The cursor blinks. On, off, on, off. Like a digital metronome counting out beats while I stare at the word processing app I'm using.
It's homey. Green on black, slightly serifed and pixelated font. An homage to the word processors on the Apple ][ computers I used in grade school.
I've got music playing in the background, coming from the same computer. Running on a randomization algorithm, playing from the nested smart playlist I first set up when I got a car in 2012, to make sure I had random music I wouldn't have to skip through constantly back before I had a car with a built in bluetooth system that had on steering wheel controls.
"Shame on us, doomed from the start, may god have mercy on our dirty little hearts" Trent Reznor croons to me, on a remix of Zero Sum from an album from 2007.
"All we ever were, just zeroes and ones"
Is life just some pointless zero sum game? Is it all just failures and pyrrhic victories and loss?
Fuck it feels like it these days.
I feel lost. Stuck.
Pause from writing. Hit the next track button on my keyboard several times.
Nope. Nope. Nope. Nope.
Weird deep cut from the Sneaker Pimps, back when Kelli was still in the band. Ok, that will do.
I feel confident and good enough just until something actually happens. So here I am, stuck waiting on so many things. Waiting to hear back on jobs I've applied for, if interviews will be scheduled, even though I've shared availability.
"You are the reason I've been waiting all these years … and I just ain't got the time … what's more I'm wasted, and I can't find my way home" sings Kelli, as weird trip hop electronic trebles play in the background, whines and bloops and brush snares.
Do I have a home? Did I ever have a home?
I feel lost, restless, unmoored.
Drifting, alone, waiting.
So much waiting.
I still have somewhere to sleep. Still have a pair of cats who, as I've basically been at home since I lost my job in mid August, spend about 80% of their time within 5 feet of me.
Harvey Danger b-side next. A twinge of heartache. A flood of memories. I feel the tears starting to well up in my eyes.
I can see myself reflected in the screen of my laptop. A smart-assed tshirt mashing up Aliens and Jurassic Park that had the collar sliced out, turning it into a boat neck. My beloved Nine Inch Nails "Anxiety" beanie. A swoop of bangs obscuring the right side of my face, pinned tightly to my forehead by the beanie.
I look exhausted. No makeup, fuck what's the point of makeup if you're not leaving the house? There isn't one. My weird makeupless face, with invisible eyebrows and lashes. A mouth set in resting bitch face.
Skip some more tracks, up comes IAMX. Chris Corner after he graduated from the Sneaker Pimps, getting darker and stranger and more sexual.
Sometimes I desperately want to let the darkness and depression and anger take over. Let all of the negative emotions have their way. Devolve into a sad angry hermit, like Gollum. Hide in the darkness. Abandon being around people.
What even is the point of trying to grow and change? I swear I'm just going to get hurt and abandoned more. Have another job where being a brilliant assertive quick on the uptake solution finding woman will be a detriment instead of a feature. (Fuck, has it ever once been seen as a feature?)
Skip a bunch more tracks, wind up on a relatively recent Zeromancer song. Oh, no, its from 2013, that's 6 years ago. That can't count as recent, can it? Recent is like in the last 1-2 years at most, isn't it?
Switch out to Finder, check my laptop's battery percentage, since I intentionally am writing in a mode where the menu bar doesn't show up.
Compulsively open Mail to check and see if there's anything new in the global inbox and in a folder that bypasses my inbox.
C'mon you have to stop kidding yourself. The dark part of your heart is probably right. The pessimism tends to be accurate. Hon, c'mon, look at your track record. It isn't just negative thoughts manifesting themselves. You're damned, damaged goods, a curse, a plague — there's no way things will ever work out for you. You are a walking disaster, you will always be alone. You only exist to hurt and to be hurt.
Gods will these intrusive thoughts never go?
Four years of therapy. Cutting off my abusive family of origin. Cutting off the toxic friends who repeat similar things, all while they try to get in my bed.
"It doesn't hurt but the words go nevermind" sings Chris Corner.
