When I initially got laid off almost exactly two months ago, I thought of all the free time I’d have. Of course I was hopeful that I’d have another job within a few weeks, but I was also grateful for the amount of free time in front of me. Without any obligation to be anywhere, I thought this would be my opportunity to finally create something, to write, to sit down and let the words out, unfettered. I imagined myself finally putting figurative pen to paper and letting loose the boundless narratives that’ve been knocking around in here for most of my life. With so much to say, I thought surely this would be my chance. I don’t know why I thought things would be any different now. They are not.
Just like those moments where organizing words into a comprehensible sentence and then speaking that sentence aloud feels like an overwhelming amount of work, the fantasy of sitting at a keyboard and just letting the story unfold before me has been eroded by reality. Writing is hard work. Everything feels like hard work right now. In fact, I’ve had this page open in my browser for the last eight hours, distracting myself into doing other things and then coming back to stare impotently at the space where my words should go. I have so much to say but simultaneously can think of nothing to write.
My job search has been exactly as successful as this novel I’m writing. I have written exactly one chapter but I have done a lot of thinking about characters and plot points. I’ve also done a lot of thinking about what kind of work I want to do and what types of jobs I’m qualified for. I’ve applied for several jobs (23 at this point) with zero response. The further I get from my last date of employment, the less I see myself being qualified to do anything. I was making six figures and now I’m trying to figure out if I can pay all of my bills and still afford to eat. Spoiler alert: I cannot.
The most frustrating part is that I am watching myself lose value in my own eyes, as though I carry no worth outside of my role in capitalism. It’s all well and good to believe that capitalism is evil, to believe that things like food and education should be afforded to all people regardless of how much money they have, to believe that the individualism created by capitalism keeps us from joining together in community to create the world we want… but do I really believe those things if simply losing a job makes me feel worthless? Can I really say I believe all of those things when having that six-figure job made me feel like my life could finally be different? Capitalism needs oppression to survive. The “haves” aren’t special or distinguished if there are no “have nots.” And if I really hated capitalism as much as I say I do, why do I want so badly to be one of the “haves” for once? The lie is that I could be. I won’t. The mountain of debt is only getting bigger and now that I am not working…
What is wrong with me?
I had one really good week back in September. I felt on top of the world. My ADHD meds were working and I felt like my brain had undergone some intense spring cleaning. I had taken out a loan and paid off all my credit cards. I was showing up with my whole self to my relationships. I just felt good. Maybe that one week is all I get.