Archives for category: Jobs

I’m absolutely incredulous at the amount of time it is taking to move out of this phase. I can tell you how I got here: physically, emotionally, psychologically, spiritually, philosophically, sociologically, economically… I have done the reading as a means of trying to find my way out of it.

The last time I healed an emotional wound I looked back and I could list accomplishments like ‘got a degree’. I clearly could not have been doing ‘nothing’ in that time. It’s just that then, as now, I did it all in a haze of dissociation. I was completely overwhelmed by my circumstances whilst refusing to bow to them.

I have to some extent let life wash over me. Sometimes believing that I was giving myself a kind of spiritual once over. I think that’s probably bunkum. I’m just immensely lonely, and very sad. I can not tolerate how deeply I feel that life is passing me by. One year rolls into the next, and I think with each passing year, “you’ve never been so fat”, “so lacking in energy”… and think of all the things that I could have done.

I was the first in my family to get a degree, I was the first to have a career, I went sailing, I engaged in the arts, I actively threw off the shackles of poverty and went to get mine. And now capitalism is functioning like it aught to, the middle and upper classes are squeezing me out of work and maintaining their privilege. And I miss my life.

Knowing this is what’s happening doesn’t make it easier to cope. It highlights the injustices and reinforces my lack of confidence. It successfully gaslights me into compliance. I am the only one complaining. The only other person that understood how this feels, declines to talk to me.

So here I am. Equally loathing myself for feeling sorry for myself, and trying to pep talk myself into taking the least awful routes out of this impasse. I already gave up on taking PIP to tribunal AGAIN, because of the fucking psych evaluation that I had done. The one that confirmed that other than depression (because of my circumstances) I am in fact perfectly sane.

In the long run, this long line of CPN’s and psychiatrist’s and counsellor’s stamp of sanity will be beneficial, but right now, it feels like chains. I am running out of ways to defend myself self against the social. I am living in terror that eventually they are going to sanction me, and that my worst fear will come true: I will end up homeless again.

I can’t handle the pride I feel, and the shame that lives with it. I hate to admit to anyone that knows me that I am out of work. It’s the worst kept secret I’m sure everyone knows, but it’s my Achilles heal. I got a degree, just to end up on the dole. Just who did I think I was anyway.

I don’t want to do those lists anymore. Maybe it’s a mood thing. Maybe it takes me so friggin long to log into my account that it robs me of a small parcel of my soul. This is not my bank account, there is no need for these ridiculous passwords.

Yes, ok, I started with Dyslexia despite the title. I’m finding that common these days, I say one thing and do another. I used to be so diligent about being reliable and honest. In previous years I would have been mortified to be so <insert appropriate word here>. See that? That’s me not judging myself. Trying. I’m more ‘human’ now.

I feel less like a 2D cut out, but at the same time, I feel so deflated and heavy. I started with my new counsellor today, and before I realized what I had said I was laughing. “This world is not big enough for me”.  I was detailing how my last counsellor opened up space for me, and after a few tears, this.

The truth is I am a big ideas person. Details don’t just bore me, they kill me. I know some people adore detail, I’ve met them. And while I can clean something to military precision, I still object to having to look at this spotlessly clean tap and be displeased to see a watermark. Come on! (I don’t clean anymore, that’s another post).

I’m a scientist, it’s the thing I am most qualified to do. I follow some Buddhist precepts. I never found either to be at odds, and yet people like to have you in one basket, or worse, box. These labels feel like coffins. Claustrophobic, dark and life ending. How can anyone live freely with all these labels.

Fat lot of good either of them did me. I move closer to a PTSD diagnosis, I’m resigned to it. I avoided the mental health professionals (and was rejected by them as being too sane) for my career. As long as I was working I had all the therapy I needed.

All the hidden threads are leading back to one big fucked up ball of wool. Sleeping problems, stomach problems, emotional outbursts… things that are perfectly ordinary reactions to real and present stress: joblessness and poverty will do that. I haven’t the energy for the mental gymnastics anymore.

The things that are escaping from me now I have no diligence are consistent with PTSD. Or more precisely, complex PTSD. What a shitty world. What a shitty, shitty world. I wouldn’t fair better in any other time: I’d have been burnt as a witch. What a shitty world we make for each other.

