A few weeks ago, a friend of mine (who is a single teacher and aspiring writer) said something like this: “Claire it’s so great that you have Patrick, so you can quit your job and write.”
And she’s right. I am very fortunate. But, what I heard her say was a little different. I heard her say something like this: “Must be nice to quit your job and live off your husband’s salary, huh, Claire?”
See the difference? It’s subtle.
I never realized how much stock I put into earning my own money until I stopped earning it.
Here I am, and my last teacher paycheck is on it’s way this month. Starting August 1st, any money I bring into the family coffer will come straight from words I put on paper–and as exciting as that is, it’s also pretty intimidating and humbling. The truth is, I’m terrified of being seen as a “stay-at-home” that simply lives off her husband and pretends to be a “writer.” (for more on this topic, see: she’s making jewelry now)
Thankfully, I met up with my friend (and writing guru) Kim, who can empathize with my situation. As a writer and a wife, Kim has walked the road I’m on and understands the inner struggle you feel when you start equating your worth with your paycheck. Not a good idea. She had a better idea, and said something like this: “Claire, what if you look at it this way. You’re in grad school, learning a craft. Of course you’re not making any money! You’re in grad school!”
Hallelujah and thank you Jesus for Kim Green.
This metaphor was what I’d been waiting for. And now I feel like I have a purpose, even if I don’t have a plentiful paycheck. I’ve already started planning my own syllabus, reading lists, internships, ideas…. the grad school analogy helps me to accept the place of financial dependence, for the sake of what I want to pursue. So, in that vein, I’ve made a purchase with what money I’ve made as a writer so far:
My new laptop needs a name, please. Best suggestion in the comment box gets a free beer on me.