dear diary, i’m a pessimist

June 18th

Today I was hoping my big break would come; not that I did anything to evoke it, but I am tired of where I am at. My face looks tired, my hair is drab, & I have lost the inspiration to wear anything even mildly interesting.  Around noon when I realized this wasn’t going to be my day I acknowledged the ever increasing doom and decided to move on. I considered looking into the Art Institute of Chicago. I’m not sure what I would do with the information, and moving is currently not an option. I at least need to get my day dreams back.
June 19
I had a very hard time focusing today.  I would start doing one thing and then switch to another part way through. A while later I would remember what I initially started and pick up where I left off.  My morning started along these lines, and I thought about quitting my job the whole drive in to work.  By mid day I was thinking I am where I need to be. Although in the back of my head I have this deep sense that if Sam and I lived in Chicago we could really make something of ourselves.  Is that what I really want? Maybe to stay here and make little money, sneaking out of work early to toil over my garden and lawn, maybe that’s where we’ll be forever.
June 20th
Work was rough today, and I wondered how many wrong turns I took to get here. Sam says I can quit, but only if I also quit my (costly) hobbies.  He also said recently that I could quit my job and work instead at the small grocery store 5 minutes from our house. After considering it for several days I decided I didn’t want to because working there would take the fun out of shopping there. This is similar to why I didn’t study art in college – the misconception that it would no longer be an enjoyable activity if I HAD to do it.  It turns out work is not enjoyable for me anyways, and I wish I would’ve realized that when I was picking a career.
June 21st
Today was our 2 year wedding anniversary, and it made me wish I would have accomplished more during that time. Then I had a bit of a break down and started researching what a copywriter is.  Maybe this is my new calling?  Sam says he supports me.  He always says that no matter how irrational or odd my ideas are.  Last week I wanted to quit my job and work at the small grocery store down the street.  The week before that I wanted us to move to England where I just wouldn’t work at all. At least he will never get bored; one less reason to leave me.
June 22nd
In my studies of entrepreneurs I’ve realized a lot, if not most, hit rock bottom before they realize what they are supposed to be doing.  I think it is this place of desperation that fuels the drive to take the risk and pursue what one wants or needs to do in order to survive. Every day I wonder, “Is today the day I hit rock bottom?” The pessimist in me is always looking for that worst day in hopes that it can retire and something resembling even a sliver of optimism will step in and take over.  Sam and I currently have no money and two vehicles that are in major need of repairs which, when added to my ever increasing anxiety at work, make me hope this is as rock bottom as it gets for us. It could be a lot worse so I need to move on with my life and do something before the universe dishes out the real rock bottom. If my mom gave honest advice she would say I need an “attitude adjustment.”

dear diary, i’m a pessimist

last words

I listen to my german shepherd snore as I lay face up on the bed staring at the ceiling.  Cold season (isn’t that every season in rural towns?) has hit me hard leaving my voice to nothing but a whisper.  The tv is on but somehow the snore trumps the fast paced, endless conversation at my feet.  I switch to watching my little, old poodle’s chest rise and fall with his sleepy breathes.  I imagine what it would be like to see him die, the breath stopping as I watch, so I stare even more intently.

It’s a disease; not the sore throat and stuffy head that’s keeping me in bed all day, but the constant infatuation with death and the realization that it could happen at any second.  When I hit my thirties and realized that the open book was slowly closing shut I started thinking about the end a little more every single day.  This being the third day in a row with a hoarse to non exsistant voice I start to go through the list of all of the people I know (or heard of in this small rural town) that were fine one moment, fell ill the next with a common ailment, and then died.

It’s morbid I know (and I don’t mean the sore throat) but the silver lining is that realizing life is short makes me cherish every moment.  I imagine this is what being on the verge of death feels like (and I imagine that moment a lot).  Those last fleeting breaths are something I don’t want to feel for a very, very long time to come so focusing on the silver lining keeps me in check.  Or maybe it makes me think of death more, but either way I am living life to the fullest.  Even as I lay here voiceless, watching my elderly dogs take what could be their very last breaths.

last words

beauticians’ lament

When I was young I would spend weeks at a time with my grandma in Wisconsin.  She was a beautician (as it was called back then) and owned her own salon.  The salon was in the same building that housed a gas station, but from inside it looked like any other small town salon in the 80’s.  I was very young, under the age of ten, but a well behaved child and proud to spend time with my grandmother all day at the salon.  She would keep my occupied by sorting perm rods or by letting me sit at the tall front desk where I would pretend to be the receptionist.  After a particularly stressful day for my grandmother I remember her pulling me aside, looking me in the eyes, and telling me to never become a hairstylist.  I heeded her words as if they would keep me from making the biggest career mistake of my life, forgetting for 20 years to ever question what this ultimate secret was that made doing hair the worst job ever.

Around the time that my grandmother’s second husband, a terribly unattractive person, large and with hair that looked severely fake, was gambling his life’s savings away, I was wondering whatever happened to that close relationship my grandmother and I had had.  And I was also contemplating going to cosmetology school.  When her husband died of cancer my grandmothers alcoholism worsened and dementia, diluted with a cheap jug of wine, came sweeping in. She was half in the bag when I announced I would be attending cosmotology school, and I was surprised when she didn’t tell me I was making a big mistake.  Because I have very few memories of my childhood I had assumed that the one about her telling me  to never be a hairstylist was important.  But while considering the career choice I argued the voice in my head, saying it had recently occurred to me that I had put too much stock into the words of someone who routinely made poor choices with men and alcohol.  Looking back, this argument probably came from a place of anger and confusion as I was watching my grandmother waste her life away.  And plus, how could I trust one childhood memory to dictate my future financial stability?

By the time I had finished cosmotology school my grandma’s dementia was ever more noticeable.  She was happy for me and said that it only made sense that I would follow in her footsteps.  A short time later, at my first salon job, I received a phone call from the receptionist at my grandmother’s eye doctor’s office.  It was not an approved phone call but she felt I should know that my grandma had not only driven herself to the office but had also ordered an abnormal amount of contacts.  I hung up, wondering how I would balance work and taking care of my grandmother.

Around the time I started to realize my hair coloring skills were not improving my mother was realizing the state of my grandmother’s mental health.  We were taking turns checking in on here, cleaning up after her drinking binges, and planning to take her keys away.   My mother eventually stepped in as her full time caregiver, and I went back to wondering if I had taken the wrong career path.  With each new hair coloring disaster the anxiety grew.  Every time a client stopped returning my heart sank.  While sitting with my grandmother at the assisted living facility I would confide in her that I didn’t feel like I had the nerves for doing hair.  Despite her infrequent memory she somehow remembered exactly what I was talking about and it was that feeling of not being alone that kept me pushing forward.

Now my grandmother is in a nursing home.  On her good days she remembers that I am a hairstylist.  She no longer tells my husband, like a broken record, about how I would go with her to the salon as a child.  She doesn’t seem to remember that I would sit at the desk with my crayons or that we shared that very fleeting bond over the anxiety of doing hair.  Three years into doing hair and I am still unintentionally turning women’s bangs blue, not getting all of the dye properly washed from the hair, and routinely crying in my car at the end of the day and wondering how I got myself into this.  And it turns out my grandmother was right.  But maybe not for the secret reasons I assumed she knew.  Maybe the reason all along was the anxiety that we both suffered from and the tole it would take on us at work.

beauticians’ lament