L is for Loser (and Winner)

L aslBefore we get into the main topic of today’s post I’d like to comment on a few things.

First…

As seen at psychokitty.blogspot.com.

As seen at psychokitty.blogspot.com.

Happy Daylight Savings Time!!! Yay to more sunshine!

That said, I’m done with winter, snow and ice. Despite what Mother Nature may or may not show me outside my window. So from now on you’re gonna be seeing a lot of flowers on this blog. In my little world, it’s spring.

Second…

I’d like to thank all those who “like”d my last post. I know it wasn’t the best thing I’ve ever written, so I’m assuming the “like”s were you showing support for my decision. If you haven’t read the post, I basically said that I’d been inhibited by focusing on my stats for this blog and that I was going to start paying less attention to them.

Frankly, I thought my last post sucked. It was incoherent and self-indulgent. I’d delete it if I hadn’t promised myself when I started out that I wouldn’t do that. I’m gonna do my best to write better from now on.

Anyway, if you “like”d that post: Thank you! I don’t get a lot of feedback on this blog so it felt really good that you thought enough of me to click that little button. I hope you’ll continue to do so. Oh, and feel free to leave comments. I like feedback!

Third…

Click on the pic to go to the source.

Click on the pic to go to the source of the image.

As you may or may not remember, I’m Catholic. And what a lot of Catholics do is pray to saints. More on that here. I’ve decided to dedicate my blog to my personal patron saint St. Joseph (aka Jesus’ foster Dad). If anyone wants to know more about why I’m doing this (or anything else really), please leave a comment.

Feel free to skip the next bit if this kinda thing gives you the willies…

Here’s my prayer of dedication, written by me (keep in mind that I’m still a newbie Catholic, so this prayer might sound a bit strange. I’ve been told that there is no wrong or right way to pray, so I’m not gonna start worrying about it):

 Dearest St. Joseph, foster father to our Lord, I dedicate this blog to you. Help me to follow your example of humility. Help me to always write the truth. Protect me from those who would try to hurt me with their words because of something I have written. Pray for me and for my readers so that we may do God’s will and live in holiness. Surround us with your loving goodness. In the name of the father, and the son, and the holy spirit. Amen.

Moving on to today’s topic: Loserdom.

Four years ago, I was working at a job that I didn’t particularly like. It wasn’t a horrible job, I just didn’t like it. So I quit. Despite my problems since leaving that job, I have never regretted it.

Everytime I passed my old workplace I reminded myself of how awful I felt working there and how glad I was that I left. Everytime I put gas in my car I celebrated leaving that job. I had to commute 30 minutes one way to get there, so I spent a lot of money on gas. With how much gas has gone up since I left, I would have spent soooooo much more money on gas then I’ve had to in the last few years. Everytime I completed a task at my current job (when I was working) similar to one at that old job, I appreciated how much that old job taught me and how happy I was that I no longer worked there. Everytime I went on a break at my current job (again, when I was working) I was happy that my blood sugar was higher (because I hadn’t had to work for six hours straight before getting a break) and my blood smiley facepressure was lower (because I wasn’t so frustrated). Everytime I was treated with respect by a supervisor, or given a “thank you”, or a “good job”, I mentally did a happy dance because I left that job. Everytime I filled out an application and had to write that company’s name down I calculated how long it had been since I’d worked there and smiled a special smile.

Every. Time.

I just reapplied to work there. Why? Cause I haven’t worked since May and it looks as if Congress isn’t gonna reestablish long-term unemployment benefits. On the upside, the company was bought out by someone else so it may be a better place to work now then it was then. On the downside, I feel like a complete loser.

I know I shouldn’t feel that way. It’s not really my fault that I lost my job. After all, I didn’t decide to fall down the stairs and break my arm. I didn’t decide to become suicidal and hospitalized. I didn’t decide that the combination of the two made me unable to meet my job’s qualifications. It just happened. And I got fired. It wasn’t my fault. The unemployment office agreed: it wasn’t my fault. And now I need a job. At this point, nearly any job that would be healthy will do (read that as any job that doesn’t involve fast food or vast amounts of chemicals). But I still feel like it’s my fault and I’m a loser for having to apply to that job. A job that I did because I could fake it, because it wasn’t too hard, because I had to.

If I look at this situation logically, it’s actually a triumph for me to apply to that job. A few months ago, I couldn’t getblue rose outta bed, much less work at a job that required a commute and a smile on my face. Logically, I know if I end up working there again it doesn’t have to be forever. It could just be until I find something better, closer, requiring less energy.

I know this because that’s exactly what I said when I took that job in 2000. And 2001. And 2002. And all the way until I quit the damn job in 2010. Ten years of telling myself that I was only working there until I found something better, closer, blah blah blah. Loser.

Let me tell you a story: Back in 2000, when I first applied to work at that job, I was unemployed. But that time it was my fault. I had been working as a data entry operator (for perspective, this was back when computer scanners for office work had just been invented) and had quit that job on impulse. It was a boring job and I was a self-destructive idiot. Back then if you didn’t have a criminal record you could pretty much get any job you wanted without references or a DNA test. So I walked into this company, applied for a customer service job, and two weeks later was working.

At first, I didn’t mind the job. I’d worked in customer service before, so I was used to the whole “smile while they yell obscenities at you” thing. And the job, which had a government contract, was different. Especially after I’d been there a while and was trained to do more than take messages. So I stayed. And stayed. And stayed. Eventually I got promoted (that was the work six hours straight position), then promoted again. Most of the people I worked with were nice and the pay was okay. There was plenty of overtime, so bills got paid (when I didn’t spend all my money on food that is). And when my attendance was poor, they yelled, but didn’t fire me. Did I want a new job? Sure. Did I look for one? No. Most of the time I was too busy dealing with family stuff (people dying, becoming alcoholic, etc) to really do much job searching, so it was okay. I learned a lot about myself and about the workplace.

