Mattering to Myself

•March 28, 2015 • Leave a Comment

This is not an entry I intend on actually posting for a while. It is a sensative subject  for me.

Self hate. That’s right. I hate myself. I find myself entirely unacceptable. I belong to one of the most hated groups of people on the planet, and not by choice. I am required to rely on other people in order to survive. This country is sinking back into the mentality of the 1960s and there is nothing anyone can do about it.

I should probably stop looking at news stories or watching news on TV. Politicians are out to get us. Their obvious hatred for all people who are not the elitist rich is impacting everyone around me. Cuts to the safety net in these times of gross income inequality are unacceptable. All I am asking for is a fighting chance. I see that chance slipping away more and more each day.

I am becoming more and more aware that my life does not matter. I see people driving cars that are worth more than I am. If you drive a Mercedes, a BMW, a Jaguar, a Cadillac, a Porche, a Bentley or any other elitist vehicle, chances are I have contempt for you. I cannot afford to drive a car. I cannot pay the cost of fuel, insurance, or upkeep. I have to settle for using public transportation, which in itself is too expensive. I get no enjoyment out of life, because fun costs money. I hear people talk about going on cruises or any kind of vacation and I cringe. I cannot even consider such things as it is not in my budget. It is simply to expensive to stay alive anymore.

The people out there who do care about what is happening have been vilified by the powerful people who make decisions for this nation. I have become all too aware that the voice of the people no longer matter. The government has been bought by billionaires who only care about other people who have excessive amounts of money. The majority of the people who live in the real world are not blessed with copious funds. This means they don’t matter in the larger picture of things. I have a feeling we need to take a page from French history and organize and enact retribution on the wealthy. The French beheaded the rich leaders of their country during their revolution. I’m ready to grab a torch and a pitchfork.

 

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Is My Brain Broken? No Confidence Here…

•June 11, 2011 • 4 Comments

Feeling so small

I have been trying to apply for jobs to pull myself out of this living paycheck to paycheck reality that I have been in my entire life. When some people drive down the street and see all of the signs for businesses, they see opportunity. However, that is not what I see. Why is it so difficult for me to have any kind of confidence in myself or my abilities? Why is it so difficult for me to have any kind of confidence in the country I live in anymore?

I was talking with my partner about taking an online assessment as part of a job application (because almost all jobs require online application these days), and how intimidated I am by just the assessment. Why am I so intimidated by everything? Why am I so scared?

It was suggested to me to apply for the MAC makeup counter at one of the major department stores in the mall. Makeup has been an interest of mine, but because I was a drag queen for a while. Here come the excuses. Department stores demote if you cannot force people to fill out credit applications. When working in high-end retail, a person can be fired or demoted for customers returning purchases (even though it is not the fault of the person who sold them the item). I have no experience with high-end anything. I have no experience in retail sales. I really prefer not to work with other queens because they are hateful and rude to each other. I wouldn’t want to have to claw some queen’s eyes out because she can’t keep her mouth shut. High-end retail is a business that could die very easily in this economic slump (which will continue until we reach another full-fledged depression, I feel). I feel it wouldn’t be a good decision to go work for a company that fires floor associates because of low sales.

It was suggested that I apply for a local steakhouse. Restaurant work is all I have done, so why not? What should I apply for? Server? No, I’m very clumsy and would spill food all over my customers. In a full-service setting, I have watched many customers (while I was being a customer myself) purposely put their server through the wringer and ‘make them earn their tip.’ I would be the server who ends up making just minimum wage with my tips. Out of the question. Hostess? They don’t make money. Minimum wage. Okay, so what about the kitchen? Grill cook? No experience on my resume’. The last time I applied for a grill cook position, I was told I needed 2-3 years experience doing that. Expo? That is assembling food and is so fast paced. Again, I am clumsy and would have to correct many mistakes. Then comes the assessment, where they ask trick questions, many of which are none of their business, frankly. It scares me to death trying to answer questions on these assessments. I just took one of the assessments like this for a job I was applying for a few weeks ago, and failed it. I didn’t even get to apply for the job because I failed the assessment.

It was suggested that I apply for a job as a secretary something-or-other at a local hospital. How in the world does one get a secretarial job with no previous experience?

