Friday, April 29, 2011

Cringe Alert

As I was preparing to head out to roller derby I received my first call to a clean up for work. A 15 year old boy has shot himself with a shot gun. They say it was an accident but who knows. We just say it is a suicide.
My job in crime scene clean up is a unique look into the grieving process. A lot of the time family or friends will be present while you are cleaning. However tonight that was not the case, the boy lived (without a jaw and nose) so the Mother was at the hospital. We knew if he didn't live she would show up. She never showed up, he is in surgery at this very moment.
We are there not to question the family, such as with the police, and we are not the funeral directors trying to sell a funeral (even though I know many funeral directors are serious about helping people in grief many of those grieving people believe funeral directors are just trying to rip them off). We are there for hours just to clean up the mess so the people who are close to those bone fragments don't have to. Sometimes that means we are told everything about who we are cleaning up after, sometimes there is no emotion at all. Is it our job to judge whether lack of emotion is due to shock or simply the lack of emotion? Nope. But we are involved in a deeply personal process. That is why people will open up in a different way than to anyone else.
Tonight the boy shot himself in the entry way but we had to clean the entry way, the living room, the bathroom, the kitchen, the stairs to the basement and the front steps outside.
While I was at the scene I was joking along with the others and bonding with my co workers. It is a career where you have to make jokes or else it eats you alive. When around death it's important to remember the reasons we are alive. Laughter is one of those reasons. It is also a job where you automatically connect with the people you work with. You never forget your first and I was not the only first timer there tonight. It was not just my first suicide, it was Tyler's too, there was someone else experiencing it the way I was. No matter what our pasts were I felt a connection with him. It's a deeply personal connection to share with people you just met, holding pieces of another human being. I wasn't alone in being curious what parts of the body the bone and skin came from.
All in all I was surprised at how easy it was to clean up the gooey insides of a teenage boy. Then I had to drive home. The job was up in Roy so I had about 45 solitary minutes to process my last 4 hours. What came to mind you wonder? The fact that I will never be able to see a Guitar Hero guitar the same way ever again. I know it's nothing compared to what I will see in the future (another coworker today at a different job found half a brain pretty much in tact). We were just about finished when I realized we hadn't checked behind the entertainment center. There was a bin full of controllers and the guitars you use for Guitar Hero. I pulled half of his nose off of his "guitar". This boy lived. He will have no idea that we found almost all of his teeth in the carpet and ceiling, and he will have no idea that his nose was on that guitar.
On a scene we arrive in a circumstance where most people don't have the time to clean up any secrets. In crime scene clean up we see the darkest of secrets. We have to clean off every single thing in a room where there might be parts of a human, biohazardous material. Even tonight we found weed pipes and had a laugh over whether it was the mom or the son's. We throw away all of that stuff. Personally I would hate to have my weed pipes thrown away especially in a situation where I need them the most. :-P
Crime scene clean up is a job where you can choose to go deep into what it is about or you can mindlessly clean. What I witnessed tonight is that even "tough guys" and long experianced professionals still need to cope. Do you ever get used to jobs in the death industry? I don't know yet. But I will keep you posted.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Apartment complexes are untouched territory when it comes to my experience with homes. However the last few months have not been bad at all. I feel really lucky to have ended up where I am now. For a complex the placement of my room is as private as you can get. My room is on the south east corner which makes it possible to have huge windows and great light. Another advantage of living in the corner would be having less neighbors. Really the only neighbors I need to worry about are above and below me. The girl below me is really laid back so in a way, I only have one neighbor to worry about. But whoever is above me is up through out all hours of the night. And as I've said before, people of the night are all weirdos in some way. Even the girl across the hall from me is rad.
On top of great placement the pet rent is only $10! Which means I have my precious Mary Jane. Agent Orange moved in the other day. Agent Orange is my parrot fish. He is now 2 years old and about quadrupled in size. Parrot fish can live up to 20 years and they grow to the size of 8-12 inches regardless of the size of it's cage. He looks kind of like a mutated gold fish. Some people think that's what he is and it sucks because he is SO much cooler than a gold fish. Since he doesn't play well with others he gets spoiled.  I am pretty sure Agent Orange is a he... Maybe someday I will get the motivation to look it up and see if I can tell. Fish are neat.
More than anything I am beginning to love the smell of the hallways in the evening. When everyone is cooking dinner my mouth waters on my way out of the building. There are some intensely delicious smells coming from some of the apartments.
Yup. Just felt like bringing up something about my new home. Now I must get back to home work!

