i dream of being possible

internalizing failure

Thinking, again, how I’m dismal failure as far as a ‘career’ is concerned. Thinking about how I still struggle with internalizing that failure. Capitalism tells me that my worth is tied to my productivity. Culture tells me that a career is how my life obtains meaning and fulfillment. It also tells me that this is all about what I did and did not do. That my failure is personal, individual, about me only. And so I internalize it. And it eats away at my self-esteem. It depresses me and fills me with despair and hopelessness.

Ppl who’ve been following my writing for a while will know that since graduating library school, I’ve been looking for full-time work. I quit searching over a year ago as it became clear that it was Never Going to Happen (for a lot of different reasons). They’ll also know that I’ve written many a rant about job searching advice and about the structural issues surrounding employment and hiring. I’ve cited articles, studies, data supporting the facts that many different structural issues come to bear on the whole process.

And yet… here I am, still internalizing my failure.

Sure, I’m getting better at it. But its still a work in progress. I know I’ve elsewhere listed the various structural issues that marginalize me within the whole employment, career success thing. Beyond what I did or did not do, I am inextricably bound to my social context. Which means that I have to navigate multiple marginalizations in order to ‘succeed’. Barriers which, at the end of it all, proved to be too much for me.

Its not (entirely) my fault. Or is it?

And as I continue to struggle with this, I think about all the other ppl like me (in the sense of being multiply marginalized) who’ve also all failed. Because, given the society I live in, most of us are failing. That’s literally the whole fucking point of oppression – we can never win. People who succeed are the exceptions, not the rule. Look at any employment data for people who share one or more of my marginalized identities.

Employment for trans women is dismal. Employment for trans women of colour is even worse. Employment for disabled people is awful. Employment for people of colour is dicey. Employment for women is okay-ish but not really.

It isn’t hard to find information on all of this. There are a lot of ‘us’ who are failing. But of course. We aren’t actually failing since this is actually whats supposed to happen. We aren’t meant to succeed within a system designed to oppress us. I can’t even really say that the system is failing us. Not when this is the intended result.

And yet… here I am, still internalizing my failure.