Over Christmas I learned something that helps me understand my family and by extension me,  better. Not good things, imagine if you will a Fibonacci sequence of shit. Hopefully, in the descendant, she says with a lackluster pun. I said years ago that it would all end with me. Now I know what ‘it’ is.

As I sink into yet another abyss, I reach out to support agencies for help. I hear the same refrain again and again. “Step back”, “Be kind to yourself”, “Take it easy”, “You’ve been through more in 5 years than some have in decades, don’t put so much pressure on yourself”. This is victim blaming. It’s not often I identify as a victim. But I feel it so keenly at the moment.

The pressure is not coming from within me: it is external to me and is being exerted on many thousands of people. Some of whom have buckled under the weight and have taken their own lives.

I have been close.

I am close.

I am tired.

As a person being forced to look for work that she is not well enough to do, I am being persecuted by the state. Why? Because I am poor. I can not afford to recuperate with out state assistance. As I try and address the mess that led to this disaster, I have to search for work, under the threat of losing what little money I have. This is tantamount to financial abuse.

I have worked. I have worked hard. I have paid taxes. I have raised myself up, from my externally perceived humble beginnings, educated myself, and the reward for my self sufficiency is victim blaming and abuse. Even in my addled state, I can provide better support for myself, than the agencies that I have reached out to for assistance.

Even, as the pressure mounts, and my myriad low level illnesses conspire together to create the impression that I am going to die from anxiety, I am best placed to help my self. All I need is time, or money, or a little of both. Instead, what time I might have is being permanently diverted to other less deserving things. Or more deserving but ought not to be.

Such as : Have I enough food to eat; Can I cover my rent this month; Is buying this cheap food worth the resulting pain I will end up in; Am I going to pull another muscle if I walk to the doctors and back; Will I sleep tonight; Can I squeeze another few wears out of these jeans before they finally give in.

What absolutely makes me howl, is the fact that a woman of my age, and my size being actively discriminated against in the work place, in one of the most underprivileged cities in the UK is being forced to look for work for people who will not employ her. Take my ‘free to them’ labour, yes, but not employ me for remuneration.

Where exactly am I supposed to take refuge in this mess? Am I being mindful they ask. Are you fucking kidding me? I am nothing but mindful. ‘You’ tell me? You keep telling me about how self aware I am… AM I MINDFUL? I am too mindful. I am too keenly aware of what is happening to me, and completely unable to do anything about it. This way madness lies.

Sometimes, mindfulness, in your secular sense of the word is a middle class luxury. It is a kind of mindfulness that I can not afford.

And the patronizing! Dear god above have some small mercy on me. Someone praised me learning to make my own clothes. This, I am told, is mindful. Well, it may be, if I could actually get on. Only I’m so sleep deprived that I can not follow the instructions and I dare not use the machine for fear of stitching over my fingers.

I got flashed, people, that’s what happened. I had to hit that man to get him to leave me alone (he started to follow me). I told him I was going to hit him, and then I popped him, twice. My wrist was sore for weeks. When I asked you who the Boss was a few posts back, I meant my answer, I’m the freakin Boss.

I have to clear a few things up… It wasn’t my stepfather that stopped the counselling it was my mother. My mother went out of her way to make my 40th Birthday a bit of an extravaganza. I start the writing course in two weeks, and I am going to resurrect my book. I’m volunteering for two projects and I’m applying for a writing internship, a paid one! I am learning to make my own clothes.

After living in dire straights for so long a little money goes a long way. So when I nervously asked for money for my birthday, I was very pleased to find myself the proud owner of £300. I bought a lot of material and I fished out my Nan’s sewing machine. I am halfway through making my first pair of trousers.

I also bought three pairs of shoes from Blend. I spent my 30th sailing the fjords of Norway and traveling through the mountains, during that time I bought some trainers. I took a pair in every colour they had: green, blue, red, orange… Something made me look them up this year (nostalgia) and there they were. Now, thanks to the wonder of having friends in foreign places and an internet connection I am proud owner of said trainers. £50 for the lot. Thank you, very much.

