Skills to pay the bills.

I’m back. I think. Let’s see how this goes.

So, like many disabled people, I would love the opportunity to work. I wish I was an able-bodied person. I wish I could have a career. I wish I didn’t have to rely on the meagre handouts the government provides for me. I wish I didn’t have to jump through hoops just to get that. I don’t like being on benefits anymore than Tory taxpayers like to have to pay for me to “scrounge off the wealthy.” But I’m not going to start getting into politics on this blog. If it’s social politics you want, I suggest you check out Penny Red or Dole Wallah. They are both much better at it, and care much more than I do.

But I have been thinking, in the run up to the election, what I’m going to do with myself in the long run. My economic cost is astronomical, and contrary to the beliefs of the current government, I actually do want to work. Goodness knows, it’s hard enough for those people who are both qualified for something and physically capable of functioning for more than an hour a day, but such is my want, and I’m working towards being in a position where I can earn my own living.

I made a conscious decision about 3 years ago to never again work in a corporate 9-5 environment again. I tried it on for a good while, and it really doesn’t fit. The fact that I have facial piercings and hand tattoos mean that my options in that respect are pretty limited anyway, and rightly so. Until the world at large accepts infinitely flexible working hours and alternative appearances, I’m well shot of the business world.

So, really, what are my options?

Well, looking to my past, I have a fair amount to draw from. I’m not artistic, but I am creative, and I have, in better days, made a bit of pocket money from writing for magazines. It’s not such a surefire way to earn these days, with the invention of e-zines and free papers, but it makes me happy, and I’ve realised that I can (and do) write about everything except politics and technology. Which is a shame really, since those are the two things most likely to make me money in this day and age, but there you go. I can write, I’m good at it, people like reading it.

Then we’ve got the previously mentioned hairdressing. I’m not exactly qualified, and I have a reasonably limited skill-set, but what I can do, I can do rather well, and it would only take 6 months to a year of evening classes to get me up to speed with current techniques and styles. This, along with the writing, is something I can do from home, and for as many or as few hours I like, within reason. It’s not where I saw myself ending up, but I can’t deny that I enjoy it, even if it is a guilty pleasure.

And finally, we have my long term passion and ultimate life goal; acting. I was quite the diva as a younger woman (OK, teenager), and I had a lot of potential. I trod the boards throughout school and college, but turned my back on it when I had Birdie, as I thought it was something I wouldn’t be able to maintain as a single mother. I was right. And I think I’m too far gone to attempt to become a shining star at this point, but I know a lot of people who scratch out a meagre living as extras in film and TV. It something I’ve always wanted to do, and now that Birdie is old enough to be left alone at home from time to time, the unusual hours will be a surmountable task. And from what I hear, you spend most of your time sitting around waiting, which suits me just fine.

So what do I do with this muddle of ambition? What do I pull from where and how?

I don’t know how it’ll all work out in the end, but I have a theory. Since neither one of them is the kind of thing I can do full-time, maybe I could do some or all of them part-time. And maybe, just maybe, I’ll finish my life having been something other than just another M.E. patient.

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~ by surprisingme on April 22, 2010.

One Response to “Skills to pay the bills.”

  1. Difficult one isn’t it? It’s not just about earning a living. This condition prevents us from really exploring who we are ‘out there’. At least with writing and other creative outlets one can be an inner explorer.
    The benefits system doesn’t really help. You can earn a certain (small) amount a week on top of IB but that can only go on for a year. But what if one cannot sustain regular employment? I know if I was able to work at all it would only be for a very short time and I don’t want to have to reapply for benefits everytime I relapsed. Therefore, if you are in the twilight zone you don’t want to risk it. Easier to stay on benefits and do volunteering and other activities like that. Sorry, I’m ranting and rambling a bit.

    I wish you luck with your plans and hope they bear fruit.

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