Making It on the Hustle

In the two years since I’ve left my last regular day job, I’ve done gigs that are referred to as ‘hustles’ sometimes. I’ve done delivery work and now I drive for Uber.

First, I want to say I’ve made a lot of mistakes because I went into this totally blind thinking it was way easier than it really is, and because I thought things would just magically fall into place for me because it’s what I wanted.

The mistakes I made were not hustling more to make more money at the outset so I’d have a cushion built up and something to maybe fall back on. Also, I was exceptionally lazy and just let shit slide right down the toilet with me in it. But I’m still waking up on this side of the dirt and living in a place with a roof over my head for me and my pets so I must be doing something right.

So what I have learned about hustling to get this far?

1) You have got to be disciplined. No one is going to ride your ass telling you what to do or when to do it. It’s so damn easy to just put off things until tomorrow thinking that you can do it tomorrow. DON’T DO THAT! Do it now would be my motto to start with this. Set a goal and don’t stop until you hit it.

2) Balance. We’re all human and we all have our good days and our bad days. Sometimes you have to push through the bad day even though sometimes you just can’t do that. It’s a hard thing to realize but you have to know when you can push it, and when to back off.

3) Never forget the life you left, and never want to go back to. And also know that the further you get away from your former life, the harder it will be to go back to it. Don’t look back and remember why you walked away in the first place. And keep moving forward even if it’s just surviving.

4) No one knows everything and the price of it. Some people catch on quicker and move faster but that doesn’t make them know-it-all perfect gurus. And beware of fast-talking bullshit. How much money you can earn by hustling depends on how much time you’re willing to put into it. Because you may find a good groove sometimes, and there may be times when you don’t. There are going to be days when you have to take a shot at doing things differently not knowing if they’ll pay off. But you don’t know what works until it does, or doesn’t. And if it doesn’t, then you just have to deal with it.

5) Never give up, or give in. Have your moments of despair and wailing-shit, then shut the fuck up and move on. Yes you do have to have a kick-ass attitude to get through the lean-and-mean times but trust me, it’s a good attitude to have. Try not to think about any shit-bombs coming down on you because if they do you’ll just have to deal with them anyway.

6) Try not to give any time or energy to what ‘people’ might think about how you live. Trust me, the ‘people’ that might mouth off at you honestly don’t give a shit. They just have diarrhea of the mouth and you’re a convenient toilet bowl to them. Don’t be anyone’s toilet bowl and don’t take shit if you’re not giving it like my dad always used to say.

7) Enjoy the good times and pat yourself on the back when you figure something out or accomplish a goal. It doesn’t matter how long the good time lasts, or how you figured something out and got it done. It just matters that you did and use the moment as a way to remind yourself that you can do it again and again.

8) Try not to depend on anyone. I know there are people out there who will help but they may not be able to all the time. Live like you’re on Mars with a serious radio delay and no cavalry that will come to save you. Save yourself. Be your own hero/heroine.

9) Know that you’ll go without stuff that’s absolutely not essential for survival. These things will seem like small luxuries to you but basic necessary stuff to most people. But know that eventually you’ll scrape up a few extra bucks to indulge yourself a little. Don’t take any shit for doing that and don’t give yourself any shit for it either. Eat the greasy fast-food, buy something nice for yourself, and enjoy the hell out of it with no apologies to anyone.

10) Have the cockiness of Han Solo, and remember that Millennium Falcon was the fastest hunk of junk in the galaxy. Appearances don’t matter but skill and attitude to. It’s not who you know or whose ass you have kiss with a hustle: it’s what you can do and how you can do it.

Peeling Back the Layers of Caring

One of the biggest problems I have with myself is that I care too damn much. And to compound on that, I can’t express that worth a shit. I can hide it with cynicism or stoicism, but in reality, I am a mushy-marshmallow of caring. But since I’m a klutz physically, mentally, and emotionally, my mushy-marshmallow of caring falls off the stacked s’more to the dirt below.

Whenever I start to feel that high-pitched hum of anxiety and adrenalin coursing through me like a hot electrical current, I know two things now:

1) I’m nervous about something I’m coming right up to the wire on.

2) I’m also butting up against something and even if I know what it is and what I need to do to deal with it, I don’t want to do because it’s not going to be easy.

But after number two up there, I remember that I’ve been told from the time I can remember that nothing would be easy for me. I remember I’ve been told that I would have to work very hard to get whatever I got then work like hell to keep it. I sure as hell wasn’t told things were going to be easy for me, nor did I have things handed to me, either. I’ve always felt that nothing has come easy for me and that the times when it feels like it’s flowing well to know that easy-flow won’t last.

That all sounds cynical there but that’s where the rub is: I’m not a cynical person. Oh, I can get into cynicism and sarcasm with the best of them but deep down, I care.

Caring for me is feeling passionate about things. It’s about liking things with an intensity that can be obsessive at times. It’s about wanting something so much yet terrified of succeeding because of what it might cost me. Yes, I’ve had a fear that if I really succeed at something that ‘someone’ (that almost-mythical ‘someone’) won’t like me and will actively hate on me and try to take it from me. I’ve always denied this until just now with that last sentence I wrote.

