Depression

October 26, 2013 § Leave a comment

I was going to write a post today about self-defense, about weapons. Asha and I were attacked by a German Shepherd this morning and it reminded me of how long it’s been since I’ve witnessed a dog fight, since I’ve been involved in one. It reminded me of that helpless feeling when your brain is struggling to resolve the situation that feels like it’s in slow motion yet high speed, the brawl that seems never-ending until it’s over and you’re just in shock. I can be so fucking naive sometimes, walking around in that perfect little middle class bubble where I think I’m safe because it would never cross my mind to harm anyone else, so why would anyone ever have the thought to harm me. People attack people, animals attack animals, and almost always, it happens right out of the blue. Your only defense is self-defense, and the fear of those slow motion/high-speed situations is what drives people to purchase guns, to carry knives. The thought of owning a weapon still boggles my mind. But that’s not what this post is going to be about.

Dad keeps telling me that I’m mentally ill, that my depression is filtering everything that I feel, everything that I think, even when I strongly believe it’s rational. I try to buy into that skepticism because I think in a lot of ways it is true, but the core of my depression doesn’t come from some filtered understanding of self, it comes from the harsh reality of mortality. Everything dies. Everyone dies. This has caused me intense grief since I first realized the truth of it as a child and it is has clung to me for more than a decade. Every happy moment I have is haunted by the knowledge that all happiness comes to an end.

Even the best lives, the ones filled with the most love anyone could dream of, still end in grief. Life is nothing without love but the more you love, the more pain you will feel when the person and people you hold in your heart are gone. This is inevitable. This is a fact. There is no fabrication of afterlife that will mediate that sense of loss. The harsh reality is that when you love someone, you sign onto the intense, suffocating, overwhelming grief of losing them.

One of us will die inside these arms.

Iron and Wine lyrics will stick with me til my dying day, I’m sure of it. I listened to a lot of Iron and Wine in high school when my depression began outwardly manifesting itself (something I look back on and see as quite obvious but my parents must have mistook normal teen angst for what was really a deep depression setting in) and I would just lay in bed and cry, so moved by the poetic words that described the exact grief I felt. His words described how all beauty and happiness and love–all the things that make life worth living–will decay and disappear. Such is life. Such is nature. Such is the way things are and should be.

This overwhelming grief, the pain that sucks the air from your chest, leaving something resembling a black hole where your torso used to be, causing you to hyperventilate because you just can’t seem to catch your breath enough to breathe through the pain… that is what I feel. And not because of any singular event or trauma, not because of any particular trigger, but because the fact of life is that you must love to be happy, but you will always suffer because everything ends. I try to be thankful that I have love in my life at all, especially when I go through the most involving experiences of this grief, but that appreciation does little to assuage the intense, sharp pain of loss that I can feel vibrating through every tiny particle of myself.

This loss is normal. This loss is natural. This loss is expected and unavoidable.

This depression is rational. It’s the ultimate rational realization of the temporality of everything, absolutely everything. It is what makes life so beautiful and precious, but it’s also what makes life so incredibly fucking painful. No amount of therapy is going to get me to a point where this truth doesn’t hurt. No amount of drugs will reach the deep part of my heart that knows this truth of life, this truth of love. Love does not exist without the pain of loss and life is worth nothing without love. Medication may distract me from that, but nothing can change it. It is life. It is truth.

I know what it feels like to want to give anything, to give everything, just to hug that lost loved one again. I know how every bone in your body aches to change the situation, to turn back time, to relive every moment that is already slipping away into memory. I know what it feels like to feel totally hollow inside, sobbing on the floor alone, screaming inside your head and begging for things to be different, for somehow things to be better. Begging for one more day with them. Begging for a do-over so you could appreciate every second with them more than you did the first time you lived. That desperation. That pathetic, desperate plea with no one but yourself to make the loss of your loved one just a tiny fraction less consuming.

There isn’t a medication for that. There isn’t a therapist that can make that go away. There isn’t a trauma to rationalize. A good life is full of love; a good life is full of pain. There is no more painful a truth than this. And there is nothing about it that is filtered or twisted by depression. This is reality, and I look it in the eye.

