It dawned on me sometime shortly after I began working on what will (hopefully) forevermore be known as the longest transcription session of my life – I am my problem. (Transcription is when you type out a tape recorded conversation verbatim.) On the one hand, perhaps I had been right to believe the voices that have told me not to be bothered by my continued struggles because I always figure something out – adversity brought out my fighting spirit and has led me to do some amazing things. On the other hand, I always seem to be complaining about the same problems and the words my interviewee had used to explain his life were screaming truth at mine: “Under pressure, you can dig holes faster.” I thought about the 10,000+ seconds of tape I had left to transcribe, how many more moments I would have to endure listening to myself mucking up my interview with personal asides, how many years I’d been working on improving my writing skills already, and burst into tears. I realized that I was stuck in a bad cycle and would need to start taking steps that seem illogical to break it since clearly none of the steps that I have taken – the ones that seemed logical at the time – are producing the results I desire.
It was far from the first time I had interviewed Stefan Dobrianov (aka Tedo) and I remembered him saying something to my thoughts about the beginning of his art career – how he broke his bad cycle by deciding to move away from his home country, Bulgaria (something illogical to him at the time), and, later, by making art with leather. I also remembered the many times he had encouraged me to do something that’s never been done before. I then decided that my problem is me. I can’t decide exactly what I want. I haven’t pictured myself on a path of success. I thought I would struggle to pay my bills while building my writing career… and I have. I never believe I have enough time to complete my writing projects, so they all sit partially finished. I had chosen to learn certain writing skills “on the job” and ended up collecting a three and a half hour rambling session to punish myself into figuring out how to better conduct an interview. I had put myself under pressure and ended up digging a really big hole.
That was nearly two months ago and I’ve been trying to slip-slide my way up out of that hole ever since. I’ve been working on seeing myself as a successful writer, artist, and poker player – whatever combination my heart desires – and trying to begin living that life now. There must be a way, if only I dream big enough. Ironically, it has led me to realize that my desires are circular. I want/need to play poker to complete the research for my novel and collect the type of stories I might be able to sell to magazines in order to make money from my writing and live life as a full-time artist. However, I need a proper bankroll of $5,000 or so to begin a career as a grinder at the $1-$2 NL Hold’em tables and, currently, I can hardly pay my bills, much less afford to gamble. (Side note: I am also committed to becoming completely debt free and am not very close to acheiving that goal.) To get a bankroll without saddling myself with potential additional debt, I need a really incredible plan. So, I’m working on it.
My day to day life doesn’t look much different yet, but it feels different. I am refusing to worry about money. I already have two jobs that I work at every week outside my house, several businesses that call me when they need a bit of extra help, a candle business, and my writing. The only thing I want to worry about is whether or not I am growing as a person every day and working hard to make my dreams happen. My income will likely always fluctuate and wherever I focus my effort is where my money will come from in the end. So, I have allowed myself to entertain some completely outlandish ideas about how I might obtain a bankroll right now. (Maybe I’ll tell you more about that another day.) I’m also trying to ensure I work on all aspects of my dream – poker, writing, and my candle business – every week and, since I can’t indulge in my favorite part of the game right now (reading people), I will focus on learning the aspect I’ve long been neglecting – the math. I thought I would hate it, but thanks to Alton Hardin’s book, Essential Poker Math, and the simple fact that he explained how to convert odds (i.e. 4:1) to a percent (20%) my attitude has changed completely. I’m putting together digital flash cards to help simulate the knowledge I would acquire if I could afford time on the felt. Step one is to memorize the precise odds each hand has against any random hand in the deck pre-flop. I have two decks – over 200 cards total – which I’ve been quizzing myself with daily. I’m about to start creating decks with pot odds, number of outs, and estimated equity questions to take my studies to the next level. My cycle is not yet broken, but I am digging out of the muck slowly.
I can see myself succeeding. I am becoming a better poker player every day, at least according to my StudyBlue scores. (Would you be interested in poker math flash cards?) I am a writer who spins out new articles, essays, and poetry regularly. (Did you see my latest poem?) I am a creative entrepreneur who has built a small fan base for her artisan candle line. (Care to try some now and help me pay my taxes? Use coupon code “SpringCleaning” to take 15% off your order of $30 or more in my Etsy shop now through April 29th.) I am also a budding collage artist with half a dozen creations to her name. (Follow me on Instagram to see the more snapshots into my life.)
It is only on the days that I lose sight of this vision and fail to believe I am living it right now, every day, that I end up lost in a mess of my own doing. So long as I remember I’m all-in, living my dreams, creating the life I want with every passing moment, that reality will continue to come together… but just to be completely safe, I signed up as an on-call transcriber to give transcription the chance to cure both my bad attitude and my financial woes.
“Sometimes I’ve believed as many as six impossible things before breakfast.” ~ Lewis Carrol, Through the Looking Glass