I’ve been feeling rather dizzy lately, albeit “stable”. When I say life’s been better these days, I’m talking about stability–emotional and mental stability. I’ve cried a few times in the last three/four weeks, but it hasn’t been a gut wrenching, shake inducing phenomenon followed by an all-encompassing emptiness and urge to die. In other words, I’m not laughing and jumping ups and down and then wanting to jab a knife into my neck. I want to live! I want life!
A few good things are happening too. Good is such a relative word. But anyway, other than having blogger’s block, I’m keeping busy. Therapy, swimmin’, washing dishes, cleaning up, reading, immigration paperwork, rolling around with Luna, trying to keep her from rolling around on her own poo and then licking me. Shit like that.
This past week was really nice. I mean nice. Just “happy days” where I don’t give a damn about the bullshit in my life, in life. I wasn’t particularly happy about one thing, except for maybe the fact that the immigration situation, the work permit, is becoming a reality despite the hold-ups. (Yeah, I’ll mention those later as I always say I’ll do).
All I have to say is this and you can stop reading the rest of my nonsense:
Fool, I’m feelin’ fresh like fuckin’ Fonzie here! On the plus size, I also feel aaaaaliiiiiive. I’m mostly high on life; not just merely existing.
I’ve had one of those weeks where I can laugh at humanity and not be too cynical about it. “Child,” I tell myself, “these are happy days aren’t they?” Yes, yes yes. the Mouse nods in agreement. I have to. This year has been hell–like much of my other twenty-six years– and I’ve finally driven out of hell, or so it seems. I’m always a bit suspicious though. I suppose what matters is that I am presently feeling pleasant, feeling calm. I’m ok.
My mood has just been too good to be true. And I’m not even on drugs… wait, I kinda am. But anyway.
And we all have our quirks, our little weird secrets (though some more than others). Don’t we?
What the hell do I mean? People are strange. That’s what I’m sayin’.
A strange week with (MOSTLY) good feeling. Let me start with Monday–this is last Monday, October first.
The Monday Mentals
Monday began, and as usual, I went to the gym where my mom works to do my daily swim. I’ve been keeping track of how many laps I do. I told the therapist this and she said it’s a great idea to look back on my progress. Chronic pain gets in the way of this sometimes, but anyway. I’d planned on doing some blogging after my swim only I had the bloggin’ block going on in my head. And like Sara Draws says, I think I’m getting the “brain rot”. (Back on Lamotrigine after a week off of it).
I just can’t seem to sketch or play the ukulele or write, except for now. I’m writing now, ain’t I? I don’t know.
My brother and I are building our relationship again, after a major fight involving him saying he wanted me out of his life because of something impulsive I did. I’m glad we’re talking again. And we’re not just talking; we’re “friends” again. He’s been calling me up every couple of days or so and asking if I want him to pick me up to go over his apartment.
Ever since Monkey Man’s death, he’s been there for me, more or less. That’s what I love about my family. Things get crazy between us sometime, like when mama busted my brother’s nose throwing a phone at him (not a cellphone) and then he…or when I… ugh.. I’ll leave the rest for a private post. But what I’m saying is my family is here for me. And I realize that now. I always have, it’s just the depression gets in the way of these things–of FEELING the good things around you. Of feeling the love of those in your life. Of truly absorbing life, takin’ each breath and feeling the oxygen fill your lungs, pumping through your cells, in your blood, in your veins and fueling the engine that is your heart.
My brother called me Monday and asked if I’d come over. I said sure, since I’m working on being a little more open. Once we settled in his apartment, we started watching Alien, the original 1979 version. All was good until he asked me to try some wine he’d bought. Well, I said to myself “P, you don’t get a chance to drink fine wine often. You’re doing well. Just half a glass.”
“Only half a glass,” the Mouse whispered. But…Half a glass turned into nearly three-fourths of the bottle and I got drunk. Really drunk. I was still fine though, just enjoying myself. It was a surprise, actually, to feel “happy drunk” because usually I become a somewhat psychotic and “angry drunk” or a very depressed drunk.
My bro went off to bed because he had to work early in the morning and I sat there on the floor with my wine, clicking around Netflix until I saw MAD MAX 2: THE ROAD WARRIOR! Mel Gibson was still a young, sexy actor who wasn’t as misogynistic as he is now. But then again, I don’t know for sure. Shit, I digress.
