Dead inside

deep hole

In a deep hole like this dog!

Today  (June 30, 2014) would have been my first day working at my dream job. And the only way I can describe the feeling is – I feel dead inside. I woke up at 4 am and spent my usual 20 – 30 minutes in the bathroom calling onto the Lord. This is a new habit. In the past, I would stay in bed and stare in the dark, tossing and turning and staring at the clock ticking. But recently I begun spending evenings in prayer with my brother and sister-in-law, which got me to realize that instead of tossing and turning in bed, I better spend my time praying. So I have recently started to get out of the bed and cry out to the Lord on my bathroom floor. In a way it helps me feel like am doing something, I want so much to cry out loud but I don’t want Danny to hear me. So I do it silently and whenever I am done, I go back to bed and for the most part, I usually fall back to sleep soon after that. Today was particularly hard because my thoughts went to a really dark place. A suicidal thought crossed my mind, thank God am such a rationalist because the minute it crossed my mind, I thought about the man lying next to me and what that would do to him, I thought about my family and friends and especially how selfish that would be. I came to a realization that it would be so much cowardice on my part especially since no one knows how dead I feel inside. I have managed to hide my feelings from everyone that no one would see it coming. This is the trouble with being up at 4 staring in the dark; your mind wonders. I was back in at 5 am and before long it was time for Danny to say good bye before he went to work. Not even Danny’s kiss goodbye or my alarm 7:30 can get me out of bed today. I just can’t seem to get myself up. I tell myself that I will be up before Danny leaves for work, I will get up and go exercise, then start my day, but I find myself unable to pull myself out of bed.

I used to be an early riser, I would be up early, be at the gym by 6 am and be back home by 7:15 before getting ready to start work. I prided myself in my ability to push myself, to make it to the gym and being ready for work at 8:30 am. I thrived on having order in my life, in having control over my body and my mind. Now days 8:30 finds me in bed sleep deprived and wondering what the day would bring. I don’t have order, I take each day as it comes; which makes sense for some people but for me, it makes me feel dead inside. Some days, I will pack my day with events but as soon as I am half way through the first event, I am demoralized and unable to continue.

I feel helpless sitting here not sure what I need to do next. I have searched for jobs and got the jobs. I am in an extremely helpless and unique situation. Some people end up where I am because they can’t seem to find work. I can find work, I have found work, in fact I found two well-paying jobs (one with a fortune 500 company, and another with an Ivy League University). Unfortunately for me due to the International Labor Laws which force governments to regulate their labor markets, I am not authorized to work in the United States. My situation can be changed by just one guy deciding to approve my work authorization.

My situation may seem like an easy fix and I have received a tremendous amount of advice from many people, but frankly am exhausted emotionally and financially so I am done taking advice because some of that advice has gotten me to where I am. God knows I have made so many mistakes in my life, but the one mistake that I regret the most was taking the wrong advice and unequivocally trusting the wrong people. I should have done my due diligence, but I was enamored by the idea and fooled by the user-reviews. Who I am I kidding! I don’t think I have learned anything otherwise I would never have trusted the user-reviews before I bought that dress from an online retailer in China. Or maybe I am just plain ole gullible. I guess am just gullible… but if you don’t have trust, then what do you have? You have to believe that some things will work out. I want to give people the benefit of the doubt. I want to believe that Danny is not going to get up one morning and resent me for sitting home all day not contributing to the household. I am I being foolish for thinking that?

I come from a generation of strong women who have been the major providers in the household. Even when my Danny assures me that he has us covered I worry about sitting here all day as he works two jobs to support both of us. He is a God send that Danny. Funny when I was at the “pinnacle of my life”, when I had a job that I was sadistically addicted to, I looked forward to Monday. I would get an adrenaline rush when I thought about work; I would be restless on Sunday nights worrying about what Monday would bring. I looked forward to those adrenaline rushing projects where the clients were crazy, the job was impossible but somehow I pulled it off. I dreaded those projects where the clients were crazy enough to pull the plug before I worked my magic. It was a rollercoaster but it made me feel alive. I had friends that made me smile, that I looked forward to spending time with at work. I dreaded the weekends, especially the long weekends when everyone went away and I had nowhere to go (and especially no one to go with). Yes I had friends but the thing about being an immigrant is that most your friends are fellow immigrants and they have one thing on their mind – to make money. They will pick up extra shifts on the weekends so that they got time and half. So I being a salaried employee didn’t help my social life, because I had no one to hang out with during the weekend. So I hated weekends. I bring this up because the tables have turned for me, I dread weekdays lately. I hate Mondays because it’s a reminder that I am not contributing to anything especially my household. It’s a reminder that I am in this deep hole that I am not sure how to get out of. I cleaned out my office desk the other day and i found my Masters Diploma. It feels like scratching a fresh wound, a reminder that even if I have two masters degrees, a bag full of skills, a wealth of experience, am not contributing to anything – not even my household. I feel dead inside. I have no career but I have a fun packed weekend that includes going to the lake with Danny and spend the 4 day weekend jet skiing, take a boat ride, swim in the lake, camp fire and ride our bikes in the park.

