I am in the position of feeling guilty. Now, being a good Catholic Irish girl (who has since gone Charismatic Christian), feeling guilty really is nothing new to me. It's a lot like breathing, actually.
The reason I feel guilty is because I guess I don't feel like I have any right to feel so... unhappy.
My mother always said, "if you don't have anything nice to say, then don't say anything at all", and so I haven't been saying this or writing this, but I can't ignore it any longer. I am not happy. I have no right to be unhappy, but I also don't know how to break its hold.
I have a wonderful husband. No question there. I have friends who wish they had a relationship as good as we do. We talk, we work together, we laugh. When we argue, we make up. We treat one another with respect and still, after 13 years, recognize in each other the unique gift of God we have received.
I have a beautiful 10 year old daughter who is the light of my life. She is bright, sweet, and beginning to discover her inner teenager. She struggles with ADD, but triumphs in intelligence and spirit.
I have a good paying job. It meets our needs in a way that no job I could find here in town could do. I work on the phones, taking calls. No commute, no dress code. Fantastic pay and benefits.
We have a beautiful home. It has light, open rooms with enough space for the family, but not so much space that I can't keep up with it.
Sounds idyllic, doesn't it? What do I have to be unhappy about? I should be guilty for being unhappy with the blessings that I have.
But here it is: I feel like I've lost myself. Lost my motivation... and I don't know where to find it again.
Work has become a prison. I am stuck on the phone, taking brokerage trade and customer service calls, over and over and over, ad nauseum. My work style is to have a to-do list and move from one task to the next, switching around as needed to be efficient but not "stuck". When I was a Communication Specialist, this is how I worked and it brought me kudos. However, this style flies in the face of a phone job that is one call after the next and my performance is assessed primarily in numbers. How many calls did I take? What percentage of the time was I available to take a call immediately? How well did I adhere to the schedule? I have no room to set my pace or to breathe between calls. I honestly expected, when I went back to work, that I would quickly show my superiors that a remote agent can be hired off the phones and I would go back to a staff position. Three and a half years later, I am still on the phones, still taking calls, and beginning to realize that the unspoken rule that going remote means giving up your upward mobility is not just a thought, but a stone reality.
So of course, the next thought would be "if you're not happy at work, find a new job." But I can't. I am stuck. Our family cannot be without my pay and benefits. Champs was laid off for nine months and is now working again, but in a wonderful new career. He is an entry level pharmacy technician. He loves it, but earns about 2/3 of what he used to earn. I couldn't be prouder of him for making a change, but it means that I cannot, no matter what I want. We are already behind in our house payments and I am trying to figure out how to tweak the budget even more to keep us in the black. When we first moved here to Champaign, I tried to find work in my field as a Communication Specialist and there was nothing ... anywhere. I tried to get work that would use my Series 7 license, and again, nothing. My job working remotely for the big company in Minneapolis came just at a time when I thought we would be lost if I didn't work again. Now I am afraid to even try again, because I know I'll never be able to get this kind of pay and benefits again.
The next obvious thought, then, is of course this: "Well, work is only 8 hours a day, Blond Girl! Get over yourself and DO SOMETHING with the rest of your time." I know. I know. And yet I can't seem to break out of this malaise to do actually do anything. I feel like I am stuck working, balancing the checkbook and staying one step ahead of financial issues, and cleaning the house.
I used to love to do three things: I loved to write, I loved to sing, and I loved to bead jewelry.
I used to write all day at work and come home to write an entry in my blog every. single. day. And I had people who loved the way I wrote and were waiting for my next witty observation of life.
I used to be on the worship team. I sang special music in church. I bought CDs and listened to music. Somehow, since we've moved, I've lost my voice and become afraid to try. While God is still worthy of my worship - worthy of my praise - worthy of every song I could raise to His mercy and grace, I have... nothing. I can't and don't sing any more and I don't know why.
I used to thrill to create new jewelry. I could teach my friends how to design when they thought they couldn't. I would make something that shone, sparkled, delighted - something that had never existed before I thought it into being. Now my beads sit in a basket, collecting dust.
I honestly don't know what is wrong with me. I've lost who I used to be and I can't seem to define who I should be now. I cook. I clean. I do laundry. I take calls, pay bills, and keep this house going. I am a wife. I am a mother. But somewhere along the line, I've forgotten how to be a woman. Someone with value. I wake in the middle of the night, lost. Who am I? Where is Blond Girl? How do I merge the wonder and joy of the overwhelming love I have for my husband and my daughter with who I am? I don't know how. I don't have any motivation any longer.
I am lost. I am unhappy.
And I am soooooooo unbelievably guilty for feeling like this.