Keeping up appearances.

I think what I hate the most about having to be around other people is the smiling. That, and the pseudo-apologetic persona that I use to prevent storms from brewing when I am not in the mood to deal with any conflict. The other day a woman tried to order things from me while I was clocking in. I look up and inform her that I am unfortunately not trained to take orders and therefore don’t know how to use the machine. I always grin and say this politely, because it happens all the time. This woman says to me very rudely, almost under her breath, “Well where is someone who can?” Oh gee, you know, I’m awfully sorry that my manager, who is over there kind enough to be helping with the chaos the grill people are dealing with, is delaying you from your greasy, disgusting food for ten seconds. Normally, when someone does this to me, asks me to do something I’m not sure/allowed to do, I’ll immediately go get someone who can. Instead I give her the grin that sometimes makes people back away from me, then I walk away without another word.

I went into a consignment store yesterday. One of the saleswomen was fluttering all around my godmother, completely ignoring me. This happens frequently, and I love it. Yes, please ignore me, I’m a shadow. Shadows don’t like to speak. They always think that because of how I’m dressed and how young I am, that there’s no potential money for them to claw out of me, which gives me the opportunity to shop without irritating interruptions or too much anxiety.

I actually found something that I liked, and couldn’t figure out which door was to the dressing room. I nearly went in the wrong room. I do things like this all of the time; I get nervous and I don’t pay attention to what I’m doing and I end up looking like an unobservant idiot. I’ve done some very embarrassing things while out, because I get stuck inside my head and put the rest of me on autopilot. I’ve walked into men’s restrooms before, broken things out of carelessness, and otherwise landed myself in situations where other people smiled at me sadly, as though they were thinking ‘wow, didn’t know they made things that stupid’. I do this at work too, and I’m sure by now that they think I’m a little slow in the head, because I repeatedly make mistakes, sometimes the same ones over and over because I am not mentally there. I either have no interest, or I’m too anxious to handle everything while I’m still thinking at full capacity. If I think, it will make me back out, give up, so…I don’t.

Anyway, it was ridiculous. I tried this dress on that was a little too small, but I really liked it and considered buying it since I keep dropping weight and would probably fit it just fine in a week if I wanted it to. Suddenly I was the center of attention. I awkwardly stood there letting my godmother state her opinion and all of that, and the saleswoman decided abruptly that I was the person to hound and flatter if she wanted to get at a wallet. I more or less got dragged to the mirror outside the dressing room, because the woman wanted me to look at it better. She said a bunch of the typical bullshit, repeatedly asserting that she’s a seamstress that could fix anything I don’t like about it, and that it was such a pretty dress and it was so me (she was very certain she knew…), and that it fit perfectly fine and I was lovely in it.

 The store was really small, so I knew some of the other shoppers were looking over at us curiously, and I was getting more stiff and unmoving by the minute. I pretended to examine it in the mirror, but was doing everything I could not to really look; I didn’t want to see. I didn’t want to think about the fact that people behind me were looking, or that my godmother was looking or the saleswoman was looking. I crossed my arms over my chest, feeling horribly narcissistic for even thinking to try the thing on, and eventually managed to get away from them by more or less running to the dressing room. I stood in there for a moment, irritated and shy, trying to decide if I liked it. I decided that I did, and put my clothes back on as quickly as I could. I felt better with my suit of armor, and suddenly I was alright again, if not a bit jittery. I even let her have my mailing address because my defences felt too drained for me to argue with any real conviction.

I ended up putting it on hold, and went back at the end of the day and bought it after some thought, because I decided that it was me, at least the person everyone sees and believes is me. The manipulator. She wears dresses. She’s not a boyish misanthrope that covers herself up with layers of clothes and shrinks away from others. She smiles. She likes people. She treats them well and is always polite. She never thinks about how much it would please her to shout at everyone to stop fucking staring. She would never think to give the smiles that I give, the ones that are all threat and no happiness, and always follow as an unconscious reaction to some sadistic thought. She would never do that, think that. No, not her.   

