What is the futility of being an adult? We run all through grade school, run through college, sometimes a little further and then we’re forced into jobs that initially make us happy, but we later come to hate. And sometimes enjoying the job isn’t even in the equation. We work until we die and once we’re dead, well, it’s over. That’s it. How did society devise that this was the way to do it? That this was the way to spend our entirety on this beautiful planet? Make money, spend money, die. It was a rough day at work. At least, it was when I left. It started out okay, I got plenty of sleep and left home in a good mood. At work, there was a shit storm waiting for me. Our new assistant manager was pissed off at the lack of respect our current employees have for the general manager and the overall lack of work done in the restaurant. Granted, he still wasn’t doing the work that needed to be done. He was just bitching and complaining about it. He called our GM (he was off today) and then when he was unsatisfied with his response to the situation, he went above the GM’s head and called our regional manager. Our regional manager told him what we’ve always done in times like this so, unhappy with his response as well, he threw up his hands and went home. The GM came in for a little while but still didn’t get a lot done. His plan was to come in tomorrow morning, earlier than the opening staff and try to knock some stuff out. Regardless, everyone left pretty pissed off and upset. I was fine for the first 2 hours of my shift but then…do you ever think about something, and the more you think about it, the more upset you get? Even if you weren’t originally upset about it? As the shift continued and the AM continued to moan about what hadn’t been done, I got more and more pissed off. I’m a shift leader at this restaurant, which means I’m supposed to have some sort of control over the restaurant when the managers aren’t there. 9/10 that doesn’t happen though, and I’m used to it so I micromanage (in a good way) what I can and go from there. But today, every time either manager needed to speak with someone or work something out with another coworker, they went and spoke to Lauren. I love Lauren and have absolutely nothing against her. But this is bullshit. What is the point of me having a title and Lauren getting less pay if she’s going to do my job? I appreciate the money, I really do, but it’s not fair to her to give her all of my responsibilities and not pay her for it? I’m already getting paid for it and no one wants to give me any responsibility, or credit for that matter, for the shit I do handle on a daily basis. Now, at the end of my shift, most of this was relatively gotten over. I didn’t care, I just wanted to go home. But then I realized that this is going to be the next, like, more 2/3 of my life. Having to deal with shitty people, working shitty positions, and never catching a break. WHY?! I think I’m swirling around the drain, ready to head into a depressive episode. My medication is keeping it at bay but work is so stressful, it’s not enough. It’s never enough. I need to clean the apartment, I need to throw stuff away, I need to finish unpacking a lot of shit, and when I get home from work, I’m too fucking tired to do any of it. And before I go in, I don’t want to do anything in anticipation for the shit storm that awaits me. It’s a catch-22 and sometimes those resolve themselves but other times, like now, that problem is not going anywhere. I’m going to have to sacrifice sleep or free time to do what needs to be done and I don’t want to. I can’t quit my job because I need the money to live in the apartment I never clean. I want to believe it will all work out, I really do, but it’s hard to think that right now. It’s hard to trust that this shit will resolve and I’ll eventually be able to come home to a relatively clean apartment from the job I don’t like, not necessarily hate though, rinse and repeat. This is going to be a short post because I’m tired, but I needed to get it off my chest. This is bullshit and I’m tired of being forced to smell it.