I was treated to a weekend away by my mum. We did nothing but eat and drink for three days. We even managed not to descend into complete anarchy. Which is somewhat shocking since we were both drinking. I decided to give up for a few days trying to avoid ‘drunk mother’. Amazingly, my new counsellor ain’t that bad, and I’ve moved from a place of anger to real forgiveness. Not the sticking plaster kind, but a lasting forgiveness. I’m glad because anger is exhausting. So is drinking, I don’t know how people find the stamina to become addicted…

Whilst I was preparing for this writing course, I went through my books and found ‘the book’. I couldn’t put it down, even I want to know how it turns out! It’s also given me the confidence to apply for an internship as a writer. I do not publicise this blog not just because I want to maintain my anonymity, but because I fear my own writing. I worry about my consistency, I worry about my pitch and I am terrified of my grammar. I might not if I renamed the blog “Fuck off, I am Dyslexic” but I’m trying to work on my amiability.

I had a few interviews, which after years of having none is a bloody relief, and while volunteering is not ideal it does give me something to concentrate on. Both projects are in areas that I feel particularly challenged so I am hoping to get as much out as I put in this time. My waistline is also thanking me. I signed up to OKSTUPID again. I don’t know why I bother because most of them scare me, but it’s something to do to relieve the ongoing tragicomic monotony that is my life post recession.

My orchids bloomed. I stopped smoking. And I got thanked for being a feminist!

I got a text from my bank saying I was over-drawn and had an hour to put some money in. Fortunately, I had some change in a jar. I paid it in, and feeling sorry for myself, went to get some oat milk from M&S (It’s the only place that sells it in town now). I also got some mozzarella and a bag of salad to bump up my existing food supplies. I won’t get any more money for a bit, so I was really focused about what I was buying. Then I spotted a yellow sticker. And another. Then another. All in all I came out with £30 of shopping for £10. Because it’s Marksies, the meals have actual nutritional content.

I’ve been eating a lot of smash and beans.

I gave a beggar 50p. If I could not shit myself at having spent a tenner on ‘ready meals’ then I could afford that act of kindness. (Though, to be fair to myself, the deals were very good and most of the stuff I bought was to supplement what I already have at home.) After I paid I realized what I’d done. I needed every penny left to get to my Aunties tomorrow. She wants to talk about the wills we are all beneficiaries of. Just think Jarndyce and fucking Jarndyce… we will all be dead before they are settled. This is the first time the door ways of communication have been opened since grandma’s and granddad’s funerals.

I’ve been so busy looking after my dad, that I just let them get on with it. My life continues its descent into destitution: the terror I used to feel has now subsided. This is the new normal. I always have to pull money from no where when the rent is due. There is nothing left to sell. My clothes are old and thread bare, my hair is grey and frizzy, my complexion is bland, my eyes tired, and the less said about my demeanor the better.

It’s going to take a forward thinking manager to see through that and recognize my worth. I don’t know my own worth anymore… It certainly is not the £21,000 I used to be able to command. My attempts to get sick pay, have been declined and I am forced into seeking work I am not well enough to do. If I’d been able to find work when I still had juice left in the tank, then this would be a good time to find part-time work I feel capable of doing whilst ploughing through the counselling.

Presently, I can not do both. Did I make this pact before I recognised that or after? I will commit to one thing only and see it through to completion. I have spent my life fracturing my efforts, so this time I am not going to renege on my promise to myself. I’ve have a new counsellor… I start again in two weeks.

My will be done. Before my will power completely deserts me, I will focus on my therapy. When I have wrangled my past into something manageable and my future into something worth sticking about for, then I can take on the next challenge. But for now, I’ll be doing the poor person shuffle from week to week. Aside from the flashbacks, panic attacks and the lack of sleep, I feel an underlying calm. Is this acceptance or denial?

It would be a lie to say that I was a non-smoker since I smoke nearly every week. I began eating meat again. I went out and got laid. He’s an alright bloke, but he’s not for me: maybe he just doesn’t want to be for me. Anyway, we are friends, so at least we’ve lost nothing. We met when I started drinking again. I read an article that said that will power was finite. Being jobless and in the pit of grief trying to hold onto my sanity, something had to give. So, I let it all go (again, with the letting go!).

