A funny thing happened on the way to work this morning. And by “on the way to work,” of course I mean walking the twelve steps from the coffee maker to my desk still clad in my pajamas. Let me set the scene for you:

Late Wednesday I lost a copywriting contract that was important to me. It was steady, well-paying work that I enjoyed doing – the first time in my entire life I did something at which I excel in exchange for monetary compensation. I didn’t do anything wrong, it was just one of those downsizing things that have become an integral part of this post-apocalyptic economy. I’m no stranger to losing work through no fault of my own.

You better believe I blamed myself anyway, because that’s my MO. Yes, I’m trying to stop doing that, because I know it’s a bullshit habit.

I also know I need to develop thicker skin. It’s exactly like the boots I’m trying to break in. I develop blisters every time I lace them up, but it will be worth it in the end because the boots are so damn cute, not to mention well-made. Obtaining a well-made pair of cognac colored combat boots is a fashion coup for me.

Or, in another relevant example, it’s also like the process of earning my MA – excruciatingly painful with terrible side-effects like poverty and alcoholism, but worth it in the end because now I have a fancy diploma decorating my wall and I can say that I have read and understood Ulysses not once, not twice, but thrice. Everyone who hasn’t read Ulysses can suck it! 

Just kidding. Please don’t leave. I have little to brag about, so let me have this one thing.

Anyway, don’t feel bad, this diploma can’t get me a job, and neither can Ulysses. At least I have a bound copy of my thesis on my bookshelf, so technically I can say I’ve been published. 

Ahem. So thicker skin. Yeah.

I’m still building clientele, so this loss devastated me in the way that only losing contracts when you’re starting a brand new work-for-yourself business can. I spent the evening partly in shock, partly crying, partly indulging in a pity party. Then I watched Bachelorette because someone told me it was funny and I needed a laugh and an escape from the whirligig of self-loathing that is my mind.

Once I completed this process, I realized I’m going to be okay. My therapist has been teaching me to say that any time something bad happens, and this is the first time I came to it spontaneously of my own accord.

I’m going to be okay.

I don’t do loss. I don’t do failure. Setbacks have destroyed me in the past.

But I’m not letting them anymore.

So the next day, I sat at my computer all day working to close out my account so I could get on with looking for more freelance work. My kitty sat on my lap freaking all day long, as if she knew I needed extra love. I felt bolstered by this unexpected emotional support. She’s not exactly a lap cat, so I knew it meant something.

LapMimi

This is what I wore all day.

 

Then, this morning, the worry was…gone. I’m a professional worrier, so this was unprecedented. There I was, all decked out in my accoutrements of failure, including depression pants, and I didn’t feel depressed.

Here’s a close up of the pattern on my depression pants, so you can see how amazing they are and why I wear them to feel better:

DepressionPants

Depression pants – see the owls?

Accoutrements of failure:

Feminist Selfie TextGlamorous, I know. But this isn’t the Red Carpet, this is a woman who has just kicked depression’s ass for today. Okay, maybe it’s not as badass as all that, but it’s the first time in a while that I knew I was going to be okay.

There will be other contracts. I’m a writer now, and I can’t go back.

Finish the Sentence Friday
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Comments

A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to Work Today — 66 Comments

  1. Natalie, that’s terrible news about the contract, but you’re a writer, and a damn good one at that, so I’m sure there will be many literary opportunities on the horizon for you.

    Way to kick depression’s ass – especially sans bra, AND with a cat on your lap!

    P.S. I haven’t even read Ulysses once.
    Karen recently posted…“S” is for StalkerMy Profile

    • Thank you for the encouragement, Karen. And the only way to kick depression is to not wear a bra.
      And you aren’t missing much, on the Ulysses front. It’s like climbing Everest: not everyone needs to do it.

  2. it’s so hard not beating yourself up for things that really have nothing to do with your competence but with everyone else’s stupidity – i just threw the stupidity part in because i like to blame things on other people’s stupidity. 😉 it’s tough moving past things that are beyond your control, but there will be bigger and better. and please get rid of those boots. i don’t think you should have to suffer. some things should just fit.
    Ice Scream Mama recently posted…In his eyes*My Profile

    • I’m going to have to start using that more frequently, the stupidity line.
      Maybe the boots should just fit, but I’m kind of stubborn…an e-purchase, so I didn’t realize until I got them home.

