“If you can’t say something nice, don’t say anything at all.” Wise words. Thusly, I have not had anything to say for a while. But now I do, so here I am.
Did you ever do a thing you wanted to do and you knew you needed to do and then when you did it, it was awful? That was my moving home experience. In the immortal words of Charles Barkley, it was turrible, just turrible.
I’m still not sure why it was so very turrible, but I guess there are things in this life I am just not allowed to know.
The move itself was fine, made decent time, got the Uhaul returned promptly. My super awesome sister in law is as stubborn as I am, the sum total of which combined stubbornness allowed for getting all 467,213 of my belongings unloaded into a too-small storage unit in just a hair over 30 minutes, and then…
Money magically descending from the heavens? Negative.
I tried a few different methods of dealing with my homelessness. I stayed with Brother for a few days, but I didn’t want to intrude for an extended period of time, so I hauled it out to an extended stay motel. I assumed the room would be mine alone. Imagine my dismay in finding that I would actually be sharing it with a number of inconsiderate insects. Um… No. Left that delightful establishment and moved into … my car. I won’t lie, I have long had a wish to buy a van and live in it. Why should I have to pay rent?? The thing is, when it’s not a van, the whole idea loses something like 95% of it’s charm as far as I’m concerned; and when it is out of necessity rather than rebellion, it loses another 95%, so I’m sleeping in my car at -90% charmed. That’s a lot of NOT charm.
This ‘living in my car’ business went on for all of one night. I will admit I got rather dramatic about it. I’m honestly embarrassed at how dramatic I was being. There are people in this world who are genuinely suffering. I was just forced to live a bit outside my preference. What a little bitch. Seriously. Quit your whining, and suck it up. So, as I sat there, I realized that if I shifted my perspective a bit, I could still figure myself to be pretty lucky. I mean, sure, if I compare myself to all my “normal”-life-living, home-having, get-up-and-go-to-work-because-you-are-employed friends and acquaintances – of whom I have quite a few, as it happens – then I felt like a worthless pile of shit. But when I admitted to myself that I was an unemployed homeless person and thusly compared myself to other unemployed homeless people – these were mostly imaginary, because I didn’t actually know anyone else in that situation – I felt like I was probably pretty lucky. I mean, I had a car to sleep in, for starters. That’s a serious bonus. I had the means to get to job interviews when I had them, and a place to keep a workable amount of my personal belongings. Also, if I’m being honest, the thing that had me homeless was as much my own stubbornness as anything else. If I had admitted to anyone that I was going to sleep in my car, I’d have had a hundred offers to stay with friends. In fact, after my one night of car-camping, a friend found out and insisted I stay with him.
He had offered previously. I told him no initially because there was a slight complication. I was kinda counting on dating him. He did not know this, of course. Why would I tell him? That’s ridiculous. He didn’t even know I was coming home. However, once I was here, it seemed we were on the same page, and started seeing each other pretty much immediately. (Hooray!) (I’m a homeless, unemployed lost soul with zero things to contribute to a relationship except my charm which is evaporating quickly in the face of discouragement over circumstances. Not hooray.) Okay, so he offers to let me stay with him, but I don’t want to because that puts a lot of weird pressure on a new relationship and we dated once before and it ended but I didn’t really ever know exactly why or how. We were friends, and then we were dating, and then we were just friends again, but without either of us ever saying anything about it. It was strange, but I didn’t mind it then because he was too nice and I didn’t know how to deal with that. Let me tell you a little story about how I have DEFINITELY DECIDED I WANT TO DEAL WITH THAT. Sweet Jesus. What the HELL was wrong with me??? I have no idea. Whatever it is having been remedied in the course of the last five years, my perspective has indeed shifted and my current perspective on dating a very, very, very nice man is YES FUCKING PLEASE. So, I do not want to screw it up by moving in on the first date.
Whatever. At a certain point, you just give in because what the hell else is there to do?
I moved in. He’s great. He really is. Mind-blowingly so. All day, every day. And the thing that really gets me about it is that I’ve known this guy for eight years, and I know for a fact that this is the real him and he actually is this great all the time. It’s remarkable.
Unfortunately for me, his particular brand of awesomeness is not enough to balance out the feelings of abject worthlessness I am heaping on myself on account of being unable to take care of myself in practical ways, and when you feel terrible about yourself, someone else being nice to you is just about the most intolerable thing there is in the whole wide world. I don’t have a lot of experience with this level of self–loathing. I didn’t handle it very well. There were certain aspects of it that he didn’t handle super well either (I don’t think most men could be expected to have a surprise girlfriend move in to their house on a moment’s notice and handle it very well. The whole thing was weird), but the fault was almost entirely mine.
