I have a lot of feelings. Again. Still.
Today we found out our TANF (welfare, basically) benefits had been reduced from $450 to $57 a month. We were already operating at a deficit. Losing $450 basically knocks the feet out from under us. The lady at JaFS basically said that I'm working too few hours to get the $57, but I'm being paid too much to get the $450. However, she said if I had another child we would qualify for $555.
And for a brief moment, I fulfilled every stereotype (except the racial ones) by seriously considering that. In my defense, I really WANT another child. I always wanted two boys, from the first time I decided I wanted children. When my husband told me he yearned for a daughter, I chose to add a child rather than substitute. Two sons and a daughter then. Everyone's happy. Except our pocketbook, of course.
Right now there are no full-time job openings at my Bank. That could, and might, change in the future, but I was talking to my coworker today and he said he managed to get the down-low on recent hiring policy: non sales-oriented positions are not being filled. Things like Vault Teller and ABM are no longer priority positions because they aren't sales-focused, they're infrastructure support. As a result, those duties are being spread out to existing positions. Instead of hiring a new branch manager, my manager has taken over managing another branch. Instead if hiring a vault teller at one of the branches north of us, the manager has to take those duties. I feel this is a myopic and unwise move, as it damages and weakens the infrastructure. I think if you really want to drive sales, having a solid support structure for those sales to handle all the minutia, the paperwork, the logistics of who has what and when, is essential. But fuck, what do I know?
I know the positions I want to get into aren't open. That's what I know.
I know that our budget has suddenly been cut by $450. I know that I either need to get a better-paying job with more hours, or get a second job. My coworker shared with me that Chase bank is hiring, at $11 dollars an hour for some positions, and they have open full-time positions. So even though it made me feel sick to my stomach, tonight I updated my resume and placed an application. I feel like I'm betraying my friends and coworkers at First Merit, but I HAVE TO HAVE TO HAVE TO support my family. I have to step up here. Mike can't. There's nobody but me.
I've spoken to the manager of a gas station/convenience store near my Bank. In a couple of weeks, she thinks she'll need another part time person. It would be a 6am-11am shift, maybe three or four days a week, at $8 or so an hour. But that might help make up for the money we're missing. I think I'd enjoy working with her. It'd mean imposing on my husband to get up before dawn to drive me, then drive boo to preschool, then pick up me, then pick up boo, then drive me to the bank (assuming it worked like that). It means talking to my manager about whether the fact that this store banks with us constitutes a conflict of interest. While feeling hideously guilty for not telling her I put in applications elsewhere. It would mean thirteen-hour work days 3-4 days a week.
It would mean $480-640 a month.
Also, incidentally, the car we were seriously considering buying was sold out from under us. So we have to start the search over from the beginning. Mike needs to take a break from it, which I understand, but at the same time, waiting for the wheels to fall off my grandmother's car is driving me to distraction (I'm not joking, the boots are cracked and if they go the wheels will literally fall off and I could die), not to mention my family is now hounding me to get the car back to her ASAP. This is out of nowhere, since they didn't even start until I told Grandma we were shopping. I'm honestly not sure I appreciate that.
Meanwhile, one of my best friends is trying to convince me to move to Kentucky with her. She's offering me a support network of friends and family who understand mental illness and have experience with children. She's offering me the fellowship of other Pagan Witches. She's offering me an expanding job market and cutting-edge school programs in a fast-growing neighborhood. She's offering me the opportunity to share in exploration and worship on wild land that her family owns. According to her, the housing market in her area offers a lot of advantageous opportunities if you're willing to do some fixing up... and her family is full of people who do fixing up. My dad lives down there, and his stepdaughters, and his really cool wife who has tons of experience with hyperactive little kids and actually seems to have a good idea what I'm about (I'm pretty sure she follows my facebook and actually reads the stuff I post) and seems totally okay with it. Which is weird for me. I'm not used to even tacit parental approval.
On the other hand. Corporal punishment is legal in Kentucky schools. Kentucky is home of some of the most ass-backwards anti-choice legislation outside Alabama. It's far from my mom, and Mike's mom. It'd mean a new state, a new Job & Family Services department, new applications for food stamps, welfare, disability, and medicaid, maybe even starting those processes over if they can't be transferred. It'd mean the expense of a move, picking up and moving again, away from the only friends Mike has managed to make here. He's VERY friends-oriented. Leaving his friends is painful for him and I'm not sure I can ask him for that. He'd have to find a new psychiatrist and a new therapist while ON medicaid. He'd have to re-develop a trusting relationship with the therapist in order for his therapy to be effective. We'd have to re-find reliable, trustworthy psychiatric hospitals for those times when he has violent downswings.
