I didn’t win any prizes for Step-Mom-ness tonight. I contemplate this at 1:00 in the morning as I am still sitting at my desk, working my business which despite the fact that I have a full time job that more than covers my monthly expenses (and insurance benefits) I am reluctant to scale back on. Despite that fact that this (this right here… these moments of burning the candle at both ends) happens all the time.
Not sometimes. All the time.
Between writing social media posts and scheduling them, conducting account follows, writing blogs, webpage content, scripting storyboards for videos, moderating comments and all the jobs of a good online community manager, my business compensates me at about $58.00 per hour. Not that I see that much after taxes and about a billion dollars worth of licensed stock art and video, as well as software fees, memberships etc.
As it has been since 2012 I find myself turning away business a lot. I was fiercely proud of being full time self-employed until I moved to the USA and experienced just how precarious life can be without health benefits. One of our sons got sick which put us on the hook for thousands last summer and fall. And since I am the one that has the ability to make much more when I need to, I took on more work.
I didn’t feel comfortable where I was working. I guess perhaps it is some kind of arrogance to expect to be happy where you work. I had worked for a large regulatory body for almost eight years and was best work-friends with my co-worker Rahila. I suppose I had the expectation to meet a few Rahila’s in my new job in Texas. I didn’t. Being new to the network marketing business ‘genre’ I guess is the best way to describe it, I stuck out. Aware that I stuck out, I probably stuck out even more. And then there is the reluctance to put up with female bullshit … gets me in trouble sometimes. I don’t relate well to people who are not as driven as I am. And over-entitlement drives me ape shit.
How I wish I was one of those Zen like creatures I have observed around me. The ones that aren’t self-medicating with all the same shit that used to work so well for me. Booze, anti-anxiety medications; I consider that shit cheating.
I just ate one of two packages of Smarties chocolates sent to me by my sister in Canada. One package was for each twin, now they will share one. Also tonight, feeling sick, stressed, a little disillusioned and possibly quite sad and bruised inside, I opted to skip The Piggy Opera that the kids were performing in. Now their Mom was there and so was Kevin. Their Step-Daddy Josh had to be in school and me? I had 300+ social posts to write in a spreadsheet, 10 emails to answer and consult on two issues, and then schedule five days of posts on five social channels for three different brands.
After my 9-5.
Thanks for the Smarties Kim. This will make no sense to you but they were the best Smarties I have ever had. And I will probably keep the bottle somewhere safe, because you sent it to me. The candy tasted like home. Like Bloor Street and the click-clack of my heels while I talked Rahila’s ear off about wanting to get remarried and life’s journey, kids and other dreams I only confided to the people I trusted the most. The candy tasted like the sound of the waves of Lake Ontario hitting the Pier where that Fish and Chip faux boat is… where I sat about 12 inches above the water writing poems and sometimes, throwing them into bottles signing them “The Guerilla Poetess” before casting them into the water, only to read about the mysterious Poetess in the free papers, from time to time. (Spoiler alert… that was me).
The candy tasted like the sand between my toes at Wasaga Beach, the laugh of Aidan and Raven jumping on my bed, mouths full of popcorn. It tasted like dragging your butt everywhere from Frosh Week to parties that were probably too old for you in retrospect. I always just wanted to be your friend and sister, but the lack of adults in our home or parents nudged me into something that I never aspired to be. Responsible for you. I failed at that too.
The candy tasted like open microphone poetry with the kids from the University of Toronto and the “South of Bloor” crew, with a feather boa wrapped around my neck rocking the fat girl mojo that now makes me blush modestly. I spent a lifetime thinking I was less than I was, only to have a brief flash in the pan where I thought I was more than I was. Most days I wish to be invisible, quiet and to have the opportunity to be pensive.
The peace doesn’t seem to come after more than a year here in Texas. I feel alien. I miss home and my friends and family, even though I am not allowed to call it home anymore. Home is here, with my partner who I would truly die for… who has no desire to live in a snow belt.
There are people who need me back home and I am not allowed to go visit. Not until August. Perhaps that is what bothers me the most? That sense of being trapped. Of not being able to get on a plane and go see Aidan and Raven, and Tracey and Brad. They need me. I can’t do shit from here. And my sister is doing fine, very well. I am so proud of her but I just want to hug her. And I can’t. And my Godmother needs me too and my cousins. Landlocked and useless here in the land of the perpetual taco and margarita.
Things happen like with Indiana and the gay marriage/gay service legislation and anti-gay agenda and I seemly can’t forget that I no longer live in Canada. The intolerance slaps me in the face. So did the cowboy wearing a gun in his holster at McDonald’s the other day. The Canadian in me is sensitive to these things that seem so harmless and normal to other Americans. If you decline to serve a gay person I decline to spend my money with you, and support your business. I’m a humanist. I fucking hate bigotry.
We have a vacation coming up that I am not excited about, or rather I haven’t been permitted to get excited about it yet because of the additional workload and mayhem it is creating in my business life. I don’t mind busting ass but I got dump trucked, and now I am digging out trying to make my husbands request of “five days with no email and no work” come true. The irony is that I am working triple time to be able to take those days, and I am pretty sure I’ve pissed off my new day job Boss by asking for them to fly to Santa Monica for a few days. We never did get a honeymoon. I suppose this could be honeymoon-ish… right?
I guess being a newlywed, with two full time jobs, twin step-sons, two dogs, a cat, a husband, a house, a new country and culture, ants crawling through my window and across my keyboard, a brand new day job… I mean, why the hell would I be up at 1:39 a.m. piling up kleenex and eating Smarties chocolate candies?
The irony again does not escape me in terms of reversal. All the time in the world and no money? Been there. And it was scary for a long, long time. Money and no time? I really thought if I made more that it would solve everything. It doesn’t though. It only buys the good bottled water.
I need to fly home for a weekend to calibrate. And I need to fly to New York State and hug someone who knows me better than I know myself. “More new stuff…” It was only a matter of time before it caught up to me right? The newer stuff needs to get older so that I feel secure again. Enough God damned changes for awhile.
And Heinze spaghetti.