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Gently Down the Stream

What is this inside me? How can I describe it? Is my anxiety actually useful? Is it something I need to be looking at differently? Is my anxiety about other people or myself? Both? Everyone?
When I look outside it is endless. Full of everything anyone could ever dream of. When I am in my apartment I feel secure. But I also feel cold, hollow, lonely and  confused. When it comes to stepping outside, feeling the sun on my face and grass under my feet, I feel trapped in place. Lately I've noticed I feel no joy or excitement. I hope I am just depressed, really really depressed. It means I'll be over all of this eventually. There is my chronic mental illness and then the depression comes and goes. But chronic illnesses you learn to accept and live with. They make who you are and they are always a part of you. A chronic illness helps make who you are, you can use it to grow once you get to know it better. However, depression is an annoyance.
The world rushes by around me, time goes by and I loose track of where it has been. Weeks and months go by and it feels like the blink of an eye. We all can relate. We all can relate to a lot of things.
My anxiety could be from knowing how awkward I am around people. I try to convince myself that I don't need anyone, that I need to be alone. I deserve to be alone. For now. Until I know who I am I am not in a place to build relationships. I am a new person and a stranger to myself.


It's been a struggle to find words the last few days. Even now I try to think of words to describe my life recently and my mind goes blank. I want to say it feels like a grey cold blanket has been pulled over me, it keeps me from breathing. But then again, how much does the weather have to do with it? I am more connected with the weather than I ever thought I would be.
Recently bad habits have been emerging. At first, I was worried about living alone for the first time. But now when I go to leave my apartment I am hit with fear that turns into nausea at the thought of being around people. I need to make sure to keep going out and force myself to ignore those feelings. The outside world is intimidating when you have a predictable little life inside your home.

On the brighter side of the moon I officially have the job doing crime scene clean up. I'm going to help clean meth out of homes and brain matter off the walls to make this world a better place. Am I worried about how this job might affect my psyche? Not really. I know it will take time to get used to it, but it's something I have had years to think about. My career will be around dead bodies and I need to get used to it somehow.

I feel like I have more to say, but the words are not coming today.

Friday, April 15, 2011

1, 2, cha cha cha, 3, 4, cha cha cha

This morning was a success. :) I had my interview. We met at a Village Inn. I was curious what the owner was going to be like. He arrived with his wife and daughter, they were a cute family. We ate breakfast and discussed our philosophies of working in the death industry. It went really well and on Monday I am going on a job to see how I like it. Right now the company is mostly cleaning up meth labs because they haven't had time to market biohazard clean up lately. They told me my job would be different from what they normally hire. They would have me at the top of the list for biohazard clean up. Part of this would be because there are many times when friends, family or nosey neighbors are around the scene. The job is not just cleaning but also interacting with people when they are in different stages of grief. Also, I would get to be a photographer. Photos are an important part of the job. Surprisingly they think my art back round will really come in handy and I can help with some marketing as well. Basically I would help build up the biohazard aspect of the business. This job is even more of a perfect fit than I thought.
The day started off great and now the weather is pitching in. I finally took my outdoor wheels for a spin! I think I will be practicing at night when less people are out and cars are around, honestly I just feel like a dork. Hills are something to be conquered but once they are I will be happy to use my skates for transportation. If only the side walks were smooth and made of some type of soft flooring. haha.
Maybe the Red Rockettes should start a roller derby commune and girls from all over the world can live in a town made of ramps and smooth ground. No one would be allowed to drive a car and there would be a derby rink in the middle of town. Indoor and outdoor of course. We may be able to control the make of the roads but as I said before we can not control mother nature. Also there would be a no pants day holiday and fishnets or cute socks and stockings are strongly suggested. We don't want to tell people how to dress but to get the derby feel cute short shorts and skirts could really add to the over all feel.
Now I am off to the U. It is LGBT ally awareness week and today is the days of silence rally. I am looking forward to documenting it. :)

