How was Seattle?

Well. Well… where do I begin.

Last time I wrote in here I had just started my job in Seattle as a fledgling barista. I loved it. I hated it. I was a wage slave and the constant pressure and constant face time with customers drove me mad. I would wake up and zombie crawl to the bus stop, fighting off a panic attack while picking at my skin. My feet twitched as I sit on the bus, watching the disappearing Olympic peaks from the window seat.

Once I got to work-almost always with about 60 seconds to spare til I was late-I turned on my alter-ego cool Seattle chick that’s not internally melting. I don’t know how I did it. I think back and it is unreal. My hours were unpredictable, my weekends were split. The schedule would be posted only a few days in advance so I didn’t have much time to mentally prepare for the onslaught of training, 2 scones heated up please, bold or mild?, this one has some blueberry notes, it’s divine, mop up the floor from that lady that passed out on top of her latte, etc. I have some really cherished connections I made while hating every second of my existence. Maybe a stable person would have found this enjoyable.

The interactions with customers were usually short and sweet. I’d get compliments on my shirt or my glasses or my haircut. Thanks, I just got it at Goodwill. Thanks, I used to wear contacts but I like these. Oh thanks, I cut it myself. I’d be so tired after a shift, all I could do is eat popcorn and smoke a bowl. It’s cool, shit is legal there. And most times I didn’t even want to do that. I’d arrive home and try to keep up both me and B’s sanity on my shoulders.

Money was trickling in and hemorrhaging out. I rapidly cycled between things are great let’s stay in this land of opportunity and I’ll kill myself if I have to get out of bed again. This went on for months. B ended up in the hospital multiple times for likely stress-induced body failure. The medical bills are still assaulting his mailbox. I tried to get into some kind of therapy. I was breaking. I could feel it every moment. My mind was going to snap along the spidered cracks and would be irreparable.

We didn’t have a car so we walked our groceries between the store and the bus stop and home. We dropped a Pyrex casserole dish across the street from the apartment while trudging through the rain with double fisted double bagged paper grocery bags. We had come so far and were so close. The dish was shattered and broken and the people that scoffed at us leaving it there didn’t know the journey that resulted in that resounding crash.

We talked for weeks about leaving. About staying. About the future. About ourselves. We were fracturing every second but also keeping each other afloat. Christmas was brutal. I wanted to cry but couldn’t even feel the connection between my tear ducts and my lack of will to breathe.

The sprawling city was crawling with people and cafes and subcultures and boundless activity. My wallet was as empty as my continued survival. There was a good bye dinner filled with hugs and cards and “we’ll see you laters” and “come back soons.” I had a suitcase full of misconstrued potential and thrift store shoes.

The plane to Pittsburgh was encased in a crystal ball rolling down a mountain. Speckled grey airport walls interrupted the airborne anxiety. I had missed most of the Pennsylvania winter and we were greeted with the white fluffy stuff. I slept most of the ride back to B’s mom’s place. I hugged him good-bye and greeted my best friend with a wordless mixture of enthusiasm and defeat. There was a pit stop in the frigid tundra of winter-time central PA and the rest of the ride back to my mom’s house was cold and silent.

While at my mom’s, I spent time with friend groups I was an outsider to. I was a new commodity that interest waned in quickly. I stopped drinking after an incident which maybe I’ll discuss in detail later, but it left a negative association between me and that ethanol. So I became a glorified designated driver for people I barely knew. It wasn’t terrible, but I would have rather been covered in cats and curled up in a blanket at home in the basement.

There was constant pressure to get out of bed there. I was urged to get a job. To just get off my ass and do something. Stressed out brooding between Netflix marathons and Metroid sessions became my day to day style. Jobs weren’t appealing. I couldn’t even be a person let alone a person with responsibilities other than maybe brushing my teeth and making coffee to immediately undo the mundane robotic cleaning I barely had the energy to do.

The crushing derailment of my plan train to nowhere in particular baffled and consumed me. What I thought my life would be stemmed from the idea that I had potential. Potential to do what? Am I just a roller coaster on the peak of a drop? Am I a floating sphere of mass that can traverse galaxies on a whim? I never thought of what the potential was for, it was just drilled into my brain space that it was there. Being back in the house I lost my first tooth in… the place I spent countless hours becoming some counterfeit person… crumpled what shred of rationale I retained. I was trapped with a barrel on my chest and shackles on my feet. There was no place to go and nothing I could do about it but ride the wave to inevitable deterioration of everything I’d taken in as reality.

So somehow… I got a job. I got a car. I moved. I am working out and eating healthy. I write and meditate and sing and draw. I saw a doctor. I saw a glimmer of hope. I am in chemical limbo. I am artificially sane. For now.


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