Is it Joy Division Gloomy or Nick Cave Gloomy?

Things are coming to a head. I am facing down decisions in just a few weeks and I am not nearly prepared enough to know what to do. Avoidance is no longer an option, but it was nice while it lasted. And, my future is looking particularly gloomy (like Morrissey gloomy).

I am not gainfully employed. While I work two jobs, both part-time, I am just making enough to cover rent. The rest is slowly bleeding out from my savings. It won’t be long until I’m in shallow waters. I’ve sent over 100 applications and gotten 0 replies, fifty thousand dollars in student debt for seemingly no reason. And, as lovely as my parents are, the idea of moving back to Richmond and into their home is not a pleasant one. It feels like stumbling backwards, like failure.

I know I’m not the only one in the position. It’s a song that many others are singing. For the past two months, I’ve done my best to ignore the song playing on repeat in my head. It was nice having a break, focusing on my writing and enjoying my (likely last) summer. Of course, I kept getting distracted, procrastinated, and now I have very little in the way of words and a lot in the way of stress. I ate half a steak sandwich and a whole bacon cheeseburger at my sister’s house while my mom petted my hair and I tried not to cry. It felt like something out of Gilmore Girls, though not nearly as quirky.

That day, after I swallowed way too much red meat for my digestive system to handle, I went home, put on some sweats, and drank three cups of tea. I felt the stress unravel itself from my back, coiling up in soft lumps of thread at the base of my spine. I know I’m going to get knotted up again; it’s just a matter of when. But until that happens, I’ll dance to Joy Division (laughing at the irony) and keep that gloom at bay.


Published by Ren Martinez

Ren is a thirty-something Lost Boy whose personal aesthetic is “suspected of witchcraft by local villagers.” She subscribes to cheerful nihilism, the destruction of the patriarchy, and the belief that glitter makes everything better. She is a Richmond-based writer and performer who has fiction and non-fiction work found in a variety of publications, such as The Mary Sue, RVA Magazine, The Quotable, and Nostrovia Press. She is currently the fiction editor and a regular contributor at Quail Bell Magazine. She is also the co-host of the podcast, This F***ing Guy! Find out more at or read her dumbass tweets on Twitter @itsrenmartinez

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