You should work a thankless job, because the right job will never be thankless. No good act goes unnoticed. You should answer phones and transfer calls and relay messages and filter emails and play third party to everyone else’s conversations You should do the most basic tasks, and rip paper when the shredder breaks and take everyone’s coffee order. You should call cars and flag down cabs and work Saturdays and Sundays and late nights. You should work a job where the chance to grow is great and the chance to learn is even better, but where advancement is rare and hard won. Nothing is thankless. There is always reason, and everything is important, otherwise everything will fall through the cracks.
Answer phones better than anyone else has answered phones before. Relay messages so brilliant, they bring people to tears. Turn the coffee run into the choreography of Swan Lake. Become best friends with the taxi drivers you encounter. Be memorable. Be the best. Become irreplaceable. Give every little pointless task weight, and give it importance, and give it your all.
You should work a pointless job, because nothing is pointless. You should work a meaningless job, because everything has meaning. You should work a mundane job, because if you are where you need to be and if you are chasing the dreams you believe in, nothing is mundane and nothing is boring and everything is interesting and everything is endurable. If you do what you believe in, you can withstand any monotony. If you aren’t fully committed, if you’re not in it for the long haul, if you don’t believe in your cause, you won’t last long anywhere.
You should work a job that pays enough to get by, but doesn’t make things too comfortable. You should have to fight for what you want, and choose between necessity and luxury, because chances are good you’ll either sacrifice the creature comforts or you’ll sacrifice your ideals. We are the generation that was groomed to expect good jobs and rent controlled apartments when we graduated college and moved to the big city to follow our dreams, and we decided to throw tantrums when everything we were promised fell through. And it is because of the collective hipster tantrum that the rest of the world thinks we’re lazy and worthless and frozen in a state of arrested development, and it is this image that continues to drag us down.
You should prove them all wrong. You should stand for something, anything, whatever it is that you really believe in. But you should stand for it. And you should refuse to be knocked down.
You should work at a job that seems like something nobody would believe in, a job you have a hard time explaining to your parents, a job that forces you to care about it if you want to return the next day. You should work a job that tests you and tries you and reminds you that life is a struggle, and you should struggle, but you should feel that the struggle is worth it — if it isn’t, why do it at all?
You should work at a job you love. And the job you love is out there, and if you have to try your hand at a thousand shitty jobs until you find the shitty job that doesn’t feel shitty, then work those jobs, and be the best at them even if they don’t fit. And keep dreaming about the right job, and keep trying, and keep believing that it’s out there somewhere.
You’ll find your fit, because good things happen to those who work for them.
And when you find it, it will be easy enough to find the drive to keep going no matter what your boss or your coworkers or clients or life doles out to you. But to get there, you have to work and earn and scramble and try. Until you get there, you just have to give everything else your all, too.
Emphasized certain parts because no matter how bad the “job market” is right now, there is definitely something you can do rather than just complain that you’re not qualified for the “Lead analyst” job posting and mope all day in bed.
This isn’t about the men that hurt on purpose, men that rape, or men that abandon their families. This is about the average Joe, the guy that loved his mama, tries his best and is still mystified by those of us that are female.
The average person over the age of 13 can no longer proudly stand by all the opinions they expressed 12 years ago. In time, a person simply decides that dirt no longer tastes good. Later, one regrets the pants they wore in middle school or, further into life, feels some shame when recalling the thing they said in anger to their spouse.
Remember when gamers hated on Nintendo because “OMG all u maek is kiddy games u dont make mature gaems with blood and sex like sony and xbox!”?
