Nothing is Free….

So yesterday I wrote about how determined I am to take my virtual assistant ways and launch myself into the great unknown stratosphere. Well, let me tell you something, that is one expensive journey. I have started tapping into every online resource I can find, and they all lure you in with the promise of amazing results, unlimited income, darn near world domination status….for the low bargain price of, *insert not so low bargain price here* It ranges from virtual assistant education facilities, to online resources for clients, and all kinds of educational tools in the middle. I am beginning to think these people are not making money as virtual assistants, but rather as telling everyone else what to do to be one. I get it, they started at the ground level, and built up their empires. But seriously folks, many people starting like this do not have $1000 to throw at your bank account because they require it for their own.

So here I am trying to scour the way myself, essentially, doing what these examples did themselves, the way they promised I would not have to do things, because paying them would ensure I have so much more at my fingertips. No worries, I am not bitter, well, maybe a little bitter. But, this is not the first time I will have to figure my own way out of a paper bag. I can do this. This just stands as a speed bump, one I will make it over, slowly, without ruining my entire suspension. I got this…I think. When I make it big, I plan to give back to others in my shoes….for free. Maybe not everything, but I think it would be great to mentor another person to success, for the low bargain price of free.

Perhaps this is the lesson I am meant to learn. I can do it, my way, and succeed. I do not need to follow the path of another, certainly not a path I have to pay to access. I can blaze my own path, I am a fiery Aries after all. I often feel like everything in my life is a struggle, but I also do my best work under pressure. Perhaps this is why I ran into the roadblocks yesterday. I had not looked at it that way, I was just frustrated. I kept trying different avenues, and kept getting blocked. Perhaps the issue is more personal than I thought. The lesson is you know the way, trust in yourself to find it, and stop trying to find other people to follow. Be your own leader, not someone else’s follower.

Hmmm….now there is some food for thought.

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Sometimes the Answer is Right Under Your Nose….Sometimes.

I have been struggling lately with what direction I want to take my professional life. Since becoming pregnant with my first child I always felt my place was at home. Now, do not get me wrong, I do not sit in judgement of those who pursue a career outside the home. Quite the opposite, really. I sit in wonder as they have always been able to provide for themselves and their children without having to wait on the breadwinner to bring home the proverbial bacon. I always loathed that feeling of dependence, but was never quite sure what to do about it. When I was a single mom the first time, I worked in childcare and had my kids there in the building. Now, I know I do not want to do that, I got burned out on that field….big time.

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I have been working at home, as a virtual assistant, for several months now. I really love it. I have different tasks daily, and every day is something the same but different. I work from home and can work as early or late as I need to accommodate my children’s schedules. Having one in elementary, one in middle, and one in high school, the schedules are all over the place. So my little part time gig has been amazing. Now that I need something more reliable, more stable, I got scared, because I did not know what that looked like. I was also pretty convinced it did not look like my current job, where I sit in my yoga pants and work from home with no makeup on, taking a break to go run when I so choose.

Then, something happened. Someone told me I HAD to find a different job. I COULD NOT keep doing what I was doing….it is IMPOSSIBLE. Now, the fiery Italian in me said, WTF?? You are going to sit there and tell me anything I love is impossible?? Really?? Then I realized something. This person, *cough cough*my mother*cough cough* had implanted this self-doubt in me all my life. She has her own idea of what is possible and what is not. She has made her own choices, and boy have some of them been really poor, and stood for no one telling her something was impossible. So why the actual hell was I going to sit back and let her crap on my dream?? I am not, that is the answer.

So I have started into the motion the transition from working part time for someone else, to working full time for myself…no middle man. I am going to transform myself into the virtual assistant I know I can be. At the end of the day, impossible is just another way of saying, ‘I’m possible.’

When I Grow Up….

When I grow up, I want to be a famous author. When I grow up, I want to be a social worker. When I grow up, I want to be a teacher. When I grow up, I want to be a super-star athlete. When I grow up, I want to be a famous artist. When I grow up….wait, when is that again?? How can I be 40 years old and have such little idea about what I want to do with my life?!? How is this possible? I think about the possibilities, and then the idea of making a choice scares the shit out of me. The idea of making the WRONG choice scares the shit out of me. So then, I choose nothing, and stay where I am, and that aggravates me, and round and round I go.

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I love writing, I have always had a passion for sharing my thoughts, ideas, my soul. When I start to put it down, with intent for greatness, I freak out, get writer’s block, and cannot seem to convey any of my thoughts well. I have started my book, which will be a best-seller, approximately 25 times in the last 10 years. I have finished about 10 pages maximum at any given attempt. They all reside on my Google drive, sitting there taunting me, like the several hundred craft projects I have started in my lifetime that never got done either.

I worked in childcare for quite a while. I do love children, but the rest of the job, well, I got burned out dealing with people and situations that I loathed. I hated having to keep my mouth shut and smiling when I wanted to scream about how wrong some situation was, or how much a particular person had no business in the business. Plus, the pay is crap, benefits suck (if you get any), and I go home completely and totally exhausted every single day….can you tell I had the toddler room???