Then things changed, or at least I changed. I got my Associates degree and I reached a point with my family where it looked as if I could focus on myself (instead of taking care of elderly or addicted people) for awhile. I wanted to get graduatemy Bachelor’s degree. And I wanted to do it NOW. Before any other family members got sick and had to be taken care of. Before I lost my motivation. Before I got any more stuck.

So I changed everything about my life. I moved, quit that job, went back to school, and held on with both hands. Some of it worked out: I got my Bachelor’s degree. I’m proud of myself for making that goal and achieving it. But a lot of it didn’t work out: I got evicted, sick, and spent too much time in hospitals.

Writing this out just makes me realize that part of why I feel like a loser is because I’m in a very similar place now to when I first applied to work at this company. I’m unemployed, self-destructive, a bit lost. Back in 2000, I had no idea what I was doing with myself. I was just floating along, waiting for life to happen. Now it’s 14 years later and I’m still floating along, waiting for life to happen.

The difference is that I have some idea what I’m doing with myself. I’ve achieved something, a Bachelor’s degree, and that’s nothing to sneeze at. My counselor a couple weeks ago pointed that out. She even had me think about how many odds I had to work through to get to that darn degree. And I did it. The fact that I’m just now able to appreciate it shouldn’t negate the fact that it was a HUGE ACCOMPLISHMENT (that and the fact that I’m trying not to compare myself to others).

I could have given up anytime in the past few years and not gotten the degree. Frankly, I could have given up anytime in the past few years and ended up dead.

What I’ve got to keep reminding myself is that I’m not the person I was in 2000. And if I go back to work at that company, it’s not gonna be the same as in 2000. The company’s changed. I’ve changed. Even if there are some people still working there that I knew, they’ll probably have changed. It’s 2014, I have a Bachelor’s degree, I’m on proper meds, and I have more tools now than I did then. I am not a loser. I’m a winner.

A winner who has the opportunity to change with every breath I take. Even if I end up making those changes at the same physical place I was working at in 2000.

A winner who has to remind herself of that even if she feels like a loser.

After all, the location I am in is not the same as the place I am in.

forest

Blessings to all of you.

Be well.

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L is for a Letter to God

l smoke blueDear God:

Over the past few days over a foot of snow has fallen and the wind won’t stop blowing. Right now, it is thirteen below zero with a wind chill of forty below. I am sitting inside, warm, comfortable, with electricity, and an internet connection. And I’m going stir crazy.

I cannot stop thinking of all the things you have given me. Things that many people don’t have or have not been given. When I was homeless, a home was opened to me. When I was unable to control my suicidal impulses, I was admitted to a hospital. When I needed a friend, one was given to me. So many times you have pulled me back from a brink: homelessness, suicidality, illness. I have a college diploma, live in America where I don’t have to worry about genital mutilation or being stoned if I get raped, have plenty of food, electricity, clean water, and a safe place to live. But I don’t know what to do with these gifts.

For the past few weeks I’ve been fighting the undertow of depression. Instead of using the tools my counselors have given me, I’ve done what I’ve always done: binge, sleep, spend money I don’t have, and yell at myself.

I feel so unworthy of all I’ve been given. God, you sent my soul onto this earth in as perfect of a state as possible and all I do is mess things up. I’ve misused my opportunities, ignored possibilities, lived in fear, and allowed my soul to become black and ugly.

Why? Why am I still here? What do you need me to do that I haven’t done already? How do I do whatever I’m supposed to do if I can’t identify it? How do I do it when I’m often too paralyzed to do even the simple things like brush my teeth, shower, cry?

I often think of an instance in my childhood where I felt your presence so completely. I woke up in the middle of the night for no reason that I can remember and opened my eyes to find that you had flooded my room with moonlight. Beautiful silvery moonlight poured through my window and hugged me. Somehow I just knew that it was you who was causing it to happen and you were telling me that you loved me.

So often God you have given me these little signs. A song played on the radio with lyrics that seem to speak directly to me. A flickering candle where there is no draft. Warmth when I should feel cold. Little signs that speak to me and tell me that you care.

I love those signs but I don’t know what to do with them. How can you care for me, love me, when I’ve misused my life? So often I think that the world would be better without me, that I’m worth less than the smallest insect.

When I was in high school, I was in the musical Godspell and had a small solo in a song called “You are the Light of the World.” In my mind, I’ve replaced those lyrics with “I am the scum of the earth.” I try not to sing these lyrics but sometimes I can’t help it. I believe that I am that green, gross, disgusting stuff that you pull out from sink traps and moldy insulation.

Logically, I know you would not bless me with all the things I have if I were so awful. I know it in my brain, but I cannot seem to feel it in my heart. And I know, God that I cannot move on in my life until I do. But I also think that I cannot move on, cannot feel worthy, cannot do what I’m supposed to do until you answer my questions:

Why am I always so scared?

Why can’t I motivate myself?

Why does food do more for me than interaction with people?

Why can’t I be content with what I do have?

Why can’t I open myself up?

Why can’t I accept love?

Why am I still alive?

Why does it hurt so much?

Why, please God, please tell me, why?

Sincerely,

Bonnie.

 

Blessings to all of you.

Be well.