________________________________

So many people in the world seem paralyzed by the thought of death, not anyone else’s but their own. Non-existence is a fascinating thought to me, no longer existing. We’re so caught up in our inner dialogue, in our own experiences and assumptions of continuation, we forget that one day we will merely cease to exist. In most cases, we won’t be able to plan or predict when this happens and I imagine for most of us, it’s a lot like falling asleep, perhaps quite quickly. There will be no knowledge that this is your death, not really, not truly, because you cease to have knowledge once you die. There’s no looking back and saying “oh, I died.” You’re just gone. Poof.

I haven’t feared my own death in a long time for a comparatively short life. If anything, I look forward to non-existence. No struggle, no worry, no pain, no loss. I’ll simply be gone, I’ll be at peace. I don’t wish immortality on anyone, but I do wish life wasn’t so damn hard. I wish everyone had a peaceful, quiet death after so many years of pain and toil. I wish people didn’t die terribly, in unbearable pain and filled with fear. Such a tragic thing, to think about every good person who has died at the hands of a torturer or a murderer, they were one someone’s child. Their first steps were witnessed by adoring parents who cheered them on. They graduated high school with the excitement and hope of entering the world of adulthood, full of promise and potential. They lived their lives struggling to find happiness while walking a  hard path of “Do No Harm.” But their lives came to a bloody end filled with pain and confusion and desperation, and above all fear. God, I hate that. Life is never what it should be. There is no fairness or justice. People live and they suffer.

Depression can’t be responsible for that thought; it feels so true in my heart, in my mind. There is always hope that people will get better, that bad people will make better choices and find redemption, and that good people will die peacefully surrounded by loved ones. But reality says it’s a crap shoot. Reality says you can live your life as a good person and can still die at the hands of a bad one. Reality says you can live life as a good person but your wonderful heart will still be broken every time you must let go of someone you love, every time you have to learn to live without them. People live and they suffer.

That isn’t Depression talking.

That is life.

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End of the Trail

October 21, 2013 § Leave a comment

Somehow October is almost over. No idea how that happened or where the time went. It’s been pretty whirlwind.

Last week my cousin came and stayed with me for a couple days. Selfishly I wanted him to stay longer because it feels like ages since I was around someone intelligent, caring, and genuinely interesting. But he’s safely in Florida now with my parents where he can find some peace hopefully and start to get healthy. That’s better for him. 

Last weekend I worked about 27 hours. Five hours after work on Friday, thirteen hours on Saturday plus an overnight stay (with a giant dog who hogged the bed, three cats one of whom slept on my chest, and a tiny kitten who cried all night), then another 9 hours on Saturday. Sure, it’s a lot of money, but I had late walks (10pm) as well as early walks (7am) so I wasn’t getting a lot of sleep, and coming off a stressful work week with a couple nights staying up with my cousin until 2am…. let’s just say, I was beyond exhausted halfway through Saturday but still had to make it through my overnight, all of Sunday, and an early morning dog walk this morning before work. 

Of course, because my life is exciting, I woke up at 5am this morning shaking. I was like “that’s weird… hey, I feel funny…nononononononono” and then proceeded to have buckets of diarrhea followed by buckets of vomiting. Cause that’s fun. Tossed and turned trying to go back to sleep following that *ahem* incident (or incidents…), emailed my bosses telling them I would be late, even though I couldn’t stay in bed much longer than usual anyway since I had to do my dog walk. In the end I was only 30 min late to work but felt ill until I left work to come home at 5.

I’m sure it was all a combination of the late nights with Chris, the stress of the week, the insane workload of the weekend, and all the lack of sleep that made my system more delicate. Anyway, I’ve got big plans for going to bed at a decent hour tonight. Hopefully I can try to get somewhat caught up on sleep… until the two long evening events we have this week/end for the museum that the interns have to work. I’ve got a killer dress for the gala though, so that’s a plus.

