The English Major
Oh the struggle...
It was the itchy, black dress slacks. It was the name tag with all capital letters. The Zzzzzzz-ing of a computer screen that read: 1 GALLON MILK. EGGS. BREAD LOAF. The sound of automated voice messaging systems during every lunch break. The complaints of senile senior citizens about their smashed bread. It was eight dollars an hour. It was slavery. And so the part time jobs and social niceties continue while gnawing inside me is this constant desire to return to that blissful solitude of home, with a cup of coffee and a keyboard in front of me. I wait all day for the moment when I'm finally able to write until my fingers tire. In a secluded living room. In absolute silence. Just for a moment however fleeting, I belong to me.
The older I get the more I'm torn away from that burning desire to sequester myself in my thoughts through writing and everyone calls this woeful departure from that which I really love, "reality". Isn't reality, yet another social construct in a society where uniformity is praised and doing things for the love of doing them often results in alienation, criticization and/or poverty? In the Journals, Thoreau empathizes with his readers plight and I found myself drawn to his words.
"You cannot serve two masters. It requires more than a day's
devotion to know and to possess the wealth of a day."
The struggle to maintain the balance between societal expectation and my natural inclination to pursue the penniless passion of being a writer is not my struggle alone; but one that has been shared by the geniuses and the anonymous lovers of words as a whole, for decades, centuries, ages. In attempting to serve two masters, that of which I love and that of which is expected of me, I find myself torn quite often and unable to invest all my energy into my passion while continuing to carry out the work of an automaton at a local grocery store. Is this life or is this self-imposed slavery? Through his words Thoreau supplied me with my answer; "you must get your living by loving", which is precisely what I intend to do, as a broke but completely happy English major student.