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5

hooray_for_dead_cops wrote

[first continuation]

I had read around that time that the Air Force had upped its cutoff age to 39 and I saw an opportunity. I stopped smoking weed, started running and working out, and started studying for the ASVAB. After a couple months, I went to a recruiter and was told that I was automatically disqualified due to my history of having lost my job as an EMT for drug use. He told me the Army was more lenient so why not try them? After some time, I went to speak with an Army recruiter. I went a little further with them but was told that I would have jump some hurdles to be accepted and even if I would be allowed to enlist, I would not be able to work as a medic--which is all I wanted to do with the military--or most other jobs, as they required clearance which I would not be able to get with my history. Dejected, I gave up.

A few months ago, I get a call from another Army recruiter. Apparently, I had gotten a perfect score on the practice ASVAB I had been given by the previous Army recruiter and now they wanted me. He told me maybe he could help me out and maybe medic wasn't completely out of the question. I didn't fully believe him but I agreed to meet with him in person and talk about things. At this point though, my apprehension at contributing to an imperialist war machine had increased and that, coupled with my skepticism at the recruiter's promises, led me to cease my pursuit of a stint with the US military. Since then though, I've just been kinda lost.

I started smoking weed again and dropped out of society for a while. A little over a month ago, I started working as a dog-walker for the bourgeoisie in an effort to re-acclimate myself to society. The work is easy and I like being around the dogs but the pay is shit and I get really uncomfortable going into these rich neighborhoods and homes. A week ago, I was hit by a car and while I didn't suffer any serious injuries, I messed up my foot a little bit. I told them I needed a few days but they took me off the schedule for almost 2 weeks. So now I'm not working for the next week and a half and it's given me some time to realize that this really isn't helping with anything and this isn't the life I want to be living.

To make matters worse, here's something else. A couple years ago, my girlfriend was part of a small team at work. Her team was mostly male and she was close with them all. I've had a lot of female friends and I've never been especially jealous so it never really bothered me that most of my girlfriend's friends were male. One of my girlfriend's coworkers, however (let's call him M.), left her team and went down to store-level. Not working together anymore, they didn't really see each other but they kept in touch via text and Facebook. One day, she comes home and tells me that M. has been going around telling people that they had sex together. At the time, it didn't even occur to me that maybe they did sleep together because I don't even know this guy. How would I have found out if she hadn't been the one to bring it up? I told her that I hoped she wouldn't be speaking to him anymore and she said of course not. A few weeks later though, she was talking about "M. this" and "M. that."

"I thought you said you weren't going to talk to him anymore," I said, but she told me he had apologized and they reconciled and now they were friends again.

I told her that I didn't care if he apologized, that I was uncomfortable that she was talking to him again and I didn't want her to continue to be friends with him. She brushed off my discomfort for a while before finally agreeing to break it off for good.

My girlfriend has always been secretive about her phone, which is kinda shady, but people have their boundaries and I've always tried to be respectful of her's. A few months ago, around the start of this past summer, the sun was setting and the sky was a real pretty color. I said I was gonna go outside and take a picture and she asked if I would take a picture with her phone. I said ok and went outside. When I took the picture with her phone, a text message pops up. It's from M. and it says "how long do I have you until tomorrow?" She had told me that she was meeting her mother in the city the next day for lunch but now I knew that was a lie.

I've never peeked through my girlfriend's phone before but when I saw that text message, I did. I don't know much about iPhones as I have a Droid but she wasn't using the main text messaging app to message him, but she had conversations with other people using that app as well so I don't know if that alone should be very concerning. There were no sexual or romantic messages--mostly just talking about work, family, general life stuff--but she had been talking to him often--sometimes consecutive days at a time--going back at least 6 months. It was probably longer but 6 months was all I scrolled back to. I didn't say anything.

3

hooray_for_dead_cops wrote

[second continuation]

The next day, my girlfriend stayed home, saying that her mother cancelled on her, but I knew it was M. that cancelled. The next weekend, she said she was going to her parents' house and I peeked through her phone again. She had plans to see M.

It's been almost half a year at this point and I haven't peeked through her phone since but I also still haven't said anything. I stopped having sex with her and while we still spend time together, as we live together, I know she's started to pick up on how distant I've become. Every time I want to say something, I chicken out at the last minute. I know I don't love her anymore and I don't want to be in this relationship anymore but if we break up, I have nowhere to go. I've given her most of my savings and whatever money I've been picking up here and there these past couple years for rent, bills, and food, and now I'm broke. I don't have enough money to get a new place or even a room and I don't make enough to save up anything and I don't really have any family to turn to.

