On Wednesday, I found out that I probably will not be admitted to a highly competitive leadership. I was a finalist for the program, went through two rounds of interviews and it feels like I just managed to fall short when it mattered most.
My initial reaction to the news was really mild. Prior to emailing the people for an update, I had been stressing about a final decision for weeks. I got the updated response while I was at work and I vowed not to cry. Forwarded the message to my mom and listened to some music while I continued working. I tried to be optimistic about some other employment opportunities I’d recent;y looked into. I tried to not feel trapped at my dead-end, thankless, soul sucking job.
When I got home I sort of binge ate, glued myself to my computer and more or less decided to ignore the situation.
Sometimes I believe that if I feel nothing, if I deprive myself of emotions, then things won’t seem so bad. Like the situation can only be crap, if acknowledge that it’s crap…well that tactic is crap.
For the past two years, I have given the whole appearing unattached and calm thing a good go. Being neutral to everything is basically my public default. I like for people to know as little about me as possible. I rarely voice dissenting opinions to my superiors. I am strangely accepting of snubs, insults, disrespect and cronyism, until I can’t take it anymore. As one of my coworkers puts it, “I hold everything in and then explode.”
I think exploding is a hyperbole for my behavior in public. People are surprised when I speak up, buck their system and revolt. People are surprised when they see my displeasure is evident. People seem to forget that everyone can angry. At times I am sickeningly angry, but I decide not to express it and let things pass because I work in a place where many people seem to know not what they do.
I don’t think I sunk into a sour mood until morning. Upon beginning a new day, the reality of losing out on an escape from my shit job became a little much. I started trying to figure out where I went wrong as a candidate. Recently, a former classmate asked me about my work environment and this morning I decided to rip my employer a new one through a negative review.
Writing to the former classmate took so long that I ended up running behind schedule. I started feeling pretty negatively about myself and thinking: why am I stuck at this job that I am able to tear to shreds so efficiently? How did I fail myself in the last interview round? How will I advance my career beyond this slump (especially considering I hate asking for references)?
It’s hard to describe the place that i go to when I get really down on myself. It is a mood beyond angry, sad, hopeless…these are intermediary. Driving to work this morning I reached a level of disregard for my own life, I didn’t want to hurt anyone else but crashing my car was a thought that lingered in my mind.
Sometimes I think that self-inflicting physical pain is kind of a breakthrough. It forces me to feel, I can’t stay apathetic and dettached. I have to check in and experience the anger. That said I started out expressing my anger by slamming my forearms on the steering wheel. At some point I decided that wasn’t good enough and I started tearing at my arms with a gas card while stopped at a light. I only made a few cuts, mostly I created noninvasive welts.
At some point later in the day, I tried to cry but I couldn’t. My eyes welled up a little but nothing ran out. I don’t know how great I am at feeling emotions anymore.
I haven’t tried to cut myself since I was a teen (I think). I’m not a cutter, it’s not my M.O. I throw things, scream, hit walls, slam my body into walls, slap myself and on occasion bang my head into things. Cutting makes me think of emo girls wiriting fan fiction…I’m usually more hardcore than that. I went kind of lame today.
“There’s something about losing it all and starting all over again, but you’re not really starting all over again, you’re just editing out all the crap that was holding you back.”
— Aaron Rose (in the documentary “Beautiful Losers”)
I just found out that Vampire Weekend is inspired by African and Indian music. This makes absolutely no sense to me.
I have a high tolerance for jobs that I hate (or job responsibilities that I hate), to the point where I forget what I enjoy. Yet, once I reach my breaking point, once the things I dislike about my job wash over and drown the things I see promise in…my supervisors have an obedient but highly irritated employee.
I’ve been at my current job for less than 3 months and I am already verging on wanting to quit. I don’t particularly dislike the people I work with, I feel like I am potentially doing something worthwhile, but I hate that I am treated like a secretary with a few other skills. I am not a secretary. I am not a secretary. I am not a secretary.
Last week, a guy I work with referred to me as a “secretary” while on the phone and I would have promptly visited him for a nice little chat about my job description, if he wasn’t handling some delicate stuff. I don’t really like his attitude and I’m not too crazy about him, but some level I cannot blame him for calling me an administrative assistant. Our clients see me as the front desk person, my job responsibilities are at best nebulous, and I spend a ridiculous amount of time answering phones/taking messages/trying to talk people down.
