Choices Part 3

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Image taken from the artforadults Instagram page. Not my work.

Several previous posts have outlined the events that have lead up to the mess my life is in right now. None of it is pretty, lots of it makes me ashamed. I am stagnant and depressed. I keep saying I have no hope, but if I didn’t, then I wouldn’t be writing this, I wouldn’t even try to get up in the morning and the dreams I have would go away and leave me alone. It’s been brought to my attention that I have choices. I CAN change my life no matter how impossible it seems. I NEED to change my life, or at least my outlook on the life I have. I have always gone where the wind blew me, until it blew me into pregnancy and marriage, which seem like a dark corner where the gusts can’t reach and so I stay here damp and rotting till someone comes with a broom and sweeps me out. The thing is, I don’t want to depend on anyone with a broom! I want to sweep myself out! Maybe not even out of marriage, and certainly not out of motherhood, but out of this stagnant depression, this groundhog day like existence of doing the same things day in and day out. Get up, take kids to school, go to work, come home, eat, help with homework, go to bed and do it five days a week and then clean and prepare all weekend for the next week to be exactly the same. My life isn’t horrible. I have three beautiful kids who love me, a husband who cares deeply for me, a job that pays the bills and feeds us all even if just barely, a car, clean running water, this computer, all things that most of the world doesn’t have and many yearn for. It’s absolutely unfulfilling, boring and enslaving. I have no time or money to LIVE. I only exist and I MUST do something about that. So here I plan to list my dreams, plans to make them happen, obstacles to overcome, pros and cons of each including the effects they may have on my family, in the hopes of being able to choose a pathway to freedom and happiness, or at least less depression. getting them all in order is going to be tough, so please bear with me as I struggle.

 

When I think of the ultimate happy life for myself from this point on, this is what it looks like:

I could somehow magically quit my job and still pay my bills, no, pay them completely off except maybe the mortgage and I could stay home while my husband worked at whatever amazing job has magically presented itself.

I would still have to wake up Monday morning at the ungodly hour of 6:00am to take my daughter to school, but once I got home and saw my boy off, I could start laundry, do dishes, clean the downstairs and then the upstairs. In the summer, I’d tend my garden before cleaning the house, before things got too hot. That all should take maybe two hours. Then I would shower and dress and shop for the week. I’d get home, unpack groceries and head upstairs to Blog for the remaining two hours before it was time to pick up my daughter from school. We’d come home and I’d help kids with homework before starting dinner. We would eat, and clean up together, then I’d either hang out with them or go upstairs and read articles and watch vlogs on how to homestead, permaculture, how to raise animals for food, how to build treehouses, how to navigate the art business…

Tuesdays, up at 6:00am, off to school, home, garden, clean, shower, then go to some art studio like The Generator for four hours to work on some massive project till it was time to pick up my girl. Then home, homework, dinner, clean up, and hang with kids or watch more vlogs and read more articles on beekeeping and woodworking and outdoor survival…

Wednesdays, 6:00am, school, home, garden, clean, shower, Generator for art, school, home…well, you get the idea. All that till I could accumulate a big enough body of work to show my art at as many events, galleries and contests as possible up to and including Burning Man. Hopefully that would allow me to make more money and connect with people who could actually show me how to do all the things I have been trying to learn about through blogs, vlogs and articles. I would be able to keep up with housework and homework as well as having my own time to do the art, building and gardening work I’m passionate about. I would have time to plan the healthy meals which I love to find and prepare for my family. I would make meals and snacks that I know would help heal their minds, bodies and spirits as well as my own. We would use essential oils and other 100% natural products to clean our home and treat ailments and keep us healthy. I would have the TIME and money and energy to decorate and prepare for holidays and vacations. I would have TIME to clean up after our adventures and get the home back in order. On weekends I could afford to take the time and money to go on adventures with the family and bring them to my shows and exhibitions.

