Tuesday, December 31, 2013

champagne wishes and unemployment checks

Hardly slept last night.  Admittedly, the baby kept me up...but my mind was maybe worse.  It's the last night at my in-laws, playing with kids, eating sugar, sleeping in.  And then, everything changes.  It's the last night of 2013 and then everything changes.

Before getting married at 34, I went to a lot of New Year's parties.  I drank a lot of champagne, I wore a lot of high heels, I ate some tamales, and I never had a date.  Now, since getting married I always have a date...I have diapers and breastfeeding and weather so atrocious I'd rather hide inside.

But back to the anxiety.  Tomorrow we drive home and I have to get an estimate and get my car repaired.  I have a legal battle with Iowa unemployment, labor people to call, lawyers to chat with, hearings to fit in.  I have jobs to apply for, my husband's job to apply for, weight to get started losing, a recital in 3 weeks to prepare for.

Eek.

My beautiful son is now speed crawling and the house is not baby-proofed.

So today  I found out I did not get a role in a show I auditioned for.  Perhaps I should have known better than to audition in 2013...a year that tried us so much.  Between us, the battles, the accidents, the child in NiICU, the out of control medical bills, the house fire....how did we make it???there is blessing here though.  I love my husband more than when we started....I kicked and punched my way to better esteem and 30 pound  of weight loss.  I made friends, and now have the most wonderful son ever.

For the first time in five years, I spent Thanksgiving and Christmas with my husband.  What a blessing!
We talked today... a bit with me crying.  We discussed resolutions, and I simply have none.  I think it's so hard to resolve a different behavior when I'm proud of this year's life changes, and I don't have any idea what to expect now.

I resolve that I will hope for something only God could surprise me with.  And I pray for patience.  Patience and a few unemployment checks that my husband deserved in the first place..

Friday, December 20, 2013

A little Bit Disgusting

I have been mulling over in my head whether to talk about my week in this blog post, or to talk about my thoughts on an audition tomorrow.  So here's my week in about two paragraphs.

I was teaching, exhausted, on Tuesday.  I left the school and the road was snowier than I thought it would be.  I saw a green light ahead, and I was going a little under the speed limit.  One woman made a left right before I got into the intersection.  I expected the next man after her to wait.  He didn't, tried to make a left when I had already entered, and I tried to brake, to not hit him, but it didn't work.  He had a truck, I had a car, it's pretty awful.  Had my first trip to the chiropractor ever, and I think I'm developing an ulcer.

I had spent all of Tuesday tracking down the number of students who thought they'd 'just pay me in January' for lessons they took weeks ago.  I had to say over and over again, "my husband lost his job, and twenty dollars matters to us right now."  it was awful and humbling.

The weather is very icy, and hubby and I are afraid to drive out there.  We have already lost one vehicle this week, and are paranoid about losing two.  Tonight, after a long day of hanging out and baking cookies (and students not showing up or cancelling), we received notice at 4:35 pm that my husband's company won the request to not give him unemployment benefits.  This also means we'd have to pay them back for what we've already received.  It would destroy us.  I had to ask my dad for money.  We have to appeal it over Christmas.  Corporations are evil.  EVIL EVIL EVIL.

Ok, so when I think about being young I liked stories of princesses.  Not excessively so, but I am girlier than I think.  I do think that a Christmas stocking should contain earrings and lip gloss.  That being said, I never really saw the appeal in wanting to play a princess.  I have some great pictures of me playing the witch in a play at 5.  There's something very freeing about being the bad girl on stage.  There's something freeing about being a little bit disgusting.

Now, I like costumes that make me look kind of cute.  I'm not that weird.  I like a little bit of awesome hair, and I like makeup. But those characters, complex in their brokenness, a little bit sick, a little bit strange, those are the best.  I loved being Mrs. Lovett....she was so strange, she didn't sing songs of longing, she tried to trick men into loving her.  She ran her own business, and she was a little bit gross.  I loved that part of her.

