I’ve written a few times on Hipstercrite about how going freelance has improved my career confidence and has been mentally rewarding.
I’ve jokingly talked about how going freelance has made it difficult for me to remember to change my underwear or socialize with humans and not feral cats.
What I haven’t mentioned is that going freelance has amplified my anxieties and worries and at some point I’m concerned I will become agoraphobic.
This all sounds like wonderfully neurotic writer behavior but it is neither fun or helpful. It takes a lot for me to leave the house to socialize and when I do, I’m finding it increasingly difficult to pay attention or engage in conversation. I’ve mentioned this before, so I will not rehash too much. This behavior, which began before I went the freelance route and had decided to take my writing more seriously, has caused me friendships. When I started to stay home at the attempt of being more productive, it angered a few friends. One in particular told me that I was being selfish. I explained to her that I didn’t care about her any less and that she should please give me some time while I work through this period of creative self-discovery. This friend, who is in her early 30’s, did not believe me and promptly deleted me as her Facebook friend. Though other friends who are more mature than this did not react in such a manner, it’s fair to say that not seeing them for months at a time has certainly put a strain on our friendships. Friends rarely ask me to go to a show or a party because they know I won’t go. The only energy I have these days is for small gatherings with close friends where we play Settlers of Catan or Rock Band.
When I think about how sad it is that I’m not the social butterfly many of my peers are in Austin, I do not regret having buckled down on my work for it has paid off and I figure that enjoying small gatherings over loud bars, parties or shows is more of a sign of my age. This doesn’t prevent me from thinking that if one day I write a book or movie that becomes successful it will have come at the cost of friendships and no one other than family members will show up at my funeral.
Becoming a social idiot has concerned me, but the enhanced behavioral quirk that I’m most concerned about these days is my worrisome nature. Whether I’d like to stop worrying or not, I’m a full-blooded Jew and my kind are very good at developing diarrhea in the middle of the night while worrying about things like 2 inches of snowfall in the forecast or day trips to Philadelphia. This comes from a long lineage that each generation tries with all their might to break. My grandmother has reached an age where she does not recognize that her anxiety-riddled behavior filled with sleepless nights and bubbling anger is anything other than normal, but both my mother and I have tried to fight it within ourselves. I give my mother credit for she finally realized in her 50’s that dwelling on even the slightest negative possibility is not good for your mental or physical health. Regardless of how hard we’ve both tried to minimize this neurosis, it is still in our blood and we both find it creeping up at different times for different reasons.
Since I’ve gone freelance, I mostly work from home which means I have a lot of solitary time to dwell on my life and begin worrying about things that when I verbalize later to friends or my boyfriend, I realize sound ridiculous upon leaving my lips.
Lately I have plenty of time to sit and read the gritty details of plane crashes thus causing me to take shots of whiskey before boarding a plane and having the look of utter terror while taking off and landing that make other passengers extraordinarily uncomfortable. And even though a nice gal told me yesterday that more people are killed by donkeys than plane crashes every year, it still does not stop me from assuming I will have the same fate as everyone on Pan Am Flight 103 over Lockerbie.
Last year I developed a concern that every night someone was trying to break into the house. Just as I was getting over that fear, a peer was murdered in her home nearby with subsequent break-ins into young women’s houses. The police have no leads whatsoever. In addition, the other night we caught a man canvasing our house to break-in. When I used to feel that Austin is a safe town- and statistically it still is- I’ve begun to believe when out in public, every person has the potential of doing bad.
I worry about offending people through my writing. I worry that I have a blood clot in my neck and I will be one of the young women you read about on CNN reports that have strokes at young ages. I worry about my parents’ health. I worry about my boyfriend wanting to move to space.
I find myself, much like my grandmother, with a lot of solitary time at home having nothing better to do than worry. Even when my own life concerns are minimal, I begin taking on the bigger picture of what the futures holds for the world. Will we run out of water? Will the super volcanoes erupt? Will we all want to move to space?
Do I worry- SEE!- that in the long run going freelance and following my goals has been counter-productive for me? Do I fear that I need more work structure in my life to prevent myself from spiralling into an abyss of constant concern? Maybe. But, this is the route I wanted to go and I better fucking learn to deal with it.