Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Why I am not here, this isn't happening

And suddenly I am one of those people, quietly crying on the bus. Hiding behind sunglasses, but sunglasses are not a dam, just shadow, and so they spill over, overflow. I am a cliche--of what, I don't know--of quiet desperation, of anyone who has ever broken down surrounded by strangers on a public bus, wanting to be home but not quite, wondering where that is. This terrible, awful certainty--I have made a mistake. I have made dozens of them, and they have all led me to where I am, and from where I cannot escape. I want to run away, I want to never go back, and I would, too, except for all the terrible and mundane reasons that I can't. Can't not. I dream of leaving everything behind, going away where no one would ever find me, but where would that be? In this era of credit cards and digital technologies, I would be found. Impossible to really disappear, anymore, and so, what? Even if I lasted the year--a year--what then? What then? There are no more alternatives, I have exhausted them all and now here I am. Indebted and my soul signed away--a lease, a contract, and government loans, I am legally bound, legally trapped, going nowhere, and nowhere to hide. This much is certain--I can't. I can't. I cry on the bus and I lie awake at night and I can't bear the thought of going back, of doing this day after day, I can't, I just can't. I don't know why I ever thought that I would, that I could, but I can't. But I will but how long when every day is worse than the one before and it all comes down to why, anyway? So I can work 12 hours a day so I can afford my apartment so I can live in this city that I never see and don't know and maybe watch a Netflix at night before bed before I get up and do it all over again amen. Times like this I wish I was religious, oh Jesus please save me, it would be nice, anyway, to be saved. Please help me, dear amorphous something, dear nothing in the sky, please help. Because I cannot do this shit. I cannot do it.

Me and Thom Yorke, wondering how long before we can disappear completely.

32 comments:

  1. Oh, Rachel, your words came through like hammers. I'm so sorry that you're so unhappy. My heart hurts for you. I won't give you the "it'll get better" shit because I don't think that you want to hear that. But I do hope that it gets better for you.

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  2. Tell someone how you are feeling.

    Hold on, please, because things will change and you will not always feel this sad and overwhelmed.

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  3. Oh Rachel, I'm so sorry that you are so unhappy.

    It's okay to make mistakes and to admit them. If you hate this job and this place THAT much, if it's not getting even the slightest bit better each day... then find a loophole and get out. More important than a lease or a loan is your happiness. Call someone and get them to help you figure it out. Don't be alone in your unhappiness.

    I hope it all works out, the sooner the better.

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  4. I've never commented before, but I have loved your blog since I found it one year ago. I love your honesty and rawness. However, I'm sorry to read about your current state which makes me tear up because I feel like I'm in a similar situation, but in a city that feels mundane and all I want is a change, to run away and close the chapter to my life here. "They" say that everything eventually works out, so I'm banking on cliches, hoping it works, and hoping it works soon.

    Same for you. Good luck.

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  5. You are really in it, aren't you. I'm not going to tell you that your situation will get better, because I don't know what it is about your situation that's making you miserable.

    I can say that there's no way to stay at this heightened level of emotion indefinitely. Either you'll snap or the extremes of how you feel now will even out.

    It's possible that a big part of how horrible you feel is because you feel trapped and locked in. If you had options, even if you couldn't leave immediately, I doubt you'd be as turbulent as you are.

    I hope you find a way out, or a way to be happy in it.

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  6. Oh lady...I am so, so sorry to hear this. There has to be a way out, non? Like another commenter said, leases & contracts can be broken. Another job, even if it's a menial one, can pay for your student loans. Please don't think you're stuck in such a soul-sucking situation, there is always a way out. *Hugs*

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  7. I can't help thinking that it is a new (difficult) job in a new (huge) city, so your reaction is normal.
    Give yourself at least 9 months to decide whether you like it or not.
    Courage!!

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  8. When I was in Paris at that job that was sucking my soul all I wanted to do was run away. The city of my dreams and I couldn't stand it any more. My therapist then told me something that has stuck with me: There is ALWAYS a way out. It may not seem that appealing right now but if your other option is to have a nervous breakdown, perhaps it is worth considering.

    I say number one goal is to ditch the shitty job. You CAN do other things - even if it's just temporary! You could be a secretary somewhere and get paid two or three times what you make now.

    Secondly? Give yourself at least SIX months (9 is probably a stretch). I have never moved to a new city where it didn't take me six months to stop feeling lonely and sad that I was there. After six months, if you still want to cry on the bus, then you will know you need to make a BIG CHANGE.

    HUGS!

    (Also, you could totally come visit me in Philly some weekend, just to break it up.)

