Saturday, July 7, 2012
When the highs are high, the lows are lo-ho!
*After a spectacular day two days ago, I plummeted into an emotional abyss that I hadn't expected to have for a very long time. It's probably similar to watching a heroine addict come off the ultimate high. Crying, cussing, pleading. Fortunately, no one witnessed it. But I love self-humiliation, so this is my tale. The start of the slump: Oregon moves at a different pace. A slower pace. Usually, that's a good thing. It's not so good when you're trying to find a job under a tight deadline. To be in childcare, one must have a whole grip of certifications-- Oregon Foodhandler's Card, CPR, First Aid, Recognizing and Reporting Child Abuse and Neglect, and registration in the Oregon Criminal History Registry. Ok, that's all fine. I already have my CPR and I was able to conduct my study and exam for both the food handler's card and first aid online. I assumed the child abuse certification and criminal registry would be equally simple. Not so. The reporting abuse course (a course I've taken before in Colorado and, frankly, isn't that hard) had to be attended in person and the registration with Oregon's criminal history? Well, we'll get to that in a moment. A little lesson in humility: Yesterday I went to the IPRC for First Friday. I had e-mailed my crush, telling her that I would be there and I would love to buy her zines then. Of course, the zine transaction was merely a ploy so that I could see her again and hopefully make a move. There were strong indicators that she like me, too, so I figured we'd be able to meet up soon. I never received a reply, which surprised me, but she's a pretty busy gal, and I figured it just wasn't a big deal. Furthermore, she's at the IPRC all the time so fate might be in my favor even if she didn't get my message. Fate wasn't on my side, and she didn't come. I coaxed myself out of disappointment by telling myself that it just wasn't in the cards. I'd read her wrong and that was ok. It wasn't a reflection of me. She just hadn't experienced the chemistry that I had. I mean, it hurt and it bugged me that I was wrong, but that happens sometimes. I've been practicing this type of zen-ness for a while, but I learned yesterday that one should also allow one's self to experience the lows in their life. It's important to feel the entire spectrum of emotion. Coming Home: A little sad and a little perplexed, I arrived home to a package. This was the catalyst that made me crack. It was from the Oregon Criminal History Registry. Now, the story comes full-circle. "After reviewing your application, it has come to our attention that you have not lived in Oregon for at least 18 months blah, blah, blah. You must provide the following items to acquire a provisional application: 1. Finger prints (Great! Now, I have to find a police station and fork over another $10 only to scrape by on $9.50 an hour. This all might be a bit overrated.) 2. Complete the FBI application that is enclosed (Ok. Fine.) And ready for the kicker? 3. A check for $62 to complete your application (Sixty-two fucking dollars when I'm already finger-printed and in the god damn system in Colorado! And I don't even buy checks anymore! What is this, 1952? Who the hell has checks?) I have the money, I just don't want to fork it over on principal. It cost me three dollars to initially register in the system. You're seriously going to tell me that because I moved from another state, you need 62 more dollars to find out if I was a criminal in Colorado? I'm thinking "Not really, but it would be awesome to squeeze a few extra bucks out of you out-of-towners." Screw you, Oregon! This opened the floodgates, literally. I cried and cursed all alone in my tiny walk-in closet. I felt totally betrayed, like everything had led me here only to make me struggle and sweat and feel ridiculously inadequate. A bit melodramatic, I know, but I did consider just giving up and going home. It's a shit-ton easier to find a job and navigate the bureaucracy in Colorado. After a good, long cry, I laid down and watched some TV to numb the pain. I felt raw, as if someone had carved into my belly and opened it up for everyone to see my insides. I actually think the disappointment of the failed crush was what really hurt me, and my frustration with Oregon's stupidly archaic bureaucracy just compounded my despair. I once read a zine about depression, anxiety, stress, and anger created by an amazing organization called The Icarus Project. The Icarus Project believes that mental illness should not be treated exclusively as an illness and, therefore, medicated. Rather, mental illness strikes talented, empathetic, creatives mind and those minds must feel empowered to explore their mental illness and the best coping skills for that illness. One chapter discusses how we must allow ourselves to experience that sensation of depression, anxiety, or whatever it is at that time. It is healthy to feel, and it is most decidedly unhealthy to ignore those feelings. It is important that we feel those emotions and then find a healthy way to cope with them. Today, I decided to embrace the rawness that I'm feeling. I'm sad and disappointed and not sure how to proceed in a healthy manner at this exact moment. That's ok. Feeling sad is part of living. Not knowing what to do is part of living. It's uncomfortable, but it's not permanent (I also got that from the Icarus Project). I carried on with my day. I had my child abuse training this morning so, of course, I went. I treated myself to a gluten-free almond cookie and iced coffee in my favorite quadrant of the city. I bought some zines that I thought would make me smile/laugh. I rode my bike in the sun, went to pole play, and ate a soyrizo burrito (I'm actually starting to crave vegetarian food. Weird!). I did the things I love and steered clear of the sauce (which has historically been a nasty pitfall of mine). Those are my coping mechanisms. And they're working. I can feel myself smiling more and talking to people free of anxiety. I knew these days would happen, but it still didn't prepare me for the wave of emotion. I'm finding that I just have to handle each episode as it comes, since each one is unique. And I haven't give up on living here just yet. Random side note: There is a barbershop choir convention here this weekend. Lots of fun people! P.S.: To you check writers out there, no offense. I understand that there are a myriad of reasons that people write checks, whether it's to manage your finances more responsibly or whatever. I just don't like them.