August 23, 2011

Okay, I decided to tell you guys everything.

I'm a mess and I just need to write about it.

My apartment is infested with bed bugs. I found out in mid-July. These are the bugs that live in your bed and suck your blood while you sleep. I'm already terrified of bugs. I'm the girl who still runs away from bees, and people think I'm kidding or trying to be cute, but I have this chemical fear reaction that I can't control. My most frequent nightmare is that bugs are on me -- for many years, I've had those dreams once or twice per week. I wake up and bolt out of bed, heart pounding, thinking I see spiders or wasps in the room. I've been checking my bed for bed bugs every night since 2009 because I've been so afraid of getting them. And then it actually happened to me.

My landlord is being a tremendous asshole about it. I have three bugs in a ziplock, so he can't deny it. But he blames me, and he won't pay for professional treatment. He claims nobody else has a problem, but I really think they are coming out of the walls.

So I have to move. I don't have any money to pay for this -- I was already behind and in debt because I don't have summer funding -- but I can't live here anymore. I'm going to throw away my bed and my couch, and then I'm putting everything I own on a truck that will be professionally fumigated for 24 hours. Moving day is August 30th.

So I've been living with this for weeks, and have one week to go. I've been sick with anxiety, can't fall asleep at night, and then even when I do, there is loud construction across the alley that wakes me up early. I think I feel them on me all the time, so I've scratched my legs up for no reason. I'm exhausted and anxious and generally a wreck.

My landlord is showing my apartment using a service, so groups of people traipse through the place without giving me any notice. They look at everything, open my closets, and I'm just sitting there in my pajamas wanting to cry. I have to cooperate while I still live here because I'm afraid of what my landlord might do to me if I interfere.

Yesterday morning, I was lying on my bed, in my pajamas, wet hair and puffy eyes -- not asleep -- when I heard keys in the lock. They didn't even knock. My landlord was there, and they were showing the apartment to a young woman about my age. She was very sweet and kept asking me how I liked it here. She loved the apartment. She told me that she's a grad student like me.

I just couldn't take it. I can't just stand here and let something horrible happen to someone else, especially someone like me who would be on her own without money, trying to get through grad school. She asked to see the back steps, and I shut the door behind us and said "don't live here. It has bed bugs. Please don't tell anyone I told you." and then we went back inside. So now I'm afraid that she told the service, which means they can't rent the apartment, which means my landlord is going to be furious. Something else to worry about.

I have hardly done any work. I don't know how to explain it to my advisors. I've been trying not to tell anyone. You're not supposed to tell people when you have bed bugs, because nobody wants to be near you. I would never invite people over or visit without taking precautions, but I don't want people to know. It makes me feel dirty and ashamed, and I also think most people don't grasp how completely it messes up your life.

I'm pretty sure the job market is not happening this year. Maybe it wouldn't have happened anyway -- we were never sure that I'd be ready. I don't even want to go on the job market right now. But now I have people asking me about it, and I feel like some loser slacker saying I just didn't get enough work done. Maybe it's my frayed emotional state, but lately when people ask when I'm going on the job market or graduating, I just come completely unglued. I'm nice about it on the outside, but it makes me feel terrible, makes me hate people for asking even though I know that's not fair.

On top of everything, I have the most inconvenient crush right now. I can't stop thinking about her, but the situation is all wrong. She's my friend, and I'm just trying to get a grip, but it's driving me to constant distraction when I'm already exhausted and stressed out about everything. I've had such a good run of not being in love with anyone for over a year, of being content with my life, happy to be on my own. Now I just keep thinking about this possibility all the time, and it's horrible.

So this is why I'm a mess. Right now it's 3 p.m. and I haven't done any work. I haven't eaten any real meals since Sunday. Everything is just overwhelming me, and it's hard to give a fuck about my dissertation.

Maybe blogging about it will help. Before it seemed important to not confide these things in anyone, not even my blog readers that I don't even know in real life, but now I'm not sure why I felt that way. It's possible that I just don't remember the reasons because I'm so tired.

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