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Last week, one month before his 13th birthday, my business partner crossed over to the rainbow bridge.
My office will never be the same.
True, it’s going to smell better. Farley was, as my daughter says, a big tooter. Client calls will no longer be interrupted by his screeching howl, which he started as a puppy when he heard sirens (and we encouraged, because Oh, So Cute!--until five years later when you have a newborn who needs sleep).
This room feels so lonely.
I worked last week from any space I could find that was NOT my home office. Libraries, coffee shops, under the duvet in our guest room. My grief was all-consuming. I cried, so, so very much. I used to brag to my friends in college that 1) I didn’t like pizza (wait, what?), and 2) I don’t cry. Always with the caveat: If I did cry, it would never, ever be in public.
Cue hysterical laughter from all the baristas I encountered last week.
As I write this, there’s a voice in my brain that’s screaming “Don’t Admit This—It’s Bad for Business!”
But my grief impacted my work. Things I said would get done didn’t. Things I’d hoped to get done were put on hold. I didn’t just not focus on my clients' needs. I put my needs first. I wrote—but nothing that would pay the bills.
In other words, according to my bully-brain, I failed.
Every day, I wake up wanting to be perfect. Wanting to be The Most Perfect Business Person Slash Writer Slash Mom Slash Wife (and on and on).
But dammit, even at very my best, I fail. A lot. And when I do, that voice in my head, that one that won’t SHUT THE HELL UP rails me to BE MORE and DO MORE and STOP FREAKING FAILING, YOU MISERABLE, IMPOSTER IDIOT.
And on those days, when that voice was oh-so-loud, my dog Farley loved me anyway. He never cared if I failed. When I failed big time, he was my stinky furry tissue, absorbing my tears. He loved me when I blew a big meeting. He loved me when I lost a client or failed to secure a big bid. He loved me when I missed a deadline. He loved me when I gasp sent copy for review that contained TYPOS.
Typos! A writer! A professional writer who claims THIS to be her expertise!
He loved me anyway.
And now he’s gone. So, who’s gonna love me now?
Well, it seems my goofball, other-dog-hating, food-stealing, imperfect partner-in-crime of 12 years had one final thing to say about it:
On his urn, his printed name—one giant typo.
My first instinct, upon seeing it, was who-the-ef spells “Farley” with two Ls? But my second instinct, behind the tears, was to think about the imperfectness with which my best boy embraced life. And I giggled.
Something I fear more than any sane human should.
And here I was, on the receiving end of a typo, still living. Laughing, in fact.
I could have it fixed.
Or I suppose, like Farley, I can accept it for what it is.
A mistake. A simple one. One any human could make. One any human can and should be forgiven for.
Even when the human making such a mistake, is me.
Farley bud, your unconditional love was such a gift. And this final reminder that ain’t nobody perfect is pushing me ever-so-slightly toward giving myself a gift, too.
You aren’t here to do it for me, anymore. So for today, I will choose to love me. Just like you. I choose to love me.
Carie Sherman chose freelancing for two reasons: more time at home with her daughter and a passion for stretchy pants. As a copywriter, Carie helps businesses find their voice and reach their readers.