The keys on this keyboard are so worn, most of the letters are missing. I like it though. I don’t need to see where they are to hear the satisfying tap-tap-tap of each one as I write out this entry. It’s unseasonably warm here and frankly, I hate it. I’m tired of shorts, skirts and tiny little tops. I want to go back to winter, when everyone is the same size and no one cares if you look like crap, if you match, if anything about your appearance makes sense. Everyone is the same size, everyone is cold and everyone just wants everyone else to feel warmer than they do. It’s my favorite season. Anyway, there’s a quite bit I’ve wanted to write about these past few weeks but haven’t had the chance nor the energy to do so. My emotions are all in a tizzy for various reasons. I’ve been on my period 3 times in the last two months and I’m not sure why. I am sure that that’s what’s feeding some of this inner turmoil, though. Hormones can be salt on a wound sometimes, if not all the time. They suck. Brendan and I celebrated our 2nd anniversary (of dating, whenever I say that people think we’re married but I can assure you, we aren’t) this weekend and it was fantastic but the entire weekend he kept asking if I was okay. I wasn’t emoting enough, I guess. I really did enjoy myself but didn’t express it much. And while I’m not the type to overly express myself about most things (or I am, in my dad’s opinion, to the opposite extent), Brendan has been with me long enough to know the subtle changes in my voice and facial expressions to know when my mood shifts. Granted, he’s not a Lucy-expert, but hey, neither am I. Having this weekend off work was nice, especially since my coworker is not necessarily the friend I thought he was going to be. We hung out a few times but it turned into something twisted. Whether or not what I was seeing was actually there, I can’t say. And Brendan heard my side of every story so I could have been skewing the facts but this dude was basically turning into a parasitic relationship. He wanted to call me at all hours of the night to talk about things that didn’t warrant being preceded by “emergency” texts. He slept around a lot and while there’s nothing wrong with that, avoiding serious relationships for the sake of one hook-up or another does present as rather worrisome. Soon, after every single shift, I was being asked to hang out, to drink, to come to his place for no purpose at all. That’s great; I love when friends don’t need something to do to hang out with each other. But…I have a life. Granted, it’s not an interesting one, it’s not exciting or adventurous. I have pets that need to be taken care of and a boyfriend I’d honestly rather spend time with over someone I just met. I’m not sure if the novelty of this relationship was what was alluring and potentially blinding, since I spend so much time with Brendan, but in the end, the novelty wasn’t what was going to keep us in any sort of relationship. Work glued us together some of the time and was our initial gateway into each other’s lives but was also not sustaining itself. I dreaded coming to work every shift I knew I was with him, listening to his “problems,” not having my own heard or taken seriously, being triggered by potentially hazardous material. It was difficult to maintain even a work relationship after a time. Until this weekend. I took off the entire weekend for my anniversary, unaware of what our plans were, and missed the usual grapevine of gossip at work. Well, turns out, he was fired. Now, his story is that he’s serving more as an “on-call” staff member that will come in in times of utter crisis or dire need, like a doctor with a pager set to go off in the occurrence of a ten-car pile-up. However, from more reliable sources at work, he was, in fact, fired. Now, I don’t celebrate the demise of someone’s job, life or any other thing that may hold value, but in this instance, I can’t help but feel a little relief. I won’t have to continue the facade of what could’ve been a friendship and instead turned into an uncomfortable farce. I feel bad but not bad enough that I would financially assist him or anything. And I don’t feel guilty for any action I’ve taken towards him at work. There was some tension a few weeks ago when I was promoted over him and when his hours were cut based on his performance. I can’t control others’ success and will certainly not feel guilty for my own. I’ve done that enough for two lifetimes, let alone this one. But, the entire lifespan of this…whatever you want to call it, short as it may have been, begs the question: Is there something I’m doing that attracts the same type of people into my life? Am I serving as a verifiable bug-catcher for anyone that has the destructive and damaging qualities of other people in my past, that allows myself to be taken for granted and abused at the expense of my own health and well-being? Part of the problem with that type of person is the fact that they don’t consider their problems stem from within, for whatever reason. They blame everyone else in the world and do not feel that they share any responsibility, even in the event that the blame is a joint operation. What if I’ve done the same, but in a different sense? What if, somehow, others are perceiving me as being this person, this cold, heartless person, that I don’t wish to be and once they get close, determine I’m not but instead, mushy and spineless and figure they might as well get the most out of what they’ve put in? Have I turned