1.187 – Evils Voice

He berated her; calling her names for all the world to hear, mocking her in the presence of strangers. She didn’t say a word. She avoided all eye contact and just held the money in her hands while the cashier waited for some form of tender. The cart was full and she didn’t have enough money. And he humiliated her for it. He took out all of the things she had wanted and asked them to be removed from the final bill. He insulted her with each item he removed from the cart.

The transaction was over. And he continued. Vocalizing her inability to get a job. Blaming her for the job he was forced to take to provide for the household. He told her just how dumb she really was. Every time he walked by her, he leaned into her ear and mocked her a little bit more.

Their son sat five feet away.

This is not my story. This is the story of an unheard voice. One that has not had the courage to say “no more,” to the abuse. Purposefully demeaning someone for the sheer gratification of establishing control is sickening, repulsive, and pure evil.

I hope that girl finds her voice. I hope that man loses his. I hope that child learns that his father is an example of what NOT to be.

We have all heard the voice of evil. We have all been the voice of evil. If not our children, what is worth making the change?

I hope that woman figures it out. I know I have.

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1.176 – The Average Life

It feels like forever since I’ve sat down and written a word. But life has a way of getting in the way. So here’s the rundown of this girls life in bullet points…since I’m too lazy to do paragraphs. Apparently, those take more effort than I’m willing to put in right about now.

  • My new job is a lot of physical work so I’m still trying to get used to that.
  • I just had a meeting today with some very important people who are doing an investigation concerning money that has gone missing. Needless to say, I’m not a thief and I’ve made that very clear. I don’t think they feel like I am a threat so I’m feeling less worried than I was before the meeting.
  • I only got about 20K in words for my June CampNaNoWriMo novel. Yeah, life got in the way. I will probably attempt another novel in August. We shall see.
  • Being able to pay my bills and fill my kitchen with enough food to last two weeks is an amazing feeling.
  • Having a falling out with family members is not something new to me. But this time around, I’ve had a new reaction. I can sit here and sulk and wonder why the hell things like this happen. But I’m not going to. I know who loves me and I know who cares and I know that at the end of the day, it’s not about how much family I’ve got but how I’m going to be family to my son. Staying focused and letting go of excess baggage.
  • In the same notion, I have also realized that people can smile to your face and chirp about how they want to be friends but if they never make the effort to reach out – they aren’t friends. Period. I don’t have the time, desire, or energy to chase bonds that were not meant to be. So I say goodbye and keep it moving. Not my loss.
  • I’ve been having odd dreams lately. Had a whole love story with some guy named Max. I don’t know a Max. Never have. Had a dream I bought 22 gallons of whole milk and had a meltdown trying to figure out how to fit it all into my refrigerator before it spoiled. Just odd.
  • My son is still freaking awesome!
  • Realized I have to work on my book review blog because I haven’t touched it in quite some time despite the fact that I am putting forth a huge effort to read every day. It’s on my to-do list.

So yeah, that’s life right now. It’s not that interesting…but it’s mine.

1.165 – My Bookstore…My Time Capsule

Today is a bittersweet day.

Two weeks ago, I was thrilled to put in my notice as the Cafe Lead of my local bookstore. I have the opportunity to work for another company that can financially help me in my current situation. It’s a smart financial move.

I was happy to say goodbye to a lot of things. To try to bring some level of a clean slate to my life.

But…something happened.

I walked through the parking lot…my final walk…and cried. Just as I am crying now. Why? Yes, I’m going to miss people. Yes, I’m scared a lot of my “friendships” will end because I don’t work there anymore. Yes, I’m going to miss my customers. Yes, I’m going to miss being the girl that pretty much knows how to do everything. Yes, I’m nervous these newbies will screw up the amazing bonds I have built with my favorite and loyal customers…and I won’t be able to answer a question or fix a problem or find that damned book that no one else can find. Yes, I have the opportunity to pick up a couple of shifts if I’d like to make extra money…so I’m not even fully gone.

But that’s not why this change makes me cry so much.

In that building, I have faced the struggles of not being able to get pregnant. In that building, I shared the excitement of finding out I was going to have a baby. In that building, I have faced the struggles of a failing marriage and upcoming divorce. In that building, I learned that my best friend died. In that building, I learned that my father died.

