When I was nineteen I had a dream and it stuck with me for the next ten years, sometimes thinking on it, whether it was the product of a disturbed teenage brain or whether the realism and conviction of it meant something, I can't really say. It was probably a prophetic wish for a distant future; a dream where I was recognized as a worthy human adult, chosen as special, all my half-formed talents and ideas shining above the masses, where I was recognized. Something big was going to happen when I turned 29. That's all I took away from that dream and that is what I have held onto for ten years.
Reality, however, has a tendency to smack me upside the head with a vicious uppercut. Like so many people before me I can now say , 'This isn't what I expected life to be'.
Moreso than other people because somehow, despite privileges of class and race, stable childhood and opportunity I fell through the cracks of society no matter how hard I backpeddled.
This is my journal and this is a record for the next year to see if prophetic dreams come true.
I have failed spectacularly in the eyes of society and my ever harsh-judging peers. Despite all expectations I am not married, I do not have a career, or children (nor any inclination to have any children) I do not have a job and have the merest handful of social contacts. I am social phobic, obsessive, recovered shut-in, occasional gamer, nose-in-the-book worm, religious, closely bonded with my parents, agoraphobic, anxiety disordered woman. My experience in the world has put me on a different planet so I often feel as though I am speaking a language no one understands nor wants to understand. I am angry. I am resentful. I have a wicked way with words and this is my story; when I turned 21 everything that could go wrong, went wrong. It would almost be sitcom worthy if it had been someone else.
My family lost all our money which included my childhood home, everything that could bring a price and the unstable terror of not knowing whether there would be grocery money or a roof over our heads for the immediate future. We all moved into a two bedroom one bathroom house with four people and a dog. My brother joined the military two months before the September 11 terrorist attacks and was sent to Iraq.
I went into depression. I dropped out of college. I started having terrible panick attacks and stopped going out. I lost my friends because of it. I spent one whole year inside my room, roiling in inexplicable violent emotions which involved self-hate, hate for my friends that abandoned me to my fate and general anger and hate for a world that continued on without me without knowing or caring what was happening to me.
Does funny things to the head.
The worst part about mental illness is the complete isolation of it. Not to wallow in woe-is-me, nobody-understands self-pity but no one does understand who hasn't been through it. How can you describe an experience?
It came to a point where either I did something about it or I was going to die. I lost thirty pounds (when you're already twig thin, its a big deal), I wasn't eating, I wasn't sleeping, something had to give.
I spent four years in counseling just to get me back into college. I was 25. I was terrified to sit in a classroom and it took nearly two years of trying before I was comfortable with it. I stuck with it (the alternative was to revert back to being a shut-in) and learned a lot; about myself, society, people, the world and how I really have no place in it. As a result I can honestly say I have a perfectly unique perspective. I graduated last month with some of the highest grades in my department. I was on the dean's list for the last three semesters so it isn't like I can't do the work.
So here we are, a college graduate with no prospects in a fucked up world and economy struggling once again to find a niche in the world around me. As my counselor would put it; make a plan.
For the Immediate Future
- Keeping up constant correspondence via blogger
- Daily scanning of the wanted ads in hope of a job that does not destroy the will to live
- Be more social
- Ride the bus alone, downtown and be social
- Knock out some commissions
- Prepare portfolio and make appointment with head of Art Department for advice
- Start Etsy/ some sort of self-supporting means of income
- Actually apply somewhere to work
-Think of places to work where I might actually want to work