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.
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:
Accoutrements of failure:
Glamorous, 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.