Erased

Audio Editing Coming… Soon?

I want to state right up front that the story I’m about to share does not compare to the erasure that many people, especially minorities, feel due to the lack of representation, be it in media, politics, career paths, etc. This is a small sliver that gets me a little closer to understanding how that feels, but is not comparable in terms of the systemic harm and degradation far too many other people face.

If any of you have been reading the last few blog entries, you’ll know that during the Covid-19 pandemic I’ve felt very gaslit by the majority of my family whom I live with. It felt like I was the only one taking the pandemic and the recommended precautions seriously, that all of my concerns were hand-waved away, and while they would comment on my increasing distress and depression, no real steps were actually made to ease that state of affairs. This has led to a great deal of strain and a has taken a severe toll on my mental health.

During the last two weeks of April, I had a full-on screaming match with my younger brother over the efficacy and importance of getting vaccines. I freely admit I did not handle the interaction well, but after months of having the same tired conspiracy theories and moving of goalposts thrown in my face, I simply lost it. This led to a week of us not speaking to one another, and I spent as much time as possible hiding in my room.

Around the same time, I was also faced with the stark reality that I will never be able to support myself on my library salary, and that my only options are to either give up my dream of owning my own home and settle for another trailer park (which is all I could possibly afford) or giving up a job I enjoy and think is important for one that pays me enough to live on. I plunged back into the depths of depression and suicidal ideation.

That night, when I came home from work, I found that all of my mugs were gone.

Now, I knew exactly what had happened. My youngest brother, Daniel, also suffers from stress and depression, which is exacerbated by untidy surroundings. Living with two siblings who are indifferent housekeepers at best is borderline torture at times. Clearly he’d gone on a cleaning rampage, most likely triggered by the never-ending pile of dirty dishes he had to deal with, and packed away everything that wasn’t absolutely essential. I knew he wouldn’t have thrown them out and that they were probably in a box somewhere. I do have a ridiculously large collection of mugs, which I’ve been showcasing with my candle and book collection on Twitter with the hashtag #weekendreads.

But even though I knew all of that logically, as I looked at the empty cupboard where my mugs used to be, I felt like I’d been completely erased from the house.

I don’t make much money. I am not a handy person with very many practical skills. I haven’t been keeping track of bills like I was supposed to (although everything was still getting paid on time). I am not good at anything in particular, except writing and editing which doesn’t do much good on a day to day practical basis. My cats only cause messes. I am nothing but a twitchy, neurotic burden. A useless English major. Taking my mugs felt like a sign that I was no longer welcome.

A lot of this thinking was caused by the perfect storm of depression. Since that day, things have been discussed and I feels like family kind of has my back again. I bought a small shelving unit to put in my library so I could get my mugs back without causing a renewal of clutter in the kitchen. I don’t feel like an outcast in my own home anymore. But I still feel wary and unwilling to trust my full weight to a foundation that has been severely shaken over the last 14 months. I miss that sense of security. But now I am trying to move ahead to secure my own future and establish a place that is completely mine so I cannot be erased again.

Wish me luck.

My new mug display (which still only holds about half of my collection!)

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