Monday, October 12, 2009


I haven't had access to a computer for a long time now, and that's why posting has been nonexistent. I don't know when the next time I'll have access will be, so I'm posting this now to let y'all know what's what. I'm in a rush, so excuse my piss poor sentence structure and what not. For those of you who read on Facebook, I'll be around...I crackbook from my phone all the time.

Anyhoo, a lot of stuff has happened. I broke up with the boyfriend MONTHS ago, contrary to what some of you may have heard. We were still living together as awkward roommates for a while, and apparently he chose to not tell anyone that we had split. Whether he was secretly hoping we'd get back together or what...I don't know. But in any case, I started dating someone else while still living with the ex. We were hanging out at the house one day while the ex was at work, and things got a little out of hand, as tends to happen in a new relationship. And what do you know, the ex walked in on us. Next thing you know, I'm sleeping in a borrowed car while frantically looking for a place. I ended up moving in with the new boyfriend, which was WAY too soon for me, but shit was hitting the fan from a dizzying height, and I did what I had to do. I don't know if the ex still has me on Facebook, if he'll be reading this, or what. And I know that some people who read this will simply not believe that he would be capable of anything mean or nasty. But he is. Things had been absolutely HORRIBLE between us for a while before we split up. I'm not saying he's a terrible person-he's not. Just REALLY immature, and I think to some degree he honestly didn't know any better, didn't know that the things he was doing were wrong. I'm not saying I was perfect. I wasn't. I'm just saying that I refuse to accept full blame for everything, and that some of the things the ex has done to me in the last couple of months have been absolutely unconscionable.

So now I'm living on the West side, with no vehicle and no internet access except from my phone.

I also completely quit the shitty sales job. Long story short, I snapped when the boss got really out of hand one day. I'm now working at a tire and lube place, hopefully starting school next year to get a start on the whole mechanic thing. Woo, me!!

As for the new man...we're good. I don't want to gush too much, but stuff is good. If you met him and then met me, you'd never picture us together, but once you see us together it makes more sense than anything else. We've fought and survived, we're navigating the whole living together thing quite well, and we're very happy 99% of the time. Even when stuff is hard, if I'm really honest with myself, there's no one I'd rather fight with.

So, I'm alive, the midget is doing well, I have a good man who is taking good care of me, I'm *letting* myself be taken care of, and I don't want to hang myself at the end of the work day anymore. In fact, I can't remember the last time I was this happy at the end of the day. Things are just tough in the areas of finances and transportation, so bear with me for not being around much. Message me on Facebook, or text me, or something. Love you all.

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Quote of the week...

Yesterday while we were walking across the Broadway bridge, my son was worrying out loud, as he often does, about the bridge breaking. I told him he had nothing to worry about, that it would take a lot to damage the bridge.

Being the hilarious kid he is, he started listing what it would take, in his estimation, to damage the bridge.

"It would take lightning, and a meteorite, and a million ninjas with a million dogs, and a t-rex, and God. Then maybe it would break, right mom?"

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Random Book Review Post

Here's a sampling of what I've read over the past few months that I thought was good enough to pass on to all of you. Read these books!!

He's a Stud, She's a Slut and 49 Other Double Standards Every Woman Should Know
Jessica Valenti
Why it's awesome: Jessica Valenti, founder of Feministing, is amazing. In this book, she breaks down 50 common gender-based double standards and gives advice on how to overcome them. I heart her.
Quote: "A guy throws rocks at a girl's window in the middle of the night. He won't take no for an answer-he must date her! He serenades her, shows up at her classes, waits at her car. These could be scenes from a burgeoning romance or a stalker gone mad-American culture doesn't differentiate, really. If a woman does these things, however, she's always a stalker. A crazy ex-girlfriend. A psycho. Shit, women are called stalkers for even daring to call a guy a couple of times! Never mind that the majority of stalking is done by men, and the majority of victims are women. When it comes to romance, women are the stalkers and men are just...romantic."

Title: World War Z: An Oral History of the Zombie War
Author: Max Brooks
Why it's awesome: Written in interview style, it's the story of the zombie apocalypse told by the survivors. Hypothetical futuristic journalism. Love it.
Quote: "I...I'm not totally sure. When I try to remember, everything goes by too fast. I had it by the neck. It pulled Jenna toward its open mouth. I squeezed hard...pulled... The kids say I tore the thing's head off, just ripped it right out with all the flesh and muscle and whatever else hanging in tatters."