My confidence in this country is none. We are in the middle of the worst economic times in this lifetime. I don’t believe we will pull out of it. I think the gap between rich and poor will continue to get bigger until the middle class disappears. I also believe we are on our way to being a third world country. I think we’ve seen the most prosperous years we ever will and that things are going to get much, much worse before anything gets better. I think we need to get used to this new America and economic situation because this is going to seem like a high point in the future when we look back.

My confidence in myself is none. How can I change this? I really wish I could feel better about my abilities. The world hires cocky, self-absorbed, “I can do ANYTHING better than you!” people, but not people like me who really just want to do a good job so they can better themselves. How do I go from an “I can’t” person to an “I can” person? Where does this confidence come from? Where does the belief that ‘I can’ come from? Why do I always think that ‘I can’t?’

This is something that has haunted me my entire life and it MUST stop. I MUST CHANGE THIS. HOW? How do I believe in myself?

(This is probably the most grammatically incorrect post I have made, but I am doing this during emotional distress. I had to spill out my thoughts in whatever manner they came out. No proof-reading allowed when I have an hour before work.)

ALONE: Poetry from my Past

•June 9, 2011 • Leave a Comment

This is a poem I wrote when I was 19, and my life seemed to be in shambles. I was kicked out of my dad’s house. I was forced to live with horrible people to survive. I was constantly running away from everyone and everything and I thought my life was over before it began. This was written after being kicked out, but before my time on the streets of LA, homeless.

ALONE

I sit on a rocky shoal overlooking the sea

Thinking and wondering what is wrong with me.

I stare out to the waves-the cool breeze on my face

I watch as a star streaks down like an angel fallen from grace.

Questions and ponderings run through my mind

I wonder if it is just me or the whole of mankind.

Is it right for one to feel always alone

While everyone else seems to have someone to hold?

Perhaps I am destined to live in solitude

Or maybe this loneliness is just an interlude.

Am I making some kind of horrible mistake?

Why do I sit singled out and lie lonely awake?

Eccentricities and all oddities aside

Should not everyone have someone they can stand beside?

I thank God for my friends though they are so few

And they will always support me and always be true.

But no one seems interested even a small little bit

To take this friendship and make relations of it.

All human beings have a basic need and desire

To find a true soul mate and feel love’s burning fire.

I don’t want to give up but I feel that I must

Loneliness seems to be the only idea I can trust

My gaze is averted from the sea to the sky

I see the black velvet of night and wish I would die.

The astral exanse with its diamonds seems to glow

Its vastness as deep as my longing grows.

I hear of the beautiful song and of love’s sweet melody

Of how it can heal the heart, make it wild and free.

Will I ever know this freedom and life?

All I have known is sorrow and strife.

People’s eyes are rolled and their backs are turned

At times it appears my friendship’s been spurned.

It has been said that love is blind

But love is something that I cannot find.

I see absolutely no interest shown in me

Let alone a romantic emotion, it is not meant to be.

Perhaps I will hide myself never to be found

I will keep to myself and never utter a sound.

I don’t guess I will ever get an upper hand

And I guess I am crazy and no one understands.

“Snap out of it!” they all rudely say

“You will find your turn with love someday!”

Can I really believe this when not one single soul,

Has an interest in this boy left alone in the cold?

Being alone is what I will have to accept

And I will adapt to the ‘being single’ concept.

Love is not NOR has it ever been for all

And I see this as life’s greatest downfall.

I feel the urge to stand and look over the shoal

My bare feet are cut on this rough stony knoll.

I walk to the edge of the massive overlook

And decide to make this an ending fit for a book.

I clear my head as I step forward again,

My thoughts and tears mix with the blowing rain.

The sea is frothy, violent and seething

The angry waves are noisy and heaving.

The stars are now covered by the angry clouds

The lighting flashes and the thunder rings out loud.

I take a jumping leap to see if perhaps I can fly

But I know I cannot and in the end I will die.

I cry out in anguish the wind whipping through my hair

“Alone no longer!” I scream as I fly throught he air.

Nobody will miss me and no one will care

This life has been lost because love is not fair.

My body breaks on the stones

There is a crunching of bones,

My screams are drowned out by the sea’s moans and groans.

The waves pull my dismembered being into it

My blood mixes with the sea and perhaps here’s where I’ll fit.

I float out into the open, the water tossing me about

I am finally at peace again as the demons were let out.

My life is gone now and I feel not a single emotion

I knew this is how it would end, loved only by the ocean.