I can’t count the number of times someone in that store has sat with me and comforted me through tears. No, my four years weren’t perfect and I’ve had plenty of moments when I’ve wanted to bludgeon people with sticks. But these people have seen my life change in ways I was never prepared for.

This building holds the moments that replay in my mind, break my heart, elate me, and ground me. This place is a capsule in time of my greatest gift and my greatest losses.

My daddy introduced me to that bookstore…not that particular one but the chain itself. It’s sentimental for me. It always will be. I lost him in that bookstore.

And this shit is rocking my world way more than I thought it ever would. Bringing up feelings I didn’t think were connected.

I cry. Because apart of me feels like I’m leaving that place behind…like I’m leaving that moment there. I’m leaving him there.

And I relive the pain.

1.130 – This Woman’s Worth

“When I am assertive, I’m a bitch. When a man is assertive, he’s a boss. He bossed up. No negative connotation behind ‘bossed up.’ But lots of negative connotation behind being a bitch. Donald Trump can say, ‘You’re fired.’ Let Martha Stewart run her company the same way and be the same way. [People will say] ‘F—ing old evil bitch!’ 

Love her or hate her, Nicki Minaj makes a good point. A point that rings loudly in my ears after a conversation I had on the phone last night. A man walks into a store and approaches a woman at the counter. She attempts to give him the impeccable customer service she is known for…the service that has put her just thirteen days away from a corporate position with her company. But this man, this sad little man, does not see a hard working mother of two, a law abiding citizen, a strong willed businesswoman. What he sees is a vagina. And he’s not happy about that.

“Is there a man available to help me? Shouldn’t you be at home or cleaning windows or something?”

He asks for a MANager because he assumes this will bring forth a penis. A respectable penis. A trustworthy penis. An intelligent penis.

“I’m sorry sir, but I am the WOMANager. Now, how can I help you?”

This woman, who happens to be my sister, explains to me how she is baffled by the blatant display of sexism. She is appalled by the sheer audacity of the customer. She is shocked that a black man in his mid forties could be so disgustingly hateful…certain that he has fought his own battles in our society. Why would he dish out the same type of hate that he would resent on his own behalf?

Because, sadly, sexism and racism are not viewed the same. This country is battling the race war, despite the progress made in previous decades. This country is battling a sexuality war, ingrained in religious belief and political agendas. This country doesn’t give a flying fuck about sexism because women have been viewed as and always will be considered the lesser of the human species.

God is a man. Eve came from Adam. Eve fucked everything up because her greedy ass was hungry. She was probably a gluttonous whore. I’ve seen paintings. I bet she had chlamydia. You know how them hoes are. Women are to submit and make babies and strap down their breasts in archaic bindings. Woman are meant to beautify their sexualized forms because every woman is simply a deposit box for a mans seed. Women are meant to be cute and quiet, agreeable and pleasant.

Women are supposed to bleed every month for seven days but keep it on the low because their dirtiness is unappealing to the world. Lets make tampon packages small and adorable so we’re not reminded of the the reality of the body. Women are supposed to doll themselves up and attend college to find a husband that will have them. Women are supposed to work womanly jobs and nurture the youth. Women are supposed to go through an agonizing nine months of discomfort, hip spreading, tit swelling, body morphing, emotional roller coaster to give life to the future…all the while smiling about how fucking great it is to not be able to shit. A woman should be a nurse but not a doctor. A woman should be a teacher but not a principle. A woman should be smart but not too smart. A woman should be strong but never demasculinize her counterpart. A woman should be paid less than a man because that bitch is lucky she even got the job. I bet she’s screwing the boss.

Keep quiet and allow sexism to reign? Speak up and get labeled “a typical emotional woman that can’t take the heat?” There is no winning this war. You can’t fight a battle that has not been waged…because it’s so irrelevant to people. My sister could have been spiteful and said, “you belong on the back of a bus,” and all hell would have broke loose. But he can send her back to the kitchen and there is an undertone of “oh-fucking-well.”

WOMAN GETS SLAUGHTERED BY BLACK COMMUNITY FOR BEING A BIGOT…IN A CELL PHONE STORE. 

Why wasn’t she home baking cookies, bystanders wonder. 

“How would you feel if this country was run by a woman,” the man asked my sister.

