If a Freelancer Jumps Off a Cliff, Should I?

As I toy with the idea of becoming a freelancer, my mind becomes more jumbled and I’m filled with terrifying yet exciting curiosity.


I’m currently sitting at a Starbucks downtown, but it feels as though I’m standing at the edge of a precipice. Of course, if I were actually on a cliff, I probably wouldn’t have a tall chile mocha beside me nor the soft acoustic sounds of coffee shop music floating along the airwaves, but still… the point is that I feel like I’m on a ledge somewhere and that I’m pretty unstable.


Don’t worry, I’m not totally depressed. It’s just that recently my job came to an end, and I haven’t had the best time dealing with it. Also, my ability to accept the uncertainties in life is nearly nonexistent. I want rules, guidance, and a plan! I know, not the most exciting personality type, but Capricorns need love too, guys.

So What’s Next?

Now that I’m on the job hunt again, I’ve discovered the most terrifying secret of all—what they don’t tell you when you graduate from college with a BA in Creative Writing: Freelancing is a viable option.

This, of course, should not be terrifying at all. It’s exciting to have the option of controlling your own schedule, workload, etc. But when I think about vying for assignments, managing my finances, and TAXES, I start to lose my shit. Like really lose my shit.

True story: last year I thought I owed the government $5,000. I, of course, have never even seen $5,000 so I was in a complete state of panic.

Turns out, I’d simply forgotten that I’d worked at a second company that year, and the government actually owed me money, but still. How the hell am I supposed to figure out what I owe who, where, and why if I’m a fuckin’ self-managing FREELANCER?

As I sit here typing away on my computer, I’m riddled with anxiety over whether or not this is my next step. There are pros and there are cons, and I can’t figure out which outweighs the other. I’m a writer; math is not my strong point. Or do you weigh things in physics? It doesn’t matter. I’m a basket case over here.


There’s something about the freelance lifestyle that just screams “author.” From Hemingway to my latest literary obsession, Karl Ove Knausgaard,  creative writers tend to supplement their income with contract work on magazines and other word-driven companies. These are the people I admire. Not because they were great people. No, they had extreme problems of their own, but because they’re the ones who produced works that make you feel. I can honestly feel my heart beating as I read about the disturbing choices of a Karamazov brother or a Norwegian’s turmoil over Swedish culture.

Then there’s the biggest #Millennial point I could ever make: Over the last year and six months, I’ve struggled with the lack of PTO available to me. I’m not one to take advantage of vacation opportunities, and I’m actually a very nervous traveler… no surprise there… but I can’t deny the lust for travel that roams through my veins. I think it’s something most twentysomethings feel. We need to explore, experience what’s out there.

Freelancing would allow me to do this. I currently have a trip to Iceland planned, and honestly, if I had it my way, I’d choose to continue writing while there. Imagine this: My day is spent traversing unfamiliar landscapes to a waterfall that crashes down into a field of deep, lush greenery. Then, I’d return to my warm room or RV, and dive into whatever assignment awaited me. It’s perfection!


Photo Courtesy of Pixabay

Of course, if I’m being completely honest, getting back to work wouldn’t be that simple. After those hikes across grassy or rocky terrain, I’d probably return to whatever hotel I was staying in, and immediately gorge myself on food. They eat a lot of dairy there, right? That is not a good look for me… Then, of course, I’d have to make some instant coffee because sleep would have wrapped me in its all-encompassing grasp and my mind would beg for a break from copywriting.

But still, there’s something freeing about having the opportunity to write at any time and place. I know, I know, that’s why it’s called freelancing, but give me a break here. I’m having an existential crisis. And that fantasy of enjoying time away while still being active in this field, is dangerously seductive.


Of course, this wouldn’t be a blog about what’s happening in my mind if I didn’t immediately juxtapose these pros against the cons.

Like how ridiculously difficult it would be for me to stay organized. How in the world does anyone keep track of all of that information?! What solutions are there for someone like me? Someone who can barely remember what day of the week it is?

The thought of managing enough assignments to maintain my income—all in unique brand voices and with varying due dates—is terrifying! I mean, I once forgot how old I was…  Is this really something I’m going to be able to do?

Of course, I’m not looking for answers here. In fact, I’m aware that there’s probably no one who can answer these except myself. Still, I had to throw them out there into the universe.

