Sunday, June 29, 2014

Maybe Marie's Not In A Good Mood (The Maybe Post)

   I dislike corn season. I mean, I like fresh corn as much as anyone, but I dislike being a checker during corn season. People don't like you to count corn. They have a cart full of the shit (and sometimes, this is literal) and they want to tell you something like, "I have one hundred", and they don't want you to count it. They get PISSED. Don't even think about the fact that counting out what you're buying is part of a cashier's job - just automatically jump to the conclusion that the cashier is accusing you of being dishonest. If I ran a business that sold items in quantity, I would want my employees to verify the quantity the customer had. But maybe that's just me; maybe the rest of the world wouldn't care if their employees were not doing their job to the fullest of their capabilities and the entire extent of their job description. Maybe a half-assed work ethic has become the new hot commodity in retail. 
   I also dislike customers who are douche bags. Full on, rude, I-have-no-respect-for-anyone-but-myself douchery. Fantastic. There is nothing like telling a customer that you're sorry, but you don't have any tape at your checkstand, and having that customer respond, "Do you even know what tape is?" Hmmmmmm. Maybe I don't know what tape is. Maybe, somehow, in my thirty-two years of life, I have managed to completely avoid all contact with tape. Or maybe you need to realize that this is a checkstand, and not the package counter at the post office, and that even if we did have tape, it would probably just be plain old scotch tape and not the packaging tape required to hold your freaking big-ass box shut. That's not exactly a donut box, dude. Or maybe I just don't know what tape is, and really, I have a full drawer full of packing tape.
  Banana peels; you do realize that when you hand me a banana peel at the point of checkout, you are now digesting the heaviest part of that fruit, and I can't correctly charge you. Same with apple cores, peach pits, and so-on and so-forth. I really dislike this. What am I supposed to do? Heimlich the rest of the fruit out of you and try to get the weight? Really, what am I supposed to do here? Just be like, oh well, you just stole from my company, and let it go? No big deal. It's just fruit. Maybe, if you were the only person doing that garbage. Do you really think you are the only person? Why is it, that when people want a snack, and they just can't wait until the shopping is done, why do they tend to choose the items that are sold by weight?
    To add to this list of things that I dislike; let's go with not being able to breath. Men! You don't need the whole bottle of Axe poured over your body. That's not sexy. Women are not passing out because of your inconceivable hotness; they are passing out because your cologne has defeated all the area's oxygen. And your poor, poor checker; that person can't even run away. That person has to try and hold their breath until you've moved on. Seriously, can't breath here. Maybe you don't need so much. Maybe, if you are buying cologne in bulk, that's a sign. Maybe, if you come through my line with five bottles of the shit, I'm going to grace you with Marie's-Ultra-Special-Glare-Of-Death - you know, on behalf of all of the people who have suffered. Maybe too much cologne should be considered chemical warfare.
   Maybe I'm kinda grumpy today. I dislike being grumpy, but hey, I'm human. Grumpiness comes to all of us. Probably, I shouldn't have gotten out of bed this morning, but I have responsibilities. I have things that need to get done. But maybe, after I'm done baking this box of Betty Crocker's cookie brownie that I just happened to find in the cabinet (how did that get there, I wonder?), maybe I should manage to refrain from eating the whole damn thing, because even though I like to eat my feelings, I know it isn't healthy. Or maybe I should eat the whole thing. We only live once, and maybe this brownie is the only thing standing between me and happiness. 

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

College - Worth The Cost Or Not?

