It’s my life to wreck my own way

I read this piece by Elizabeth Wurtzel in this week’s issue of New York Magazine: http://nymag.com/thecut/2013/01/elizabeth-wurtzel-on-self-help.html

It was difficult to read because I fear that I’ll find myself in the same situation except without having accomplished anything. I have a job, but it’s not my dream job and I don’t know if it’s a career job or where it’s leading me. I know not to blow all my money on frivolous things and I do finally have the ability to start saving and paying off debt, but I’m afraid of always struggling in some way, never hitting it big, and always living in obscurity enduring some sort of extended adolescence.

I wrote in my previous entry about not wanting to marry or be tied down and mentioned the flip side of not wanting to end up old and alone either. I feel like there’s no way to be completely satisfied. Perhaps fame is the answer? Beloved by an adoring audience, but not stuck with a house and a husband. That’s an unrealistic goal though. As much as I believe that hard work and persistence play a part in finding success at that level, being at the right place at the right time and simply being extremely lucky also play a huge part.

This stuck out to me while reading the article:

I got out of college and came here hoping I might make a reasonable living writing for magazines. It seemed like a crazy dream when I was in high school, something so glamorous and grand that you had to be very special to do. But then this happened and that happened, and it began to seem less ridiculous. I wrote a music column for New York after I graduated, then I did the same thing for The New Yorker, then I wrote books. I never wanted to be a millionaire or a billionaire or anything at all like that, because the happiest thing would be doing what I love. Which is how it turned out, and so it goes with talented and thoughtful people who move to places like New York and L.A. and Chicago and Austin and wherever else you take your wits these days. It isn’t just creative types, also public­-interest lawyers and public-­intellectual academics and political thinkers—collectively, the professional class. In a city, these are the people who make the place vital and fun. They work hard but still have time to try a no-­reservations restaurant on the Lower East Side or to check out the small boutiques in Nolita and help interesting young designers get off to a start. Mostly, they make six-figure incomes and somehow manage. And they are happy for the privilege.

But these are people who soon won’t exist anymore. Soon New York will be nothing but a metropolis of the very rich and those who serve them—and the lucky and desperate still hanging on. All of the fun jobs are disappearing.

She’s absolutely right. All the fun jobs are disappearing as are all the thoughtful, talented people which made New York such a vibrant city at one point. It still is vibrant, but in a different way. All anyone focuses on is money, power, success and whatever dreary, soul sucking office job they have to put up with in order to get there. I don’t want to do any of that. I want to be fun and be creative, but of course I don’t know the right people. I’m working on developing my writing and reaching out to people, but most of the time I feel very discouraged and like the girl least likely to. I suppose time will tell.

Whoa, crazy shit has happened since Jan.

First off…I am 21…woo woo…not a real adult yet though since I don’t think I can rent a car from most places, or have to pay some sort of extra fee, I don’t know. I doubt that’s a situation I’m going to find myself in in the near future though, so not a big deal.

Sooooo….I had the most RIDICULOUS experience at my internship, which sucks, and today I got vaguely angry about it, but I feel like it did change my perspective about things. So it was definitely a learning experience in its own special way.

Long story short, Dude was BATSHIT and I was allowed to quit with no negative repercussions to my grade. It was seriously the most absurd and insane situation I have ever been in. I will never again think I have a bad boss because he was the WORST. BOSS. EVER. I should add that it was the WORST. RUN. BUSINESS. EVER. as well. A lot of people say their boss sucks, is crappy, is the worst boss ever…but I have never before in my life had a boss who I thought had genuinely lost his sanity. Not to mention was rude, disrespectful, didn’t listen to me, etc. I don’t mean standard rudeness…I mean…like, he would push me out of the way, tell me to shut up, tell me I did something wrong then tell me to do the EXACT SAME THING. And he told me that everyone at my real job is an asshole who doesn’t give a fuck. All great stuff to say to people, especially someone who’s doing you a huge favor by working for free, and putting in way more hours than is required by school.

