I can’t remember the last time I caught sight of my comfort zone as it floated by! Like so many of my fellow writers and other creatives, I’ve been scrunched, yanked, and pummeled for so long by so many know-it-alls. Now I hardly remember what it’s like to be where I prefer to be.
That doesn’t mean that I or any of us have given up on getting where we want to go. But it does mean that’s what being a writer is all about. A chronicler observes life as it happens and writes down what he or she sees. This is a noble and totally indispensable profession, especially when not abused.
However, a writer does a little more. A writer gets involved in that life as it happens. A writer knows what pain is, where empathy comes from, and usually experiences the degrading impacts of injustice on a very personal level. As an immigrant to the U.S., for example, I know a little something about discrimination against new arrivals. I’ve tasted on a smaller scale – and spat out – what minorities still endure daily. I’ve been a minority and in many ways, still am.
What was my comfort zone that I reluctantly had to leave? Most likely my comfort zone was to remain a shy violet around the neck of a tenacious bulldog. Mess with me and pay the price. I would never get out of your life. But leave me alone and I was happy in my world of yarn crafts, reading, family tree research, church work, and fiction writing.
A big stretch project must have come along that I couldn’t avoid and, in looking back, it had to be the need to bring extra income into the household. We had moved back to Los Angeles against my will because my in-laws were supposedly in dire health straits. As it happened, neither was ill enough to pass on any time soon. One survived an additional 5 years and the other an additional 14 years. Three years into it, that long timeframe left us in the position of not being able to survive in L.A. unless I took on paid full-time work after 13 years of being a volunteer worker in between health crises. I’m pretty sure others out there have found themselves unexpectedly trapped in that kind of situation. It usually isn’t fun for anyone.
I’m definitely not going to lie and say it was a joy to take on work that I didn’t like very much and didn’t want. It was a necessity and, over the years, the good Lord blessed me with skills, training, and ways to stay employed. It comes down to doing what we have to do and that can mean hunkering down for the long haul.
If we had been able to move away again when the 14 years had passed, we would have done so. Fate hasn’t seen fit for that to happen yet. And if it had, most likely I would not now be following in the footsteps of the copywriters who have gone ahead!