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 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 !