Not My Dream Job
"Maya! Did you even hear what I asked?" My friend, Alexis, demanded directly in my face with a snap of her fingers. Becoming an award winning singer and actress turned glorified social media influence did not quite help her patience - especially her patience with those of her employ. Working as one of the many spiritual advisors on her team meant providing my opinion to every single decision she made throughout her day, which entailed contributing more thought to the choices of someone else than I did for myself.
When we became friends in high school, I never could have imagined the girl with larger than life dreams would hire me to advise her on a topic with which I had a minimal amount of information. How many people out there went to Catholic school, had all the sacraments - baptism, first communion, confirmation - and could not tell you a single thing about what they learned?
Yet here I am, supposedly the encyclopedia on the Catholic church to a friend turned self obsessed personality forever unaware she was living in a delusional word of her own making.
Facing her with a faux serene smile pasted on my face I calmly breathed through my response. "I apologize, what was your question?"
Huff. "Do you think I would run into problems with the bible thumpers with the plans for my next vlog? I mean, documenting the female empowerment of sex to millions of viewers!"
She ended her exclamation with a smile so big it seemed as though every one of her pearly white veneers shined their display into the room. Every ounce of her illuminated with her latest idea - vlogging a day in the sexual life of Alexis DeMarco; her latest stunt at de-stigmatizing the reality of women have sex, and even beyond this, women like to have sex. The one before this was a review of celebrity sex tapes, specifically those of Kim Kardashian and Pamela Anderson.
Now, there is no issue in trying to remove the stigma on women, the idea they can only be one thing. Societal requirement to easily place a label on every individual, especially women, is based in lazy and outdated views of small minded men. Alexis is not, however, working to highlight the previously stated issue. Alexis is working to make her name and brand as popular as possible, she is trying to achieve a label as champion of feminism when she is nothing more than a performative activist.
Creating a whole video in which you provide reviews to celebrity sex tapes shown to the world without the consent of the people on them is cruel. It is not empowering. It further labels women as singularly sexual objects performing for the eyes of other when they're not. They were women having sex with people they trusted for the entertainment and views of them only. Women with lives and privacy they never consented to having invaded.
I tried to steer her from this one with talk of God wanting people to move with respect of others. You know, because of that one commandment about your neighbor? She thought it was a great idea. Before I let the building anger in my chest consume me, I finally answered her question.
"Do I think bible thumpers will be upset you vlog your sexual encounters with your boyfriend throughout the day? No. Alexis, to them, your video will only be one of many many forms of pornographic content saturating media these days. Just another thing for their kids to secretly watch with their friends and giggle about. Do I think they may more publicly cry regarding the continuing fall of society due to the early exposure of sexual content to children? Sure. But will they give two shits about what you're doing? No."
With my last words, I knew I hit home the biggest issue for Alexis. She did not care about doing anything to help women. She cared about her name being in the mouths of millions of people.
Looking at her made me realize the enormous affect my attitude ridden diatribe had on her. She had growing fire in her eyes and ensuing rage, all pointed towards me as she forced out between clenched teeth, "What did you just say to me?"
When we met for our bi-weekly meetings, she always expected the utmost respect in every ounce of my being towards her. Lately however, I could not find the strength to lie anymore. I felt like as I saw less and less of the girl who became my friend over our shared dreams of making art for a living, I also saw less of myself. My life was no longer mine, it purely existed in connection to her. What happened to me, the girl who wanted to write for a living and share her stories with the world?
Did I become too scared of the idea of failing? Fearful I would never make it, I never even tried? So when my friend came to me after achieving her first record deal with an offer to work for her as an advisor, I jumped at the chance. How can you feel the disappointment of failure if you never try?
I was content to live in the safety of working at a job for which I had little to no passion, because I spent my days with my friend. All I had to do was provide my opinion every once in a while and I got paid. Why would anyone complain about working for a job where you make great money and basically do little to no actual work? Maybe the complaints will start when you stop seeing your friend very often. Maybe they will begin when you're sent different books on Catholicism every week you must read to ensure the best advisement possible. Or maybe it happens when you finally work up the courage to write a manuscript, give it your friend's manager for some help and he and your friend laugh in your face.
No. I think the grievances will come when your friend publicly announces she gave you this job after you begged her for it because you have always dreamed of making biblical messages more mainstream. The day after laughing at your year's work manuscript.
There it is. The biggest source of my lost patience. She really thinks I have a pinch of respect for someone who thinks so little of me. Maya, her little servant who lives and breaths to think for someone else.
Looking Alexis right in the eye I calmly reply, "You heard what I said Alexis. No one cares. You want to stand up for women? Maybe call out the largest corporations publishing content from women without their consent? Maybe showcase the full spectrum of your life as a multifaceted women who does not have one singularly label on her? Or is that last one too hard because you are not multifaceted? The only label you have is you, because all you think about is yourself!" Fuming in my last words I hear my chair scrape back as I stand from the table.
Before I can leave the room and possible even leave her life for good, she gets up from her seat and is slapping me across the face. I hear her say, "You're fucking fired and I want you gone," while I grab my cheek.
I can feel the slight stink from her slap when I smile my big, every 6 months cleaned slightly not straight teeth and laugh, "Thank you."
As I make my way out of her office in her grossly large mansion overlooking the Hollywood Hills I do pause for a moment. One last time between the friends we used to be.
"I am thankful you know. Maybe not right now, but for all you did in the beginning. I know you never intended for any of this to become so big and in your own way you did take care of me. So thank you."
Her old self made a small appearance in the glimmer of tears in her eyes before she scoffed and restated her order to leave.
She did wind up making the vlog on her sexual life and like I said, no one cared. Maybe it was anger I was right or frustration she had been so wrong, but she gave my manuscript to a publisher and had it published under some pseudonym - Allie Mark.
So I figured, if she would make such a move as if to show nothing in our friendship had been sacred. If she could steal my work. Then everything we shared was up for grabs. Never disrespect the cherished creations of another person.
Finishing these last words, I heard the applause of the crowd gathered before me. I was on the last stop of my book tour celebrating the best selling novel Faux Friends. Quite a corny title if you asked me, but my publisher marketed the shit out of exposing the real life of Alexis DeMarco and how she used the many people who dedicated so much time to her.
It might make me no better than her to have written a book on such a topic. A glorified gossip blogger, but I finally wrote something. Judge me, critique me. I have an in with a publisher who is willing to hear my ideas for once. I am finally living for myself