“Well, sir, it’s run by a man right now (as it’s always been) and it’s kind of shit so…”

I’m sensitive. I’m emotional. I’m frail. I’m average when it comes to being smart. I make less money than the majority of males I know. Don’t talk to me about survival…I bleed for seven days every month and I’m alive. I carried a human being inside of my small framed body for nine months. I pushed that human being out of my body despite agony. Don’t talk to me about providing…I fed that human being from the milk my body made. Don’t talk to me about strength…I carry that human being plus ten grocery bags, a diaper bag and a stroller. (Have you SEEN my son?) I can live on two hours of sleep after a night of incessant crying. Don’t talk to me about endurance…I can come home from my eight hour, underpaid shift and cook for my child, clean the house, read a book, teach my child the English language, get a work out in and perform all of the daily chores before collapsing into my bed for a quick nap before doing it all again. I can teach my son that women are no more and no less than he. I can teach my son that women are equal. That women, just as men, should be respected for the contributions to this thing called existence. I can teach my son that not a penis nor a vagina constitutes honesty, integrity, intelligence, love, compassion, courage or worth. I can teach my son that blood is red and the heart and soul define a being.

To most…I’m a bitch. To my son…I’m mommy. I’m a woman. A mother. An emotion driven vessel. To me…I’m a boss. Of my journey. If you can’t play the game with mutual respect…ya fuckin’ fired.

1.126 – E-Race Me

With 5 minutes until closing time, a customer walks up to me and says:

“Hi, I know you must be wanting to get out of here, so I’ll be quick. I was just curious…um…what are you?”

What do you mean?

“Are you black?”

No

“Oh. What are you?”

I’m Puerto Rican.

*laughs* “Oh, cuz I was gonna ask you how I could get hair like yours but I’m not Puerto Rican. I’m Black.”

That’s nice.

“And um..is the Nook Tablet like the IPad..but like…cheaper?”

“Yeah, pretty much.”

“Okay thanks.”

Exit ensues.

Here are a few tidbits that will enlighten you as to why this interaction annoys the ever-living-piss out of me. This customer sat in the cafe area for a good hour, doing nothing. This customer was bald. This customer was a male. How the hell are you inquiring about my hair, boo? How did you assume you could get hair like mine? Maybe you dress up, so you assume I bought it?

I’m a Puerto Rican female. I’m just a female. I don’t ask people what they are, racially…to be quite honest – I don’t ask because I don’t give a shit. I don’t search for a specific race to date because I have some fetish. I don’t hang out with a specific race because I feel “accepted.” I interact with people. Not their race.

Not everything darker than white is black. Not everything that is spanish is mexican. For 11 years, I’ve answered this question a million times. It comes with the territory…or so I assume. It’s even funnier to me when people act shocked…or as if I’m lying. If I was black – I would be proud to be black. If I was mexican – I would be proud to be mexican. But I am none of those things. I am proud to be a woman who does not fixate on race. I am proud to live outside of stereotypes and labels. I am proud of the beauty of my internal being versus the shell you stare at.

On a side note – I’m actually excited about a children’s series concept that I discussed with an artist friend tonight. Don’t know where the idea will go…but I’m grateful I’m still having ideas. Means I’m still alive.

1.118 – Searching For Something

The only thing standing between you and your goal is the bullshit story you keep telling yourself as to why you can’t achieve it – kushandwisdom.tumblr

Someone posted this today on Facebook and it caught my attention, with good reason. Self reflection is a bitch. A bitch I don’t like but one that is continuously all up in my face.

The other day, I had an allergic reaction to food I should not have eaten. It wasn’t that serious – easily fixed with three shots. It was actually quite embarrassing. No one wants to be THAT person in the middle of the scene. Jesus H. Christ, just give me a pill and Ill be fine…and stop poking me with shit. No, I don’t want to pay far too much money for a two minute ambulance ride. It all seems very silly – people have heart attacks. People have seizures. My throat burned and tightened up and I had trouble breathing. A couple of hours later and I’m doped up, passed out on my couch.

All I could think about was my son. I’m not supposed to go out like this. I’m not suppose to stop breathing because of a piece of fruit. My son is at daycare and expects my ass to be there, bright and vibrant at 5:30. But the fact of the matter is…if something did happen to me…something triggered by bad footing, eating the wrong thing…a life changing moment unforeseen by anyone…life will go on. With or without me.

