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 video games, depression, and learned elitism

My laptop is broken for the fourth time this year, and along with my ability to effectively HUSTLE! for writing work, I’ve lost access to my Steam account and thus my only two video games. So far I have Stardew Valley and Life Is Strange, two very different games — in SDV, you play a city girl sick of her corporate job who moves out to her late uncle’s farm to try a new way of life; in Life Is Strange, you play a girl who attends boarding school (in maybe Maine or someplace), who learns she can turn back time just in time to discover a deadly hurricane coming toward the town, and also she’s possibly queer and that’s why I’m playing.

I’m somewhat of a noob in everything in my life right now. Like… I’m 23, what the heck am I even doing most of the time?! It feels overwhelming and underwhelming all at once. (Is this it, then?) A noob to life, just floating around, basically. Definitely I’m a noob to (for? about?) video games — these are the first two I’ve played semi-seriously since I was a kid, and then barely. Suddenly it feels like so many people in my life play games — at school this wasn’t the case, but also being at school was… a lot. Also I have never used the word noob this much in my life, okay.

But y’all, how wild is it that video games and media are all kind of about mental health now? In Stardew Valley, you move out to nature because living in the city feels depressing and pointless (hello, hi) and almost every character at some point exhibits symptoms of depression or anxiety. Life Is Strange is about a girl who discovers a superpower — but it’s also about the effects of toxic male violence on women. I’m into it. I like for the stories I consume — and video games, at least a lot of them, are really just liveable stories — to reflect in some way my reality. And games these days are really nailing that. I’m watching my girlfriend play Night In The Woods now, which is about this aggro, depressed, totally loveable character named Mae who drops out of college to return to her dying town and all the people who she left behind, who are stuck there with no sense of forward motion. Like. Okay. How did I not know games could be about this?

I didn’t play many video games growing up. Looking back I think there was a degree of intellectual elitism that played into that — my parents fed me “good” books, aka books from the literary canon, books that were met with critical acclaim from those who Know. Actually my little sister was allowed to read “junkier” books than me — she’s dyslexic and her reading level was lower than mine — but the fact remained that they were junk. Fantasy was junk. Science Fiction was junk. “Catch 22” (a book that I have picked up and thrown down, bored to death, at least five times now) was Good. Jane Austen was Good. Dickens, High Literature. I read chunks of the Animorphs series in secret shame; I snuck into our basement to watch W.I.T.C.H. at night when I was meant to be asleep, and only read the manga when I was away from home and my family. I was really discouraged from playing games (not true for my brothers, but definitely my sisters and I were not allowed to play, really) and encouraged to do more “intellectual” or artistic things.

For sure my parents thought they were doing right — filling my brain with high, well-regarded writings. But like… well-regarded, critically acclaimed writing has always just meant the writing of white men, with a sprinkling of mostly-wealthy white women thrown in. And really truly not because they were the only ones writing — but because those are the voices who have been empowered and given value. Happily we’re getting away from that, and the voices of authors of color, queer authors, have finally been receiving mainstream (white) notice. And overall I feel like the idea of The Book as this Great Thing, the idea that nothing new can hold a candle to the old, is just steeped in elitism and classism and racism. And that’s not even beginning to touch on how little guidance most of us were offered while reading books from the canon, many of which are extremely racist and sexist, leaving us to navigate toxic ideas and lessons by ourselves (and muddle ourselves in these toxic ideas that we have to spend years unlearning later! sigh).

Anyways. I am typing this now on a keyboard I bought today for my tablet — it’s baby-sized, truly, and I’m not sure how long I can make this work. New laptop is first on my list of priorities when I finally get some secondary income coming in!

Happy Tuesday, everyone :^)