novice Buddhist, expert neurotic. writer. aspiring adult.
sophcw at gmail dot com
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I haven’t been writing much on here recently. I’m in Australia. It’s a “vacation” but it’s hard to not feel guilty for relaxing when I don’t have a “real job” at home to go back to. Every second I’m not working towards the obscure goal of “creative success” or at least of making enough money to live feels like a waste of time. But I am really enjoying myself, and I’m not really looking forward to being back inside the icy claws of New York. It’s been very up and down for the last few weeks. Some days I feel like I’m on the verge freedom from worry, and other times I am weighted with total certainty of failure.
I went to a wedding yesterday. It wasn’t as warm as we thought it’d be. There’s still a lot of salt in my hair. I haven’t swam in the ocean yet.
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I found you on the sidewalk outside my old loft. You were chipped, but otherwise looked alright. I carried you inside with a bunch of other kitchen supplies. We used you for almost a year and you served us well - you were the only bowl we had that was the right size for microwaving. We imagined what your life was before we found you and wondered why someone would discard you so easily.
Two days ago our kitchen was a giant mess and while moving some pots my roommate dropped you on the ground and broke you. Now we only have some ugly brown and white ceramic bowls from Salvation Army which are too shallow to use for much, and one larger glass bowl that’s a little too big to eat out of without feeling stupid. But it’s all we have, so until we get ourselves back to a thrift store, it will have to do. You will be missed.
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If you’re automatically sure that you know what reality is and who and what is really important — if you want to operate on your default setting — then you, like me, will probably not consider possibilities that aren’t pointless and annoying. But if you’ve really learned how to think, how to pay attention, then you will know you have other options. It will actually be within your power to consider a crowded, hot, slow, consumer-hell-type situation as not only meaningful, but sacred, on fire with the same force that lit the stars — compassion, love, the subsurface unity of all things. Not that that mystical stuff is necessarily true: The only thing that’s capital-T True is that you get to decide how you’re going to try to see it. This, I submit, is the freedom of real education, of learning how to be well-adjusted: You get to consciously decide what has meaning and what doesn’t.
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I have never felt less of my already fairly lacking Christmas spirit than over the last few days working at a jewelry booth the Union Square holiday market. Aside from being generally freezing, miserable and so crowded in with my coworkers that it’s impossible for us to not notice every one of each others annoying habits, it’s strange and sad to see the way many people approach gift giving. It makes me want to never buy another Christmas present. The way our sales ramp up and reach a fever pitch near the end of the day, as people grow desperate for gifts they need NOW, for that party in a few hours or before they catch their flight to wherever. People see something that looks decent enough and think “thank god,” pay up whatever they have to and get out of there. Or people talk us through their apathy towards the people they’re buying for (“Do you know what your sister likes?” “I really don’t.”). And then there’s the blandness of most people’s shopping choices, how, despite the customizable-ness of the place I work, I see people make the same necklaces over and over again all day, choosing whatever they can find that is the least offensive and most broadly likeable. It doesn’t make me feel too warm and fuzzy about human nature, watching this all day. But, on the other hand, I do get to interact with many different kinds of people all day, and most of them are surprisingly nice and thankful for me charging them way too much money for some metal stuck together. Many of them express sympathy for our (outdoor) working conditions. Some of them I even manage to feel a real connection with in the brief time they’re there. I just wish that instead of having a holiday whose basic purpose is to fan the fires of our slowly dying capitalist system by extorting all of us to buy something for everyone we know or be ashamed of ourselves, I wish we could just make it clear to those around us that they really are meaningful to us. Maybe we could do something nice with them, write them a letter or call them. Maybe we could participate in something together that has nothing to do with consuming or possessing, but just celebrating the indescribable, intangible, miraculous things that we can create together in the preciously short time we are given to have this unique experience of being human.
The Unexpected Benefits of Your Unfortunate Monday Hang Over!!!
- You look GREAT in your make up from last night that you didn’t have time to take off before work!
- Your Uniqlo heatwhatever shirt you have to wear for your equally unfortunate outdoor winter job has never felt so good!
- Sleeping on the subway has never felt so good!
- Your microwaveable organic cheese lasagna has never tasted so good!
- You don’t have to spend money on food since you can’t keep it down anyway!
- You don’t have to spend money on coffee because your stomach is too upset to drink it!
- You definitely won’t have to spend money on anything tonight because you’re going to fall asleep at about 9:30 pm!
- You seem like you might be sick so your coworkers will be nice to you!
- You get to discover all the funny things you did online last night that you don’t remember!
- This will serve as inspiration for your plan to take a much needed break from drinking which you may or may not follow through on!
- Tomorrow you’ll wake up feeling refreshed and renewed and ready to go out and get wasted again!
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this week has been a total shitshow but at least i made these cool earrings
(i got a job at a jewelry store in wburg, i start next week)
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Today: fought way too much about Kanye on the internet, lost two Tumblr followers, gained one, ate a grilled cheese sandwich, found out I have to work a rave tonight.
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If I work at a job that I find morally reprehensible but makes me good money, then I’m doing well and a good citizen and fulfilling my obligation to society. Maybe someday I’ll make enough to give some money to a non-profit that’s doing good work to address all these problems we keep creating.
If I quit that job and try to do things that are at worst only somewhat morally questionable, or even that I actually think are good for the world, and I don’t make much money and require any kind of assistance if I have that option, whether it’s from parents, relatives, friends or the government, then I’m lazy, selfish, ungrateful, a “hipster,” a self-obsessed millenial, taking what doesn’t belong to me, a “rich kid,” over-privileged and full of hubris. I’m not the right kind of poor person. I should just get over it and grow up. I’ll understand when I’m older and have succumbed to the desire to be “comfortable” and stable. When I have some money of my own to protect and soothe my moral turmoil.
Which of these options leads to a system like this continuing to exist indefinitely?
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