Like a song with only 3 chords

The quality of my life has never reached a lower point. I can say this with absolute confidence. I moved from my hometown to Seattle, and while I certainly didn’t expect to be living the high life right away, it has been a never ending series of struggles of various magnitudes.

Got a great job! Lost a great job. Car broken into and damaged to the point of expensive repair. Unemployed for two months, wiping out whatever savings I had. Snagged a retail job but have watched my hours yo-yo so much to the point where I’m only averaging 25-30 hours a week. That’s toeing the poverty line at that wage. Saving no money. Every time I manage to save up a nickel, I learn that I owe a dime to some pop up expense.

Worst of all is my living situation. Moved in with my then girlfriend and her family, but we split about 9 months ago and I’m still here. Still here. Normally, when I break up with someone, I go radio silence for a while. Helps me sort out my feelings about the whole thing, and usually allows the rekindling of friendship at a later date, if we’re so inclined.

But I’ve been stuck in this bubble for nine months. Right across the hall from her at all times, sharing a bathroom. Which wouldn’t be that big of a deal, but the rest of the house feels like a snake pit as well. Her aunt and uncle (the landlords), routinely have these big loud arguments. Best part? Almost always in the kitchen. Half the time I say, screw it, and go and buy something to eat. Which doesn’t help my savings.

It wouldn’t be so bad if they were the type to feel ashamed and put the argument on hold as others arrive in their presence. People argue in private, that’s normal. But no, they carry on like they’re the only ones in the house. As a person who lived in a pretty damn stable household and doesn’t necessarily love conflict, this is a real struggle to deal with.

So I never relax. My ex constantly comes knocking on my door to try to small talk, but like I mentioned, I’m not there yet. I haven’t been able to distance myself mentally. So I give curt responses until she leaves. A closed door is no barrier, unfortunately. She don’t care.

And it’s fine, I get it. Try to be amiable. But I can be plenty amiable to people without barging into their room, ya dig? So I never relax. I don’t feel like this is “home”. I have nowhere to let my guard down, and it’s unlike anything I’ve ever experienced. A little personal hell on earth, considering how much I enjoy just shutting myself out from the world to recharge at times.

Now, I’m certainly not innocent in all this. I’ve done fuck all to change my situation. I’ll take a step in the right direction, and then immediately feel content and burrow in. It’s hard to sustain momentum. Plus, I’ve gone off the deep end, drinking wise. I mean, when I was younger, I used to drink hard. Way too much, way too fast. Blackout every other weekend. Pretty destructive behavior, for sure, but it was usually refined to the weekend. But now?

Now I struggle to go consecutive days without drinking. It originated as a coping habit, for sure. Something, anything to remove me from the reality of my situation. But it’s only made things worse. Drinking is what lost me my job in the first place. I had a job where I was the only one in the office past 5pm for a couple hours, and not wanting to walk through the door to my “home” sober, I would crack a few open. Left a can in the trash one night, got busted. As I should have. Dumb.

Did that slow me? Not really, unemployment made it worse. Can you imagine all that free time I had to sit there with my venomous thoughts? My idleness? My complete feeling of utter defeat and anguish? Here was a life that I never asked for, couldn’t even fully grasp at how it arrived. To think of where I thought I’d be at 27, and looking at myself at that moment…well, I just had to turn to some drink for comfort. It was the only relief I could see for myself.

And I was that close to saving up enough to get my own place and move out. Nuts. I certainly don’t believe I’d keep drinking at the pace I have if I managed to get out of here. Find a place to feel safe for once.

Gone with the paycheck were the benefits. No more doctor visits, no more medication, no more therapy. While it hasn’t been a complete spiral, it’s been a life trending downwards. Finally I snagged a retail job, and that put me through the holidays just fine. Unfortunately, most of my paychecks were going to food and booze. Food, because the kitchen still is a war zone. Booze, because I couldn’t face reality.

But still I’ve managed to hold that job, and be a model employee just fine. There’s something about retail that I connect with. And I think it’s as simple as helping others makes me feel so much better about myself. Even if it is as small of a thing as directing them where to find the product they’re looking for. A sincere thank you kicks up some of the dust littering my soul.

On an aside, I had a nice moment on my run this evening. A man waved me down as I was going past, and was having trouble figuring out when and where his bus was going to be. A couple taps on my phone and I was able to direct him to the right spot. I was passed by the bus only minutes later, him on board. His gratitude was real and it felt good. I could have more moments like this in my life, but I’ve been too focused on trying to crawl into the smallest corner of “home” as I can, hoping it will all just pass by.

