go ahead and tell me.

go ahead and tell me what i'm doing wrong. i'm open to criticism. but not too critical, you know i can take things the wrong way sometimes. i know that more schooling is an option. it's just that, whenever i look at a school's website, the first link i usually look for is "tuition and costs," and the numbers make my stomach turn. after that, i look at requirements, and then there are those three evil letters: gre. most people will tell me that the scores don't really matter, but by the time i start believing them, i remember how long it's been since i've actually had to do a single math problem, and then i get super discouraged. so defeated in fact, that i just close the browser and then i don't visit the page for a long time. by the time i feel like i can actually do it this time, take the test, and apply and get over the fact that i'll be thousands of dollars in debt again, the application deadline has passed.

so, i say "screw it. who needs an mfa in creative writing anyway? it'll just be another useless degree because i'll never publish anything." and then i think, i'll just get a job. but not just any job. because the last time i worked at starbucks, everyone treated me like a freakshow when they found out i had already finished college. they called me "college grad" and eighteen year-old girls taking their first fiction class at ucsc told me to go sweep the floors and clean the toilets. i didn't mind doing it, mind you. i just didn't like being treated any more of an outsider than i already am.

so, yeah. retail is out of the question. if i did work retail it would have to be in another town because i might run into an old teacher, and that would be really embarrassing. not so much for me, but for her, you know. she'd be like, "i spent all those hours with you teaching you and building up your ego, and now here you are, just selling books and travel guides? what's the matter with you?" no, that wouldn't work at all. if that were the scenario, however, i'd have to tell her that i was just passing time until something more important came along, something like going to grad school, but then i'd have to relay all of paragraph one of this essay to her. and then she would just think i was crazy.

and anyway, there are some people that have never had to work retail. i was shocked when i found out a fellow volunteer never had to. he said, "no. fuck that!" with such a disdainful tone that i thought he might be onto something. but some friends say, "just do it. just so you can meet people and figure out what you want to do. who knows? you might even like it." and then i think that i'm so egoistic that i'm too good for retail. but then again, i hate our consumer culture, so why would i want to participate in it? because i know it's easy, and that any manager would be willing to take a chance on me if he only had to pay me $7.25 per hour.

but i think i'm worth more than $7.25 per hour. is that such a terrible thought? that i deserve fair treatment and benefits like health insurance for whatever it is i'm doing? i thought about working at a local record store again because i liked it at one point, but my cousin shot me down saying, "you're just gonna work at a record store?" and he said it like i had completely given up on myself, so i knew it was no longer an option.

maybe i'm not worth $7.25 an hour. maybe i'm not worth a damn nickel. there are people in this world who work for, and live on, a penny a day, why should i be any different? all over the world, there are people slaving away in sweatshops, breaking their backs in the fields, selling their bodies. why should i think myself special just because i read some literature and wrote some papers about it? i'm not special, and neither are you.

let's see. what else am i doing wrong? getting my hopes up for a non-existent state job, perhaps. my aunt tells me i'm a shoo-in, but after nearly ten months, i have my doubts. they all have these weird job descriptions, and they all want someone who has three years of something ridiculous like "management responsibilities and activities that conform to contracting laws." i started some stories that went nowhere, does that count? oh, and i update a blog full of self-defeating entries.

miranda july claims to not have had a "real" job in twelve years. i'd like to do what she does: make films, write books, play in a band. but where does one begin to embark on such a scatter-brained life? isn't that risky? no one i know in real life has done it. i could be the first. i could be a trailblazer, a real trend-setter, as they say. but no. in all likelihood, i will be ridiculed and i will fall apart.

people always say, "the older you get, the window of opportunity becomes smaller and smaller." all i've learned in the past few months is to completely ignore this. it doesn't matter. i'm not going to be a best-selling author or rocket scientist or rock star. i'm just going to be ordinary and forgotten. the sooner i can accept this and get over it, the better off i'll be. all i can do is try my best to win over a few people, and try hard, damn hard, to be uplifting and unpredictable.

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