There’s a cartoon I really liked when I was little. It was called Jem and the Holograms. I don’t remember much about it except that there was a computer called Synnergy, and there was a girl band whose members included Ashtin, Kimber, and Jem. Also, someone had pink hair. The reason they came to mind is that this week, I’m dealing in holograms. I recently landed the biggest side job I’ve ever applied for. And then … I lost it.
Here’s how it went. A former employer hired me do to some editorial work. It was a two week job, and paid more than I’ve ever received in one go. I was pretty excited about it. I was apprehensive as well, because dealing with this client had been draining in the past. But I figured I was now older, wiser, and more experienced. I would make it work.
Except I couldn’t. Two weeks, 29 excuses, and 3 extensions later, the contract has been terminated. It got to a point where the client was understandably fed up, and frankly, I don’t blame them. I’m surprised that they were patient with me for so long.
The reason I’m talking about holograms is I had plans. I had budgeted every last cent of that 200K. I knew where every shilling was going. Except now, it isn’t. They always tell you not to count your chickens before they’re hatched. It’s even wiser not to spend your cash before it’s chequed. Or something like that. So now that the holo-money has vapourized, I’m in a bit of a rut.
I suppose I’ve mourned the loss of this lovely huge paycheque. I denied that the work couldn’t be done, bargained for more time, got angry at myself for letting it slip, sank to some pretty low levels of disappointment, and finally settled for numb, dead acceptance. I don’t suppose it helped that I had personal issues to deal with. I buried myself in work to hide from all my ‘stuff’, but in the end, everything went south.
For the last two weeks, I’ve been up all night and all day getting work done, and in the end, I compromised on both. I was so sleepy at work that I snapped at everyone and barely wrote coherently. It’s a miracle I got anything sensible done. And I failed to deliver on the ‘night job’ despite endless trans-nighting and extensions. I seriously doubt I’ll take on such a big side job again. In fact, I’m considering dropping freelancing altogether and just raising chicken.
I have a friend who ran a successful freelance biz for years. She averaged 150K a month. Then she got a 9 to 5 that paid three times that much. She tried to keep the freelancing alive, but in the end, she had to let it go. She said it wasn’t possible to keep the two ‘men’ in her life happy. When I started my 9 to 5 at the agency, I told her I’d find a way to balance my primary and secondary jobs. She smiled and said she’d wait and see. I wonder if she’ll call to say ‘I told you so.’
I realized something about myself this week. I’m the type that runs away from things. A lot of people say I’m dependable, but I know that when the going gets really, really tough, I bail. I’ve always known that I delete blogs, twitter accounts, and email accounts when I get upset. I know that I rip manuscripts in fits of temper. I know that I summarily dismiss people from my life. But I didn’t think those things were related.
This week, I walked away from something that used to be really important to me. It made me feel fickle that something I held so dear suddenly meant nothing at all. I’ve done the same thing with friends and partners in the past. People who meant the world to me inadvertently said or did the wrong thing and got kicked out of my life. It’s not something to be proud of, but it’s something that I do. Frequently. It sometimes keeps me from making new friends, because at the back of my mind, I’m wondering how long it will be before I give them marching orders.
I’m floating in a semi-empty space today. I spent a few minutes meditating, just to clear my head. It didn’t really help. That’s something I’ve gotten into lately – energy healing and meditation. It’s making me wonder whether I’m in an experimental phase, doing things I never thought I’d do. I wonder what I’ll try next. Maybe I should make a list. For now, Pranic Healing fits. But then again, a lot of things fit before I ditch them.
I’m in a dark space right now. It’s been a while since I was here. Last night I danced with rock-bottom. But then I looked at my little girl. Sometimes she talks in her sleep, giving me a hug just when I need it, or saying just the right words. Times like that, I know she’s sending me a message from the angels, especially because she never remembers what she said in the morning.
I have a pattern of self sabotage when it comes to money. I land big projects then I do everything possible to screw them up. And while I’m doing it, I think I’m doing everything possible NOT to screw them up.
I realized the reason I keep doing this is I think I’m not worthy of being paid for my work. I’m ridiculously confident about my ability, so God knows why I would think I shouldn’t be paid for it, but I do. And I’m working on it. The next time I land a big job – because there will be a next time, I’ll do my due diligence. In the words of my latest side-gig-master, I’d rather turn work down than screw it up.
In the meantime, I’m going underground for a month. I’ve gotten a leave from the day-job, and given super-nanny the month off. Starting next Wednesday, all I plan to do is sleep, sleep, and sleep. I might take a few breaks to feed my baby, walk her to school, and watch crime documentaries, but other than that, me and bed are getting really tight. I could use the down time, and I intend to enjoy it. Now to see just how long the lethargy will last before I find a new way to drive somebody mad.
♫ She’s so gone ♫ Lemonade Mouth ♫