I Used To Be An Urban Goatherd, But Now I Am Nothing
Five weeks ago after an epic autistic meltdown that then a colleague disparagingly reduced to “venting”, I took an unplanned and unceremonious sabbatical from the nonprofit I helped form back in 2014 as part of “rescuing” a herd of fourteen urban goats from being split up into their original pairings and sold off.
I stayed away for two and a half weeks (wondering along the way if even things I care about were just going to break me), and then only ventured out once a week when no one else would be around, just to see the goats.
The first half an hour would be good, and then sometime in the second half an hour I’d just get sad and tired.
During this time I started handing over the keys to various of my longtime responsibilities.
This week, I had to do tech support for some of what I’d handed over, which meant changing some things around, and resetting passwords in hopes of setting things right. It exhausted and frustrated me and every other minute of it I just wanted the damn problem to be fixed so I could be done with the stress.
Hours later, the same person who lashed out at me for venting while I was having a mental health crisis sent a message passive-aggressively crediting my sudden newfound “initiative” but criticizing my barging back in to reassert adminstrative control over things without clearing it with anyone.
That wasn’t, of course, what I’d done. But they assumed it was, that I’d just up and started taking the reins back without talking to anyone about it. Because I guess that’s what they think of me.
I’ve quit for good.
I spent half the night assembling material, paperwork, and electronic data to turn over to the organization. I’ve written my official resignation letter. I’m preparing to make sure my organization email address is forwarded and has an auto-response set up.
For almost the past six years, the herd has been the substantial portion of my identity. I’ve worked too long and too hard to subject myself to the sort of dismissive abuse I’ve seen at the start and the end of the past five weeks. This is not the first time other people at the organization have been subject to abuse from the same individual, but I simply don’t have the psychic capacity to fight.
All I can do is save myself.
The problem is that now I have nothing. In a very real sense, I am nothing.
All I have now is the ongoing fight with Social Security to avoid eventual poverty, one that I can only assume from all the interactions with them so far that I am going to lose.
I have an apartment on a piece of property that’s looking to sell, looming the threat of having once again to find a place to live.
I have two cats who don’t particularly get along, but at least get along with me.
I have weekly trips to the zoo that are supposed to be for my mental health except lately the zoo itself has become a frustration.
I am no one.
I am here, and I don’t intend to go anywhere, but I am no one and I am nothing. I have nothing to show for anything I have ever done with my life.
And at forty-nine, all I have to look forward to is a second half that looks to be more of the same.
I’ve decided to try my hand at #InstagramInspiration posts, but I’m not sure if I’m doing the influencer thing right. It’s a tough form to crack.