So I was watching Mad Max: Road Warrior with Mel Gibson, getting drunker, lickin’ every last drop. Then I got heavy-eyed and figured I’d go to bed. By then it was probably midnight and my brother was asleep. I went over to my brother’s spare room and then to the restroom to brush my teeth, and that’s when I decide to start reading some blogs instead of curling up on the futon. Around this time is when the mentals hit me like a spear to the spine.
I was reading one of my favorite poet-bloggies and she had a link to this music duo. I dug it, so I looked ’em up on YouTube. I found THIS. It’s the duo singing a cover of Elliott Smith’s “Between the Bars”. This here–this song, Between the Bars— is a song that has an intense affect on me. I was learning how to play it on the uke back in December before I headed to Florida; before I got facial paralysis; before I became increasingly depressed; before I broke my arm; but most importantly, before Monkey Man died. And if you guys have read about what happened to Monkey Man, all those depressing posts I wrote about him… yeah. It’s been six months already!
A song that was once dedicated to Monkey Man–that now rings truer than it did in December–turned on the PLDs and maybe some of the borderline in me came out. I immediately snapped and picked a paperclip from my brother’s desk. You can imagine what happened next. But the paperclip wasn’t good enough, so I ended up in the kitchen with a bloody knife and a bottle of Jack Daniels whiskey. I don’t remember much after cleaning up the sink except I wrapped my arm in toilet paper and went to bed (the futon) crying.
Here’s the strange part. The next day, I was fine again. I had to keep my arm from sight when my dad picked me up, but otherwise, I was back to my cheery self.
I found a sketch of a monkey with a guitar that I drewcbefore running into the song and it’s terribly cute. Just above the crooked ears I must’ve drunkenly scribbled. It reads: T.H.L 1984-2012
Tuesday. I’m not gonna bother recapping Tuesday since it was just a chill day, apart from swimming fourteen laps and hiding a still-bleeding gash on my T-Rex-Duck arm.
Wednesday… Wednesday was wonderful. There’s a happy day.
My friend Sandy came over with her little three-year old boy. I hadn’t seen them in months. I had finished ten laps earlier that day and was feeling like things really are turning up. So Sandy came by with sushi which we ate. We then watched a kiddie movie and talked. I think we were more into the movie than her boy. She’s very different from me, Sandy, but despite that, we get along pretty well.
Sometimes I can only get so much of her though, but I’ve been pretty social lately, so my anxiety about people is subdued a bit and my patience has grown a bit. I’m still a very anxious person; I’m still having lots of anxiety, but as long as I’m not having panic attacks, as long as it’s not crippling I think it’s manageable. I’m good to go.
After she left, B came by and we talked. Here’s where Sandy and B differ. B and I can have very deep conversations: we’re like-minded. He’s a very intelligent fella and he gets my sick sense of humor which is always a plus in a friendship (for me at least).
That was Wednesday. Nice, peaceful and full of camaraderie.
August 23, 2012
I’ve been filling out the applications for immigration (USCIS)– well, as much as I can get done on my own–before I see the lawyer at the university next week.
Last night, my dad gave me a folder of some of my old elementary and high school grades/teacher reports since I’ll need proof of records that I studied in the U.S. for many years. It’s required for the DACA (Deferred Action For Childhood Arrivals) application which would give me a work permit. No legal residence, just a work permit (aka SSI#) valid for only two years. So much for citizenship. Twenty-two years in this country and I’ll only have a work permit to show for. Ain’t that a motha–?
Well, somethin’s better than nothin’.
There were some funny comments from old teachers. How I had potential and needed to apply myself more.
“P has potential. She does good work when she applies herself!” and “P is receiving an hour tutoring from —-” and “P, remember to finish your homework!” and “P has improved this quarter. She is in ESL Level II [that’s English as a second language]” and “P does really well when she’s able to concentrate” and “P, keep reading every night! Good job [smiley sticker]” are just a few of teacher’s notes from third grade.
What’s funny is my dad kept them but he never really read them due to his limited understanding of English at the time. I’m guessing he saw the smiley stickers and thought, “Ok, she’s good”. I could’ve easily sneaked by with failing grades in high school because my parents never knew when progress reports came out. Good thing I was a damn good student, despite the depression. I could see when I was depressed because my straight As would fall to all As, two or three Bs and an F. Id go from being on the honor roll to being in academic probation. Every time.
This got me to snooping around some of my old notebooks I have hidden in my room. ha. And I found this from when I was 16 years old.
God, that was a depressing year.
On the page next to it, I have a sort of poem. It says:
written when high…
These are my snow-covered dreams.
I’d take back all that shit I said to make you feel like that.
I’d give it all to have the thought of me in you again.
