This has been a confusing year. I struggle to write, I’m afraid of what will come out. I am angry. Very angry. I try to push aside the reasons why I’m angry, but some days they hit me all at once while I’m taking a shower and of course that’s fucking useless. It’s hard to get myself to sit down and let this all out because it’s not a pleasant feeling. Sitting here, at my computer slamming on the keys so loudly I might wake Kaker up from a sound sleep. But here we are, so let’s see if I have the balls to post this.
I went to a great school for writing. I don’t think going to Boston University necessarily made me a better writer. I think I learned useful tools and I became a lot more savvy in formatting and ‘tricks of the trade.’ I learned how to create a polished script. I met people who will probably be successful someday because they went to Boston University. But no, my education did not make me a better writer and I’m not sure if that’s even what I was expecting in the first place.
I was (do people still use italics in this way?) expecting help in my career. WHY ELSE DO YOU GO TO COLLEGE OTHER THAN FOR HELP IN YOUR CAREER? PLEASE ANSWER ME THAT QUESTION WITH ANYTHING LOGICAL OTHER THAN TO RAGE YOUR FACE OFF.
The main reason why I ultimately chose Boston University was because of the LA Internship program. In a sick and twisted turn of events I can honestly say that internship program was one of the most hellish experiences of my entire life. That’s not entirely BU’s fault, it was a combination of things (eating disorder, long distance relationship, being broke as shit, eating disorder.) Let’s talk more about BU for a second though.
Boston University sells you on the idea that they will hook you up with your first internship. They will give you the proverbial “foot in the door.” They sell you on the 500+ LinkedIn connections the internship program coordinator has developed across the industry. What they don’t tell you is that at the end of the day your internship quality depends entirely on the bias of that program coordinator (and that she is insufferable and unhelpful.)
I told her my interests (horror films, death, and violence) and she gave me the names of 3 people who I had to reach out to personally and set interviews up with. I guess you pay for this ludicrously expensive program on the hopes that she hooks you up with a solid email address? I didn’t get anyone solid. The one interview I set up from her ~contacts~ sent me to a small apartment in mid-city with three middle-aged men and a small yappy blind dog named Tiberius. They called themselves a production company, I call them four weirdos who were too delusional to get a real job. The only upward mobility at that place was into one of their beds as their night time companion. I don’t even mean that in a sexual way, I mean in the “let’s stare at the glow-in-the-dark stars on the ceiling and talk about hypothetical philosophical scenarios” way.
For the BULA program I had to “take initiative” (entertainment folk are big on taking initiative which really means doing someone else’s job for them) and go find my own internship. I found mine by browsing Entertainment Careers (the equivalent of entertainment Craigslist.) The only reason I chose to intern on The Jeff Probst Show was because they hired off the phone and it was with CBS distribution and at least I’d heard of CBS before. Everyone had, Jesus.
I don’t really want to talk about either of my internships other than to say they were utterly useless and demoralizing. (Has the highlight of your day ever been walking onto the empty set of Judge Judy to avoid being yelled at by an angry cab driver you refused to give your cell phone number to?) My night classes with Boston University were no better… At one point my “professor” (a washed up entertainment lawyer) gave us a breakdown of how much money we should expect to make our first year out of college and how far that income would take us in LA. He literally drew out a pie chart of all of our expenses. This wonderful chart showed us that we would barely make enough to live on. And that was IF ANY ONLY IF we were lucky enough to get our dream job as a Production Assistant. For reference, the average PA makes $15 per hour which is roughly $30,000 per year. For more reference, the cheaper end of rent in a safe part of Los Angeles is $1,000 per month… Meaning over a third of your income is devoted solely to making sure you’re not homeless. Again, that’s if you are #blessed with such a sacred opportunity.
Fuck. At the time I thought this was all worth it because I loved writing so much and it was the only thing I REALLY knew how to do. Since I was a little girl (who looked like a boy) writing stories of my cat taking a dump so large his litterbox couldn’t contain it. Since my second grade teacher praised my mediocre story about a penguin following a trail of pizzas to a cave of jewels. Since my sixth grade teacher gave me my only A+ ever and told me that he wanted a signed copy of my book when I was a famous writer someday. Failure wasn’t an option because so many people expected me to succeed. Failure was never an option.
