Sunday, September 30, 2007

A public comment on a private matter

This is to you two, you know who you are. True sisters of friendship who I count as blessings. Nothing I personally could tell you could ever erase it or fix it or kiss it away. And, frankly, that's your badge. Would you really want to lose that whole part of who you are? I know there are days when I wish with all my heart to wish away the things I can't go back and fix, but, most, days I know they created who I am, and I believe that one day I'll actually be OK with that, with who I am.

Roundabout, I guess. But I do have something to tell you that I hope isn't the pitying, the over-sympathizing, the outcasting, or the different-ing of you.

There wasn't an idyllic childhood. Ever.

My middle school best friend had it all. I mean, she really had it going on, with everything I ever dreamed of using to buy myself into the popular clique. She had the L.L.Bean backpack in green, The Land's End parka in red, Ralph Lauren Polo shirts instead of Catholic uniform shirts, some sort of suede shoes we called "dirty bucks" (though I have no idea anymore why we called them that), and--my god--she had MORE THAN ONE Louis Vuitton bag. Seriously. Was anyone cooler than her? Gretta even rolled her uniform skirt up at the waist to show off more leg. She dyed her hair blonde. She had a perm.

Gretta had everything I believed my parents were preventing me from attaining. I whined and cried all the time, "I need a Liz Claiborne purse! I need a Land's End parka! I need everything Gretta has and I never will!" I thought that if I had the cool things, I'd be cool, and then my world would be perfect instead of perfectly dorky.

But all of Gretta's cool-ness couldn't win her the one thing she actually needed--a family. Does that sound too cliche? It sounds so Lifetime movie, but it really was that way. When Gretta let me into her world of cool, I saw things that devestated me raw. Both of her parents were alcoholics, and her high-school-aged sister had such easy access to the never-ending liquor cabinet that she was already imitating their behavior. Gretta's beautiful world of perfect bikinis became the world of laundry that never got done, no food in the house, a pool that never had the proper chemical treatments, and constant screaming and bikcering. Parents who were never home. Parents who fell into bed passed out with their clothes on. A mother that cared more that she got to play bunko weekly than she cared whether or not her kids passed history class.

Even in middle school, I realized that Gretta was so intellectually stunted that she propbably suffered fetal alcohol syndrome. They were all like that, all three sisters, suviving on cool but absolutely nothing else. After seeing into Gretta's real world, I still wanted in. I can't believe it now, but I wished my parents were so drunk they didn't care where I was. I wished it was OK to fail math. I wished I could get drunk at the age of 12. I wished my parents taught me how to makes shots of rattlesnakes because they were too drunk to do it themselves. I would have changed everything for their lives of BMW's and dirty dishes, just to get the Louis Vuitton purses.

And my life. My family reads my blog on rare occasions, so I don't talk about how I really feel most of the time. But, in honor of the braveness of my two friends, I'll tell my version of events.

I suffered depression from a very early age. If you looked at my life, it was perfect. We had a huge, green yard with swingsets and jungle gyms and flower beds full of irises and roses. We played badminton on the lawn, we set the table for family dinner together, We used the good china every day--just because we could.

But, I wanted to die. Literally, I wanted to die. I even wrote in my mom's calendar, "Things to remember: Christine's death." I told my parents how much I hated them, hated myself, hated my life, but somehow things just continued on the same. No one ever tried to fix what was really wrong. My mom bought me off-season Liz Claiborne purses so I could fit in better at school, but it made no difference in how much I hated myself.

And I hated everyone else for it, too. My anger came out in weird ways. We had a dog for a brief year, and I beat it. I punished my little sister most for my misery. I treated her so badly that I wonder if I abused her. We played tricks on each other, hiding things in each other's beds, but I always took it too far. I hurt her by putting a high heeled shoe pointy end up inside her bed.

Once I even nearly smothered her. If we stayed up late laughing and talking instead of sleeping, our mom would come in and yell at us to be quiet. Part of our joke was that if we laughed too loud, we'd push each other's face into the pillow to be quiet. One night, I got carried away in the moment, and I started getting mean. I made her shout, and I pushed her face-first into the pillow, driving her harder and harder with each shout. She wailed her arms around and struggled, but I held her down. When I finally let her up, she choked out, "I couldn't breathe! I needed you to let me up." I said, "sorry," and went and got in my own bed, remorseless until years after the fact.