I called a friend, snot nosed and said this was the worst impersonation of ‘Love, eat, pray’ or what ever the hell that was, that I’d ever witnessed and I’ve seen a lot of messed up puppies in my time. She laughed and said, “You’re not messed up. You’re living. Get used to it”. I decided there was little else I could do actually, so I settled in for the ride. I believe the Buddhists call it developing renunciation.

Then I finally found a freakin job. Hallelujah!

Kind of got sacked because 1) My line manager and I knew each other from a previous job and we both knew it wouldn’t last long, 2) It ended a lot quicker than we both thought it would because I almost burnt the hostel down. Strictly speaking it wasn’t my fault, but still, it was a very close call. We both learned something that day: She’s a person living in fear and my hostel days are over because I just don’t have the love for it like I used to.

I let that go too. Just slunk off and never looked back. Even when I was pleading for my job, we both looked at each other through the facades we’d built knowing that neither of us wanted me to get my job back. But I worked long enough to pile a little bit of cash up. Knowing this might be the last pile o’ cash I see for a while I thought, “fuck it”. I’m going to get drunk. My birthday month was wild. I don’t even remember living like that in my teens, I just went nuts.

As the second half of August pulled into sight I said to myself that I was going to straighten out again and start the soul destroying process of finding work. Then I got drunk and slept with my friend again. We had a big talk a few weeks later about how we were just going to be friends, then we had sex on the sofa. It’s pretty funny you know. At some points I just laughed and laughed and laughed… Grief works in mysterious ways. My friends are phenomenal that’s all I can say. They really have carried me this year, and I will say it till I’m blue in the face, I have had no choice but to let them. At first, I waved to my pride as I passed by, but then it caught me up again all refreshed and wearing new clothes.

What now then?

1) I’m still allergic to the cat.
2) I have a zero hour contract working a bar.
3) I’m still looking for better hours.
4) I stopped writing the book. I don’t have time to research it properly.
5) I created my own event. (It went down really well).
6) I won some funding to be able to put my event on again in a different venue.
7) I’m applying for further funding to take it further afield.
8) I said I’d help a friend with his events. We are gaining a lot of interest and some very serious people are asking questions.
9) I’m going to have to set up new blogs about both of these events, because other wise, I’ll lose the anonymity of this blog. Some of you have come so far with me on my inner journey, that I wouldn’t want to lose you because I couldn’t continue writing with the same level of freedom I enjoy now.

I hope you are well. I’ll post the writing I did for my event when I’ve typed it up. Till then, have a listen to this my loves…

I renounced Buddhism.  I said to myself this is not working!  I realised my life was not shifting.  I had a brief thing with a disrobed Buddhist monk.  This thing we had, full of friction and misunderstandings, brought me back to Buddhism.  If you have been following for a while, you’ll know that I am ever contrary.  I was super focused and full of I’ll show you, but he showed me.

I went for refuge, dedicated a set amount of time to prayer and reflection.  I chose the Green Tara Puja, twice a day for three weeks. It was like something from ‘Eat, Love, Pray’ or what ever it’s called.  I spent a lot of time crying and shouting.  During that time I decided to go volunteer at my local Buddhist Centre, got rid of my mad monk and tried for a job in Housing.

I believe that is where I left you?  Since then the centre has upped my days and made me chief soup maker.  Each week I make soup for 40 people; it’s incredible the quality of reflecting you do chopping onions. They offer more days, but anyone who has worked in a cafe will be able to tell you it is hard work. I am unable to take more on.

Where was I?

1) I volunteer in the cafe.
2) I’ve submitted an article for a website, for a paid gig.
3) I am designing an album cover, which I am being paid for.
4) I went on a retreat to the biggest Temple in Britain and had the most amazing time.
5) I am letting go. Ha! I know! But seriously, I really am letting go.
6) I work for a Talent Agency as a Social Media Officer and they want to give me more work.
7) I am still getting rid of the mountain of possessions that I acquired in the old flat. I had a lot of stuff.
8) I am practicing mindfulness every day.
9) I’m speaking up.
10) I am learning to stay with who I am, not who I was. Or rather, now I can no longer hide behind my work as a Hostel Support Worker, I am figuring out who I am really. Turns out, I’m quite shy underneath this balshy exterior.
11) I’m still allergic to the cat!
12) I recently went on a date with a nice man, who wanted to see me again. I declined, as nice as he was, he wasn’t for me. I’m still looking.

