Wednesday, June 17, 2009

I Ruin My Life, Or: Why Writing Is Like Sausage

I realized today, about five minutes ago, that I am absolutely terrified of trying to find a new job, and I do not want to do this forever, and I'm slowly ruining my own life with fear.

Not that I'm looking for a job, because I'm not. I have no plans of quitting. But seriously, after working here, what step up do I take?

I mean, my mom got me this internship here two and half years ago, and then I was promoted...but still. The four years preceding this job were full of interviews and denials, hundreds (thousands?) of resumes detailing dog grooming and zookeeping and bartending and whatever. Cracking into the Suit World is fucking hard when you have no marketable skills, no goals, and you barely graduated college.

They really advertise my insignificance around here when I'm not invited to things where the Important People all hang out with each other and talk about investing and financial stuff. I'm a fucking office manager. Children could do my job. Really really small ones. With sticky hands and speech impediments.

I know I can't do businessy things because I'm not cut out for this. Where do I go to make things and build things? Is there a job for that? Thing-doing? The only tangible goal I have in my life is to someday make enough money to live in a place with a yard so I can have a dog.

I'm trying to have a more ambitious mindset, I'm trying to learn the game, but I'm not a kiss-ass, I'm not a go-getter, I'm not very sharp, and I really have no self-confidence at anything other than telling stories and drinking, and I learned all of this about myself, really and truly, and understood it, about five minutes ago.

I miss waiting tables. I liked being the promising fuck-up instead of the disappointing success.

Man, I am such a fucking baby right now.

Shit. And I'm crying at my desk. I don't do this. No one's in the office right now, though. Every single other person is at an important meeting.

So at least they can't see me.

How did I get here? Happy childhood, no trauma, no abuse, very clean. Everything about me was/is average. Okay grades, good family. Good friends. At least I think they're good friends, and by that I mean the best friends like ever. Is that what it is? Is it because my friends are better than everyone elses, so to balance out that overwhelming Awesome, everything else must be mundane?

No great love or relationship, as always. I have an okay job which I do well enough. Chicago is an okay place to live (it is a fantastic place to live and a horrible place to live - so, you know, concept of balance). I'm not superhot but I sure ain't superugly. I support myself, but don't save. I get along with people well enough, unless I decide they're a douchebag.

I am the opposite of extraordinary. Is that why I turned to writing - so I can take all of the banal, the useless, the boring, and grind it out until I think it's linked together and delicious, like sausage?

How could I expect to write anything with a plot when my life lacks one?

So obviously, I need to go and start some shit. I don't know what, but I've been yammering about epicness lately, and then nothing epic really happened, so that means if some epic shit's going to go down, then it's up to me, right? Right.

Okay. I feel better now.



Anonymous said...

ouch. try not to let the suited ones get you down... they're the drones.

life is improvisational dance - and maybe you just need new music, change in routine or some such thing to help you figure out what's next.

i still plan to go to bartending school within a few years... because i always wanted to be a bartender.

M. said...



So like not too long ago I started having little tiny angst attacks

And then it hit me -like, in the face. I had never really had to strive for anything. My family had always been wonderful my childhood was amazing, no traumas...So I thought, I don't know what it's like to succeed, because I've never had to really challenge myself.

So I started to challenge myself. College was haaaaaaaaaaaaard. But I fucking MADE it. And now, every day is hard. Growing up is hard. Being an adult is hard. It's all HARD. So every day that I strive to do the best I can at whatever the hell I'm doing I know...i KNOW...that I deserve the best I got, I deserve the best I have, because I gave it my best.

It sounds to me like you just need..


A Free Man said...

OK, let's first remember that waiting tables sucks. Sucks nasty clap infested balls. Seriously. If I never have to 'serve' a customer again it will be too soon. Your job sucks, it could suck worse. I always felt bad for the female waitresses, they got the drunk pervs attention.