I even tried cutting for a while. In middle school, some of Gretta's friends liked to cut their thighs with razor blades then show the scabs off at school to prove how tough they were. I tried carving the name of my "boyfriend" into my thigh, but the letters faded out toward the end when the pain and blood became too real. I showed everyone at school, and it helped my status for a little while at least. Fortunately my cutting left only one slight scar, because I'd look incredibly stupid with the word "BEAU" upside-down on my right thigh. (I swear that was his real name, and I'm not making that up.)

My parents finally got me treatment for depression when I was sixteen. Looking back, sometimes I blame them for waiting so long, considering I first told them I wanted to kill myself when I was ten. I got released from therapy for being "OK." But I wasn't. The depression kept coming back, sometimes worse than others. Sometimes I had panic attacks with the depression, and the smallest things, like getting library books from a floor of the library I'd never been to, would send me into hyperventilation. I got treatement for depression again in college, and, again, I was released from therapy for being "OK."

But I still wasn't. I'm still not. I still get treatment when insurance works in my favor (which it too often doesn't), and I still go through periods of "OK," and defintie periods of not-so-OK. I look back on my picture-perfect childhood, so full of love and hope and family, and I see the sunshine and the puffy white clouds and hear the neighbor whistle as he mows his lawn. And I look back on my tortured childhood, where nothing I ever did or had or felt was right enough. They were both there, the mirror-image childhoods, always, at the same time, facing each other.

Neither wins. Both are me. One gives me no satisfaction and one gives me regret. Dear readers, you can choose which is which. I must keep some secrets to myself.

Friday, September 28, 2007

Battle royale, which makes me think of "Royale with cheese"

My husband and I got into a contest/fight/ruckus over who posts to their respective blogs more. I totally win, hands down, you know I do, because I rule. I don't usually link to other blogs because I know I'm not as awesome as some people are, and I don't want the competition. But I love to laugh at myself, and here's a self I can really laugh at. Matthew blogged about me here.

A few notes

More Southern clich├ęs that ensure Northerners think everyone’s bonkers down here… I am reading a history of St. Augustine. On page two of the preface, the author referred to “The War Between the States.” Now please, this book was written in 1987, not 1887. I’m hoping it was the author’s concession to the private archival collection he pulled his material from, but I am wary that he might really think that the Civil War was “The War Between the States.” He’s considered THE historian of this part of Florida, which means he holds great influence, which means other people think it’s OK to say “The War Between the States.” I guess really it might be OK to say that about the Civil War, but it makes the South seem so much more backward than it really is.

I have a new Florida friend. She’s Cuban, which is kind of ironic, I think, because we’re nowhere near Miami, and she came here legitimately for marriage, not political asylum. But she’s a real doll, and I’m glad she’s in my life. She’s a crafty lady too, like I used to be, and she may be inspiring me to get back into my hobbies instead of ignoring them. I finally found a hula hoop design that I like to make, that has the right weight and the right size and the right texture. I think I want to make her one as a gift. I only have a couple of colors that I really like though, so that makes it harder to show her some mad skills. We’ll see though. It’s OK if we’re hoop twinkies I guess.

I have also conceded to the dog/catnip debacle. I can’t control the dog’s access to common areas, therefore the cat should only have catnip in his bedroom. It makes me kind of sad because I can’t get to watch the cat get all bonkers on ecstasy, but at least he has the fun without being chased off by the dog.

I think that’s all the new news. Nothing out of this world to report from St. Augustine, just the regular new rhythms of life in Florida. No beach time this week, no time, but next week the in-laws come to visit, so I foresee a beach trip or two.

Love you, reader(s).

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

“I keep hoping…

…that things will change without any effort on my part,” I shouted to my husband tonight. He was on the couch with the dog, I thought, and the cat and I were upstairs getting ready for bed. As a treat, I bent over to give the cat his special gourmet catnip, and I patted him on the head and left him to his feline cocaine.

When I came back, the dog had seceded to join us upstairs, and she ruined everyone’s party. I can’t figure out why, but whenever she comes across catnip, she licks it all up. The sorry state leaves my poor cat without his wonder drug. And it stymies me. I’ve heard that dogs can like catnip, but to lick it all up and then just walk away? It’s just weird.

I yelled to Matthew, “I thought you had the dog?”

He shouted back, “No, she went upstairs.”

More yelling down the stairs: “But I just gave the cat catnip!”