Title: I Was A Really Good Mom Before I Had Kids
Author: Trisha Ashworth and Amy Nobile
Why it's awesome: The authors interviewed moms from across demographic lines and compiled the results into a book that addresses more of the reality of motherhood than almost anything else I've read.
Quote: "Now that we're entering preschool, I feel like I'm back in high school. The peer pressure is immense. You want to get friendly with other moms so your child is included in playdates and gatherings, and to some extent that responsibility lies with the mother. I'm not into that at all! I thought I was done with those politics in high school!"

Title: Breathers
Author: S.G. Browne
Why it's awesome: It's a zombie romance novel. Need I say more?
Quote: "If you've never woken up from a car accident to discover that your wife is dead and you're an animated, rotting corpse, then you probably wouldn't understand."

Title: Women Who Run With The Wolves
Author: Clarissa Pinkola Estes, Ph.D.
Why it's awesome: Dr. Estes uses myths, stories and archetypes from multiple cultures to express the beauty and strength of the feminine psyche, the "Wild Woman" in each of us. This book is wordy and intense, but well worth the time and effort it takes to get through it.
Quote: "So like many women before and after me, I lived my life as a disguised criatura, creature. Like my kith and kin before me, I swagger-staggered in high heels, and I wore a dress and hat to church. But my fabulous tail often fell below my hemline, and my ears twitched until my hat pitched, at the very least, down over both my eyes, and sometimes clear across the room"

Title: Lessons From The Fat-O-Sphere: Quit Dieting and Declare a Truce With Your Body
Author: Kate Harding and Marianne Kirby
Why it's awesome: Marianne Kirby and Kate Harding, both of whom I have praised here before, wrote this awesome book of awesomeness about seemingly simple concepts like Health At Every Size and self-love and all that awesome stuff. You should probably read it.
Quote: "And so we are proud to present to you, for the low, low cost of free (well, if you're reading a library copy or thumbing through this chapter in a bookstore), the Harding-Kirby Lifetime Diet Plan: Eat what you're hungry for when you're hungry for it, and stop when you're full. Period."

Title: Ask A Ninja Presents: The Ninja Handbook
Author: Douglas Sarine and Kent Nichols
Why it's awesome: Do I really need to explain this?
Quote: (From a chapter discussing ninja skills like kicking, punching and dodging) "For one month, simultaneously date a vampiress, an Amazonian queen, a mermaid, a witch, and a Hollywood actress. Tell each one that you love her and her alone, keeping each relationship hidden from the others. On the last day of the month, send the following e-mail to all of them.

Dear Stinky Butt,

I hate your face. I have totally been doing it with like all these models and sick people since the day we met. Consider this trash day and yous on the curb, biznatch.

Eat Gerbil Poop, (her pet name for you)

Now dodge these scorned ladies and duck the hell that their crazy asses bring at you. You are not allowed to fight them or harm them in any way. You are only allowed to evade their fury."

Title: Yes Means Yes! Visions of Female Sexual Power & A World Without Rape
Author: Compiled essays, edited by Jaclyn Friedman and Jessica Valenti
Why it's awesome: This collection of essays discusses the relationship between rape culture and female sexual agency. It tackles the issues from many different angles, but the unifying theme is the idea that the "no means no" model of rape prevention is insufficient-what needs to be added is an understanding that consent means saying "yes," not simply the absence of "no." And for that to happen, women need to be free to say yes, to agree to and ask for what they want sexually and romantically, and not be shamed for it.
Quote: "What does it mean to say to someone, 'Fuck me?' Or, to put it a little more delicately, 'Touch me?' To tell them exactly how you want to be kissed, licked, petted? Or to tell them just what it is you want to do with them? For one thing, it means that you are taking the bull, as it were, by the horns. You're letting your lover--and yourself--know what you're looking for, rather than leaving it up to the imagination. You're giving them explicit instructions and thereby saying 'yes' so loudly, they have to hear you."

Title: Pride And Prejudice And Zombies
Author: Jane Austen and Seth Grahame-Smith
Why it's awesome: It's Pride and Prejudice. And zombies.
Quote: "Elizabeth accepted their company, and they set off together, armed only with their ankle daggers. Muskets and Katana swords were a more effective means of protecting one's self, but they were considered unladylike; and, having no saddle in which to conceal them, the three sisters yielded to modesty."

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Quote Of The Day

I was out for a walk by the river with my son today, and was telling him stories about being his age. One of the things I talked about was the duck slide that used to be by the art gallery. You Saskatoon folks remember that, right? :D

Anyway, I mentioned that the slide had been taken down some years ago, and the Midget said, "You should make them put it back! Say if they don't, you'll sue them for taking a piece of your childhood."

