Self-Indulgent Drivel

naked on the internet

Category: working

It’s been a while…

I don’t write much these days.

I wrote a song a few months ago called “Imposter Syndrome.” Apparently it’s good. But other than that, I haven’t been writing.

I think part of it is that I’ve been busy with work (I’m working now!) and part of it is that I’m content enough and what I usually write about is angst. There hasn’t been a lot of angst.

But if I’m going to consider myself a writer, I have to write.

So I’ve got this temp gig working for a state agency as a receptionist. It was supposed to last for about two months, but I’ve been there for almost five. Maybe they’ll keep me, maybe they won’t, but it’s been a good experience. Having a job, having routine, is really good for me. Even when it’s a grind, it’s better than sitting at home hating myself. Now I can be at work hating myself. Ha ha.

It’s brought out a lot of insecurity, though, this job. Brought it to the surface, more like. Which is what “Imposter Syndrome” is about, that feeling that I’m a fraud and I don’t belong.

Amanda Palmer touches on that feeling a lot in her book The Art of Asking. You should really read it, I just finished it about 20 minutes ago, and it’s excellent.

Anyway. I’m going to try to write more (I always say that) and see what form my writing takes when I’m not ranting about the one that got away or some other agony from my oh-so-tortured life.

Thanks for reading 🙂

I want to know your feelings, I want to know your name

As I mentioned in my last post, a guy at work has caught my eye. More than that, it seems like he (or my idea of him, which might be horribly misinformed) has decided to occupy my mind, leaned back in a chair, put its feet up, and made itself very comfortable there. I would use the word “obsessed,” but that doesn’t really fit. There’s nothing scary about it, I’m not about to set fire to his car if he won’t get coffee with me. I won’t be leaving strange gifts on his doorstep or driving by his house repeatedly (especially because I don’t know what/if he drives or where he lives.) We have spoken twice or maybe three times ever. I have no real expectations– he’s not my prince charming, I don’t expect him to be the love of my life, he’s just a ridiculously attractive and compelling person whose image is stuck in my mental overhead projector, which coincidentally I seem to be unable to turn off. So, not obsessed. Occupied. He disappeared for a month and then he came back, and Holy Crap, I couldn’t breathe when he walked in the room. I couldn’t make eye contact. I couldn’t say hello.

The other day, I wound up alone with a woman I know to be one of his friends, and screwed up the courage to ask if he is married and/or gay. He is neither.

He is mountains cooler than I am. Loads, tons, lots cooler than I am. And this… ahem, THIS… is not about him.

This is about me.

But here’s the background: A little over a month ago, I was at Radio Cab waiting to get assigned a car for the night. This involves waiting in a room with every other lease driver who wants a cab. And lo, Alex (his name is not actually Alex) turned around from a distance of approximately six feet and smiled at me. Like, a 180 degree turn. Smiled. At. Me. While looking directly at me. And the rest of the world stopped and I mumbled something about not remembering his name, and he said “I’m Alex. You’re Kate, right?” And I died and said something incredibly stupid, because I am Kate and he knew that. And I’m sure that for the rest of our time together waiting for cabs I smiled like someone who has been pleasantly lobotomized while internally berating myself for completely losing my cool.

So then I went out and bought new pants and broke up with my boyfriend. One smile from Alex, and the fact that he knew my name when I’d forgotten his (he is so pretty that I almost forgot my own name, too, so I’m glad he knew it) made me want to be a better person. It made me want to become the best version of myself I can be. Not so that he’ll like/love me. But so that I won’t feel so damned unworthy of that potential love. Because this guy– whoa Nelly, this guy is out of my goddamned league. I have fucked-up teeth, I’m fat, and I’m somewhat unhinged. I’m clawing my way out of madness and suicidal depression. I can be selfish, I have a temper, and sometimes my feet smell really bad.

The mixture of elation and hope combined with such a crushing sense of unworthiness really did a number on me. So I’ve been thinking very hard about where that insecurity comes from and what I can do to fix it.

And part of trying to fix it is figuring out how in the fuck I’m supposed to date now that I know I have borderline personality disorder.

Because, let’s say Alex agrees to go to coffee with me. How do I avoid coming off like a complete freak? How do I avoid letting him know that I know more about him that I rightfully should? How do I hide the fact that I’ve been thinking about him far more than I’m comfortable with since the middle of April?

How would knowing those things not terrify him, even if he did initially think that I’m ridiculously attractive and compelling? Would it even be fair to enter into a friendship/makeoutship without letting him know that I’m a bit prone to fixations and also, y’know, clinically emotionally unstable? How the hell am I supposed to ask somebody out when I’m reasonably confident that the truth would cause any man with a decent sense of self-preservation to bolt?

