Featured Image: Find a parking spot downtown is hard. Remember to take landmark photos so you can find your car later.
Title Reference: I’m so sorry it’s a Staind song lmao. It’s been awhile since I last posted; I thought it’d be funny.
Thank you everyone who has read my blog posts this year or supported me in any fashion (special shout out to Nick Barbieri for financing this year’s WordPress subscription and to keep my coveted domain. You helped me remember what this is worth to me).
There’s about 4 blog posts in one here as a special treat for forgetting to post while I settled into my new job and a new schedule. The first one is the main one and the others are scribblings from notebooks and Notesapp rantings that never made it to a full edit. (It’s 2,387 words that would have died otherwise, so just come along for the ride).
What a strange year I have had. I started 2022 watching Miley’s NYE show alone in my apartment because I didn’t want to get covid. I had worked that day, until 7; I was working as a covid screener for just above RI minimum wage despite my rent being… a lot more than that. I watched the ball drop in anticlimactic fashion and went to bed.
I was also “seeing someone”. I say that loosely because we were not exclusive and I’m not positive he really even liked being around me. I think on January 4th, after spending NYE alone, he gave me covid. He was really the only person I had been seeing, but clearly, I wasn’t the only person he was seeing. And despite the fact that we had the same strain of covid, he didn’t visit, offer me to come over, or any sort of comfort. And so I spent 10 days alone in my apartment. It took me a long time to fully recover from covid, but apparently, it didn’t for him because he fucked his ex on that 10th day.
About a month later, I broke out in the worst hives anyone I’ve shown the picture to has ever seen. Worse than the antibiotic-allergy-hives I got from that guy that gave me a UTI in 2021. I was convinced I had an autoimmune disease. I saw a doctor; He took a biopsy that cost me like 300 or so dollars which left a thick purple scar on my thigh just for the results to come back as: hives. Yes, we know. I was told to take 2 Zyrtec a day and some heartburn medication and it eventually went away. I got no answers and the doctor didn’t seem keen on getting me any.
The hives cleared up just in time for the festival we all went to in May. Here is where we discovered our love for Craps, made a new friend, and realized that our bodies were not as young as they used to be. Shortly after that, I went on a bachelorette trip to New Orleans where I learned that I should never move down south because I cannot take the heat and humidity, and that I have a gift for planning activities that stems directly from my anxiety.
Summer came around and I taught art summer camp. I had so much fun and didn’t really mind waking up at 7 and driving 45 minutes. I was really sad when it was over because that was probably the last time I’d be able to work a job like that. I knew I was doomed to a life of 9-530 office work. And even with my over year-long break, I never was able to shake the fear of it. No matter how much I was struggling financially, and with all the jobs I applied so confidently for, a part of me wasn’t sure I could do it again.
But after the wedding I went to in Colorado, and the 5-day nudist volleyball tournament I went to less than 12 hours after flying back from Colorado, and going to the LoL Worlds in NYC with the guy I’ve played videogames with for a year, and all the other absolutely ridiculous and outrageously fun stuff I did while un(der)employed, with an all-new set of people to do it with… I got a job. And I wake up at 7 and drive 45 minutes.
I’ve been keeping busy still, no weekend goes by without a party or a show or event. Busy is good for my brain. And despite losing 40+ hours of my free time a week, I still have fun, and honestly, I need the structure. But, I haven’t written (besides literally like right now). My job is in writing so it’s hard for me to look at words anymore after a long day. Even now, I’m handwriting this to avoid a screen. And I try not to feel overwhelming guilt about it; None of you are so hanging-on-my-every-word that you’re mad at me for not writing (you get plenty of funny Insta stories and Facebook posts though).
I struggle with imposter syndrome. I struggle with the idea that maybe I’m not good enough or worthy because I don’t actually put in the time anymore. When do you give up on a dream? When do you just do what life requires of you and get to the hobbies when you can? Or is that terrible? Is life even worth living without a purpose? Does this type of life even provide enough time in the day? Do we do what makes us feel fulfilled in the moment, or reach for something greater? Life can be short but it can also be dreadfully long. I tend to think I’ll get back to my stories when I’m older and have more time but do we ever truly get more time? Do I chance my lifespan and wait ’til I’m retired to write a book?
When I look back on this year, I see a very resilient Andria who did what she needed to do to survive and while also having good experiences. I’m proud of myself. I did make art and I did *some* writing. But mainly I took care of myself; I put myself out there consistently, and I made distinct choices that were in tune with my values and regret very few. I went a whole 9 months not going on dates or having sex because it didn’t serve me at the time. I got my personality back, if I even ever really had it. I am an infinitely better person than I was last year.
I know I am better because my mom has noticed. She sees the change in me. Heck, even my Nana at Thanksgiving had said “keep being happy” — she noticed; I was talkative and smiling. I was — I am — happy, and I too would like to keep it that way.
I had a long talk with my mother the other day about mental health and how I never really got the help that I needed as a teen and young adult. How I did all this work myself. She told me she was worried when I had lost my “friends” last year (whom she went on to completely shit-talk thereafter). She said if I hadn’t met my current friends, she didn’t know where I would be, and I agreed. So while I am deeply proud of myself, I am utterly grateful for the people who helped me. And I look forward to a great 2023 with them.
