“Daddy, were you at work today?”
“Yes I was.”
“What do you do?”
“I help people who need help to feel better”
“By giving them stands and seats that help them in their everyday lives.”
“Didn’t you use to be a teacher?”
“Yes but Daddy thought it was time for a change. He was wrong.”
“Well he was at the end of his tether, struggling with mental health issues that are too complicated to bore you with, not coping with certain other people he worked with and thought it was time to try something else. Of course the move was a huge mistake – it was worse in terms of stress and workload, more than he could cope with. He lost his mind for a while. Then jumped away from that without really thinking things through properly.
“I knew that I was terrible at selling things because I’m too honest and I was right. it wasn’t a good fit for me either. Thankfully along came another job that was a bit like teaching and Daddy was really enjoying it – but it didn’t last. So now he has had to do what he can to make ends meet which has caused him even more misery because it makes his depression worse.
“He doesn’t want to look down on those he works with but handling old toilet seats and then cleaning them is not really where Daddy thought he would be in his life right now. Eight years on from becoming a Dad I’ve almost reached the bottom of my sanity levels. Those I work with don’t know that in the space of two years I’ve dropped from being a Lecturer in Communication to someone who has to power wash shit off things.
“He looks round at the job market knowing that he isn’t really cut out for many positions in the city dubbed The Oil Capital of Europe. A degree and two diplomas don’t matter he’s just another CV in a pile with employers enjoying the freedom to pick and choose. Someone like me doesn’t “fit” and unless you are a certain “fit” there aren’t places for you. I know it doesn’t seem fair, but it’s the truth.
“All those books and films you enjoy with the underdog rising up to beat all the odds; the plucky worker who shows up their bully of a boss and rises above them; the handsome hero meeting coincidence upon coincidence and making each one work – it’s all lies. Life is not a work of fiction and very few ever really “make it”. The reality is harsh: life sucks and you just have to wade your way through all the shit, try not to fall down and if you do fall you just have to keep on moving.
“Add in a head that pleases itself, medications that change who you really are, other people who take great pleasure in your downfall – some even contributing to it, a useless set of skills which are transferable but no-one seems to care, feelings of worthlessness and deep depression and pessimism for the future, and the inevitable circling of vultures come pay-day – you do wonder what the fucking point of it all is.
“And you know what the point is? You. You and the other two menaces. Your mum. our family and many other animals are what keep me going. There might not be a happy ending, a normality to aspire to, or a golden ticket, but sometimes – just sometimes in wading through all the shit life throws at you, there’s a moment when the light gets through and reminds you what a lucky bastard you are. You might not have gold and jewels, the winning lottery ticket or the keys to the kingdom, but you do have hope.
“Hope & Love. The two reasons I get up in the morning beyond the four of you. Night Night.”