2.30. Dear Retailers

In light of the current snow storm, which has smacked Kansas/Missouri and surrounding areas in the face, I am appalled at the diligent pursuit of money over safety. Scrolling through my news feed on Facebook and Twitter, I was taken aback to see that so many people and their spouses were required to go to work today.

Now, let’s me mindful that some people are hard at work no matter what the weather; the doctors that will care for the ill, the police who are pulling people from their crashed vehicles, road workers attempting to restore the city to a better condition…people who work hard to save lives.

But retail workers?

There is a freakin’ state of emergency put out right now! Two years ago, I-70 was closed and up until an hour ago, no one thought that would come to pass during this storm. Well, both I-35 and I-70 have been shut down. Government offices have been closed due to the severity of the weather.

And yet…Macy’s is open. Target is open.

…Wait for it…

What planet are these people on? To subject employees to dangerous conditions in order to make a buck is appalling! These multi-million dollar companies ride on the backs of workers whose lives are not even remotely considered at the beginning of the work day.

It’s not like this storm came out of nowhere. We knew about this. We had time to prepare. Hell, my own store manager called me two days ago and asked me to work yesterday JUST SO I wouldn’t have to subject myself to the road conditions for my shift today. THAT’S a company worth working for. The other company I work for will send it’s employees home WITH pay despite not finishing their shifts. THAT’S a company worth working for.

No place of employment is perfect, I will admit, BUT any place that is willing to subject their staff to risk their well being is disgraceful. Shame on you!

My heart goes out to the people who genuinely felt like they had to go out in these conditions for fear of being reprimanded. Retail is not an easy job, though there are many who don’t have a lick of respect for the mistreatment undergone for the sake of selling…in the simplest terms…materialistic shit.

It’s stuff. Just stuff. Stuff that won’t matter in a week, a month, a year. Stuff that can and will be replaced once a new trend hits, a new design is made, a new product is introduced. What CANNOT be replaced is the life of a human being. A human being who just wants to support him/herself. His/her family.

For anyone who reads this, whether you are directly in the midst of this storm – please comment with your company name and whether or not they are/have been open or closed in severe weather/state of emergency status/other extreme conditions. People should know what mentality they are supporting when they drop a dollar.

Personally, I would like to know where I will and won’t shop. Needing a new sweater or a bag of chips is not as important to me as knowing my friends and family are safe.

What about you?

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2.18. For The New Year

Dear 2013,

Your predecessor sucked. I have high hopes for you and the possibilities you may bring.

  1. Finalize this divorce. 
  2. Move into a larger space so Hunter has his own room.
  3. GO TO DISNEY WITH MY FAMILY!
  4. Visit NYC with Hunter
  5. Get a better paying job.
  6. Take (at least) one college course.
  7. Start working out on the reg.
  8. Take a cooking/dancing/something class with my bestie
  9. Start a savings account solely for Hunter
  10. BUY HUNTER A DOG!
  11. Kiss the muse aka submit my writing for critique/publication
  12. Give Hunter everything he deserves.
  13. Be happy.

Sincerely yours,

…..

2.14. ATTN:Stupid People – Stop Breathing

This is a rant. This is not meant to be nice or sweet or even thought provoking. This is me venting because I feel like it.

So, I’ve (very) recently come to the conclusion that I need to work on my positivity, my outlook on the human species, and my inability to give people a chance to show their good side instead of insinuating there must be something wrong.

I hung out with a group of people last night and actually allowed myself to enjoy peoples company without focusing on what could be negative. Went out to play pool and avoided blowing up on a sleazy, dirty old man…two points for me. This is going to take a lot of time and a lot of practice but I’m willing. Yay me.

And then I go to work.

And I listen to the tirades of a old angry woman. I listen to her curse and yell about the conspiracies against her. I listen and even advise her to speak with our manager (yes, she’s a co-worker). And then, she slips in some little dialogue about the favoritism that I have received. Because I have not been scheduled to work at 5am in the past several weeks. And how that is unfair in relation to the fact she she has in fact worked all morning shifts. That someone else has been denied a guaranteed day off to pursue college courses…and here I am getting to sleep in.

Well, fuck me running.

Furthermore, I find out from MULTIPLE co-workers that she has gone on several little tirades about me and the fact that I don’t work morning shifts. She had the audacity to BOLD FACE lie and say I have an arrangement with the manager so I don’t have to work mornings.

Oh no, bitch, oh no.

“Don’t you think it’s messed up that she doesn’t have to work morning and we do, that you can’t go to school but she gets a special schedule, isn’t that upsetting, I should make more money than she does, I wish I could come to work to sit on my ass and be pretty.”

