Dear Loyal Readers, I've become increasingly worried, anxious, upset and terrified of where I'm going, what I'm supposed to be doing, how/where I fit in the world and how I'm ever going to earn enough money --doing what I'm passionate about-- to thrive on planet Earth.
There. I said it.
I lay awake at night, wondering how I will I ever earn enough money as an Eating Psychology Counselor. How can I support myself in the arena of Health at EVERY Size? How can I claim a paycheck as a Body Image expert, writer and public speaker, striving to be a pioneer in my field?
*WILL I EVER HAVE ANYTHING TO SHOW FOR HAVING A LOVE FOR SOMETHING SO GREAT, IT OFTEN SPINS ME INTO A DARK DEPRESSION?*
Am I alone, here? Is the joke on me?
I am an over-worked, vastly underpaid Director of a Children's Fitness Center and I love my job. I have the honor of interacting with and teaching children every day. I take note of what makes them laugh and learn what they're afraid of. I know their favorite vegetable and I get to play epic games of Hide 'n Seek (even though they end up crying when I pretend I can't find them). I ask them questions, I'm a stickler for eye-contact, an enforcer of kindness toward peers and giver of high-fives and hugs for jobs well done. I know their parents', grandparents' and their nanny's names by heart. I check in regularly with those that have gone off to preschool and Kindergarten. My bucket overflows by the end of each day.
Because I work at a fitness center, and the fitness industry is inhabited predominantly by small, lean, cut, bendy and slim people, it makes sense my boss is interested in only hiring aesthetically pleasing, "fit" looking and slim teachers, to reinforce the notion that a 'small body equals a healthy body'. Don't get me wrong; my boss is more than pleased with my work and can clearly see I have the cardiovascular stamina, muscular strength and the agility to demonstrate all gymnastics skills and run around with kids for eight hours. I was also a lot thinner when I was hired four years ago...because I was chronically dieting, binging/purging and hated myself. So when it's all said and done...did he really hire 'healthy'?
But I digress...
Yesterday afternoon at work, my boss and I got into our 108th
debate discussion on the topic of Health at Every Size: (And I'm of course paraphrasing)
Me: I'm just saying, if I wandered in off the street and asked for an application, you wouldn't even consider interviewing me, as I do not fit the physical mold of a Gymnastics Instructor.
Boss: What do you want me to say? I was always taught to hire people that "look the part" of a gym instructor. Parents won't send their child to a facility where teachers are out of shape.
Me: So, based on society's, belief that 'Small Bodies = Healthy Bodies', you wouldn't interview me because your customers wouldn't think I look the part?
Boss: "Erica, it's the culture we live in. I'm a business man. And I care more about making money than changing peoples' ideas."
Just then, the sky parted, the angels sang and God came down, got in my face and shouted, "You get it, now?? Do you see?? NOW do you understand your purpose??" I closed my eyes in that moment and silently answered, "YES! I Understand!"
I am NOT a business woman. I am not driven by money and never have been. So why, and I mean, WHY have I ended up in fetal position, crying hysterically, so many days and nights, questioning the validity of my existence, if I'm not earning 60K?
I know that earning, saving and enjoying money is important. I also know I cannot spiritually, emotionally and honestly stay present and authentic in my passion, while worrying day in and day out about the dollar. They don't work hand in hand and I cannot be consumed with both. If I was, I'd surely wind up in the nuthouse, drooling on myself and mumbling obscenities all day.
I was reminded yesterday that true "Ah-Ha!" moments and life affirmations may be taught at various retreats, seminars and Yoga studios, but are often learned in real life, from real people...for free.
Please allow me to re-introduce myself:
My name is Erica Jacobs. I am an action-inspired Thought Leader, Listener, Teacher, Counselor, Writer, Speaker and Avocado-Eater. I may not possess a passion that naturally generates high monetary income, but I will always advocate for Health at EVERY Size, authenticity, speaking my truth, being impeccable with my word, staying curious and most importantly, helping others change, define and refine their ideas. I'd choose all this over a 401K, any day.
It's heart work...but someone has to do it.