Because she’s exactly what they want her to be.

To keep.

There’s so much about this I don’t understand. Every time I open a new doorway, a million more appear for me to explore. It’s a labyrinth, and I’m beginning to think it will stretch on forever, if there is such a thing. It’s a dark, long road to either doom or hope; I still don’t know yet. I’ll face that door when I come to it. God, all I can do is speak riddles today.

I feel so wrong, standing there in my blue uniform with my pressed pants and hair pulled back. That person isn’t me. People always ask me how old I am. Even when I say 19, they still ask if I have children. It makes me laugh every time. And finally, the other day, I snapped a little, and said rudely, “I’m 19, of course I don’t have children.” All of the women are around 24-26 mostly married, and nearly all of them have 6 year olds at home. I can only look at them with amazement. Why? How could you? You are barely even done being a child yourself!

Imagine, this one girl I see frequently, had her first kid when she was twenty. One year from now, me, having a kid. The thought sends me into an absolute panic. The responsibility…. I almost can’t care for myself (let’s not even get into that…), let alone some infant that would be completely dependent on me. It’s just two very opposite lives, two extreme ways of thinking. Me, with my solitary, self-centered existence, and them working at a fast food restaurant to keep their kids clothed. It’s so fucked. I can’t understand them, that mentality. I simply cannot ever see that mindset applying to me. Everything that these people are is all that I am not. 

Another one of the girls at work is trying to befriend me, even suggesting we carpool (oh, the horror). I feel like this monster. I look over at her and find myself aggravated. We discovered we both moved to the area three years ago (and we lived near one another before too, apparently, which she thought was the greatest thing). Turns out we live a street away from one another currently, in the same subdivision. In fact, I think I figured out which house is hers. She was going on and on about things, and I could only swallow and grind my teeth as she went on to tell me how she hated where she used to live, how it was a terrible area and so on and so forth. My home. My beautiful home, was all I could think. Don’t you dare speak against it.

She inadvertently turned me against her with that insignificant conversation. That, and one of the first things she said to me in the morning was that she likes working in the front so that she can watch all of the hot men (she said this as she craned her neck around all the cooking equipment and giggled, pointing out some poor, unsuspecting individual who was prowling around the booths in the corner). That’s just not something you say to a person that you have met all of once. I don’t want to know. I don’t care. Girl talk is not something I can relate to or understand. Quite frankly, I find it fucking stupid, but you know, we all have our dislikes….   

I shouldn’t talk so badly of it. The people are extremely friendly. They always try to help you out. You have a tray in your arms, someone is usually ahead of you to open the oven, or take it from you. Today, my schedule got thrown out for some reason before I got to it. One of the guys dug through a pile of garbage and got it out for me. It was covered in grease and all manner of nasty things. I didn’t even ask him to. Shit like that makes me take a step back, as ridiculous as it sounds. Even the smallest kindness is not something I am used to getting from others.

I can’t begin to count how many times I’ve struggled while taking my mother somewhere, trying to get her wheelchair to some impossible place, with people walking around me not even giving me a second glance. I don’t even expect people to open a door for me. My whole perspective of humanity is usually down in the negatives, but at work, it’s either everybody helps everybody or we all fall behind. It’s different when there’s a paycheck involved, at least in this particular workplace. I’m grateful for that, because I know I could easily have been shoved into a situation with a bunch of assholes who weren’t willing to help me learn the ropes. Everyone has made an effort to teach the newcomers. In all honesty, I don’t think I could have had it much better. I may not have anything in common with anyone, and I may not have any inclination to befriend them or any of that, but I’m more than willing to be cordial with them, which is more than I can say for the majority of people I come across.

On a side note, I got payed. My first ever paycheck. I couldn’t be disappointed by my reaction; I saw it coming the first day of work. Not even the slightest sense of accomplishment, nothing but stony, cold silence in my head, no flip of my stomach or surge of excitement. I looked down at a check and just sighed. I don’t know where this is leading, but I guess the best thing I can do is not stop to think about it so much. It’s only money. It’s only life.