The Only Way to Get Anything Finished

My new love is for audio books. I thought listening to Chuck Palahniuk's stories while I drift into sleep would help make my dreams more vivid. Instead I can't sleep because I am so intrigued. I almost wrote "too intrigued" but i don't think that is possible, Chuck Palahniuk is my favorite author. But listening to these books allows me lay in bed and rest while staying awake until morning. I feel rested in the morning.  I said in my first post that I miss my insomnia, well, here it is. It is back. During the day I tend to drift from moment to moment. Without my ADHD medication (thanks to insurance that leaves me suddenly cut off from what I need) it is hard to remember what I do during the day. The daytime hours are there to achieve what needs to be done to keep the technical aspects of life going while the night time can be spent more creatively. Generally. Business hours keep us on such a schedule. During the day with the sun in my eyes and the sounds of life around me I forget everything not having to do with finding a job, going to the bank, dealing with the department of workforce services, worker's compensation, legal issues, the post office, doctor's appointments and all of that jazz. The zombie hours.
Grocery shopping is best at night. Anyone that is awake during the night is a weirdo. Hands down. Our sleep cycles sync with the rise and fall of the sun no matter what. People that can work graveyard shifts and sacrifice their vitamin D are built to be able to handle being in the dark. Although some people never get used to the grave shift because their sleep cycles do not adjust to being awake while the sun is down, but still they work. All grave shift workers are united in a strange way. I worked the grave shift for a while once before a girl decided to attempt to rob me at gun point... but that's a story for another entry.
If I get this job with cleaning up crime scenes I will be on call. I am looking forward to it. The idea of a job where every day is different and unexpected makes my heart flutter and gut churn. I can't wait to be a part of Salt Lake City's under belly. I hope I get the job.
I am going to sum up this entry with what inspired me to make a post in the first place. Listening to "Survivor" by Chuck Palahniuk there is a passage that is so poetic to me. Summed up, not word for word, the story mentions that people feel death is the only way to get anything finished.

P.s- I hate missing roller derby. Today I was hit suddenly with a terribly upset stomach. I have missed the last 2 practices and fiend the feel of wheels under my feet.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Some Realizations

Yesterday after studying more about death I am starting to understand why I am drawn to it for my career. I have always been fascinated by death and the weather and I realize now that death and the weather are some of the few things every living thing has in common. We will all die and we can not stop mother nature. It's a beautiful thing. Death isn't all morbid and depressing, death brings us all together and gives us a reason to enjoy the life we are living.

Utah has seasonal affective disorder just like people. Except instead of getting all depressed and moody in the winter it suffers from mood swings when dealing with transition into spring.

Tomorrow I have a job interview for crime scene clean up. *crosses fingers*

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

On This Day...

Living in Salt Lake city is taking a toll on me. After 10 years I feel like I have been sucked into a vortex. My inspiration feels blocked, I know it has not been sucked dry. Leaving this state will help me return to myself. Until then, I am going to try to use this blog to sort my thoughts and experiences.

A little over a month ago I left my husband to live openly as a lesbian. Now I am living on my own for the first time. This summer should be interesting. The days are more lonely than the nights. I miss my insomnia.

Photography has saved my life, it has given me a way to communicate how I feel and it saved my memories when I lost them. Since then, it was my life. One month ago I lost my job with a photography studio due to a panic attack at work. Every job I have had has been lost due to panic attacks. However, I was there for 10 months (an unheard of amount of time for me to keep a job), I did nothing but work hard and dedicate myself fully to fashion photography. The feeling of being successful was like no other feeling I have had in my life as of yet. Loosing my job didn't hurt my love for the art but recently taking pictures isn't as fulfilling as it once was. The summer is well on it's way and hopefully the pleasant days will bring warmth into my mind once again.

Now I am at a point where I need to wake up. Finally I am free to have the relationships I want to have, make the decisions I want to make for myself, I could move if the opportunity arises, my home is a full representation of myself, I am comfortable in ways I didn't know I needed to be. I can mold myself into the person I have always wanted to be. But who is that? While I work towards my PhD in psychology before obtaining my funeral director's license who do I want to be? First thing is first, is there a girl out there for me? As much as I know I need to be patient, it is a frustrating journey none the less. Maybe I should focus on finding a job too. haha. Thank the gods for worker's compensation, or else I would be out on my ass instead of in this sweet studio apartment.

Anyway, this is my first post. I can explain more and connect the pieces as they come to me. Already I have lived a long life, full of experiences that used to haunt me but now I hope to use them to evolve. We evolve from our mistakes, as long as we know to learn from them. We need to make mistakes to grow and change.

That is all for now. Random I know, but it is a start.