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Jun 27, 2013

Getting Fired on a Tuesday

The other guy they let go yesterday was talking with his father the night before about how he was going to cancel his cable TV service because it was too great of a monthly expense. His father jokingly suggested he call the cable company and tell them he'd lost his job. Maybe get some sympathy?

I spent a good chunk of the weekend clearing out the rear seats of my car which was filled with random junk my mother has been collecting from my grandparents' house---just in time so there was room for the boxes I removed from my office Tuesday morning. I've since refilled the backseat with more junk from my grandparents' house.

Otherwise being laid off, it's been calm on this front. Serene. I've been paying close attention to what I'm feeling and why I'm feeling it. And that's worked well thus far. Cause like I knew would, I've felt like shutting down and pushing her out. But I've stopped it before it's gotten there.

I'd have much more to say, but my unemployed mind is racing---on account of being unemployed. More later.

Jun 21, 2013

The Hole I Crawl In When I Am Down Is Called Home

"I was just calling you an asshole!" she said to me. Red eyes and all, her over-excitement betrayed she'd been at the bar for a while.

"Oh yeah?" It was the best I could muster, given what had already gone down that evening. I glanced around the bar, faces familiar and not; up to the stage, where the opening act was setting up his rig. Spotted a space at the bar I could slide into to order the woman and I some drinks.

"Yeah! I was just telling Steve you were an asshole cause you weren't here," she went on. "You even shared it on Facebook!"

Normally I'd be able to brush off an exchange like this---as uncharacteristic as it was from my own sister---but tonight wasn't one of those nights. The bar was packed, and I immediately realized I didn't want to be there. Didn't want to put up with the hi's, hello's, how ya doin's; wanted to shrink into my space, watch the show next to the woman---our own eyes red, but from something else entirely---and go home. Sleep. Try to make sense of everything---of what's wrong with me, what I need to do to get right.

***

Am I ill?

Seems so. I've dealt with depression and anxiety, mostly mild, for as long as I remember. Normally, I can deal with it all right. The problems arise when I succumb to that choking, enveloping shroud. And it's an easy thing to do, something you'll know if you've ever dealt with these things. A panicked sensation like something's wrong, or something's going to happen. Sometimes based in insecurity, sometimes based in nothing at all. You pursue that feeling, your emotional state is delicate to the point where an innocent comment can send you low. Real low.

I look to the past, scrying for reasons as to why I am the way I am. And I don't know where the fuck to start. I'll see you're nature vs. nurture arguments and raise you a "just when the fuck am I going to be mature and responsible enough to nurture myself free of this unhealthy behavior." Shouldn't I be able to harness these emotions, instead of allowing them to harness me?

The hole I crawl in when I'm down is called home.

When not leaning on that crutch, I'm all right. Cause I have to be. Down at work? No problem. Work through it. Down when out with the guys? Smile through it. But at home in the presence of the one I love the most? I build the thickest, strongest, impenetrable wall you've ever fucking seen.

Just like I did last Tuesday.

***

"I'm going to lose my shit here, guy" the woman said, frenetic enough to partially retrieve me from the fortress I'd just built.

I'd gotten home earlier that day feeling absolutely exhausted. And it shouldn't have been that way. I'd gotten more sleep the night before---over eight hours---than I had in a long time. But I wanted to lay down as soon as I walked through the door. It was Thursday now, and since Tuesday we hadn't had much interaction. I started feeling what I'll refer to as the Grip on Monday or Tuesday---I can't remember exactly. I'd already started to build up the wall, so that when I got home I could retire behind it. Not let anyone else in. Not even the woman. Whose ring I wear. Who wears mine.

The Grip and the resulting wall are devastating to our relationship. It's fucked up. I'll acknowledge her presence while all but ignoring her---and this will happen until it comes to a head: either she's had enough of it, or I've had enough of it. We have an argument where I try yet fail at adequately identifying and explaining just what the issue is. And it's like I'm watching it all happening from deep inside myself. Voices on the inside are screaming at me, telling me to stop, telling me how wrong this is, how wrong I am. Telling me to speak, to break the silence, cease the brooding, stop the thousand thoughts careening off the inside of my skull, vying with each other for prime position.

And oh, how she cries. 

Every time, and it absolutely kills me. I see the tears and I hate myself even more and I want to stop her tears. I don't want her to be sad, and it crushes me knowing I'm the cause. Yet I watched myself take her there. I can't stop it. It's too late. I've already taken us over that cliff---there's no fighting gravity, there's no going back. We've plunged. If I'm lucky, we'll find each other again once we've reached the bottom. And then there's the grueling, arduous task of re-scaling the fucking cliff.