My Rational Ignorance

knowledge_ignoranceI had a great night last night (slept through the night) and I am not sure what I can attribute that to. Perhaps it was because I had ridden my mountain bike for 8 miles that day; or that we switched out our mattress for one with a pillow top which is super comfortable. Whatever the reason, I slept through the night and opened my eyes at 7 am. In addition to a great night, I had a really great day yesterday. I spent the afternoon at my local shop working on my mentor’s project that I had pushed off for a while. I also took the time to get out of the house and enjoy the nice warm summer weather. I interacted with my community at my local coffee shop and it felt really good. Additionally, I called up an old friend Jackie; whose sad Facebook post earlier in the day regarding her sick kids (the younger one was admitted to the ER) prompted me to reach out. I read once in Brene Brown’s book “Daring Greatly “ that a Facebook post with one million likes means nothing; but a phone call goes a long way. I could have just liked Jackie’s Facebook post or posted a comment, but I couldn’t help but remember Brene’s words. I also know, from personal experience, that a phone call is so much deeper than a Facebook comment or like. There I was, on the phone with Jackie after months without an actual phone conversation. I had been constantly in contact with her over the last few months, but we hadn’t connected deeply which is the downside of social media. We are constantly in contact with friends yet very disconnected from them. A phone call gave Jackie and I a chance to reconnect on a deeper level. We spoke about the trials each of us was facing and as I finished narrating my trials, she pointed out the obvious to me. She underscored that I needed to do my due diligence; do research, go out and knock on doors, and not just leave it to the lawyers or the system. It was a no brainer! I hadn’t done everything I could to change my situation, if anything; I was being a lazy SOB. I am thankful to Jackie’s wisdom and to many friends whose wisdom has kept me going. The take away here is that reaching out to old friends is critical because they may open your eyes to the obvious.

My certainty was cemented this morning as I was listening to the Diane Rehm show. The guest speaker spoke about rational ignorance as it pertained to the declaration of independence. See rational ignorance occurs when the cost of educating oneself on an issue exceeds the potential benefit that the knowledge would provide. I have been in this funk for about 6 months but I wouldn’t have been in so deep if it wasn’t for rational ignorance. Take my driver’s license (DL) for example, on my birthday this year, my DL expired and consequently my insurance got cancelled and my plates were pulled by the DMV. I was so overwhelmed by the course of events that I did nothing. I figured that contacting the DMV would yield bad news, so I consequently opted for ignorance instead of rejection. Listening to rational ignorance on the radio made me realize how much I had rationalized my ignorance. When I got home from my ride, I made a decision to start educating myself. My first step would be to find out how I can renew my DL and how I can renew my car plates. I went online and read the acceptable documents for renewing my DL. Turns out, my knowledge was very limited. In addition to the I-766, there is about 12 more acceptable documents (one of which I have and have had for the past 4 months) and the other one I could obtain. To confirm what I was seeing, I contacted the DMV and the customer service rep (one Dorothy) confirmed and I was welcome to go to the DMV get my DL renewed. I was relieved but most importantly I was ashamed that I didn’t do my due diligence – AGAIN. This is what seems to get me these days, I rationalize my ignorance. I wonder how many opportunities I have missed due to my rational ignorance. So what if the news is going to be bad? It’s not going to kill you! Today I take a vow for no more rational ignorance. I will hit the ground running educating myself and not being afraid of the bad news. Thanks for opening my eyes Lord today.

