This is what I have been finding myself in lately and it’s no joke.
I don’t have time for depression. I can’t get into bed and lay with the covers over my head. I have shit to do and already grew up watching things like that go down with my own mother and there is no way in hell my kid’s memory of me is ever going to include unkempt hair, tear stained cheeks and days old frumpy mumu living. I’m too vain to look like complete and utter shit (although I can stand a hair appointment right about now) and way too stubborn to sink down too deep. Or at least I’d like to think.
I’d like to think this stubbornness would pay off for me somewhere.
I remember first hearing the words “Pit of Despair”. If you are even remotely awesome, you would know where it’s from immediately.
But since I am blogging now and I am writing about stuff that matters to me and makes me happy, I am talking about one of the best movies ever.
This movie. This beautiful piece of cinematic perfection that turned my sullen 14 year old ass into a believer of dreams, of hope, of true love…
At the time, the pit of despair was just an arc in my darling Wesley’s story. He was told by that creepy albino hocking loogies to never bother trying to escape. He was informed he would be tortured
Hmph…. Wesley wasn’t scared.
I sided with his arrogance. His ability to withstand anything. He had an immunity to iocane powder and was hot AF. He survived the forest. This guy was the ultimate shit and there is no way that suction thing would make him blink.
I mean… Come on.
And then the suction thing was turned on by that douchebag Six-Fingered Man.
Watching my Darling Wesley break down and cry after he was pummeled around by that thing devastated me.
I truly believed he could stand up to anything.
But life sucking machinery was his Achilles heel. To this day, that scene rattles me.
So much bravery. So much he was able to withstand in the face of adversity. To think that something so awful could make him fall to his knees was too much reality for me in a perfect little fairy tale.
Of course – he survived.
He had others who believed in him and the hilarious Billy Crystal feeding him chocolate covered miracles. Ultimately, the very people he fought in the beginning of the movie (in the politest, most compassionate way possible) became his allies and lifelong friends.
The take away, along with true love, is that there is always an escape from that pit.
I am no Wesley. I can’t even handle spicy sauce let alone iocane powder. I am eating a shit ton of chocolate but none of it is miraculously getting me out of this catatonic state I am sinking into at a frightfully quick pace.
I am certainly no Buttercup, but that’s a whole other thing.
I know that I am one strong beyotch. I have been knocked down by various ROUSes in my life and still can kick some serious ass. I have made it to this point with a serious resume of survival skills.
And yet… I am in a pit of despair right now that I’m finding it difficult to claw out of. There is no Fezzick. No Inigo. I know I am being dramatic but that’s part of the self-indulgence that comes, I guess, with depression.
There – I said it. I hate admitting it. But… I am depressed.
Oh woe is me.
Last summer, I accepted a job for this school year. This wasn’t just a job. This was THE job. This was the job I turned down TWICE 10 years ago and always wondered in the back of my head “what if?”
I don’t like to live in the land of the “What-ifs” so I would never linger there too long.
Yet – on some days – there were moments where I would fantasize that I said yes, took the job, and galloped off into the sunset and lived happily ever after.
I turned down this offer twice because I liked where I was working. Maybe I was worried that I wouldn’t live up to the expectations that this new job had for me. I was young and green, but still passionate and ambitious about what I did. I was good at what I did. I had enough confidence to know other jobs would always be around for me. And… I was right – no matter what I was going through and how hard things got – work was always a constant. The nature of my job did have me jumping around every few years, but the challenges kept me on my toes and stoked my fires.
And then a former colleague contacted me and told me this school district I never forgot about was looking for a behavior specialist (that’s me!). She reminded them about me (administration changed but there were some who remembered me by my maiden name there). She sang my praises and I landed an interview and ultimately – the job.
Holy. Shit. THE job. The one that got away.
This was it – it was meant to be all along. This was going to be the answer to everything about the universe and fate and destiny.
Time to jump on my horse and head towards my sunset….
Just like that – BAM. 5 months in, this job was yanked from beneath my feet. Like a magician pulling the tablecloth clean beneath the perfectly set china.
No matter what I did – I could not control the outcome.
Not by kicking up my performance to manic proportions.
Not by coming home late and exhausted and still needing to be a mom and taking the dog for walks and feeding the cats and doing the laundry and the dishes and maybe making something edible for the family. In that order.
