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State of the Brat 
3rd-Jun-2012 05:32 pm
qow, future (scared)
So I guess I've sucked at updates. And there are things going on in my life that people might like to know about, so here's a quick run down.


I graduated with a Masters in Education (EdM) in Studies in Education, with a focus in Museum Education. If that's a mouthful, just say "Masters in Education." It's pretty much what it says on the tin.

I currently am working for the American Museum of Natural History, designing curricula for their summer school programs, one of which I will also be co-teaching. This is my first paid job doing what I love! It's both awesome and... really really stressful because the complete curriculum for the one I'm not teaching is due Tuesday and I hate deadlines! I don't work well to them and they make me stressed. And when I'm stressed, I'm miserable.

It's a temporary job, and I'm able to do it because my student visa allows for it - technically, if I apply for permission to. My application is currently being processed. So fingers crossed, guys.


Well. First, I need to find a job. Then I need to get that job to sponsor me for an H1 visa so I can stay in the country. Else I'm out on my arse to the UK, where there are even fewer museum education jobs out there, and with whose education system I am now less familiar.

I want to stay you guys. I really do. I love living in New York. I love the museums here, I love my work (even if it's stressful), I love my apartment and my roommates. I love the friends I have here. I love the strangers, and the history and the culture.

And I don't want to fail at this.

Kinda stupid, I know. The only reason I'm here is for a love that failed. But if I go home, then it's just proof that I threw away all this money and time and effort for nothing.

But I have to find a job, and it's hard, and I'm frankly terrified of being kicked out of the country. I've applied for a few jobs, with absolutely no luck. I have already suffered in the last couple of months by putting all my hopes into one job, but right now, the only thing I can hope for is that this job turns into something longer term, and they think it's worth sponsoring me for a visa, which if I'm honest, I don't think is likely.

I genuinely don't know what to do.

Roller Derby and other exercises

So it's all katancelt's fault, really. She took me to a Gotham Girls bout last September and I was instantly hooked. So much so that skates went on my Christmas list and my sister supplied.

Of course, she knows me too well, and got me hockey skates instead of derby skates, but I've since fixed that. I've been skating on a pretty much twice-weekly basis since January and considering my usual terrible commitment to anything, this is pretty awesome.

What I love about roller skating is that once you've got something, you've got it, and you can feel that instantly. Wheels directly on your feet: there's instant feedback. From simply skating forward (or backward) to turns, stops, crossovers, I can go form "I don't even know how to start!" to "oh wow I'm doing it!" in the course of half an hour. It's amazing, guys.

With regular running now, and building up my ability to do press ups, I'm feeling a lot more at home in my body, these days.


Welp, I tried. I really did. I did a bit of OKCupid flirting. I met a couple people -one in particular has turned into a very good friend with whom I love spending time. But.

My heart is still broken, and despite my own experience and that of a very good friend being that meaningless sex a good way to get over that - I burned out all my promiscuity energy a long time ago. It's just... now I have to ask the question "will I ever love someone else well enough to change continents for them?" And. Well. No. Never again.

And my future is so uncertain that no commitments can be made, anyway. There's just no point in getting to know someone if I might be deported in a matter of months, is there?

I don't deal well on my own. A lot of my self regard rides on what people think of me, and I'm no one's "person they love more than anyone else," and I so very much want to be. But I suppose I'm going to have to figure out how to do it. Because I'm not fit for anyone else right now.

Mental Health. TRIGGER WARNING: Self harm, suicidal thoughts, hints at eating disorder

Well, the good news is, this is much better than it has been!

The bad news is that you can tell it's better than it has been because I'm actually having the suicidal thoughts. Which, um.

Don't worry, I'm not in any physical danger. For me, thoughts of suicide are so common that when I first read on a depression symptom list "thoughts of suicide whether or not you plan to follow through with them," I threw the howl list away instantly. That's normal, surely, I thought. That's just day to day life.


[Look, I had my first "I'm going to kill myself - no I'm not!" situation that I can remember when I was twelve. I was fantasizing about death before that. I have never done myself physical harm or put myself in physical danger in those ways. Though I did force myself into an eating disorder when I was a teenager, and my appetite is the first to play up when I'm having a hard time. See: the roleplay related starvation incident of 2006.]

