I have a confession. I gave in today.
A couple of years ago I worked for a school as a 1:1 for a little boy with special needs. It was, without a doubt, the most rewarding thing I’ve ever done. I loved my job, I adored the children and I felt like I was doing something good and – more – that I was good at what I did.
Unfortunately working as a 1:1 does not pay well. It’s almost impossible to live off of. When I met Mr P and discovered this world of being a musician it seemed exciting. When I got a phone call asking me to play in a show it felt like a sign. I quit my job and threw myself into rehearsing 24 hours a day.
That was a year and a half ago. A year and a half of hope, dreams, let downs, disappointments, huge successes and gut-wrenching, crushing defeats. I have been elbowed out of jobs, diagnosed with menieres disease, denied opportunities because I am a woman and countless other little jabs that have left me battered and bruised. I’ve loved the performing and the fact I get to meet people and go to places that I just wouldn’t have otherwise. I get a buzz out of entertaining people and feeling like I’m good at it. And it is a definite fact that I could not have coped with Mr P’s lifestyle if I hadn’t joined it for a while.
But, I’ve come to realise it’s not enough. I still love singing and I would do it all day every day if you let me, but I also need more. I need to feel like I’m doing something that will make a difference. That I matter in some way. So, a couple of weeks ago when a job opening came up in my old school in the same year as the children I had worked with and adored for so long, it felt like a sign.
I phoned them up immediately and two days later I went to look around the school and hand in my application form. It felt like going home, I saw the children I knew and the little boy I had previously looked after. It was a huge emotional experience. I also spent an hour talking with the headmaster about the job and by the time I left it felt like I had already gone through an interview rather than just hand in my application form.
So, I waited. I knew when the job advert was closing and they had already said when they were short listing. I spent 2 days sat by the phone, obsessively checking my emails and running out to the post box every two minutes.
No letter, no call, no email. I felt my hopes, which had begun to lift, plummet back down to the ground.
And – just for a moment – I gave in.
I allowed every thought I have fought so hard to keep at bay come flooding in. It’s me, it has to be. It’s because I’m not good enough, I don’t work hard enough, I don’t try hard enough. It’s how I look, the way I dress, the way I speak.
For a minute I allowed myself to think that maybe, everything is my fault. The let downs, the denied opportunities, everything. And maybe things aren’t going to get better because it’s something in me that is making these bad things happen.
And I’m so tired, so tired of putting a smile on every day. Tired of constantly trying to think of the next thing that is going to get me through this, tired of coming up with constant schemes to sort things out.
Like I said, it was just for a minute, but for that one minute I felt like the biggest most abject failure of all time.
Then that minute was over. I got up, I dried my eyes, and I re-applied my lipstick. Because I have to believe that there is a reason for everything. I have to believe that being a good person will lead to good things. I have to believe that if you get up each day feeling positive and giving your best to the world that, eventually, it will come good. I have met people who think that just because they’ve been screwed over it gives them the right to screw over everyone else. But it doesn’t. If you use your own hurts as an excuse to hurt others then you are far worse than anyone who wronged you.
And, despite everything, I do still believe. I believe in myself. I believe in my ability to pick myself up, to try again and again and still keep on smiling. I believe in my ability to hope and to love. I know that I am going to get there because there is no alternative.
I am the girl in the red lipstick and I will make my mark on this world.
So, after that emotional rollercoaster, I went out to the post-box one last time. I peered in, seeing an empty box for the hundredth time today.
Then, something amazing happened. I saw a flash of white, tucked right up in the farthest corner. I quickly opened the post-box up and saw my name written on the front of the envelope. Holding my breath I ran back inside and sat down with shaking hands to open it .
And there it was, in black and white, a job interview. My first one in 5 months, for a job I love.
I no longer care that it doesn’t pay well. I can gig in the evenings and on weekends to help my income. And I’m no longer desperate to throw myself into the ‘glamorous’ world of rock n roll, up close it’s not all that shiny. One day maybe Mr P and I will be able to take it further.
Right now I just want to do something real, something that will make me feel like I matter.
I am good enough.
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