“You don’t believe in yourself.”

I believe in myself, I just don’t believe in anything else.

My skin is at an all-time low now that I’ve, once again, increased my dosage of Lithium. I don’t know if it’s helping. It might be. I don’t feel so full of despair, or at least it’s not overwhelming. But I start my last year of undergraduate school tomorrow and that could be change. I’m not ready to wake up at 6:30am, to drive 45 minutes to campus, to block out the sounds of young, obnoxious voices droning on and on. I’m not ready to be so physically and mentally exhausted, and so drained. I’m not ready to read four different books at once and struggle to retain the information.

I’m not ready for any of it.

I dyed all of my hair teal and this seems like the opposite thing for me to do, considering I don’t want to be seen. At all. Ever. By anyone. Encouraging attention is the last thing I want at this point in time.

My friends have too much faith in the world. Or too much faith in me. Maybe both. I’m not capable of much. I can barely scrape by while doing the bare minimum.

I want to land a teaching job without needing a PhD. Or, if I need the PhD, I want it to be worth it. I want to be held in high regard. I want people to know my name, to read my writing in various magazines and papers and yes, books too. I want my talent to be recognized. I want a modest house in the Pacific Northwest and a job at a modest college. I want a dog and gardens in the yard. I want my friends to always be by my side, even if we separate physically, and I want someone to love me. I don’t want to succumb to suicidal ideation. I want to eat healthy and go hiking on the weekends and have a good dentist and decent health insurance. I want to feel good about myself. I want, I want, I want…

I had a dream the other night that I shot myself in the chest with a revolver and a giant bloody hole was left, and then I told the person in front of me to shoot me in the head, and then I woke up. I don’t know what this means.

I do believe in myself.

I do.

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Plebeian

It’s all confusing all of the sudden. I don’t know what I want. Or maybe I do, but I feel like an asshole for admitting it. I want a relationship without the work. Dating is tedious and expensive and, most often, a waste of time.

I don’t feel like I belong anywhere now. I have no structure within myself, no sense of security. A giant part of what I thought I knew about myself collapsed and I feel lost and bewildered, and grasping at the air for answers.

If I were a Deadly Sin, I’d be envy.

I envy those who are happy. Those who don’t have crippling mental disorders. Those who don’t need to take medication after medication. I envy heterosexuals. I envy homosexuals. I envy people who know their place. I envy people who have the confidence to flirt, to smile disingenuously at another person and get their shit for free just for passing as objectively attractive. I envy people who simply fuck, just fuck someone because it’s what they wanted. I envy people who get what they want.

Tomorrow I will wake up and be the same as I am now. I will not have a book, or even a novella, or even a single story or poem, in publication. I am not going abroad, ever, in my entire academic career. I don’t have money, but I do have a spending problem.

I’m going to wake up and make tea, eat a banana, fall asleep on the couch, and smoke cigarettes on the patio by myself, all the while wishing for something, anything. Water to close over my head forever. A mouthful of blood. A new self.

Something.

Letter to My Mother

 

I suppose I don’t even know where to begin with this. I’ve written about you in essays, poems, and stories, and admittedly, the essay was the hardest to write, because I’d rather keep my distance from myself. Fiction allows me to do that, and fiction allows me to change certain things so an unknowing reader would never be any the wiser. But what happened is not fiction, as much as it may feel like it sometimes.

At the time, you were upset with my brother and I that we found the evidence to incriminate you. When confronted, you lied over and over and swore on everything that you, claimed, anyhow, to be precious to you that none of it was true, that the email was a misunderstanding. And we gave you the benefit of the doubt. I remember actually believing you and now I’m not entirely sure why. But one cannot misinterpret texts which you, indeed, left open. But you got angry with me for snooping and “invading in your privacy.” Blake and I did not believe you this time, and I threatened to take the pictures I took of the messages to our father. But we softened–I because I was worried about what actions my father would take against himself, not against you. Blake because he didn’t want the family to fall apart.

