Maggie Jankuloska
April 20, 2013 4:00 am

Around 2 am is bedtime, following an uninspired session on my laptop. Usually I would have crackers by my side, but with an engagement party looming and eight kilos lost, I fight temptation.

I wake up at 11:15 am, feeling tired and unproductive. Seventh Heaven is finished and The Love Boat is on. As my dad watches Lifetime, I photocopy worksheets for upcoming tutoring sessions, which I conduct during afternoons and try and put my teaching degree to some use.  By the time I come home, I know which junk mail email and which telemarketer call is due. This is the unglamorous life of a 20-something with part-time employment and writing aspirations.

I write and often make small celebrations at page number milestones. I just passed page 100 on the second draft of my novel. Will this novel ever be read? I don’t know. Will it be published? I don’t know. Will it be liked? I don’t know. Do I love it? Yes.  Are my characters alarmingly neurotic? Yes. Are they an extension of me? Yes.

So I work a few hours a night and on weekends, while waiting for an afternoon phone call from a local school needing relief teachers. When it doesn’t come, I punish myself with reminders of all my peers who have steady jobs and careers- although simultaneously the idea of working 9-5 scares me.  When feeling persistent, I apply for dozens of jobs weekly. When a phone call comes in for a job interview, my mind recreates hundreds of possible outcomes. What if I embarrass myself? What if they ask me that question? What if I have to start ASAP? What if it’s a dead end job? Will I enjoy it? What if I’m not good enough?  In the past, these anxious ponders have kept me from actually attending the interview.

Student loans, car insurance and laptop repair bills are draining my pocket. I spend more time writing than working – of course, writing doesn’t feed me. I have a wonderful fiancé who supports me with whatever I do; he is my biggest fan. I am blessed with the gift of writing – I am a good writer. I have completed a post-graduate degree. Yet there is always something missing and that is a steady career.

I always imagined my life career heading a certain way. I followed all the rules; I finished high school with top marks, excelled at university and stayed ambitious. Yet when I finished university and was thrust in the real world, fear entrapped me.  Fear hindered me from evolving into the person I wanted to be. It started in the end of 2009 and it has taken me a long time to rise above from it. I missed and rejected lots of opportunities and I only have myself to blame.

Yet what I have learned is that I have become confined only by the walls I have created myself. In 2012, I committed to writing, which has been my passion since I was a child. I have written for numerous sites and loved every moment of it. I may not have earned a dollar, but I have earned happiness. I have even created an eBook with some of my best online pieces.

I still apply for jobs in a competitive and depressing economy: office jobs, bank jobs, teaching jobs.  I try to be optimistic and I acknowledge the many blessings and gifts around me. I may not be earning as much as I should, but that does not define me. It does not make me any less capable or intelligent than anyone else. I also know the scorn many creative types face so I try to remain as true to myself as I can.  I try not to be defined by my short-comings, I know hardship makes us stronger  and I try to use it as motivation.

Featured image via biggrlproblems.com 

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