Heavy Steps

walking

The best way to describe how I’m feeling right now is “over it.” And I just am. Honestly I’ve grown so absolutely weary of the constant struggle to get up and go to work and fight the relentless anxiety. I am just ready to let go. And i don’t mean commit suicide, or even stop going to work.

Just… Its too much to care about anymore. There are important reasons why I need a job. I need to pay Robert and Zack for allowing me to live in their house rent free for nearly a year. I need to buyfood. But… What is worth this? What is worth this struggle? I don’t know how long I have to live, and here I am wasting precious days working a menial retail job, and for what? A paycheck that doesn’t cover any expenses and the privelage of more tedious work?

At least the anxiety has decreased significantly. What was once a steady pulse of hot fear has melted into a thick blanket of apathy and submission. I’m feeling more and more like Marvin the Robot fromHitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, who is programmed in such a way that he is literally incapable of feeling enthusiasm or joy, and constantly laments his station as a glorified servant instead of putting his abilities to use.

I’m angry. I’m pissed off that I’ve come so far in life and yet here I am, still walking the sales floor and greeting customers, folding towels and pulling plates to the front of shelves, exchanging inane useless chatter with strangers just so I can have someone to talk to.

There are so many jobs I’d be happy to do.  It doesn’t have to be something illustrious. What I’d love would be data entry. Just to sit at a desk quietly, listening to audibooks and typing numbers into forms. Or a personal assistant, bringing someone coffee or organizing files. Or a secretary, keeping things organized and greeting people from the comfort of my seat. I could even work a government job, as long as I can just be in an office, sitting down. I don’t know why that’s so much to ask.

But no. You need a degree to sit at a desk. And in order to have a degree you have to go to school, and in order to go to school you have to have the time to do that instead of working, or the emotional and mental fortitude to go to school as well as work a menial job, and I just don’t have either.

I don’t believe I’m going to get another chance at life. And its killing me to waste my life in retail stores and restaurants. I want to matter. I want to wake up in the morning and do something I care about. But there’s a mentality in our culture that no one gets a “free ride.” God forbid I subsist on someone else’s money or in a simple home paid for by the government, even though I have a mental illness that severely handicaps me emotionally when it comes to working out in public. If I had a physical illness the government would be happy to give me a check, but because people still don’t believe mental illness exists and it’s just an excuse to be lazy or have a bad attitude, I’m expected to shoulder a burden much worse than the burden carried by people who are doing more physical labor than I am. I have to fight the world every single day.

And I’m so tired of fighting. I’m so tired of wasting time.

Give me a piano, let me earn money with that. Give me a desk and an office in which to write my stories, let me earn money that way.

Give me a safe place to sit and read and learn, to walk the neighborhood listening to music, to communicate with people, to fight the loneliness and battle the darkness that follows me every day in my shadow.

Even if I did no work at all I wouldn’t be getting a free ride. The battle I fight is ongoing and not always visible, but I’m fighting it. I know what you’re thinking, I’m just making excuses for being lazy because I don’t want to work. There’s a mentality that “If I had to bust my ass for money, so do you. If I had to suffer, so do you.”

But I’m already suffering. My full time job is surviving the day. Even in a day in which I have no work at all to do, I can still find myself fighting for my life against the anxiety and depression that pose a very real threat to my life, not to mention my well-being at the very least. You can call in sick from work with a fever or a stomach virus, but I can’t call in stressed and emotionally exhausted. There are days off from an office job or a retail job. There are no days off from mental illness.

And besides, the attitude that because you worked hard for what you have then everyone else had to work just as hard, that attitude doesn’t make sense to me. If you had to suffer through unnecessary pain to have success, why would you want other people to suffer the same as you did? You might say “it isn’t fair that I had to work hard and you don’t,” but what is fair about wanting someone else to suffer? Is it a bitter desire for revenge against life that leads people to think it’s so wrong for someone to “freeload”? What is freeloading? I mean look at that term. I carry my anxiety and fear with me everywhere I go. Even if all my needs were met by other people, my load still would not be free. I would still by fighting against my mind and my body. Anxiety isn’t just having a bad day or feeling sorry for yourself, its an actual disease that affects your body, it is NOT “all in your head.”

