photo by quattrostagioni via Flickr Creative Commons

photo by quattrostagioni via Flickr Creative Commons

I’ve decided to start an alternative training program to get certified as a Registered Drama Therapist (RDT) through the North American Drama Therapy Association (NADTA).

What that means is that I don’t have to be accepted into a credentialed MA program. I can find what they call a Board Certified Trainer (BCT) to go through my schooling and experience up until now and work with me to figure out how I can fill in the education and internship hours to meet all the requirements for certification.

In that vein, I’m taking Human Growth and Development course on-line this semester at ACC.

And it’s hard.

I’ve read 300 pages in the past two weeks. My study guide is six pages long. My brain feels like mush.

In my naïvety, I thought, “Taking one three-hour credit course can’t be that difficult.” Especially at the undergraduate level, right? I mean, I already have a Master’s degree.

These first few weeks are a little harder because it’s a 12-week rather than 16-week course and because I have to take my test a week early since I’m going to the NADTA annual conference the week the test is due.

So that means four chapters a week plus working two jobs plus trying to write. Which means only one day off a week and scrambling to do self-care and trying not to worry about money.

As an on-line course, it’s also entirely self-directed. Which means no class lectures to clue me in on what is important to my professor and no instructor-lead test preparation in class.

Part of me says, “You’ve got this.” But the other part of me looks at the pages of information I’m supposed to retain and wants to throw the book across the room.

My head hurts and I’m going cross-eyed. I think if I can get the major theorists and their theories (and the problems with said theories) down I will be all right. But I will feel so much better when I have that slip of paper with my grade on it.

Someone shared an article about scarcity and abundance on my Facebook feed today.

I’ve done a lot of work on my scarcity thinking regarding love and relationships. As far as intangible things like love, success, and intimacy go, I’m fairly secure in relying on the abundance of the Universe.

But when it comes to more tangible things like dollars in the bank, coffee mugs, and hours in the day, it’s so hard to not let the fear of scarcity grab hold.

Balancing school and work is turning out to be even more difficult than I anticipated. I’m hoping things slow down when I get back from the conference. That doing well on this first test (fingers crossed) inspires confidence and reduces anxiety. That I’m just exercising muscles I haven’t used in a few years, and like the person who takes back up jogging after a long absence, this will get easier over time.

I’m trying to resist that old perfectionist urge to quit when I’m not 100% sure I will succeed. To just breathe and live in the unknowable. To accept the negative thoughts but not let them control me.

It’s hard to think about working more hours in this moment, but I haven’t been as broke as I am in a while. After this test and this conference are over, I will really have to evaluate the financial sustainability of where I am, and think of ways to increase my revenue. I’m hoping I can get some insight into how to start doing work now, before credentials. Even just $5 a head one night a week would be something.

Maybe now that I’ve set up on-line scheduling for my housecleaning clients who don’t have a reliable schedule I will theoretically have more time to pursue new clients. But I’m not so sure. And I need people who can pay me a little bit more since I will have to dedicate a few half-days a week to schoolwork.

Since there’s no one in Texas who can train me, this path will also require travelling on a regular basis, which means having extra money to a) miss work while I’m gone and b) pay said travel expenses. And I don’t make much past bills, gas, and groceries right now.

I’m trying hard not to think about the balance on my credit card. Trying not to feel guilty for wanting to live a life I can enjoy in this moment, instead of deferring every dollar to the future.

It’s hard to know what to do. Try to get more housecleaning clients? Try to find a website which will take me on as a regular paid contributor? Try to find a space which will let me host weekly workshops here in Austin and figure out how to get people to sign up for them?

When both time and money are limited, there is pressure on making the “right” choice, even though I know there isn’t one.

I’m banking on the fact that this path will allow me to do the work I want to do and get funding for it. I hope I’m right. In ten more days, I will be at a place where I can at least get some answers to my questions. Meet some people – I hope – who are doing what I am trying to do already who can offer advice.

Until then, I’m left with this uncertainty. And these feelings of scarcity.

And all I can do is the work. Keep reading. Keep learning. Keep hoping for the best.

Keep trusting that the scary unknown is still better than the miserable known. That movement forward – even down the wrong path – is still movement forward.

That this, at worst, is a very expensive learning experience.

And like when I was in graduate school, I can hold on to the reasons I know I am doing this as talismans. Imagine my future clients and the benefits I can make to their lives. And let them pull me forward when I want to rest.

(And if you feel inspired to help, I do have a gofundme campaign.)

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