Thursday, November 13, 2008

I Can't Even Afford to Free Fall

I shouldn't be posting right now. I shouldn't be writing, I shouldn't be public, I shouldn't think or breathe or eat or sleep. I shouldn't be angry, but I am. Pissed off and disenfranchised, bitter, resentful. Ugly, that's what I am. I feel ugly inside.

Inconsolable Grief, by Ivan Kramskoy, 1884.

The stages of grief: denial, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance. It's not as if I have woken up, hopped in my car and driven to work in denial that I am unemployed, but I have certainly felt the rest and right now I am firmly esconsed in anger. Motherfucker. Almost every one of my thoughts these days either begins or ends in motherfucker or some such derivation of said term. Motherfucking Bush. Motherfucking banks. This entire Land of Opportunity is a real motherfucker, Milk and Honey, my ass. Mortgages? Mortgages can go fuck their mothers. See? Ugly. My insides are a tangled fibrous web of dank thoughts and motherfucked-up-edness, a mirror looking into a mirror looking into a mirror of the same mean thoughts repeated into infinity. Motherfucker, titty sucker, two-balled bitch.
These are just some of the things that make me angry these days: Christmas. People who have money. Starbucks seasonal coffee cups. The hum of my refrigerator. Spam emails urging me to claim my UK Lottery Winnings Right Now! So I can go to the Theatre, maybe! And see Colours! And cram shopping bags into the Boot of my car! Facking Brits. Right now I hate the following days: Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday. I detest waking up. Zero Inbox. Refresh sucks ass. Oprah. I sneer at the design blogs on my Google Reader. Oh yes, those are pretty shoes, that is a swank fireplace, oooooh, yes, I must, I need, I crave that sweater! That bracelet! That house! Because, really? Really people? Is this the show that must go on?

The Scream, by Edvard Munch, 1893.

But the thing I hate the most right now, what makes me the most angry is myself. I am the biggest motherfucker of them all. Nobody owes me anything and yet my insides burn with entitlement. This is happening to so many people, people in worse financial situations, people who are alone, people in poor health, but all I can see, all I know is myself. And I did everything right: I went to college. I got a Master's degree. I worked my ass off from 9 to 5 and I got married, had a family, bought a house, paid my taxes. I haven't had a traffic ticket since I was twenty, so why did I lose my job? Why am I going to lose my house? My savings? The last ten years of my life? Why, why why, and WHO CAN I BLAME?
U. G. L. Y., you 'aint got no alibi, you're ugly! Hey! Hey! You ugly!

The Impossible Art of Li Wei, here.

I shouldn't have written this. I shouldn't hit PUBLISH. I shouldn't be angry, but I am. Honest and raw and hateful and for this I am sorry. But I don't know how to be any other way.

If you're still reading this, if you haven't wandered off to look at other blogs posting about holiday frocks and baubles (which normally, I totally would have done. I love me some purdy purdy, but right now I am just not my normal self)... if you're still reading this, please reach out to me as I fall out the window. How is this dismal economy affecting you? Your job? Your stability? Your spirits? And if it's not, please god, tell me what you do and how you do it. I've got you by the pinky now and I'm not letting go.

52 comments:

erin said...

It's okay to feel angry or sad or mad or just downright motherfucking pissed off. It really is okay. I can't make it better, I've never been there, I'm sorry. Just hold onto hope that things will get better, hope floats, right? So no matter how down you are, hold onto hope and you'll get back up again.

monkey said...

i'm of the mindset that you aren't the motherfucker. perspective is.
things are not good right now. for myself and my family, either.
granted, we're not in danger of losing our house, but that's because we don't own anything. we're pretty much on the bottom eighth of the ladder and i nevernevernever imagined myself here.
give yourself permission to be angry. i want to shoot the people here in la i see spending ridiculous craploads of money on frivolty with an arrow made out of perspective.
cause that shit leaves marks.
(sorry for the language...i just really felt you today)

Christie said...

You are not alone in this, my best friend has been out of work since July the 20th and finally just found a temp job today. Since July she has moved in with me into my 2 bedroom apartment with my son and I, and I will have to say it has been tough on all of us. Even without her job she has been helping me keep my apartment and my sanity. I really wish I could say more to bring your spirits up but I am having a tough time finding the words and the will to do it myself. I have never had to struggle so hard as a single mom as I am now in this motherfing economy.