Anyway, so it's been a really bad few months for me, mental health wise. Related to being lonely and stressed, obviously. In January, I noticed it had got so bad that I was no longer having suicidal thoughts.

I don't know if this can be explained.

My self esteem, my belief that I deserved happiness, had sunk so low that I had no desire to do anything for myself. Anything other than what was expected of me. Fulfill commitments, be around for the people who love me, keep existing. Because I believed so deeply that I deserved misery that I wasn't entertaining any fantasies of escape.

I didn't tell anyone, of course, because that's not the kind of thing you tell someone. "By the way, I've gone through depression and out the other side, but don't worry! I won't be in any danger until I cheer up a little!


So now, I'm just usually miserable. And futureless, and scared, and I'm kind of identifying far too much with Poison's Every Rose Has Its Thorn (I mean, WTF, self?)

So in conclusion: my mental health is shit! But I'm working on it! Yaaaaay me!

This post is also posted at InnerBrat @ Dreamwidth where it has comment count unavailable comments. Feel free to join in the conversation wherever you feel most comfortable.
(Deleted comment)
4th-Jun-2012 12:58 am (UTC)
I love you too.

And holy crap I don't think I can explain how much I love that you email me. I mean, I'm not good at emailing you, either cold or replying sometimes, but you never punish me for that and... yeah.

I will cold email you one day and THEN YOU'LL BE SURPRISED.
4th-Jun-2012 03:17 am (UTC)
I love you too. I understand a little bit; I see myself in some of this. I will do anything I can to help.
4th-Jun-2012 03:18 am (UTC)
Thank you. ♥
4th-Jun-2012 04:26 am (UTC)
zomg You got a Masters in Teaching People Museum Stuff and you used to study dinosaurs you are the coolest person in the world.

And you changed continents. And you have managed all of these really cool things while also dealing with crap and you are still doing these awesome things.

That is so ridiculously amazing.

And I like you very very much and really enjoy talking to you and if you need anything that I am remotely capable of doing, I am here.
4th-Jun-2012 06:49 pm (UTC)
Thank you for being you. And for talking to me about DINOSAURS and KNITTING and things. You always make me smile.
4th-Jun-2012 08:10 am (UTC)
4th-Jun-2012 07:14 pm (UTC)

I know that you know that I know you love me.
4th-Jun-2012 08:53 pm (UTC)
Good because I was trying to find words and utterly failing. Sometimes words really suck at expressing things ♥
4th-Jun-2012 08:59 am (UTC)
Not entirely sure what to say about the pieces and the big picture. But I am out here and hope you stay in NYC and am always able to be a friendly ear.
4th-Jun-2012 07:22 pm (UTC)
Thank you! When I have some free time I'll bother you to hang out.
4th-Jun-2012 01:36 pm (UTC)
From across the pond, it does not look like a waste of time, effort and emotion at all, some objectives just don't work out but there is never nothing useful drawn from them. You have gathered in a lot of experiences that make you you and it is worth it. The experiences, life, loves and friendships that emerge are waymarkers, not results. Did you see the Neil Gaiman commencement speech on youtube?

Not every result is bad or inevitable. Just keep plugging away as you are.
4th-Jun-2012 07:23 pm (UTC)
I didn't, but I can imagine the sentiment.

Thank you. I'll try to remember all of this.
4th-Jun-2012 02:36 pm (UTC)
Very well done on your Masters, although I am sorry that things are feeling like such an uphill struggle otherwise. I'm glad you felt able to work through it and articulate it in an LJ post, though. That seems like a positive mental health step to me - and I hope it has been in practice. I hope, too, that the the job and visa issues which are currently making it difficult to deal with the mental health stuff for the lack of a firm foundation improve soon. I am sure the feelings you're having about how other people perceive you are far harder to deal with while you're beset by job-and-life insecurity as well - it seems a tough call to have to face both.
4th-Jun-2012 07:23 pm (UTC)
Thank you for commenting, hon. I'll get through it, I know. One way or another.

And writing definitely helped.
(Deleted comment)
4th-Jun-2012 07:25 pm (UTC)
Yes but my brain. I fail at one thing, I'm a failure. I still hate myself for taking 6 years on the PhD. I probably always will, even though the people who hold it against me are few.

