Monday, January 16, 2012

It Takes a Village

It has been said that it takes a village.

We’ve all heard that in regards to children, right? But I am learning that it takes a village for adults, too.

The power of prayer and positive thinking, along with positive actions and results, can multiply exponentially when shared across friends and family.

I’ve mentioned here and there in my blog that I’m in a difficult spot financially. There have been times—like right now, for instance—where I am not entirely sure where my next meal is going to come from. There have been times when I wasn’t sure how a bill would get paid. And of course, times when I wasn’t sure how I was going to pay my rent, either.

So far, things have sort of worked out. I’ve got a growing stack of bills that need to be paid, but the critical ones—my phone, electricity and rent—have been paid by doing odd jobs here and there, or by my writing coaching (individual as well as our writing group).

And I’ve been looking for jobs, with a very recent focus on getting a job as a server (aka waitress). I have a second interview later that I hope turns into an offer, and a hopeful start date of sometime next week. And I just heard back from another restaurant that wants to interview me for a hostess position, too.

Until the job thing pans out, though, I need something bigger, and I need it fast. In times like this, one tends to have a lot of time to think. And when I looked really hard, I started to get really creative with my thinking.

I realized that I could sell my one and only asset: my car.

That’s a tough one for me… because I love my car. Any of you who know me at all know this. I have loved that car since the day I drove it off the show room floor, back in December 2002. I love driving it, I love the way it looks, I love the interior—I love everything about it, really, except that it’s now getting old and things are starting to go wrong with it.

I’d be looking at buying a cheaper and likely older car, and then using the difference as a buffer to carry me through until I can make enough job waitressing to keep me afloat.

So, knowing how much I love my car—for me to be fully willing to sell it… that should just about tell you where I am.

I am on my knees. And willing… to do whatever it takes.

Selling my car and hopefully getting a job as a server don’t solve my immediate need, though.

I am out of money. I don’t have a way to pay February’s rent, and even if I started a job waiting tables next week, I don’t think I could get enough money together in time for the February 1 deadline.

I am going to ask my property manager if I can have a grace period. I feel hopeful without feeling expectant. We’ll see what she says.

And the rest of this week, I’m volunteering for Pathways as a TA at The Walk, so I will be totally out of pocket as far as looking for work or even following up on potential jobs.

In other words… for now—this is out of my hands.

I find myself in a very uncomfortable position. I am posting this at the urging and encouraging of friends, who have said it can’t hurt.

If you are willing to help, I would be forever grateful.

I am willing to clean your house, wash your car, or do other odd jobs to earn the money. I’m not really looking for hand-outs… I’m not that type of person. I will of course sell you jewelry, or make something custom (if I have the materials on hand, or if you don’t mind paying upfront).

Just putting this out here is… well, humbling, to say the very least. There are so many tapes that play in my head when I think about hitting “Publish” on this post: other people need it more, I can figure this out on my own, there are so many others in need… I don’t deserve it, and on and on…

But all those tapes playing in my head aren’t doing me any good, so now I am trying something different and something that is very difficult for me. I am asking for help.

If you would like me to do an odd job for you (like cleaning house, washing your car, etc) then please email me at lindaleetritton [at] gmail [dot] com.


And if you have nothing to give in the way of funds, then positive thoughts, prayers, a lit candle, good vibes, positive energy—it all helps.

Thank you.

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Ask For What You Want

“What are four walls, anyway? They are what they contain. The house protects the dreamer. Unthinkably good things can happen, even late in the game. It’s such a surprise.”
Watching the movie Under the Tuscan Sun makes me want to up and move to Italy.

Or, at the very least, go back for a very long visit.

That time back in March 2008 was quite the awakening for me. I realized how unhappy I was, and I realized just how asleep the artist inside of me had been. I was living too fast—all of my days being soaked up by commuting, working hard, worrying, eating too much, sleeping too little, and generally not taking care of myself in any tangible way.
Murano, Italy - 2008 

But in Italy, it was so easy to care for me.

I woke up each morning to rustling trees, birds singing, people talking, and bright sunshine gleaming through the windows of my room.