These are my snow covered tears.
I try… but I fall apart…
Thwarted tattered imbecile.
I don’t think I was in a very coherent state of mind then, obviously.
Note: I think, if I remember correctly, this was written the first time I tried weed. (It would be a while until I’d try it again.) I was out in the backyard all by my lonesome self, freezing my little ass off. I lit a match and accidentally burned a few eyelashes since the wind was howling. When I drove the wheelchair back inside, I ate a whole bag of pretzels and wrote that “poem” and then crashed. I also used to have an eyebrow piercing at the time. I guess that’s what that is on the sketch’s eyebrow.
July 21, 2012
My dad has been having trouble paying the rent. And our internet is going to get cut off today. Programming will be suspended until further notice!
I’m still trying to get that job back with the help of Mansie. (It would be contract work kind of hush hush for now since I’m still undocumented.) Let’s hope this immigration thing works out so I can work.
But I’m afraid that if I’m ever actually legally able to work, my mind-fuckery will ruin it and I’ll self sabotage again. And I won’t be able to handle it.
I’m trying to be like The Little Engine that Could. Any of yall seen it?
Mouse love xoxo
In my excitement I forgot that an executive order doesn’t necessarily guarantee proper implementation, or have immediate effect. Woops. haha. I guess there’s more fighting to be done. Well, there’s always fighting to to be done. And that’s just a reminder to myself to re-educate myself before I go writing overly excited WordPress posts.
I feel like I’m loosing my mind, agggggh, more so than ever.
Here’s a statement one of my dear friends posted:
This has the potential to be amazing news IF it gets effectively implemented on the ground. So the next 60 days shall be telling. Otherwise I am just reminded of past failed promises like Prosecutorial Discretion & the Morton Memo while the Dylans and the Andys and the Ramons and the Yanellis are deported every single day, and there is no room left in my heart for it to be disappointed yet again.
~ from my friend KB, one of the core members/founders of the National Immigrant Youth Alliance (NIYA). (A complete statement can be seen on their website if you click the link)
I miss being involved. I miss my friend KB, though I did see her at Mansie’s birthday the week before last… I don’t remember now. But my head isn’t cut out for handling that kind of intense work these days.
I guess this is why I’m “borderline”. I’m easily excited and I’m easily torn. FUCK. Why do I have such an impulsive nature?
In other news, Luna’s paw is still very cute. These photos are fresh from this morning (my shutter is still a little messed up, but I got one or two focused the way I wanted):
P Gets Fired On Her Second Day Of Work, Has A Panic Attack, Cries, Gets Strapped In A Cab (No Grannies This Time) and Swims
June 14, 2012
What?! Did you think that I was done complaining? Oh no, no, no. Please. Those two posts were only my warm-up.
So I look down at the book C had slipped on Mansie’s desk for me, “Slavery by Lisa Kristine“. It’s a lovely book–gorgeous photographs. But it’s pretty sad, and by now, my chest is thumping faster, faster than little thumper in Bambi, like a sub-woofer speaker in a low-rider. I mean it is THUMPING! It’s shaking my ribs all up! I had thought I’d maxed out my anxiety at C’s office, but apparently being there in that dark office by myself is only making my smallness more apparent, the darkness just amplifies and the glowing halo behind me seems out of reach.
I look at the window behind me; it’s such a sunny day. I get a text from Mansie, she asks if I can call her after 1:30 instead. At this point, I’m growing increasingly light headed, my breathing gets heavy so I’m sitting there doing my mindfulness and distress tolerance breathing exercise, the only one I’ve manage to master and I go down a little. I figure I better go pee, but the restrooms upstairs aren’t fit for a wheelchair. Sure, I can walk to the stall from my wheelchair like I have before, but I don’t want anything to make me anymore irate. Besides, I need an excuse to get out of sight.
So I’m downstairs in the lobby pacing in my chair after I find a restroom which unfortunately was locked. I’m pacing. I’m breathing in deeply, I’m breathing out slowly. Breathing in deeply, breathing out slowly.
I’m flushed. I’m heaving. I’m having hot flashes like a woman in menopause; I’m having cold flashes like a bikini model in an ice cold beach; I’m having flashes and shakes in a hallelujah-I’ve-been-touched-by-Jesus-but-I’m-really-just-having-a-stroke-in-a-pentacostal-church fashion. It’s a good thing the downstairs lobby is a ghost town because if anybody takes one look, they’ll see a disheveled mouse twitching and heaving and mumbling and rolling to and fro in an electric wheelchair.
