The Friend Zone

This was my response to a post some guy on FB made lamenting his supposed constant ‘friend-zone’ status:

Allow me to impart some wisdom from a woman’s perspective here: 

1.) Being what YOU would describe as a “nice guy” is not enough to get a woman to want to date you. You don’t get brownie points for not being a jerk. That’s just the standard. And what you personally think is “nice” may just be “okay” for her. 

2.) Complimenting me is not “special treatment”. Yes, I’d expect a potential romantic partner to positively acknowledge when I’ve done something to improve myself.  Then again, my co-workers do that too, and I’m not seeking to marry any of them. I’m not going to get that you want to date me from you telling me that my dress is pretty.

3.) I don’t care how nice or cool or awesome you may THINK you are: if I don’t feel SAFE with you (whether that means understanding that you will protect me from harm, or trusting you to not harm me yourself), it’s a no-go. Point blank, period. Plain and simple. Fun fact: this is why girls will go for the tough guy or bad boy types and try to get them to love them. Take a defense class. Hit the gym. Learn how to scan your surroundings. And before you start: yes, I take my own advice and exercise regularly, eat well and try to attain optimal health.

Here’s a tip: if I as a woman notice you have a tendency to whine or complain about things instead of DOING something, I’m going to think you have no ability to take control of a situation or be decisive (weakness). Also, complaining/whining is SO un-attractive, regardless of gender, but it’s ESPECIALLY un-masculine.

4.) If you’re the kind of man that constantly gripes about being in the ‘Friend Zone’, take a look at a few things:

  • Consider the types of women you are being ‘friend-zoned’ by and WHY it is you keep going after them,
  • Observe the manner in which you are ‘friend-zoned’.
  • What it is about yourself that gets you ‘friend-zoned’ (again, you can’t use the rebuttal of ‘nice guy’. I’m sure women of the world are not only getting married to people they think are idiots or d-bags).

If you’re looking outwardly and blaming others (read: women) for not finding love, guess what? that doesn’t make you such a ‘nice guy” does it?


5.) Personally speaking, I have a lot in common with my guy friends (hence the fact that we’re friends). But that doesn’t mean that I will ever date them. There are three big reasons for this. 
The biggest is their lack of FAITH in God. If you’re so worried about being in the friend-zone you’re not focusing on your relationship with God, who you’re supposed to be trusting to send the right woman your way, don’t be surprised when you lose out. Fail#1.
COMMUNICATION: How the h— am I supposed to get that you want me if you don’t say, “Hey girl, be my girlfriend!” or something with a little directness or clarity?! Women like when a man is confident in his abilities (but still humble enough to know when he’s out-classed or wrong) and straightforward. It’s what we expect. Straightforwardness (not to be confused with RUDENESS, VULGARITY or LOUD, BRASH, COCKY behavior) is a testament to the type of character that we instinctively rely on (see #3). Don’t be an insipid punk; subtleness is for office meetings. Fail #2.
CHEMISTRY: I cannot stress this enough. Nothing is going to induce me to accept your hand if the thought of being in your personal space for the rest of my life feels even the slightest bit forced or awkward, I don’t care how “nice” you are. Ultra big fat mega-Fail #3.

6.) Lastly, and to piggy-back off #4, if the only reason you are nice to a woman (compliments, opening doors, doing favors, etc) is to get close to her, don’t be surprised when we don’t date you. WE’RE NOT STUPID! We pick up on this stuff. “Women’s Intuition”, remember? And is just having a woman’s friendship and only her friendship REALLY such a punishment? Real, genuine long-lasting relationships and marriages are that way because they GENUINELY wanted to be friends, wanted to be around each other and get to know each other more and more each day. If the woman you’re pursuing is just not interested, why not MOVE ON instead of snubbing all women for one telling you she just wants to be friends? She’s not indecisive, she just ain’t that into YOU, bruh!

Do you actually want someone dating you because they feel sorry for you, or so they don’t hurt your feelings? That’s manipulative, petty, immature, selfish and a breeding ground for an eventual failed relationship and a lost friend. It’s almost borderline rapist mentality. Are we just objects for you to “win over”? You really want to be that guy who persuades ladies for a date? STOP IT! Nobody wants someone like that (face it, you wouldn’t be attracted to that either). Grab a bottle of water and stop being so daggone thirsty!

Better Days Ahead…?

In ‘The Wizard Of Oz’, during the scene where they’re all traveling through the Dark Forest, the Scarecrow mentions that the forest will more than likely get darker before it gets lighter. I’ve found that traveling through life is no exception.

I woke up today so depressed, I couldn’t get out of bed until sunset.This has been a TERRIBLE year, for myself and others I know. I’ve suffered setback after setback financially, I’ve worked seven (yes, SEVEN) jobs this year trying to stay afloat, only to have just found a full time job on the day I got evicted. I’ve been to more funerals in this one year than I had in my life previously, lost so much and had to remove quite a few people I found out the hard way were toxic (not you, if you’re reading this!), moved twice within a month, my whole life has seriously been turned upside down, and now I’m literally back at square one. But, I did have some nick-of-time blessings along the way, and became closer with my loved ones, and even made new friends. I guess the beautiful part of having to start over is that I can rebuild bigger, stronger, better than when I first started out, because of all the lessons the hardship taught me, all the compassion I learned through the heartache, and all the strength I’ve gained during the struggle. There is a kind of relief in failure, a kind of victory in defeat. Here’s to a fresh start and a clean slate, and hopefully, a clearing at the end of the dark woods.

Better Days

I feel like the world’s biggest fool.