Okay, so this job worked fine for a while, and I grew content, but the hours started to dwindle and still I didn’t think to job search. It’s only these past couple months when I’m barely pulling 250 a week that I realize, things have to change. A full time job will be the first domino in correcting my life. Better job, better money, better savings, better living situation, better quality of life. I wholeheartedly believe that the day I move out of here will be one of the happiest days of my life. It’s that bad for me.

I’ve only been actively searching for a job just this week, but 30+ applications later, I’m feeling pretty good about my initial surge. I’ve also ran more days than not over the past week. Something I can’t say that I’ve done since, hmm  *checks last post* about a year ago. Yikes.

All this had a catalyst, however. I recently spent a pretty fantastic weekend in Texas for my brother’s bachelor party. His group of friends, and himself, are all so accomplished. Home owners, six digit incomes, plans for the future, great circle of friends, stimulating conversation. Basically all the things I’ve either wanted or been missing. I still can only count the amount of friends I have on one hand here. Plenty of people like me, but I haven’t reached out to the point to cement any friendships. Because I’m ashamed of how I live. I keep thinking I don’t have anything to offer anyone.

I live with my ex and her family. Yikes. I drink to excess. Oof. I’m slovenly, completely unmotivated, and a depressive sack. Strike three. That’s what I keep telling myself.

But seeing what my brother and his friends have achieved? Seeing what kind of work they put in? Got me inspired. I don’t want to be this fat slob with no direction in life, the one that everyone keeps having to worry about. All I could think during my bro’s weekend was “don’t be a drag, don’t be a drag”. Because I’ve been as blah of a person as you can get lately.

One of the nights, I had a hard time sleeping. I had been reading Mr. Mercedes by Stephen King, and got to a point where you find out what happens to Frankie. That’s vague enough if you haven’t read it. All I could think at that moment is Fuck, I’m Frankie. I’m the thing holding everyone back. They’d all be so much better off without me, no matter how much they say they do care.

And I brokedown a bit. That was a low.

I mean, it’s a weird comparison giving the situation in the book, but I’ve always felt like someone that’s just kinda in the way of my family. The black sheep for sure.

Coming back from the BBQ weekend (It was in Texas, after all) all I could think was, I’m not going to be this same person at the wedding. I’m going to have at least something going for me. Not having my medication has been tough, but I remembered the one thing that always helped, no matter what. Exercise. So, I’ve been running this week. With that exercise has come motivation (funny how it works that way), and I’ve slammed out applications like crazy. I’m not going to be here in two months, that’s my promise to myself.

I got dealt another bit of motivation upon coming back. I was feeling good from the weekend and sitting around the table with some of the housemates in a rare show of social activity for myself. Out of nowhere, my ex says, “Hey Joe, how long have we been broken up? I’d like to start seeing other people.” Which caught me off guard, and obviously made everyone else uncomfortable. Her cousin immediately buried himself into his phone.

My response? Well, yeah. That’s kinda how relationships work. But it was still a weird thing to blurt out. And then I thought, oh yeah, duh. You say, “let’s see other people” when you want to break up with a current partner. If you say “let’s see other people” nine months after you’ve been living with your ex, it means you met someone.

And I had mixed feelings about this. On one hand, I harbor no romantic feelings for her anymore. More often then not, I’m thinking, wow, can’t believe I dated her for two years. In fact, I’m thrilled because if she’s off with some dude, that means I get the place to myself for a bit.

But on the other hand, she’s continuing on with her life, whereas I’ve been basically stuck in neutral for nine months. And that’s the part that made me go, shit. And I started to bubble with jealousy at that fact. Started thinking, fuck that, fuck this, fuck her. But really, I shouldn’t be mad. At her. It’s myself that I’ve allowed to be so, well, pathetic. I mean, the best way to “stick it” to an ex is to live the best life possible, where she’s just seen me at my worst the entire time.

I’m probably the “ugh, I live with my ex” in her version of the story. And that sucks. And I aim to change that.

I was sitting here, before typing this out, thinking about how it’s gonna be all how “I’m inspired and have motivation and yadda yadda” just like a whole crap load of my previous posts. Yet nothing has really come from those. But it makes sense. I only write when I’m motivated, so of course that enthusiasm carries over. If anything, just look at the gap in time between this post and my last, and you can see just how little motivation I had.

I used to roll my eyes at how often my posts seemed like pep talks to myself, but you know what? I’m glad to post this one.

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