It doesn’t matter, so now I do what I want.
Days don’t mean anything to me right now. Neither does time really. In fact, neither does anything.
Note: The artwork featured in the rest of this post is by Izzyalright, an American artist whose work focuses on surrealism. And what is life if not that? Anyway, I think her work suits this post because they seem to encapsulate what I’m feeling and what I think. Check her out and support the girl if you can.
It’s Sunday and the flat is empty. In the past 4 hours, I’ve cleaned communal spaces, changed sheets, sorted laundry, emptied bins, defrosted, washed and played music and podcasts freely in preparation for the week ahead. Cleanliness makes me happy, it preps me for the week ahead until I realised it doesn’t matter because I’m unemployed and out of school: I can do anything I want. This is the moment I’ve been wanting for a very long time, my Eat, Pray, Love dream. My cinematic moment of discovery, my time to have that light bulb ding above my head, and it’s been here the whole time.
For contextual purposes, I got furloughed in March for a job I barely started in January last year. I officially graduated in July and as we’re in a pandemic, I’ve had little to no luck in the job market. It’s been Hell on my mental health and takes a hammer to my sense of worth every few weeks. I drift between life sucks for the most part for a lot of people and there are pockets of goodness that make it worth it. In all honesty, it’s tight but despite this, I’m still cushioned by my privilege. Blows are blows but the edge isn’t as hard and sharp as it should be. Towards the end of the year after yet another rejection, I had a massive breakdown and for a month, felt like nothing. Then I had this massive desire to do something productive, I needed to do something and be someone of worth and of value. It was this intense feeling that made me feel like unless I was doing something meaningful and known and earning an income of some sorts, I was nothing. I’m still navigating this by the way, ups and downs, ups and downs.
Yesterday was one of my finest irritable moments and in that, I complained about my weekend being disrupted to do this and that. I just wanted laziness and peace. My boyfriend said, I could have that any time I wanted, I had all the time to do whatever I wanted. My ears were not receptive to the information, today they are. I’m a free agent. I can literally do anything I want, at any time on any day (give or take some factors). I’ve been struggling and I am still struggling with this relationship between worth and productivity. Everyone is hustling, everyone is monetising, and everyone despite not wanting to, is trying to make things work. The world is built in such a way that we have to. It follows on from a revelation I had last month. Unemployment was becoming my personality trait. It’s all I had to offer in conversation, I don’t have a job so I’ve got nothing going on. But also, I had and I have things I want to do, I’ve been trying to do and explore and yet the motivation was just not there. But then it picked up again and more recently in trying to compartmentalise and prepare myself for the week, I realised I was falling victim to what a lot of my working friends are trying to free themselves from. Tying my worth and productivity to a weekday vs weekend dichotomy. And for me, for right now, it’s absolutely pointless. I might never have this much time and freedom than I do right now. Life will continue to suck in other ways irrespective of my situation, like it just won’t stop. This is not to say I’m giving up (though, see idea) but as constantly changing and evolving creatures, it only makes sense that my thinking follows suit.
Plus, speaking of pockets of goodness, I got into my writing bag a bit more (realised I’m good enough to be paid!). It started with Selah and the Spades (somebody say agenda!) and even that took nearly 6 months to pitch and write. And it dawned on me that the pressure I felt was from myself because it was something I had the time and the space to do, of my own accord. Right now, I can write what I want, in any way I want, pitch to who I want (don’t always get it) because the only person expecting me to show up right now, is me. I am at that point where I am not tied to obligations, I am not required to jump through professional hoops and adhere to codes and standards because I’m free. So when I discovered that I want a career in Arts Journalism and (Arts) Events Management, I also realised that lots of people hate their jobs, even when they’re doing what they want. I realised what seemed realistic and unrealistic for me, and what makes things so glitzy sometimes is the fact that I’m not actually shackled to corporate (and even non-corporate) conformity. I might be idealistic but I want a career that I will still enjoy despite it asking a lot of me. My friend Nicole confirmed that when she said she actually really loves her job. The fact that this isn’t commonplace scares me. I want to be fulfilled irrespective of whether it pays or not and right now, I have that space to find that balance. I also know that balance is an ever fragile dynamic, I might be chasing that forever. Whether or not I achieve that though, I want to be okay.
Days don’t mean anything to me right now. Neither does time really. In fact, neither does anything. Lil Uzi was right, now I do what I want. How’s that for a concept.