Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Spring 2014 or That year I got fired, got married, became a buddhist, took summer classes, lost 20lbs, lost my bathroom ceiling, worked in a liquor store and watched my 21 year old get a degree.

Yeah so there's that. Who knew all this time that 2014 was secretly lying in wait for me to do everything I hadn't managed to accomplish or fail at all in the span of six short months. Hey do you know unemployment pays like nothing and stops after 6 months? I should be down at the food stamp line or walking the track. Fuck me. I just keep thinking about the creditors. I hate creditors. Why the fuck did you even give me that money if you didn't want me to spend it? You knew I wasn't good for that shit when you sent the card. SMH... So instead of sitting at home bitching about that wretched job I fucking hated I am ringing up fellow drunks in my happy place. We will call it the liquor emporium for safety sake and because...fuck it that sounds fancy/classy and shit. On my off time (read: days, weekends and such) I am working tirelessly on boring a hole straight through the couch with my ass as I attempt feats such as "finish your degree" and "don't fail math". It's really quite interesting. I even bore the dog. An animal that sleeps a solid 20 hours a day. I bore him! Talent I tell ya. Honestly, I complain but I should be grateful. Which I sort of am. I have had a monster break that has allowed me to keep from putting more miles on my vehicle and not get an oil change since March. I have also been building my good karma which is pretty cool too. Except all this fancy expensive schooling is keeping me from gongyo and Daimoku with my fellow faith folks on the regular. Oh, hey I did something grown up other than get hitched. We will get there I promise. I got a tutor. I went and found me a math tutor to help me with my remedial fraction life. It only took 20+ years for me to realize that I wasn't ever gonna "get" algebra on my own. She is cool too in a bookish, doctoral student way. I dig her. If I thought she drank or left the house to do fun shit I would totally drag her out to have fun. Oh shit! I am supposed to be writing her a review! Then there was the portal to another universe that opened up in my only lavatory. Twice I awoke to the recreation of the great flood in my bathroom. Once when the light fixture fell off the wall and the second time when a bubble of water large enough to drown a small animal formed behind the latex paint. The first time they only came out to patch the ceiling. The second? Well they are in there removing the whole damn shebang right now. Granted, I am not happy about 6 hours of math set to the soundtrack of saws and hammers but at least I know that there won't be any creatures climbing through it to come and get me. Thanks mom for the visual. So, back to the wedding. It was small. We just decided in the intellectual words of Jagged Edge we weren't getting no younger so we might as well do it. We just felt like it was the right time and we didn't want to pay to feed gossipy fake people who want to trade a $20 picture frame for a $100 dinner. Fuck em. We had a small family get together afterwards and ate some food together and later went off to Vegas in a very funny mock honeymoon. Oh and I will probably never remember our wedding date either. Cause it was initially planned for May 23rd a Friday but then my kid needed to graduate from college that day so we moved it to the 22nd. It was comical in a happy, sort of unexpected change way. Then I cried like a fool during the kids graduation. The whole damn time. Oh and my mother clowned me as I bawled like an infant. Way to go mom! All that lead up to say that the boy got accepted to a 4 year and they are steady dicking him around on the daily. Welcome to higher learning kid. As for me I finally found someone to hire my fail ass. Sure it's twice the work for 2/3 the money and my new boss is the most unprofessional person in life, but let's just thank the universe that I will be drawing down a paycheck. No hooking for me! I kid I kid. It's not bad it's just not ideal. It could be worse. I will just try to remember what T.I. says and when they ask how you are say "better than you!"

Wednesday, April 02, 2014

This is me...then

My life is changing. A lot. Some by choice some by design but all for the better. I am trying to understand myself and those around me. Somedays are hard and these changes fit poorly and look matronly and sad. I will work it out eventually. The one thing I've learned is that everything is temporary. 

What is sticking in my craw is not being able to match communication with people. For instance, explaining the difference between anti-depressants and anti-anxiety meds to someone who thinks Psychology is voodoo and all pills are a crutch is frustrating as fuck. So I am upset, and I feel unsupported because the person I love and want to marry is a complete clod about modern medicine.

