Amanda Salisbury

Fiction, Life, Opinion, Art, Non-fiction

Not Built for What Comes Next

Content warning: This post briefly mentions attempted suicide from years ago.

Recently I wrote that I was built for times like these. And I clarified that I meant quarantine itself, not the reasons for quarantine. For dwelling, literally, at home with my people.

I’m not built for what comes next. In my life, thus far, what came next was my husband’s job layoff. A punch to the gut one brief week into our collective crisis. Executed on a Saturday.

Not being particularly built for a wage-free life in a wage-dependent world, I now must course correct. Quickly. The path I’ve been traveling is through a field of creative work. Through querying books and offering short stories on Patreon. Through piecing together a picture book. Through long hours with little pay but tremendous reward.

My course must change swiftly. My husband’s job provided our family’s needs while I explored my creative side. However, his chronic illness makes job hunting at this time…fraught. Meanwhile I have other interests, other skill sets, and other prospects. The opportunities range from basic to exciting, and I’m discovering them all.

As I set aside one path and pick up another, I worry about what comes next next. I worry for my sister and brother in their people-facing roles. I worry for my parents. I worry for my children. For my husband. For the family members and friends and neighbors whose health or finances, or both, leaves them on the razor’s edge of crisis.

Sadly, I was built for the worry. Just not for living the reality. But I will if I must.

Because of a promise I made to my dying nephew nearly ten years ago. That was several months after my foiled suicide attempt. I promised my nephew that I would stay for the hard stuff. For the pain and heartache. For the struggle and strife. Though I couldn’t have known then, even for this moment in time.

My constant prayer is that the suffering of Covid-19 ends quickly. That health rebounds. That people find economic relief. That every person has every need met.

Because none of us is built for what comes next if the next thing is further down the rabbit hole. If contagion, sickness, and economic free fall come next, we’ll have to build ourselves anew.

But we can promise to be here now. Stand in the gap between now and next.

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2 responses to “Not Built for What Comes Next”

  1. I have no words. Except that I remember the photos of your nephew, his name, and how beautifully your family rallied around him. As for the income glitch, I wish I had a foolproof suggestion. You have mad skills and are one of the smartest women I know, so I’m thinking you’ll figure this out. And this trial will end. I know we’re both looking forward to “normal” again.

    1. Thank you. Read this with all feeling pressed into the words.

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Writer. Lawyer. Relative. Friend.

Curious. Detailed. Occasionally funny.


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