I can tell myself that I have all the time in the world to get my shit together. To reach my goals. To pull my head out of my ass and face the demon that is my self deprecating low self-esteem…but I don’t. I might only have today. I might only have this hour. I might only have this minute.

Will I teach my son…will my legacy be that I was a quitter? That his light wasn’t bright enough to push me through the dark hours? Fuck that noise.

I don’t know what I’m doing. I don’t know what my career is supposed to be. I don’t know if I’m ever supposed to be an accomplished writer. I don’t know if I’m supposed to ever be in love again. I don’t know why I’ve beat the odds as many times as I have. I don’t know why I let my fears get the best of me.

I may never know that magic of love with another adult. I may never get beyond working at the level I’m at. I may never be on a bookshelf. Those are all maybes. But what is certain is that I’m going to die someday. SOME DAY. But I’m breathing today. I have a voice today. I have feelings today. I have thoughts today. I have love for this life in my heart today. I can teach my son something today.

I’m not dead yet. So I need to stop acting like it.

I laid in that ER room and scrolled through my phone, searching for someone to come and get me. “Do you have a ride,” the nurse asked a million times. And I was ashamed. Because I didn’t. Because if something had happened to me…who the hell would they call? Who would answer the phone? Yeah, I’ve got friends. Yeah, I’ve got family. But who would…who could drop it all for me? Staring at my phone…scrolling aimlessly…that was hard. Realizing I havent made that deep of an impression…

But hell if someone didn’t help me out. And I’m grateful. I may not have any ONE person who would drop the world for me. But I have ONE that I would drop the world for. And if that meant walking to my car, drugged up and all, I would have.

I’m not dead yet. So I need to stop acting like it.

I’ve still got time to make that impression. To be the light to others that my son is to me. I don’t know how. But…I want to figure it out. That, alone, is a step toward something.

Something more meaningful. Something connected. Something magical. Something worthwhile. Something better.

1.89 – Jagged Pills

2012 is about swallowing the pill. Self-evaluation. Growth. Progress. No matter how bitter the pill tastes.

I generally don’t need anyone to impose harm or judgement upon me. I have a condition, which does that all too well. It’s called self-sabotage. It is a sickness that tears me from potential happiness, and that growth I profess so much to want.

Nothing is off limits. Nothing is safe from the plague. It usually starts with small things and grows swiftly to engulf those things that are near and dear to my heart. They never intended to…he must be lying…he favors the other one…why bother, nothing will make it look better…this is not your year…prepare to be alone…they didn’t because they really don’t…it’s all just a game…there’s nothing special about you…why would anyone bother…it’s not that good anyway…your time is running out…he’ll see you for what you are soon enough…

It’s a soft voice in the back of my head, much like my own but hateful. To me. To the world. It’s a drop in the pit of my stomach, a racing of my heart when I realize nothing is what I thought it was. It tells me to push everything away. Because, then, it will have been my choice versus the alternative. That which burns the soul.

And I struggle. Because I want to believe that there is no truth to it. They do want me to succeed. He’s telling the truth. He loves me equally. It looks just fine. This is my year. There is someone out there who wants me for ME. They really do care. It’s not a game at all. I am special. Someone doesn’t see me as a bother. It’s quite good for a first. He isn’t going to stop seeing me as a good person. He will know my heart is good.

I want to believe that. I want something to snap me out of the self-deprecation. I want something to click. To show me something brighter. Possibility. Growth. Progress. Worth.

She’s just a writer writing about her life. She’s just a girl sitting in her apartment writing about nothing. Synonymous.

1.84 – My Job(s)

In the previous post, A Crappy Lie, I mentioned just one of the two things that irritated me on New Years Eve. This post is about the one I did not clarify.

For the first time, in a really long time, I am taking the bull by the horns and persistently working to make progress. Whether that be at work, in my writing, as a mother, friend, sister…I’m putting in the blood, sweat and tears to get where I want to be.

I am proud of that. I am proud of my two bedroom apartment, despite the use of the word “ghetto” by anyone I may know to describe my area. I am proud to provide EXCEPTIONAL customer service. I know what I am capable of. I know my strengths. And I shine in those moments of thinking quickly, multitasking and problem solving.

So what annoyed me?