Richie Designs said...

you really should consider getting your daughter into commercials and print!! really she has something and I don't say that lightly.

it takes a lot of work to take kids on casting calls. It could help the financial situation as well.

I think you should talk to SFGirl she use to be an internal producer for some big publications. She can get you in touch with probably every major art director in the city - straight to the source via castings.

There are also other DIY casting services I could recommend. email me if you want to know more.

Aartee said...

There is nothing wrong with being mad at the world, in fact sometimes it's what you need to give you the strength to fight back. This crisis hasn't been easy on anyone and although I am miserable coming to work everyday I am thankful I still have a job...
All you really can do is hold on to what you have and hope tomorrow will be better...

Anonymous said...

I can relate. We aren't exacty at your spot, but driving their real fast.
It was a real post, we all think like this sometimes. You made me laugh, too.

kristinimartini said...

if you didn't vent to all of us, it would eat you alive from the inside. if you didn't take it out on us, it may be bryan, or zoey or your close friends and then you'd feel worse about yourself. if we couldn't read about your anger, frustration and worry, you wouldn't be the real person we all check in on everyday. that dose of reality that might inspire someone to reach out and help in the smallest way they can. ok now i'm hating myself for getting all shmarmy. i have felt this anger before and i know you don't want to hear that it will all be better soon. so, i say fuck you motherfuckers for fucking everything up for everyone else! fuck you for taking away the security that we all have a right to. fuck you, credit card applications that keep coming in the mail.(seriously. WaMu?) fuck you, tv commercials that want me to buy giant tv's for christmas for me and everyone i know. fuck you jcrew, anthropologie and nordstrom for sending me catalogs every fucking week. fuck me for at 26 completely changing my life to go back to school to become an artist so that almost 10 years later i can ask myself "who buys art in a fucking recession? " so, yeah, fuckity fuck fuck.
thanks for letting me vent back. we don't own a house, but it looks more impossible now than it ever did.
fuck, i wish there was more i could do.

Gin said...

I have no witty or poignant advice for you. My go-to coping mechanisms are to bury myself in the banality of every day - go all Mommie Dearest and obsess over household organization - or to get REALLY wasted and have a good cry. Unfortunately, neither of these result in long-lasting catharsis - I wake up hungover, or with the entire contents of my closet scattered all over the bedroom, having lost the will to organize by hanger color. Or both.

Know that everyone feels you, everyone has felt the Motherfuckerness overtake them, that you're not alone, that a small piece of each of our hearts are with you, and all those small bits turn into a lot of love.

(Aw, see what I did there? With the shmoopy at the end?)

Tessie said...

Oh dude. I can so totally do Fucking Angry right now. RIGHT ON. I am total SHITTY ROTTEN company at the moment, and have been for some time now, and it's mostly due to the Motherfucking Anger. I hate everyone. Married people. People who are having new babies. People who love their jobs. Every. One.

Um. Not YOU, of course. Anyhoozers. Sorry things suck man.

Judi said...

Ugh, I just lost my job last week too and when I'm not determined to be upbeat and optimistic, I'm right there with you. It sucks to have to constantly ping-pong between fear and hope with no real rest in between.

Take heart that you're not alone, at least.

Pati said...

I hear you!Anger is just pain and you are in pain. Here in BC it isnt much better. My husband is in the logging industry and right now there is nothing....I try to just keep creative and keep my mind open to new possibilities. The thing is...it always works out. Something always comes up...we always learn something through pain. Just feel it. Tomorrow is another day.

Anonymous said...

This too shall pass.

Megan said...

Your anger is totally understandable, it's DOUBLY understandable. But as another poster wrote, this is a great place to vent, and we don't mind reading about it.

Trenches of Mommyhood said...

Oh, I hear ya Suz. Big black ball of worry in my gut - stuff I can't put on my blog - Hubby potentially losing his job in '09, 3 little boyz to feed and clothe, huDge mortgage...

It all sucks.

Anonymous said...