Sit on my ass and be pretty? Because according to this haggard old cranky ass…that’s what I get paid to do.

Let’s see…

Tomorrow, I will be at work at 7am. I will work until 1pm. I will drive to my second job and work from 1:30 to 9pm. I will then go pick up my son and spend time with my boy until he is good and ready to go to sleep. I will sit on my pretty little ass on Monday since it is my off day, which entails me chasing my son around the house, reading to him, playing with him even though I am exhausted, and attempting to clean our hell hole. Somewhere in there, I will devote 3-5 hours at the welfare office in which I will apply (under the advisement of my attorney) for food stamps since, despite working two jobs, I still fall below poverty level. I will also attempt to fathom how I will pay all of my bills and give my son something remotely resembling a Christmas without losing my mind or focusing on the fact that for the past 20 months, my son has been shortened over $8000.00 that he will never get back and 8 grand that could have spared me a lot of fucking tear filled nights. I will rinse and repeat for Tuesday and manage to include a divorce mediation session that will emotionally rock me to the core. Wednesday, I will sit on my pretty little ass for 9 hours, the same Thursday and on Friday I will chase my son around yet again until he leaves for his fathers house. I will then take my pretty ass to bed and sleep (BECAUSE I’M FUCKING LAZY) and get as much rest as I can in before I go to work at 5am and get off of work at 9pm. That is a 16 hour day. WHICH I WILL DO AGAIN ON SUNDAY BEFORE PICKING UP MY SON AND PREPARING FOR ANOTHER FUCKING WEEK.

Sounds like a walk in the park.

So…in short – the next time some droopy old cunt decides to talk shit on me and questions my integrity as a worker, I would just like to give a shout out reminder that my work day does not start or end when I walk through those doors. That my work stress is the LEAST of my fucking problems. That there is NOTHING she could do in the entirety of her meaningless existence that will remotely compare to what I do in a day.

Fuck you very much.

Goodnight.

 

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.

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.

1.163 – Unfair Game

This week is a busy one. Between my son getting hospitalized, deciding to do Camp NaNoWriMo, and leaving my job in four days…I’m tired. But, life goes on and so shall I. My son is doing a million times better. I’ve made my choice for my June novel and I think I’m starting my new job on Sunday. On that last one…I’m actually not sure when my first day is, which can be a little bit scary. Here’s hoping I’m working this time next week.

Now that my son is better, my main focus is on this upcoming project. It’s really all I can think about. This is definitely what I needed. I was excited about Novembers NaNoWriMo but this one feels different. Do I think this is my big break? No. But I feel a sense of pride in knowing that I am not second guessing whether or not I should do this. I am excited to create more new material to work with rather than staying in the safe zone of hovering over a piece I don’t even have the courage to edit. I’m thrilled to be trying something new.

On a side note: I had an interaction with a guy today in which I was in my safe zone because he was being a pretty big smart ass. (This was not a prospect in any way: I’m in no position to be dating and though I don’t enjoy the thought of being alone, I know dating some random is not going to fill the voids I have). Yes, he was attractive in a bad-boy sort of way. I could handle the smart ass, it makes me feel at home. But then he did something I didn’t see coming. He acted nice.

I know. I’m an asshole. I get freaked out when a guy is nice to me. It does one of two things to me, actually. A) I think he’s mocking me somehow so I feel stupid and I shut down or B) I turn up the notch on the bitch factor so that I don’t enjoy anything I am convinced I will eventually lose.

I went with B. I was a royal bitch/smart ass to the max. He hung well with it for the time we carried conversation but when he said bye, the tone changed. Like he was disappointed or something. Like, he didn’t want it to end like that. But it did. And now we will never see each other again. And I feel terribly guilty. Not because I think something could have blah blah blah. But because I intentionally came off like a untouchable to someone who was trying to get to know me, even for a moment. I didn’t do it because he wasn’t my type. I didn’t do it because his humor annoyed me. I did it because…I’m so fucking scared…I don’t want anyone to get close.

I totally went through the predator/prey complex today. I was the predator. I won. But I think I lost.

1.150 – The Case of The Missing Keys

My son is pretty damned awesome. He also makes me have frantic moments of mommy brain. If you’ve ever had a child, you know what this is. You forget where everything is, you’re always late, you can’t keep track of anything AT ALL. My life is like a Where’s Waldo puzzle except I don’t even know what the hell I’m looking for half the time.

Today was definitely one of those days.

So, I’m getting ready for work and I’ve got the little guy all set and ready to go. Except for the fact that I can’t find the keys. I need the keys to lock my door and to start my car…they are kinda crucial to my day beginning.

