This blog was written APRIL 14, 2011
THE PRICE OF SUCCESS IN A HOME-BASED SMALL BUSINESS:
Life is what takes me away from fitness, from health. This past week I have been mired in it. There has not been time for anything except for the battle, the CRISIS. Yes, that is how someone described my life this week; she called it a crisis. I was offended by her assessment because I have been in crisis before. I know it well. Crisis is what comes after you lose the battle. It is the casualty of a war that has been lost, and I don’t see myself loosing this time. Don’t get me wrong, this sh*t could quickly become a cluster f*ck and YES, I am well aware that I may not win this battle, but I can also tell you that a crisis is not something I plan on letting myself have. I don’t have time for that sh*t, I have things to ACCOMPLISH.
The battle this week was ugly, the perfect storm for a crisis. Our home has become a bunker, and I hate myself for making it that way. Home is where you are supposed to go to get away from it all, to be safe. I imagine it exactly like a game of baseball, each of us standing on our own home plate hoping to hit the ball. The balls come fast, and hard, each with a different spin on it. When we’re lucky we get to feel the awesome jolt of contact, as wood meets ball with a crack, then it is time to run. My run is always frantic, fueled by adrenaline and the need to win. I have never been good at baseball because most of my swings result in a miss, and my run is done with neither appropriate speed, or cunning. It is sloppy, and desperate. When I hit the ball elation fills my heart like a sailboat catching wind. In that moment the world stops, and I am so surprised that I have succeeded in hitting that forget that I even need to run. “RUN”, I can hear my teammates screaming, but there is no time for me to look around to see where their voices are coming from. My heart pounds in my chest, and fear moves me, with tunnel vision, to the next base. The bases are my oasis for I have never been able to hit a ball hard enough to have the glory of a home run. The game I play, the life I lead, has never had that kind of instant gratification, and I have never been a hero just by the swing alone. Instead, I run like most everyone else, trying to make it back home to where I came from, wondering why I even left in the first place. I feel alive in the run, electric. It is a like a shock to a heart that has grown stagnant. It makes me yearn to cross that finish, to slide past all of those who would try to stop me, and hear the ump call out the affirmation that I had in fact made it, “SAFE.”
Having a small business in your home is like sliding across that plate and not being safe. There is no where for me to go to feel like everything will be OK. I can not leave my work behind because it is with me ALWAYS. It is the first thing I think of when I open my eyes in the morning; it is also the thing that keeps me from sleeping at night. I feel like I am always late, and most days my stomach is twisted. The pressure is my own doing, I created it. I want desperately to prove that I can grow past where I came from, that I can be a SUCCESS, that I can WIN this game called life.
Most people have no idea that I am different, that I was never meant to succeed the way normal people do. I am not a stupid girl; I know the things that I am supposed to say and do. I know how to play the game of the politically correct. In all honesty, it is my fault that people now think that I am having some sort of break down. My writing is described as that, “A psychotic break” because I have kept who I am hidden. Just this week a friend read my blog and said, “WOW, you have a lot going on right now.” Thinking that she was capable of seeing the bigger picture, I replied, “Right now, I have always had a lot going on.” What she wrote back broke my heart, and made me feel ten inches tall. She said, “Well, I love you ANYWAYS.” That is what I get for admitting that my life has been hard. I get friends who love me anyways, like they should somehow love me less because of things that happened…… to me. I am made to feel like I should apologize for all the things I have lived through, and even those who would spare me that indignity, quietly urge me to bite my tongue. During a conversation with a very dear friend this week I learned that she had been feverishly defending me from the judgement of her own family members. Her aunt said of me, “I just feel sorry for that poor girl, what a waste of talent. She is throwing her business away by posting that filth she is writing.”
What a waste indeed…….
I began yelling at him the moment he walked through the door. I knew that he did not need to come home to this, I knew that he was tired after putting in close to eighty hours this week. My anguish would not allow me to spare him. My face was red, stained with the talent that I was so flippantly throwing away. “You have got to help me.” I screamed, pacing like a caged animal. Ricardo stood in the door way of our home not moving. He was wearing the same tired mask that I had seen so often these days. I was starting to wonder if it was swallowing his face, his eyes looked hollow, vacant. “Please, make it stop.” This time my plea came in the form of a strangled whisper. Still he said nothing, looking through me to take in the home that he had returned to thinking he would be “SAFE”. It looked like a bomb had exploded. In addition to being filthy, there were picture orders scattered everywhere. I had gotten them all done, IN TIME, but now they needed to be sorted, packaged, and delivered. I had gotten up at three that morning thinking that I would have enough time to get them done before my first appointment arrived at noon. It was 10:30 and I was no where near to being done. I HAD RUN OUT OF TIME.
It was not a matter of simply moving the stacks of pictures into another room, our house was in shambles. I had not bathed, eaten, or even had a chance to process the pictures that my twelve o’ clock was coming to see. There would be no miracle, I could not make it happen. “PLEASE HELP ME!!”, the cry that escaped my lips was so loud that it startled me. Ricardo just stood there as if he were trying to decide whether or not he should stay or retreat. Finally he said, “What exactly do you want me to do Amber.” “I WANT YOU TO F*CKING HELP ME!!!” My answer came in the form of an accusation. With obvious disgust, he committed to enter our home, walking past me into the living room. “Where is MY daughter?” She is always HIS when he is ashamed of me.
“She is hiding,” I thought to myself, before answering flatly, “She’s in her room.” Sapphire knew better than to come downstairs. I had only seen her for a split second that morning. She had come down long enough to try to scrounge herself up something to eat. Our refrigerator was empty, I hadn’t been able to find the time to go buy food. I saw her climb back up the stairs with a package of top ramen. She would eat it raw, she knew better than to ask me to find the TIME to cook. Sapphire had adapted to my business just as the walls had. I could feel them closing in, “f*ck when did this house get so small?”
“Are you going to HELP Ricardo?”, another accusation. “Reschedule, your twelve o’clock,” he said shortly. “I can’t,” I admitted as tears again started to fall. “I don’t have their phone number.” “Did you have them fill out a client info form when they came in for their appointment?” he asked, his voice softening at the sight of my tears. “I can get if off of there and call them for you.” “No, I didn’t have them fill one out because I ran out of paper for my printer.” I whispered, embarrassed. “How long have you been out of paper?”he asked, as if it was somehow relevant to calling this particular client back. “I ran out of paper three weeks ago. I haven’t had time to go buy more,”now I was sobbing as I crumpled to the floor too overwhelmed to keep myself upright. The look on his face said it all, he was sickened by the sight of me, repulsed by my inability to do anything right. “Jesus f*cking Christ Amber, what the hell is wrong with you? What in the hell are you doing with your time?”
My time is spent making paper flowers out of memories. I thought I could use them to buy a better life. I fold each one, ever so gently, for they hold every hope and dream I’ve ever had. I made so many that I can not longer find myself in the middle of them. All I can see is a purple sky I can not reach, and even the wind is lost, blowing paper instead of bringing me fresh air. Aren’t my flowers pretty? You want them when their free, so I keep on giving them away, often for less than what they are worth, knowing that each time I do there will be another pretty flower for the world to enjoy, and there will be even less of me……….