Thursday, July 13, 2006

Happy Fucking Birthday

Yeah, that's right--today's my 48th birthday. In the last year and three weeks,
  • I got married
  • the company for which I worked went out of business
  • the company for which Dave worked closed their offices in this city
  • I went in debt (again!) to change careers
  • I started a new job that does not offer benefits and does not pay me enough to live on
  • Dave started a new job
  • Dave confessed to major lies, particularly about money
  • Dave moved out
  • I moved to a new apartment
And that's just the stuff I'm telling you about--there's more, but it's Dave's to share or not as he sees fit.

I've also decided that Dave's lost his job. He went out of contact for a couple of days (not answering phone calls or email), and he's changed the message on the "office" answering machine so it has no mention of his job. I could be wrong, I suppose, but who knows when I'll find out. I'd sure like to be wrong about this one, but I don't have a good feeling about it.

J and I separately developed a rating scale for when bad shit goes down, and it turns out we developed the same scale. It's really not a scale, given that it's binary--that is, when things seem like they're really, really bad, we say (when it's true), well, at least no one died. In my case, I used my sister's death as a kind of marker of badness.

It turns out, however, that the binary scale really isn't adequate to the task, as I discovered during the year-plus I was unemployed after grad school, being forced to change careers, blah, blah, defucking blah. Even though someone had, in fact, died, that had happened a couple of years earlier and wasn't the immediate cause of the shitstorm (a contributing factor, yes, but only one of many). That time was, in some ways, worse than when my sister died, primarily because I had no clue how I was going to get out of it, and everything I tried didn't seem to work. (I will always have a soft spot for recovering junkies and alcoholics, because they're the only ones who were willing to take a chance on me.) That is, when someone dies, there's a certain grieving process. It isn't fun, and it's not as though you get some kind of gold star when you "complete" the process--really, you never complete it, you just incorporate it into your life. But you can either do that, i.e., go on somehow, or you can effectively stop living your own life, turn it into a shrine of some kind.

In any case, the binary code I (almost unconsciously) started using when my sister died has turned out to be inadequate again. No, noone has died. But look at that list above and find the fun part, because I sure as hell can't. I've also realized recently that there isn't any way out of the mess I'm in that is going to be easy or pleasant, and there's even the potential for serious ugliness, though I hope that can be avoided and I will work assiduously to avoid it.

The other thing I realized when my sister died, though, is that everyone has problems. It's not as though I've got a shit sandwich while everyone else is eating caviar and sipping fine champagne, and there is always someone who is worse off. So even as I'm depressed and feeling sorry for myself and that kind of whiny shit, I really don't think of myself as worse off, somehow, than the people around me. In some dimensions, some of the time, yes, I could make that argument, but in general, no; I'm just bemoaning the particular shit sandwich I have in front of me.

So, yeah, happy fucking birthday.

6 Comments:

Blogger Ann said...

Um...happy birthday? I hope you have a good day? Maybe?

Really, though, I wish you a happy birthday and a much better next year.

I'll leave out all the "At least you have [blessings 1, 2, and 3]!" stuff, but I can't help but suggest this sliver of a silver lining: Now, instead of relying on the chalky piece of concrete that grocery stores call a birthday cake, you can make your own much better slab of edible passage-of-time.

5:53 PM  
Blogger kStyle said...

Aw, sweetie. Happy birthday, and as Ann said, wishing you a better 48th year.

You share a birthday with an especially fabulous friend of mine who worked with me at the homeless shelter in Santa Fe. Good company.

9:21 PM  
Blogger Larry Jones said...

Happy birthday from California! Keep your head out of the oven and don't forget all the faboo new friends you've made with your blog in the past year and a half. We will (just barely) sustain your spirit until your book is published.

Then we will ask for money.

PS: Getting married and moving to a new apartment had to be some kind of fun, I would think, leaving out the surrounding circumstances.

11:33 PM  
Blogger Emma Goldman said...

Yeah, the wedding itself was a great party--but now I look at the money I spent and the money I need and it just makes me even more scared and sad, which is shame. the move, well, yeah, I ended up in an okay apartment, but the scared thing is overwhelming everything else right now, and the move itself--thanks to the movers--drained even more money.

3:43 AM  
Blogger lori said...

It is my birthday today, I think you have me beat in the problem area's.

8:27 PM  
Blogger O_Scientist said...

{{{{ HUGS }}}} from a stranger in New England.

Hope things will get better for you soon.

Karen

12:25 PM  

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