My body beneath the waves disappears

Putting an end to this loneliness known for so many years.

Perhaps now the world will be a much better place

Since it is missing this ugly face.

Survive: Poetry from my Past

•June 9, 2011 • Leave a Comment

This is a non-rhyming poem that I wrote at age 19, while in a depressed stupor. I woke up after passing out with a pen in my hand to discover I’d written this. I was in the middle of a nervous break-down and I only remember writing the first few lines. My life was being chosen for me by my family. At this point in my life, I still felt very strongly about the teachings of the religious-right. This was written just weeks before I was outed to my parents and forced to leave home.

I was cleaning out some things in a closet and came back across this and thought I would share. I really did think this was a revelation to me at the time I wrote it because of how it was written. Perhaps it could still be true. Perhaps it could give someone else some hope. I certainly will try to find strength and hope from my own words.

SURVIVE

Waves beat against the shore

A seagull bleats overhead, soaring on the gusty wind

The sound of the great waves is that of a thousand souls

Souls gasping and crying, whispering and sighing

The sun dips below the horizon and ignites a blaze that knows no bounds

The clouds burst into flames and the sea is burning

Slowly, the fire fades and a new face smiles upon the sky

Like an elegant mistress in a silver evening gown, Luna glides across the heavens

Soon the graceful lady casts her sparkling jewels about

The stars glimmer in a glow of chill as the wind is cooled by darkness

A streak of gold falls into the waters and I find myself wishing

If a being could soar like the seagull and anger slip away as the sun below the horizon

If love could explode like the fiery light of a sunset

If peace could appear like the silvery moon and scatter hope as a thousand stars

If the heat of rage could be cooled as the breezes by the night

If the bounds of happiness were as expansive as the heavens

If the moans and sighs of the sea were jubilant laughter and song

If mankind could rise from distress as Jupiter climbs the sky

If the future were to glow as bright as the constellations on a clear night

But these are only wishes

To hurt and fear is to know life

To know life is to know sorrow and pain

What is the purpose of this melancholy existence?

Humankind will never uncover the answers to these thoughts

The mind cannot grasp the immense proportions of reality

As I sit thinking, a storm begins to churn

Life is like this storm

Hate and crime lash about like the mighty bolts of lightning

Loneliness whistles like the wind across the sands of great anguish and depression

Lives and souls fall like the rain streaming down

Denial billows like the dark clouds and covers the true beauty of the self and sky

The waves grow threatening and loud like the trials of time

I struggle to stay standing as I am battered by nature

Slowly the storm passes and the sky grows calm

Like a great stage curtain, the clouds roll away to reveal the still glittering stars

I now realize what the Creator has shown me

Like a ship lashed about in the mighty storm

The anchor keeps her steadfast and safe

Her sails are torn and decks awash but still she floats

Strength and diligence are the keys that unlock the door of survival in the world

Will I allow the tempest of life to carry me away?

I will stand firm and battle the raging seas

I will not allow myself to lose control and be overwhelmed

I WILL SURVIVE.

(written by me on 10/06/1999)

Self-Therapy Questions: Why Aren’t Gay People Accepted By…Themselves?

•June 5, 2011 • Leave a Comment

I have had many comments to make about this particular topic lately. The question was sparked by an interview a friend of mine had in a local trendy newspaper about what it is like to be gay in Chattanooga, and whether the city seems to be accepting or not. You can read the entire article by clicking the link. The Pulse: Out and About in Chattanooga. This is a very tasteful article, well articulated by the writers and interviewees.

Gay Pride

As national gay pride (notice I do NOT capitalize the first letters of gay or pride) month gets underway, which spills into other months in different cities which are planning different events, I am faced with a few different questions. The first one is very easy to answer. “Will you be attending any pride events or parades?” A very fat, loud, echoing “NO.” Chattanooga does have its own pride organization, called Tennessee Valley Pride. I’m sure there will be some festivities planned. Possibly a parade down Market Street or Walnut Street downtown, possibly some sort of event planned at a local park designed to get this town’s gay people to come together and celebrate in some sort of unity. There is a word I have been avoiding. Have you noticed it yet? Usually the word gay is followed very closely by the word I have been avoiding: COMMUNITY. The terms ‘gay community’ are used over and over in the media. There is no such thing.