I have sought help with this situation, from friends, family, my therapist. I cannot think of any one thing I want to do forever. I think of lots of things I would like to do for a while. I can think of things I would never want to do in a million years. So I guess progress can be made through elimination, to a degree. My support network tell me to just keep trying to find something that I love, whatever that may be. My therapist tells me to focus on fixing the issues from my PTSD and the rest will come in time. Time…do I have much time?? I mean, I am 40, not 22. *Sigh* I get confused, and then frustrated, because I do not see other people having the same issues I do, with attention, with focus.

My attention span is that of a 2 year old on a sugar high. My therapist assures me this is normal considering I have PTSD. I have always been like this though, and he retorts that I have been dealing with trauma my whole life. Ok, touche Mr. Therapist, touche. The fact remains, I have a history of starting and not finishing, unless it is a cup of coffee….that gets finished in 30 seconds flat. Oooh, I could have my own line of coffee, and products, and become the most famous Coffee Mama in all the land…coffee world domination, here I come.

But seriously, it is so frustrating to deal with this every day. I love my job, virtual assistant, because I am constantly doing different things, and dealing with new people. Plus, I love helping people, and my clients are all really great and compliment my work a lot. BUT….you knew there was a but coming, I do not necessarily feel completely fulfilled. I feel as though there is something more, something greater out there for me. I just don’t know quite what that is….yet. Hopefully I will figure it out before I am 50.

 

On the Cusp….

Have you ever had that feeling that you are on the cusp of greatness? No, really? I have this feeling that comes and goes, mostly around times of great change. It feels like a rush, excitement, anxiety, fear, intensity. I feel as though I am on the verge of some huge, great breakthrough, but I just cannot quite navigate the path ahead.

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I am at that point right now. I feel as though the world is open to me, whatever direction I want to go. But then I look around and feel as though my obligations are obviously something to consider, not to mention I am not 22 anymore. At this point I second guess my thinking. Am I just becoming negative, or is it realistic? I want to do great things, but then, I do not know what these great things are yet. I am a great #mom, that I have going for me. I want to take my strengths and turn them into the greatest life I have ever known, work wise. But when you don’t know what you want to be when you grow up, it is kinda hard.

I cannot shake this feeling like there is more to life than what is going on now, and I am right on the other side of the door. I just cannot figure out how to open it. Maybe I am meant to break it down, but I feel as though there is a key somewhere that I am missing. I hate that feeling. My therapist would probably tell me to meditate on feeling complete, as though I am not missing anything, and have all the answers. And he would he correct. Soooo, I guess I will try that first.

Remember those parent/teacher conferences where the teacher said you (or your kid) were not working to their potential? That is me. I am not working to my potential….but I do not know in what direction I am meant to aim my potential. Plus, I still have insecurities about where my true potential lies. I work hard at whatever job I have, and always have. I want to feel passion, fire for what I do. I like my job, Virtual Assistant, but it is not where I am destined to be. It is a placeholder, for what, I do not know yet.

I love helping people, and I love children…but I got burned out on childcare long ago. Perhaps, after everything I have been through something in the advocacy realm for abused women and children. Hmmm. Social Services? Non-Profit? I don’t know. I suppose I have to have faith in the journey, and remind myself that I am where I am meant to be until I am meant to be somewhere else. Of course, that is easier said than done.

Flashbacks…

Due to the trauma I have experienced in my second marriage, and throughout my life, I have been diagnosed with complex PTSD. My second marriage is responsible for the brunt of the issues, but I allowed that relationship to continue due to unresolved issues from my past. Anyway, I have flashbacks, not all the time but often enough. The triggers are anything, or nothing. I think this aspect is one of the worst of PTSD because it can trigger a panic attack at any given moment. I am then left feeling vulnerable and out of control, which is not what any PTSD sufferer needs.

One of my most common flashbacks is to when my now ex kicked in the bathroom door on me. We had been arguing for several hours, about nothing because all the arguments are about nothing. At this point I usually just take the screaming at, occasionally throw in my own retort, and wait for the switch to flip and the remorse to set in. But lately, things have not been going that way. He has been raging for longer periods of time than usual. What was once an hour is now half the day. He is becoming more aggressive, more explosive, scarier.

 

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On this particular day, I told him I was done fighting for the moment and needed a break. I told him I was going to the bathroom to compose myself and just take a break. I went into the bathroom, closed and locked the door. I sat on the toilet and just cried. Within a minute he had followed me upstairs, and screamed from the other side, “We’re done talking when I say we are done talking, and you’re gonna listen to me God damnit!” He then kicked in the door, and continued screaming at me, berating me. I almost vomited from the anxiety.

To this day, everytime I close a bathroom door, I flashback.  Every. single. time. Sometimes are worse than others, but every time I visually recall that moment when he kicked in the door on me and showed me once again I was the bird trapped in the cage and I was not going to escape if it was up to him. Some day I know these flashbacks will stop, and I long for that day, but for now, I am where I am, and it is going to be ok.

