I Can't Believe They Let Me Do This 

Kara Brown 08/17/2017. 20 comments
Goodbyes Goodbye

Those in my life can attest to the frequent incredulousness with which I move through the world. Generally I do know why things are the way they are, but it rarely tempers my awe that the things that happen, actually happen. The details of this world still find a way to flatten me. There are women who run around gestating two entire human beings at once! Reindeer are real animals! Sandra Bullock actually won an Oscar for The Blind Side! One of the most unbelievable facts of my life has been that I’ve gotten to do this work, here, at Jezebel. I mean, I can’t believe they actually let me do this.

Like many obnoxious teenagers who will go on to procrastinate through English degrees in college, I suffered a heavy Albert Camus phase in high school after reading The Stranger. During times of upheaval and significantly less traumatic change in my life, I find myself returning to the pattern of thought found in his work. Most recently, I’ve been thinking about The Myth of Sisyphus.

In the essay, Camus addresses the absurd—the idea that the world possess no innate meaning or logical pattern. Shit is just happening to us for no good reason. This clashes with the human desire for order and significance—surely shit is happening for some reason. In this, we have the absurd.

It is the acceptance of this absurdity, of the cruel randomness of the world, of the lack of satisfying answers to our questions, where the truth actually lies, he argues. If we accept the world has no meaning, we are freed of that worry, presumably with clarity of what we are now truly facing—nothing. It is in that acceptance where, “One must imagine Sisyphus happy,” Camus concludes. The struggle becomes the meaning we seek.

I remember sitting at home, just a few months into my Jezebel career, watching the chaos in Ferguson following the murder of Michael Brown . The world felt palpably different for me—uniquely difficult and sad and futile. Writing about it helped. It made me feel like even if I couldn’t summon a wave of change, the small ripple of my words was at least something—the struggle. I clung to that struggle even as my confidence in it waned.

Part of me feels like I’m leaving behind that particular struggle. Next, I’ll be a television writer, writing for the Black-Ish spinoff, College-Ish, and will exit the world of news media and this type of platform on a full time basis.

The thought keeps popping into my head: Should I be leaving this, to do that? During this time? With all we’re facing? It’s less a matter of whether or not I’d be doing a damn thing to actually help, but needing to feel the struggle of trying.

I think those of us who spend our days creating things must, at a certain point, simply trust that our work and our voice and our point of view will manifest itself in the way it needs to. So my thinking is now: I got to do this, and now I get to do that? Damn.

Like I said, it’s all hard for me to grasp. Really, can you believe they let me do this? Can you believe Dodai and Jessica hired me off a dumb blog I’ve removed from the internet because, yikes. Can you believe I was edited by Jia Tolentino, who brought out in me work I didn’t fully realize I was capable of every single time she sat down with my words? Can you believe she and Emma forced me, after a fleeting mention of my distaste for the stuff, to write about milk ? And that more than three-quarters of a million people clicked on that post and some of them even read it?

More than anything, I can’t believe I got to work with these creative and brilliant and hilarious and inquisitive group of women (and a few select men). I got to spend my days interacting with them—and got paid for it.

With Hazel and Prachi and Megan—our newest man-haters who make me hopeful and confident the spirit and this site isn’t going anywhere. With Bobby, whose mind goes down roads I couldn’t even begin to find, let alone travel. With Joanna, remarkably funny and game for anything. With Stassa, who constantly awes me with how she looks at and processes the world. With Rich, someone I admired and obsessively read for so long and now get to call a friend. With Clover, the steadiest human I’ve never encountered, who regularly makes me downright angry at how good her work is. With Anna, fiercely critical and willing to stare at the truth when everyone else wants to look away. With Kelly, who is an endless well of ideas and interests always relevant to the now. With Ellie, who effortlessly glides between the completely ridiculous and the unflinchingly honest. With Julianne, who makes me want to know more and be bolder. With Emma, who led us through storm after storm and only encouraged our beautiful depravity. With Maddie, who is perfect at what she does and who has influenced and pushed me more than she knows. And with Kate, who, whether she believes it or not, has always been the guide I needed, especially when she didn’t want to be.

In my bewilderment and awe and uncertainty of my usefulness, I hope there was something. I hope I said things that needed to be said. I hope I entertained. I hope I had more good blogs than bad. And I hope there’s more. I’m glad I was allowed this struggle and I look forward to the next. I feel so incredibly happy to have been here, doing this, even without fully understanding it all. Which, I suppose, is the whole point.

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