Thank you for the offer. I will bear it in mind :)
(Deleted comment)
4th-Jun-2012 08:40 pm (UTC)
Actually, those sound like helpful pieces of advice! I think I shall use the first one as well, for things I'm mad at other people about.

It's work, letting things go, but I'll remind myself of the rules. Thank you.
(Deleted comment)
4th-Jun-2012 09:33 pm (UTC)
I totally know what you mean about feeling like you're failing with job stuff (even though you're not, obviously). This is my second career change and second master's, so I really feel like if I can't do this, there's nothing left. Because of that, it's easy to feel like I've wasted all of my 20s, because it's not like I've been having exciting experiences or have a big body of written work or have been working on a PhD (like you did!!!) or anything to make up for the fact that I still haven't had a real job and am living off loans. Ugh job hunting is the easiest thing to make anyone feel useless.

The needing to stay in this country thing is scary, too. I'm nervous enough about Jeff not getting his shit together to be able to stay here, and he has a job! The internationals in my program really had a rough time with having to find work in their field, because theatre is about as hard to find a job in as museums and education.

Hooray for being your derby enabler! Definitely let me know the next time you want to skate together. I'm really looking forward to rec league.

Ugh mental stuff. Whenever you feel like talking about it, I'm here. I've been through my share of that. Every so often I still have to convince myself that I am capable of losing weight while still like, eating.
5th-Jun-2012 05:24 pm (UTC)
I know I gave everyone else a longer comment, but I just want to say ♥
5th-Jun-2012 05:30 pm (UTC)
<3 always
5th-Jun-2012 04:42 am (UTC)
Congratulations on finishing your Masters! And I think it's awesome that you want to stay in NYC. It is great here (and we have never managed to meet up in the time you've been here and I've been within reasonable commuting distance! This is sad and should be fixed.)

I'm sorry you've been feeling so bad, though. I'm also in the club of "used to have suicidal thoughts constantly without ever intending to act upon them", and, honestly, I don't think it's all that weird or necessarily a bad coping strategy - for me, it was like having the thoughts kept me from actually doing anything, and I've never actually put myself in any danger, either. It was, however, a distinct marker of depression that I managed to write off for years and years. :/ I'm glad it's getting a little better for you, and hope things continue in that direction. Life is hard and often shitty and unfair, but you've done a lot of good things and I generally think you're a very cool person.
5th-Jun-2012 05:26 pm (UTC)
I don't think it's all that weird or necessarily a bad coping strategy - for me, it was like having the thoughts kept me from actually doing anything, and I've never actually put myself in any danger, either.

That's a good way of looking at it. "Oh look. Thoughts. I'll have them. And then deal with what they mean."

Thank you. I don't comment a lot on your journal, but I always read.
8th-Jun-2012 07:52 pm (UTC)
Hi. I read this when it was posted on my iPhone, but haven't had the computer with which to comment until only recently.

Anyway, I hope you find a way to stay. I feel like even if I can't fully understand your exact circumstances, we went through some semi-similar emotional junk recently, so I can at least say, "Yeah, stuff can really suck, can't it?" I hope you can find your way out of the other end of depression. It's a nasty disease.

Also. I'm in Brooklyn now, so let me know if you want to hang. No pressure of course - I know how anxiety and/or depression can make such invites scary! - but I wanted to put that offer out there.
20th-Jun-2012 01:58 pm (UTC)
Hello! I read this comment when the email arrived on my iPod, but I haven't got my act together to reply until today!

YES. I want to hang. I'm really excited about meeting you! I'm unemployed/working from home so I probably have a much freer schedule than you, not including teaching weeks and vacations. Hit me up at this username at gmail :)
23rd-Jun-2012 07:03 pm (UTC)
Hi! Sorry, life gets slightly hectic, and I neglect LJ instantly. Yes, I will hit you up! I have a lot of next week free. Plus, we have orientation in July, so I shouldn't be working the crazy schedule yet,. I'll email you.
28th-Jun-2012 04:35 am (UTC)
A dr who themed bar! It's in prospect heights. We want to make it our regular bar. Anyway, thought you should know. I gotta email you...
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