So it’s been a tough month, basically. I spent most of this weekend alone because I was too busy with work to be able to join the other interns for all their drinking plans (which I’m not really interested in anyway). Mostly it just made me miss Birmingham. I really did have a good life there. My family was so close, my best friends were there, I was dating a great guy who had fun friends, there were good bars where I actually liked hanging out… All that stuff. The social stuff that I don’t really have here. I’m trying not to become a total recluse, but I just haven’t found my “home” bar here and the social scene is really dissatisfying. Dallas is full of so many rich young people who just care about looks, their tans, their cars, their ridiculously stupid high-heeled shoes. They’re just not my kind of people. I live in a grubbier neighborhood, but I still can’t really afford the drinks at my favorite bar here. Their drink specials consist of $1 off during happy hour. Yeah, no… So I spent most of the weekend wishing I was at home with my friends and favorite bars or at the beach with my family.

I also made a big decision, which I honestly think has been a long time coming. It’s the end of the trail for my museum career. I’m done, I’m over it. Museums are sick institutions and curators are some of the worst people in them. They like being elitist and aloof. They like pandering to old white people with money. They like having everything be about them and their reputations and their interests. It makes me want to scream “Come down from the ivory tower! The ladder you climb to get there every day isn’t made of metal, it’s made of people!”

They’re so out of touch with the world, and they’re even out of touch with their coworkers. Curators are incredibly self-centered, egotistical, irrational, demanding, impatient, and generally impossible people to work with. I don’t get it. I don’t understand how they started out once like me but then ended up like that. I’ve seen it at every museum I’ve ever worked for. I have the skill set to be a very successful curator, I think, but I don’t want it.

Curators schmooze all these rich folks constantly for literally thousands, hundreds of thousands, even millions of dollars, and for what? For a piece of art. For the right frame. For a new wing. Can you imagine the number of people they could help with that money? The number of mouths they could feed, the number of children they could save, the number of scholarships they could award? 

I will always love art. I have absolutely no doubt about that. But I don’t think I can buy into a system of thought like that. I don’t think I can adopt that attitude and still be able to look at myself in the mirror every day. Maybe it’s my youthful idealism, but dammit, I want to HELP people. I want to change someone’s life for the better. I want to help ease at least one person’s suffering, because for a lot of people, that’s all they’ll ever know. They are born into suffering, the live suffering, and they die suffering. I can’t hide behind the marble walls of the museum anymore. It’s time to get real with the world. This is the end of the trail.

I’m still going on my trips to Delaware and Pennsylvania since they’re already booked and I don’t want to forfeit the tickets. Plus the people at Delaware were just so nice and accommodating, I might as well see what they’ve got to offer even though I have zero interest in applying there anymore. (Actually I’m going to see if I can switch my tickets to Birmingham instead without a major penalty). I’ll still apply to Penn, because come on, if they accept me, I’ll gladly get a PhD in Art History and then still change my career path to something more worthwhile than museums. 

New plan is to explore options with AmeriCorps and see where that takes me! Yeehaw.

Daily Dialogues

October 14, 2013 § Leave a comment

I’ve had the following inner dialogues for about three weeks now, maybe longer. I think it’s kind of humorous witnessing my mind grapple with itself, watching the different parts of my personality, especially those more affected by depression than others, interact. 

Situation 1:

“I just want to cut myself. I have enough blades to do it. I want to do it.”

“So why don’t you? Just do it if you keep thinking about it! Nothing is stopping you.”

“No, I can’t. Someone might see at work.”

“Oh, so you’re not trying to kill yourself.”

“No, not today.”

“So why do you want to do it at all?”

“I think it’ll feel good.”

“Oh, I see. So you think cutting through your own flesh will feel good?” 

“Yes.”

“Don’t you see how fucked up that is?”

No response, because when I’m met with solid logic that contradicts how I feel, I shut down. The good news is, when I’m defeated like that, I don’t do anything. 

 

Situation 2: 

“There’s a bridge.”

“Yepp. It’s a bridge.”

“It’s about 40 feet down.”

“Really? Looks more like 20. You might just break a leg.”