into a Dalek? Cold, ruthless and hard on the outside, but completely gooey and spineless on the inside? I may perceive myself to be this strong, independent person but what if I’m not and rather than work with what I’ve been given, I’ve created an exosuit that is virtually indestructible, with little known weaknesses. And now I’ve come to realization of what I am but driven internally by something unknown to me, I continue to do the same things, to wage the same war and continue to destroy everything in my path in the pursuit of a singular goal. While the empire of the Daleks is intent on destroying any and all Time Lords, I am intent to destroy relationships and anything good for me. It’s incredible that writing something down is the same as injecting me with truth serum and getting all the secrets, lies and unrelated bits to pour out of me like coffee from a percolator. Whenever I sit in front of a computer with the intent to write, I may have some expectation as to what’s going to come out but I never actually know. I don’t know what inferences are going to be made, what revelations will occur and what sort of journey I’ll take myself on. It’s sort of fun. Like driving aimlessly, with no destination and finding little treasures along the way. Although the realizations can be painful (as the comparison to a Dalek), it helps. At least, maybe if I keep telling myself that I’ll be convinced it is. Which is also why I wish I could blog more often. I never get a chance because of the Internet situation at my house but soon, that won’t be a problem. The house is under contract to be sold to some Australian couple. And while I’m excited about moving and getting to start a life with Brendan the way we want to, in the place we want and doing what we want, it’s a bitter sweet situation. While I move and handle the excitement, I also have to handle and deal with the sadness of moving. My grandparents bought that house together. My mom, her brother and sister, grew up in that house. My fondest memories are of me and my grandmother picking snap peas in the garden and attending the snowdrops and blue bells. And now? The property is going to belong to someone else. While the area has become less sacred because I live there, I am still able to physically be there. When it doesn’t belong to us, I’ll lose that privilege. Yes, I’ll still have my memories, as I have for the past 12 years, but I’ve also always had the potential to visit, to walk around, to enjoy it. Once we sell, I won’t. And with all the inner conflict I’m experiencing, I can only imagine what my mom is going through. She was the one that actually lived there. She’s lost things, she’s found things, she’s experienced the majority of her life with that property in her family. And now, it’s slipping through her fingers. She mentioned spending the night one more time in a symbolic gesture of saying goodbye. I think it’s a grand idea but I’m also confused about how I want to handle making her feel better. I can’t be there for her and I can’t say I’ve experienced this (well, I’ve moved but it was across the street. I would happily argue that the psychological significance is not the same). I don’t know. The whole time is quite confusing. And the unrest surrounding everything and everyone is almost palpable. I worry sometimes that Poco’s health problems are stemming from us. Like he can sense some energy we’re emitting about the uncertainty of our future. It’s probably just my imagine. As most things are. But that’s why I write. To sift through the rubble and determine what is a valuable notion and what is complete nonsense. To figure out what is actually, physically in existence versus the tricks of light on the air one might mistake for dust particles. To determine that, after the wreckage has settled, what was there when it went down and what has come into existence since. It will probably take me ten lifetimes to figure out just one.
Okay, I know it’s totally a first-world problem but I need more Internet in my life. My mental health depends on it. I can’t stand not being able to write down what I’m saying for the world to see, even if it’s tucked within the megapixels and nonsense spouting out from every other computer on the face of the Earth. It makes me feel better to post it in the ether and walk away. It’s not on a piece of paper for someone to find, for prying eyes. The impersonal nature of the whole thing is enticing to the point that I’m becoming one of those people. I need the Internet again. I need it more than ever. I’ve been sitting in the library for an indeterminate amount of time, watching my future plans fall to ashes around me and I’m completely helpless to do anything about it. Well, at one point I wasn’t, but now I am. It’s too late. The world is turning and turning and I can’t find enough courage to jump off…or jump back on.
Physically, things are what they are. I’m getting monthly injections, waiting for enough time to pass for my doctor to declare that the spinal cord stimulator is our only option. My other CRPS friend had one put in and has thus had a rash of complications. But I remain undeterred. I need this to make my life semi-normal again. Granted, it won’t fix everything, i.e. the inner turmoil that is my brain, but it will sieve off some of the pressure to conform, to walk up the stairs rather than take the elevator. To park in a normal parking spot instead of the handicapped one. And the pain will be over. God, that is what I look forward to the most.
