I feel like I’m somewhere between the fourth and fifth panels, not totally consumed, but damn if I can’t feel it coming. I’m better than this, or I tell myself I should be, but isn’t that just part of the problem?

It’s been a rough few months where so many things have been yanked out from under me. I usually recover more easily, but some of these things were things I’d been rebuilding my sense of self on, things I could look at and say, “See, I am doing these productive things and I AM useful and I do STUFF.” And they were important to me and they were ripped away from me in fashions designed to break me down.

There was no courtesy or respect, no, “We think you actually suck at this, so go away,” or anything. Just lies, backstabbing, and shadiness. And I’m moving past it. I’m not always rage filled when I see one of their names. I’ve not replaced all of those other times with being upset. Some, but not all. Some times, I can see their names and just breathe and move on.

I hate that they still have any power over my emotions and it makes me so awfully angry because I should be better than that, but logically, I know it’s not true. I know that betrayal and hurt feelings take time to work out, and I know that the cuts that all of the earlier drama this year caused are going to take time to heal, and I’m obviously going to have to do it properly because trying to shove it and ignore it until it hurts less isn’t working. Damn does that make me angry.

As a result of a lot of a lot of this, I’ve been having more problems with anxiety. It’s not a new thing, not really. It’s a battle I’ve fought since I was younger. And like times when I was younger, the anxiety is turning into gut churning fear and damn if that is not frustrating as hell.

Even more frustrating is that I had been getting a handle on some of these things and I had been mentally pep-talking myself and had been trying to do things again because I know, know, know that the way to defeat this anxiety monster is to do things and to not let it win. But it has been a constant battle that has oft felt as though it were built on a house of cards that are so easily knocked over. But, I’ve been trying…but one thing I’ve not been doing is talking about these things, all for ridiculous reasons that I know are ridiculous but they seem so damn logical some times.

Last week changed some of that…a lot of that. Folks know we were going to face paint at Celebration VI. It’s a gig Rin has done since C2 in 2002. At the end of CV, everything seemed to be great. About a week before CVI, trouble started brewing. The lady in charge of the kids’ room had only scheduled us to paint for 2.5 hours a day…when the room is open 8. The first day we got to Orlando, when we went to work straight off from the drive, things were a bit tense but okay. Although after we hit our time cap and had to keep telling kids no, I was steadily less okay. I was definitely not okay when said lady in charge lost her shit at the tip jar on the table behind us (with a sign that said Tips are welcome but NOT Required) in front of two kids and a couple of parents. By the time we finished up, I was pretty upset. She didn’t tell us when to come back or what to do, so we took our time, particularly after we listened to a VM from Mary Franklin (our top boss, the other chick’s boss, and Rin’s primary contact) that said, basically that she was sorry it had waited so long, but she needed to talk to us about attitude and how to be Elite Squad and that there had been complaints at CV (two years ago). We were both upset and confused as hell and trying to catch Mary to talk to her during the show is almost impossible, so we were left hanging. We made it back to the family room after a couple more delays (like Rin waiting half an hour for the wheelchair stall in the bathroom) and got attitude from two of the junior staff members. No instructions. No direct comments. Just the two if them being catty. We kind of stood around for a bit feeling like morons with nothing to do, Rin coaxed an artist into not ditching his panel in the room because no one was there yet by explaining that a lot of times folks come scrambling to the room from other places, and then we worked on tidying the classroom area because we had nothing else to do. We left for the day with room boss explaining what would be going on tomorrow, no more talk of problems or what have you.

We walked in Friday morning and were fired on the spot for “taking money” and a vague claim of dishonesty. It was embarrassing, but more over it was upsetting as hell. Rin got into the room first and she was visibly upset when I walked over. The head chick in the room was downright rude and I kind if told her off. We were escorted from the building. We had no option for even a day pass or a side trip to the store, nothing. We ran into Mary on the way out and she was pretty generic about it all but did thank Rin for all her years of service.

On the way out, the guy who was escorting us actually was pretty decent and he listened to our side of things and seemed not so okay with how we were treated. But, he still couldn’t do anything.

Basically, there were personality conflicts in the family room and we were the scapegoats. They said we violated policy, but it certainly wasn’t in the paperwork we signed to work this year and no one could say where it was. It was just the reason she needed.

The only positive was that we ran into one of the families from the day before that we’d promised the little boy of that he could tell us about the rest of his day, so I explained while choking up that something had happened and we wouldn’t be there. I honestly don’t remember what I said beyond a lot of I’m sorry.

We left, went to lunch, and then went back to the hotel and crashed. I slept the rest of Friday and most of Saturday. And then Tropical Storm Isaac was coming and blahblahblah.

This whole thing pretty much kicked me in the face. It was way high on the scale of Feeding the Monster. I did actually start managing to articulate some of this to Rin this week, so that’s a plus. But last night, at the start of the geek prom that is Dragon Con, I was trying not to have a panic attack in the car. I keep wanting to hide in the hotel room all weekend (but I won’t…I hope). I’m trying. As I was laying down for the micronap I was going to get before today, I realized that some of the problem is an extension of the one I’ve been having: how to answer the question “what do you do/what have you been up to/etc.” I blank on the answer or I say “Nothing” and Rin fusses at me because I do things and why do I knock myself down like that (I don’t know, I just do, I’m sorry) and I just all around fail at this. And I had the thought, “I almost wish I could write down an answer and just hand it to people so I don’t have to be that awkward right now,” and I’m tempted to maybe do it or ask Rin what she thinks. It was that idea that got me started writing this in the first place…that and not wanting to spend the weekend of our 7th anniversary snapping Rin’s head off every time the anxiety monster rears it’s ugly head. Because it’s already happened and that’s really not fair. So…yes…trying to put this into something that makes some sense.

And still trying to decide if I’m going to be brave enough to share it…


[Edit: So, I ended up not sharing it until December; however, I decided to take it off my phone’s local posts and shared it my blog because I think it’s important.]