I am 31 years old today. It’s hard to believe how long my life has been like this. I’ve been in survival mode since 2003. Possibly even longer. It’s not that I’m old; I really don’t care about aging at this point in my life. I didn’t care much about turning 30, so I’m not going to start freaking out about it now. It’s just a bit depressing that my life was so much more “together” when I was 24. Every birthday marks another year’s distance away from my stability and my dreams. I actually thought that since I had never lived this way by 23, I’d never live this way at all. It’s been an amazing decline. I have had my palm read three times – once by a “professional” I went to on a lark, and twice by amateurs. All three have said the same thing: “You will always be financially secure.” I wonder what it is they think they see. My palms are rotten liars.
Even with my aches, pains, and swollen joints, I don’t really feel very old. I’m not like most women my age. While I do care about my career, I am mostly juvenile in my activities. I prefer video games to cocktail parties, Thai take-out to home-cooking, mis-matched furniture to Better Homes & Gardens, kittens to children, thrift stores to department stores, B-movies to art films, and electronic music to adult contemporary. I’m a perpetual kid.
I woke up early this morning to call community resources because my research has led me to believe that I should find a caseworker. My best option may be to move into transitional housing. Now, I’m not in an abusive relationship, but I am at risk for being homeless because no one can help me long-term and I don’t want to burden my friend, especially since she doesn’t really have room. I’m exploring my options. I don’t want to lose my cat, but it appears inevitable. I’m going to assume that I cannot have my cat at the YWCA. I’m also going to assume that there’s a long waiting list, but once again I’m grasping at straws and I’ll try just about anything that doesn’t terrify me.
There is also a low-income housing project near where I live. It’s actually a rather attractive complex. It was built less than two years ago, and it is across the street from a brand-new library. It is within walking distance of a few drug stores and cafes, and it is also very close to my regional food bank. It is actually more desirable than my current location, but I fear it might be more expensive despite its “low-income housing” label. Section 8 housing is often more expensive (or roughly the same price) as the condo I rent. How do people live around here?
For the past two evenings I have been startled by loud knocking at my door. Due to my circumstances, I have not yet had the courage to answer. I haven’t even had the courage to speak through the intercom. Last night the sound of the knocking made my heart race and I began to hyperventilate. I’m terrified of confrontation, and I know I have to face this situation eventually. I want to be calm and assertive, but I physically and mentally freeze. I don’t even know what I’m so deathly afraid of. I know my rights, and for the moment, no one can kick me out. Strangely, no one left a note or even a proper eviction notice on my door, so my evening visitors could be completely unrelated to that drama. Unexpected knocks are not a good thing, in my experience. My car repossession/assault began with an unexpected knock that shook my walls and woke my neighbors. I hide in the dark a lot. I’m even afraid to play music.
My friend (whose basement I may stay in) wants to take me out for a birthday dinner, but it’s so difficult to choose a place to go to when I feel disgusting and don’t even want to leave the house. I need new clothes and new shoes. I look awful. I’m tired, so tired.
As a single, somewhat antisocial woman, I have to throw my own birthday parties. That should explain why I did not have any birthday parties between ages 19 and 30. I don’t have any money to do anything for myself, and I feel tremendous guilt if someone even buys me a drink. It’s silly, I know. It’s ingrained from childhood. My mother would never let me accept anything from anyone, and would make me feel awful even if someone bought me a birthday present. Christmas presents were usually okay because then gifts could be exchanged instead of given. My birthday still makes me feel uncomfortable.
I also received a job rejection from the job I interviewed for on Friday. I received no feedback as to why, but the interview did not go 100% smoothly, so it’s not a complete shock. I have received so much “feedback” over the years and even when it’s generally good it makes me wince. I neglected to send a thank-you note after my interview on Friday because one of the interviewers told me they would decide that day. I’ve given up, I suppose. I can’t even imagine getting a job at this point.
I will spend the rest of the afternoon watching illegal uploads of Weeds and trying to think of an inexpensive place I can suggest my friend take me for dinner. Happy birthday to me, Scott Baio, Joan Jett, and that kid who plays Malfoy in the Harry Potter movies.