I was so blind-sided by my fierce determination to DO. THIS. JOB. To prove that I am GOOD at what I do. However, I could not see that my boss was determined from day one to get another person in to my position because he was not the one who chose me to be in his school. I never saw that my boss was determined that I would not succeed. That he would make sure to skew all of my work to make me look like I failed.
I did not know this yet. I saw his attitude towards me but convinced myself that he was just the kind of guy who took a while to warm up. He would see the job that I do and have no choice but to cave in with admiration of me. I was deluding myself into believing if I could just keep GOING and doing – surely I would get the nods of approval and accolades I was accustomed to getting whenever I… you know… did my job.
And then I was sat down 3 months into my job to discuss my “job performance”. So – I kicked it up a few hundred notches. Never taking a lunch break. Never saying “No” to any assignment and task that came my way. Teachers were so grateful for my work and would make sure to tell me and administration.
I thought for sure whatever was broken would certainly be fixed now.
And then 2 months after that, I was told that I would not be recommended back next year.
But – But…. I was doing everything I was told to do and a billion times more!
This was my dream job!
My “meant to be for the rest of my life galloping into the sunset kiss of fate” job.
There is no dignified way to walk out of a meeting like that. I’m sure I was a hot mess. I’d like to think I wasn’t crying but I’m sure I was. I’d like to think I walked out with some swagger but I probably looked like I had a load in my pants.
The sensation of no longer having to worry because the thing you were worried about has finally happened, AND the feeling of being buried under the rubble of shame and remorse is so odd. Like floating lightly while tethered by the ankle to the ground. And also simultaneously being hit by random meteors.
This odd feeling can be exhausting at a time when I need to recruit energy from every reserve I own. Because… now the real work comes in.
I still have 4 more months to go. In education, you see the year out after you have been told very early on you will not be coming back. It’s just the way things go.
I am smack dab in the middle of a year where, essentially, I have been told I am failing epically in. Pretty much from the start.
I have 4 months ahead of me of waking up day after day after day to this job. Working with kids and professionals who still love me and think I am doing a wonderful job. That certainly is nice to know and I am grateful for that, but it makes all of this so much harder and sadder.
“Would you have rather been let go because you are doing a BAD job?” My husband asked me one night – one of many nights I sat next to him – a quivering hot mess of a pity party some time after Walking Dead was finished on a Sunday night and Monday reality would set in.
“Yes.” I would answer. “Yes. Because then it would make sense.”
Even in my 40s, not being accepted can be devastating.
But… my job is still my job. It still demands so much of me. So I wake up every morning forcing my leaden legs out of my bed with my heart feeling like it is filled with boric acid.
It hurts. Everything hurts.
I want to curl up and stay home and cry and binge watch Shameless and eat raw cookie dough and drink cheap wine out of the nozzle on the box. But I cannot because I am a wife and a mother and a behavior specialist and a compulsive shopper so I have wife-ing and mothering and bill paying and adulting to do.
But this is where I am now. In the pit of despair. I am Wesley laying there on that machine and wailing. I don’t want to be this weak but I am.
At the end of each day I crash, fetal position on the couch bingeing on huge handfuls of my son’s goldfish, watching sloth videos and wondering if maybe I can just work at Lululemon and sell high end workout clothes for the rest of my life (the answer is, no. After the extensive schooling for the career I have, apparently I need to make more money than working at Lululemon could provide to contribute to our bills. Stupid bills)
Sometimes, at my husband’s urging, I brush the goldfish crumbs off my chest and lap and attempt to read his Buddhist books. It’s a lot of karma and talk of attachments and delusion and endless suffering and temporary happiness.
It’s a lot of the stuff that makes the most sense when you are already at rock bottom. Questioning your worth in a haze of goldfish crumbs and bad wine, head throbbing from the hour of sobbing you just completed.
I will be visiting these texts more in future blog posts.
I know that, from the bottom of my Pit of despair, at some point I have to make the decision to just settle in and remain this pitiful hot mess, or try to claw out, inch by inch.
So, this blog is really what this is about. Still wanting the stuff that I want. Still having moments of shallow enjoyment and nice things. Still having self deprecating tantrums where I wail out “WHY even bother???” Fighting off the desire to curl into bed and forget the whole world around me and just disappear.
I am just trying to make sense of all this and find my joy again while click clacking in my heels or lacing up my Nike frees or lolling around in my sweats all day. All while knowing I have a job search ahead of me once again and a hell for a lot of living to do.
Care to join me?