I know I said I would write the day after my last post but it turns out I’m an unreliable narrator.
But also it was a weird day Tuesday. I went to my therapist’s office in Queens to finally get off the meds I was prescribed last year when I had a weird mental breakdown. Thankfully, I am much better today – not nearly as much anxiety plus the added knowledge that everyone has breakdowns/is on Zoloft/cries a lot, or so a lot of people have told me after i wrote about it last year.
I also had my first UCB Improv 201 class – which felt strange. Strange like the first day of 7th grade when you’re in a different homeroom and a different seat and you keep thinking the person next to you is someone else.
It’s a very energetic class, it’s no longer 101 “Hey – maybe I’ll try this improv thing out” it’s now 201 “I have a specific plan here,” – everyone seems a bit more intense. So far I have made “friends” with a girl from Turkey here on a student visa, a dude from San Francisco who works for Google and an Irish girl who just graduated law school. This class is also interesting because it’s about 4 guys to 12 girls, whereas 101 was almost the exact opposite. But even from just the first class I can tell that everyone’s humor is vastly different – so it looks promising, I’ll let you know how it goes.
So back to the me-quitting-my-job-thing. For the past 9 months, I have been working as a freelance acquisitions operator for Fox News. This basically meant that I fixed up and catalogued videos that go to air. It had a lot of great perks, such as I could kind of set my own schedule and all the free Swiss Miss hot cocoa I wanted!
I also got a lot of experience cold-calling people since like 60% of the job is answering calls from affiliates or calling affiliates. I became proficient in pretending like I knew what I was talking about – also in calming down people who were angry at me. I also got really good at brushing off the angry ranting of the dudes (yes, all dudes) in the department. In the beginning I would feel like shit when I would accidentally put a video to the wrong aspect ratio or if I took an extra 5 seconds to think – by the end, it just rolled right off. I want to thank Fox for giving me a thicker skin in the face of unstable pugnaciousness.
But the hotheads who live in the control room I worked in would scream and yell, not in a constructive way like “THE ASPECT IS 16 BY 9!” but instead “WHY WOULD YOU THINK TO PUT IT ANYTHING BUT 16 BY 9?” which the only answer they wanted to hear was, “because I’m an idiot.” It was nine months of sitting in a dark, cold, loud room – watching Fox and Friends and getting berated. It was boring and repetitive – and even if there was some upward mobility, the only way up was Fox and I still wasn’t set on actively contributing to such a terrible news network (besides from Shepard Smith. I have fallen in love with Shep and I will never not love that sassy Mississippian). There were some quiet days and occasional friendly moments with my other coworkers but I’m not sorry to go, I don’t think I made the wrong choice by leaving and even if I didn’t know what I would be doing next, I would have left at some point very very soon.
Staying at Fox would have been safe, finding a job at a local Jewish newspaper would also be safe, I’m more than qualified. I became a journalist when I was 15. I wrote a small article for the Jewish Week calling for teenagers to not drink on the holiday Purim and instead have mocktails or play games (funny, this coming from a girl who just a few years later would have to be carried back from a party to her dorm room at 2 am on Purim 2010).
For almost 10 years I wrote about artists and criminals and scientists and protestors. I love hearing people’s stories and I love writing about people in a way that is funny and honest. But throughout these years writing about others, a small part of me knew I was doing it because I would never be interesting enough to be the one to be interviewed. I would think “I love theater, I’ll write theater reviews” and not “I’ll create theater or I’ll act in theater,” it was “Who’s creating an amazing new invention or social justice program?,” and not “What can I make to help people?”
I’m not saying that journalists are not important or necessary – they are and I’ve met some amazing, noble and honest news writers. I’m saying that I’ve conditioned myself to believe that I only deserved to be on the outside looking in. It’s time for me to try being on the inside. It’s time for me to be the one taking the risks and not the one writing about others’. I might fail and it might be a disaster but at least it’s my failure and a new interesting disaster.
Either way, it has to be better than sitting in the dark and the cold, listening to Brian Kilmeade’s terrible laugh over and over.