Self Employment; Living The Dream?

Walking through Manchester City centre at 8.25 this morning I am confronted by my alternative path. Thousands of people pushing down the road in the opposite direction. Away from me. All different but all the same in one way. They’ve all got that same familiar look that betrays their thoughts, they all have a face of dis-ease. Hunched shoulders and purposeful, urgent marching they make their way towards their place. Dressed and distressed like professionals. Professional what in, I’m not sure. Perhaps professional widows. They’re all actors definitely. 

 Typical morning on Deansgate.
Typical morning on Deansgate.

 

Ill fitting shirts and blouses and treading carefully on tight shoes some shuffle forward and some lunge. Some even lurch not unlike zombies hearing the distant drone of human flesh nearby. Me, I’m wearing shorts, a white t shirt and my knock off Ray Bans. It could be my imagination but I can’t help but feel side glance every now and then from some of them. Anger and perhaps judgment at me not wearing the money making clobber that 95% of the rest of the city centre has on right now. I must look far too comfy to them. If we are music then they are jungle and I am Elevator.  As I meander to the dulcet tones of a generic backing track they are confronted by a cacophony of clanging beats and sharps sounds. 

 I firmly suspect it may be the dirt and rust that is holding my van together.
I firmly suspect it may be the dirt and rust that is holding my van together.

 

I dropped my van off for its MOT this morning. That’s why we’re walking in opposite directions and hear different music. It’s the reason I wear shorts and they don’t.  This is why I have the time, not just to passively see their faces but to actually observe what is in front of me. I am self employed. Writing it like this makes me sound like I have a ‘condition’. Perhaps I do. It’s certainly infectious. Since I have become self employed I have influenced a number of others who have also decided to follow my path. I’m not sure how much they still like me now to be honest.

 

When you’re self employed your boss can’t sack you, but the universe can. You have no one to answer to, except the constant nagging voice in your head that demands to know what you are doing to get more money, to improve and succeed. There are no shit employees you have to deal with and this is because you are alone. Days can go by and no one will talk to you. You can take any holidays you want whenever you want and these will be unpaid and each will start with the desperate realisation that with every passing second everything you have built diminishes. You are the master of your own destiny, as long as you don’t expect that destiny to involve getting a mortgage. You get the enviable task of informing people at parties and social gatherings that you run your own company, which invariably is met with admiration and trilling about how others wish they had the guts whilst your own guts seize with fear at the sheer uncertainty behind every move and decision you take.

 

The suit I chose not to wear now is still on me. At the end of the day however employed people take theirs off whereas my one is unremovable. I am ready at any time to work because I must be. In the words of those fierce New York queens – I don’t get ready, I stay ready. I start to ponder about how this is really just a constant state of emergency.  

 I have become really quite good at thinking on my feet and getting shit done regardless the situation.
I have become really quite good at thinking on my feet and getting shit done regardless the situation.

 

With this my phone rings. The van has failed it’s MOT and it will cost too much to repair it. It’s a write off.  My money maker has given up the ghost and I’ll have to work out how to finance another. This used to be the stage at which blind panic would take over me and consume the rest of my day. But for some reason over these past weeks and months I have become more aware. I’ve shifted more into the present and I know that somehow, some way, this will all work itself out. 

 All easier said than done, but so worthwhile striving to do.
All easier said than done, but so worthwhile striving to do.

I guess that is the thing, I don’t have the consistency of a guaranteed monthly wage but time teaches you that as long as you work hard, are willing to be reflective and make changes and never give up then good things happen. Unless you’re a cunt.

We Are All Ruled By Our Own Fears-Breaking The Cycle

We’re all ruled by our own fears. Perhaps arrogantly I have always thought that I was the exception to that statement. I navigated my way through some tricky moments when I was younger and came out the other side to go to university and gain loads of letters after my name for which the Student Loans company charged me handsomely. I’ve moved to other countries alone and set up a new life bungs of times, I’ve changed career without a second thought, and thrown myself into massive projects with huge financial implications should they go wrong and I’ve done it with all the gusto of Honey Booboo straight after a bottle of Special Juice.  Yes, my friends I truly have not given a fuck. Zero fucks here for fear.

 

I sound great don’t I?  No inhibitions. Free to be who I want to be-I am the tampon lady that roller skated with Dalmatians.  Remember her?  What the fuck was that all about?

 

Problem is of course, that I am not all of the things above. I have done all of the things above apart from insert a tampon and go dog skating, but there’s time yet for that. At the heart of the matter I will not be stopped, but the cost of forging ahead with what I do in life is high. 

 Sometimes I repeat this quote to myself. Less is more.
Sometimes I repeat this quote to myself. Less is more.

 

Rewind to 21 and I had many a post-it on my bedside table with affirmations on them incase, in fact no let’s just say when I woke up during the night panicking about whatever my panic du jour was. Key things I loved to panic about were;

  •  money
  • lack of money
  • guilt about not spending enough time with family
  • the future
  • the past
  • what career I should go into
  •  my health
  • my relationship

 With the exception of the last one of those, as I think about that list, I realise my fears are pretty much all the same that they were 15 years ago. Although I don’t have the affirmations by my bed anymore. I prefer to drink myself unconscious and hope for the best. I’ve really matured in that sense.

 

I am a multipotentialite, a polymath, or as Emma Gannon puts it, I follow the ‘multi hyphen method’. What this means in laymen terms is I have a variety of skills that I put to use in order to further my career. Or as Robyn says in her song ‘Cobrastyle’ I have ‘relentless determination in the quest to get paid’.

From the outside this looks like an online retro furniture store, pop up homeware shops, a blog, an interior design business and various collaborations across the board. On the inside, well just basically start reading this blog from the beginning.

So as I said, the cost is high. I always strive for better and more. But I heard the phrase by Pedro Almodóvar in the year 2000 “ it costs a lot to be authentic. And one can’t be stingy with these things because you are more authentic the more you resemble what you’ve dreamed of being.” Sometimes that cost is material and sometimes it is mental. More often than not the latter I find, but I don’t want to sit in the sidelines and watch time go by.

 

A childhood friend of mine. The person I first got drunk with, and whose wall I later decorated with my spew.  The same girl I sang my first karaoke song alongside, and who left me to sing the unreachable high note alone – I WILL NEVER FORGIVE THIS – is now contending with terminal cancer. She has shown magnanimous strength, courage I can’t even imagine and a sense of control that astounds me throughout. I can’t change her situation and I think every day about it, but I can change my outlook toward the life I have. It won’t change things at all for her but I hope that she sees the impact her strength has on others and that this in turn gives her some small comfort. 

None of us can change what has already happened but we can shape what we have of our futures. I want to find out exactly who I am, and it may take a lifetime to discover. I am more than likely going to have to add many more hyphens to my job title in the process and considerably more wrinkles to my face. Fear gets in the way every day, hundreds of times but you’ve got to feel the fear and make the choice to just do it anyways. It’s what Deanna does.

 

 

You can read about Deanna below, and donate from the same link.

https://uk.gofundme.com/deannawilson