The craziest thing happened this past week. I got hit by a train.
No, no, not literally. I’m talking a figurative train. Down those tracks I thought were no longer in use and totally safe to sit on while contemplating the meaning of life and skipping rocks off the river’s surface. I guess in my figurative life I’m Tom Sawyer? Okay, anyway…
I was minding my own business when suddenly, out of nowhere, BAM! I certainly didn’t see it coming but boy did it leave a mark.
Sorry, I’m getting way into this figurative train thing right now. It was my diploma. My diploma arrived in the mail this week. I had just received an email from the university saying it would take four to six weeks for it to show up at my doorstep. More like four to six hours.
At first it was like Christmas. I may or may not – definitely may – have jumped up and down and let out a little squeal of excitement. Once I put it in a safe place, I ran up to the store to buy a frame so that my mess of a self wouldn’t lose it or put it somewhere Cameron would find it and use it to create her latest masterpiece. More realistically though, I went to buy a frame so that I didn’t spill my water in the way I think only I am capable of; when the bottle is knocked over by my misguided hand and somehow is about to get on all four of my walls at the same time. I have a skill I don’t quite appreciate. Or want.
I came home, placed the paper in the frame, and stared. I stared for quite a while. It was only a piece of paper, but it really did feel like a train crashing into my side. Sure, I was elated and still am. However, I’ve had time to process the meaning of the paper, and the reality is scary. I’m no longer a student. I’ve done high school. Graduated from college. I even went back for this Master’s degree. But no more. No more school to hide behind. It’s time to become a grown up. A real one. One with a job and who has to figure out how in hell she’s going to pay back all those student loans with a BA in Psychology and a MS in Publishing. I mean, who does that?! I couldn’t get two degrees that flowed together now, could I?
I know what I want. I know where my passion lies, and I know I’m damn good at what I do. I can edit the pants off of any manuscript. Ask my brother. I’ve come close to being knocked out many a time thanks to my inability to let a grammatical error slip. He just loves that. But now I can do it and be appreciated for it. Not only appreciated, but paid!
The hard part, though, is finding those manuscripts that need a good edit. The hard part is fighting my way through the waves of freelance editors and proofreaders who have decades of experience and contacts galore. I’ve interned at an amazing small publishing house for the past eight months. I have edited a handful of manuscripts and essays for next to nothing or less. I am a very humble and shy person. But I am also good. I’m a good editor, and I deserve to get jobs. It is so difficult to be new to this game. Even though I’ve played before, it hasn’t been at this level. I can play the game, but I don’t even have a jersey. That’s the problem. People look for the jersey before they’re willing to look at the talent. I’ve had a few people take the risk and hire me, even though I’m new. I will always be grateful for their trust and the responsibility they gave me. Now I’m ready for more. Get me a damn jersey. I’m going in!
PS I apologize for the multitude of metaphors. I have a problem. I’m working on it.