Will freelancing be next step? Am I on a brand new path?


That time I almost cried in Safeway…

Yesterday I almost started crying in a Safeway line.

It had a little to do with chicken wings and a little to do with my overwhelming insecurities. But mostly it had to do with peanut butter.

Here’s what happened.

I had my night planned out and let me tell you, it was a beautiful picture I had painted for myself. At around 5:15pm I would leave the office and head to the bus stop. After about 35 minutes of reading my latest literary obsession (Amy Poehler’s Yes, Please), I would get off the bus and walk a block to the Safeway by my house.

Once there, I would buy a healthy meal…

Okay, I think we should stop here to address another key factor that will play greatly into this story. That is of my newly resurfaced insecurities.

The Part About Insecurities:

You see, I recently took a trip home to Hawai’i to see my family and spend Christmas in sunny paradise. Not a bad life, eh? EXCEPT when your home is Hawai’i, your current lifestyle of sweaters, pants, and limited sunshine creates a RUDE AWAKENING when you arrive in “paradise.”

See in Hawai’i, people actually DON’T WEAR CLOTHES. We don’t climb coconut trees for lunch, we don’t live in grass shacks, and we don’t wear clothes. Just bikinis and occasionally a piece of fabric to go over that bikini.

I used to love this. I was young, tan, toned, and enjoyed the fact that I could ignore the heat and humidity. These days… it’s a different story.

I have lived in the city for over a year and I am far from the size that once allowed me to frolic around in what was basically a waterproof thong. Returning home and putting on that “cute” brazilian suit was a HUGE wakeup call.

I think I scared a couple of innocent tourists who were hoping to snap a memorable pic of the island… they got a memorable picture alright…

So, I don’t want to get too far into the huge complex that I developed after my first bikini day—especially after attending a baby luau and seeing the Gisele-type moms with toned arms holding up a three year old as another child clung to their thigh gap… because that was SUPER cool.

Anyway, you get the idea.

Now back to Safeway:

Upon returning to the city, not only had I vowed to eat healthier, but I also started working out again. When I went into Safeway, I’d completed two consecutive workouts. I had gone to an endurance circuit the night before and a full-body blast class that morning. Needless to say, the muscles that usually had difficulty opening a jar of pasta sauce were really barkin’ at this point.

Walking into Safeway, I saw that the lines were long, but I wasn’t too worried. I was only grabbing a couple items and could jump into the express lane at the end of my trip. No sweat.

So the shopping began. I grabbed what I needed and made a last minute decision to include wonderfully unhealthy chicken wings. I have an incredible weakness for those seasoned balls.

Okay, so let’s go over my list of items.

  • Tuna Fish
  • An Avocado
  • Hummus
  • Chicken Wings
  • A Tofu Block

With these items, I didn’t feel the need to grab a basket or a cart. I could totally handle waiting in line while holding these products. I had been to the gym twice that week. I was tough.

Even when I saw that the express lanes were closed, I knew I could do this!

But then, of course, I chose the wrong checkout line.

The Wrong Checkout Line Curse:

I am like 90% sure that I have been cursed with always choosing the slowest, most problematic checkout line every.single.time.

I’m not sure who it is I believe places this curse on the afflicted – perhaps some poltergeist of poultry or a little demon that lives in the redbox machine, but it is real. And I am cursed.

The Trouble Begins:

So there I was, weighing my line options, and I chose the one that seemed to be moving fast. Holding all of my groceries in my hands, I waited patiently as the customers in front of me unloaded full carts onto the belt.

The first cartload was fine and I scanned trashy magazine covers as I pictured myself consuming this incredibly healthy meal while watching the latest episode of my guilty pleasure show The Bachelor (because seriously, if I was being this healthy with my body, there was no way in hell I was going to be healthy with my mind).

After maybe five or ten minutes, I was only two customers away from the finish line. The woman in front of me was a sweet lady of about sixty or so. Her cart was full but I could tell that she was a not going to mess around when it was her time to unload those groceries. I appreciate that trait in a person.

The cart in front of her, on the other hand, was a different story. Actually, I should say the two carts…

The Problem Customers:

Here is where everything went wrong. The woman at the checkout counter had two full carts. One cart was filled to the brim with groceries. The other was filled to the brim with three children. These two carts made it impossible for the woman in front of me to start pre-loading her groceries onto the belt. She was completely blocked out of the lane.