One day, in a fit of certainty that I was worthless and he could not possibly want me around, I left.
Not my best move.
I cried for WEEKS. I went back to stay with Brother and Wife because let’s be real, without a van (or a refurbished ambulance, which I still think is a pretty spectacular idea, as long as I’m operating in theoretical abstract and not actual experience…), the homeless gig just doesn’t appeal to me. Brother decided at that time to go into business for himself doing concrete flatwork, so I have a ready-made job. At least I’ve got that going for me. Except I’ve spent the last five years being sick and essentially sitting on a couch gaining weight, so pouring concrete is not the breeze it used to be. It wasn’t even a breeze before. What I’m trying to tell you is that this time, I’m dying. Still, my only other option is to sit on a couch and cry all day while contributing zero things to the world around me. As that seems a fate worse than death, I chose the death.
Fun fact: it only felt like I was dying. In truth, I survived the whole thing. Woo frickity hoo.
During this period, I attempted to secure additional employment. Once I actually got a job – Hooray!!! – from which I was sent home on the first day of training – NOT hooray -, because the gal who hired me had been unaware of the strict nature of the company’s tattoo policy. WHATEVER. Then I applied to be a garbageman and was told that I did not qualify for the position because I had failed their character and integrity test. WHAT THE FUCKING FUCK???? That was a horrible day. Looking back now, I wonder why I let the whole situation affect me as much as I did. I know better. I do. And yet, I was a WRECK.
I came back to work with Brother after the ill-fated garbageman venture, and he told me that companies like that (you had to apply through a labor service for the position I wanted because the garbageman company didn’t hire directly) will only hire people who have a certain type of background. He said he knew a girl once who worked in HR for that company and she told him that they want you to have issues with drugs or violence or something, and if you answer all their character and integrity questions “correctly” they will assume you are lying and therefore will not hire you. Again, I submit, WHAT THE FUCKING FUCK???? Still, it was enough to make me feel a little better about being so unceremoniously rejected. At that point, I’d have taken any comfort.
One day, I said to my brother, ‘You know what I want to be is a bartender. But I think I’m too old to get into it now. I think I’d have to know someone to give me an in, and I don’t know anyone.’ He said, ‘Uh, yes you do.’
Turns out a friend of ours had a bar and was looking for help. I had missed his Facebook posts to that effect and was therefore in the dark. Well, apparently his level of desperation was extreme, because my proposal of, ‘Hey, I’ve never done this before, but I totally want to’ landed me the job. I started the next day. IT IS FANTASTIC! And then Brother found someone else to help with the concrete pouring, so now I only have to come in on the bigger jobs, which allows my poor little body some recovery time.
Next thing you know, I found an ADORABLE apartment that I absolutely love, and I am just about the luckiest girl in the whole wide world and that’s not even including the best part.
I told my fella I was sorry and that the whole thing had just been too much for me and I acted badly and that I thought probably living together was not our best idea but just because that didn’t work straight out of the gate didn’t necessarily mean that WE didn’t work, and could he please consider maybe giving it another shot because I can be sane now. AND HE SAID OKAY. Whew. That was a close one.
I don’t cry so much now. Except every so often when I’m driving down the street and I hear some song on the radio that reminds me of that whole chapter of my life, and then I bawl like a baby. Because I feel sad for that Audrey and how sad she was, and because I am amazed and incredibly grateful for these reminders of how quickly life can completely turn around.
So now I’m back and hopefully I will have some fun stories to tell.
Like the time the guy at the bar couldn’t see me because I was standing behind the beam thing in the middle of the room so he yelled, “AUDREY!!!” and when I stepped out from behind it, I was all, ‘CALM DOWN, I’M RIGHT HERE,’ and then he said to me – I swear to God, he said this – “Wow. I wouldn’t have thought you were thin enough to hide behind that pole.” So then I flipped him off, as you do, and he was totally flabbergasted BECAUSE HE THOUGHT HE HAD JUST GIVEN ME A COMPLIMENT. Are you kidding me right now? Nope. Not kidding. Serious. He argued it with me for a while. ‘I said you were thin!’ Uh, no. You said you thought I was fatter than I am. Whatever. Male humans are hilarious and weird.
Life is good.