As you guys know, Zack and Robert saved my life, and gave me a new one, when they all but adopted me into their home. It’s been about nine months. I’ve been through essentially a mental health detox. Living away from my mother and the negative energy that permeates everything she touches, I got here and for months would have emotional breakdowns for no understandable reason. I’ve moved forward so much in my life. This place has become my home, and Zack and Robert the only real family I have to count on in the world.
I’ve had an issue with holding down a steady job ever since I got here. I worked at Barnes and Noble but I hated it, for reasons I still don’t entirely understand, and my anxiety was destroying me. I ended up being fired because of tardiness. Afterward I got a full time job at an online e-commerce company and for the few months it was good, but then for some reason the anxiety started beating me up there too. I made the decision to leave that job and took a part time job at Staples, but unfortunately they wouldn’t give me reasonable hours even for a part time employee. I found another full time job recently at a pawn shop, and to say that it’s been unsatisfying would be an understatement.
The pawn shop has been a harrowing experience. Every day I come into contact with people who either make me incredibly uncomfortable or outright scare me. It’s in a bad part of town, sandwiched right between a liquor store and a homeless shelter. Many of the people who come in are kind people who are just down on their luck, and I’ve had the opportunity to make a lot of people’s day better. I gave some homeless kids balloons the other day, I frequently hand out silver half dollars to kids who come in because we have a box of them sitting around for special occassions, I bring the people coming in from the heat bottles of water and they’re always very thankful, and I have some interesting conversations with people, the other day I got permission to give a little girl who wanted to be a drummer a pair of free drum sticks from our music room. So, good things happen there. But in general, it’s an upsetting place to work. I’m looked down on very openly by the other employees because the job requires a lot of physical labor and I can’t do it without help. My coworkers are ex-cons, burnouts, or just plain douchebags.
I have nightmares about going to work on a nightly basis. I have nightmares about a lot of things, actually. It’s hard to try and work a full time job I hate, that I’m not any good at, and still have the energy to write, or create, or focus on my health, or god forbid try and squeeze going to school into the mix. I have diabetes and I HAVE to get it under control. I’m already starting to get numbness in my feet which is a common sign of nerve damage from diabetes. I don’t want to become incapable of functioning at 26 years old. I have to have the opportunity to get this under control without throwing myself into SO much physical activity that I can’t stand during the day.
So, I’ve made a decision. My mother has been asking me to come back to her house ever since I left. The moment I disappeared from her life she changed her tune quickly. This has happened before, and in the end she always go back to being an abusive psychopath. However, when I left this time, she went through a period of incredibly grief because I was gone, and has made it clear that she’s at least TRIED not to be such an awful person. My little sister is now 15, and she lives there with no one to keep her company, and she misses me. And I need a place to stay where I can ease into this whole adult thing. Robert and Zack have done more for me than could ever possibly be asked for, but they can’t live my life for me, and they can’t give me a place to live for free, nor should they.
My mom has been offering me a chance to come back for a while now. She will help me get enrolled in school, and school is the one thing I want to do more than anything else in my life right now. I also need to be able to work on losing weight at a managable rate, and what I mean by that is, I’m not capable of working full time hours at a labor-intensive job, not yet at least. I need to be able to go to the gym, come home, and pace myself, you know? I need to be able to change my eating habits and living habits to be healthier. It’s not something I’m really able to do right now because I have to work ALL the time. I know plenty of other people work full time and find a way to get everything done too. I just know that I have an opportunity to go to school without having to work constantly.
So, I’ve tentatively decided to go back to North Carolina. I can’t explain how devastated I am to leave Zack and Robert. It’s like the ending of a romantic relationship, when you break up with someone and you can’t imagine how you can face another day without them being there for you. And I know they’ll still be here for me, and it’s not like I’ll never see them. Zack has basically GIVEN me the car I’ve been driving since I’ve been here, and I’ll be able to come visit whenever I want. I’ll still be going to the Dresden Dolls show in New York, and I’m sure I’ll be able to attend sloth events too. It’s just… it’s going to be different. And I may well be walking back into a negative environment, but if my purpose is to get into school, and to really get my life started, it may be worth the effort.
I am so scared. But I have to keep reminding myself that I’m not going back in time. I’m not going back to the scared, shaking suicidal boy who cried every single night. I’m the person I am now, I’m stronger, I’m more mature, and I’m better. I know that I’m loved by supportive people, that there are friends who want me to succeed, that I’m capable and someone in the world is PROUD of me. I’m not that boy that I was, and I don’t ever have to be him again. But I’ll be honest, it’s hard not to imagine that everything’s going to go back to the way it was.
I’m scared. I’ve made this decision because I NEED relief from this relentless work schedule, and I don’t have the luxury of finding another job, because I refuse to put Robert and Zack through me quitting my job AGAIN, and not paying rent on time AGAIN, and asking for their help to buy food AGAIN. I don’t want to be a strain on them. They took me into their home and rehabilitated me, emotionally, and I refuse to be a drain on them. Even if I found a job in an office or an environment that would be healthier for me, I would still need to work full time to afford living and paying a decent amount of rent (and they’ve been incredibly flexible with rent, by the way, essentially I haven’t paid rent since February). And I don’t know how I could do that and go to school too. I don’t think I could.
What I want is to go to school, and my mother’s house offers me a place to do that. If not for my mom, it would be a piece of cake. If not for the knowledge that she corrupts and harms me with her presence, it wouldn’t be a difficult decision. But she’s getting older. She may always remain a vindictive and vengeful person, but I don’t know that she’s capable of putting up the endless tirade against me she was in the past. I don’t think I’ll ever be able to be happy in her presence, and believe me, my mind changes every fifteen minutes or so about what I should do, but it feels in my gut like this is the decision I’m going to make.
If there were someone else offering me a virtually free place to live so I could go to school, I’d take it. But I don’t expect that from anyone. I’ve already been given more than I could ever have asked for. I have to remember that I’m not that scared child, I’m a bigger person, I’m capable, and I’m special. I don’t have to let my mother or the place where she lives drain the life from me. And when I start school, I’ll be surrounded by people, and have the opportunity to build news support systems around myself. I have a purpose and a goal this time.
I’m scared. But I’m going to try this.