Here’s how …

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Photo by LOGAN WEAVER on Unsplash

2017 was a shit year.

It wasn’t the worst ever, but it was a pretty bad year. I had just finished graduate school at the very end of 2016 and was having a hard time finding a full-time job. The journalism industry was disintegrating before my very eyes, I was putting in $75 to $100 per freelance gig, I was still living with my family, and an emergency room visit that January cleaned out more than half of my savings.

Being able to make some money during a tough year is not something to sniff at. I worked really hard for those $16k. Some of those dollars came from all-nighters transcribing other people’s audio for the minimum wage (which at the time was around $13), but… for New York City, that’s not nearly enough money to do a whole lot. I couldn’t even afford to live on my own. I was lucky enough to live with family and split up costs for food and other necessities, but it was tough. …


It’s kept me alive during COVID

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Photo by Nathan Dumlao on Unsplash

COVID came in a like a lion into my life and took a lot. A job, an apartment, several community members, a relative, my ability to go to my grandfather’s funeral, and more. It’s been crappy.

The first month after being laid off in mid-March, I knew I had to organize myself and create different streams of income. I emailed and got on phone calls with people to inquire about work and began to apply to different gigs.

Finding work has been hectic and just as horrible as you can imagine job searching has been during this pandemic. Thanks to that, I’ve had to lean on freelance gigs and projects in order to make as much money as I can. As of this past few months, I’ve been able to make an extra $1,000. …


IDK why I subscribed to hustle culture…

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Photo by Kinga Cichewicz on Unsplash

I know that I’m not lazy. I work several jobs. I do my best to clean and workout several times a week. I contribute as much as I can to my household and I (sometimes) blog here.

But ever since the beginning of the pandemic… I’ve needed many naps. I sometimes plan micro-naps in the evening or on the weekends in order to get through my day. It’s frustrating to think that I used to be able to pull all-nighters and work more than one job and pretend that I was perfectly fine. But a week without naps often leave me with ringing in my ears, dizziness, migraines, disorientation, and other random things like body aches and extra stress. It’s annoying — and painful. …


Red flags… and more.

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Photo by Marten Bjork on Unsplash

The first day of all of my jobs starts the same. I’m overwhelmed, I shake hands with dozens of people, I try to memorize names and I try to learn where the bathrooms are. I usually shake on my way to the office and I’m full of anticipation and adrenaline. And on top of all that, on those first days, I feel exceedingly grateful.

Trying to make it in the media/journalism industry, I know how precarious my presence is. This is an industry that is hemorrhaging jobs, where people like me are the last hired and the first fired. …


Slack messages & virtual happy hours

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Photo by Andrew Neel on Unsplash

When I applied for the social justice fellowship at Girst, I was just a little over a month into being unemployed. I had slowly begun to recover from some medical issues and I finally had enough strength to sit up and send out my application after a friend looked at it.

Several video interviews later, I was called by my now editor who confirmed that I was selected for the fellowship. My hands shook when I accepted the offer in an email. I didn’t go through the usual routine that I leaned on with other job acceptances. …


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Photo by Niklas Herrmann on Unsplash

I moved back in with my family soon after COVID-19 hit New York City. It is and isn’t an ideal set up. The WiFi is kind of slow, I live with my parents, my older sister, my cousin and his wife, and my mom runs a daycare downstairs. But buying food is easier here now that I’m part of a unit versus buying everything myself. I no longer have to make every single meal that I eat because half of the time breakfast or lunch is a plate of food that someone at home hands to me.

On the other hand, Caribbean family members is that there is absolutely no privacy. But I have been able save money. I haven’t made as much money as I did before the pandemic when I had a salaried job, but I am luckily making some money and I’m glad to continue to slowly grow my savings account. Not by a lot, but I can’t believe that I can actually save some money during a global health crisis and economic meltdown. …


A post health emergency recovery journey

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Photo by Kalen Emsley on Unsplash

Earlier this March, gyms in NYC were shutting down due to the looming shelter in place rules. I looked up at-home workouts, figured out where in my tiny apartment I could do stretches and lunges, and dug up my resistance bands from my closet.

Weeks later, I was laid off from my full-time job, had to move back home, and I tried to figure out a workout schedule. I began to speed walk or jog two or three miles in the morning or I’d do a workout video. …


Be polite, but ask questions…

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Photo by Camylla Battani on Unsplash

The only real lesson I learned from a lot of the adults around me about hard work was to put my head down, work hard, do what I have to do, and to be polite to everyone around me. It’s not bad advice. Being a decent co-worker or intern and doing as much work as you can goes a long way and it’s probably kept me employed at gigs were I was an obvious amateur at what I was doing. …


Race, the environment, and disposing of my PPE

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I wear a mask and gloves at least once every day. Sometimes I wear those to go outside for a food run or errand run. Other times I wear them to change my bandages from a procedure that involved drains and having gauze shoved into me every day. But after a few uses, sometimes after one use, I throw those gloves out. And every time they fall into my trash bin, I wonder where they’ll be going.

Last year, I began to write about environmental justice for various publications, including The Nation and The Mujerista. Both publications gave me the opportunity to look at different angles of environmental justice including race, the youth movement, and protesters in developing nations. …


Thoughts on body image, indoor exercise, and self-acceptance

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Photo by Siora Photography on Unsplash

Most gyms in NYC began closing down in early to mid-March. At first, I was a little worried. I love my gym, I love the burn I feel after a work out session, and I love feeling like I did something productive. I rationalized that I could work out on the floor of my tiny living room and jog in the early morning since there are fewer people outside.

But then, I had fluid trapped under my skin; I had to have an emergency procedure to have my drain inserted and dressings changed every single day by nurses. …

About

Angely Mercado

Native NYer. Freelance writer in The Nation, Teen Vogue, The New York Times, Vice & more. Hire me: amercado92@gmail.com

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