But now, nearly two years later, I fantasize about what would have actually happened if I had taken it to my father. It would have been a mess, sure, but what happened regardless was undoubtedly a mess as well. I don’t think you realize how wrong it was of you to request that your children keep such a vile secret from their father, and pretend as if everything was the same. And last July, when it all became unraveled…I don’t even remember what exact emotions I felt. I remember repeatedly calling Blake but he was working. I remember texting him, and being exiled to the garage while you and my father talked for hours. In the days and weeks to come, I could barely function. I spent most of my time furious and upset, often crying. I remember sitting on a bench on Park Avenue and wondering which men walking by you had slept with. I wondered if you had slept with any of my professors, or any faculty at my school, or anyone I might have known. It filled me with disgust that I had to wonder that. I could not function as a normal person.

Blake told me not to tell anyone, but of course I did. I told all four of my closest friends, because why wouldn’t I? I was hurting, and am hurting, and I do not regret doing so. Bennett spent many hours with me as I cried and cried over your actions and your complete disregard for said actions. You played innocent and tried to downplay all the things that kept getting regurgitated, all housed on your computer and phone. I cursed you, called you a whore, said you deserved nothing, and although it has been a year and I know you have all of your meetings and therapists and other “sex-addict” friends to support you, I still stand by what I said. Whether or not sex addiction is a real diagnosis, I honestly do not care. I don’t think it excuses anything. If an alcoholic collides with another car while drunk and kills another person, they are held responsible, so what is the difference when it comes to your so-called addiction?

Speaking of therapy, I suppose I am glad you’ve found a support system, but I think you (and my father) forgot about your children. You roped us in from the beginning but decided not to take care of us like you’ve taken care of yourselves. Every time I saw Dr. Kumetat I would talk about you, my mother, and also my father, and cry, and become angry, and I had no solution for myself. He was right that hanging onto anger is toxic and only hurts me and no one else, but what am I to do when I live with you? And your marriage counselor’s suggestion of me moving out felt juvenile and petty. You took us to one single meeting with a woman who invalidated our feelings and basically told us to get out of your lives when, in fact, we are not the problem, you two are.

I do not know what to think of you as. You will always be my mother because you did, in fact, give birth to me and raise me, but you also committed a series of acts that demean your position. Would a mother really do such things? That is up for debate, I suppose. I am still filled with rage, rage that overwhelms me with just the very notion of your existence. I can’t stand the click of your nails on your laptop or phone (perhaps it reminds me of dirty activity, now that I think about it), or even the mere sight of your face. I hate that we resemble one another physically, because I am nothing like you. I will never be like you. I am so glad I do not want to have children, for many reasons, but one of them being that they will never have to, also, be deceived by their grandmother. You anger me. You anger me so much. And I do not have any idea what to do about it other than leave the room when you appear.

Going back to how I told my friends, I’m sure that would upset you. Don’t worry–I don’t think they had any opinion of you before, anyway (aside from Bennett). I wish I could have told more people. I wish I could have broadcasted it all over the internet, but I am somewhat sane and have somewhat decent judgment so I never did. But it, frankly, pisses me off that you received no punishment for what you did–you did not lose your husband, not even temporarily, your dog, your house, your kids, nothing. You kept it all. And you kept the respect and love of friends, colleagues, and relatives because it was all swept under the rug and kept a secret. You even post photos of bouquets of flowers for hitting “personal milestones” to Facebook–so clever! But god forbid anyone actually know why. Sure, maybe it’s unreasonable to request a widespread wildfire of shame to be bestowed upon you, but I am still angry because absolutely nothing has been done. You can claim to feel bad all you want, and while I’m sure that’s valid, I think you are unaware of how horrible a person you actually are.

I could go on, but there is no point. This is a futile situation. It’s not like I want you dead, or even gone, I just want you to know exactly what you have done and to suffer even a little. To suffer the way I have suffered. The way my father has suffered. I stand by everything I said–I think you deserve nothing, no matter how many times you have apologized and will apologize in the future.

Email to Psychiatrist II

Long time, no speak. Or see.

I am emailing you tonight because…well, there’s not a simple reason, I suppose. To start, my new therapist is fine, I suppose. She obviously doesn’t really compare to my relationship with you since we have four years of that and you know me very well, and you know I like to put up fights and you tend to deal with my bullshit pretty well. I actually skipped my last appointment with her. Most of it had to do with scheduling, but I also just felt no desire to go. The other woman, the one who deals with my medications, I have only seen once and she has failed to fill out my prescriptions for Latuda and Klonopin so I have been kind of floundering. I called to see what was up the other day but the receptionist never got back to me like she said she would. But I see this woman on Wednesday, so let’s hope I get my meds.

