..."Living Life To the Best of My Ability" and "Taking The High Road".
Cuz as of right this second, neither of those things is working for me. I'm tired. Done. Faithless.
It started... well it's been coming, this questioning, but I hold on. I hold on to life, and to love, and to dreams, and faith that the Light will win.
I'm not a Christian. I don't believe in Heaven or what happens after I'm gone. But I believe in "Do Right because it's right to do right" and I believe that what you put out, you get back. I do believe that God rewards the righteous. Be kind to nature and animals because we are all part of the same system. Not Karma per se... or maybe that is Karma. Who the fuck knows. But I don't see it working. So maybe I don't really believe after all. Or maybe I'm still not doing it right. But I don't see how I can give any more, what else should I be doing? Or how 'bout I just plain ol' want my turn NOW? Dammit. I'm tired of waiting.
I had a dream once... a dream that I was leading a bunch of people out of hell. We were all scared... but they were following me, trusting me to get them out and I was scared. We hid behind a bush and watched fire and creatures running amok on a stage of some sort, but I knew it was my job to get us out, and I knew that I would. And I've carried that dream with me these past few years, but I wonder sometimes why me? Why bother? And how narcissistic of me to think I have that responsibility in the first place? (Fluffernutter just texted me--cuz I asked him for cheer--that we are artists so we can see and do and see life how we want to live it. I thanked him... but the fucking problem with that is that I don't think anybody else sees the value.)
In the larger picture, I watch this political process brewing, watch someone small and unknown come out of the dark talking about "Hope" and "Change"... and watch the media and the people of this country mock the idea, tear it down and stomp on it like it's some kind of a joke, and then turn it around and appropriate it like it was their mantra to being with... change it into the same old shit.
In my "every day"... I try to hold on to the fundamental belief that living well is the best revenge, that walking in the Light and taking the high road will at least give me peace.
And people tell me "but you're beautiful" and "you're smart" and "you're talented" and "you'll be OK". But motherfucker, I AM NOT OK.
I AM TIRED.
I AM SCARED.
I AM BROKE.
And the best part is, I am alone. Me and the kid. Yeah, family. Yeah friends. And, yes, God too. I know He's there. This is all true. Good family and good friends and God (and not always in that order) but at the end of the day when the lights go out it's still me and the kid. Me in the dark.
I got up this morning feeling shitty; I thought I'd escaped the cold the Sun had last week. My head was all foggy. And then of course I feel bad because I made him go to school feeling that way, made him go to karate feeling that way. And I would have skipped out on sewing batten pockets for sails except a.) I told them I'd be there today and b.) this week's unemployment was my last (and $100 less than it has been) so I don't really have a choice. I figure I have to work 28 hours a week to at least bring home what I was getting from unemployment. And THAT wasn't even enough (but according to Food Stamps it's still over the income limit for a family of two in New York City, so I don't qualify for Food Stamps. Con Ed be damned. $1200 rent be damned. The rules are the rules). The problem with that is that it's 28 hours of time away from what I WANT to do, can't make any phone calls, can't network, can't look for other options. Take my break when the bell rings. Punch a time clock.
So then I second guess myself: have I been wasting time? I fucked up August, I guess, but I don't think it could be helped. In August I managed to get myself out of bed everyday and that was a major fucking accomplishment.
There's things to glean from sewing batten pockets; I'm learning how to handle an industrial sewing machine. It's kinda cool actually. It's a challenge to learn how to control all that power with only your foot. To remember all the details that go into cutting and sewing the thing. I saw the pocket on an actual sail the other day, and it's kind of cool to know that this 30" or 42" pocket contributes an awful lot to keeping a sail up. I know that this skill, like every other skill I've learned, may not have much to do with a lot of other things directly, but in some indirect way will prove useful at some other point in my life. Although I can't really say that my knowing how to figure out the cost per second of a television commercial does me any good now, and 15 years ago it mattered a lot to me. But I still know what it means... can understand how that cost translates to the corruption of our society. There's an awful lot of money in knowing the cost per second of commercial.
But that, and batten pockets aren't really helping me now.
Halfway through the morning I got an email from the hospital that one of my checks was ready. Finally. But then I got another phone call from the actual client, telling me she had the check. And that she wanted a CD of the work I did for them. What she didn't tell me, until I was actually in front of the hospital about to go up and get the check was that if I didn't give the CD, I wasn't going to get the check. "Nothing personal". What I said was, so in essence you're telling me I'm a.) not getting this job again next year b.) you think that FUCKING LITTLE of all the fucking work I did that you think you can do this by yourself? ("we have someone who knows Quark") and c.) it's not personal??? Fuck you. I delivered on time. I gave you what you asked for. I did a shitload of work for below market rate, and this is what I get? The preliminary files and comps were never part of the contract, so fuck it. They won't get that. But still.