“Not if I go head-first. That would kill me instantly for sure.”

“Really? What if it just paralyzes you. Think how much more miserable you would be then.”

“But it would be over. The daily struggle would be over, so quickly. I just have to step off.”

“Uh huh. Yeah, you could do that, but what if you change your mind halfway down.”

“It wouldn’t matter, I would be dead a split second later.”

“Okay, but what if halfway down you realize you DO want to keep fighting but then you’re paralyzed and even though you’re ready to embrace all that life has to offer, your body is no longer capable of doing so. What are you going to do then?”

Silence. I can’t judge distances very well, some kind of problem with atmospheric interference and a general lack of proper depth perception. I don’t know enough about physics to determine if it’s 20 or 40 feet, and I don’t know enough about angles and velocity and the delicacy of muscle, bone, and brain to know for sure that I wouldn’t end up paralyzed and frustrated. 

 

I really have Situation 1 dialogues much more often than Situation 2, since Situation 2 only comes up if I’m driving (same thought process but wrecking a car versus jumping off a bridge) or around a bridge or tall building (the latter is rare, by happenstance not necessarily choice). 

I think I’m dealing with things better now that I’m so involved with my cousin’s depression. Sometimes we’re really similar but sometimes we’re the opposite about things. Either way, talking to him means I have to engage with someone in a personal way every day, I’ve forced to interact with depression directly every day, and I have to constantly tell him things that I should also tell myself. In some ways I think I’m more depressed than he is, because my depression isn’t a result of something bad happening and isn’t really triggered by anything in particular. I just wake up one day feeling fine and by the afternoon, I’m ready to end it all. Nothing specific happens to set me off, and my suicidal thoughts are very calculated and thought-out, not at all an emotional, heat-of-the-moment kind of thing. It’s funny how we’re opposite like that, and I guess it’s funny too how we deal with it so differently. 

I think I’m doing better, but that may just be because I’m so busy trying to keep him afloat, on top of my other obligations to my dog, my two jobs, and my general adulthood responsibilities (mental note: must go grocery shopping tomorrow). He’s in a lot of pain, and it’s a pain I understand, but it’s not the kind of pain I’m in. In fact, most of the time I just feel numb or a persistent feeling of dissatisfaction. But that may just be the difference of our depression, or difference in personality. I’m an active person, not a passive person, so sitting around not knowing what to do with myself just isn’t something I could ever imagine doing. To be fair, I tried it once, last year when I first moved home. Lasted about a month. I feel better when I’m actively doing things, actively working towards a goal that will benefit me, that I think will bring me some kind of happiness or satisfaction. I can’t feel too terrible about my depression since I would call that one very special thing: HOPE. 

It’s been a little harder lately to hold onto that hope because my sleeping pills have stopped working like they used to a mere two weeks ago, and I’ve started having nightmares again. Hopefully it’s cyclical or related to Chris being in such dire straights that I’m kept busy trying to drag him up from rock bottom that I haven’t really been able to focus on my own issues in the way that I was before. Hard to tell. I’ve had a few blog topics floating around my head but haven’t had a minute to actually write them out. Soon, soon. One thing at a time, one day at a time. 

Clarity

October 7, 2013 § 1 Comment

So I had a miniature epiphany today on my drive in to work. It’s so funny, and incredibly painful, when you can finally see how all the pieces align to show you that it was absolutely your fault things ended. 

The truth is that I did love Mark. Did he drive me crazy? Of course he did. Everyone drives me crazy, and the people I care about tend to drive me crazy the most. Alec was my first love so I think that’s always a different experience than loving someone again after you’ve been through that. I was really immature when Alec and I got involved, and I think that’s why I felt so differently about him than I did Mark. I was in a very very different place when I met Mark versus when I met Alec as well, and I was a fairly different person in some respects. I don’t think me loving Mark comes as a surprise to anyone. Anyone who saw us together, saw it clear as day. 

I think the reason I can only admit it now is because I know it’s over between us, so there’s no real risk in admitting it out loud. It’s too late. I fought so hard against admitting it to myself because I knew it would never work out with me and Mark. 

