With my Master's imminent, The Powers would tell you - as might Common Sense - that more doors will be open to me. That paths, previously blocked, would be cleared for me. That diligence and study, being virtues, would be rewarded.
They are not.
Power herself, it seems, prefers the company of those lesser minded but better endowed with backgrounds of privilege and pride. To excel, one must court her highness with gifts and flattering words. That these words are disingenuous? Matters not.
And it has always been so.
Unfailingly brilliant, Michelangelo was met with incessant criticism from those whose knowledge of art and architecture was as absent and inept as their churches were rigid and ostentatious.
We see it in his self depictions as Nicodemus. In possession of a then-illegal copy of Scripture, Michelangelo identified with the man who visited Jesus by night - the man who feared being found on his pilgrimage. Michelangelo knew what he believed. But, like Nicodemus, he could not be discovered professing it in daylight.
Forward thinking, it seems, has always fallen victim - at least in the short - to the staunch establishment.
Rather than embrace the enlightenment, we continue to insist on the comfort found in the pitch of The Dark Ages.
So what exactly am I saying? Do I stand here, a Michelangelo among the masses, condemning you for your inferiority to my unheralded brilliance?
The thought beings me a silly smile.
For I am no Michelangelo. I have no great skill or divine insight. I bear only the benefit of being able to witness the Michelangelos of our times. Those men and women who continue to struggle against The Establishment. Those friends whose thoughts, feelings, and natural inclinations so threaten Power as to elicit immediate stifling by way of The Pigeonhole.
My most brilliant and capable friends...those who are able to find work...are placed in positions far below their capabilities. Forced to toil over menial tasks and piss away potential via Pinterest or Spotify, my friends languish at the entry-level, while management/the status quo are "promoted to a level of incompetence."
As a six-year-old version of me would whine, "It's not fair."
Existing in an Era of Entitlement, one could easily claim that I am among those youth who expect the world to be handed over, silver spoon and all, that I might gorge myself while the proverbial African children continue to starve.
My friends, make no mistake - it's not that I don't appreciate my green beans.
But to call myself and my friends entitled is to completely discredit the hardships we've faced in our efforts to swim upstream. And, while I know of the personal struggles of those of whom I speak, I am only at liberty to expose my own personal struggles, which, I assure you, are not mine alone to bear.
The past four years have graced me with the loss of full-time employment, the loss of my home and the subsequent compounding of debt which could not and cannot be overcome by the acceptance of a litany of part-time jobs (the only ones offered me).
Again, on the threshold of my Master's, I openly admit that student loans are presently keeping me afloat. My car has not been serviced in years - which is also about the last time I saw a doctor or dentist. Without health insurance, (not offered at part-time jobs) I cannot afford it.
I type this on a computer given to me countless years ago by my brother.
My rent next month may be paid by my father.
But the resumes I have in circulation? Countless.
A Dean's List Scholar and former journalist, one would think my qualifications would make me a desirable hire. But I am told more often than not that I am an intellectual threat.
"You are overqualified."
"Yes. And I am also broke. Please just let me answer your phones."
And still, I know I have it better than some.
Those starving children in Africa? Yes, I know. I know. I haven't forgotten about them...
Like so many of my generation, Iw as raised to believe that "This is America, the land of opportunity" and that, if I just work hard enough, I will succeed.
But, dear friends, I have been working hard.
And if you are truly my friends, I know you have been too.
So I suppose there's just one thing to do: keep spinning our wheels until we burn out...and then join the others as we exhaustedly float downstream.
Or become the modern Michelangelos.
But then again, even Michelangelo relented to the power of the Papacy.