The other day, a family member said to me, "You know, it's really time for you to get a job. Enough with being an artist, working for yourself, etc. You need to get serious about what you are doing. It's time you get a real job."
Uh, yeah. So, you know what I said? I said,
"Your message and tone in your voice are negative. I deal with enough negativity in my life, and don't need you adding to the mix. So, until you can accept me for who I am and what I am doing, then I won't be able to talk with you."
Then I hung up the phone. And, since then, I've been working on putting that nasty bugger of a conversation out of my head.
It's been going just so-so.
I can't really expect someone who hasn't walked my path to understand the ins and outs of what our family has been going through. I can't ask someone to understand what it means to butt heads with so many factions of "the establishment" in the name of finding just one helpful path for your child. What do I say to someone who complains to me about the $100,000/year cost of putting their two bright children through college at the same time? Gee, the only words that come to my mind are,
"You are so blessed."
Wow, that money will only buy about 6.5 months of what my son's care costs.
And that jab about "getting a real job"? What Real Job will let you spend sometimes 6 hours during the work day talking with the schools/therapists/lawyer who are helping you fend off villains attacking your very character in the name of your child's education? What about the 4 days it took me to compose the most compelling letter of my life to the CA Insurance Commissioner's office. That letter won a judgement against our insurance company to the tune of about $40,000.00.
I wonder if a Real Job boss would understand the time, care, and necessity behind advocating for one's troubled child? Somehow, I doubt it.
For me, and for all you Moms and Dads, Aunts, or Uncles, Grandparents, or even Friend of the family, for all of us who are trying just as-fricken-hard-as-we-can to help those struggling teens, I applaud you, I applaud US. For without Us, there would be no advocating for these kids who just might get it figured out tomorrow. Who might make the right choice next week, when their brain matures just that much more. Who might make that decision to get it right this time. Sure, they might falter next time. But we are the ones to help them celebrate each step forward. And we are the ones who hold things together when they misstep, and the world turns upside down... Again. These teens need us to stand strong in their lives, to set boundaries, to model truth, value honesty, to be a guidepost towards figuring things out.
For me, I'm willing to put off that "getting a real job" for a while longer. My real job is right here, and I will work it.
Just call me Batwoman. I am so that. And more.