I’m still unemployed! I’ve uploaded a million CV’s online and applied for jobs pretty much everywhere from China to Dubai. I’ve even (mostly) overcome my fear of escalators as a result of spending some time in London, which has been wonderfully liberating. I’m trying to make the most of my “time off” by engaging with the outside world as much as I can and visiting people and places that inspire me. My (slightly forced) mantra of late is borrowed from Belle and Sebastian: “She gave herself to books and learning, she gave herself to being number one”. This sounds very nice and sort of doable, but I did download a dating app after seeing a *ReAlLy* hot guy and briefly becoming Michael Scott:
A few monkey-with-hands-over-its-eyes emojis later, I decided I’m…probably…not…ready…for…that. Whatever that is. There’s some weirdos, some “you’re different than other girls” kind of thing, and my feminist self just can’t. I’m like, WHAT’S WRONG WITH OTHER GIRLS? ARE YOU A MISOGYNIST? WHO RAISED YOU? HOW DARE YOU?! WHY ARE YOU CONTRIBUTING TO THE CULTURE OF COMPETITION AMONG WOMEN???? ARE YOU AWARE THAT MEN SUFFER AS A RESULT OF THE PATRIARCHY AND TROPES OF GENDER JUST AS MUCH AS WOMEN??!! In addition, I probably really do need to focus on myself since I am technically still without purpose (thanks capitalism) and have trust issues as deep as the sea that I’m going to hope and pray time will heal so I don’t have to pay for therapy later on. *laughter, turns into tears, audience unsure where to look, people are uncomfortable*.
*real talk* Self esteem has been an issue in my personal life for as long as I can remember, but recently I’ve seen it affect the beginnings of my professional life (if you can imagine such a thing) as well. At university my work was largely my own and done on my own; I was able to write about whatever dramatic/therapeutic topics I chose, and usually my tutors didn’t mind if I had a cheeky breakdown in their office every now and then. Now, however, it seems like much of my future hinges on first impressions—interviews, video CV’s and other petrifying situations. My feedback has been largely positive but my confidence has come under fire, which honestly surprised me. I know I’m not the only person who suffers from a feeling of separation between who you are and who you portray yourself as, but it feels like more than six degrees when a complete—often invisible— stranger is thrown into the mix.
The stigma surrounding mental health, too, is a near-constant source of irritation and anxiety. At one of my part time jobs during uni I had to go and pick up a prescription for meds, and when I told my manager they were for depression and anxiety they proceeded to call me crazy (like, as a nickname, ffs) for the next couple of months. Fortunately, while the NHS is completely under-resourced and ill-equipped to provide proper care for people struggling with their mental health, there are resources all over the internet that provide a sense of community and gradual normalisation of depression and other conditions if nothing else, and yes this does include memes. I don’t know a single person who hasn’t been affected by some kind of mental health issue, but the ‘snowflake’ rhetoric, sexism, thuh mediah, every comment section ever, things my ex boyfriends said, etc etc etc STILL create a culture of shame surrounding the issue which is really, really annoying when you’re trying to feel confident and sassy.
I’m sure Carrie Bradshaw never had this problem, (Miranda might have — this particularly abominable ensemble looks like something I would throw on to wear to the co-op, cajoled out of my gloom-hole only by the fact that I’ve run out of lucozade sport or maltesers). However, I’m at least mostly aware that my life is not actually a TV drama, so it’s ok to be Carrie sometimes and off-duty Miranda other times.
In short, pictures of dogs, real dogs, and hilarious critiques of SATC outfits continue to provide adequate methods of self care. I’m even going to yoga this evening. I hope I get a job soon, because I’m starting to understand what’s happening in The Archers.