Girlbossing is dead, but what does that mean?
i. on ambition & gender
At the beginning of last year, I had very ambitious plans for 2021. I wanted to write a book proposal, find a full-time remote job, be completely financially independent from my family, move to another country, get a dog, work on my romantic relationship, etc, etc. I was determined to get my shit together, so I looked for tips on how to make durable New Year’s resolutions, and I started 2021 with extremely good intentions.
And then, life happened. I failed my Ph.D. defense and had to spend much of the following months correcting my thesis. I was diagnosed with PTSD and had several mental breakdowns in the run-up to my diagnosis. The apartment I rented took an extra month to be delivered and my partner and I had to sleep on a wooden pallet for a few weeks. I didn’t write a book proposal because I was so tired and, frankly, incredibly disoriented by my recent life changes and the new obstacles I had to surpass. The move was more expensive than I expected. Things went wrong simply because that’s how life works, and I dealt with it well — but my resolutions were abandoned.
I was halfway through writing this post as a reflection on New Year’s resolutions and how they push us to make impossible plans for the upcoming year for no reason. But then, I realized there was one very pressing reason for me to work hard and aim high: I needed financial stability so I could live the life I want to live. I wanted a book proposal so I could raise my freelance rates so I could pay for the basics of my life (rent and bills) and non-basic stuff too (a trip to the movies, weekly therapy, a psychiatrist). I wanted a full-time job so I wouldn’t have to piece together an income from various different publications. I wanted the five years I gave to academia to actually amount to something material, something that would make me feel more secure in an unpredictable and low-paying job market.
These reasons are not nothing; they are real issues most people come across in their lives. How will I survive? And once I figured that out, I found it exhausting, so the next question was: how will I make survival easier on me? How can I feed myself and pay rent sustainably? The options are few: a job, a book deal, freelancing…