So what I’m annoyed about is, Dude didn’t teach me one single thing. Well I guess he did, he told me how to make fabric toughened up. And how to not run a business, and that one should pay down their college credit card debt- those I observed on my own though. Anyway, this was supposed to be a design internship to prep me for working in a design department and to be real world experience for what I’m learning in product development. But it became more of a PR internship spearheaded by his girlfriend. Good stuff to know, I’m not denying that, and it will look good on my resume ( Dude didn’t care that I quit, while I would never use him as a reference, I feel like it’s ok to put it on my resume and for references I would use people at my regular job). And I did get better at Illustrator and Photoshop, as well as stuff like networking/reaching out to clients, uploading stuff to the website, newsletters, etc. But it wasn’t the design stuff I wanted to learn. Plus, the new stuff I was doing kind of stopped after a month or so and it seriously devolved to me uploading shit on Facebook, updating his Excel spreadsheets for sales, etc….then several hours of pretending to work because I was either stuck watching the store or he didn’t want me to go home. I also honed my sunglasses polishing and Windexing skills.

So I can’t help but feel a little gypped. It’s just so irritating because the company I really wanted to intern with offered me TWO positions, but it was after I’d already committed to this. And those were real design internships. So I can’t help but wonder if this fucked up my career in some way? But maybe stuff will work out and another path will work out for me. I honestly don’t really want to work in design anymore…the design related stuff he had me do SUCKED. All I did was wander from vendor to vendor as a gofer and he was incredibly vague as to what he wanted, would yell at me, and the vendors would all be like, “Um, we need him to come up, not you,” since it’s not like he bothered to tell me what he wanted to do with the garments. He didn’t even have a price list or tell me how much things cost, he had no store policies, no inventory…fucking ridiculous!

I’m glad about the extra spare time I have now that I am done, but I still do wish that I had had a normal intern experience. This whole thing makes me more grateful and appreciative of my real job though. They have taken the effort to develop me and teach me new things, and most importantly I don’t get yelled at, told to shut up…they actually CARE about the stuff I do there and I feel like there would be some sort of a problem if I left, it wouldn’t just be like, “Ok, bye!”

This guy didn’t care one bit about the work I did. He would give me projects then never mention them ever again…or a few weeks later be like, “Oh, good job.” So was this all just busy work? Seems like it.

I’m tired of typing and in class. Will post again soon.

Thoughts on Gender.

Normally I don’t give gender, specifically the fact that I’m female, much thought. By which I mean, say if I were the first female to do something, I probably wouldn’t notice until someone pointed it out…because when I do what I do and as I live my life, I’m living it as me not as a woman, if that makes sense. Not to seem as if I’m bashing other women, but I’m also grateful to be free of the body image issues that seem to plague many women and girls, and I’m probably the only girl out there who is completely comfortable with not having boobs or being curvy…I honestly don’t feel as if I am lacking in anything. I think a lot of this may have to do with the fact that I’m an only child…so it’s not like I was brought up in comparison to a brother, and my parents/teachers/etc. never really enforced gender stereotypes.

So anyway, sometimes girls say and do things and all the girls except me will agree and know what they’re talking about, and it will make me think of what I described above. But also, I guess what every girl goes though as she gets older, and especially since I live in a big city with a lot of random people, is what seems like constant and completely random male attention.

As I digress, the reason I thought to write this as a blog was because I went to an exhibit today that had a bunch of works that were mostly social commentary pertaining to issues facing those born after 1976. So there was one video installation with a women who was going to have sex with a man, or something like that, and he was going on about how he wanted a girl, not a woman, and she was crying, looking in the mirror, getting all upset over her body. Then there was this narrator who said something like, “women are like children to be loved by men.”

So that got me thinking about how completely true that is. Of course generally speaking women are treated like competent adults, but women are infantalized in a small way by how men are usually willing to do a difficult physical task for a woman, women are more likely to be called “honey,” “doll,” or “dear” by random strangers even as adults…stuff like that. And it’s in language too. Grown women are referred to as “girls” whereas a man over 21 will not be called a boy, except jokingly. I notice that in my own language (I think of myself as a girl, not a woman…but I did just turn 20 so I think that’s legitimate) and I always notice it in this one song by the Yeah Yeah Yeahs…she says “the men cry out, the girls cry out.”

