I have so many chips on my shoulder you’d think I’d been sat under the counter in McDonald’s!! It really is one of the less attractive aspects of my personality that I find it so hard to let go of things that upset me or the people I love. Honestly, events from 20 years ago, can influence fairly unrelated decisions that I make 20 minutes from now!
Most of my ‘chips’ relate to trying to prove people wrong. Whether it be a negative comment from an adult when I was little, a harsh critique from a tutor or a shun from a friend…..I find myself trying so hard to overcome things that ought to be long forgotten. I think one of the biggest ‘chips’ is the result of the stigma attached to being teenage (and later on a single) Mum.
A great many people don’t stand up on the bus to allow expectant teenage mothers to sit down, they just sit there and pass judgements. They attach a stereotype to them; irresponsible, scrounging, failed. I tried so hard to be the opposite of what was expected of me that I actually became the butt of more than a few jokes! I worked 2 jobs whilst completing my A-Levels, so that nobody could ever accuse me of not paying my way; if my baby needed something, she would have it and I would pay for it.
Working has always been important to me, it is what has allowed me to be independent. I had my first part-time job at 14 and only ever had a break in employment when I became poorly a few years ago. As a couple, my husband and I share our financial responsibilities and I like that. Although Phill would quite happily pay for everything, it makes me feel like a stronger person, an equal, to pay my share. I hate the idea of being someone else’s responsibility.
I recently lost my job. I have been looking hard for 2 months. Never before have I found any difficulty in gaining employment, but these are difficult times. I haven’t even been offered an interview :-S It seems that for some positions I have all the experience required but am lacking in that all important degree; yet in others I have all the qualifications they need, but my experience apparently makes me over-qualified and suggests that I will leave when a more appropriate position is available. It has been so frustrating.
It has really been upsetting me and I have allowed the situation to drag me right down into an incredibly dreary mindset. Pre-occupied with berating myself, I’ve stopped enjoying anything else. It hasn’t been a conscious thing, but it felt selfish to be doing the things I enjoy when my time could be spent on the job-hunt. I’ve seen little of my friends, I’ve neglected my blog (unforgivable ;-P) and I’ve relinquished my heels and dresses in favour of depression inducing joggers. What an idiot!? the worst part? I didn’t talk to anyone about how I was feeling – thus breaking sensible grown up rule number one! I didn’t even talk to Phill, which was really silly and yet my lovely man has put up with my horrendous mood swings, my cryptic comments and my sour face!
Statistics tell me that there are thousands of people out there feeling just like me, like failures. I’m so lucky that Phill has a good job and that we will be ok financially, my heart goes out to all those people who are in my position and don’t have anybody. But I am not a failure and neither is anyone else in my position. I realise this now after finally opening up to my partner, who as always, reliably informs me that I am being ridiculous and couldn’t be a failure if I tried; that he loves me and that everything will be ok. That from adversity comes opportunity and that I should use this time to pursue the loves that I have been neglecting; painting, sewing, writing and trust that something wonderful is yet to be.
So I’m back! Today I wore cream kitten heels and late 50s inspired, coral, polka dot dress. I entertained two friends and last night I baked banana bread! Tomorrow I’m going to get stuck in to some writing and this weekend is set to be very busy indeed. I’ve been so down that when my article was recently used in a magazine, for some reason, I didn’t shout it from the rooftops!!??? I probably didn’t give it enough attention because I was so busy feeling sorry for myself and was too (boring) sensible to consider that things might just be looking up…..but it looks as though they might!
I think it’s time for me to dust those chips of my shoulder and accept that I no longer need to prove myself to anyone. It might be a while before I get another job, but it might be as soon as next week; so for now, I’m going to enjoy this extra time with my family and the opportunity to throw myself into my writing and the chance to do what I really love for a living.
Thank goodness, for lovely husbands