I was rejected from a job that I had very much convinced myself that I was going to get. I went into a very dark place, and of course, it all fell apart in public. I’m hesitant to share it but to hide it away wouldn’t be true to myself. Here we go:
I want a job. I hate being this mooching burden even if I know that they know that this is a transition period. I am reestablishing myself in a town where I never belonged. I don’t belong anywhere.
Panic activates asthma that I was born with. I’m unable to breathe properly from having to deal with the embarrassment. I had to call my mother from the dealership like a child who forgot their bag lunch. They won’t take her card on my behalf without her ID. I understand. Doesn’t mean it still doesn’t sting. I know they were judging me, the people in the lobby, the cashier, the service workers in the shop behind the wall.
I feel like a worm. A quadriplegic insect who probably has a very nice life because they were born that way and know their lot in life. It doesn’t even feel right to compare myself to that. We’re told from birth that the only way to have a life is to make a living, working that 9-5, get that cash. I didn’t want that life so I suppose this is my punishment for being a deviant from the norm. It’s all supposed to work out. Why hasn’t it happened for me? Why have I failed so utterly at being a human being?
I hate that I have a car payment. You’re not supposed to if you can’t afford the maintenance. But I didn’t expect it to be like this.
I’ve gotten two letters in the mail from my bank this month. They’ve threatened to close my account. I have pocket money coming in. Sold a few things online. Got my meager tax return. Certainly not enough to keep me afloat. They covered me.
My eyes are bloodshot. It’s so embarrassing to be crying in public. I tried to stop the flow but once you start, you’ll never stop. The clerk who was assisting me asked me why I was still in their lobby. Just waiting from my Ma.
A metaphor for my life. Waiting. Always waiting. Waiting for Ma to rescue you in her house dress. Waiting for your elementary school best friend to come back from her other circle of friends because for some reason they can’t articulate, they don’t like you. Waiting for them to turn around and see your real face and not the mask you wear. Waiting to see if there was something better 488.5 miles away from the only home you’ve ever known. Waiting to see if this job or that is a good fit. Waiting to see if I should take that long walk off the short pier into grad school. Waiting to see if anybody will hire me even if I am overqualified.
That’s painful to read. More painful to live.
You’ll be happy to hear that I am trying to incorporate some changes to better maximize all this goddamn free time. I am trying to eliminate the electronic tether that so many of us aspiring writers cling to as an excuse for being unable to produce words. I can’t completely let go, as I do have this blog and its accompanying social media to maintain. I deleted Reddit from my phone, which was a big time sink. I’ve taken up French in Duolingo again. I’ve downloaded books to the Kindle app on my phone. I’m easing myself back into Morning Pages, as well as journaling before bed. I’m also carrying around a journal for free writing. I haven’t written anything worth sharing or submitting, but it’s been cathartic to bleed all over the page without a care in the world. It’s cleaned out quite a bit of detritus and cobwebs in my head. I keep seeing flashes of potential stories, which I then hurriedly write down or type into Google Keep, depending on whatever is closest to me at the time.
I scooped up a ton of writing books on my last pilgrimage to the library: Writing Down the Bones by Natalie Goldberg, Still Writing by Dani Shapiro, Several short sentences about writing by Verlyn Klinkenborg, A Million Miles in a Thousand Years by Donald Miller, The Forest for the Trees by Betsy Lerner, How to Write a Damn Good Novel by James Frey, A Poetry Handbook by Mary Oliver, Writing Tools by Roy Peters, and The Writing Life by Annie Dillard. I’ve been savoring Writing Down the Bones, though I should be powering through them all because they’re due to be returned and I shouldn’t linger on one book for too long.
Something that has continually come up as feedback from my thesis instructors and my former classmates is how controlling I am as the author. While reading Bones, it unfolded for me. She had a section on the eroticism of writing. I then realized that my love affair with writing is physical abuse masquerading as eroticism. I never allow my story to unfold or breathe on its own. I have to have unrelenting control over the story from beginning to end, to its detriment. I don’t catch it unless it’s pointed out to me, or when I give it a once over (or twenty) in revision. I’m not sure why I’m this way with writing.
Then I thought more deeply about why I write. Writing isn’t brave to me. It’s not revolutionary, though I am proud of those who see it as that. I won’t be winning a war with it. Writing is literally the air that I breathe. If I was unable to write, I would kill myself, as dramatic an action as that would be. I don’t even need to write in English. I could get by in an amalgam of Tagalog, French, Spanish, and Japanese, pictographs, whistles in an upper register, whatever, so long as those words were out of my head and on the page.
I write because it’s a solitary form of artistic expression. I can reveal the layers of my black soul through it without depending on anyone to get shit done. The collaborative aspect of moviemaking – and you know how much I love movies – keeps me away from that particular path.
Today’s featured image is from Bones:
Writing does writing. You disappear: you are simply recording the thoughts that are streaming through you.
Out of a wonderfully quotable book, that was the one that stuck with me the most. I want to incorporate it more into my writing style, and move away from the physical abuse into something loving and consensual.
I turn it over to you now. What quote sticks out to you about your life?