Then the exasperated shout: “Honey, you know you can’t give the cat catnip anywhere where the dog can get to it. You know this. I don’t understand why you keep doing it.”

And my ultimate come-back: “Because I keep hoping that things will change without any effort on my part!”

Shouting that was actually therapeutic. I really keep expecting deus ex machina magic to swoop from the sky and solve all my problems through no trying on my part. Need to lose that belly fat that TV harps on about? Not my problem, someone else will fix it. Need to get on a regular sleep regimen so I don’t feel so crappy? It’ll work itself out one day. Tonight’s was obviously: need to deliver catnip while the dog’s away? No problem, she’ll just magically stay downstairs.

What gives me the right to assume I don’t need to solve my own problems? What grants me the forbearance that I can sit on the computer and ruminate about my life but not actually take responsible action? Nothing. I come up with snake eyes every time.

I wrote earlier that I can only cheat myself. I come every day to see more and more how bad habits and poor decisions about my life cause me to cheat myself endlessly. The laundry list of my woes would be dull, and probably the two people who read my blog already have heard my whining, but shouting out “Because I keep hoping that things will change without any effort on my part!” made me realize how that one sentiment applies to most areas of my life.

“Compassion.” I’m supposed to be working on the mantra “compassion.” Feeling compassion for others—and myself. Am I being too critical when I judge that I expect to only take the easy choices in life? I don’t think so. I think that in this case, forgiving sloth with the pronouncement of “compassion” only perpetuates the sin. I must have compassion for myself as I learn to take control of the strong decisions that need to be made and adhered to, but while cheating myself, compassion is not what I truly need. What I really need is to out in some effort on my part.

Saturday, September 22, 2007

I heart you ocean, rogue waves and all

I have fresh ink, you know, new tattoos, which means I’m not supposed to get them wet to prevent infection. But it had been so long since a Team Wy trip to the Atlantic, I just demanded. “I want to go to the ocean,” I told Matthew.

“But you can’t get your tattoos wet.”

“Just a little ocean, please?”

And he knew what I meant, that I just wanted to wade a bit and kick around in the surf, so he agreed. With one codicil: he had work to do, and wasn’t free to go until three pm. Boo. I like to go earlier in the day so that we risk less sunburn. But, three or nothing, and I accepted three.

We arrived to discover that three pm is high tide. Who knew? I’m used to Lake Michigan where the water is psycho cold but the little wave-lets and nonexistent tides are predictable. High tide meant that instead of the gentle, sloping, sandy beach we were used to in St. Augustine, we were confined to a small strip of broken shell detritus for a shore. The shell grit hurt to walk on, but we got used to it pretty quickly.

We’ve also had four days of non-stop rain that dumped nine inches of water on St. Augustine. Let’s do ocean math: high tide plus four storm days equals rough surf. So much for the easy-breezy ocean romp! We waded up to our feet and got splashed up to our thighs with huge choppy waves. Even at so shallow a wading distance, I actually got knocked down by powerful blasts twice, dragged across the gritty shell-covered shore. Both times, I made Matthew reach down to grip my arm and drag me up to standing before I was swept out to sea. Matthew said, “We won’t go any deeper; this is the kind of surf that people go into and get lost.”

As we stood in the surf, a middle-aged woman wearing a religious t-shirt and carrying a Miller High Life tall boy stumbled our way. I don’t know why she was following her particular trajectory, except that she was drunk and seemed to be following the edge of the wave line, but she made her bumbling way straight toward us. Without my glasses, I didn’t realize how ominous she really looked until she was about five feet from us, and still she kept weaving directly our way, not veering off to give us space. Just as she reached a two foot distance, a large wave blasted in and knocked her unsteady feet. As she fell, she nearly reached out to grab us to stop her stumble. Not wanting to be pulled down by drunk, rambling strangers, we were pretty freaked out by the incident, and gladly watched her regain her balance and stumble along further down the beach. We wondered mostly where she got that t-shirt and if god protected drunk women on the beach.

A young woman watching two small children—we assumed her to be a nanny—played high up from the water, the older child dashing into the bubbly reach of the waves, and putting sand in buckets to dump it out back on the shore. Another large wave crashed in, and I saw the older child’s orange bucket get swept away as the nanny ran to grab him. I said to Matthew, “Oh, that poor kid just lost his bucket.” We both strained to see if we could find it in the waves. I kept telling Matthew, “It’s gone, the waves took it,” and he replied, “The sea giveth, and the sea taketh away.” So biblically appropriate.