I call my dad and tell him what just happened. I ask him for advise but he merely says, “I don’t know what to tell you. You know I don’t have an opinion in these things.” That’s his default phrase these days. I know why he says that. It’s basically a defense he’s built in after all of my “explosions” in he past. He doesn’t want to risk saying something that will trigger me, so he says nothing. I tell him I love him and head back upstairs, but not after trying the New Male Therapist and leave a message thanking her for getting me that DBT group. “I still haven’t gotten the letter though… and…” Of course, I sound quivery and like I’m getting ready to cry. So I head back upstairs before I do.
I’m breathing in deeply, I’m breathing out slowly. Breathing in deeply, breathing out slowly. Iiiiiin two-three-four. Ooooout two-three-four. I’m rolling across shiny tile floor, I am pushing the elevator button. Elevator lights up, door opens. I am feeling anxious; I am going in. I am mindful of my surrounding. I am mindful of my actions. I am mindful of my feelings… My feelings are just feelings passing through me like leaves floating across a river… I am…
This is where I decide to get on WordPress and Sailor becomes my night in shinning armor, helps me see things a little more balanced, more clearly. Thank you Sailor! See, I tell myself much of what you said Sailor, but it just makes more sense seeing the way you wrote it, having it come from someone else. I guess I need too much reassurance sometimes. But it’s a good thing you said what you said. And I’ll say it again, you guys, my mental, very mental and only-averagely-mental bloggies are like a first response team.
What else? Well, I take D’s picture because by the time I head back up she’s there waiting. I have a good, though rushed and anxious conversation with her and eventually head back downstairs to wait on the MetroLift.
While I’m down there, I call Mansie and we both devise a plan! It’s excellent, or the best we can think of.
Wanna know what it is?
Well… I can’t say!
I’m out in the hot sun thirty minutes and damn MetroLift is nowhere to be seen. For a split second I think I see it, but it flashes in front of me like a ghost. Only I’m the one that feels like a ghost, all the people coming in and out of the building and I’m melting into the white light.
Fourty minutes later I’m calling the MetroLift dispatch service for the third time and again they’re telling me the cab should be there within ten minutes.
I’m on the side of the road, trying to see if the cab has missed it’s turn. Nope, that’s not it. It’s just another damn SUV. By now, I’m hoping a car hits me.
I’m on hold with the dispatch. I saw the cab pass me by, but on the OTHER street, not on the street I’m on. “Can you tell them I’m on the Over-Fuckin-Here-Entrance not in the Over-Fuckin-There-Entrance please?” I try not to be angry. It’s not the dispatcher’s fault, but by now I’m in tears.
I get home and take my straps off, you know all those straps they put you in. And driver lady says, “hey, please don’t take your straps off”. I’m looking like I’m about to turn into She-Hulk but I maintain. I’m cool.
“Sorry. Didn’t mean to…”
And today? Well, today I saw the immigration lawyer! Just one; the other was in a conference. I forgot to bring originals and all this other stuff. But, but, here it goes… I went swimming! I did eight laps in thirty minutes. I’m still having withdrawals from my third day of not watching Battlestar Galactica.
Oh no, this blog is becoming what I promised myself it wouldn’t become– a damn journal!
*le mouse sigh*
June 13, 2012
“So what’s your offer?” C clasps his hands.
I’m fuckin’ stumped! I mean stumped. This man really wants to hire me and doesn’t even know he can’t!
When I called the lawyer on Friday to ask him for advise on the internship, he reminded me that I’m not hirable. I know this dear lawyer. I just wanted to know if taking the internship would affect my process later and he went on with the sh-peel: “You’re not authorized to work P, but *coughs* I can’t say you shouldn’t *coughs* or that I wouldn’t *coughs* in your shoes. And no, it I haven’t seen that affect negatively on the humanitarian parole or your I-130 but it may in case of deferred action. And I’ve seen work places get raided by immigration officials plenty of times. And you’re not authorized to work.”
I’d called the lawyer to ask him if filling out a W-9 (contract/independent worker) for tax purposes would affect my “humanitarian parole” proceedings, proceedings we haven’t even begun. He said they shouldn’t. He said it shouldn’t affect anything except maybe the “deferred action”. That’s when you get called in court before a judge and the judge has “discretionary decision,” so basically if he has his panties up too tight and is cranky that his wife left him or some other personal shit, he can swing his gavel and have me DEPORTED!
Here’s a quick rundown.
