Agency

Depression let me have the week in Oregon. Kinda. My gate heading home was D5 to Minneapolis. D3 was going to Sydney, Australia via Los Angeles. I think the hardest part of my current stage in life is knowing quite acutely all the adventures I’m missing out on.

I’ve been in a downward trajectory for about three weeks now, but it plateaued on the descent, I guess. There were never any days I felt exceptionally out of it, but I mostly feel disconnected these days, so the difference may be only slight enough to catch if you’re in my head. One step back from emotion, feeling, engaging. It’s difficult knowing where I’m at in my head, and recognizing I’m not mentally strong enough to overcome it anyway.

I’m sitting in a Starbucks writing this because our internet is down at home. My lower back was screaming while I was looking through another five hundred job postings and it took me over half an hour to see that I was so hunched over my sternum was touching the edge of my keyboard. My face was mere centimeters from the screen, and as I scrolled I realized my eyes weren’t focused and I hadn’t read a single job posting on that page. It’s a pretty good image for how defeated I spend most days feeling.

I’m certain that there are shitty retail or food industry jobs available that I could get just to fill the time while I look. They’d probably cover my measly bills, I’ll own up to that. It’s not hard to come up with $250 a month working retail. However, $275 a month is damn near impossible working retail outside of November and December, so it doesn’t really change things up that much.

“To fill the time while I look.” The problem I find here is that I’ve been looking for five damn years. I’ve had a shitty retail job while looking. I’ve had an even shittier law firm job while looking. “People with jobs get new jobs more easily.” Just going to throw it out there, but that has been the furthest thing from the case in this journey. It’s even been heavily insinuated in interviews that previous jobs have worked against me in the hiring process.

I don’t know why this is such a difficult process for me. Some days I think about giving up and becoming one of those people I’ve always despised. Though, the truth is, neither of my parents would let me become that person. They’re not enablers, thankfully. And I’ve still got too much pride for that. Which is saying something for someone who hates his life as much as I do.

Social media puts forth a very specific image of every person who uses it, and most people try to hide their down moments and the hard things. In a lot of ways, when I write I try to shine a light on those sort of things because I feel so damn alone and isolated because no one else seems to be talking about it. Even when I know that people are going through certain heavy things, they still seem so much further along. More equipped to handle it.

I know that money is almost always tighter than people pretend it is. But I feel like the only person I know that’s one flat tire away from homelessness. Which is a bit of hyperbole, because I do have a support structure, but it paints the word picture I want. Something as miniscule and inconvenient as a flat tire would drastically upheave my world.

I guess I’m just constantly on the edge of a breakdown. I’ve not cried since 2013, and part of me wonders if I started if I would stop right now. Frustration. Defeat. Hopeless. I don’t want to be disengaged from myself, but when those are the only emotions you feel, can you blame me?

The hardest thing may also be understanding that I couldn’t even enjoy an adventure if I was presented with one. A relationship would make me feel worthless as a man. I can’t even provide for myself, how could I ever provide for a child right now? Even if I was given a free plane ticket to my favorite place in the world—something I almost have enough SkyMiles to do—I’d get there and freak out because I couldn’t afford a cup of coffee, let alone food.

I have so much work I need to do on me. I know that. I know that hard work is necessary. I’m willing to do it. I never wanted to be the person who focused on money. But in this world, money is agency. Occupation is agency. I can’t chase any of my desires without agency. I know—I’ve been trying.

I want to write novels and travel the world. Depression stole the first from me for now—even though it’s also something that is entirely out of my hands after I type “The End.” I could write a hundred novels and never be published. But I’m not doing it for the money. I’m doing it because it’s who I am. And traveling the world requires amounts of money that I’ll never have. Glimpses and short binges are the best I can assume I’ll get—and I think I could be okay with that. I’m willing to put in the time to get those things. It’s a shame we monetized the one thing every human has in common: our world.

I just don’t know what sets me up to do the two things I actually want to do. I don’t think it exists. Not in our current economic climate. I can’t write and I can’t travel. I can’t pursue me. I can’t do anything. I can’t let myself feel the weight of these things. I’m scared of the place that would take me.

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