I’m declaring Feb 21st – 22nd, 2018 as my rock bottom, and I’ll be damned before I let myself get that far down again: emotionally, physically, and financially.
The epiphany I had in mid January really came to a drastic crossroad this week, and I really have to put the pedal to the metal and make some serious changes.
(For more on that, I recommend re-acquainting yourself with my Sleeper Must Awaken post. I’ll wait…)
I must remember that I’m just not in charge of other people’s feelings, that if someone’s angry and upset, I can’t help that. If somebody’s been building up to irritable, it’s best to keep my eyes open to recognize that so I don’t accidentally become their pressure valve. I can only help my response to it and how I feel. I can’t let everyone else in my head all the time–that’s suicide.
And yesterday was the closest I’d come to calling the damned hotline.
I’ve heard that just the thought of suicide is bad enough and deserves a call, but those feelings have ebbed and flowed for 20 years. Sometimes I don’t think of it for months, other times I have a few weeks where it’s a passing fancy, so to speak.
It was not one thing that got me to this point, but lots of little things that added up over time, and then some doozies that were enough to put me close to the edge. I’m trying to save money by going home early and not eating out all the time, but going home presents its own challenges. I got mine on Wednesday, the distance between dad and I getting worse and worse.
When I realized I can’t do anything right at this moment, even this month, to get the hell out, I felt more trapped and in despair than I can recall ever feeling in my life.
No, he didn’t hit me–but when a disagreement over something stupid (and my facts were mostly right–I found a few mix-ups afterward) leads to me slamming a door because of his snide remark, and him punching a hole in the door just to get the last word… yeah, I’m fucking done.
Except, I can’t go anywhere. I’m THAT in the hole.
I’m not scared–startled at the time, yes, but not scared.
It’s more I’m disappointed.
Somehow I knew a violent explosion was imminent, but I thought it’d be more me finally exploding. I’ve been too terrified to explode in case he got mad enough to throw me out of the house. I was so close to just leaving the house and sleeping in my car somewhere just to get the hell out if it came to that, danger be damned. But I basically shut myself in my office and didn’t come out til I went to bed. Barely said 2 words to the man.
And yesterday when I got home, it’s like nothing happened. I was almost expecting the door to be removed and changed out to get rid of the hole, which he could see plain as day in his line of sight. Nope, door’s still there, not even swapped with a similar door in the house. Weird. Maybe he’s waiting til I work my weekend job to do it. Or he doesn’t care.
I can only imagine the questions that would come if my aunt and uncle showed up and saw it.
Frankly, it feels like a nice, visual reminder to myself to just never talk about politics or anything else. Keep my fucking mouth shut about anything that’s not movies or something he agrees in. Because I have to think that when a parent and child are both in the same house, both adults, that they’re ghosts. Roommates at the most. And not the same people, and shouldn’t HAVE to be.
If he decides I need to pay for my auto insurance again, then fine, I’ll pay for the damned thing–that way there’s nothing else but a roof and a dog to keep us in the same place. No more strings attached. It’ll be a while longer before I pay down my debt, but I don’t care. I’ll take that on just to get him off my back. Money is another thing that makes him irritable–I won’t tell him how much debt I’m in; I just keep telling him “I’m handling it.”
I don’t want him to deal with it. I can just imagine if a disagreement on facts can lead to a hole punched in a door, what will my debt lead to? Other than hours of screaming and yelling (and me sleeping in the car elsewhere)?
…I just don’t want to go there, to where my panicky, over-active imagination lies. Don’t want to think about it.
I keep telling myself that I need to learn how to dig myself out of my financial hole, to learn how to do it for myself. I mean, that’s what it means to be a responsible adult, right? You take care of things yourself if you have to, at least I always understood that to be a part of it.
But what about the empty hole that is my life? Maybe I should figure out how to dig my way out of that, too?
Maybe I’ve been so wrapped up in panicky emotion and stress the past few weeks or months that I’ve been blinded to the possibilities. And today I figured out that I have a problem that needs to be addressed or I’ll never have a real life, one that’s truly mine. I need to start thinking long-term for myself, not dwelling on the what-if scenarios that could take 20 years or more to materialize.
My biggest personal failing and problem–or at least the most obvious one–is that I am 34 years old and still living at home, as in with my dad and the dog. That’s not so bad considering the housing market and all, with one glaring exception: I have NEVER lived on my own before. Never once. Over thirty years consistently living with a parent.