When I get upset, and my state of distress has lasted for a long time, it’s as if my problems are the only ones in the world. They all have been stewing and fermenting in my head until I just explode this bitter, foul vitriol that leaves  everything in my wake damaged. I turn into a child, stomping her feet and throwing a temper tantrum because she didn’t get sprinkles on her ice cream. And then, my sister has to come and help me vacuum up the pieces once the anger sharks in my head swim away. I’m working on this, I promise.

What are ‘Anger Sharks’, you ask?

Of course, I know that it’s only human to lose hope, and rant and whine and complain sometimes when times are hard and obstacles are the only thing we are able to see on the horizon. But, for some of us, depression can make life and all its intricate circumstances seem like the cloud that hangs over that one person while everyone else enjoys the sunny skies. Times are tough, and with our generation supposedly experiencing more stress in one month than our forebears dealt with in a 10-year span, there’s no wonder why we feel like the light at the end of the tunnel is really the headlamp of an on-coming train. Depending on one’s life and relationship choices and ability to judge character, having friends, family and significant others can either ease the strain or add to it. The things we do to our bodies both before and during times of turmoil can impact stress levels as well (speaking from experience, comfort eating, hitting the bottle harder and starting smoking again wrought havoc on my weight and made me feel sick. For a while, I couldn’t fit into my interview clothes). The choice that makes the most difference out of them all, however, can be the hardest for even the most positive, happy person to make: outlook.

The other night, I got up after tossing and turning for hours thinking about my dire situation. My unemployment is exhausted, I still owe about $650 for this month’s rent, my insurance got cancelled because of a data entry mistake that the Healthcare Marketplace made, and I’m still out of a job. What will I do? How can I pay my bills? Will I have to move? What will I do with my dog? If I have to go back to my mom’s, where will I put my stuff? It’s all second-hand, so I can’t sell it for anything. How will I afford gasoline to get to interviews? Why is no one hiring me when I’ve gotten jobs so easily before? Why is it that my background check with that one employer took a whole month before I was even able to start, but the guy that got hired after me got on board and started working in the same week? Why did I get let go from that other job over the employee who was always late, always left early, didn’t know what she was doing and constantly made the same mistakes over and over, was completely rude to her co-workers, was always on her phone or tablet during working hours, and would even put patients on hold to answer her cell? Why is it that my last boyfriend dumped me for wanting to lose weight, get healthier, and go deeper with my spirituality, for wanting to better myself? Why did I get bullied all through school when I minded my own business and left everyone else alone?

I got to thinking about what a horrible time I had in school with that last one. In middle school, I started having suicidal thoughts. I would purge my food, and collect things to hurt myself with. Luckily, I was in a school district with an open-door policy among their guidance counselors. Frequently, I would visit a counselor just to winge about how life was so hard (hilarious to me now what I thought back then was a ‘hard life’), and express feelings I wasn’t tough enough to snap back to the classmates who bullied me. One of my counselors told me the story of how her husband left her for a woman of another race he had been cheating on her with for several months (a very common and very hurtful experience within the black community) while she was pregnant, and even shortly before. She lost her home, her family wouldn’t contact her back when she tried to reach out to them because she chose him over them. Ultimately, she had to go into hospital one day and schedule a delivery for her son, who had already passed away while in utero. She lost everything dear to her in a matter of weeks. The reason I thought back to this was because this woman was one of the most cheerful and pleasant people I can ever remember meeting. Back then, even though religious education in public school was technically illegal, she would share her Christian faith, would explain to her students that faith was the only thing that kept her going when she felt like digging her own grave and giving up. Because she had no one to comfort her during her difficult time, she decided then to become a guidance counselor to help young people who need a sense of direction, or, like me, someone older and experienced with life to talk to and help put things into perspective.

The last I heard, that counselor remarried, bought a new home in a better part of town, and had twin girls. The jerk who dumped me gained all the pounds I lost. Some of the kids who picked on me can’t find work either, but some of them, unlike me,  have criminal records to contest with in the hiring process, and families to take care of. The company who took forever with my background check but not with the other guy’s came in about $9 million over their company budget for the second quarter, and maybe might have to start making  cuts soon.  My mother, who is also unemployed, bought me groceries and gasoline with her severance pay.

Is it too late to take back all those awful things I said? Is it too late to ask God to forgive me for being angry? Am I going to be punished even now for still not being sure about my faith or whether I want to be a Christian? Can I still love God and not assign myself a label just yet until I really figure it out? Now is the time I want to focus not on what has gone wrong (because SO much has gone wrong), but on what could have gone wrong, but didn’t, and on what I thought went wrong, but actually turned out to be right after all. I have no children, unless you count the four-legged, fur-laden, barking variety. I have no husband, and my mother and sister are both able-bodied. I’m not totally alone in the world, and no one depends on me to care for them. I have about $13,000 in student loan debt and $500 credit card debt, but I don’t have a car payment, so no one can come and take it away. Alfred (the car. Yes, I named my car) needs work, but he’s dependable and not too expensive on gas or repairs.  For now, I have food in my fridge, a roof over my head, clothing in my closet. Clothing that fits again! There’s soap and toilet paper and running water in my bathroom and lights and air conditioning and other things we take for granted until we don’t have them anymore. If the power goes out because I can’t pay, I have candles and a portable stove. Most of all, I have my health to be able to get out and work once I get a job. I have family and at least three or four good friends who won’t allow me to be homeless if I get kicked out. I will work again. I will smile again. I will get out of the desert and stop circling Mt. Sinai one day soon. Even the longest monsoons have to eventually end. Until the better days arrive, I’m just gonna have to learn to dance in the rain.

 

What is the point?

At some point in life, we all wonder why it is we are here, what it is that we are all grouped together for, why things happen (or don’t happen) to us, and what the point of it all really is. That is, of course, if you’re a normal person.