I was in front of the hospital, the Sun and Moon behind me, and I cried. I'm so fucking tired of crying.
And this was from the client I DO like; that other motherfucker still hasn't paid the last two invoices I sent, and pretty much told me he's paying me to do what HE wants... and it's the crappiest crap I've ever done. I won't even show it. Anywhere. Ever.
I went and got my eyebrows done cuz it makes me feel good and fuck it, some people smoke. Some people drink. And tomorrow I'm getting my hair done.
My favorite girl in eyebrow salon was telling me how if McCain wins, she told her mom she's seriously considering going home to her country because they'll be no point in her staying here. She can't afford college. Business has dropped off (because only idiots like me continue to get their eyebrows done in a recession, but I can't afford Prozac, not even on Medicaid) and the landlord is raising her rent for the second time in a year.
I bring the boys home and start cooking. I spent like $60 at the grocery store on the Rock the other day cuz I had no choice; we had no food in the house. I hate shopping out here cuz things are ever so slightly overpriced but what can you do. (Oh, and I spent $81 on a monthly Metrocard today, even though I debated it seriously... but to to keep refilling my "pay as you go" card ends up costing more since Mass Transit is my only option.) I wanted the boys to do homework. They did the math without a fight, but my kid starts screaming and flinging things when I told him his one sentence (sloppy) didn't constitute his two 15-minute free-writing sessions. His latest thing is he hates me, (I told him "You have other options") "You're the worst mother ever" and my personal favorite "I don't care". "But I do" I told him. This is usually followed by "I'm NOT DOING IT and YOU CANT MAKE ME" which of course I can... but who has that fucking kind of time or energy?
So I took away his DS for a week. It ended up being 7 because everytime he said something smart or threw something I added another week.
This is where I wish I weren't doing this by myself. And this is where someone will tell me "Oh but chances are you would be doing it by yourself even if you HAD a partner" which personally I think is bullshit, but whatever.
The point is, I'm fucking tired already and this is only the beginning.
And then on top of all this crap is still feeling emotional and unhappy about other shit that's just so not even worth talking about anymore because it's beating a dead horse. And yet... yet I still hope, still want things to work out differently. Still know what I felt but whatever.
Because the special and the extraordinary are a once-in-a-lifetime thing if you're lucky, and there's no guarantee it'll even happen for you. Like getting hit by lightening. And I guess I already had my flash.
Goldie Taylor wrote a beautiful essay called "A Woman's Worth" that's being passed around the Internet. I read it a few weeks back and kept saying "Hey, that's me, I can relate", except for me it still hasn't gotten better. I can relate to putting my kid first... to suffering economically and/or taking jobs beneath my abilities so that I can be there for him. I want to pick him up from school. I want to take him to violin, and to karate, because I believe those things are good for him. I shelled out $80 bucks yesterday to the Senseis (who are also struggling... they now have no house phone for the dojo, the summer attendance dropped by half once school started and they are a month behind in the rent. BigSensei is snappy and not sleeping, and LittleSensei is still wondering how he can balance his family, a full time job and the school) because I am loyal to them. I am loyal to LittleSensei, my Nene and my friend, because he has always been straight up. But also, the brothers are good for my kid.
But it's $80 I don't really have... and then I have to shell out money to get there. And fight my kid to get him there, though once he's there he's OK with being there. But I give them the $80, the brothers, because they train me for free, because they support me in my efforts to make my kid a man. We're all in this together right? But I wonder in the end, what is it all worth? Do I earn brownie points for this?
SD paid for the Sun's violin lessons... but I have to fight to get the kid there. Though once he's there he's OK with being there. The theory is he'll get some kind of music scholarship (not necessarily violin) and go to Berkley, where he can live with his dad and let his father deal with the sex and the girls. But I wonder in the end, is the plan a good one? Is it worth it? Do I earn brownie points for this? When I have to fight him on practice, worry about his time... his sleep?
And I do all that because he's my kid... my responsibility, my job. My job to make him a better man, the best man he can be but in the end, in a world that doesn't give a shit about integrity and is OK with mediocrity, will it matter? Will he matter? Or will he feel like me... fucking cursed, trod upon, holding up the wall for no good reason. Because it's right to do so.
Me being available to my kid like this is costing me... 4 months behind in the rent, student loan debt that doubles every time I look at it, assholes that don't care that I put my heart and soul into everything I do. Is it worth it?
But what if I succumb... give in, take the shortcuts. Would I feel any better?
And the fucked up part is... I couldn't even if I tried. My heart won't let me. Just like my heart never lets me give up on love or roll over for assholes or play dead or walk in the Darkness, no matter how badly I want to...
And now I'm gonna go watch a snappy, condescending mediocre Governor earn media points cuz she knows how to be snappy and condescending. Cuz America loves fireworks. Doesn't matter if there's no real substance behind it...