Monica Bielanko
That's What She Said
Just A Junk Drawer Dream
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Pity Party For One

"The lights In the harbor
Don't shine for me
I'm like a lost ship adrift on the sea
Sea of heartbreak
Lost love and loneliness...
...Come to my rescue
Come here to me
Take me and keep me
Away from the sea."

--Johnny Cash

How long am I allowed to drink too much? How long am I allowed to wallow in self pity? How long am I allowed to keep the blinds drawn? How long am I allowed to watch The Food Network All. Day. Long. How long am I allowed to sleep too much?

The Surge is gone again... Spain this time. So there is no one to regulate.. no one to monitor my pity party. No one for whom I must cheer up already.. or at least pretend to be full of cheer. Sometimes that's all it takes. Someone to pretend for.. and before you know it, you actually feel cheery.

No one to pretend for. Except you all. And you are at my mercy.. I control the information flow. I could make up a life and continue to post hilarious anecdotes from said life and you all wouldn't know the difference. Hmmm.... Maybe tomorrow I'll be posting about my book deal for one MILLLLLIOONNN dollars (said in Dr. Evil tones with pinky placed slyly near pursed lips).

Yeah, I know... silver lining and all that. I've sent out resumes.. I know the drill. It's just.. I don't know. The difference between being "let go" and being fired is really negligible, isn't it? Either way, they don't like you enough to keep you around. You are expendable.. right? So. I'm a bit numb. Not so numb I don't feel the weight of paying my bills smothering me like a stifling summer heat. The bills, they make me sweat more than a New York August. Great ball bearings of sweat that race down my back when my financial situation sucker punches me in the front. Dammit.. More Food Network! More wine! I can still feel!

I have not been unemployed since age 15.. There was this one time, when I was 21, when I worked for my much older, married boyfriend (shut up.. he was in the middle of a divorce). He paid me way more than he should have, kept urging me to get my real estate license.. A real estate license.. Jesus. So I could aspire to hand out glossy business cards with my glamour photo leering stiffly across the front.. "Monica wants to be your realtor!"

I'd jauntily sport a stiff tumbleweed of hair and wear ill fitting business suits from TJ Maxx in colors like pink! Mauve! Lavendar! I'd get my nails done (french manicure!) every month and my aging skin, tanned to burnt toast, would be the shade of my favorite pair of brown suede pumps from the shoe barn. I'd buy knock-off Gucci purses. I'd say words like FANTABULOUS! and carry my business cards everywhere, smilingly pressing them into the palms of those who thoughtlessly toss them into the trash seconds after my departure. I would drive a Toyota Corrolla (affordable! dependable! yet suburbanly stylish!)

Eventually, I quit working for older married boyfriend...cold turkey... no employment lined up. I figured "The Fear" of not having an income would force me to hustle for a gig in journalism, my real dream. It did. I did. And landed my first job at ABC in Salt Lake City. I feel now a bit like I did then. Scared. Hopeful. Prepared to lie my ass off to get a job. You have a college degree? Yup! (no!) You familiar with computer program X? Yup! (no!)... I'm a hustler baby...

Now... if only I could stop drinking all this wine.

Reader Comments (51)

Hang in there. It sucks, that's for sure. But you will come out all right. Johnny Cash - the perfect I just lost my job soundtrack.
May 22, 2006 | Unregistered CommenterAimee
Monica, get yourself to the nearest admissions office & start on the college application procedure. There are plenty of part-time programs that allow people to work & go to school simultaneously & plenty of universities with wonderful work/study programs that lead to fine jobs.
May 22, 2006 | Unregistered CommenterCarole
Well, thank god you're NOT a realtor. Someone once suggested that to me and I recoiled on horror. I admire realtors, it's just the thought of having to do that aforementioned stuff makes me want to die. I also took all these tests that said I should be a publicist - I still have nightmares about being forced to be a publicist.

There IS a difference - remember, fired is when you get caught having sex on your boss's desk, laid off is when they overpaid the CEO. We all get laid off. I've been laid off once, Nick has been laid off twice, almost every one of my friends have been laid off. It's a rite of passage. Like getting drunk the first time.
May 22, 2006 | Unregistered CommenterEDW
Hey, Chin Up Chica! There is absolutely nothing wrong with wallowing for a while but you are far to marvelously talented to be down for long. And who knows, your next job might blow the last one right out of the water!
May 22, 2006 | Unregistered CommenterLory
I decided to find the winners of the Robert Spiess Memorial 2006 Haiku awards and post them here, for you, Monica so you may find your inspiration in their words.