Amazingly, after giving up, we saw the orange bucket bob up to the surface and get stuck in a trough where the incoming and outgoing waves met. Matthew declared, “I’m going to get that bucket.” I asked him not to, told him it only cost 99 cents, but he insisted on saving the child’s day. I watched in horror as he waded out into the strong waves, making little forward progress toward the floating bucket. I knew this was the chance for the ocean to knock him down and sweep him away. As he ducked under for each wave, I waited desperately for him to pop back up. Somehow he managed to defeat the Atlantic each time, but he struggled to get to the bucket, merely a few feet away from it, but impossible to reach it in the wave convergence. I kept thinking of what he said: “This is the kind of surf that people go into and get lost.”

Finally he caught the orange pail, and then he began the epic struggle back to shore. I watched, again my stomach in knots, as he fought the waves to make it back to the beach. I thought both concerned and selfish things. “What if he goes down. There’s no lifeguard, no one to save him?” And: “What if I get knocked over by a wave again? Who will pull me back up?” But he magically made it back to the nanny and the two children. I was so worried when he finally got back to me, that I forgot to ask if they thanked him. They didn’t look very thankful, but I was too far away to know for sure.

And thus our strangest ocean adventure yet. When we came out to dry off, we were both covered in tiny fragments of shell. I showered at home, and had to use a loofah to scrub all the little sharp pieces out of my skin they were embedded so stubbornly. Clean and tired, I collapsed on the couch, grateful to have my little ocean, though it turned out to be so big.

Friday, September 21, 2007

Things overheard in St. Augustine

First my disclaimer. I wish I didn't hear these things anywhere, but there are things you can only hear in the south. And some of these things, even out of context, are perfectly clear.

Scene: outside the bodega locally referred to as the "crack shack." People: group of middle-aged African-Americans drinking beer outside the walk-up liquor window. Overheard: "Jim-Crow motha-fucka." And I knew exactly what he was talking about. The bicycle cops trying to keep the local drinkers from lounging on the sidewalks with open bottles. Honestly, I'm not sure exactly whose side I'm on considering the local drunks are awfully friendly.

Scene: my back yard. People: me and an African-American man. Conversation: "I'm just the yard man." And I knew exactly what he was talking about. He was saying, "You're a white woman, and I'm a black man, but don't be freaked out, cause I'm just here to mow the lawn." I hurt for him that a man older than me had to excuse his presence to me. Although at first I was afraid he was a missionary. Thank gaia he was just carrying a weed eater.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Journey of a thousand miles

Begins with a Sisyphean step.

Torrential rains in St. Augustine this week. Really, they’ve been phenomenal. Considering the city is pretty much at sea level already, the streets are all flooded a minimum of six inches. Sidewalks are impassable, grass is boggy to the point of shoe sucking, and the wind blows rain into your newly inside-out umbrella.

Tonight was the night I chose to begin a journey. After the de-press post, I’ve been trying to recover myself, get back into mental shape. Tonight was the first night of yoga class, a step in the right direction, no? Oh, was it ever a step. I told myself the entire time I joggled my yoga mat, dry-off towel, and purse from arm-to-arm, all while fighting off rain and wind with my Van Gogh sunflowers umbrella, that Sisyphus was doomed to never achieve his goal. My goal was just on the other side of a lake of mud.

Fortunately, one can practice hatha yoga sans shoes. And socks. And even sans purse and eyeglasses. Because all those items were soaking wet! Somehow my towel managed to remain dry in the marathon from car to recreational center, so I used it to wipe down as best I could, but the mirror-check revealed a definite “drowned rat” look. I took two seconds to try and Tyra Banks it, but then I decided it was just rec-room yoga, and no one was there to discover America’s next plus-sized model.

The actual yoga was decent. It wasn’t challenging, which was probably for the best since
I am also way off my A-game in the athletics department too. There were also no America’s next plus-sized yoga pro talent scouts either. I like flexing and working the stretch yoga poses, but the instructor had actually tailored her course to working muscle groups used for golfing. It sounds weird, but when you consider the number of golf courses encircling St. Augustine, it makes perfect sense. Now I just need to parlay my namaste into a birdie. I’ll make Sisyphus proud yet.

Saturday, September 15, 2007

“To sleep, perchance to dream”?

