Determination, Self-denial and Baseless Conceit
Oct 16, 2006
OK, Iím a little drunk right now but itís taking the edge off my anger so I guess in the grand scheme of things, this is good.
Itís late afternoon on a Sunday - from my window I can see the ships go by. Itís beautiful I suppose but I really canít be bothered. Right now, itís all rubbish and if I could break it all to pieces, I would.
It might make me feel better.
In the meantime, Iíve been guzzling Guinness with a vengeance. This will, of course, make me eventually feel worse (and probably sooner than I think) - but right now itís preventing a homicidal rampage so itís all good. I know better (especially on these meds) but right now I donít care.
No, this wonít be another "Iím depressed and surly" column - even though I plainly am both.
I am also resolute.
I am frustrated and angry - not (for once) because I did something stupid, but because Iím working my ass off and other people canít be bothered to do even a semblance of the jobs they were hired for.
Iíve been working 90+ hours a week (and I donít get paid for overtime) and have been for close to a year so I suppose itís fair to say that Iím a bit burned out.
And today, to reward me for my efforts, I got a shitload of attitude from someone who should be, if not grateful, at least respectful of my diligence. What is remarkable is that I took it and didnít say a word in response.
I started working today at 1:30 a.m. and although I stopped 8 hours later in a fit of temper and disgust, the wheels are still spinning and I would likely have killed something by noon were it not for the intervention of an unflappable friend.
Normally, his detachment irritates the hell out of me but today it was a calming influence (especially given his talent for pretending to agree with me while simultaneously defusing my incandescent rage with his equilibrium). Heís wiser than me - heís been at this for almost a decade longer than I have and it has blunted his edge (but in a good way - he knows itís not worth getting agitated about things that will never change). He humours me - what I donít think he realizes is that I know exactly what heís doing and why.
Itís just that today I went along with it because it was too much trouble to roar, especially at someone I care about. At least he had the good sense (this time) to refrain from telling me I was "adorable". I would have ripped his head off his shoulders (and part of his wisdom encompasses the realization that no one is better equipped or more likely to do it than I am.)
Hereís the thing: I donít know where I am, existentially speaking and itís freaking me out.
Iím in a city I hate, doing work I adore, getting zero appreciation with no job security, Iíve become a footnote in the lives of those I love and all the while Iím spending over $5,000 a month on medication to simply keep myself alive. Iíd be making more money if I quit and went on welfare - I have no life, Iím ruining my health and apparently (according to another trusted friend), Iíll never get a date because men find me "scary".
All I have is this battle Iíve embraced as my own. OK, it gets me off more than is probably healthy, but Iím addicted to it. It nourishes me in ways I cannot begin to explain.
As for the male of the species -- fuck Ďem if they donít get me. So be it. If all 5í5" and 115 pounds of me scares a man I might otherwise find attractive, I donít want him anyway. Iíll be the first to admit that at least half of that is attitude and the rest is my big mouth. Iíve resigned myself to being single because apparently God doesnít make brave men anymore but big deal. Iím sure Iíll cope. I exist in a manís world and I mean to prove that Iím the alpha bitch in this particular kennel.
And as the lady said, I will have one mistress here, and no master.
I do this job because I believe in it. Itís important work (even though my part in it is inconsequential) and I take my duty extremely seriously. I took an oath (literally - you have to sign one when you start) and I intend to stick to it - whether or not I get cooperation is really immaterial.
While Iím putatively making a good wage, Iím spending it all on medication and Iím barely - barely - making ends meet. What paltry suplusage in income I enjoy is being saved for the fall, when Iím scheduled for surgery and will require about weeks off - unpaid - from work. Which is about the time my contract here expires and of course, there are no guarantees that it will be extended. Iím back where I started in the sense that I have to make the daily decision whether I eat or take my meds (and it is literally one or the other).
And I will take nothing I have not earned. The win is worth nothing if it is handed to you or you cheat to get it.
But food is for the weak - so is sleep. In the meantime, there is combat and I live for it. God makes some people conciliators, some diplomats, and others nurturers.
He made me a warrior.
It ainít pretty and it is excoriating in its loneliness but I cannot change my intrinsic nature any more than a peach tree can bring forth apples. My job in this life is to give voice to those who lack the words to object to being victimized. I believe that. This is not just a job for me: itís a vocation.