As a disclaimer, I’m sure this post will spark some thoughts or controversy of your own but, please respect the space and feelings and opinions I hold. That is all I ask of you. :)
Within the past two or so years, I’ve been becoming quite the feminist. Though, I am very reluctant to admit so because the word ‘feminism’ itself tends to be associated with thoughts of crazed women or rebellion; but, it would be shameful of me to ignore the good these so-called ‘feminist ancestors’ of mine have done to allow me the freedom to enjoy the rights I have today. I don’t advocate or go against any such behavior, but, I do advocate for the goodness of all hearts. I’ve always been an open and sympathetic person and, as women in history have come such a far way, acknowledging what they have done can make you feel grateful for where we as women stand today.
I think I first started to get interested in all this feminism stuff as I grew older and went to college. Of course, with age and as a woman who has experienced numerous events of men trying to make advances or take advantage of my womanly assets, I grew sensitive to it. I started to feel uncomfortable. Luckily, I’ve grown up with good role models enough to allow me to come to terms with my own morals, values and beliefs—to embrace the limits I felt true to me (about knowing and standing my own ground).
The moment that sticks out to me that first inspired my interest into accepting the seemingly most degrading line of work women may involve themselves in, is when I stumbled on an article I saw on Yahoo’s frontpage entitled, “Porn Stars Without Makeup: Before and After Pictures by Melissa Murphy.” I couldn’t get over how real and sometimes beautiful these women looked, naturally. These photos humanized them. Behind society’s assumptions of those involved in that industry, I found, can lie entirely strong and empowering women (of course, when you find the right ones). I’ve held my own assumptions about porn for many years, though, it was at this time that the women who willingly involved themselves in that industry interested me even more than porn itself.
As sexuality and intimacy is one of the most blessed and beautiful acts that is natural to our bodies to express love to a partner, the porn industry seems scary. It seems to make this entire private act into something doggedly intrusive and mortifying. But, reading and watching interviews from stars who share their thoughts on this industry—from how they got involved in their line of work to expressing the politics behind it—I’ve found that there are totally respectable women in this industry. Veteran performers like Samantha Ryan and Stoya have actively participated in interviews and other social medium to convey thoughts on women and workers’ rights in the industry.
In a 2012 video-series with Julie Meadows called Porn Star Vignettes, a series of interviews aimed at humanizing workers involved in the industry, star Samantha Ryan, who entered the industry at the age of 26, reveals that she had the chance to figure herself out before going into the industry. She expresses, ”Give yourself a chance to figure yourself out and, if this is what you want then fine! … For me, I had the chance to go through those years, to struggle, to try and figure myself out.” Earlier in the interview, she said, “You know, when I worked as an engineer, I had bosses that were complete idiots and never knew the value of my work because they didn’t understand the work that I was doing.” She smiled, continuing, “So, it didn’t matter I was Valedictorian and had straight A’s in my school and I was the only girl in my class and kicked all the boys a*ses and wrote the final for the last class.”She mentions, “They all went out and got 100k+ jobs and all my teachers thought I was gonna do well and I couldn’t find a job to save my life.”
Finding women as level-headed as Samantha Ryan in the industry is very rare to find. With a good mind for grass-root politics, she openly expresses,
"I honestly feel [this industry] should be 21 and over. We all think when we’re 18, 19, 20 that we know everything. And, again, it’s why I’m so good at understanding and seeing things in other people because I’ve been every single one of those things. I was that naive person, I was that person at 18, 19 that thought I knew everything. I was that jealous person, I was that insecure person, so I recognize all of those qualities in other people and see, you know, realities for what they really are.” [Source]
Perhaps experiencing some of the negative ramifications in the industry herself, she mentions, “I made up this song because there’s a mainstream producer that wants to f*ck me, so I’ll do a role for him. And I won’t do it.” Choking up throughout her piano-playing, she adds, “You know, all my songs are just about my life and the fact that I haven’t been a really hard worker and really smart, and, I just haven’t gotten a break.” She takes a moment to catch her breath. “So, I write about it, and think about it, and hope that maybe that’ll help me make those dreams come true,” tearing up and smiling, as if to hide her embarrassment.
