I’m Not Sick But I’m Not Well

My name is Sara Dobie, and I don’t feel very good today.

I just did my taxes. True, most people feel exhausted post-tax talk, but I feel sick to my stomach. You know how much I made last year as a freelance contractor? Not much, by normal standards, but enough to get by, in my opinion. You know how much I owe the federal government?

TWO THOUSAND DOLLARS.

Let me say that again.

TWO THOUSAND DOLLARS.

The H&R Block guy looked a little nervous when I started sobbing over his desk, but he got me a tissue and explained that because I am a freelance contractor, I get screwed over at tax time. He then said, “You could consider getting a full time job with salary and benefits …”

What he doesn’t understand is that full time creative writing jobs don’t exist, and I don’t know the meaning of the word “benefits.” So I asked him, “How much less do I have to make to get off the hook at tax time?”

He replied, “It wouldn’t really matter unless you had a child.”

To which I replied, “So all I need to do is get knocked up and quit working. Then, the government will give me money and say, ‘Congratulations, and thank you for assisting in the downfall of America.’ Hell, they would even pay my health insurance! But since I’m not knocked up and since I’m in a creative field, I have to pay my own monthly health insurance AND I have to give them a huge chunk of my annual earnings.”

I’m not paraphrasing. I really said all this to the poor, sweet man who did my taxes efficiently and kindly and who gave me a box of tissues when I kept sobbing onto my paperwork.

This “freelance contractor” tax snafu wouldn’t feel so bad if not for Saturday afternoon. I found out this weekend that I did not get accepted into Arizona State’s Creative Writing MFA program. Since then, I haven’t once thought about my novel. Now, the United States government is apparently punishing me for being a writer, and I’m beginning to ask myself, “What exactly is God trying to say here?”

Is He saying that writing is a dead-end career decision? Is He saying, “Sara, why don’t you just throw in the towel and go back to bartending?” Or is He teaching perseverance and patience?

I know it’s the latter option, but I don’t feel much like persevering right now. I don’t feel like being patient. Today, I am righteously pissed off. At everything. At President Obama. At earthquakes and tsunamis. At my blog, my book, my job. I’m pissed off, and I don’t know what will make me feel better. I just want to understand why the US government hates me so much. I want to thank Mark at H&R Block for patting my shoulder and giving me a hug. And I want to understand all the crazy things happening in the world, because today, in my state of wrath, nothing makes much sense.

10 thoughts on “I’m Not Sick But I’m Not Well

  1. That really is harsh, I am sorry for you! At least the accountant treated you gently, I’m sure that helped 🙂 It’s a big shame that this happens, it’s things like this that actively kill all desire to pursue a creative career. I really hope it all works out for you besides the setbacks!

  2. Thank you for speaking up and…opening about who gets “benefits” in this world!!!

    When I sold Avon, I had to fork over $800. Well…I stopped selling Avon!!

    Being a writer is hard enough, and sorry about not being accepted.

    The government started all these tax incentives back when they needed family farms to get help from the children. A lot has changed, and the government needs to realize that is it punishing the people making correct decisions. I know of people that simply have kids to get tax credits.

    • Ha. The guy did say, “Are you planning to have children?” Uh … yeah, because that’s a decision I wanna make at H&R Block.

      I will keep writing. Always. One day, maybe I’ll be rich. Then, I can say, “Har har, bring me some more caviar,” when the man tells me what I owe.

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