I love that kid. :D

Sunday, July 5, 2009

The rational part of my brain just exploded.

I'm too tired to be wordy and clever about the weirdness of the past week. I'll just summarize in poorly structured sentences and maybe some bullet points. Bleh.

About the random "messages from God." Three of the five were just random folks on the street. Granted, one was kind of visibly crazy, but the other two were seemingly sane and "normal" people who suddenly stopped in their tracks when walking past me, stopped me, and said that God had just told them to talk to me. All of the three completely random people said that they could "see Christ in me" and that "God doesn't care how broken you are, he'll take you back in his arms no matter what." Creepy.

The fourth was a woman (who happened to be in a wheelchair and mostly blind) that I went to see for a work demo. I got to her house, and as she was telling me that her husband had just gone out and we'd have to reschedule, she suddenly burst into tears. I went and sat next to her and asked her what was wrong, and she said, "I don't know you and you don't know me, but God is telling me right now that you'll understand." She went on to tell me that she lives with serious bipolar which is not under very good "control" at all, in addition to her physical problems, and that her husband seems to not understand at all, and that he had stormed out moments before I got there because they'd gotten in a fight, he spoke to her rather harshly, she asked him not to, and he told her that "her bad attitude was making him act that way." Wow, can we say domestic abuse? She also said that she "saw a light and a joy in me that could only come from Jesus" and asked about my personal faith. I just said that I had a personal relationship with God. I didn't want to get into details. So we talked for a few minutes. I told her about my depression and anxiety and how some days my cheerfulness is all fake, so she shouldn't feel badly about not being full of joy all the time. That seemed to help her a lot. I told her that her husband has no right to treat her the way it sounded like he was, she agreed with me. Then as I was leaving, she called me back from the door and said, "I don't really know what this means, but God is giving me a message for you. He says that you have enough scars now, and it will all stop if you go back." Then she shrugged her shoulders and turned her chair to leave the room. I left feeling a bit disconcerted.

You see, this was the point where the random babbling of slightly off-balance strangers started to hit a little too close to home. Some of you know the stories about Christian Centre, the place where I went to church and school until I was 9. For those of you who don't know, I'll summarize: the church is more of a cult than anything, they manipulate and abuse their members, and until very recently still used corporeal punishment in the school. Even in the adult church members, there was a preoccupation that went beyond normal Christianity with the physical suffering endured by Jesus, and with the concept that the only reason we didn't have to suffer like that was because we were covered by his blood. Without that salvation, the logic went, we deserved nothing more than a lifetime of literal physical torture. Some of the church elders practiced self-flagellation, and nearly every adult member of the congregation would fast for days, allowing themselves only a few small glasses of water a day, as a method of doing penance for their (real or perceived) sins. They earned their salvation and redeemed themselves by taking on physical pain, and expected their children to do the same. A simple wrong tone of voice when answering a parent would earn a Christian Centre kid ten swats with what was essentially a short-handled canoe paddle, sometimes with a couple of holes drilled in it to reduce the drag on the swing of the parent's arm. The stronger parent was always the one to administer "discipline," because "it has to hurt to be effective." Refusal of bathroom privileges was a common tactic in the school. The sight of a ten year old walking down the hallway with wet pants, sobbing, followed by a teacher carrying one of the paddles and a clean set of gym clothes, was almost a daily occurrence. If you were bad, you had to hold it until you repented. If your apology wasn't sincere enough, you weren't allowed to use the bathroom for the rest of the day. Then you got paddled if you peed your pants.

I was personally called out from the pulpit when I was 8 years old. Well, really my mom was, but I was sort of "collateral damage." See, all my mom's other kids were adorable, cherubic, Aryan looking kids. They all had blond hair and blue or green eyes, chubby cheeks, and sweet smiles. I showed my First Nations blood a lot more as a child than I do now-I was always dark, thin and angular. Even my baby teeth were crooked, and my smile has always crinkled up my eyes so much that they nearly disappear. When I was 8, my mother was called on to testify about her "salvation," the salvation she received through the grace of God even after consorting with an "evil man" and conceiving a child out of wedlock-a child that clearly bore the evidence of the devil's hand in her conception. (Never mind that the older two of my younger siblings were also bastards-I was the only one who looked like it. I was the only one who carried the blood of savages.) To illustrate that God will love even the worst among us if we ask for it, I was brought in front of the church. I was the example for the entire congregation of what Satan's hand will do, and what God can overcome.

