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  • Kristie

Dear self: Suck it up, Buttercup

Last year and change ago, I was one of the tens of thousands of people affected by the shutdown. My job at the time was deemed essential and therefore, I continued going to work with no immediate prospect of getting paid. To make extra money to pay the rent that I was ensured by my beastly overlords would be collected on time, I taught extra barre classes and took desk shifts at weird hours at a wonderful, supportive DC studio. I took on weekend DJ gigs that would pump me full of bad song requests and drunk hanger-oners, and even lower grade G&Ts to get me through the 10-3am shift (ugh), as I waited to collect a $200 check at a bar which closed at 4am. This collective misery would eventually destroy any vestige of hope I had of weekend unfettered, uninterrupted, joyful sleep to write the cows home about. (A sleep so real and encumbering that it rightfully ends in a dangling preposition.)


That was just one month of my life. A month in which I was free to go out and make money, to supplant lost income. A month in which I could commiserate often, in person, with others caught up in the same craptastic reality, at my favorite tavern. Touching wasn´t forbidden.


My then-self cannot even imagine what I would have done if this had gone on for months, as we had originally anticipated might well happen. I suppose I would have gone ¨beast mode¨ and crushed it with more DJ gigs, more barre classes. My veins would have coursed with G&T instead of blood. (Maybe I could have become a famous, but mediocre DJ from Florida like Jason Mendoza!) However, my natural response to life after that month showed me just what a teet-sucking, predictable Type-A species I truly am, deep down inside :)


EPILOGUE: I got paid again about six weeks later, almost in time to make rent (!!).


It was like night and day; in frozen January, I was working my butt off and ¨learning lessons¨ of a hard-knock life, what joy! Having amazing conversations with everyone who was struggling, too, and tasting a teensy, tiny iota of a ¨real¨ struggle. But when it all culminated in a single, then double (!!) paycheck, I was immediately over being a single dog mom in the city in which I was living. I was ready to leave, to do whatever I could to avoid another close encounter with the grim reaper approaching my door seeking a rent payment I could not afford.


(Side note: I always thought my kryptonite was toxic men, but instead, it was staring down the barrel of a gun loaded with reality.)


That one-month struggle was so narrow and elementary compared to the potential months of economic hardship people are facing right now. People are speaking the daily truths of this COVID-19 experience in multiple forums, whilst keeping it together for their families under egregiously tough circumstances. Despite the prospect of not working; or having to show up at a job at a company which doesn´t concern about the health of its employees; or living in places where people are willfully not giving AF about getting OR infecting others with the highly infectious COVID-19, so many people are staying focused on their loved ones.


And so, I am going to suck it up. However this life and various characters have wronged me at this or that juncture, and through the sadnesses and traumas I am still working through, I am walking, still strong. I feel it is necessary to reach out to all the cool people who helped me with a word, a gig, or a cool attitude, and say- can I help? Or, at least find their patreon page and get to know the cool things they continue to do to make the world habitable.






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