Rambles, Thinkpiece

WHAT IS MY VOICE?

In a lot of ways, I’m so similar to Ariel in The Little Mermaid. Like her, I have red hair, blue eyes and a tail. My first crush was Prince Eric (hasn’t changed), and I love lounging on rocks. And like Ariel, sis, I don’t really have a voice right now!

Not literally: I’ve got a voice that has been described as “melodious” and/or “gay,” and it’s served me well. I’m talking about my writing voice. It’s a large part of why I’ve been so lax about posting. Ever since graduating, I’ve feel well and truly lost as to what my post-grad voice sounds like.

In college, I operated under a near-blind and almost entirely undue amount of confidence. Really, looking back, it’s astounding that I didn’t get hit by a car or fall into a river. I was so cocky, you guys. So cocky.

I wrote with the vigor of someone who had not yet felt the sting of a thousand-thousand job rejections and who has not had to answer the question, “So…what are you doing?” with pained laughter until eyes are averted and the question is glossed over.

In college, I assumed – without any proof – that my voice was winsome and inviting, a tone that would remain immortal. And while I will remain immortal – I’ve been pretty much guaranteed that – I don’t think I took into account that people, and their ensuing tones and beliefs, change and adapt.

And even nearly a year later – gulp – I’m realizing that I didn’t allow myself the space to grow, or the gentleness that growing and changing, and being lost, is okay.

There are a lot of reasons why my tone has changed. First, it would be naïve and impossible to ignore the fact that I advertise this blog on my resume, and potential employers would stumble upon it regardless if they Google my name. Well, they’ll have to go through a few search pages (there’s other Danny McCarthy’s but none are as hot as me, thank god) but eventually they’ll get there. So with that is the pressure of Am I writing in the right way and Is this the right thing to say and What will people think. That didn’t factor into my writing in college because, you know, delusion.

Second, is that I’ve been living my life and that’s changed how I think about things. It’s impossible not to evolve (ask any Pokémon, sis!), and it’s been a challenge to channel everything that’s happening into a cohesive, passionate tone. Ambivalence doesn’t sell, and I’ve felt dangerously close to ambivalent about a lot of things lately.

And third, my tone has changed because I’ve been kinda going through it. Graduating and job-searching and graduate school applications have shaken my confidence in a major way. Before I graduated, I was a Boston 8 with the confidence of a telemarketer, and now I’m a New York 6 with the confidence of the first baker eliminated on Great British Bake Off.

In a lot of ways, I’m navigating the unknown, and the unknown makes it difficult to suss out what to share and what to keep private. Things have bigger stakes now; it’s just not wondering if I’ve pissed off someone by blowing up their spot or weirding someone out by waxing poetic about the way their voice leans. I’m selling the brand of me, and honey people are not buying it – not even the free trial!

But I’d like to get back to that place. Not the cosseted, unaware spot, but the place where I am so brimming with a desire to write that other people’s perceptions of it are a distinct second thought. I’d like to feel more steady in my writing, if just for the fact that writing is how I process everything that happens in my life. It’s quite literally my lifeline and my method for understanding everything.

And I lied – I’m a New York 7.

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Humor, Life

THE ONE WHERE I WRITE LIKE CARRIE BRADSHAW

Disclaimer: This post is alternatively titled “Sad and the Pity,” for mostly jokes but also truths. Also don’t sue me, Sex and the City, for copyright infringement!

Okay, now onto the Bradshawisms!

I collapsed onto my bed, kicking my socked feet up and releasing a loud, Neanderthalic groan. My shoulders hurt. My back hurts. My legs hurt. My heart hurts. And my bank account hurts. I was an intern. I had been lugging a messenger bag around all day, from the office to the hotel where the event I was covering was being held, then back to the office, then back to the hotel, then home.

I was coiled tight from a massive headache and the fear that if I kept carrying a messenger bag, I would end up with shoulders like Caroline Stanbury—she put an Instagram up the other day of her and her shoulders were very lopsided and while I’m not bodyshaming anyone, that’s just not on my to-do list.

And so, as I nearly climaxed in relief with my body in one long horizontal line, I had to wonder: how did adults do this all day, every day?

Side bar: I actually don’t know what else Carrie Bradshaw does other than say “I had to wonder” because I haven’t really seen the show that much and I’m using her name in the title as clickbait! Tricked ya! Keep reading! Where are you going? Mom?

Side side bar: I also ripped off Friends with “The One Where x,y,z.” CLICKBAIT.

Anywayanywayanyway.

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In college, I’ve done a lot of different jobs. I’ve been a radio deejay, a blogger, a fashion journalist, a columnist, (briefly) an editor (before I fucked that up, oops, sorry guys lol), and a copywriter for an ad team (for a project that we then won, because—probably—of me). And for the more interesting things I’ve done, the stuff I actually enjoyed, I had to wonder: “Do jobs like this actually exist in the amorphous ether of the ‘Real World’*?”

