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Saturday, 11 August 2012

Universe, you win. I give up.

Universe Closed
I've been trying to 'make it' as a journalist/correspondent/writer/whatever in Cairo for the better part of a year now. I've seen many people find their way in journalism here. Some of them definitely deserved to do so, others not so much.

I've seen people that can barely spell become news assistants at big global magazines. I was there when a Korean girl, that didn't even know what the job title meant, became the prime news correspondent for her country. I know another girl, that didn't even know where Tahrir square was, that was offered a position as a news anchor for a well known tv station.
I've seen photographers with about a week of editing experience under their belt rise up to be the deputy managing editor for a daily newspaper. I'm not a particularly good photographer, but I've witnessed plenty of people with as little or even less talent than me get signed by agencies and pay their way through living in Cairo.

I won't even mention the major press agency editor that keeps lamenting how long his hours are and how much he hates his job because of that. It's like complaining to a starving African child about the disappointing quality of the gourmet organic pizza you had last night. Something with salt and wounds. 

All the while I was (and still am) standing on the sideline practically empty-handed. I've sent (and re-sent) dozens and dozens of job applications and I've lost track of the number of ideas I've pitched. I can count the replies I've ever gotten on two hands. There must be a parallel universe full of rejection letters that never got to me.

How come these people all got their break and mine never came? I don't know and I'm worn out from trying to figure it out.

The only logical conclusion I can come to: I must suck at what I do. I must be a poor writer and a crappy journalist. There is virtually nothing in this world that I think I am good at, but I thought I was good at writing. I guess I was wrong. I must have seen something that clearly wasn't there, like one of those sad people on talent shows that are convinced they can sing, while the mere sound of their voice breaks windows and kills kittens. People always laugh at them behind their backs. I'm sure plenty of you are gloating now. 

I don't like quitters, but in this moment I'm going to be one. Simply because I don't see the point of trying any longer. I've been trying to get on what was apparently a backward-facing camel for too long. I can't do it anymore. I'm tired. I'm done. Universe, you win. I give up. 

I have until the end of the month before my current lease ends, so I have some time to ponder what the hell I'm going to do with my life. Whatever is next, I'm pretty sure it shouldn't involve a pen or a keyboard. 

I always like to end my posts on a humorous or thoughtful note, but right now I find it a little hard to smile and I don't really have anything deep or meaningful to say about all this. I failed, and that's hard to swallow. I'm going to need some time to process my failure and get my mind back in a happier place. 

See you at the end of the tunnel, wherever that is. 

9 comments:

  1. For what it's worth, I've enjoyed reading your posts here. It may be that this isn't the time or place for you and journalism. It may be that sometime in your future, your experiences here will become incredibly useful and valuable. As someone on the other side of the famous hill, I'd like to suggest that you keep the book open on what lesson the universe is giving you right now. All too often, it isn't what we think it is.

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    1. Thanks for your kind words, stranger :) I'm sure all the things I experience here will provide valuable life lessons (and a lot of writing material!) for later on in life, it's just that it would be a more pleasant ride if it wasn't such a tough journey every now and then.
      Also: I don't particularly want to be on the other side of the famous hill, I just want to be on the side where I can pay for my airconditioning... Insha'Allah, at some point!

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  2. For what it's worth II. I've also enjoyed all your adventures and misadventures. I've come to know a lot more about the Egyptian/Arabic system and have read a lot more Arabic news than I would have without your active writing. I doubt there is a problem with your writing, and would encourage you to keep up with the pen and keyboard :)

    Good luck!

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    1. Thanks, Sjors! As you can see, I'm soldiering on, waiting for my ripple in the universe to come along...

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  3. Door soortgelijke ervaringen kan ik me wel een beetje inleven in hoe je je nu voelt. Daarom weet ik ook dat ik allerlei opbeurende woorden kan schrijven, maar dat je daar weinig, zelfs niets, voor koopt. Ik was alleen oprecht onder de indruk van dit stukje en ik ben ervan overtuigd dat dit soort openheid/eerlijkheid je uiteindelijk iets moois opleveren in het leven. Dat wens ik je dan ook van harte toe.

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    1. Ha! :) Alle opbeurende woorden hebben toch enigszins geholpen, want ik ben op de een of andere manier toch weer aan het schrijven gegaan... En aan het solliciteren en leuren met artikelen... Hopen dat het universum nu eindelijk eens een keer meewerkt..

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  4. Je posts hebben mij geinspireerd om mijn Arabisch weer op te pakken en om weer een paar maanden naar het Midden-Oosten te gaan. Uberhaubt kwam ik op je blog terecht vanwege je steengoede stukje op dejaap.

    Het leven is niet eerlijk en hoe goed je schrijft is vaak lang niet zo relevant als connecties en een dosis geluk. Onthoud dat, maar blijf vooral schrijven.

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    1. En ook jij bedankt, vreemdeling :) Vandaag weer een nieuw stukje voor DeJaap, ondertussen blijf ik braaf wachten op het geluk dat toch een keer mijn kant op moet komen waaien.

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