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hide my head i want to drown my sorrow { no tomorrow, no tomorrow }

i am not strong enough.

my entire body aches & throbs as if it’s been crushed by a steamroller. moving hurts. breathing hurts.

i can barely stay awake, because sleep is all my body & weary, weary soul can handle right now.

and yet i feel guilty. guilty for my pain. guilty for my inability to cope. guilty that i am not strong enough to make it though the day…because i, i am one of the “lucky ones”. i read as cis-gendered and white. i live in the { relative } safety of a liberal city in a liberal state.  i am employed. i have benefits.

still, i fear for my life. i fear for my friend’s lives. i fear for the future we are creating. i fear for my nephew, for my friends’ children…i fear for all women. i fear for all people of color. i fear for people who love the same gender as they are. i fear for all marriages. i fear for trans*folk. i fear for all people of “non-christian” faith.  i fear for immigrants. i fear for all of us with mental health issues. i fear for all “disabled” folk. i fear for all of us who LOVE FIERCELY. i fear. i fear. i fear.

I AM NOT STRONG ENOUGH

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litany of terror { unemployment edition }

twice, in my life so far { and hopefully never again–knock on wood }, have i been unemployed. not the between-gig-a-and-gig-b or the i-just-quit-a-shitty-job-should-start-looking-for-a-new-one or even the i’m-taking-some-time-off-just-for-me type of unemployment. no, i mean the you-show-up-for-work-to-be-greeted-by-your-manager-“hey-we’re-gonna-have-to-let-you-go” type. the soul crushing type. the, yes, i MAY have hated this job but i still came in everyday and gave it 100% and then you fucked me in the ass type.

this category { if you will } of unemployment sucks major assballs. twice i have gone through this. twice i have had to apply for EDD { unemployment benefits } and SNAP { food stamps } just to get by. twice i have had to face the humiliation of not being able to know how to answer: “so, what do you do?” the emotional scars and anxiety NEVER go away…or, at least, they haven’t gone away yet.

which brings me to the present day–i am utterly & completely terrified of losing my job, once again, and having to face unemployment. my current position is by no means glamourous, nor do i honestly believe it is in any amount of jeopardy, but the looming monster of stress/anxiety/doubt/paranoia which follows former unemployeds { such as myself } finds ways to make me panic.

my job isn’t commissioned-based, per se, but they *DO* keep a running tally of how many successful “conversions” { new  memberships } each employee makes…and it does reflect in your performance reports and can even determine how many hours/shifts per week you receive during leaner times of year. and i’ve have been stuck at 28 conversions for about 2 months now. nevermind the dozens of membership forms i hand out, or how often i talk it up–no one has taken the bait.  which leads me to this morning…

i am scheduled to work from 9:30-5:30, no big deal. however, from 9:30-10:30 i’m scheduled as “misc. event” { ??? } now normally, before the store opens at 10, we will have vendor workshops, but they END AT 10, because the store opens for business. so what in the world is this 9:30-10:30 business???? the previously mentioned monster of stress/anxiety/doubt/paranoia is panicking that this is some type of intervention…i.e. “stein, you aren’t good enough. you need to get your act together or else” or that i will show up and be told, once again, that i’m not needed.

how does one vanquish these demons? can one ever? or does the monster of stress/anxiety/doubt/paranoia follow you forever, once you’ve been through the pain of non-voluntary unemployment???

letters to friends lost/ letters to friends retained: part two

z,

this will { most likely } never be read by you. i am not sure whether i find that to be a blessing or a hindrance, but i suppose it is what it is.  perhaps it will allow me to share what has been weighing on my heart for the past 7+ years.

i’m not really sure where to begin— when we met? when i first felt utterly hurt/ betrayed? on the reflections i have made since that initial crushing blow? maybe i will begin with the question that has been weighing most heavily on my mind: were we EVER truly friends, or was i just a convenient “accessory friend” to keep around for awhile?

sigh. i am no longer sure what hurt the most. from the very first moment i met you, i felt i had found a kindred spirit. i stood up for you. i fought for you. i had your back when other students questioned your life decisions. i hated all the times that i had to take a backseat to your need to be the center of attention, because i was always willing to let you be, even when i needed it too. it hurt so much when, shortly after i was married { and figured, since you also married young & had many people second guessing your decision, we’d support each other, stick up for each other… } you joined in with all the other skeptics, and singled me out as the reason my spouse was now losing all his friendships. you were supposed to be my best friend! we had lived together, cried together…we had even stood up at each other’s weddings! at the time, though it hurt, i chalked it up to part of your need to fit in with the greater group, to maintain your position as center of attention….and i forgave you.

when i moved away, things got better for awhile. i felt we were repairing our friendship over our phone calls. i listened to all the difficult stuff you were going through at the time, and you listened to me. i figured the long physical distance between us was helping our friendship heal. i was elated.

then came THE INCIDENT. in all truth, i know longer remember the exact details…did you actually send me  a letter or email? or do i just remember it that way??? all i remember is that—out of no where—you made it perfectly clear that you didn’t want to have contact with me. i didn’t understand why at the time. i **STILL** don’t completely understand today. perhaps because of the detached way everything happened from then on???

so you sent me a letter. or email. or neither. maybe our mutual friend y told me everything over the phone.  all i knew is- for the time- or friendship was over. and it was somehow my fault. but i didn’t know why or how or what i had done. i THOUGHT i was being a listener/ support/ true friend but you felt very differently. there were months { maybe even years….it’s rather foggy now } of silence.  what felt like overnight, i went from still considering you my best friend to learning you sort-of hated me at the time. and now considered the aforementioned y your best friend. in fact, you had decided y wasn’t only your new best friend, that the 2 of you were the same person/ each other’s doppleganger.

