TRIGGER WARNING: SUICIDE (but I’m not suicidal now–it’s in the past)
So, I’m not sure which direction my life is headed in. I’ve bailed on my second novel of the year because I wasn’t feeling it. I haven’t sold any furniture, but I haven’t tried very hard. I get agitated when my furniture is imperfect, and I become fearful that a buyer will notice.
So I wrote to my friend Brutus and asked him about it, and he said I should go back to teaching kids how to read.
That cued a total meltdown. I taught reading at a private learning center for over three years, and it was somewhat disastrous. I originally worked there from 2001 to 2004, and then I moved to Georgia and went crazy (but trust me, the seeds were already planted), and then I returned here to Louisville and worked at the reading center again from March to August of 2006. A grandmother in the lobby gave her toddler granddaughter a spanking that summer, and I wound up trying to kill myself later that night. I missed a week of work, and my employers weren’t pleased.
Brutus says I should’ve threatened to call the police if the grandmother didn’t agree to quit, but I’m fairly certain that would’ve gotten me fired. Not that there’s any explanation for my failure to take action. I panicked, as anyone would, and shut down. You can’t react in those situations without botching it unless you’re trained in all sorts of stuff. Maybe not even then.
You’d think that my flashy suicide attempt would derail Brutus’s burning ambition to get me back into teaching reading, but he was like, well, get over it and find coping strategies.
Fair enough. Maybe. [Eyeroll.] But then there are a million other problems. I don’t even know how to describe them. My brain doesn’t work right at work. I’m terrified of coworkers, and I start processing them as seeming like animals or aliens. When I first worked at the reading center, I tried to hide my mental illnesses from my employers, but they could see into me, and they watched me like a hawk. It was a horrible environment. I don’t want to put myself back into it.
On the other hand, I could work elsewhere. Maybe. But I really think those days are behind me. I’m not employable. I could try it, and things would go wrong. They. Would. Go. Wrong.
As much as I appreciate Brutus’s encouragement, there are days when I can’t even handle regular life. How on earth would I be able to call an employer and say, “I’m hormonal and convinced everyone hates me, so I can’t quit sobbing. I’ll have to miss work today… and maybe all week,”? How does anyone do that?! No, really, I’m asking.
I realize I could treat the PMS (in theory), and I’m trying to with extra Prozac as we speak, but it’s always something. If not PMS, it will be something else. I have an impossible time getting myself to be consistent, and employers sort of like their employees to be reliable and dependable. That’s not me.
Anyway, I think I convinced him, because I said, “Are you willing to take responsibility for how disastrously wrong my life might go in a matter of days?” and he wasn’t. (Quite honestly, I’m not willing to take responsibility for it, either. The workplace isn’t for me.)
I’m not sure which direction to orient myself in, but I’m 99% certain that it shouldn’t involve a workplace outside of my own house (i.e., self employment). God bless Brutus, and you have to love the guy, but he’s unaware of my reality. He seems to think that my mental illnesses are things that I can overcome. It doesn’t work that way. But I’m not sure how to convince him of that without seeming like a whiner. Like, oh, you could do it if you tried hard enough. No, I couldn’t. Been there, tried it.
So is our value to society defined by whether or not we have a job; and if so, does the job have to be a “helping” job, like teacher or nurse, etc.?
I’m being ridiculous. I’m going to give myself a stern talking-to.
Meg, you overcame self-value just yesterday. You have the rest of your life to master societal-value if you’re looking for extra credit, or whatever. But slow it down a notch! Enjoy the pinnacle you’ve just reached. You worked hard for that one.
Yes, that’s Wise Meg. Wise Meg is always listening to “Standing on Higher Ground” by Alan Parsons and thinking deep thoughts.
Good grief. That was my attempt at looking wise. I think I need a shower. I promise I’m not pulling my hair except for artistic reasons.
Brutus said that witnessing a spanking isn’t the worst thing that can happen, and that if I want to get mad at him and scream over it, I should feel free. I would, and don’t doubt it, but he and I have been through so much relationship drama already that I don’t want to keep creating more. Brutus is a very loving and kind person, but he has no trauma in his past, and therefore he knows not of what he speaks. You can argue and yell and try to tell someone what something’s like, or you can just accept that he’s had an easier life.
It’s too bad that people who have no trauma don’t get it. If only there were a way people could get it without having to experience it firsthand, ya hear me? I don’t really wish that on anyone, but some actual understanding would go far. Oh well. I’ll figure it out!