You are currently browsing the category archive for the ‘burdens’ category.

not everyone likes looking for a job but i dig it. it’s kinda like winning something. and being in a contest that you can win, unlike every other contest out there. i mean, i did snag five dollars in that recent lottery that was $43 million so maybe i’m super lucky and CAN win any contest out there. we’ll see.

the part people particularly hate – resume writing – is the part i like the most. i know. how messed up is that? but it is fun. especially when i write resumes for other people. so then, when i make shit up about them, i don’t feel so bad cause i don’t know it’s not true. do i? i often initiate the question game – like the one where you ask questions and then everyone has to answer in an attempt to learn interesting and unknown facts about the people you know. [note: this game works best under these two conditions: 1) there is nothing else to play or you are trapped in a car; and 2) there are copious amounts of alcohol. play at your own risk]. anyhoo – during the question game people often ask what the worst job you have ever had was and this normally results in uproarious laughter because you find out someone you know and love wiped old people’s bums or posed nude for art classes (the latter is less funny and more an opportunity to picture that person naked). alas, i have no good answer for this because i have had so few jobs and even though one required me to wear a dress from the 1840s, it is simply not that funny. nor dramatic. nor tragic.

maybe it is because i have been lucky with the jobs i have had which makes me excited about the process of job-getting or maybe it is my naivetee about all the shit jobs out there. i have this weird idea – that i swears is not ekhart tolle inspired – that you throw shit out there and see what sticks. and what sticks is usually the right thing because it is what is (okay – that last part was tolle – i admit it!). but i mean, as cliche as it sounds/is, where you end up teaches you something , if only about yourself.

i have also been thinking a lot about the misrecognition of self, not only because my most recent dissertation chapter is about it, but because i think many of us misrecognize ourselves as not enough or too much – whatever form that might take. i’m too fat, not smart enough, too critical/negative, not ambitious enough, etc. we can’t see past the past that no longer defines us. has become outside our lived experience but exists within us as a cancer. a plague of doubt. you know what people never hear enough of? praise. and the sentence that they are enough. better, they are perfect just as they are. fine. good. complete.

a job doesn’t give us fulfillment, but it offers a chance to live fully through our doubts and fears. through and beyond the nothingness that is the phrase: “i am not good enough.”

anyhoodle – what was your worst job? tell me. now. cause i want to laugh and possibly picture you naked.

(and forgive me for the help wanted poster. i couldn’t resist!).

Advertisements

i have been thinking a lot about babies lately. and kids. and not in the way one might imagine. these thoughts are giving me icky feelings. and pee-inducing nightmares.

it all started when i had a dream about t-bone being preggers. i mean, sweet, right? turns out, not so sweet. i think he was just a vehicle for my own messed up ideas about what pregnancy would be like. read: f*ckin’ scary as shit. all he did was whine. and he wasn’t sexy pregnant either. sorry, dude. but pregnancy doesn’t become you. next it was the proliferance (is that even a word? methinks, no) of babies in my life. i mean babies are cute. darling even. but i can’t EVER imagine being responsible for one. like. EVER. and then there is the fact that they never go away. as my mother always tells me (and something that i have internalized as a threat): “once a mother, always a mother.”

this also could have something to do with two other factors. 1) someone recently called me “unconventional” and after i almost punched them i realized that it was meant as a compliment; and 2) i am going on the job market. the “unconventional” nature of my life means that not only have i been living like an undergrad since 1997 but i have possibly also been thinking, acting, and being generally irresponsible like one since around then too. also, how is it possible to work and have children? i know women do it. but i am convinced that they are magical. like unicorns. and leprechauns. or magical the way matthew mcconaughey having a career is magical. and we all know how i feel about him.

i had a recent debate with a friend about whether or not it is “okay” for employers to punish their female employees based on non-performance at work due to family commitments. i mean, obviously, it is not but it seemed to me like we we speaking within the confines of popular discourse that still, let me stress: STILL encourages women to think of working as a choice. as though we would all be happier – oh, and have better adjusted children – if we just stayed home. as though that “choice” doesn’t also exist in a land of fairy tales and privilege that not only doesn’t exist but doesn’t take into account women’s RIGHT to work, be ambitious, successful, f*cking fabulous, and the like. choice is a tricky word when it comes to women. and everybody seems to be all about “giving” women the choice between this and that. between attractive options like double shifts of work meaning work, then kids and home, and triple shifts, such as work, kids, home, and care of extended family and/or child-like spouse. i mean come on people! choice is a fantasy created by those who don’t have to choose. who can live in the comfort and safety of knowing that their “role” doesn’t involve housework, child-rearing, and caring for elderly relatives. whew. jacks is on ranty roll kids. watch out.

i guess this sums up my perspective on children. i guess i think that being unconventional can’t work with little ones. because then you are mother. and with an academic career looming, that is a scary prospect.

however, if one can have an unconventional egalitarian marriage, perhaps there is hope for procreation. cause we could all use little jacks’s running around, no?

