Moving on

I started this year with dancing, pop streamers, my toddler and my husband. We decided after the tense beginning of 2014 to make the beginning of 2015 something special. Now a year later, we are again looking forward to the next and hoping to end this one with some positive energy. Getting to this place, for me, has been a struggle.

Nearly five years ago when I came to LEO, I was at one of the lowest points in my life. I made the mistake of allowing myself to become entangled in a work battle that ultimately cost me my job. It’s easy to let the actions of unhealthy people cause you to behave out of character, which I did, and found myself for the first time in forever without a job and completely broke. It was a personal apocalypse.

Certainly, I wonder what could have been different if I’d walked away earlier, but this isn’t a lament, not even close.

 Being without a job isn’t an anomaly. It happens to most of us at some point in our lives. The struggle is figuring out what direction should follow.

I took a little time to mourn the old job — really the paycheck. I enjoyed the freedom from rigid scheduling and the chance I had to do something completely new, whatever that new thing might be.

The first opportunity came in the form of a phone call from a LEO editor asking if I’d be interested in writing a music column.

One of my dreams as a teen was to write about music and interview rock stars. I wanted the imaginary “glory” and “respect” of being a rock writer. Clearly Rolling Stone had me fooled, but when LEO called, I took them up on the offer and started penning Me vs. Music.

The next opportunity came as a chance to use my expensive education to make minimum wage teaching freshman writing to high school/college kids. I created a syllabus in a day, pretended that I wasn’t nervous speaking in front of 22 strangers, and jumped in with both feet. It was work. It was completely new to me, and I didn’t have to worry about my car payment or punching a clock at someone’s office. I maintained that life for a couple of years and finally I began to look more seriously at who I was and the life I wanted to live. I never wanted to be trapped at a desk making money for anyone else and not getting paid my value. The 9-5 lifestyle was not for me.

I found inspiration in a friend who was also a writer and found a way to make her living doing exactly what she was trained and loved to do. My expensive degree suddenly didn’t seem so useless, and she was proof that it was possible to write and eat.

In the last year, I have committed myself to the my field and have been rewarded. I’ve said it before; the universe listens to your dreams so put them out there.

I’m a writer and finally, I can say that with ownership. I write for a living. I make money for myself by doing something that I love and find joy in.

I’m a firm believer that if we lean in to our cracks (as Bjork calls them), we will reveal to ourselves paths to our future. Perhaps not so much a path as it is a matter of no longer fighting with our past and realizing that mistakes happen, we are flawed and that the experiences have carried us forward to create something better.

For my family and myself, I have built something better by doing what I was chosen to do as a 14-year-old who spent a summer vacation writing a novel. Writing chose me, and it was my obligation to let it have some place in my life. Avoiding it and fighting the thinking that the only “job” is one that involves a long application, resumes and punching a clock made the journey back to writing arduous.

At the end of this year, I can look back on the peaks and valleys of being human — loss and friendship — and I can look forward to a chance to move closer to the person that I was put on the planet to be.

The best part of it so far is that I’ll actually get to do it in a new house. No more “tiny house” nightmare tales. That chapter is finally closing.

About the Author

Moving on

Erica Rucker is LEO Weekly’s Arts & Entertainment Editor. In addition to her work at LEO, she is a haphazard writer,  photographer, tarot card reader, and fair to middling purveyor of motherhood. Her earliest memories are of telling stories to her family and promising that the next would be shorter than the first. They never were. You can follow Erica on Twitter, but beware of honesty, overt blackness and occasional geeky outrage.

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