Black and Tattooed in San Francisco not Vietnam

A year ago this week I was in Hanoi, Vietnam. I was experiencing two of the most challenging weeks in my life. I was pushed and jostled on sidewalks. I scrambled across busy streets clogged with motorbikes, dodged splattering oil at food stalls, and flipped table top BBQ settings. I was stressed out hearing voices. I began to draw inward. I experienced the most intense feelings on the surface of my skin that has since been numb upon my return. Please follow the link below for a quick synopsis of what I was feeling Traveling While Black. It was posted a year ago on a friends website. I also invite you to read some of my archived posts and relive my trip to Vietnam.

I’m hanging out at the one place I can get free coffee. I have a window seat and reflect on the past year of my life. This time last year I was packed to live a life in S.E. Asia.

before purchasing another piece luggage

It’s currently 73F in Danang as Vietnam moves into its wet season. It is 64F in San Francisco as we enter our short, late summer.  I still think of living in another country. I am thinking Korea 2013.

Acclimating to being back this whole last year has been difficult. The job search was urgent upon my return. My ego was still in pieces from the rough handling at the U.S. Embassy in Hanoi. Faith in me had waned as I watched any opportunity to teach ESL fizzle.

Making future plans with little faith made every day hard to wake up to. I would slowly open my eyes to the day and watch my friends doing what they wanted, thriving in their passions. I would shake on the inside with aggravation. Musicians, educators, writers, performers and healers were working their hustle to make ends meet, but they wouldn’t change it for the world. What am I doing wrong?

I felt movement in my life, but saw no motion. The feeling of movement kept me on the verge of nausea. My OCD kicked into overdrive, making lists, creating schedules… I spent hours watching Korean dramas. By the time I found a position as mental health client’s rights advocate I was twisted in the head. It is one of the hardest jobs I have ever done. My heart hurt to turn 39 and be so far from my dreams and desires.

Old, familiar feelings crept in. They began to feel dangerous…depression. I felt so much of myself slipping through my fingertips. Those little everyday blessings became worthless to me. Each effort and life achievement meant nothing. I couldn’t be told differently. I couldn’t tell myself differently. Sleep was the answer. The unconscious was my only comfort. Unable to act as if, I allowed the feelings to wash over me and remind me that I DO know how to take care of myself…anti-depressants.

I didn’t need to talk anything through. There was no amount of words or organization of thoughts that would fix my depression. I was spinning my wheels going through DBT and other mindfulness techniques. I talked to myself tirelessly to rise out of the muck flowing in my head. Prozac shut that shit flow down.

I believe that there is something chemically wrong with me. I have no shame (well, maybe a little) in equalizing it all out with medication. It works…for me. It’s been three months now and I almost feel normal. I continually feel overwhelmed about life, but I can persevere. Lion’s pride is close to the surface and it will be hard to shove it down. I look forward to the day I feel like I am on the prowl once more.

I currently work a few nights a week at the Cove on Castro. I absolutely love it there. I love the staff, especially Alberto.  He’s not only young and hot, but he reminds me of the boys I hung out with at 888. The monitors at the Cove show all images of the LGBT community including transgender people and events. Solange, the owner, is beautiful, youthful and silly. The Cove is like my adult Ortega. The Cove and Ortega deserve their own blog entry.

In May I began to work as an English Conversational Intern at Intrax, with plans on moving onto their substitute teaching list. I’ve applied and interviewed for some after school programs to no avail. I applied to USF’s M.A.TESOL program and was denied.

It doesn’t seem so much for an update. It feels like I have left so much out. So much has happened to me in the past year it may take a few more months to truly reflect on it all. I don’t feel like I have too much time to reflect. There is so much to do. Thanks for waiting and reading my inconsistent  posts. It’s nice to have an audience.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s