I worked on Saturday for the first time since Christmas. Only at my father’s gallery, but it was still some paying hours. While I was there, two significant things happened.
First, I looked out the big side window and saw all the cars and the familiar blue sky and the Kmart and the Outback and the banks and I thought “oh Lord, You’ve brought me back here again.” And it sunk in. I’m back at home. I have hated living at home since high school. And now God has brought me back here again. It makes me feel like a failure since I promised myself I would never be one of those losers that lived at home with their parents after college. Now people wonder why I sometimes believe God has a sadistic sense of humor. I’m a person who thrives on silence. I’ve mentioned this before. I rarely drive in my car alone with the radio on. I know that silence makes most other people uncomfortable so I tend to put on the radio when other people are with me. My house is loud. If one person other than myself is home it’s loud. I have three younger siblings – all who eat live breathe music. My brother likes rap. One sister likes country and punk. The last likes loud rock and alternative. My brother has a killer soundsystem and loves to hook the surround sound up while he plays SOCOM. My youngest sister will watch tv with the radio on while doing her homework. And the middle one will turn the tv on and then go practice the piano. My parents are a little better, although if there’s a mariners’ game on or a storm front coming in, all three televisions in our house will be turned on and turned up. Then there’s the yelling. All the time. Between my sisters, between my brother and my parents. My mom and my dad. My mom and any given sibling at any given time especially if it’s after 10 pm. Which leads to the next significant thing.
My uncle came into the art gallery while I was working. He calls himself a lay preacher but his side job is to travel around the continent gathering semi-precious stones to sell in the gallery. He is the most intimidating person I’ve ever met. He and I have never been close. My cousins and I have always tiptoed around him for fear of another lecture on our heathen tendencies. The amount of guilt thrown about in my family is near unbearable. We eat guilt, we breathe guilt, we give guilt as birthday presents. We wear guilt as make up and wash our hair and faces with guilt. The reason I am so content and happy to be away from my home is because then I only deal with one person heaping guilt on my back – me.
Right now it’s guilt for not being able to find a job. I knew that this would happen upon my return. I had nightmares about reliving last summer all over again. When you live in a mainly science centered town of under 40,000 with an English degree and no experience, it’s tough to find employment. And I feel so guilty I could be smothered that I’m not working 40 hours a week already. I’ve turned in resumes. I’ve turned in cover letters and applications. I’ve followed up. And still I’m sitting around washing towels and cleaning out the fridge. And dyeing my clothes the color guilty. It’s enough to make one want to cut and run. But then I would be ungrateful for the free rent and leaving my parents in the lurch now that they’ve come to depend on my car to drive my siblings to soccer and piano practice and math tutoring.
I just can’t breathe…