Radiogurl a la Carte

Wednesday, Jul. 21, 2004

WARNING: This is one of those nights when I have to remind people that this is my personal diary. These are my perceptions and what I'm thinking and feeling at the time I'm writing. Doesn't mean I'll think or feel them when I wake up.

I am in an extremely depressed mood at the moment. Consider yourself warned.

I realized tonight that I have actually achieved the only thing I promised myself to do at this radio station, and have exceeded it by quite a bit, in fact. My original plan was to stick around until I got the computer automation program working right, then to get another job. I figured I'd do news and putz around on the computers and that would be that. Of course here I am, two years later, still here. The computer automation program is running, albeit not running right - though it's not my fault. We started checking around and this kind of BS is indigenous to the software, runs across several stations. We're looking into another - I think I've driven one company nuts with all of my questions and my attitude. I've had it up to here and I know good and well I don't want to just trade in one set of problems for another. Unfortunately I don't have a whole lot of confidence in any of the alternatives right now.

And I have worked my ass off and restored a hell of a lot of credibility to the station, which has resulted in higher advertising dollars. I don't know what our Arbitrons are, but one new merchant moved into town and did a survey not only of customers walking into the store, but of other merchants. Everyone, without fail, told him if he wanted results, he needed to advertise with us. My boss may be a real jerk sometimes but he insists that if someone advertises with us, we do right by them. And we do get results, generally pretty noticeable ones.

No, I didn't do those things alone, despite what I've had people tell me. But since for a long time there were only two of us working there I'll be damned if I'll put on false modesty and say I had nothing to do with it. I DID, and I am proud of what I accomplished in that regard.

I fulfilled my self-made goal and I'm still here despite wanting out, the sooner the better. I haven't so much as made up a resumé or audition CD so far, either, simply because I'm too tired to function.

I'm really burned out in a big way. I want to jump in the car and drive and keep driving. Of course there are a few problems built into that plan. Like paying the bills, and like the fact that I don't have a car to drive right now and still haven't got a clue whether or not they are going to try and fix the one I was driving until a couple of weeks ago. Such as the fact that I am flat broke and two weeks from payday. There are a few dozen other things that stand between me and a month or two of blatant irresponsibility. On top of which, I don't have any real destination in mind. Not sure if the latter is a positive or a negative at the moment. I am not even in the mood to go visit friends right now. I just want to go hermit and crawl away to some mountaintop and stay where there's not another soul in sight.

I've been everyone else's counselor/confidant/come-to-the-rescue for so damned long that I'm sick to death of helping people.

00 told me today she's giving Pipeboy until the end of August to get a job or move out. I just shrugged and told her, "Welcome to my world." I supported both men I married, plus four kids, being mom, dad, and bankroll for the whole kit and kaboodle. I did this while being told what a pitiful excuse for a mom and a poorer excuse for a wife I was. I got hit, choked, electrical shocks, kicked, thrown against the wall, starved, cussed out, dragged out of bed at 1am when I had to be at work at 4:30am to wash and iron a specific shirt, berated because I dared to wear makeup or perfume or clothes that fit, and beaten for buying disposable diapers for one of the kids instead of washing cloth ones and waiting for them to dry in the rain.

When I first came home from the hospital with my youngest daughter, I was dropped off at the house we were renting. I know it's hard to believe, but at a few days post-partum and with three other small children to take care of, I wasn't in much of a condition to go to work and support us. Then-hubby was working in Phoenix, ostensibly to support his family. In reality it was to support his habit. He took our only vehicle. He took 2/3 of the food stamps to feed a family of six. I had no phone and we were living in a house with holes in the walls and no insulation, it was snowing, and our only heat was a small gas space heater. The water was turned off a few days later. My in-laws came and picked up my oldest son because 'they didn't want him to live like that.' They left me and the rest of the kids to live like that. I lived four miles from the closest store and there was no public transportation, so food stamps didn't even do much to help us.

My oldest son was in first or second grade at the time, and during that period the principal brought him home one day (before his grandparents came to his rescue). My son was sick and running a fever but asked not to come home because there was no food. The principal was very kind and offered help, but I had already been instructed that I wasn't allowed to tell anyone what was really going on.

So I kind 'get' what 00 is going through. And I think for the first time, she's getting an inkling of what I went through.

Right now, I can't go buy a car. I don't have fifty bucks to spare, much less enough for a car; and no, I can't qualify for a loan. I've helped everyone else my whole life and have nothing to show for it except ungrateful kids and a whole lot of hours working for someone who will never pay me what I'm worth and never respect the boundaries of my own time. I feel like I've wasted my whole life and if I don't get the hell out of here I'll die wasting it.

I tried to paint tonight, just something simple, a logo I was designing. I got it drawn out and while it's okay, it wasn't exactly what I wanted. I'll have to redraw it, because the acorns in it are a little too phallic for my tastes. I discovered that I didn't even enjoy painting any more. But I think I promised wench77 a while back that I'd upload something I drew, so there ya go. I can't link to anything specific because I can't even say for sure that it happened. I've been awake entirely too long.

It sprinkled tonight but so far we haven't had very much rain considering the season. We normally get downpours that last maybe half an hour, with every third or fourth day a spell where it rains most of the night. This year we got a couple of downpours that lasted maybe ten minutes, and nothing that lasted more than an hour or two. It's enough to have put out the fires for now, but it doesn't bode well for the remainder of the summer. The monsoons typically only last three or four weeks, if that.

All of these disjointed images reminded me that I am back where I've always been. My sole value in life is the work I do and the money I bring home. I'd say it's disheartening but to be honest it's more tiring. I'm a commodity. I may get paid for my job, but I don't really gain anything from it and I don't take vacations, don't go anywhere or do anything simply because I can't right now.

Don't get me wrong. I'm blessed in that people tell me I have talent and abilities and can make something wonderful of my life. And I appreciate the encouragement more than anyone knows. I know I am a better writer than some of the sludge out there that's been published and sold to an unwitting public (including me!) I can paint, design a web page, do dozens of things that other people can't. But I don't have the freedom - much less the time or the heart - to pursue it.

I have no romantic illusions. I don't foresee falling madly in love and running off with Prince Charming. I have already been married to two guys who didn't work and who ordered me around, thanks. Don't need that again. I don't expect my kids to ever appreciate or respect me. It would take a huge blow to the head to effect that much change, and I'm not into murder. I leave that to the politicians.

I got a phone call tonight from my former mother-in-law - the one I'm actually speaking to. My kids' stepbrother is in Afghanistan and went MIA a couple of days ago, not positive on the time frame. But MIA in that cesspool is never, ever good news. I had to go tell 00, and was expecting her to break down and cry. She didn't but that's subject to change depending on what we hear over the next few days.

One of the few good things about the hell I went through - after divorce I made sure my kids had a relationship with their dad, and therefore with their stepmom and her kids. They consider each other brothers and sisters. But in this scenario, this is their little brother who's just fallen off the face of the earth and straight into the pits of hell. I hope for the best but am braced for the worst.

I'm to the point of taking my next paycheck and getting on the next Greyhound Bus to wherever, and stopping when the money runs out, taking temp jobs and living in whatever dump I can find. If I don't do something soon, I will sink back to where I was about five years ago - which was suicidal.

Before - After

In the grander scheme of things, no soul can truly be replaced. Each one of us has a place in the universal tapestry. We each contribute our own color and texture. When one thread is snipped too soon, it distorts all the threads around it. Other lives can unravel and tear. If the wrong thread is ripped away, the whole fabric of life becomes dangerously fragile.
- LeiLani, aka Radiogurl aka Bright Opal (1957 - )