With the money I’d make from my art I would continue to fix this house up. I’d be able to put new floors in, update to energy saving appliances, make the murals and decorate the rooms the way I envisioned them. I could finish the ocean mural in my friend’s home and all the other projects I’ve started for friends but haven’t had the time or energy to finish. Once it was all done, I’d stay for two years enjoying it, making art, making connections and getting the kids through school as happy and healthy as we can be within this system and within this marriage.

Then we would sell this house and buy unimproved land somewhere and build ourselves a homestead where we could get EVERYTHING we need from our own land and be independent of the system except for property taxes, insurance, and the smallest necessities needed from town or other homesteaders. We’d go to music festivals and sell our wears and grow our own meat and veggies. I KNOW it’s not impossible! I can SEE people out there DOING it!

 

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Again, not my image. Taken from Instagram username wendyortizart.

 

All of that is how I WISH things could go from now till then. But where is the money going to come from? I have to face the fact that my husband is probably never going to get a job that could support us all and provide enough money to actually live life like that. No one is going to just GIVE us money to make that happen, and I’m not sure I’d even want them to. I hate feeling DEPENDENT on anyone. I hate being dependent on my husband for his half of the contribution to everything right now. I don’t want to ever feel obligated to anyone except those less fortunate than me. Maybe this hang-up with obligation is why I have a hard time opening up to my husband physically. I hate that I feel obligated and that it’s not my own not passionate choice in that moment, especially since there is only a small window of time between other obligations to get it done. I also HATE going to work outside my home and having to bend my family’s life around it. My kids are alone far too much of the time. I just don’t see any way around it. I make art whenever there are no other obligations and there is time before bed or I can afford to stay up and work when the inspiration is there. That happens maybe once a month, if even that. But I still do it and I will hopefully be able to come up with a consistent body of work at some point. Right now it feels like it’ll never happen. I’m struggling to come up with any kind of plan to make even small parts of this lifestyle come to be. Here are things I think I should do:

Meal plan on weekends and give a list of groceries to my husband. I don’t do the shopping, but maybe I should start doing that on weekends. He would scream about the bill, but maybe I can get him to trade the mortgage bill I pay, for the grocery bill he pays and then I wouldn’t have to answer to him for the amount of money it takes to feed a family of five an abundantly healthy diet. I’m not sure I’d even have the money or energy to pull that off, but I can look into it. I don’t get home till almost 7:00pm and I still have to help kids with homework, so he does most of the cooking and I’d have to depend on him to stick to the meal plan. Sometimes he’s not home till late either and then it’s even harder, but I enjoy cooking, and if we are eating right, the kids might not have as much trouble in school and I might be able to spend less time having to help them. I have no idea when we’d have time to fix up healthy snacks that so often require putting together instead of just opening a plastic package, but we can try…

I need to make a budget. How much we make vs. how much goes out. I already know it’s pathetic. I’ve done it before and got scared, so I put it out of my mind and hoped for the best. I need a PLAN for paying off all this debt that wasn’t a problem when I was getting paid a lot more. I can’t ignore it anymore. I MUST put in more effort to stay on top of my bills. I must get my money organized. I need to accept the possibility of bankruptcy or at least call the creditors and ask  for options to lessen the burden. When I think about this I get terrified. I’m no good on the phone even with friends and family. Seriously, the phone SCARES me. I know it’s irrational and after I do take care of something like that I feel better, but I’m literally terrified of paperwork and legal stuff and talking to people on the phone, or asking for help, or accepting defeat and fault. But it’s time to suck it up and act like the adult/parent that I am.

I need to stop complaining and be grateful. My kids aren’t sick, my husband isn’t sick. I am sick, but it’s fatigue and depression, not some life threatening, expensive hospitalizing disease. I CAN still get up in the morning and I CAN still go to work, I CAN still help the kids with homework and let them vent and talk to me about whatever they need. No matter how much I want change and adventure, no matter how much I resent my life as it is now, I DO have a lot of things to be grateful about.

