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It's a weird new year. There's so much to write about. But rather than feeling like the new year has rolled around, I feel... odd. Like it's still the September before the hardest election of my life.

I've now been unemployed, without unemployment or medical insurance, for a year. It's taking an emotional toll. Some people are helping me get signed up for public assistance while I look for a job.

The Job Application process has become soul crushing. For example, there are 70 or 80 positions at best buy that seem to be open, and one has to fill out a separate application. The process takes 20-45 minutes per application, and sometimes includes weird psych tests that ask truly bizarre questions. They're like multiple choice Voight-Kampff tests.

And according to the people I've talked to, many of these postings aren't actual positions. They're placeholders in case someone quits their job. So I don't know how many hours I've wasted applying for those jobs. There's almost exactly the same electronic application system for every company in New York. Want a food service position waiting tables or washing dishes at one of New York's many restaurants? You're expected to drop off a resumee. For a dishwashing position.

I cook really well, and I can wash a million dishes, but I've never actually done it in a restaurant setting before.

Then comes retail. I actually have retail experience. I've been trained by Macy's, worked there for three Christmases and a summer during college. I've sold fragrances, watches, and Polo.

I did not hate it, but it was physically exhausting being on your feet for what amounted to nine hours a day. I didn't have the energy to do my own damned laundry. My dad helped me with that. I would be willing to do that again, even when you add in a 45 minute on-my-feet subway commute. I've applied to Macy's multiple times this last year. I'm wondering if anyone has even looked at the application or if it's just been luck of the draw.

I think there's a sitcom someone could write about retail work. I learned everything I know about fashion from some rather fabulous men that I worked with, at Macy's dadeland. There was a gentleman I worked with who had a medical degree in Nicaragua. He was a doctor there. He said his life was already better here. He was adjusting to the idea that homosexuality was okay. He wasn't a bigot, wasn't hateful, just kind of uncomfortable. Eventually he got over it.

He once pulled me aside and said "Ollie, I feel comfortable talking to you."

"Why is that?" I asked.

"Because we're the only straight men in the store right now." I didn't have the heart to tell him I was bi. And we talked about LGBT stuff, and he got over it. I was proud of him.

 I'm going to spend next week walking around the neighborhood looking for help wanted
signs. Maybe if I could speak to an actual human being I'll have more luck.

As for this week? My birthday happens this week. I'm going to cook, and clean, and watch the Walking Dead, and spend time with friends, and take care of myself.

I feel weird lately. I'm having trouble sleeping, but that's normal. I get insomnia from time to time. But this is an extreme version. I end up staring at the ceiling lately, sometimes til four. But what sucks the most is that I'm having trouble writing. I love writing here. The arguments and commiseration, the thinking, the learning, the sharing experiences, hell, even being yelled at when I'm wrong has been one of the better things that has happened in my life. Kossacks here even helped me keep my lights on, something for which I'll be forever grateful. No, I'll be a blogger here til they pry my keyboard from my cold, dead, fingers, even if I'm lucky enough to go do something huge.

"We pay it forward" said one family to me. I can't wait till I have the resources to do that, both emotionally and financially.

I wrote a diary arguing that putting social security on the table was betrayal. Our democratic leadership got through it without cutting social security. Okay, so I'm not happy with the cliff deal, but I'm not screaming about it. It's a tiny step in the right direction, but considering that this is the craziest congress since the one that packed up and headed to Richmond, I'm astounded that we didn't get pushed into another step backwards. And I want to thank our leaders for that.  I think they deserve our thanks. I'm not pleased by the outcome, but I am pleasantly surprised. We didn't lose. We pushed back. Hell, we won! A minor victory, and I hope the first, and smallest of many in Obama's second term.

And the glimmer of light? On the day I was writing about what the democratic party means, Armando wrote a diary about Obama's deal the republican's couldn't refuse. He was spot on. And I'm glad for that.

And I want to say thank you to Pelosi, Ried, and Obama for making sure that those foundational ideas of the Democratic party didn't end up as part of the butcher's bill. I also want to ask that they stay off of the chopping block. I want to point out WineRev's excellent diary on our leverage over the sequester. A lot of important things are off the table already, and should stay off the table. That's a diary I want to write. I also want to bellow "MINT THE DAMNED COIN" out of my window. Like a Network moment. I want someone to organize a Network-style "Mint the Damned Coin" flashmob for March.

On the day before Hogmanay I learned that some asshole was targeting "Occupy Leaders" for sniper attacks. I was really upset. I still am. And I'd like to write down a few thoughts on the process. For example, if the FBI let us know that this happened, then they are probably just as horrified by it as we are. I want more information on it, but the only reason that we know about it is because some good and wonderful person at the FBI decided we should know. That doesn't absolve the larger organization of NOT TELLING US that someone wanted to use sniper attacks on us and was snapping photos of occupy leaders. If I'd known that, I would have worn a damned balaclava and told people I was cold. And there's a chance that this was just some of my friends in Houston. Yes, friends. I know people at Occupy Houston. They got charged with felonies for blocking a road. Some great people appealed for calm and rational thinking in the comments, and they were right. They helped me process what was really shocking news. I wanted to thank them, too.

Speaking of balaclavas, northern Ireland is seeing mass unionist riots and a "New IRA." Rather than being the perpetrators of violence, the PSNI (Police Service Northern Ireland, formerly the Royal Ulster Constabulary) is a thin blue line caught between groups of people who are hell-bent on tearing each other limb from limb. I've been following NI politics with the same fervor that I follow Scottish politics. I have a lot to say on the subject. And yet, every time I sit down to write about things I'm passionate about, I end up staring at a blinking cursor for twenty minutes.

The most important Diary I want to write is based on this post.

DailyKos is rejuvenation for me. But not now. Not today. So I'm going to cook, and clean out my closets, take walks in the park, and spend time with my friends.

I'll climb out of whatever weird emotional funk this is after spending some time with loved ones, and I'll probably still lurk DKos, but I need to take care of my emotional health right now.

Because when it gets to the point that there are diaries I want to write, and I just end up staring at a blinking cursor, it's definitely time to take a breather.

I'm not going to cut myself off from the Great Orange Satan entirely. I mean, Pootie Diaries and Cheers and Jeers make my days better. But I'm just going to be lurking. I'll be focusing most of my attention on getting out of whatever this weird funk is. First things first? Normalizing my sleep schedule. Hello Melatonin (if you have insomnia, seriously try that stuff.)

Sorry for the long, rambling, stream of consciousness nature of this post.

Thank you all for being who you are. This is a great community. I'm glad I found it. I'm a better writer, and a harder thinker, thanks to the people of DailyKos. And for that, I'll always be grateful.

I'll be back soon.

And if you're out there, and you feel like me? Take a damned break. March Madness will soon take on a whole different meaning. We're going to need to have our wits about us, and be fully refreshed for that fight.

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