Most ‘communities’ in towns such as Chattanooga tend to stick together. They work together and stand up for one another based on their commonalities. There’s a ‘black community,’ a ‘hispanic community,’ a ‘business community,’ and even a ‘Christian community.’ Why is there no ‘gay community?’

To answer this question, I must speak from my past experiences. I did not join the ‘gay community’ out of my own free will. I was forced into it. I did not willingly ‘come out of the closet’ like so many people. Instead, I was outed by a supervisor. She called my parents when she knew I would not be home because of the new job I had taken, and told them that I was gay. I was confronted when I got home that night and was immediately told I must leave when I admitted the truth to them.

Now I was a free man who could openly explore his new-found freedom. I quickly learned that my parents’ control had sheltered me from what the real world was like. I was not prepared emotionally or mentally for what I was about to discover. I packed everything into my little red car and took myself to live with a group of ‘friends’ in Johnson City. They introduced me to a few people, and took me to a bar. I was dumbfounded by what I found there. I was so overwhelmed that I ended up sitting by myself, not speaking a word to anyone. I just watched. Indeed, this became my existence in the gay world for quite a while. I was a wallflower who was too shy to speak to anyone. This shyness was augmented by the rudeness I saw around me.

Twinks: Hairless and skinny. Hates: Fat hairy guys.

The gay people in this bar were all organized in little groups. These groups comprised of people who all spoke, looked and carried themselves the same way. These little groups made it their mission to wage war against each other. The skinny ‘twinks’ all hated the hairy, full-figured ‘bears.’ The ‘butch’ guys all hated the effeminate girly-boys. Everyone hated the queens, the queens hated everyone, and the queens all hated each other. It was like high school all over again.

Bears: Masculine, full figured and hairy. Hates: Skinny little hairless girly boys

Instead of the jocks and the cheerleaders against the band nerds and glee club, it was everyone against everyone. Why is this? The surest answer I can come up with is that gay people, gay men specifically, are the most judgmental and superficial people on the planet. The only thing they could see in another person across the room was how different that person was, and what a freak they were for being so. One example happened to me by complete accident. The club was very crowded and I was making my way to the patio from the bar with a drink for a friend. I accidentally bumped into someone, as happens in crowded buildings. I said “Pardon me, I’m sorry.” This person turned around to me, looked me up and down, and proceeded to berate me. He said “You’d better be sorry, faggot. Who said some ugly troll like you could talk to me, let alone touch me? Do it again and I’ll have my friends beat your ugly ass until you can’t see anymore.” I was simply apologizing for bumping into him. Did he really have to go there? Talk about a blow to the self-esteem!

Drag Queens: artistic and bitchy. Hates: EVERYONE (except the people that tip them during shows.)

How many straight people understand the reasoning behind the gay culture adopting the rainbow as our symbol? The rainbow is supposed to stand for the diversity of humanity. It takes all colors and types to come together into a beautiful picture. This is one of the most hypocritical symbols of gay people. The superficiality of the gay culture is our biggest downfall. Gay men are snobs. They hate people different from them just for the sake of hating someone. We cannot band together and fight the bigots of the straight and religious world if we cannot accept each other and our differences within our peers. The battles are already lost for equality unless we learn to set aside differences and actually join together as that elusive ‘gay community.’ There is more hate between different types of gay people than what the bigots have out there for all of us. Snobbery, superficiality, and just plain rudeness…it’s all got to stop. As I have said many times here lately, when I look at people in general, I don’t see what makes them different from me, I see how we are all the same. Gay men in general are the most superficial people on the planet. If we can’t let go of that, we won’t come together in unity. Let’s all remember what the rainbow and CELEBRATE DIVERSITY is supposed to really be about…

The rainbow is a symbol of "celebrating diversity" and acceptance of all. Hypocrites.

Now about all of those rainbow flags…

When pride month rolls around and large cities plan their events, usually there are parades that can be marched in, drag shows to watch out in public, and a host of any other very creative events all geared toward celebrating being gay. To me, it’s just another excuse to throw a party and rub our differences in everyone’s faces. I am looking for an answer to a very simple question. Since the biggest problem the straight/Christian community has with homosexuals is what they do in private in their bedrooms, does it make sense to flaunt this in the open for all to see? People, put your clothes on. We are celebrating ourselves being out gay folk. We are not celebrating the kind of sex we like to have. There is more to being gay than what we do with our genitals!

What message does this send?