Here’s why, my little epiphany: 

With every fiber in my being, I do not think I deserve to be loved. I am unlovable. 

The reason Alec and I lasted so long was because I never really knew if he loved me or not. I know now, in the end, that he did love me as much as he was capable, but not because he said anything to suggest it. So for 95% of the time we were together, I never knew if he loved me so I assumed he didn’t. I assumed he couldn’t. 

I knew Mark loved me from very early on. I knew without question. I knew because he told me, he showed me, he screamed it at me. And I loved him too, or I never would have stuck with him for so long. I wouldn’t have thought about him all the time, every second. I wouldn’t have spent so much time with him. But we were doomed from the start, because I don’t believe anyone should ever love me, I don’t think I deserve to be loved, so half of the time we were together (or even apart) and I knew he loved me, I felt wretched about it. We fought all the time because I pushed him away, treated him like a fool for ever loving me. I honestly think the reason he would get so furious with me (enough to scare me even) is because he knew I loved him but he knew I would never let him love me. To be fair to both of us, I think the amount of pressure I was under with work and school and family stuff definitely exacerbated things, maybe made the fights worse than they needed to be, maybe made them occur more often. But in the end, it wouldn’t have mattered because I would have left him anyway or pushed him away enough times that he finally would have walked out on me. And I would have let him because I know I don’t deserve love. 

So here I am rightfully alone. Am I lonely? Absolutely. Am I heartbroken? Absolutely. But I still feel relieved, relieved that I don’t have to worry about hurting them anymore and relieved that I don’t have to feel awful about Mark loving me when he shouldn’t. 

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I know I’m not a terrible person. I know I’m not. Every rational part of my brain screams that I’m not a terrible person. So I blame depression for this. I blame depression for making me feel like I’m not worthy of being loved. It isn’t me, it’s an illness that has infected me. I don’t know how to change it, but I have hope that one day I’ll get better, I’ll be better. 

Because seriously, THIS IS BULLSHIT.

Darker Days

October 6, 2013 § Leave a comment

Depression is so misunderstood if you’re not “in it.” I tried talking to one of my oldest and closest friends about mine, my own “coming out” if you will, and it didn’t go especially well. It’s not that he reacted negatively, because he was very sympathetic and accepting, but he didn’t really understand what I was talking about.

“Chase, I’m depressed.”

“What are you depressed about?”

“No, I’m depressed.

“Oh. Maybe you need more sunshine. ::insert lots of info about vitamin B and the benefits of sunshine::.”

I love him to death, but it really wasn’t how I wanted the conversation to go. If it’s the case that depressed people can really only talk meaningfully and productively with other depressed people, what does that mean for mental health care? And what does it mean when you don’t trust that people can really get better? I keep wanting to believe dad really is out of the woods (is that the phrase?), that he really is going to be better from here on out, but I just don’t believe it. Because I’m a depressive and thus always predict the worst outcome? Or because I’ve seen him have his highs and lows and hit rock bottom? I don’t know.

I think it’s coincidence that I’ve had such a tough day today. This morning was sunny, incredibly humid, and in the upper 70s. By the time I got home from my second walk, it was pouring rain and the temperature was dropping rapidly. By 10:30am, it was windy, raining, and in the lower 50s. I went to an intern event for lunch, got carsick, then did yet another dog walk, and went home to get in bed.

After about an hour, I felt much better (as in, less nauseated) and started gathering supplies to finally make a very belated birthday present for one of my best friends who lives back in Birmingham. I logged on facebook to look for a photo of us together to use for the present (I hand-make all my gifts) and her page kept saying “not found.” Confused, I texted her immediately, at which time I learned she deleted her account. Kind of ironic, really.

What was my response? I started crying.

Now, Chase would probably say I didn’t get enough sunshine today because the crazy weather, sudden cold snap, and cloud cover all day. I’m also PMSing, and lord knows that if a uterus can make a human baby from scratch, it can seriously fuck with your emotional stability. I’ve also had a really stressful week and am heading into a really stressful month as October is insanely busy at the museum, plus my second job, plus I’m planning trips through the end of the year, etc. etc. etc. Oh yeah, and I’m clinically depressed!

