Change is the only thing I can count on these days. It feels like my own "normal," my own version of stability.
by Jane D.
There was a period of time in this year when things were temporarily perfect. There was the penthouse with its perfect view of the city, the dashing boyfriend with the shiny black Mercedes Benz who was charming and could make me laugh, and the job where despite the revolving door of bosses, I worked with friendly colleagues. There are times when I ask myself why couldn’t it have lasted forever, or at least a bit longer.
I saw it coming for months -- the guillotine, the pink slip, the collapse of what I knew as stability, or what on the surface seemed like stability. Stability came in the form of the two doormen apartment in a posh neighborhood. It came in the form of a dashing boyfriend who wrote about a similar longing for stability in his love letters. It came in the form of a new job that seemed to offer stability too. And then, all of it seemed to come to an end over the last two months.
During the first week of August on a bright summer weekday in cubicleland, I was called in and told that my position was being axed, that the department was being restructured. My boss, who also has attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADD/ADHD), had already been fired. Since then I had been slowly but surely making an exit, physically removing my things from the office and saying goodbye to colleagues. I had a sense that everything was coming apart, piece by piece, which it indeed was. My world of stability, which was already built on fragile ground, all seemed to end at once -- the loss of the boyfriend, the impending loss of the apartment, and then the job.
While it now had a familiar ring -- this was, after all, the pattern of life since graduation -- there was something sad about it, something tragic. At times I feel like a broken record repeatedly asking myself, “Why me, why me, why me?” But these losses also seem to make sense. I had never really liked this job in the first place. From the early days, something wasn’t right about he boyfriend. Beyond his overall attractiveness and persona, there were little things: an ex-girlfriend still texting him, an invitation to a wedding, and a tendency over promise and under deliver. In the end, I realized none of this mattered. I had fallen in love with a fantasy, with the idea of stability.
Over coffee I told a good friend that the end of the relationship was devastating not simply because I was blown off, but because it was the end a dream or stability, planted in my mind in the form of a house, a two-car garage, a child, maybe a pet. In the same way, the job provided that ideal. For a long time, I have hungered for the structure of a company or a household, and yet it is fair to say that I am not ready to settle down, and that I continue to wish to be alone. Maybe someday I will open my heart and self again to be tied to an institution, a place, or a person; for now, that seems like a pipe dream.
The reality of loss, of doors that closed one right after the other, was a bit surreal. After the loss of a love, there was the pink slip and then the impending farewell to the penthouse too. The co-op had caught on that the subletting had been going on for years, and they now wanted my friend, the landlady, to pony up so to speak. After a year of living in the building, of nodding and smiling at the doormen, of living the lifestyle of a so-called Jewish American Princess, I had steadily come to think that I belonged there, that the place was mine. I laugh because in the end it was never mine to begin with.
At a time of loss, I search for spirituality and wonder why does God give only to take away. I feel like a cat that has been fed canned food for a whole year, only to be switched back to dry kibble. As I type, I am reminded that a year ago the ex-boyfriend and I had a great deal of fun, and that I was at the cusp of moving into the penthouse, and that I’d just started a new job. A year later, all of that is gone. There are many days when I play the blame game, knowing the root cause is my own self, and then I stop myself and think the only constant thing about life is change. Change, in a way, is my form of stability.
If there’s anything that ADHDers are used to it is surviving change; dusting our knees off and getting on the horse again.