May 24, 2008
Photo: Vertigo--it's a movie, too, and not just a lifestyle.
The best thing about being unemployed is all of the endless possibilities before me. Because I have a bunch of unstructured free time, I feel as though I can do pretty much anything. I can write that novel I've been meaning to; I can go on that road trip I've been talking about; I can cook and clean like an uber-housewife, and catch up on correspondence. I could become an astronaut, or a barista, or a bellydancer; what, I could. Of course, I've done none of these things, but it's nice to know that I could--it's almost comforting to know that I might be that type of person one day, given the right set of circumstances. Rent-bills-food, you say? Well, yeah, that's the worst thing about being unemployed: the fear. Fear of living with my parents in my thirties, fear of eating like a college student forever, fear of being stuck and staying stuck; I've faced the fear many times and lived. This time, though, the fear isn't there. I feel its' absence more than I do its' presence, which is weird and kind of wonderful.
For a week, I forced everything; must get a job, must clean the house, must-must-must, and I stressed the hell out. I gave up fighting against everything and just--I gave up. In a good way. And I'm happier for it. I'm a person who likes to stay perpetually stuck; when I'm stuck, I don't have to move forward, change and adapt, accept all life has to offer, make decisions, or do any of the other things my therapists have said are good for me. Fucking change, I would scream into my pillow, is fucking killing me. Today, however, I'm ... I'm content. I'm happy. The future? Who knows? I have no idea what I'll be doing in a week, where I'll be working in two months, or why I'm somewhat happy about those two unknowns; but I know that I'm moving in the right direction.
I'm smoke-free today; we've exercised more in the past couple of weeks than we have in the last year (and I've enjoyed it); we're systematically organizing our home, slowly but surely; we're cooking meals at home, healthy ones; I'M EATING SALAD, which is a huge deal for me (salad is my nemesis); I'm figuring out who I want on my team and who needs to get bent; we're getting enough sleep, laughing a lot, and spending quality time together. It's bizarre. My life has never been like this. This is what growing up probably feels like, just ten years too late. And it wasn't a conscious decision we made to change our lives around; the only decision we made was to give up anything with aspartame in it, although I like to think I gave up brain cancer instead. Then we bought out Trader Joe's, cleaned the kitchen, discovered WiiFit, found our way to Green Lake, and the rest is recent history. Being healthy is nice. It's a solid foundation for the inevitable growing pains we all go through. It's made being unemployed (and fantastic!) much, much easier.
I feel like I have life vertigo. Vertigo, as most people know it, is a specific type of dizziness that's a major symptom of a balance disorder. There are two kinds of vertigo: subjective and objective. Subjective is when you're standing still and feel like you're moving, which can throw off your balance; objective is when surroundings literally move past a person's field of vision. My life vertigo is subjective; I feel like I'm moving, but I'm not. I feel like I'm traveling inside, but my outside (my actual life) doesn't know it yet. I'm fragmented, but not totally lost, which is new--I can see all of my pieces, but they're not completely put together yet. What I'm doing with my idle time lately is figuring out how to do that, how to put them back together, in a different order from before. It's exciting and *screams* and I'm turning shit around. I'm like a carefree, human question mark, but I feel more comfortable in my skin now than I've ever been. Quitting my last job and getting away from it all--'the blind leading those who can already see' is how I think of it (although I remember everything more fondly the farther I get away from it)--and wandering into the blissful unknown was the best thing I've ever done for myself, which is crazyshit and stupid, pure and simple. It's life vertigo, and those fragmented pieces are coming together on their own, without any of my help.
The word vertigo comes from the Latin vertere, to turn, and the suffix -igo, a condition; "a condition of turning about". This is what ails me--vertigo, life vertigo--a condition of turning about, a condition of turning my life about. Finally, a disease I can get behind.