What kind of message does it send to a closed-minded Christian mother when her child who is attracted by all of the bright colors of a pride parade now witnesses groups of men on top of a float dressed in jock straps and leather harnesses, pretending to have sex with one another for all to see? Do we really need our dykes on bikes to be topless? Why must we flaunt every extreme at these very public events? These are the things that get under the skin of the very people we are trying to convince. Will they accept us as simply ‘different people’ with the right to be different when the only aspect of our sexuality we seem to embrace is the SEX? I say no. Instead, they speak out louder. They protest the public debauchery as we throw things at them. They practice their right to freedom of speech while we scream at them. We call them ‘breeders’ and ‘haters.’

What message does THIS convey?

Will the ‘gay community’ ever become a real community? Can we stop hating for hate’s sake? I don’t believe it will happen in my lifetime because of the stereotypes and deeply seated hate that most gay people (men specifically) have for themselves, other gay men who are different, and the straight/religious communities that ostracized us and tried to make us feel guilty for being true to ourselves instead of living a lie. We have to let go of the hate. Hate breeds more hate, and turns into the vicious cycle that we have before us today. Wake up! Put your clothes back on, stop hating each other and GROW TOGETHER! Work together! FIGHT TOGETHER for an equal world! Celebrate diversity in all of its forms.

Here is another blog I came across that states a very similar case. Read it here:  http://www.whatbirdsgiveup.com/gay-pride-and-the-carnivalesque/

SERIOUSLY?!?!? Let’s piss off the people who are helping to draft laws that silence us…The Sexy Gay Jesus Contest. SERIOUSLY!?

ANGER…Why Does It Piss Me Off So Much? Part 1

•June 2, 2011 • Leave a Comment

Anger is the emotion I feel the most. I wish this wasn’t so, but it is the truth. Why am I so angry? What can I do to combat it?  This is a problem that ruins relationships. What can I do to keep from being angry about things I cannot do anything about? Here is a prime example…

WARNING! You are about to enter a very specialized gripe I have, about something I cannot change. IT JUST PISSES ME OFF.

Ocean Liners, RMS Queen Mary and RMS Queen Elizabeth

One of the silly things that makes me angry is the realization that a specific dream I have will never come to be. I have always wanted to take a voyage on a real ocean liner. I love maritime history and I love those beautiful purpose-built ships from a time when there was only one way to cross the Atlantic. Names like SS United States, RMS Queen Mary, SS Ile de France and SS Andrea Doriabring images to my mind of grand ocean ladies who were built tough to battle the ferocious and often unpredictable waters of the North Atlantic. They carried vacationers and immigrants.  They helped to shape America into the ethnic melting pot that it is.

Ocean Liner: SS United States

I could continue with a lesson in why ocean liners and passenger ships in general are important, but I doubt anyone really cares enough. What makes me so angry is that I will never be able to experience this. The era of ocean liners has come to an end, thanks to the popularity of air travel. The fastest ocean liner ever built, the SS United States (which still exists as a gutted, rusty shell in Philadelphia to this day, and hopefully will be re-purposed thanks to the SS United States Conservancy and their supporters) was retired in 1969 because of the popularity of the airlines.

Ocean Liner: RMS Queen Mary

The classic ocean liners that are left belong to premium cruise lines that do not cater to the American tourists or are just too expensive for the likes of us. Due to costs, I have had to wait and wait and wait. While having to wait to finally have the money for this dream vacation, there are no ships left worthy of sailing on in my opinion. They have all gone to the scrap yards because of updated SOLAS (Safety Of Life At Sea, founded because of Titanic) regulations. One by one these ships are ran up onto the beach in Alang, India where grimy men with blowtorches cut apart the ships bit by bit for scrap metal, until nothing is left. The ships I had dreamed of sailing on are now cans of peas and razor blades in your local supermarket.

Cruise Ship and Ugly Box: Carnival Triumph

What does this leave me to do if I want to take a cruise? I must now choose to be a passenger aboard an ugly white box on the water, covered with balconies, that is essentially a casino at sea. I’m sure I could have a great deal of fun on a typical ‘Carnival type’ cruise, but I’m not interested in a cruise for the activities, the sun, the ports or the casino games. I don’t care about the night clubs or shuffleboard. I am interested in the ship itself, and no modern cruise ship with it’s ‘made in China’ ugly neon carpets, stainless steel everything, complete lack of wood or elegance, neon lighting everywhere floating resorts can live up to my expectations. If I want a Vegas resort experience, I’ll go visit a resort in Vegas for a fraction of the cost of a cruise.

