Today is a writing day for me. I am working. I am writing copy for multiple sales pages, landing pages on a website relating to services that I sell in my WordPress consulting business. I need to write at least a couple chapters for a book I am writing (and publishing a chapter at a time here on this site under the category ‘Happy on Facebook’). I need to write up some short copy for card sized flyers offering a couple different courses I will soon offer online relating to my WordPress business again.
Before I can do any of that well, I need to zoom down from 30,000 feet where my to do list seems to rise higher and faster than a space shuttle approaching 3,000 miles per hour. I need to slow down and get in touch with myself. My writing connects best when I am in touch with myself when I know where I stand in my own head. If I am not connected with myself and floating above the Earth trying to keep up with demands that never stop, my writing flails about like a fish on a hot road.
All week I have been slowly coming to a boil over a fear. The boil is advancing so very slowly that I can barely detect the temperature rising. Last night as I climbed into bed, completely exhausted and ready to close my eyes and drift off instantly, the opposite happened.
Inverting myself from vertically upright into a horizontal position must have jostled some chemicals in my head. It set off a temperature gauge that must have been stuck at “acceptable” and it immediately bumped up to “Oh shit that’s hot!”
Bubbles started to build and let loose. The boil began for real.
I ran through my senses attempting to identify the nature of the boil. I felt like shit mentally. Was I depressed? No. Was I suffering from anxiety and worrying about the future? No, not exactly but close.
Was I depressed? No. Was I suffering from anxiety and worrying about the future? No, not exactly but close.
Was I suffering from anxiety and worrying about the future? No, not exactly but close.
Whatever it was, it was overwhelming. I tried using a meditation that normally helps me significantly whenever depression, anxiety, sadness, anger and many other emotions want to hijack my brain. The meditation for the first time since I found it (Dissolving Shadows Meditation) failed me. It made things worse.
I let the emotions run their course a bit. It lasted for about 20-30 minutes. It was rough, but ebbed afterwards. I did my best not to feed the fire.
It seemed to work and as whatever-the-hell it was started to drift back out to sea, I recognized it. It was fear.
I felt a fear of failing in front of my children. Over a year ago, I sort of felt something similar when my marriage blew up over night and we told the kids a couple days later. I felt a little bit of failure then. I took a lot of responsibility for my actions, but at the time I told them, I was not done trying to save the marriage. But it takes two to save or make a relationship and that did not happen. By the time I recognized the end, I had other concerns and wasn’t worried about the failed marriage in terms of fear or letting my children see.
This go around it has nothing to do with a relationship. It has everything to do with me. So far my attempts to turn my business and career around, have not yielded any results. I feel like I am at the edge of making something very good happen. However, I am long past the point of being on borrowed time.
I have been out of money for all practical purposes for a couple weeks. My rent is 9 days late.
The impact of my business and career turn around not happening fast enough could have an immediate impact on my children on my custody on my ability to have a place to sleep at night that includes a roof and a door. This is unchartered territory for me.
A week ago a friend sent me a generous gift that helped me tremendously. It arrived after I had worked all weekend trying to turn things around.
I did take a day off to celebrate the fourth of July. I do not feel guilty about that as I met a lot of new people and in my business, meeting people and getting to know them and connecting with them often leads to new connections with clients. Plus, if I do not take some time to recharge, my ability to connect and close deals with people diminishes greatly.
After the weekend of work, I came home as I had been staying with my girlfriend up in the mountains where air conditioners are not needed (saving more money on the electric bill among other things). I checked my mail and a card with a check and some gift certificates for my children had arrived.
This boosted my spirits more than I can explain in words. I needed the cash. But just knowing that someone was willing to help and reach out and be that generous….
It spurred me on. I got even busier. I renewed my efforts applying for jobs. I renewed my efforts to turn my business around and get more done on the improvements in it that I have been working on for sometime.
I’ll mention real quick a couple things. I do not know how to ask for help well. I’ve had to do this more than once over the course of the last year. My family and friends have been more generous than I could ever have imagined. I have managed to pay some of that generosity for myself even too. I want to suceed. This is what I want. I will be forever grateful for the help, but I want to suceed.
I have not had a single bite or response on an application or resume since early April. I haven’t had an interview since March. I have had a lot of positive conversations with a half dozen different companies about my potential to fit in with them, but they have not made it to a point yet where their budgets are ready to hire anyone.
Summer is often a slow point for my business. Many of my clients or potential new clients are vacationing at this time of year. They are not typically hiring someone to build or upgrade or migrate or fix up a web project. This is normally the time of year when I work on my own business, growing it for the long haul and also the time of year when I typically vacation and recharge a bit myself. Rainy day funds usually play a part in seeing me through the summer until people start coming back.
I am looking at a couple projects for August already. This week I sent out new estimates/proposals for several thousand dollars of initial work. Sending estimates and proposals does not pay the bills. They may or may not be deals that actually happen either.
Soooo my fear is that even with or without help, my children are going to see me fail at my business at my work.
Normally, I wouldn’t really care what people think about me. I definitely would not have a fear about it. This is a little more. It is both the perception of them witnessing failure and the impact it will have on them on us.
I have been fortunate in that they have been vacationing with her mother the last couple weeks. I miss them like crazy and this is the longest period that I have ever been away fro them. I have been working like crazy this entire time trying to turn things around while they are gone. I was stressed when they were here last trying to do the same thing. I was even distracted then and not totally able to focus on them nor on my business. The break is welcome and needed and painful too.
