Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Whew. I can finally breathe. Today was the first day since moving here that I've had the time to do what I came here to do—hangout and lay by the pool. With the bulk of my work done for the week, I've earned some much-needed time off.

But I'll only have this luxury for a couple of days, as now it's time to start condo shopping. And then more work due next week. There are many great things about freelancing—the fringe benefits, especially if you write about fashion and beauty, the ability to work from home and set your own hours. But the drawbacks outweigh the benefits, unless you are uber-successful and have several contracts with national magazines. Not me. I'm the freelancer who lives hand to mouth, waits two months after I've turned in stories to get paid even though I worked myself ragged. It's not an easy way to live, though on the flip side, I'm doing what I have always dreamed of doing—though I always dreamed it would be on a larger scale and in NYC.

Okay, so maybe I'm not living the dream here. Maybe I'm just another underpaid, overqualified, struggling artist living hand-to-mouth and beyond her means. I am, it seems, average. This is like death for me. I was not bred to be average. My family and ancestors were far beyond average. I had all the trappings needed to overcome mediocrity. And yet here I am, the very definition of failure and mediocrity.

My high school yearbook quote was by Todd Oldham, who in 1993 was just hitting his stride. It went something like this: "I've never aspired to be in the middle of anything. I want to live my life in extremes."

My former shrink would likely say he is bipolar. But that's exactly the way I think. I think often, too often, about how hard I've worked over the past many years—I started publishing when I was 20 years old—wasting more than a year at NYU getting my master's in journalism, which was a totally useless endeavor, and the whole, traumatic, expensive book ordeal. These thoughts leave me empty, sad and feeling like a complete failure. Yes, I put too much pressure on myself. But, I am 31 years old and should be much further along in my career. Instead, I am a piecemeal freelancer, a housewife with no husband and addicted to accoutrements I simply can't afford.

People often ask themselves, "Where did I go wrong?" Well, I know exactly where I went wrong at every turn. Problem is, you can't go back. You can only move forward. And that's what I'm trying to do.