It’s a weird feeling to suddenly look around at the people in your life, and realize that absolutely nothing is the same anymore. Sure based on my judgement calls of late I’m not suggesting that I’m the same person I use to be. In fact I’m completely open to the possibility that the only person who has changed is me. It’s like I woke up one day with a completely different set of eyes.
I simply do not see the people in my life in the same way that I once did. Do you think it’s possible to assign certain personality traits to the humans in our lives the same way we give our pets human attributes? Do we give the people in our lives personality traits that help us maintain a certain comfort zone in our own perception of how we believe our lives are? People who I use to find that I could not go a single day without talking to simply do not interest me at all. It’s like leaving your home planet. and waking up in some alternate one.
I cannot see myself, so you are only getting my side of the story from my point of view, but my life is no longer the same. I can only tell you that after an hour, or two of being around someone I am ready to run. I have completely let go of some of my relationships. I read a quote that said ” Let everything go, and see what stays.” I could not have predicted the consequences of this one seemingly simple concept.
When the will to live again finally kicks in again you might think something really exciting must have ignited the spark. The truth is while lying in my bed I looked around my room, and realized my surroundings matched my insides. The room like my mind had become absent of any signs of life. It was cluttered with piles of unresolved dust, paperwork, and laundry. This prompted me to venture out to the rest of the house which of course was in exactly the same condition.
I made my way to my Mr Coffee, and put on a pot. I tackled a sink full of dishes, then room by room I began to deal with the clutter. It seemed that my mind cleared with each pile of mess. Cleaning up your physical mess is a lot easier than cleaning up your cluttered. unattended relationships. For months I had been as absent from my relationships as I had been from tending to my home.
The big problem was that even though I could no longer deal with my cluttered surroundings, I was still content with not dealing with my relationships. I did not have even a twinge of desire to reach out to the people in my life.
I’d love to tell you I stopped feeling sorry for myself after Tarzan’s death, but that’s not quite what happened. After my heartfelt talk with Ms Lee I did switch over from the this is about me mode only to jump onto the deeply dark why did he do it abyss. It’s strange because my job deals almost entirely with death. So why was his death so different? I can truthfully tell you I still have no answer to this question.
Why did Tarzan take his own life? It’s another question I have no answer for, and believe me I searched for a very long time. The only thing I can tell you is that somehow after months of delving I woke up one morning greeted by a desire to live again.
Well… I feel rather dumb for complaining about things right now, but then again I kind of have to purge it. I have my health, which somehow managed to avoid the death flu and several stomach bugs, I have a great kid who will be going to an advanced art program this summer. My depression has not, so far, kicked into gear. However, I feel like I’m just strong enough to keep that below a crust… for now.
I even have a landlord who tried to give me his rent back when I told him I’d lost my job and said he’d support me getting moved if that is what I felt I needed to do.
End of March, not long after my fifth anniversary, I came into work expecting to have the same soul-sucking experience that is has been over 90% of the time I’ve been there. I’d been training a new manager on how to do everything I did (plotting for a smooth exit), most of which fell back to me as they were getting overwhelmed. They helped field some of the calls and emails coming in, but now we had two of us drowning rather than just me.
But I’ve been there the longest. And I work for a company that epitomizes every single article I’ve ever read about toxic environments. I get no information, no communication, but then am reprimanded when my responses to those outside are “too vague” and not “resolution-driven.” It’s really no wonder that the company itself has had to change names over the course of “twenty years” it likes to brag its been in business. By law, you have to shut down when you report a loss too many years in a row.
The VP… again, not my superior… but is the right-hand to one of the owners….calls me into a conference room around lunch. Everyone is gone and the only other person there is the HR manager.
The writing is on the wall.
“Huh, am I being let go?”
I’m being told yes, and they ask if they need to go over why. I say “I don’t see the point,” and go through the list of where to find anything they might need, forward my phone to the new manager, pack my things in a very small bag (all while being offered a large box several times and professing I don’t need it). I tell them its not like I’m going to disappear so if they can’t find something, just contact me.
It was so surreal.
I’ve never been fired.
I hate this place, but I busted my ass for over five years, and now… fired?
I get in my car and take one last look at the building I feel like I have wasted a chunk of my life on and realize… I NEVER have to come back here…
I realize I’m smiling about this idea.
I realize that I’m so stubborn and have been such a closet optimist that this shithole might actually get better that this might have been just what I needed to leave and make the changes I’ve wanted to make.
I don’t even unfriend the VP on facebook, though she does get moved to the restricted group.
I talk it over with Spawn and let them know what happened and we talk about moving… like… now.
Thirteen years of life to clean out, toss, donate, sell… and so so much. Every time I think we might have gotten through one room, I find yet another box, stash of papers etc.
I would even be grateful if that was the most stressful part.
Yes, they are paying me an additional month and told me to file for unemployment (which I’ve yet to see, so apparently I did something wrong). I socked away my tax refund rather than pay anything off or blow it and I have a 401k and a money market investment account I can pull from if I feel like buying a house… a modest house, but a house nonetheless.
But I don’t feel ok.
I feel on the edge of freaking out.
