It was one of those days. Okay not really. I actually got out the door on time and the house wasn’t a complete mess and I wasn’t late to work.
But it became one of those days.
I got home and had some time to myself. I decided to read and drink some coffee (Eggnog + Black Coffee. Try it. You’re welcome). But then I got sleepy so I curled up. Then the coffee kicked in and I was like DANGIT. But I think it was more than coffee keeping me awake. It’s what someone said to me at work today, something that got under my skin line a splinter and made me increasingly irritated all day until I was just ready to snap.
For those of you who don’t know (because most of the time I hide this with the same kind of secrecy with which you guard a disgusting sexual fetish) I’ll remind you. As of right now, I’m an Intern at City Hall.
Yep. I literally have April Ludgate’s job.
I’m a twenty-six year old intern. My last job was what one might call a “real job”. Salary and benefits and all that. But it was kinda like
So, after I
had a mental breakdown and sobbed in the lobby at work to the point where my therapist was calling me telling me to WALK AWAY, KATIE, WHAT IS WRONG WITH YOU quit with a staggering amount of maturity, I needed to find something else. Something that would pay the bills and buy food and health insurance and all these weird adult-y responsibilities that just showed up one day like HEY NOW YOU HAVE US DEAL WITH IT.
But I also wanted to be able to write. Writing is something that breathes life into me and makes me feel strong and capable and dammit I’m actually not half-bad at it. And after spending too much time trying to be good at things I wasn’t made for (wazzup, every childhood hobby that requires a ball), it feels really, really good.
I had to find a balance. I’ve heard of/known artists who were living off of other people whilst they wistfully stare out of a window, eat Chef Boyardee out of the can, and convince themselves that they can’t do anything because art.
There’s a middle-ground, here, and that’s where I’m at. I’m working at a job with lovely hours and fair pay and a kickass commute and yes my boss is very type A and yes I have doubted my competency and ability to make a photocopy and yes I watch The Office and feel so much like Pam that I want to cry.
But it’s a means to an end, and I have to believe that.
So flash to today, where I spent the entire day painstakingly printing letters and putting labels on envelopes. I was showing some of the other workers how to fold the letter into the envelope, and okay – I was having a little trouble
BECAUSE IT WAS TRIFOLD AND CONFUSING AND WHAT DO I LOOK LIKE AN ORAGAMI ARTIST OR SOMETHING
(didn’t think I’d do a blog post w/o a Supernatural GIF, did you?)
but then, one of the workers, bless him, watched me struggle and joked to the other worker:
“Dude. She has two Masters degrees and can’t fold paper.”
YES HE SAID THAT
He was kidding. He was kidding and it’s my own damn fault cause I joked like that once and he heard me and thought it was hilarious so now he says it all the time.
When I get chastised by the boss for a stupid mistake on a memo —
Don’t you have two Masters degrees?
When I am fighting with the stupid printer —
Don’t you have two Masters degrees?
My hands shook as I looked down, and I fought the urge to cry and laugh at the same time. Yes. Two Masters degrees (well — 1 7/8 but who’s counting) and I’m folding paper and putting it in to envelopes and sometimes spending the entire day feeling like a moron. There are days when I go home and kind of forget that I’m capable of doing anything because I didn’t understand an Excel formula.
And this is all so raw, considering it’s Christmas season, AKA the season where you get letters like HEY WE’RE DOING SO GREAT HEY WHAT ARE YOU DOING WHAT HAVE YOU ACCOMPLISHED THIS YEAR and I want to be like
I’M WORKING ON IT STAY TUNED.
Maybe I would’ve laughed what this kid said last week. Maybe I would have made a yeah don’t I suck face, but not this week. This week, I was bolstered. Jill, Hilary, Amanda and I had book club at Duke’s in Malibu on Monday. Jill, being Jill, asked us all to think of a word for this year. I have quite a few, I think. It was hard to narrow it down. We went around and talked about how we’re all fighting for our dreams and its effing hard because no one ever told you that becoming who you want to be would look a lot like failing over and over and it feels like everyone is watching you struggle.
But later that night, Jill texted our group:
“The word of this year is ‘try’.”
And I almost wanted to cry. It’s try. I’m trying. We’re trying. I’m going to be a writer because there is literally nothing else I could be.
And then my girl Brittany sent me an excerpt from a book about trying. About how sometimes, you just need to pray through shaky breath and whisper —
I’m going after this with everything I have, Jesus. Please just cover me.
That’s exactly it.
And this week, it’s paid off. I’ve finally put my book, A Haunt for Jackals, out in the world, and things are already happening. I made the top 50 out of over 400 entries in the PitchMAS blog, where I got six requests. I submitted it to an editor who had requested and queried a couple agents. I’m back at that lovely/scary place where every email could be life-changing. It’s got me like
I’m a twenty-six year-old intern with two Master’s degrees (okay, 1 7/8) and I’m trying.
So I looked up at the two guys and said “hell yeah I have two Master’s degrees, which is why I’m folding this paper like a badass.”
Which, okay, made them laugh harder.
I wish this story was completely triumphant, but I’ll be honest — I spent the rest of the day in a slow decline.
wtf am i doing with my life
yes i can call these people to confirm the mailing address
yes i can reprint those
and by the end of the day I felt like crap. I felt stupid, and I felt like a failure.
But I need to remember that I’m blessed to have a job that, sure, looks a lot like failing and, sure, isn’t what I expected I’d be doing.
I am a twenty-six year-old intern, and I have a job that lets me go home, put on my comfy pants,
I can’t say that in my Christmas card, but I want to. And maybe I should.
And everyone else with their snide little comments can just be like