Ugly Box Cruise Ship: Freedom of the Seas

Today’s cruise market is really just geared toward the Brits and Europeans. Only 17% or so of all living Americans has ever been on a cruise. This is because the cost of getting to a port town from a landlocked state can cost just as much as the cruise itself. A plane ticket from Chattanooga to say, Miami…about $400. To New York? Long Beach? Seattle? Even more. That will already double the price of the vacation.

VERY EXPENSIVE Ocean Liner: Queen Mary 2

I’m really just pissed off that I feel nearly cheated out of the opportunity because of my age.  I think so often that I should have been a boomer. There’s nothing I can do about it, but the opportunity has been missed because of money and my age. At times I think I should just give up my love of the classic liners because that age is gone. Also, CUNARD, and others I have heard talking out there…not all passenger ships are ocean liners. YOUR SHIPS ARE NOT OCEAN LINERS (aside from the overly expensive Queen Mary 2). THEY ARE CRUISE SHIPS. THERE IS A DIFFERENCE, THANK YOU.

Ugly Box Cruise Ship: Norwegian Epic

Now I’ve brought that absolutely silly gripe out in the open, and we can all see how I can go on and on about things I cannot change. This is the first in a series about my anger toward things I cannot change. This one is probably the most trivial.

Self-Therapy Questions: How Do I Overcome Debilitating Fear?

•May 27, 2011 • 4 Comments

When looking  back on my entire life as I can remember it, I notice something. From childhood onward, one very powerful emotion has been ever-present. It took a very helpful, yet stressful conversation with my partner for me to really realize that I have absolute debilitating fear.

Some people have said that fear is a very natural human emotion that is normal, and sometimes very healthy. I do not think that the fear that I experience is healthy. What’s more, I am not sure how to overcome it.

From a very early age, I was always afraid of getting into trouble because of corporal punishment. You know, ‘If you’re bad, we will spank you.’ I really did try my very best to be a very good child because I was afraid of my parents. In the religious beliefs my family held, a child is not just supposed to obey parents and respect them. They should fear parents as they fear God. I was the scared, quiet little boy in the corner who played by himself mostly because he was afraid he would get into trouble.

When it came time to start going to school, I found a new fear. As the ‘smart’ one, the one of my siblings who had the greatest will to learn and retain knowledge, I was branded the ‘wonder child.’ I was only allowed As and Bs in school. If I brought home anything lower, I was spanked, grounded, and deprived of everything but books and food. I was the child with all of the potential for greatness while my brothers would probably just be dumb jocks. I was told at a very young age (about 8 or so) by my grandmother that I was our family’s last hope. She said “Your mother pours tea for a living in a cafeteria and doesn’t even really get tips. Your father drives a linen truck, has a paper route and is also a janitor. He has to work 3 jobs because he dropped out of college when he married your mom. He was an idiot. Your older brother works in a palace of sin (at the time he worked at the Gila River Casinos in AZ). Your younger brother is just plain too stupid and lazy to ever amount to anything. The only thing he cares about is sports, and he is terrible at them. This is why the fate of this entire family rests on your shoulders. If you fail, I will disown the lot of you. None of you would be even worth knowing.” Now let me fast forward to today…My older brother is a hero. He is a fire fighter with the Chandler Fire Department. He has a beautiful wife and 3 children. He lives in a fantastic home with hardwood floors and has made quite the life for himself and his family. My younger brother is also a hero. Right after high school, he enlisted in the US Air Force. He has seen deployment in Iraq, Kuwait and Afghanistan.  He has served his country in an honorable fashion. Who am I? I am a former drag queen who flips burgers for a ‘living.’ The ‘hope of the entire family,’ the one who was supposed to be someone, the kid too smart for his own good has failed. I am reminded of it by family members quite often in little ways.

I was afraid of voicing my opinion when I was young. In our home, children were not allowed an opinion. Opinions were only for adults over the age of 18. So was freedom of speech. No thought I had about the fairness of anything (“LIFE IS NOT FAIR! WHEN WILL YOU LEARN THAT!”) or about an injustice I’d witnessed was valid. I ended up being a very quiet and shy person who rarely spoke to anyone about anything. I was even left at church twice by my family who thought I was already in the car with them. I was so quiet and rarely said anything that they didn’t realize that I was not present until they arrived at home. I started to think I was invisible. I became a loner, and not because I wanted to be. I was a nerd, and was shunned, but that is quite common. Indeed, I fly my nerd flag much higher than any of the others I might fly. It is the only category I fit into that I am not at all ashamed of.  \V/,  Live long and prosper.

