September 6, 2017

When You’re Almost 30 and Underemployed -About 26 Things

Pretending to have it together is exhausting, so here goes…

It seems, posting on this blog has turned into an annual affair at best. It has not been on purpose, or by design. The fact of the matter is, I was wrong. I made a mistake. There was no one to tell me ‘no.’ Many people asked me why I was leaving NYC for Denver, and my response was “Why not?” I had “made it” after all - school debt paid, job with a 401K, my very own 1 bedroom apartment in Brooklyn, even savings and International travel. I was in a wonderful place and miserable, so I took a risk. 

Denver first became a real consideration after the 2013 National Urban League Conference in Cincinnati, Ohio (a place I wouldn’t EVER voluntarily move to). NUL has been about “Saving Our Cities” for some time now and featured a panel of “Mayors Makin’ Moves” (NOTE: this is what I’m calling the panel). Mayor Michael Hancock was featured and talked about start-up incubators, using technology to move the city forward, and how things were “booming.” I did my research for close to a year, then began to plan my move. 
With my guide in Thailand, she was amazing!

Because I’m me, I had to make my move epic. I posted on FB “the end of an era,” booked flights to Nepal and Thailand, put my belongings in storage in the most stressful trip to the Flatlands ever, and took off. Unfortunately, I never landed. 

The problem with research and planning and doing the thing, is that time doesn't stop. Quickly, the things that had I found, like affordable rent, became outdated research. The public transportation system in Denver is good if you have no where to be in a timely fashion, or enjoy only doing 4 things in a day - at best. After 9 months I broke down and bought a car… and by buy a car, I mean; had a car financed, sat in said car and cried before driving off the lot, as I was rushed by a pile of debt and responsibilities I did not want, or could really afford. Fun times. Next, was the full fledged launch of a freelance career after job hunting for 6 months without a single offer for anything that wasn’t temporary. Then, was a full-time stint at one the worst non-profit organizations that could possibly exist. Now, here we are, not quite making rent, pushing high-end spirits on unsuspecting people at liquor stores, and slanging’ HD appliances, ‘cause I’m a thug. Occasionally, I still do this media thing I have over 7 years of experience in and two undergrad degrees, but who cares about that stuff, amirite? 

The previous paragraph is a super abbreviated version of the past (almost) three years, leaving out the bad dates, non-dates, and the repulsed looks I get on occasion for daring to Black and beautiful in public. Now for the list…

In Denver, I’m chocolatey, dark-skinned even, and pretty in spite of. In Denver, companies refuse to pay a living wage, or commiserate with experience, in fact. In Denver, people panhandle without offering a single iota of entertainment. (Yes, I do in fact miss showtime on the train. Those kids got talent!) In Denver, I hadn’t performed a single poem in over a year until last month. In Denver, I have been openly called scary more times here than in my entire life. 

So I've been to Durango twice now, we won't talk about how.
In Denver, progressives fight for justice with people who look like them, live where they live, shop where they shop, drink beer that they drink (only the coolest microbrew), but never once stop to think why they only see people of color in the off chance they get fast food, need help with cleaning, has a friend with a Black boyfriend because “you know,” handiwork, etc. In Denver, that last sentence doesn’t apply to “woke” whites. In Denver, “the arts” cost, unless you’re under 18. In Denver, I just saw the live action version of Beauty and the Beast and almost cried several times. In Denver, diversity is a White gay guy, an older White woman (she’s a brunette even), and the racially ambiguous millennial who must know about all things popular and ethnic. In Denver, the aforementioned diversity is a best case scenario. 

In Denver, the homeless are literally attacked by police. In Denver, everyone wants to be an amateur athlete. *Gag* In Denver, the rent is $1200 on average and the opportunities are so-so. In Denver, marijuana is legal for whites to get rich off of because they suddenly had property, crops, and capital to build dispensaries, right when it became legal. *Gun and a wink* In Denver, there are a lot of problems that go deeper than the surface. In Denver, everything is beautiful at first glance. 

That time me and Spidey chopped it up in Times Sq.
To quickly compare and contrast, the problems of NYC are real problems, but when you’re dealing with close to a million people you are FORCED to make real solutions that provide resources to maintain a middle ground. I was an indirect beneficiary and wrote a controversial article about it once. The problems of “da South” are old problems, that everyone knows, acknowledges, and navigates accordingly. My biggest hurtle in being able to make a living, and subsequently a life, in Denver has shown me that I don’t know or understand these mid-west, “used to be a cowtown” problems. Where everyone looks like an extra from GoT, specifically of the wildling variety, I just want to chill in Braavos. I want to be attractive again. I want to be respected again. I want to be in law school and back on the East coast where I should have stayed. I want to work somewhere that doesn’t ask me dumb ass questions about my long-term goals in a world going to shit, where we will almost all be replaced by robots. (My latest answers have included back-up dancer for Beyonce and to have a fro like Bob Ross because I’ve literally stopped caring.) 

At the end of the day, I thought I was ready. I thought I was ready to give up break-downs on the train, the club going up on a Tuesday, casually meeting celebs, roaches and rats, not remembering how I got back to my apartment with my phone, wallet, and keys, situationships, low-key modeling, tip toeing over some bodily function let loose in the street or subway, Caribbean food, Indian food, all the good food, FREE regular access to culture, and fashion. I thought I was ready to be done with people who completely believe NY is the center of the universe and the passive aggressive “Can I Help You?” at white events, despite wearing my best wannabe Michelle Obama dress. It’s easier to dance with the Devil you know. And as it turned out, I wasn’t ready. *Cue the Kevin Hart bit* 

Fortunately, I picked up some Eastern wisdom before this whole Denver fiasco, and try my best to remember everything is temporary.  
Artist in Nepal. Shhh.

If you read this post to the end, congratulations, you like to read real shit from time to time. If you skipped parts and read the highlights, feel free to comment in full. If you only read to about the third paragraph and/or want to buy stuff to help me out, do it! 

1 comment:

  1. I thought that my accomplishments and accolades would set me up for a sustainable reinvention when I moved to Hawaii from NYC. Almost two years later, I realize how delusional that was. I hate to commiserate, but I find myself exactly where you are, only ten years older and less formally educated.

    Do you think moving back to NYC will be good for you? It feels to be the same shitshow, different iteration of normative liberal whiteness. I'm exhausted.

    ReplyDelete

Need to relieve some pressure? Leave a comment!