No one tells someone in a hospital bed with a terminal illness to stop feeling sorry for themselves, get out of bed and go to work like the rest of us. Because that person is physically unable. What if you’re physically able but mentally unable? What do you do then?

Exactly the same thing you did the day before. You go to work like everybody else and you do the same tasks as everybody else, only the work you’re doing is a thousand times harder because your brain and your body are constantly devising new and inventive ways to harm you. Tonight while I was working I was folding towels and suddenly realized that I was standing on the opposite aisle from where I’d started. How did I get there? When did I walk across to another aisle? Had I blacked out? I looked around and realized that I hadn’t moved to another aisle at all. I clapped my hand over my mouth when the room started spinning and the wave of disorientation hit me. Which way was the exit, which way had i been facing before, where WAS I?

This is something that has never, ever happened to me before and it felt very much like I was in a dream. I don’t think it’s going to cause me problems in the future, but who knows? What if I start feeling disoriented all the time? What if it makes my panic attacks worse?

I’ll just have to keep going to work and nothing will change.  No one will have sympathy or compassion for me, at least not enough to alleviate my suffering by giving me some other task, because there aren’t any other jobs there to give.

I just have to keep getting up and fighting my own body and mind every day.

And the truth is my stamina is running out and I’m losing the ability to keep fighting. I don’t know what will happen if I can’t fight anyone. I doubt it would mean that I’d hurt myself. But what would I do? Would I just stay in be and refuse to move? Would I stop eating, just stop living, and just exist? I cant imagine that’s a real possibility.

But I’m so tired. And I’m just crying out to rue universe, please, give me something else. I’m willing to do the work, I just can’t do this work. I can’t keep working these public service jobs, I cant keep ringing up groceries and standing on my feet for eight hours, I can’t keep dealing with the crowds and the noise and the lines of people, I just can’t. I need something else.

I don’t want something else, I need something else. I need it. I can’t survive this way. I’m so tired of fighting.

I’m exhausted.

gray-ocean

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No Way To Live

job

Waking up every day and going to a job you hate, counting the hours until you can go home and crawl back in bed, the only place you feel safe… That’s no way to live.

I’m not angry. Im really not. I’m actually not upset either, and I’m not devoid of emotion. I’m calm. It’s actually a very nice feeling and I don’t mean it in a sarcastic way. I’m calm, I think I’ve accepted that this is just how things are right now.

I’m not going to the brink of despair today because I simply refuse to do it. My acid reflux manifested itself as chest pains, throbbing pains like a heartbeat that shot through my chest and up into my head. Momentary pain. It was uncomfortable. I didnt panic though. I knew it was acid reflux and so I decided to just keep walking. After a few minutes it did go away.

I’m very quiet today. Usually I talk a lot, to customers and other people i pass, and I sing to myself under my breath. Today I’m quiet. I’m really much more productive that way.it helps me feel calm and centered, too.

I don’t want to be here. I’ve accepted that this is where I am and i can’t change it today. Maybe tomorrow, I don’t know. But I know that I don’t want to be here. I’m tired of these jobs out in the open, walking around and smiling at people. This is not the worst job I’ve had by a long shot. In a way i don’t even dislike it that much, its alright for what it is.

I know I cant be a writer overnight. But there are jobs, even menial jobs, that I’m much better suited to. Id love to work in data entry. Just empty out my brain and type, sit at a desk during the day, decorate my desk with little trinkets, have a cup of coffee with me. Some people consider that hell. I think I could do just fine there. Especially if I can listen to music, or podcasts, or audiobooks, while I’m working. Any job where I can read or listen to something is a winner.

I miss my job at Avalanche. I didn’t know how good I had it. I’d still like to go back. They probably won’t ever return my calls, but I do wish I could do things over again, and I wish I could avoid causing Robert and Zack so much worry, so much anxiety. I wish I could try again at the office job thing. I know the hours were long, and honestly my hours at this job are easier. But still, I just wish I could try again.