Worst nightmares aren’t so terrible when you live them.

I can’t think of anything more horrible than having a bunch of neighbors milling around my yard. Truly, there is no thing that irks me greater than having my personal sanctuary violated by indolent, rubber-necking strangers. I just couldn’t believe we invited them to be there.

 They always gawk; that is the way of people in tiny backwater communities. But having a yard sale around here is like some grand event. The termites crawl out of the woodwork to inspect the goods. It had to be done, I suppose. Our garage is like tumor that just won’t stop growing. So many storage containers piled halfway to the ceiling, making a miniscule (and very precious) void to park vehicles. Technically it’s a four car garage, but Christ, you wouldn’t know it. We had to get rid of some of it, and why not make some money while doing so?

But three hermits having this sort of thing is weird. Everyone was clearly intrigued, plastered to their car windows every time they went by our house. Not that they aren’t always…we’re like the haunted house on the block. Too neat to fit in, too distant. They watch us. Even our acre of property isn’t protection from their constant stares.

It used to be I could walk out into my yard with nothing on, or half dressed. Our old house had so much property, all atop a steep hill. I could do whatever the fuck I wanted, and our two neighbors, the wife beater & wife to the right, karaoke family to the left (you could hear their screeching across the canyon—goddamn those loud amplifiers), couldn’t have given any less of shit. They couldn’t even see our house, and the thought of coming over and saying hello never entered their conscience.

Those were the good old days, back when I couldn’t walk up the hill to visit my goats without fear of ticks and poison oak. But fuck, the damn solitude and beauty of the place made up for it. I found out recently, that the family who bought our beautiful little house couldn’t make the payments. It’s all empty atop that hill, where one pine tree, the same age as all the others, has grown twice as tall from all the childhood pets I buried beneath it. I guess that saying is true: you don’t know what you had till it’s gone.

Don’t get me wrong, the woods here are amazing, but they aren’t lush and green like I remember so fondly from when I was a kid. There are no leaves here to change with the season, no lovely reds and oranges and yellows. The ground isn’t that almost black, incredibly rich soil that used to grow anything. You’re lucky if you can get a rugged little pine tree to grow here without complaint. I like it, but it’s not my home. I still don’t feel like this is it, “The Place”. I know that if I do come into money, I will easily leave this place behind. Someday, maybe I’ll go back home again. 16 years is what it took for it to root into my heart, and as ridiculous as it sounds, I know it will never be fully replaced. Now I’m telling another story….

Today stretched on forever. I was a little homesick, for the first time since leaving. It’s been so long, so I really don’t get why I feel it now, of all times. But all those people invading and looking around, just made me miss my little ‘cottage’ on the hill. We never would have thought to have had a yard sale there.

I dealt with the people. I had to put up signs the other day, and when I was hammering one into the ground near the highway with the blunt side of an axe (yes an axe; someone misplaced the hammer), two boys rolled down their windows and shouted obscene things at me. There parents were in the car with them, too—that’s great parenting for you. I grinned, completely disgusted, and waved my axe at them. 

I placed people’s purchases in the bags, and stayed out of conversation for the most part, when it was avoidable. It was very hot today, but I wore long sleeves and gloves and kept my hair down to keep the sun at bay. I get burned so easily here, that I constantly have to cover up and suffer because I know I’ll end up red if exposed for a mere five minutes. Even sunscreen isn’t all that effective, so I slather it on repeatedly. I’m like one of those stereotypical nerds people make fun of when they go to the beach. I never see daylight except behind sunglasses and long sleeves. I should feel foolish, and people always comment, but I don’t bother caring anymore. Oh well. You think I’m weird? That’s grand. It probably didn’t help that I wore all black clothing, was somewhat dusty, and smelled like a gasoline canister. Quading clothes from yesterday. I didn’t even wash my hair, though it had that scent of engine exhaust to it when I went to bed last night. It’s like an aphrodisiac. I want to bottle that smell. Maybe I should work somewhere with cars.

