Defeat Is a Place

Have you ever been at that place where you must ask yourself, “When is enough, enough?” When and where do we fallible humans draw that fine line over reaching for our dreams and realizing our dreams are—in reality—just fantasies not likely to happen.

I am not trying to be coy, but I really haven’t yet decided if I am going to make that final curtain call on a long-held dream of my own. But surprisingly, at least to me, I am beginning to feel that it may be time to shut the door so that I can, with God’s grace, experience some peace.

For those who know me well, I worked in the publishing industry for more than 15 years. I enjoyed every minute of it and to this day, I feel like it is what I was born to do. To communicate, concisely and clearly of course, is important to me.

After a painful divorce and relocating my family to the Carolinas for a publishing job, I found myself not being in the publishing world any more. I couldn’t find a job in my area and I made a mommy decision. I would not relocate my children again. They were completely traumatized over the divorce and the move to the South. When I couldn’t find another publishing job, survival kicked in. I had to find something, and so I did. I fell into the legal field.

For years, I have attempted to find editing or writing gigs to no avail. In fact, just one month ago, I invested an entire weekend and $85 for a new Chicago Manual of Style (mine was the 15th version , ouch) taking a three-part freelance editing test. No answer. Not even a big, fat, “No!”  But this is nothing new. I have been at this game for a very long time. So what brought me to this precipitate edge where I feel myself tottering over abject defeat?

Just this week, I received an email in response to my resume submission for a copy writer/copy editor position with Northern Virginia magazine, a beautiful, slick publication that was, above all, interesting, hip, and diverse. They scheduled a phone interview. It made my palms sweaty with excitement.  Then I got the scheduled call. The interviewer didn’t care about my writing, my experience, or my abilities. No, he wanted to know about the gap. He wanted to know about my education, you know, the one I don’t have.  I could tell when I hung up from the phone interview that I would not hear from him again. There will be no round two.

I also want to come home. With all of my being, I want to come home. I want to be near my family and to grow old around people who care about me. I cannot erase the last 20 years. I did what I had to do to raise my family, but I have a confession. I hate the legal field. No one is ever happy in the legal field, no matter how good you are at what you do. I have always said that going to a law firm is a lot like going to a doctor, you don’t make that appointment until you are desperate and there is no hope.

I am not a quitter but a survivor, but when is it time to call it quits? When is it time to accept that, at middle-age, I may be stuck here. I may never go home and I may never do what I love again. I know I would make a great copy editor/copy writer for Northern Virginia Magazine because I want that job. I want my voice, my defeats, my successes, and my joys to be heard, and I want other’s voices to be heard. I want to contribute in the only way I know how, with my words.

But perhaps I have been asking myself the wrong question all along. What if the question is really, as it has been in my own experience, how shall I best accept this?  How do I deal with the disappointment so that it makes me a better person, not a bitter one? Perhaps, after all, this is the lesson I am here to learn in life.