A blog by Amanda Alcantara

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Life is suffering- another much needed rant one year after graduation

Despite all the quotes you may hear, and all of the negative people who insist that "it is what it is"...life is not about suffering. Yet we're forced to think that it is simply because that is our condition right now.

I moved out, I have two jobs-one of which is pretty cool, the other pays for my bills-,  I go out (less and less frequently but nonetheless I still do), I have a diploma, I have people who text me all the time, my parents love me, I  get enough "likes" on instagram to qualify as decent-looking. Overall, seems like I've done everything and I have everything necessary to be a happy and established person in her 20s. Well, except of course  for student loans, problems after problems that just keep piling up, and the fact that my pretty cool job is starting to get painfully boring.

Monotonous is the word.

But, guess what? Life is about being bored, suffering, even about being in debt so that you can suffer even more and then be happy when the good times come!

WRONG. "To call on them to give up their illusions about their condition is to all on them to give up a condition that requires illusions".

Ugh, let me take a step away from all that theory because even this blog entry is boring. I'm almost writing in short sentences, automatically, uncreatively.

 I read this, a message to the class of 2013 , and I completely regret giving into the corporate shit that this country is for this past year. Why is everything about my career? Why is everything about the future? It's like we have a list of shit that we need to get done and work towards to be happy, and all I can say is: I'm not happy. I have my moments here and there where I think: "damn, this is pretty cool". But overall, I am so bored. Everyday I experience some sort of existential crisis where I think "wow, this is really it". The DeadSpin article (I guess the link is worth posting twice) really resonated with me: I'm 22, with my first-entry level exploitative job where I volunteer to do everything yet don't even get a thank-you (did I mention that the job has an expiration date?), a tiny apartment that I'm no bound to for a year only because I want my deposit back, and a moderate but nonetheless disgusting amount of loans that I am going to eventually have to start paying back. Almost for two months, since I bought a map and hung it up on the wall, I've been planning my escape. I am going to end up in South America once my lease is over, even if it means getting more debt, even if it means getting away from the faces that I love so much (which will probably be the biggest difficulty but I'm sure y'all will love the idea of visiting), and even if it means putting my career on pause...screw it! I actually want to put my career on pause because it's too soon to be so worried about upward mobility. It's too soon to get stuck in this capitalist cycle of giving and giving and giving only so that the rich get richer, and I, I just keep sweating, and working my life away to get out of the first-generation, poor immigrant cycle that is so filled with systematic racism, sexism, and the myth of the American Dream. It is much more difficult today to get out of poverty than it was in past years.

The bottom line is that life isn't about suffering, but we're made to think that it is so that we're happy with what we get. But we shouldn't be. The conditions that we're in now are not here because of our choice nor because of human nature, people aren't rich and others poor because that's just how it is (ugh, negative people who went through the red scare and revolutionary failures need to shut up).

Back to the theory-or at least my oversimplified interpretation of it- the only thing that is ours is our body, our brains and the need to feed it, that's it. Yet because of the need for food to survive, people went from exchanging crops to exchanging cash (omg, this is so ridiculously oversimplified) that eventually those who lead the exchange became those who owned it, and their purpose is no longer to exchange for survival, but to sell and make a profit. And that didn't come from human nature, it came from assuming that something that isn't physically stuck to our body somehow became owned. I mean, think about it, really think about it: are material objects things that we actually own? I would ask the simple question of whether or not we are born or die with these things, but that's no fun. I want you to really think from a completely meditation-esque/on-some-real-shit point of view...Is your house yours? Is the clothes that you are wearing yours? No, it is not. We didn't think of these on our own, we didn't create any of them on our own...they are commodities, appropriated goods that should be available for all because we need clothes (debatable) and shelter, yet instead they becomes things that we own and that is why having a big house or nice clothes or a nice job won't make you happy because in the end they are things that you need that have been wrapped with pretty ribbons just so that you feel the need to overwork for them (notice that I said overwork). They are only the beginning of what we actually need to be happy- I would argue that having leisure time to be artistic, to love more, to create more is what would actually need, but no one has time for that. Also, only for a brief second will I says this only to avoid going on a tangent that deserves a whole other blog: we don't even own our bodies; women are so over sexualized and under so much scrutiny that our bodies too have been commodified.

So, we keep working so that the person super above us makes tons of money by exploiting us. And I've been hearing people notice this so much lately: "Wow, people are complaining about having to give healthcare to workers- they can't afford to get a few dollars from their profit to help out employers?" or " I work for 7.25 an hour and yet these cups that I'm making sell for more- and I'm making like 5 per hour". Examples of exploitative, deregulated pratices like these are what lead to buildings collapsing in Bangladesh, or explosions in Texas. They are what lead to you and I to being stuck overpaying for everything, and overworking our asses from the moments we choose a career (for many of us, we "choose" our careers as early as the age of 5),  only to end up playing with our phone, staring at television screens, eating at expensive restaurants, and spending so much on stupid commodities just so that we escape the true misery that our lives is.

Look at yourself...are you really happy? Is a career that required so much hard work, so many endless hours of sleep, and so much money really worth it if all you're really doing is creating a profit for your boss? Je ne le crois pas.

But whatever, my point is I'm just freaking bored and dissatisfied, and I'm happy that I realized it before finding myself stuck in a situation that I can't just simply get out of without affecting someone else (married, with a kid, or simply having to care for someone else). I guess what I wanna say is read, create your own opinion on things, and try to break those damn shackles until you realize that you can't do it on your own- you can't liberate yourself if you don't work with others to become free as a whole- once you realize this go ahead and join a movement that's greater than yourself. I'm pretending that this trip- which will hopefully be more than just imaginary- will help me develop those "free-thinking" skills. 
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