1st place:
plum blossoms
I make plans
for my ashes

2nd place:
the piano hammers
barely moving …
night snow

3rd place:
I read her poem

Honorable mention:

first snow—
my child’s footprints no longer
fit inside of mine

late winter …
a king snake stretches
across the road

evening news
the soothing weight
of the quilt

snow flurries
the square dancers

If these don’t cheer you up and bring light into your day, then I thought of my other favorite “Friday” quote :

“Reverend: What we call drugs at the 74th Street Baptist Church we call the sin of sin sins.

Smokey: Well round here, between Normandy and Weston, we call this here a little twenty twen twen...

Craig Jones: Right...

Smokey: Nigga...

Hey Monica, who won Iron Chef America (big mouth TUNA) last night? I fell asleep.

Wine, Food Channel, unemployment blues...damn!

Sound's familiar...and not fantabulous.

They all tell you to take some time, don't hurry, enjoy the time off. They don't tell you that when you see acquaintances on the street, they view you like somebody who's body is riddled with cancer.

"Well you're getting unemployment, aren't you?"

It's not like those checks cover all the lost income, folks. Not nearly. I'm minus $400 per month. That's the difference between Pro-Plan and Ol' Roy. That's Old Milwaukee cans. Olive loaf. Coffee without creamer. Pay ya' back next month.

Me,I put the car in the garage during the day so the neighbor's think I'm still employed.

If I think and extrapolate enough, I can actually see myself ordering Kunzler/Hatfield meat products for that Weis Market that's looking for a deli-manager.

Meat products? Work-at Home scams? Plummeting self worth?

It's almost time for my afternoon nap.

Hang in there!

Enjoy the time off!



I know how you feel. I've lost a few jobs in my time. That feeling of being expendable really stings. But you have to keep your head above water and not let the depression get the best of you. Easier said than done. Yes. I'm feeling your pain in a different way this morning as I had a tough night last night - relationship related, not job related. Man, I'm feeling undesirable right now and I'm trying to figure out how to get through that and find a way to feel desirable again. I'm feeling like I need a really strong, understanding, supportive shoulder and all I have is me. Totally sucks. So, I guess, in some way, I understand how you feel when Serge is gone.
May 22, 2006 | Unregistered CommenterLaura
Laura.. c'mon.. share the blues.. I bitch about myself enough.. Besides, there's a bushel of wise ladies and gents on this board who generally give some "fantabulous" (yucky word) advice. Damn I love all the comments today.. You fools know how to make me laugh.. sho 'nuf.

But I have to go now. "Yes Dear" is starting.
May 22, 2006 | Unregistered CommenterMonica
College degrees are overrated. Particularly if you have a decade of real world experience.
May 22, 2006 | Unregistered CommenterGemma
Was just discussing the pros and cons of college degrees in today's world. They do get a lot of lip service and it almost seems like you have to have a Masters anymore. People seem to think college degree = job. But it doesn't. Most people I know don't even work in the area they specialized in in college. Unless it's generic like business or communications. But really, what did that teach you? It's the on the job experience that goes further. Once you've already been in the workforce, unless you want to be a nurse, psychiatrist or the like, I don't think degrees really help.
May 22, 2006 | Unregistered CommenterSloopy
I think Carole was talking more about the work study programs at college that have placement programs etc. But, although it's a great suggestion, it hardly seems to apply here if Monica has been working in journalism for nearly ten years. Stay positive Monica!
May 22, 2006 | Unregistered CommenterStacey
Bullshit, college degrees are not overrated. I have used mine once, but not for work. I was arguing with someone as to whether or not I had a degree and I told them I did and they said I did not, but I do have one so I whacked her “bitch-slap” style. So you see I did use my degree for if I had not been a graduate then I would have been completely out of line for the backhand I delivered. My wife has since forgiven me because she knows I was right, and now I always keep my diploma folded up in my back pocket so we won’t have that misunderstanding again.
Whoa there. I think "mildly sociable" might be a stretch. Glad your diploma came in handy though :)
May 22, 2006 | Unregistered CommenterSloopy
What’s worse than being laid off? Your boss dropping you big hints that your position may soon be eliminated due to budget constraints, but not knowing when the bomb will drop. So, my now-ideal job, which allows me to continue to work part-time as a nurse practitioner while still being home with my children during the day, may soon be gone.
What I should be doing is pursuing leads for other part-time positions, networking with peers, looking into decent childcare options (which I’ve been lucky enough to avoid up until this point…not that there’s anything wrong with that…), saving up our money as much as possible, blah, blah, blah.
What do I do instead? Go into a deep state of denial, ambling through my days, spending money on rock & roll and booze like the fat Elvis. And conjuring up a million worst-case scenarios in my head of what the future holds.
Hey Monica, pass the wine, would ya?
May 22, 2006 | Unregistered Commenterchrissy
Here you go! *hands over wine bottle*

Pity party for two please...
May 22, 2006 | Registered CommenterMonica
"What do I do instead? Go into a deep state of denial, ambling through my days, spending money on rock & roll and booze like the fat Elvis. And conjuring up a million worst-case scenarios in my head of what the future holds."