Coming to this point in life several times a day everyday for at least the last decade of my life has made me realize that I’m not a normal person.

So many terrible things have happened to me and my loved ones, most at the hands of other people. My family (mother especially) somehow can manage to plop on a ready-made shit-eating grin and sunny attitude and just keep crawling over broken glass like it’s fun. Personally, I say ‘Fuck that’, and express outrage about the fact that plastering on that smile and ‘staying positive’ is a load of steaming bullshit, since none of us are getting out of life alive, and anyone who realizes it and tries to explain this to people gets buried.

I tend to catch on very quickly, and see how things will end up before they even happen. The problem with that is that everyone likes people who do that until it challenges their existence in some way; when that happens, they do what they can to villify that person who essentially tried to do them a huge favor. Because of this ‘talent’, I reasoned out very early in life that it is much better to not waste time or energy and just try to end life as quickly as possible to avoid more pain and suffering, and family and society at large all said that I’m the one who needs medication and therapy, as if what I said was wrong.  Life is nothing but shit, fully of shitty circmstances and shitty people who gravitate to you so they can bite you and infect you with their shittiness like zombies. And I’m quite frankly tired of pretending that life is just one great big gravy train, especially with everything happening in this country, and the Western world at large. I’m really exasperated with being told ‘Oh, just trust God! He’ll make it better!’ when trusting God and not my own instinct is what landed me in this predicament in the first place. Life is only kind to those who are not all at once non-white, female, plain, overweight, of average intelligence (even less so to above-average intelligence level, really), poor, and NOT a cleft asshole who treats everyone like garbage.

What the fuck is the point? Why live life ‘to the fullest’ when even attempting to do so gets you shafted even worse than if you’d just kept your head down? Why exist in the first place when the good and the bad have to exist together in order for us to understand how good the good really is when we are only experiencing bad at a constant with no reprieve? Why am I even alive? Why is anyone, for that matter? Who decides that these awful people of the world get to live on top, and the most kind, sweet beautiful (on the inside) people have to be dumped on? Why is it that we all see this and do absolutely NOTHING about it to change it? Why is literally every virtue in this society backward and laden with double standards? Why do people without depression just tell people to ‘get over it’, as if they can help it? As if they ENJOY feeling this way? As if they could say the same thing to a person with schizophrenia or diabetes?!

What is the point of getting out of bed in the morning in an apartment you still owe $600 rent on that they could kick you out of at anytime, filling out 23 applications a day for positions that are ‘actively hiring’, and writing 23 different cover letters for each only to never get even a response, getting calls from temp agencies and recruiters who say they’ve read your resumé, only for you to realize 20 mintues into the call that they haven’t read your resumé, have only just scanned it through a word search app to pick up key phrases, and have wasted 20 minutes of both your time and theirs getting you to read it to them like a pre-schooler, because it’s not a requirement for them to be able to read to stay employed, frying my hair to make it appear straight because society says that’s more “professional”, stuffing myself in a suit with jacket in the dead of summer, driving all over creation in a hot car and wasting gas in an old car that could fall apart at any time and braving the stress and danger of the highways where NO ONE can seem to drive like they’re not psycho six times a week to meet some schmuck in a wrinkled shirt and khakis who has no idea what he’s really even looking for or why he had someone in HR (a department comprised of only 2 people) draft a completely contradictory job board posting for a position you miraculously have all the skills and qualifications for, who you completely blow away in the interview only to have them totally reject you, without even a ‘thank you for wasting your time, money, gas, makeup and perfectly clean pressed shirt so I could peek over the clipboard and barely acknowledge your existence for a half-hour’?

I’m just gonna let the idiots who think that perseverence is the key wear themselves out trying to guess the answers. I’m too tired to continue pretending to care.

I’m desperate

I had $353 in my bank account, and I wrote a check for that whole amount yesterday to give my rental office. My rent is $902. Earlier this week, I skipped buying groceries and instead paid $51 on my $91 electric bill.

I haven’t had stable employment since November of last year. My stressful non-profit job gave me the boot the day before Thanksgiving, telling me that  was not ‘assertive’ enough with the patients over the phone. I applied for jobs, but got no responses (except for scammers and telemarketers). I got a response from a temp agency, went on an interview and got hired, only for them to tell me that they gave the job to someone else over the Christmas holiday. It took a month and a half fighting with the unemployment office before I saw a dime of money, and my January rent was late. Then I got a lucky break and got a temp spot with an underwriting company, only for that assignment to end.  I got a job a month later working for some 50-something lawyer/professor/English teacher out of his (filthy) home while I dealt with his temper tantrums and lame “I’m better than everyone” jokes, until he swore at me, berated me and essentially blamed me for HIS character flaws a few too many times, and I had to leave to protect my mental health.

In the meantime, I tried to make a little money by selling my things on eBay, only for the girl who bought my stuff to ask for a return, claiming it was ‘fake’, whatever that means. I tried working per-diem jobs in between interviews, only to have unemployment shaft me out of $150 because I had the audacity to try and be self-suficient and work a few hours at $9/hour.

On my interviews, I am alert, present, ask all the impressive questions Forbes website tells you to ask to impress the hiring managers, I dress in crisp, clean, business professional attire (often times, I’m  dressed better than the manager!), I remember to execute all the key points and ‘WOW” factor  advantages and stupid 30-60-90 Day Plans and every other trick they tell you in those ‘how-to-get-a-job’ webinars.I’ve re-written my resumé and cover letter for each and every single goddamned position I’ve applied for to match their key word search for jobs that my skills and qualifications are a match for to let them know that I can and will do the work. I’m a damned impressive person. It’s like the universe is trying to punish me for trying harder to support myself. I’ve been on an average of 4 job interviews a week since June. Several times, I’ve gotten the 2nd or final interview round, been told that I impressed with my knowledge and skills, have a great personality, great work history, etc.,…only to not get the job. Or, I will get the job and the hiring manager will ‘forget’ to call me back, just like what happened with this shipping company I got hired for, submitted drug and background screenings for (both of which, were clear). This week, I’ve been on six interviews. All promised me a call by the close of business at the end of the week with an answer or an update. It’s now an hour past close of business. Not one call. Zero emails. Surprise, surprise: nothing.