There are so many desk jobs in the world. If I try hard enough, it shouldn’t be too difficult to get one, without a degree, right? Maybe Information Technology? They train you on the job, I think. I don’t know. I’m calm. I’m okay. Ill make it through tonight. But I don’t want to be here.

If Vision is the Only Validation, Then Most of My Life Isn’t Real

Personal Things

It’s been an eventful couple of weeks for me, my whole life has kind of changed, which is good because to be quite honest everything has SUCKED since moving to Georgia. When I last posted, I hadn’t started my job at Pottery Barn yet. Well, I’m happy to say I’ve been working there for about two weeks now and I really enjoy it. It’s a wonderful job. I was incredibly nervous for my first couple of days, but I got the hang of retail quite easily. There’s a lot to know about the store, and you need to be prepared to answer people’s questions, but luckily we all have headsets and no one is opposed to me asking questions. Altogether, it’s been a very cool job so far, I work evenings and I go in in the afternoon, so I deal with a good bit of customers for the first few hours, and the last few hours I mostly spend doing odd tasks for the managers or whoever needs my help, restocking stuff, and dusting/cleaning a bit.

Since my position is seasonal, I’m trying to go above and beyond if I can, in the hopes of being kept on after the holidays. One of the ladies I work with is really nice to me and is always giving me jobs to do and answering questions for me, and she used to be a manager and she asked me the other day what my intentions were after January, and when I told her that I wanted to stay on with the company she said she’d already talked to them about keeping me on, which is awesome. This is the only job I’ve ever had that I’ve really enjoyed going to, and I feel like I’m doing very well so far. On Tuesday I set a couple of displays on my own, and got some compliments from my manager which was a great feeling. So basically, things are going really well on the job front.

I also finally, after 3 years of driving around with a learner’s permit, got my driver’s license. The DMV in town is one of those with a huge parking lot in the back, and the first section was all about parking, at which I did terrible and knocked over a record amount of traffic cones. However, I did perfect on the actual driving-around-on-the-road portion of my test, and now I’ve been driving myself to and from work every day for the last week or so.

Oh, did I also mention that I’m driving to and from work in my own vehicle? My stepfather basically gave me this truck he’s had for a while, it’s now in my name and I’m insured, and I got tags for the vehicle and everything. So, between my own vehicle, my own insurance, my own license, and my own job, I’m feeling really grown up. Normally I would freak out and shrink and be afraid of all these changes, but it’s really not scaring me all that much. I’ve had some moments, like when I had my first midnight Walmart run all on my own the other night, and once I got to the stoplight at the nearly abandoned four-way stop I got so nervous that I felt like I was having an anxiety attack, but it wasn’t like my normal anxiety attacks, it was ACTUAL fear and anxiety, and once I got through the light it was pretty much alleviated.

In fact, that’s the way everything’s been going lately. Since I started having these issues with panic attacks, I find myself in everyday situations that I can’t handle, and ruin everything for myself with my complete lack of self-confidence, but this whole experience with driving and working and doing things for myself reminds me a lot of when I was a kid in elementary school: I was in behaviorally challenged classes because I had some issues, and they would set me up on a system where certain behaviors bring about certain rewards, and when I did well I would be so proud of myself and I’d actually experience positive change. I guess I’ve just gotten so used to nothing ever happening in my life, as a result of my own lack of faith in myself and refusal to really try, that I’m not used to the feeling of ACCOMPLISHING things.

I even found myself being annoyed at the other seasonal/temporary employees, because I’ve heard at least two of them complaining about the job: “There’s nothing to DO… This is so BORING… I still have another THREE HOURS…” I honestly haven’t felt that way. I like it when it’s quiet and I’ve even become comfortable when it’s busy, and I usually find something to do to make myself useful, and when there’s not much going on, I don’t really have a problem with wandering around, straightening shelves and looking busy. Underneath all of my reticence, I do actually have a really good work ethic, I do want to be an asset to the store. If I keep trying to go above and beyond, or at very least being helpful, I feel like I’ll gain the manager’s and my co-workers’ respect, and definitely be able to stay on after the holidays.

