overnight, again (& what am i doing??)

hello, i am stresst. i am on another overnight shift. that makes 3 in less than a week, and 1.5 day shifts – 56 hours working, 36 of which were overnight. it’s rough. i was expecting rough, but it’s rough.

more than rough, it feels bottomless. i was talking to a friend who has been doing night shifts for a while now, and in his experience, you just basically don’t recover (until you stop doing them, that is). if your work schedule is entirely overnight shifts, you get a chance to reach some inverted equilibrium – but then you sacrifice daytime activities, you sacrifice the energy to socialize, to do anything much during the day besides rest and recover. if your work schedule switches back and forth between day and night as mine does, you’re kind of just fucked. night shifts fuck with your body in all sorts of ways.

i feel like such a baby. i’ve been here for like a month, and i’m already so stressed and tired and want out. at my last job, i really hated my workplace and how it functioned towards the end and was so, so bored of the work i was doing. i was so excited about this job — it’s with an organization that does really good work, meaning community-centric, socially aware, effective work. and it’s hands on, which was something i thought i’d been missing at my old job. i enjoy it, but i also find it stressful — i’m still getting to know the residents (i’ll be settled in one location soon, but have been jumping around), and the schedule is so much. especially because i need to find another job, which means working another 20-30 hours a week on top of the 24 i’ve committed to this job. it just feels like a lot, y’all. like there’s not a lot of room to practice self-care, socialize, do anything outside of work.

i think one of my biggest problems is aimlessness. people talk about your 20s as this period of trying to figure things out, but the reality is so… i don’t know. i don’t know what i want to do, so i keep trying these things and not finding them particularly satisfactory. and i’m prone to anxiety and depression (though i’m medicated and the most stable i’ve ever been right now) which makes me feel weak — i get anxious and stressed and feel hopeless, and then i’m mad at myself for being weak, for not being able to handle things, even though i’ve been feeling stable. especially working where i do, with people who have so much more to deal with than me, who are up against so much more… and i’m this weak? people have jobs they hate all the time (me at my last job) and in fact that seems kind of like the norm. people have jobs that are stressing and they still do them, because they have to, because we all have to. i had a 9-5 job and now i don’t and want one back; i wanted to do more hands on work but i’m finding myself not up to the task (i.e. the hours).

i don’t know, y’all. i’m just already thinking about what’s next and not knowing, and that’s stressful. i feel stuck in my own aimlessness, in my own choices, in this choice, in this Good Work. trying to think of things that i can do to pay the bills and maintain some semblance of sanity and balance. been thinking about doing THAT kind of work, if you know what i mean, because there are ways of doing it that aren’t doing all of it, and it can be lucrative, and it seems like a way to feel secure, i guess. i’m just lost and wanting some kind of direction to head towards for what’s next, i guess.

on Assassination Nation, witch hunts, and feminine rage

Have you seen Assassination Nation yet? It came out on Friday, and to sum it up, it’s about a wide-scale hacking that happens in Salem, Massachusetts (yes, that Salem — very intentional) and the veritable witch hunt that follows, wreaking violence and sexism all around town. The following absolutely contains spoilers, as well as reference to sexual violence, so proceed with caution.

For me, Assassination Nation took the feeling of simmering, explosive rage that women* have been feeling extra hard since the 2016 election and bottled it up into one kick-ass film. The film’s message isn’t exactly subtle — “don’t dress like that, you’re asking for it; don’t take pictures like that, you’re a whore; come on, show a little skin, you’re such a prude” — as the main character Lily explains explicitly in voiceover several times, but it’s effective and viscerally real. It taps into the rage that women have been feeling so intensely these past 2 years, because we now live under the regime of a sexual predator/overall monster, we now live in a state that is actively defending the election of a r*pist (though obviously many of our public officials have been sexual predators) and we have always lived in a patriarchal, white supremacist state that is violent and oppressive to us, especially non-white, non-cis women.

The young women are so, so clearly the victims here. The more the men in the film hyper-sexualize and de-humanize them, the more apparent it becomes that they are girls, they are children, regardless of what they are doing and how they are dressing. The scariest character in the whole film is *heart eyes*Daddy (the father of a toddler that Lily used to babysit for) who groomed and seduced her, texting her for naked pictures, asking her to play the child/daughter role in their sexual scenarios. Towards the end of the movie — at this point their affair has been leaked and both are dealing with fallout, though Lily much more so — we discover that *heart eyes*Daddy murdered his wife and presumably his baby daughter when they tried to leave him. Running from *heart eyes*Daddy, Lily falls into the corpse of the wife in the bathtub, comes up screaming and drenched in her blood. He’s terrifying because his violence seems senseless, uncontrollable — but actually we know that it’s grounded in his understanding of his power over women as absolute. He sees himself as being the final authority in his relationships with women; he decides when to end them, when to end their lives.