I think the main thing that upset me was I could see this being the beginning of the end of our friendship. I’ve spent my entire life saying goodbye to friends, watching our relationships fizzle as it gets harder and harder to keep up with each other’s lives. Facebook, as problematic as the social media site can be, is an excellent way to keep in touch with friends without requiring much effort on the part of either party. Without it, we only have texting and emails. One is instant, but I feel like I’m annoying someone if I text them and typing on a phone can be tiresome and limiting. The other requires much more time and thought, at least if you’re constructing an email like a letter instead of simply “Hey, look at this news article.”

Out of the three people who were most important to me in Birmingham, I’m now only friends with one of them. It’s so heartbreaking. One relationship I tore apart, and the other I now will be forced to watch fizzle.

So I cried on the way to both of my evening dog walks, reliving my happiest memories from Birmingham when we were all together. Everyone was so great when I left, they were all supportive and respected my wishes that everyone part casually, like they would see me again soon. They treated the moment like it would be repeated, even though I’m sure we all knew that we would never all be together like that again. At least not with me in the mix. Maybe it was only important and precious to me since I was the one leaving.

And now I’m alone in Dallas with only one real friend, though sometimes I think he just hangs out with me because I’m available. I like the other interns in small doses, but I either hate them or they hate me after prolonged periods of togetherness. I could go out more, join a club or something to try to meet more people, but as always, I don’t feel like investing in Dallas. I plan on leaving by the time my lease is up next September, so once again, my interactions are dictated by me already having one foot out the door.

It takes me so long to fill out background check forms for each new job because I’ve lived so many places and lived there for such a short time I have to look up my addresses in my Amazon account because I can’t remember them. I’ve gotten so used to the mentality that I’m always leaving, I’m honestly not sure I know how to do anything different. The concept of staying in one place for more than a couple years is so foreign to me, I can’t even imagine it. I feel like I’m going to be stuck in this cycle of resisting attachment because I move, and then moving, and then resisting attachment because I move. And I’m getting too old for that to really work if I ever were to meet someone who can get past my long list of terrible traits (stubbornness seems to be the biggest one right now) to follow my cycle of moving constantly, because most people I would date already have jobs, have careers. People don’t ditch jobs and careers for a woman, not in a country in a recession anyway.

But can a depressed person ever really make someone else happy?

I was telling my cousin about my absolute failure at “true forgiveness” and said something off-hand but that shocked me with its truth. I told him that I wasn’t depressed because those things happened to me, but those things happened to me because I was depressed. Can I blame my depression as the reason for my self-worth issues? I don’t really have anything in my early development that could explain my self-worth issues. My parents and extended family were incredibly loving when I was a child. I honestly can’t remember if my high expectations were set by me or set by my parents. I remember being a mere first-grader and feeling like I wasn’t pretty, that I was weird and awkward and that my friends were so much prettier. I used to stand in front of the mirror, hating my potato knees, my stubby feet, my stumpy fingers. What kind of 5 year old does that? And it never stopped. I mostly appreciate my feet now for being generally cute, and I really like my hands now, but I still spend too much time in front of the mirror hating everything about how I look and wondering why I can’t be more comfortable in my own skin and more appreciative that I’m not deformed or paralyzed.

Going back to my stubbornness, I’ve certainly been told that I’m good-looking, that I’m an attractive girl. I didn’t really believe anyone until I met Mark, and he told me every time with such conviction that I definitely stopped to wonder if what he said was true. I couldn’t believe it, of course, because I’ve spent 25 years hating myself and everything he said that so dramatically countered my worldview couldn’t possibly be true. But I still try to imagine myself through his eyes sometimes, just to see if I can see what he saw. I started laughing out loud earlier this evening, remembering how pained I was when he told me I had “thick” legs, but he meant it as a compliment. I laughed because it was the first time he said something about my appearance that I actually agreed with, and yet it hurt that much more hearing someone else confirm what I already think about myself. It’s funny because I would get so upset when he wouldn’t agree with me on something and then this one time he does, and I’m still upset.

