How to Keep Blogging When the World Sucks (spoiler alert: you don’t)

If you’ve been following me long enough, you probably know that I’ve taken multiple long lapses from blogging due to Real Life problems. Most of those problems are related to the ever spiraling disaster that is the United States, and its effects on my life and the lives of my loved ones.

When I started this blog, I lived in Denmark. I lived in Denmark specifically because in 2015/2016 I saw terrifying political decisions being made that would ripple out and create awful and tragic change. At the time that this happened, I was privileged enough to be finishing my undergraduate education and I decided to use the money I had saved up by working through college to go to graduate school. I also decided I was going to go to graduate school in a foreign country, and try to stay there.

Unfortunately, nationalism had taken hold in several EU countries at the time that my applications went out and my options got more limited and more expensive by the minute as I waited for responses. Having a US passport meant some pretty negative things for me, and a lot of the rules I had to follow had been introduced as early as 2017–the year I went abroad. Throughout my time in graduate school, and the time after when I was hunting for a job to stay in Denmark, the political situation in the US got worse and the foreign response stricter. A lot of the regulations that made it difficult for me to stay in Denmark were lifted shortly after I left, and more followed once Biden was elected president.

When my attempt to emigrate to Denmark didn’t work, my partner and I moved to the US. We had a few rules to follow: nowhere he would be unsafe as an immigrant, nowhere I would be unsafe as a queer woman, nowhere that was so anti-worker that we’d never make a living. So we picked Seattle, WA. We lived in Seattle for about two and a half months before the COVID pandemic of 2020 hit.

Since moving here we have suffered incredibly long wait times in immigration–the process to get your work permit before 2017 took a matter of days to a few weeks while you awaited the processes that led to a green card. It took eighteen months of living in the US before my partner was permitted to work–sixteen of those months were a pandemic in which I couldn’t work, nor claim unemployment benefits due to my last job being in a foreign country. After I began working again, my blogging became sporadic as I dealt with working 60 hour work weeks in order to support two people against the inflation we saw in Seattle.

For every step forward there are at least four steps back. My partner got a work permit, but employers didn’t like the eighteen month work gap (despite his reasons). We couldn’t afford health insurance, couldn’t afford a car to take us to vaccination or testing sites, couldn’t afford to stay in our studio apartment, couldn’t afford to move further away from our jobs to live in more affordable housing. We couldn’t afford new clothes except when absolutely necessary, couldn’t afford to keep ourselves well fed.

We both suffered through jobs that came with low wages, terrible customers, incompetent managers, insensitive corporate offices, exhausting hours, physical labor, and mental duress. We dug ourselves out of debt, then back into it, then back out of it multiple times. We cut costs and edges wherever possible, but we still don’t have our legs under us as we face down the second big recession of our lifetimes.

Through all of that, I have struggled to keep my head above water. I started this blog because after I finished graduate school, I had a void in my life. It seemed like a void that should be filled with hobbies–like writing about the books I read. During the worst parts of lockdown, this blog was all I had to work on–and I dreamed of writing full time for work, since it was safe and more lucrative than not making anything at all. Since late 2020 I have been struggling with the balance between writing what I feel obligated to write, and writing what I want to write.

Now, as the elected officials that have failed us time and again do so once more, as civil rights for trans people, Black people, women, people in need of reproductive health, children, and more are threatened over and over again I am staring at this blog and wondering if it’s worth it.

During the protests of 2020 I did what just about everybody else did: participated in the boycotts, viewed news articles critically, shared verified information and donation funds, supported local protests, included diverse reading in my blog and added links to donation funds to my posts. For two years, so many of us have advocated for political candidates, donated to funds, voted in elections, spoken out about issues, and for what? What change has really occurred?

So, if you see me blogging, keep in mind that there’s a good chance I’m not going to be able to hold back from talking about the current events. This is no longer a blog about escapism. This is an angry blog, and an angry blogger. Already this year I’ve decided that the corporate structure of traditional capitalism doesn’t work for me–I refuse to cooperate in that broken system. I’ve been pretty angry for a while now. Being utterly furious, I plan to make it everybody’s problem until we all have rights again.

By Catherine

I'm a lover of books, coffee, wine, and bees. Happy to join the ranks of book bloggers everywhere!

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