Lastly, I guess I need to ask for help. I don’t know who to ask or how to ask or even really what to ask FOR. Anyway, enough for now. Thanks for reading. Really just typical American woman lifestyle stuff I guess. Advice and encouragement welcome.

 

 

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Pathetic Mid Life Musings

I think about you a lot lately. Things like what I would say to you if ever we meet. Oh I do realize how pathetic it is. I ponder that all the time too, like, why YOU? Of all people, really, it has to be you? It’s absolutely the dumbest thing that I could possibly be thinking about. I think it’s an escape. I CAN’T think about the disaster that is my life, so I fantasize instead I guess. Just like I was 13 again…but I’m not.

It was my 13 year old daughter that introduced me to you, which tells you right there how stupid I’m being. At first I hated you, all of you. I’d roll my eyes at her and and barely be able to endure the videos. They were obnoxious! They aren’t even in English! Well, maybe a phrase here and there, but that was even more maddening! The camera never stays in one place long enough and it makes me dizzy trying to focus on one guy when it switches so fast and pans around and everyone’s dancing, but the scenes are changing. It was just too much and you all looked the same except for the crazy hair styles and bright colors which at first were the only way I could tell any of you apart. The outfits are terribly tacky and pretentious, and the drama was SO pre-teen over-mellow! I’d actually laugh, and sometimes still do at how good you all are at being emotional for the camera and all your screaming heartbroken fans.

But then something changed. I picked you and one other absolutely stunning man out just for the sake of picking because my daughter seemed to think that everyone should have a “bias” or two, or three. I picked him for his perfect face, but I picked you because you were endearing. You have such a sweet face and you move in a way that is…different from anyone else. You carry your little self with an air of…something. You seem small but you are unafraid and you know you are the best at what you do. And you kinda remind me of another dude I once knew. At first I payed more attention to the other because even though I loved watching you, I though you were arrogant, a playboy. The way you dressed and the way you acted in your videos lead me to assumptions. But then I read your lyrics…all of them. Now it is obvious to me that you are not a gimmick. All you have ever had to do to achieve what you have achieved is BE you.

I keep telling myself this is a mid-life crisis. As a matter of fact I know that’s what it is. It had to be you because had my daughters been in love with European or American stars I would NEVER become infatuated. I’d STILL be rolling my eyes and barely tolerating their fandom. Honestly I had no idea just how incredibly famous you are. I never had time to pay attention to such things. Now you have been pointed out to me though. You are just alien enough, just different enough, mysterious enough, far enough away to let myself feel a spark of interest.

I look at the art that you create out of your life in everything you do from your photos, to your videos, to your lyrics, your clothing, your jewelry, and your stage performances and I’m mesmerized and so bitterly jealous of you. You say things like “Hope is the parent of despair.” and I actually hate you for it because letting myself feel like a girl again after so many harsh years only makes me feel the sharp sting of NOT having my dreams fulfilled. You remind me what it was like to have hope, to actually believe that dreams can come true for everyone. They can’t. Not for everyone. Not for me. Not for my children.

I remember what it was like to be in front of the camera, to feel beautiful, to be alive with creativity. I remember what it felt like to go on all night art binges, to look on my creations with satisfaction and to get recognition from my artistic peers. I remember what it felt like to deprive myself of sleep to run up into the woods with friends and enjoy all of God’s creation. I remember what it felt like to be infatuated with myself, to feel sexy and strong and free. Now, at 38, I feel like a withered old woman trapped in a cage of her own making. It’s all downhill from here. Beauty is fading, strength is waning, energy lacking. I’m like poor old Jacob Marley carrying my unachieved dreams around my neck like heavy chains weighing me down and tearing me apart. It’s so much easier to just be resigned to my fate, to believe that suffering where I am is noble and beautiful. Damn you! I hate you for making me WANT again! But I don’t really. I admire you. I have a pathetic and definitely kind of creepy cougar crush on you. Seeing as how you are almost exactly in the middle of my daughter and I in age, it would be far more fitting for her to love you than me. Oh God I’m so creepy! Forgive me. I amuse and disgust myself because of you.

