validation

I joined a dating site (again) because I’m bored and a masochist, apparently. This morning I had the pleasure of speaking with Drew. Drew asked me a couple questions about the software engineering degree I’m pursuing, whether or not I was at work and who this man is in one of the Instagram pictures on my profile. I had initiated the conversation because he mentioned he was plant based in his profile and vegetarians and vegans love meeting other vegetarians and vegans and talking about it. By the time he asked about the mysterious man in the picture (my brother, btw), he expressed I wasn’t giving him much to work off of when I said it was a weird question to ask who the man is. He said he was grasping at thin air, trying to find something to talk about.

The way I understand how conversations work, one person asks a question or makes a statement, the other responds to you and the conversation builds; dialogue 101. Drew, however, asked me random questions that didn’t relate to each other and thus the conversation did not flow and it was difficult to build any deeper conversation. It was more like a job interview than an actual conversation. Still, I thought it was going fine until he really lost his cool with the brother question. At that point he called me a “minimum wage loser” for working at Whole Foods (WF) and staying in bed till 10:30 AM on my day off.

It goes without saying that Drew is in fact, an ass hole. I do not understand this idea that your value as a person is wrapped up entirely by what you do for money. I’ve been thinking a lot about this lately as I continue to go deeper into the software engineering program and work more at WF.

I have had a lot of jobs since I started working when I was 16. Since I graduated from college 8 years ago, I have had 6 different jobs. I have been an account manager, a paralegal assistant, an office assistant, customer service representative, a dishwasher and a cook (to be fair the last 2 have been at the same company). I have hated all of those office jobs for various reasons. I hated dealing with the 9 – 5 traffic, I hated sitting at a desk, I hated staring at a screen all day,  I hated that I was completely and totally bored by these jobs and what I hated most was that I felt like I was wasting my life away and wasting my intellect on things I felt completely disconnected from. Everything about these jobs was designed to increase profit and that is what I chased at every one of them and I hated it.

Of course, I understand that a business needs to make a profit to function. However, my job at WF is to make food. It needs to taste good and look good so people will buy it but the goal of the profit is more or less removed from the actual practice of my day to day life. I can talk to cool people all day, or listen to music and get lost in my own thoughts. My best ideas for poems and stories and art come when I’m at work and can let my mind wander.

Drew made a lot of assumptions about me, based on his insecurities about himself. He thinks I’m a loser and unmotivated to better myself because I work in the service industry. To Drew, people who work service jobs aren’t smart enough or work hard enough to “make it” in more glamours fields. It didn’t occur to him, that I chose to work at a grocery store and it wasn’t because it was the only job I could get. It didn’t matter to him, that I had tried his lifestyle for many years and every time it made me completely miserable. I gained weight at these jobs and had anxiety dreams almost every night about being late to work. Some weekends I couldn’t even relax because I was too anxious about Monday. I would take a vacation and still be expected to be available if someone needed something in the office. I was never in charge of my time, at these jobs.

I’ve been struggling with whether or not I want to continue with software engineering because I know it’s going to put me back at a desk, surrounded by more Drew’s.  I know I’m going to be so mentally exhausted, that I won’t paint or write. Since I started at WF, I created this blog and made active efforts to maintain it, I’m doing more art, I’m more social and engaged with the world, I’ve lost 20 lbs and have started working on other bigger projects. I’m networking with more people who inspire me with my projects and set my mind ablaze. These are huge positive changes.

I’m scared, however. I’m scared of people like Drew who think I don’t have any value because I work at a grocery store. I’m scared of disappointing my inner circle that thinks I’m destined for great things and my grandma who wants me to be an executive because, in her time, women didn’t do that. Drew is scared too because Drew is unhappy and insecure about his own life. If he wasn’t, he wouldn’t have felt the need to degrade a stranger on a dating app for no reason. He wouldn’t need to judge people’s income if he truly felt secure in his own. I’m sure Drew’s life seems excellent on the outside but he’s deeply unfulfilled and that’s what happens when you work a job that doesn’t have any value to you. The difference between me and Drew, however, is that I am finding the courage to jump over that fear and be in a place that allows me to pursue the things that make me excited about the world.