Skip a bunch more tracks, land on some Looper.
"I remember there would be a pill you could take instead of eating food" says Stuart in Tomorrow's World.
How the heck do I get to tomorrow's world? By living day after day after day. But it won't ever be what I imagined, what I hoped for.
And whatever happens I'll just be trapped inside my skull. There's no escape from that. No escape from me.
It's an overcast cloudy day. Everything feels washed out, drained. Myself included.
I'm stuck. I'm stuck waiting. So much fucking waiting. I want to scream "hurry the fuck up already" at the universe but I know that won't change anything.
All I can do is repeat my routine. Check to see if there are new jobs to apply for. Check to see if I've gotten emails. Check to see if things have changed.
It doesn't take long to do those things. I finish those tasks quickly. Back to waiting.
I guess I could watch something, but I'm too restless from waiting to focus. Same goes for reading, my mind moves back to worrying over the things I'm waiting on. "How many business days does it take for people to schedule an initial phone call? Was two weeks of availability not a long enough window of time? Should I have put a third week out?"
Check for email. Check Twitter. Check Slack.
Respond to a tweet from a friend. Have some more feels slip in. Look over at my cat, curled into a loose ball, sleeping about 4 inches away from me.
Take a deep breath, breathe in, breathe out.
Think about playing some more video games, but can't bring myself to.
Sure, I can make progress as an in game avatar, but in real life what progress have I made?
I mean, I at least know some of what's wrong with me. A thyroid my own body is destroying. A frenzied brain unable to stabilize its moods on it's own. Chronic fatigue that I can't seem to mitigate in any other way than limiting my activity so it doesn't trigger.
"This is only rain that falls sometimes, the rain doesn't change a thing" another Looper song.
I could hop back over to the XOXO Slack, encourage other people in a discussion about Inktober, share some weird spooky ("spoopy") animal pictures I find from trawling Twitter, dump some more feelings in the bad attitude and scream channels. But things are kind of quiet on Slack, and I don't want to burden people, or seem too pathetic by posting too much. I mean, I did go on a twitter rant a few days ago. I know some folks are already worried about me.
I have to pour out all of these thoughts and feelings, there's just too fucking many of them. I'm overflowing, and it's scaring me. A number of folks are getting the brunt of the overflow, beyond the "screaming into the void" of these blog posts and dumping out piles of thoughts and words on Twitter.
It doesn't matter what the outcome of things are, I'm terrified of all of the possible futures. How fucking sad is that? Being just as terrified for good things to happen as bad things as meh things.
The worst part is I can't predict what's going to happen. Everything has been topsy turvy this year.
The cats are sitting by my feet, grooming each other, and sometimes my foot. Aw you adorable little weirdos. You seem to actually love me, and worry about me in your own cat way. Jumping into my lap for pets, coming to collect me when it's time to turn off the lights for the night and sleep, and then pressing up against my back or the back of my knees or sleeping near my face, a paw on my hand. Waking me up in the morning with a wet cat nose on my arm or in my armpit.
Laptop starts to act weird, check the battery level. 3%. Take a minute to grab the power cable and plug it in.
"Fuck what I want, fuck what I need, I'll sacrifice what I believe" screams Jessicka, "will you love me any less if I hurt you any more?"
I don't even know what I want or need anymore. I feel so lost.
Should I have lived my life up to this point differently?
What should I change going forward?
The nine of cups, a million possibilities stretched out before me, and me? Paralyzed with fear, unsure of what to do.
At least with some of the things that I'm paralyzed by it isn't solely on me to decide where things go from here. Yes, I still have some say, but… if the other party says no? That gives me some closure. I won't have to worry about what I was considering if it's no.
It'll just be another thing to accept. "Oh. I see," I can say, and then walk on.
"Well Vanessa, the only thing in common with all your failures is you," coos the introject of my mother, trying to strip away my hope.
Hope is such a shitty double-edged sword, and at least for me it cuts both ways.