I suppose technically that this should be March 5th, but I'm writing it on the extreme morning of the fifth after having gotten up some time on the afternoon of the fourth, so I'm calling it the 4th for technicality's sake. To be fair, some of my Thailand entries are properly labelled and I wrote them at all hours of the day, but the entries I wrote while in Thailand don't match up to anything normal, sane or reasonable. That whole trip is one big bucket of surreal in my head, a symbol that contains no inherent meaning and thus is reinterpreted every time I think about it.

I think what shocks me most about Thailand, even to this day, is the way it lingers in my mind. It wasn't a happy trip. It wasn't a frightening trip. It wasn't a surreal trip. I visited Chloe, XoYo and Mut. I had three major and
two minor surgical procedures. I endured two bouts of food poisoning. I learned to love pad thai. I discovered the 1950s-era-science-reel joy of dilation. I reinvented who I am. I discovered that I'm just like who I used to be, only moreso. It's not that Thailand could have been only yesterday; it's that Thailand could be tomorrow.

The last month has been incredibly stressful for me. Finding a job in this economy has been... well, to say difficult is an understatement and to say it's been hell is a hyperbole. The truth is that all of my work seems to vanish into a black hole of Human Resources drones and technical recruiters who themselves aren't technical people. I had a recruiter tell me "I don't see UNIX on your résumé" when I had listed Solaris, AIX, OSF1, HP-UX, and SCO instead. I've been accused of job-hopping in my efforts to stay ahead of the lay-off curve. I've been told that my years of experience in coding don't count for anything because I'm too specialized. I've been told they don't count because I'm not specialized enough. I don't know how to make my chances of success more, or even less, likely, short of yelling at a recruiter and accusing her of pigeonholing me because of my attempts to avoid being let go by one company or another that's suffered trouble, reinvented itself and discovered it didn't need me or otherwise
found out after hiring me that I wasn't the right candidate for the job. Not that I would do such a thing, of course.

In short, I've hit a sort of use-the-Force requirement. I can no longer plan for my own future, because I don't feel like I'm in control of it, at least not right now. It's horrifyingly liberating, and sadistically enlightening. I'm not reacting at all well to the feeling that I can't provide for those about whom I care, and every day I realize just how much of my personality is tied up in the belief that my value unto others is determined by my ability to provide for them, in some fashion or another. It's a very dangerous belief, one I'm trying to excise from my mind. In the absense of obviously positive cashflow, though, it's very hard to overcome.

Jessie and I finally had to ask Shay to leave. Her last day under our roof will be the fifteenth of this month. I don't want and don't need to go into all the reasons she's leaving, but it's been gnawing at me. I feel like I've failed, though how I couldn't say. Worse, there's a part of me that feels used, even though I know she never intended for that to happen. I gave her six months in Texas. I gave her six weeks when she came to Philly. I gave her a month this time. Every time, she's managed somehow to wear out her welcome by the end of it. Not that she's chosen to leave, but that we've had to ask her to vacate our premises. Part of me wonders why I keep sticking my head in the bandsaw. Part of me can't figure out why she doesn't turn the bandsaw off. Part of me relishes the pain as long as the bandsaw-operator is laughing while she calls 911.

I've been yelling at Jessie a lot lately. The stress is obviously getting to me, but never in ways that seem obvious. Little things that I can take in stride as long as the lights are on come back to gnaw at me when I close my eyes. Jessie locked a LiveJournal post to friends only recently, and I don't have a LiveJournal so I couldn't see it. I knew it was there 'cause I saw Jessie writing it, but it didn't show up in the listing, and I had a conniption because I wanted to know how many other posts I might have been missing along the way and never known I'd missed, just because I didn't have a LiveJournal account, to say nothing of all the other problems I've had with LiveJournal, et alia, in the past.

Those of you who would respond to this by saying, "why don't you just get a LiveJournal account" have not done
your homework
. C-minuses for the lot of you. See me after class.

I wish I knew what was wrong with me. I wish I knew how to make it stop. I wish I at least knew when I would have the resources again to make these things go away. I was never like this when I had a job, or was I? Was I
always this petty, this antagonistic, this bitchy-without-just-cause, and I just had enough material comfort and security to patch over the jagged edges of my personality?

Most psych-types that I know have said to me that losing one's job is the second-largest possible cause of stress in one's life, just behind a death in the family. It's a loss of self-sufficiency, and more. It's a loss of self-esteem, of self-respect. I'm sucking on the government tit and hating it, and hating myself for having to do it.

Maybe I should go work at a coffee-bar or something, for the extra cash. I won't lose any benefits until I'm making forty percent of my unemployment check in earned income, and considering what I was making before I doubt I could make that much at a part-time job. Of course, by the same token, taking a job like that while I'm still receiving benefits feels like I'm giving up hope of finding a better job. I joke about becoming a truck driver if I can't find a tech job, but that, too, is giving up. It's just giving up in a different way.

I wish I had a job. I wish I felt like I had the ability to just go get one. Right now, I feel like it's all in the hands of Fate, and Fate is not a master I trust.

I feel the need to add this as a post-script, though I know I shouldn't have to say it. I said above that I've been yelling at Jessie. What I didn't say there is how much it tears me up inside when I do. I don't think I could put
into words just how much Jessie means to me. Every time I lose my temper, I feel sick to my stomach. My breath gets short. My paws go numb, even worse now that I've damaged the nerves in my right one. I lash out, and then I want to curl up in a ball and cry because I've hurt someone that means as much to me as my own life. I feel that much worse after having lost control of myself with Jessie, worse than I ever would if I had just blown up at a friend, or even a lover. It's the closest I can get to screaming at myself in a mirror without a reflective surface.

I know I've wished to undo the past before, to change steps I'd taken and do things differently. I know how foolish those wishes are, how they seek to uncreate the person I am today. Never do I wish for that ability so strongly as when I get angry with my mate, in spite of all that. I hope this makes sense.

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