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I fear that there will never be enough.

All across the blogosphere, through Twitter and Bindu Wiles, people are writing about fear. And I’m going to join them.

See, we didn’t have much growing up. Living in the woods in Northern Minnesota with a mom working retail and a step-father working in restaurants, things weren’t always easy. Sure, some summers we used all the saved up vacation time and money and visited family in Michigan. Sometimes my sister and I got a new outfit for the school year, and maybe even new shoes.

But I also remember many sock-and-underwear Christmases. The cheapest white bread and no-name jam, sometimes no jam at all. Generic cheese and milk. Ice cream for snack, bought in bulk because it was cheaper. More often popcorn, because it cost even less.

The fear of never having enough is ingrained in my being. It is part of my cellular makeup, coming from a long line of never enough. It keeps me awake at night, gives me terrible dreams, causes me to be stingy and frugal and withholding when I have no need to be. I find myself holding my breathe, afraid that there might not be enough oxygen for another.

To be fair, my life is not like this every moment of the day. When I am cooking, when I am bicycling, when I am reading — These are time when I am distracted enough to quiet the fear. It is always rumbling, though. Perhaps these distractions are simply louder than the yelling fears?

Last November, I lost my job. It was a series of unfortunate events which made my continued employment impossible, for both parties. It was, at first, a lesson in scaling back. I would take the time to job hunt for work that was both meaningful AND paid the bills. At the same time, I would write. And write. And write. Not only that, but I would edit my writing and SUBMIT it places for publication. I had money saved, so I knew I had a little bit of time.

At a previous period of transition (Winter/Spring 2008), I learned how to live on a food budget of $10 a week. Bulk foods, lots of home-cooked meals, very little fresh produce (except when cheap and in season). I lost a fair amount of weight, but I was also healthier than I had been, and I was surviving. On my own. I didn’t have much, and I was sometimes hungry (usually just craving the sweets I never had anymore), but I had enough. Or at least, almost enough.

Last November, I had enough. For a while. Until December, when I paid my rent and phone bill and had nothing but $25 left. For the month. Many friends let me cook for them, which gave me a meal here and there (I cook, we all eat). I biked everywhere. I fully utilized the library’s free internet. Sometimes I got free coffee in waiting rooms, just to warm up.

Last December 29th, I ran out of enough.

In stepped a dear friend. After voluntarily turning over the keys to my apartment (to avoid eviction), I moved into her spare bedroom. She buys the groceries, I cook the food (and eat it, too). I do the cleaning, the laundry, take care of the cats. We are happy together.

But still, there isn’t really enough.

I’ve got a tiny, tiny trickle of money coming in from writing and editing jobs. Tiny, I say. No one is really hiring locally. I don’t own a vehicle (by choice), which hinders me from many of the jobs which ARE hiring. I write, I cook, I clean. I feed the cats. I do laundry. I send out 30+ resumes a week.

And still, there is not enough.

Today, I faced this fear.

I read Marianne’s blog post about filling up and spilling over. I read Bindu’s post. And many others.

I might not have an income right now. I may be generously blessed with the generosity of others, which might make me feel like a leech and a loaf and an oaf and a fool. I might be struggling to find who I am in this world, where I want to go and how I can make a difference.

But I have enough.

By many standards, I have more than enough. I’m the poshest of posh. I am a wealthy whelp.

So today, I try to be gentle with myself. I remember that I am loved, and that I will not die in this situation. I have food, shelter, clothing. I have friends who care deeply. I have skills, and I am just coming to realize how many. I have talents, and again — just learning how many.

I have dreams.

In the past, when the fear of never enough takes over, I remember my dreams. Now, those dreams are more tangible than ever. I can taste them. Even when I feel never enough, I have those dreams.

And honestly, to get through this fear? I just breathe.

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