Monday, July 29, 2013
This Is Something
I am probably the stereotypical blogger because I live with my parents and I am in my early thirties and unemployed. I had a career before this, briefly, working for two different colleges as well as a string of horrible temp jobs. I am deeply in debt from my college education and I feel betrayed.
Despite all of the evidence to the contrary when I got to college I thought I would be recognized for something, hard work and enthusiasm would mean something. Instead what I found was people, professors mostly, who were living their own miserable lives. They were there because they felt they had settled for something less than what they deserved like many of the students.
My professors failed at being role models. My advisors failed at giving advice. And generally the courses were taught in a haphazard way, well the normal classes, the ones I was supposed to take. I felt there was a great deal of self-censorship by many professors so they wouldn’t offend conservatives who might report them, dislike them, stop participating in class, and/or sue them.
But that was years ago and I am trying to move on with my life despite some set backs. As I said in the premise I am unemployed and live with my parents. This happened after having one promising career/job in higher education which I left for two reasons.
The first being that I was being underpaid for my job and rather than giving me more compensation the college wanted to take away responsibilities as well as having an increasingly frustrated and frustrating boss. The second reason is that my father had a heart attack and I felt my parents needed my help.
Since then I have not been able to find stable work. I am over educated for most jobs. When I submit my resume for local McJobs I feel employers look at my resume and don’t want to hire me because they know I will not be a lifelong employee for low wages. I know that I deserve, everyone deserves, a living wage and health benefits. We deserve to be able to have pride in our work. Most people around here don’t have that.
They smoke cigarettes and drink beer, as well as take other drugs to self-medicate emotional and physical pain. They work under the table jobs, don’t declare most of their tips, and sometimes do illegal things to make a living. I’m not talking robbery but other things. You know, other things.
I briefly had a job working for another institution down in D.C. area but found the boss to a bully and genuinely unkind man. One morning I realized I felt good until he showed up. I realized he was a like a schoolyard bully when I was in elementary school. I had enough and without another job to go to I decided to quit. I reported him to Human Resources and was done with it.
I then turned to writing. I sat down once again in my life to write a novel. This time it was day after day of thinking and writing for about two months while I lived off the little money I earned and lived out the rest of the short rental agreement I had made.
I wrote about half of my novel Per Pound of Flesh there. After many false starts and many attempts I finally decided to commit. I was worried it would turn out wrong. I was worried it wouldn’t be good enough. I still am.
After living there and writing all that I could I finally had to move back with my parents. And to be honest I fell into a state of depression. There were other extenuating circumstances I won’t go into here but it was difficult to keep myself motivated. I worked on two blog fiction stories that were Young Adult (YA) in content ‘Stay With Me’ and ‘The Family in the Window’.
Despite feeling hopeless I wanted to write something that had a positive feeling but eventually ran out of energy for the stories because I felt as if I had trapped myself in an emotional box. I didn’t want bad things to happen. I wanted the stories to be about healing despite feeling very wounded.
I decided to commit again to my novel. I went through a process of planning my story, thinking about characters and plot. I had to fix, edit, rewrite chapters but then I felt like I had worked it to a form but I also had/have such big visions. I could imagine a whole series of adventures about this young man who goes into gay porn. But I also felt like I needed an ending.
I didn’t write the ending in haste trying to slap something on so it would be finished. I wrote it to hopefully provide some emotional satisfaction to the reader while also giving the opportunity for more books and stories. I did this all while writing and editing other short fiction and posts for my blog.
It was a struggle personally and financially but I feel as if I have accomplished something. This isn’t supposed to be a sob story but it also isn’t heroic accomplishment, not yet. This is just what happened.
Right now I am cautiously optimistic because I see so many people struggling with the same things I am trying to accomplish which is being paid to do something they enjoy, especially after having such bad workplace experiences. I see people doing independent work that fulfills the complexity of human experience generally not portrayed by Hollywood and the Television Industry.
One of these project is ‘Whatever This Is...’ by the very talented Adam Goldman and his compatriots. This project actually encouraged me to write this post because it is about that same struggle of getting paid.
I feel like there are opportunities through being self-published. I feel like there are opportunities through Kickstarter and Indiegogo. I feel like there are opportunities out there that most people don’t understand.
I recently read an article titled ’20 Things 20-Year-Olds Don't Get’ and found myself feeling very angry about the premise of the article. I feel like the premise is to fall in line, to be another brick in the wall. If you try hard enough, endure enough pain then maybe, just maybe you get the American Dream. But you have to be perfect. You can't get sick, have kids, or anything else that happens in life.
Despite good intentions it isn't easy to get ahead in this world. I look around and I see corruption in nearly every institution that mainstream news doesn’t talk about because there seems to be a fear that it will all stop, fall apart and disrupt the general well being of all people.
There is corruption in politics, Wall Street, banking, Medicine, mining, higher education (University, Inc.: The Corporate Corruption of Higher Education
By Jennifer Washburn), the NSA, Military Spending, and so many institutions. Unfortunately these are just some examples but there are many more.
I am between Generation X and Generation Y but we all feel it. We are like the Capuchin Monkey suffering from unequal pay because there is disparity between the generations.
Many, many people would say life sucks, life is tough, and I should suck it up and move on, that life is unfair and everyone suffers but I say that the degree to which you suffer is largely based on your social privilege and yes there are people in the world who suffer more than I do. The economic mobility/opportunity determines how fair the suffering is and if the suffering can be reduced.
And I will mostly do this, move on with my life, seek out new opportunities but that doesn’t mean I shouldn’t express myself. That doesn’t mean I shouldn’t be able to process my emotions, that my feelings shouldn’t be recognized. This is something.