I don’t want to seem ungrateful for chivalry. I understand that most people are just trying to be friendly, and it’s not fair to assume that a man is being a pervert if he calls me “honey,” because that’s sexism as well…and it is nice for someone to help someone who they think may be struggling, and if said person can do it on their own, they just say, “no thank you.”

What really makes me angry is the fact that if I go out to do my daily business, I am far more likely to get hassled by some random guy, than I would be if I were a man…like because I’m a young woman I’m public property. People undressing me with their eyes counts as hassling…I’m not a picture in a magazine…I am a human being who can see you looking at me in a dirty way. And people coming up to me when I’m sitting and reading and trying to get my name and number? Do I have “whore who goes home with any man” tattooed on my face? I’ve even had to go walk on another street because of someone repeatedly yelling things at me. It’s just so absurd to think that people have the idea that they can disrupt my life that much, and that I have to actually be on my guard instead of being able to just walk around like a normal person. I’m not trying to be overly dramatic….I’m not saying this happens every day…but it’s happened enough to bother me.

In the middle of “Staring Problem” (by No Doubt) Gwen Stefani says something in the background about public property regarding people staring and watching other people. I’m hearing that in my head right now. This isn’t what she said…but I’m saying it now…I am not public property! My body is my own and I have every right to go about my business and not be bothered! There’s nothing wrong with politeness and courtesy, but please, if you don’t know me, don’t touch me or imply that you want to hook up with me.

I don’t want to keep writing angry blogs.

So I’ll write this one, about how I’ll randomly be walking home from work or be on the train going somewhere, and I’ll stop and think about how cool and amazing it is that I actually live in New York City.

I’ve always wanted to live here and go to college here, but it’s a huge jump from just thinking about doing something, then actually living it. Not that I’m disconnected from reality or anything, but sometimes it really does feel like some weird dream, and that I should be back at home in NOVA. I don’t know if that counts as being homesick or not…I don’t think it’s homesickness, I think it’s a weird nostalgia for when my life was easier and all I had to worry about was high school.

Living here by myself also makes me feel like a real adult…even though living here sometimes feels like a dream, I can’t ever imagine going back home, asking my parents to support me, etc. I guess it’s also because my college doesn’t have traditional campus life, and I spend more time at work than at school…and I’m obviously not dorming anymore.

So those are my thoughts that I have…it’s so funny though, because when I do go home, living in New York feels like it happened to someone else, and no time has passed even though it’s been two years.

Maybe I’m craaaaaaaaaaazy or maybe everyone feels like this when they’re going through the child-adult transition. Only the nose knows. Clearly I’m still a child in some ways.

Apparently I am over the hill in terms of my reproductive years.

I know this post may come across to some as being offensive. It’s not that I think every teen/young  parent is a stupid moron, I understand that some people may become pregnant accidentally, and for moral or religious reasons may consider abortion to be wrong, and that some have a family who is willing to help them care for their child. And they’re admirable for trying. But please, don’t actually JUDGE those who have not made the same choice as you!

So anyway, at my job there are a lot of people who for whatever reason became/have become parents while very young and not having financial stability. And that is their life choice. I don’t feel in any way superior to them nor do I think they are terrible people. I really don’t give a shit to be honest.

So why then would they act like I’m some crazy lady for stating that I would prefer to put off having children until after I graduate and get a job? There is one individual who has repeatedly brought this up with me. The first time he insisted to me that children are something that, “just happen.” I told him that I choose to be on birth control, so that the odds of it happening to me are extremely low. He kept insisting that “it could happen to me,” and I explained that as I am still a student, I will do everything possible to keep “it from happening.” He said, “Why does being a student matter?” I’m glad it doesn’t matter to him, but I don’t understand why I need to explain in detail keeping up my grades, having freedom, having the time to work, and so forth. It gets worse. He told me to give this hypothetical child to my mother to raise. I’m happy for him that he has a supportive family (I should add that he’s my age and has a daughter, just so this conversation makes a little more sense), unfortunately for my mom it would be a financial burden. AND I DON’T WANT KIDS RIGHT NOW, GET THAT THROUGH YOUR HEAD!!!!