   I've been seeing a lot about college lately; more specifically, the cost of college and student loan debt. There's a lot of heated opinion about college and about paying back student loans and the cost, and is college worth the cost of being in debt for the next ten years (or more).
  I can't say that I have an answer to that, for the population in general. For me, the holder of a BA in one field, an AA in another, and still working outside both fields, in retail, I say yes. Maybe I've bought into the hype; I don't know. Maybe ten years from now, I'll be pissed that I spent ALL that money on an education.
  But, my life has improved. From someone who started her higher education by getting a GED (meaning that I didn't even have a high school education, of course), I can say that I live better than I did before, even with the debt, which I do have. I am student-loaned out like a motherfucker, 40k biatch, and my student loan payments do constitute as my second largest bill (rent being first, food being third). I went to a community college for my AA, but remember, not only do I work as many hours as my job will give me, I've also got the single mom thing going for me, so I was getting a maximum of four hours of sleep. When I decided to continue on with my education, I looked for online programs, which tend to be more costly than regular old, run-of-the-mill college campuses. And I chose a different degree, which does account for some of the cost - this is for two separate degrees, even if I did transfer some of my AA's credits, there were still a lot that were just not relevant to my new field of study.
   My daughter's dreams improved as my education did. She went from wanting to be a cashier like mommy to wanting to go to college like mommy. Mommy is still a cashier, but damn it, she's a finely, over-educated one, and my daughter still wants to go to college, and mommy still wants her to go, even with her second largest bill being student loans. I've lived with no education, and that sucks big time; I do not want that for my daughter.
   But, in my value of my (costly) education, you need to understand, I lived a large part of my life with someone doing their best to convince me that I was stupid. Going to college, that was my way of dispelling that belief - one that I had bought into. So that is one reason that I still value my seemingly worthless education. Another - well, this blog isn't perfect. I try to edit out grammar and spelling mistakes, but I tend to only spend about thirty minutes on a post. They're fast things for me that I can pound out after work but before making my daughter dinner. If you are reading this, you may find a mistake or two, but in the large part, you are also benefiting from my higher education. Imagine the mistakes that would have been up in this post before Writing 101 and Writing 235 got their happy hands on me.
   I guess what I am trying to say is this: like everything in this world, education's value is relative. How much does having an education mean to you? How much will your life improve? You will probably go into debt, almost undoubtedly - unless you manage to pimp out your education with grants and scholarships (good for you if you can!!!), but people are perfectly willing to go into debt for things like cars - something that will probably not even last them ten damn years, and they do so because they think having a car will either bring value into their lives or ease hardship, or whatever. For me, education has brought value into my life, so while my debt can be a struggle, I manage. Because this was something that I wanted. Ten years from now, maybe I'll be pissed that I was so naive, so financially clueless, but right now, I don't think so. My self esteem has benefited, my daughter's goals have improved, and my writing has benefited. Who knows, down the road, what other aspects of my life will benefit, if any, but regardless, I think that higher education is still worth something, even beyond a salary. But that is something that everyone will have to decide for themselves, just like any other major life decision. 

