The Gift of Not-Enough
November. The month of gratitude! It's Day 2 for me -- I'm supposed to tell you something I'm grateful for.
But today sucked.
Left, right and center, it was one big, fat suckhole of a day.
It started off with a difficult conversation with my daughter, in which I said about every wrong thing I could possibly say. Even worse, I knew that I was saying the wrong words as they were flying out of my mouth, but I couldn't stop them.
I won't get into details, other than to say it had to do with divorce and money. I don't think I've ever spoken about this topic to my kids before but I am human and she kept pushing me to do something that I didn't want to do -- and couldn't afford to do -- and a whole lot of anger and frustration bubbled over.
I am so not proud of this conversation. But this conversation happened. I fear I'll be hearing about it 20 years from now.
Then, I was already crazy stressed out about money and I had to take my car in to get a tire repaired. I was expecting to pay about $30. But it turns out the tire couldn't be fixed and I needed a new one -- for close to $90.
I was already so tense about cashflow that I was operating on a hairpin trigger. My little guy turns four next week and I wanted to have a little money throw him a family party and get a few presents.
Then that tire happened.
I wanted to cry.
A person can only take so much
My mom lost power during the hurricane this week. It was out for close to five days. She was so cold and so tired and just so worn out from not having heat all week.
That's what it's like to be this poor -- and I'm hitting the two year mark on it. It gets to the point where everything has a dollar sign on it. Anything ever mentioned by anyone is automatically and immediately translated into a price inside my head.
And an unexpected expense? That's just about enough to break me.
Imagine that you were already surviving without power for days and you were freezing and exhausted and then a tree fell through your front window.
A tire, peeps. A fucking tire.
I cannot live my life in such a way that I will be broken by a tire.
The gift of not enough
A few months ago my boss increased my job -- brought me up to about 3/4 of a full-time job, but he didn't have a full 40 hours for me yet.
I was disheartened, to say the least. In case you hadn't heard, the job market isn't very pretty at the moment.
But here's what I try to tell myself: Maybe he gave me a gift.
Why? Because if I had been bumped up to full-time, maybe I would've been comfortable.
Comfort can be the antidote to creative urges -- because why bother to pursue your dreams with the thought of getting paid for your art when you can already afford to rent as many movies as you like and then grab a bucket of KFC and a six-pack on the way home? What's the point?
When you're warm and cozy, there's no real need to get out of bed.
When you're just not quite warm enough you know that the only thing that will take the freeze out of your toes is to get some circulation moving. You have tomake something happen before you'll be warm.
So today, that's what I'm thankful for: Dissatisfaction.
Tony Robbins, the self-help guy, says that dissatisfaction is one of the biggest catalysts to making massive change. If that's true, I've been given a major gift.
'Tudes and such
Thank you, Universe, for making me work my ass off to make something of myself.
Thank you for not giving me a trust fund (although I do thank you for the safety net of a caring family if things ever get too bad -- we'll never be on the street).
Thank you for forcing me to understand my true goals and motivations in life.
Thank you for giving me a creative calling that is delicious, persistent and exciting. Thank you for the nagging voice that won't let me sleep until I've jotted down the sentences that are running through my head.
Thank you for, again and again, giving me the chance to prove myself so that I can find out what I'm truly capable of.
Thank you for giving me the chance to completely screw up while parenting my children, so that they can see me apologize and admit that I am flawed -- so that hopefully they will know it's OK to be human and to get things completely wrong sometimes.
Thank you for this mountain to climb. Thank you for this boulder that I have somehow pushed farther than I could've ever dreamed. Thank you for the knowledge that I will reach the top of this slope and that someday soon, I won't have to push anymore.
Trish Sammer Johnston