The days are growing colder, shorter – crueler. I forgot just how difficult and hurtful the cooler seasons are during the warm, protective months of summer. Summer – the height of life – allowed me to breathe (recover) and recollect myself. I’d spent my days inside – outside – reading, Tumbling, shopping, eating – being.
I watched the Gay Pride Parade, for the very first time. I attended the Asian Food Festival, for the very first time. I got a manicure, for the very first time. I even started a Chinese course in reading Chinese characters!
Autumn is the season of the dying.
I should’ve known better.
After being laid off from my job, I’d thought I’d take the months of the aftermath for some time for myself. I hadn’t enjoyed working 9-5, and even sometimes during the weekend. I hadn’t enjoyed how cliquey the work environment had been, and knowing that I hadn’t been “in.” I hadn’t enjoyed working at a business that had very little to do with publishing, which is what I’m trained for. I hadn’t enjoyed it – period, but the money was life-sustaining.
Now, three months later, I thought it’d be so easy to get a job – a career – in the field I’ve been pursuing for almost a decade. I, foolishly, thought that my one-year stint at working full-time would put me ahead of others. I, naively, thought that I shouldn’t have to sacrifice my dreams to earn enough to live by – not after that year of waking up to a job that drained me each and every single day.
Autumn is the month of the dying.
In a bout of good luck at the end of the summer days, I’ve obtained a part-time position at a real estate office doing administration work. Not publishing, but I wanted the experience and it was exciting. Then, unbelievably, I got an interview at a major publishing company for a full-time position! To round it off, I got another interview for an internship at a major magazine!
But the first breath of autumn signaled heartbreak.
Autumn is the season of the dying, remember?
The full-time publishing position went to another girl I know. This is the same girl who I introduced to my old company (the one that “terminated” [their words] me) as an intern. This is the same girl who stayed at the company long after I “left.” This is the same girl who I have to meet up with on occasion because one of her friends is one of my best friends.
It hurts even more because the woman who could’ve been my boss was also the woman I once job-shadowed.
She even vaguely remembered me.
But not enough to hire me.
As a very bitter second place, I got the internship at the magazine. It’s cold and grating, and it sometimes makes me writhe in agony when I remember the job – the career – that could’ve been. My only consolation is that I do not dread going to my internship every morning. (Nor do I dread heading off to the night shift at the real estate office after working 9-4 at my internship – followed by 5-9 at the real estate office.) No one is cliquey – as everyone at my internship are full-grown, mature adults. The magazine is obviously the publishing environment.
But I’m working almost twelve hours and getting paid for only four of them.
But it’s not a career.
Autumn is the season of the dying, and I feel like I’m drowning. This suffocation is prolonged only by the unfortunate (fortunate) habit of still breathing.
As I’m sitting in my cubicle at the magazine, I realize that this is my fourth internship. Third in publishing. This should – must – be a sign. It should be that the third unpaid internship in publishing is the last unpaid internship in publishing, or last internship in publishing – period.
I’m ready to fold. I’m ready to give up, let go, move on. I dashed into this industry with such high hopes and expectations and dreams, not realizing that the magic surrounding the publishing industry is the media’s doing. The Devil Wears Prada. The September Issue. Cashmere Mafia.
It’s all magic.
And magic’s not real.
Autumn is the season of the dying.
(I am dying.)
I am looking forward to my winter. (I am waiting for death.) Because after winter is spring. (After death is rebirth.)
I just don’t know what my rebirth will look like.
I don’t know what starting over would mean for me.
Bellwort | Hopelessness