And. I. Really. Fucking. Hate. It. Now.
I feel sick just thinking about it because of my mega-epiphany earlier.
Damn it, I never wanted to be in my mid-thirties and living at home still! I wanted to live on my own (even though the idea scared me a bit) when I was in college. That was the common dream when you were in my time–you didn’t say “I’m gonna live at home forever and mooch off my parents.” Hell no! They’d have kicked you out the door til they absolutely had to let you back in.
But why hasn’t my dad done the same? Why has he never even addressed the possibility of me moving out?
I wanted to live elsewhere when I first went to college. My “sensible side” won out and convinced me to live at home and go to college nearby to save my money. Then when I got my teaching job, I would move out, maybe get married and have kids.
Either way, I would have my own life and my own place, and live my own way. But then school ended. And the job never came along. And I went back to school so what little money I saved up went into a Master’s degree.
However, I have to acknowledge that while searching for my job and my opportunities, I gave up even more in order to stay at home, stay secure with a dependable roof over my head.
I was afraid–and dad was too–of me starting my life in debt.
Well, I’m in some substantial debt right now and STILL haven’t started my life, so that’s just bullshit.
What really hit me is this crazy father-daughter status quo we’re living in, but it’s just not working anymore. It never should have gone on this long anyway.
And I’ve felt sick to my stomach the past few days over it.
I’ve vented my frustration to one of my neighbors, that I just can’t seem to get this jump on life or whatever and I need to do things for myself, which is why I don’t want dad knowing my debts. Last time they were up over a thousand dollars he gave me an hour lecture about what cards were supposed to be for and grumbled, then paid it off, even though I said I could pay it off in a few months. I stopped letting him pay eons ago, even when it got worse because I had college expenses I told him were my responsibility (and my work hours were not good for that year). I kept paying and was never late.
My neighbor told me he was a good man who just wanted to take care of me and help me out. I said that I got that, but when was I supposed to be able to take care of myself? When was I going to get the chance to learn how?
She didn’t have an answer. I don’t think anybody did when I asked.
If this was a hundred years ago, I would probably be the perfect adult daughter, a spinster virgin that’ll take care of her father and be passed around to other family members til she dies, not in danger of hurting anybody or upsetting the established order or other people’s households.
But this is the 21st century. I’m screaming loud and hard and there’s no fucking way I’m going to stay in this situation! I will die first. I am ashamed and afraid, a 34 year old child that’s been discouraged and afraid, totally unprepared for having a life of my own.
And part of me can’t help but wonder if dad was all for me sticking around forever.
He’ll tell me things out of the blue, things like where the property taxes are and what his investments are doing and who to contact if he dies. The more it happens, the more I get the impression he firmly believes I’ll still be here at home, living with him to take care of the place.
He could live 20 more years, probably more. Does he think I’m going to live in this house for 20 more years? Considering how chickenshit I am, I suppose nothing’s come up to deter that train of thought–and he hasn’t encouraged anything to.
And if I were to bring it up now, the first question out of his mouth would be, “okay, so how much money do you have in the bank to pay for it?”
And I have no answer I’m willing to give. Mothballs have taken up space in my checkbook. I HATE talking about money, because I don’t know how to explain to a loner like dad that money let me buy the things that–temporarily–filled up the lonely spaces in my soul and gave me the illusion that I was a productive person who didn’t need friends or dates.
And part of me wonders if that’s the way he wants it.
A few years ago, when I was still looking desperately for a teaching job, I drove all the way to Austin for a job fair (amazed dad let me drive that far, but my aunt and uncle live there so he knew I’d have a place to crash for free). Dad liked Austin and I liked it then, and it would be something different.
I don’t remember if it was a joke whether he’d have an excuse to move up to Austin if I lived there or he’d have a place to crash when he came to visit. I can’t remember.
Dad can get passive-aggressive, and doesn’t come out and say things til it hits boiling point, or I provoke him as I have done when angry. Thanks to not being at peak health, he’s more ornery than before and quicker to anger. Hell, we get along so rarely that when we disagree about a current event or political view, I can tell from his careful pronunciation that he’s doing everything he can not to call me a “college-trained libtard” or “fucking idiot” –at least not to my face.
Seriously, does he just not want to be alone? We barely speak, so what’s the point?
