My last post was pretty dark. I promise this one won’t be nearly as dark, but it’s not going to be happy flavored either. It’s just another day that I need to let some stuff out.
These days I feel like a soda can that has been dropped. I’ve let so much pressure build up, and I know that the only way to fix it is to pop the tab and let some of that pressure out, but I also know what happens when you pop the tab… Stuff explodes out and goes everywhere.
I am about halfway through year four of this spiral. I can’t even say it’s a downward spiral, it’s more like a balloon spiraling out of control…
Two weird metaphors and I’ve barely even started…. strap in!
Some things have improved, and I have to acknowledge that, but those improvements have come at a cost. A year ago at this time I was barely scraping enough money to pay my bills and I had nothing left over. I’ve always been poor, and I am used to it, but the older I was getting the more worried I was about everything, especially health. I can’t say things are much better, but at least now I don’t have to worry about getting my rent in on time, and I can spend more than $20 a month on groceries. I’ve even managed to start rebuilding my savings! I’m up to around $150 over the course of the last few months and, yeah, that’s not going to help out in any sort of an emergency, but it has been nice to be in a position where I can afford to toss a bit in there every few weeks.
I’m not going to focus on the money stuff for this post though because at the end of the day, it’s just money. I have 4 walls, a roof, and a bed and I’ve said since I was younger that is all I need. Though I have complained about it a lot on here, I’ve never been money driven, I’ve been purpose driven. There are times I think this was a mistake, and other times where I try and be proud of that. My only financial goal over the next few years is to get to a point where I can afford some reasonable quality mental health care, and I think I am moving in that direction, however slow it may be. Rome wasn’t built in a day, yadda yadda.
So, what is the cost of these improvements? Time and stability. I started a Monday-Friday 8-5 last year, and while it didn’t fully cover my bills, I did love the stability. I liked having a routine. It helped my mind feel a little less cluttered and allowed me to make some progress in my physical health. I’ve been fortunate to be able to get back to some small version of my former job. Basically M-F I work 8-5, then I teach lessons from 5:30-9, mostly traveling all over the city. It’s kind of funny because I am back to where I was 10 years ago. I started off teaching just like I am now, worked my way up to a college teaching job after years of grad school, then poof….It’s like the game reset…though this time it is on hardcore mode and with student debt. Again, I am grateful to be teaching, but I would be lying if I said I had the passion and enjoyment for it. Before it was a years long grind, driven by passion and dedication, don’t get me wrong, it was also very much a job, but now it’s something I do to collect the checks and try and pay some bills. I’m also much older now and don’t have the energy to keep up. I try and use my lunch break every day to practice so I can keep up with my students but I’m more burnt out than ever, and making considerably less than I used to. As much as it was, and probably buried somewhere deep down still is, my passion, I don’t want to do it anymore.
I said I’ve always been purpose driven, and depending on your philosophical leanings, we either have a purpose, don’t have a purpose, or nothing matters. I’d like to still believe there is something I am meant to do, I just wish I could figure out what that is. From my undergrad to my doctoral degree I’ve always kept myself on ‘the grind’ from when I wake up to when I go to bed. It’s what I know, and I guess what I am good at, but I hate to think that’s my only purpose. My younger self was naïve enough to believe that hard work pays off, and truthfully, it did. Back in 2019 I was in a place I never thought I would be in a million years, but like everything else, it came at a great cost. I spent my life working to keep my mind off of…well, my mind. I used work as a distraction. If I keep working harder, my brain will fix itself.
All of those ignored/suppressed thoughts and emotions lead to a nervous breakdown, and here I am in year four. “Highly educated,” broke, alone, and not a shred of confidence to figure out how to help myself. I try to look for things I might be good at, or places I might have a voice, but I’ve become so anxious and afraid that I’ve resigned myself to doing what I can to pay the bills, and locking myself inside my apartment and being ashamed of myself.
I came out four years ago and it was the highest high I’ve ever felt, but now it feels like the biggest mistake I’ve ever made. Sure, I wasn’t the least bit happy, but I was only embarrassed of myself on the inside, and unhealthy as it might have been, I was far better at repressing than I am at expressing.
anyway, that’s all for now.