I laugh every day, speak with my friends and loved ones regularly, spend time on my own through choice and work on my house (it’s a bit more broken than I thought it was). I’m looking forward to better weather so I can get out walking again, I miss it. I haven’t written anymore for the book, but it is still there, waiting patiently for my return. And I am returning. I’m going back to the beginning and doing things right this time, slowly and with patient effort.

Happy Spring.

As a child and teenager I used to enter these periods and I would endure them for a short while and shake them off like water. I’d make a motivation and step through walls and climb mountains. The time I experienced the Long Dark Night of the Soul, I sincerely thought that I would not make it out alive. Until of course I shook that off also. It took years. Maybe 10, maybe 14. I still functioned, I progressed in many ways, in ways that were unexpected. And yet, on other levels, I was barely alive. I was moving through this world like a ghost.

Despite acquiring wealth, possessions, stability, a degree, a reputation as a person with integrity among friends and within my career… I felt like a fraud. At times I was angry and anti-social, at times I was classically depressed, at the lowest point I was 100% convinced that there were secret messages hidden in songs, which contained clues about how to resolve my emotional pain. Fortunately, I had an infatuation with a Muslim man who talked to his Imam about me. His Imam said I was seeking refuge in music, ever the Contrarian I said, “I’ll show you”! I wrote a poem and then silenced my stereo for the better part of 3 years.

These songs? This endless list of songs I play, they are just songs with lyrics or melodies that move me. They may be relevant to my current emotional state, they may not, they may be directed at one person, a group or solely at myself; they are all just songs. Audio glitter to sparkle dreary days and nights, there are no secret messages contained within.

There is an understanding that none of this even remotely matters. In my heart of hearts I know that I can unravel this life, right now. I could just choose to walk out of the door and disappear into the night. Thousands of people do it every year, some stay gone for days, weeks, months… some for years. Personally, I have always known that regardless of how far I travel I will always have to take myself with me. And so I ran away standing still; in comfort.

I used to engage in day dreams in absence of action. When I was trapped by my circumstances I resorted to my rich and fertile imagination. Sometimes, these fantasies bled into real life and I was dragged into a shared reality when other people strayed from my script. I hated it when people did not respond in accordance with my dreams. I used to mind read. That is to say, I used to believe that I knew what other people where thinking and feeling, and would rarely ask even reasonable questions.

Since my grandmother died, I entered a period of existential crisis. I am not depressed, I am not stressed, I am slightly numb, occasionally angry (I am not patient); I have chosen to experience this state of being as a period of waiting. I am waiting. What am I waiting for? The bodies of my enemies to pass me by? No. Sometimes our enemies have the most valuable lessons to teach us. What I am waiting for is a revelation.

I am waiting for a door, that once opened wide can not be closed, that will not be ignored. I’m waiting for the wisdom to recognise that door when I see it, rather than when I’ve gone so far passed it I’ve lost it. In the mean time I am meditating on my weaknesses and learning what to do with them. Accept them or develop them into strengths. I know that any time I can change this life, with a word, a thought, an action. I am not powerless. I might not be fully self actualising, or perhaps in going for refuge, I *am*.

These are dangerous times. The world is going crazy. We can only make it a better place by being as authentic as we can, with ourselves and other people. We have to learn that sometimes the people who smile the most tell the most damaging lies. We have to understand that other people sometimes have a vested interest in making sure we fail. It absolves them of having to take responsibility for their own lives and subsequently the consequences of their own choices.

We have the power to unravel this life, now. Sometimes all it takes is a change of perspective, sometimes it requires something more radical. But we, no one else, are responsible for our current realities. The only advice I have that is of any use is this: When making decisions make sure mind, body and soul are in alignment. A sense of calm will help you know when you have made the right choice, and you will be able to act with authenticity. Be kind. Yes, to yourself and other people.