During this, I had been trying to stay faithful, but the more bad things that have happened, the lower my faith got until it wasted away altogether. I’ve stopped praying and going to church. I donated all my bibles and Christian books, because reading them doesn’t bring me any peace or comfort. It’s just annoying, and contradictive, teeming with lazy answers and vague direction. I’d pray for financial stability, pray for the ability to manage money better, only to have some freak circumstance come along and clean out my already-meager bank account. “Just hold on! Your breakthrough is coming!” has been the same old song on repeat for literally months now. The only thing that broke through was my belly through the buttons of one of my shirts. I had gained over 20lbs from the stress.** If this is a test of faith, then I’m voluntarily taking the zero. What’s worse is that all my friends and family members are Christians. Every time they try to encourage me or tell me to pray harder and just believe and be patient and ‘stand still and know’ that it will happen, it takes every fiber in my being to stop myself from punching them in the goddamn teeth. I mean, seriously. If one good thing has come out of all of this, it’s that I finally woke up from my religious coma. Throwing 10% of my money into a pot every week did nothing but leave me struggling financially %10 more. Every time I’ve prayed for clarity, things got more and more confusing. Every time I ‘surrendered’ myself, I got steamrolled. Never has it been more apparent that “God” isn’t real, and thus doesn’t give a shit about the everyday goings-on of human beings. Looking at the state of human beings nowadays, I know I wouldn’t. Enough is enough.

I’m tired of trying and trying, and trying something different, and trying something tried-and-true, and trying again until it hurts.  I’m desperate. I’m at the end of my rope. I guess I’m also destined to fail at everything I do, and may as well end my life before it gets worse.  But, I’m done being a fool. When I do something, nothing happens. When I do nothing, nothing happens. But, at least when I do nothing, I don’t look foolish.

**Note: I’ve since lost the weight back again, and am losing more. Must be the lack of food. Or the nicotine from the cigarettes I’ve started smoking again killing my appetite. Whatever.

 

Lynette and Doreen: A Comparison

We all have days  in life that are less than pleasant, and days where we wonder why we even have to bother going on living. Some of us have these thoughts prompted by more pressing issues than others, while others suffer from ‘first-world problems syndrome’. Nevertheless, we all have experiences in our lives that make us more existential and world-weary than in normal circumstances. Sometimes, these unfortunate events are caused by other people, usually as a by-product of acts of selfishness.

In life, you’ll encounter two types of people:  we’ll call them ‘Doreens’ and ‘Lynettes’. Allow me to elaborate:

Doreen – she’s a fifty/sixty-something former sistah souljah, a pseudo-‘conscious’ airhead, probably with a superiority complex because she has dreads and – as is evinced by her accent, her abrupt manner and clipped communication (read: appalling lack of manners) – comes from somewhere north of the Mason-Dixon line, but for whatever reason, has had to take up residence and employment behind the checkout counter at Kroger on the other side of it among us hicks and yokels. She is the typical WOC** of a certain age who is not wont to showing courtesy or simple respect to persons young enough to be a child of hers; thus, she will make you feel like a child in a bad way; her sharp tongue and questionable manners go further untempered with you than with those closer to her age. Yet, despite her air of “I’m better than you”, she is, for lack of a better phrase…basic.

She will do things to demoralize you, waste your time and drain your energy, such as refuse to acknowledge your greeting, have a comical lack of coordination, speed and customer service skills,  ask you for your shopper’s card twice, ask you where your cart is to put your $3 bag of onions in when not 45 seconds earlier you handed her your shopping handbasket and said ‘thank you’ when she took it. She will ignore the prompts on her register that follow when you enter in your debit card information on your end until you stare at her blankly, silently (and admittedly in a passive-agressive manner) indicating that it’s her turn. Finally, when she makes an error resulting in your banking institution locking your card, she will smirk and take the opportunity to be exponentially rude to you. When you politely ask her to return your eco-friendly shopping bag you never seem to remember to get out of the trunk for shopping trips but remembered today, her volume increases as she snaps at you to be patient even though you’ve literally neither said nor indicated anything in the neighborhood of ‘hurry up’.

 

Lynette – she’s a tall, cool, forty-something business professional, tired to the bone from the hamster wheel she endured that day at the office. She’s picking up a few items for the house while waiting on her daughter (Doreen’s co-worker) to get off work so they can ride home and fix dinner before heading out to bible study later this evening. She’s in line behind you and just wants to get along. She reminisces of a time, maybe back in her college days, where she had to make a dollar out of fifteen cents only to be told she  owed $1.05. She understands the best is never good enough. She will say things that seem simple, but have so much depth, like ‘I been where you’re at’, and ‘I’ve had a hard day, too, girl’ as she whips out her MasterCard and swipes before you get a second chance to object, making you want to start crying like a toddler who needs a nap, complete with ‘whine – dramatic pause-deep breath-wail’ startup sequence. Finally, when you’ve acquiesced and thanked her as profusely as is socially acceptable without looking stupid in public, she will give you – a complete stranger – a warm church-lady hug that makes you feel like a child in a good way.