You can’t make someone happy if you contradict them all the time.

You can’t make someone happy if you don’t believe what they say even though you know they’re being truthful and sincere.

You can’t make someone happy if you can’t let them love you.

And you can’t make someone happy if you won’t let yourself love them back.

_________________________

When I was in first grade, my parents would come have lunch with me at school on occasion. I don’t remember what we talked about, but I do remember crying when they left. Crying because I didn’t want them to leave me, crying because I didn’t want to be alone.

When I was in middle school, I remember my mother was going into town and asked me if I wanted to go with her and I said no. After she left the house, I changed my mind, because of course I wanted to spend a few hours hanging out with my mom over playing with my stuffed animals in my room alone, so I hurried after her. She was already pulling out onto the road, so I ran after her, screaming for her to wait for me, for her not to leave me alone, but of course she couldn’t hear me over the car engine, so I was left panting and sobbing in the middle of a country road, alone.

When I was in high school, I spent as much time hanging out with my parents as I could and spent a good deal of my free time listening to Iron & Wine and crying, fixated on the inevitable death of my parents, when I would be left alone. I used to cry on my drive home from hanging out with my friends, knowing that a day would eventually come when they would no longer exist. I even cried after listening to the albums of my then-favorite band because I knew one day they would have to stop making music, stop performing, stop making my life more enjoyable.

When I was in college, I let all of my emotions get pent up until I exploded and finally told Alec what was bothering me, or that I was upset. I can still remember how hard my heart would pound and my hands would shake when I knew I was upset enough that I had to talk to him about it. Then I would cry and panic because I thought that any time I brought up an issue or we had a fight, that he was going to leave me and I would be broken-hearted and alone. Even when times were really good, I would cry at night knowing that at some point in our lives, even way down the road, one of us would have to live without the other.

____________________________

It’s crazy to think about this pattern of panic and grief related to losing the people in my life, this pattern of fear of being alone that has persisted in my core for my entire life thus far. It’s crazy, because now I run towards every opportunity to be alone, stuck in a cycle where I’m constantly abandoning anyone and everyone who happens to meet me and, despite my many flaws, care about me in the slightest way.

My greatest fear has been to end up alone and now I’m on a path that can only end that way.

Oh the irony.

Can I Just Tell You?

October 2, 2013 § Leave a comment

Can I just tell you? Nothing makes me roll my eyes more slowly than when people start talking about how they want to move to X city. When they want to move to X city after spending a grand total of X days/weeks there. When they want to move to X city when they’ve never left the comfort of the suburbs they were born in. Yeah, I’m rolling my eyes. 

I especially love it when they tell me that they know the city well enough after living there X number of weeks to know how it would be to live there for years. 

Can I just tell you? You don’t fucking know. You don’t know what it’s like to really live in a place until you’ve lived there a calendar year. Until you’ve lived there during each of the seasons. Until you’ve lived there during major storms, major traffic, major tourist seasons, etc. I’ve lived in the country, the city, and the suburbs. I’ve lived in places with a very low cost of living and a very high cost of living. So everybody can shut the fuck up, at least until they move out of their hometown and actually LIVE someplace new. 

Just counting places where I’ve lived longer than a year, I’ve lived in:

Birmingham, AL;

Hayden, AL;

Atlanta, GA;

Conyers, GA;

New Haven, CT;

Knoxville, TN;

Concord, VA;

Washington, DC. 

But hey, if we’re pretending like “living in a place” and “knowing a place” counts for being there for a couple months then add the following to my list:

Chicago, IL;

Northampton, MA; 

Dallas, TX. 

I honestly might be missing a place somewhere in there. It’s hard to keep track. 

Can I just tell you? When I say “Oh yeah, I’d love to live _______” it means that I’m actually considering moving there. I get so fucking tired of hearing people say “Oh man, I’m totally going to move to X.” but then they stay in the exact same town they’ve lived in their entire life and will likely die in. They either say they absolutely hate where they live (and then continue to live there since they’ve never lived anywhere else) or they say they absolutely love where they live (even though they’ve never actually lived anywhere else). 

