i’m not just lazy

i was recently made a job offer that i was ecstatic to take.  it has been a long time since i’ve had proper taxable employment of any type, and i desperately need the money.  while i’ve enjoyed the generosity of others for some time, i have taken steps to ensure that i am not actually a mooch, and this includes never asking for anything unless i desperately need it and i know the other person can spare it.  i’ve been this way all my life, not just as a result of abject poverty, and it’s part of the whole idea of a postrevolutionary economy: do as much good as you can for others, and then when you need something, ask for it.  maybe not even of another person- just of the universe at large.

as a result, i am at a point where there are things i very much need but can’t bring myself to ask for (multivitamins for the malnutrition i fear i am suffering, oil and a filter for my car, food) and so like any functional person on the planet have to go about getting them.  they are exchanged for money and so money is what i have been seeking.  thanks to some good friends i’ve been able to get some paying gigs, but that money flies away fast, and at this point i feel entirely without prospects.  and so i readily accepted this job without thinking about it and found myself in the position i hate to be in: needing money, but given to a job that i absolutely cannot do.

this inspired in me a host of conflicts.  you see, i’ve always had a difficult time with soul-eating jobs.  the aversion that i feel about some tasks- sales, canvassing, any situation where i’m made to interrupt a person’s life and ask for something from them- goes beyond a mere eye-roll at mind-numbing employment.  i can do mind-numbing, but not soul-eating.  i’ve never known why this is.  after all, soul-crushing jobs are a person’s lot in life as human.  your soul is meant to be eaten.  souls are, after all, very edible.  no one has said outright that i am just a lazy hippie, but it occurred to me that maybe they ought to.  the thing is, i experience physical symptoms of illness when made to do things in this capacity.  i can work at a desk, talk on the phone, make spreadsheets, sandwiches, recommendations of local restaurants, as part of any job position- but if things move in the aforementioned direction, i will get literally sick.  my body shuts down.  my stress skyrockets.  i get the feeling that if i were forced into a sales job i would soon suffer ulcers as a result.  i don’t get why it is, but one thing is clear: i am simply no good at these jobs.  and so i take that as a matter of course, and generally don’t have to deal with them because i avoid them when looking for jobs.

in a way it’s a pity.  these jobs pay and pay well.  but it is simply not worth the tradeoff for me, and as i said, i would be useless as an employee in this capacity because i am incapable of performing the work.  picture the job you couldn’t be paid to do: south american garbage man, fetish prostitute, poop scooper.  other people do these jobs, obviously.  but not you.  and that feeling you get when you consider what would happen if you were made to do the job- well, that’s the feeling i get about jobs that most of society doesn’t seem to have a problem doing.  and the point of this blog is to announce: i am not just lazy.

for all my lack of education and gaps in employment, i have never been fired and usually leave a job on excellent terms with my bosses.  i have more than once had offers to contact my bosses if i’m ever wanting to come back.  this is because when i get a job i can do, i do it to the best of my ability, and i’m damn good.  but in the interest of “saving” my damn soul, i have, at least in the past six months, been living a lot more consciously.  this involves readily identifying my feelings as they happen, rooting out bad ones, examining them, determining their legitimacy, and acting upon them from there.  for example, if i’m having a day where i get pissed at every billboard and television ad, i try to figure out why that is, and decide if it’s just a crazy, frantic reaction to some hangup, or of i can be legitimately angry at the fact that advertising is all-pervasive and ridiculous.  if it’s the latter, then i can decide to leave the house while my mother is watching TV or keep my eyes on the road while i’m driving.  (that may not be the best example, because there aren’t really any “remedies” in that case.)  in this spirit, i have had the good fortune of making massive strides in my emotional health, which has been better for all of my relationships.  and it was only after considering all the options in this case that i decided it was best to email my boss and let him know i am not capable of doing the job he is asking.

i did, at the same time, point out where i could be an asset to the organization, if he was interested in keeping me on in that capacity.  he hasn’t replied yet, so i don’t know how to tack an ending on to this story.  but whatever the outcome, despite my deep and abiding fear of disappointing people, i felt that i did the right thing, even though it sets back my moving plans for quite some time.

in all of this, the best lesson i have learned is that don’t let uncertainty about your future dictate your decisions about current situations- at least not entirely.  it’s fine to not want to quit your job because you have bills to pay and don’t know how they would be paid if you weren’t working for a while.  in that situation, however, if you feel that you simply cannot continue at your job, plan for what you can, take action to fulfill those plans (save money to pay your bills for a few months, remove some bills from your life, sell unwanted items that you’ve been letting gather dust, etc) and then make the change you want.  i currently have no bills that aren’t expendable (people have come to consider me a drug dealer for the frequency with which i get and then lose prepaid cell service) but that isn’t the case for everyone.  the point is- don’t be afraid of the unknown, if what you’re doing feels like the right decision.  i think it’s called faith.  and how do you know you’ve made the right decision?  my sister summed it up for me, when i ended my last major relationship:

“you’re going to have a lot of emotions swirling around, and you won’t be able to figure them all out.  but as long as you feel relief, you know you did the right thing.”

feel relief.  go now in peace, my little hams.

gratitude

it’s my firm belief that gratitude is one of the most powerful forces in this world.  sometimes it’s the only saving grace we have when things feel harsh or worn-out.  some people don’t take the time to consider why they’re lucky, especially if they’re feeling particularly unlucky- which is the most necessary time to do it.  there have been numerous articles about gratitude and its impact on your physical and emotional well-being (here is a link to one published in the Harvard Mental Health Letter).  in a sense, gratitude really can help you fake it until you make it- by considering the positive side of your life, you change your attitude and your life, in turn, begins to change as well.

having lived in poverty for a long time, i am always reevaluating my circumstances and trying to check myself about the things i complain about.  today, while discussing the term “voluntary simplicity” with someone, i said jokingly that it seemed like the positive term for “broke”.  this made me think about basic human needs, and how bad off any of my friends or i actually are at the poverty levels we’re at.  it was then that i chanced upon this image.  i put it as my desktop background- to remind me of what i really have.