the chaos

I have lost my job again.

Yes, again.

For the second time in a little over a year, I am unemployed.

To describe how this makes me feel in detail would require me to give lots of information about my last job, so obviously I can’t do that here. And my two job losses are of a piece anyway, since they occurred so close together. I guess I can describe how it feels to be let go from one job, get another one a year later, and then get let go from that one the year after THAT.

I feel out of control.

The one detail I can share is that in neither case was it my particular fault. I was a good employee in both cases, and I didn’t do anything wrong. I know this intellectually, and most of the time I know it emotionally, too. But even if it wasn’t my fault, what could I have done differently? Surely there was something I could have said or done that would have changed things, right?

And that’s where the emotional part gets to me.

I am applying for other jobs, of course. Lots of other jobs. I have phone interviews and in-person interviews and all that. I weed the yard and clean the house and sew myself some new clothes. I do laundry. I go for walks. I apply for yet more jobs. I do everything I can.

My boyfriend was laid off on the same day I was. That didn’t matter much, because he had another job lined up, and there were only three days between when one job stopped and the other one started. He likes this one better already, and we’ll still have health insurance, so that’s good.

Two weeks after my boyfriend and I were both let go, my sister was laid off from her job. Then one of my boyfriend’s family members had to go to the hospital. Then a friend’s dog got a brain tumor and had to be put down.

4380159995_01e2e0e7baHang on, that doesn’t really describe that situation very well. How does one indicate that one was close to a dog? The dog’s owners are old friends, and my sister and her husband used to take care of the dog whenever they would go out of town, which was often. He got along well with Maude and Moki, so my sister would even bring him over to our house sometimes. He was in fact one of just five guests at my sister’s wedding, and I made him a flowered collar for the occasion. So how do I say that? A dog friend of mine had to be put down? A close dog friend died?

He was the same age as Maude is (thirteen), so that’s not great either.

It’s got me thinking about what people deserve. As an atheist, I don’t think there’s an entity that doles out things to people based on merit or anything, so it’s a strange line of thought for me to have. But all I want is to have a job that doesn’t suck and makes me enough money to live on, travel on (good god I miss traveling so much), and maybe buy a house with someday. That’s really all. Don’t I deserve that? Is that too much to ask?

Ask who, you say, and you’d be right. There’s a separate post in there somewhere about how, despite what most believers would say about atheism, I find mine to be enormously comforting. Most of the time.

So that’s how I feel about it.

my twenties: a review

“People tell you who they are, but we ignore it because we want them to be who we want them to be.”

This sentiment has been expressed in lots of different ways by lots of different people, but I first heard it from Don Draper, and it has resonated with me ever since. It might embarrass some other English majors to have one of their favorite quotes come from a television show, but this English major slash TV junkie is fine with it.

Listen, my twenties were terrible. And exciting. And then terrible again. And then exciting, but in a really, really terrible way. My friend Helen Jane would say that years 20-30 are everyone’s time to be stupid and crazy, and she’s right, but lord was I ever stupid and crazy.

  • I was in ten different monogamous relationships, three of them with people at least nine years older than myself.
  • I had three nervous breakdowns.
  • I got arrested.
  • I sort of broke up with one person twice.
  • I flirted briefly with alcoholism.
  • For three years, I hardly ever left the house.

I was kind to people who were cruel to me and cruel to people who were kind, and above all, I was unspeakably cruel to myself. I sat around waiting for my life to start, berating myself day and night for waiting for my life to start. I existed in a constant liminal state–between jobs, between relationships, between careers or goals. I convinced myself I wasn’t good enough for anything or anyone.

But mostly, the problem was the dating. I’m the child of parents who are both very straightforward and honest. They don’t manipulate people, they don’t say things they don’t mean, and they’ll own up when they’ve done something wrong. For those and other qualities I’ll always love them, but I went into the world somewhat unprepared for people who lack those qualities. I didn’t listen when people told me who they were, and I paid for it.

So this is what happened. I dated someone whose backpack made a loud CLUNK on the table whenever he came to stay at my house, indicating that he’d brought his gun over again. I dated someone I was afraid of, and the first time we broke up, I took him back because I was afraid of him. I dated someone who’d had a recent stint in a mental hospital, and we got drunk together every night. I dated someone whose son kicked my dog. I dated someone who found my email password and used it. I dated someone who made me change my locks.