It drives me absolutely crazy. Don’t fucking say shit if you can’t back it up. I say I’m going to get my PhD and I mean that I will actually try MULTIPLE TIMES to get my goddamn PhD because unlike everyone I know right now, I ACTUALLY DO WHAT I SAY I’M GOING TO DO. Why is it so hard for people to stop talktalktalking and ACT. 

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Can I just tell you? It’s been a stressful day. I moved to Texas, where I never ever ever considered ever living ever, for this internship that was SO talked up as this amazing opportunity. What that meant to me was not that it would just look awesome on my resume, but that I would actually LEARN something. Not just something, but actually learn how a museum the size of this one operates, how the departments work together, how each job functions within the hierarchy, and so on. 

As a woman of action, when my expectations aren’t being met or if I’m unhappy with where I am/how I’m treated/etc. I fucking try to change it. So I’m trying to find a nice way to 1. insist that my boss actually come to our scheduled meetings and 2. how to politely tell him that I don’t feel like he’s teaching me and that my expectations when I took this internship was that I would not be somebody who just does someone’s bitch work but that my skills would actually be utilized and I would be taught the ins and outs of my dept. Everyone gives me sympathy because they know how he operates and everyone tells me not to take it personally, that it’s “just how he is.” I don’t accept that. If that’s “just how he is” then I don’t want to work for him. I signed up for this because I thought I was going to learn something. I have a graduate degree. I have a LOT of internships already under my belt. I want to learn, and if he wants an intern but doesn’t want to teach, then he shouldn’t get an intern — he should get a paid assistant who already knows how to do everything. 

So my predicament is 1. how to get a man who ignores my emails and meetings to meet with me and 2. how to phrase everything in a positive way that’s still going to drive home my points in a “We’re going to work this out.” kind of way. 

I don’t accept being stuck in a situation I don’t like. That’s not where I am in my life right now. I’m unhappy working for him, and goddammit, I’m going to try to improve things.

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Can I just tell you? After my stressful, unproductive, frustrating day, I came home, lifted a bowl off the kitchen counter and screamed like a little girl because a roach was under it.  Some days, man, some days. I did stop screaming and I chased the roach around the kitchen counter and sink for a while trying to kill it before successfully smooshing it down into the In-Sink-Erator. Generally, I have a no-kill policy, but roaches can fucking die. Plus I can’t leave any witnesses after my girlish shriek. 

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Can I just tell you? If I hear another person complain to me about Obamacare, I’m going to punch someone. I don’t want to get into yet another rant, but good god… the shutdown is bad enough without people complaining about Obamacare too. That’s all I’m going to say about it. 

It just hasn’t been a very good week. A lot of stress about work, money, work, money, the state of the union, work, money, work, health insurance, work, money. Like a genius, I decided to apply for food stamps and ladies health care assistance on the day the government shut down. I feel pretty wretched about applying for food stamps because I’m white, well-educated, and could mooch money off my parents if I didn’t have such a strong sense of independence and pride. It makes me feel like I’m taking something away from the people who really need it. It’ll help me out a bit though, if I’m approved for food stamps. And every little bit helps. 

Ugh. This week can suck it. I’m hopefully just a couple days away from booking my trip to UNC Chapel Hill. That’s the one I’m really excited about. I’ve been talking to the grad advisor as well as some current PhD students, and I think it’ll be a good place for me. I’m just waiting now to hear back from the prof I want to work with… I *sincerely* hope she’s nice to me. Because this week hasn’t been going very well and it would be nice to win one. 

This wasn’t a very deep or thoughtful entry, sorry. My last few have been pretty intense and tough to write, so I think I’m okay with having a fluff piece every once in a while. The goal of this blog is to make me feel better by writing things out, and I guess I don’t feel much better after this post, but I might feel better when I read it again later. The posts that are very heartfelt and intimate always make me feel better when I write them. Every little bit helps. 

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