut back on social interactions that aren’t strictly business related (I’m also squatting in a house in the suburbs & there’s no train or bus system out here, so I’m not exactly mobile anyway).
But throughout my couch/butthole surfing, freelance your face off, make it stop, please, please adventure, there’s been a nagging voice inside that’s whispered, “entitled,” and, “ungrateful.” And as much as it ails me to consider those things, I must. I’m blessed to have had floors and couches to hold me up. For every grilled cheese that has kept me satiated. Blessed that my parents who work on a meager income themselves moved here recently and have graciously allowed me to blow up an air mattress in their suburban rental.
It might not be ideal or comfortable, or make me feel like any less of a degenerate failure, but not everyone gets those things. And I recognize that.
So, finally acknowledging that this stuff is out of my control, and that all I can do is continue trying and keep up the good fight. Work hard for the clients I do have, and keep applying, and working hard, day and night. Night and day. And that one day… someday. Things might work out. Maybe when I least expect it.
But that hasn’t happened yet. So until I find my golden ticket….
I’m changing the way I look at things. Embracing the half-human state I’m in, and working towards making everything I touch sparkle and shine, even if it’s not enough to pay the bills. One day I’ll be a butterfly, and that is what counts.
But, since this blog is supposed to be some form of keeping in touch with scattered friends and family, I thought it best to admit—that your favorite little adventurer had her wings clipped, and she has been tarred and feathered. She doesn’t feel her best by a long shot. She came very close to giving up entirely a short while back…
But she’s trying. And she’s gonna keep trying a while longer.