A conversation in which someone referred to my job as if it were worthless, insignificant, not worthy of respect. A conversation in which I was told I “just work at a bookstore,” I “just serve coffee.”

Let me correct that statement right here and right now. I don’t JUST do ANYTHING. I do what I love with passion, conviction, ambition, integrity and enthusiasm.

Quite frankly, your tax dollars could be paying for my sons food, the apartment we live in, the medication he requires. I don’t make crazy dough. I could be on welfare swiping my WIC card at the grocery store, on your dime.

I could be hustling; selling drugs, selling my body, working under the table, scheming on guys to pay my bills. I could be doing many things I’ve witnessed all too often in my upbringing.

Instead, I work at a bookstore. I pay my taxes. I buy my groceries at discount supermarkets. I pinch my pennies. I haven’t bought myself clothes in well over 8 months. I haven’t bought a new pair of sneakers in well over 3 years. I don’t go to a salon to get pretty. I spend my spare money on my son, coupons in tow.  I work diligently to help others in my workplace and diligently to help my son in my home life.

No, I’m not an accomplished writer. I simply work toward my goal of honing my craft one blog post, one revised page, one reading session at a time. I am slowly, but surely, pursuing my dream as I bust my ass to pay the bills.

Yes, I work at a book store. I serve coffee. And I am proud, no matter how much anyone wants to look down on me for my work choice, that I am making it. And at the heart of it – I like what I do.

For the first time, IN A REALLY LONG TIME, I don’t need the validation of others to tell me I’m the best at something. I may never be the best. I’m not trying to fill those shoes. I work at a bookstore. I serve coffee. I write with conviction in my words. I give every ounce I can spare to show my son that you can work to beat the odds. I work to show him that for for mommy – it’s not about being THE best but being MY best.

I work at a bookstore. I serve coffee. I am a writer. I am a mother. And I’m damn good at what I do. Period.

1.83 – A Crappy Lie?

Here’s a story. It’s a true story.

It’s New Years Eve. I’m working. I go on my lunch break, because that’s just how I roll. I check my phone and see that there are five text messages from my sons father. It goes pretty much like this:

GAHHHHHH, ANGER, RAGE, ANNOYANCE, OUR SON CAN’T POOP, PANIC, ANNOYANCE, MORE ANGER, SCREAMING, MORE CONVO ABOUT POOP.

My son has been blessed with a moody stomach since he was born. In short, sometimes – he has trouble taking a crap. He just can’t. The boy claws at his face and screams, it hurts that bad. It’s no joke. There is nothing more painful to a parent’s ears than the cry of pain from a child.

So I call my sons father and we have an exchange in which he explains that my son hasn’t dropped a log in two days. Yes, I just referred to poop as a log. Again, because that’s how I roll. I can hear my little man screaming in the background, grunting and whimpering. His ass hurts. Period.

My sons father cant take him to the store, my child is that agonized. So he says he thinks he’s going to take him to the ER. This will entail random people messing with my sons rectum, a large bill and a very annoyed father. My head already hurts. He then informs me that he is considering performing an enema on my son with…and I quote, “I have a turkey baster and water…that should work.” You want to stick what in my son? OH HELL NO.

The pressure is on and it’s up to me to do something. “I don’t know what to do,” he says, which means I have to be the one to fix this. And there goes that mothers dilemma. Working and Family. Family and Work. I’ve helped with inventory but there is still much to be done. But my son can’t go on like this. That turkey baster is not going near my sons ass! So, I make the call. I’m going to have to go.

I tell one person and he is fine with my decision. He gives the best advice he can. All I can think about it my son screaming. But I have to inform the right channels so I’m not considered MIA. So, I find the next in command.

I get attitude. A wave of the hand and a “well what about…” comment. But I don’t have time for that. I’ve got to do for my child. I am on the road in no time. I head to Walgreens. “Um…hi…my son can’t shit. What would fix that.” Why beat around the bush, right?

The clerk gives me the generic suppository. But this is my sons ass we’re talking about. Now is not the time to try and cut corners to save money. So I pay the 8 dollars for the legit medicine versus 1.99 for the store brand. Yeah, I know, I’m all about dropping the big bucks. I get some Pedialyte so my son doesn’t dehydrate. I’m with my son just minutes after the purchase.

