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[personal profile] dar
Trying to get back into using this thing at least semi-regularly, since DW seems to be picking up a good head of steam and all.

Not much has changed since last update. Well, Da's back out of hospital, at least. And sort of back in work. He's not doing any actual manual labour, just keeping the gears turning. He's not a man who can sit still for very long. Still, a parent in hospital is a terribly sobering experience.
Money's still tight. I cut down on everything I could. No new books, games, etc. Haven't had a day or night out in weeks, which has had the effect of driving me somewhat slightly stir crazy. I've been living on sandwiches, coffee, noodles, toast, eggs and whatever's for dinner. No snacking, nothing on the shopping list but the very basics. Basically, I've tried to reduce the cost of my own living here to the barest minimum. Anytime I need to spend money, I have to do this horrible miserly ritual of justifying it. And in doing so, I can't believe how relatively flush I was before. I look around my room and I'm all "Wow, when did I have the money to spend on clothes? (And why did I do that?)"

The job hunting has not gone particularly well, for me or Ronan. No surprises, this is Ireland. Most of the job sites don't seem to be offering jobs so much as careers. And many of them demand someone with an obscene level of qualifications and experience. I'm not even joking, they seem to describe preferred applicants with the same level of unrealistic detail most people usually reserve for their ideal fantasy woman or man.
And many of them are also deceptive. There was a woman on the radio about a week or two ago talking about how a job she applied for was advertised as accountancy, and it was only after getting through the interview she discovered the job actually involved packing boxes. And I can't get my head around that. Why would you do that? Why would you want someone overqualified to pack boxes? Why don't you just advertise that it's a job packing boxes? I can do that! I'd be happy with that.
I don't understand it. I don't know why these places all want overqualified people for menial jobs. At a guess, I'd say it was some sort of desperate attempt to cling to Ireland's elite before they emigrate, at any cost. Sort of "No! Don't go to Australia and practice law! Stay here and pack boxes! Yes, I know it's a menial task, but at least you'll be HERE, right? We don't want to send our best and brightest abroad where they'll be appreciated and stay!"

All this has had the inevitable effect of sending me into a spell of depression. I'm a little better at the moment, but these are not good times. And just because I have the tools to get me through a bout of depression doesn't make it hurt any less. They don't diminish the lousy feelings or send them away. They just help you catch your own bad thoughts, and stop you acting on them so you don't do anything stupid. It's like a cop in your head issuing tickets.
"There's no point to anything." - "That's all-or-nothing thinking. A bad time doesn't make everything pointless."
"My friends don't want anything to do with me. They think I'm pathetic." - "That's mind reading."
"I've wasted my whole life." - "Jumping to conclusions. You haven't lived your whole life yet, you're 29."
"If I had made the right choices, I'd have a degree and a proper job. It's my own fault I can't help anyone." - "Wishful thinking, should statements and self-blame, soon to be followed by self-punishment."
"I'm screwed, we're all screwed, there's no hope and no way out." - "That's catastrophizing."

That's what it looks like. Emotion and logic having an argument in my head. Like Kirk and Spock.
Anyway. I've been thinking in all this how easy hope comes into me, and I'm not sure if it's a good or bad thing. When you feel hopeless, any light at the end of the tunnel will do, any light at all. But a fragile hope like that is also easily dashed, leading to bitter disappointment. Which leaves me pondering the dilemma: is it better to have fleeting hope and keep getting hurt, or no hope at all and never getting disappointed?

But like I said, I'm feeling a little better at the moment. Like, things aren't any better, but I can still keep moving forward and keep trying. Like I made it through the storm's waves, and now the sea is oddly calm, and all I can do is wait for a breeze for my sails or a passing ship to pick me up. I need to spend the time as productively as possible, not raging at myself.
Morale is very important right now, and there's been some boosts. I'm finished with the dentist, so no more having to go pay to go sit in a chair and get things jabbed in my mouth. I only have €40 left on my debts, and once that's paid I'm clear. I have things that, if it comes to it, I can sell. (Though some things I just can't, like books. I CAN'T, they're part of me. They're places I've been, memories I've made. They're worlds I went to because this one was never welcoming. They taught me different ways of thinking. I can't just sell things that made me. I wouldn't get much for them anyway, and telling me parts of my life were only worth pennies is a shame I could do without.)

And I've been editing and writing again. Though I am a little frustrated at how much time I spend looking at a blinking cursor trying to think of the right words, and scrolling back up to see I've barely done a few pages. I suspect I'm not the only one who suffers from this, though. Still, always find myself wishing I could be part of something with other people who do this.
Oh yeah, I noticed how funny it is when you write something down because you only think it's a good idea and nothing more, with no attention on where it came from. Some of it's obvious, like I write about familial betrayal because I'm trying to understand the crap that goes on in my family and extended family. But sometimes I read stuff back and I realize my subconsciousness is on the page. I mean, I've got a guy who sells out the human race and destroys the frickin' world to save his own ass and make a good life for himself. Hello, working class frustration with bankers, bailouts and politicians. I've got a group of normal, healthy, able-bodied people discriminated against and brutalized for not having unrealistic exceptional abilities. That's anger with the would-be employers. Things like that.
Personally, I don't believe art can be separated from the artist, no more than a child can be separated from their parent. Oh, you can take them away legally, but you can't sever the link of blood and genes. You can't do anything about the fact they're half of another human being. It's the same with any creative work, it's part of someone else. You can try to take the art away from the artist, but you can never say it's something that could spontaneously will itself into existence on its own. It was made from the thoughts, memories, experience and will of a particular individual, and no "Death of the author" theory can change that.

So, that's how it is.
These are not the good times, but I'm still afloat, and holding on to hope. Something I heard Sean Connery say in a movie once about how his character got through prison. "Nurtured the hope that there was hope."
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December 2011

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