I don't know that you need to 'do' in order to write. I do know that you need to write in order to write. And you've got something special going on - a gift with dialogue - so fucking write.

la isla d'lisa said...

right on, mae december ... right on.

Ginny said...

Firstof all, I fucking love your sausage. If I could eat only one breakfast food forever, it would be your sausage.

Secondly, I agree with those before me: you sound like you need a great big 'ol challenge. With big 'ol consequences. And big 'ol possibility of reward.

Plus, and this makes me feel old and patronizing but fucking whatever, you're at a weird age. For me, it was where expectations that I thought were mine turned out to be everyone else's. And I thought for sure I'd feel grown up by then, and I SO didn't and I was just terrified most of the time.

It got better for me. Bet it will for you, too.

Anonymous said...

What a perfect rant. Stert. Some. SHIT . . .

Logical Libby said...

Ordinary people don't notice the ordinary. Just know that.

rien magazine said...

I've been working at a job/jobs I don't care about for over 20 years. The secret is I don't care about them. The job helps me eat. The stuff I do after the job is my life. That's when I write, I have a life, and the important stuff happens between 5 PM and 7 am the next morning. There's peace in not caring about what happens at work. I've been fine. I am not my job.

The Ambiguous Blob said...

You know what pisses me off? It's when people who are obviously very fucking cool underestimate themselves. Like you. You know something? You can do what you want, when you want, and how you want.
You just have to figure out WHAT the fuck you want.
And then go go go and get it.
All those people who seem to have ambition and success? They're probably not as cool as you but they believe in themselves. They made a choice to have confidence and courage and to reach their goals. You don't love your situation? Make a new path. Jump in with both feet. Don't look down.

Anonymous said...

More travelling babe. Come on down under to the land of oz

Sid said...

Jesus Rassles ... Are you reading my diary?
"How could I expect to write anything with a plot when my life lacks one?"
"The only tangible goal I have in my life is to someday make enough money to live in a place with a yard so I can have a dog."
I'm thinking of selling my eggs in order to afford my own house, because lets face it I'm not making any use of it.

Chris said...

Glad you feel better. Sometimes you just have to wallow it in, you know? Remembering to get up is the important part.

Oh, and Ginny is right. It gets better. And learning to be more business-y is probably not the answer, though it's a good skill set to have when something more like you comes along.

You kick ass. Try not to forget it.

Laura said...

OK, I've been reading you for a while but felt that now would be the ideal time to comment, because I'd just like to say yes, yes, yes, ditto, yes, and YOU'RE AWESOME. Seriously.

~Mountain Lover~ said...

This could have been written about my life. Just sayin'.

Rassles said...

Thanks for all the words guys...but hey, I'm allowed to get bummed sometimes, aren't I? I'm allowed to feel worthless. Hate myself just a little. Otherwise, how will I recognize when it's over, when shits good? I need something to compare it to.

Meagan said...

Why buy into the idea that you have to have a "professional" type job? It's not for everyone, and in fact, I've met very few cubical dwellers who honestly want to be there. If you're good at it, if you can close your eyes and fuck the money machine, that's one thing, but if you hate it AND you don't think you're good at it? You don't have to do it.

My parents both are or were bartenders. Mom doesn't like it, because she really doesn't like people much, but dad loved it and thrived right up until he got sick of it in his late 40s, at which point he changed to real estate, and now he loves that instead. (Yes, even though the market sucks.) If you are good at it, find the right gig, and learn that tip cash needs to be saved, you can make enough bartending for a house with a yard.

My mom really pushed me to go to college (which I'm glad of) because she wanted domething "better" for me. She wanted me to find a secure job in a soul sucking office. It always made/makes me a little sad that she thinks that's better than what she does. The concept that you must have ambition to rise on the corporate latter in order to be a better or happier person is total cock shit. You may or may not be able to find a job you love. It is completely possible however to find a job that doesn't make you miserable. You don't have to do what people think you should do. Your job should NOT be the thing in life that defines you. If you want to be a bartender, be a damn bartender.