And people wonder why I'm so fucked up.

Families who left the church were often threatened with physical harm. The sermon the week after someone left would focus on the hellfire and eternal pain that awaited those who "turned their back on God." Children of the family who had left would be mentioned by name, with graphic descriptions of how their flesh would be rent from their bones over and over for eternity, all because their parents had turned away from the Lord and not given them a fair chance. These sermons were given in front of the entire congregation. I heard my first one when I was 5.

I know that the indoctrination I received as a child is at least part of the reason I've struggled with self-harm all my life. My parents, my teachers, and the church leaders all told me that if I did something wrong, I had to be hurt. The pain made it okay. Even after we left Christian Centre, my mother and stepfather maintained the "pain makes your many failings more acceptable" attitude until the day I broke contact with them. Now I don't know how to cope with failure unless I hurt myself. Even just not knowing the answer to a question puts me in a state of mental distress that doesn't stop until something hurts. I can't focus on anything but how wrong I am, how much everyone around me must hate me, how I will never be accepted or loved until I redeem myself. But when I bite into the inside of my cheek until it bleeds, or dig my fingernails into the flesh of my arms and legs, or slice into my skin with whatever sharp object I can find, somehow the fog clears and I can allow myself to carry on with my day.

I used to focus primarily on forms of self-harm that wouldn't draw blood or leave marks-pulling out my hair, banging my head against walls, slapping myself, sometimes scratching without really breaking skin. But lately it's been more satisfying to cut. I've carved things into myself, words like "fuckup" and "failure." It's one of the things I'm trying hard to stop. I don't talk about it to get attention or sympathy, I talk about it because hiding it makes it too easy for me to keep doing it. If people know, I feel more motivated to stop because I'm really ashamed of this whole situation. Just so that's perfectly clear.

Anyway, when this woman said "you have enough scars now," in almost a "that'll do, pig" tone of voice, a chill went up my spine. I know it's a random coincidence, but since I had just been talking to a friend earlier that day about my history with religion and its connections to my current problems, it hit me pretty hard.

The last one of the incidents was last night outside the bar. I was having a cigarette (I smoke when I drink, leave me alone) with one of the bouncers when this woman walked up to me and started talking about God. At first she was sort of incoherently rambling about God's love and peace, but she strangely became more lucid as she talked. She talked about how she had prophesied over people in power, mentioning the names of a few local politicians. She talked about how Jesus was tortured so we wouldn't have to be, and how without God's love we will be tortured that way. (At some point in this conversation, the bouncer I was talking to went back inside and I wandered across the parking lot to go get a cup of coffee. The crazy lady followed me.) She took off her glasses and stared into my eyes, and said "I can see that you've suffered a lot in your life." My first thought when she said that was that she was using a technique commonly known as "cold reading," or "how 90% of the douchebags I hooked up with between the ages of 17 and 21 convinced me that we had a real connection." Walking up to the drunk chick who is wearing too much black eyeliner and silver jewelry usually gets you a good cold reading audience, in my experience. Unfortunately for the crazy lady here, I'm wise to that game. I shrugged and tried to change the subject. She continued, saying that "God will still let you come back. You've suffered enough, you've done your penance."

Then she told me that she was from City Centre Church, the urban outreach project run by Christian Centre. And repeated that "God wants you back."

So, to whatever god it is that these fuckwits are following: ENOUGH.

ETA: I'm not saying that there's necessarily some big scary deity trying to recruit me back to his creepy kool-aid party or anything. This is likely just a random set of coincidences that hits too close to a difficult personal subject. But was creepy.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

"I hope someone treasures you the way you deserve."

I always smile and nod when I hear something like that, thinking that whoever's saying it likely doesn't mean it. Even if they do, why would I want to be "treasured?" I roll my eyes a little, hoping it's not too obvious, and carry on with whatever I was doing.

But I'm starting to think I might want to be treasured. One day it might happen, and I'm getting less and less inclined to push it away if it ever does.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

A Blog, In Which I Reclaim My Fucking Life.

Here's some background information.

I come from a very complex family background. My mom's (I'll call her K) family is what you might call "white trash," as well as being abusive alcoholics several generations back. My dad's family is primarily First Nations, lower-middle class, and has a history of substance abuse and trouble with the law. Unfortunately, many of them are the "stereotypical Indians" that get so much bad press, though an equal number are not. (It's a big family.) My stepfather's family is upper-middle class, from an academic and artistic background, and were always very ashamed to have me as a member of the family. Upon finding out about my First Nations heritage, my step grandmother's response was, "well, you don't LOOK like one of them, so you don't have to tell anyone about that." For anyone who has wondered why I have so many issues and heaps of guilt surrounding the whole "passing" thing, think about that for a minute. Also of note: my stepfather (referred to from here out as M, and those of you who know my maiden name can put some pieces together) is the Concertmaster of the symphony orchestra here.