Saturday, June 21, 2014

The Abuse Post; A Personal Story And Honest Advice

   The relationship that I had with my daughter's father was abusive. That's a hard thing to admit, because I had always said that I wouldn't put up with abuse ever again. If someone hit me, I would damn well hit back, and then I'd call the cops. That's how I was gonna be; I was never going to be hit again.
    The problem was, I had already been abused and in bad relationships, and once you've been in that type of relationship, my personal opinion is that falling into another abusive, bad relationship, is that much easier: the ground work has already been laid.  The other problem was, I was used to thinking of abuse as something physical. I was used to abuse being someone knocking your ass through a TV and then following up by bashing you in the head. Someone putting hands around your throat. Someone trying to run you down with their car. These things had been done to me, and that is what I considered abuse.
   The thing is, there are all kinds of abuse. I am not downplaying physical abuse at all, but that is the type of abuse, to me, that is easiest to recognize and easiest to prove. So what do you do when you say something to the person you've chosen to be with, and they respond to you by saying, "You're a dumbass. And you're accent makes you sound like a hick." And another day, you say something, and they say, "God, you're so stupid. Stop talking." And another day, you say something, and they say, "You don't do a damn thing to help, ever. You're useless."
   Well, the first time, you get mad. If you are smart, you leave. But people make mistakes; they put their trust and faith in the wrong people. And if they have, already, as I did, a foundation of abuse, maybe they already believe these things about themselves, and then that makes leaving a harder conclusion to end up at. And after a while, you stop arguing with the person saying these things to you, because you love that person and you've made commitments to them, and you have a family together. So instead, what you do is you stop talking so much. You don't bother anyone with what you are thinking or how you feel, because you think it doesn't matter. You keep yourself small and you keep yourself private. That was one type of abuse that I suffered with my daughter's father.
    Another type of abuse is economic abuse and isolation. These are linked with me. When I first started seeing my daughter's father, I was eighteen. I lived on my own in Mississippi, and my mother had already relocated to Washington, so she never even met him until after my daughter was born. I worked, and I rented a house that I shared with roommates. I was independent. I met him at work, and one thing led to another, but I never felt abused by him, and eventually, I was pregnant. I was panicked, because I had no medical, and my job didn't really have any policy regarding maternity leave, and then the 9/11 attacks came (also my birthday, 9/11) and I was sitting there, preggers, scared, and unsure about the future, and he said, "We need to move to Florida, and I have a job waiting, and my family will be there to help."
   Florida was a mistake. In Florida, I had no job of my own, I had no family, no friends, nothing. I had to rely completely, on my now ex, and that is when the emotional abuse really started, and that is also when we decided that I would stay home now, and take care of the baby, and he would provide. This was a joint decision, one that he pushed for, which is something that I feel I need to point out, because when the time came for that support, he raged against providing it. There were many things that I had to beg his grandmother to provide, such as diapers, sanitary items that I needed as a female, formula (I tried breastfeeding but there were complications and health issues, so my daughter was only breast fed for about three months), and so-on/so-forth. I couldn't get things that I needed from him at all, and always had to ask for outside help, and I could only get him to provide things my daughter needed about half the time. Anytime I would bring up something that we needed, the response would go something like this, "You don't do a damn thing to help in this house. Maybe you should do something to fucking help provide." But I need to add to this the fact that he really pushed me to give up working and stay home, and with this in mind, we had sold my car to help fund the move. Even then, I did bring up trying to find work, and this was always blocked, by him. However, he only blocked my not working in private, in public, to his parents and friends, he would say that I refused to work, or didn't want to work, but at home, he would tell me that I wasn't taking his car, that he didn't want to work and then spend all his home time taking care of the baby because I wasn't there, he wouldn't get enough rest, and a ton of other reasons. I always backed down. I felt, what else could I do? We lived in a country-ghetto trailer park, a thirty minute drive away from the nearest store, and I felt stuck. There was no one for me to talk to who wasn't related to him. I had no friends, no nearby family, and he didn't even seem to like me spending a lot of time with his family. He wanted me to be home.
