It’s been a while.
I’ve been fighting two kinds of depression for nearly five years. The funny thing about depression is that it is just as bad as any addiction. It’s always there whispering “you can’t make it without me, I’m the devil you know”. It’s hard to do much of anything when you’ve got depression, even if you live in one of the most beautiful places in the world.
It’s also funny how quickly things can change.
I’ve been straddling the gap between unemployment and underemployment since September of 2011. It’s been hard to write openly and honestly about it because I’ve been afraid that potential or current employers would see and deny what meager sustenance I had. It ate me alive – the fear, the paranoia. The constant doubt changed me. It hollowed me out, made me bitter, kept me inside when I should have been out… I don’t know what exactly – enjoying my youth?
This past Friday I was offered a full time job with benefits in a field that I am passionate about. The devil inside me tells me that it isn’t entirely true. That something will change, that good things don’t happen, that I’ll be living paycheck to paycheck to parent’s basement for the rest of my life. Shut up, devil.
In a few weeks I will start my new job. For now I am trying to enjoy the tail end of my extended “vacation”. I am trying to look at my city through new eyes – I am trying to see Portland as a place where I actively exist. I’ve been spending a lot of time by the water, especially when the fog rolls in. I love to see the masts of boats swaying in the wind. I am in love all over again, and I know that I belong here more than I do anywhere else in this world.
I don’t have to move to New York, glory halleluiah.
Things need to change here in our fair city. Service workers deserve a fair LIVING WAGE (that absolutely includes folks who get by on tips). I subscribe to the theory that a few major retailers do – that if employees make more money, that money goes back into the economy. Obviously I’m not an economist – I’m a blogger who writes about mental health and local color. But I’m also in the thick of it. I know the real and lasting effect that gainful employment can have on an individual, and on the local economy.
The funny thing about gainful employment is that it makes me feel like I exist. Like I have control. That I am part of something. I think that says something about our capitalist society, and I’ll leave it to someone more cynical to parse that out. For now, dear reader, I feel almost weightless. I have a future. Soon I won’t be a burden on the people I love.
It’s been a while, but I’m back.