That’s okay, I thought to myself, that only adds on a little more time. She’ll be able to move forward soon enough and after that, it’s me!

Oh, how wrong I was.

The checkout process started and soon the husband joined the mother of the three children. In his hands he held a peanut butter jar. The cashier began to ring them up and suddenly, it was like a light bulb had gone off in the husband’s head. This was not the peanut butter that he wanted. Because, of course it wasn’t.

So, he excused himself from line to go off in search of another. Add another five minutes to the process here. When he returned, he had another peanut butter in hand and placed it on the belt to be checked out. The process begins again.

Then, what happened next? Oh, the peanut butter was wrong again! Yes, the kids wanted the chunky instead of smooth after all. Or maybe it was the wrong brand. Peter Pan instead of Jif? Whatever it was, making everyone in line wait another five minutes was worth the saunter to aisle 4 to get the right jar.

At this point, my newly reawakened arm muscles are beginning to ache and the hand that was clutching onto those chicken wings was starting to cramp. But I couldn’t leave the line now! I was so close and if I did try to make a switch another checkout counter I would be sent all the way back to frozen food section!

Finally, the husband comes back and everything seems to be moving. But then… duh duh duh… the real shock factor is revealed! Behind curtain number two is the fact that this family will be paying with coupons or food stamps or some sort of out of the ordinary payment methods!

OF COURSE it wasn’t until this point in the check out process that they realized that the amount of groceries they were buying added up to be more than the amount that the check provided. And so they began the long and complicated process of deciding which food items to keep and which to discard from their bounty.

Because… of course.

I’ve been trying this new thing where I’m logical about the situations I find myself in and don’t allow myself to spiral out of control into the neurotic nut-job that I naturally am. So, I spent the 40 minutes that I stood in line concentrating on clutching to my groceries and trying to keep the cans of tuna I’d bought from going all leaning-tower-of-cheese-a on me and toppling over onto the ground.

But I will admit that when the woman behind me let out a commiserating sigh of complaint, I truly almost lost it. As frustrated tears threatened to shoot out of my eye sockets, I squeezed my hands around my chicken wings and let out a hysterical coyote laugh instead.

The family was finally finished paying and with the eyes of customers in other lines staring at me – the girl who’d let out the high pitched gurgle of a maniac – I finally made it to the checkout counter and dumped my goods onto the belt.

After my purchases had been bought and placed into a paper bag (because at this point there was no way in hell the environment was more important to me than the ability to use my arms the next day) I made it home.

On Eating Everything When I Got Home:

Recently I read an article about the human mind and its ability to only exercise a finite amount of willpower.

Well, I proved that theory correct. By the time I got home, all of my willpower had been used up on keeping my cool and not breaking down into a insane tantrum in a grocery store. The rest of my night went down the shitter.

I gave a very dignified “f*ck you” to my healthy diet and ate not only the meal I’d bought myself, but everything else in the grocery bag, a bag of chips along with dip meant to last me a week, chocolate, and an ice cream sandwich.

The Blame Game:

As with any situation, I would like to pass the blame of any and all of my bad decisions onto anyone/thing other than myself.

And so here it goes:

Dear family who couldn’t get their shit together at Safeway,

You were the cause of my binge-eating, my bitching session, my late bed-time (which then caused the lack of 100% dedication to my work the next day), AND my destruction of the environment.

That is all on your shoulders.

Just thought you should know.



This is What I Fear the Most From Shared Bathrooms

Hello folks!

Today I want to talk about something that happens to the best of us but that NONE of us ever want to talk about.

It’s one of the worst parts about being a human and the act of it fills us with such shame that we dare not show our faces again to anyone who may have witnessed it.

Yes. You guessed it.

Today I want to talk about farting while you’re peeing in a public restroom.

Like, how the higgedy-heck are you supposed to play that one off?

It is just the absolute worst! (Yes, I do believe it’s worse than dropping a deuce).

Let me explain why:

When you go into the bathroom knowing that you’re gonna drop a load, you can prepare yourself—get the right timing down so that you’re sure to be alone in the facilities. Plus, you’re already comfortable with the fact that this is not going to be pretty.