I leisurely got dressed and walked all around Murano, sitting in a different bakery or restaurant each morning for my cappuccino and pastry. I watched people. I wrote. I listened to the lovely lilt of Italian, spoken all around me.

I spoke what few words I knew, and the shop keepers were more patient with me than they should have been, helping me when I fumbled a word.

When you’re in Venice in the early spring, it’s difficult to feel angry, sad, exhausted, frustrated, or lonely.

It’s easy to walk for hours at a time, stopping here and there to snap pictures, take in the sights and sounds around you, or to just breathe. It’s easy to forget the fast pace and mind-numbing rut of American life.

Piazza San Marco, Venice, Italy - 2008
My senses were flooded with life: flower stands with so many bright colors; people of all shapes, sizes, nationalities, ethnicities, and statuses surrounding me; gelato around every bend—and yes, there were times when I had two in one day; quintessential pushy Italian men in black and white striped shirts and red berets trying to get you to ride in their gondola for “a good price”; rustic iron gates with black paint flaking off—

The images go on and on, carrying me into a blissful, colorful, dreamy land where I once lived for two weeks.

Now, it is just a collection of memories.

But, still—that movie urges me to do something a little outlandish—a little silly, a little out of the ordinary.

During the movie, Frances questions her purchase of Bramasole. 
She says, “This house has three bedrooms. What if there’s never anyone to sleep in them? And the kitchen, what if there’s never anyone to cook for? I wake up in the night thinking, ‘You idiot. I mean, you’re the stupidest woman in the world. You bought a house for a life you don’t even have.’
“Why did you do it, then?” asks Martini.
“Because I’m sick of being afraid all the time and because I still want things. I want a wedding in this house, and I want a family in this house.”
Martini says, “Signora, between Austria and Italy, there is a section of the Alps called the Semmering. It is an impossibly steep, very high part of the mountains. They built a train track over these Alps to connect Vienna and Venice. They built these tracks before there was a train in existence that could make the trip. They built it because they knew someday the train would come.”

I’ve always dreamed of uprooting and disappearing to some unknown land, far away. I’ve even done it a couple of times, in not so many words… with my sudden move to Philadelphia after graduating from college, and then again, when I got a job outside of Boston and moved there—without knowing a single soul.

Back then, I was searching for a place to belong.

My motives are different now… I know that I belong wherever I am. I am where I belong.

If I were to do something so outlandish now, it would be to keep my life moving, to keep my energy expanding, to keep my heart opening, to keep my soul stretching.

I dream of owning a home in Kennebunkport, Maine.

I dream of traveling around the world.

I dream, and yet—I am here… still.

When I was in Italy, my days were blissful and often filled with lots of laughter, dreaming, and connecting. Connecting with other artists, with beautiful towns built on water, and most importantly... connecting to myself. 

I collapsed in bed each night utterly exhausted, and I slept harder than I had ever slept.

The first night in my apartment reminds me of the good sleeps I had in Italy. I sleep very soundly in this place. I feel safe here, in my little haven. Dallas is my home, after all. 

It may not be that way forever, but for now—it is.

At the end of the movie, Martini gives Frances a knowing look.
Martini says, “I think you got your wish.”
“My wish?”
“On the day we looked for your snake, you said to me that you wanted there to be a wedding here.”
“And you said you wanted there to be a family here.”
Frances says, “You’re right. I got my wish. I got everything that I asked for.”

I have faith. And I will continue on the path laid before me, as I traverse only one step at a time.

Ask for what you want. And when you are still... it comes.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Perspective: Shake It Out

I think that sometimes, all we need is a little perspective.

Last night and this morning, I got just enough space between my brain and the critical issue of I need money now to allow a plan to emerge for my next three years.

Over the past several days, I’ve asked some people who know me well if they thought I would be good at being a hostess or server at a restaurant. The resounding response I’ve gotten is, “Yeah! (why hadn’t you thought of that before, LL?)”

This is an idea I’ve had for a while now, but I’ve had one main judgment. Can I do it?

I’ve never been a server. I’ve never been a hostess.

