I Have a New Podcast About Mental Health on Patreon

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Hi all!

I decided that after this year I want to do a patreon-exclusive podcast about mental health and a bunch of other topics. I’ve been talking about it a lot but the death of Carrie Fisher has really motivated me to talk more about this topic. It’s set to public so it’s available to everyone for free.

It doesn’t really have a title.

I probably should have sorted that out.

Eh, fuck it.

The first episode is up about my experiences being and adult woman with ADHD and I have some other topics I’m working on like PTSD, anxiety, depression, guilt, self care, shame, and what it’s like to be medicated.

I get a little emotional in this episode because it’s really hard for me to talk about but I’m open to questions and I hope you enjoy it.

Thanks for all of your recommends and comments this year.

Let’s kick 2017’s ass.

Listen Here!

I’m Writing for Hoodline Oakland and You Should Read It Even if You Don’t Care

I wrote about Mountain View Cemetery and it’s light show for Hoodline Oakland and what that means to my community. 

Now here is what it means to me.

I moved to Oakland in January 2014 after one of the worst years of my life. It remains in the top 3 worst years (more on that in a forthcoming post). I spent 2013 getting what I wished for. I had moved to New England, which had been my dream, a relationship I was trying to figure out how to remove myself from while also trying to make it work had ended, and I lived near two old cemeteries where I spent the majority of my time. Brokenhearted in a town where everyone my age was married in the dark, sparse wilderness was not the sweet torture I had assumed it would be. It was just that boring drudge torture that we always forget about.

My apartment was adorable. My job was terrible. I felt ugly, out of sorts, and I couldn’t figure out how to get to the major city where I felt I would feel at home — Boston.

Boston and I were never meant to be. Thus I haunted those two cemeteries on my countless walks through the darkness.

I moved to Oakland having never been to the Bay Area. I had never thought of myself as a California person. I had spent a few days in San Diego once but it was a trip punctuated with my boyfriend freaking out about me leaving him for a week and probably cheating on me (found that out a few years later). At the time I was saturated in a type of codependence I had never imagine I could get myself into. Upon my return to California, I was 5 years older and had less of a sense of self. I needed change. I took a job in San Francisco, flew out to get an apartment, managed to get a place over the weekend, and drove across the country a week later with my mother and cat in tow.

I spent the first several weeks of my residency in Oakland wandering my neighborhood, dazzled by the people and the weather, and getting the hang of my new job.

When I stumbled upon Mountain View Cemetery, I felt at home. The blending of my New England experience with my West Coast one. It big and sprawling and beautiful and creepy. I hauled myself up to one of the monuments and looked out over the bay.

Sitting on the stone bench built into that old robber baron’s grave and looking out over the water was when I knew I had made the right choice. That this had been the wave crashing onto a new path I couldn’t have predicted.

Since I moved here I’ve become a published writer, had a series of job changes, found a gorgeous community of friends, and had some amazing love.

It’s been a really good time.

I still frequent Mountain View as I am still a goth constantly using it for dates and entertainment. So while Mountain View works very hard to make the families that live here see it as a welcoming park for people to grieve and see the beauty of art and nature, it’s worked its magic on me. It’s a huge part of my time here and it helped me feel at home when I was trying to figure out if all of these had been real or just a dream.

If you’re in the Oakland area, be sure to check it out. If you’re looking to follow more of my work, I hope to write about more spots that mean the world to me.

Happy Holidays, everyone.

Rory Gilmore is the Worst Freelancer I’ve Ever Seen

Originally posted on Medium

Thinkpieces on Gilmore Girls are widespread these days and as a fan of the show I’m not immune to having a lot of complicated feelings about this show.

I would like to state on record that every single criticism lobbed at this show is entirely valid. It’s xenophobic (Emily’s “spanish?” maid), fatphobic (back fat Pat), transphobic (that awful joke Finn makes in the tango club), classist (seriously none of them have any real problems), racist (too much to include), and just overall kind of anticlimactic and boring. But I loved it when I was a teenager with the caveat of hating everything past season 4 (I’m not a monster). Naturally, I tuned in for the homework assignment that was the Gilmore Girls revival and walked away from it laughing at what Amy Sherman Palladino thinks being a freelance journalist looks like.

Rory Gilmore graduated with a journalism degree from Yale. Yes, that Yale. She graduated with zero debt because first her grandparents and then her father were paying for it. They were all rich but her dad was mostly a fuck up so he got to inherit his wealth to keep his “down to earth” credibility (grinds teeth). From what we learn in the revival it would appear she has managed to live off of having a byline in the Atlantic, Slate, and the New Yorker and nothing else.

In a show in which they couldn’t even bother to have the ethnically ambiguous maid speak and actual language or have an actual ethnicity, the part that is least believable to me is Rory’s journalism career. She spends the 6 hours of this show turning down work and flying to London to hook up with old boyfriends. A website that is clearly some sort of xojane or Rookie parody is begging her for a year to write for them and she’s all “oh I don’t know” like apartments in Queens can be paid for with blue eyes and caffeine addiction. (Okay, real talk, are they just drinking coffee all the time as a metaphor for alcohol? What even is that as a personality trait?)