There’s a lot more that could be said here to unpack, as well, the specific type of violence that Bex, a transgirl character, is subjected to. Interesting to note is that Bex was never misgendered, even as a mob of fuck-wad jocks colluded to literally hang her for “emasculating” one of their own who had hooked up with her. Their rage against Bex was a mix of homophobia and transphobia as in, they were reacting homophobically to the boy who hooked up with Bex, which is transphobic in and of itself because it denies Bex her girlhood, and further it represents established cis-male violence against transwomen. I liked that the film itself supported and respected Bex’s girlhood, though the jock mob did not.

This movie is wild, y’all. Essays could and should be written. Towards the end there’s this perfect image of the four main girls in these red patent trench coats with a load of guns and various weapons strapped to their bodies just gunning down their would-be assailants. I loved the aesthetic, which was an ode to Tumblr’s kawaii-sex-baby look — think ringer shirts with pink hearts above the nipples, platform jellies, lots of pink, tiny sunglasses, all washed out pastel lighting.

And then, of course, the ending. Who did the hacking? We know that the hacker used Lily’s family’s IP address — it really could not have been her, and definitely not her luddite parents. Naturally we forget about the silent, almost unnoticeable little brother character; just a geeky little white boy with very little impact thus far, of course the only other person with access to that IP address. He’s the one who did it, “for the lols” — for no reason except his privilege and his inability to see or care about the impact on other people, for no reason except perhaps he felt outshone by his wise-cracking, beautiful older sister. You could just hear in the theatre the chorus of confused murmuring — but honestly, who else could it have been? Like most terrorists in America, the culprit behind it all was a dissatisfied young white man.

 

*and everyone who is not a cis man, though gendered policing is against femininity/femme-ness, perceived or actual, IMO

 

(Also! Can we talk about how Mike Montgomery from Pretty Little Liars played the evil ringleader of the jocks — I screeeeamed.)

on overnight shifts, bodies, New Aesthetics, and being underemployed & worried about it

Here’s my secret. When I’m trying to stay awake on the overnight shift, I online shop. There’s something about the rush of adding things to your cart — even, maybe especially, if you have no intention of ever clicking order. Which is good for me, because I’m currently broke-ish. Or, more accurately, I’m on a fast track to brokesville because this month I went from having a full-time, steady-if-not-well-paying administrative job at a foundation to having a part-time job at another non-profit, one whose work I am infinitely more dedicated to and find much more satisfactory, but one where the hours and pay are significantly less.

Freelance! Wag! Babysitting! Cafe job! I thought to myself, pre-fast-track-to-brokesville. The possibilities seemed endless and easy, somehow, as if jobs and money are something that materialize when you need them and fit exactly to the mental picture you crafted for yourself for the period after Quitting Your First Job. I think it’s going to a bit harder than that, and absolutely more stressful. Especially given that to freelance write I need to have a computer, which means buying a new computer, which means parting with a solid chunk of my savings account. Alas. There’s always money to be spent, it turns out, even when there’s not much money to come by.

Anyways. There’s something weird about buying new clothes, shopping online, imagining endless Potential New Aesthetics for yourself. I find myself buying more and more clothes when I’m feeling bad about my body, as if to take control in some way over how it looks when I feel uncomfy with how it looks, when I hate how it’s shaped and where it’s soft. It’s pretty easy psychology, to be honest — find the void and fill it with something meaningless that feels controllable. The void is my body, the control is buying clothing. I’ve been trying for the last year or so to be more normal about my body, i.e. less rigidly controlling, less anxiously obsessive about it. Anxiety meds have helped a lot, like, a lot a lot, with the obsessive thought patterns, but there’s still the great swath of my brain that oh-so-typically wants nothing more than to be lithe, lissome. A perfectly controlled, perfectly thin being. Basically my bank account suffers madly to account for the fact that I have Body Issues™.

Anyways. It’s 1:26am and I have to be awake for another 6 hours and 34 minutes to finish this shift, then an hour+ home to bed, hopefully hopping in around 9:30am to sleep for 6 hours and then off again. This week is two night shifts back to back — they’re quiet and lonely and kind of surreal. Being awake at 3am, 4am, 5… no one else is. The world feels weighted and sleepy around you, even in New York. Back to staring longingly at my Urban Outfitters cart (my secret shame!!) and shopping for semi-useless Halloween-themed desk accessories :~)

Happy Thursday morning, y’all !