The Bristol Diaries: The Wall

I have hit the wall of optimism. There is no more.

I’ve been on an optimistic high for so long and now I’m crashing. Reality is biting me at every turn. I’ve lived in the creative bubble for the past three months now, thinking that if I just worked hard enough I would persevere. I want to tell you that this is what happened but it’s not. I know that I’ve just started on my creative journey and everything that I’ve read and seen tells me this will be a many year struggle. I was fully prepared for that. I was willing to struggle. What I wasn’t prepared for is not having any means to support myself. I have exhausted almost every avenue for finding a job, but because of certain restrictions it is near impossible.

I saved up a lot of money before I came here so I would have a cushion. But now that supply is dwindling fast. The gorgeous house that I can’t afford but just had to live in? Well I will probably have to move out in the next couple of months because it is my biggest financial drain. The friends I made? Well I can’t afford to do anything with them anymore because I have just enough money each week to buy groceries.

I had some pretty romantic notions of what it would be like to “struggle”. I would be like Bukowski, sitting in a rat-infested single bedroom drinking at 10 am, writing, while my lover slept. Currently it’s me waking up wondering how to fill my hours. Wondering how I can distract myself from the fact that I’m not going to make it. To forget the fact that I will probably have to leave the one place that I feel has nourished my creativity like no other. It’s me going to the park in an attempt to relax only to end up leaving because I don’t want to cry in front of strangers.

The sad thing is that I’m making progress, it’s just not happening fast enough. I got offered a great opportunity to write for a well known website. But of course they can’t pay. So I either do more free work in hopes of the exposure leading to paid work or I decline and find myself with nothing to do. I feel I am just an arms length away from getting paid work, the trouble being that target gets a bit further each day.

The fear loop is playing in my head again. The one of going back to Vancouver, having to face everyone, telling them that I was unsuccessful. A failure. This loop started even before I left, but somehow I managed to silence it with hope. Now hope is rapidly fading, like the last days of summer. I feel like there is a countdown on. Until I have no means to support myself. Until I have to go back. Until I stop being creative.

Even with the ideas that everyone has about making enough money to get by I realized it won’t be enough to live, it will just be enough to survive, to exist. The irony being that this is exactly how I felt before I moved to Bristol, like I was just surviving.

I better go, I hear a clocking ticking somewhere.