   We fought. Whenever we fought, he would do his best to make me feel that I was crazy. He wouldn't let me hold the baby. He'd take her out of the house, drive away, and stay gone for the day, without telling me where she was or where he was or if he was coming back. This was punishment; punishment for talking back, for arguing. He did, during those fights, become physical twice. Once he grabbed me (while I was holding her, no less) and shook me like a dog would shake a chew toy. This was no mild shake, but a violent, forceful shake that had my head snapping back and forth, and terrified me because I was holding an infant. The second time, he hit me upside the back of my head. This was the time when I told him that if he ever hit me again, I would call the cops. His reply was, "If you ever call the cops on me, I'll beat the living fuck out of you before they have time to get here." We lived thirty minutes away from everything; he was right, he would have had time to beat the living fuck out of me before help ever arrived, but he didn't hit me again after that. He did something worse. Every time we fought, "If you leave this house, I will take our daughter away, and you will never see her again." "If we don't stay together, you aren't taking her. You will never see her again." I was young, and I was terrified, and I didn't know any better. I believed him; I was afraid to leave. I believe that I would have left if he had hit me again, but he never did. Instead, he threatened me, belittled me, and acted like a decent guy in public so that no one ever knew, and it worked for a long time. After a while, I even stopped fighting, unless I fighting over something to do with my daughter being taken care of. I just despaired.
   Eventually, I did go to work, after my daughter was about three. His grandmother had stopped working, due to health issues, and when she realized that I was willing to work, she offered to watch the baby and she let me use her car as transportation. He was pissed, but his grandmother was not someone that he could cross, she provided him with a lot of money. My job was belittled by him at every turn. "The little cashier job that didn't provide enough money to pay bills." That little cashier job was the beginning of the end for our relationship; in retrospect, he was right to fear me working. I had completely supported myself when we were dating. Sure, I was poor, but I was able to pay my rent and buy the basics. Once I started working again, I didn't have to ask him for things the baby needed, I didn't have to ask him for things I needed, and I was able to escape that oppressive one room shack that originally was a chick coop, with a tin roof, walls that didn't meet the floor, and a floor that was rotting out. I began to wake up. I began to talk. Once I started talking, I started having coworkers shoving fliers for women's shelters into my hands. I realized I had options, and my independent nature started to fight it's way back to the surface.
    I've been free from that mess for almost nine years now. I don't date because my trust isn't what it should be. I'm strong, but I was broken, once, and recovering from that is an uphill battle. Most of the time, I am very happy, but sometimes, I still get depressed. After being in an emotionally abusive relationship, one that had me getting belittled and devalued on an almost hourly basis,  teaching myself that I did have value, was a hard, hard thing. Sometimes, I still have to remind myself. Emotional abuse sticks with you, long after the abuser is gone. We have a kid together, and none of my personal abuse has ever been reported, which was a dumb move on my part, but then, how do you report something like emotional abuse or economic abuse? How does a court judge that? Still, I have my daughter; he's never even filed for visitation, and I keep contact as minimal as possible. I get judged for that, but I try not to care. In this matter, I do believe that I know best; certainly, I know better than anyone who wasn't with me for those years, in that house.
    And I've moved on. I have plans. Where once I didn't see a future, where once, I didn't even want to live anymore, I now have rekindled myself and taken out goals that I had locked away. I'm working towards things and making my life better. Life is good. So why talk about this at all?
   Because maybe, just maybe, someone is reading this, and they are going through something similar. Maybe, just maybe, this might help them realize that they can break free; they need to break free. I recently read, online, a piece of advice from an asshole, telling someone who had been in an abusive marriage that they had no reason to get a divorce; that this person's abuser was the one who really needed help, and that this person, as the spouse, was the best person to help the abuser find help, and that leaving would be selfish. I was aghast. But the fact remains that there is a lot of crappy advice out there, especially pertaining to abuse. Despite things like 'climbing divorce rates' and 'hook-up culture', leaving a relationship can still bring a lot of harsh judgment, a lot of stigma, especially if there is a marriage and/or children involved.
   At the risk of adding more crappy advice to a sea of crappy advice, I have to urge anyone being abused: leave. GET SAFE. It's gonna be hard. Nine years later, you are still going to be dealing with the emotional scars, you are still going to wake up sad on some mornings, but you will be alive to do so. Leave. Maybe your abuser can be fixed, but that isn't your job, it's theirs. Your job is fixing you, is fixing your kids (if kids are involved) and you need to get that done. And if you think that the abuse isn't affecting your child, guess again. I thought I was protecting my daughter. I thought that I was hiding the trauma, the sadness. We came here, to Washington, when she was three, almost four. She told me that she missed people in Florida, but that she was happy we moved because I didn't cry anymore. She noticed, and my sadness affected her. Children are so observant. Even if they are not being abused, you don't want them to see you being abused. You don't want them to grow up thinking that this type of behavior is okay.
   I don't know if my advice is any better than someone who says to stay. But as someone who has been there, I think so. I've seen women die. Not just heard about it, not just seen a statistic, I've seen women die; I've known them personally. I've seen a woman so driven to the brink, that she put a gun in her mouth and pulled the trigger. I've seen a woman overdose, just to stop the pain. I never, NEVER want to see these things again. So I think my advice is better, because I don't want to belittle anyone, or judge anyone - I just want people to be safe, and if you are in an abusive relationship, that means leaving.  

