So, usually on Be Brave Friday, I share art that I’m working on because I am catastrophically shy about sharing art due to…um…family issues and negative scripts in my head that tell me I couldn’t ever possibly be (gasp) artistic.
But this Be Brave Friday isn’t actually about those negative scripts or my sweet mom telling me when she saw that I loved drawing “not a single person in our family has an artistic bone in their body, Carrie.”
What’s It About, Carrie?
This Be Brave Friday is about me and balance. Not the physical balance that keeps you from falling off a bicycle, but emotional balance that keeps you from stressing out every night.
As you may know if you know me at all, I grew up pretty poor even in comparison to my older siblings. My mom got me my own credit card so she could use it and then not pay it was our kind of poor. My nana would stand in line and get us big blocks of government cheese kind of poor. Don’t answer the phone kind of poor. But we had a house and a car so we were super lucky that way. There was just a lot of stress.
And I went to college (thanks to financial aid and scholarships) and even graduate school, and now I have my own house and no creditors calling and I can buy fancy cheese.
But I’m Still A Mess
Still, I freak out sometimes about making money because writers don’t get paid on a regular basis. And traditionally published writers get money once or twice a year if their advances sell out.
And that? That’s not so good for my psyche. This is how I am during the good times.
Things Get Worse
Then Covid came and one of my family’s main sources of income is renting our two houses in our adorable tourist community. The house we live in and the house we used to live in.
We couldn’t do that much this summer because of COVID-19. And I went into disaster panic mode, trying desperately to think of ways to use my skills and add income streams. I read so many Medium blogs by white guys in their thirties talking about how to make money from home from writing or existing or whatever those guys seem to do.
And I’ve done all that. I’ve actually made a ton of money (for me) this year.
But what’s happened is that I get sick every night. Physically sick. I vomit. And vomiting is pretty gross and no fun. I tried to fix it and figured it might be some sort of food I’ve been ingesting.
Red meat? I want to be a vegan anyways. It’s gone. Pickles? I have a weird intolerance according to my DNA. Gone. Fatty foods? Gone. Wine? Gone. Soda? Gone. Tomatoes? Those are acidic. Maybe that’s it? Gone.
Maybe I’m just old, I thought. I started exercising more. Drinking water all the time. I am a floating human being at this point.
And then my daughter Em came home for a month and I only worked in the mornings, cutting back, hyper focusing so that I could spend time with her. I started biking again, running a tiny bit, getting outside.
I didn’t vomit for a month, which is fantastic because Em is a bit vomit-phobic since an incident at Friendly’s in fourth grade.
And then she left for school and I started getting sick again. Every night. I became afraid to have dinner and believe me, I love dinner. Maybe I have an ulcer, I thought.
I took medicine for that.
It helped for two days. I started getting sick at night again and feeling fine as I worked and worked and worked all day.
An Epiphany Happened
And then I had the epiphany that I didn’t get sick when Em was here, but it wasn’t just because Em was here. It was because I wasn’t working from 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. with only a break for dinner and fifteen minutes for lunch.
I was doing the Pomodoro Method where you work 25 minutes and take 5 minutes off. I was doing it all day long until I made dinner. I felt guilty taking time away to make dinner.
I know! I know! I’m American. I am supposed to be all about being too busy and work ethic and blah, blah, blah. I’m also from poor and I’m terrified that I’ll be poor again so there’s that?
“Could this be actually making me sick?” I thought.
And I did what everyone too cheap to go to the actual doctor does. I googled it.
What I Learned
It turns out that for some of us humans, if we work all day and never take a break, our stress levels rise and rise and rise. And at night when we finally stop working, that stress can manifest as muscle pain, vertigo, headaches and… vomiting.
Gross! Gross! I know.
So there you go, my Be Brave Friday admission is that I’m so stressed out about making money that I get sick every single night. I’m so stressed out that I get anxious about taking more than a five-minute break.
So What To Do?
But people need money, right? Which is why I’m trying to start a class on Teachable where it’s not quite so much one-on-one couching. And I’m going to try to take bigger breaks in the afternoon. And when I make and eat dinner, I’m going to try to not freeze up every 25 minutes because I’m now internalized the Pomodoro Method and instead I’m going to try to actually be in the moment.
I talk about balance to other writers all the time and it’s about time that I get back to it myself. To stop living in fear of losing everything. To start remembering what it is to breathe and step outside and feel actual wind. To stop worrying that everything is going to crash out from under me if I take a pause.
Last week, someone told me that I produced more content than anyone else they knew. I don’t make money at most of that content, not really, and that content they were talking about doesn’t even include editorial and coaching letters all those things that I don’t do in public ways on the internet.
I have to find a way to find that balance and this step? The admitting-I’m-so-not-perfect-that-I-actually-throw-up-daily step? I hope it sets me in the right direction.
Please feel free to tell me how you handle money stress, balance, and whatever you feel like asking about.
Originally published at https://carriejonesbooks.blog on August 28, 2020.