Now, on the other hand, thinking you’re going to be doing the most innocent of bathroom activities and suddenly letting out an agressive ‘toot’ is completely mortifying! You’re totally caught by surprise and there’s no way to cover up the fact that an animal sound just escaped from your behind.

Then, if you’re anything like me, you’ll notice how abnormally quiet the person (because there’s ALWAYS a person considering you didn’t think you had to time this bathroom trip strategically) in the other stall is. So, then you start replaying the moment in your mind and the sound of that released gas just gets louder and louder every. single. time. you recall it.

So then you’re sitting on the toilet hoping to god that the other person will finish up whatever they’re doing and wash their hands and leave so that you can make your stealthy escape and none will be the wiser. The only problem here is that the other person is hoping that you’ll do the same thing.

So you’re both left sitting silently on toilets at opposite ends of the restroom and suddenly you’re totally aware that your breathing is, like, super loud and that makes you think about how loud your fart was all over again.

And you start thinking about your fart and the fact that you’re now silently waiting each other out and you start to realize how funny it all is. So then you accidentally let out something of a chortle which may or may not be worse than the fart. And then everything is even more awkward because the person in the other stall is now wondering what type of person you are laughing all alone in a bathroom stall…

Finally, one of you has to break the waiting game and you pray to god that you don’t both decide to give it up at the same time.

It’s total and complete agony!

Unless, of course, you’re nothing like me and tooting while you pee is not something you practically need a xanax for.

In which case, all the power to you! Pee fart all you need to!

Serial about Serial (Why This Podcast is Destroying My Life)

I’m obsessed with Sarah Koenig’s podcast Serial.

Now, you’re probably thinking, “Cool, Kellen. Only you and basically every. other. person. in this country…”

And you’re right. I’m not alone in my total infatuation with this case and the verdict that was determined on hear-say alone without any concrete evidence. But, I’m going to talk about it anyway because this is my blog and you have to deal with it.

Here’s what I have to say:

  • I’m having like totally intense inner turmoil

So it’s, like, sick that we’ve turned this real life murder case into a narrative with a storyline and everything, right?

Adnan and Jay? They’re characters in a mystery novel! There are even advertisements during the podcast that say, “if you like this, you’ll probably enjoy these crime novels by so-and-so.”

And I hear those ads and think, Whoa… that’s sick. That’s really sick!

But then I’m like, buuuuuuuut, when am I going to buy those books…?

So, then I start freaking out and wondering if I’m basically one of those people who lives in the Capitol in The Hunger Games. Is this really what it’s come to? Am I so desperate for entertainment that I’m ready to watch (or listen to) death?!

[We all know that I already have mixed opinions about the serum they (the inhabitants of the Capitol) use to keep eating after they’re stuffed. YOU CAN’T TELL ME YOU HAVEN’T THOUGHT ABOUT THE BENEFITS OF THAT!]

Truthfully, at this point, I’m not sure what’s worse, me watching Keeping up the Kardashians or listening to and forming conspiracy theories about a convicted murderer and his “smoking buddy”.

  • I’ve created a love story (as have apparently millions of other listeners but let’s pretend that I’m creative here)

Speaking of that conspiracy theories, I have created some real Romeo and Rome-ette shit in my brain while listening to this story.

I guess I’m just a romantic at heart…

But really, as I binge listened to this podcast on my way from Desert Hot Springs to good ol’ SF, I couldn’t help but feel there was a romance that we were missing in this storyline. Adnan never accuses Jay of committing the murder. Even after Jay “rats” him out!

Why wouldn’t you immediately blame that person??? ESPECIALLY if you were only “smoking buddies”. And let’s think about this for a second, does that random guy you cruise with to smoke a blunt or two really pick you up and drop you off regularly from track practice?


They have to be much closer than they both would like to admit.

So, duh. LOVE. Jay loves Adnan. Dare I say he was obsessed with him? Oh, it’s terribly tragic and romantic and maybe I’ve just been reading too much Dostoyevski, but COME ON. There is some serious unrequited love happening under the radar here.

This theory was burned into my mind during my 12-hour drive home to the city though some it might have been due to the fact that I hadn’t seen anything besides the inside of a car for half of a day. The craziest thing about my thought process here? I thought I was the only person to think it.

So then I started frantically trying to tweet @Serial and Sarah Koenig because she HAD to know this theory! It could solve the case. I had cracked it!

