We’re all in doors and rewatching things we’ve seen a million times. I kid you not, I was watching A Bug’s Life for probably the 12th time in my post-college adult life and was wincing and flinching at the climax when the grasshoppers returned to the ant hill because it makes me so anxious. I had started watching Get A Clue because it had popped up on Disney+ and I love a Disney throwback and I love a Lindsey Lohan throwback. Even then she was a chaotic good. I don’t remember much about the movie besides it making me want to become a spy and asking my parents for binoculars for Christmas. But in the movie she was a writer, and as a writer myself, and hence narcissist, I found myself longing for more media to consume about writers a la Sex and the City and GIRLS. I looked up shows about writers and saw “The Bold Type.”
It was described as a more modern Sex and the City so I was immediately intrigued. I remembered being bombarded with commercials for it back when it was first premiering, but being turned off by the short clips in the ads.
I was pleasantly surprised by the first episode. Sure, it’s kind of corny and goes over the top with the Ruth Bader Ginsburg tote bag vibes, but I don’t hate it so far.
It’s about three friends that started off as assistants at a women’s magazine and working up the ladder. In the first episode, one of the assistants is promoted to writer. And at first, I found myself questioning my own choices and circumstances. Why was I working in a fundraising firm out in the suburbs of Virginia while these girls (I still don’t know there names lol) were in their sleek fancy Manhattan office getting paid to write about heartbreak and lesbians?
And obviously, that situation has its perks. Imagine being paid by a magazine to basically be a glorified blogger, and write articles about cyber stalking your ex boyfriend, and go to ritzy celebrity-laden galas. Don’t get me wrong — my job has perks for days, and I love my company. But growing up, I always thought I’d end up in New York working in fashion. I remember in one of my classes freshman or sophomore year in college, one of my professors asked me where I saw myself in 5 years. I said “aspirationally, Meryl Streep’s character in the Devil Wears Prada but more realistically, Anne Hathaway’s character.”
I will always love fashion and I will always love New York. Sometimes I miss them a lot, and wonder if I did the right thing when I changed my major and started focusing on politics.
I’m passionate about my beliefs. But the political world can just be so demoralizing. It’s not the long hours or the fast pace that wears me down, it’s the negativity. It’s the self serving, egotistical nature of the game. It’s the cyclical screaming matches and grand standing where substantive and respectful debate SHOULD be.
When I first started watching the Bold Type, I felt an all engulfing, subtle fomo about the life I could have had as a writer in New York, working in fashion, and being the person 16 year old me always thought I would be.
But it wore off. Because I realized that even though it doesn’t always feel like it, I’m exactly where I’m supposed to be, doing exactly what I’m supposed to do — or pretty close to it.
I don’t write articles or blog posts for a living — and that’s actually great for me. Because I care a lot about my blog. It’s really important to me. It’s cost me friendships and I’m sure it’s cost me opportunities. But it’s mine. It’s MY outlet to use as I see fit. And at the end of the day, I want my best work going here, where I have full creative autonomy — not to some editor that’s going to butcher it, filet it, and burn it to a crisp.
I have a job now where every day presents a new creative challenge that I have to solve. It’s frustrating, and it’s exhausting, and not every day is some grande artistic journey, but it’s good for me. It’s taught me new, marketable, lucrative skills that allow me to use my natural talents without taking anything from my blog.
Sometimes, I think it would be good for me to have an editor giving me back red lines that I absolutely hate, but I’ve done that. I’ve sent my work to outlets and seen it completely diluted — an empty shell of what it once was. I ask my friends for feedback sometimes, but it’s really important to me to have the final say when it comes to my work.
Sometimes, I think it would be good for me to have strict, pressing deadlines for thinkpieces and blog content. It would challenge me, and drive me to my next level of production. And I’m working to be more consistent with my blog. But I need freedom and flexibility to thrive creatively. I need structure too — and I’m doing what I can to add it. But real inspiration — real creative evolution — takes time. And I’d rather take my time crafting pieces I can be proud of than churning out trash hot takes because I have to meet a due date.
I’m not going to downplay or belittle New York or fashion. I love them both so, so much. But I don’t think I’m supposed to be in New York or work in fashion or write my kind of content for other people. I think I’m supposed to be exactly where I am now. Living in Arlington, schmoozing in DC and working in suburbia.
I’m not trying to encourage anyone to make faulty rationalizations about where they are in life. If you aren’t happy, make the changes you need. But the life you actually have, and actually need can be so much better for you than the life you thought you wanted. And I wrote this blog post because it’s so easy to forget that, and only look at what you never had with rose colored glasses while taking all your blessings for granted.