I guess I admire you because you’ve done it, you’ve achieved greatness at your passion, and I’m as proud of you as I am jealous. I’ve always admired and been drawn to passion. I think passionate people intimidate and scare me away though. Maybe I feel unworthy? Sometimes I wonder if you are happy with fame? If I could ever be happy with fame? I see the thousands of likes and comments on all your social media and I wonder if it ever weighs on you? I think about how I think I feel about you sometimes, which I am fully aware is just the creepy fantasy musing of an over worked, under payed aging mother of three living in a loveless marriage. I KNOW I don’t know who YOU are. But I know that the little girls really truly think their feelings for you are real. Their hearts are really breaking because they actually believe that the you they have made up in their heads is who you actually are. You must know the pictures and videos and even live performances will never be enough to satisfy their aching hearts. You must know that each and every one of them believes deep down in their soul that they are your soul mate and that if you only SEE them, you would know too? Does that ever scare you? Holy cow it would scare me! You can’t possibly answer them all, satisfy them all, meet them all, thank them all, let alone love them all! Do you ever feel a responsibility for breaking so many hearts? Or do you get off on it, does it excite you? It must be thrilling and lonely at the same time. I feel like I need to be alone in a crowd sometimes and that there are very few places left that you can go and truly be alone in a crowd. I enjoy strolling down streets and watching people. I assume that you can’t do that in very many places. Are you sure you want to be famous in America too? Don’t you want just a few places where you are still just some regular guy?

I also assume that we, you and I, are on opposite sides of the same problem…money. I’m in the gloriously wonderful spot of having none. I get up and go to work every day, I work hard, but it doesn’t matter. I’m still on the verge of loosing everything. I am feeding my kids, but can’t take them or myself to the doctor. I just lost a job that was covering all the bills, but after that I didn’t get paid for two weeks, and now I have a job that I like better than the old one, but it only pays half of what I was making before. I’m three months behind on my mortgage payments and my husband won’t finish school for another six months. I’m wondering when they will come take the house. Damn near 40 years old and still struggling just to put food on the table and keep my house. I’m aging. Fading, and I will never have the money to fix it. I can’t get clothes for my kids let alone for myself. I used to have the most glorious smile, but now my front tooth is yellowing and there’s not a damned thing I can do about it. I’m bitter and I’m angry at my husband for not taking care of me and the kids. I’m angry at myself for not being better, not being smarter, not trying hard enough, not making the right choices and I’m dying inside knowing that time is running out. I wonder if my kids will make it. If they will be successful. I can’t help them. I can’t help me. My husband and I are caged animals ready to devour one another. we barely even like each other anymore. I guess that’s why I make up who you are in my day dreams.

And that’s your problem. You have money, you are who you are and everyone wants a piece of it. But would they want you if you weren’t famous? Who would want you if you were as broke as me? I wish I had the answer. Probably not me. I’d probably be just as pissed at you as I am at my husband. I think the difference is though, that even if you were my husband in the same poor place that we are in, I think you would dance with me, even if I am bad at it, and I think you would write me love songs even as my youthful beauty fades, and I think you would still try to make me feel happy and carefree even as the world seems to be falling apart. But there I go again. Putting perfection on someone who is still just a man.

It’s time to stop being 13 and turn back to God for His perfect love, and it’s time to call the mortgage company and rest of the creditors and work out whatever it is that they are willing to work out or face bankruptcy. I can’t waste any more time feeling sorry for myself and wishing for you when you’re not even what I wish you were and even if you are, you wouldn’t want an aging American with three kids anyway. This mid life crisis stuff is no joke, especially when you’re poor. It amazes me that some people can have it all while others have nothing. I just don’t get it.