for your reading pain

here are two things i read recently that gave me an emotion; you may also feel an emotion as well.

motherless by choice“, by katie naum

There is no easy way to say, “I’m estranged from my mother.” It’s even harder to say, “I’ve cut my mother out of my life,” clarifying that you are the one who has severed the bond. Say it to anyone, friend or stranger, and a certain light you hadn’t even noticed fades from their eyes, every time. Smiles falter or grow forced. Mothers give so much to their children that a justification for estrangement must be staggering: some monstrous abuse that outweighs all the love and self-sacrifice inherent in parenting. Only someone selfish and heartless could cut off a mother who loved them — right?

strike with the band“, by kate wagner

One day, around the beginning of my junior year of college, it occurred to me that I wasn’t going to make it. I had already developed carpal tunnel and tendonitis from years of improper violin technique taught to me by my rural music teachers. I was out of money to go to festivals, and I had no way of making lasting, important connections in a field where who you know matters more than anything else. I had no serious job prospects, nor any hope for job prospects. At work one night, the falseness of the “work hard and you will succeed” ethic washed over me: the truth was the music world was a two-tiered system, and I was in the second chair. Hungover, in the comfort of a dark recording booth, I began to cry. Few things are as life altering as realizing your preferred life is unalterably a fucked impossibility.

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  1. gah these are both good and also I love Kate Wagner and feel the anger in this one both on a personal “all I want to do in life are things that I just straight up Can’t” and also the anti-capitalist level (“…Moore describes how entrepreneurial rhetoric “codifies and normalizes the radical growth of temporary or unstable labor conditions in every sector of the American economy . . . [and] valorizes the particular precariousness of musical labor.” ” BIG OOF, my dude, like, not just musical labor, damn…)

    1. yeah, that whole article was a huge punch in the stomach. i like — honestly try not to think about it, a lot of the end of college was a mess for me for a dozen reasons, but — i was so desperate to eke out a life in music for myself, i tried SO hard, and there was just — absolutely no way to do it! not for me! i guess it’s good i realized before getting out there and just getting crushed, but — i just wish i could still participate in music at all, you know? like, there’s stuff i do and i can do, but i also know, bone-deep, that nothing i can do now is ever going to touch what i used to be able to do, and even THAT was fundamentally: failure.

      i think it’s uniquely bad for music (and even more so for ballet, which tbh at this point i think it’s unethical to encourage people to go into professional dance), but — yeah, i fucking hate how much ~being an entrepreneur~ has become popular to disguise how precarious every industry and career increasingly is!

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