Four Christmases Later

I’ve been meaning to write this post for over a month now, but it’s hard to get off the hamster wheel these days by ways other than an emotional meltdown or getting fired. Yes, the job is just as demanding as my first in New York City, but this time, there’s a quiet room if you want to cry at work without embarrassing yourself and threatening your future promotion. And, like my father said, “You work for money. When you make enough money, you make the money work for you. Just like Donald Trump.”

JUST LIKE DONALD TRUMP. *Triggered*

This December marks four years living in New York City, the longest I’ve ever lived anywhere as an adult. I’m blessed to say that I have never once been pick-pocketed, mugged, or assaulted, and I haven’t been robbed beyond what the city steals from me in taxes and craft cocktail prices. (And that one time someone stole my laundry out of the dryer. Or that other time when I paid for my dog’s surgery, twice. And those innumerable times this city has robbed me of my dignity…)

Even outside of meaningless anniversaries (like this one), I often catch myself marveling at my own existence here. Grotesque, impressive, painful and, admittedly at times, amusing in a I-feel-the-most-sorry-for-myself kind of way. I’ve replaced my Sad Single Bitch DVD collection with a Netflix playlist that very much includes the same titles, plus Moana, Hidden Figures, Insecure, and Chewing Gum on loop. We adopted a baby gecko by happenstance on one of my suicidal Mondays, when I was on the verge of somersaulting out of a ninth-story window but instead went to Petco after work and dropped $150—no questions asked—for something I hoped would live and vowed to kill myself if it didn’t. I have fights with my boyfriend where I vaporize his self-esteem and he feels so badly that he buys me Chinatown turtles as a peace offering (TBD whether or not they will make it to 2018, honestly). My idea of self care is abusing Happy Hour with my coworkers and decrying the oppression of The [white supremacist] Establishment while carelessly wielding a knife in one hand and a discounted glass of table red in the other. I start my drunken rants with my boyfriend’s friends with this gilded piece of humble pie: “Let me just start by saying, I am not *clap* a dumb *clap* bitch *clap*.” I also proofread my friends’ cover letters and get absolutely irate if they don’t accept all of my edits. I will shoot in cold blood anyone who swears that the Danish concept of hygge “speaks to them” (I’m sure that it’s less stupid in Denmark, but as with all things, as soon as it hit the mainstream U.S. consciousness, it turned to garbage). I am slowly (and reluctantly) wading into the waters of online shopping of firsthand furniture (like I said I would), but only if it’s on sale!

And, of all the crap news we as a nation have had to consume this year, the published pieces that inspire me to launch a holy war are as follows:

  1. Single, Unemployed and Suddenly Myself, in the New York Times‘ Modern Love section
  2. How to Detach Emotionally From Work, in New York Magazine‘s The Cut

The first piece was about a Wall Streeter’s fall from on high after she found herself, at 37, unemployed and about to move from her Gramercy/Kips Bay apartment (rent, she mentions, is $3,000 a month) to her mother’s home in Sheepshead Bay, Brooklyn. She begins a tryst with her 23-year-old law student neighbor, and finds herself comfortable with her life in transition, her circumstances, and her imperfections through the movements of their relationship. Cool. A little too Eat, Pray, Love for my liking, but a classic, cookie-cutter hero’s journey for a Manhattanite à la Sex and the City – I git it. BUT. One, boring. Relatable in a granola white-woman sorta way, but otherwise, utterly boring. Two, I fucking INVENTED unemployed memoir as a genre. You don’t get to make it cute and Under-the-Tuscan-Sun-ify it with poetic devices in an effort to make it more than what it is: sad. It is MEANT to be sad, minus the apotheosis. “Finding love” plays no part in this epic – it’s about staying alive, fed, housed, and moderately respectable. I officially abhor any and all literature that glamorizes finding love as the happy ending for all women, especially women who work too hard on those damn spreadsheets.

family-guy-on-busy-women-with-big-responsibilities-in-the-work-place-solve-all-their-issues-in-romantic-comedies

AND SPEAKING OF THOSE BITCHES, it’s okay, because then there’s article #2 that tells you all about how you’re losing yourself to your job and you need to learn to detach and let go of being so controlling and insecure. Firstly, fuck you. I obsess about work because it pays my fucking bills and I do it for 40+ hours of my life, every week of my life (including the week between Christmas and New Year’s, you oblivious ass). It is not me obsessing over the fact that my boss didn’t give the reaction I wanted over my fucking filing system, but whether or not my boss is on some next-level shit as soon as she walks through the door in the mornings, and whether or not I will pay for it at some point in the day.

“Try complaining a little bit less,” the article reads. NO BITCH, I WILL NOT BE SILENCED. YOU WILL HEAR ME AND ALL MY GRIEVANCES. This is how oppressive workplaces perpetuate – you are expected to solve your own issues with systemic discrimination, condescension, manipulation, harassment—all that shit. Sure, there are appropriate channels for you to air your grievances, but still. Fuck you. Everyone out here is just trying to survive, and if we need to complain, then we will.

“Remember that you are more than your job.” YEA I KNOW THAT BITCH I’M FUCKING FANTASTIC BUT THAT DOESN’T MEAN MY JOB CAN’T AFFECT MY WELL-BEING IF I WORK IN A TOXIC WORKPLACE. Not saying mine is, but it flirts with that line sometimes. And for those who have it way worse, they’re not trying to hear someone say, “Hey Buddy, it’s okay, you’re more than this,” almost as if to imply that you would naturally, instinctively, feel like you’re nothing if not your job. I might not act like it all the time, but I’m grown. I don’t need you to tell me to “derive value from hobbies” when I don’t even have time to cultivate any because I’m too burnt out or just preoccupied with trying to survive. The whole “self help” tone of the piece grates on me if only because we live—we work—in a supposed merits-based system, where your value is measured by your output. That system doesn’t address who assesses your output, whether or not they themselves are a total piece of shit, and generally whether or not they are qualified to tell you what you’re worth. Maybe address that, and stop telling people that if they take up Quidditch in the park on Sundays then their workplace woes will evaporate.

Maybe I took that too far.

Merry Christmas, hoes.

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