I thought I was through with it.
I figured, Hey! I'm done being depressed, I'm done with anger issues, I'm done with anxiety, I'm done with being a functional alcoholic and as soon as I made those decisions, a great woman came into my life and badda boom we're married with a kid and everything is right with the world!
Or is it?
With great responsibility comes great fear, fear leads to panic, panic leads to stress, stress leads to suffering. With multiple failed job attempts and interviews and Voc Rehab under my belt, going back to school was a big decision, much bigger than just getting my GED, which seems like small fries in the rear view mirror now.
That first semester also seems like no big deal in comparison in retrospect, but it made me frazzled as fuck at the time. I didn't really realize just how easy I had it, doing homework one... maybe two nights a week, at most for three subjects but never for all four at once. Didn't have to. I didn't sweat those classes. The toughest one was Sociology because I actually had to DO WORK, but it wasn't hard work. I got the worst grade in English because, as a composition teacher, she was a stickler for some shit I didn't believe needed to be marked down for. I mean, c'mon... how are you gonna talk an entire class about Mark Twain being the first American author to write in the vernacular and then NOT also write your paper in vernacular speech? It just makes sense.
My point is that I thought I could get away with the same shit this semester. Even after all the problems trying to find a funeral home to apprentice at, trying to get my goddamned financial aid straight, trying to make sure I had all my books just so I could do SOME of my work before midterms, you'd figure with all the shit going wrong, at least something would go right for a change and fix itself and little things like classes and grades and homework and tests would just fall into place the way they did in the Spring, yeah? I got all my info online last year, it was easy as pie!
Funeral Service Education is quite possibly the hardest thing I've ever done, and this is only the first semester.
I knew I was doing poorly in a few areas. I don't test well, I dunno if it's poor study habits or memory problems or maybe it's the way these tests are given (verbatim memorization/fill-in-the-blanks), but I was failing Law & Ethics.
"Ethics?" I hear you asking. "You don't know what's ethical or not?"
First off, ethical or not is in the eye of the beholder. That's why it's paired with Law, because what's legal is not always ethical. If your neighbor has a barkin' assed dog that keeps you up all night and then craps in your yard, it's neither legal nor ethical for you to go kick that dog in the jaw, however, there's nothing illegal about leaving a bowl of antifreeze where anyone could come drink it... but is it ethical?
Besides, we only covered "ethics" for about two weeks before we got into serious law, STUFF I KNOW ABOUT! The ADA, Civil Rights, Fair Labor Laws, Equality Acts, all that shit I used to talk about over in SECS and PEACE.
But I also had to know dates and about the FTC and OSHA and shit like that. How the fuck am I supposed to remember dates? DO you know how I remember when Liz's birthday is? It's the day before mine. Our anniversary? It's on my parent's birthday.
And it's not like I have bad teachers or anything, they're both actually really GOOD teachers (actually, I have three teachers, one for biology and she sucks but we're not focusing on that right now). They're doing their job this way because when you're done with these classes, you have to go and take a really super hard test to pass in order to actually become a funeral director, and if these classes aren't as hard as that test, then you won't be able to pass.
So like I said, I wasn't doing too good. It had been bumming me out, then there was the added pressure of starting the job. Getting up every morning at 6AM, whether for school or work, and sitting somewhere doing nothing for two hours until 8 is a pain in the butt. Literally.
I was taking midterms, and I finished that test, went downstairs, and called Liz.
I couldn't hold it anymore. I knew I had failed, and I broke down crying.
I can't explain the anxiety and fear of this responsibility. It has gripped me so hard for so many months now, growing and festering behind a veil of dick and fart jokes.
I would(will) lie awake at night, wishing that somehow God will "make it all not true" like some genie, and that when I woke up, I would be a miserable drunk again, coming to on my couch in Tuscaloosa after blacking out. I would be lonely and angry and unloved but if I failed at something, no one would be relying on me for their lives and if I fail I just get another check next month and I won't have to kill myself just so my wife and kid can get my social security settlement.
And hey, don't get me wrong, I know I've got it pretty grood. There are people a lot fuckin' worse out there dealing with heavier shit than I am, some in my own class.
I have more fingers than friends here in Birmingham and the times I have seen them in the past year has been maybe... three? So I did something I did not want to do, I took my headphones out, I tried listening and talking to the people in my class, tried making friends, and they're alright folks. Some of'em have much worse shit to worry about. One guy blew his fuckin' hand off, one young lady is planning a wedding, a few go to school and work 40 hours, some do it for no pay, what the fuck?
But my TRIBE of true loyal friends I have had for the past 18 year is in Tuscaloosa, and that hit me harder than anything Sunday night at Friendsgiving. Besides Liz and Dahlia, who do I have here?
Dad. That's it.
Lissa just moved back but she's in Montgomery, I never see Rok, Lisa, or Alan, Jas is in Huntsville, Sarah and Josh moved back but never see them, they have their own friends, Never see Laura 'cause she has three boys, and Bex is finally moving back to the US but not here.
With all this stress and anxiety, it's backed it's way into my system. It has no where to go like it used to and I'm finding myself in that horrible place like I was after the divorce. As much as I fear failing Liz and Dahlia and literally find myself crawling away from the things I should be doing just to push it away for another day, I HATE that past and those memories. The crushing loneliness. Sleeping with the door open, waiting for someone to walk in, just so I could have someone to [fight/fuck/talk to]. Waking up, eating, jerking off, showering, getting drunk, passing out, waking up a few hours later just to repeat the process until there was something actually interesting to do.
I don't want to go back there because I hated myself just as much as I hated everyone else and that feeling is coming back.
I've lashed out at Liz and Dahlia. No rhyme or reason, just flew off my tit and yelled or cursed and couldn't control my emotions. I was angry one second and ready to cry the next, and often, I didn't realize it had happened until later.
Dahlia has no clue what's going on. I don't want her to grow up thinking "That's just how Dad is, all dads must be like that" and then later figure out, "Oh it was just my dad, he was a fucker, what was wrong with him? Oh, he was crazy? Well he should have gotten help."
So I am trying. I've been calling these places, seeing if they take my insurance, they give me this line about how they don't accept new patients or won't see me until February. What a crock. I'm tell the woman on the phone, You know it's not healthy for a mental health clinic to tell a person asking for help that you WON'T HELP THEM?!?
What if it were a suicide person and they told'em to come in in three months? Fuckin' A, they'd have no business.
But despite being on a waiting list, I'm going to go talk to one of these counselors. I've talked to a few other people and that's been a little relief. I'm not sure who said it, maybe it was my close confidante Oscar the Grouch, "Dumbass," he said, "You're not crazy. Everyone has these problems."
"Yeah. The difference is that you're taking on all these mighty big problems at once. You ain't never had to do that before."
Yeah, I suppose. I mean, I am putting forth effort, right?
"Not only that, but you're putting forth effort in multiple places. School, work... now you recognized you got some Grouch-like control issues and you told on yerself before someone had to jack yer jaw an' take ya down a notch, or else you'd do somethin' you'd regret. That's light years away from where you were the last time I came through. No matter what, the people who care about you are going to continue to love and support you because they know you're doing all you can to make yourself better for them. It's a real Bert and Ernie thing."
Yeah. Yeah, I guess you're right. It's a two way street, ain't it?
"I only know one street and it goes both ways, kid. Now toss me that banana peel."
His words were wise and with deep meaning.