It’s OK to not know it’s OK.

When matter is confined to a finite container and then agitated, it will seek to be liberated. It will swell the confines that limit it, making the boundaries as elastic as possible. It will seek its own level, compress itself to make the most efficient use of the available area. The compression causes heat to build, as molecules begin to attempt to fuse and consolidate their vibrations. At some point, there is involuntary and often violent expansion of the limiting container, and proverbial hell breaks loose.

That’s about where I am right now, an agitated bit of matter in an inadequate container, that seeks release. I’m not quite ready to destroy the container just yet, but the pressure is excruciating. Some venting of the pressure would do nicely about now, so I will do what I’ve always done. I will “write my way out”. Hamilton says that about surviving a hurricane in his native island. It destroyed just about everything, and he felt trapped, but had writing as a vent for the pressure. He wrote his way out of disaster, out of a veritable grave for all that he was able to offer.

I am gravely dejected, mainly because I am feeling useless, past my prime (if ever I had one), and done. It shouldn’t be quite so dramatic an issue, but I applied for yet another online writer’s job, and was summarily rejected. “We have chosen not to advance your application.” Thanks for playing, Ann. No points this round. So sorry…Don Pardo, tell her what she’s won.

What she’s won is nothing. What she’s got is nothing. All the misery, all the “hanging in there”, all the biting my tongue and dumbing down, all the screwing up and trying again, all the “resilience” has gotten me absolutely nothing. I am faced with literally going to work at Starbucks or Burger King just to make the poverty level so I can have health insurance. Which should be the least of my worries, I might add.

I am glad I finished college and got this useless degree, but this was supposed to be my assurance that I could always be employed above the Burger King level. Not true. All of the jobs I know that I can do, literally with my eyes closed, are not open to me because they want some new fancy internet search engine skills that only people born after 1990 have. I can certainly learn that, but I’m rejected out of hand because I don’t already have the experience.

Writing is not about search engine optimization. Back in the day, when I was walking uphill in the rain to get to my one-room school house, you had to know ridiculous things like grammar and punctuation and have a reasonable vocabulary. You had to be able to communicate. That was the point. Now the point is to sell something, make sure what you write for some capitalistic endeavor comes up at the top of a query from Lurline in West Virginia. Or Tennessee. Or Utah. Follow the money. If you can simply use the appropriate keywords, you can assure your employer their product will have the greatest chance of purchase by good ole Lurline. That’s all it’s about now. Sell something.

Bleh. I’m not interested in selling anything. I’m not interested in getting more money for somebody else. I’m interested in communicating information, in helping people do something they need to do. I’m interested in proving there are still people who respect language and it’s purpose – to communicate. To bring together ideas, information, and people.

I will admit that I’m a bit snotty about some of this, because when I look at some of what is published out on the internet, I cannot help but observe that I can do better. Some of what passes for the English language out there is frequently laughable. There’s no getting around that. Some of what’s out there is literal crap. But nobody cares, as long as it sells and satisfies a metric that says the content is optimized for search engines.

A minute ago, I was having dark, angry thoughts about taking some dramatic and ultimately non-productive action to show the world how frustrated I am. Bang, zoom! To da moon, Alice! Everyone needs to know I am hurting and getting desperate, for good reason or not. But when you’re in a place where you feel helpless, and somewhat hopeless, you want the whole effing world to know how bad that feels. You want to make a point, whether that helps anything or not.

This is what people are going through, in small ways and big ways, every day. The jobs report says people are hiring, but they are not hiring the likes of me. So, if you’re wired like I am wired, your thoughts go downhill pretty quickly. They go to “what’s wrong with me?” and “I must have been mistaken that I had something to offer.” Fortunately, I have a support system and yada yada yada, but sometimes even I have no defense against the attacking darkness.

Sometimes I worry that darkness will overtake me, that I can’t run fast enough to ward it off, to avoid the coming storm. I have weathered many storms before, but I’m tired. I’m so tired. I don’t think life is suppose to be an endless expanse of just survival. In fact, I’m sure of it. So, why am I teetering on the edge of not surviving?

I know I’ve made mistakes. Some days, I am convinced I have thoroughly ruined my life. Mistakes, missteps, missed opportunities, miscalculations. I’ve screwed up so many things. Yes, I’ve had victories, but when the chips are down, those can’t hold me up. I’m sober. That’s dandy, great, wonderful. I would be in far worse condition if that wasn’t the case, but right this minute, I’m having a hard time figuring out how that helps me get a job that I even vaguely want.

If I go back to IT, if that’s even possible, I will do that to survive. That will be what is expected, it will get me back into the someone else’s productivity index and prove that I’m a contributing member of society who is not expecting a free ride. It will also depress me to the point of no return, because I am trying desperately to figure out when I get to have what I want. Not what is expedient, or necessary, or practical but what I want.

At this point, I could wax poetic about the dumbing down of America, and off-shoring serving to be the death of the work force, but that does no good. It is what it is. I have to accept that. I know that I’m not going to resort to a one-woman campaign against reality. That does no good, and it would probably lead me to slit my wrists or eat a gun. I refuse to give the system another victory. I will not be the next mass shooter, or the next sniper in the trunk of a car.

It’s very dark to have thoughts like that, even if only to do a values clarification. So be it. There cannot be light without darkness, and it’s always darkest just before the dawn. I get that, and I also get that I am not the only person in the Universe having this experience, especially not right now. The entire effing Universe is topsy turvy right now, and so are my expectations. It’s a new day, and in some parallel universe, I’m a millionaire with a private jet and a Bentley. I just have to find the worm hole that will take me there.

There’s a song by Janis Ian that has always spoken to me, as thought she was speaking directly to me. “They’ll try to stop you singing in the middle of your song.” No truer words were ever spoken. I can’t stop singing, even if I’m not all that good at it. I can’t stop speaking my truth, even if nobody wants to hear it. I can’t stop. Period.

Published by annzimmerman

I am Louisiana born and bred, now living in Winston Salem, North Carolina. Fortunately for me, I was already living in NC before Hurricane Katrina decimated my beloved New Orleans. An only child, I now feel that I have no personal history since the hurricane destroyed the relics and artifacts of my childhood. As I have always heard, c'est la vie. My Louisiana roots show in my love of good coffee, good food, and good music. My soggy native soil has also shown me that resilience is hard-wired in my consciousness; when the chips are down (or drowned)...bring it on.

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