Tonight was positively awful as most my nights have been recently. I walked on Charles Street, which I’ve largely neglected thusfar, and I was lonely and depressed and tired and doubtful of everything. All the hope and belief and you-can-do-anythings of the past nine months are gone gone gone, and I am now very convinced that I will be a mistreated, overqualified nanny for the rest of my life. And there’s little that I can imagine that would be worse than that.
You see, I was a behavior therapist for six years after college, and it was exciting at first because I could personally elicit change and single-mindedly think up systems that would permanently better the world for at least one lovely individual, if not two or three. I could teach the unteachable, and I could use means that had never been used before.
I got to make up my own curricula and create my own materials and think as creatively as I desired, which was pretty damn creatively, and I could work with my hands and my brain and my computer and construction paper and glue and it was lovely.
Until it wasn’t anymore.
When you excel at something, people start to tell you that you should supervise others who don’t excel at that thing, and then you don’t get to do the thing you excel at anymore. Well, I fought that for a while, and then I realized those people were partially right because I wanted a bigger challenge, a different challenge altogether, but it certainly wasn’t to be a supervisor to those who don’t excel at the thing that I excel at.
So, I left. And I’m leaving still, for I moved to New York to find my new vocation, and the only job I could secure that allowed me to afford my Manhattan rent was something in the same goddamn field. Except something without the fancy title and quarterly conference presentations (thank goodness). And yet something with similarly awful requirements and responsibilities. Something called “nanny.”
It’s supposed to be temporary, you see. It’s supposed to fund my New Yorkian life, and it’s supposed to provide enough time for me to gain the skills needed for the pursuit of my new life career, and while it sufficiently does the former, it does little for the latter except sometimes make me forget that I’m capable of anything else.
I probably sound like a spoiled, elitist vaginahole. I live in Manhattan, for goodness sake, I earn double what I’ve ever earned before, and sometimes I get to order glasses of Prosecco in West Village restaurants without paying a dime.
I should be happy, right?
No no no no no.
I am not encouraged to be alive in this job, I am not allowed to do anything new or original or inherently-me, I am not permitted to be my hardcore linchpin self.
I need out.
I need out out out.
So, I’ll get out.
I’ll find a way, right? I’ll take out a loan and go to programmer school or I’ll beg Whole Foods to hire me while I teach myself web design or I’ll move back to Virginia and figure out how to better the world from there. (“Noooooo!!!!” she cried.) Even getting to be in New York isn’t worth muddling through a soul-sucking job. (“Don’t do it!!!!!!” she begged.) There’s little of me left to enjoy this place anyway. (“There’s another way!!!!!” she pleaded.)
Don’t get me wrong. My job is meaningful and impactful and important in its own way, and given the right set of circumstances, I’m sure I could be happy doing it for a while longer (at least nine more months) if it afforded me the time and sanity to focus on what I really want to be doing with my one wild and precious life.
But, it doesn’t.
I need out.
So, I’ll get out.
(There was a kindly middle-aged fellow playing his cello on the corner of Charles and Bleecker tonight. His song was sorrowful and sweet, and he looked up at me as I passed and smiled a kind and knowing smile. He played beautifully, and he was an artist, and he was alive. He may have been a day trader or a convenient store cashier or a bricklayer when the sun was shining, but at night he was an artist, and he was alive. I hope he is always an artist. I hope he is always alive and not just at night on the corner of Charles and Bleecker, but all the time on the corner of here and everywhere.)
Streets Walked: Clarkson St. to Hudson St. to Barrow St. to West Side Highway to Charles St. to Greenwich Ave. to W 10th St. to 5th Ave.
Sights Seen: Lovely cello player