Tomorrow I am auditioning (if I can calm down this ulcer by then) for the role of the innkeeper's wife in Les Miz.  I get to sing Master of the House with a few dirty gestures and a big, ugly accent.  I will curse, though in life I don't curse.  I feel like after this week, I need it.

I am still dreaming of hurting the people who hurt my husband, and us, after he worked so hard for them, so dedicatedly, so long.  He never stole pencils, he never took lunches, he was so....exemplary.  And yet now the enemy is some big, nameless, faceless corporation.  I guess if you don't have a face, it's hard to have a heart.  And that's a real and scary part of our American world right now.  Lots of missing faces, missing hearts.  Random people online saying horrendous things about each other.  Companies denying a young family the chance to survive financially for what amounts to a few hundred dollars a month (essentially their lawyers' lunches?) in savings.  Disgusting.

BOth of my parents mourning over my situation, offering to help, insisting, and both of them said the same thing to me.  I need to use my gifts, I need to sing, not to forget that I could be the breadwinner here, and when will I get to school to get a full professor's job?  What can I do?  They know how hard it is, two little ones at my feet, at my breast, and hardly a moment for myself.  But somehow, it is true--find your talents, find your center. 

Hubby and I sent the 4 year old away tonight.  We held each other and prayed and prayed.  It was the longest we'd prayed in a while, and it wasn't long enough.  Sometimes 20 minutes without sound in the house is also pretty centering.  Still praying, while hubby kills people on the PS3.  We are doing whatever we can to hold it together.  I guess I do need the audition tomorrow.

Monday, December 9, 2013

Success

One of the first words I use with myself when I am walking down "that dark road" is Failure.

I have failed at singing.  I have failed by still being overweight.  I have failed at never having money, I have failed.

It's a horrible word.  It takes hope and rips it off you, like a bad bikini wax.  It's a word I am avoiding.

But I find another word that is difficult is the opposite word.  Will I ever feel like a success?  And I don't know if it matters if I will ever be a success, and will I ever stop caring if I am one?  I find myself these days, stressed out, ankle hurting, big bang in the back of my car, a bunch of medical bills stacked up on the counter...wondering why I have to feel so incredibly far from being a success.

To me, success means never having to call someone for money.  Maybe that's not right.

Maybe success is having a facebook full of pictures of myself performing.  Here I am, successful, singing.  Maybe success is getting called for interviews, or people from high school sending me emails that say, "wow, can I borrow money?"  I just don't know what it's supposed to look like.

Apparently, all I know is what it's supposed to feeeeel like.  I know exactly what it's supposed to feel like.  Like rest.  Like a big breath, like a sense of confidence and pride and some self-assurance and stuff.  It's supposed to feel like peace?  I think peace.  But then peace is different.

Today I found out I did not get the interview to teach at the local college (that would have been SOOO helpful financially and so much closer and so much less stress than driving my car with 110K miles on it an  hour and a half in the snow to provide my family with $200 a week).  It would have been that.  And so I don't feel very successful.

Then I got out of my car in the snow and stepped wrong, and wrenched my ankle, and now it's a little puffy and it hurts like a mother, and tomorrow I was planning on working out (because I feel like a success when everybody sees that I have the heaviest band in the class, ya know) and I don't know if I can.  I'm a loser, I guess.

I feel so little hope that hubby will get the job I am praying so hard for.  I think you're supposed to pray with faith, assurance, confidence!  I am praying like a groveling beaten-down shelter dog.  I am praying as someone who is absolutely convinced that God has God's plan, but not really so much of a plan for me.  I have kind of let that idea go over the years.  I am fine just being a part of His plan, if that's ok with you.  I want to be used for good.  But I don't have any expectation that whatever I think this "success" feels like comes with the package.

I ended my day crying for five minutes after chickening out from asking Dad for money for the medical bills.  I felt like such a failure.  Crap, I said I wasn't going to use that word.