 

It’s imperative and essential to the shaping of our concept of what humanity is to remember that each of us is, will be, and have at some point in our past been either a Doreen or a Lynette to someone else. The two types of people in your life don’t usually come with the express intent to make it better or worse. Yet, through a choice or series of choices, those people can encourage you or try your patience. How we react to them is a topic for another blog post!  If you’re like me, then you have had the good fortune to have God send you a Lynette at the exact moment a Doreen makes you want to whip out your pepper spray, thereby saving you from a free all-expense-taxpayer-paid trip to the Chesterfield County Police Department.

Maybe I’m a little bit in my feelings right now, but I discern a life lesson to be taken away from this experience. Doreen, through being selfish in her way (manifested through arrogant, inconsiderate, impolite behavior, self-righteous to the point of shifting blame for her own mistake onto her customer) made things worse for those around her. If I were the type of person to summon energy necessary to complain to management every time I were wronged, it may have been made worse for herself by causing her to be written up on her job. But, ironically, I’ve sort of been where she is. I’ve made mistakes on a customer service job in the past that I immediately regretted after, because they could have cost me my employment, my ‘face’,  and my credibility, but for the grace of God and someone overlooking it. I was about to just take my belongings and walk away fuming…but I would have been walking away from both a bad situation and a blessing.

Lynette, through her selflessness, helped further diffuse the bad situation by being the blessing. She didn’t have to shell out money for a girl in line in front of her who she didn’t know from Adam. She didn’t have to waste a single thought about my welfare. But she did. That simple loving act of buying some onions for a financially-challenged girl’s Struggle Life dinner was enough to restore my rapidly dwindling faith in God and in humanity at a time when I needed it the most. I’m almost not even upset about the fact that I have to call my bank tomorrow behind someone else’s screw-up.

I made it to my car in time for the floodgates to open and be shielded from public view. My cry-face is a thing of nightmares, folks. At first, my mind turned to how bad and embarraresd I felt, then to how I would have been scared (read: another form of selfishness) to have acted the same way if I were in Lynette’s shoes, lest I piss off the person I was trying to help, leading them to follow me into the parking lot to slash my tires and break my other windows (my car got vandalized in March; it’s a long story).  Then I think back to all the times I’ve ever passed up an opportunity to be a Lynette: not speaking out against the bullies in middle school when they left off of me to pick on some other, more nerdy, less defenseless kid; every time I’ve passed a disabled vehicle, then a pedestrian who was no doubt driving said disabled vehicle further up the road and didn’t stop to give them a lift; not offering to at least try and help translate for the struggling Spanish-speaking immigrant at the checkout counter at the post office. I resolve with new fervor to be a Lynette whenever I am blessed with the opportunity from now on. Paying it forward, if you will.

It Was 50 Years Ago Today: Happy Birthday to My Mom

(posted from Facebook)
Fifty years ago today, the country was in the throes of the Civil Rights movement, the Vietnam War, the Space Race, and Beatlemania. The first episode of  Star Trek aired, and Medicare was first administered in the U.S. Perhaps the greatest of all these events is that my mom was born 50 years ago today. I’m sure she doesn’t mind me saying it, since she doesn’t even look to be 40, has ONE little lonely gray hair and absolutely NO wrinkles.
           Now, I’m willing to admit that I may be exercising extreme bias here, but I happen to think that my mom is the best example of a human being I can think of (even when she drives me nuts), and that the world would be a beautiful and ultimately better place if everyone were to learn from her.
           From my mom, I learned how to read, how to cook, how to drive manual transmission, how to pray – all very important things that are at the foundation of who I am as a woman now. The best things she taught me, though, are the ones that she didn’t really ‘teach’ me. I learned from her how to encourage myself against every opposition, the most formidable opposition sometimes coming from the people who should be the most supportive.
           My mom taught me how to be resourceful when things don’t go as planned, or when that direct deposit doesn’t clear in time for things to work out the way that I want them to, or when the storm hits power goes out and there’s no way to heat/cool off the apartment. I learned from her how to rob Peter to pay Paul until Mary paid enough to eventually pay back Peter with interest.
          I learned from her how to kill with kindness when all I feel like doing is cussing a b—- out. She taught me that the hardest people to love are the people most in need of it. I don’t know who could be a better teacher on how to be supportive: not too many people will take in a disrespectful and emotionally difficult child AND her boyfriend AND allow that adult child to live under her roof and eat at her table without working while she attempts to finish school…during a major recession.
           I watched her struggle with weight issues that plague our entire family and watched her lose 50lbs through hard work and exercise (and despite lack of support from her then-husband).
           She consciously taught me how to care for my body and skin as a teenager with my struggles with cystic acne, but inadvertently helped me to learn to accept my flaws and inherited traits I didn’t like so much, to embrace my own unique femininity, and to accentuate and downplay features to both enhance my looks on the outside and allow my inner beauty to radiate. I learned from her that the only woman I should ever try and ‘compete’ with and be better than was the woman that I was yesterday.
           I learned from her that love DOES mean saying ‘sorry’ – and ‘I forgive you’ – again and again and again. If it weren’t for her, I’d have never learned the solid work ethic that a modern woman needs, nor the nurturing and sense of empathy of a traditional woman that the world is now so desperately lacking. Don’t misunderstand me; it’s so important now to be independent, but from her, I’ve also learned to be interdependent, as well as vulnerable and transparent.
           She taught me (and is still teaching me) how to keep praying and believing when it seems that God isn’t listening. She taught me how to keep it together and be strong when a man you loved with everything leaves you deflated and with nothing but sorrow, when one daughter’s life is threatened by cancer, and the other’s is threatened by her own hand. Even now, she is teaching me what it means to be important and significant as an individual, and as a small part of something bigger than any one of us can imagine.
 