Friday, June 13, 2014

Zombie Crow Wannabe

   Okay, I don't usually write posts right on top of the other, but this is a story that has to be told. I just wrote and published the payday post, and I was recovered enough (and hungry enough) to gather my shit and go get some groceries because my fridge was on empty. I had my list, my bag with wheels (I have no car - remember), I had my hooded jacket because the weather had that kinda wetish look, the look where it's not raining yet, but it might at any minute, and I was out the door.
   I shop where I work, and I work about a five minute's walk from my apartment. Not a horrible ordeal to walk, and with my little wheeled bag, I can actually do a pretty big shop. So I was wheeling my bag along, and I've long past stopped caring about whether I look like a dork with that bag or not, thinking about what I needed to get, when I heard this really loud cawing.
   We have an ass-ton of crows in Washington, and if you've never been around crows, I can tell you they are really smart birds. Freakishly smart. One of the areas that they like to hang out at is the apartment trash bins - you know, those big green industrial sized eyesores. I was out there one day, taking out trash, and these birds were trying to get into this trash bag that was tied shut. It was a reused grocery store bag, so it wasn't big, but the birds couldn't get to whatever it was that they wanted in that bag, so I watch as one of the birds grabbed it with a leg or talon or whatever you call it, flew up into the air with the bag, and let the bag go. The bag fell to the ground and literally exploded - giving the bird access to whatever the thing was that the bird had wanted. Then they all started doing that shit. After those birds were done with that trash bin, the bin looked like a pack of savage dogs had managed to get into the trash. It was like, "Holy shit."
   So I haven't researched these birds, but I do know that they have some kind of problem solving skill, and I know that they learn from each other. One of them learns a cool trick, in a few seconds, all the nearby birds know it as well. And while I have not researched these birds, my sister tells me that they can recognize a face and that they hold  a grudge. I don't know what studies you would do on a bird to see whether or not they hold a grudge, but my sister has a book about them, because they fascinate her. Personally, I think it's because they are evil, and I think my sister leans a little towards the chaotic evil alignment, but that's just me. I'm sure I'm biased or something.
   So to get back to the story, I am walking along, thinking about food, and I hear this cawing. But this cawing is alarming because it's really close to my head, and I feel air movement from above me, and I realize that the crow is swooping above my head so I kinda flinch and duck and the bird lands in a tree. I figure - accident. But this crow - it's still cawing up a storm. Really loudly, like it's cussing me out or something, and then the damn thing swoops down at me again. The only reason the damn thing doesn't hit me right in the face is because I'm ducking for all I'm worth. I get down so damn low to the ground that I'm practically crawling, and I'm thinking, "HOLY FUCKING SHIT!"
   At this point, I abandon all dignity and run to the crosswalk, and the crow lands in a tree and it is cawing after me like the arrogant-son-of-a-biatch that it is. But it doesn't follow past the crosswalk, so I just shake it off and do my shopping. I'm in the store for about an hour, and I figure, the thing is gone. Whatever game that bird was playing is over now, and I'm safe to walk home.
   The crow is not gone. The damn thing is sitting there, in the tree, waiting for me. It sees me, and starts swooping at my damn head again. I'm ducking and swinging my grocery bag at the thing, looking for all the world like a lunatic. I'm wondering why the hell this dumb shit always happens to me and I'm hoping that crow doesn't actually land a blow, because how in the hell do you tell people that you are all beat up because a bird attacked you?
   This crow has marked out some territory or something, because the whole time, I've walked forward as fast as I can, and after I reached a certain point, the crow gave up and left me alone. I think the damn bird was attacking people to see if they would drop something good, though. I noticed, in all my unusual proximity to the ground, a lot of excess litter. I think the damn bird is doing a trashcan bag trick, but on people.
   That, or that bird was peeking in someone's window while they played some classic Resident Evil. You know, the first ones, where you are attacked by flocks of infected crows. Maybe that crow is a zombie wannabe. Maybe it wishes that it had the T-virus. Apparently, I managed to stumble across the crow that aspires to be a T-virus mutant. Great, just freaking great. Where's Jill Valentine when you need her? 

