My hands have finally stopped shaking. Well enough for me to write a few verses. Inside, the tempest swells deeper and tries to release itself from the confines of my body. Wanting more space, needing more fuel, looking for more than what I offer.
I am still reeling from what were some of the most indescribable months of my life. It has me questioning myself, and human nature.
What is the purpose of being here? Why are we on a planet, in a hemisphere, populated by other souls, if not to practice how to be with others? Interaction, conflict, connection, isolation. All these things come to mind, for me, at least.
I guess I've placed myself on a quest of pondering myself and others because of the fact that I just resigned from a job, where I lasted only 88 days.
I left because I wanted to and because I needed to. Even though, ironically enough, I am in a deep financial hole because of it.
What is finance?
We are socialized to be good children, good students, go to good schools, study, meet someone, a couple someones, fall in love, have our hearts broken, get dumped, dump others, get drunk, get high, get it together eventually, get married, have children, turn jobs into successful careers, in whichever order those last four occur to finally sail you on to successful tides.
For some reason, the last four elude me. I'm not upset about it. I am used to it, really.
My formative years were spent between Belmopan and Belize City. I was always an outsider. Belmopan, as I thought, went I went to visit yesterday, is all straight lines and structure, and attempts at perfection, which may never be attained, ever.
Belize City, is gritty, with character, and probably too much for itself.
Depending on your socialization, finance can mean your own kind of currency. My currency is human connection. And I am flat broke, because I make poor investments.
On August 17, one day after my 29th birthday I started a job as a producer of a morning show for a Belizean media house. Of course I was scared, of course I thought I could not do it, of course I thought that they had made a mistake. But I showed up. I was never late, I was never absent, there was never a black screen, and I was never acknowledged for my efforts. Instead, though I was hired, supposedly, because I was a artist, and therefore creative, my creativity was suppressed. I was told constantly how boring the show was, because of my choice of topics and guests. I was constantly told that I needed to learn what segments were, what was newsworthy and what was not.
Of course there were more limits, instructions and restrictions doled out than ideas for format, concept and relevance.
Still on I trudged, despite canceling guests (with no explanation and at the last minute), never-ending segments, an immense work load, a load of emails, expectations, meetings, more and more tasks added and insults. On I trudged.
On I trudged, even as much gains had been made to the extinguishing of my light, I was asked to 'come here' (as I was always asked, just as you would call an unruly pet, or a recalcitrant child). "We need to talk about what medications you're taking, if you're taking any, and which therapist, are you seeing one? you need to."
I was shocked, not by the questions, but by the fucking audacity of the entire event.
I had never disclosed my general anxiety disorder diagnosis, to avoid the fangs and claws of the beasts: ignorance, close-mindedness and inhumanity. It matters not how many panels, mental health weeks and forums are had, as long as it is considered ok to disregard persons with mental illness as "crazy people" (and therefore unable people), hypocrisy and sub-development will prevail in Belize. And people like me, will not be considered employable, once we disclose what is inside our hearts and definitely, in my case, for example, our anxious minds.
An exhausting, "thankless job" (as they referred to it) is one thing, being confronted about my mental health out of feigned concern for my welfare was quite another. Where was that concern when I reached out to ask for ideas, planning meetings, and at the very least a peek at the unspoken, but apparently clear, 'list of approved and restricted guests'?
Concern, I suppose, is a most subjective and selective thing.
When I complained, I was told, well you put it on facebook, so it is public. The facebook post they are referring to, is in fact a closed facebook group for support for individuals who suffer from and live with anxiety, medical health professionals, fitness and wellness professionals, legal professionals, human rights advocates and media professionals. The idea was to create an environment of support and resource access online. Ironically, the funeral knell to my means of employment.
Only two weeks before, after one month of being told, how BORING the show was, I was asked to call someone. That someone is their new prospect. I contracted my own replacement. This is how the world works.
It is a dog eat dog world and in this landscape of job scarcity, words like friendship and loyalty are mere shells, devoid of meaning.
What do I get from this?
I am not the only one bankrupt in the currency of human connection. We spend all day on 'un-social' media and have few real experiences of friendship, camaraderie and socialization to show for it.
We talk about being evolved, but if we can not acknowledge and respect individuals as equals because their minds are wired differently from yours, I dare to say that 'evolution' is deficient.
These are the things which, I am sure, will spur me further, insure me that the things I fight for, are things that need to be fought for.
I leave, not a victim of circumstance, but a victor of situation.
also featured in BAFFU, issue 7 (www.imagefactorybelize.com)