The days that are the hardest for me are those seemingly without purpose.
9am: I pull myself out of my semi-lucid stupor and earnestly busy myself scrolling for journalist or photographer job adverts. The mind chatter starts~you know the kind~the gurgling, stinging insistence that you are not doing enough, being enough. Our society constructs our self-worth inside 4 hallowed brick walls: regular taxable employment, financial stability, house ownership, and progeny. And usually built in that order, to be safe. We construct this church’s facade as a marker of our individual devotion to being a decent citizen. And I am yet to construct a single wall in my neo-liberal temple of worthiness.
I’ve laid out the foundations: multiple tertiary qualifications, unpaid internships, volunteerism, superannuation, a monogamous relationship, and a keen collection of whitegoods. But there seems to be a national deficit of building blocks to get this edifice off the ground.
I’m left to ponder the inadequacy of my life’s choices:
- Journalism in a post-factual world? “Tell ‘er she’s dreamin’!”
- The sheer audacity to maintain personal ideals and ethical standards which means I’m not contributing to the world’s rapid demise? “Haven’t you grown up yet, girl?”
- Smashed avocado for breakfast? “No wonder you’re still a renter!”
I’m left struggling to pay my overpriced rent in an exploitative gig economy, saturated with talented and lettered creatives, clawing at the chance to clickbait their way to an unironic future. Am I doing enough? Are my standards too high? How do I become the experienced journalist that the job ads demand if there’s never one willing to accept me as I am and deign to gift me the holy grail of a minimum 2 years’ industry experience? How does any independent graduate compete in a market of unpaid internships complete with 50 other middling candidates being financed by the bank of Mum and Dad? I keep pulling at these bootstraps every day but I can’t seem to overcome the gravity of the system.
In the meantime, I’m laid out flat on the floor, looking up at the ceiling and silently punishing myself for not possessing the superpower of foresight and for not feeling nourished by the breadcrumbs that fall from the table of ‘exposure’.
12am: Time to pry myself free from my keyboard and retire to my dreams. Perhaps tomorrow I’ll be enough.