With conviction, she goes on, “[This] is still an industry that you have to navigate. It’s tough and you will deal with not so great people and, you do run into the girls that are doing the drugs because they don’t know how to handle it.” She pauses, “That shouldn’t be how it is. If you’re having to drink alcohol or take Xanax or do this to do a scene, you should not be here.” She stresses more importance on establishing a union, saying, “Teaching the girls [that] there’s nobody protecting them [is important]. The agents see them as fresh meat! They know the industry. They know that the majority of girls are in-and-out in a year. So, what’s gonna be most beneficial to my pocketbook? Getting that girl to do everything that I can in that year. But, in a sense it’s like, well, you’re building up the exact reason why girls only last a year.”
On Stoya’s article on VICE.com entitled, “So You Want to Perform in Porn,” she also forewarns those interested in porn, writing, ”Decide whether the chance to have sex with that one particular performer or have that professionally videotaped gang bang is worth the potential that every single person you know now or ever will know in the future will see it. Your parents will find out. Your employers will find out. Your friends, acquaintances, and the people you have romantic relationships with will find out.”
A knack for sarcasm and dark humor, she adds:
"Even if porn is just an adventure for you, remember that it is a job. You will frequently be expected to show up on set appropriately groomed and showered before 9 AM with a valid STI test and at least one form of ID. (…) You will need to be able to memorize and deliver at least a couple of lines of this dialogue, preferably in a somewhat convincing manner. (…) For female performers, the ability to confidently run over gravel in ill-fitting platform heels somehow turns into a job skill, as does pretending you aren’t freezing in skimpy outfits or sweltering in five layers of wardrobe." [Source]
Pointing some of the negativities to themselves, what struck me most about these two women was how intelligent and aware of their professions they are. Apart from their Hollywood camera-ready looks, they have hearts-of-gold who openly express their rights as a woman worker and are aware of the line of work they involve themselves in—talking about young girls needing to educate themselves, know their rights as talent, and be aware of both the physical and emotionally-taxing toll this job can take on someone.
Before I get too deep into defending and legitimizing porn workers’ line of work, I want to backtrack to that idea of feminism. Although work such as this seems extremely degrading, what is degrading is how you use and view their line of work.
In the attempt to normalize and humanize notions of sex work and to produce the same effect without showing any ‘indecencies,’ a friend of mine introduced me to this project called Hysterical Literature. At first a bit uncomfortable watching porn stars be pleased up until their climax, I admit I was a bit intrigued. I had respect for this project. Not only were these women reading passages from novels of their choice, they are living representations of women involved in sex work who embrace their femininity, but also feel strongly about it so as to empower women. So much that embracing that women still have the power to enchant a man and hold his attention, enrapture him with whatever spellbounding abilities we hold, just to express our own stance and hold ourselves up as women of our own, without even showing any of our junk…
I think I’ve always looked up to women who work in any line of entertainment because, not only do they inspire my own creative and artistic work, they also have intriguing personalities and good hearts who are aware of their own appeal, but use it to their own good. That attention and attraction can be used to inspire good in others—of life and the world’s suffering, to share in that suffering, to offer hope and help, and to advocate and make aware of world issues to increase our worldly compassion. Projects like these help to diminish negative views on women’s work, while also humanizing them and voicing the good they can stand for. It’s a woman’s innate nature to love and nurture. Rather than comply, we ought to speak up.
It’s too easy to put-down what we see as discriminatory or degrading in our society that we too easily neglect to focus on what we can do with that power to prove a point. Whether it involves issues of racism, stereotyping, or genderizing, the idea of being a ‘minority’ or ‘lesser-thought-of-person’ allows us the ability to surprise. Have you not realized that when a woman speaks up to a room full of men, she tends to turn heads as men turn their interest to the woman at hand, seeing if she can prove herself? How about when a lesser-known ethnic race enters a room full of majority-white people? We as a people are naturally interested in what is different to us.
That ought to be the way we behave towards other things, I feel. To use our ‘minority’ clutch to say something greater than ourselves.