My Finances Give Me Anxiety Attacks

   Payday: a day that everyone should look forward to. Money in the bank and all that jazz. But here I am, looking at payment schedules for my student loans, looking at the cable bill, electric, and rent, looking at credit card payments (yeah, yeah, I know), looking at the grocery bill; basically, I am looking at all the money that I do not have anymore. Oh, money, you slip through my fingers so damn fast. I hate you money, but at the same time, I have to have you: I need you. I feel like I'm talking to my drugs or something, but it is what it is. If I were richer, perhaps I wouldn't have this love/hate relationship with money, or perhaps I would just have more bills.
   Every payday I go through that wonderful anxiety attack induced by paying my bills. I'm not entirely sure why I have these anxiety attacks; I always manage to pay all the bills. I've never been short. Sometimes we have to get a little skimpy on the grocery bill and have some mac n cheese nights, but really, who doesn't ever have to do that? Most people have experienced the wonder of a mac n cheese payday. So I'm not really sure why I feel the anxiety that I feel. Maybe because all of my adult life, I've been poor. I'm doing a lot better now. I guess I still fall even with that good-old poverty line, but for all of the years but the last one, I was under that line, so breaking even with that line is a step up.
   But the point is this: I've always paid my bills and I don't pay them late. I don't get cable termination warnings. I don't get the power company stalking me and threatening to turn my power off. No nasty notes from the landlords on my front door when I get home from work; even my credit card company never has to call me all like, "Marie, pay your bills, please." The only calls that I used to get were from those people who stole my information and then would attempt to try to get me to pay for fake loans that I never took out, and since I changed my number, the only time the bastards can call me now is at work. Which is annoying, to be sure, but most of the times, I don't even get those calls because as a lowly cashier (joking here, folks) personal calls are not allowed, thank God. They do attempt to e-mail me, but e-mail has that lovely little spam button... it's awesome. I wish we could spam phone calls.
   Back to the anxiety though, I really am not sure what causes this feeling. Maybe it's because I'm still getting phone calls for Tara, even though I've had this number for a year and a half now, and Tara's bill collectors have all been notified that this is Marie's number now, but they don't believe me. Bill collectors are like blood hounds when it comes to money, so around every payday, I start getting calls about Tara. Her rent check didn't clear. She owes someone money in Las Vegas. She's being taken to court by so-and-so. Tara, my friends, is in big financial trouble, and because her effing bill collectors won't stop leaving messages on my machine, I am privy to all of Tara's financial woes. Because bill collectors are stupid assholes, I also know Tara's address, the last four digits of her social, and her last name, but I won't put that here. In fact, if you know a Tara, and if you are thinking, "Shit, is she talking about Tara, so-and-so!" then the answer is no, because I changed Tara's first name. Tara is not actually her name, but I believe in protecting my fellow debtor's information. But that's off track, and to get back on that track, maybe what I am feeling is sympathy anxiety??? Maybe I am worried about Tara??? I don't know.
   I really don't know. Maybe my anxiety is leftover stress from my days of extreme poverty, maybe I am feeling this anxiety because I'm worried about Tara, or maybe I just don't like giving other people the effing money that I worked my ass off for, even if I do legitimately owe those people that money. Or maybe it's just the fact that the kiddo is growing like a weed, she's fixing to be out of school for the summer, which means no more school meals, and my grocery bill is gonna triple. Who knows? Not me. All I know is that payday is the day where I add up all the money that I no longer have and consequently have anxiety attacks. A lot of you, I believe, are probably familiar with this feeling, so let us ban together now and have moment of silence for money that is forever gone from our lives. Solidarity and all that good crap. Or misery loves company. Something.

Goodbye, sweet money. I'll miss you. 