The anger is fear...and your perspective. There was a little boy and his Dad at a parade, the boy was only 3 and couldnt see the parade, only the backsides of all of the adults crowding around him. He held his little arms straight up and his Father picked him up. Same boy, same dad, same spot on the side of the raod, same parade...only his perspective had changed. Your heavenly father can help you change your perspective too. You just have to reach out to him and ask. He loves you. Try reading the "Purpose Driven Life" You are a gifted writer and lots of folks care about you- Dana

tara said...

I was at the beach yesterday watching these three beautifully gorgeously skinny mothers laughing about their husbands and homes and cars and yoga classes and non-existent jobs because they're stay-at-home-moms while their gorgeous children were playing in the water. Made me think about how I was dumped a couple of months ago and moved in with my grandparents to save money. Eff them too. You're got a great family behind you and this too shall pass. But really, eff this holiday season.

(In)Sanity Gal said...

sometimes angry is just the only place you can be, and it's just worse if you try to deny that. i'm in much the same place, but for different reasons. it's feels gross to have all that ickiness floating around inside - actually, it's probably more correct to say that it's flinging at high speeds. Either way, it sucks. there's no getting around it. it just sucks. and if you were all peaceful about it, there might be something wrong with you.

Sparkie said...

1. At least you're not a gay Californian on top of everything else.
2. Please don't pimp your daughter.
3. Write, goddammit! You're already doing it here. I read your blog as if I were reading a chapter of my favorite book. Think Armistead Maupin/The Serial/Ann Lamott meet the Sedarises. What the fuck is holding you back, little lady?

I *Heart* You said...

sus, i am so sorry to hear that. i think we are all living in fear that we are next in line for the corporate guillotine, ready to chop off our dignity and self- worth. but, for what it is worth, your ace in the hole is you. be glad you are the smart, savvy sophisticated woman you are because those are the qualities that will help you swim rather than sink in times like these.

and don't fret about the items on your wish list. if the olsen twins can make looking like a homeless Woodstock victim chic in 2008, you can totally rock last season's heels...because you are Susananna, dammit!

Sarah said...

I feel for ya. My husband and I are living pretty much paycheck to paycheck right now and we BOTH have jobs. The economy is shit. I often wonder just how we will ever be able to afford having children.

Anonymous said...

Go read the blog "C Jane Enjoy it" about her sister Stephanie (Nie Nie) difficult recovery from the plane crash that early took her life and that of her husband Christian. She is burned over 80% of her body and has tetered on the brink of death since August. No matter where we are in life there is someone better off and someone worse off. You have so much Susannah. Try to put things into perspective, I know it is hard.... You are SO gifted!!!!!

Anonymous said...

Just breathe. One breath at a time, one step at a time, one hope at a time. This too shall pass, and you'll be the stronger for it.

Sarah's Fab Day said...

I can completely relate, I had two friends lose their jobs last week and another tell me that they would find out their fate early December. It sucks. Be pissed off you deserve it.

Design Junkie said...

All I can say is, when life gives you lemons.....make a huge fucking martini. I make my living doing faux finishes, and the last thing people want in this economy is ventian plaster in the powder room. And I was never really the jealous type, but now, to go a week at a time without a job, I'm starting to resent the people who have the money to hire me. I want to say to them, "with all the trouble in this country, you're really gone spend $1000 to have your doors painted in faux bois?" But if they don't, then I don't eat, or more importantly, I don't get to drink. If I didn't leave in a city that embraced functional alcoholism, I'm not sure how I would cope. Good luck, girl.

Ana said...

S,

I am about to get all Colombian on you and shit...
we have a saying back home (we actually have a lot of stupid sayings...)-
"no hay mal que por bien no venga" or
"when something bad happens it always brings along something good"...sounds better in spanish if you ask me..

Hey, but what do they know...this is the same country that has the saying "the shrimp that falls asleep gets taken away from the current". Wait! That one applies to you too! Don't be a fucking sleepy shrimp or this economy will sweep you away....WRITE DAMN IT!

Oh, and loveya!
a.

Anonymous said...

Hi Susannah,
I feel compelled to write to you. We used to work together at a company that you were laid off from a few months ago and I was laid off from recently. I've been reading your blog for a while (I hope you don't mind), but I want you to know that I have so much respect for you. We actually have more in common than you know. We weren't really friends at work, although I think we should have been. I feel everything you are feeling these days, but you articulate it much better than I ever could. I would love to connect sometime if you're interested. Sorry to be lame and anonymous...

corine said...