          So here’s the hot topic of the hour: how do you celebrate 50 years of such a full and beautiful life? How do you show the love and the gratefulness and appreciation within you for having been blessed not only to know but to have come from such an amazing human being? Most poignant of all: how do you dare to ask for more time, for more lessons, for more love from someone who has given so abundantly?
 
And what kind of present should you buy befitting of such a lady!? ::sigh::
 

Vote for Hillary! Because…Vagina!!…?

Happy Chinese New Year, Everyone!

I usually try not to get too political. In fact, I make it my business to go out of my way to avoid politics, particularly American politics, because it is (and has been for the last 100+ years) nothing but a mud-flinging circus to entertain and incite the public. In other words: it’s B.S. It’s always the same story – each side blames the other for the short-comings of this country, each side blocks whatever movements the other sides the other tries to pass to effect great change… nothing really gets accomplished, except a greater and greater divide in the “Us-Vs.-Them” identity politics chasm. There are people in this country who literally HATE other people simply for the fact that those other people have a dissenting opinion on some issue, and they don’t even know WHO it is they hate, because you obviously can’t tell what a person who thinks a certain way will look like, so they assign that image and go around hating a certain demographic that they SUPPOSE may or may not think that way. It’s sickening.

Just when I thought it couldn’t get any worse, today I’ve had the realization (through popular poll results) that the next leader of the so-called free world could be either one of these two people:

God, help us all. Are we really that desperate as a nation?

 

Another time, I will write my lament for my nation on the brink of total ruin. But for now, I would like to analyze an alarming news post I read in passing today. This past weekend, at a rally to support former Secretary of State and presidential-hopeful Hillary Clinton (ugh….), Madeleine Albright, also a former Secretary of State, allegedly stated that ‘there’s a special place in Hell for women who don’t help each other’.

http://graphics8.nytimes.com/video/players/offsite/index.html?videoId=100000004193587

By “help each other”, she means “vote for Hillary Clinton”.

Those of you reading may be wondering who this senile old bat woman is. She’s the one behind classic gems like this one:

…And this one…

http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/f-news/1716930/posts

….Successful Secretary of State, indeed.  Honestly, I don’t even remember her, because I was a kid in the 90’s. But, c’mon…forgetting that about North Korea? Friggin’ NORTH KOREA?! SMH

I was taught to respect my elders, so I’m having a very grand internal struggle right now about whether to dismiss her on her merit as a pompous asshole completely out of touch with reality, or whether to dismiss her on age-related feeble-mindedness. Decisions….

To make matters worse, not only did Clinton go along with it, she DEFENDED HER by stating that those who were outraged were just ‘easily offended’! What. The. Hell. Question mark.

If the current POTUS, had said something like, “If any of you black folks out there don’t vote for Carson, then you’re a self-hating coon!” they would have been livid.

If Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor (ugh….) piped up and said something like, “Latinos have to vote for Marco Rubio, for no other reason than because he’s Latino like us!”, there would be a media frenzy.

If Anderson Cooper came out (pun intended) and said something like, “We men have to stick together! Cast your vote for Bernie Sanders, because he has a penis like we do!”….you get the point. The irony is comical, to say the least. They expect women to be smart and strong, but only when they’re not blindly following them because we all happen to have ovaries.

Since when has choosing a leader for the country based solely on physical attributes EVER panned out well? Since when does feminism, REAL FEMINISM, mean electing a candidate not based on merit/credentials/stance on the issues, but on their genitals?

The NY Times article (linked below) quotes a few good ones from the Chancelloress of Feminazism herself, Gloria Steinem. She sounds off on the issue, and goes so far as to accuse women in Bernie Sanders’ camp of ‘chasing boys, that’s where the boys are’. Because, using their logic, men only vote for other men, like women only vote for other women, not because they actually agree with the candidates on the issues or anything… and women who don’t are just stupid and horny. Yeah, OK.
I’m willing to bet everything that I possess that she didn’t support Michelle Bachmann in 2012, or Sarah Palin in 2008, and that she’s daggone sure not carrying a “Fiorina 2016” poster around now.
I consider myself a feminist. Not a Feminazi, a real feminist. Women do continue to face real issues today, despite the amazing strides we’ve made, both in this country, and around the globe. But – and, correct me if I’m wrong -disrespect never begets respect. Denigrating or ostracizing men won’t ever make it safe for women to walk alone without fear of being raped or murdered, it won’t get us single mom-friendly workplaces. Yes, we are worthy of respect. We must remain respectful until we get it to illustrate how much we really deserve it. Real feminism is about equal rights, opportunities and, in some rare cases, REASONABLE accommodation for women, with regard to the law, the workplace, education, and property ownership. It DOES NOT in any way, shape or form mean:

  • having consequence-free sex a-la-carte,
  • behaving like a nasty libertine skank and expecting the government to pay for your healthcare once you come down with something as a result
  • man-bashing
  • abortions
  • free government-issue contraceptive pills
  • being a rude, abrasive, slatternly pig
  • being entitled to a job/education/social standing/privileges/etc. simply on the basis of having boobs
  • making important employment/educational/executive/presidential/everyday decisions based on whether someone has the same genitals.

 

The above list would piss me off to no end if the roles were switched and the bulleted items were what was requested of men, and I say what’s good for the goose is good for the gander.  Telling me that I’m doomed for hell because I refuse to vote for a completely untrustworthy, incompetent female candidate simply because she’s also female? Bitch, please.

There is no feminism in shaming a woman for using her brain to make the RIGHT choice, when the clearly wrong choice happens to have boobs.

There is no feminism in guilting a woman, saying that she must make a shitty choice simply because that shitty choice wasn’t a choice available to her fore-mothers.

There is no feminism in inferring that women are somehow superior to men, because vagina.