So many people said, “You’re that girl who goes walking!” It was a bit disturbing to think about. But they bought my shit, useless shit I don’t want anymore, so I guess they can be tolerated. It was life story day too, like at college. I tried to talk to someone over IM about this, and she more or less said I was an ass for getting irritated with people who were trying to build an acquaintance. Well, I dunno, when you first meet someone at college, and this girl tells you that her boyfriend was shot in some horrible accident and she went to such and such elementary school, such and such junior high, and such and such high school, and her parents were over for Thanksgiving from whatever state, and that last night she had blood in her stool—and oh, do I think she should go to the doctor—-is a little too much information for a first introduction? And no, I did not just exaggerate, believe it or not. This really happened. In all honesty I don’t think I’m being overly harsh when I say, blatantly, I just don’t give a fuck. I’m not apologetic about it either—I just don’t.  

This is turning into five posts in one, but anyway…. It went okay. It wasn’t total doom or anything. I didn’t die, or run inside and hide in my room. I faced the beast and he pissed on my clothes rack and it wasn’t so bad (that was actually someone’s dog, but I digress…). I did eat enough ice cream to stock up for next winter, and binged on every food imaginable from all the stress after the day was complete. I drank White Russians and ate birthday cake that wasn’t mine, and went quading in the heat and saw three deer. It was like I lived a week of my general dullness in one day, and it felt like overload.  

I have to get up and do it again tommorrow. Damn.

Hiding away.

I’ve returned to my bizarre nightly schedule. The entire being awake before 1:00PM routine just isn’t for me, apparently. I only lasted a week. It’s 3:30 in the morning—I feel the tiniest bit delirious. 

I don’t know what is going on with me. I’ve been having nightmares, which never happens, and I’ve been shrugging everything off. I’m very Scarlett O’Hara lately, and fuck, tomorrow is another day, is it not? I haven’t even begun to think about the college thing, because each time I do, my stomach tightens and I feel the acids churning unpleasantly. I could try more places for work, but the truth is, I don’t feel like going through with it anymore. It’s a waste of time. People are going to go in and give a sob story about how they need a job to support their family, and I’m going to look like the privileged child who is looking for employment purely out of boredom.

Okay, the last part is half true. But hell, I would give my parents money if I could. We are always struggling. It’s hard to sustain three people when only one works, one is disabled, and the other is too stupid to have had a job previously. We’re such a motley group, mother with her love story obsession and 3 pound chihuahua, dad with his guns and fishing boats, and love of flowers, and me with my cats and loads of electronics that I sure the fuck don’t need, and mountains of horror movies that I watch through half-lidded eyes.  

I’m sinking deeper into the numbness for awhile, and it is much needed this time. I’m grateful. I want something to take over for awhile, that blessed autopilot. I know it is useless to say anything. I’m choosing to remain static in the world of chaos, as always. The dullness of it is so easy to fall back into. I forget sometimes that there is supposed to be something beyond this, that my laziness and safe position will not last forever. My parents will only tolerate me for so long. Sometimes I wish they would just give up on me; it would be easier that way. But I guess the truth is, I don’t deserve the easy way out in this situation; I’ve done it all to myself.

The dove is best part, because life goes on, doesn’t it?

Hopeless. Even more of a waste of time.

I understand perfectly well that nothing is fair. I get that it doesn’t matter if I’m depressed or suicidal—supposedly, unless I’m an utter failure, I should want the exact same things as everybody else, regardless of my personal feelings. If I’m depressed, it must be my fault. I should just take pills and stop whining.

But I won’t take pills. I won’t tell anything. Why live when I want nothing of what everyone else prizes so much? Their goals aren’t my own, the will to live is not my own. In all truth, I want nothing of anything; I want as far away from people as possible. I don’t want to participate in their sick little game and pretend to give a shit, because I don’t. I truly don’t.

