THE SIDE HUSTLE
I look at myself in the mirror and sigh grumpily. I look tired. Of course I look tired, I'm always tired. Usually grumpy too.
I cannot seem to shake the overarching general tiredness, it's like it's become a part of who I am at my core now. Maybe I'm losing my mind a little. It would make sense.
"Get more sleep, stop drinking so much caffeine, turn off electronics" - look I hear you saying these things, and I want to tell you to fuck off. During the day, I go to my full time 'regular' job at a tech company. It's not an overly strenuous job, I'm not going to lie and tell you that it stresses me out, because most of the time it doesn't. But it's still 40 hours a week.
Once I get home after this job, I switch my brain to my other job. I attempt to write articles, essays, and posts that make people laugh or that people can resonate with, or I attempt to carry on with the process of trying to write my book. I try so hard to be as funny as I can be, because laughter and shares are like crack to me.
Will people share this on twitter? I don't know.
Yesterday I saw a post that was literally an ode to how much some girl wanted to fuck channing tatum get shared 50,000 times. EVERYONE would fuck him, this isn't groundbreaking blogging here girl.
I try to figure out what my niche is, what part of my writing I can push the hardest to ever make this an actual career. Sitting with a beer or yet again, a caffeinated beverage, I read other blogs and essays and make myself feel worse. Panic and anxiety sets in because, FUCK I need to actually post things so I can get views, so I can make a small pittance of money to buy more coffee and beer.
Sometimes I get a bit drunk and write because, fuck it, maybe I'm funnier drunk. I think I am anyway.
Balancing what is being called "The Side Hustle", is apparently taking over millennial existence at its core. You have your job that pays the bills and buys the beer, then you have the job you REALLY love in your free time. If you're part of the small percentage that ever makes actual money from your side hustle, then bravo. I salute you, because you're competing against basically every other twenty something in your social circle.
I realise, talking to my flatmate, that everyone I know lives a double life. We live in the generation of possibility, the jobs we want didn't exist ten, or even five years ago. It's in no way uncommon for me to meet someone and ask what they do, and they say "I run a blog" or "I run a snapchat for a corporate company". It's ridiculous and excessive, somewhat affluent, yet normal. What does a corporate need with snapchat anyway? Dog filters don't exactly go well with insurance salesmen.
My flatmate works two jobs, one retail, and one in media. She then spends her free time working on her own site, writing, and filling her time with obligations for her paid jobs. So, three jobs at age 21.
Free time is not a thing anymore.
Inspirational posts and blogs fill my instagram, facebook, and twitter feeds. They tell you to 'Hustle hard', "Good things come to those who work hard" and other slightly aggressive, workaholic prose. I suck them in and fill my brain with motivation. Everyone must put in the hard yards to get to where they want to be.
Instagram quotes will be the death of me I think.
Should I be working harder? Are all these people succeeding more than me because they try harder, stay up later, make more connections?
Getting paid is another thing. Waiting on a pile of overdue invoices for minuscule amounts is common, but it's the thing you need so you can clutch on to the title of "Freelancer" or "Professional" - its the validation you crave. Being offered promo, or "exposure" is like a slap to the face but if thats all that's being offered, maybe we all become masochists.
It's a weird game of "How desperate am I".
Coffee is literally a food group. A vast majority of the creatives I know, the writers, the journos, the comedians, the actors and singers - our lives revolve around late nights, crippling anxiety, creative blocks, and talking about work. And because we spend the week balancing two lives, it of course ends up with the inevitable weekend blowout - where we drink and smoke and fuck copiously because I am so RIDDLED with stress and panic about my future, I need the distraction.
Every date I go on, they ask me "Will you write about this? Ha ha." But the truth is, yeah I probably will at some point mate because my life is my meal ticket.
Every night I choose to sit down and watch How To Get Away With Murder or some other trash with my flatmates, is another night I waste not trying to further my side career. I get thrown by guilt immediately, and then stay up till 2 or 3am trying to get SOMETHING done so the night wasn't a waste.
Then I wake up and see someone on my timeline announcing another viral success of their work. It starts again.
Can we ever win? I know I genuinely enjoy my side hustle, or else I wouldn't bother. Or maybe I'm a masochist. But is this the life I have signed up for, by choosing writing as my career goal. Even if I ever make it my full time job, will the anxiety, the stress, the self doubt go away? Likely not.
The side hustle is a heart breaking thing. It will literally try and rip you apart from the seams, and we appear to wear that as a badge of honour.
The bags under my eyes are so puffy.
I need a coffee.