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  9. You are having what is called the 30yr crisis, it's like mid-life crisis but it hits around this time and i've seen many of my friends go through it, you work you're way through it and at the end you either give up or get on with it... now for the tough love part of the program, what the fuck? it's been a few weeks girl, get you shit together put your head down and plow through this shit, don't take shit from those kids or strangers or collegues, may i say assert your god-damn will and make it dammit, i once worked 100 plus hour weeks cuz i was fucking broke, i've lived out of a car for a couple months cuz i didn't have a place to live, but you know what? here i am, for better or worse, i still get up and smile when i see that sunrise cuz i know i've made it one more day, so take off the fucking sunglasses and let out that barbaric yawp, grab the world by the balls and say you ain't gonna fucking break me and then get on with it.

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  10. I've never commented here before but have been reading off and on for awhile. I have to say what you are experiencing sounds an awful lot like culture shock. Like others said, give yourself some time and keep on keepin' on. It takes time to become comfortable with a new job and new responsibilities, until then it can be quite UNcomfortable. It takes time to make new contacts and turn them into friends. It takes time to get to know a new city and make it feel like home. Yes you feel lost and alone right now but you'll find your way. Keep getting up every morning and do what you are doing. Reach out to people and get to know them. It gets better.

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  11. I think other commentors have given you some great advice. Try to hang out a little longer and see if things change. I am so sorry that you are so unhappy. Perhaps you could so something else in the limited free time you have to take your mind off of sadness. Exercise? Maybe start running? That always takes my mind off of problems. At least then you could fall asleep peacefully instead of worrying about your work day until it is your work day again.

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  12. I know it totally sucks and there doesn't seem to be a way out or an end. But there always is - always! I was a first year teacher and it is super tough...your school seems a lot harder than mine and I was in tears a lot that year. No boyfriend, new city, sucky roommates, hard job. I went home nearly every weekend just to get some rest and get away from my life and work work work. I had no social at all - I was too busy working and prepping and crying! But after Xmas break things seemed to lighten up - I found a rhythm where I didn't have to work AS hard - you don't have to be the best teacher your first year - survival is key...being the best will come later. I found time to do stuff with new colleagues and meet their friends and a social life was finally sprung. I made summer plans (school for me!) but you can make even better ones since you're done with school. I still would give it 6ish months. When I was in the doldrums of 1st year teaching I made it a priority to get out at least to do a yoga class a week to see other people and relax. Good luck and big hugs!

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  13. I totally agree with the last person who commented - teaching is a hard, hard job, and unfortunately it doesn't always leave you with enough time to get away, do other things and forget about your worries.

    It sounds as though your school is a tough one, but there is a huge difference between a good school with hard kids and a bad one with hard kids. A good school will give you support in dealing with all the issues that walk into your classroom every day, while a bad one will either turn a blind eye or blame any problems on you. So look for the support that you need, and if it's not there, get looking for a way out.

    Also, though, teaching in a tough school is not something you can deal with when you're really down. Don't be afraid to find someone to talk through your angst with so that you can go in with a brave face every day.

    And finally, if you decide teaching really isn't for you, I've been following your blog for a while now and I think you could have an awesome career as a writer ahead of you!

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  14. Is there another teacher you would feel comfortable talking to? Hugs and happy thoughts.

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  15. I love your blog. I am so sorry that you are feeling this way. You are such an attractive and competent woman.
    I have children your age and I get so frustrated with them when they belittle themselves and their achievements. In a way your blog allows me to see their struggles without being attached and reassures me that these crises are part of evolving. Your blog helps me be a better parent. It's probably not your intention--but it's something.

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  16. im sorry sad for you and it breaks my heart to read about how sad you are. I felt the exact same way for the 3 years I was a teacher in Ile de France. I don't know how many times I had to stop myself from breaking down in the RER. I lasted 3 years only because at times I felt trapped — trapped by leases and bills, and even at times, by marriage. But it slowly worked itself out for me and I have atheist faith it will for you too. Big hugs...hang in there.

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  17. p.s. that first sentence got all messed up on my smartphone but it's too much of a pain in the ass to go back and redo it all..sorry for my phone's incompetence

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  18. How are you doing today, Rach?

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  19. Truly pray. You will be amazed. You may not know him but God knows you. Don't feel silly or doubtful -give it a shot.

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  20. I read through all the comments first, and I think there is good advice. Except the whole last one, but only because even though I believe in God, if you don't and you've made that clear, I have never understood people then telling you to pray about it. Jesus I wish people would lay off.

    Anyhoo, while I won't say things will get better, I do hope that they do.

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  21. Not good, Dawn. But thanks for asking.

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  22. Kate, I don't understand telling a person who's not an obviously religious person to pray. It seems dismissive, like, "I've solved your problem for you! All you gotta do is pray!"