  3. Yay!! Good for you kicking depression’s ass…and in kick ass depression pants, no less. 🙂

    I’m going to be okay. What a good mantra. I’m going to have to borrow that from you. I’m glad you truly are okay, and that you’re enjoying living the dream!
    Ericamos recently posted…New BeginningsMy Profile

  4. Way to pick yourself up after a setback! It’s pretty powerful to remind ourselves that we are going to be okay. And it helps to know we have our “failure” accoutrements to turn to. But, then the next day, we can put on those perfect cognac combat boots (black motorcycle boots for me) and get on with it!
    Quinn recently posted…Fear and self-fulfilling propheciesMy Profile

  5. I haven’t read Ulysses. I have read Plato’s Republic. Does that count for anything? It isn’t exactly literature, but it’s old.

    Sorry about the contract. I love the owl pants. Sweet kitty. I’m sure you will be okay 🙂 [My husband used to be self-employed from contract to contract and we lived through this many times. It was always okay.]
    Robin recently posted…Worth SavingMy Profile

  6. Sometimes you get to fight through the depression, kick it’s butt, and get up swinging, ready for the next thing. I applaud your ‘gumption’, as they used to call it. And yes, you are going to be okay!

  7. Setbacks and layoffs are so hard but I think it’s wonderful that you are feeling pretty good about it. And you are an excellent writer, and you will get other work. You will be okay. Your kitty is awesome for being your lap cat all day. I haven’t read Ulysses. And probably never will. I’m okay with you winning that.
    Kristi Campbell recently posted…The Walk of ShameMy Profile

  8. Of course there will be other contract! And I’m so proud of you for kicking depression’s ass while wearing these damn cute pants. Cats have a way of knowing when we need their comfort most. I had a cat who lived to be 19. I had his since I was 9. I was his least favourite member of the family, since I dressed him in my hair scrunchies among other things (other things being I was kid. Which cats don’t usually appreciate). One night, when I was still living in Israel, our prime minister was assassinated and I was having one of these epic cries. My cat for the first time ever came and sat in my lap. I love cats. And I love you, cat lady, and I can’t even say “you’re going to be OK” because you already are. xo
    Katia recently posted…The Blogging CasualtiesMy Profile

  9. I got 50 pages into Ulysses and realized I needed a Jedi mind to understand what was going on. Oh well, I understand Dubliners, and that’s enough Joyce for me (Portrait was okay…). I like your new attitude towards writing and losing a contract. Screw the man, we are what we are, and nobody else can control our self image.
    Chris plumb recently posted…Saviors, We Don’t Need No Stinking SaviorsMy Profile

    • A Jedi mind, or a really good professor to guide you along…
      And Dubliners? Yeah, that’s enough Joyce. When someone tells me they’ve read and understood Finnegan’s Wake, they will be just mere steps below God in my mind.
      And “Damn the Man” is one of my favorite sayings.

  10. Way to go with the positive attitude! I totally feel you about losing a contract. I had a sweet writing job as an in-house writer, then got downsized to contract writer… Then they made more cutbacks and let me go. I blamed myself for about a year.
    Obed Medina recently posted…Flipping the New WaveMy Profile

  11. Well, it’s a good thing you don’t write naked, or you wouldn’t have had anything to write about today. Oh wait, there is the cat… nice to see her. Oh yeah, and the job thing… something else will appear, maybe even better. Nice too, how you made me feel like I suck… but I saw the movie, so I didn’t waste all that time reading.

    The depression pants are comfy looking, and cute… but that Afghan, good Lord who knitted that??? Oh no! You probably did, and now you are running to put your depression pants on. Would it help if I said you looked really cute in your pre washed hair no makeup selfie?

    p.s. you are missing the word ‘a’ somewhere.
    tedstrutz recently posted…The Ending is here!My Profile

  12. Sorry to hear about the contract, but I’m sure you’ll get more work soon. I’m envious of your depression pants. I love owls…Thinking about it a friend gave me a pair of owl pyjamas (pink) for Xmas…Maybe…

  13. Telling yourself you’re going to be OK is huge! It’s a gift to yourself and a gift to everyone around you. And it also disables the situation from having any power over you. I’m sorry you lost the contract. But I’m so glad you found some peace with it. And I want a pair of those boots too!
    ilene recently posted…SignsMy Profile

  14. I’m sorry about the contract. But you will be okay!

    I write as well. I’m usually dressed, as I have to take my kids to school and such, but when I get home I put on my sweatpants so I’m comfortable.

    And my cat likes to sit on me a lot too. Or walk across my laptop so some people have received some odd blog notes before.
    Amber recently posted…Sometimes You Have To Let GoMy Profile

  15. Sorry to see you lost that contract, but glad you came through it realising you’d be okay.
    I have read a few of Joyce’s books, but not Ulysses. Well done you!
    I also love to wear cats when writing! They keep you warm.

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