I got this feeling, just this morning, that in some weird way, we’re both dependent on each other. That makes me very uneasy, and might explain some of the things in how we’ve been living together all these years. I just don’t get it, especially now. Other than annoying him, taking care of occasional shopping, the dog, and laundry, what else do I do for him? I’m sure I’m more trouble, more expense than I’m worth.
Shit, why didn’t I see anything? I kept saying it would save money to stay at home, to commute and have a place where I didn’t have to pay rent or anything.
But if I wasn’t going anywhere, if I couldn’t make the money needed to go anywhere, then what the hell was I supposed to save my money for?
Volunteering annoyed him because I was driving all that way and wasting gas money. (I did stop for a while because I couldn’t afford it, but I’m going back because I miss it)
I was too scared of screwing up to try new things.
Anything interesting came along, it was too far away or I had better consider the drive.
How the hell was dating ever supposed to work if I couldn’t bring anybody home? How was I supposed to have a romantic life while still living with my dad?
I could never picture it. I lived too far out from everyone I knew, anyway. Hell, in college I stayed out late on Friday nights at campus and dad got onto me that “I shouldn’t be out so late, it’s dangerous.” I was in my mid-20s, and with friends at school (dunno if he believed that).
I was the most boring teenager who ever existed in America, did he think I was trying to make up for lost time? Go on and do all the stupid shit I should’ve done when I was a horny teenager (though I never was a horny teenager–shit, what a freak).
I’m a 34 year old child, dependent on living with my dad in the meantime. I’m going to have to do some drastic things, make some serious changes to make money, get out of debt, and work toward real mental and emotional independence.
That last part will be tough. My people-pleasing has to be torn out at the roots, apparently, and I am afraid. But I can’t do this walking on eggshells crap anymore, and gotta make a break for personal freedom.
But the first thing is looking for every possible job opportunity that can come my way, everything I might be good for. That’s what I’ll be spending the rest of the month on. Then I’ll be really slaying my spending habits: pay for the basics (and Starbucks in small amounts–my one vice), and get some help from other people about real life, about things I can do to help myself and stand my ground. Get my sister-friend on the line, and learn how she broke free.
Artist’s Way, here I come! Books on sales and job-searching, here I come! Finding groups to join on Meetup.com or some bulletin board… I’ll keep looking for things that spark my interest.
I’ve kept my head down out of fear for too long.
I don’t want to be a child forever. Time to grow up, even if dad doesn’t seem to want me to.
6 thoughts on “This week on the trip to rock bottom…”
Love you girl. Remember ending your life on earth makes it easier on you, but makes it harder on anyone that loves you. Please don’t even consider it. If ending your life is the answer, you’re asking the wrong question. There is so much life for you to live, debt is a thing. $1,000 even $5,000 isn’t worth a lost life. Once you get a decent paying job that will be pennies to you 🙂 Having this trauma recently has forced you to open up in new ways. Stay on that course and get the f out. Please consider everything we’ve chatted about on our coaching calls. I love you more than you know. You are most defiantly meant to be here, you have a place. Go live it.
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No worries, dear–I think of my sister and who will take care of my dog and then get to thinking (wink wink, nudge nudge). But knowing I’d gone that deep made me journal like crazy and try to really spell out what my theory was as far as how I’d ended up a scared, ignorant wreck. Well, this post is the result. I won’t let myself get any lower.
I spent too long looking at the wall o’ crap stacked up in front of me. Now I’m looking around at what tools and resources I can find to either climb over it or tear it down. I just can’t believe I spent 20 years thinking so “rationally,” trying to make my parents’ financial life so much easier and being persuaded away from things, when I probably could’ve done damn near anything. I threw away opportunities for the sake of frugality, because somebody else was paying for my education and I didn’t want to be bitched about for being so expensive.
And I’ve been kicking myself every day since, going for that safe, practical job that 10,000 other people could probably do better than me, and me settling for something else that won’t get me out of this hole. Hence, my marathon journaling. I’m really coming up with ideas.
And thanks for the talks, sister-friend. Love ya, crazy.