Growing up, I was always involved in music, drama and the like. I played violin and double bass, taking the bass far enough to play in the Saskatoon Strings (basically the junior level of the youth orchestra) for a couple of years. I acted and sang, even getting parts in a couple of productions done by the amateur theater company in town. I was getting involved in the "crew" angle of theater as well, working on stage crews and doing the sound for one production with the same company.

I started having sex when I was 15. At that point, I was taking a year off from any active performance, having aged out of the Strings but not been accepted to the regular Youth Orchestra yet, and being too busy with other things to do much theater. I was continuing my bass lessons and working hard at school.

I may have had a genius level IQ and been brilliant at many things, but as is so often the case with "gifted" kids, common sense was unfortunately not my strong point. I ended up pregnant twice before the pregnancy that resulted in my son. The first one I miscarried within days of the positive pregnancy test, and never told my family about. The second one, however, I carried to about 13 weeks before miscarrying. My family knew about that one. That pregnancy was what turned my entire life upside down.

When I told K and M about my pregnancy, I didn't expect them to take it well, being that they were both rather abusive to begin with. What I hadn't prepared myself for, however, was exactly how much they would punish me for it.

"Well, I guess that's it for the Youth Orchestra," said M. "Being that they're kind of affiliated with my workplace, and I'm not going to tarnish either organization by having my pregnant whore of a stepdaughter appearing onstage."

"And you can forget about theater, too," said K. "I still work with them sometimes, and I'll be damned if you're going to fuck up my good name too."

I was told that I was more than welcome to continue my bass lessons, if I could pay for the instrument rental and lessons myself. Of course, that wasn't really an option, so that was the end of my performance career in a lot of ways. All I've really had since then is karaoke.

Anyone who has a background in acting, music and the like will understand what I mean when I say that for the past ten years or so, something has been missing from my life.

I have kept a lot of this "on the down-low," so to speak, because for a long time I felt that it would be unfair of me to jump back into the artistic community, give people an explanation of what happened to make me disappear for a decade, and not only start drama but potentially tarnish M's reputation.

After I moved out, which happened for the first time around when I got pregnant with my son, I found out that K and M had spread gossip and lies about me to other members of the artistic community. That clinched my decision to keep everything quiet and just keep to myself. I felt that even if I had the opportunity to get involved in another play or something, I would likely not be welcomed with open arms by my old friends. And as I said, explaining the truth would just "start shit."

Today, I went and helped my friend Jen do the makeup for the local production of La Boheme. It was a lot of fun, although seeing the members of the children's chorus, some of whom are the same age I was when I got involved with acting, damn near tore my heart out. The thought that some of those kids will be lucky enough to have all the support and opportunities they deserve, while others will likely either have their dreams somehow dashed or simply slip through the cracks, is more depressing than I can really articulate.

I left the theater around the end of the second act. On my way out, I ran into a few members of the orchestra who were backstage during the intermission. Of course, among them was M. He tried to ignore me when I said hi to him. One of the cellists said, "M, someone is talking to you," and he couldn't continue the attitude without looking childish. Still, he was standoffish and rude to me.

Somehow, that brief and unpleasant exchange of small talk flipped a switch in my mind. I've decided that I've sacrificed enough, and foregone enough joy. It's time for me to start taking steps to get back into acting, if nothing else. I will not be shamed and forced out of something I enjoy any longer. I will not make an active effort to get the truth about the last ten years out, but I will also no longer make special efforts to hide it for the sake of someone who willfully destroyed my dreams and crushed my sense of self worth. If, in the process of doing what I have always loved, someone finds out the truth about M, so be it.

I deserve this, and it's time that I took it back. I'm pulling my passion and my dreams out of the hands of K, M, and their elitist asshole friends.

Monday, June 8, 2009


After the whole head shaving incident last year, it took me a while to get back into a good headspace. Hair has special significance for me, and what I'm doing with mine generally reflects how I'm feeling. Once I got past the problem of feeling like I didn't deserve to have hair, muscled through the awkward, fuzzy, growing out phase, and tried a few different varieties of pixie cuts, I finally decided a few months ago that I was ready to grow my hair again. I've been so excited about it. I finally unpacked my hair accessories from where I shoved them when I shaved my head, and every time I go shopping I look at glittery hair clips and the like with rising anticipation. I miss my hair. I miss it a lot. I remember what it looked like when I moved back to Saskatoon from Shellbrook, and DAMN. I was hot. So the prospect of having long, gorgeous hair again has made me very happy.