There is NO FEMINISM in insulting those young women supporting Sanders, calling them “boy-crazy” because the “boy” in question happens to be right and the “girl” is wrong. (I’m looking at you, Gloria Steinem. Go back to your tapioca pudding.)

And, speaking of Gloria Steinem…there is no feminism in basically doing the same exact things to men that you’ve spent your whole miserable life speaking out against for the sake of women.

Feminism says “choose the candidate based on their merits, their stance on the issues, their track record, their expertise WITHOUT REGARD TO THEIR GENDER”. Feminism says “we as women will help each other build a strong community WITH our brothers, and sons as well as daughters”. Feminism says “we must exercise our faculties for the greater good of this society and teach the future generations the richness that BOTH genders can bring to the bank by working together, using our unique strengths and taking turns covering our respective shortcomings in times of triumph as well as in the face of adversity”.

Everyone knows Donald Trump is a complete misogynist. But he’s an old man. What’s really awful is to completely undermine the power and intelligence of modern women when you are a woman yourself! Most people who know me, REALLY know me, know for a fact that I think Hillary Clinton to be the personification of everything wrong with our current political state. She is everything my generation deplores about Washington. She is duplicitous, a flip-flopping band-wagoner, greedy, remorseless, self-serving, pompous, foppish, morally bankrupt… The very definition of a career politician, she says what it is she thinks will get her way, and only takes a stand when the stand has already been made. Take her stance on LGBT, for example. Against it in 2008 when she was running, but somehow all for it in 2014 – after the Supreme Court ruling was passed legalizing it anyway. Never mind the fact that she backed her husband 100% when he passed DOMA. Or how about when he signed mass incarceration into law? Still the only FLOTUS to be fingerprinted by the FBI… and to have those fingerprints found on the Travelgate documents that she ‘couldn’t find’ for two years.  Then there’s this:

http://www.bloomberg.com/politics/articles/2015-04-29/clinton-foundation-failed-to-disclose-1-100-foreign-donations

She was all for capital punishment “for the right reasons” in the first Dem debate, but suddenly has a change of heart from one debate to the next, all thanks to a backlash on Twitter… Hmmm…Let’s not even talk about her Wall Street son-in-law. Tip of the iceberg. Sanders is a nut-job socialist, but when it comes down to who I’ll vote for in a pinch: the saying goes that in the land of the blind…

Yes, I would LOVE to see a woman lead this country one day. But I want it to be a woman in office who isn’t going to lead this country further over the cliff of disaster we’re already sliding down. I and other young women like me want it to be a woman we can actually be proud to say was the first female president, not a woman who got in just because she’s a woman, or who will ultimately bring shame to our sex.

 

Links:

http://www.nytimes.com/2016/02/08/us/politics/gloria-steinem-madeleine-albright-hillary-clinton-bernie-sanders.html?_r=1

http://www.bloomberg.com/politics/articles/2015-04-29/clinton-foundation-failed-to-disclose-1-100-foreign-donations

http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/f-news/1716930/posts

http://www.truthrevolt.org/videos/ben-shapiro-hillary-clinton-lies-lot

 

Mental Illness, and Other Delights

I have Attention Deficit Disorder. No “Oooh, shiny!” jokes, please.

Understandably, you’re probably confused or scoffing, since I don’t fit the bill of the average newly-diagnosed ADD patient. I’m a 28 year old woman, not an 8-year-old school kid; a full-time student, and up until about seven hours ago at the time of this writing, I worked full-time for a national non-profit patient assistance organization. How curious: a week ago today marked the one year anniversary of my termination of employment at the regional bank I had given three years of my life to.

Apparently, I’ve had this all my life. My adult life has been a string of one- or two-year stints at large corporations providing excellent customer lip-service and/or pushing paperwork, doing all manner of things all at once distressingly stringent and  monotonous and menial (awesome alliteration, woop-woop!). Said stints were usually culminated in termination of my employment: not for anything behavioral, nor for intentionally trying to suck at my job, but due to inconsistent or sub-par performance. God, that’s tough to admit.

Before a series of events took place, it never even would have crossed my mind that someone like me could even have the disorder. I only just got the inkling that I may have a problem with attention deficiency (and that it’s NOT, in fact, a made-up disease) when I overheard a coworker describing her adult daughter’s ADD symptoms. Up to that point, I just dismissed it as a child’s disorder, something that the bullies made fun of the kids who had to go to the nurse’s office and take meds at lunch time for in school.  In retrospect, my  childhood was characterized by lost track of time, a severe aversion to anything involving mathematics, constant daydreaming, never finishing projects, procrastinating,  fidgeting, arriving late to classes or events, and general moodiness. I remember dreading report cards every nine weeks for fear that my teacher would write “Must learn to stay on task”, “Apply yourself more”, “Not working to potential”, or some other language indicative of exasperation with what he or she perceived as a smart, teachable but lazy child.  Some of these symptoms have persisted into adulthood without being abated by maturity at all.  My apartment is full of maintained messes and neglected knitting, sewing, and origami projects.

Throughout my life, I’ve been easily distracted and fidgety, tardy… despite my best efforts (and loudest alarms), forgetful, anxious and often so depressed from my life seeming to spin out of control, that I was hospitalized and ultimately diagnosed with anxiety-induced depression at 22. That was a nice, fun 4-day stay-cation! *   The depression usually comes at the end of a vicious cycle of being enthusiastic and eager to begin something anew, starting off strong, then having my train of thought completely derailed (did you see what I did there?) at the merest distraction or random curiosity popping into my head, followed by a bout of anxiety, snowballing into an unshakable feeling that disaster is looming, struggling to get back on track after having fallen behind, left to pick up the pieces after aforementioned disaster strikes as a combined result of over-thinking in the anxiety phase and lack of attention to detail in the easily distracted/daydreaming phase, ultimately ending with the tempest of anger and self-contempt drenching the walls of the deep dark pit of despair and loathing so much that they are rendered too slippery for me to climb my way out. All of these stages, I’m told, can be produced from symptoms of ADD. What’s worse: ADD is are hard to correctly diagnose with these symptoms, because they mimic the symptoms of other mental disorders. Go figure.

