In the morning I panic.
I wake up, hot under my blanket, the sun blocked by wooden shutters. Horses go by. I come to, and anxiety hits.
I breathe, I say comforting things. I get up and dread what the day could bring.
This has been every morning for me in December. Three months ago I made great money and had few bills. Then I took on the Chateau and, as quickly as my bills stacked up, my income disappeared. Freelance work went dry. I sought new clients, contacting over 160 companies, and found nothing.
That was when the anxiety began.
I soothe it with meditation. I used to treat my emotions with food, but food costs money. Singing is free, praying is free. I place myself before the shrine and sing.
This calms me, but it does not fix the problem. That’s the thing about prayer: call it your compass, but don’t pretend it’s your ship.
By afternoon I’m working hard. Talking to freelance clients. Pitching investors on creative projects. Investigating new types of work I can do on the road. And yes, looking at options for employment.
I work far into the evening.
And I talk to friends. It gets my spirits up. They give me hope, courage, inspiration. By night I feel like everything will be okay. I fall asleep at peace.
In the morning I panic.
This was my low. I suppose it’s full of lessons about what it’s like for lots of people in the countries (and US states) I intend to travel through, who can’t just pick up and leave. I suppose it is also the crucible out of which great art is cast. But that’s not how I bear it.
Adventure has taught me to live through pain and hardship. To adventure is to request these things. You will be pushed so hard and so far that you do not believe you can go on. And absolutely, this month all I wanted was to flee. To run to the open arms of faraway friends and sleep without worry, without fear.
Every adventurer, I think, is united in this.
But the sun also rises.
As my heart seized with fear, I let it pound. I let it race. I leaned on the arms of the people who love me, and I kept standing.
As of this weekend, I officially have a roommate. He arrives with the New Year. I also have a little funding to write about Celtic polytheism. And a reprieve: another month in New Orleans. Another month for Vodou, for my local nonprofits, and for the Salon of Magic.
Put your faith in the struggle; in your art and your skill; in your will to keep breathing, keep reaching. Do not be annoyed with life. Kiss her. Kiss her, and hold her close.