Is the solution to be single for awhile? I can handle that, I think, except that Alex is already wedged there in my mind and I know I’ll kick myself if I don’t get up the nerve to ask him to hang out sometime.

Is the solution to seek out people who have some understanding of my sort of issues who might not be immediately deterred by my intensity? Because I really don’t want to get into another relationship based around mutual brokenness.

And how do you just stop thinking about someone? Especially when you are prone to fixations, when crushes are your version of heroin, when you know that you’d be a fool to not at least try.

Every day he doesn’t show up at work (he doesn’t show up very often) I feel both relieved and disappointed. When he’s there, I’m almost paralyzed. Some days I spend time trying to become brave so that if he’s there, I’ll be able to sidle over and talk to him. But he’s only there when I’ve finally accepted that he probably won’t be.

If he, for whatever reason, declined the opportunity to get to know me better, I know that I would be disappointed and feel like an idiot for awhile. But at least I would have asked. At least I’d know and I wouldn’t have to wonder anymore. It’s the uncertainty that bothers me. The knowledge that there are only a few reasons why someone would turn around, look right at me, and smiiiile, and most of those reasons are good.

But whatever the reasons, whatever the outcome, this isn’t about him. Not really.

It’s about trying to be less intimidated, less scared of failure. It’s about realizing that risks are necessary for rewards. I’ve spent too long doubting myself, and I am really making good progress and doing well, and… maybe this guy isn’t so far out of my league after all. I have limited myself so much because I haven’t taken the leaps of faith necessary to start writing a book, working on my dreams, recording my music. This feeling of not-good-enough is keeping me from singing in public, building my media empire, living my dreams, and… talking to this hot guy at work.

So regardless of whether anything comes of it or not, this crush has inspired me to confront some of the self-defeating thoughts and behaviors that have been holding me back, and that is an amazing accidental gift that this guy has given me. I really hope he’ll let me express my gratitude with hot, caffeinated beverages, and possibly smooches.

the curse and the blessing, they’re one and the same

Baby, it’s all such a treacherous game…

Worked a half-shift last night because I had a sudden, horrid, distracting migraine that made it so I couldn’t drive safely. Smoked a cigarette (even though I basically quit months ago) because there’s nothing better than a smoke to grant me 15 minutes of clarity so I can drive home. Which I did. And then I took the maximum number of sedatives and sleeping pills that I feel is prudent, and I’m still wide awake four hours after I arrived in my nice, safe, warm bedroom.

My therapist says that on the  nights I’m feeling crazy, I shouldn’t fight it so hard. So I’m not. I’m awake at almost six in the morning because… well, because I couldn’t sleep. And rather than lay there in the dwindling darkness, I thought I’d get up and attend to this here blarrg. Whilst sedated. Because I’m a goddamned daredevil.

My life has been on a definite upswing for the last two months. I’ve become something of a workaholic, when I can manage to drive safely. I’ve had two nights in a row now where I’ve left early because I was too ill or distracted to complete my shift. This is disappointing, but I still made a lot more money than I would have if I’d just stayed home. I’ve saved quite a bit of cash for the move I have to do in the next week. I still don’t know where I’m going. I’m excited and scared. Fortunately, if I can’t move into somewhere by next Saturday (when I have to be out of this place) I can afford to stay in a hotel for a few nights. Working 50 hours a week has its advantages.

Driving a cab is making me Zen in ways I never thought I could manage. My ability to go with the flow and remain calm even when there are somewhat stressful things going on is developing nicely. I’m not as nervous anymore. I’m generally suffused with the feeling that “I’ve got this.”  I seem to be good at my job. Let’s just hope I can keep it for awhile.

For those of you who don’t already know, I broke up with my boyfriend about a month ago. We’re still living together. We might keep living together, because we know we can stand each other and it’s a lot cheaper to rent a place together than to try to get places individually. I’ve looked at some places on my own, and it was not encouraging…

So my life, as always is in flux. But I’m doing okay. It’s nice to be able to handle stress and not, you know, die.

 

caught in the riptide

I was searching for the truth…

I’ve been unmedicated since mid-January. Off the Effexor, which could have gotten me killed. Off the Lithium because it made be feel flat, like I hadn’t used color-safe bleach and all the colors had faded. So it’s just me. Unmedicated.

The one thing I still have is gapapentin, which gets rid of my headaches, and makes me feel giddy and slightly high. You can’t overdose on it, and I don’t take it very often. But I took it tonight.