Until it was. I felt myself failing, I felt myself accepting that I was failing. Since I officially gave up on writing as my career I have not shared a single new piece of writing with anyone. That was on June 1st of 2017. Since that day I’ve tried to reconcile who the fuck I really am behind all of this anger and pain.
Can I still be a writer even though this town has essentially told me, no? Do I even like to write anymore? Am I even a good writer? Was I ever a good writer? Am I just a simple white girl from Minnesota with made up problems and excessive angst?
The only thing I knew for sure this year was that I am an athlete. I could not prove anything else. I embraced the one part of my identity that was clear and obvious to me. I slowly chipped away at the parts of myself that detracted from being an athlete. I quit drinking, I ran screaming from all things entertainment, and I embraced those who accepted this new version of myself. The brooding and pseudo-artistic part of me took a backseat, only escaping for brief moments of “what the fuck?” My frustration turned slowly but surely into unbridled anger. All negative emotions were recycled into a giant heaping blob of Anger.
Kaker lovingly calls me an angry bitch. My male teammates tell me I play best when I’m angry. My coaches are begging me to channel my anger. You’d think at this point I would constantly be foaming at the mouth. Unfortunately I am a complicated woman and my brain often does the opposite of what I’d like it to do. But I’m sick of suffering from my own mentality. I’m sick of being victim of my own insecurity.
I’m sure as hell done being a victim of other people’s insecurities.
I have nothing to lose anymore. I’ll never be someone’s assistant again. I’ll never serve as another woman’s emotional punching bag. I’ll never be that resume that someone looks at and thinks “I’ll hire this girl because at least I know she won’t quit after putting up with my bullshit.” I’ll never comprehend why any of those women thought it was ok to treat another human being the way they treated me and every assistant they had before or after me. You call yourselves feminists but I call you imposters.
I wake up on Saturday morning for my tackle football practice and I think of these women. I think of the 10 dollars per hour I killed myself over, I think of the walls of iMessage I would receive at 2:00 am on a Saturday, I think of the lies and deception I witnessed firsthand but stayed silent for. I feel myself growing angrier and angrier.
When I line up across from a girl in a tackling drill, I think about my first boss in Los Angeles. The one who started it all. I visualize her name, I repeat it over and over again in my head. I can feel it stuck to my tongue like spoiled milk. I think of how many times I had to clean up pee soaked potty pads from the floor of her apartment, how many plates of disgusting microwaved dog food I had to concoct and make palatable for two dogs with a higher net worth than me, how many useless tasks I was assigned on half-baked ideas that would never amount to anything. It’s hard not to want to beat the shit out of someone.
The problem with my anger is that sometimes it gets stuck and forms into a funnel cloud in my brain. That funnel cloud grows more and more ominous each time I fuck up. After enough frustration and failure I’ve got a full on tornado swirling around in my brain. The tornado that screams
“What’s wrong with you?”
“Why are you so stupid?”
“Why can’t you figure this out?”
“What the fuck is your problem?”
The easiest person to be angry with is yourself. I find myself randomly frustrated that I chose to go to school for film, I find myself randomly frustrated that I drank myself stupid most weekends since I got to college, I find myself randomly frustrated that I allowed employers to treat me the way they did for so many years. What do I do with this anger? How do I move past my own transgressions when the laundry list seems to grow by the day? How the fuck do I turn around the goddamn funnel cloud?
If you are similarly struggling with these questions, I encourage you to stop living in the past. Stop fixating on the things you did wrong and focus on the things you’ve done right. Realize now that you are on the top of a mountain, you are looking over the destruction. It’s easy to get stuck in the chaos and never pull yourself out, but you have done that. Being angry at your former self does not help your future self. Anger is not the opposite of happiness, but you still cannot let the anger consume you.
I have a hard time admitting that I’m proud of myself because I still feel like I haven’t done enough. I don’t feel like I can truly be proud until I have accomplished the things I set out to accomplish. I am happy that I am moving in the right direction but I’m not done. I’m not ready to sit back and accept this. I have grown stronger from the bullshit of the last 5 years, even the self inflicted bullshit. All of the bullshit was worth it to feel like I have purpose and a future.
Writing this didn’t feel great, but it’s a start. My instinct is to make sure this never sees the light of day, but who knows. Maybe someone else can benefit from reading this, or maybe someone who was wondering how I am doing behind the social media facade will feel enlightened. If you didn’t feel like reading every word- the summary here is:
- I’m angry
- I’m going to write again
- I’m scared