This weekend brings a big day for me, my child turns 18, so not so much a child anymore. If you don’t know, this is a child I have not seen or heard from in 16 years, which has not been my choice. My ex decided keeping my child from me would be a good way to hurt me. A lot of people through the years have tried to comfort me by telling me once he reaches 18 he can decide to reach out without permission. I understand the good intentions, but it is little comfort. For me, his eighteenth birthday means I have missed his entire childhood. There is nothing in this world that can make that ok. Getting to know him as an adult would be great, but it wouldn’t bring back what I have lost.
I currently have only two significant relationships in my life. They are both professionals, my GP and my therapist. I have no personal relationships. I am afraid of relationships, I know how bad I mess them up and how bad I feel when I do. I see my GP every week for a half hour and my therapist for an hour, that is less than 1% of my week. Work consumes roughly 24% of my week so that leaves 75% of my week where I am completely alone. To look at it another way, I spend 24% of my time to earn the money to just survive 75% of the time while I wait for the 1% of my time that matters at all to me. Lately I have spent a good deal of the 75% of my time wondering why I bother at all. Is it really worth it to keep fighting with myself and keep holding on just so I can go to work and make my appointments each week?
Looking South from up here, one thing about US politics stands out for me right now. In one month there is an election in Alabama that has seemed to take on a huge importance. Maybe I am wrong, but before Trump, there were ultra conservative, racist, homophobic candidates, but even if they might possibly win an election, they didn’t seem quite as threatening. Now people are expecting this election to be not just a statement about Alabama politics but more of a test to see if 12 months of Trump has turned people away from Trumplike candidates. Since when has Alabama served as the political weathervane to see which way the wind is blowing? I grew up in a state that sent an ultra conservative named Jesse Helms to Washington term after term. Yes, he was influential and controversial, but I don’t remember there being such fear that a majority of voters would lean that far right. Until Trump, it seemed moderates were more of the norm, whether right or left. Along with everyone else, I will be interested see what message Alabama voters send and how important that message turns out to be for the rest of the country.
I think this is one of the most important days of the year. Remembering the true cost of wars is important. We have to remember that war isn’t a Hollywood movie, it is dirty hungry and scared young people killing other dirty scared and hungry young people. People who have to mature much quicker than they should even though a lot never had the chance for their years to catch up with that maturity. War sucks and we can’t forget that. While we honour past heros, we should be looking for ways to avoid future wars. For every hero we can name, there are countless unnamed dead people. I am grateful that so many men and women would fight for what they believed in and at the same time I hope no one will ever have to again. I hate war, I hate that service people all over the world have to die young. I hate remembering what it was like to be 19 years old in the military and to have to pack up my dead buddies personal items to send to his parents. Today lets honour all those who have served and tomorrow lets start working on finding ways to make the world safe without guns and killing.
Tomorrow is my enemy. Today has been no walk in the park, but I managed to get to work. Once my day has started, I somehow manage to break it into chunks that can be survived. I have made it to lunch, now I just have to make it to the end of work. After that I just have to make it home, then dinner, then to bedtime. It isn’t always easy, but it is mostly manageable. Tomorrow is another story, though. Tomorrow is always frightening and overwhelming. I don’t even know if I will be able to get out of bed. I am not sure why, but tomorrow can never be split into manageable pieces. Tomorrow is always this big huge task that hovers just over the horizon. It is dark and scary and full of the unknown. The unknown is never good either! The promises tomorrow holds will surely be the end of me. Tomorrow scares me, I know I can’t defeat all the tomorrows. I guess I am safe, though as long as the enemy is always tomorrow. I know I am in real trouble when today becomes the enemy that I can’t manage.
Some would say I am lucky, I have managed to find and keep a job. It doesn’t pay much but it pays the rent. In a few weeks I will be through my probation period and have benefits. Keeping the job has been a struggle. Finding help while working is a bigger struggle. It seems the mental health system is only geared towards people who do not work a traditional Monday to Friday schedule. Outpatient services, a lot of private counsellors and most support groups are only available while I am working. If I were on social assistance, I would be able to access these services but I wouldn’t have the money to pay rent and eat. Now I have the money for these neccessities, barely, and I have to worry about keeping my job without the services that might improve my quality of life. It seems the health care system would be interested in helping people who need it and have jobs. Why not help before it becomes a crisis that makes working impossible? I can’t be the only one struggling with this, can I? Is the health care system only there to cater to its employees or is it there to serve the needs of the patients? Right now I have to choose between work and services that may help me if they ever receive proper funding. Work wins out, it is more reliable than the current healthcare system and it provides for basic survival.
A smile is always on my face, the tears are all on the inside.
I care more for others than myself, because I don’t like who I am.
I am a model employee, I couldn’t stand for someone to see my imperfections.
I am a great listener, it is so much easier than talking about myself.
I am always ready with a joke, it deflects attention away from my real issues.
I am always willing to help, helping others is the only worth I see in myself.