My hair is baby fine, but there's a lot of it. It takes a great deal of razor cutting and texturizing to make it behave at all. Since I'm broke, I've been texturizing it myself lately. This has worked out quite well for me. Much better than I thought it would. (Yes, Jackie, I know I promised I'd come to you. But you have no idea how broke I really am. I'm very sorry.)

Last night, since I couldn't sleep anyway, I decided to do some prettifying. I gave myself a mini-facial, re-shaped my fingernails, and decided it was time to texturize my hair and trim my bangs a little. Everything was going well until what was supposed to be the last little bit of texturizing, at the front of my head just behind the bangs. Apparently lost in a daydream, I grabbed the wrong pair of scissors and cut a giant chunk out of the front of my hair.

After trying pretty much everything I could think of to fix or hide my mistake, I realised that the only option was going to be shaving my fucking head again.

So now my hair is gone, and I'm devastated. I couldn't even finish cutting it myself-I had to get Chris to shave it for me while I bawled like an infant.

There's no real point to this post, just me getting this out there. I'm bald and depressed. FML.

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Freak Walk

As some of you know, I was one of those teenagers who did bizarre things just for the shock value. I like to think I've grown out of that. Now when I do bizarre things, it's because that's genuinely what I feel like doing. :D

Last night I got together with my brother and a friend and went for a walk in the middle of the night. It was nice. We had some fun conversations and took pictures of each other. The thing is, we were all dressed strangely. I was wearing a glittery minidress and stripey tights, my brother was wearing a kilt, a leather vest, and a top hat, and our friend, though otherwise normal-looking, had borrowed my hot pink feather boa. Before last night, it had been a very long time since I had occasion to get all dressed up and go gallivanting.

Of course, sometime over the course of the night, we got caught up in the fun of looking weird in public and ended up taking some pictures and such that were pretty much just for the "freak value." Then I ended up feeling bad about that. Really, I'm not out to be a big attention whoring weirdo anymore. I want to have what I consider to be a normal, happy life. It just so happens that my version of normal includes stripey tights, fire-eating, and midnight strolls. Occasional moments of attention whoring are fine, I guess, but I don't like the idea of being "freaky" just for the shock value. I'm weird for its own sake, and in a very organic way. It's the whole "self-expression" thing. I like sparkly clothes and slightly outlandish forms of entertainment, but forced strangeness bothers me.

I guess what I'm thinking right now is this: if you're a member of some fringe culture or other, where's the line between just going on with your life regardless of what you look like and taking it in stride that people will likely think you're out to be "shocking", and actually trying to be shocking? How often do you make the effort to get attention and be weirder than usual? Does it bother you, as someone who just happens to look like an oddity, when friends act intentionally strange as a method of garnering stares from passers by? Do any of these questions even make sense?

Random thoughts of the day, likely poorly phrased.

Monday, June 1, 2009

Adventures In Direct Sales: Um....okay?

Yesterday was a disaster. We usually don't work on Sundays, but I didn't work on Saturday, so I said I'd take a couple of appointments on Sunday to make up for it. The first one I went to, the lady said she had told the person on the phone that she wasn't interested in seeing a presentation. So, whatever, didn't do that one. The second one was even worse. As I pulled up to the house, the family was actually getting into their car. I introduced myself to the husband, who was just locking the front door. He told me that they had changed their mind, because his wife said it sounded like a scam. (As scamtastic as the employment practices have turned out to be, I'll give this company credit for the fact that the products themselves are good, and their sales practices aren't scams. They never fuck with the customers, just the employees. :P) Anyway, I said, "Okay, can I just use your phone for a minute to let the office know I won't be doing this appointment, then?" He said no, and ordered me off the property.

I called the office from my cell phone. As I was calling, the family pulled out of the driveway and drove away. C answered. I told her what was happening. I could hear J in the background yelling, "oh, what the fuck is it this time?" Because, you know, it's totally my fault when I can't get into demos. C told him what was up, and he started yelling, "Oh, that's bullshit. If that happens, she needs to call us from their phone, and she knows that. This is total bullshit." C told him that they wouldn't let me use the phone. She was about to say that they had left already, and J cut in with, "then she can call from her cell and put one of them on the damn phone so we know she actually talked to them. This is fucking bullshit." C told him that they had ordered me off the property and left, and J continued ranting in the background. Then he got on the phone and told me I could do an evening appointment. Now, keep in mind, Sundays are extra and optional to begin with, and just the other day J said that we never do Sunday evening appointments. When I said no, he got all pissed off and hung up on me.

