Street Dog Syndrome

Most of the days I lack confidence. Not that I don’t have it, it’s just hard to find it within myself. I always stop before I finish a job application, and ask myself if I’m competent enough for that position or the worse part, do I deserve this job? Do I have the competence to apply for something other than being a waitress or a restaurant worker? I have a Creative Writing degree, I read many books in English, I edit my work to the core, over and over, I gave enough feedback to my peers, yet, I freeze every time I apply for a position other than Hotels. I was talking to my friend and we got the conclusion that we suffer from something more common than I ever thought. The stray dog syndrome.

The stray dog syndrome probably has a different name according to psychologist or therapists, but for me, it is easy to explain what I’m feeling other than the exact terms applied. Feeling like a stray dog, means you are always scraping to get by. You get whatever you can because you don’t feel like you have any other option, so you thrilled with a dry old bone they throw at you. It’s the feeling that you have that you are receiving more than you deserve, so you become so loyal to whoever is it helping you out. You don’t leave. I heard recently from a family member “America to Americans first”, meaning, if you are not born and raised here, you don’t deserve to get a job. Americans first, you are not American, I’m sorry, go back to the end of the line. Or go back home.

Because of a small group of people, we tend to feel like we are the underdog. We don’t get the same chances, we don’t take major risks, as we learn to be contained to get by without being seeing. We all have accents, unfortunately, in some parts of the country, an accent is also seeing as somewhat, a language barrier. They are fast to assume you won’t be able to write, understand, or communicate as you should because English is your second language. This affects us deep down in our confidence. That’s when we start questioning our values, that’s when we start doubting ourselves. We feel like we don’t deserve it and get stuck. We get stuck on jobs we hate because we don’t think we can get anything better.

We could be whatever we want, but we don’t have the confidence or the space we need to grow. I could be a TV writer, a showrunner, or whatever I wanted to be, but in my mind, I will always be stepping into bigger shoes than mine. It is highly related to, how I previously stated here before, the presidency. The previous president was inclusive, I feel like I had an equal opportunity as everyone else. With 45, I feel like I’m a huge weight on this country and shouldn’t be here like his supporters were unleashed and are not ashamed to yell at me “America to Americans first.” They heard directly from their President, so they repeat even louder. It hurts. It messed with my confidence and most of the days I’m on a spiral. I’m avoiding watching the news for now.

Living in the South, for most of my years here in America, four and a half in Georgia and almost one year here, I learned how to walk on eggshells, carefully to not burst the bubble, only learning to get by. During the time I have been living here in Austin, Texas, I’ve realized how difficult it is to get a job. A job outside of the Hospitality industry. My first job in this city was to be a prep, which the ad posted was to be a Front of the House position, in a catering company who works for Facebook. The biggest disparity I’ve seen was, the girl who was younger than me, by many years, got to work in the main dining room area, because she was American. I’m almost certain that it was that case. I, being from Brazil, got to work in the Taqueria, because in that company people get to be put into boxes. I worked in that place for one day.

I decided to quit at 7 AM when I, wearing my hat and apron, greeted one of the Facebook employees, while grabbing coffee. She looked at me, with the same attitude Miranda looked at Andy at the beginning of the Devil Wears Prada, from my head to my feet and walked away, ignoring me in my face. I told the girl who was working with me and she said “It’s normal. They do that all the time.” Girl, no. You are not less than anybody else because you don’t have a job in a big company, or because you have an accent, or because you have darker skin, or because of the uniform, you are wearing. My coworker was so used to be ignored by those people, that she thought it is normal. This is wrong on so many levels.

After I quit that place, I was quick to find another job. Once again, to be a server, this time on a bus company. Seriously, Austin. I was an auto-attendant, more like a flight attendant, but on a moving bus, on the highway. “Sir, would you like your coffee on your hand or your lap?” That is a sketch I’m still going to write. I went to Dallas and back the same day, which is 3.5 hours away from Austin, on the way back, I would have to clean the entire bus for the next day. Vacuum, mop clean all the seats, bathroom. All in a garage, in the middle of nowhere. I quit after the training day. After a few months in Austin, applying for jobs in my field, which is Creative Content Writing, I realized I was not going to get any job, since those jobs are filtered to a specific category of people. When the quarantine started, decided to move the blog forward and tell people that they shouldn’t feel like a straight dog. You have the right to live out loud too.

I live in same America as all of them, I watch the same movies, TV shows, I eat the same food. I communicate greatly in two languages. Why don’t I have the right to succeed and feel empowered like people who were born and raised here? Why do I have to always feel like I’m the scum, the alien, the unwanted? I’m worth it too.

My whole point with this post is, no matter what is going on, or where you come from, or who do you love, how do you look like, you have value! Find your purpose and be true to yourself. There is no need to change your hair, your attitude, your accent. We are in this together. Some days will be better than other days. These days shall pass.

Thank you for reading my Pep Talk! See you in a few days to talk about the new Taylor Swift album!

J.G. Snelly

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  1. Hi Joana. What a sad story. Rest assured, there are many of us that actually like stray dogs – we judge them on the way that they behave, not where they have come from. Don’t give up.

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