A thwarted love. A love that could never exist because of society and religion! Oh, Sarah you must know about this at once! BUT I was, of course, in the middle of butt-f*ck nowhere and there was no cell service. So I practically pulled my hair out, checking my phone over and over trying to find a bar or two so I could let the rest of the world know the truth…

It was really rough.

  • I hate Josh

Okay, so I also have to confess that this podcast has caused me to become a lunatic who hates a complete stranger named Josh.

Once we had burned through all nine available episodes of Serial on the drive home, we (my driving buddies and I) decided that we would listen to Serial Serial (or some title like that), a podcast in which staff members of The Onion discuss what they thought of each episode.

So, we’re listening and this guy Josh starts talking. F*ckin Josh. I am NOT a fan of Josh.

Now, Josh could be a totally decent fellow, but while I listen to him offer up his opinion of the case, I start getting really, really upset. You might even say heated.

See, first off, Josh starts lecturing both the people in the room with him as well as all of the listeners that the ONLY way this murder could have been committed is if the two boys did it together.

And I’m (and my other two friends in the car) are like… um HELLO, Josh! Don’t you think that after Adnan was sentenced to life in prison he would say that Jay had helped him?? Or if he was holding on to the possibility of being let out later, wouldn’t he have at least mentioned the theory that Jay did it on his own? Come on, Josh. Put your shit together.

He (Josh) then went on to talk about his personal experience on Jury duty. He explains that out of the twelve people on jury duty, the opinions were split six and six. He refers to one of the opposing six as an “asshole”.

His reasoning behind using this potty-mouth identifier?  Because this other gentleman didn’t want to change his opinion…

And I’m like, HOLD UP THERE, JOSH. Who’s really the asshole here? The guy who is sticking to his opinion or the guy who is sticking to his opinion and calling someone else an asshole for doing the same thing.

F*ckin’ Josh.

  • It’s interfering with my free time

Want to know what I did yesterday during my lunch break?

Did I relax, eat, socialize?

Nope. I went down the deepest, darkest rabbit hole reading post after post of theories about who the real murderer is – of course the only reasonable answer being Sarah Koenig herself.

I had to put eyedrops in my eyes because I am pretty sure I hadn’t blinked for a full 45 minutes!

So you can see what I’m saying. Serial has started affecting my life in unhealthy ways. I am losing faith in my inner voice, narrating a secret love affair in my mind, and getting horribly offended by complete strangers who are entitled to their own opinions (though, Josh, you really are a little shit.)

I just shouldn’t listen to this podcast anymore.

I won’t.

I won’t.

That’s what I keep telling myself.

But we all know what day tomorrow is…

My Loneliness As Told By a Soap Dispenser (Also Known As Method Man)

I think I might be lonely.

And not in that oh, she’s just missing her college friends sort of way but in a truly disturbing and possibly debilitating sort of way.

Like, for example, because I don’t really have anyone that I want to hang out with, I’ve just been reading a lot. I just finished three books in four days and am now seriously wondering if my best friend is a girl from the future who is no longer made out of human parts but some blue bio gel instead.

And as cool as that is, it doesn’t do much for my social calendar seeing as she’s in some dystopian teen universe and I’m here in San Francisco in the real world. But even when I was considering whether or not to invite this fictional character to my birthday in a few months, I still didn’t really grasp onto the fact that this new-formed friendship was stemming from a serious issue: my loneliness.

I think I just thought maybe I wanted to read a bit more than usual because I had run out of shows on Netflix.

But then, today, as I was washing my hands at my office’s sink, I was confronted with the harsh reality of my situation.

You see, as I washing my hands, I happened to take notice of one of our two soap dispensers (one is for hand-washing and the other is for dishwashing).

The brand of soap that we use happens to be called “Method” and as I’m staring at it, my mind I starts referring to the soap dispenser as a person. And not just as any person but as “Method Man”. You know the rapper…

Wu Tang Clan ain’t nothin’ to fuck with and neither is the depth of my depravity apparently.

So, all of a sudden I’ve given this soap bottle a personality and I’m like yup, we’ve got one thug guy over here.

And I’m like bobbin’ my head around as I wash my hands and grinning at this soap dispenser like we’re pals saying “It’s the method man, ain’t no if’s and’s about it.”