Now THAT'S funny!!! And it hit a nerve, too. You're not alone.

Gotta go, Guiding Light's comin' on....
Syndicated television, copious amounts of wine and masturbation to pass the hours...doesn't sound so bad....

....shit did no body mention masturbation?

....what channel is guiding light on? Definitely pass the wine bottle!
May 22, 2006 | Unregistered CommenterRichelle
> ....shit did no body mention masturbation?

Thought it was a given in times like those.
May 22, 2006 | Unregistered Commenterdu_dragons
It is. If one can afford the batteries.

Of course, there is always manipulation of the digital (fingers for the layperson) variety.

Monica: Mormon to Jobless In Manhattan
May 22, 2006 | Registered CommenterMonica

I haven't commented on the job thing....wallow a little. It's certainly allowed. I'm sure you'll be employed in no time.

You and Joe should, magazine, website. Something :-) Both of ya are witty as hell.
May 22, 2006 | Unregistered CommenterTabatha
Mental note: Don't leave vibrator by the sink in your bathroom if you are having company over! It all of a sudden turns in to a toy everyone wants to play with :(
May 22, 2006 | Unregistered CommenterJen
Shit the batteries - that is a hurdle Monica!

That is why you always need a grotesquely large, plastic, veiny back up for these situations. One of those giant ones that stick on any surface of your house (the balls are suction cups) - they operate on your own leg strength. Add a bunch of wine and you won't even feel the burn in your thighs from the constant squatting....

Live and learn - live and learn.
May 22, 2006 | Unregistered CommenterRichelle
Hmmm. Wow.

Just wow.
May 22, 2006 | Unregistered Commenterdu_dragons
Tab's, she's WAY funnier than me.

"Morman to Jobless in Manhattan" <cackles to himself>

Masturbating while unemployed only adds to the self-loathing; especially if you're single.

Thing is, I know I could go out any night and find a gal. After all, who wouldn't want an unemployed "catch" like me? I'm what every mother tells their daughter to look for.

Maybe we could fuck in the back of a garbage truck, too?

Time to re-heat the second part of that Kraft Mac & Cheese.
'Maybe we could fuck in the back of a garbage truck, too?' are hilarious Joe - Tab is right!
May 22, 2006 | Unregistered CommenterRichelle
Oh and about the 'sans batteries' companion...I don't know, I have just heard....for the record...
May 22, 2006 | Unregistered CommenterRichelle
Let's be honest. If you can't get off the coach to get a paper towel and instead end up wiping your fingers on the dog, you're not gonna go to the work of manual (non-battery) dildo masturbation. On the other hand, as Richelle points out, you would get a great leg workout, enabling you to quit your gym, and thus have more money for booze.

When I got laid off my boss cried through the whole thing. Sobbed. What a lunatic. She kept apologizing, which made it so much worse than it had to be. She said she hoped I'd still want to know her one day. As if.

So one day a friend of a friend is in Central Park and she overhears a conversation between two women about my old boss, how crazy she is and how she's headed for the looney bin, etc. She recongnizes my old boss's name from when I was laid off (my story made the rounds - the stuff she said and did was just so unbelievable) and it gets back to me. A year or so later, there's a little piece in a trade magazine about my old boss leaving the company. She didn't work that long for them, in a position where you are expected to be there for 10 years. She ended up having a complete breakdown and was fired. I know I should feel bad for her, but I don't!

May 22, 2006 | Unregistered CommenterEDW
Richelle: Riiiiight. Same goes for me and the battery operated kind.

May 22, 2006 | Registered CommenterMonica
you people crack my shit up.
May 22, 2006 | Unregistered CommenterEmily
Don't fret about the job. More time to entertain me on your blog! No seriously. All the right things have already been said. Now, give it some time and good things will happen.

P.S. I'm a battery girl myself. The veiny jobs scare me.
May 22, 2006 | Unregistered CommenterMichelle
Mormon to Masturbating in Manhattan
May 22, 2006 | Unregistered CommenterDenise
How's that for a first post?

