It’s been over a year since I’ve been at University, and yet I still identify as a broke Uni Student. As a millennial I consider it my right to eat as much avocado as I wish while simultaneously keeping a very close eye on the housing market, watching and waiting until prices lower enough for me to be able to afford to move out with two or three friends and two part time jobs. So what must one do to get ahead in this world while still maintaining some sort of conscience? I’d be a liar if I said I’d never considered sex work, but I’m less willing to buy into the patriarchy than I am into capitalism.
I seem to have reached the point where anytime I actually start to get somewhere with a hobby, I start to think “hey, maybe I could make money from this.” I don’t have to be particularly good at it even, it just has to be an activity I manage to maintain for more than a week or so. Hell, I can start a project “simply for my own enjoyment” and “ABSOLUTELY NOT FOR ANYONE ELSE” and you can bet that soon enough I will start thinking how I can make money from it. I have come to the realisation that hobbies for pure enjoyment must be for the wealthy, especially if you end up with a tangible object at the end. Capitalism tells us that things are for sale, ideas are for sale, we are for sale, and so, why shouldn’t we sell ourselves at the bare minimum in order to make a life. My own thinking here makes me so angry, because it is something that I have learned to do, and it is something that I must unlearn. As a creator, I love to share my works and works in progress with the world, but at the same time, so many of these creations feel to me like they are all that I can do. And if they are all I can do, and I can do and produce nothing else, then it must be my Job-with-a-capital-J.
Under communism we would all do what we can and what we are good at, but Marx leaves no room for artists once his dream has been realised. My talents lie in the production of what are generally classed as “luxury goods.” But stories and art enrich the human experience. How can the ways in which we tell of ourselves, the marks that we make, be luxuries? Are cave paintings luxuries to those who made them? At what point does documentation of ourselves become luxury? When it is written or carved? When it is no longer passed on through word or mouth but etched in stone or marked on paper? When it becomes fiction? Who decides what is fiction and what is fact? Metaphor is often able to speak clearer of emotions than plain words, otherwise we wouldn’t have invented the concept. Does it become luxury when there is simply too much creation? Who decides that point? Are there different markers for different people? Is one painting of a sunset on a coastline all that we need? One story of two people who find each other against all odds?
It is part of the human experience to create, and to share, and to make. I believe this desire is inherent in everyone, each in our own unique ways, some create with words, some with colour, some with numbers and some with music, and I do not think that the desire to share these creations comes out of sheer narcissism. So, humans must be allowed space to make, to create. It is only an unfortunate marker of our times that we feel that we have to capitalise on every inch of time spent producing, and not simply create for the sake of creating.