It's the tried and true way of black folks. The majority believe that mental health services are akin to witch doctory. Well buddy, let me tell you about who I was before all that fancy chemical balancing medication I've been taking since the early 90's. It's the only thing standing between me and abject insanity. It's the reason I am able to live the life I have now, and most of the reason you tolerate me at all.

I am a profoundly depressed individual. Have been since adolescence. It's taken forever for me to get to the point where I can feel comfortable even taking the damn things much less tell folks that I do. So when I get pushback (for doing what A. Is smart and B. Is my chosen degree program) from someone who is also profoundly fucked up with years of latent anger and grief, drowned for 15 years in liquor to dull it, I get irritated.

So, while I probably won't tell him, let me tell you who the unmedicated Avin was. Avin, in her early 20's only had trash that clinked. She chain smoked and contemplated suicide daily. She indescriminatly fucked random guys from the internet and the office, spent an inordinate amount of time causing others problems and basically not giving a fuck. AT. ALL. This fucked up individual was someone's mother. A very small, very impressionable boy and though I never put him in the direct line of harm, I did make stupid shitty ass choices that could have turned into a real mess. One night after a high school friend turned stalker found my number and called 20 times in 3 hours I had a had enough. I found Paxil and a shrink after a nervous breakdown and my entire world changed.

Over the years I have changed meds and doctors but the fact remains the same without pills I am a wild card. I found that out the hard way this summer. My cash started running low and I couldn't afford my shrink because of the crapass insurance my former boss offered. So I started running out of meds at possibly the worst time imaginable. My fiancé almost killed himself in a drunken blackout car wreck and I started fretting about the future. My dad was diagnosed with kidney cancer...again, and my folks had to go to California for 6 weeks for his partial nephrectomy. Work got intense and without my trusty meds to bolster me, the depression crept back in and I started spiraling. I was either angry or crying every day. I stopped talking to friends, snapping at family and generally just being a jerk. My anxiety which goes and and hand with my depression started affecting my sleep. I called off the wedding. In fairness, I wasn't getting any help and I was out of money anyway. Then I stopped sleeping, and started trying to combat the insomnia with excersize.  It didn't work. Basically, I was a terror for 3 months, a living breathing monster having panic attacks constantly.

Then I spoke to my therapist who (god love her) let me come free of charge for a while till my money got right. Only then did the world come into focus again. By then I had a mess to clean up, my fiancé was accusing me of all sort of treachery, and my friends were like wtf. Needless to say, if I can avoid going off my meds I do.

So, when I got laid off in March, I was at least smart and lucky enough to reup and fast. I have enough to make it until my ACA healthcare kicks in. That and I had a chance encounter with a lady at my night job (henceforth referred to as my only job) who told a funny story about her cat who comes when she chants. She's Buddhist, and something in me volunteered that I have always had an interest in the practice. She invites me to their center and I take her card. That was the day before New Year's Eve and while I considered attending, my nerves got the better of me but I put her card in my purse. 

Fast forward to my being axed from a job I hated anyway by an awful man with no integrity on Fat Tuesday no less. As I clean out my desk in anger, blinking back tears, I find my Buddhist friend's card and I know immediately what I need to do. So I email her that day  and though I have no job and no prospects I am one thing and that is a practicing buddhist. I have always felt like one in my heart and I took to it like a duck to water. I chant every morning and evening and I fellowship with other Buddhists.

It to me was inevitable. The house full of Buddhas, the enormous tattoo on my back. Come on, I've always known and honestly so did my family. Friends have been super supportive and even the fiancé has been complementary. I feel better, hopeful, happy despite the obvious challenges of having no full time employment and a mortgage.

No matter, I chant the Daimoku and Gongyo with determination and it feels amazing. That said, positivity and purpose are wonderful, but I still have to take my meds. These things do not remove chemical imbalance. Facts are facts. So, that's who I am now but surely, things could be very different for me. I now understand that there are no accidents in Buddhism only cause and effect. Just like being laid off is the path that will lead me to something better, Zelda's card on my desk that day was no coincidence.

Everything is temporary, including this not having a job thing and I know because I chant Nam Myoho Renge Kyo. I chant for my fiancé to understand that the medicine isn't a crutch, and I chant to stay focused and positive about new employment. I even chant for people who  most would feel don't deserve it, like my former boss. It's a daily reminder that I am working toward a better life for me and all those around me.