Keep paddling!

Warning: if you are feeling down the following post will not help your emotional state. However, if you want to wallow in despair along with me, please read on...

I find it kind of ironic that as a teacher of writing to self-heal I am finding it difficult to heal myself. A couple days ago I wrote a post on my other blog on facing despair. I offered sentence stems to prompt my readers to explore their inner thoughts and intuition so they may work through the chaos and ultimately use it for positive change. I have not followed my own advice.

However, that is why I am here now at my computer pounding keys. The very act of writing helps me, calms me. I could be writing about marshmallows and turnip greens, it wouldn't really matter. Somehow those marshmallow thoughts would still reveal some of my own truth. And I would begin to heal.

A few months ago I left my part-time job to pursue my own career as a writer and workshop leader. I had the luxury of doing this because Hubby was bringing in a healthy paycheck. Then BAM! His boss pulled a doozy on him and drastically cut his pay. Over the two last months we have been scrambling to cut our expenses - and I have remained positive. I believe in Hubby's creativity and ability to think outside of the box. I also passionately believe in passion. I know that if you love to do something and have confidence in your own ability you will succeed.


And there's the problem. In this interim while Hubby works out his job issues and my workshops take off it is very hard to stay positive. As I watch the tiny paycheck seep right back out of the account and I am telling my children that oatmeal will be replacing boxed cereal, my stomach churns and I start to feel nauseous. We had fun plans to drive the six-hour trip to Bethlehem, PA next weekend to visit friends and attend the Celtic Classic. Looks like that's off. It's my birthday on Saturday... gifts not happening (and unfortunately I love gifts!).

Last night I had to cancel another workshop - no one signed up. This is the third one this month that has been a bust. I know it is due in part to the weather - who wants to be inside on these last precious warm September days? - and the economy. Thankfully these two factors are surmountable - wait a few weeks and lower prices. But I'm beginning to doubt that anyone even cares (despite positive reviews from those who have attended). But I HAVE to believe that is just my own fear talking. I HAVE to believe there are potential students. If I don't believe it I will not succeed. Other workshop leaders around the country are doing well. I just need to convince the public that journaling is incredibly therapeutic and motivating - and free! (after my workshop fee, of course).

As I write this I feel the stabs of guilt because I know there are others who are so much worse off than us. Hubby still has a job. A member of my family just got laid-off and has to now find a new job and a new home - a new life. We're not there. But the pain of our close extended family is also hanging over me because I feel helpless. I can't help her (financially) and no one can help us - we can only help ourselves. We all have to keep paddling this leaking boat while trying to patch it at the same time. We must trust we'll make it to shore.

I read in the paper on Sunday the story of a local woman who reinvented her life at the age of 54 and who today is the owner of a very successful cracker-baking business. She said:

It validates to me how important it is to be creative and to follow your passion...
I know this! Intuitively, I know this. Emotionally, today, not so much. But I will keep on writing and living and loving (and cleaning - I still have to keep on being Mom too) and trust my confidence in my dreams and abilities will keep our boat afloat.

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Susan Marie said...

Not sure I have many words of encouragement, but I'm here to commiserate! As a friend and as someone who'd like to attend your workshop(s) were it not for roadblocks (only one [crappy] car, lack of money, lack of free time with husband's job, daytime job).

I am also passionate about passions (or used to be/should be)--and just know that the shore is in sight.

Love to you all, Jo.

- Sue

joanna said...

Thanks, Sue! Just your friendship (and blog-reading) is encouragement! Keep believing in your own passions too...

RaisingSmartGirls said...

"Just keep swimming, just keep swimming..."

Keep your chin up. I know it's not easy to think positively when things look grim. I hope better prosperity is in the near future.

Oh, and honestly, boxed cereal ain't really all that. Oatmeal is all around healthier and more filling. Maybe you can dress it up with a little brown sugar and raisins. Yum!

joanna said...

Oh, I know... I make the best oatmeal around (I grew up on English porridge!), but the kids (that includes Hubby) like boxed stuff (thankfully they like Kashi) - I'm happy *not* to have to buy cereal, it's the fact that I can't afford it anymore that makes me a little ill. But I know it is good for the kids to "suffer" a little ;)