Out of depression, I've ghosted most of my friends while others have drifted away and she's really all I have left at this point and even though I can't even talk to her about a lot of things, I'm so terrified of being alone. I already feel alone but I don't want to be actually alone. My uncle (my mother's brother) lives in North Carolina and has vaguely hinted that I could stay with him for a while but I know he doesn't want to support me and I don't want to be a burden on anybody. I don't even have a driver's license anymore. Also, I don't feel entirely comfortable about him. A little over a year ago, I brought up my father's murder and he tried to tell me that my father wasn't murdered, that he was an epileptic (which is true) and "probably choked on a potato chip while he was watching TV" and since then, I've been kinda suspicious about what he knows about my father's death and to what extent he may have been involved.

A few months ago, I reached out to somebody with a subscription to newspapers.com on a forum on a site I'm a member of and asked if they could send me some articles about my father's murder. A day or two later, I got an email with about 50 pdfs of local newspaper articles from 30 years ago about my father's murder. Even now, phrases like "his body was found badly beaten" and "strangled" are like barbs in my chest. From what I already knew and from what I read in those articles, it seems like my mother was involved, but I still don't know. There's somebody else, whom my mother named to me as a possible suspect, and while the articles I read make my mother's involvement seem even more likely, the mentions of that man in those articles raise suspicions about his involvement as well. To my knowledge, he is still alive, but he has a good amount of political power and if he was, in fact, involved, there's nothing I could ever bring to the table and, even if I could, I don't see him ever being charged, let alone convicted. I had hoped reading those articles would help clear some things up but they raise even more questions that I'll never have answers to and the pain, confusion, and helplessness is as bad now as it ever was.

All I've ever wanted was to be self-sufficient and work in a field that benefits a community rather than filling some corporate coffers but now, my name has been tarnished, I have no degree, I can't go back to school until I pay off my debts, and I have no prospects. I feel like I've lost some of the aspects I once admired about myself and I feel like I've started giving up. I don't think I'd try to kill myself because death scares me more than anything but still, every day, I want to die. I really don't know what to do.

Also worth mentioning is the fact that I've struggled with gender dysphoria as long as I can remember. My mother caught me playing dress-up in her clothes when I was 4 or 5 and beat the shit out of me as she forced me to strip. Since then, I've tried my damnedest to deny that part of myself but it's never gone away and I know that it never will. A couple years ago, a few months after my mother died, I finally started coming to terms with that part of myself and I came clean to my girlfriend and a number of my friends. My girlfriend didn't react exceptionally badly but it wasn't exactly a positive reaction either.

I saw a gender therapist for a while, in an effort towards self-acceptance moreso than an immediate medical transition, and I also started going to a couple support groups. Neither of those things was entirely helpful though and after a few months, I stopped going. I didn't think transitioning would be entirely fair to my girlfriend, after years of being together. The medical options for people with gender dysphoria don't exactly live up to my expectations either. Also, having been raised by an unfit mother with mental issues and having never really known my father, the urge to have biological children of my own has been a very real desire. Now though, I'm 32 and my current partner is not really someone I'd want to have children with anymore and I don't really feel like getting to know someone else just to fulfill that desire and going the trans route seems like more of a possibility. Merely living in defiance of gender norms is not an option I'd be willing to explore, however. Still, the prospect of transition is as frightening now as it was a couple years ago and while there are periods where I feel almost certain that that is the path I want to take, I'm still unsure whether that's something I would really want to go through with. Either way, it's not even something I can really consider until I figure out how to get my life back in some kinda order.

Lastly, while this is not as major as everything else mentioned herein, it's still been causing me distress. After my whole ordeal with the military, I started smoking weed again. I think I may have developed an allergy though and so after a few short months of being a pothead again, I had to quit yet again a few weeks back. I don't drink alcohol and I'm not trying to go back to pills or dope and, while kratom can be somewhat helpful at times, being sober all the time is kind of a bummer and not being able to escape from all these thoughts and emotions can be kinda overwhelming.

I'm utterly lost and I have no idea what I'm going to do about anything.

Someone, please help.

6

Tequila_Wolf wrote

That sounds fucking brutal.

I'm not sure I can help with anything but I'll try to offer a few points. There are two main ones that are important for me.

The first is that, I don't live in too different a situation from you in some important ways, though you're further down the line in your alienation from the world as a result of all this. A lot of what you said resonated with me, around being alone and feeling your situation get progressively worse and not wanting to be alive but not really having death as an option.