As long as I keep my head on straight and donít drown in my own ego, I think I can do some good.
The ego bit is quite a struggle and likely not a battle I have any hope of winning. I get distracted and overwhelmed by the bloodlust, consumed by my own importance, caught up in the intellectual labyrinth.
And dear God: I live for the kill.
Itís laughable, really, because in the grand scheme of things, I donít matter and am easily replaceable. I know this. Luckily, my motives are pure and my boss is All Powerful and will rein me in if I get too extreme. (And I do submit to that particular alpha male, without question - heís earned it and he definitely knows better than I do.) I respect him - I donít understand him but thatís not required. He knows what heís doing and I trust in that.
In the meantime, I can do some damage.
Not that Iím getting much assistance.
Fair enough - Iíll suck all the learning and experience out of the marrow of the bitter bone that is currently lodged in my throat and no matter what happens, Iíll prevail.
Admittedly, this would be easier if I were healthy. Iím physically feeble and weakened - Iím seizing more often that I ever have, but this is just another irrelevant detail that I refuse to acknowledge. No excuses, no time outs, no concessions.
What it all boils down to is this: fuck the critics, fuck the doctors, fuck my own physiology. None of it will stop me. If I am to be defeated, it certainly wonít be via self-sabotage or physical frailty.
God wouldnít dare.
This is who I am and I defy anyone to take me on. If someone accepts the challenge and steps across the line Iíve drawn in the sand, theyíd better make damn sure they kill me because as long as I have breath in my body, I will get up again and will do my best to destroy anything that presumes to thwart me. Iíve never in my life backed down from a fight I considered just and Iím not about to start now.
I guess I am pretty scary. If I step back and observe myself dispassionately, I suppose I canít blame male humanoids for not wanting to curl up to this snarling mess of rage, conceit and antagonism. Well, no matter - I guess Iím going to have to live with it. Alone. Everyone else will either have to get over it or get out of my way.
The weird (and oddly reassuring) thing is - this ainít the meds. Although violent hostility is listed as a side effect my seizure meds, I was this way before I swallowed the first tablet. Perhaps the chemicals accentuated it but this intensity did not have its genesis in pharmaceuticals.
That being said, this drug induces rage to such an extreme and well-documented extent that its ingestion was used as a successful defence to a charge of first-degree murder in the U.S. Itís freaking me out and I have to be aware of it always - itís not topamax anymore. That wound up giving me permanent vision loss in my right eye and induced a chain of seizures. This new stuff isnít giving me reliable seizure control either - though itís restricting the nature of them. Instead of falling down and breaking bones, I stay conscious while my perception of my environment changes drastically. These days when I seize (and it is becoming a nearly daily event), I first get a far away feeling. Then peopleís faces start to melt and I am no longer able to perceive depth or distances - or even tell which way is up. I can still access my cognitive abilities and argue a case, but it is the most bizarre and frightening thing, to all of a sudden be beamed into a Picasso painting. Itís what I imagine a really bad acid trip to be like. I can generally get through it if I sit at the counsel table and donít try to get up - but I will fall over if I try to walk and bump into things that look like theyíre 3 feet away and are actually only 3 inches from me. Iím bruised from head to toe just from trying to get from point A to point B.
Iím tired, overworked, ailing and lonely though I wouldnít dream of admitting it anywhere but here. And even though I am aware of all of that, itís not going to stop me.
Iím not presenting myself as a paragon of anything but determination, self-denial and baseless conceit. Iím only here to tell you that despite all the drawbacks, this is still worth it. On most days, I donít get what I want. Most days I fall flat on my face. Publicly. But every time I fail, I learn. And my resolve to achieve is strengthened.
Youíve been with me for seven years, so listen up. If I give you nothing else, let me give you this.
Depend on yourselves, no matter how lost that can sometimes leave you. Donít compromise your ideals. Donít settle for the convenient over your principles. Never sell yourself short. Never surrender. Realize the vastness of your own potential.
Life is not about "finding" yourself - itís about creating yourself. You make the rules: you come up with the definitions and you can choose to accept no limits.
You can do anything you set your mind to.
Till next time.