The things that happened to me in my twenties make me feel like I’m different from other people. My friend J has dated lots, too. She said once that she has a hard time discussing her relationship issues with her close friend M, because M married someone she met in college and therefore doesn’t understand What It’s Like. And I get that, but I think J was referring to What It’s Like to be really lonely for a long time, and that’s not how I feel different.

I have never had much trouble with loneliness. I’ve always spent lots of time by myself, and can avoid feeling lonely even when single if I maintain some close friendships. The thing I miss most when single is having someone to whom I can tell really boring stories. Some asshole ran a stop sign on my way home from work! I read this article online about blah blah blah today. Tonight for dinner I ate a peanut butter and chocolate syrup sandwich. That sort of thing. But otherwise it’s not a huge problem.

I have a divorced friend who is currently single and looking for the right guy to be with. She gets upset when she talks about it sometimes, and again, I get that. But that particular longing, that “When will I find my someone?” feeling, isn’t one I’ve experienced much. Loneliness looks pretty bad when you’re comparing it to being with someone who is right for you, but compared to being with someone who is wrong for you, it’s fucking cake.

I feel different from other people because I think all that disastrous dating has made me a little, well, callused. Untrusting. And another word I can’t think of. It’s not introverted, because I’m pretty outgoing. It’s something that means that I don’t reach out to people emotionally like I used to, or that I let my inner life take priority over the needs of others. I don’t know if I ever believed in the idea of a Right Person for everyone, but I definitely don’t believe in it now.

I am in a relationship now, and have been for the past four years. He’s a wonderful guy, I love him lots, and I trust him nearly unconditionally. We live together, but we have no current plans to get married. Given everything I’ve been through, getting married feels like pushing my luck.

Soon after I turned 30, the turmoil of my twenties just sort of went away, like a calm after a drama hurricane. Part of that is due to my boyfriend, who is refreshingly easygoing and straightforward (and doesn’t have much of an internet presence, god bless him), but part of it is also due to getting older. Whatever was in me that made me do all the regrettable things I did in my twenties just isn’t there anymore, and I’m glad.

(I hate when people end their blog posts with questions for people to answer in the comments, but, uh, I really want to know if your twenties were as insane as mine.)

i won’t treat you like you’re oh so typical


It feels weird to slink back here after two years of not writing. Really weird. I guess I’m not slinking since it’s my domain and I pay for it and administer it, but I feel like I’ve broken up with bluishorange and now I’ve come crawling back. So, slink I shall. Come back, please, baby, I was wrong.

I have a job now, and Maude’s still alive. Those are the two relevant updates. My job is that I make jewelry full-time for a designer here in Austin. It’s a good time–I make things all day and listen to audiobooks. Or sometimes I make things and watch Firefly. Either way.

Maude is on her last legs, I think. She’s got arthritis and kidney disease, and I’m about to start giving her glucosamine for the former and subcutaneous fluids for the latter. She’s thirteen years old, the same age as bluishorange. She seems to be pain-free and in good spirits, though, so I’m glad she’s still around. At the moment she’s curled up next to me asleep, which is as it should be.

I was unemployed for nearly a year. This affected me in the obvious financial ways, but it also affected me in some emotional ways that haven’t healed yet, and may not for some time. Eleven months of constant rejection got me used to rejection, which is valuable, but it also wore me down and got me to expect very little from anything in my life. Expecting practically nothing is great if you want to be surprised, but isn’t great if you want to move forward or achieve anything.

Right now I’m going through one of my OH GOD WHAT DOES IT ALL MEAN phases. It feels a lot like a midlife crisis, which is probably accurate. As an atheist, my answer to WHAT DOES IT ALL MEAN should technically be NOTHING IT MEANS NOTHING, but it’s not that simple. Does anything I do make a positive difference? How can I make more of a positive difference? What do I bring to the world that nobody else can? Those thoughts are enough to make a girl drink a bottle of wine every night, but, uh, I don’t do that anymore.

Tonight while I was driving home from a party, I listened to the first track from the new Tegan and Sara album on repeat. I love the way the verses sort of melt into the chorus, almost like they’re overlapping.

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