Thanatos said...

I liked being the promising fuck-up instead of the disappointing success.

Great great piece of writing. Feel better Rasso!

Le Meems said...

Dear Rassles,

Read Mae December's post reeeeaaaaal slowly. s l o w l y


As in you are a very special person. With special gifts. And that is in contrast to many sheep who populate this world.

Can you imagine my self-doubts when I stood up and said "I know. I'll just quit my job and work for myself, getting paid to drink. Cuz I'm good at it"

Next on my list is to open an underground art gallery and wine salon. Huh. How's my mother gonna swallow that one down, eh?

What i'm saying and everyone else here is saying is WRITE GODDAMN IT.

Quit the day job. Downsize life for a bit. Get something to pay the bills that accomodates your writing job.

Get it?

Gypsy said...

The very last adjectives I'd ever use to describe you are insignificant and mundane. You are, to me, boisterous and so damn clever and winning and open and true. I hope that you find your way to being who you want to be. I hope we all do.

Also, have you considered teaching? I just know that, thinking about it, someone like you would probably have been my favorite teacher.

Erin said...

Travel and service are my surest ways out of a rut. That, and time. Ginny's right. When I was 28 I was way more worried about being "disappointing" than I am now. I'm only 2 years older. But things have changed.

Have you thought about freelancing, trying just one story for a local magazine or something? You find such interesting people and describe them so well. I wasn't exaggerating about you Studs Terkeling your way around town. Like your guy in N.O. whose dad sold his skates. He was awesome. Most really good writing isn't autobiographical. It's about stuff the writer sees in others.

You see it. Lots of people don't.

Gwen said...

Truthfully, I think you're extraordinary. Everyone's life is mundane, unless maybe you're filthy rich or famous. I think you lead a pretty, cool interesting life. Try being me for a day - you'd probably kill yourself.

Mrs. Booms said...

I'm an office manager. I prefer to think that sticky handed monkeys could do my job.

Kids couldn't. They are all whiny. Whereas monkeys? Just fucking rock at being all things monkey.

Oh and photocopying their butts, I know because I saw it earlier today. Even if it was a drawing on the side of the coffee cup.

Which reminds me, remember the Dennis the menace Dairy Queen cups when we were kids?

Those were righteous.

renalfailure said...

I think I need to go out to Chicago and meet you to see if you're my long lost twin, because you've written out the panic attack I get every week or two.

Rassles said...

Daisy: Your comment is first, so it hit me the most. Just so's you knows. Honestly, I agree with you...I do. I just almost don't want to, because that would mean that you are voicing my thoughts, and I'm way too stubborn and stupid to let someone else do such things. So know that you have a tendency to vocalize exactly how I'm feeling, and if I argue with it, I'm not arguing with you. I'm arguing with myself.

Mae: Exactly. In. The. Face. Challenge, contrast. You nailed that. Exactly.

Freeman: It sucks, but it's immediate, and it's bullshit, but it happens and you react and you don't dwell. You just solve. I like that about it. I was actually really really good at it.

La Isla: She is right on, is she not? And hello.

Ginny: Whatever kind of sausage you decide to cook up, I'm ready and willing to eat the fuck out of it, because you awe me.

Brian: X. Act. Lee.

LL: Thank you. You are neat and succinct. I admire that.

K and E: You get it. Do I need to validate that once more? You get it.

Tabbie: Look at you, being all kick-in-the-ass-inspirationy. I like that about you. You're totally right, though: there are few things worse than wasted potential.

Nurse: If I could afford it, I would do nothing but travel.

Sid: I THOUGHT ABOUT THAT TOO. And then I realized my genes were worthless. You dig it.

Chris: Sometimes venting and ranting is required, and I feel like blog form is essential for it. Ass-kickery aside, thank you.