i hated being cut off from you. i worried about you. i missed you. i didn’t understand what i had done wrong, why you didn’t want me in your life. { to this day, i still don’t know completely }

i moved again. to a new state. the same state & city as y.  everytime you called y, it hurt. everytime i had to hear about you from y, it hurt. and then came the nail in the coffin…i *FINALLY* got an explanation about what had been going on…. from y. because you had given her permission to finally tell me. do you realize just how painful that was?!?!? that you had decided i should finally hear what had really been going on, but you didn’t want to tell me yourself. that your new “best friend” got to tell me. and the worst part is, i still don’t get your reasoning.

that was 5 years ago. since then, i think we have seen each other twice. both times have been…fine. civil. even mildly pleasant. but they are a shell of what we were.

here is what i don’t understand: if you thought i was going to judge you, you clearly never really *knew* me.  the things that “drove us apart”…were all things i said/did BECAUSE i cared so deeply for you. and wanted what was best for you. and was always going to be by your side no matter what. and it kills me that y is now your best friend, not because it isn’t me, but because she is an enabler. TRUE friends are the ones who give “tough love”, but let you still be you….not the people who tell you that anything goes and you can do whatever you want. it kills me that we can’t talk about ANY of this, like it’s some deep dark past we’re supposed to ignore. it hurts me because i sooooo desperately care for you, even today, despite everything that’s happened and i’m so pleased to see the person you have become/are becoming and i have the knowledge that it’s all apparently one way.

i wish, sometimes, i could just write you off. a lost friendship.

envy & blessings & regret

it’s phenomenal how often in my life these three things { envy, blessings, regret }become inexplicably intertwined. the “negative” states of being force me to remind myself of what blessings i have, but reminding myself of said blessings makes it painfully clear the things i am lacking. and i’m not even necessarily referring to tangible objects. here is what i’ve been reflecting on recently….

BLESSINGS

i’m not one to usually divulge such information, but since it will put it painfully into perspective, our family { self, spousal unit, 2 kitties } officially made under $8,000 for the fiscal year of 2012. that’s not a typo. under $8,000! with unofficial income { aka cash } that puts us up to maybe $10k at best. and yet, we never went hungry. we always made rent. we paid our utilities. we were able to move. we were able to insure our car and keep gas in it. because of supportive family and even strangers we have been able to keep going. what a blessing indeed! and yet, there are still huge unresolved financial burdens { old medical bills, student loans, the constant use of our one credit card when times get tight } that i mire in worry & doubt about how much longer can this continue? i have tried to take steps to become more financially stable { my job is at best 25-30 hours a week and is under $12/hr….but with awesome benefits } but the harsh reality of the economy, and my marketability have so far gotten me no where. which leads to…

REGRET

i regret all the little “life altering” decisions that, if i could go back in time and change them, would put us in a better life situation. i find myself regretting what i studied in college, or even that i WENT to college, and sometimes even that i decided to pursue my master’s degree…which seems to have made me LESS marketable instead of more.  i regret that i didn’t take more advantage of opportunities that were before me during my academic years: i should have studied abroad more, done more internships, submitted works for publication or consideration at conferences.  i know i can’t change any of things, which can hurt so deeply and { for me at least } makes it difficult to move forward with my life.  i get overwhelmed by the people around me, whether they are total strangers or people i have known for decades who seem on the surface to be struggling less than i am; than we are. which leads to…

ENVY

the inner beast. the peculiar thing is, as previously mentioned, i don’t feel/think i’m envious of tangible, physical STUFF. as a clear example, i will reference someone i recently reconnected with through the magic of social media. { i will try to keep it as anonymous as humanly possible } i can not remember a time i was not jealous/envious of…let’s call her uma. i met her in college, and she radiates warmth, vivacity, joy and is impossible not to like. i wanted to BE her { not in the creepy SWF way }. she had a childhood i could only dream of–uma’s parents were missionaries { which, in and of itself, i’m not envious of. i had a hard enough time with my own father who had ALMOST become an ordained minister. } which meant she grew up in far-away exotic countries, was well-traveled, and truly “worldly”. she was, and still is gorgeous- in part because of those qualities she naturally radiates- but also because she doesn’t try to be gorgeous. part of my collegiate envy was professional–i was a theatre major, and was certain at the time, that acting was what i was going to pursue. uma was not a theatre major, but was involved with theatre, and we regularly would get called back for the same roles….and they would go to uma. it was heart-breaking– particularly *because* of the fact that she did not want to professionally pursue acting, and i did. how was i supposed to gain experience, and hone my skills and get better if i was never given the opportunity? and uma was? sigh…fast-forward to the present day and reconnecting. she is still gorgeous and radiates this odd inner joy/peace/vivacity/beauty that i’m both drawn to and am envious of. she lives abroad…which i am envious of. not only that it’s not HERE, but that’s she has lived in so many places that i want to visit & experience for myself. and cannot { at least now } afford to. she has 2 beautiful children, and while i am not envious of the having kids { i really don’t think i ever want any }, i am envious of the capability to afford children. the more i find myself filling with envy over other people’s lives, i realize because it HURTS SO BAD that my life is lacking those things.

i’m not really sure where i am going with all of this. it is so difficult to make heads or tails of it all.