So tomorrow is Black Friday, a.k.a. the day after Thanksgiving, a.k.a. the biggest shopping day of the year. Luckily I’m a closer, so I’m coming in at 2:00 in the afternoon and staying until we close the store for the night at 10:30PM. I’m told it’s pretty crazy, as I would expect it to be, but at least I’m not working the Midnight Madness shift, and one of the manager’s mentioned that we shouldn’t have lines around the store like we did last year because so many other stores are having Black Friday sales as well. We’ll see. I actually was dreading this day when I was first hired, but I’m honestly not too intimidated by it now.

Breaks/lunches are going to be a little different tomorrow, we all have to bring a dish of some sort to work, I’m going to try deviled eggs, since I’ve made those before and they’re not too difficult, and they’re Thanksgiving-y. Altogether, things are getting better for me. I still haven’t finished submitting all the information I need to submit to the college I’m planning on going to (which by the way, I found out is NOT a community college whatsoever, it’s a 4-year military school, but I still want to go, and I’m even toying with the idea of taking out student loans if I have to), but it’s going to happen.

My “romantic” (read: desperate sexual) experiences leading up to moving to Georgia and since being here have been, to quote Grace Adler: “a revolving door of loser after loser.” I’m actually really bothered by the idea that some of the guys I’ve had bad experiences with (one of whom got so attached to me that he was convinced he was in love with me and became suicidal when I broke it off with him before it even began) might be reading this blog. It honestly disturbs me a little bit.

I’ve always been very compassionate, but really, the last few guys I’ve been with have been losers. They’re human beings, and they’re not worthless, but they’re not people that are going to enhance me in any way, and I’m tired of handing myself over to people I’m completely not attracted to and who are pathetic, emotional messes. I need a good guy in my life with some sense of responsibility who has himself together and can show me some real, functional love. I’ve seen myself in some of the guys I’ve been with in Georgia, and it was fucking scary. I’m done dating losers and people I’m not attracted to, giving myself up to people and feeling unclean and hating myself afterward. It’s not that these guys I’ve been don’t have emotions that matter, but it’s just not my responsibility to be there for everyone and to handle every person’s shit. I’ve made some really, really shitty decisions about my life since I turned 18: in the last 3 years I’ve had sex with 10 people, and only one of those people did I really care about, and only a couple of those experiences were actually PLEASURABLE, much less meaningful.

I’m ready to get some good things going in my life. I’m ready to have the things I want and have friends and have a fucking LIFE. I’m done dreaming, I’m taking action now. I’ve started, and I’m not going back. Being a kid isn’t worth it, I much prefer being an adult.

Entertainment Things

Finally, Lady Gaga is giving us a better album cover for Born This Way. It’s the cover of a 3-disc compilation called Born This Way: The Collection, which compiles the 17-track version of Born This Way, a DVD of HBO’s The Monster Ball, and a new remix EP called Born This Way: The Remix, which features remixes of singles as well as album tracks. I will probably buy this, because this is the first time The Monster Ball is being officially released, but the thing that makes me the happiest is that I can finally get rid of that second disc of remixes from my deluxe edition of Born This Way, and more importantly, I can get rid of that awful motorcycle cover. I’ve always said that the photo on the back of the booklet, of Gaga in the gooey sort of afterbirth dress, should be the album cover, and now sure enough she’s giving us an even more fabulous gooey photo. I’m going to be honest, if this had been the cover of the album, I probably would have liked it more. Presentation is important; Lady Gaga of all people should know that. So here’s the cover! Change your iTunes album artwork with pride.

The only other entertainment news I have is that I have discovered Sam Sparro, who is known for his 2008 single Black and Gold, which has been covered by Adele, Ellie Goulding, and Katy Perry, but none of them compare to his original. Sam is a sexy Australian gay boy endowed with a set of vocal chords that make panties and undies alike drop, whose swag is turned up to the max and who is extremely sexy to boot; he’s a really talented singer and producer, and I highly suggest checking him out. Here’s a picture of mister hotness to persuade you.

Day-um.