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I’ve been sick since last Tuesday and today I finally feel like I am turning a corner. That’s something to be grateful for, absolutely. But my husband came down with my cold the other day, and put his back out. So while I am finally starting to improve, he is not. Worse, Braeden threw up this morning and then continued to throw up all day long. Apparently he brought a stomach bug back with him from Outdoor Science School. He’s been a trooper and hasn’t really complained, but he’s been in bed all day and I’m worried sick about him. Moreover, as it’s a stomach bug we’re talking about, I am worried about the rest of us as well, and Avery in particular. So far, she’s the only one who hasn’t succumbed to any illness. She’s had a bit of a sniffle, but otherwise seems okay. This goes without saying, but the last thing I need is for my two-and-a-half-year-old to get a stomach bug. Ugh.

So while I have been trying – really trying – to focus on gratitude, today was especially hard. Hence the TV show as the focal point of whatever small amount of gratitude I could muster. And yesterday? I haven’t even figured out if I was grateful for anything yesterday. I was still feeling like absolute crap, and my inability to breathe through my nose had significantly messed up my sleep the night before. I felt terrible and useless. I did the dishes and the laundry because I kept feeling like I wasn’t accomplishing anything and that was making me edgy, but other than that I sat around, blew my nose (a lot – it’s totally peeling today) and watched TV. So much TV. In all seriousness, the dishes and laundry required more energy than I had to readily expend. I sat around after each burst of effort looking spent and pathetic. Felt like it, too.

So basically things have mostly been crappy for a week. I’ve had zero energy but I’ve been trying to push through, because that’s what moms do, and I try hard to be a good one. I have also been trying to keep going on these gratitude-themed posts even though to be completely honest I’ve been feeling anything but grateful. And maybe that’s a good thing, being forced to focus on gratitude when I’m not feeling it. If gratitude were always easy to focus on there would be little point in this exercise, right?

On Thursday, I needed to write a test article for a freelance beauty writer position I had applied for. They wanted an article on five emerging beauty trends for 2014, and it needed to be between 750 and 1,000 words long. In spite of the fact that I was sick and felt like hell, writing it wasn’t that difficult. I’m obsessed with beauty magazines, and have been since college. But God, the editing. I am not and have never been any good at editing myself. Editing others, sure, no problem. Hand over whatever it is you’re concerned with and I can fix it. When it comes to other people’s work, editing is a piece of cake. But mine? I get a bit too attached to my own words, and determining what should be reworded or cut altogether becomes a nightmare. I needed to edit, too, because after writing the article I realized it was 1,241 words long. Whoops! I genuinely didn’t have the mental energy required to figure out which 241 words to eliminate. I literally buried my head in my hands and sat for a few minutes, lost. I might have been mumbling to myself, too. You’d have to ask my husband.

When my mini-breakdown was over, I came to the only conclusion I could:  I needed help. I am very lucky to have a friend who is also an excellent editor, and she nipped and tucked my work with surgical precision. Normally, that kind of thing messes with my head. Again, I get attached to my own words, and it can be difficult for me to accept revisions with grace. I tend to take even gentle suggestions much too personally. This time, I somehow managed to avoid that. I like the idea that I might be growing up and learning to accept constructive criticism as just that, constructive, but honestly it’s more likely I was just too sick to react. Either way, the finished product was much improved for the editing and I am genuinely grateful for it. I am less grateful not to have heard anything yet, but all I can do now is wait. I hate waiting.

It was a good article, and I know it. Whether it was exactly what they were looking for remains to be seen. It’s out of my hands. The job itself is very entry-level and not enough money to fix things. But that’s me, in the end: entry-level. Having never written anything and gotten paid for it, I need to start somewhere. This would be somewhere, and it’s a subject that appeals to me pretty much endlessly. That would be a gift, as I know there are plenty of people out there getting paid to write about things they have zero interest in.

So I wait, not terribly patiently. And I hope, even though hope seems fairly dangerous in my world. I’ve applied for several jobs in recent weeks that don’t involve writing and which I feel no real excitement over, but I’d happily accept any of them, because that’s where things are at the moment. It’s all about survival. Happiness would be awesome, really, but survival is paramount. I don’t have the luxury of waiting for a dream job. Lately, I’m mostly dreaming that someone out there will want to hire me, and soon, because things have been tough and with every resume I send that receives no response my ego takes a beating. The beauty writer position is more or less killing me, because I know I can do it. And really, not just that I can do it, but that I’d be great at it. All that means is that if I fail to get a “yes” here it will hit me harder than usual, in spite of the fact that it’s only part-time and far less money than we actually need.

It’s 2:00 AM and I already know I won’t be posting this tonight, so I’ll wrap things up. I will return to gratitude tomorrow. Tonight (well, early this morning) I really needed to rant.

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