Then I look to the other soap dispenser because I am waiting for it to pick up Ghostface’s line and I’m just staring at it for a while before I realize that there will be no such follow up because I have been hallucinating an entire show centered around our office’s sink.

But, instead of just drying my hands with a paper towel and heading back to my desk, I have to let out a “Method Man Out” hiss and throw down a B-boy stance because I’m a terribly white female living out my dreams of someday being cool.

So, you see, I am terribly alone and need someone to save me from my own imaginations. Next time this might not happen in the kitchen of my office. Next time this could happen in a public space and then I won’t be able to stop anyone from kicking my ass.


How Gilmore Girls is Responsible for My Existential Crisis

Ah, yes. Once again I am far too invested in a fictional character’s life.

To make matters even more pathetic, I’ve already gone through the emotional turmoil of falling for and living through this character’s life.

But what you have to understand is that it’s not my fault. Netflix just had to get the entire Gilmore Girls series and it’s not like I can just NOT watch it. That would be ludicrous! *no, not the singer, songwriter but the adjective explaining that ignoring that six streaming seasons is impossible

Anyway, for the past two weeks I have been glued to my mini i-pad screen, once again living through the quick-paced, book and movie referencing, lives of Lorelai and Rory Gilmore. I can’t stop. It’s a sickness.

And it’s not like I don’t already know what’s going to happen. We must remember that I’ve already watched all of these episodes (up until the point Rory starts going out with Logan because, let’s be honest, the screenwriters must have had a stroke or something when they introduced him into the plot. He sucks so bad).

I could go on a twenty-page rant about Logan, but since he is fictional and I don’t want you to stop reading my posts, I’ll move on to the topic at hand—the serious problem that re-watching this show created for me.

I started having a truly existential crisis.

After watching the first three seasons in a matter of days, I had a terrifying epiphane: I have been totally manipulated by this seemingly “wholesome” sitcom.

Yep, that good girl Rory has wormed her headband wearing, innocent looking mind into mine.

It’s like, whoa. If I hadn’t watched this show, I could be a totally different person. I could be someone who’d played a sport and said things like “hella”.

Let’s just look at the evidence here.

  1. I drink coffee like it’s water
  2. Movie quotes are a significant part of my vocabulary
  3. I read constantly and feel a compulsion to finish all the classics
  4. My one wish in life is to be able to eat donuts for breakfast, burgers for lunch and dinner, and have the pizza delivery number on speed dial (without gaining any weight)
  5. If there is ever anyone I will ever be in love with, it will be Jess *we’ll get back to this point later

Now, you may be saying, “Kellen, you never went to an Ivy League school and you never had any interest in attending an Ivy League school so you’re not totally Rory.”

At that, I’d have to say you’re right. But does that make the influence any less apparent?! One small personality factor differentiates me from the young Lorelai Gilmore (apart from the fact that my metabolism is not fictional and is very real and very slow).

So, anyway, I’ve been having this major freak out over whether or not my personality came from the indefinable “me” or if it was created from a television show that I watched during the some of the most influential years of my life. Am I nothing but a screenwriter’s backwash?

Of course, this has been keeping me up at nights.

But instead of turning away from the Netflix and escaping the show that is causing all this turmoil, I keep watching it because, well, Jess is there.

Oh, Jess. The one true love of my life.

And this is where I really, really start to freak myself out.

I mean, is the great love of my life a person that doesn’t really exist? Like, my heart actually hurts whenever he’s on the screen and I’m, like, oh god! I am sick. Really sick. Because I know (somewhere in the back of my mind) that Jess isn’t real but while I’m watching the show, I truly believe he is. And I believe that he will write me my own book and build me my own bookstore and that he will want to sit with me over a pond and maybe we’d smoke a cigarette or maybe not because although he looks soooo good doing it, I know that it’s bad for our health so maybe I’d erase that part from my mind or maybe I wouldn’t care because he’s the love of my life and we could just live in our little book and coffee world and…

Do you see what i’m saying???? It’s like, should I calm down? Or do I actually have some sort of justification in my freak out since my entire personality may have been created from a fictional show and I am also half convinced that my husband is a fictional character?

So those are the thoughts that have been constantly running through my mind for the past 336 hours.

How I come across as totally balanced and sane is beyond me. Like, I actually mentored high school kids last night…

Scary thought, right?