Mind you, I’m in the middle of moving so the majority of my stuff is on the floor or in boxes. I recall my son holding the keys last night before we went over to the new apartment but he didn’t take them with us. So that negates the possibility of them being in the new spot.

So I call my boss and tell her “my son hid my keys, I will be there as soon as I find them.” I’m thinking, this is going to take me…at most…10 more minutes. I was SERIOUSLY wrong. After 30 minutes, I have scoured the living room, dining room, kitchen, bedrooms, and bathrooms. After an hour, I have checked the new apartment, the car, the refrigerator, the dishwasher, the sinks, even the toilets.

I’m in full blown panic mode. I call my boss back. I want her to know that I’m seriously trying here. I didn’t plan on being late, damn it, I can’t lose hours at work, I’m seriously stressed out, dear God why is this happening to me? My son walks up while I’m on the phone and I look at him and tell him he is a bad child. I know he’s not but in that moment, I’m convinced he might just be out to get me. Hell, the boys peed in my eye…He’s holding a grudge about something.

I keep looking, texting my sister as if this will somehow solve my problems. She tells me to check the couch. Did that. Finally, I’m getting down to my sons level, asking in a shaky voice “dear child, where did you put the keys? Show mommy where the keys are, okay? Can you do that for mommy?”

“Keys,” he says.

YES!

He runs into the next room and I follow. Yes! He’s going to show me where he hid them. He stops, turns toward me and puts his hands up. “I don’t know.” I am full blown crying. I’m imagining losing my job, being poorer than I already am, having a nervous breakdown and drowning myself in a pool of WTF. All the while, my precious child wants to know if we can play with cars. NO, NO WE CANNOT PLAY WITH CARS. What we can do is find the keys so mommy can drive the real car so you can go to daycare and I can go make money to buy a damn key locator!!!!!!!

My sister texts me: Did you check the trash?

I’m already on the first bag. I call my sons father to see if he has a spare Jeep key. Not that it will do me any good today but hell, I’m trying to figure out how I’m going to get to work on Friday now. Because today is looking like a lost cause. I hang up with him and go back to trash picking.

Yesterdays food, something I cannot identify, soiled diapers, is that oil, wtf is that on my hand? I would never have made it as a trash collector. I can wipe my sons ass, I can clean up blood and vomit. I cannot pick trash.

I’ve about lost all hope until the bottom of the third bag. EEYORE! That’s my Eeyore key chain. HOLY FUCKNUGGETS! MY KEYS! MY KEYS! PRAISE BABY JESUS IN A PINK FRILLY TUTU!!! THOSE ARE MY FUCKING KEYS!

And then I start crying again. I call my boss and try to hold it together as I tell her I found my keys BUT I have to take a shower because now I smell like shit.

I was two hours late to work.

In hindsight, it was funny. In the moment, it sucked donkey balls. I know it’s my fault for leaving the keys in range of my curious two year old. He’s not a bad kid. I’m just a dim-witted mom trying to move. I still think I need to buy a key locator thingymabob.

And the next time this happens, because of course it will, I’m checking the trash FIRST.

1.143 – Deleting a Life

She’s putting her dreams on hold

too often told

her words would not be sold

or could be

at discount prices

on unshopped racks

in closed bookstores.

She’s putting her dreams aside

swallowing her pride

the images in her head

better left unsaid

dead

in a pool of water

left by tears of failure.

She’s closing the book on her book

the ink in her pen dried to bone

better left alone

and sent out to sea

a vision of castaways

left upon the isle

under the beaming kisses of a sun

that could not find his wife

would not dedicate his life

to making things better

no matter the whether

or not he should have.

She writes in the night

to hide the streams

lapping the keys

because she knows

this is a dead end road

beaten and bruised

this path shall remain cloaked

with the remnants of someone elses success

all the while

the lights flicker

and her heart is faint

because the fridge is still empty

She forgets her dreams and shrugs on the shawl of

worker bee

the drone in the marching band army

singing a tune

she lost control of somewhere around the age of eleven.

But she was seven when the pain choked her out

kissed her eyes goodnight

and damned her to fail

pulling at the dirt

to no avail

the grave she lives in

the grave she dug

unable to be saved

by your God

any God

Beauty is a whisper

and so she screams

lacking the power to conquer

herself.

She’s burning the pages of her book

no second thought

no second look

wilting and withering in the brush

No dream lost

if no dream was ever had

empty palms

bleed ringlets of alphabetic droplets

spirals of vowels

showering consonants across continents

where hope died on roads to mecca

two paces forward

twenty eight back

into the womb

hiding in the dark.

Release me.

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.