Oh my goodness, Hello! I have been busy, busy, busy. School started last Thursday and I just finished my last assignment for the week, which was a quiz. So I popped in here to check in and see what's doing.
Ever since I started the process of going back to school, some internal clenched fist has loosened up. I was feeling so disenfranchised, so trapped, so helpless. For almost five years, I have felt my hope in a future of financial independence dwindle and dry up. I feel like I am picking up where I left off years ago and then moving forward.
Let's back up a bit. I was married in 2001. At the time, I was working as a technical writer for a software developer. After we were married, I took some journalism courses and got really into the whole thing. Since Mr. Sticks was working full time and we were living comfortably, he encouraged me to pursue my dream of becoming a reporter. My plan was to start out locally and hopefully break into magazines and work my way up. I had dreams of working for a magazine like Rolling Stone one day. And I really thought I was that good. My ego was a little out of whack, but who knows? Maybe after several years at it, I would actually be that good.
After starting at a local newspaper, I started to think I was kind of a big shot, seeing my name in the byline. I would go up to my beat, work on gathering facts for my stories and then, maybe I might meet Mr. Sticks after work at the bar. I would sit amongst him and his friends and hold forth about what was going on and who was up to what. I would drink and smoke. I was a hard-boiled reporter, a regular Pete Hamill. In my mind, that is. The truth is, I wasn't very good at it. It was pretty scary. Some of the tasks were unpleasant, such as grilling town officials and sometimes having to call them out after a council meeting. Or knocking on the door of a family member to get a statement regarding his or her loved one's suicide. Or hiding down the street to see if the school officials were parking illegally. Or if the local pastor was using church funds improperly to build an enormous Lakewood Church type addition on an old historic church. Or any other thing my suspicious and ever-so-feisty editor wanted me to dig up. I often found myself at the office at 2am finishing a story. Other reporters would often still be there when I left. The neighborhood was sketchy and walking to the car was alarming.
I did bag one celebrity interview. Jon Bon Jovi had organized a benefit concert for a local charity (he lived locally in my beat). I covered a couple war protests too, which were interesting. But I quickly realized that I didn't really like the interactive part of being a reporter. I hated having to ask the difficult questions. I kind of wanted to be back in my little cubicle writing technical documentation and keeping to myself. I'm an introvert, after all...
I never did get back to that other job. I had the boys instead and stayed home with them. I wrote a couple freelance articles for a home improvement magazine and eventually got my real estate license. Then I became a daily drinker and my life went down hill.
Up until about 2007 or so, I always had financial hope for the future. I always believed I would rise from the ashes whenever a career crashed and burned or was abandoned. But these left five years have been different. I felt trapped in my circumstances. I felt like I was going to have to keep depending on a man to support me because I couldn't make a decent pay in real estate and I had children with special needs. The thought of going back to college was too daunting. But I'm here now and I'm doing this and I am feeling optimistic about the future. Who knows what may happen? Maybe it won't work out. But for now, I feel like I am acting on the courage to change the things I can. It feels great!