I was actually doing okay for a couple weeks, and then Monday I woke up and immediately was hit over the head with all these stressors (mostly expenses I don’t have the money for), so that was a shitty start to my day. Tuesday was worse. I got stuck in traffic on my way home from work (which I am quitting, even though I have no backup plan. Whatever.), for 45 minutes, and I was already in a rough mood so I started to cry, and when I got home I cried a lot more.
The rest of the week I have been exceptionally anxious. I’m having those feelings of derealization and it’s so unpleasant, scary, and uncomfortable…I do not know what to do. I feel very alone in this, and I feel as though something is deeply wrong with me. I have been passively suicidal, because, well, I’d rather die than feel insane.
What a cheery email.
– Zara

I can never think of titles.

I haven’t written a post in a while. I feel like these days I just have nothing to say. It’s almost April and it’s snowing. Well, it’s a mix of snow and rain. It’s been raining a lot the past two weeks, which is pretty depressing. My spring break is over. Mine was really early compared to other schools. It was decent, despite it going by so quickly. I even found a new job. It’s nothing exciting or cool but it’s a job, which I start this evening.

I drank quite a bit over spring break, but hey, it was spring break. Last night I bought more beer. I’m already really overweight so I probably shouldn’t be drinking so much. I realized the other night that I feel way more attractive than I am. I never really feel unattractive until I see my reflection or a photo of myself. I can’t believe I let myself go and I’m still so ashamed I gained all the weight I had lost back. But I feel really unmotivated to do anything about it, as much as I hate it.

It’s about halfway through the spring semester now. I’m anxiously waiting to hear from my advisor so I can sign up for classes in the fall. I have a lot of work to do in the next two weeks. One of my projects is a play for my poetry workshop. We had to have four characters and we have to make an audio recording of the play to present to the class, so mine is about the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse sitting in a Starbucks, except they’re all women. I’m relying on my friends to play three of the parts, which is honestly terrifying. I don’t like relying on other people, especially when a large grade is involved.

I had to write a scene of a play over break for poetry as well. I thought it was trash, but yesterday in class, my professor pulled me outside of the room and told me how good it was and how funny and how it’s exactly what he’s looking for. This was all very unexpected and very flattering, but now I feel like the pressure is really on for my other play to be just as good, if not better. And tonight I have to finish working on this sonnet.

Scholar’s Day is also coming up in a couple weeks. I’m doing the reader’s theater for my Tolkien professor from last semester. She wrote a large script based off stories in the Silmarillion. I’m playing Sauron, which is an honor but also a huge challenge, since I have to make my voice lower and more menacing, and also Varda and “Voice 2.” I don’t entirely regret committing to this, but I have no confidence in myself when it comes to performing in any capacity (even though I’ve done reader’s theater before) and so I’m very nervous about the actual day of the performance.

I felt fine earlier today, but now I’m kind of feeling depressed. It’s probably the weather. And anyway, I’m just always depressed. I’m always looking for distractions, whether it be friends or alcohol or both, and when I don’t have them, I feel alone and useless. Sometimes I just want to fast-forward through life a little bit. I have so much schooling left and it stresses me out. I miss talking with my psychiatrist. I really do. My medications are doing nothing for me, so it seems, and there’s nothing I can do about it. I feel really alone and helpless. I can’t articulate my emotions into words so I just never talk about how I’m feeling, or on the rare instances I do, I start crying because it’s overwhelming. I feel like I’m just going through the motions without any purpose and it all feels very dismal and depressing.

Well. For having nothing to say, this sure was a long post.

-Zara

Update Number Whatever

It’s been a while since I’ve given you guys an update. I haven’t been blogging much, which makes me sad since I was doing so well before. I just haven’t felt like writing in general, which is never a good sign.

Last Tuesday Bennett texted me asking me if I wanted to hang out. I knew she was supposed to be working, so I asked what was up. She said she “got fired.” I immediately called her, as I do in any even slightly dramatic situation. She basically told me they were downsizing at our company. I called Frank, the operations manager, well-knowing I was also going, but he wouldn’t tell me anything over the phone. Bennett came over and then we went out. I applied at Show World and then we went to Bar Louie, where I ate half of a burger and drank three really large beers which cost seven dollars apiece.