Saturday, June 7, 2014

I Am Not Socially Inclined; Not A Good Trait For A Cashier

   The job I have now - cashiering - that job is kind of an odd fit for me; it doesn't always make sense and certainly doesn't match my personality. I mean, I love the people I work with, and I work for a decent company, but I've mentioned before that scanning groceries is not the most intellectually stimulating job in the world: trained monkeys could do my job, but they would probably cost more in the long run, which is probably the main reason that no company hires them. That, and PETA would get all upset about the working conditions. Stand for 2 to 4 hours at a time, and you aren't allowed to sit and no water and no bathroom breaks? That shit's fine for people, but monkeys: they deserve better. That really is not the problem, or the point, however. I don't think that I am any more intelligent than the next person, I know how to hold pee in - especially since I'm not allowed to have a drink of water, and I'm not proud. Cashiering puts food on the table; that's good enough for me. What I meant when I say that I am not the best fit for being a cashier is that cashiering takes a lot of social skills, and I don't have an abundance of social skills. I am not a socially inclined person.
    Cashiers have to greet people all day long. All. Day. Long. And not saying hi, how are you? Well, that can get you called to the boss's office if the customer makes a big enough stink about it. We have to talk to people that we literally know nothing about, and making small talk all day to strangers - that's a skill, my friends. And we have to talk to all manner of people. Just today, I had to talk to a lady who was a complete spaz. She wanted someone to go ask her ride to wait for her, but a cashier can't just leave her checkstand. Walking away from the checkstand is not encouraged behavior in cashiers. So I had to call grocery to see if they would go talk to her ride. I paged grocery, and I mean, not even a second later she was saying, "Did you call them?" Yes, I called them. "But, I mean, did you call them or did you just page them?" I paged them, I have to wait for someone to answer. "But, did you actually talk to someone?" No, I am waiting for someone to answer. "Can they answer now? I mean, immediately?" Well, I sure to hell hope so - but wait - I have to tone that down, cashiers aren't supposed to say stuff like that. See? Social skills.
   And I lack social skills. I don't like talking to people. Someone says hi to me, and I am wondering what the hell this joker wants? Why are they talking to me? There is a father that I walk past while taking my daughter to the bus, and every morning he wants to talk to me. How am I? What are my plans today? It's a beautiful day, isn't it? What did I eat for breakfast? He's a nice man; very friendly. It's gotten so that I will circle around the complex, talking an extra five minutes just to walk home, so that I don't have to talk to him. Nice day? I hate sunshine. Breakfast? I don't eat breakfast; I just want to take an hour nap before I have to go to work. How am I? Effing pissed that I'm awake, that's how I am. No social skills. But I don't have to fake social skills in this situation; I can just skulk around the apartment complex like the introverted, antisocial hermit that I am. I can't skulk around the store like an introverted, antisocial hermit. I'm the 'face of the company'. I have to smile and talk and not be scary and shit.
   Gaming is another place where I don't have to be social. Games are getting social, true, and you can play them online and in packs and there are facebook games for your friends and all that good shit. Gaming used to be for nerds that lack all ability to function socially, but now, if you want to play a Facebook game, you have to have like 30 friends to get anywhere.
   Myself, I don't game socially. I stick to the old school, sit-in-the-dark-in-your-T-shirt-and-underwear-and-don't-talk-to-anyone-real games. Sure, some of those social games look pretty good, I love blowing up fake shit and fighting aliens and being a wizard and whatever, but I've just spent eight hours talking to random-ass strangers. By the time I am done with work, I don't even want to talk to my friends. I don't want to talk to people I know and like. I want to sit in my chair, stare at a screen, and growl. Can't do that and be socially acceptable, but I can choose to game offline, by myself, and then I don't have to be socially acceptable.
    I like people - well, I like some people. But liking people and socializing with them, that's two totally different things, folks. I'm not so good with the social stuff. And cashiers, they have to do the social stuff. A customer comes through my line, starts telling me their problems, and I have to pretend I care. Sometimes I do care (I promise), but most of time, I'm wondering, why they are telling me this shit? I don't want to hear about your skin rashes or sex life or creepy infestations. So yes, I am an odd fit for a person who's been a cashier all of her working life. I mean, obviously, I can fake my way through all the social stuff by now. I've been a hermit-y cashier for over a decade, so I've got the fake, smile-like-a-Prozac-addict part down. And don't get me wrong, I'm grateful that I have the job and that I work with people that I can actually get along with (and even like - that's amazing) but sometimes, fulfilling the social part of the job, that's effort. That's why I earn the money I get paid; because I'm actually being nice to all these people when I just want to tell (some of) them where they can shove it, but I keep that part of me LOCKED DOWN. That's how I earn my keep, by being nice, but being nicer to people would be easier if I were, well, nicer. Hence the odd fit, but hey, we do what we gotta do. Gotta pay those bills somehow. 

