More than anything else, I love to write. But sometimes, I want to write less than anything else. And whenever I have one of those infuriating roadblocks stuck down in my gut, I remember this interview with James Baldwin from the Paris Review:
I know that after Spring Break, as I near the end of this season, the pressure of job-hunting and professional networking will be heavier than ever. My shoulders ache in anticipation.
I'm looking at an old computer note that says SENIOR YEAR // STILL NEEDED:
and lists all the requirements I anticipated taking after going abroad and holy shit, I can't believe I'm actually about to fulfill my plans and graduate and be done with this chapter in my life. Last year was all about fulfilling my plans (or hopes, at least): studying in Spain, nearing fluency, landing a real position in a real newsroom, getting appointed as Editor-in-Chief of The Buzz. So many of my goals were actually accomplished. It was such a year of high highs and low lows. Outrageous and confusing and intoxicating. Maybe consistency is overrated.
But the fact remains that no matter what I've accomplished until now, no matter how much work I've put in, it won't matter if I can't advance towards a career post-grad.
I just don't want to feel like a vat of bubbling, wasted potential. I want all my hard work over the last four years to mean something. I want to find that elusive 'meaning' in my day-to-day life; I am terrified of nailing my limbs to a routine of nothingness and apathy. I refuse to be someone who dreads my alarm. If this era of my life must end (and come May 18, it must end), then the next phase can't feel like regression.
And that's where Baldwin's interview returns to my consciousness. Because if I know what I want, if I'm sure of myself and my convictions, I just need to endure. I am in such a position of privilege, graduating from a prestigious institution with a supportive system surrounding me—I just need to endure. I need to write, and keep my head down, and send probably hundreds of cold emails, and things will shake out. I'm not quite sure how, but then, who is? We've just got to wake up and live and never be sorry.
Some more food for thought, on the topic of endurance:
- Damn okay, it's only been 29 days since Trump's inauguration but it already feels like a lifetime. Now is a good moment to remember the value of patience—to remember that under an administration championing hate and oppression, becoming complacent will never fly.
- The crushing pressure to be profound and important with my writing and my art is spectacularly stunting. I wonder how much more I could create if I wasn't constantly marooning myself on an island of self-imposed expectation.
- It takes Neptune (the planet ruling Pisces) a whopping 165 years to orbit the Sun, and it has only recently completed its first orbit since its discovery! She did that, i'm proud of her!!!!!!
- The more I move through life and become educated on different manners of social construction, the more I am convinced that women of color, LGBT women, disabled women, and hyper-marginalized women of all kinds are the most miraculous beings on the planet. It absolutely floors me how we, as performers within society, inhabit our gendered bodies and negotiate the constructions that want to constrict us. How gracefully women live through such utter bullshit.
- (And on that note, if you are constantly floored by the same thing, here are some cool things for your perusal: this article about sexism in politics by Sady Doyle, this interview with Lauren Duca about young women's interest in politics by Kiera Butler, this cool video about claiming the color pink by Jennifer Wright, this exposé on the company Thinx by Hilary George-Parkin, which highlights how feminism cannot be commodified without being practiced)
- Enduring mental illness seems impossible but look at how many of us are doing it. Perhaps living at all seems impossible sometimes, but we are doing it.
- "But nevertheless, she persisted."