hy: the jumpy insides of my head

“But what if we make a better world for nothing?”
– Some stupid climate change denier

“But what if I’m doing the best I can for nothing?”
– Me, when shit hits the fan

The only difference between the climate change denier and me is that I lack the obvious evidence for a better future. Or maybe I’m not that different, seeing as I can’t imagine myself living a purposeful life outside of this country. Sounds a bit silly and depressing.

Most days I’m caught up in a fierce internal monologue performed by my two selves: the hopeless one that likes to plant debilitating thoughts in my head and the dumb perky one that’s allowed me to come this far in blind faith. If the former wins, I’m unproductive, sad, and impulsive. When dumb and perky prevails, I’m doing the #undocuhustle, #undocuexcellence, or whatever hip undocumented overachievers say these days.

Being undocumented doesn’t help me reach some otherwise unattainable level on a scale of mental robustness. If anything, it allows me to neurotically bounce up and down two extremes at a greater frequency than most folks can. I am as resilient as I am sensitive. My self-talk reflects that.

Lately I’ve been telling a lot of people about my destructive work ethics. I have to work all the time, as hard as I can, and achieve results. I set many unreal expectations for myself because I feel like the real world often doesn’t accept my efforts even if I exceed expectations. And I constantly remind myself, “You have to do X and be Y, because you don’t want to give them another reason to reject you.” When I fail, I tell myself, “Who will want someone like you?

By virtue of my status I am already less than deserving. I feel the pressure to be perfect because I have to prove to others I am worth something.

But I know I’m seriously mistaken to think my problems can be solved by just working hard. Meritocracy is a tempting idea.

It’s funny because I give workshops on the myth and dangers of meritocracy. I teach people how we need to tackle entire institutions to solve these systemic issues. I’m a hypocrite.

But I’m running out of time!

Yes, I know, but time is all relative.

Choices by Nikki Giovanni

if i can’t do
what i want to do
then my job is to not
do what i don’t want
to do

it’s not the same thing
but it’s the best i can

if i can’t have
what i want then
my job is to want
what i’ve got
and be satisfied
that at least there
is something more
to want

since i can’t go
where i need
to go then i must go
where the signs point
though always understanding
parallel movement
isn’t lateral

when i can’t express
what i really feel
i practice feeling
what i can express
and none of it is equal
i know
but that’s why mankind
alone among the animals
learns to cry