I was semi-okay with slowly carving out my place until these interns from an Ivy League school came for a few weeks. It was like they were able to just infiltrate the organization and become crucial. They were never stuck at the front desk answering phones, they didn’t have to help hundreds of people with paperwork, they were given projects.
I’ve pretty much built my resume around writing, it is my trade. When I come to organizations with a Communication/English major, I feel like they expect a certain thing. In my mind, I imagine that they expect grammatical/stylistic/structural perfection. If I don’t feel I am performing at the highest level, I feel like a fraud.
Even after numerous English classes where we peer edit and get our papers back critiqued to death, whenever someone outside of that field dissects my work I feel humiliated. My workplace is a perfect example of place when I am defeated by my own idiot/genius dichotomy. In general, I am underutilized and undervalued, so when I do get an assignment of importance I feel like I have to prove myself or else I will appear useless. My feelings of inadequacy only worsen when I have to turn something into my boss because she is notorious for editing everyone’s documents until they bleed with red ink.
Despite my low self-esteem, I am really competitive and like a fool I have decided to hold myself to the standard of two visiting Ivy League student interns. These girls are here for their Winter Break and every time we have a meeting people shower them with praises. I guess people like me okay, but I know they are making connections faster than me and they are being given opportunities that I don’t get. I come off as a quiet and my fellow employees often treat me like a secretary. I have issues and I’m not trying to self-disclose a lot, but I thought I would try to make my mark. I have been trying work smarter to remind everyone that I might have graduated from a state school- but fuck you, I have a degree that allegedly means something.
Unfortunately, today I just got weighed up and shot down. The whole situation was not personal, but I said I am really touchy about my writing. In short, I have been helping a girl with her college essays for a few days and I finally wrapped things up today. A few different stressors were at play when I decided the essays were good enough and I was fine with someone else reading it over. Yet, as my luck would have it, the Ivy League girls volunteered to read it over because they “love stuff like this.”
I was leaving the office early but when someone starting sizing up my work, it’s like a car wreck that I have to see. Upon first look, the first essay passed inspection with few edits, but then the second essay (that we admittedly spent less time on) was checked out. I started hearing phrases like “this is a good sentence, but the paragraph is disjointed.” She also professed to have worked in an admissions office in the past.
The original essay the student brought to me was in really bad shape. She was lacking some basic grammar/spelling and it felt like a struggle to keep things coherent while letting her voice shine through, I don’t know if I worked magic but I do believe I really elevated it.
I will admit sometimes I struggle with organization in my writing. I also get highly anxious while writing, I get stuck on word choice and it’s possible that sometimes I edit too much. I would blame my newsletter class, but I have pretty strong reactions to writing assignments for a while. I have been my own worst writing critic for years and I pretty much insulted myself all the way through my English major.
Yet, there’s something about having someone, who is supposedly from a better background, (inadvertently) giving pointers. It feels patronizing. I have absolutely no school spirit, but when I heard one of the Ivy League girl say she never applied to a state university because she was done with public school, I felt insulted.
I know I am not Ivy League material and I have never thought for one second that I was cut out for it. I am young lady with so many broken dreams and hopeless days that I’m just looking to be a normal 22 year-old. I think it’s cool that they were able to be so successful at such a young age and I’m not sure if I’ll ever really tap into my potential. But, considering they do not have to deal with a lot of the shit I have to handle regularly at my work, I felt kind of miffed when that Ivy League girl swooped in and flipped my shit.
For the record, I have a sort of thrown together/made up/build-as-you-go job at a resource for kids in a disadvantaged area. One of my responsibilities is supposed to be tutoring kids in English, I have never done this before and I never told anyone I had. If I had a manual on how to help people write college essays, it would probably save my life. But currently, assignments are just sort of thrown at me and I try to figure them out.
On some level, I feel like this whole writing/communications track is just a bad path for me, but now it’s part of my job and I believe I am relatively unqualified for any other area. I mean my true passion (if I actually remember what that feels like) is community organizing. Seeing people organize to bring about justice is pretty much the only thing in this world that makes me believe that humanity is not a roving/self-destructive piece of shit. But, writing is my trade, it’s my first love. Writing used to give me life, but now it’s just one more thing to that makes me nervous and spiteful.
I have a crappy “amazing/piece of shit” dichotomy about myself and this is a song that I use to restore some self-worth.
I also feel like every child (who needs it) should feel like their parent(s) feel this way about them.
**WARNING** If you haven’t seen the video by now, here’s a heads up that it’s full of self-harm/self-hate.