Fast forward to this morning's meeting. The first little bit was fine. But S, N and I were all coughing. N had it the worst, coughing so hard he could barely talk. He looked pretty rough. J told S that he didn't want to send him to someone's house if he was sick, so he should just go home and rest. Then he said to N and I, "you two aren't allowed to be sick. Take some cough syrup and get over it." Yep, the white guy got sent home to rest, and the brown guy and the girl get told to "just get over it."

As the meeting was wrapping up, J asked me to stick around for a few minutes after everyone left. He told me that he was giving me a "promotion" of sorts. Basically, certain regions of the province are now going to be my areas. It means more travel, but I also got bumped up a level on the pay scale-better commission and bigger bonuses, plus (obviously) more gas money and pay for mileage and such. I just said thank you, but I was really wondering why he was giving me whole regions of my own after yesterday's fiasco. I'm thinking maybe it's so I don't sue him or something. :P

What really pissed me off, though, was when we finished talking about this new position and I asked about my equity term coming to an end soon. Hoo, boy.

A little background-if I make a full-price sale that's paid by cheque, cash or credit card, I get full commission, obviously. If it's financed, and the customer gets approved on what's called "A-line," basically meaning they have spectacular credit, I also get full commission. But a discounted sale, or a full price one on B or C line financing, cuts into my commission. I don't care so much about that, but the important thing to note is that with B or C line financing, the finance company only gives J a portion of the money right out, and that's why it reduces our commission.

What I didn't realize was that my final system, the one that I have to sell to get my account paid off, has to be either cash, cheque, credit card or A-line financing. I was under the impression that any full-price sale of the final system would work, but now I find out that it doesn't work that way. Yeah, thanks for telling me that right out of the gate, J. Seriously, it's 10 weeks this week, so I'll be working on that final sale starting, I believe, Thursday. But in the entire 10 weeks I've only sold 1 full-price system on one of the "acceptable" payment methods. So I'm stuck here until I duplicate that feat. So now the pressure is on, and I'm pissed off.

Speaking of sales, J and I were talking about one customer of mine who didn't get approved at first, but was getting a co-signer. I have to go back to her house tomorrow to get signatures and stuff. J asked if she was black. I said no. He asked, "well then, what is she?" Yeah, he's classy like that. After I glared at him a little bit, I replied, "she's First Nations." His response? "Well, then, I hope you're not counting on that commission for anything. In my entire career, I've only seen one indian get approved, even with a co-signer." Seriously, I could just kill him right now.

Friday, May 29, 2009

Adventures In Direct Sales: It's Hard To Have Principles

Some of you may be aware of exactly how racist, sexist and otherwise unpleasant my boss is. I don't think I've talked a lot about that trouble here, primarily because I've been really ashamed of the fact that I just don't know how to react at this point in time.

But enough is enough. It was bad enough when it was just me dealing with his nonsense, but there are new people working with us now, and his bullshit is going to start affecting them one way or another.

First of all, I'll do a brief cast list. J is the boss, an upper-middle class white man in his early twenties who has, even by his own admission, always had it "pretty easy." C is his wife, who is also the office manager. I like C. She evidently used to be quite the little gothy princess, and was a very strong and independent woman. Now she's pretty firmly under J's thumb and doesn't even decorate her home the way she likes anymore, because J won't let her have "those skulls and crap" up in "his" house. It's sad.

The new hires are S, a white man in his early twenties from a conservative, upper-middle class family; M, a young, fat white woman (who the boss told me "still has a pretty face") from a very similar family background as S; T, a black man around his mid-twenties who moved here from Ontario and from all appearances has a relatively middle-class background as well, though I haven't had a chance to talk much to him about that; and N, a First Nations man in his early to mid twenties whose family is on the lower end of "middle class." Then there's me, a mixed race (white and First Nations), queer woman from a family that always lived well below the poverty line, who has suddenly found herself with a whole lot of passing privilege to examine. I look pretty white, I'm in a hetero relationship, and I've carved out a fairly middle class life for myself, which differs hugely from my childhood.