I never have identified with Hamlet. Actually, I find it hard to relate to most of Shakespeare’s characters, though I love to read his plays and feel them deeply. The closest I come to identifying with a character’s plight is Lady Macbeth. “Out, damned spot,” she tries to wash her hands clean of guilt. My life sometimes feels like I’m washing off guilt. Guilt for nothing. I plotted no murders, I’ve brought about no one’s demise, but I’ve been cruel in the way teenagers are cruel to one another, and I’ve been judgmental, the way children are judgmental to one another, and I have disobeyed when guardians tried only to help me. I try to find it in my heart to change those tendencies, but I only end up with “out, damned spot,” the guilt of soiled hands.

Monya suggested I needed to write about my constant struggle with my friend, lover, nemesis, sleep. I thought of Hamlet instead, and then Lady Macbeth and her guilty hands.

Sleep and I embrace so tenderly, so lovingly, at all the inappropriate times. I could nap all day, undreaming, resting, peaceful. In our new house, I say I take dog naps or cat naps. The cat has his own bedroom, and in there he has a futon. When I want to really stretch, I take to the futon, and my cat curls around me. I feel such comfort in his presence, he’s one of my dearest friends, and he purrs just to be near me. I can only smile; I’ve never learned to purr back.

A dog nap is a less serious nap because it is on the couch in the living room, the dog’s domain. The couch nap says, “I’m in the living room, not in a bed, and people will come in and out, so really I won’t sleep deeply.” Sometimes the dog sleeps parallel to me, on the floor, and sometimes I make a little nest with my legs and she curls into a space on the couch. The dog is happy to share my space and my time, and I feel the love too, but it’s nothing like the romance of the cat nap. The dog nap admits that I’m probably going to be dog-kicked and dog-wrestled, even though what I really want is the cat nap, though I feel too guilty to take it.

But I try not to surrender to the cat nap. The cat nap admits that I have a serious problem with sleep dysfunction. Every sleep specialist and self-help book gives me the rules of sleeping: no naps, restful bedtime rituals, no activities in the bed but sleep (and, you know, those other activities). These criteria are supposed to create the foundation of normal nighttime sleep. Normal nighttime sleep. I have to write that again. I get normal nighttime sleep maybe a few times a month. And so I give in to the dog naps and the cat naps, even though they’re forbidden.

Every nap I take has the tang of the forbidden. Delicious. Dangerous. A challenge to the rules. And I love to challenge the rules, and I love to taste the forbidden. Tell me “no,” and I hear “I dare you.” Tell me “no,” and I tell you “no” back. I am non-compliant.

I don’t tell my contrarinous lightly, like a rebellious teenager. Always, since a child, I took “no” as a challenge. My childhood best friend’s parents hated me, because no matter how many times they told me not to jump on the bed, not to sleep in the doll bed, not to bring my blankie over to sleep, I did anyway. “Don’t go backward down the slide.” “Don’t run away home without telling anyone.” “Don’t…” oh it’s too hard to explain all the don’ts. And as soon as they turned their backs, I immediately resumed the don’t-ing. I ran upright down the slide, I demanded to play my games and no one else’s, I bent my friend’s hula hoops in half playing too rough with them, I threw the ball on the roof of the garage to watch it roll down and catch it.

“Don’t nap.” Precious, precious nap. Like cookie dough ice cream when you’re on a diet. Hell, like raw cookie dough when you feel fat already. A Blizzard, a Frosty, a regular Coke, syrupy sweet iced tea. Daydreaming at work, skipping the gym, whipped cream on your latte, frozen dinners, chewing ice. All the don’ts, all the so-not-good-for-yous, every forbidden, cheat against yourself.

And that is a nap. A cheat against myself. I can’t cheat a doctor or a self-help book, but I can cheat myself, over and over again. A nap is falling down and skinning my knees when I insist on running down the slide. I dare the don’t, and I’m the one I hurt. It’s my guilt, against myself.

And the nap. Precious, precious nap. It feels like the only time I really sleep, but sleeping in the nap ruins my chance at sleeping during the night before it even began. I stack the deck against myself. Deal my nemesis nighttime sleep all the “draw fours” and “skip a turn.” Nighttime sleep laughs at me as my hand of Uno cards gets as big as a catcher’s mitt, with no hope of winning the game.

But the nap. Precious, precious nap. What better way to be healed from a night of bad sleep than a cat nap or its friend the dog nap? “Just a dog nap,” I say, “nothing serious, no commitment to a bed and pillow, no egregious violation of the rules, right?” Cheating. Don’t. Rebellion. Guilt.