One thing really comes through from what you've said. Even though you feel like your options are getting fewer and you're feeling less able to make them work for you, it's clear that (and this is my second point) you're incredibly resilient. You've tried to move to do new things, meaningful things, often, whenever life's thrown you a beating.

You've got a lot going on and it's probably impossible to keep juggling all those balls. I get that. If you're like me, your dysphoria is probably weightier on you than you let yourself feel. I think it's ok not to feel that stuff too much, since the world is trying to kill us. It's probably just luck that might help us, and we don't seem to have much luck. I don't know.

If I have any suggestion, it'd be to try to find a job out of town and get a fresh start. You seem like you're smart and that people would like to have you working for them. Your thing with your girlfriend seems a clear dead end, and it's probably draining a lot of your energy to stick around there, as scary as it seems to leave. Pay a little rent and work on paying off your loans? Being alone sucks but I think just from how you speak here that you're a pleasant person and that you'll find warmth in the smiles of the people you find yourself around. You should know that there are cool people out there for you, they're looking for you like you're looking for them, and maybe then you won't feel so alone.

Good luck.

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hooray_for_dead_cops wrote (edited )

Hey thanks for responding. Obviously I probably won't be able to offer much helpful advice as per your situation but if you feel like sharing, I'm up for listening (or reading I guess).

I used to feel like I was oh so resilient but these days, I dunno. I feel like most of the time, I've just kinda scraped by. Like life throws me all these curve balls or whatever and I just roll with the punches. I feel like as shitty as my life has been, I've just been kinda lucky throughout. Shit could have been a lot worse and while I've made some positive moves with the right timing, sometimes shit just fell into place I guess. Depending on the time of day, maybe I'll feel like I'm not giving myself enough credit or maybe I'll feel like I'm giving myself too much, you know?

About finding a job out of town, I don't know if I can do that. Probably a mental hurdle. I hate living in NYC and I've wanted to leave for a long time but thinking about leaving kinda fills me with dread a little. Like leaving would have its benefits--slower pace of living, liberal corporate America might not be so in my face all the damn time (though maybe it would be cause it's not like there aren't a million fucking billboards cluttering up all the streets and highways all across this shitty country and it isn't like human resource manager [the scum of the earth] isn't a job title outside of NYC), more nature, less concrete and steel, cheaper cost of living, people could be a little nicer/more cordial, etc. But at the same time, I'd lose all the conveniences I've come to take for granted living here, I'd have to get a driver's license again (and I hate driving), and even though I've kinda fallen off the map, if I ever get the courage to start getting back into the world, pretty much everybody I know is here or nearby.

Like I said previously, my uncle's been pressing me to move out to NC where he lives but I'm not trying to be dependent on him, even short term, and the whole thing with what he said about my dad last year just really unsettles me. If I could work shit out with my girlfriend, moving wouldn't be such a scary prospect, but thinking about leaving alone is just kinda frightening. And then there's the question of how I'll afford it, cause I'm just about running on empty right now. I still pay for food a lot but my girlfriend's been covering all other expenses pretty much for the past couple months and pretty soon, unless I could land a better job, she'll be covering food too. And probably my cigarettes too, which makes me feel real shitty. At least I know where to get em on the cheap though.

I've tried quitting a bunch of times in the past couple years but I keep coming back. Quitting cigarettes is mad harder than quitting dope. And right now, with all the stress and everything and the fact that I don't even get high anymore, I don't even wanna think about trying to quit smoking again.

I've given my girlfriend so much money in the past 2 years alone, part of me feels like she owes it to me to carry the load for a while but then there's the part of me that feels like a heel, like an entitled asshole. And I mean, she makes money, but she's not as well off as she was a year ago and that makes me feel kinda guilty. But then at the same time, I've given here a lot of money and though I can't prove it, I feel like a few of those times that she needed it was predicated on a lie. That's a whole nother can of worms though. But it still boils back down to the fact that I don't feel I can trust her. Either way though, she's had my back in the past so in the end, I guess it all kinda evens out more or less. I just feel really conflicted now that I'm starting to have to rely on her. And if I leave, then I'm just assed out. And I mean, we've been together 10 years so the thought of leaving, even considering everything, is just so daunting. And she used to have a real bad attitude--like somebody pissed her off 10 hours ago and now she's taking it out on me--but in the past year, she's lightened up a lot and that just makes it even harder to leave. I mean, she used to be such a bummer to be around and now, if I can forget all the bullshit long enough, she's kinda pleasant most of the time. I know I probably should dip but I dunno man. These days, everything just scares the crap out of me.

