99 Days At The 99¢ Store, WEEK EIGHT: Ebb and Flow

It’s a law of motion: As soon as you say out loud –- or worse yet, put in print -– how positive life has been treating you, that tide will surely change.
Publish date:
February 15, 2013
money, dollar stores

HA! Life can be a cruel motherfucker, you guys. My last post I was blabbering on about friends saying I’m the happiest they’ve ever seen me, and this week I’ve been anxious like whoa, my fingernails are nubbins, and not even an Eddie Redmayne wet dream could bring any sort of solace.

It’s a law of motion: As soon as you say out loud –- or worse yet, put in print –- how positive life has been treating you, that tide will surely change.

I guess that comes with the territory in a weekly series. Life chugs on, and sometimes the span of a week –- or even a day -– can make you eat your words.

It started out well enough. On Sunday, a couple girlfriends and I had a date to watch Les Mis in all its enthralling/cathartic/sad glory. I made 99¢ Store pizzas because I have the only oven that works and it’s so much better if you cook it proper. There was also candy -– the 1st time I’d had it in an eternity – and I could not stop my hand to mouth, even when all the oppression on-screen was making me cry.

OK, OK, I was high and, as we know, it’s hard to stop eating when you’re high -– especially if you’re out of practice. My girls had smoked me out in honor of our movie night, which was awesome, but the next morning all that candy was dead weight in my belly and, in the way that only Mondays can, I was hastened back to the stark reality that I’m going to need more income real soon.

The problem is that in terms of TV writing, this isn’t the best time of year to land a gig. Though cable sprinkles job opportunities throughout the calendar, most hiring is done during the mid-April to late May staffing season. A lot more shows will be looking for Writers’ Assistants in a few months, but knowing that doesn’t pay my bills in the meantime.

The bummer of it all is that money stress zaps me of all creativity and, as such, hinders me from cranking out much in the way of freelance writing. So I decided, goddammit, I’m gonna find me some temporary work so that I can stop obsessing and get inspired again!

Not so fast… You know what’s truly depressing?

Craigslist. I mean, sure, it’s funny when you don’t need anything. For instance:

• They’re hiring for a “GREAT KIOSK JOB” – who knew there was such a thing!

• “2 weeks unpaid training” to learn how to do the simplest job on the planet. Sweeeeeet!

• Or look at this creepy, oblivious “producer.” He wants some top-tier specimen to be his “secretary” and do his laundry AND live with him. He couldn’t even hire me to kick him in the nuts.

Hahahaaaaaaaaaa! (Wait, am I happy or sad?)

Craigslist can be useful from time to time -– say for getting rid of old shit or if you just feel like looking at dicks for a minute –- but when you actually need something from it, especially a job or a car, it’s nothing less than a torture chamber.

Needless to say, this week was pretty barren of leads on interim moneymaking. There was a close-but-not-quite situation where I was hired, then given the runaround, by four shady dudes at a dispensary. There was…not much else. I had to remind myself that there’s an ebb and flow to the job market. My stand-up comedian boyfriend, who fixes up old typewriters as a hobby, reassured me that there’s even an ebb and flow to the typewriter market.

Now I’m not normally a zitty person, but the other FANTASTIC result of my money stress has been a Category 5 acne explosion. Seriously, there’s been a huge influx of cystic welts on my face, neck, and one even went rogue in my ear. (So sorry if you’re eating right now!) For once I was actually relieved that Ben Nye was the current staple of my makeup supply. If an interview or something else I needed coverage for would’ve popped up, it would surely be the only thing able to handle such a momentous job.

So I’ve been doing a lot of hanging out at my apartment nursing my pizza face and anxiety. It’s a little claustrophobic to be honest. Under normal circumstances when I’m feeling like a caged animal, I get the fuck out of the house. Well, now every time I do that, it has to be in the form of a non-commercial –- no restaurants, no coffee shops, no window-shopping -– activity. (I mean, window-shopping at this point would be masochistic, right?)

Even free escapes have to be well planned to avoid spending extra money, but that’s counterintuitive considering my current state of being. How are you supposed to relieve stress if the relief has to be meticulously planned?

Sometimes a drink, a smoke, a random adventure, or a swollen-belly dinner out is exactly what you need. Sometimes social, sometimes by yourself, it’s a reset button like none other. It’s not like I’m sitting here with the shakes or anything, but I am looking forward to having the freedom to indulge again. Not all the time, not even very often, but when it’s needed most it will be cherished more deeply.

There is some relief in my spending for the week, though. A mere $53.11 was spent at the 99¢ Store – mostly on food, as usual –- and my non-99¢ Store discretionary purchases totaled $68.59, which isn’t bad for a full tank of gas and a big bag of dog food for Georgia.

Don’t worry, I promise this isn’t going to turn into the depression chronicles. Every so often I emerge from my misery and self-pity long enough to do something proactive, but I wish the rest of the time could be more happy than worry.

My girlfriend says I’m just waiting for my world to turn, that I’ve been working so hard to put my dreams within reach, and now I have to wait for a lucky breeze. And she’s right, I type between tears. It’s just the waiting that’s the hardest part.

So tell me -– you lovely, sassy, wise xoJane readers -– your favorite free ways to send stress packing. Help me help myself.

Follow me every penny-pinching step of the way on Twitter @courtneykocak and Tumblr.