    Even Christians will say prayer isn't an instant fix for them. And I think at this point, nothing short of a miracle would solve her problem.

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  23. Oh Rachel - my heart goes out to you. In the end I guess you'll know what's best to do. When I had my year in France I felt pretty terrible - culture shock, loneliness.... - for at least two months, possibly a bit longer. And then it just started getting better and better. Time worked for me. But for you - do what you need to do. xxx

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  24. I've been reading your blog for a few years but I don't think I've ever commented. So, first... hi!

    I'm so sorry you are feeling so unhappy. Teaching is really, really, really hard and I think you're in a large urban district (?), which sometimes makes it even more difficult. I know it's annoying to hear and hard to believe but it DOES get better. It really, really does. I haven't read the other comments yet but I'm guessing a lot of them will say the same thing. Try to hang in there. My first year of teaching (in another large urban district in the Northeast) was beyond horrible; I normally cry MAYBE three times a year and that year I cried almost every Sunday night and in the bathroom at school and behind my desk at school (which was tricky because my school was an "open school" with NO WALLS separating my classroom from the hallway). I stopped going to the gym for many months, ate crap and lost weight because I was exerting so much nervous energy. But... I survived and with time, most of the memories from that year have faded. You CAN get through it. And no matter what, year two will be better and it'll keep getting better.

    Advice like mine actually really annoyed me in my first year so I'm trying to think of something someone said to me that was actually helpful and didn't make we want to smack them. :) I remember listing all the things I was failing at/trying to fix to my brother, who's also a teacher and he was like, "WHOAH. Stop. Pick ONE THING at a time to do better." That was helpful to hear. You can't do it all.

    Also, I'm guessing you have decent insurance now with mental health coverage. This is going to sound annoying because you have so little time to yourself anyway but maybe try seeing a therapist, even if it's once every three weeks?

    Good luck. I'm thinking of you and pulling for you.

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  25. I just want to hug you. And cry with you. And then we'd laugh a bit. And that would lead to hysterics. And snacks.

    I wish that I had a magic wand. I'd wave it and make everything better. (I could use it on myself, too!)

    The previous poster's suggestion of a list got me thinking. Is it one thing that's bothering you that dominoed into other things? Meaning, if you solve one issue, does that immediately resolve the others? Sometimes -- often, actually; maybe always -- when I write things down, they don't seem as daunting. Sometimes I can see that addressing A will solve B, D, and G. Sometimes I can see that B, D, and G can't be addressed -- they shouldn't even be thought about -- until issue A is done. Y'know what I mean? Maybe it's something that you can do. It's helped me every time.

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  26. You really don't need to feel this way, and if you can make an appointment to talk to someone, like a therapist or psychiatrist, they will be able to help you. I know you are going through a very tough time, and it will still be tough for a while, but if you can get some support and help, you will be able to tackle the problems that seem insurmountable to you right now.

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  27. I've never been in this situation so I'm not going to say I know how you feel. But I have felt before that my life totally sucks and I didn't know how to get out the situation I was in - so what I am saying is you are not alone. I'm hoping for you...

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  28. I'm so sorry to hear you're having a hard time, Rachel. New jobs are SO overwhelming. When I started my current job, my first three months were a total nightmare. The training was quick, on the fly, very public, and not very extensive. Sink or swim. I learned how to do every single task by trying, fucking it up, and then having someone (and sometimes many people) tell me that I fucked it up. It was horrible, and I didn't think I would make it. Every day I worried that they were going to lose patience with me, that my next fuck up would be the one that sent them over the edge and I lived in fear of the "this just isn't working out for us, Andria" conversation. I felt like I was constantly failing, and I HATE FAILING. I am extremely hard on myself and have extremely high standards for myself.

    I honestly don't know how I got through it. There were a lot of quiet breakdowns on my lunchbreaks. There was lots of discreet crying in the bathroom. I started smoking again which I hated myself for also.

    I stuck with it and somehow didn't get fired, but navigating a new job, learning new skills, processes, fitting in with the workplace culture, making friends, was the most difficult thing I've done. One day my successes started to outweigh my failures, and from then on, things started to look up.

    There are still things I'm learning and perfecting, and I'm still hard as hell on myself when something goes wrong. It's how we learn though. I remember wishing I could just hit the fast forward button til I was settled, I was good at everything, I had control of everything, and I felt like I was liked, positively contributing, and new what to do with every difficult situation thrown at me.

    You're not alone. Big hugs. Here's hoping things look up soon.

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  29. It's the weekend! Yay! Feeling any better today? At least you don't have to go to work, right?

    Seriously, Rachel. Hope things are looking up, even the teensiest bit...

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  30. I am anxiously awating the post where you tell us you are feeling a little better....

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  31. Think possitively and you'll feel better!

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