Today I had to go see an apartment. I walked from Central Square to just outside of Porter Square. I didn't take the T and read a book for a few reasons. I am still too messed up to enjoy reading. (That says more about how I feel than pretty much everything else. I need to read like I need to breathe. I could still read when I was sexually assaulted in 2002) I also thought that this was important enough that I ought to walk to the appointment and think about things. Sort of the reverse of L'esprit de l'escallier.
It occurred to me that in fact I have felt this terrible before, and gotten over it. The things that made me feel this bad in the past were mostly not as important as this (my dissolution of an almost 10 year relationship) and this is still either the worst or the second worst thing that has happened to me, (and as such the reasons I feel this bad are far graver than the ones I felt this bad previously) but I have recovered from feeling this horrible before.
In 1997 I graduated from college and had no clue what to do with myself. I had to break up with a boyfriend who I truly loved (he was a freshman and I was a senior) and I left all my friends behind in Minneapolis while I went back to New York to figure out how to get to Paris. I was given "an eviction notice written in Latin." I was leaving my world behind and I had no clue how to get to the next step.
In 1998, I was miserable because the same boyfriend (we decided to un-break up since we loved and missed each other and besides we'd be together in Paris in 6 months) left Paris to go back to school. I was inconsolable. I hated my job and had no friends. I hated Paris so much that I had visions of Godzilla (the remake came out that year and terrible as I knew it was I had to go see it because I'd get a glimpse of New York.) rising out of the Seine and mauling the Eiffel Tower before heading off to Pantin to eat the office building in which I worked (and hopefully, my boss.)
In 1999 I was miserable because I left Paris. And then later in the year, (and the only time in my life where my reasons for being miserable were possibly as grave as my reasons now) I was miserable in Boston. I'd had a terrible job where I worked as hard as I possibly could, came in at 7 am, worked til 8, came in on weekends and still had a "quit or get fired" conversation with my boss after only 3 months. So I got a job for significantly less money at a bookstore (and the previous employment opportunity only paid $16,000 a year). I had to get my parents to help pay for my rent. I broke up with the Boy who I went to Paris with and took up with another Boy. We were making ourselves miserable. The bookstore job was in fact (in hind-sight) pretty horrible. The scheduling changed from week to week-to the point that I could no longer remember my menstrual cycle. After one week of work one of the managers told me that my work wasn't satisfactory (my shelving was bad or something) and, because I was in a quit or be fired situation previously I was scared to death. I didn't say anything to defend myself-maybe I just cringed too much. After this interview (keep in mind I'd worked there 1 whopping week) the owner needed to talk to me about how I hadn't accepted criticism well. This was not the last time I got "talked to" by the owner in the 6 months I worked there full time. I'm not a slacker. I work hard. But that place was so horrible and I felt so bad that I called in sick once a week after a while.
I felt that the whole situation was my fault (unable to work at a real job or sustain a good relationship or have friends.) This is what broke part of me. I've never been well since. I really don't know what particular thing did it though.
I found my way out of all of those situations. In 1997 I got a job at the Strand on Fulton Street by South Street Seaport(RIP) and made great friends. One of them had a list of contacts for me in Paris, so that I was able, when I got there, to get an office job with a 1 year visa instead of waiting tables. This was a mixed blessing. The office job was horrible. It's been too long for me to say for sure, but it was probably as bad as my job now. But it allowed me to stay in Paris for longer and to make better money there. This meant that when the Boy from Carleton arrived, I was still there and when he stayed for the summer and couldn't get a job for a while (and then got an awful job) I was able to help him out financially.
In 1998, after the boy left Paris, I was able to find my own feet and make some friends (very fucked up friends, but better than nothing) and learn to love my home city (with all it's bugs/features.)
In 1999, well things didn't get much better until 2001. In 2000 I got a better job as a receptionist at a web company. About 5 months after I started it ceased to be a *sucessful* web company and started laying people off. I was dumped and then re-girlfriended. And then dumped again right after George W Bush was innaugurated. I figure I was miserable on and off for at least a year.
Shit. I hope this doesn't last that long. Almost every single one of these episodes of misery is because of men. Hmmmm