I really feel like these last few years have broken me down a lot and a lot of the strengths I once had have kind of evaporated. Like I've seen an experienced a lot of fucked up shit and it all just kinda rolled off my shoulder. Since being shit-canned 5 years ago, and especially since my mom died, I think about some things and I dunno, it feels more traumatic than it did at the time.

When I was 19 or 20, I watched 2 acquaintances stab the shit out of somebody in the street and then we went to Popeye's like it was nothing. I always knew that was fucked up, even when it happened. Don't think I was just like cool with what they did or anything. But like, for a year after my mom died, I started having flashbacks of a lot of shit and that popped up quite a few times and it would fill me with panic even though it was so long ago. And I mean I guess it should but now it's like, all these things happened throughout my life and I dunno if I boxed them up or what but now that I'm breaking down, just everything is coming out and that makes everything even more overwhelming, you know? I mean it's not so bad as it was 2 years ago, but still, things happen and it's not so easy to just let it roll off my shoulders anymore.

I tried therapy 2 years or so ago. General therapy. That didn't help though. Before the gender therapist and a few months before I started snorting heroin. Didn't really work out though. I had one therapist for one or two sessions and then I had a few with another one and I just felt like she didn't really listen to a word I said. I told her from the jump that I was still recovering from a pill addiction and I just wanted someone to talk shit out with and didn't wanna be put on medication but every session, she's like "well you need to stop smoking weed so I can put you on medication." Not too many options for help when all you got is Medicaid though so I just stopped going after a while.

That whole stabbing thing I mentioned, I mentioned that to the therapist and I also brought it up to the gender therapist and I've mentioned it to people here and there and their reactions just make me so fucking mad. It's not my fucking fault that I was forced into this violent fucking world and I'm hurting inside and I just want a shoulder to cry on and people think I'm making shit up or bragging or something. I've personally witnessed countless acts of excessive force by police or abuse of power committed by police, both as a civilian and as an EMT, and people think I'm just making shit up. The (unarmed) brother of a good friend of mine was murdered by police in front of his grandmother's house when I was 15 or 16 but sure, I'm just making that up.

I had this username on Reddit and got banned for "inciting/encouraging violence" and that's whatever but I got a lot of PMs from people telling me to kill myself or that I was scum or whatever and I even got the rare PM from someone admiring the name, but you know what? Not once did anyone ever ask me about my experiences with the police that made me feel the need to create this username. And I mean, it wasn't even my experiences with the police that made me create this name. I saw an upvoted comment on an article about, I think, Walter Scott, that said "hooray for dead thugs" so this name was mostly reactionary. But nobody ever bothered to ask. And on the rare occasion that I offered up a small bit of my experiences, oh, I'm making it up.

I got into an argument with my grandmother a year or so ago when I said something about the police that wasn't exactly praising them. She got mad and I just went off and told her about a bunch of personal experiences, just as an EMT, not even counting the shit I've experienced as a civilian. My old partner and I tried to take a stand against the cops after one particular incident and nothing got done and we became targets whenever we had a job in that precinct. But oh, I'm making it up. And I mean, yeah, sure, that's grandmom-moms. She's old and set in her ways. But nah man, that's fucking everybody. Everybody's willfully blind and they just wanna live in their fucking bubbles and they don't wanna hear about any of the horrid shit other people have had to deal with if it conflicts with their insulated, backward world view.

I'm sorry man. I'm going off on a tangent. I just got a lot of shit to unload. Just so much of this shitty world makes me so fucking mad and I feel so goddamn helpless against all of it.

I've been studying programming recently and hopefully something can come out of that. I have an idea for a project I want to undertake in the hopes that it might help some folks out so hopefully I can get there at some point but programming can be kind of intimidating at times. I have a basic understanding of a bunch of languages--took a C++ class in college, learned the basics of a handful of other languages on my own--nothing I can put to practical use at the moment though. Right now, I guess I'm intermediate level with JavaScript, which is what I've been focusing on recently. Hopefully soon enough I could get to work on my project and maybe at some point, I'll be at a level where maybe I could make some money with the knowledge I have. I don't really see myself making money with the project I have in mind though and I don't even know how helpful it would even really be but I'll give it a shot.

Again, thanks for replying and sorry for bumming you out with all this shit. Like I said, if you want someone to unload your frustrations on, I'm all ears.

2

Tequila_Wolf wrote

Hey, sorry I haven't managed to reply again here. I haven't forgotten about you or ignored it, I just have a bit too much on my plate at the moment and it takes a lot of emotional energy for me to respond to this. If I get a chance, I will read it again and respond. Good luck over there. As tough as things are there, I think you're doing less bad than you think sometimes.