Friday, September 30, 2011

It's Not Your Lungs This Time, It's Your Heart That Holds Your Fate

Sometimes I stop and wonder how I get to these low, low points in my life and then realize they happen like they've always happened: gradually, then suddenly.

It's not that I don't realize I have so much to live for.

My life is filled with laughter, love, family, friends, fluffy kittens and My Drunk Kitchen. At the same time, though, it's filled with psychological turmoil, lonliness, anxiety, helplessness, lack of affordable healthcare and grapefruit.

I have a four year degree from a prestigious college, and after two months of unemployment, I now stand and scrub parts in a shop for eight hours a day. (Though on the bright side, I did just get a kind-of promotion, so I get to sit down and draw faces in epoxy glue all day--woo!)

It's not that I don't mind paying my dues--having a college degree isn't the same as it was twenty years ago, and most people don't land their dream jobs straightaway. Especially in this economy, and especially in Erie, where the unemployment rate is thirty percent.

I knew I wanted to take a year off before school because I wanted to be more psychologically well for graduate school, and I wasn't ready to be away from home so permanently yet. But being here feels like I'm drowning, like my brain slowly atrophies with every passing smiley or frowny face I draw in epoxy. I've told people that the reason I'm not taking a job with some non-profit in D.C. was because of healthcare reasons (read: lose healthcare benefits and DIE), but the truth is, I am just so overwhelmingly terrified of change that I can't ever see myself being successful in life.

And part (even most) of that is because of the PTSD.

But you know what? The real world doesn't give a fuck if I had a traumatic upbringing. My private loan companies don't give two shits that my anxiety gets so out of control sometimes that I down twenty milligrams of Valium just to make it through the day. When all is said and done, my past doesn't make any difference to anyone else but me--just my current actions matter.

Growing up is fucking hard and also stupid, but I've finally, FINALLY contacted a therapist that was recommended to me by my childhood psychologist, and I'm looking into treatment facilities for PTSD and hoping against all the hopes that my insurance will cover something like that.

I've come to realize that I can't hide behind the past, that I have to move on and become the person I'm going to be, because I think she's going to be pretty great. I just need some help to get by, and I need to learn how to ask for it when I need it.

I need to start being me again. Or finally.

Friday, September 2, 2011

She is Perfect in That Fucked-Up Way

That title's been derived from Everclear's "Amphetamine," a song I listen to roughly seven times a day.

It's about a girl. (Which, incidentally, is the title of my Women's Studies comp!)
She tried to escape her former life; she "came out West to break away clean from her family and her friends and her little girl's dreams."

"She is, according to Everclear's singer/songwriter, "the saddest girl that I have ever known."

She came out west to escape the pressures of her current life, to explore a different mode of being, to break away from all the horrible that caused her to turn to substances like amphetamine.

Results: unstable. Even moreso than before.

See, I've tried running away. I've tried removing myself from undesirable situations both literally and figuratively--I went three thousand miles across the ocean, for Chrissakes.


There's an annoying self-help book gatheing dust on a bookshelf upstairs entitled "Wherever You Go, There You Are."

Girl, you can go to California.
You can go to Bumfucknowhere, England.
You can go to Boston.
Any place not in the tri-state area.

Wherever you go, there you are. Sure, maybe you have less environmental, social or economic stressors (or perhaps even more, if you are hella unlucky). When it comes down to it, you are you.

See that?
It's important.


Whatever circumstances brought you to this moment, whatever violence or pain or misery or disaster brought you here, to this place you can escape from, are going to be carried within yourself so long as you keep them buried there.

I guess what I'm trying to say in my Ambien-induced nostalgia/wisdomfest is that the past will always be with you no matter where you go.

Should you choose to ignore it?
Accept it?
Embrace it?

I am caught in a liminal space between acceptance and embrace[ment?].

On the one hand, I feel my crazypants makes me an incredibly unique individual.
My sense of humor is off-beat and quirky, sometimes a bit macabre, but it helps me to deal on some level with painful memories that my brain has declared off-limits.

I want to run.
I want to go to DC and be successful.
I want to rabble-rouse and set shit on fire.
I want to be a thorn in the ass of patriarchy.

...if only I could convince myself that it's worth waking up in the morning.

I'm perfect, I've decided.
Perfect in that fucked-up way.
Maybe it isn't the healthiest thing in the world.
Maybe I should buckle down and get long-term PTSD treatment in a facility.
Maybe I could go under hypnosis and find out what REALLY happened to me.
But you know what?
Fucked up as I am, I LIKE me.
Of course, me being the way I am does not make it easy to attract a potential mate.
I need someone who is the opposite of me stability-wise so that we don't implode on ourselves when shit hits the fan.
This post ended up in a really different place than it started.