It’s just a dog nap. “Out, damned spot.”

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Gray skies are gonna clear up

It’s good. I’m feeling better, spiritually, emotionally. I’ve got ideas, I’m feeling plans, I’ve got some motivation. I’m not perfectly un-depressed yet, but, I gotta tell ya, it’s getting better.

I don’t know what made me get off the couch, but one day I woke up and said, “I’m ready to feel better.” So, I started working on feeling better. I’ve got plans for a new, blue hula hoop, and I’m ready to go to the local gym and see if they have a classroom big enough for me to hoop in (they gotta, right?). I’ve made phone calls, I’ve made appointments, I’ve made inquiries. It’s on the up. “Christine: a lady on the make.” (God bless Nelson Algren.)

Don’t cry for me, friends, lovers, readers. I’m getting better.

hap•py
–adjective, -pi•er, -pi•est.
1. delighted, pleased, or glad, as over a particular thing: to be happy to see a person.
2. characterized by or indicative of pleasure, contentment, or joy: a happy mood; a happy frame of mind.
3. favored by fortune; fortunate or lucky: a happy, fruitful land.

Saturday, September 08, 2007

New photos

Yes, I've finally gotten around to uploading photos from Chicago in June to my Flickr account. To see them, click on the lower left-hand of this screen on the Flickr nav bar. Dad, you've been waiting for this, and here you go ;)

Mind you, these are only the photos from the Chicago Architectural Foundation boat tour so far, but the rest are on their way soon.

And then, even more relevant, St. Augustine pictures! There aren't many of them, believe it or not, but that part of my life is still in the developmental stages, you could say.

Defining characteristics

de•press (d-prs)
tr.v. de•pressed, de•press•ing, de•press•es
1. To lower in spirits; deject.
2.
a. To cause to drop or sink; lower: The drought depressed the water level in the reservoirs.
b. To press down: Depress the space bar on a typewriter.
3. To lessen the activity or force of; weaken: feared that rising inflation would further depress the economy.
4. To lower prices in (a financial market).

Since moving to Florida—though I love it here and I’m having the time of my life—I’ve suffered an ennui of spirits I can’t seem to shake no matter how much xanax I take (just kidding, I only have valium). This word, “depress,” describes my emotional circumstances in every way. Let’s begin.

A transitive verb, depress means by definition 1 “to lower in spirits.” I can’t explain why moving to Florida would lay me low—really, it is the tropical paradise I’ve dreamed of—but somehow it has. I’m going to attribute my “lowness in spirits” to the after-effects of the drama of our move, but, it’s been a month, shouldn’t I feel better now?

A defining characteristic of clinical depression is to be de-pressed. Pressed down. A literal feeling of lack, of low, lack of interest, lowness of self-worth. I consider being depressed analogous to being pressed to the couch, unable to move or function, oversleeping, under-reacting (or over-reacting). Depressed. Like definitions 2 a. and 2 b. “To cause to drop or sink,” and “To press down.”

Did you know that the actual grammatically correct way of saying “press the elevator button” is “Pardon me sir, could you kindly depress the button for the third floor?” I feel like that formal button, “Pardon me, madam, but could you please depress Christine Wy? Good day!” I feel pressed to the couch (or the bed. Or the spare bed. Or the comfy chair.). I feel disinclined to cook, to clean, to unpack. I feel definition 3, “To lessen the activity or force of.” My activity, like the housing market, has indeed been lessened.

And, like the housing market, I look to definition 4 to explain some circumstance. I took a big pay hit to move to Florida. My income cut nearly in half. My price is lowered. The economic depression I feel compounds my lowering of spirits. As a librarian, as a holder of two secondary degrees, I am cheapening my profession by accepting a position below the wage normally associated with my career. Librarians gripe in online forums about the deprofessionalizing of the profession by the flood of recent library school graduates willing to work for depressed pay. It drives down wages for everyone, and it makes the career path look inexpert. Suddenly, librarians are a gaggle of amateurs, not an educated work force holding Masters of Science degrees in Library Science.

Depressed. Four definitions, two sub-definitions, all of which describe me at the moment. I’ll reassure my gentle readers that this cloud of definitions will blow away and I’ll have better words to define me, but for now, I remain, Oxford English Dictionarily yours, Depressed, definition 2.