What is Free Time

Ever since I started my current job just over a year ago I’ve watched my free time go out the window. Free time now is spent sleeping and trying to recover from my work week because I have to work over 40 hours every week due to financial necessity. When my ex and I moved back over to western Washington I calculated our budget on the assumption that we would both work 40 hour work weeks at minimum wage for Seattle because we lived so close and could easily get jobs there. I did not get a job in the area that paid that much and my ex didn’t get a job that gave him more than 10-15 hours/week for months so we were in a big financial bind. And now that it’s just me and my current job, although in the Seattle area, does not pay Seattle minimum wage I’ve been having to work 60-70 hour work weeks for the past year.

I actually made the decision to move back home with my mom when the lease is up on my apartment in 3 months so it’s just 3 more months of being overworked and then I can go back to having free time that isn’t spent sleeping and staring off into space because I can’t brain today.

But I was scrolling through my blog here today and remembering what it was like to be dedicated to this blog and I miss that dedication. I don’t know if I want to focus so much on this blog or my YouTube channel or what but I miss having the time to be focused on something other than work. I miss having the time to do that stuff. Now I do my side business as a wellness coach on my breaks at my current job during my 16 hour shifts and before I fall asleep at night and when I wake up in the morning, but rarely do I actually have a chunk of time to dedicate to it and I really want that chunk of time.

Today I’m in a daze. The weird thunder storms we had on Thursday made work a disaster so I was doing way more than usual and already tired from lack of sleep. I slept for 12 hours and still don’t have the energy to do very much.

And I know all I did here was complain, but I really am so much happier now than I was a year ago. And I am really looking forward to the future.

Reminder to Myself

Remember the spaghetti straps, butterfly barrettes, and collar bones? I do. I remember wanting so much to look like that. Those girls were pretty. They were popular. Nothing bad could ever happen to them. They got the guys. They had all the friends. They had the big house with the red convertible on their sweet sixteen, and a mom and a dad and an annoying younger sibling that at the very worst teased them slightly.

That was what I grew up with. The 90s aesthetic and teen television comedies on Disney Channel and ABC Family. All I wanted was to fit into those super tiny spaghetti strap dresses that hung off of their slim bodies like an oversized t-shirt. Whenever I tried i still had that belly pooch sticking out and my collar bones where no where to be seen.

There are a lot of reasons why I wanted to be stick thin. I can’t blame the media alone or the way I was raised. It’s a combination of everything and my weird mental imbalances that keep me from being satisfied with anything about myself. Today it’s not about collar bones and spaghetti straps but the booty and crop tops. But there is still that part of my mind that wants spaghetti straps and collar bones.

I often forget that there will always be that part of me. I let it swallow me up and I end up pulling myself out magically, having the same epiphany over and over again. “I am more than my weight. I need to focus on making my body as strong and healthy as it can be and the shape will just come with it naturally.” And then my life becomes more hectic and I stop blogging and then one day I remember again those words above. But the important thing is I’m still eating. I have replaced food restriction with free time restriction. I work around the clock. At 50-60 hours a week I still cannot afford to pay all my bills. So I don’t grocery shop. I do little things at work for quarters to buy the trail mix out of the vending machine with. I drink teas made with soy milk and eat a couple bananas for breakfast if I have any. And in the back of my mind some 90s teen is calling to me in her velvet spaghetti strap dress and a million butterfly clips in her hair.

So some days I say fuck it and eat extra chocolate because I decide that being a twig is overrated and unnecessary. And other days I eat a spoonful of peanut butter for the entire day both because I’m too poor to afford food and because those collar bones are calling to me.

Every day I’m still fighting to remember those words above. “I am more than my weight.” And every day I get a little bit closer.

 

Updates on Me

The month is over already! I’ve been in station at my new job for a month. I sliced open my hand. Luna is doing much better on her inhaler. Life is reaching a point where I can relax and take care of things I need without worrying too much. The hand thing threw me for a loop but all is well.

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That picture is from about a week ago now. I got my stitches out today and they put steri strips over it because it wasn’t completely fused together. In a few days those will just fall off on their own and I should be good to go.

I had to put my workouts on hold, but I was able to finish Crush at Home again. I haven’t started it over because I found out that their new program is coming out on the 10th so I’ve been doing Zumba every day to keep active, plus I don’t have to grab anything or put pressure on my hand which is what I need for now.

My job is going well. It’s definitely a keeper so I don’t think I’ll need to start a hunt again soon. I think I just need to settle into my schedule and get my butt back into writing. That project I was excited about months ago was put way back on the back burner and I need to pick it up again.

I won’t pretend I’ve been super positive and happy this past week. It was stressful being allowed to go back to work after my hand and then other things have been crazy. But all in all things have been getting better and I’m making it through every day okay.

Student Debt

I read an article the other day about how student loan debt is impacting the US economy because college graduates are unable to purchase things, especially big ticket items like cars and houses, due to their debt. And this is because banks and lenders are not willing to issue a mortgage on a house or approve affordable credit on a car loan because they do not want to give those things to people with outstanding debt. The problem is that that debt came from getting an education. It didn’t come from credit cards being misused (for most people anyway I hope). It came from society telling us that college was a non-negotiable so we did it and walked away with more debt than we could ever imagine and a flimsy piece of paper that we can’t use.

Higher education costs have increased to rates so high that our parents and grandparents cannot understand why we are struggling. “It didn’t cost that much when your grandfather went. He worked two jobs and was able to earn his own way on his own,” I was told when I asked where my college fund money had disappeared to. Ok. I worked too and barely made enough to pay rent, books, fees, groceries, and other bills. Tuition wasn’t even an option, so thank goodness I was married and made about $5,000/year and was able to get grants to cover my last 3 years of school (maybe we should all get married just to have college covered since you don’t have to claim your parents income on the FAFSA once you’re married). But what good did it really do me now that I’m not even using my degree and still have about $5,000 left to pay off from the first year?

Before the reality of my debt and the adult world hit me I had some dreams and goals. I wanted to write more movies and TV shows that are female and/or LGBTQ focused. Less white male stuff; they’ve had more than their turn. I wanted to take action in my community, in my country, but I can’t now. I can’t move back home so I have to live in an apartment which is costly. I have to pay my own bills. AND I have to pay off my student debt. So instead of taking a part time job like I’d thought I would to give me extra time to write, I quit and am now working full time in a physically and mentally demanding and exhausting job. I wake up with just enough time to do a quick workout, shower, eat, pack dinner, and leave for my hour and 15 minute commute. I come home, wash my face, brush my teeth, feed Luna, and go to bed. I am unable to take risks financially because of my debt.

There are other factors like living wages, the economic state we are in now, housing costs, etc., but that doesn’t mean my debt is not a factor.

I am hoping that since I have such a small amount of debt (cries internally at the fact that my several thousand is “small”) I can make enough money fast enough to pay it off and actually get back to writing someday. Right now though, I don’t even have the desire to write. I just want to sleep, go to work, get my paycheck, and sleep some more.