If we were having coffee today I would tell you about what kind of day I had yesterday. Namely, I would divulge to you how from 5:15 p.m. until 6:48 p.m. I broke down crying. I’m still trying to figure everything out; I’m still trying to step back far enough so that all of the pieces create a discernible picture.
Still, everything feels fuzzy, out of focus yet deeply unpleasant. Even after talking things over with my boyfriend it all feels so overwhelming.
It all began with a calculation: I hadn’t made enough. Each day, in order to pay my bills and have a teensy bit leftover, I must reach a certain quota. Sometimes, this means working 10 hour days. Today, this meant forgoing a double date to sit at home and do work. After working an 8 hour day already, I felt I deserved a bit of fun. But, if I wanted to be able to afford rent I had to sit down, be a big girl and grind out brilliance.
I knew that, in going off on my own and working for myself, I would face hardships. I expected some invoices to be paid late, to work long hours here and there. I knew that a bill or two would become overdue. I didn’t know that the moment would come when I wanted to be like Britney Spears and shave my head and scare the shit out of someone with an umbrella at a gas station– and that moment was essentially inevitable.***
Being your own boss is like being in a life-sized pressure cooker. The combined pressures of time, money and relationships amplify. Everything important rests on your shoulders. You’re suddenly Atlas.
Perhaps that’s why I cried so hard, so earnestly yesterday. Straining against the pull of so many directions (five directions actually– that’s how many clients I have).
This evening, I explained to my boyfriend that I couldn’t go out and how frustrated I was that I had to work instead. His response? Infuriating. He pointed out that I chose to start my own business; that I chose to sacrifice time for flexibility; and that we should make a list of how to work though this.
I told you– infuriating! Make a list? Are you fucking crazy? I wanted to yell at everyone– my clients, my boyfriend, the asshole driver on the bridge who’s so up my tailpipe I should charge him a taxi fare– “I’m doing the best I fucking can!”
It felt like he viewed me as a big baby when I felt like I was having an anxiety-ridden meltdown.
In other news, I’m worried that when my boyfriend and I start our respective graduate programs in August that we’re not going to make it. He’ll be in class during the day. I’ll be working full-time and going to school in the evenings two or three times per week.
Yes, I said it: I’m afraid we might not make it. Even now, I’m working every single day. I don’t get breaks; I work after dinner up until we go to sleep. I check emails before I pee in the mornings. (TMI?) The connection we used to share has suffered greatly. At the end of the day, I should want to spend time with him. Sometimes I do. Sometimes I want to curl up with a book for the 15-minutes of spare time I have before I pass out.
If we were having coffee (and you slipped some Bailey’s into mine to act as a truth serum), I would tell you that I resent his salaried job. He could go into work and slack off one day every once in awhile and get paid the same amount. My paycheck is commensurate with the number of hours I work minus what Uncle Sam thinks he’s owed.* My boyfriend completely deserves every penny he brings home; I just envy his ability to call in sick.
It sounds like my solution is simple, doesn’t it? Take more time off to enjoy his company. Oh, how I wish there were more hours in the day.** Right now, there isn’t enough time to do enough to make enough money to take a vacation. Right now, I’m making just enough to squeak by. Being broke is an excellent depressant.
If we were having coffee, I’d be finishing my coffee right about now. I’d tell you that I need to go– to do work– but I appreciate you listening.
*Small business ownership is the fast track to becoming a tried and true economic conservative.
** This is the unofficial slogan of the small business owner along with, “I wish I had an extra pair of hands.”
*** Shit they don’t cover in business class, eh?