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Memoirs of an e-girl.
Fear and posting in Los Angeles🌴📱
Well well well: if it isn’t me still being jobless. I’ve been on the hunt for weeks now (maybe months!) and still, I am not a copywriter at a startup trying to disrupt the whatever industry. It’s probably for the best, I’ve narrowly avoided working on things that aren’t ‘what if we changed the way pet fish eat?’ but do sound scarily close. My recent bout of unemployment was a total choice, though, stemming from a stressful summer and wedding-planning circa 2021. I thought I didn’t want to do copy as a job anymore, but now I think I’m just tired of doing it on my own: I want a regular paycheck that just shows up and paid holidays and time to chill. I crave the comforting monotony of talking to the same co-workers over and over, as opposed to my current freelance situation of wooing new wealthy benefactors on the regular. The gig economy! I’m gigged the fuck out.
Being unemployed now reminds me of my unemployed-then times, those days of yore in Los Angeles spent doing jack shit and stressing endlessly about it.
“You just don’t have to write it,” my then-boyfriend would say. I’d be cowering in our shared apartment, avoiding my laptop and the missed calls from a rapper-who-won’t-be-named’s publicist. I’d interviewed him and was supposed to write it up for GQ, but I couldn’t do it. I dodged every attempt to get me to do it. I was extremely depressed and incredibly broke. I’ll never forget this one quote from the interview, him talking about how much Minnie Ripperton inspired him as a vocalist—I thought about it every single day and I never wrote it down. I was a full-time writer-who-doesn’t-write. I think I’ll always be that at heart, even when I’m not.
Me in fishnets taking a selfie in the bathroom of some rich person’s house during a product launch for a vape, me hiding in the bathroom while then-boyfriend was aux cord DJing with (seriously) John Mayer the night before the Women’s March, me in an orange wig for no reason at all—these are the contents of my private ‘finsta’ account that I downloaded at some point before I forgot the password and lost access to it. Why did I need a second private Instagram? For my ego, I suppose. I think I torpedoed my Instagram and Twitter with less than 35K collective followers between the two, really not much of a public figure or a persona. And yet, I hid. I would’ve been better off baring it all: less faux-sanctimony posting in 2016 and more “does anyone have **** at Los Globos tn?” tweeting blatantly on the timeline, asterisks omitted.
I don’t miss how I felt, but I do miss the aimlessness. And I regret not just getting a job as a waitress, barback, nanny, whatever would allow me to leave work as work and keep writing as writing—I could’ve kept the fun all the same and the rest of my life less stressful.
What did I do with my time, where did it go? I watched a lot of television, I took my clothes off for friends photoshoots for free. I tweeted about drinking water, I tweeted ‘it’s knife month’ because a teenager in Louisiana said so. I tweeted about my UTIs and a brand of UTI prevention drink powder sent me some for free. I once laid inside an empty fish tank at the Standard hotel and scrolled on my phone while surrounded by blue and pink lighting and fake flowers and ogled by onlookers for a friend’s installation. I showed up for shows, I traded drink tickets and sipped free vodka sodas in the back of endless nights at the Satellite, RIP. I was in a Taking Back Sunday music video and I interviewed the lead singer and actually finished the piece and filed it and he got mad at me when it came out even thought he grabbed me by the shoulders when I left the shoot and said, “Crissy, you are an empathetic interviewer.” I posted and posted and posted and posted and wrote a sentence here and there, if I was lucky.
Guilt was a common theme, of course. I posted a lot about the death of a friend, about mental health and desperation. On this, too, I could’ve been more bleak and honest: I did feel guilty, not as blameless as I portrayed myself to feel. I sublimated all the survivor’s guilt into a mission to get all of Los Angeles into therapy (a true mission impossible, honey!) and covered up my stressed out skin with infinite amounts of Fenty highlighter. The latter was a more effective coping mechanism.
“Do you have any social media?” an interviewer asks me and I answer that no, I don’t, and I think back to a time when you could see where I was, what I was thinking, who I loved online. I think that time is over. People still post but it’s different, less frenetic and real and more polished and marketable. I feel nostalgic for walking around Echo Park lake every day (before they fenced it off at night to keep the homeless out), spending $4.50 I didn’t have on and iced coffee to pass the time. I never wore a bra and I embraced any street harassment that came my way: I could use the boost of confidence, I thought.
Should I have monetized it, started a podcast or an Onlyfans on which I kept my clothes on? Probably, but I wasn’t all that enterprising. I’m still not. I suppose now that I don’t have some public way to share my aimlessness and my angst, I feel tender towards the time when I did, when I was in my 20s and potential was all I was, but I felt like I had none. It’s someone else’s Internet now, honey.