and how it inspired me to write more.
My mother has been a waitress for almost 30 years now.
Working in the food industry is a difficult job to undertake, let a lone for that long. In Massachusetts the minimum hourly wage for someone who makes tips is $3.75. I thought that everyone knew that, but most people seem to think that waitresses and food staff get paid a normal hourly wage. They do not. They have to completely rely on their tips for their wage.
I’m sure you are all aware, and some of you may even be offenders, that not all people know how to tip well if at all.
20% gratuity is seen as the base-line. If your server is less than good then they can get less than 20%, if they are incredible 30% or more isn’t unwarranted. Some people think regardless of the bill $5-$10 is an appropriate tip, which is wildly untrue.
I’m not here to talk about how to tip though, I just thought I’d mention it for those of you who don’t know. If you have anyone in your family who works in the service industry I’m sure you’re very familiar with the unwritten rules of dining out. Maybe I’ll write a whole post about that another day.
Today I’m here to talk about my mother. My mother has spent 12 hours a day on her feet for 30 years. She’s had to have multiple surgeries on her feet to help fix the issues she’s had from it. Her toes are very damaged and she has a lot of feet issues. She’s also had hand, wrist, and arm issues from years of carrying trays.
She did all this for her children. She busted her ass in the hopes that her children wouldn’t have to work as hard as her.
I didn’t go to college. It’s something that I find myself embarrassed by most of the time. I’m very intelligent and I went to a college preparatory high school where I did fairly well. The whole time I was there they taught us how to go to college so it would be an easy transition. Due to timing issues and other incidents I missed some deadlines and had to push it off.
Years after graduating high school I attempted to go to Community College, still unsure of what I’d like to do for a career and even then there were circumstances outside of my control that prevented the process from moving forward.
It is because of this that I implored my younger brother to go to college as soon as he finished high school. He’s been enrolled and already accrued credits and he hasn’t even started his freshman year of College yet, and I’m very proud. If you are in high school PLEASE GO TO COLLEGE! Even if you hate it just get it done. I promise it will change your life for the better regardless of the experiences you have or think you will have in college.
It’s very challenging and very stressful but so is the real world.
I’m 31, no college degree, highly intelligent, and making a wage that does not support me. I’m a cook in a kitchen at a home so I’m also on my feet every day. I’ve had a stress fracture in my right foot since February but it hasn’t completely healed because I can’t afford to take the time off that I need for it to heal. I also could barely afford the medical bills to see the doctor for all the x-rays and MRIs that were needed to diagnose the stress fracture.
My feet are covered in callouses and dry skin. I get blisters often and I have to change shoes every few months just to spare my feet. Last night my feet were so sore and the one particular callous was so dry it hurt! I just knew that I had to lotion them. I grabbed my extra strength healing lotion and I sat on my bed rubbing it on my feet and as I did it my mind jumped to my mother.
I saw her every day putting lotion on her feet before work. Doing whatever she could to help them. “Always take good care of your feet.” She’d tell me. She always had the same brand of cream and would generously lotion her feet before putting on her socks.
We were speaking on the phone the other day and she said something that really stuck with me. “We busted our asses so you wouldn’t have to. I wanted you to go to college and get a good job that paid well just so you wouldn’t have to be on your feet all day. Just so you wouldn’t have to bust your ass the way I did.”
I am often grateful that I found an appreciation for my mother and her sacrifices while I was in my mid-twenties because I know a lot of people NEVER get to appreciate their parents or the sacrifices they made. I understand now, I just wish I did then.
I’m not sure what I would have majored in, or where my career path would have taken me. I wouldn’t have a broken foot though. I wouldn’t have to lotion my feet (unless I wanted really nice feet).
Not having that degree has limited my options. A lot of places won’t even let you in the door if you don’t have a degree, and it’s amazing because of the fact that even if your degree has nothing to do with the job it still helps you get the job.
Here I am though 31, and I still don’t know what I want to do when I ‘Grow up’. My feet are already a hot mess, and although I’m still down 60 pounds from where I was at my heaviest I’m still over weight. I bust my ass, and I can’t afford basic things and have had to rely heavily on my credit cards for things like groceries and paying the phone bill.
30 came so quickly, and yet it seemed like forever. I’m already grown and I still feel lost. All I know is that I want to make people happy, and I love to write and organize. That’s part of why I started writing again. Since the world won’t give me an opportunity I will make my own. I’ve started feverishly working on a novel. I’ve started many novels in the past and I’d make it about 8 or 9 pages in Microsoft word before I’d stop and forget about it.
Months would go by, and I would start a new book, maybe getting 7 pages out in a day or two and feeling like I really had something only to stop and repeat the process again months later. I’ve probably started 20 or 30 that I’ve scrapped or lost over the past years on several devices.
I even once tried to write a book on the MEMO app of my iPad, that didn’t last very long at all. My current novel though has suddenly clicked for some reason. Maybe it wasn’t time before. I’ve only had two days of full writing on it and I’ve already got about 35 pages written. Not to mention a brief synopsis and some research I’ve done to flush out the characters and the facts.
It sounds bizarre but my feet are motivating me. I know it’s incredibly hard to make a career out of writing. Especially with the handicap of not having a college degree or any connections. I do know that it would give me the type of life I’m striving for. Where I can make people happy and spare my feet of 12 hour days. Where blisters, callouses, and stress fractures can heal properly.
I know I have a unique voice in my writing, for those of you who read my blog often, I’m sure you’ve noticed my laid back conversational style of writing. I hope to bring that same voice to my novel to make it easy and enjoyable for a lot of people.
I’ve made some poor decisions in in the past, but I try to live by this quote:
So this is my goal. I am actively trying to take control of my life, and not just my life but mu future.
I am working on my novel, and it won’t be the only one. I am working on my blog and it’s steadily growing in subscribers, likes, and views.
I appreciate all of you for helping me feel so motivated, and you’ll all be able to say that you were here at the inception. You saw the growth of me as a writer and as a person. The biggest mistake people make is that when they become an adult they think they’ve grown and that they know better. Every single day you should be growing. Every day you have the ability to change who you are one little thing at a time. If you’ve become set and think that’s all you are then you don’t understand life.
I’ve changed constantly and I’m excited for the next chapters of my life and of my novel.
The year 2020 is just around the corner, and a year that seemed like a distant future is already coming. A year we never imagined is here and it’s quite like our previous years and quite different too.
Here’s to changing, to writing, and to growing. May none of us have to lotion our feet again!