Smash the Control Machine

The kingdom of fear needs compliance to succeed.


Honey wants me to write more, but I wasn’t planning on writing a blog but they have become pretty infrequent with the incessant job hunt and apartment hunt and don’t-let-me-be-a-hot-hot-mess hunt.

I interviewed for the job of a lifetime. Well, internship of a lifetime. It was everything that I wanted for an internship and more. But guess what? Internship has become synonymous with we’re going to work you like a slave and pay you in dirt but we call it “experience” so you don’t realize this should be illegal. I was expected to work 9-5, Monday through Friday, all the way out of town for a stipend that turned into $3/hr, which wouldn’t even cover transportation. I wouldn’t even mind, if I could manage it with another job to compensate for the loss of money, but so much time for very, very, very impractical outcomes. (I also wrote a sample piece about art and its history of white, cis, male-washing. Since I haven’t heard back from them, I’ll just assume it was ill-received.)

So then I had an existential crisis. I am the Great, the Magnificent, the So Terrifyingly Powerful That It’s Sexy. Everyone, growing up, had great expectations for me. Fuck cartoons and TV dramas, I watched National Geographic religiously. I was going to write the next great American novel and build rocket ships in my spare time. I was going to rescue refugees and stop war criminals and take down the imperalist white supremacist sexist American war machine single-handed. I’ve conducted intensive research in Japanese and studied interviews with French-speaking Congolese. I’m an experienced project manager with a degree from one of those universities. I’m a straight-A student when I’m not rebelling against the oppressive system that values stroking professor egos and pointless attendance over comprehensive grasp of material and ideas. So why can’t I find a company that will pay me? Why isn’t my labor worth a damn thing to anybody?

After crying a lot and removing my lip ring, I decided to rid myself of people’s expectations. Rid myself of my expectations. I’m supposed to be perfect. I want to be perfect. But I had to reevaluate my priorities, my expectations, my tenacity, my impression of myself. I’m not the same hard-ass, angry teenager who wanted to see how far she could go while simultaneously pissing off authority. I’m not the same person who opposes just to oppose (aside from comic relief). I have principles. I won’t compromise my integrity. Companies like that kind of person, right? (Apparently, wrong.)

And I don’t need a million people around the world coddling me to get somewhere–I know who my base is. I came into being unperfect. I came into not always having my friends around and receiving their attention. I came into watching people fall away. I came into being okay with loneliness.

I’m magically happier since my identity crisis. I ate 375g of chicken nuggets today and some teenager told me to have a nice day (apparently not all teenagers are nightmares???). I’m more affirmed in my career and academic goals. I saw a bunch of people stand up for Ahmed Mohamed and actually acknowledge antiblackness and Islamophobia. My hair smells nice.

Sometimes, it’s hard being black, and a woman, and poor, and a recent graduate, and a history scholar, and relatively short, and mildly allergic to grass. But I’m not letting America/nature/white supremacy/the patriarchy/the rich and privileged/techies/tall people get me that easily.

/buys another box of chicken nuggets because I still have ranch dressing left/

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