Poverty Is Not an Accident

Poverty Is Not an Accident
Nelson Mandela

Thursday, May 06, 2004

email to a dude

You are reading http://livinginthehood.blogspot.com


I'm not playing games. I'm not being manipulative.

I really don't know I'm any good. I suspect I could be. But I'm always terrified I'll fail and blow this chance. And it truly feels like my last chance. If I can't make it at KUNM, I fear, I might as well pack it in and resign myself to dying a bag lady.

I've been so traumatized, I can't trust my own judgment. And I'm always looking out for potential problems. I have eyes in the back of my head.

It's always something seemingly small and insignificant that gets turned into some HUGE reason why I can't make it. So, I'm always vigilant.

That's why the fax machine, the mail cubbies and Windows scare me: they could be how I screw up so bad, I can't make it.

Or it could be my memory. I almost put an audio file in the wrong folder, even though I'd asked R twice already which one to put it in. There's something dyslexic going on with me, and I kept getting confused between "stories" and "ready for air." The third time I asked, R got exasperated, and I don't blame her. But as of this very moment, I can't tell you which of those folders I was supposed to put it in!

If you ever want to hear about any of this, fine. But I'm not fishing for compliments.

I'm really scared. And I'm really overwhelmed at things other people take for granted.

This isn't about guilt, either. So, I'm not about being "absolved," or forgiven or anything.

I'm not ashamed of myself for trying to dig out of the miserable hole I've been in. I'm proud of my own courage and tenacity.

But I feel so frustrated by how much I don't know, how confused I get, how little I understand even basic office procedure, etc.

I do need to talk to people about this. I've struggled, all alone, through traumas that have killed other people. I've carried weight I can't bear. I can't possibly flourish at KUNM if I can't check in with people, voice my frustrations and concerns, etc. The burden would just be too heavy.

I don't know if I can ever catch up to where "normal" people...whatever that means...are.

You have no idea how many times I've almost walked out and given up. It happened yesterday.

I'm so weak, so tired, so overwhelmed, in so much pain and so confused, I just can't cope sometimes.

I was so mad at M yesterday, had we been in the 'hood and not at KUNM, I swear I'd have hauled off and smacked him. And I couldn't get out of the building fast enough.

If D hadn't promised me a ride home, and if I'd had any physical strength left, I truly think I would have walked home and never come back.

I went outside, had a cigarette, and "told" M (he wasn't there, of course), out loud, what I thought of him AND his mother. I rehearsed everything, out loud, over and over until I vented all the rage and could walk in, look him dead in the eye and say, "don't ever speak to me like that again!"

And he apologized. In fact, he was STILL apologizing this morning! LOL...

But it took a real, physical toll on me to get there. The stress of fear and anger, the embarrassment, the bottled up and unexpressed rage I'd felt....and I dealt with that exhaustion until I fell asleep last night.

KUNM is the first place, in twenty years, where I get to be who I am. And it's the first place where, although it's still shaky ground, I get to expect some respect, to feel like an equal among peers.

I don't know how to trust anybody any more. I don't even know how to trust my own judgment any more.

So, I'm not living on the same planet with the rest of you who expect the ground to be solid under your feet as you walk. That's literal, as well as figurative.

I fall a LOT, literally. I stumble, I stagger and I limp. Every day.

This is hard work, Dude. I'm not bitching, honest, I'm just saying. It's so hard, I sometimes have to put everything else aside, just to make it through a commitment, like a story. Every ounce of energy I can summon goes into trying to flourish in radio.

I have to neglect house chores, errands....

But this is my way out. I don't know any other way; writing, talking, teaching are the things I'm good at. I can't scrub floors, flip burgers and wipe people's bums any more. I physically, emotionally can not do it any more.

I have no person to love, or who loves me. I put my need to love into service to my community. As the mother of a dead child, I put my need to nurture into my community. I really can't think of a better choice of community than community broadcasting.

But this is a radical paradigm shift for me and I'm so disoriented.

If you think I'm whining or playing games or eliciting pity or compliments, please try to hear I'm just begging for someone to actually hear me.

Sometimes, a person needs to hear others believe in her, before she can believe in herself.

I am learning.

Please be patient.


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