I’m glad I finally peeled back that layer and guess what, it didn’t hurt too badly. Actually, I’m feeling a bit more calm now that I see those words on the screen here as I type them. Because as I think about it, wanting to succeed at something and caring about it is a duel-edged sword for me. On one side is my desire to succeed at something I want, and the other is being hated on for caring so much about that.

All my life I’ve felt like I’ve cared too much, and that it was inappropriate at best and downright wrong at worst. Because even in my shittiest jobs for example, I cared about doing a good job and taking care of the people I was being paid to work with and help. And in my former corporate life, that wasn’t welcomed without co-workers hating on me and in some cases actively trying to undermine me, and management that felt like I was challenging them. It’s why I don’t miss that life anymore and why I want this one I have now to succeed as much as I do.

But I will say that writing about things does help me. It helps me not only to see things with my own eyes that I need to see, but to also know that I can work through things even if they’re hard. And every so often I get a bit lucky and things come together and work for me in a way that’s not so bad.

I don’t mind having a kick-ass attitude, but sometimes I like to have an attitude of Zen-calm or laid-back chill. I’m all of that and I think the more I understand and accept that, the better off I’ll be. Because every situation requires its’ own way of being handled, past a certain point there is no ‘right’ way or ‘wrong’ way if the objective is accomplished.

A Lesson in Silence, and Breaking It, Too

Friday night I had a rider in the car with me and we got to talking and our conversation didn’t go as well as I would have liked it to. We had disagreements on various political and social issues and one thing he said to me rocked me hard. But once the dust settled and the vibrations ended from that earthquake in my mind, heart, and soul, I had a moment of clarity. And early the next morning I wrote what you can see in the PDF file here.

This is some of the most revealing writing I’ve ever posted and I’ve had to sit on it for the last few days to make sure I could handle it going forward. But like what else I’ve posted here on this blog-website of mine, I’m proud of it. I’m proud of my honesty, my clarity, and the emotions behind the words. As I’ve said many times before, writing is not easy, especially when it turns into a therapy session. But for me, writing gives me hope, and clarity about myself and the world around me.

The ‘Breaking Radio Silence’ project has been in my mind for close to a year now. But it has been very slow going because when I get near a very painful thing in myself, I back off and have to work through that in whatever amount of time I need to. I can’t force it to go any faster than it does and maybe it will get a bit easier over time for me to deal with. But for now, sometimes I have to let my words have to sit and settle for awhile before I let them out into the world.

But here is the best articulation of what the ‘Breaking Radio Silence’ project means to me.

Breaking Radio Silence – introduction

Little Girl Lost and Found

This is just a bit from something I’m working on, a non-fiction book that’s like a memoire/self-help thing. I’ve been struggling with it for quite a while but I got a little something yesterday that seems to be working for me.

The book is going to be called ‘Breaking Radio Silence’ and this is about something that happened a little while back:

Chapter One:

Pride and Imagination Flashdance-Style

 

Little Girl Lost and Found

 

For the longest time, I couldn’t listen to the song ‘Flashdance (What a Feeling!)’ by Irene Cara. And here’s why:

When I was in elementary school in the early 1980’s, every day in gym class we started out doing exercises to this song. And since I was shy, fat, and so klutzy I gave new meaning to the term, I was always at the back of the class struggling to keep up. So after so long being at the back of the class trying to keep up and failing miserably, I grew to hate this song. But before those awful months in that huge gym, I loved that song and that movie in all its’ cheesy Eighties glory.

So for over thirty years every time that song came on the radio, I immediately changed the station. Because every time that song came on, I was thrown back in that awful gym struggling to keep up with everyone else.

But that all changed about three months ago when I was driving in heavy traffic one morning and I couldn’t change the radio station. The song came on and it brought a smile to my face because I suddenly remembered the movie and hearing the song for the first time instead of being in that shitty gym class. So when I got home I decided to play it again while I made breakfast. I turned it on and when I got to this line in the song, ‘All alone I have cried/Silent tears full of pride’, I lost it.

Yes, I stood over a plate of breakfast tacos listening to a thirty-plus year-old song while bawling my brains out. But that was a moment I needed to go through in order to find my love of this song again, and take back something that had been stolen from me.

And what was stolen from me?

The hope and joy of being a child and feeling like dreams could come true.

Back then, I was terribly shy, fat, and I gave new meaning to the term ‘klutzy’. Right there those three things were not a recipe for social success and from as far back as I could remember, I never fit in anywhere because of that. I knew I was different, and that different wasn’t good. Because no matter how hard I tried to fit in, I could never figure it out and failed miserably.

But in in my imagination, I wasn’t the shy, fat, klutzy little girl that I was. I was a bright shining star who was going to dance her way to a bright future though maybe not literally dance. I loved that imaginary me very much and her world was where I retreated more often than not.

Yet every day in that shit-hole of a gym, I began to lose hold of that imaginary world and that little girl who lived there quit dancing. The song became a daily reminder that I would never fit in, that I would never be a dancer, and that I would always be at the back of the class.

