I feel pretty distraught today. And to make matters worse when I go to blog the whole system thing has changed and I can't see the bar anymore that lets me upload photos etc. Helpfully the thing says that a different site is now powering the blog and if I have problems go to google chrome - which I downloaded and still I have problems... Oh to be technically aware... And it seems when I publish this it won't let me have any spaces - no paragraphs....
ARRGGGGHHHHHH I just sobbed on the phone to my best friend for half an hour.
I feel trapped. In a fishbowl. Going round and round and round and just sending myself loopy.
I feel I am boring you all and driving away my readers - what few I have. If the fabulous 8 who reached out and supported me two years ago - are still here - my god I need you now.
I'm not even capable of writing anything - but I feel I need to say this.
I feel frustrated. Angry. Lost. Scared. Sick. I feel a fucking failure.
You see I've always worked hard. Every penny I got in life I have earned. No silver spoon luxury for me - which is great - because earning things is rewarding and tastes even sweeter. I'm the girl who went travelling round the world - a gap year they call it now - and still I did work experience in every country I went to. So ambitious, I worked for free in a NZ radio station every Tuesday and when I lived in Melbourne I had my own radio show at a community radio station. I was the only woman there who shaved her pits. The place smelled of incense masking B.O. but I loved it. Whilst all other travellers where getting stoned and shagging each other (a blanket to cover their modesty on a top bunk bed) - I was writing the script for my little show, hassling folk for interviews and planning song lists.
Upon returning home to the UK, once I finally got a job (I sent 10 CVs out a day. I sent them in valentine cards and Xmas cards. I rang people until I knew the secretaries so well we became friends) - after spending 6 months folding jumpers at the Gap - I worked tirelessly to get other presenting jobs: my methods involved taking boxes of muffins to TV big wigs, with my showreel stuffed in the bottom - or sending a reel covered in sweets - or once I sent a reel with a helium balloon attached. Anything to get someone to watch the damn thing. I called one guy every other week for a year until he caved in and gave me work. Instead of partying with buddies, I spent nights locked in dark edit suites, persuading friends to edit my reel into something watchable. You name it - I tried it - all in the vain quest for work. I did a screen test 5 weeks after having my son - nipples leaking as I waffled on about some inane quiz. I still got the job - for 3 whole months, until the channel shut down. I flew to Ireland when my son was 3 months old - and got another job. It involved me flying to Ireland every week - with a 4 month old baby. I did it and I loved it. The series never got recommissioned. The presenting jobs dried up.
I was 33, with a baby and no job.
What did I really want to do? I wanted to work in TV drama, I just had no idea how to. So I wrote to 8 people in the industry. 7 replied. I met with them all - they said, pick a soap, fall in love with it - and get work on it. Then the world in TV drama will be your oyster. Only problem was there are only 7 soaps in the UK and only 2 in London. Still, I spent a year endlessly watching soaps and dramas and making copious notes. Eventually I got a break - I moved to York for a month - did a 3 hour commute every day and got offered a job on a soap which I had to decline as Husband and home where in London. Finally the soap I really wanted to work on called. In the interview, I started pulling out my notes - notes on shows from 7 months previously. They looked at me as if I was mad. But they gave me the job. I was happy there - for two years, until I had to leave - their policy. You know this story, I won't bore you with it again. Since then - apart from a stint back at the same place for 4 months - I haven't worked.
I had my daughter in Dec 2010 and she is 16 months old. 16 months and no job. The most sociable woman in the world - the woman who can talk a glass eye to sleep - has been alone. With kids. Last September when the post partum depression set in - it was also coupled with 'what the fuck am I going to do?' I wrote to about 20 companies. 3 replied. I met with one. No jobs... No jobs. The recession hit TV hard and unless you were prepared to script edit a show that would move to film in Leeds/York/Manchester for 3 months - then there were no jobs. I know, I thought, I'll write a book! I wrote 15,000 words - gave them to a writer friend who loved it - sent it the agent woman I had had a relationship with (in the work sense) for 5 years. She never replied. I re sent it. She never replied.
So I came up with my crazee plan. Oh yes I did. I wrote a script for an American series. Called up the guy I knew years ago in showbiz TV (the one I called every other week for a year back in '98) - and asked him for a drink. Then I confessed to him that I wanted to give my script to Peter Berg - director of Battleship - because then he just might hand it over to the guy (his mate) that I need to read it. I got a friend to script edit my script - and I polished it. My mate Max - kindly organised for me to go to the junket (where you sit in a room with the actors and director and chat about the movie and it gets filmed). Friends wondered if I was back in presenting again - asking why was I interviewing Taylor Kitsch etc. I lied - said it was a favour for a mate - when in reality, he was doing me the favour. So day of junket arrives and I go, and I am nervous and sweaty palmed and I interview Berg and give him my little USB stick and he promises to pass it on. Has he - who knows? Maybe I will never know. And I get to meet Taylor Kitsch. Bonus. My crazee crazee plan. Told it was looney didn't I? God I am rambling. I don't think I have ever written such a rambling incoherent blog post. Sorry.
