Thursday, November 8, 2012

no dollars left.

Sometimes I walk in the cold and the dark. Despite the menacing discomfort of it, the pure terror of being frozen alive, I need to know that even if the rest of the world can beat me, the weather cannot. Trust me, it feels right now like the rest of the world is beating me. Closing in from every angle and wearing down my edges until I'm too small to see or even exist. But the wind, the cold, it cannot beat me. It's romantic, the notion of survival against the elements when you're faced with the incredibly unromantic idea of, in the name of survival, pawning the shit you've loved and surrounded yourself with.

The financial aid woman at my school, Diana, was congenial and almost, but not quite, apologetic when she told me I couldn't take out a private loan for living expenses. Over the phone I suppose I didn't seem all that shaky, I probably sounded like I had other options, that I was weighing them or something. I wasn't. All of my eggs were in her basket and she made and omelet and ate my hope, bite by bite, word by word, over the phone. The end of the conversation was awkward, I could tell she just wanted to hang up and go on with her day, but I couldn't let her. I needed her to understand, but I couldn't find the words to make her see my need. She maybe didn't want to understand the amount of faith I placed in her giving me good news. I couldn't let the call end because when it ended I'd have to face other realities, make other calls, throw a tantrum or weep or curl up in a ball and pretend the world isn't rapping at my door. It all felt like too much. I probably even thanked her because I couldn't think of anything else to say, but I needed to have her on the line. 

It's true that I'm soft. I'm probably just a good-time girl. It's true that I'm afraid to move in a direction or maybe too depressed to try. But I also possess a strong will and right now I'm searching for that strength in the remaining booze in my fridge. When that runs out I'll busy myself with scrubbing the bathtub and doing the dishes. Taking inventory of what is left. Finding creative things to use as toilet paper, since I ran out this afternoon. Or I'll just drip-dry. Researching your options when there aren't any feels pathetic and fake, so I'm putting it off until tomorrow. 

Feeling desperate isn't a foreign feeling, exactly. Truth be told, I find myself in scrapes, especially financial ones, on a semi-regular basis. I've never taken money seriously, never really been without any prospects for income the way that I am now. If I was smart, which I am, but at the moment not feeling particularly scholarly, I'd spend my evening applying for jobs. I'd craft cover letters and take care to edit and reread for typos and inconsistencies. But now that I'm living in this limbo of desperation, I find myself feeling sort of paralyzed by it. There seems to be something missing in my resume, something that screams I WILL SHOW UP ON TIME AND GET SHIT DONE. God, I wish I could just write that in there somewhere. 

I don't know why it is, but it seems so much easier to take things offered to you when you have nothing to give in return. As much as I may wish it, handshakes and high-fives aren't exactly currency. As easy as it is for me to make new friends in the turn of a smile at a bar, increasing the capital in my bank account is like trying to put together something intricate when the directions are written in a language that you're not even familiar with the alphabet. I don't even know where to start. 

I'm in a corner. Backed in. I'm accustomed to fighting my way out, but some integral part of me feels exhausted, spent. I never thought that doing something to improve my knowledge, my place, my outlook, my profession, would be such a struggle. I took out the loans. I go to class, I raise my hand. I am an active participant in every way that counts, but still nothing wants to add up. Maybe it wants to and I can't let it. I don't know. I'm trying. 

I say "I'm trying," over and over again to anyone that expresses concern until it loses meaning. 

I mean "I'm trying," every time that I say it. It just seems to possess some unalienable flaw that causes me to never be able to have my shit together. 

And now, I don't know what to do. I don't even know what trying looks like anymore. Does trying look like selling my cars five months before it's finally paid off? Does trying look like walking into a strip club and offering my services? Is trying that moment when you start ugly crying in public because yet another fast food restaurant manager with a fucking high school diploma looks at me like I'm unworthy to mop a floor? I HAVE MOPPED FLOORS, I KNOW HOW TO MAN A MOP, MAN. What is trying when you've done everything you know and now the only things that pop into your mind seem scary and dangerous? I put myself in danger enough, but that kind never really feels terrifying. 

This kind is terrifying. 


  1. I wish I could hug you! You always have options - always. I always said when the time came in my program I couldn't work anymore, I would apply to stores like pottery barn or pier 1 - places I like to shop. I'm sure you have, but do you have any interest looking into something like that for the time being? Keep trying different banks - someone will give you a loan.

  2. Also, does your program have a list-serv? Maybe look and see if anyone is looking for a babysitter? I know some people who do that at my school.

  3. Keep trying for other loans, and see what jobs are available around campus. Don't be beat.