My pain feels so unique until I get onto the internet. On nights like this, when I’m home by myself and need any outlet, no matter how pathetic, to the outside world and I turn to the computer, I am amazed and infuriated by how many people suffer as I do. Of course, I operate under the delusion that nobody *quite* suffers in the same way I do, but that is not to say it’s not to the same degree: just a different set of ingredients. I feel my mix is particularly bitter.
I am just your average twenty-something white girl, with complaints that make me ashamed when I consider real-world issues, but make me question my sanity nonetheless.
I live in Chicago, in the city. I have drifted a bit, from the Chicago suburbs, to New Orleans, back to the Chicago suburbs, and finally to the city of Chicago, where I was convinced I would be happy. New Orleans was a brief stint where I worked as a grief counselor for people displaced by Hurricane Katrina, but I left after a year due to FEMA funding issues and potential post-graduate educational opportunities back in the city. I have a masters degree in social work, and began my PhD in social work, but stopped pursuing that early on, certain that someone would notice I was accepted to the program by accident. How could they have let ME in? I have found that reaching out to people in need is something that keeps me afloat, but not for long. I work as a social worker in a special education school. It’s a love/hate thing I have with that place, but despite the good people assume I’m doing there, I feel nothing anymore.
I have been sad for as long as I can remember–as long as my parents’ divorce when I was nine at least. But I knew I was different before that. I have always been overly-sensitive, and I have always felt awkward and bumbling, like one of those Trivial Pursuit pieces trying to be shoved into the game piece upside-down: I appear the right shape and size, but upon closer examination, I just don’t fit.
To say I am deeply unhappy is an understatement. My mother was a Mommy Dearest type, and has spent my adult years trying to compensate for that (always, always falling into the same “well if you weren’t so selfish I wouldn’t have been such a bad mother” thing). My sister has retreated into her art, and I envy her. My father left reality long ago, flying to England and marrying some woman he met on a poetry website, his now third wife. I envy him too, in that he was able to up and seize what he thought would make him happy…although I despise his thoughtlessness and disregard. I will be okay if I never see him again, but if I spend my life flying between the poles of my borderline personality mother and my narcissistic father, I hope I end up more like my father. At least he can convince himself he is happy.
As I have grown older, I have grown deeper and deeper in hate with myself. People tell me I’m beautiful. I’m not. I’m 5’10”, thanks to my dad’s freakishly tall genetics. I’m too heavy for my taste, at a size 10 dress, and despite my “I had braces growing up!” teeth, dishwater blond hair, and mediocre makeup day to day, I am a notch uglier than “plain” in my book. My green eyes burn with unhappiness, and my face is aged with brooding and weariness beyond my 28 years. I am appalling to look at, if you’re looking correctly.
Which brings me to love: I literally have none. I had my last boyfriend when I was 22, almost 6 years to the day, in fact. He was a total headcase, like me, but he took his issues out on other people. He raped me when I broke up with him, and I haven’t dated since. He tried to convince me it didn’t happen that I was drunk, blah blah. I’m a social worker. I know how these things work. But I still can’t find someone to care about me. I’m broken, I’m wrong somehow, and it’s plastered across my face in a way everyone but me can see: DANGEROUS, UNHEALTHY. MUST NOT PROCREATE! Anyway, the statute of limitations just passed me by on that one, so no use talking about it, I suppose.
Each day, I lose a little more hope. I just turned 28. I have absolutely no romantic prospects. Men are disinterested in me unless they are gay (seriously, I have a strange magnetism to gay men; all but one of my male friends are gay). If I were even a hint of bisexual I would attempt a relationship with a woman at this point, but I’m just not interested. I want love. I want a family, someone to laugh with and fall asleep with, and eventually have children with. For some reason, God has denied me these things. Why was I created, if I was only to be unhappy? Is God cruel? I hear everything to the contrary, but I have experienced nothing but the affirmative. Is my existence a punishment for something I have done, or for something I will do in the future?
Or perhaps there is no God, in which case…what am I waiting for? The only thing keeping me from slitting my wrists right now is the fear of hell. Well, that and the fact that my cat wouldn’t understand, as ridiculous as that sounds. My roommates, my family, they are human beings; they would get past it. My cat is an innocent without the capacity for logic; he would be hurt and confused.
So here I sit, blabbering out a bunch of bullshit nobody will understand, listening to my biological clock ticking away, suffocating under the $150,000 in student loan debt of my combined undergraduate and graduate degrees, living paycheck to paycheck, needing a second job and unable to find one, needing a kindred spirit and destined to be alone. The debt, the screwed up family, the ugly appearance: all would feel more manageable if someone were to affirm my existence by loving me. But that is the one thing God denies me. It makes me feel hopeless and angry and more alone than anyone can imagine. I want to end my suffering–with each passing day I become more and more fearful that I will lose my grip on reality entirely and actually go through with it. But for strict financial reasons, I can’t. Here, riddled with anger and resentment, is my reasoning for not killing myself right now: If I fail and somehow survive, I will be placed in an inpatient facility. I will lose my job, lose all potential health insurance benefits for the future, default on my student loans, and become more financially destitute than I already am. The only relationship I have in my life, and ironically, the only thing that is killing me AND keeping me alive, is money. I am so poor I cannot kill myself.
How ironic is that?
Perhaps I should go for a late-night stroll through the alley and let someone else take care of it for me. Heh.
And now I’m done writing….back to the aloneness, the disconnect, and the hopelessness. I promise you, whoever you are, you have it better than I do. You have hope. Don’t give up on that.