Thursday, December 10, 2009

Lack Thereof

“I can’t always be waiting, waiting on you

I can’t always be playing, playing your fool

I keep playing your part

But it’s not my scene

Want this plot not twist?

I've had enough mystery.

Keep building me up

But then you’re shooting me down

But I’m already down”

- Johnson, Jack. Song “Sitting, Waiting, Wishing”

I’m depressed today. As I ironed my third shirt, my state became obvious, only in part because I was ironing. At first I didn’t realize it, but a number of clues added up. I’ve been sleepier these days, and not just from the fact that I get up too early anticipating a possible sub call, but rather a sign of sadness. Then this morning, I was wrapping Hanukkah presents, and found no joy in it. I thought it was because holidays make me anxious, a reflex leftover from childhood. It’s a day before Hanukkah begins, yet I haven’t started filling out holiday cards or even bothered to order photos to insert inside said cards. Those who know me understand that this is not like me. And when I don’t get called for sub work, I’ve been forgoing makeup and not brushing my teeth until afternoon.

Let me be clear about the tooth brushing. I shower, shave, and otherwise groom each morning, but I save taking care of my teeth until just before I leave for work. Since I drink a cup of coffee after showering and getting dressed, I figure I should wait to brush so I have the freshest breath when I walk out the door. But if I don’t work, and my husband takes the kids to the bus, I forget, sometimes for hours.

I could blame my depression on personal issues, who doesn’t have those? Or I could blame it on lack of jobs for over a month, maybe two. Part of the reason could be that I’ve just completed a revision of my manuscript, Indigo in the Know, and waiting to send it out has me anxious. Perhaps it’s also because I’m unsure what to do next. Should I revisit a previous manuscript or begin a new one? At this moment, I feel too lethargic to do either. Truthfully, I always write a first draft when I seem too busy to do so, but when I have stretches of time, then I suffer from lack of inspiration. Note to potential agents and editors, I’m sure once I have a contract, this will cease to be a problem.

Most likely, I’m down because I haven’t worked since Tuesday. I had to take myself off the sub list yesterday because my son was sick, but I didn’t get a call on Monday or today, and now I’ll have to see about tomorrow. And (of course) being a substitute teacher (in itself) is depressing. Take the lack of jobs to apply for, lack of sub calls, lack of success in writing, and it adds up to me feeling aimless.

When I used to get anxiety attacks as a teenager, I recall my father once saying, “Snap out of it,” though I think that’s what Cher says in the film “Moonstruck”, so it probably wasn’t exactly that. And I am trying to snap out of it. I tell myself I have my health, my family is well, my husband has a job, and similar positive thoughts. Unfortunately, I still feel like how they describe a depressed person in a Wellbutrin commercial before she’s taken the prescription.

I hit this wall every once in a while, and I know it shall pass. These blues come and go, often unknown by even those closest to me, since I like to keep my feelings to myself, which is ironic now that I’m sharing them to the World Wide Web, at least potentially. I’ve always found it easier to express myself in written rather than spoken words, which makes it odd that I took so long to write. And having this medium in which to express myself helps me work through my woes. It might be the kick I need to be productive tomorrow.

My mental state really comes from the fact that once in a while I get tired of waiting. I’m waiting for a job to appear, and when one does, I have to wait to see if I get called for an interview. Each weekday, I wait to see if the phone will ring me in some work. Then I wait to see if my submissions turn into offers or rejections. Waiting is the hardest part.

Studies say that people are the most depressed around the holidays and studies also mention that transitions, like moving, marriage, birth, death, and a new job, cause stress. If I sub, having a new job (or no job) each day, that must count as a lot of transitioning. The reality is that my job, sub, and writing statuses are all on hold, and sometimes I’m fine with that. Today I’m not, but maybe tomorrow things will be better.


This evening I received a call to sub gym tomorrow, and although it will be hectic because I’m also running a wrapping fundraiser for my children’s school, which means I’ll also be wrapping gifts from 3:30-5:30, and then rushing my daughter to my husband’s work so he can take her to see The Nutcracker in Boston, and then I’ll take my son out to do something special, I’m actually feeling better. At least for tomorrow, I have structure. If time permits, maybe I’ll revisit my first manuscript.


  1. Keeping a household in order and nurturing children used to be considered a full time job. You do that and so much more. You should be so proud of yourself.

  2. Thanks, Sheila. I keep that in mind. On the first day, I'm glad for the time off to do household jobs and concentrate on writing, but by the second day, I get demoralized.

  3. I get like that about my teeth during the summer, you're not the only one. The lack of routine throws me off.

    I hate waiting as well, and not knowing. I don't know if I could ever submit to an agent that just doesn't reply if they don't like you.

  4. Brooke, it's good to know I'm not alone with a lack of routine.

    I hope to be querying agents in about a month. Not fun to be rejected. But as I've heard, only one person has to say yes.