I got out of bed and went to the bathroom. And while I was sitting there, I noticed a maggot trying to find someplace to live/eat/breathe in the baseboard.
Usually when there is one maggot, there is a whole family of them, writhing across some otherwise clean surface trying to find a new home. I am not ashamed to admit that this is my 3rd experience with a maggot migration. The first was over a year ago in my kitchen. It happened while I was cleaning (I run a fairly tight ship in terms of cleaning so I see the maggots as a sign that I live in harmony with nature not that I am a lousy housekeeper). The second was at Bosslady's where they blended in almost perfectly with the tile. I spent a full 60 minutes spotting and chasing down maggots with a dustpan and then dumping their small writhing remains off her deck.
There a lot of things which fail to disgust me: poo, pee, jiz, blood and bugs. But maggots, barf and worms freak me out at least a little bit. Barf especially.
Anyways, since I'm not squeamish about spiders or roaches or insects in general, I am typically the level headed person who removes them. To put it in archaic cultural terms: I am the man in the family. So today, as I calmly (but with slight disgust) tracked down and swept up little maggots as they made their mad-dash to someplace, it didn't even occur to me that I was doing this alone. And, once I had collected all the maggots, I proceeded directly outside where I fed them to the chickens. This caused great delight amongst the foul and I was particularly pleased with myself for turning maggots into marmalade.
There is something to be said about HAVING to do things. At my job, I interact with a lot of people who don't have to work, don't have to clean and don't really have to do much with their lives. More often than not, these folks are walking disasters. If I didn't have to wrangle maggots, I most certainly wouldn't. If I didn't have to clean the occasional dog barf from the floor (nearly causing me to barf in the process), I wouldn't do that either. Last time my house was invaded by maggots, I was horrified, disgusted and thoroughly freaked out. I felt that there was something wrong with my entire life because a) I had maggots and b) I had nobody to help me with them.
If I had money I could at least, theoretically, hire somebody else to deal with the maggots although by the time any hired maggot eliminator arrived, the maggots would have found themselves a nice warm place to feed and breed.
For a long long time I had an escape fantasy that some hot rich white dude in a porsche would ride into my life and we would tear off into the sunset burning fossil fuels as if there was no tomorrow. (For some reason, in this fantasy, the guy was never as douchey as I just made him sound). Then I read this book which I can't remember the title or the author of but it was about how to be a successful (and typically single) business woman and the things which typically hold women back. One thing the author mentioned was that most women have an escape fantasy about money - - especially when you're a risk taker who is constantly putting all her money, soul and guts on the line to build her own business. My escape fantasy has always been some variation on the classical prince charming.
Of course prince charming never had to deal with lowly things like maggots and menstrual cramps.
Lately I've been struggling to pay off a credit card which charges me 30% interest. Ugh. I have a ton of debt and it all came from putting my heart and soul on the line to pursue my dreams. I don't regret a cent of it. And now that I have a (somewhat) good job, I am able to make steady payments. But the debt doesn't disappear overnight.
Many people have encouraged me to just ask my parents for the money to pay off this credit card and then I can pay them back at 15% but I was too proud to do it. Yesterday, against my better judgement, I emailed my parents asking if I could postpone some debts that I have to them in order to take care of this card. I got a lecture! It was humiliating. I should never have asked.
But before I got the lecture, I went to the grocery store to spend my last $30 in the world. And that is when I realized:
It is the limits that make life interesting and make us who we are. My life is not limited in such a way that it is impossible for me to grow or live or thrive. I am not impoverished nor am I uneducated (despite the fact that my education seems to be pretty meaningless when it comes to my salary). And so far in life, I have done a pretty good job of rescuing myself.
I've paid off credit card debt before. And the times when I had the least money were the times where I had to be most creative. In our culture we have this concept of the "starving artist". I have chosen to reject that notion. I believe that I can live a creative life and (eventually) become self employed doing creative things without having to be destitute and dysfunctional. I don't see pursing my creative endeavors and having money as being mutually exclusive.
But as I have slimmed my life down past the point that I thought it could be slimmed, I've gotten better at certain things. I've gotten better at maintaing relationships, at writing, at being organized about pursing my goals. Life suddenly seems more simple.
Which makes me wonder: is the artist starving because she is an artist or is the artist an artist because she is starving? I think it might be a little of both.
Having no spending money takes away the distractions. I can't simply be entertained nor can I simply be fed. I have to take the time to nurture myself, think for myself, entertain myself and find creative ways to give and be gracious to others. I have to find alternative ways to build a chicken coop and to feed my chickens.
The last time I paid off massive credit card debt I wasn't being charged 30% interest. But it still was a miracle. Back then I had a car payment and a long commute and many other obstacles. I worked hard but still, the amount of money I paid off compared to my income and my expenses was just short of miraculous.
I will get out of debt again. And the road won't be void of pleasure. I won't be zooming through it in Prince Charming's Porsche and I might step in some poo and be chased by maggots. But when I arrive at the castle, it will be all mine and I'll know enough to be grateful for it. And my chickens can roost in the towers while the dog herds sheep out in the pastures.
And then I'll buy a hybrid and a ranch in west Texas. And I'll be off again on a new journey.
*This post was inspired, in part, by my Cockatiel friend who has always found a way to live her dreams and has never once accepted anything short of being her (delightfully tall) self but who still wouldn't mind having a date to the ball or a Mr. Art Deco on her arm (just as long as she doesn't have to get married to him and produce his offspring).
It turns out that I do have single friends who read this blog after all.