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If it makes you feel any better, I’m 29 & live with my parents. So does my bf. I have lived away with roommates, but only one apt in my name which ended badly. & debt up to my ears. I have also lived on & off with my gparents. I moved back in with my parents to get sober. I do get how you feel, though. But I’ve decided to spend my time here as a positive. This gives me & my bf time to save up, get my career going, so we aren’t struggling when we do move out. Also, my dad & I don’t always get along either. There were years when we never got along. We are doing better but we have our moments. The kicker is when my bf & I discuss moving out, he starts talking about building us an apartment in the attic for more privacy, he acts like he doesn’t want us to leave. I don’t think it helps my sister moved to the other side of the state & he doesn’t get to see his grandkids much. However, when we fight, he’s quick to “throw” me out. Sorry, I’m not trying to ramble about myself, just want you to know that you aren’t alone. The economy is shit. Jobs are shit. Housing is shit. Then you factor in that we’re fed that we need a degree for a job. I dropped out but I’ve seen others get a degree but it doesn’t make a difference because when they enter the job market, companies want a degree plus years of experience. How is a college graduate able to get experience if no one hires them? If you work other jobs, like retail, they lie & say you can move up. Yet most places don’t. They keep you part time, refuse any overtime, pay you crap wages, & expect you to do twice the work. Then yell millenials are lazy when they’re sick of it. All the while, it’s completely different than previous generations. But don’t let debt hold you back or fear. Look at this on the bright side, use this time to save, to get everything in order. I tend to hide out in my bedroom if tension is high here, find an outlet. Go for a walk, hide out, do what you have to. But you got this & you will get on your feet!
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Wow–I think you hit on a lot of the things I’ve wondered about. Yes, I swallowed the idea that a degree was necessary, but I wanted to teach anyway…then I got tired of waiting for opportunities and got jaded with the system. Now I have a degree I barely use, another degree that cost me a lot of money but didn’t open any doors (if anything it’s made me “overqualified” for a lot of jobs). If I wanted to use it, I would probably have to move or take more courses and get a 2nd Masters to accompany it. I am not going to be a professional student, even if that’s what everybody thinks. I want to succeed at something other than school.
I just hate how I don’t even know if I like my parents anymore. And if my aunt and uncle ever moved in, where would I be in the course of things? I’ve never lived with anybody my age–hell, I don’t even know anybody my age, so my social life is shot to hell. Everybody I know is in a totally different generation from me (except sister friend) and I have a hard time finding people with interests similar to mine. I’ve gone to a few meetups for writing groups and book groups and everybody there was 20 years older. I felt like I was intruding and backed out. I’m too old and too young at the same time and it’s miserable. Other than ThePacificNorthwestGypsy, I can’t really talk to anybody. I get more positivity and emotion out of snippets of conversation with the baristas at Starbucks and wait staff at Dennys. Family and I are galaxies apart mentally, and it sucks because I’m stuck with them.
Thanks for your story–I know so few people and none of my old college friends were still living with their parents, so it’s hard to get the issue across. They just don’t get it. I just wish I had a chance to create my own place, my own decorations and paint schemes. It sucks when you can’t paint your walls (wallboard) or hang anything because somebody howls about all the holes. It’s why I have bookshelves around every available bit of wall space in my office: it helps cover up that annoying, reflective whiteness!
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I don’t have friends anymore either, since I got sober. I’m pretty much a loner these days besides my bf. I don’t get out of the house except for store trips. At 29, I get the old-young feeling. Either I feel like I have little in common with those around me that I use to hang out with, including my own generation, or behind others. If you ever wanna hit me up, you can e-mail me: firstname.lastname@example.org
I know you’re wanting to build a freelance career so your degree can really help if that’s the area you wanna write about. It would make you stand out from other candidates, plus you have a great writing talent. But you can choose to write about other things and with your talent, you’d still stand out. Also, despite what a lot of people say, you don’t have to pick a particular niche. I have three, but I write about others as well because I have several interests. I think it helps for me to have a few that are what I absolutely love to write about and prefer so most of my work is on those subjects so it develops that “expert” field but I can also write about other topics for cash.
I feel like half those I know are married, have their own place, and children but the other half are much worse off than I am (or you), EVEN if they have their own place. So, there’s that! Haha. My grandparents were really strict about things like that. I couldn’t touch the walls (that were white) because they left hand prints. Seriously. Thankfully, here, my parents let us insulate the back porch (it’s hooked to the kitchen, it was built on from the house way after the house was constructed) and I wrote quotes and lyrics all over one wall, the window in my uncle’s room shows into our room since the porch was an add-on, so my bf spray painted it & made designs so you can’t see through. He’s artsy like that.
But, again, if ya ever wanna talk, e-mail me! Just let me know who you are when you do! I have no friends in this dinky, crappy town so my blogger friends are mostly my only friends. Other friends are too busy with their lives or live elsewhere & I have no vehicle currently.
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