WHAT AM I WORTH?
What am I worth? Recently a Facebook friend posted a quote by Rocky Balboa:
“The world ain’t all sunshine and rainbows. It’s a very mean and nasty place and I don’t care how tough you are it will beat you to your knees and keep you there permanently if you let it…
You’ve gotta hit as hard as life. It ain’t about how hard you hit, it’s about how hard you can get hit and keep moving forward. How much can you take and keep moving forward? That’s how winning is done.
If you know what you’re worth, Go out and Get What Your Worth. But you gotta be willing to take the hits. And not pointing fingers saying you ain’t where you wanna be because of him or her or anybody. Cowards do that and that ain’t you. You’re better than that.”–Rocky Balboa
There is self-worth and economic worth. I don’t believe economic worth determines self-worth-it doesn’t, but it does make life more challenging. Economic challenges can detour what we may think is our road to success. But what is success?
I think it is important to be aware of how much we try to control our lives in order to realize control can keep us from living, from moving forward, and from being in tune to the blessings the universe wants us to have.
I digress. Didn’t mean to become so philosophical. The nitty gritty is I’ve lost balance. I’ve always been able to multi-task in order to survive and I continue to do that, but having endured a lay-off last year I’m more tipsy than standing tall on two feet. How do I make up for an economic imbalance?
What are my priorities, how have they changed? Am I using my financial situation as an excuse or a blessing? As a blessing, I have time to spend with my grandson who is autistic (I am his respite worker, which pays a minimal amount each month (16 hours worth, but through this experience I spend more and more time with him each and every week. I have learned unconditional love from this child, more than I have learned in any relationship-giving it and receiving it).
Also, as a blessing, I have broken the box that defined work-40 hours a week, healthcare, and a paycheck. Growing up poor, my family shopped rummage sales before garage sales and thrift stores were popular, thus giving me an eye to bargains that gave me a flair for fashion-shoes and clothes and purses-that I can now use to resell what has become my fashion personality-I have been emptying my closet (there’s a metaphor here). Can I find a way to actually make a living as a fashionista selling retail? Is this where my worth lies?
Or, do I take a minimum wage job, if anyone will actually hire me for one, and dummy down to this is what I am worth-my worth being that I will do whatever it takes to pay my bills-even if it won’t?
And, so, what about my book, my memoir. I promised myself it would be finished by August past. It isn’t. How important is telling my story? Why is it always on the back burner? I have been teaching creative writing at a local college this semester (unfortunately, I don’t have a class for next semester). I am aware my passion for writing has dissipated, though never my passion for teaching writing. But the two, for me, are important for balance. Although, never just the teaching and the writing, but also the living-the children, the grandchildren, the friends, the lovers.
Speaking of friends, how did I let them slip away? Why do I find excuses for real connection? Facebook has been my solace, but a poor excuse for not pushing myself out the door and into the lives of people I care about, who hopefully still care about me.
Many of my friends are writers. Committed to writing and promoting their books. I admire their stamina. But, I don’t envy them. I don’t want to be them. I think that is partly why I am not writing. Writing demands more than the writing. Am I scared to give more, scared I am not worth more? Am I just lazy?
Earning my MFA in Creative Writing was an epiphany for me. It made me feel like I had self-worth. Look at me, I earned a degree. Look at me, I’m a teacher. I’m a published writer. But why creative writing? Because I didn’t think I could be successful as anything else-not math, not science, not anything-and because I had stories to tell.
I didn’t choose creative writing, it chose me. It said here is something that can make you feel good about yourself, though it will be hard, harder than you know-and it was. Yet, it has been but one story in my life that was about winning: “it’s about how hard you can get hit and keep moving forward. How much can you take and keep moving forward? That’s how winning is done.”
There was a time, not too long ago, when my life was entirely wrapped up in writing-my writing, writing communities, writer friends, teaching writing, mentoring writers, and a full-time job where my writing experience was respected. I felt my life was in balance. I felt worthy.
Today I am challenged with having been hit hard and needing to move forward, but I feel like I am standing still. I feel like there are too many options and no options. I feel like any choice I make is not a freedom, not a winning situation, but a need to control what seems uncontrollable.
My story is important. But, I may or may not get back to writing it. In two months I will be 65 years old. I continue to believe I have no regrets. I will continue to move forward by looking back to remind myself how far I have come, knowing I don’t have to continue to prove to myself that I am worthy. I am. Knowing that I just have to keep living-living a passionate, thoughtful life-mindful of others and striving to love and know that I too am loved. Imagination the process to acceptance.
November 12, 2012