in the infamous words of marx: “in bourgeois society capital is independent and has individuality, while the living person is dependent and has no individuality.” we live then, according to marx, in a deindividuated world of capital gain, dependence [on the “man?”], and bourgeois comfort that medi[c]ates the masses. similarly, in the infamous words of my friend B.: “jacks, you might be a little bougie.” though he said it in the sweetest way, and in relation to his own more overt bougieness (take that!), it got me thinking – is jacks bougie? thus, this is a little meditation on “bougieness,” that is, the comfort that comes with excess, the attempts to “deviduate” ourselves, and an explanation for why the website stuff white people like is so friggin’ popular. despite the quote from marx, this post is not meant to be serious. for reals.

when i entered grad school, i realized – despite knowing it intellectually – that my colleagues were perhaps in a different “class.” had different backgrounds. basically they were oozing coin. not a problem i have ever been faced with. i am part of those endless canadian “middle” classes, which extend from the upper-lower to the higher-middle and everything in between. i looked around after my first year and realized i was playing on a different field. was in a different realm. of financial fluidity. however, like most “white” kids in the small towns, hamlets, and suburbs of canada, i was raised a little bougie. to be more refined. to value travel. fine food. delicious wine. i was groomed to be significantly upwardly mobile. a path not paved for all.

being “bougie,” in my own estimation, and perhaps my friend B.’s, has more to do with the nuances of life than the overt display of pretentious pettiness. it is about preferring this brand to that. knowing which restaurant is the best in the city for this kind of food. knowing how to order and consume wee little plates of flamboyantly fractured food in a place you can barely afford but believe, truly believe, you deserve to frequent. if you believe/feel/have done these things, you’re bougie dude. face it.

but don’t fret. a lot of us white folk are like this. we pretend to discern. we describe. we debate. we deliberate. we think we are entitled to opinions. to options. to being individuals. but this individuality comes with a price. it takes cash. capital. we haven’t separated the meaning of personhood – of this presupposed right to individuality – from capital as it appears in marx’s formulation. we have merely embraced it. made it our own. become bougie.

stuff white people like recognizes this. it takes all white people’s demarcations of insignificance and lays it bare. makes it meaningful in its expose of its profound meaningless. white people need stuff to make them significant. and often that means buying stuff to have stuff. to create meaning. consuming to be something. everybody’s gotta have a thing. and white folk want a lotta things. we haven’t shifting the discourse of meaning-making around being and having. we have merely tried to be more through having without doing too much. we exist in entitlement. which is hilarious. and why stuff white people like is now a book. a cult classic. a pop(ular) sensation.

entitlement is a tricky thing. it is ugly in its overt state. and it spills out on all sides. consistently getting farther from its originary point. the quest for stuff. entitlement – while born out of a mommy and daddy get me everything attitude – quickly morphs into something more insidious. and more banal. the misrecognition of others. and their worth. being bougie is funny. but only when we recognize that everyone’s right to be is equal. and to stop stealing each others’ seats on the free shuttle in stanley park.

so there.


when i was three i started figure skating. i skated my ass off after school, before school, DURING school until i was about 13. ten years of trying to be elizabeth manley (an obscure canadian skating reference – congrats to all those who got it) , to be good, to be noticed. one thing i always prided myself on, and my parents encouraged, was that i never cried if i failed a test, lost a competition, fell down. what i remember, and perhaps this is selective memory, is always being encouraged by others with kind words and other forms of wood and plastic trophy-like praise. i was my harshest critic. i was the one that berated me for not doing my figure-eights perfectly, for not landing a jump, for falling in the annual skating show. i wanted skating to be fun and i knew when i was young i was good at it. i wasn’t allowed to “just” do the fun parts, like making up routines and dancing with the partner i received to compete with as a result of being picked from the ice-rink stands as his perfect skating companion. no. i had to do it all. i had to go through the levels as quickly and as precisely as one can at such a young age with no real thoughts of where these circles were leading. when i was 12 or 13ish (my memory already fails me), i quit. just like that. such a big part of my life, gone. i had had to make the decision whether to pursue it as a future and begin lessons with another former olympian or hang out with my friends. be a kid. have fun. maybe i exaggerate. i don’t know what would have become of my skating. surely not the olympics or anything close. but perhaps something. but i’ll never know. and i’m okay with that. most of the time. but my skating past reminds me of my present. my striving toward a goal. only this time, i know what it means. i know it means a future. a job. (part of) my life. and i’ve come to wonder why we, to borrow a beautiful phrase from a loved one, wear our goals, our lives, our work like a burden. why we, when we have everything feel like we have nothing. not enough. like we need more. why we feel less encouraged. under-appreciated. criticized. especially without out wood and plastic reminders of our successes. our achievements. our lives. these days i try not to see things as either/ors. i try to remember that i do everything because it suits me. because it is me. and i am doing everything i’ve always wanted. and wearing it like a burden can only amount to crying over skating.