Yet, I’m people-oriented. I enjoy a fast-paced environment. When stuff hits the fan, I am calm and I can think quickly on my feet. And of course—I love food. Good food of all kinds.

I don’t mind working hard. In fact, it makes me feel good. I would love to not be behind a computer screen all day. I would love the chance to interact with all kinds of interesting people. I bet I wouldn't be bored, either.

What’s more, if I had a role like hostess, or server… I wouldn’t have to take it with me when I walk out the door. I can focus on the nonprofit, I can focus on my writing coaching, and I can focus on making jewelry and volunteering and doing the other things that make me—well… me.

I’m starting with my favorite restaurants, since I can speak to the menu with genuine excitement about the food I love.

Wish me luck?

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Lost & Delerious

I admit that I’m feeling a little lost and completely directionless regarding my career.

The problem is: I am good at many things… but a master of nothing.

I have wide and varying interests and skills, and that makes it all the more challenging to find something that really fits, where I won’t get bored with in a year, and also something that challenges me just enough without overwhelming me… as well as something that pushes my creativity while utilizing my analytical side…

On top of that, I have an entrepreneurial spirit. I want to help people. I want to improve the lives of others.

All the ways I know of doing that… all the ways I’ve tried so far, just don’t pay a lot (or any, in some cases).

So I’ve been feeling a little lost.

Okay, I’ll cut the sugar-coating. I’ve been feeling a whole lot lost.

I know I have valuable skills, attitude, and worth to bring to… something. The question is… what?

I’ve thought about this a lot over the last several months, and I keep coming up with the same answer.

I really want to find a way to make a living as a writing coach and jewelry artist. I even have an idea for starting a non-profit around the writing coach idea, and maybe even incorporating jewelry into that as well. The few people I’ve told about my idea think it’s really good.

The problem is, I’m out of time.

I have a few dollars to my name (really, not exaggerating there), and no clue how I’m going to pay February’s rent. I have bills piling up on my table and no way to pay them. I’ve had some serious motivation issues because of that whole paralysis from analysis thing, and yes—since I do struggle with depression, I am battling that hard right now.

So, what does it mean to have faith?

Faith that it’s all going to turn out all right, even though I’m not exactly sure what that means or what it looks like?

I suppose I am truly learning that, now.

In the mean time, I’m combing craigslist and a lot of other sites, looking for creative and different ways to make income that don’t involve going back to Corporate America. There is really no place my soul is less suited for than within the confines of endless rows of putty-colored cubicles under fluorescent lights.

I know there is another place for me.

It’s just a matter of finding it…

(and fast)

Tuesday, January 10, 2012


Happy New Year!

I had a fun celebration this time around, ringing in 2012. And ever since, it feels like time is going even faster than it has in years prior. I’m feeling a little lost at the moment, and a little contemplative, as I often feel in January.

The holidays are over, and yet, I can’t seem to get up the motivation to take down my decorations. Anyone else having that problem?

I’m still out of work and feeling very nervous about what that means for February (rent and other things)… and also wondering what that means for my apartment, since my lease is up at the beginning of March.

And while I know that it will all work out as it’s supposed to, I am also really struggling to continue having faith that I’ll be okay.

Sometimes, when it’s so foggy that I can’t even see the next step right in front of me, everything feels overwhelming.

Sometimes, it feels like things end as quickly as they begin.

Sometimes it’s hard to tell what is real and what isn’t…

And sometimes you need your friends to help you see what you were denying…

I’m talking about David, of course.

It’s over.

I learned a lot from this relationship, and I know that the next time love comes along, it will be bigger and even better.

I’ll write a longer and more meaningful post at some point soon. I’m actually working on one right now, comparing codependency and cat hair. Oh yeah, it will be a fun read!

A very good thing is happening, though. I started a new writing group. I will be writing a post about that soon... as soon as I can locate my motivation. But we have our second meeting tomorrow night, and I'm definitely looking forward to it.

So I guess, to sum up… I’m feeling a little melancholy.

And that means… motivation is eluding me.

How do you motivate yourself when motivation seems to have slipped away quietly in the middle of the night?