My Grandmother Bumeter used to say, “I can do anything as long as I can see the end of it.” She endured some pretty tough times, from growing up in the depression to being hit by a drunk driver damaging her foot and causing pain that did not abate for years to the bankruptcy and reorganization of her own business and many many more things. She knew about problems first hand. Like me, she also helped a lot of people and took on their pain and heard people out and helped them move through it, all while she was doing the same for herself.
Before my children left for vacation, I thought I could see the end of it. I just needed to buckle down even more and make things happen while they were gone. So that’s what I did, almost.
It is summer time and approaching 100 degrees outside. It was hot and humid as I tried to go to sleep last night around midnight. My neighbors children of ages ranging from 4-11 were outside setting off fireworks. It was late and it was loud and didn’t help me get to sleep. I didn’t get angry. It is almost too hot to be outside during the day. The kids need time outside and time to play and night time right now is one of the few times to do that, especially when we all live in 800 foot square foot apartments. We need space from each other and outside and the ability to be loud and let the quiteness out of our system.
I got out of bed and shut the windows and turned the air on even though my electric bill is past due. The cool air started to chill me slowly and it was slightly quieter. I thought back to a winter sometime back in the 70’s. I was super young and small and I was hiking up a long rocky road (old valley road for those that grew up with me) and my younger brother was with me. We were bundled up so that we could barely make out each other’s eyes and nose.
We were walking up this long long road (ran it a few years ago as an adult and it was ridiculously short) but at 7 or 8 years old it was Mt Everest. My brother being a couple years younger and shorter in stride saw it as completely impossible. He started crying out of frustration. He just wanted to get on his sled and slide down the hill. We weren’t there yet and had to keep trudging to the side of the sledding path through snow that was up to our thighs in snow suit legs that barely let us move at all wearing rubberized moon boots with padding wrapped in bread bags to keep our feet dry from the cold creek water but also causing us to sweat and build up moisture that was probably worse….
I kept trying to tell him it was just a little further. He was too big to pick up and carry. I couldn’t just leave him there. I felt his pain even felt it myself but if I let loose with the same frustration and both of us gave up on the hill then where would we be? Half frozen or something.
We kept going and got to the point where we could put our sled down and get on and go, and we did!
We got on our rail sled, which someone in the family still has somewhere, and flew down that hill. His tears dried up instantly and we had a great time and made it to the bottom of the hill and it was all worth it.
I feel that way now. I feel like I am within feet of reaching the point where I can sled again and move down the hill. I felt like I was there two weeks ago too and it is double frustrating to not be sledding yet after all of my hard work.
I am going to get there. Writing this has helped and next I will write and write and write some more to help bring in more business and utilize my website in a way that will bring me more business so that I can help others do the same.
The fear I felt last night finally ebbed away. It was there in a lesser amount when I woke up. I went to yoga and melted it away again and then some. I got cleaned up and headed to several post offices putting up flyers for my local services. I’m not leaving any stone unturned. I’ll do anything that works at this point.
I also realized something about being a father. I might suceed or I might fail. I was not able to keep my marriage going. I may or may not be able to keep my business going. I may or may not be able to find a job anytime soon for reasons I can’t even fathom given my experience and education and the hundreds and hundreds of jobs I see online everyday that I am completely qualified to do and then some. I may even lose my apartment and be homeless for a while.
I do not see what I am missing or doing poorly. It just feels like a miss. Sometimes we do everything right and things still go wrong. Sometimes we do everything right and things go right regardless. Sometimes we have to make things happen despite the fact that there is no Earthly reason why they should work. My own father is amazing at this himself and especially in these last few years has been an inspiration and a lesson to me that I never expected. He and my mother both have also been very generous.
No matter where or how this ends up, I can show my children how to keep going and not give up no matter what. They too like all of my grandparents and all of their parents before them and my parents and like myself and even their mother, they will experience very very tough times in the future. They may not be remotely the same in nature, but I can set an example. They can watch and learn and maybe if they are super smart (and they are) they will even spot what I am doing wrong and when it is their turn they will do things a little better.
I can give my children the gift of working through a failure, learning from it and persisting.
Time to wrap this bit of work and reflection and self motivation up and move on to the next thing I need to write. This was my big rock. It is in the jar. I have a whole mess of medium rocks to place next, then maybe tomorrow some little rocks and when my kids get back, I’ll poor the water in the jar and fill it and cap it and move to the next jar.
I’m going to make the best of this day. I’m going to make the best example I can for my children even when confronted with fear. I’m going to let it flow past me and around me and keep on walking up the hill of my memory.
I’m hoping you will join me and make the best of your day as well. These days are not always easy, but I’m rooting for you. You can do this and you can do it with style and grace. Even if we both have to stop and throw a tantrum on the side of the hill, we’ll get through that too and continue to sludge up to the top because it is all down hill from there!!!
SIDENOTE – I’m pretty sure that the experience with my brother is some sort of combined memory of not just myself and my brother but many of my friends and their little brothers and sisters too. The memory I have now feels like a combined sort of thing. The winter clothes that we are wearing, I’m pretty sure were far too nice for us to ever be allowed to go sledding in the woods with them on!
The moon boots were real.