Getting their attention is the first step. The next is in holding it.
To close, I will add this statement Stoya asked her followers on twitter, in response to, “What’s interesting about following porn stars (in general, not just me) on social media/reading interviews with them?”
@stoya It’s a strong reminder that they’re people, not mere sexual objects.
Lacked sleep the other day when I really needed it.
It was the first time in a long, long time. The last time I remember being this desperate for sleep was when I was still on CG.
The experience was definitely insightful though. Having been able to sleep 7-8 hours regularly when I had an early day only to work through a full work day on 2 hours of sleep showed how heavily sleep impacted my mood.
Conversely, it also explained why I always felt like an emotional wreck while I was still on a dance team.
The lack of sleep combined with me pushing myself throughout the day made me much more emotionally sensitive and needy. That feeling of, “I just want to lay down in a girl’s arms and feel like everything will be okay” I used to feel every day after practice came back. The desperate pounding of my heart I identified back then as “love heartache” was actually nothing more than “my heart wants me to sleep badly.”
Can’t believe it took me this long to realize how important sleep was to me, but I’m definitely not going to forget about this in the future.
A while ago, I penned a fairly angry response to something circulating on the internet – the 21 Habits of Happy People. It pissed me off beyond belief, that there was an inference that if you weren’t Happy, you simply weren’t doing the right things.
Discovered some of these on my own, but someone I know might need this.
Birthdays are normally a time for celebration, but you know what? People heap adulation on Steam every day of the year. So let’s flip it, and spend today remembering when Steam was new, and was just about the worst thing ever.
I used to think you couldn’t truly know yourself until you’d put your body and mind through intense experiences. But prison taught me this isn’t true. That’s privlidged, middle class logic.
What prison taught me was that some people are born into a life where they’re going to be subjected to intense life experiences and personal tragedy on an almost daily basis.
So no, I don’t think you get enlightenment after something like that. I think all anyone really wants, if they’re honest with themselves, is a quiet, easy life surrounded by people that love them. Anything else is a conceit.
He went in from 2008 to 2010. Forgot how I came across the post, but re-read most of it after remembering about it the other day.
A year when I realized that the social webs of 2009-2011 are no longer as strong.
A year where I begin to realize that people, as well as I, stop “coming out to things.” Sometimes it’s a lack of money. Studying for Grad school. Going back to school. Moving back “home home.” Focusing on careers. Moving out of city; out of state. Schedule conflicts. Distance. The unresolved past.
And maybe that’s okay.
It’s a year when I begin to realize that this is now, the past is gone, and I just have to get used to it.
These aren’t the years where you get excited that you got invited to a facebook event and added to a new facebook group. These aren’t the years where everyone posts when they just got into a relationship and you can see who just broke up. These aren’t the years where everyone, including myself, vomits all their feelings and personal lives on tumblr, wordpress, or facebook statuses anymore.
This is another transitioning period, same as the end of 2009. Back when all of a sudden, life got hard. Things once enjoyed lost their fun. The future stopped appearing so bright and promising.
These next few years seem to promise becoming “the years of distance.” Close friends will continue to fight against the current to keep in touch. Other friendships will begin to fade away. All because of distance, whether it be a physical distance, a desire for one to not see the other anymore, or just each person trying to focus on the things immediately in front of them.
And maybe that’s okay.
Maybe one day, those distant friends will come back and that spark will reignite. Maybe by sharing snippets of our lives over Snapchat and Instagram, friends can still feel like they’re in touch instead of growing distant. While some friends may become distant in certain ways, there are other ways to keep that bond strong.
As for me personally, 2013 is the year I finally faced my own shadows. Became honest with myself. Realized how drastically my values have changed.
"Loyalty to the end. To my purpose."
Hard to believe that idea kept me driven since I was sixteen.
Even though I can face my shadows, I have a long way to go before I finally overcome them.