I just got my email pay stub for the check I’ll get Friday. I looked at the YTD column, which is not a thing I have paid attention to for a long while. Then I looked at the calendar and did a little math and realized that, for the first time in probably 18 years (and that one year 18 years ago was the only other year), I will finish out 2019 above the poverty level. I mean, barely, but… yeah.
I have struggled for my entire adult life to drag myself out of what felt like the hand I’d been dealt in life. The quicksand that is financial instability. I have been bankrupt. I have been hungry. I have been evicted. I have bought cars and lost them. I have bought a home and lost it.
And I never quit trying. Oh sure, I’d have periods of time, sometimes days or weeks, occasionally months or more, where I’d just give up. Give in, quit trying, sit around, mope, let the depression take over, wallow in it. But I always pulled myself up again, always, always. On the really long stretches, I’d quit trying to live. I wouldn’t hurt myself, but I wouldn’t protect myself, either. I wouldn’t take care of myself, eat, bathe, go out in public, get some sun… I wouldn’t go to the doctor and I wouldn’t tell anyone outside my immediately family what was going on. I’d just cut myself off from the world outside, spend a lot of time sleeping, and a lot of time crying and angry whenever I woke up. Because I didn’t wanna wake up. I wanted to sleep and never wake up.
The last few weeks, I’ve been slipping steadily deeper into one of those bad periods of time. That manic depressive state of wallowing in misery, self-loathing, and wishing for death. I’ve been questioning my own worth, my own validity in the world. And not only questioning my validity in the world, but also within the most incredible relationship I’ve ever had with another human that is not one of my spawn. I allowed myself to slip into this idea that I don’t fit in this person’s life, there isn’t room for me, not for all of me. There is not enough room for me there, in someone else’s life and mind, because there isn’t even enough room for me here in my own. Because I am much. I am so much and so very and I have incredible tools and methods and ways of dealing with all of the things that happen within my mind. No one else has those tools and methods and ways, no one outside of me is capable of processing me like I can.
And some of my methods are brutal. I hurt myself, I break my own heart. If you’ve read any or all of my writing, you may notice how I argue with myself. I’m letting the arguments in my head pour out through the keyboard. And maybe letting someone see those things, someone I love more than I believed I was capable of loving anyone, maybe that’s not the right method. I mean, it certainly feels like it was not the right method to use in this particular case, that’s for sure. Because what hurts me, what breaks my heart, can have the same effect on others when they’re exposed to it. There is a lot of darkness in me, a lot of deep-rooted self-loathing that I have not been able to rid myself of completely… yet. And it makes me say terrible things to myself in my arguments with myself.
So, the poverty level thing. When I realized how successful I’ve been in a year and a half of extreme stress, in both my personal and professional lives, feeling like my mental health was crumbling, my entire life was crumbling to pieces… and yet… I have accomplished so. very. much.
May 5, 2018
I go to work at the restaurant I have spent 2 months helping to design. All the recipes on the menu were mine. The kitchen was arranged how I wanted it. Everything was just so. My mostly hand-picked team rock worlds with food all day long, absolutely killing opening day of a bbq (the smoked meat kind, not the sauce) taco restaurant on Cinco de Mayo. Fucking killed it.
Husband gets drunk at my opening…
Husband is drunk and belligerent at home, then physically violent with my teenage son.
Husband goes to jail.
May 6, 2018
I go to work. Repeat, day after day, ever since. Well, except for Septemeber 2018, when I was between the end of the season and starting in October at the job I’m in now.
Worked my ass off the rest of the year, got bills paid off, held my shit together, got myself a fancy new credit score, husband got deported, (and still managed to abuse, neglect, and gaslight me all the way from England for several months afterwards), and I… got different. I started changing. I started eliminating toxic people from my life and realized, sadly, that there was almost no one left. I had surrounded myself with toxic people to use and abuse me because I thought that was normal, what I deserved.
This year, I’ve filed for divorce, fallen in love, gotten a loan, bought a car, gotten a promotion and 2 raises, rocked the hell out of my job for the summer season (which was bruuuuutal), made a few road trips, fell more in love with every passing day, sent a kid off to a not-cheap college…
I have accomplished so fucking much! And all while my world felt like it was crumbling around me. While the darkest of dark thoughts were flitting through my mind. While fighting a never-ending internal battle to convince myself that I’m worthy while my other self was fighting to convince me that I am garbage.
I realized, looking at that pay stub today, that I am far above the poverty level. I am downright rich.
He calls me an epic hero.
My successes are far greater than my failures.
I’m starting to think he might be right. I mean, maybe. Tomorrow I’ll probably just hate myself again. But I’m trying, I really am.
I want to see the me that he sees, and he makes me feel like that’s a thing that’s actually possible. Maybe I am an epic hero.
I mean, don’t they all have some tragic backstory? Do I get to wear tights and a cape?
Last updated September 10, 2019