You are honest. I love it. I used to be angry all the time. Now I'm better. (or just bitter) I had to turn 40 to mellow a bit.

Anonymous said...

In response to another post... whatever you do, do NOT pimp your beautiful daughter! Not that I think you ever would. Keep writing and you'll be fine.

joanneinjax said...

My darling girl,

I am currently in the middle of BF Texas, after my spousal equivalent has moved from central west TX to Arkansas, then back to central east TX. We were about to buy a home when my SE hears that layoffs are pending. He was only supposed to be out here for a few months (working in the natural gas business), while I stayed home in Florida, having been diagnosed with breast cancer three days before he left town July 2005.

I fly back and forth every two or three months and its exhausting. I also stayed because of my own health, but my mother was in failing health, and I was the only sibling who had no life. She died in June. I have now decided to have the good life we all are entitled too.

You are so lovely and have a wonderful family that loves you. Cherish that, and don't worry about the other crap. Yes, there are people that are so much worse off than ourselves. Don't feel better because of that, but use you fabulous talent and skills to redirect your energy.

Your beauty and talent will lead you to a wonderful new endeavor.

All my good thoughts,

Joanne

Jules said...

My parents, for numerous reasons, have had extreme financial ups and downs. I vowed to never live under that stress. While I do worry about money and I do wish I could afford the many, many things I can't buy, I try to focus on the things that are invaluable. So long as I have my husband, our boys, and our two beagles, I would be fine living on the floor of my mother in law's living room.

Jules said...

This is what I get for commenting while preoccupied with a sick little one.

All this to say, yes, it sucks. It all does. Be angry; you are entitled to that. But, give yourself a time limit. Otherwise, it becomes really easy (speaking from experience) to find all the things that suck and make you angry and overlook the things that bless your life.

Robin said...

two things:
1) write. you may not have a career as a writer yet, but you have tons of talent.
2) go volunteer someplace. any cause that means anything to you. this serves many purposes: perspective, the glow of helping someone & good karma
xo

Dani said...

hang in there -- that's all the rest of us are trying to do to. (p.s. this was an amazing & profound post, so honest and real, thanks for sharing).

Petunia Face said...

How is it possible to love people I don't even "know?" (Well, a handful of you I "know" know, you know?) Because really. I needed that. I needed you.

I would be lying if I said I'm not angry anymore. I am. And I'd be lying if I said I'm not scared and freaked out and feeling alone. Because I am. But sometimes there is a sense of knowing that sure, I AM alone, but so is everybody, and in this way, we are all in it together.

Thank you.
Love,
Susannah

p.s. motherfucker. for the sake of integrity.

Patois said...

Fuckin' yeah. I can't offer any advice or tasty tidbits of encouragement. I'm with you on the anger. I'm with you on the fear. Sadly, I'm still getting through on the power of denial. I will regret that we've gone through savings and our retirement hopes when we reach the age to retire.

Bearden 365 said...

I loved this one!! The part that struck a chord with me was where you ranted about 'wait a minute I did everything "right" damn it' That's SO how I feel sometimes. I have a job, but it's depressing and difficult and is turning me into a cynical hag. Oh, and not to be forgotten-we almost qualify for state aid despite my Masters degree!

I say be angry, wallow in your pity for a while, then get up and face life...don't stop writing, for the love of all that's holy, don't stop writing.

Anonymous said...

Hang in there! We love you!

Judy said...

It's an unusually remarkable day when a "woman of a certain age", oh shit, what the fuck...a 63 y.o. woman who also happens to be your adoring MOTHER; has to get in the back of a very long line of mind-blowingly kind, loyal and WISE (I suspect way beyond their years) friends-most of whom you've never seen nor met; to give you sage advice, love and support.

And, BTW, I am having a most inappropriate, non-maternal surge of delight and pride upon realizing that my sweet Sus is not only temporarily AWOL from Happy Valley but can also sling profanities with the skill of a seasoned off-shore, oil rig grease monkey!You GO, Girl! Get it all out!