Apparently it didn’t get through his head, because today while making small talk, I asked him about his daughter and mentioned that I’m watching a friend’s baby on Thursday. He responded, “So, you decided not to have children of your own?” I said, “I’m twenty, I haven’t reached that decision yet.” He just raised his eyebrows.

What the hell does that mean? Is twenty too old to have a baby in this guy’s world? I don’t even know what to think, except that it’s sad when children have children.

I’ve been having really weird dreams lately.

I don’t know why…I dreamed about a police shootout a week or so ago…prompted by absolutely nothing. I don’t watch Law and Order anymore. I also dreamed about a bear attack. I think the most disturbing dream I’ve had so far though was about my mom killing herself (she is alive and well in real life). It was just so weird, and throughout the dream I was just thinking about how I’ll have to adjust and cope with not having her around at all. Maybe the dream was a weird metaphor for me moving away and not really depending on my parents at all anymore? Or perhaps it was just a bad dream. Either way…it was pretty upsetting…normally my dreams are just about everyday happenings…not crazy shit like that.

Interesting Conversational Topics at Last Night’s Party

Last night my friend hosted a party, and I had a lot of fun*…this is a friend I don’t see very often, so I was happy to see her and other friends who I don’t see a lot due to various scheduling conflicts and so forth, and of course I met some cool new people. Anyway, there were two conversations that were really interesting to me.

My friend (who happens to be gay) mentioned to me that he thought the other gay guys who were present thought he was straight. So he asked me to tell him honestly whether in my opinion he came across as gay or straight. And I told him that while I have always known he is gay, it’s not something that immediately jumps out about him…I mean it’s not like he has short shorts, roller skates and a pride t-shirt….which most people usually don’t have…I don’t want to insult the reader by explaining stereotypes that I think we’re all aware of. So that kind of changed into a conversation about well, how are people able to tell if someone’s gay or not? That thought occurred to me after seeing the movie Milk** with another friend, and she asked me after the movie how in the very beginning Harvey knows that Scott (James Franco) is gay when they walk past each other in the subway. We weren’t able to reach a conclusion (neither friend nor I)…maybe it’s just an innate thing that people can sort of sense? I don’t know…but my friend and I (the one at the party, not the one I saw Milk with) did have a good conversation about that and also about identity…like how people may think that being gay is the only thing that defines that person when people are defined by so many things all at once…I mean I am not gay myself, so I clearly have no idea what it’s like or what people go through in terms of coming out/people being assholes/that sort of thing, but nobody would ever think that being straight is what totally defines a straight person so why would you think that about someone who’s gay? Regardless of what group we are describing, gay people, black people, Jewish people…the operative word is PEOPLE and people are complicated.

Meanwhile, we also had a discussion and race and evolution. This girl was first talking about some experiment done with genetic mutations on flies and from this experiment (can’t remember the details of it, sorry) it was concluded that it would take over 1 billion years for a genetic mutation such as different skin colors in humans to evolve into a trait, but humans as they are today have only existed for approximately 1 million years. So then she was talking about that show about what would happen to the Earth if people just vanished and nothing was maintained, and that after however many million years (possibly hundred thousand- don’t feel like looking it up) there would literally be no trace of us. So she was thinking, that maybe there had been humans just like us that lived billions of years ago and had technology, and infrastructure, yadda yadda, and they disappeared for whatever reason, leaving the “cavemen” as stragglers, who then regrouped and became what people are now, and therefore that explains the different races existing (as in allowing enough time for those traits to develop).  All I have to say is she must have been confused about something…I am not a scientist, but I don’t think experiments on flies necessarily correspond to humans…and I don’t think people just like us lived billions of years ago because there would be fossils and other evidence…plus the Earth wasn’t like it is now back then…it would have been uninhabitable.

Anyway, cool party and those two discussions stood out to me.

*Taking 5 Tylenol before the party, then guzzling 3 beers and smoking will end your fun after a few hours…I think it was the Tylenol that really did me in.

**Excellent movie that I think everyone should go see.