I’m up at 4:30 in the morning, and I have a good and rational reason for it: I’m a night cabbie. My shifts last 12 hours and sometimes don’t end until sunrise. There’s a consolation in that, driving home and seeing the sun come up behind Mt. Hood. I didn’t work tonight, but I feel like if I have to be nocturnal, I might as well get used to it. I am once again a vampire.

I’ve been losing weight, which is fine because I got up to about 210 lbs. last fall, and wanted to cut hunks of fat off myself. I’m lucky; I inherited my mother’s genes, so even at this rather extreme weight, I’m proportional. I haven’t weighed myself lately, but I wouldn’t be surprised if I were under 190 now. I haven’t been exercising or paying a great deal of attention to diet, it’s just that more and more foods seem to make me sick. Sushi doesn’t, so I eat a lot of that when I can afford it. Drinking a lot of smoothies. I’m hungry all the time, but my stomach cramps and I feel nauseous when I eat the wrong things. Sometimes I vomit. I soldier on.

The job is going well. I’m better at it than I expected. I’m still learning how to be a cabbie, but I’ve always been a good conversationalist, and my customers seem to like that. It’s a very free job, I go where I want or where the fares take me, and I can have a break whenever. I’ve mostly stopped smoking again (betcha didn’t even know I’d started,) so I puff on my e-cig constantly. I can do that in my cab so I take fewer breaks. I make a lot of money when I try. People seem to like me.

But the depression is still here, tearing holes in my heart. The mania manifests in restlessness, sleeplessness. One would think that driving all night would be good for someone with my temperament, and maybe it is or will be, but I so wanted to be the sort of person who slept at night and woke up in the morning. It seemed healthier, you know? Like what a real grownup would do.

The pieces are in place for me to have a good life. I have a good job, for now, which I’m good at most of the time. I have a sweet and amazingly patient partner who thinks I’m amazing and is pretty damned cool himself. I am making money and my situation is improving. I have plans, goals, hopes, dreams.

But I feel so lost. I am going through the motions. I don’t know how I feel about anything. I don’t know whether I like my job or hate it. I don’t know whether I want to be in a relationship at all. I was thinking the other day, wondering if I’m just with Jeremy because it’s better than being alone. Then I asked myself, how many of my relationships have actually been better than being alone? And then I laughed and realized that I think too much.

My mom is visiting next week. I haven’t seen her in a year and a half. That boggles my mind. Mom has been amazing and supportive through all the mental-health bullshit I’ve been through, unwavering, present, understanding. We are very close these days.

I guess I’ve sort of closed myself off. And I need to open back up if I want to get better. I just don’t really know what “better” looks like, yet, or how to get there. Drugs? Therapy? Buddhism? I think a lot about death, but passively. Wondering if I really am doomed to keep living like this, wondering if the merciful thing to do for myself would be just to end it. But then practicality steps in: it would be very cold jumping off the Fremont Bridge, and I can’t kill myself in Jeremy’s bathtub, the poor boy has been through enough.

So I live, I go to work and to therapy, I talk to my mother, I write blog posts. I try to take care of myself and get out of this fog. I am going through the motions, and I am basically fine.

oh you bloody motherfucking asshole

I am not a great decorator. After Mike The Asshole told me my taste was tacky, I stopped putting things up on my walls for awhile. After we broke up, I of course plastered my walls with weird postcards and the like. But I’ve moved seven times in 3.5 years, and I seldom put anything up because it’s exhausting and I’m just gonna probably move in six months anyway.

So my current bedroom has  only one thing on the walls.

It’s a letter my dad sent me years ago, when I was desperately poor and felt, well, lame. Because I needed help again and I felt like a 28-year-old shouldn’t be asking her daddy for money every month. I should have had my life together, and I didn’t. He sent a check, and included this note, and everywhere I’ve lived in the past five years, this has been on my wall.

I am, whatever our problems, and whether I want to be or not, Daddy’s Girl. I have always wanted to impress him. I tell people, “my father is brilliant, I am merely very,very bright.” My father has something like 13 patents. My father had a part on the space shuttle, although I’m not sure what. My daddy does things with lasers and tank armor and makes assloads of money and lives in a house with a glorious view of the Pacific. My father is generous and charitable and at times astonishingly kind.

Which is why this is so hard for me.

He doesn’t goddamned get it, at all.

Martha says it better than I can:

You say my time here has been some sort of joke
That I’ve been messing around
Some sort of incubating period
For when I really come around

I’m cracking up
And you have no idea
No idea how it feels to be on your own
In your own home
with the fucking phone
And the mother of gloom
In your bedroom
Standing over your head
With her hand in your head
With her hand in your head

I will not pretend
I will not put on a smile
I will not say I’m all right for you
When all I wanted was to be good
To do everything in truth
To do everything in truth

I don’t know if that conveys it to you, but it’s playing in my head on a constant loop these days.