May 22, 2006 | Unregistered CommenterDenise
Hmmm... Am seriously considering changing my header.. The graphic could be amazing.
May 22, 2006 | Unregistered CommenterMonica
Your readership would definitely go up - as would a number of *ahem* a particular appendage on the male anatomy.
May 22, 2006 | Unregistered CommenterStacey
I was let go last from a job that I thought was going to be my saving grace. Actually, I was downsized. When I was unemployed, I didn't know how I was going to get by. I was temping and doing odd jobs. I had my resume out there, and I put my resume in for my dream job, on a whim. They called me for an interview, and now I've been there for 8 months. So, hang in there and even on your dark days remember that even though you can't see it, the sun is behind the clouds. I'm praying for you.
May 22, 2006 | Unregistered CommenterKatie
Monica--check out this website. If you haven't seen it already, it was put together by an out of work dotcommmer who thought it would be cool to learn flash. I found it a source of inspiration when I was between jobs. Ok not really, but it's some funny shit.

Click on "first time here - start" and wait for it to load. If you don't laugh, then you know what, we're through. I'll take my whorepipe and go home.
May 22, 2006 | Unregistered CommenterChicagoDave
Of course I'm right Richelle. Sheeesh ;) Trust me. Maybe Joe needs his own column...ala Sadsick.
May 22, 2006 | Unregistered CommenterTabatha
there are haikus way up there in this thread somewhere. when i was in highschool, my friend and i used to compose haikus to pass the time in class. you know:

check out mike daniels
is he jerking off right now?
nope, just a thigh itch

i'm waiting for the day when paula deen makes a pie out of only sugar, butter, cream cheese, and butter. with a flaky, butter crust. and some butter brushed on the top.
May 23, 2006 | Unregistered Commenterkasey
sounds like you deal with depression in the same way as me...crap tv. it is sad to say, but certain tv programs are sometimes the highlight of my week, the things to look forward to..
i also really, really get the long distance relationship thing..its been two and half years for me and my partner, with another seven months to go..i find too that without him around to be 'cheerful' for i go into complete regression mode of pyjamas, tv and crap food. funny how you can almost revel in it. but then do you also end up feeling slightly sick and unsatisfied?
good luck with everything monica
May 23, 2006 | Unregistered Commenteramy dee
"Joe's Every Day Italian" should start a blog, his shit is hilarious. Besides, you've got the time now Joe, right? Between you and Monica my work day would be so entertaining.
May 23, 2006 | Unregistered CommenterDella
Y'all are kind.
Not everyday is humorous, especially these days. That's why Monica hits a lot of things that we all relate to in a major way.
I just bounce off of her stuff. She's the catalyst.
I couldn't tell...or write...a joke to save my life.
That "Fucking in a garbage truck" was ripped from a David Cross bit, on his SHUT UP YOU FUCKING BABY cd. Thought it was appropriate in that context, and I didn't want XMASTIME and the comedy police coming down on my shit for plagiarism. That album is incredibly funny and highly recommended.
Anyway, yesterday I went completely around my yard kicking those puffy dandelion's out of the ground.
Boy am I an idiot.
in our house we call those puffy dandelions 'wishes'

an my co-worker, the NP that I job-share with, is getting canned....the clock is ticking for me
May 23, 2006 | Unregistered Commenterchrissy
Joe, You crack my shit up! I just visualized you kicking the hell out of those dandelions and laughed my ass off! Curious. And maybe none of our business or my business, whatever, but where are you from?
May 23, 2006 | Unregistered Commentermama
Thanks mama!

I'm a PA boy. In the middle. Mountains, woods, dandelions.

Around here, people cut their grass daily. It's some kind of rite of passage into retirement, where not coincidentally, I'm residing right now.
Given that I slacked for 4 days keeping up with those riding mower demons, I had to do the poor-man's grass cut. There's about two weeks around here when you can cut your grass in the afternoon and have a yard full of those fluffy "kick-stand's" by dusk.

Once in a while when I'm really diligent, I'll even pick up the dog poop piles.

BTW: Your daughter's hella talented and an inspiration to aspiring social commentator's everywhere!
May 23, 2006 | Unregistered CommenterJoe
Monica said:
"Laura.. c'mon.. share the blues.. I bitch about myself enough.. Besides, there's a bushel of wise ladies and gents on this board who generally give some "fantabulous" (yucky word) advice."

Well, let's see, where do I start. There were two scenarios going on. In the first it's a situation where I have this pretty good chemistry with this guy, and I know he really digs me, but he totally takes me for granted - my friendship, that I'm always there for him, building him up, taking care of him, etc. We're not romantically involved, though we've hoooked up a couple of times a long time ago. Now he spends time complaining to me about getting dumped by other women and I'm left feeling like don't you see me right here in front of you treating you well.

