Well, I guess should start by explaining the title of this blog a little bit. If this does get a bit long-winded, I apologize but there’s a lot for me to get through in order for anyone to fully understand why it is I am writing this blog in the first place. So, many apologies in advance. Ok, here we go:
The last three and a half months of 2014 were not…ideal. Then again, ideal hasn’t been the word I would use to describe my life since I unceremoniously left home back in the middle of 2011, but that’s another story for another time.
In those three months alone I had a number of unfortunate things happen to me all in one go, and as much as I would like to go into every single event in great detail, for time’s sake I’ll share the general gist of them.
Starting from the middle to the end of September, I had been inexplicably fired from my job without so much as a heads up or reason behind the termination – finding out only when I went to work for their sister store a week after this decision and told I was unable to work due to my termination. Under some guidance from my partner, I applied (then later got rejected) for unemployment, which I am still fighting with for money due me from my last job (an endeavor I am still struggling through, might I add). After about a few weeks of inactivity and rough games of catch up with school (which, at the time, I had applied late to due to financial troubles on my end), I got a new job with some old bosses of mine, whom I happen to really like. I thought this would be something of a turning point for the year. From October onward, I would discover just how wrong I would turn out to be.
I had forgotten about the long work hours at their stores, especially during the holidays, but since my bosses desperately needed all the help they could get, I didn’t complain about the schedule and continued to work, despite knowing the hours would agitate my fibrous talocalcaneal coalition (something I only recently got diagnosed but have suffered with since middle school). I persevered regardless of that fact. Working eight-nine hour days at the only toy store in one of the largest and busiest malls on the West Coast during the holidays, balancing four classes plus school work, a relationship with a partner older than myself, and numerous of my own personal problems was not something I was especially good at all at once, but I tried my best to, wearing myself down plenty in the process. I thought to myself it would only be a few months of this cycle, it’ll end before I know it. I didn’t give myself any moment to complain or stop, despite knowing subconsciously that I was not ready to tackle all that in the emotional and psychological state I had been in for God knows how long.
In late November, the Ferguson riots happened. I happen to live in Oakland, California, where a lot of sympathizers surround my area. I had no real opinion on the matter of the Michael Brown case, not really having the time or effort to form one due to the increasing traffic at work and my struggling to get schoolwork done, not helping matters was the overall melancholy of my partner, who lost his job at a rapidly declining workplace and was desperately trying to find a new one before his savings dwindled. It hit me hard, realizing the actions that take place even across the country can still affect me at home. There were multiple days where protests took place mere blocks away from where I was living. There had been a number of helicopters over my house with searchlights beaming down at our house. I was so terrified to even go outside most days. I could barely sleep. Having to work late and with the added fear of potential protestors coming down my street, I ultimately couldn’t stomach going to my two morning classes anymore.
December came with not much enthusiasm. Several of the new hires at work were barely working, and the more responsible employees had to pick up the slack oftentimes since we could not afford to fire them. I had an obnoxious customer tell my store manager in my face to fire me over a mild panic attack I had due to a mishap with money in the register. I was able to fix the problem with the money, get the second register running and the long line moving again, and I got berated for it. I had a thief accuse me of racism for wanting to check his bag, despite having been pocketing random items from different kiosks around me before coming to mine, and being told by another worker who caught him in the act. On two separate occasions, I dealt with psychotic homeless people walking around my store. And the straw that almost broke me was when I encountered a twenty-something year old pedophile outright masturbating in front of me, hiding behind a shelf to spy on a little girl playing at our trial display for electronic toys. It was in those few seconds of pure murderous intent that I realized I was not doing well mentally, and had I not held back my desire to kill the sick pervert before me, I might have actually done it. On Christmas day, after an emotional over-the-phone purging from my upset mother for not having had the time to come with her and my family to New York for the holidays, I immediately quit my job. A week or so later, I found out I was being dismissed from school for failing two of my four classes. After explaining my situation to the school, they gave me only a year long dismissal to give me time to better myself and get back on track before hurdling back to classes. And now, here we are.
Looking back at those last few months of last year, I understand now that I’ve been pushing myself hard to do everything I can to make it on my own, even with the knowledge of being unprepared for a lot of it. Probably a lot longer than just those few months. And it got me to thinking about why. Why was I pushing myself so hard? Why did I want to finish everything right then and there? Was it because of what I have heard, of my own preconceived notions of success, that I started a bit later than everyone else that I thought I had to catch up? I realized then that I had not been doing myself any favors. I had been so caught up with doing what I thought was expected of me, and not what I actually wanted. I pushed myself too hard, and almost completely burned out in the process. And that’s not what I wanted. I was finally able to sit still, look over myself and think, “This isn’t what I want,” and actually slow down and evaluate where I was with my life. Because it is MY life. I have all the control in the world over myself. And I wanted to give myself the opportunity to be in control before it was too late.
So now what? I’m not really sure, to be honest. And that’s OK. Not everything or everyone has to have a plan from the get-go. I know now that things have to be a bit more organic in life. Even the best laid plans (not always, but most of the time) have a way of backfiring on us. If we keep setting ourselves up to fail, we will never realize success can be achieved if we let things come naturally from time to time. I’m learning that now, months after overburdening myself with too much without any control. Now, I’m taking things and my life one step at a time. And with each small step forward, I continue to grow.
That’s all for now. I know this post is a bit overdue, but I got a bit distracted once more. I’ll write about that soon though, so there’s something to look forward to at least. I don’t know if anyone out there is reading, but I don’t think it matters. For those who are…thank you. I wish you all a good morning, good afternoon, good evening, or good night. Cheers, Internet.