I have always hated relying on others for money. Even as a small child, I wanted to earn my own funds, attempting to do so with several ill-fated entrepreneurial schemes.
For instance there was my berry selling business, started at the age of six. I would pick wild berries from the woods - usually blackberries, but sometimes salmon berries and thimbleberries - and attempt to sell them by the side of the road. This plan was a failure for three reasons:
1) I lived on a country road where maybe two cars went by per day.
2) People were perfectly happy to pick their own berries, and didn't need my assistance.
3) I had a tendency to eat all the berries myself.
Then there was the time I tried to make my own newspaper, when I was 8. I went door to door asking people if they had any news to report. I would jot down the "news"and go home and painstakingly write all my scoops down, making copies using crappy carbon paper that I found in a box somewhere. I eventually became discouraged with this business because:
1) No one was giving me any actual news, probably because they believed a newspaper created by an 8 year old child was not the appropriate medium to discuss the pressing issues of the day. I didn't like writing about the fact that the neighbor kid got a new toy, or that the old couple across the street just came back from the Grand Canyon. BOOOOOORING.
2) It was a lot of freaking work to make those newspapers, and I could only sell them for a quarter a piece. The amount of work I put into it was not reflected in the pay I received.
Then there was my dog walking business, which never even got off the ground, because the neighbor kids - the Leutts I think was their name - stole my idea. I suppose a true capitalist would have taken their idea-stealing as a challenge, and would have upped her marketing and expanded her reach and attempted to undersell them. But nine year old Dana was not a true capitalist - she simply stamped her feet in anger and spent huge amounts of time hating the neighbor kids.
Their business failed anyway.
I mean :(
My point is this - by nature, I prefer to be self reliant, and I'm not afraid of working hard to be so.
Which leads me to my current dilemma.
Until a year ago, I worked in finance. I hated almost everything about that job - I hated the dull nature of the work, the fact that I had to repress the very best parts of my personality at all times, and the general inefficiency that always accompanies teamwork.
But, the good thing about it was that it paid well. The pay was what kept me there for so long, even though I was miserable and angry all the time. Of course, pay will only keep you complacent for so long, and eventually I was forced to quit and strike out on my own as a yoga instructor - it was necessary for my well being.
I'm very, very glad I made this decision.
When I look at how much I made last year, I am shocked by how drastically my income has been reduced. There are probably children in sweatshops in Indonesia who out earn me. It's beyond frustrating, because I work hard, and I believe that there is far more value in what I do now than there was in my stupid office job. I actually help people and make them happy - and in an ideal world, my pay would reflect that.
But it doesn't.
And so now I'm in a bizarre predicament - I am mostly reliant on my husband for money.
Our arrangement is such that the money I earn is supposed to go to food and gas, and any little extras I want to buy myself. Phil's money is supposed to pay the main bills.
I freaking hate this.
For instance. I really want to get hair extensions. I have always wanted to have masses of luxurious, long hair, but I've never been able to have it, because when my hair grows out it turns into a thin, straggly mess - not pretty at all. Hair extensions would solve this problem. But, hair extensions are expensive - at least $300. I don't have $300 just sitting around, because all of my money goes to gas and food. So if I want extensions, I have to ask Phil for the money. Phil says hair extensions are too expensive, and why can't I just grow my hair out like normal people? I try to explain about the straggly and the thin and the ugly, but I wind up sounding unbelievably spoiled and vain, and I can tell that Phil thinks I'm being insane.
Aside from this, there is the the constant pressure to please Phillip and to keep him healthy. Because if Phillip were to die, or to become tired of me, I would be deeply fucked. I cannot live on my meager salary in Southern California - I would have to take in roommates to pay the bills, and even then I would have to live like a poor person. I've been poor before, and I can honestly say I can't go back to that. I just can't. So a large amount of my energy goes toward making sure Phil is happy with me and that he's eating nutritious foods and driving like a sane person. Fortunately, I am very interesting, so I do a good job of keeping him entertained, and I take sole responsibility for the housework, the cooking, the grocery shopping and walking Molly - which he appreciates. But every pound I gain, every TV show I watch that annoys him, and every lupus induced medical crisis weighs on me - I can't help but panic, thinking that any moment he'll throw me out on the street and I'll have to live in my car, or on people's couches, or join a commune.
Realistically, I know that Phil loves me and wouldn't do that. Our relationship is strong and healthy, and I don't have any logical reason for my panic. But I can't help it - the fact that I'm so reliant on him bothers me - a lot.
So the obvious solution is for me to make some more money. But how? I can't go back to working in an office - it's really not for me. I can only teach so many yoga classes per week. I would be a terrible prostitute. I could sell my organs or my eggs, but with the lupus it might not be a good idea.
It hit me a few months ago that I should try writing professionally. I have written 7 books - four of which are publishable - and it doesn't make sense to just keep them on my computer, taking up space. I should try to publish them! I know that I'm not a "great" writer. I'm no John Irving or Toni Morrison - I'm not even Stephen King. However, I am an entertaining writer. People seem to enjoy the things I write, and I bet some people would be willing to pay to read them. It makes sense to have a job that plays to my strengths.
Plus the life of a writer is ideal for my personality because:
1) It can be done anywhere
2) I can do the actual writing alone, by myself, without having to do teamwork.
3) I can do it on my own schedule.
4) I enjoy writing.
5) I have an overactive imagination that needs funneling into something constructive. I find that I have fewer nightmares and paranoid delusions when I write regularly.
I don't intend to quit teaching yoga - I enjoy teaching yoga, very much. But I want to supplement my income with writing. Eventually, I would love to write full time, and only teach a few classes per week, but that's a long term goal. I know that I have a long road ahead of me to travel before I teach that goal.
So I have sent out some queries and manuscripts. I'm aware that the rejection rate is extremely high and that it could take years before I'm actually published, but I'm still going to give it a try. I suppose the worst that can happen is I never publish anything - I'll be no worse off than I am now.
Wish me luck!