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Philosophical Monday: The Voices Made Me Do It or Betty’s First Smile

So back when I was a starving artist with a day job, what annoyed me the most (especially when rent came due) was that I was so underpaid for the work I did the first three years that I lived in Los Angeles.

I won’t go into specific detail, but when you add in what I was getting paid for writing, which was basically between $0-$100 a month for an extra 20-40 hours of work, then I was actually getting by on less than minimum wage. And if you added in the money I owed for bad debt and two expensive degrees — well you can see why I laid awake many a night wondering why I couldn’t stop writing.

I often wished that I could push it aside and pursue a career that would allow me to make some real money and not feel stupid for choosing to go down a life path paved with rejection and overdraft fees.

Though the minute I got a full-time writing job, it all seemed worth it. I got rid of my bad debt and thanked the Lord for my two expensive degrees which allowed me to get paid for what I love to do.

However, I once again find myself getting paid a negative wage for the work that I’ve chosen to do. I’m not as resentful this time, b/c having a history of starving (artistically) for passion helps you to accept the consequences of biological imperative. This time there’s less falling to my knees and tearing at my clothes.

It’s more like sleep-deprived, dirty-diaper changing, teary wonderment when I think, “Wow, you paid out-of pocket for IVF, carried a kid for nine months, engaged a babysitter just so you could have 9 hours a week to write by yourself, and you gave up the ability to do so much as take a shower without loads of prep work just b/c some voice inside your head was screaming, ‘You’ve just got to mix your DNA with CH’s. You’ve just gotta!!!'”

Of course this is all to say that Betty smiled at me big and in sustained color for like a full two minutes on Saturday.

And it felt an awful lot like getting my first full-time writing job.

Also, she’s started sleeping in four-hour blocks at night (up from two-hour and [on particularly bad nights] one-hour spurts). So now there’s a little voice whispering inside my head. I can’t quite make out the words yet, but I think it’s saying, “You’ve just got to mix your DNA with CH’s. You’ve just gotta… AGAIN!”

Go figure.