Laura: Well, thank you. Comment more, if you have a reaction? Do you have a blog? Can I read it? I'm behind on everyone elses blogs right now, but I want to fix that, and if you have one...well then. Thanks again.

Mount: I feel the same way about so many things you write, but so many things you write are so individually applicable to you, it's hard. Because it's so hard to find anything but you within your words. It's nice.

Me: Self-hi-five for total domination.

Meagan: I'm with you on that, in so many ways. So many ways. My parents are also about the whole "college equals options" business, but I feel like college is like a fast-track to self, and then you (meaning I) can't handle it properly because it happens to quickly, and then you spend the next decade getting used to yourself. PS: you should write about that on your blog. Your background and parents. That would be fascinating.

Thanny: Thanks, friend. I'm working on it.

Meems: Dear you,

Yes, I agree. Your ability to shift and take risks blows my mind. It's nearly intimidating, but it's so refreshing simultaneously. I will try to do what I can, and honestly, I'm using your mindset as an inspiration.

Gypsy: Really? Thank you. I tried being a teacher. I did it for a year, went to grad school for education. I really, really, really don't get along with teachers. In fact, I hated working with teachers so much that it ruined the entire concept of teaching. I have nothing but respect and admiration for teachers, some of my best friends are teachers. But I learned quickly that I would make a far better camp counselor than a teacher. Still, I'm honored.

Erin: Unfortunately, travel and service will not pay off my credit card. But you can ask anyone around me that I gripe to on a regular basis: I have another goal than just having a dog. I want to pay off the debt so I can travel. And help. Whatever that means.

Gwen: I am just going to say thank you, and your words mean a drastic lot.

Boomer: See, I knew we were in sync, and like all mind-melded and shit. And I feel like I have one DQ cup with Dennis playing the guitar or something. I will ask the dad. He knows all that shit.

RF: Out of all the weird and fascinating things you write about, that resonates the most. If you visit, we will get all kinds of hammered and commiserate.

Look at me, I'm all sensitive today.

Anonymous said...

Fear is easily the best way to ruin your life.

Ellie said...

1. You are not the opposite of extraordinary.

2. You are not not sharp. (I am actually impressed with your razorblade sharpness ... your writing is wicked and funny and insightful. Your writing wouldn't be if you weren't).

3. I'm a suit (though fortunately in my industry I can dress like a fucking slob / grungie girl. Shout out to Seattle!) and I cry at work too. Usually in the ladies room.

There are a lot of us in different boats, but similar boats all at the same time. xx, e

Erin said...

I mean, like, Saturday/Sunday morning stuff. To a new neighborhood with a weird convenience store. Wherever close. You always find such good material whenever you go outside.

Not Afraid to Use It said...

I like the analogy. Maybe eating sausage while writing helps the writing process? I don't know, but the thought of it makes me hungry.

Rassles said...

Gully: Agreed.

Ellie: Agreed.

Usin' It: Agreed.

formerly fun said...

I come from a family of super positive you can do it people and I have learned you have to let yourself wallow a little now and then. It allows you to acknowledge your worst fears and then move on. Also, Ginny is right, for me at least a good part of my twenties was spent in this odd sort of inertia purgatory with some extreme growing pains trying to figure out where I should be and what I should be doing. I have an idea for you that I wanted to do but then I decided to be a vag waxer....I wanted to go do a shit load of semi-entry level jobs or whatever I could get for a year(like a week or two each) and write about each job and the people--not information,more like making fun, the weird managers or customers or the banality of it all. You and your eye for the funny in the everyday and awesome dialogue should do it. Quit your job and go do a bunch of other jobs, you don't even have to be good at the jobs, just write about it. Okay, if you do it I want the book dedicated to me, cause I'm conceited and I like attention.

Ranting Raconteure said...

this is my favorite post so far.

waiting tables sucks balls. but i know what you mean about feeling better about yourself because you know you aren't going to be a lifer.