I am realizing more and more just how much my upbringing has shaped my values. I have three relatives that are driving me varying degrees of bonkers because of what I view as their laziness. One is twenty three years old and has never had a job nor has he graduated from college. He is a semi-socially awkward and entirely overconfident computer nerd with a sense of entitlement that I cannot accurately trace. He makes me want to throttle him at least once every conversation, so I try to keep my communication limited.
I was mentioning over Skype that I get so frustrated having to admit in job interviews that I am not proficient in a Mac environment. This was his reply: I would answer them very snarkily "I am proficient in a Unix and Bsd environment. yes" if they don’t understand that. then there is no hope for them to ever be in a position of leadership over me
I instantly saw red and wanted to throw my computer into a wall. Understanding my penchant for kinetic anger management, I briskly walked out of the room.
The idea that he feels he is too good for a job, any job, infuriates me. The fact that he is not offering his services to any willing benefactor makes me want to set my hair aflame. I cannot understand the mindset that would allow a manchild to sit idly in his parents home, convincing himself that he’s too good for classes at his community college, all the while pooh-poohing the life of the working stiff. And yet, when I allow myself to take a step back and breathe, its easier to empathize.
I am thankful for my upbringing. It has instilled in me a healthy fear of poverty. I grew up dead broke. I lived in my grandmother’s house for most of my youngest years, then spent a great deal of time bouncing from the couch of one family friend to the next. When I was in high school I secured an apartment and got my mom and myself moved in. You’ll notice I said I secured it. I wasn’t yet old enough to hold a job, but somehow I convinced the manager I had the maturity to handle the situation. She allowed me to tour the unit and drew up the papers. I just needed my mother’s signature.
I love my mother as much as my heart can bear, but she too is stuck in a child-like state. She has suffered through abuse that I will never be able to comprehend and I try to extend as much compassion to her as possible, but her inability to deal with life forced me to grow up fast. The cousin who infuriates me so will (hopefully) never know what it’s like to wonder where his next meal will come from or pray that he’ll continue to have a roof over his head. He doesn’t know what it is to be forced into selling his body because there are no other channels of income. I don’t begrudge him that, but it does help me understand my own feverish desire to work. To produce. To create some sense of security.
I want to thank those of you that reached out after my last entry. It was written in a very dark moment. To illustrate the ugliness, I had just finished a shoot in which my character dies. Three days after we wrapped, I laid on my floor still caked in fake blood. Physically, mentally, and spiritually, I was too exhausted even to shower. I cried, I wailed, I sulked. And then I came out of it. I’m glad I allowed myself those moments of grief because now I’m more determined than ever to save my home and rebuild my sense of security.
I am decorating my walls. When Red moved to Bahrain, she bequeathed me a set of wall-mounted candle holders that I’ve always loved. It’s long been one of those "someday" tasks to put them up, but in the spirit of defiance I am finally hanging them. It scares me. For if I am defeated it will hurt that much more to take remove them, but it’s a symbolic gesture that I must make. I need to stoke the fire as much as I can while I’ve still got the will to push forward.
At this time next year I want to look triumphantly at my wall and smile at those twinkling candles.