The 9-5

I've been looking for a full time job. 

I've been searching since January, but only really now am I able to talk about it. As a creative entrepreneur,  it's a hard pill to swallow. I was working for myself. Now I need to work for someone else.

I've gone through the gamut of emotions. The failure, the fear, the anger, the relief, the excitement — they're all there, battling for my focus. It's a strange thing to know that when everyone else in your circle had a job, you left yours to pursue writing full time. And now, three years later, those same people are leaving their jobs to celebrate the successes of their own start-ups while you are returning to the 9-5.

This is not a failure.

Failure would be me hanging up the hope of ever gaining traction with Awake the Bones. Failure would be to close up shop and refuse any more clients. 

I would be lying if I said Fear never had me wondering if this is what I should do. That's usually when I battle Anger. Why me? Why now? Why this? 

And if I'm completely honest with myself, the answers to these questions set me straight all over again because it's not about giving up anything. It's not about taking steps back or rewiring or starting over. 

It's about doing it right. 

If these past few years taught me anything, it's this: I know my core. I know, because of starting a business and publishing two novels on my own, who I am — and most importantly, who I am not. I forgot for a moment. I let voices steer me in directions I wasn't ready or willing to go. I mentioned before a lot of this stemmed from needing to pay the rent. I got anxious, desperation sank in, and I reached for anything. I don't want to do this again. 

I want to be cohesive. 

Maybe this doesn't make sense. But I'm about the sharp lefts. My life has never been sequential. 

I got my teaching certificate after I started teaching. 
I signed with an agent after finding a publisher. 
I went indie after experiencing the traditional market.

And now, after developing a business and finding my core, I'm returning to full time work. Who knows? Maybe my office hours will be shorter lived than I expect. Maybe three months from now I'll be in a corporate position I never saw coming. Maybe clients will come out of nowhere and I will learn the fine art of balancing full time work and freelance. Maybe Secrets Don't Keep will climb the charts and I'll become a millionaire with one book (wry grin). 

I don't know. There's a lot of maybes, but one very sure thing: I want to build something I'm proud of, and to do that, I'm going to need time. I want to give my clients the focus and care they deserve without this added stress of OHMIGOSHCANIMAKERENTHOWDOIMAKEANOTHERBUCK. There's something to be said of the slow-burn of creativity and how it forces you to hone in on what makes you pulse with excitement. THIS is what I want for Awake the Bones. It's what I want for everything I write. I don't want to live my life in a frenetic motion. I want my wildness to be flavored with intention and soul. 

Every story has a plot twist, and this is one I never saw coming. But it feels right, and it feels true. This year is about me doing the opposite of what's expected. In a world that celebrates the walking away, it makes sense that I'm signing the dotted line. 

Posted on June 23, 2015 and filed under The Memoirs.

with women.

"The word midwife means with women," she said. 

I think a piece of me always knew this, given the way my heart would constrict and find breath again every time the word was used. But something clicked in that moment, the resonance too large and weighty to ignore.

There are all kinds of meanings behind the word with. 

It can signal accompaniment, possession, attitude, and responsibility. 
It can mean walking alongside someone. 
It can also mean opposition. 

I haven't always walked with women well. 

I think I've always tried. But I don't think this is enough. I still failed. I still listened too much to the voices beside me instead of the one in front of me — the one craving space and rest. Slowly, the word with would grow fangs and rot into opposition and jealousy. 

She's too needy, they said.
...too weird.
...too zealous.
...too demanding. 

Be careful, the chorus chanted. She'll cut you when she's able.

.::.

I watch us. I watch me. 

I want to believe the only ones with knives are those who fear the depth of their own story. 

.::.

A friend of mine speaks of ladders. It's something that was told to her by a woman who knows her power. 

"We can be ladders, you know. There are women who will carry you with them as they climb." 

When she says this I wonder what it would look like if this were the norm. If stepping on fingers and toes wasn't necessary because we all held on to each other. 

I wonder what would happen if we let ourselves be rocket fuel for another. Celebrating and ricocheting stories of worth instead of pain and blame. Whispering tales of bravery instead of dropping seeds of hate and suspicion. 

She radiates life, they would say. 
...and hope. 
...and connection. 
...and poetry. 

That woman isn't on fire, the chorus would chant. She's a galaxy. A supernova. 

.::.

Midwife means with women. 

Most times, this gets messy. The birthing process is slow and hot and fierce and sharp with pain. Together though, we can move mountains.

Breathe, says the woman next to you, holding your arm up and rubbing your back. 

Speak, says the one on the other side, wiping your tears and lifting your chin. 

Posted on May 27, 2015 and filed under Soul Care.

A Good Woman.

I’ve learned sometimes it is enough to let yourself feel the anger. It doesn’t mean that you have to always act on it. Anger can actually bring a searing clarity, and moving through that anger can eventually bring peace
— Joy Williams

At first, it was just the pain. 

It felt like amputation, like a collapsed lung. I couldn't do anything — I was frozen. I stood in our kitchen and leaned against Russ' chest as I struggled for air. 

"Did I just ruin everything?" I asked between sobs.

"You ruined nothing, love," he answered, his arms squeezing me tighter for support, holding me up when I couldn't even stand anymore.

It was a decision based from the deepest places of my intuition and story. When it all came crashing down around me, I oscillated between stunned silence and sobbing into my pillow. Thoughts kept circulating in my mind like a stalled record — It wasn't supposed to be this way. The shrapnel shouldn't have spread so far. 

For weeks I walked around like a zombie, inhaling negativity left and right. I woke up anticipating the battles I would face that day, and fall asleep exhausted and beat, the tears still running hot down my cheeks.

Until one day, an email found its way into my inbox and as I read it, I could feel something shift inside. 

You are a wolf in sheep's clothing, it said. To this person, I was a reminder of the dangers of duplicity. 

There was more. But I couldn't handle it. My hands shook as I forwarded the words to my husband and dropped the email into a folder where I could forget it. I never forgot it, but I also never responded. 

I never responded because of the anger. The anger that came fast and hot and ready for war. 

.::.

I lay face down as she worked her hands up and down my neck, focusing on the spots that needed the most care. 

We were talking about life. Namely, disappointments. Specifically, the anger I kept feeling about everything happening around me. The problem? I couldn't hold on to it long enough before I would douse it with a healthy dose of good will and peace-keeping. That's what a good woman does, right? Close her eyes and move along, pretending not to feel? 

"I normally advise people to let it go, to not allow it time or space. But for some reason, I think you need to speak it. I think you need to be as specific as possible — naming what angers you — and allowing the space to empty on its own." 

I swallowed, the tears coming fast all over again. Nothing I said would be a surprise. She's one of my best friends and knows the roots of all my stories, especially the ones that bring me pain. I started listing them one-by-one, my voice shaking and my nose growing more and more clogged as I tried to hold back sobs. 

There was a long list. Relationships and jobs and adoption and faith and fear — it all surfaced. 

And then I remembered the email. My breath caught. I cleared my throat and whispered, "I'm angry this still holds power over me and my story." 

Her rhythmic motion paused for a split second before she let out a breath in solidarity. 

"I'm angry too," she said. 

I closed my eyes and let the air fill my lungs. My phantom limb wasn't throbbing anymore. Today, I had won the war.

Check out the song that inspired this post here

Posted on May 22, 2015 and filed under The Memoirs.