Play Your Cards To Your Heart – Groove Armada

1) Send out an email. There are too many recipients for this email. So send out 5 emails. Do some social media stuff.

2) Download something. Download a bittorrent. Download a template. Down load the thing. Install the thing. Do something to the thing. Re-upload the thing.

3) Arts council funding bid for a really bloody good project, that someone has potentially plagiarised from me. Why didn’t I keep my stuff more secret? Why didn’t I apply for more funding? Why did I get disheartened at the first hurdle and throw it all away.

4) Apply for a job.

5) Make a poster

6) Finish a piece of art and find someone to by it, so I can fulfill a promise I made.

7) Put some stuff on a bidding site to sell.

8) Take some things to charity. More things.

9) Respond to an email from an old friend saying thanks but no thanks… Why aren’t these people leaving me alone? It’s been years… What am I to conclude from the fact that people I am trying to leave behind refuse to be left?

10) Sort out volunteering at the local Buddhist Centre.

11) Send a reminder email to someone about volunteering my time to give benefits advice to people who are in need.

12) Go pick up somethings from a friends. Do things with the things.

13) Apply oil paints to an existing piece of art (recently made).

14) Call my mum.

15) Stop devoting brain energy to certain people, who are not even in the same city as me.

16) Write more book.

17) Call my dads and brother

and on and on and on and on and on and on and on… It feels like a land slide… I have to make some doctors appointments and attend some clinics too. I just want a hug really. From someone who loves me. A real physical hug, from a man, who loves me. I’d like to sleep properly and I’d like to move again. I’m feeling really claustrophobic.

I did manage to do several positive things today, but then someone stole my joy by telling a rape joke. It wasn’t funny. They never are. Did you know that if you tell someone who has told a rape joke that they are not funny, you reduce instances of rape. FACT. Don’t be a baby dude, tell your friend he’s not funny. I would, but we all know what happens when ‘teh menz’ are ask by women not to be arseholes.

Get Here If You Can – Oleta Adams.

I’m really ticking over time now… (Mos Def – Umi Says) spent sometime with the female parental, and my nephew who is 7 and one of my favorite people. I’ve been wondering where my ‘fuck you’ came from and more recently, where the hell it went. Well it is coming back with a vengeance.

I do not get how ironic it is that I need a job to be able to sack in working! I want to get rid of all my stuff. If you do not have stuff, DO NOT GET STUFF! Seriously, you need very little and with hand-held devices that connect to the internet you need very little else.

Anyway, there is a lot of political activity among my friends and mostly I’m just a bit of an idiot, I’ll do anything for an easy life. In the absence of being able to run around lala land though I think I’m going to set up a thing. It will be fun and I might learn something.

I need to write all this stuff down because it will be important for the book at some point. I can feel the bubble, it’s about to burst, the plot is there, but I lack something… that thing, that just won’t appear.

I have a head ache with all the stuff I am trying to hold in my head…

Ah yes, trust and respect… You can not make people trust you or respect you or like you and it’s not important for people to do any of the latter, but you must have a certain amount of trust, even in your enemy… Trust that they will behave as you predict! How’s that for a hook?

In this case the enemy is not really the enemy it’s a game I’m playing but it is yielding interesting results. If they are who they say they are they get rewarded with my time and skills for free, for the benefit of Bradford. If they aren’t, well that bit will reveal itself in the fullness of time.

I can honestly say that I am having fun, and I don’t mind which way it goes for now.

Really though?? I just want a passport and a plane ticket still. And a man with a hairy chest.

Which reminds me, last night, one of my exes was back in touch… Long term readers will know that a while back people from my past turned up en masse trying to reconnect, I was not having a bar of it. Except for one perhaps. Anyhow, this one lad will just not go away. The relationship is getting more and more unhealthy the more he tries to reconnect.

It’s been a year since I said that I didn’t want to talk to him anymore and he just pops up, “Are you in a better mood yet”, he says. “Aye”, says I, “if you don’t go on about sex”… “Oh.” Sez he. Enter huge argument and lots of swearing and name calling, the likes I haven’t engaged in since I was a teen! Proper words were said… Right in the middle of my bloomin puja none the less… I’m wondering if I need to start again? Or if this is part of the process? 9 days to go.