Last year, when both my curiosity and my frustration with myself at failing more and more in my job and falling further behind in my schoolwork reached a fever pitch, I made an appointment to see my N.P. She referred me to a neuropsychologist for a test to confirm what she seemed to suspect immediately after hearing my symptoms and concerns. Later, I learned the results: inattentive Attention Deficit Disorder. I didn’t get to go back to the follow-up consultation, because I got fired and my insurance got cancelled as a result. I’m STILL paying on the bill for that test…

The unfortunate thing about me at this point in my life is that I have too much ambition for my own poor brain’s good. As I mentioned earlier, I both work and attend school full time. I understand that I am a smart person, but it seems that being intelligent and doing my best to be organized isn’t enough to cut the mustard. Doing both things at once full time has only served to bite me in the bare end. Again. All of the problems I’ve had at school in my younger days,  and at work as an adult seem to have been not only compounded, but amplified. Some behavior modification has proved helpful in avoiding the anxiety triggers, and through prayer, fellowship with other believers and meditation, I’ve managed to beat the severe depression back to it’s depths. Currently, I’m taking a prescribed medication to alleviate the symptoms, but it appears as though it all came a little too late to save my job. It came too late to save my last job, too. And too late to save my full-of-potential childhood: another unfortunate thing is that as hazy as the mental health field is nowadays, it was about as clear as mud two decades ago. How could my mother or teachers see the signs of this when there was virtually no literature or awareness being raised about it? When mental and cognitive disorders carried a stigma heavier than lead? To boot, girls with this disorder are and have so often gone undiagnosed or misdiagnosed because they typically are not hyperactive; more often than not, girls lack the ‘H’ in the ADHD, and thus slip between the cracks. It’s always the squeaky wheel that gets the oil. The non-squeaky ones just have it chalked up to being lazy or to some other character flaw.

No matter. I won’t let this get me down, nor will I beat myself up. The past is gone, and now that I know the problem, I can work towards the solution to make my future brighter. God is a teacher that won’t give a test his students can’t pass, but he’s silent while testing is in progress. This is a cognitive disorder that has no bearing on my intelligence, and can be managed through my lifestyle adaptations.  Maybe I can even look into finding a support group for the newly-diagnosed.  In the meantime, I do need to pass finals and find gainful employment; January rent ain’t gonna pay itself. Maybe this time, I’ll find a job doing something I actually like and am good at.
(Author’s note: to be read with abject sarcasm)

 

Immigration.

Recently, there has been a large outcry from citizens all across our nation to pass immigration reform.  The interesting thing about the outcry for reform is that while everyone can agree that a cut-and-dry change needs to be made, what the change needs to actually be seems to be a huge matter for debate. While some understandably believe that our nation became what it is because of immigration, and therefore should be more lax about the issue, others believe that doing so would be a detriment to the American way of life.

A stunning example from our own history depicts just how convoluted and deep-seated the issue of immigration is.  We have read that tens of thousands of Chinese immigrant workers braved harsh weather conditions, rough terrain (sometimes having to literally chip their way through craggy mountain passes), low wages, abuse from fellow workers, and even threat of death to lay over 600 miles of track for the Central Pacific Railroad. They contributed immensely to the success of one of the greatest logistical advances in modern history. Their reward: not only did their efforts go unacknowledged, but they were banned from celebratory events for the completion of  the undertaking (not a single Chinese worker was permitted to stand for the commemorative May 10, 1869 photo at Promontory, UT, for example), and were also the constant target of racially motivated attacks thereafter.  Another immigrant, Irishman Denis Kearney, was renown throughout the state of California for his influential and often vitriolic speeches attacking greedy big businesses and their exploitation of the common working man. Ironically, one of the objectives of his organization, that was ultimately accomplished in 1882, was to persuade the U.S. government to ban Chinese immigration outright. A striking modern parallel exists with the urging of some extreme modern-day “nativists” to seal our borders to all newcomers. While national safety and conservation of resources are legitimate concerns, we would be severing ourselves from one of the key enterprises that made us who we are as a nation if we support some of the more stringent anti-immigration laws that have been proposed, especially since such proposals seem to be targeting a specific immigrant population.

America has often been referred to as the “New World”, both in modern times and long ago by people from Europe, Asia, and other corners of the world. There were many who embarked on the long, dangerous journey across vast and capricious seas in search of opportunities to acquire riches, religious freedom, or a better way of life than in the homelands they’d left behind. When one takes the time to analyze America’s history, it can be observed that, with the exception of the native tribes, no one can truly claim that America is ‘their’ land any more than another person. Historically, each of us either is an immigrant in the true sense of the word, or has rich immigrant ancestry, regardless of whether the immigration was voluntary or involuntary. So many of the most accomplished and revolutionary figures of American history who have contributed and continue to contribute to our success as a nation are either descendants of immigrants, or have immigrated themselves.

Personally, I ‘m all for granting temporary amnesty for otherwise law-abiding illegals who are willing to work, pay taxes and contribute to society while they get their red tape sorted out to become legal citizens.  Sure, there are risks… but even natural-born citizens can be dangerous. One can conclude from these observations that regardless of the political orientation to the matter, immigration (within legal means and with guidelines adhered to) does not threaten the American way of life; it perpetuates it. “E Pluribus Unum” is the national motto, after all.