I really want to at least explore the possibility of going. I really want to drive down for a weekend and put some hard hours into exploring the feasibility of living there. I want to look at the houses myself, I want to see who's hiring, I want to see the schools. I want to walk the land and see if there's a place there for me. I think there's a big part of me that's a Southerner, though I couldn't even describe what that MEANS, but I know living in Tennessee and Georgia was one of my favorite places. I loved Chattanooga, I loved Atlanta (didn't live there but visited). I want to sink my hands into the dirt and figure out if there's anything there I could actually hold onto.
And frankly, even without having done that, I want to go. I crave friends, and support, and some sense of Home like I crave fresh water. And more than that, I feel like I want to do something that's emotionally and spiritually fulfilling for me. I am almost thirty. What the hell have I done with my life up to this point? Where am I going? As my friend put it, am I swimming to get somewhere, or just to keep swimming? What am I aiming toward? Is there any upward movement here? Is there any real fulfillment to be had? Or do I exhaust and hurt myself turning down the high-risk dreams and fantasies, making the hard, realistic choices, deferring and denying at every junction, in the vague hopes that by the time Jake is old enough to strike out on a life we will not be able to subsidize (because honestly, by the time he goes to college, how much will we be able to save? How much will tuition costs have risen?) HE'LL be able to have a genuinely fulfilling life? Is that even realistic to hope for? Statistics seem to say it's a pipe dream, that class mobility is at an all-time low and if his parents are living in poverty there's a huge chance he will too. And sometimes, looking at it that way, it's really hard to see the point in making the hard, realistic choices. Especially when it hurts so much, and it feels like something inside me shrivels up and dies.
Like a raisin in the sun.
I feel like I can actually see myself becoming older, and not in the good way. I feel like I'm getting hard and wrinkled and jaded on the inside. I feel despair. I am a really, truly brilliant person. Seriously. ADD aside, my IQ is off the charts, as are my standardized test scores and my cognitive processing capability. Everyone, in my childhood, had high hopes for me. They said I was memorable, that I'd go places, that I'd do something. I've gone nowhere. I've done nothing. I'm sinking deeper and deeper into a hole that I'm not sure has a bottom, and I feel more and more like there's no one there with me. I love my husband very deeply, but for his own mental health and safety, he has to check out of these things occasionally. I do not blame him for that. Our situation is seriously anxiety-inducing. But it does make me feel very lonely, and like I'm the only one holding the bag sometimes. I'm not afraid of being the one who supports him and Jake. I'm not afraid of holding the family on my shoulders. Honestly, I'm NOT. I'm willing to do the hard work and make tough choices. I just feel like right now that hard work and those tough choices are utterly devoid of reward. I do them because I love my husband and my son, but I feel anxious about the future. I don't want the next sixty years to just be more of this while I get more and more tired.
I don't need to live the heroic life (though reading Drew Jacob's blog is not helping my feelings of inadequacy, or maybe that's conviction). I just need SOMETHING in my life that contributes to the fullness of it, to my well-being. I need something that just... makes me really happy. I should not put that pressure on my friends, but what they're offering tugs at my heartstrings.
On top of all this, I've been having religious stirrings lately. Dionysus has been poking me and trying to unsettle me, trying to get me to delve deeper into things. I am a creature of rigid control - I have Attention Deficit Disorder, so it often feels to me like my brain is a thing of tangled yarn and wide-spun netting. Nothing is organized and things just fall through the cracks constantly and randomly, and I am constantly flailing around trying to enforce some kind of consistency and discipline on my own brain. I'm not medicated at the moment, and never have been.
I can't be hypnotized even if I want to be. I can't meditate. I can't trance. I can't astral project. I've never drawn down the moon or been ridden by a deity. I am simply too immanent to relinquish control to anyone or anything. The only time any of this can occur is when I'm nearly-asleep... or when I'm drunk.
Enter Dionysus, who seems to think it's high time I had a genuinely transcendent experience, even if it kills me.
But I have nobody to have these experiences with. I have no guide, aside from the God himself. I have no real context. No teacher. It feels like jumping headlong into the abyss. And I'm willing to go there, and pursue it, I'm just... not really sure where I'm going. And to circle back around, my friend has had ecstatic experiences and has spiritual guide Destiny, and I think it'd be really interesting, and maybe really productive, to work together, worship together, and do workings together.
Time has passed since I started this entry. I actually broke down and talked to my husband (I was crying, which makes it hard to avoid the conversation) and he's willing to consider all of this. He's the most wonderful man in the world. No starry-eyed idealism here, we're going to carefully vet and consider the nuts and bolts, but he's not dismissing it outright, which is more than I would have asked of him.