*Not to be confused with The Real World.

I was sitting in a small Persian green-eats restaurant—which Jenny tells me is not a thing that is real even though I was sitting in it Jenny—with my co-intern—Amanda (?)—and we were discussing jobs. And I said something—deeply profound—that went along the lines of: “I always used to hope that the college jobs I write for would have real-life counterparts.” Because if they don’t, why the fuck am I writing a 1000-word article called, “Jeans Or Khakis?” and interviewing people in the dining hall?

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Meanwhile, across town, my friends are in their own internships. Some are living it up in their fields—moi—some are doing jobs they like in fields they don’t—Sebastien—some are doing jobs that they thought would be glamorous but aren’t and that makes me really happy—some random hot guy in one of my classes—and some are making IKEA runs in return for work that might someday lead to a real job—Charlie—and all of us are operating under this notion that jobs are unicorns. People in the Middle Ages believed they were real, but now everyone is telling you your dreams are dead and that you’ll never make a career as a writer and you might as well marry rich—um, I meant to write that everyone is telling you that unicorns aren’t real. Sorry. Got off track.

It’s interesting because I know what I want to do, it’s just I don’t know how. Or I read articles like “I’m a Homeless Writer” or “Give Up On Your Dreams, Danny” or “101 Ways To Be A Successful Writer” and 100 of them are “exploit your mental illness” and one of them is “World War II books.”

I feel like Carrie Bradshaw asks a lot of rhetorical questions and makes a lot of generically vague, moderately uplifting/poignant sentences (depending on the episode). So I’m gonna do that here.

So what did I want to do? I wanted to write, I wanted to write until my fingers were stiffer than the heel of a Manolo Blahnik and my creative voice was stronger than a Cosmo*. I wanted to be everyone’s agony aunt, except instead of asking me for advice, people learnt from my mistakes. I wanted to make people laugh and not cry and cry if they need to and laugh while crying. I wanted to be the someone that I could’ve used when I was twelve.

*Not to be confused with the “cosmos,” the popular outer space phenomenon.

But how does one do that? How does one take that leap of faith? The answer, I wondered, might be deceptively simple. Jump. Write everything. Write anything. Throw caution to the wind.

Because, like men, there is a great job out there for me. It might not be perfect—I might have wake up early to get there on time. It might be a little annoying sometimes. It might not tolerate my unabashed stanning for the Kardashian-Jenners. It might ask me to stop wearing sweatpants in public. That I won’t stand. That’s a dealbreaker. But in general, jobs can be like men. Not perfect, a little bit weird, but there’s a match out there for everyone.

And unlike men—unless this is a Dr. Frankenstein’s Monster situation—you can create your own job when you’re a writer if you don’t find one. Our craft is in our head and—if you’re like me—your head is a vast whirlpool of weird, funny ideas and mild depression.

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Maybe I’ll have the job of my dreams. Maybe I’ll make it myself. Maybe I’ll write a fantastic book that helps a lot of people and gets me on Ellen. And not just as a video segment of me running naked through a McDonald’s drive-thru. A real, sit-down interview. Maybe I’ll find a job where not only do I not have to hide my weirdness, I can actually celebrate it and write about it. Maybe I’ll find the perfect job when I stop looking for the perfect job.

*Closes eyes and walks into closed door*

So in the meantime, I’ll enjoy only really having my blog to worry about as my thing. Eventually I might have kids—aka a dog—or a husband—aka a bottle of white wine—to occupy my time. And I’ll have a high-powered job where I can wear flannel to work and write about pop culture and make penis puns. Wouldn’t that pe-nice? AYOO.

That was really fun to be inspired by the ghost of Carrie Bradshaw. I know that I’m not as glamorous/old as Sarah Jessica Parker, but I hope—for just a moment—I was your Carrie Bradshaw. I hope that my angst was your angst in this moment, and that you could see me slow-spinning in a tulle skirt right now.

Me @ myself

Me @ myself

I find inspiration in writers—even fictional ones like Carrie. I love my Sloane Crosleys, my Tina Feys, my Ryan O’Connells. But I love one writer even more than I love all my idols. I love myself. So while y’all are great—previously mentioned writers—I will rise like a phoenix above all of you, but if—in the meantime—you could help me out with a connection or an internship or just spit in my face quickly, that would be awesome. Let me, readers, be your new literary best friend. Not your real best friend, because I’m a lot to handle. Also that’s a lot of commitment, and I’m not looking for anything serious right now.

Signing off now, your very own Carrie Bradshaw, your very own “Sad and the Pity.”

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