Friday, October 10, 2014

like swimming not falling

it's been three months since my job ended. i expected it to feel like i was falling, flailing, hurtling towards my doom. it didn't, though. work ending was a lot more like being underwater. sound is distorted and difficult to understand, and getting anywhere requires more effort than just moving through air. because something tangible separates you from other people, it's easy to feel alone.

i realized for the first time in my adult life i wasn't subject to someone else's schedule for me. no one expected me to show up...anywhere. that alone was surreal. i wasn't structuring my life around anything. i realized how much i liked that freedom and felt a little guilty about it.

i have been plodding on. this period of searching feels interminable; will it really ever end? how do i continue to find energy to do it? it's at once surprising how long the days can feel and yet how hard it is to get anything done. doors remain firmly closed, iron clad. i could tell you all the things i've done to meet people and make connections and find work, but this isn't really about that. i just want to tell you how it feels.

job hunting is like doing a job i hate and am terrible at and then not getting paid for it. it's grueling, merciless, impersonal. i want connection and satisfaction and rest. i never imagined a full-time job would feel like rest.

with health insurance holding a sharpened stick (still waiting to hear from medi-cal about other options), and unemployment an insufficient transfusion, i am bleeding money. this week i made the decision that was my Worst Case Scenario: giving up my apartment. this is a great sadness for me because it's a sanctuary; my cozy little nest; my first california home. also, it feels like failure. i couldn't do it. i couldn't find a job quickly enough to save myself. before i use up all my money simply trying to stay here, i must surrender it.

i have two options, offers extended by people who are willing to sacrifice some of their own comfort to help me. this is simply amazing. my Worst Case Scenario ended in me moving back to colorado. though that isn't a terrible plan B, i feel strongly, deeply that i need to be here. i'm fighting to stay.

my options:

1. live in a friend's second bedroom. he's offered to make a place for me--even giving me some room in the garage for a workspace--but he lives 30 minutes away. not the end of the world, i know, but it's a smaller, more remote town. i don't know anyone there; it would feel a lot like starting over. plus, my work studio is here, so i'd have to spend gas money going back and forth. however, the house is tidy and there's a big window in "my" room--a luxury i haven't enjoyed for two years.

2. live in a friend's half-finished downstairs unit. it doesn't have a kitchen and is chilly and a bit rough around the edges, but i would still be in my community. i would still have my own space (a big one at that) and be close to my work studio. i can share her kitchen, but i know i'd feel like i was disrupting her and her spouse's privacy. improvements could be made (painting, cooktop, convection oven, fridge), but would it be too cold? would it take too much money to make it work? i do feel kinda excited about fixing it up, and there would be enough room to keep sewing at home as i do currently.

in a lot of ways, i feel like living in japan has prepared me for option 2. i endured four humid-cold winters with no insulation or central heat. i lived under the kotatsu (still an option), slept with hot water bottles, and hovered around space heaters. i had a fridge, heater, and cooktop but lived without an oven. i know i could do it, of course i could, but home isn't something you want to have to endure.

what would you do?