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

The Rules Change

Well the crying has begun.  It's just me.  Two days of crying in the evening.  I feel helpless.  I miss the days when there wasn't all this mess.  Of course, those days I was single and there was other mess.  For a year now, my husband and I have been saying, "something's gotta give".  He was miserable at his job, I was teaching 50 students a week to get by, we were struggling at every bill, struggling to have friends in this new city (5 years into being here), we didn't have the church we'd prayed so hard to find, it was just tough.  Something's gotta give, he'd say, and I'd put my head on his arm and agree.

And then last night, while I was crying, he said it again.  I looked up and said, "something did give.  The mouth of Hell opened up underneath your news station, swallowed you up and spit you out."  (I really do have a flare for the dramatic).  "you got fired."  He agreed.  It did give.  We were hoping for up before down, but you can't always choose direction.

This morning in the fog I hit a pole with the back of my car.  I knocked out the taillight and dented the bumper pretty badly.  That $500 incident (I'm guessing) stared me in the face and chewed up my insides.  All I could think was, "I wanted Tye to have a better December, and I ruined it."  And then I cried and went inside the house and broke the news to him.

I am a teacher now.  I mean, it took me a few years to admit the transition....I was a singer, and now I'm a teacher.  I'm not crazy about this change in title, though I think I'm good at the new thing. I still think it would be fun to write something grand, or have the time to do a big creative project....but I noticed the other day something that scared me.  In 30 days of giving thanks this month, no music ever entered into the list.  No music.

I don't feel like a music maker anymore.  And I'm pretty sad over this.  Honestly, it's hard to be anything and be a good parent to little kids.  So if you see a celebrity who is really working hard and doing all sorts of amazing things and they've got little kids--they're probably not the best parent.  The every day is so overwhelming.  I don't see this is as "noble".  I still see those titles as stupidly self-congratulating.  I mean, be what you want....be a superstar, be a parent, be a jock, be a comedian, be an accountant.  None of those jobs are more noble than the other by definition, not to me. 

I live day by day by day.  It's how we pay bills, it's how the kids see their world, it's how my relationship looks best.  But my endless journals, written between the ages of 12 and now, all have goals in them.  5 year singer goals.  10 year fame goals.  Songs written in the lining.  I am afraid in marriage and kids that I have lost that girl.

And this all seems like crazy rambling as I struggle to piece together mortgage this month.  Because now this is the thing that is big.  Pay the bills, get to work, stay healthy, try not to hit anything with the car.  My new life goals. 

Years ago a member of my husband's family asked him when he would shape up, quit the news thing and come home and take care of what matters.   I still have trouble liking that person, despite every other pleasant encounter.  Because...his news career, my singing dreams, they matter.  Once you start reproducing, taking care of elderly family members, taking care of each other, the rules change.  Happiness changes.

Everything changes.  Ha....I remember it's the one thing you can count on.  Change.

Monday, December 2, 2013

Take Me Now December

Here's a song I wrote in my early teens.

At the time, it was about addiction and hope.  Now it means other things to me.

It's another day in paradise with you
Your silver lining well secures my storm clouds
My hope's in Jesus

I mourn now for the second unanswered miracle
You're never doing what I tell you to.
It's so intensely crazy, and my skies are getting hazy
Just for today
My strength's in Jesus

Take me now December
I greet you with a passion from the past
The tears I know are almost gone
Take me now December

The winter of my discontent's arriving
The storm clouds are turning white to blue
Oh how I need your love, Oh how I need your love, oh how I need your love

Take me now December....

I thought that I would give up over and over
I learned that you don't change, I don't let go
There's more to this plan, and I don't understand
And here the clouds come again

Just for today
I hold to Jesus

Take me now December
I greet you with a passion from the past
the tears I know are almost gone
Take me now December
Take me now December
Take me now December