Minor Stressors

Happy Friday, world! It is I, Tori of Tori Dot Gov, and I want to tell you here and now that if you ever find someone else typing merrily away on this government-sponsored website, chase them down with a pitchfork, because this is MY SPACE TO SHINE. MINE.

Why yes, I will take a refill of that coffee, thank you.

The world very well may be collapsing around us, but I have never been one to fiddle while Rome burns. I do not take delight in chaos. No. Like a deep sea creature, I turn inward, focusing instead on the tiny grain of sand that is irritating my tender fins. I zoom in. I double down. I get petty.

In the spirit of solipsism, here’s a list of things that are stressing me out.

Deadlines of all shapes and sizes.

Oh, you guys. When will I learn? WHEN WILL I LEARN? I recently slashed my hours at an editing job from 30+/week to 15ish, because I wanted more time to pitch and write freelance articles. ALMOST IMMEDIATLEY after achieving that dream, sending out pitches, and getting some of them accepted, I remembered the truly terrible thing about freelance writing: the constant low-grade sense that you are falling behind on not one editor’s deadline, but TEN THOUSAND EDITORS’ DEADLINES. Do the math. That is ten thousand angry editors coming at you with pitchforks. QED, that is TEN THOUSAND PITCHFORKS.

Grants.

I have never gotten a grant for anything in my life. This is probably because I am always stretching the truth on my grant applications (“I have a team of trained theater professionals ready and waiting to build the set,” I write, figuring that if I do get the grant I will just force my brothers to fly out and build said set for me).

In the spirit of someone who yells “I QUIT!” just as their boss is explaining that they’re fired, I have decided that grants are an absolute scam. I mean, the money it takes to apply for grants. The time. And for a reward of what, $500? (No one wants to give writers more than $500 at a time.) Absurd. I could make $500 waitressing at a sports bar over the course of one weekend when the Blackhawks are in some sort of playoff situation. And then I could turn right around and spend that money on a sweatshirt that says “MacArthur Genius.” GOODBYE, GRANT WORLD, SEE YOU NEVER.

The accounts I now have on babycenter.com and momforum.com.

I’m looking for a few more mothers to interview for an article I’m writing, and I decided that posting in a mom forum would be a good way to get interviewees. Unfortunately, no one wants to join in the fun, AND babycenter.com made me PICK A DUE DATE in order to register. I clicked blindly and landed on May 24, 2017. The whole thing felt wrong.

Writing.

 I know that getting better at writing happens in peaks and plateaus. Sometimes you advance really quickly (like, when you literally learn the alphabet), sometimes you inch along writing the same damn “poignant ending” over and over. I feel as though I’m on a plateau right now, and I can’t get out of it because I ironically have too much to write and it’s all due too soon. I used to think that simply writing made your writing better, but now I’m not so sure. I think you also need time and mental space to think about what you’re doing and how.

Actually, scratch that, I have changed my belief system once again. Writing will make your writing better. Even bad, dashed-off writing. Doing one pushup will make you microscopically stronger, right? Unless you do it incorrectly and somehow horribly wrench a muscle and then you can’t move for weeks and meanwhile you’re losing muscle mass fast? 

The five minutes last night when I thought my computer was truly dead and I realized I hadn’t backed up my documents in months.

 Actually, file this under “true horror” and not “minor stress.” If my computer ever meets its Maker, you will find me wandering the streets, clad in my wedding dress, holding a soggy notebook, laughing madly. It will not be pretty. I am tethered to reality by this blessed piece of…plastic? (What are computers made of? Angel’s wings?)

How to Sulk

Apparently I have an easy life, because something petty happened to me recently and I broke down crying and told my boyfriend I wanted to jump off a bridge. I’m almost too embarrassed to tell you about it, because then you’ll think I’m a spoiled, arrogant, delusional fool in need of a reality check. OK, I’M A SPOILED ARROGANT DELUSIONAL FOOL IN NEED OF A REALITY CHECK. Comrades, I have officially been internet trolled, and it doesn’t feel very good.

Two days ago, this article of mine was published on Thought Catalog, and with the flushed enthusiasm of youth, I scrolled down to the comments section, hungry for praise. Any powerful female celebrity could have told me that that was a huge mistake: never read internet comments, people! My article was called “atrocious” and other adjectives that I can’t remember because I WILL NEVER LOOK AT THAT HORRIBLE COMMENTS SECTION AGAIN. The small silver lining is that I’m pretty sure all the insults were from people who took the article literally (which blows my mind: you think I’m serious when I say that one of the 10 Places You Must Go Before You Die is PASTA WITH PARMESAN? DID YOUR BRAIN FALL OUT?). But that didn’t lessen the sting.

I guess it’s human nature to be upset by negative feedback, and no one likes to hear that their BRILLIANT jokes are ATROCIOUS, but I’m still ashamed at myself for sobbing my eyes out and not laughing all the way to the bank with a gin martini in one hand and my leopard-print Louboutins dangling from the other because I’m way too cool to actually wear shoes during the daytime I just prance around like I don’t give a–hold on, this image is misleading, I didn’t actually get paid for the article. EXCEPT IN INSULTS.

To rub salt in the wound, so to speak, these comments came on the tail-end of a day that featured a lengthy emotional email exchange with a close relative, the revealing of a secret to several friends, and general sleep-deprivation. The result? Tori in the Evening: Sulky Misunderstood Self-Pitying Edition. Shockingly, though, my evening turned out to be really awesome. Why? BECAUSE I SULKED RIGHT.

Has the world beaten you down lately, beloved Freudian figment of my imagination? Here’s how you deal, baby. Here’s how you pick up your debit card and deal.

1. Get some sympathy.

Who cares how petty your grievances are? No one likes to feel alone. Make your friends take your side. You’ll feel much better.

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2. Get some perspective.

Are your loved ones in danger? Are you locked in a serial killer’s basement? Do you have any limbs missing? Is the apocalypse currently taking place? No? You’re basically fine then. I’ve found that it helps to lecture yourself until a droplet of perspective seeps into your stubborn little brain, something along the lines of This means nothing in the grand scheme of things, you’re not going to care about this in the morning, PUT DOWN THE SHOTGUN, TORI, PUT IT DOWN RIGHT NOW, STOP TRYING TO DROWN THAT KITTEN!

3. Then get some alcohol.

Dash to the nearest grocery store, preferably while wearing short-shorts and riding your bike super-fast down hills while blasting Michael Jackson. Aesthetic is everything, even in your darkest hour.

4. And also get some other delicious things.

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5. Clutching at your only true friend (A CHOCOLATE BAR), allow yourself to genuinely feel.

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6. Crawl into bed, duh. Turn on a feel-good art-house flick.

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Gnawing at your chocolate bar like a mouse, console yourself with the idea that no matter how low you sink, you will never be the author of Twilight, nor will you be incriminated in the creation of the awful gene pool that resulted in Kristen Stewart’s acting abilities. Voila! Things are looking up already.