I don’t know what I’ll do with my education. It’s interesting to me and I can certainly become a freelance programmer as a side hustle if I felt so inclined to do so. What I do know, is that I haven’t felt this free in a very long time. Is my job perfect? no. Are there days I do kind of hate it? Of course. Does the good outweigh those days though? Absolutely. Drew will always be unhappy because Drew is living a life he doesn’t actually want, even if he can’t admit it to himself. I may never have the executive career my grandma wants for me and it’s very possible I will disappoint my entire family by building a career at a grocery store but what they don’t understand is that maybe then, I’ll be able to fly.

 – Neptune

the internet

My dad doesn’t understand the internet. He knows how to use email and I’ve even seen the man use Amazon to order things he can’t find at the local store. He’s not totally out of the loop.

The other day we were talking about the world. I referenced before about how the world is statically safer than it’s ever been and he asked how I knew this. I told him I read about it online and he scoffed at me. Another time, he asked why I’m a vegetarian and when I went into detail about the ecological impact farming animals for human consumption has on the planet, he responded: “you’ve never farmer so you don’t really have any idea” in spite of doing a ton of research. Obviously, I don’t know what it means to be a farmer like he does, but I can still read and understand data and a bigger picture.

I’m apart of the older millennial generation which means I didn’t grow up completely with computers or least not as saturated as they are today. I did witness the birth of the modern internet and kids these days have NO IDEA the dial-up struggles we went through, the turmoil of having to learn how to do makeup from a magazine or worse yet, when Google was kind of useless as a search engine.

I distinctly remember spending a day in the computer lab in high school and being taught how to use Google. We had a paper to write or something and had to use so many internet sources (but not Wikipedia). Isn’t weird to have to be taught how to use Google? You couldn’t just ask it a question back then. You had to be specific in keywords in order to yield the results that were relevant to what you wanted.

The first silly video I remember going “viral” (which may have just been my friends) was called Forehead Shavecut and you can still watch it on YouTube. Except, it was made before YouTube ever existed and that sounds as absurd as saying “before time existed”. It’s hard to comprehend a time when anything you wanted to know or learn wasn’t at your fingertips. The internet answers questions, you didn’t even know you had (like how sharp cheetah tongues are).

I’ve lied on resume’s about my skills with Excel because I can just Google how to do something and learn it in under 5 minutes. I can teach myself how to write code, how to build websites, and even how to change a transmission. When I had my own house, I taught myself how to sharpen the blades of my mechanical lawn mower (you know the old school kind… no motor, just blades).

That’s the part of the internet my dad doesn’t understand. In his mind, traditional media reigns supreme and he thinks anything on the internet must be misinformed or a lie or whatever. He doesn’t seem to get that yes there is a lot of bullshit on the internet and if you’re not using your noodle, you will get bamboozled but there’s also a lot of bullshit in traditional media. An entire Wikipedia page exists that highlights CNN Controversies and there’s a page for all the major news outlets.

I mean it’s a generational thing. Having lived away from my family for many years and coming back to them, I’m extremely sensitive to the fact we have very different lives and outlooks on the world. It makes me really excited to think about my generation taking over in the next few years. I know everyone complains about the millennial generation (I’m going to complain about the next generation when I’m old/ I already complain about younger millennia’s) but I think we have the capacity to really push the planet in a more positive and sustainable direction.

Having knowledge at our fingertips is incredibly insane. At no other time in our human history, have we been able to call up anything we could possibly want to know. We used to keep encyclopedias at our house. We had 2 sets and neither of were printed during my lifetime. That’s how we got information or you’d go to the library and get books about a subject but now, you can just type into Google “how sharp is a cheetah tongue” and it will give you thousands of videos, pictures, and articles about a giant cats tongue in the same amount of time it takes you to blink and it blows my damn mind.

I guess those are my thoughts for today. Bit of a struggle bus today, I had no idea what to write about. Until tomorrow, friends!