I attempt to ignore my sons screams while I administer the medication. And then I hold him. Try to soothe him and myself. I’m in full fledged mommy mode, cradling my son until he falls asleep in my arms. I set him down and head to the door. “He’s going to crap within the hour. I’m going back to work.”

I’m back in 1 hour 5 minutes time. Pretty damn good for the distance, purchase and enema I just performed.

Shitty day, right?

That’s not the annoying part for me. My son can puke, pee, shit all over me. I deal. It’s just apart of the makeup of mommyhood. You know what did get to me. You know what really made me break down? Two things. I’m only going to address one of those things in this post. The second thing will be in the following post, which I will pen shortly. The thing I can share with you is this:

I am annoyed that anyone would imply or insinuate by asking someone else if they think I am telling the truth about why I had to leave work. Lets analyze this. If I was going to lie – Don’t you think I could think up something better than “my son can’t shit?” SERIOUSLY! Secondly, what is asking this person going to do? You’re placing whether you believe me on someone else?

My feelings are not hurt. I’m pissed off about it. It is questioning my moral character, my integrity, my choices as a mother. I will not have anyone, EVER, make me feel like I have to worry that I will be believed when it comes to my son. It is insulting, demeaning, and offensive. PERIOD. What am I going to do with this situation? As of right now, I don’t know.

My son is doing much better. THAT is what matters. I will deal with my son’s bowel issues to the best of my ability. I WILL NOT take random adults bullshit. You couldn’t pay me enough.

Here’s a lie for you. I like you. I respect you. I think you’re good at your job. I look up to you.

The End.

1.76 – Supply and Demand

The next time someone becomes snippy, snobbish or downright spoiled in my presence – I’m going to officially say “you are having a Leawood moment. These Leawood moments are an epidemic. It’s a plague. A sickness. Well, call me Dr. Skylah. I’m all about fixing some shit.

Symptoms:

  • Waiting until the last minute to pick up a holiday gift and then getting mad at ME because the merchandise you want is now sold out.
  • Making a statement like – “you were doing (insert task) while I was off obtaining knowledge at college.”
  • Being purposefully rude and laughing about it. To my face.
  • Taking 12 things into a line when the person behind you just wants to order a coffee.
  • Writing a check for those 12 things while the person behind you just wants to order a coffee.
  • Getting pissy because you printed off 7 of the same coupon and I’ll only redeem one.
  • Doing the heavy sigh when I say give me a moment.
  • Acting like I’m not doing things fast enough/correctly.

I get it. You think you’re special. But here is the deal. Not all of us are the richie rich people of the world. Not all of us waited until this week to do our shopping. Not all of us are blowing our husbands/wives/parents money on gifts. Some of us are busting our asses trying to appease the hundreds of people strolling in and out of the main doors. Although you may look down on me for my career choice…I don’t give two shits. At the end of the day, you need me. You need every waiter, bookseller, McDonalds drive-thru employee. You need everyone who does the work that gets you through your day. Everything you enjoy and take advantage of during your superficial day is given to you by someone else. Someone like me. And that includes assistance. I get paid to assist you. I sure as shit dont get paid to be humiliated, spoken to in a derogatory manner or laughed at.

So, the next time you leave your house and go ANYWHERE of service – the gas station, a bookstore, a cafe, a clothing store, Burger King, the post office…I mean anywhere…take a friggen moment. Take a moment to recognize that people are hard at work. People are trying to survive. To pay their bills. To live without handouts. There are people in this world who actually enjoy the thought of helping others – even if its in the smallest and most unrecognized sort of ways. Take a moment – between your bitching, your obvious annoyance that you have to stand anywhere near the likes of me and say two words. Just two words that will – for just a moment make me feel like I’m doing this all for a reason.

Just say thank you.

Show a little gratitude and stop trying to make things harder than they have to be. You are the consumer. I get it. You consume my energy every time you choose to act superior. You consume it every time you demand instead of ask. You consume my energy every time you attempt to degrade me. BUT you will NOT and I repeat WILL NOT consume my emotional sanctuary. You will not consume my dignity. You will not consume the foundation that motivates me to get up everyday and work harder than I did yesterday.

I deal with you and the likes of the Leawood Epidemic for my son. To provide. To show that hard work does not go unnoticed. You need the products we sell. But more importantly…you need us.