Real Life

When I was a kid, summer break was an amazing thing, an escape from school and a return to my real life.  After all, when you are a kid, what is more real, running around with your friends and playing baseball in the dentist’s parking lot across the street (because I am old enough to have once had free reign that way), or sitting in a classroom memorizing dates while trying to countdown until lunch?  Even though I was too embarrassed to admit it at the time, I liked school.  But I loved summer.

Now, instead of summer being my escape, it is a logistical nightmare.  There are new activities and schedules all the time, unusual eating and sleeping schedules, and mad dashes to try and squeeze in trips before school starts.  Summer is exhausting.

This last Monday, my girls returned to school, which means I should be able to return to my real life.

It’s not going well.

It’s hard to really put into words why this year has been tough, mostly because it involves analysis of my life.  The good, the bad, and the stuff I don’t want to think about.

First things first, I love Belgium.  This is a wonderful country, and for the most part I have met nothing but kind and fun locals.  It’s a great place to live.  For someone else.

I don’t talk much about my living here with my husbands job, because there isn’t much to talk about.  I don’t ask questions about his work, unless it is something he needs to talk about or if it effects the entire family and I tell others much less than I know.  It’s a security thing. Little details can mean big trouble.

This particular assignment has been hard.  Our last base was much bigger.  I was able to work, and while living there I began attending school.  I worked hard, and I have now earned three degrees.  Unfortunately there are maybe 10 jobs out here, and while most of them are in my career field (education), I have been unable to secure any of them.  It’s hard to pinpoint exactly why that is.  I mean, sure, there are about 50 unemployed spouses out here, but not all of them are attempting to work, and even fewer of them have Master’s degrees, or even degrees at all.  We don’t even want to discuss how many of those degrees are in a field that is even vaguely related to education.  As much as I try not to say it, it’s an open secret that out here there is a lot of politics in who gets the job.  You don’t want to make a big deal of it, because it’s not necessarily the fault of the person who gets hired, and they shouldn’t have to feel bad for getting the job.  But it’s hard.  It can make you feel bitter and angry.  And sometimes a little depressed.  Or a lot depressed.

It takes a toll on your sense of self worth to constantly hear that you are not what anyone wants.

At first I tried to tell myself this was good.  This would be my chance to throw myself in my writing.  I would finish a novel that would be amazing, get published, and fulfill my every dream.  Yeah.  I don’t think you need three guesses to figure out how that has gone.

To be fair, I haven’t attempted to send anything I wrote out in around a year.  My husband has reminded me that no one can publish my work if I don’t let them read it.  All I can think of is the fact that no one can reject my work this way either.  Let me tell you though, it’s hard to keep creative channels open when you have the idea that it doesn’t matter stuck in the back of your mind.  You just know, no one will ever read it, and even if they did, it will only be another rejection.

I’ve tried the little tricks.  Make rejection a goal, forget everyone else and write only for love, follow your muse, never let it get you down.  Whatever.

And I know, I’m suppose to end this on an upbeat note.  Blog posts like this are supposed to like an old sitcom.  Yeah, there is drama and heartbreak, but at the end of 22 minutes it’s all over and things go back to the way they were before.  But sadly, this is real life.  I cannot force myself into a better mindset simply because the post is over.  The best I can do is take a deep breath, go for a bike ride, and try again.

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