I slept for 10 hours last night out of pure exhaustion, waking up to a feeling of “this can’t be happening”.
I’ve been through some ups and downs in my freelance career and have come back from the brink several times. I’ve had record deals offered that fell through, jobs promised then pulled, a band that I managed fell apart leaving with me a debt of 21k. I remember being so poor that I couldn’t afford the bus fair to work and was counting out coppers from our penny pot. I’ve had a long term eating disorder, anxiety, loss of confidence – all of these things I’ve worked through and come out of. I remember not being able to feel happy for friends that were getting married, having babies, buying houses. I thought “this will never happen for me”.
The last two years however, have felt buoyant – the musical that I left a steady job to write has been coming along, I’ve taken risks that have paid off, and have been feeling more creative and more level in general. I have built up a thriving client base of London students – some came as a result of me grafting and promoting myself, some were loyal students I taught back in my college days, and more recently students being personally recommended, which is a lovely thing. It felt that I had found “my people” and I have been really happy working in this environment. I have also managed to put aside a small amount of savings that were going towards a first time buyer’s ISA. I’ve attempted to do this once already, but had to take the money out to pay for a family related emergency.
I’ve learned not to count my chickens before they’ve hatched, and always feel (however balanced I am) that the rug could be pulled from under my feet at any given moment. This has yet again proven to be the case with the recent outbreak of Coronavirus. You never know what is around the corner, sometimes it’s a career defining job offer or sometimes the roof falls in. I have been in a state of anxiety (as I know lots of people have) – the dramatic scenes of theatres closing, contracts being pulled, people being made unemployed. I felt overwhelmed, sick, shaky, couldn’t think straight.
This morning I woke up feeling emotionally exhausted but mentally OK. So much of what is happening is out of my hands. I can only do my best to stay afloat, stay down South as long as possible, hang on, sit tight, and hope that this boat rights itself. The reality is, that no one knows how the landscape is going to look in a few months time. I don’t know if I will still be in business, or if I will be having to uproot my family and move back up North. I don’t have anything to fall back on. I don’t own anything (apart from a 10-year old Micra lovingly known as The Chariot) oh and a Kawai piano (gotta get your priorities straight!). My small amount of savings will be put towards living, feeding my family, rent and bills, and then I will no doubt be borrowing money to stay afloat. I’m wondering how far down this rabbit hole we all will have to go before we can breathe again? Funny how the mundane normality of the life that once was, now seems so attractive. What will the new “normal” look like?
In the meantime, I am going to try to continue to nurture my soul, write, play the piano, sing, ride, spend quality time with my family and breathe into the situation. I don’t want to feel that my day to day happiness is dependent on a future that is as yet unknown. Thinking too far ahead serves no real purpose, and what will be will be at the end of the day. At least I’ll go out galloping through a field on horseback, singing at the top of my lungs!