I started writing this stuff because I had to, in this blog. It was a voice in my head that didn’t let go, ringing in my ears, nagging me, language singing the same refrains over and over. So I did something about it.
It’s okay to find your own project unsettling. Even unpleasant. It’s okay that the truth or an aspect of the truth can be ugly as much as freeing.
I don’t know what the final destination of this project will be. At the very least it needed a break. I changed careers altogether and entered a brand new field, moved the studio and the bedroom, threw out and replaced furniture, purged and sold endless amounts of random crap, adopted pets, finished a degree, sustained an abrupt end to a longtime relationship, began another one by way of a completely chance encounter. In under one year – about 9 months. So yeah, I’ve been busy. And somewhat shell-shocked by stress and change. And I miss writing.
As ambivalent as I’ve felt before about putting this particular language out into the world, I think it matters. The unfiltered stuff that gets closeted for the sake of polite company and keeping the peace, then by being in the closet creates new kinds of dysfunction. I came here to give the stuff air time because I know I’m not the only one thinking these things.
But it is also an alternate version of me. Or a part of me. As I said – a voice, speaking to the bigger me. A muse. It is not all of me. It’s a perspective. And a persona, because this is writing. I’d even call it a character.
Still, I choose to be anonymous here because many would not understand this critical difference. Some who know me in real life might approach this blog rather reductively and take significant offense. Or just be surprised. But it’s important to do it anyway. You must charge on. You must go with whatever the inspiration is often, questionable or not. Often, albeit not always (for don’t we know by now that the unsound internet needs limits in order to properly corral its current adolescent iteration). If the goal is in service to the imagination of a less unenlightened, less mentally and emotionally lazy, less ignorant or judgmental or violent or complacent social climate, then yeah. Do it. Even if people say oh well who the hell do you think you are, you’re such a hypocrite anyway yourself, well yes, I concede that that would be correct so I agree. And I do it.
Maybe I’m a hypocrite because I write all this stuff and yet I wear makeup when I want to and sometimes that’s enjoyable and I buy expensive shoes. I live in an expensive apartment in an expensive ass area, where the going “floor” rate starts at expensive and ends at shameless. I do not make a whole lot of money. What money I do make, I too spend on non-essential things just as much as the next person. In many ways I feel I have to. And upon occasion this pisses me off. And I feel that something needs to be done about it. So I say it. But what right do I have? How far could/should I go? How extreme do I as a person really need to be, to make my points valid? At what point does being extreme stop making sense? What even counts as extreme?
It is true that because I grew up here and this is my home – despite the expense, despite my deeper values and objections to certain ideologies and marketing, I spring for things that are not financially necessary, yet are still somehow culturally necessary. And this is how I survive. No matter how short-term the rewards may be, or how questionable the future there is a certain standard of appearances. And there is even a standard of safety that not all members of society do not have to strive to afford, if they don’t feel like it. But I do. I have to strive. In a sense, I can’t afford not to. Does any of this mean I shouldn’t say whatever the fuck I want to say, about how I feel about it at any given time?
The upkeep required, is especially problematic if you want to write or make art. Because finances aside, the upkeep is your time and energy. And time and energy are money too, and if you’re not just making money all the time then that’s a sacrifice, especially here. To prioritize art, time and energy and money are very precious resources. They are also very precious for the person who prioritizes living life over the grind and the rat race, life over a type of glorified servitude where you work like a dog just to cover basic costs and student loans, on property necessarily owned by somebody else since you’re quite possibly, essentially, locked out of the housing market even on a middle class income.
What if you didn’t buy any shoes, makeup, clothes, haircuts, or housewares for ten or even fifteen straight years, would you have enough to buy yourself a down payment on a home around here? Maybe. How actually realistic is this? Does anyone really respect a muppet? What kind of friends and lovers would take a muppet? I am wrong to say “muppet” – well fuck em if they can’t take a joke. What about books, coffee, date nights with friends or lovers, vacations, and art supplies too? Would it be worth it? There are no guarantees in life. What if I die before ten years is up? What if I regret wasting a decade of youth for this one purpose? What if I don’t even really have a fucking life cause all I cared about is the stupid shit that I had to have to make myself valid in the eyes of everyone else who is just as superficial as me?
What if you move away? But this place is my home. I grew up here. Why should I have to leave? The average rent is worth the average mortgage payment, yet somehow, so many who pay this price aren’t the ones with mortgages. Why am I even so worried about this? Is it the fact that a landlord can kick me out at their whim under certain circumstances, like if they sell? Is it the fact that I can’t alter this place however I want? Is it the fact that instead of gaining equity, I give half of every paycheck to someone else’s investment? Is it the fact that my rent could be increased to the point I’ll be forced out? Is it just the fact that this – isn’t actually mine? Is it the fact that if I only focus on making money for my whole life, then I can’t be an artist which I was born to fucking do? Who the fuck am I to waste my time and energy on anything other than the most practical, functional, utilitarian pursuits? How did we get here, that this is the best we can do?
How is it possible that a middle class income is now only good enough to make someone else other than you more rich? Am a spoiled for not wanting to work a second job on top of the full-time job I already have, just to keep up appearances and have more buying power and act like this shit is actually fine? Why even fucking complain? It’s about as futile a thing as you can possibly do. Why am I so stupid?
Yet, why would any members of the generation before mine expect me to do things that many of them didn’t have to, or need to? Why did they let this wage stagnation and cost of living situation happen? Why did they enjoy a relatively cheap education, then allow everyone after them to be abysmally price gouged to the profit of corporations and government? Why did they champion this wealth gap – however unwittingly – then scapegoat the youth for being so naive as to buy in to the dream? No one wants to go there…. so we don’t dare. But we should!
I continue to not give up, because I don’t want to. Some act like I will pay for this later, as if I don’t pay for it now. I choose to keep living my life. I choose to be an artist whether or not this means dealing with overpriced everything and judgmental assholes. Maybe I’ll carve out another way. Maybe instead of being a professional social media whore, dropping down to my panies and waving my tits everywhere, maybe I could become a professional crazy bitch, full-time. They’d like that. It could be very entertaining. It could sell. At best, others could even make money by making fun of crazy bitch, who finally rebelled against the concept that the fastest way to a “creative” woman’s paycheck is the inspiration of her own ass. They’d probably make even more money than she did. Eh. Whatever.
Things do need to change. Things like, minds. Minds need to fucking change about this outrageous crap we have to deal with. Sold like you’ll be more free and have more opportunity if you just follow along, but actually you’re less free.
So say so. Say something. That’s all I’ve got. Not that it’s a small thing. That’s why my name is still private on this shit – it’s a nickname. Because it’s kinda scary, this shit. It’s not nice. But at least, to write truthfully means one can never be too trapped. Nor too controlled by bullshit. A friend of mine says, whatever you do, just don’t get stuck.
Another friend says, if you’re worried about what other people think then don’t forget that one day you’ll be dead. And then nothing will matter anyway. Nobody can say anything to you. And what they do say about you, won’t be worth a damn to you either. You’ll be dead so who cares.
Comforting, innit. It kinda works.
You’ll be dead, so who cares.