Friday, September 8 was the 40th anniversary of my being hired into the small factory I work in. It was not a proud day for me. The company offers no health care, retirement or pension. They DO give me 140 hours a year for vacation and sick leave. As a REWARD for having been there for 40 years, the company owner gave me 16 extra hours vacation time for the year.
I was disgusted by it.
It was SOMETHING but shows what a cheap shit that person is. I admit with some resignation and honesty that I cannot blame him for how I have worked 40 years at a cheap shit factory and have almost nothing to show for it.
I did it to myself.
I did it with FEAR. I brought it on myself with how I was.
I was seemed to have been born afraid. Or maybe it was nearly dying at 18 months that did something to my internal wiring. When I was in grade school I was a crying terrified mess of a child. Crying about every damned thing it seems. ridiculed and scorned by students and teachers for it. I remember being overwhelmed by … FEAR. What was probably what we now call “anxiety disorder”. Things got so bad that by the age of 8 my parents had a choice of sending me to a psychiatric hospital or “school” or holding me back for a year. They opted for the hospital.
It was a year as an out patient in hell, as I recall. VERY crazy often violent kids. I do not recall being beaten but saw others beaten. I was probably more scared. I had to see many psychiatrists. It scarred and labeled me for a long time being in that place. The docs tried to say I was scared of school because I feared being killed like a brother had been 2 years before I was born. I have never had any memory of anyone telling me about his death until later years.
The fear or anxiety followed me for all my school years. In high school I discovered drugs and alcohol. It was a brief escape from it. It also made me miss classes and ruin my school years. I barely escaped expulsion but did graduate. My parents were good but frustrated people. My dad often angry with me. He never had any understanding of my anxiety disorder. Ironically years later, retired and traveling HE had panic attacks. He denied them but his doc said he had them. He had said only his kid hat them not him.
After high school I had a few odd jobs and my dad got me a job at a local university doing very filthy work in a lab. I started to have panic attacks and had to quit. I ended-up trying suicide but failed at it. I was the only one that knew I tried it. I was severely depressed for a few years and then my dad got me a job in THE FACTORY.
The factory job seemed cool. I made a decent wage. After a year I got my own apartment. After a few more I started dating. I also got back into drugs which did not help. The drug thing did not last long due to fear of being arrested and wisely got out of it. I drank. Drank a lot. The company WAS union and there was a strike. Through a complicated process I was out-sourced temporarily to a company working within the company. I kept on working LEGALLY during the strike. I had to pass through a picket line with people threatening my life and wanting hurt me. My car windows got shot out once but I kept going in to work. I drank to kill the fear every day for months. I had a break down, crying madly after getting through the picket line one day. They had thrown themselves on my car beating on it screaming. But I got through ok. Shaken badly. Other incidents but I kept working. I could have left but…
I was AFRAID.
I could pay the rent and keep my life going ok with the wages I was making so why try for another line of work?
I should have.
I could have.
BUT I WAS AFRAID TO TRY TO START NEW!
I could have gone to college and got an education at night. I did not. BECAUSE I WAS AFRAID! I had tried community college and felt I failed because I had begun to have crippling panic attacks and FEAR became my whole world. Afraid of being afraid and what that did to me how I looked and all that damned baggage from my past piling up about being afraid in life. I feared the panic attacks again.
I had much anxiety in those years and sought out mental health professionals to help me. The best help I got was from a psychologist that told me what my father never did: I was just as smart as anyone at the local college. I was not stupid or crazy. It helped but for DECADES OF MY LIFE I sought help with my fear. I read numerous books and tried and let go of various religious and spiritual practice. Buddhism was the only thing that helped.
I stuck with the factory out of fear of something new. The factory was and is hell on my body and mind. After the strike ended, I went back to normal employment there. No union. GONE. Eventually I lost my health care. NEW company owner gave me a meager addition to my pay and cut my health care. It was face saving for him and HE saves THOUSANDS every year now by not paying for my insurance. He tossed me a bone so he could say he did me a favor. I accepted it because, I got old and too old I felt to find a new job.
It’s a funny thing how we trust people. I kept hanging on to the promises of 2 successive company owners that “we will take care of you guys”. My coworkers and I.
THEY LIED TO US.
They never did. They toss us a small cost of living allowance each year with a meagre Christmas bonus. We grumble about it but eat it and suck it up. I cannot leave that place despite hating the owner for being such a cheap bastard. I cannot blame him for my circumstance in life because…
I got here from a LIFE OF FEAR.
Too afraid to move on to something better that had a good future to it.
The factory is like an abusive mate that pays your bills. It slaps you around, beats you with the hard work and you WANT to leave but don’t because hey, it could be worse without it.
I look back on my life and see how my pulling back from situations and opportunities out of FEAR made my life both tenuous and miserable. A missed pay check and I could be homeless due to the debts I got from various things. None of them from drugs, drinking or gambling. Long ago I quit drinking. It was a way of FACING my fears. No more hiding behind the drinking and drugs. I am cold stoned sober these days.
But I fear what is left of my life BECAUSE I got here, 40 years in the factory never leaving for something better because I was so damned scared of so much in life when young.
I am much less afraid now.
I have a job I can support myself with – though barely. I am good to people. Positive and kind. HONEST to a fault. In some ways the fears of my early years were motivators to be a better person. Try every incantation and potion; every religion every psychology every path to find a way out of my own prison and to some extent I HAVE.
I don’t go to very crowded areas.
No airplane rides.
No great adventures exploring.
But I did learn to KNOW MYSELF with all that fear and trying to kick it’s ass.
It was a teacher of things inside myself and others so many do not ever learn but I DID.
I have learned so much facing and trying to understand that life of fear but I fear it may be too late to save me in life.
40 years in that damned factory and barely hanging on. The boss thinks my pains are all in my head. Yeah. He doesn’t know what it is like to be 62 and banged up from working for him and that company. 3 concussions. Permanent back problems from fall long ago. Numerous cuts and bang-ups. Takes it’s toll.
But nothing bangs you up fucks you up more than fear and how we deal with it face it run from it or live with it.
We can let it run and ruin our lives so that one day we have 40 years in a factory that doesn’t give a damn about you …
Or you can face it while young. Feel it face get through it because baby it is far better to do it THEN … than to end up and wake up in life from fear with a ruined life but…
🙂 Healthy mind and heart (Consolation prize in life)