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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???

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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.