Back when I was single I would often work multiple jobs to keep food on the table. I never liked the idea of using State assistance since my getting pregnant was no one’s fault but my own. Sure, I relied on my mother’s kindness and the generosity of so many people I can’t even begin to name them all, but for some reason taking money from the Government didn’t suit me. I think it’s because once you start relying on that assistance, it’s hard to move away from it.
When I got married I was given the option of staying at home. After nearly two years of consistent 60+ hour work weeks at two jobs that paid little more than minimum wage I was absolutely thrilled to be able to stay at home with my daughter and try to be the suburban housewife that I knew I could be. Growing up we straddled the poverty line, and having a baby so young didn’t help to improve my situation. Don’t get me wrong, there are young women who have babies at 16 and go on to do amazing things. I lacked the drive and motivation to do so, though. The idea of a woman staying home to look after her husband and children seemed a luxurious dream to me, and one that I always kept in the back of my mind as a goal I’d like to achieve. It wasn’t so much that I wanted to be a stay at home mom as it was that I wanted the freedom to do so.
It didn’t take long after getting married and settling into a routine that I got restless. I wanted to go out and earn money! It was a strange feeling not having an income of my own, and it felt very strange to have a bank account that I contributed nothing to yet could spend as though I did. After some encouragement from my husband and mother-in-law I decided to get my Real Estate licence. It sounded so fun! Getting to meet people, getting to look at pretty houses, getting to wear fancy clothes and hand out business cards. Having a job that I could proudly tell people about. “I’m a Realtor” sounds a lot better than “I’m a shift manager and KFC and a regular old employee at a grocery store deli”. I didn’t expect it to be actual work, or to actually have to find clients. Not being native to the Houston area I was (am) at a disadvantage. Having a deacon at church and a mother-in-law who are Realtors also put me at a disadvantage, as everybody I ran into was either through my church or people who have known my mother-in-law longer than they’ve known me. Ethics plays a huge part in your reputation as a Realtor, and snagging contacts from other Realtors is hugely frowned upon.
So after about a year of not making any money in Real Estate, I decided to go back to school and pursue something I’d actually be good at and find some passion in. I still have no idea what that might be, but I’m working through my prerequisites before I have to decide what I actually want to do when I grow up.
Kristilyn started high school a month ago, though, which means in four years her education will take priority over mine. Since we’re paying out of pocket for my classes, I can only take a few classes at a time. Add that to the cost of having her involved in band and in public school in general, plus our newly adopted 18 year old son (more on that in another post), and Joe’s job situation changing to more steady work at a lower rate of pay, the money situation around here has been a little less comfortable than I think we’d like it to be. We’d like to be setting money aside for a new house as we need more room, as well as paying down debt so that we can get our credit score up for said house. Oh, and our one car lifestyle isn’t working anymore so we need another reliable vehicle. Basically, you can never have too much money as a middle class suburbanite. There’s always something to spend it on.
So I submitted a background check to Uber, which came back with a big thumbs up. So now I am doing that in my free time.
Let me recap:
I am taking nine credits two days a week at the local community college.
Homework for those nine credits.
I am volunteering with the band boosters, as well as playing taxi for Kristilyn.
Weekly football games to watch the marching band perform.
Keeping up with a house that now holds 2 dogs and 4 people.
Running errands for those 2 dogs and 4 people.
Cooking for those 4 people.
Studying to renew my Real Estate Licence.
Trying to keep up with SOME knowledge of Real Estate.
Trying to maintain some semblance of a social life, even if it’s only seeing friends once a month for coffee or texting more often to keep my relationships up.
And now driving for Uber.
I just got a FitBit which helps me track my sleep, and I average about 5 and a half hours a night, and that is fairly restless sleep. There’s times I’ve felt overwhelmed lately, but what this ultimately comes down to is that I really don’t like having downtime. For me, downtime means time to think and time to think means that depression can come in and invade my space. Even keeping busy depression can get in there, but I find it’s harder to stay away from if I’m sitting around and playing Minecraft all day. I really enjoy relaxing, don’t get me wrong, but I always feel like there’s something else I could be doing. Maybe that’s my burden as a woman more than anything, is that I know in the back of my mind that there’s things that only get done if I attend to them (most likely because I’m the only one in the world who cares if that particular thing gets done).
I guess I also always think of what I want people to say at my funeral. It’s a macabre thought, I know, but I’ve dealt with death my entire life and thus the realization that some day I will be dead has always been in my brain. I don’t want people to have to rack their memories for days trying to remember what good I’ve done. I want to be remembered as a good person. And, more importantly, as a strong person. Despite my depression and anxiety, my infertility due to PCOS, despite my chronic pain (more on my potential fibromyalgia diagnosis in a different post), despite living in a household with an alcoholic father who ultimately died while I was still young and then being raised by a single mother, despite losing my sister and having a child so young, despite all of my obstacles I want people to say “wow, that chick was tough”. I believe we all have burdens that we carry and challenges that we deal with, but I really try not to let the ones that I’ve been handed defeat me. I know I give in too often to my depression and anxiety. I know that there’s days I’d rather lay about than try to defeat the fatigue that weighs down on me. And I know I complain all too often. I am still only human, and I just hope on the days when I am feeling at my best I live to my fullest potential, not wasting a moment. We live in a culture of victimizing ourselves. I cannot stand the mentality of playing the victim to garner sympathy. I’d much rather earn respect than have people pity me. I try to be self aware in this and not dwell too much on why I should be allowed to be an awful person sometimes. And if I catch myself talking about any tragedy in my past I wince a little internally.
Now, I have no intention of dying anytime soon. In fact, I plan to live long enough to be a 120 year old woman who lights a cigarette with my birthday candles and takes a shot of tequila as people sing to me. I want to grow old enough that I can be blunt and straightforward and not care what people think about me, and come across as endearing rather than abrasive for being that way. To put it frankly, by the age of 70 I want people to think of me as one bad ass motherfucker.