She’s also “collaborating” on a book with River Song and takes NOT ONE SINGLE NOTE. Naomi is supposed to be this drunk, erratic, emotional nutcase and Rory is supposed to look reasonable but I walked away from that scene completely understanding Naomi’s panic about a tell all book about how she hates her mother being a bad move emotionally and professionally.

Not that those concerns stop Rory from working on her own tell-all of course. Rory is above that.

The relatable part of Rory was that she was bookish, that she was clever, that she was smart. That she liked music and pop culture and enjoyed hanging out with her friends. Rory Gilmore was a generation of white teenage girls who just wanted to read and talk about books and get along with their moms. I am Rory Gilmore. We are Rory Gilmore. And Rory Gilmore is terrible.

She’s not smart. She’s not strategic. She’s only considered a hero because she talks the most. She lost all relatablility once she started having actual “depth.” Her crises are imaginary and shallow. Her plights are not our plights. She’s a privileged, enabled, entitled whiner. She operates from the perspective that if you have dated her EVER she has jurisdiction over you for the rest of your life regardless of your marriage status. Dean now lives in Scranton. That is the punishment he receives for loving a Gilmore Girl. She has an inability to grow up. Rory Gilmore is a Manbaby. She’s the Little Match Girl. She could help herself with her every advantage and connection and she doesn’t.
Rory doesn’t pitch, doesn’t work on deadline, and her big contribution is to remove the seasonal poem off the Stars Hollow Gazette. She hasn’t grown in her voice as a writer. We never see her actually write. I’m starting to think Mitchum Huntzberger was right about her. It’s like when people almost eat during dinner scenes but you never see them take a bite.

If Amy Sherman Palladino wanted to actually give Rory some tension, she might have shown what it’s like to pay rent and get health insurance while freelancing. But no, we’re still focusing on romanticizing the art of writing like it’s too pure to have its ass shown. Writing is a grueling, labor intensive existence where you don’t get the luxury of turning down work because when you do that you don’t get paid. We don’t have rich grandmothers whose guest houses we can haunt. We don’t have $10,000 to spend on flights to London to hook up with old boyfriends who will just give you houses in Maine, Gilmore.

Let me show you what freelancing looked like for me: it was mostly unpaid. I sold blood and bone marrow until I “sold out” and got a day job. Most freelance writers also have date jobs. And not unpaid ones at the Stars Hollow Gazette. We’re pouring 60 hours a week into our day jobs, then writing on the side, and if we have families it’s a whole other deal. Now, since Rory Gilmore is a fresh face on the writing scene she’s probably banking somewhere in the neighborhood of $200 an article if she’s being published in Slate and the New Yorker and she’s not on staff. I’ll be generous. Maybe she’s making $500. An article. That will go through two rounds of editing, all the research time, and then the time of writing it and revising it. You’re looking at about 40 hours per article if it doesn’t require a ton of research. That’s $5 an hour for those of us with English degrees.
 

And that’s only if you sell the piece. Pitching is not a contract at all. You pitch it, you write it, and the publication more often than not will turn it down for a variety of reasons. You are the first thing to be cut. You are the first one to be not compensated. And then there is the timing of payment. The only publication that paid me on time EVER was Harlot magazine. Every other byline was either unpaid or required constant hounding to get my $30. Where were those phone calls? You also are liable to not get paid until your piece runs which can be months in advance.

Where was the working over vacation? Where was getting sick and losing out on the $500 for your student loan payment? Where was the rice and beans? Where was not going home for Christmas and playing utilities roulette to see what could go without being paid that month? Where were the roommates? Where was cooking at home and leaving the oven door open after you finished so that it would heat the apartment?

Being an artists and surviving is a privileged in many ways, and with Rory Gilmore being an example of a freelancer it stays that way. Freelancing comfortably remains in the hands of the provided for. Once again the biggest issues in Rory’s life are about men and her family. It’s never her professional life. That’s a back plot and a shitty one where women are mean to her. It’s crazy drunk women withdrawing book deals and site-running wunderkinds expecting her to have ideas. (she came to a job meeting with no pitch ideas, REALLY?) and her mother being a bitch by not signing over rights to her life’s story to her daughter. Rory’s biggest issues in life are because women are unfair to her by expecting her to DO HER OWN WORK.

But she’s really into books, you guys. And she likes going to Bangles concerts with her mother. And she has friends in the Life and Death Brigade. She never has to sacrifice. She never has to budget. She never has to consider her choices. She never has to go through heartbreak because all the men she’s ever loved come pinging back to her. She’s a revenge fantasy built for people who thought they were picked on in school because they were nerds.

I didn’t really want to write a feminist thinkpiece on Gilmore Girls, but you see, Rory, I need the views and the trending cred, and the discussion because I haven’t figured out how to survive off of one New Yorker article yet. Teach me your ways, magical hellbeast.

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