The Little Victories….

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I have learned on my short-lived journey little victories are going to lead me to the ultimate success. In leaving the abusive relationship I was in for 7.5 years, I have found just how much I need to fix in my life, and just how difficult it can be to do so. I have to fix my credit, reduce my debt, increase my income, all while working my current job, and juggling three kids, and let’s not forget all the court it entails to leave a marriage with kids, and keep those kids (and myself) safe in the process. I have also learned I am stronger than I give myself credit for, I can rely on people for help, and it IS GOING TO BE OK.

Yesterday was a tumultuous one. Actually the whole week has been a roller coaster (see yesterday’s post). On Sunday, I filled out an application for an apartment where the leasing agent assured me she would do everything in her power to get me in and my situation was nothing new, and she herself had been there. I got them all the necessary paperwork by Monday, and waited. I called the next day, nothing….the day after, nothing…finally on Thursday the leasing agent actually answered my call. “Oh, I’m sorry but the manager said no, and I pretty much cannot do anything.” I asked about the possibility of paying a large deposit, or even paying a full year up-front (borrowing the money from family and paying them back monthly instead of paying the rental office). She turned it down…yes, CASH, rejected. I was speechless, which is probably a good thing for this leasing agent.

So yesterday I was hunting again, and mind you, while I am apartment hunting, I am NOT WORKING, and thus LOSING MONEY. So basically yesterday was a frantic journey. At the end of the day, I secured an apartment, and the kids and I will be in a safe, clean, quiet, neighborhood that is in the same school zone as what we need. So there incompetent leasing agent, I don’t need you anyway. I count that as my small victory. I can now focus on working, getting through the impending trial and protective order hearing (trial because my soon-to-be ex broke the emergency protective order six times from jail 30 minutes after being served).

I am now checking off the list ‘find place to live,’ and moving every item up a notch in the priority scale. A top priority is finding a job that is Administrative, which is what I do now, but not independently contracted. I need to establish reliable, stable income, hopefully with benefits. But I am not frantic, since I do have a job. I can relax a bit, and not feel that sense of urgency, that impending doom. For far too long that has been my feeling every moment of every day.

Being married to an abusive, narcissistic person drains you of all your hopes and dreams. It leaves you a shell of the person you were. My children are excited because fun mom is back. She is still strict and has lots of rules, but she is not as anxious and on edge as abusive relationship mom. I can take a deep breath, and let the energy course through my body, without fear that an emotional, mental vampire is going to rob me blind. That is a victory.

Relish every victory in life, because the smallest ones can yield the biggest results. I have a big mountain to climb, but I am not climbing it alone, and I have surpassed some of the roughest points. I can feel the refreshing air in my lungs, and I can see the peak. When I get there, be ready, because I intend to scream from the mountain top that I have arrived.

Want a Ticket For The Roller Coaster??

Leaving an abusive relationship is almost as scary, difficult, taxing, and anxiety inducing as being in the damn relationship to begin with, at least for me. I have to rebuild myself from the ground up. I have a job, but as an independent contractor, and only for the last 5 months. I have 3 years into my college degree and desire to finish, but uhhh who has the time and money for that right now?!?! No, really, WHO?? I need a place to live, with my 3 kids, but I have very little credit, and apparently some medical bills I was unaware of from like 4 years ago….so, that is another pile of dog poo poo I am trying to deal with currently.

You know that saying, “God only gives you as much as you can handle,” well, I think he fell asleep with the remote, because I feel overwhelmed regularly. He must think I am freaking Wonder Woman to keep piling it on like this. Either that, or he knows I have questioned his existence, and he does in fact have a mean streak in him. Who knows, and quite frankly, who has time to worry about that….not me.

I am dealing with PTSD, finding a new, more reliable job, finding a place to live, keeping myself and my children safe, working my current job in the meantime, and trying to sort out the issue prohibiting me from moving forward. It feels like I am drowning. I always pictured this time as feeling like I regained my freedom, and yet, I feel as though I am now a prisoner to my life. If that makes sense. I have these moments, like what I am in right now, where I just ramble in my head, not quite sure if I am making sense.

I will say this, to anyone reading who is contemplating getting out, but reads this and is now scared shitless….do it anyway. Because as scared as I am right now, I was more terrified living day to day with an abusive, narcissist. Get out, whatever you need to do, just figure it out, and get out. Do not second guess yourself or wait until…until is now. The rest can be figured out.

It is 5:09 am, and so far, I have filled out 4 job applications, vented on social media, applied to a couple more apartments, and found 4 more places to go see soon. Oh yeah, and written this little gem. I feel like a full day has already been accomplished and yet, there remains so much more to do.

I just keep saying, “It’s going to be ok.” I also ask everyone in my support network to tell me the same thing, over and over on a loop.

I have always said I perform best under pressure, and this is certainly pressure, so I guess it is just an opportunity to show myself just what I am made of. Hey, maybe I am Wonder Woman….where’s that damn lasso??