Now that I am an adult, I find that the fear of failure follows me and haunts me. I have failed as a proper roommate many times. I failed as a cook at a nursing home when I was fired. I have failed as a partner many times. I failed as a member of management at the place I currently work, and had to step down or be fired. It embarrasses me every day to walk in the door of that place. Bad things happen when I fail. It is the ONE thing I am so afraid of.

I am afraid of applying for work. When I drive down the road (in a car that is not mine because I cannot afford the upkeep and maintenance of a decent automobile) I don’t just see signs of possibilities. A bank? Why would they hire me? A hotel? My entire resume is full of nothing but food service. If I were a hiring manager and saw my resume cross my desk, I would think “This guy needs to apply for management at McDonald’s. That is where his experience says he belongs. McD’s tells me “You don’t fit our criteria for management. Wanna build a Big Mac?” NO. When going on a job interview, I get so nervous I break out into cold sweats, my voice wavers, I have to clear my throat a lot and it is difficult for me to look the interviewer in the eye. It causes me to hate looking for work. If someone actually DOES notice my resume and actually calls me for an interview, I freak out. I also cannot answer that inevitable question: “Why should we pick you?” I don’t know. I’m nothing special.

I feel that in order to pull myself out of this poverty income bracket, I must go back to college. I did go to college for three semesters right out of high school. My parents chose the college and my major, and all of my classes. I had to pay for it and actually do the work. They chose computer aided drafting (CAD) for me as my major. I hated it. I eventually dropped out when I had to move away from home. I’ve spent the rest of this time trying to get settled and trying to figure out which path my life should go in. I really have no idea what to choose for a major. People tell me to choose something I like, but I have this fear that everything I like to do cannot translate into a career that actually makes decent money. I am terrified of making a $30,000 education mistake. I must choose a major that has promise of a job after school is over. The South does not have many venues for actual careers coming from a college education unless it is in the medical field or a trade. I don’t want to have spent those thousands of dollars for a certificate or degree that ends up just being another piece of paper with my name on it that means nothing. I’ve had many career fantasies throughout my life. Each one was a dream too big. Naval architect? My math skills and understanding will always keep me from a career in anything technical. No building ships at Harland & Wolff or John Brown for me. Ship captain? Getting into naval academies is very difficult, and it takes years upon years of study before I’d ever find myself the captain of a passenger ship. (Cargo ships do not interest me. They are ugly and only designed industrial purpose.) Chef? I actually did used to want to be a chef. Now I realize that I need out of the food service industry. It is not kind to its employees and there is no job security. A better cook is always out there who will accept smaller pay. Graphic design? Advertising? This is what I am toying with right now, but there are nearly no venues in this town for this field. Nearly all projects requiring graphic design are outsourced to Atlanta. Move to Atlanta? I just don’t really think so. Move to another big city? Possibly. That means leaving behind my partner, and just about everything else.  I am so scared of making a huge mistake!

People try to tell me all the time that I am young and have most of my life ahead of me. I say BULL SPIT. I am 31 years old. My life is halfway over. I really have no desire to live past the age of 65 because of what is going on in Washington right now. I won’t have anyone to help me take care of myself. I have no children. Medicare will have been disbanded. The age I wish to expire may change in the future, but right now I plan my 65th birthday to be a suicide party. While everyone else is living it up at the party, I will be in private taking my own life so I don’t have to experience my body breaking down with no insurance to pay for its upkeep.

This huge fear of failure has kept me right exactly where I have been for the past 10 years. When will it end? How can I fight it? I understand I will get 50 nos to one yes. I also know that time is ticking by and that I cannot afford to waste any time. It takes months, years to get those 50 nos. It takes years to get a degree. I wish my life to end at age 65…and I do not want my life to finally begin at age 45 or 50. I feel like I’ve wasted away the years of my life that really matter, trying to find appropriate living situations. I feel like I’ve let everyone down, including myself. How do I stop this? How can it change? I’M TIRED OF BEING AFRAID. I AM TIRED OF FEELING LIKE A FAILURE.