She says it gets harder to scale with each occurrence. With each Grip. With each wall built.

"This can't happen again," she says.

And there's the ultimatum I fear, the one I can't stand to hear. She says it's not an ultimatum, but to me it is. And in that moment, it's all that matters. I'm there. I can taste the steel on the grate of the gutter I'm living under. The pressure in head from all the tears I've shed, the pain, the anguish, the regret, the embarrassment, the self-loathing for what I've done and fail to control, it all piles on. From within the confines of my wall, I hear that we should just end it. Just be done. Five years of what? Growth and happiness punctuated by intermittent bouts of utter shit where I'm a miserable human being to be around, to be with, to love.

Which sucks. Cause I will feel the Grip again.

She wonders if she's a fool for even letting me build walls in the first place. I can't blame her for wondering. I'm wondering if I'm selfish and stupid for not being caring and wise enough to walk away---perhaps it's the only way for me to grant her a kind of peace. 

Perhaps I can't escape the Grip. Perhaps I can't change. 

***

We leave the bar around 12:30am that night. The show was good, but it ran late---a band that didn't at all jive with the main acts hopped onto the bill at the last moment and played a set right in the middle of the evening.

"Think we can get cleaned up and still go out?" I asked her four hours earlier, my eyelids taught and facial muscles exhausted from crying. 

"I probably look like shit," she says.

"Yeah," I say. She looks like she's been crying for the last hour and a half. So do I. That's about right.

In tears I tell her I don't want to completely ruin the night---at least any more than I already have. So went out.

We exit the bar and run into my sister who is outside smoking. She sees me walk out and quickly glances away---she noticed I was put off by her first comment. When she seems me walking towards her, she turns to me quickly.

"Oh, I didn't know if you were still here, brother!"

I don't remember what I said. Maybe I just nodded and leaned in for a hasty hug, pulling away before it was over. 

"I love you," she says. 

 "Love you, too."

"Wait for me," the woman says, chuckling, which is when I realize I'm already a quarter-way down the block. I hear salutations tossed my way from the direction of the smoker's post. I throw my right arm up over my head in a half-assed wave without turning around.

"Wow, can she be a bitch when she's drunk," I say after the woman catches up and we're out of earshot. We get in the car, and I drive. 

On the journey home, we talk about the past, about hidden truths, and about people who smile too much.

***

Back at home, I pour an ounce of whiskey and pack a bowl. We share both, and talk about how we need to talk more. We both know this has been said before. I can't escape the sadness in that realization. And with that, it's time for sleep.

In bed that night, I do something I haven't done in a long, long time: I evaluate the day. From start to finish. I ask myself what I'm proud of and come up absolutely empty. Somehow preventing the unraveling thread that's holding your relationship together from snapping doesn't fucking count. If I were to evaluate the day and give it an academic grade, where would it end up?

Surely I don't have to answer that.

Head to pillow, staring at the ceiling, I am so not proud of myself. The weight of my failures rush in. Once again, I'm sobbing in her arms. I approach that line between genuine remorse and feeling sorry for myself and consciously reorient myself, back off. This is remorse. 

And she accepts me. Tomorrow, I decide, needs to be day one, no rage.

***

So here I sit. Day one, no rage. I say rage rather than depression or anxiety, because it's the stubbornness & insecurity inside me that prevents the rational part of my brain from stopping that destructive mode of thinking. Trapped, paralyzed, not knowing what to say while wanting to say a million things at once elicits a feeling of deep fear, which I cover with rage. When I'm down, I'm quick to rage. No fucking more. 

I'm tired of it. I'm tired of the world I live in, but I love most of the people in it. I can build the walls I need for my own emotional protection without shutting out the woman. I can feel frightened, scared, uncertain, depressed, and anxious, but I don't need to do it alone. I need this space here---these words---to be more up front about my emotions. What's going through my head, how I'm feeling, what I'm feeling and what leads me into a depression. How to monitor it, identify it, stop it before I turn completely inwards and am unreachable until I've buried myself so deeply only conflict brings me out.

Most of all, this is for the woman. No one else's opinion on this fucking planet matters but hers. No one's. And in the past, I've made it seem to her like her opinion matters the least. 

No more. 

It's too early to assign a grade for the day. One day at a time is how it's going to go. For now, I'll take a big fat "I." My work is far from over.