empowering and frightening self doubting

My stomach is heavy with coconut milk and the mason jar of bitter white tea nearest me cannot wash away the metallic taste left by that milk. There is much to do and I lie here sulking in self doubt. For days I have felt like this, lethargic, bored, questioning career choices and motives. Do I work like this because I'm unemployable or am I just to fickle a bastard to know what is really good for me?

I remember working in the battery warehouse, where the manager felt compelled to break my spirit. "Sean," he said one day, "we are going to need you to come in early once a week and clean the toilets and wash the dishes in the sink before work." This was in addition to my daily chores of falsifying returns to our distributers for a greater credit and charging banks of batteries, which produced hydrogen and explosions.

I cleaned toilets weekly and washed the soup bowls and forks of people indifferent to their own mess. I separated the trash from the recycling and was always assigned to clean up sulfuric acid spills. Instead of breaking my spirit, the opposite effect occurred, these menial tasks reaffirmed the need to work for myself; to follow my heart my mind. I scrubbed piss off porcelain for nearly a year, never frowning or complaining but making those toilets shine.

I quit that job to begin working for myself. Cleaning their toilets helped me realize the motto, "there are shit shovelers and there are people that shovel shit." But that was two years ago, and I have forgotten how to hold my head high when forced to struggle publicly.

Today my battle is more personal; the feeling of purposelessness like a boat adrift. There are three article due in a week, two for new accounts and yet this doesn't make me smile. Now I need to be strong and write. Impress these strangers with a scant use of adjective, soft prose and approachable style-yet I lie here, knowing that there is no help, back-up plan or sick days-only myself. No 401k or doctor visits or consistent paychecks. This is empowering and frightening.