The second scenario I think falls into the "he's just not that into you" category. There's this guy I dig. He's one of the nicest guys I've ever met and I'm attracted to him. I'm never attracted to the nice guys. I have a long history of making poor choices and choosing the assholes over the good guys. However, in this case I really really dig this guy, but he's shown me nothing. He's nice to me, but any opportunity to take it a step further he doesn't act on. I think I have to come to terms with the fact that he's just not that into me. But it still sucks.

So Friday night I spent hanging with guy number 1 and we had a really lovely time. Saturday night a lovely time with guy number 2. Sunday night they were both around. Guy number 1 was a complete asshole to me and when he left I was all bummed out so I proceeded to get drunk (which is a rarity for me). Now I'm looking for attention from guy number 2. He's gives me a little, but again, the opportunity for more was there and he didn't act on it in any way, which of course left me feeling like a fool and feeling pretty undesireable. A few drunk phone calls later to guy number 1 and a non-drunk, trying to redeem myself, but in hindsight just making myself look ridiculous e-mail later to guy number 2 and I'm ready to bury my head in the sand and hide-out for a while.

Wow! Can't believe I just posted this in a public forum (I'm still out of my mind from this weekend). I hope no one other than Monica knows who I am here.
May 23, 2006 | Unregistered CommenterLaura
Good god that mirrors a scenario I was caught up in right before I met The Surge.. Firstly, you've already figured out the deal with guy number 2 and although it sucks, I'd say the less you see of him the better. It's not good for you whether you have a nice time with him or not because inevitibly, an opportunity for him to be with you will arise, he won't take advantage and you will feel crappy about yourself. Put a stop to that now and in the long run you'll feel better about yourself. Of course, in six months when you're so over him he'll make a play for you.. Ain't that always the case?

It's guy number one that's the tricky bastard. But I think, deep in your heart you know whether he's interested or not. Only you know whether you've made it obvious how you feel about him.. if you've done that and he still chooses to use you as a sounding board for his girl troubles than he's just not that into you either. I know, it sucks, I floundered in that arena with a dude for nearly two years.. Hang in there... we've all been there and there are so many other guys out there that would be into you.. (lame cliche but true!)
May 23, 2006 | Unregistered CommenterMonica
Thanks Monica, I appreciate your honest comments. And, I know you are right - of course always easier said than done when it come to matters of the heart. In the meantime, I drowned myself in ice cream and potato chips tonight and that didn't really help to make me feel any better about myself. Ah, tomorrow's a new day ...
May 23, 2006 | Unregistered CommenterLaura
I love that you posted that Laura. I love to hear that others have gone/are going through the same drama I've gone through with guys. Sometimes I get down on myself. That I'm the only one behaving foolishly. Anyway, the ice cream must have helped just a little. At least while you were eating it, before you hated yourself afterward anyway.
May 23, 2006 | Unregistered CommenterGemma
Just to add another unemployment lament...I was "let go" two months ago from a job I didn't really like anyway, and just in time to focus on school before graduating this past Sunday. So, opportunities and windows and all that jazz = unemployment benefits finally applied for, reading Pol Pot by Philip Short to put life in perspective, getting 10 essential vitamins and minerals and memorizing the copy on my Cocoa Pebbles box three times a day while pondering my value (role?) in society. And sangria! Fab.
May 24, 2006 | Unregistered CommenterEvie
I just reread your response Monica, and want to thank you because you are so right on so many fronts:

"Firstly, you've already figured out the deal with guy number 2 and although it sucks, I'd say the less you see of him the better. It's not good for you whether you have a nice time with him or not because inevitibly, an opportunity for him to be with you will arise, he won't take advantage and you will feel crappy about yourself. Put a stop to that now and in the long run you'll feel better about yourself."

Totally right. Upon re-reading this I realized that this exact thing had happened. A while back I totally realized he wasn't into me and I hadn't seen him in a while and was totally over him and felt much better about myself. Then, boom, I ran into him two nights in a row and he was too freaking nice to me and I got all goo-goo eyed again. And, when nothing happened, I felt like shit. I'm sure I'll run into him again since we end up in the same places frequently, but I'll make an effort to not hang with him and be memorized by his sweet sexiness.

"It's guy number one that's the tricky bastard. But I think, deep in your heart you know whether he's interested or not."

I think deeep in my heart I know that he's not, and will employ the same policy as with the other guy. Besides, he's really not appropriate relationship material for oh so many reasons.

Okay, those two dumped ... back to the drawing board. *sigh*

May 24, 2006 | Unregistered CommenterLaura

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