I stopped working at a “real job” when it was beyond clear to me that putting my all into my job was draining parts of me related to my well being. It’s insane that there are really pronounced parts of my brain that believe I can override needing to eat and that my body can be a workhorse working 15 hour days. There’s this semi-conscious idea where my brain thinks that it’s in control of my robot body. I stretch myself to the point of breaking and wonder how can I do the same thing in a different way. Where’s the loop hole to not needing food or having a balanced life because the last way didn’t work? I think I’m doing it wrong and I need more willpower. “Fuck harmony, I need results” has been a motto I’ve embodied a lot.

zen quote on being busy

I tried pursuing a life of “flow” when I was on an 8 week break in between jobs from Texas to Arkansas. I had so much time to think, I couldn’t enjoy a second of the freedom I worked really hard for. I just felt so anxious. The way I saw it then was that the world was crumbling and I wasn’t doing shit. I wasn’t working to make money to contribute to different radical groups who were on the front line really making a difference. i believed anything thing but the front line needed to play (financial) support for them. My fantasy of soaking up AC while pissing my time away at the dollar theater was in major conflict with the role of playing support. If I cared about this world and all of the life in it then I *should* be contributing to dismantling the problems. Shit’s too fucked to take a passive role. If you’re not helping then you’re part of the problem… and that line of thinking paralyzed me from doing less than shit for 8 weeks. No dollar theater and no AC that Texas Summer. If you want to not live your dreams, the fastest way to chemically shut your brain down is to have anxiety! *self induced anxiety*

At the end of 8 weeks of being on the edge of panic attacks from my brain reminding me that I, the jobless loser, wasn’t helping shit, it was time to go back to work. I threw myself into work and upped the ante. At the end of 1 year I was so burned out that I felt deflated from my robot high horse. The day before we decided to move back to Texas and rearrange our lifestyle my human eyes looked in the mirror and saw a stubborn robot. I remember thinking that I just needed to whip this work horse into shape and was seriously thinking of ways to corner myself into getting shit done with even more ante “for real this time”. Then the robot’s chest started to expand in a way that signaled a human heart would explode as the result from future pressures if I continued. then I gave up.

We moved back to Texas and I tried to get jobs but it really wasn’t in the flow. After hearing my friends 10 years of part time successes of selling on ebay, I decided to give it a go. I figured if she worked part time and earned enough causal money then my drive to over achieve could surely do the same. I got fixated on ebay insider information and read the ins and outs of it all. I watched videos, I lived on ebay facebook pages, I got very obsessed. It was refreshing to learn something new, it really put a cap on my abilities which forced me to tone shit down.

The way I felt (and continue to feel) while working on ebay is refreshed. There’s a LOT of steps to ebay. Sourcing is no small piece and that’s just the beginning. Then cleaning, lots of researching, taking pictures/measuring/writing down descriptions and imperfections then the longer process of editing (which I obsessively love and resent, I over edit pictures unnecessarily so) then writing posts while researching more and storing the item. Add in shipping, managing supplies, general organization, answering questions, refunding shipping overcharges, blah blah blah. But while I do this I can be me. I can go to the bathroom whenever I need and eat when I’m hungry (which is not the case in the food industry). I can listen to stand up comedy or podcasts. I can completely blow off work and get life done (like go to the store and run errands, hang out with friends, help out where I’m needed, go take pictures, go for a bike ride, record a podcast), my life is extremely flexible. Flexibility creates a lot of room for potential creativity which has been the first thing to go when I worked a “real job”. In short, I feel much more in my skin because I’m not people pleasing 40 hours a week, something I’ve gotten very accustomed to doing for the last 17 years. Customer service is wired into my brain at this point and it’s hard to remember the me before it or without it.

And all of that is the pleasure. Having room to breath and feel my living breathing body wake up when I want, go to the bathroom when I need to and eat when the signals are there is very empowering. It feels like I’m winning at life and shit’s coming together….

But there’s huge pressure there as well. Every day I wake up and every night I go to sleep thinking “I’m going to conquer this, I’m going to knock out all of this work” and more often than not, I just live life and put ebay off for another day. No work = no money so me working very little has us living on the edge. A very thin line of comfort that we could easily fall off of if the gods were not on our side. So there’s pressure in telling myself to get around to doing something important and not doing it; that pressure is similar to “are you calling me a liar!? I said i’m going to do it later…” (finger points to self). There’s pressure in sourcing items. For a while there we always had a surplus because I was being too casual and not making goals (like “take pictures of 8 items today”). Once there’s a mental quota and I start actually getting shit done, a surplus doesn’t last long. We get the majority of items from dumpster diving and that is very much a scary cool thing to do. I noticed a pattern that started a few months back, that we’d strike gold (metaphorically and literally) and I’d feel blessed by the dumpster gods… until I’d get everything listed and panic. WHAT IF THERE’S NOTHING LEFT IN THE TRASH CAN?! What if the gold runs out? What if we stop finding shit?

exceptional dumpster gold

exceptional dumpster gold we found when we first started diving for ebay, we’ve yet to top that score

Part of the way ebay appears to be set up is the more you list the more you sell. So I have 375 items listed right now and if I stop listing my sales stop (maybe ebay hides my listings). So if I run out of items to list then my sales (already low due to of my distracted/”in the flow” lifestyle) come to a halt. Remember me saying that we’re living on the edge? I can’t afford for our sales to come to a halt, I actually could use a boost if anything. I’ve noticed that compulsive energy of “yay we found a gold mime” today then a few weeks later “maybe we’ll never find anything again” rejoice /despair is the swing of the pendulum then I decided that I was simply misinterpreting my brain. Rehearing the despair as a question and not as a statement has really taken some of the pressure off (for now). So my brain is not so much stating in the form of a question “what if the gold runs out” but rather is saying “will the gold run out” which is my que to say “no, it’s unlikely but in case it temporarily takes a dip we can buy stuff from the thrift store to get by until the gold refreshes”. Not to mention that trying to get help from Mark often feels like pulling teeth, not always but often, which is more pressure. He’s a great diving partner, excellent shipper but not motivated to do the actual ebay shit so thank god he’s in school! (ultra thumbs up).

So we’re living on a quarter of what we used to live on. We have more rent to pay than in the past but the trade off is we find free food and shop at the discount food store that has a wide selection of raw vegan snacks to total junk food and pastured animal foods on the *wicked cheap*.

While my gratitude for having the flexibility and room to think and breathe is such a big deal, I will admit that if the cards were aligned just right I would get a job (most likely waitressing) in a heartbeat. I loved working with friends, having a total chit chat with the ladies 5 days a week. Plus making a constant wage is no joke, very empowering. Plus having a real job separates your life from your work whereas self employment has married me to my job. I’m always on the clock in some respects. It would be nice to just turn my brain completely off of work but it’s not going to happen.
There’s no complaints here.
*Side note. I help out at a badass ice cream shop weekly and I’m always down to take photography gigs as they come up.

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 Sorrentino Photos 

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