I was watching a movie with my dad the other day, Jumper. I’m not fond of it, but he wanted to watch it, so I said nothing. He kept going on and on about how the main character should have used his powers for ‘good’. I could feel the little coil of revulsion twisting around in my stomach like a snake. Even he doesn’t get it. We are more different than I ever imagined, and each day that passes, I see that more and more. Everyone always claimed I was just like him, even I have said such things recently, but secretly…I’ve known. I’ve always known. He’s the hero sort…and me? Not so much. 

Heros and villains are practically the same; one has just deluded itself into believing that their purpose serves this thing called “the greater good”. They are only separate and different because of that single fact. But it is a tremendous difference. One has drive and will, the other has a lust for the kill. Generally, heroes are mistaken for villains. Just because a cause is ‘evil’ to one, does not mean it is the same for another. Killing a woman who had sex before marriage is perfectly normal in some cultures. Evil? No, it’s plain mercy to those who wield those beliefs. It is for the greater good to them.   

 I don’t want to save the world. I don’t even want to exist in it. And if I could teleport to where ever the hell I wanted, I would end up on some mountain in the middle of nowhere with a tent and a smile, poor, helpless citizens be damned. Let them suffer. They would turn me away given the chance, every last one. They already have, come to think of it. There are people all around, but the truth is that we are still all alone. So what does it matter? Why does anything matter anymore? This place has no purpose, no reason, and the more people struggle to make one, the more they show their weakness.

I may start attending college again. I haven’t decided yet. But if I do I’ll take five or six classes at a time and finish as quickly as I can. I don’t know if I can bear going back and participating in their useless bullshit again. It’s the people that kill me, more so than their stupid ideas. It’s the fact that they believe in their reasoning so deeply, when I stand back and tell myself again and again that what I think can change in an instant if I see anything the contrary. I contradict myself. And I don’t care. What is wrong with being wrong? Nothing. People don’t like to lose, so such things are hated. But I don’t care. Let me be wrong. Let me be right. At the end of the day it is all the same to me.

Sometimes giving up sounds so much better.

I feel like I don’t want to fight for me anymore. I want to give up, just stop all of this madness. I keep telling myself that it is so pointless to continue, that I am not going to be mourned long, that there is nothing in this life I’m going to be missing out on. I can’t love, I can’t be, not without feeling so incredibly wrong. I want nothing from this place. It holds no magic for me anymore, no mystery that must be solved. I figured it out as well as I ever will and now all I want is out.

I don’t want to have a future. I want to jepordize it so that there is no chance, no more excuses for me to continue. I’m only doing this because it is what I was taught. It’s not what I want. Fuck, it’s never what I want. I know I am a failure for willing this all away. So many people certainly have it worse, but they want to be here, for whatever reason. In these moments of clarity, it is not the uselessness and pointlessness that hurts the most, but the knowledge that there is something in me, somewhere, that has inadvertently kept me going. I know that this survival instinct is so fucking futile, and it disgusts me that I hold onto something after learning just how ugly it is on the inside. I’m stupid for doing so, just as worthless as the people I hate for accepting this system, embracing and loving it for the pseudo power it grants them.

Wave salvation in my face and I’ll throw it all away. I don’t want to go to the interview in two days; I’d rather…not be around instead.

How fucked up is that? I need to stop thinking like this. I need to face what I hate. But all I want is an easy way out, a permanent darkness where consciousness doesn’t exist. Where I don’t exist. I want to never have a thought again. Because I think I won’t make it. I can’t bear going on when it’s nothing but pain and hatred and wallowing and lies. This isn’t going to change. I’m not going to wake up tomorrow and feel like I live in a beautiful world, with wonderful people that I want to care for and help. If I make it, I’m going to hate every second, and I’m so sure of it…that I can’t stand it.

If I live I’m an idiot. If I die I’m a failure who gives up too easily. There is nothing to win, always a draw.

Always grey.