Angelus: No weapons… no friends… no hope. Take all that away and what’s left?
-Buffy the Vampire Slayer
Figuring out who we’re meant to be can be a lifelong process. I’ve spent years propelling myself around like a pinball, batted between this gig and that gig. A few months ago, I considered getting back into entertainment journalism somehow—frantically DMing someone who works for a media site for advice and unwittingly bungling the whole thing. I also got turned down for a part-time gig at another outlet—with one of those form letters that tells you they looked at your experience and didn’t find it a good fit. Ten years covering TV and books and it’s not a good fit? Whew. It made me realize that it’s not my field anymore. It’s…a younger person’s game. A gig for people who started out in digital, not the people scrambling to find their place after print began its slow crawl to death.
But bigger that that is the fact that I don’t have a hustle. I don’t self-market. I’m terrible at networking. I’m an introvert, so I hate being out there around people, staking my claim and carving a place for myself. I don’t know how to be a go-getter, at least not anymore. More and more, over the years, I’ve pulled inward. I can hardly reconcile the person I am now with the one who used to interview strangers on a daily basis. The person who went to pre-Emmy parties and even stood behind barricades on the Emmys’ Red Carpet. That gutsy 26-year-old who interviewed for a job in New York City in 2004 and moved there within a month. Where is she?
I think the weight of several toxic jobs in a row crushed her, to be honest. I think it layered atop her over the course of years. Squeezing her, compressing her, into this tight ball of tension. Cracks began to form. Fissures in her self-worth and her confidence. For a while, I thought I was going to break, to shatter beyond repair. But the funny thing about some things under intense pressure is that they transform. Coal can become a diamond. I can become something else.
2018 is the year I’ve finally put writing, the one thing I’ve wanted to my entire life, ahead of almost everything else. I say “almost,” because I’ve also prioritized one other thing: taking care of myself.
I honestly don’t know if I’m that good at it. Taking care of myself. It’s kind of thankless and the pay is shit. There are some days where I’m the worst boss I’ve ever had. Others where I’m the most useless employee. But no one said transforming was easy, that it happens without pain.
I’m still not entirely sure who I am or what I’m meant to be. I don’t know what I’m going to look like at the end of this. Not that 26-year-old who had big soap journalist dreams, that’s for sure. And probably not a famous New York Times-bestselling author. But maybe, just maybe, I’ll be a better and stronger me.