I am slowly losing patience with almost everything. I am not even sure what is causing the short fuse, but it is definitely there. Stress about money and finding work. I have been at this too long and have seen no results that are actually giving me a paycheck. Sure, I am interning at Metro (do not get me wrong, I appreciate and love it so much) but I do not see a nickel or dime. I knew going in that it was unpaid, but at the same time I am in dire straits when it comes to my financial woes. There are moments when everything is fitting, the stars are aligning, and I know things will be okay, but as soon as it becomes nighttime, and the darkness seeps in, that is all I feel, the darkness.
I wish I could afford more social outings. I wish I didn’t have to cancel on people. Or sit there with a look of worry when the bill comes. I wish that the bills could be paid and still have some left over. I wish that I didn’t get that look of pity for it either. I don’t like taking help. I do not like taking hand-outs. There is a proud streak that runs through me and it goes down to my bones. But now, I am one step above groveling at someone’s feet. It’s pathetic to me. And it’s especially hypocritical of me to have these thoughts and feelings because if one of my friends was in a similar situation, I would do everything within my power to help them. So how come when someone offers that same help to me I turn it down with a firm declaration of “no!”? I am a beggar just like the men and women who waddle by my car on Irving Park. I am just wearing nicer clothes, though they, too, won’t last much longer. And I have a mother and father who are at least willing to help by putting a roof over my head.
It sucks when you begin to base your worth off of others opinions or the desire someone may have of you. And not just romantically or emotionally or physically, but also when you send out countless resumes, fill out applications, even to places you never thought you would, edit cover letters, and desperately go searching for something, anything at this point, that will help with the finances, and you get nothing but dust and mothballs back. Or when you get something back, an interview or call, and the two people who claim you need a job the most change their tune. “Don’t just take any old office job, you have the ability to build something.” Out of what funds? How do I even begin to live my life when I beholden to someone else?
I was talking the other day with Jonathan and he mentioned how he did not want me to ask if he was doing okay anymore. I worry about him, and I worry about how he handles his emotions with his father. It kind of felt like a smack in the face that he didn’t want me to show my concern, but when I got to thinking about it later, I got the impression that he thought my questions after his well-being were a backhanded way of asking how he is getting along without me. Like I would be some great loss to him and his psyche. I laugh at that notion. I laugh because I never felt like I impressed upon him. If I did, I am sure that the ending to our relationship would have played out considerably different. Or maybe there wouldn’t have been an ending. This is not me thinking little of myself, this is me reflecting on actions and behaviors that I was part of, and witness to, for five years. What’s even more is that usually when I ask him how he is doing, it’s really an excuse for me to try to convince myself that I am doing okay. He once said he would continue to read this blog, just so he could know how I am faring. I can honestly say that I doubt he does read this. If he did, he’d know that my questions to him also reflect the pain I feel and the hurt and the uncertainty. They mirror my inner turmoil.
Another thing that has become more difficult is living at home. I cannot thank my parents enough for their hospitality, but there is a part of me that is slowly dwindling down to a reproachful and angry person because of my circumstance. I do not look down on people who still live with their parents. I just know that I don’t want to. I want to make it on my own, and that’s why this situation feels like a complete let down. I went from having a job, paying half of rent and half of groceries and half of everything to depending on a man, to now depending on my family and seriously giving thought to accepting donations from friends. And it makes my stomach turn in disgust. The thought that comes to mind is “oh, how the mighty have fallen” but I can say I have never felt mighty. I have always felt fragile and shaken, like a deer running from headlights. Friends, family, co-workers, even relative strangers, have all mentioned the strength I must possess to have gone through the emotional wreckage that is my past. If everyone else can see it, how come I cannot feel it?
I am sitting at the island in our kitchen. The house is completely dark except for a single light above the sink and the gentle glow from my computer. I know this is home, but I have never felt more out-of-place in my life. Earlier in the summer I was giving thought to leaving, to moving out and hitchhiking across the country and experiencing the tough life. There is a bird with cut wings humming a sad tune in my heart. I look at my friends who have traveled, who have moved to new cities and began again, who have made names and careers for themselves, and I am jealous. There are always circumstances, though. Forethought and saving money, not having a shit storm hit you and leave you stranded in the middle of an emotional hurricane, getting funding from parents so they can whisk away to Europe. When I was with Jonathan I thought of the practical. We saved money. We made a home for ourselves. We did not spend extraneous cash on vacations or concerts. We hoarded it. We spent a lot of our savings on California. It was a new beginning for him and the end for me. He is home, and I can tell. I am literally home and I feel more out-of-place than I have ever felt. Chicago beckons me, but I am not sure for how long. I feel like the main character from the movie Chocolat. She follows the wind.
I will leave you with this excerpt from The Name of the Wind:
“What flower would you bring me?” I teased, thinking to catch her off guard.
“A willow blossom,” she said without a second’s hesitation.
“I thought for a long minute. “Do willows have blossoms?”
She looked up and to the side, thinking. “I don’t think so.”
“A rare treat to be given one then.” I chuckled. “Why a willow blossom?”
“You remind me of a willow.” She said easily. “Strong, deep-rooted, and hidden. You move easily when the storm comes, but never farther than you wish.”
I lifted my hands as if fending off a blow. “Cease these sweet words,” I protested. “You seek to bend me to your will, but it will not work. Your flattery is naught to me but wind.”
She watched me for a moment, as if to make sure my tirade was complete. “Beyond all other trees,” she said with a curl of a smile on her elegant mouth, “the willow moves to the wind’s desire.”