I’m applying for University of Maryland, School of Social Work for the spring semester. Halfway down the application, they ask for three reference letters, none of which can be from family or friends. The problem with this situation? I’ve been so removed from the outside world, even in my academic pursuits that I have literally no one I can contact for these references. One of the professors I did attempt to speak with told me she would be hard-pressed to say anything positive about my work ethic. That’s what I mean when I say I can’t jump back on or jump back off. The world was spinning so damn fast that I lost it, got motion-sick and had to get off. And once I was off, getting back on was seemingly impossible. The hospitals, the medication, all of it threw me so far off the track that once I managed to reassemble a “normal” existence, it was too late. I didn’t make friends, I didn’t establish connections, I didn’t network, dine or have tea with the right people. I didn’t make acknowledgments the way I should have and now my future suffers because of it. I couldn’t see the forest for the trees. Part of me wants to blame myself; if I hadn’t completely lost my shit, this wouldn’t be an issue. The other part of me blames society as a whole. Why do we create these webs of connections that seemingly establish who we are as human beings? What we experience, how we live, what we do on a daily basis doesn’t matter a single bit. Who you know, how you communicate and your ability to manipulate both of those skills is what gets you through life. That’s how we ended up with George W. Bush as President of the United States. My inner turmoil, any sort of insight into human nature and the darkness that lurks in all of us doesn’t matter. What if you’re autistic and lack communication skills? What if you were sexually assaulted as a child and have Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder as an adult? What if you fought overseas and return to find your spouse in bed with another person? None of that matters if you can’t speak to your professors, if you can’t imagine yourself as a sexual creature or if you never developed a trade skill. That’s all your fault, according to society. The strength it took to survive those things, the courage, the determination, the struggle of bearing such a heavy burden doesn’t matter if you don’t have a white picket-fence, a dog, kids and are married. The American dream isn’t a dream at all. It’s a spoon-fed nightmare that all of us have been conditioned to want to experience. Despite the hoards of people that flock to fandoms, to conventions, to fetish chat rooms and underground parties themed with coffins and fangs, all of those people are considered abnormal. They’re considered to be the fringe of society. But if everyone is on the fringe, doesn’t that mean we’re all the majority? Doesn’t that push everyone closer, ever inward until the gap is closed and we are all united as a single group of people. Though we may look different, sound different, act different, we’re all the same. It’s like penguins. When the blizzards and snow storms hit the ice caps, adult emperor penguins, waiting for their mates to return from fishing, and waiting for the eggs nestled on their feet to hatch, huddle together in a huge mass of slick feathers. They rotate constantly, making sure that anyone getting hit with the impossibly cold winds on the outer edge of the cluster, experience the radiating warmth in the center. Everyone is cycled through the heat to make sure they all survive the storm, that their eggs survive and their mates return to happy spouses and little chicks covered in down. Why can’t we be like penguins? Why can’t we just wrap each other up and love each other? Instead, I am stuck questioning my very existence because I didn’t establish enough connections in college to receive recommendation letters from anyone. People suck.
Alright, let me state, for the record, that I had to change my password and wait at least 20 minutes before logging in today to get this all written down. Irritated to the max! Anyway, I know this is a blog about mental health and illness and just generally cruddy things but I want to make a statement. I’m climbing up onto my soapbox to let y’all know what’s up. If you aren’t interested, please, do continue passing by me on the street. I’ll let you know when it’s safe to return to the blog-o-sphere.
I’m mixed race. My father is black and Native American, while my mother is a blend of European cultures (and my grandmother was from Canada, if you want to count that separately). My biggest peeve while growing up was that I was always considered black. There’s nothing wrong with being black, I just didn’t feel like it was a true statement. How can I deny a whole half of my heritage because on the outside, I appear to be black? It used to enrage my parents as well, with my mom even fighting the affirmative action check boxes on my report cards and enrollment forms. She usually won the argument too, and would have me and Thomas identified as “other.” A lot of times though, there wasn’t an “other” category and we were blocked off into being “African American.” Why am I bringing this up? Because the Black Lives Matter movement has finally moved into the forefront of my consciousness. Before, it was hard to concern myself with things that were far off and distant, but the other day I was faced cyber-head-on with the reality of it all.