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

I'm Not Raising A Princess; I'm Raising A Real Woman

   We're living in a strange, strange world these days. There's no accountability for your own actions and/or choices, everybody is entitled to everything, and in order to be a good mom, you have to raise your kids with the expectations that they will get everything that they want, without even trying, without earning it. Discipline is a thing of the past; barbarians - those are the people who discipline their kids.
   I don't know, but to me, that's just a bunch of bullshit. If you've been reading my blog at all, you know that I can be the overprotective mom, the hovering helicopter who freaks if her kids sneezes. But if you read my blog at all, you also know that I do my best to squish that shit. Why? Because I want my daughter to be able to function in society. Because when she grows up, I don't want her going into shock when she is faced with the real world. And what is the real world? Well I can tell you what it's not right now, and one thing it's not is fair, that's for damn sure, and it's not a free ride either.
   She needs to be able to know how to handle that shit. When she goes to apply for a job, and doesn't get the position, she needs to understand that jobs aren't handed out for 'effort'. You have to be qualified as well; you have to earn that shit. And if she's passed over for someone more qualified than she is, she needs to know that it's not okay to have an epic meltdown and shiver in her room under her covers for a week because she feels that she's 'not respected.' What she needs to know how to do is to get up off her ass and go after another job. Get knocked down six times, get back up seven. She needs to get her ass over to another employer, work her ass off, prove her worth, earn her respect, and make that employer who didn't hire her regret that they didn't realize her potential. She is not going to do that hiding in her room, whimpering that the world's not fair.
   She needs to know that she is responsible for her own choices. She needs to know that if she goes out and parties all night, and does poorly at that job she just worked her ass off to get, that she is going to get fired. She also needs to know that under those circumstances, she will deserve to get fired, because she made bad choices. She needs to be accountable for her bad choice, and learn from that mistake so that it never happens again (although I'm hoping it never happens in the first place, personally.)
   She also needs to know that sometimes bad things happen to good people. Sometimes you get fired just because your boss doesn't like you, sometimes you lose a loved one to a disease or accident, sometimes you get sick yourself, whatever the case may be, bad things happen. And when bad things happen, you do have a right to grieve and be angry and disillusioned, but you also have to keep pushing forward. She has to have the gumption and willpower to keep moving forward, to keep trying. You never move forward if you don't keep walking.
    She also needs to know that life isn't a fairy tale. There isn't going to be a prince on a white horse, who comes in, saves her and carries her to his castle where she lives happily ever after. That's not to say that there is not love, but she needs to know that love is work as well. Love is hard, and you cry just as much as you laugh, because that's life, and a guy can be the greatest guy in the world, but he's still human. He's going to screw up. He's also going to be normal. He's going to pick his nose, fart, belch, and be real. Prince Charming is only charming because he's not real. That doesn't mean that she needs to put up with abuse or mistreatment, but it does mean that she needs to compromise and understand he is going to mess up, and she needs to acknowledge that she is going to mess up as well.
   And what does her learning all this entail? What goes into teaching a child these values? Well, it takes teaching her accountability at an early age. It takes teaching her that there are consequences to her choices. Teaching her these things means making her take care of her responsibilities and teaching her to learn from her mistakes. It means teaching her that she isn't some princess who is going to be handed every thing she wants, or even needs, in life, and it means that there has got to be some discipline up in this house. If she chooses not to do her homework, she's grounded. See if she forgets to do homework when that's the only thing she CAN do for a week. Disrespectful to mom? Well, my mom used to wash my mouth out with soap when I was a kid too. In fact, my mom would put my ass in a headlock and used my teeth as a washing board. I'm still alive, and I don't suffer from ablutophobia; I take a shower daily, and when I'm stressed or sick, I take two. So I fail to see the harm in a good old mouth washing, and (side note) because my daughter has eczema, we have organic, no dyes or chemicals, goat's milk soap. In all honesty, that shit's probably healthier and more nutritional than the crap she eats. But the point is, she is going to be disciplined, because that's cause and effect. Screw up in childhood, get grounded, screw up in adulthood, go to prison. You see how teaching a kid to obey the rules is a good thing to start early, while the consequences aren't as dire?
   And if you don't like that, well, I've never been one to tell people how to raise their kids. Do what you want. But this is how I am raising mine. And while other girls are going through culture shock because they were always told they could have whatever they wanted without even trying to earn it and that everything was all rainbows and butterflies, mine is going to be out there -  acting like a real woman and getting shit done.