At Crossroads

Which way to go?

Which way to go?

I had one of those wake up at 4 am, lay on the bathroom floor and try not to wake up Danny situations last night. Turns out I woke him up in the process; so he was up when I got back to bed. I hate to keep him awake, he works so hard and I need for him to have uninterrupted sleep. There we were, both staring in the dark and he asking me what was wrong. Again, I didn’t want to go into a long conversation that would keep him awake and deprive him of his sleep. I chose to say nothing. The truth is everything was wrong, I had no job and was feeling like I am coming to the end of the line. My biggest problem is the lack of expiration date on this joblessness. Before the denial letter came last week, I had hope and knew that I would be granted my work authorization, start working soon. Now I don’t even know when that will happen. Friends are there for me, but they can only do so much with me being out of state. My new home state has been good to me because it’s where I met Danny but darn this state is not immigrant friendly! I loathe the lack of a community that could help me navigate the system during a crisis like this one.

As I sat staring in the dark hoping that the night would pass away quickly, I couldn’t help but think about how long it would take before this started to take a toll on Danny. Every human has a breaking point and I don’t see him working two jobs forever. I began to think about what I would do IF that happens, or WHEN it happens. So I turned and asked him if we would be okay, and if he would tell me when things got difficult. I wasn’t surprised by his answer. In fact I knew what his answer would be. You see, Danny’s joy is in taking care of me and I appreciate him for that. But my fears get in the way sometimes, like on a night like this one. It’s hard to turn off your brain when you are staring in the dark at 4 am in the morning without sleep. I got to thinking about the many situations I have been here –where I was pondering when the human element would take over and love would diminish. After going through a failed marriage and a painful divorce, it’s difficult not to dwell on the lessons from your failed marriage or relationship. I went back to when I was married and I was trying to have a baby. When things don’t go your way, there is a tendency to blame yourself. I blamed myself for my inability to conceive knowing full well that Ex-hubby-panther was home only three days a month, knowing that he charmingly refused to get his sperm checked. After one year of trying (and I mean expensive fertility medication), I begun dwelling on my worst fears. I feared that he would leave me and have a child out of the wedlock. I was consumed by my fear of him looking for a child outside of our marriage that when I first learned about his affair, I was relieved that she wasn’t pregnant. “At least he didn’t have a child with her” I told myself. From then on, I had my guard up. I knew that the end was near so I started to plan an “exit”. I use the word exit loosely because it was not a literal exit, but more of planning what I would do if I find out he had fathered a child. I was not determined to end the marriage but I was prepared to address all the consequences that came from his fathering a child. I spent hours thinking about what kinds of projects I would do to allow him time to spend with his child. It was such a mental process that left me distant and suspicious. At the slightest change in mood on his part took me to that place, I avoided talking intimately about our relationship because I feared that a confession was looming. In the end, we became distant, disconnected, before long infidelity reared its big head, and then a child. My biggest fear came true and for long I blamed him for destroying our marriage. Now that am older and wiser, I have come to realize that it wasn’t him alone; I had a part to play. I let my insecurities take the best of me. I mentally withdrew from the marriage; which probably drove him away.

I found myself revisiting my past last night and trying so much to make sure I don’t repeat the same mistakes with Danny. My fear of things getting so hard on him (financially and physically from working two jobs) and him giving up on us keeps taunting me. My familiar reaction is to walk away to avoid heartache, but I have to remind myself that we will work through this. The last 1.5 years with Danny have been some of the best years of my life. I have never felt so loved and at peace as I feel with Danny. I find myself at a crossroads wondering if I should stay patient, hang in there, hope that something will work out before Danny is exhausted. Or should I take the shortcut, leave all this behind and go pursue my career elsewhere. I find myself wondering whether a career will be worth what I gave up on at 75 years old. When I am with Danny I am living and experiencing life; and I am content to sit on the porch drinking a cup of coffee with him next to me at 75 years old. But I battle with the expectation that I was born to do great things, I was supposed to change the world, may be not end poverty in the world but at least “be in the room as decisions are made that affect the poor and vulnerable” in the world. The statement in quotation marks is an excerpt from my statement of intent while I was applying to graduate school many years ago. I feel like I have disappointed myself, and that I have let down everyone who believed in me when they read my admission essay. Lord show me the way!