The Goat

Saturday, March 31, 2018

Photograph by JC Gellidon

Empathetic versus Sympathetic

I always found it to be a catch 22 to be a quiet person. By nature, I am an incredibly quiet individual. It is not that I do not have anything to say, but I tend to listen more than I do speak. This helps me to better adapt myself in situations with certain people because it allows me to understand who they are and where they are coming from. The problem is, people tend to get used to me not speaking that they never get an opportunity to hear me about. It is like this meme when they do ask how I am doing.

People take advantage of my quiet demeanor.

I cannot put too much blame on people for not understanding where I am coming from or why I feel the way that I do. It is my fault for not voicing my thoughts out, to begin with. So I guess what I am trying to say is, I want to talk about how I am actually doing. You know, for once.

I function on two different schedules.

Let us start with my "life" schedule. Since moving to Chicago, I had to adapt to two different schedules. For one, Mac works from 1 AM to 11:30 AM, which means he goes to bed from 5 PM to 1 AM in order to get his full eight hours of sleep. Keeping that in mind, I work Monday through Friday at the office from 7:30 AM until 4 PM. I have a one hour window to be home, to cook for the two of us, and to spend whatever time I have left with him before he goes to bed. Some days, I am forced to work unpaid hours to tend to a client's needs and this ends up going over the time that I need to cook dinner. When do I go to bed? I go to bed at the same time Mac does, which means I am up at 1 AM as well finishing up projects for work or freelancing projects on the side. Imagine forcing your brain to function in a creative state at 1 AM - some days are much harder than others to get the juices flowing.

So now that we know what my work schedule is like, let me explain my weekends and what they are for. Weekends are for everything that I cannot get done during the weekday. This is where my grocery shopping, errand running, laundry washing and folding, and basement cleaning happens. This is the time where I would get the car washed, go through our bills, check our receipts and catch up on news that I probably missed throughout the week. In actuality, I do not get a weekend off from doing nothing. I do get to squeeze in extra time to check social media, but being able to just do nothing is impossible.

I don't have to run on Mac's schedule, but I do because I care.

Everyone who knows what Mac does for a living usually thinks it is an easy job. But let us be real for a second, no job is ever easy. His job is 100% labor intensive, therefore, he needs to get his full 8 hours of sleep in order to function properly the next morning. While I technically do not have a manual labor job, my job consists of being in front of a monitor for 8 hours a day and talking to people all day. For me, it affects my eyes and ultimately my head and as someone who gets chronic migraines, it can make my day go from 100 to 0, very quickly.

The sacrifices that come with this lifestyle

It is not the schedule I would like to be on, but you do what you have to do to get food on the table. Most of Mac's paychecks go to paying house bills. Most of my paychecks go to loan payments and phone bills. We cannot afford to lose our jobs. We cannot afford to take days off. In both of our industries, we are dispensable. Of course, we are going to put our jobs before our hobbies. Of course, we are going to put our jobs before any other forms of entertainment.

"I have to juggle A, B, and C, with D and E." I had to explain my life to my boss one day about how I felt when I was told that my problems were nothing in comparison to someone else's. That sort of mentality is not okay to have.
Just because you have it hard does not mean that you should ever discredit someone else's problems because you find yours to be more difficult. 
Everyone is fighting a battle, but not everyone is equipped with the tools necessary to overcome them as quickly as others. It may not seem like I am not going through a hard time, but I am. You have no right to ever put someone else's problems down - ever.

Life of a goat

I became a scapegoat for a lot of things. I find it almost humorous considering my Chinese zodiac is the goat. I am either the goat (greatest of all time) to some people or a walking, breathing, scapegoat to others. At work, people find it easy to blame me for the mistakes because I am the new point of contact to reach out to. With family, people find it easy to blame me for our absence to events because I am the new person in Mac's life. I left California because my own parents blamed me for every single thing they could think of for their inability to keep a family together. I left friendships back in California because people blamed me for their inability to move on from specific events in their lives.

It is easy to blame someone who does not fight back. It is easy to blame the weak. I will admit it, too. I am weak, but I am weak in the sense that I am just tired. I am mentally and emotionally drained day in and day out, but I give all that I can to do the best that I can. You can see how I am at face value, but if you were to hear the things that I say or see the things that I do in the background, perhaps you will have a different perspective on who I am as a person.

Life has not been easy and it will not be easy for a while. But you know what? I'll be fine. And even when I say it with a gentle smile on my face, know that there are a million things going on in the back of my mind that is trying so hard to pull the corners of my mouth downwards. I am working my hardest to be successful and to pull those who have been supportive up as well.

So thanks for asking how I am doing. I am doing just fine.