I talked to my dad about 10 days ago. It was about an hour after my weekly therapy appointment (and two days before I cracked up and went to the hospital.) And he gave me his usual dad advice that what I probably needed was some stability, that I should get a job, that the happiest and most stable I’ve ever been was when I was working, and that my first priority should be getting back into school.

Let’s address these points, shall we?

  • I probably need some stability.
    • Well fucking DUH
  • I should get a job
    • I totally agree! That’s why I’m working on becoming a cabbie! Also, if you haven’t noticed, I’m losing my mind like right now this very moment and perhaps a desk job isn’t going to magically fix things.
  • The happiest and most stable I’ve ever been was when I was working
    • Y’know, I’d noticed that too! And I looked for work for months, but I’ve been sort of bedridden with this whole “I want to die I want to die I want to die” thing I’ve been indulging in lately, so it’s made it hard to keep keepin’ on. I applied for everything I could until I could no longer work anyway because the depression and anxiety were close to killing me.
  • You should go back to school (even though I’m unwilling to adequately support you while you do it.)
    • I dropped out of school when I was 28 because of what I now know was a raging case of bipolar disorder. I could not sit still in a classroom. I spent my days at home hating everything and my nights at bars with pretty boys because they were the only thing that reliably made me even temporarily less horrid. You won’t help me pay for it, and I’m ineligible for more loans.

And I have some points of my own!

  • If I went back to school now, the same goddamned thing would happen. I would crash and burn. I know it. This is not a guess, this is the truth.
  • The last job I had, I had to quit after five hours because I got a panic attack so bad that it gave me diarrhea.
  • My top priority right now is to get healthy.
  • My top priority right now should be to get healthy.
  • I cannot do anything useful until I am healthy.

I have lost 15 lbs in the past MONTH. That’s terrifying (although I did have it to spare.)  When I try to eat normal food, I shit or vomit. I’m basically on a liquid diet most days, and that’s more expensive than you’d think. I’m going through withdrawal from Effexor, which means that I burst into tears sometimes and my head constantly feels like it’s receiving electric shocks. All I can think about all day is going to bed, but when bedtime rolls around, I’m wired and don’t get to sleep until 2am when I meant to be in bed at 9pm and have to be awake at 8am. I have not once been on time to the hospital where I spent 20-30 hours a week trying to get better. Getting better is exhausting. Lots of anger, lots of crying.

This is hell. This is hell. This is hell.

Honestly, I’m feeling hopeful and better and therapy is working and I think lithium might fix some of this so I go to my stupid groups and I take my stupid pills and I deal with the BZZZZZZZZZZT  in my brain and I get by on not-enough sleep and I try my hardest not to buy that cute vintage jacket or fuck that cute boy because I don’t want my mania to rule my life.

And I unreservedly say FUCK YOU to anyone who has never been through this but thinks they know what’s best for me.

This is HELL. And I am fighting, and I am BRAVE, and I am STRONG and I am going to fucking BEAT THIS even if you don’t believe in me. Even if you think I’m not trying hard enough. All I do is try. I fight and fight and fight and this is hell hell hell.

Hold on, hold on, hold on

I was in a car accident on November 2nd, 2011.  It was the other driver’s fault.  His insurance company doesn’t see it that way, and is refusing to pay out for my medical bills or the loss of my car.  The lawyers I’ve spoken to agree with me, but my case isn’t strong enough for them to take on.

I am in pain.  Every day, I am in pain.  I have a headache every day  My shoulder feels like I’m being stabbed.  My back hurts.  Every day.

To get on disability, I need to verify that I am injured.

To hire a lawyer, I need to verify that I am injured.

To verify that I am injured, I need to see a specialist.

To see a specialist, I need to get into a low-income healthcare program.

I have been waiting to get into the low-income healthcare program since February.  They were supposed to mail out my card two weeks ago.  As of this morning, they have not mailed out my card.

Even with the mythical card, I will still have a $500 deductible, every month.  This means that I will be responsible for the first $500 of my medical care.  And it resets each month.  And each month, I need to reapply.  So if I need to get tests or treatments, I need to pack them all into the same calendar month so that I don’t have to pay more than $500 out of pocket.  And I don’t know how I’m going to scrape together $500, anyway.  But it’s better than not having any coverage at all.