I need a Social Security number to work. I do not have one nor can I obtain one. There is no magic line I can just get on. I only have an IRS number which in my case is really an “ITIN” number and it is what I was going to take a risk using for the internship because as an intern I wasn’t going to be on the “payroll” so the risk of getting raided was very low. I am as the lawyer bluntly put it, “not authorized to work”.
My parents became permanent legal residents last year. It’s a long fuckin’ story, so stay tuned! I’m currently filling the I-130 which is the “petition for family relative”. It costs $420 which isn’t too bad compared to the price of the other forms I’ll have to send in later. I’m having my mom petition me because the lawyer said moms are better in the eyes of the law or some shit like that. ha! Ay, I do love my crazy mami though. The crazy little nutcase didn’t fall far from the crazy-nut tree in this case.
Anyway, my mom is petitioning for me, but because I am an “single adult child” I am not an “immediate relative” nor priority. I am what they call B2 or B3 relative or something similar. So, my wait time is longer–7 to 9 years to be exact. Let me say that again, my wait time is SEVEN to NINE years. NINE FUCKIN YEARS!
I arrived in the U.S. in August of 1990. I’m twenty-six now. You do the math. Yeah, I sure as hell don’t want to be in my mid-to-late thirties before I can even BEGIN my career life. People with Osteogenesis Imperfecta have a shorter life expectancy, let alone all the damage I’ve already done to myself! Ok. Just blowing steam. Phew.
Chill P. Chill. Remember Sailor’s sweet words. Remember to breath. You’re getting yourself worked up.
End of quick rundown.
“Fourteen? Fourteen what? An hour?” he asks. I had zoned out and must have looked a bit terrified or terrifying. I was staring behind him out of the window.
I wonder if I jump from…
“Uh, yes, an hour. Fourteen an hour. But that’s my minimum and since I don’t know what yall’s budget is, I’m putting it very low. Normally, I’d say seventeen dollars an hour would be my minimum. I uhhh… I think I’d be best to do this by the project. I normally charge by the project.” I reply indefinitely. I feel like an idiot. I’m scratching my thigh under the table. I really want him to hire me, but I have no idea if what I just said was too low or too high. I suspect it was too low, way low for my level of skill, but I roll with it and pretend I knew what I was offering all along.
I’ve never been hired on salary. And I have no way of knowing if what I offered was a safe bet. Actually, I do. I’ll do a google search. Fuck, I’ve never even held a real job! I used to complain about this to my Ex-Young Therapist and she would remind me to remind myself of how much I had already accomplished despite my limitations. “Sure, you don’t have a job like so-and-so and you’re not married and have a kid like your other friend what-chu-ma-call-her. But didn’t you finish college? Aren’t you trying to work despite being held back legally? What else can we list?” And MENTALLY! I want to add. She had a point, but in the long run, I always ended up feeling like shit.
It’s moments like these where I feel very small, like baby, like a little adult baby. Hell, I’m the size of one, I can just crawl in a crib and cry. The adult baby that I am. I don’t even know what to tell a potential employer who can’t hire me anyway what I want for in a salary.
“Good. Well, like I said, I just have to figure out if we can move some funds over so you can start with the C-4 team–”
“I mean even if it’s just part time really…” I interrupt. At this point I think my nerves are noticeable. There’s that other awkward silence I created.
“So tell me more about yourself?” he asks, taking me by surprise.
“Ummm. As in what I do? What I’d like to do for your guys?” I stumble. By now I’m really mashing in those nails in my thigh.
“Yes, that too.”
I decide not to tell him that I’m a “filthy little illegal immigrant he can’t hire” anyway so why bother. I tell him about my passion for film and documentary filmmaking. We end the discussion with our idea about the video blogs or b-logs I’d talked about with Mansie and using them as monthly educational segments. Then I tell him the reason why I’d brought in my camera today was because I’d already scheduled to take a photo of D for the brochure.
“Is D here?”
“No, I’m waiting for her. She said she’d be here in half an hour and I don’t get picked up by MetroLift until two,” I say.
He leads me into Mansie’s office and asks if I’d be alright working there while I waited for D. Then he hands me this book to look over while I wait.
“I think you’ll like her. She’s a great photojournalist. This one is about labor slavery and she’s opened a fund from the proceeds of the book. Alright, I have to go to a meeting.” He leaves me alone in the room.
I look at the book he’d handed me: “Slavery by Lisa Kristine”. I want to cry. These are the kind of jobs I prefer. Working with people who make an effort at changing social ills, making a fuckin’ difference in the community. Ugh.
I pick up my cell phone and text Mansie: “I got the news from C. Can I call you in ten minutes?”