A girl I attended high school with, infamous for being a devout, tightly wound Catholic with extremely conservative views, posted a status about the stand-off between Black Lives Matter protesters and the usual highway traffic on the interstate. She wanted to know why people would do this, knowing that others had to be at work. I commented, something I usually dare not do because of my temper, and the stupidity of people on the Internet (not y’all, you guys rock!), saying that their protest got the point across. Apparently, some older gentleman didn’t agree and replied with a snarky, sarcastic comment that got my blood boiling. I managed not to reply, except to say that the sarcastic tone wasn’t necessary since we were all adults. It backfired, as per usual, so I blocked the girl and any notifications I may have gotten from the post.
The old dude was upset because 8 policemen had died at the hand of a crazed sniper, specifically targeting white police officers. I understand that their deaths are tragic and I empathize with their families. One of them had a 4-month old baby. It was horrible. But, and this is a tentative and large but, Black Lives Matter. Just because an outlier in the movement went rogue and started sniping people does not mean that the movement is a terrorist organization as some have claimed. It does not mean that everyone involved in the movement is intent on violence and massacres until the job is done. That’s not the issue. The issue is that black people are institutionally and systematically oppressed, and have been for generations.
For me, it starts with not being identified truthfully. Because I look one way, people box me into a corner and make assumptions about me. However, I don’t have kinky curls, I don’t listen to rap music, I don’t know all the black celebrities, except those that have been in the news as of late. I don’t watch BET, I don’t care about cars, so on and so forth. Stereotypes are usually based somewhat in truth but they aren’t meant to be held as a standard for everyone and all people that fit into a certain category. Cutting off my feet to make sure I fit in with the rest of them isn’t how it should be done. I’m not African, my family hasn’t been African for generations. We’re American. I am an American, and nothing else. That’s how we should be identified, not based on the color of our skin. Because when people get it wrong, it’s offensive.
Now, let me explain the point of my blogging this, besides getting it off my chest. Mental illness. (Ha, you didn’t think I could come full circle, did you, but surprise!) Gunmen that go out and shoot a bunch of people are not necessarily mentally ill. Mentally ill people are not all violent and dangerous. All through my therapy career (as a patient, not a therapist) and my psychology studies, people have been saying how much the field as changed as people become more tolerant of those with mental illness. With the recent turmoil that has become our current state, mental illness has taken hundreds of steps in the wrong direction. People with a history of mental illness cannot own a gun, people with a history of mental illness cannot protest peacefully. Everyone is the scapegoat for other people’s problems. Being “black” and mentally ill puts me at the lowest space on the totem pole. I’m left to wonder when I’ll be exterminated, when I’ll lose everything. Because I’m considered black, my votes are barricaded, my input is devalued. Add in the mentally ill mixture and I’m equivalent to nothing. And my mental illness has never exhibited violence! I’m not a crazed ax-murderer or anything, but that doesn’t matter.
Assumptions. That’s the problem. Assumptions and excuses are what makes our country spin on its axis at the center of the universe, pulling the rest of the world down the drain with us. But we can’t let this continue. No matter who you are, no matter what color or creed, state of health, it cannot continue. It’s true, all lives do matter, but that standard cannot be maintained until everyone is equal. And that won’t happen until people understand that black lives matter. The mentally ill matter.
Who loved Andy more, Woody or Buzz? Who’s parents were better, Nemo’s or Dory’s? Which sister had a harder time, Anna or Elsa? If you can argue one over the other, you are part of the All Lives Matter movement and don’t understand. But if it takes breaking it down to Pixar level, I am willing to do it. Because everyone matters, and choosing one over the other is not the answer.
Alright, I’m jumping off my soapbox. I’m finished discussing this issue. It made my blood boil last week to the point that I could get nothing done. I couldn’t focus on anything else and didn’t feel better until Brendan was sitting with me in the car and listening to my endless rant about the whole thing. The library isn’t currently holding the level of happiness I usually receive. I’m going home, I think.