With exceptions only to: I'm sure a well-intentioned, comment re Zoey's potential income potential and the, obviously sincere, comment about the heavenly father's a) sex and, b)involvement in the relatively petty in the scope of things, problems of any one person; there is not one single thing that I could possibly contribute that would add to the awe-inspiring collective wisdom, love and support demonstrated right here on this page!

This isn't about me but in the spirit of both the brave candor and solidarity shown by everyone commenting here-not to mention your own renderings of real, raw emotions, my sweet, scared, angry, talented Daughter; I feel compelled to add a personal contribution (when has she not I hear you saying....shut.up.)

While I am most grateful to say that I have a job that I love and one that is hardly likely to be snatched from me, unlike so many others here, I can honestly say that I have never been in such dire and tenuous financial straits. In my wildest, I could never have envisioned that having worked long, hard, wisely and well for more years than I care to admit; I would be in this terrifying financial pit of despair that is my current, and seemingly permanent fiscal reality. Some of it is the economy, much of it stems from my own stupidity and disregard for pieces of paper with numbers on them. Some of it can be layed at the feet of Fate. I try very hard, but am less and less successful, in refusing to allow money woes to dictate my sense of self and general well-being but too often lately I ambushed by the hard wall of, "I don't have the money. It just isn't there." And I'm not talking these days about pretty pretties but about dental work-even I can't go out the door with a front cap that's broken beyond replacing looking like an extra from "Deliverance" central casting. I'm terified that my only pair of glasses will break-it's only a matter of time and luck. I'm so vision impaired that without them, I couldn't even get out of my house, much less work. Can I pay the mortgage to keep Allen at home amd still pay the other essentials....dear God, property tax installment 2 is coming up in less than a month! Thank God the Vet is more compassionate than the dentist because at least he removed Tucker's agonizingly painful bladder stones from out of nowhere and will let me pay the $2000 bill in 3 payment over 3 months...but where will that come from? I won't deny that I love "stuff"-especially stuff I don't need. And to not be able to buy something wonderfully outrageous that will delight someone...like Zoey, well that's a version of Hell for me. So, woe is me, woe is US. The economy SUCKS DIRTY DICK and there's nothing fair or right about it. Like my daughter, like most of you, I THOUGHT, no I banked on immunity based on a life of being GOOD and doing the RIGHT things...and that bank went belly-up. So, what to do? Got me. But I'm gonna keep on doing what I do and keep on doing my best to NOT let finances define me or my life. Denial's a hell of a lot harder lately but it's still possible and I figure maybe I can ride it out because, look around and see the most excellent company I'm in...and while I sometimes hear Tennessee Ernie Ford in my head..."You Load Sixteen Tons and Whatta'You Get? Another Day Older and Deeper in Debt." I'm not yet humming it aloud while I work! I'm trying to consciously switch to, "I Will Survive". Sisters and Brothers in debt, UNITE! If worse comes to worse, we could all live in a freaking great commune together until the storm passes. I have no doubt that we could entertain each other and we'll laugh and laugh...!
LOVE YOU!
Mom/Grandma Slightly Tarnished

Melissa said...

Life can be very very scary, and very very frustrating. I'm sorry you are in both places. Thoughts with you.

Amy said...

Venting will save you. And by venting, I mean what you're doing on your amazing blog, not those lame- ass beer commercials. You are an amazing writer with a great, interesting family behind you. I'm sorry you are going through this. Hang in there. This too shall pass.

That Girl Designs said...

You know what I think? I think this is one of the best posts I've read in a long time. Raw, real, and truly what so many of us have been feeling. Now, with that said, although we too are struggling of late, I'm not angry. I'm determined!! This is the only life I have, and I'll be damned if I will let money define it for me. Its hard I know, and sometimes I have sleepless nights. But I just keep coming back to believing that we are in charge of our own lives and it is up to me to fight my way back to a place of comfort and calm. (I'll admit that yoga helps a bunch here.) Anyway, here is my own personal mantra of sorts:

"I have all of the tools within me, to have the life I want to live."

Here's wishing great and wonderful things for you and your family.

Hugs,
Ann

PS: Your Mother's comments were fabulous. Made me laugh.

Patti-atti said...

I have to share with you, that it's your words, and stories, tales, and honesty - those are what get me through my long days at my job.

I have one of those motherfucking jobs - that, because of your plight - I have at least a little appreciation for.

