Monday, January 11, 2016

Relationship Status: Meds

I'd like to say that it's only those who are closest to me, but really it's anyone within earshot of my recent tantrums and rants who knows how I've been adjusting to my meds. 

Passionately. Irrationally. Dizzily. Angrily. 

But right now, I'm also adjusting to being at home, and finally having my very own door to shut. 

Living in my car in Davis, it was a rare occasion to find myself in a space where I was not on public display. If I needed a moment alone, I had to do some serious planning in advance. And moments alone usually can't be planned in advance; especially those that are needed the most. My car was my own space, but there were too many windows. More than likely, several people had the privilege of witnessing one or more of my biweekly tearful meltdowns. Starbucks was always buzzing, and I was an obvious regular to fellow customers and baristas alike. I could escape into a bathroom stall at the park, but it wouldn't be long before somebody came in. I was alone in the shower room at the gym, but California is in the middle of a drought and I couldn't run the water forever. I was excruciatingly lonely a lot of the time, but I was never alone. I could go an entire day without speaking to more than two people, but I was surrounded. All the time. And I remember, specifically, wishing that I had my very own door...just so that I could shut it.

Digression: I think I've gotten comfortable with being a "good writer," so much so that I don't even think about what I'm writing anymore. Right now, for instance, I've hit my second wind after my afternoon slump; I have creative energy but not a clue what to do with it, the results of which are this substandard writing, and the fact that none of this prose makes any goddamn sense. No flow. No outline. No roadmap. No sense.

So basically, it's a metaphor for my life as we are, as I am. I was recently asked if I'm sick of relaying the same exact stories (fun an adventurous as they are) to so many different people after traveling for six solid months. And yeah, I am. I'm tired of it. I'm tired of talking. I'm tired. And for whatever reason, I fluctuate heavily between wanting to spend time with everyone my heart has missed so much, and shutting myself inside of my own precious space because a) I haven't had my own precious space in ages, and b) everyone is on my damn nerves. 

Irrationally, of course. But on my nerves, nevertheless.

Be advised: the following statements have nothing to do with my emotional personal growth, my heart, how much I love everyone I spent time with last year, or how much I enjoyed what I did.

Everything is a mess. I had no idea that I was so terrible at making decisions; rather, I had no idea I was so terrible at discerning whether or not a person is lying to my face, whether or not I'm boarding a sinking ship, whether or not I can afford to do what I love to do. But the truth of the matter is, none of the things that I've done for a paycheck in 2015 were the least bit sustainable. In fact, I seem to be magnetically attracted to unsustainable, barely surviving establishments with zero funding and millennial enthusiasm, from tiny nonprofits to branches of the US Government. It makes sense; that's how I live my life. Zero funding. Millennial enthusiasm. 

In my own defense, I started from absolutely nothing and I worked very hard to earn my keep, and my six months of adventurous travel. And really, my priority at that time was to have something to fill my schedule so that I didn't kill myself. In that sense, mission accomplished. But now, in a bitter attempt to avoid being taken advantage of, I can't resign to working on anyone's terms but my own. Not until I go back to school, anyway.

I just got a call from Dakota, and boy, what great timing! She's dealing with the bureaucratic nonsense that (unfortunately) is the NPS, and it's a cycle that I just can't afford to ride anymore. It's not because my supervisory rangers don't want to take care of me. It's not because I won't advocate for myself. It is because my supervisory rangers can't take care of me, and because I'm in no position to advocate for myself. And for the past few years, I made enormous sacrifices to provide the best damn astronomy program I could come up with, and decided that it had been worth it. But when the financial burden becomes too large and there simply isn't enough money to survive above the poverty line, that's what clouds my thoughts instead of the ways by which I could improve upon the program. That's what I'm thinking about, that's what I'm stressing about, and I have no patience for visitors when my supposed "brilliant mind" is trying to figure out how to ask for more money, where I'm going from there, what I can possibly do to keep my heart and my wandering feet in public lands without going into financial red.

With two degrees in physics, I'm a trained problem solver. But I can't solve this problem.

So, save for a few trips here and there so that I don't lose my mind, I'm staying put for a while.

It wasn't the plan. A career-halting nervous breakdown was not going to happen, and continuing to be in recovery a year later was not in the cards. But now, I have a shot at a reset. 

And now, I have my own door to shut.

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