But after that fateful morning in my little kitchen after bawling over my breakfast tacos, I found that little girl inside me. She’d been still and quiet for a long, long time but eventually she trusted me enough to take my hand. I told her it was alright to feel like she could dance in her mind, and that there was nothing wrong with her. And as I began to get to know her again, I realized she had never given up on her dreams even though she’d been silent for so long.

I hadn’t realized my silence went back that far until that day I got that song back in my heart.

Chapter One Intro PDF

Breaking Radio Silence: Happy Birthday to Me

Yes, I deliberately chose to re-launch my website-blog here on what is my forty-fourth birthday. And the reason I’ve chosen this date is I realized I needed to stop waiting and make this happen. Is the timing ideal for me? Heck no. I’m currently living out of a suitcase and flat-broke, but life is not a series of perfectly-timed events.

The reason this website-blog went dark a few months ago is a bit of a long story but let me just say that I had a bit of a crash-and-burn and am picking up the pieces and moving forward in my life. Over the last six months I’ve had a lot of time to think, and not just about the crash-and-burn, and not just about the last two years since I left my last call-center job, but about my entire life.

And the conclusion I’ve come to is this: I’ve been silent for too damn long. All my life I have lived in fear that has been almost choking in its’ intensity at the thought of breaking out of my hard-shell of shyness and anxiety. Because all my life I’ve had a terrible fear that if I truly broke out of that shell and lived my life without being shy and anxious about everything, that someone would come along and do whatever they could to silence me. Yes, I seriously thought that there was someone out there who would shove me back into my shell and weld the only door shut. That’s the voice of fear and anxiety lying its’ ass off but it’s taken me until now to truly realize that and call bullshit on those two asshole-thoughts.

I know there are people in this world who will not agree with what I say, or how I live my life, or just hate the fact that I freaking exist as I am. The thing is, I’ve been terribly ostracized and excluded for being me, and so many people have thought that my silence and shyness was me being a stuck-up snob.

Being a stuck-up snot-faced bitch was the last thing that was on my mind. If I kept my mouth shut and stayed out of everyone’s way it was because I thought that was the best thing I could do. I have never wanted to be a burden, or an annoyance with anyone.

But being quiet and shy does not mean someone is stuck-up so if you think that, take that thought and choke on it with a pile of your own shit. And I will not follow that last statement with an apology for its’ bluntness because there’s no excuse for judging someone without listening to them or getting to know them at all. I have never known a terribly shy person to be a stuck-up snot. In fact, all the stuck-up snots I’ve known have been loud-mouths who never bothered to hide their suck-assed stuck-up attitude.

Again, no apologies for the rant of the above paragraph as this is what you can expect here from now on. If I want to let it rip on asshole-behavior, I will. For far too long, I believed in tolerance for shitty attitudes and behavior because I thought that was what was best. It wasn’t because my silent tolerance didn’t do a damn thing to change anyone, and I’m sure my speaking out against bad behavior won’t do so either past a certain point. People make the decision whether or not to change themselves regardless of whatever you say or do (or don’t do).

And I’ve made my decision to come out of my shell on my own terms. Those terms that I live by are:

– First, do no harm to anyone or anything.

– Second, try to keep fear and anger in check, and realize both those bastards will lie their freaking asses off if given any opportunity to do so.

– Third, always remember that everyone has a story to tell. It’s the story of their life that they’re living and unless they’re literally getting in your shit, leave them to live out that story.

– Fourth, remember that everyone else is just as full of shit as you are sometimes in that we all make mistakes. But making mistakes and not having all the answers doesn’t make you a bad person; it means you’re human.

In addition to coming out of my shell and only going back into it to sleep, I want to put my past behind me once and for all. That will be a journey I will be sharing with you here with the ‘Breaking Radio Silence’ book project. That’s a book that I’m calling a memoire/self-help hybrid that I’m still working on.

In addition to that, I’ll also be letting loose on topics of a political, social, and religious nature. Yes, I will be wading into that area of the world, too. I’ve been too damn silent in regards to that area of life and holding back hasn’t helped the cause of fighting against the injustice of the world we live in. Corruption of any kind is wrong, whether it’s political or moral and writing about it is my first step towards fighting that.

But I’m also a writer so there will be weekly entries on writing topics and the business side of writing. Since my goal is to make a living with my writing, this will be about my journey and like everything else here, it will be an honest one.

In the end, I hope that anyone who reads this gets something out of it. I want anyone reading this to know that they’re not alone in this world, and that other people have had thoughts and feelings just like theirs. I know I’m not the only person on the planet that has felt alone and isolated all their lives. I just want other people to know that you don’t have to be silent. You don’t have to go public like I’m doing but you can find your own way to break free from fear and anxiety, and all around petty-ass bullshit-people even if it’s just in your own mind.

So on my forty-fourth birthday, I will be going forward one step at a time.

I will tell myself every day that everyone is just as full of shit as I am sometimes, but that I’m not a bad person.

I will tell myself that everyone has a story to tell and live, and to do whatever I can to keep their story going in any positive way I can.

Most of all, I won’t retreat, or go silent ever again.