I make $10 an hour.  I work as close to full-time as I can.  I am always in pain.  The work I do, while simple and not particularly physical, aggravates my injuries.  I can’t afford to not go to work.  And my job hurts me.

So I spend a lot of time on hold.  I make a lot of phone calls.  I have to be a tireless advocate for myself when I have never in my life been so tired.

I get out of bed.  I go to work.  I make the calls.  I get put on hold.  I wait, and wait, and wait.

I don’t know what to do but keep trying.

a still life, gone cinema veritè

I have been home in Carmel for over a month.  I got my old job back and am working full time.  My life is fairly good.

I have gotten fat.

For awhile today I was thinking I might be pregnant, but I took a test and it turns out I’m not.  I’d have to be about four months along if I were, and I think I might have noticed sooner.  I thought maybe the weight gain and some of the weird symptoms I’ve been having could be attributed to being knocked up, but the discount pregnancy test from Save Mart tells me that I am not.

I’m just fat.

I was in the bathroom trying to tame my unruly mane of hair, and I started noticing all the features of myself that I don’t like.  I have acne.  I’m chubby.  My glorious D-cup boobs are back, but so is my gut.  I hate my jawline.  I have fat, stumpy legs.  My hair seldom behaves.  I’m not very graceful.  I don’t have much tact.  I tend to alienate people.  I can be highly abrasive.  I am often too quick to take offense.  I often don’t notice when I’ve offended people.  I tend to burn bridges.  I judge people harshly.  I’m too forgiving sometimes.  I can be passive-aggressive.  I don’t follow things through.  I’m too sensitive to noise and environment.  I can be a bit of a spoiled princess.

I can say all these things and not feel bad.  That might be because I’m totally wacked out on Vicoprofen. We’ll get to that in a moment.  But while I was doing this honest appraisal of myself, examining the things I don’t like about myself, and I felt fine.  At peace.  I love myself anyway, fat and tactless though I may be.

So, about the painkillers: I’ve been getting terrible headaches for the last month or so, and it seems I might have something called Post-Concussion Syndrome.  Confusion, headaches, mood changes.  You can see how, coupled with the recent weight gain, I might think I’m preggers.  But nope, not that, just a lingering head injury!  You should try it, it’s awesome.

So I’m seeing a doctor about that in two weeks, and she’ll probably send me to a neurologist, which I can’t afford, so I’ll have to call Daddy.  Again.  And they’ll say, yep, sounds like Post-Concussion Syndrome, nothing we can do, drink water and get enough rest.  And then they’ll charge $1200.

DESPITE ALL THIS: I’m fairly happy.  I love being back at work.  I’ve been sleeping well.  I’m getting along with my family.  I feel fulfilled, I’m thinking about and planning for the future, I have hopes and dreams again!!!!!

And I am resolutely single for the first time in my life.  For the FIRST TIME in my LIFE I am not chasing after, pining for, trying to satisfy, attempting to appease, or trying to coerce anyone into loving me.  There has never been a time in my life that I haven’t been trying to chase one boy or another.  Now I’m at over three months of being absolutely, gleefully free.

I’ll love again, I’m sure.  But I’ll be smarter when I do.

And hopefully I won’t have a headache anymore.

be my friend. hold me. wrap me up. unfold me.

I am happy.

This been going on for over a week now, so I feel like I have to comment on it.  It’s not like I’m gleeful every waking instant, but there’s a lot in my life right now to feel grateful for.

I found a job.  It doesn’t pay an awful lot, and the work itself isn’t anything special, but it’s a decent job indoors where I’m basically left alone, and everyone’s nice to me, and I can daydream all I want, and it gets me out of the house.

I have made friends in the last month.  Beautiful, amazing, wonderful friends.  Shout outs in particular to Cate and Danny, a big hearty thank-you to Michael, and hugs to all the other crazy-cool people I’ve met in the last month.  Has it only been a month?

And I’m seeing someone.  It’s very new and very undefined, but what it is mostly is very good.  I’ve decided to give him the blog-alias “Mr. E,” because it amuses me to do so.  He has an amazing smile and these crazy-blue eyes and we have a hell of a time together.  It’s good.  It’s so good.

I even made up with GT, such is the strength of my good will.

I’m happy.  I hope it lasts.

before we’re swallowed by the work machine

I’m looking for a job.  Apparently that’s what people do when they want to make some money and not have to live in their mother’s laundry room for the rest of their lives.  While I was initially afraid that working would cut into my party time, I’ve since remembered that I can go three days without even leaving the house or putting on a bra or anything, and maybe having a job would be good for me.

I’d like to write for a living again, but I don’t know how realistic that is right off the bat.

I have some leads.  Let’s see where they go.