I Didn’t Have The Luxury…

 

Kerri

 

I’m a big fan of Women’s Agenda, I have it set as my homepage. I’m telling you this so you can understand my pleasure when I lifted the lid of my laptop to see my mate Kerri Sackville had written a piece on how she’d reinvented her career at 40. The piece was an honest account of how she’d followed her dream of writing and the goals she’d set.  I was pleased when she’d shared she’d had to write for free for a period of time. While print journalism is very black and white, payment to writers can be very grey, a very shady grey, and not of the sexy variety.

I checked out the comments and noticed someone had mentioned how lucky Kerri had been to have a partner to support her financially. It was pointed out that with children’s mouths to feed, writing for free was a luxury the unpaired didn’t have.  I shifted uncomfortably in my seat, it was true, it’s an absolute luxury to have a safety net while you test out a new career. Not only have I done it, I’ve seen it with many friends. What isn’t a luxury though, is trying to start a new career when you have small children. As a former recruitment specialist and mother of very small children I can promise you that children can, at times, be rather career limiting.  And if you don’t believe me, try taking them to work with you. While I have enjoyed the “luxury” of my husband’s financial support, he enjoyed the luxury of going to work without a second thought of how his children would eat, sleep and spend the day.

I was recently talking to a friend about what we liked to read, who our favourite go to everyday bloggers were, and in particular our love of Eden Riley. If Eden and I were to draw our lives out in two separate columns on a piece of A4 paper, her column would perhaps be marked with multiple skull and cross bones, dramatic artwork, and quotes on suicide, addiction and cancer. My column would possibly look a little bland in comparison, they’d be daisies sprouting up from the grass, little sunshines in the top right hand corner and smiley faces with the occasional unicorn flying by.

Recently I sat in the garden at the Problogger conference enjoying my lunch in the sunshine, when I got up to walk inside I saw Eden sitting underneath a tree. As I approached her she said “a bird just shat in my lunch.” If I hadn’t only met her that weekend I would have replied “of course it did, because you’re Eden Riley and even your lunch is going to be more dramatic than mine!”

I often read Eden’s writing and recognise some of the same commenters who swing by here each day, it is then that I wonder how disappointed they must be by the time they get to the end of my second paragraph. I’m often embarrassed to write about holidays, perfect moments, and stories of love, particularly when I read a post where a friend has been in enormous pain, or is fighting what seems to be an endless and unconquerable battle.

Obviously, with a sex beast of a partner *he prefers that to ‘loving’*, beautiful kids and a beach house, my life is just one big ray of sunshine. Right? Of course it’s not. And you know that it’s not because you have your shitty days as well. Even the most vanilla of us with the seemingly perfect life, has the crappiest of days. My shitty days do not involve rehab or grief (yet), but they still involve tears, frustration, loneliness and heartbreak. I might not be wrestling the black dog, but I have days where a dark grey cloud hovers above my head and no amount of comfort food, or wine will make it go away. I have times where I drink too much, eat too much, say too much, all of which result in me wallowing in shame, hating my big fat mouth on my big fat face. On a recent holiday to Annecy in France, G and I were out “enjoying” a romantic dinner for two which resulted in one of our more spectacular disagreements. I was furious, he was clueless. It didn’t really translate over Instagram, and it wasn’t noteworthy enough to blog about, but I did walk the streets of one of France’s most romantic cities with tears streaming down my face. We went to bed in silence, G too frightened to speak and me too angry to answer. I laughed about it for the first time recently when G cautiously said  “I still have no idea what I said that night.”

When Kerri Sackville was busy reinventing her career she was working her arse off to keep it all afloat. Blog post after blog post, stolen moments to write another chapter, appointments with agents, negotiations with publishers. All the while she had shit going on behind the scenes that only a few were privy to. We all have our own shit going on, and those of us who don’t, wait in fear knowing it’s coming our way. We can’t compare who’s doing it harder, what felt tougher and who got luckier.

But that’s easy for me to say, I live in a world of sunshine and unicorns.

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