Times are hard - I can see that. I feel like sometimes people get dealt more than their share of crap - and it can definitely stifle the light within them. But I've learned something from my own trials and tribulations - there's something about the human spirit that pushes us on - and takes us through the hard times to the other side. Sometimes there are swear words and nasties and garbage on the way - but eventually that light starts to glow again - when you're at the place where you realize "I CAN do this.. it WILL get better" and that's when you realize that it's harder to stay angry than it is to be positive.

It takes time, though.

I'm sending you so many positive vibes - you and your entire family. I think that Karma is still kickin' around, although it may seem somewhere off in the distance - and luckily for you - you have manage to touch many people who will send you the energy to take the first steps - and who will follow you down your new path.

With hope & Caring,
Patti.

Anonymous said...

Try to buck up- lifes not about $$, cars, good day cares, nice houses in marin county. Or is it to you? Go outside, spend time with your daughter before she doesnt want to anymore. Find a new house thats cute and you can decorate, and thats "god for bid" not in mill valley!
your smart- you'll succeed. you have it way better than so many.

Charlee said...

You cannot imagine the smile I had reading your Mom's words SUCK DIRTY DICK. The worst word my Mom has ever uttered is "crud", but I know deep down she could use those three words. They can be very appropriate - like today.

Taddie Tales said...

Seems like it's all been said above - we're just barely scraping by on one salary since I lost my job last year. We just try to make the best of it and I cherish the time with my girls.

...and we live on Top Roman and are thankful for coupons and the Dollar Tree.

Thank you for being so real Suzanah. I read all those design blogs too and want want want. It's nice to visit you for a dose of reality. Hang in there and smother that baby with LOVE.

Jessie said...

Totally sucks. It has hit here really hard, too. I've been laid off since August, and the only job offers I am getting are lame and more importantly WILL. NOT. PAY. FOR. THE. MORTGAGE. Or for cat food.

I am so sick of being unemployed, and I know it is just a small matter of time before I am forced to take some minimum-wage-crap-shoot.

I hate waking up every morning asking myself "What the heck am I supposed to do?!"

Hang in there, Suz. Despite my ranting, I'm thinking good thoughts for you and yours.

Maggie, Dammit said...

I love this post. Is that wrong?

I'm sorry for all this. Your insides have every right to burn.

Anonymous said...

Girl - I love your blog. Ready it pretty damn near every day and I just want you to know...I too hate Starbucks seasonal coffee cups.

Kwana said...

Oh crap. I feel you and I'm sorry. I know you're pissed. I am too. Going to the grocery and holding you're breath. Watching the bills pile up. Dreams getting further away. It's paralyzing. But don't let it get you too down. It's dangerous. Have faith. I know it's really hard. I'm not sure if you believe. That's hard too. For me sometimes but I'll say a prayer for you tonight when I say one for myself.

"Faith is stepping out on nothing and landing on something" I heard that years ago when I was in a hotel room in Turkey. Thanks for reminding me of it today. I'm going to blog on it soon.

darlabug said...

what a great post. Thank you for sharing your feelings and you shouldn't be ashamed of them. Life is rough for everyone now. My husband owns a construction company and just found out yesterday that the owner of the job he just completed is not going to pay so very bad news. But, I am thankful for my family and health.

Anonymous said...

Use your blog to post your resume - do a blog post on your qualificatioins - it will come up in google alerts. Use the words "updated my resume" in every damn post you do use job titles in your posts. Open a twitter account a facebook account and a linked profile and promote these through your blog. Goolge loves blog posts. Or... better yet start a new blog keeping it positive and not linking to this blog (it's ok to let it out but you don't want a potential employer reading that you are amotherfucker). Recruiters are ALWAYS looking for talented people. Boost your "web 2.0" knowledge and "social media" knowledge. The are also reading blogs, facebook pages, twitter et all to learn more about you before they approach you. You will get more bees with honey than with... what ever that saying is! Help recruiters find you.

Anonymous said...

I agree with the previous poster who suggested that you get out there and volunteer. You are richer, prettier, healthier, more loved than 95% of the people at your local homeless shelter and 98% of the planet. It doesn't hurt to be reminded of that fact while actually DOING SOMETHING that might help a few of them stay afloat. If you're not part of the solution, you're definitely part of the problem.