There is a fine art to living in a capitalistic society without a job. If I leave the house or turn on the tube I am told that I need, in fact, want about a million things. Somehow, my self-worth is tied to whether or not I go to some building, do a little dance for nine or twelve hours and collect a pay check at the end of two weeks.
I could probably never prove it, but I have lost all the jobs I ever had because I am mentally ill. While it is not information that I volunteer in an interview, folks generally figure it out by my second or third middle-of-the-shift-melt-down. There is usually crying, sometimes yelling and always shock on the face of whoever had, “just been bragging” about what a great hire I was. Then there is the ever popular, 90 day melt-down: always crying, lot’s of yelling and utter frustration on the part of everyone involved. The one year explosion though, this is my personal favorite: crying, yelling, spitting, the throwing of near-by objects and typically I am barred from ever returning to the property.
I want to work. I am just not most people’s definition of a good employee. I am highly sensitive to the subtle non-verbal cues of others. When I have been at one job for too long work becomes like family (I have no sense of boundary) and family is a real bad word for me. It’s the PTSD and comes from the seventeen years of abuse I suffered as a girl. I will have to live with it on some level for the rest of my life.
I spend much of my time trying to calm my nerves-I am an extremely nervous girl. It’s the reason for all the crying and yelling. It’s the reason I have to spend so much time alone in a darkened room. It’s why I like “cubbies” to hide in and why some days I cannot lift my head from a blanket.
I am not a victim, I am a survivor.
Finding ways to spend all the slow-going time productively and without spending any money is a survival tool that I am learning to wield mightily. I am learning a new lexicon, I am learning to find my self-worth from other things. I am trying to create a new paradigm for myself and let me tell you, it is a lot of work! This is proving to be the hardest, most rewarding job I have ever had….the non-job job.
Part II this Tuesday evening, central.