I’m freaking out. That seems to be all I do lately. Sitting in Starbucks while Brendan is in his interview for the latest notch on the corporate ladder that is the massage world. The coffee I’m drinking probably isn’t helping my nerves (I’ve had 2 cups today) but I wanted some so badly that the bags under my eyes basically disappeared at the mere thought of enjoying a cup. But, back to why I’m freaking out.
I designed an Excel sheet for my church when I was still in high school for my Girl Scout Gold Award. They’d been using this archaic cataloging system for the food pantry they run. Since the Gold Award project has to be something that benefits the community, I took the 1500+ index cards with dates on them dating back into the 90’s and input them one by one into a spreadsheet. It took me about 2 months with hours of dedication to the task. Well, now that it’s been in use for years, I can step back and examine the problems with the initial system. Firstly, the computer we bought at the time (through donations, I do believe, because you aren’t allowed to fund your project. That’s part of the process) is starting to quit on us, though it isn’t used for anything else. I took it home one night to connect to the Internet and update it, to give you an idea of how old this is, and it took nearly 3 hours for the whole thing to complete. Ridiculous, right? I went to the people with power and convinced them that it was time for an upgrade. We did nicely with an HP. I chose the one with the number pad built in since we spend a lot of time inputting dates and phone numbers. Anyway, I wanted to move on from the Excel spreadsheet because it was almost as archaic as the computer, and frankly, did not meet our design needs. People were deleting things and saving them in the wrong files. This group of individuals is on the older side, leaving me the sole person with enough computer knowledge to navigate any program safely, even if it is as simple as Excel. Well, now, my computer savvy is failing me and this group of people is completely dependent on my knowledge to get this mess done. Since Microsoft likes to charge you a gazillion times for each program, we had to pay extra for Access, a database program I was repeatedly reassured would serve our needs best. The problem is, Access is a new program (as far as I know. How about we just say it’s new to me?) and I have absolutely no clue how to use it. I’m stuck in this position of knowing what the hell I’m doing in front of them and completely losing it when I’m working on the forms. I took the measly form I did have in for a test run and it was a complete disaster, not only because we have new paperwork we have to fill out, but also because one of the volunteers was complaining in my ear the entire hour about problems with this form. I tried to explain that this was a beta-test run, that I was still working out the kinks and had even volunteered my time for every opening for the rest of the month, but she wasn’t listening. I feel like a creditor that is secretly broke. Or like someone that owes a loan shark a lot of money and has to repeatedly reassure the loan shark that “I have the money, I swear. I’ll get you your money!”
Let’s see, why else am I panicking? Oh yea, Brendan’s car. He spent a lot of time and effort getting it painted, modified and decal-ed the way he wanted it. It looks good, although a bit flashy for something I would drive. He had fun doing it and everything but now the engine has completely failed. Failed as in it has to be completely replaced. He needs a totally new engine before his car will rule the road again. I mean, I wouldn’t be waiting for him if his car hadn’t died in the driveway when he tried to leave this morning. Now, it may seem a bit first-world to complain about not having two cars. With patience, we can make it work. Waiting for each other, splitting gas costs, stuff like that, is perfectly manageable. That’s not what I’m worried about though. He decided to replace the engine. Now, someone explained how much a new engine would cost and that he could buy a “used” engine for less money but it would already have miles on it. Great! He doesn’t have to give up his car! Except that, paying his regular bills on top of paying to replace this sucker is going to put him in the red. Like, way more than either of us is comfortable. And I’m not good financially but paying my own bills and fixing my own car has temporarily put me in the red as well. The house has had several showings this week, more than I ever thought would happen, but at this rate, we’ll be moving back in with our parents. I mean, last week, I literally burst into snotty, sobbing tears at the mere thought of paying for independent living. It makes me shake. And I can’t completely get mad at Brendan. It’s not his fault the engine puckered out. And it’s not his fault I spend my money the way I do. I mean, it’s mine. But this is getting harder way before I ever thought it would. Being an adult sucks.