Mask On, Mask Off

Are we in trouble?

No, this is not a post about a global pandemic and the efficacy of masks. This is a matter of showing up authentically versus the forced masking we do to be a cog in the capitalist machine.

For many, we may have a “customer service” voice we use when at our jobs, but when 5 p.m. rolls around, that voice and cheery demeanor is nowhere to be found.

We check out, drive home, make dinner and enjoy a potential 4 hours or less to decompress from a workday that challenged us, overstimulated our nervous systems or tested our patience. Who are we beyond the jobs we do every day?

It’s physically and emotionally exhausting. We pretend or push ourselves past a breaking point for a paycheck only to spend that paycheck on rent, car payments, medical bills, student loans, child care…the list goes on. What are we truly living for? What are we striving for?

The American Dream cannot be living paycheck to paycheck. It cannot be $400 per month student loan payments or $900 in child care costs. We live in a society designed to benefit corporations, not people. Profits are always more important than people and the sooner people realize that the United States is a business and we are merely clocking into the United States of the Overworked, Underappreciated and Underpaid, maybe we can finally take some steps improve our quality of life.

We should be able to take mental health days at our jobs without fear of repercussions, to care for a sick child or parent without having to use PTO and worrying if we have enough to last us a year.

We shouldn’t be living just to be able to pay rent or go further into debt with a mortgage. When did we veer so far off course that we had to sacrifice our humanness and trade it in for a clownish, plastic smile with an Amazon Prime account?

Maybe I am in the minority, but to me, that isn’t what gets me out of bed in the morning. I don’t think Jeff Bezos needs more money. I am a dopamine-challenged individual who wants to show up authentically in all areas of my life, but find that harder to do each day in increasingly bleak times. Some days, all I do is stay in bed. Others, I must put on a face I don’t recognize and go seize the day, conquer Excel spreadsheets for my boss to review.

As 2022 creeps closer and closer and many of us are still processing the lost year of 2020, I hope we can create more change, love one another more, release our shoulders from our ears and find joy in a system designed to take that from us in favor of a few dollars.

Signed,

A Stressed Millennial

*Where have I been for over a month and a half? Crawling out of my hermit shell and emerging, looking around for five minutes and crawling right back into said shell*.

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