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Coffee, Quicksand, and an Angel’s Smile

Ah, coffee. That warm hug in a cup. You need a hug when you’re woken up this many times through the night. Every single night. When it feels like every time you start to dream a blissful dream, the screaming starts and jolts you awake. Last night it was about puppies, but you’d appreciate one of Freddy Krueger at this point. You just want your REM cycle.

When you have to juggle their needs with the dog’s, (resist snapping from the whining of both) try to feed everyone decent meals, work on making a scrap of change from your writing during nap times, and fight for some “you time” if you’re lucky. And this is with a partner (but far away from family). Single parents deserve a special place in heaven, just for them. A never-ending spa day.

Rejections and quicksand

And amidst all of that, you have to face the rejections. You have to watch your efforts go nowhere. All the time you’ve put into writing, applying, interviewing, studying, researching, pitching, submitting, and re-writing a million times…all the time spent fighting to make a name for yourself. It all becomes quicksand. The grains slide and scrape against one another loudly, billions of them burying themselves beneath you, and sucking you down all at once. It happens so fast you don’t have a chance to escape.

Suddenly, you’re drowning in all your failures. You start feeling worthless again, and every other day you find a way to boost yourself a foot upward. You do yoga, you meditate. You eat healthy foods. You write a gratitude journal. You take a shower…you try to fight. But you always slide three feet back down.

Stashed away in a cold summer

And you can’t justify going out for a coffee, normally your small daily joy, because it’s now out of budget. You miss your family back home, you miss that support. You just want to be near them again because they make hard times feel normal. They’ve always been there.

You and your partner are fighting again — finances, stress, resentment, strain. They’re the only person you really have out here. And it doesn’t help that it’s so cold and dreary during what should be the summer. It should be warm and happy, like back home.

An angel’s smile

Suddenly, the baby cries again. You’ve spent their nap time in the quicksand. No choice but to drop everything and go pick them up. You hate hearing them cry, or feeling alone. You walk in and they see you. They quiet down, and their little face breaks into a smile. It’s the most beautiful thing. Nothing else matters. You shoot up three feet from the quicksand, starting that momentum. You cough out some of it, gasping for air. You might just make it out alive. But you’ll have to fight like hell.

So you straighten your posture, you put on your glasses, and you get to work again. You write a few more pieces and submit them to new publications. You query new agents about repping your book. You apply for more copywriting jobs. You do another course. Something will give this time. Something. It has to eventually. Maybe one day.

Until then, you have this homemade cup of coffee. You have walks outside to nowhere. And you have that angel’s smile. It’ll have to be enough, for now.

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