So I've got this thing, this obsession some might call it, with doing well. I haven't posted in a while because I have not had a day off of work since July 16th. And while nineteen days straight is by no means my longest stretch, it has been a very difficult nineteen days - and I'm staring straight ahead towards at least seven more.(For those of you counting, that's twenty six, my record is thirty three days between two jobs).
Here is an excerpt from a post I wrote in December of 2010:
"Why I am being left behind so much recently? I hate it. I'm the one that is supposed to go, travel, visit, depart, LEAVE, not you! I want to go to Chicago. I want to go to Ann Arbor. I want to go to a fucking movie! It's not fair you get to go! You didn't earn it! You don't deserve that freedom! I DO!
But I don't. I did this to myself. I obligated myself to another second job. Why is it so hard? Why is life so expensive? Why can't I just have one job? Everyone else around me does - I'm literally the only person I can think of that works as much as I do. I hate it, I really do. I quit UK because I started hating the people enjoying omelets on Sundays and I had to work. NOW, I'm hating anyone that isn't sitting behind a desk (and sometimes even them too because they don't have another job to go to once they've clocked out of that one). I hate people in stores, in cars, at restaurants, in bars, standing on street corners holding a sign, my sister making crafts all day and getting a massage. I'm filled with hate, my account balances are higher than they've been but where's the fucking joy? Why did I leave one job to have more freedom only to immediately jump into another? Money? Seriously? I don't need it!"
I have apparently learned nothing in three years. I continue to pick up shifts, offer up a ridiculous availability and still cannot say no. I am only working one job, but within that job I am enacting three roles: server, bartender and manager (and in that order). As a result of this, I am constantly tired, I have avoided and rescheduled the necessary things like going to the dentist for an aching tooth, the optometrist for an updated prescription, giving the dog a bath, cleaning my kitchen and spending time doing what it was a initially came here to do - write.
I am not resentful towards anyone at work (mostly) as it was my doing - no one asked me to pick up those extra shifts, it was my call. There is no one to blame but myself.
And I do this, I tell myself that I am working this much because I have not yet figured out to afford to live on my own, pay all of the bills, be the only one to walk the dog, clean the apartment, put gas in the car and buy groceries that more often than not are left uneaten and spoil in the refrigerator. So please, if anyone knows, can you please tell me?
I sometimes look out at my future (as far as one can when nothing is promised, nothing is sure and can possibly be predicted) and consider just how much more work I have yet to do. I cannot help but feel a twinge of jealousy and at times, just the smallest bit of hatred, towards those lucky enough to have been born into a wealthy family, their education paid for; or those who have chosen a more marketable degree thereby securing a job straight out of school or soon thereafter; a partner than is able to help financially rather than hinder ones progress; or during my darkest days, those that have had wealthy relatives die leaving them with inheritances and trusts.
I fear and sometimes resent that I have not and probably will not be like or as lucky as any of those described above. I look forward with a bit of dread knowing that I will be the only one that I can count on to take care of me. Sure, there are those in my life that I could turn to for help. There are things that I could do, fat I could trim, and places I could move that would make things easier, alleviate the nagging feeling that I have every hour I am not on the clock that I should be so that I can prepare for the future and the unseen. But, all of that would require the swallowing of the engorged, bitter, and tough pill of pride.
If I asked for help, if I changed my schedule and my situation, I would no longer be able to hold up my independence as a shield, and if I'm honest, I would no longer have that "success" to throw in the faces of those that have not been able to do what I've done - rely on myself and myself only. I was able to succeed. I am able to do it everyday. Sure, it's hard work. Sure, there are things that I've sacrificed. Absolutely, I am tired and stressed out and missing out on so many good and great parts of life. But at least I'm not asking for help. I'm not a beggar. I am not weak. I depend on no one. I am successful. I am secure. I am all by myself.
The voice in my head screams and shouts out:
"DOESN'T ANYONE RECOGNIZE HOW HARD I HAVE WORKED? CAN ANYONE PLEASE JUST TELL ME, 'GOOD JOB,' 'YOU DID IT,' 'WHAT AN IMPRESSIVE AND GREAT PERSON YOU ARE.' DO YOU KNOW HOW HARD I WORKED TO GET WHERE I AM? DO YOU KNOW WHAT I HAVE SACRIFICED?? WHY ISN'T ANYONE NOTICING ME? WHY ISN'T ANYTHING HAPPENING TO ME? WHY AREN'T I HAPPIER?? I'M A CATCH! I'M SOMEONE THAT YOU SHOULD WANT TO GET TO KNOW! WHAT'S WRONG WITH ALL OF YOU THAT YOU KEEP IGNORING ME??? WHAT MORE DO I HAVE TO DO TO PROVE MY WORTH???
But let me tell you the deepest secret that no one knows, the root of the root in the tree called life (thanks mr. cummings, I wish I have the brilliance you had)...
I don't want to be like this.
It is so hard to be so responsible all of the time. It is no small thing to always be on time. It is a constant struggle to pay for everything. It is exhausting to always be right. It makes me sick that I so often fall victim to judging those that fall short of my own standards and work ethic and goals that I have "reached".
But perhaps the fact that I am not writing, I am not doing what I set out to do and am essentially ignoring the fact that I worked for eight, long years to acquire a master's degree, is my great justice. Working in a job that I would have qualified for LONG before enrolling in my first college classes to pay for said college classes is karma smacking me square in the jaw. It is my life's great irony that I am paying so much for something that isn't paying me back. I have succeeded in raising my credit score, moving out of the Midwest, and have found a job that feeds me physically and financially. However, I am not enjoying it. I am not having any fun. I might as well have not gone to college for all the use I am getting out of my DEGREES.
I would like to say or think or imagine that I am brave and strong enough to quit my job, burn some bridges, starve in the way that all good artists do. But I know myself too well to say that it will ever be a real possibility. I would plan for a long time to jump ship and live "freely." But that is no real freedom. Perhaps I'm not cut out to be an artist. Perhaps I am not free. Perhaps I am my own warden. And at the end of my very long days, when I return home crumpled and drained and unable to do much more than stagger around my apartment complex walking my poor neglected dog, perhaps my own self-imposed prison is where I feel the safest. I can only quietly sing through the bars of my cage, too afraid that I'll falter and fail should I ever allow myself to escape.