Anyway, I have other parts to this plan - others similarly crazee things I won't bore you with. So here I am. No money. I mean nothing. Don't buy clothes, don't go out for drinks, dinner etc. No joy. Just grind. Daily kid stuff and trying to make food last all week. Sometimes I just eat toast. Saves a meal. Husband is beyond stretched. He earns a good salary but it means we barely scrape by. Something has to give. Husband hates his industry - wants to change, but can't afford the drop in salary - but he could if I was working. Husband wants to be the stay at home parent - but he earns more than I could - so he has to work, in a industry he hates - until I can work and then he can think about re-training or changing his job - taking a pay cut. I want to work. I WANT TO WORK. So badly it hurts. But I have no idea how to.
My friend rang me this week - she has a son, a fraction older than Sproglette - and she had a nanny share. It went wrong and so she looked for another nanny - which she worked out cost £27,000 a year. If I had a nanny - which I would have to do if I worked in London as jobs there end around 6, I'd be home by 7ish and nurseries all close at 6pm here - I would be working to pay her. I would barely make enough after paying her and travel costs to warrant it worthwhile. That is even if I was lucky enough to get some script type job in London that didn't involve travelling away for 3 months whilst filming. I am now 39, with 2 children and no job. I look around me - I have one friend who moved countries whilst on maternity leave, took a year sabbatical and then went back - and got her job 3 days a week. I have another who took shares in the company she works for when it started up (the one where her boss tells her to work 4 days and answer the phone at home on day 5 and they will pay her for the whole week anyway) and she cashed it in for £300,000. I know another couple where one until recently was a student - the other gets an allowance from her mother of £2,000 a month - and she doesn't work. Her daughter is at school - so she just has me time. That would dtive me nuts I know - but my god, I would write!!! I would write and not stress about money. I would eat!!! Another friend moved back to Australia (he had done the same job as me) and said 'I have so much work, I am having to turn it down!' I sit here and wonder - what went wrong me? All around me I see these people who make it work - they have babies and go back to their cushy jobs and life is ok. How did I end up here?
At the junket I met all these guys who were there to interview the Battleship folk - for their websites. I was shocked - back in the days when I interviewed Will Smith and Di Caprio etc there was only a handful of TV folk there. A few channels covering it. But now - it is all web stuff! I thought - I can write. I can - usually - just not in this rambling crap post. I could do that stuff! But how to? Where to begin? A frined came round yesterday and she said 'you need to think outside the box.' I am trying to!!!
I want to work. I need money. I am lonely and fed up and don't know how to get this job that would be finacially worth it after paying childcare. I feel like I am punished for having a sceond child. I feel angry that all my hard work to break into TV - twice, in two different arenas - has left me here. With nothing. Failing. I look around and everyone else has money for holidays, and big cars - not that I care about cars - they get from A to B as far as I am concerned - and I don't even know how to pay next month's bills.
Why am I here? I am angry at myself for not getting a normal job - a job that paid bills and had healthcare plans and maternbity and all the things I have never ever had. Sure I had fun - but what price? So will I gadded to Paris to present kids dating shows, and interviewed the stars and friends ooh and ahhed - they are the ones now earning fortunes and feeling secure - and I am where exactly? No one knows what to say to me. How to help. How to advise. I can't afford to meet up with friends to have a drink and plan a strategy out of here. Out of this limboland.
I want out. I am going slowly mad. So for all of you who don't like me out there - you can put the voodoo doll down now. It is working a treat thanks. I am wretched. I am frustrated. I chose to have another child and it has cost me. I do not regret it but I do not know how to get out of this mire that I am in - and I am tired of being in my own head. Until I think of a solution, I need to take a break from blogging - as really there is nothing else to share.
I read in Stylist magazine that a recent study showed that 30,000 women a year were losing their jobs, as a result of being pregnant. Women make up 49.4% of the workforce in the UK are women, 1 in 5 are the household's main breadwinner and we earn 14.9% less than men in the same job - and in the last quater 8 out of 10 people to lose their job were women. One woman in the article couldn't afford the £1,300 childcare it would cost her if she returned to work (she lives in the same area as me) so she became a blogger. I have no idea how that paid her money... But she is far from alone. What were the A levels and degree and endless CV send outs for - when you have a child and have to give it all up? Why the inequality? Why the fight?
Do we have the choices that the women of the 50s didn't? Think about it - do we really?