Coffee & Contemplation: Returning to Work

As the whole pandemic situation calms down in the United States, many places have reopened their services. I recently went back to work but with limited hours. I’m thankful to return to work but I fear I won’t be able to make enough money to support myself. This is nothing compared to the millions of people who are unemployed due to Covid-19. But I still worry because I could only get part-time work and many of my other gigs were in events and entertainment. To my knowledge, events and gatherings are still canceled.

So, with this return to work, I have also cut back to only my essential expenses. I have rent, the electric bill, the phone bill, groceries, and a reduced student loan payment. That’s all. Some good things about returning to work include getting cash tips to use for the laundromat, getting out of the house now and then, and walking to work gets me my daily exercise. But with part-time work, it’s only enough to cover my expenses with not much left over. At least I have a job when so many don’t. 

I do continue applying for jobs hoping to get something full-time. Full-time work would allow me to live easy. The downside is I would not have as much free time for writing. I’m about two-thirds complete writing the first draft of a novel and I have two more novel ideas in line. I also have a short story collection and a couple poetry collections in the works. And then there are the posts for this blog. If I could afford it, I would write full-time. That, however, doesn’t pay the bills. Once I finish my first novel and edit it to something I like, I’ll submit to literary agents and try for a publishing deal. Fingers crossed.

Twofer Tuesday Poetry: The Monsoon's End & Sad Thoughts on Christmas Eve

The Monsoon’s End

Change is never easy
Not even little things
I spent the summer
In libraries – coffee shops – 
Places I felt comfortable
Summer ended – students returned – 
Each place was crowded
The comfortable spots gone
Feeling lost and exiled
I wanted one place
I could call mine
No money to rent
Or lease an office
No sanctuary – no retreat – 
Even the taste of
Coffee lost its pleasure

Sad Thoughts on Christmas Eve

It’s been a couple weeks
At the least
Since I showered

My beard grew long
It was extra itchy
I cut it all off
But still have not showered

I’ve mostly been home
With my cats
Callie and Coco
The only two creatures
Who offer me affection

I haven’t eaten much
Other than bread and rice
And free meals from work

Dishes have been in the
Sink for over a week

I should clean out
The litter boxes
Or the cats will pee
On my bed out of spite

Things on my To-Do list
Are getting done but
It takes hours to
Work up motivation

Sometimes I wander
For hours because
I don’t want to be
Anywhere but I don’t
want to be home either

I just keep walking

Where do you go when
You don’t feel like you
Belong anywhere

I don’t want to
End my life but
I don’t want to
Be alive anymore

There’s no satisfaction
There’s no pleasure

I lose interest in
Intimacy with myself
Because no one else
Wants to be
Intimate with me

I see compassion
From others but
No affection

I don’t know what it means
To be confident anymore

Things always end the same

For some reason I keep
Trying – never give up
Never surrender

If there’s no affection
And no intimacy
Am I really living
Am I alive at all

I see myself in the mirror
With dark, sunken eyes

How have I avoided
Drugs and alcohol

I keep writing
Something inside me says
My story needs to be told
But I have many stories
And can’t tell them all

I can keep going until
I run out of stories
And the stories will never end

My purpose is to share
My stories even when it
Feels like no one is listening
And eventually I’ll be gone
But my stories will keep me alive

My stories are my legacy

That is immortality

But for now I am
Alone with my stories
Waiting for someone
Anyone to listen

I just want to be heard

From the poetry collection Cats, Coffee, Catharsis.

Final Thoughts in 2019

I won’t have a New Year’s Resolution this coming year. I won’t because I’m already doing things to better myself. The last couple years haven’t been easy for me. Much of that was my own fault. Many things had to happen in order for me to notice. I felt I had hit rock bottom in early October 2019. I don’t think I’ve ever felt that low. Had I lost my job on top of everything else that happened, I’m not sure what I would have done. I almost lost everything in my life. My whole world went topsy-turvy.

Long story short, I was too negative for too long. It had built up over these last two years. I didn’t notice until it was too late. I lost motivation. I lost confidence in myself. I lost friendships. Since early October, I’ve been changing how I look at and talk to myself. It’s working. But I still have a long journey ahead. I filed for bankruptcy. My court date is in January. I had a couple student loans in default. I’ve gotten one out of default and the other is on its way out of default. Bankruptcy doesn’t affect student loans.

I’m being nicer to those close to me. Some chose not to be a part of my life because of the negativity. I hope the Universe brings them back into my life during the new year. I’m also being nicer to myself. I thought I was doing enough before to combat the negativity. But I feel short of the mark. I had to increase my efforts tenfold to see a difference. I’ve spent a lot of time alone. I can’t afford to go out to most things. Some things are too far for bus rides or I can’t afford the money for bus fare. I’m keeping an eye out for things to do so I can meet new people.

I relied on those close to me too much. I’m sure this is why they pushed me away. I’m doing more to keep myself occupied when I don’t have money for other activities. I’ve been using my camera more. I enjoy taking pictures. I’m reading and writing more. I’m doing as much as I can with what I have. Every night before bed, I write down three good things that happened to me that day and why they were important to me. This is the biggest thing that’s helped. I’ve done this every day for almost three months.

My journey has only begun. I have so far to go and no idea how long it will take. But I keep moving forward. I’m hunting for the good in things. I’m staying positive. I’m not allowing my thoughts to consume me. I’m getting by. I’m surviving. I’m not making a New Year’s Resolution because I’ve already made a resolution for life. And since I’ve already started, I have no fear of giving up. I’ve done this too long now to quit. While you all start something new and eventually stop, I’ll continue what I started. I’ll continue because I like myself. I love myself. And I deserve good things.