Super Bonus Content:
(8/27/2022) I’ve finished summer camp, and though it was barely two months of work it felt like I’d been there much longer. I made new connections that ultimately would be broken. As I walked out the door Friday, my coworker said “I hope I never see you again”; meaning, if I’m back next summer it’s because I still can’t find a job, and we both hope that’s not the case.
Prior to camp, at my part-time job, my coworker had been bugging me to come back in September, to which I reminded her as well, if I have to come back, it’s not a good thing. But here I am, with absolutely nothing on the horizon. I haven’t had a response to a job application in months. Every job description makes my skin crawl but sometimes I buck up and apply anyway… and still get no response.
It feels like I’ve been blacklisted, and the longer my resume has an end date of August 2021, the more and more apprehensive employers will be. “How did you spend that time?”, I fear they’ll ask. And I’ll have to explain that I took elderly residents’ temperatures, fixed their computers, read mail for a blind woman, helped kids make art, got pranked by teenagers at BOTH jobs, and swept a lot of floors. And in my free time, I was mostly in fetal position, trying to shake the guilt of not constantly being productive and that this isn’t the end of the world, or out with friends with every muscle clenched, trying to remind myself that everybody doesn’t hate me, or hunched over in a dark room on my computer playing video games with some random guy from North Dakota.
And sure, did I make a comprehensive google spreadsheet of all my expenses just so I could watch my savings dwindle in half, yeah, and did I also make a ton of weird art for my apartment just to stare at it until I hated it, yeah, and did I write dozens of blog posts that were never posted because my inner critic kept telling me no one cares and there are enough content creators in the world… yeah.
Today, or rather the day I’m writing this, and who knows when it will be posted, was my first day once again being unemployed. And I woke up with the same cloud over my head. That sinking frustration that I yet again have to figure out how to spend my days. I tried to remind myself that this was, in fact, the first day and I should cut myself some slack and get some rest. But the guilt doesn’t go away, every second of the day needs to be purposeful or meaningful or productive. I’m already bored. I went to Whole Foods to buy cookies just to feel something. I made 3 DIY face masks to make my face look less miserable. I attempted to file for unemployment again but I’m not eligible until tomorrow, since it’s officially been a year.
I went to bed at 8:30 because I ran out of things to do, but looking at the clock felt depressing so I’m writing this on my phone while in bed. I cried on my way home from work on Friday, and it was mostly from overwhelming fear. And not just financial fear (that keeps me up at night too, don’t worry) but the fear of boredom. This time last year I did absolutely nothing for months and it was horrible. It’s too much time to think and wallow in self-pity and anger.
I’m trying to be more positive this time around but the job market has beaten me up and spit me out and my optimism is waning. However, I have more people in my corner now and that gives me hope.
(11/17/2022 Daylight Savings rant 1) I think it’s only human to have such a visceral reaction to a literal shift in time — to our internal body clock — and of course, to the slight change in vitamin D absorption. Our ancestors did not have a sense of time besides by the sun itself (and I’m sure they got plenty of vitamin D and no problems sleeping because they didn’t spend 8 hours a day working indoors on a light-projecting device that merely tricks the eyes into daylight but not the body nor soul)
(On a side note, I wonder how long it will take for the human body to adapt to know the difference between artificial light and real sunlight.)
When I watch the sunset in the windows that are 50 feet away from me in the office while I still have an hour before I drive home, I feel like I am an overworked child in a button-making factory who didn’t have a chance to go outside and play. I feel like that girl in “All Summer in a Day” who hadn’t seen the sun in many years and her cruel classmates locked her in a closet and she misses it all. Misses the chance for the sun to kiss her yearning skin.
(11/15/2022 Daylight Savings rant 2) Can we stop setting the clocks back? Like in the Spring can we spring back and leave it that way? I’d rather drive to work in the peaceful dark than with the sun in my just-opened eyes anyway. Driving home in the dark?; I’m on cruise control basically taking an eyes-open nap. I might as well work 12-8pm if it’s gunna be nighttime when I go home anyway.
It’s so cold at least let me have some sunshine. Give me something during the most terrible time of the year. I’ve got no boyfriend to keep me warm or talk me out of my 4pm existential crisis; at least let me see the sun. And not just through the window, I wanna feel it on my skin so I can remember that I am alive.
Speaking of cold loneliness: can y’all stop having weddings and engagements this time of year? Give me a break you’re killing me. I gotta start blocking people in long-term relationships so I can pretend they never lived happily ever after.
I’ve been thinking about making some online purchases just for the damn serotonin — PURCHASES! If you know me and how stingy I am with money you know it’s bad. Even worse yet, I wanna spend a grand on a goddamn computer because that’s all I have time to do after work. I eat and play games and shower and go to bed as early as possible so I can be some semblance of a person for work the next morning.
I simply don’t do things from 6-10pm. My crafting mania can only happen in the daylight. My cleaning mania can only happen at 2am or a good Sunday. My reading mania can only happen if I have the time to stay up until 3am to finish the book because for some reason I can only one-shot books. My writing mania only happens when my head hits the pillow and starts forming coherent thoughts. It’s daytime or the middle of the night and there’s no in-between. As soon as dinner hits my stomach I’m done until it’s time to sleep and suddenly I am cursed with every thought known to man.