Every time I’ve ever moved, I’ve usually had a friend or family to stay with until I got settled. And this time, I do have a cousin in the area, but neither of us are the type to share space unless we have to… holidays and that sort of thing. Three days is the expiration.
I’m sure the wife if dodging me when I’m up there for interviews so I don’t ask to move in with them for awhile. But the truth is, I’d live in my car and lie about it before I’d even ask.
It killed me to even tell them I was out of work. They are the pair with which I feel like I’m being graded whenever I’m around them and to ask for advice…. was an intensely hard thing for me to do. They know the area, they might have tips and places I would not think to look. And my cousin, did have contacts at a couple of the staffing agencies, both of which has sadly done nothing for me.
I’m also prideful as hell. Every time I’ve been through something stressful: divorce, poverty, a death of someone close to me, I shut out the world and maybe talk about it once I’ve resolved it.
But when you have a kid at stake, you have to put on that face of adulting as though you know what the fuck you’re doing when in truth, we’re all still those kids inside and figuring shit out only when we fuck it up. And when you have a kid at stake and their well-being, you get help wherever you think it might happen no matter how much of a prick your pride tells you to be instead.
I know… I know, logically, we will be fine. It’s been 3 weeks, I’ve submitted to over 90 openings, been in one 3 hour interview doing something I’ve never done before, but was eager over the prospect of learning something new, in spite of the long hours. They won’t decide until the 15th of next month, so I’d prefer not to wait. I’ve had a few other promising phone interviews, but its just not happening as fast as I would like it.
I’m really fucking good at what I do, and when I’m not, I’m very independent about figuring it out. I own my mistakes, I’m as honest as I can be within professional constraints. Hire me, dammit!
But then you also start house hunting, and they tell you to get pre-approved, but then they tell you you won’t qualify if you’re not employed… a friend advised just getting up there in the first cheap postage stamp I could rent, and then start looking and this way I would be available for interviews… which sounds great!… until I look at the daily cost. It’s HUGE and its like NO ONE wants to give you a deal for maybe a month. They are hell bent on locking you in for a year or more.
I want as much as possible to buy a real house.
Spawn wants a real house.
I want a real house.
This is where Spawn wants to finish school.
I don’t have much time before Spawn realizes that living with their parent is just not the way they want to do it forever. So before that period, I want them to have the house I’ve never been able to offer so they can decorate and do and make it, into everything they ever dreamed. I want that too.
But first, I want work… or I want both… or I want to not have to worry about both…I don’t know.
What if I’m just not enough for any of this? The last thing I want is my stress to become Spawn’s stress. I wish I knew what to do…
I have been thinking a lot about the way I live within my own little world of “Me, Myself, & I.” At times I can be very painfully oblivious. Like so many others I selfishly wander around having the distorted outlook that somehow everything is about me.
I have a client in her 80’s who has Alzheimer’s. When I blog I refer to her as Ms, Lee. She was a teacher by profession. Ms’ Lee was born, and raised in Mississippi. Her mother was also a teacher, and her father was a pull-man porter for the railroad service. What makes Ms. Lee & her family so extraordinary is the fact that they were African-American citizens with careers in Mississippi during the 1920’s & 1930’s. No small accomplishment by any means.
Ms. Lee is declining on a daily basis, but her essence remains powerfully in tact. I have grown to both respect, and love her. When we are together I confide in her. This has become beneficial to us both. It helps to stimulate her mind by focusing on real situations. Ms. Lee naturally falls into the role of teacher, and I have the privilege of being the student of a highly educated beautiful soul. Her wisdom is timeless, and she possesses the ability to remind me in the most gentle manner that my way of viewing the the world is not the only way.
After Tarzan took his life I found myself in such a dark place. I questioned my every conversation with him. I went over every single scenario trying to figure out why I had not been able to see how much he was suffering. Why didn’t he confide in me the same way he did when something was going on with he and Jane? Ms. Lee continued to listen to me ramble on as though I had been somehow more hurt by Tarzan”s death than he had been. At that point I was still completely oblivious to my own behavior.
Then while staring directly into her eyes, I felt the warmth of her hand as it covered mine. Very softly she said “It hurts me to see you suffering so much. Maybe your friend had no words for his suffering.” The empathy that filled her powerful words immediately removed the “Me, Myself, & I” from mine.
It’s entirely too easy to get caught up in the whole “Me, Myself. & I” world. It’s also deeply humbling to realize that some things are not simply about us. “When the student is ready the teacher will appear.”
I can hardly believe it’s been two months since Tarzan’s funeral. The last thing I wrote about him was our discovering his alcoholism. His stay at rehab was followed by a blackout drinking binge after just four short days of sobriety. Tarzan returned to rehab again. I don’t believe he went back because he wanted to, I believe he went because we all begged him to try again.
When he returned home he was clearly not the Tarzan we all seemed to know. I think we just never knew him sober. He was not the kind of drinker who smelled of booze. He was always upbeat, and busy. No one in our little circle ever once had even a single clue that he had an issue prior to the incident before his first rehab stay.
Tarzan committed suicide two weeks after his return from his second rehab stay. It’s been two months since his funeral, and it still does not seem real.