Sick of the Stress

Written by Varrick Kwang
Art by Josh Sorenson

I’m so sick of the damn stress. 

I am not a slab of dough, I am not a hunk of machine and neither are my fellow human beings–so why are we treated as such? Why do we have to fit into this cookie-cutter? Why are we on the conveyor belt? Is the product that we are indoctrinated to be even relevant for the world anymore? 

The world has changed. Degrees no longer guarantee you a high wage and a cushy career. Hard work no longer guarantees success in the factory. Graduates with straight As and stellar portfolios don’t even get the basic courtesy of being a full-time worker with proper benefits. Instead, they get put under agencies and get shortchanged as an external contractor, while still having to work as much as a full-timer. 

On the other hand, people are making big money playing their favorite games and through various unorthodox means that were unfathomable ten or twenty years ago. Trade school students are making big waves with the skills they picked up in the industry and apprenticeships. Any child with a computer can access every free resource in the world. Late bloomers are starting businesses and making huge gains in investments. Artists are getting commissions from clients who visit their social media pages. 

The world has changed. So why has the thinking and policies of the leaders not changed? Why are they still forcing circles into square holes? Why didn’t the foolish senile old fuckers at the top update their thinking? Their antiquated thinking is hurting us, our development and our potential. Why do we always have to adhere to their bullshit? Why do they act like their advice still matters? Why can’t they properly respect our views and experiences? We are the ones suffering on the ground, we are the ones being driven crazy. We are the ones that have to live in this new world long after they are gone. Why can’t we live by what we want?

As I sit at my desk, chained to my bedroom as I log in to my work computer, my every mouse stroke being logged and the work system noting the exact hour, minute and second I log in to the system, I start another day of time-wasting, mind-numbing work, for a mere ten dollars per hour. The old boomers would have lauded ten dollars an hour as good pay, but the world has changed. Ten dollars today is no longer ten dollars of yesterday. But really, they don’t even care. 

When I was a child, I was promised that once I had turned old enough, I would be able to enjoy and live, but if only I kept sacrificing, kept studying and kept giving instead of actually living in the now. All the future faking sure kept my hopes up, and now, where hope has vanished, now replaced by a void. A phantom pain stings at my being; there should be something more to my life than this banality I live. 

Now that I’ve done everything that is supposedly required, where the hell is my fucking life? Where are my sunshine and rainbows at the end of the tunnel? I’m still trapped. 

All the stress has fried me out, and there is nothing I can think of outside of work or studying or surviving. 

How would you be happy if you are constantly told that you are just another cog in the system, a piece of equipment, a spare part?

I’m so sick of the damn stress.