The next night I went in, feeling foul because I knew I was going to be let go. I told Dorothy, one of my favorite coworkers, I didn’t feel motivated to do anything since I knew. Finally around eight o’clock Frank came over and walked me back to his office. Right as he was getting into his scripted speech, a customer called and talked his ear off for a few minutes. Once he got off the phone he asked if a customer had asked my name earlier tonight, to which I responded “Yes.” It was clear that this customer complained about me, though I honestly am unsure of as to why, so that was even more of a reason to let me go, I suppose. Anyway, Frank read his speech and told me my position no longer existed, in a nutshell. I signed a paper giving me two weeks pay as severance. Strange. It’s also taxed 25 percent, so it’s better than nothing, but it’s still pocket change.

I really wanted to make it to the one-year mark with this job, and I know if the company hadn’t decided it needed to give so many people (mostly us part-timers) the axe, I would have made it. So now I have to job-hunt again and scrounge for change. Finding a job has never been easy, and it’s hard to find a job that’s tolerable. I didn’t like my job, but I didn’t hate it either, and I liked most of the people I worked with. I was comfortable there. And now I am forced to start over.

This, combined with the stress of school, my father’s unemployment, not being able to see my psychiatrist, and general depression makes for a miserable time. I constantly feel on edge and melancholy. I feel unmotivated and depressed. I feel like I can’t talk to any of my friends about it, mostly because I don’t know how to. I really miss my sessions with my psychiatrist. My anxiety has been heightened. All I want to do is sleep or drink. I feel out of place at my university and I’m putting so much pressure on myself to do exceedingly well and I’m struggling. My mental illness has been making me feel completely awful about myself, something I thought I had (mostly) overcome.

How are you doing?

–Zara

Living In the Land of Opportunity(?)

This evening I went to an informational seminar about the Oxford Scholars Study Abroad program my university does every fall and spring semester as well as every summer. I’ve always known, despite wanting to, that I probably would not ever be able to study abroad due to financial reasons. I knew this going in. With that being said, maybe it was a mistake for me to go.

I was one of the “chosen few” invited to this seminar, because I have a high GPA and I am an English major. I felt honored to be there, in a way, because so few people are invited and I’m sure that one of the professors I had last semester, who is the program’s liaison, noticed my hard (and good) work and had something to do with me being there.

The program sounds amazing. It’s anywhere from 6-9 weeks, depending on when you go, and I already know England is beautiful, but Oxford sounded lovely. You can walk along the bank Lewis Carroll first told Alice in Wonderland on, visit all the libraries, walk through gardens, visit the Lemon Palace, and so on. You also get strictly one-on-one sessions with your designated tutor once a week. The rest of the week you have to study and write and, if you have the time, explore.

It costs about $7800 for the summer trip. It costs about $17,000 for the fall and spring trips. Both numbers are daunting, but seeing as I only have one more year left until I graduate, a fall or spring semester seems more likely. But I can’t afford that, and I wouldn’t be able to muster up nearly $8000 by this May. Yes, financial aid, loans, and scholarships come into play, but my loans don’t even cover my tuition in full, so I have none leftover to spend on studying abroad.

Once I started college back in 2012 I realized how financially disadvantaged I am. Even though, back then, my father was employed and made a decent annual salary (more than “decent”, I’d say), I was on my own when it came to education. Community college was not so difficult. I managed to get my tuition, because it was so little, covered by federal loans. A couple years I was unable to get all the books I needed because I ran out of loan money, but I made due. But I’ve always been, for the most part, on my own since I hit 18.

Starting at a four-year university has been even more difficult. My federal loans don’t cover all of my costs so some has to be paid out of pocket, and my hundreds of dollars in books have to be paid out of pocket as well. I have a 30 mile commute to campus, which drains my car of gas and my checking account of money quite quickly. I have very little room to spend on things I want, seeing as how I have a hard enough time paying for things I truly need.

My professor said his philosophy is, “The two best things to spend money on are education and travel.” I agree with his philosophy, and I wish those were easier things to obtain.

They say to travel when you’re young. I have a fantastic opportunity to travel to a beautiful country, be totally immersed in my own interests, explore, learn, and grow, and yet this opportunity will slip through my hands like sand, because I simply don’t have the means to do it.

Maybe we are living in a “Land of Opportunity.” But unless you have money, those opportunities will simply pass you by.

–Zara