When this new group first got hired, the boss was telling me that in the original interview group, only about half of which would end up getting hired, there were two Sudanese people, who he refers to as "purple people." He says, "they're so black they're purple." I was stunned into silence by this line of conversation. What made it even more horrific was when he flat-out said, "purple people aren't people." He's talked a lot about black people in general having "zero work ethic," said that as soon as a job gets a little hard they quit.

J's opinions of First Nations people are none too flattering, either. He's got story after story of times that "some Indian" either screwed him over in business or caused some other kind of trouble, and he uses these to justify his blatant racism. He doesn't like to hire First Nations people because "customers get nervous when they see an Indian on their doorstep. It's not my fault, just how the world works." Because, you know, it would be too much for you to just hire whoever is qualified, regardless of race, and stand behind your employees if a customer starts shit with them?

One of J's favorite things to talk about has been the fact that I have made a lot of sales to First Nations people. Apparently, I "can sell to brown people like nobody's business. Now we just need to get you selling to some white people, so you actually get some financing applications approved." Because, you know, everyone who isn't white has shitty credit, and everyone who is white has GREAT credit. That actually came up once, when he got all bent out of shape because he saw a customer's last name on a contract, guessed that she was First Nations, and said, "Oh, great, now I'm all worried that she won't get approved." I got a bit irritated and told him to not talk like that, pointed out that I have First Nations blood and maybe he should watch what he says. His response? "Yeah, I know you're Native, and I also know what your credit looks like." Followed by a self-satisfied smirk.

When the new group was doing their practice demos for friends and family, J's big beef was that N and T were doing theirs for their families, who, "you know, being black and Native, probably don't really have any money. Thy're not gonna sell anything that way."

All in all, he's a misogynistic, racist fuckwad. This isn't even getting into the details of the dynamic of his and C's relationship, or how he talks about women in general.

It's already become clear that S is J's favorite, closely followed by M. She may be a woman, but at least she's soft spoken and traditionally feminine. J has already pointed out to me that M "dresses better for work (she wears skirts and tops that apparently show the right amount of skin) and doesn't have an attitude like you do." Because, you know, it's bullshit when women demand respect and fair treatment. And I should be wearing a skirt for a job that involves a lot of movement and bending. (I've stopped wearing shirts that show pretty much ANY cleavage, and now the big issue about my clothing is that "it's too butch." I can't win here.)

I've given this a lot of thought, and I know that I'm walking a fine line in a lot of ways. I have to be aware of my passing privilege, because I don't want to come off as some white person who figures they know what's best for the persons of colour, coming in to "save" them. But I can't allow J's racism to stay a secret. And if race were taken out of the equation, if the boss were talking shit about someone behind their backs for any other reason, it'd be right to tell the other person about it, so I figure this is the same thing. So today I told T everything, and next time I talk to N I'll tell him the same stuff. I can't decide what, if anything, to say to M. She seems aware of the undercurrent of misogyny and hasn't said anything about it, but who knows what's actually going on in her head? She could be feeling like she's the only one who gets it. I don't know what to do.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Health At Every Size

I'm by no means an "expert" on this subject, but I think this is something that really needs to be addressed and more widely accepted. You can read a bit more about HAES here, here, here or a million other places on the internet. A lot of the blogs I link to from here talk about HAES and related theory.

It's not fat that's the problem. Poor eating habits and a sedentary lifestyle are bad for you, no one is arguing with that. But what if you're doing everything "right" and you're still fat? Or you're doing everything "right" and you're still really skinny? That's where the concepts of HAES come in handy.

One thing: a lot of people argue with the "eat what you want, when you want, in an amount you want" concept, because they figure that, left to their own devices, they would just devour the entire planet, or at least their weight in ice cream. And at first, yeah, you might. Because cookies or cake or whatever have been so firmly ingrained in your mind as "bad" foods, the taboo will make them much more appealing, and you'll want to just stuff your face with them. But after a while, when you start to realise that you can have a cookie or two whenever you want, you don't want them as much. You'll learn to listen to your body's actual cues, learn that your body actually WANTS nourishing food, like fruit or veggies, and with the mindset that you're not "bad" if you eat a cookie, you'll be more comfortable just having one and putting the box back.

For better writing about this subject, check out The Rotund and Shapely Prose, then go read Lessons From The Fat-O-Sphere, by Kate Harding (founder of Shapely Prose) and Marianne Kirby (The Rotund). Do it!! There are also a billion other fantastic blogs dealing with the same subject matter, I just linked to these two today because I wanted to plug their book. :P

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Coming Clean...

The past two months or so, I've been having some "inexplicable" health problems. The reality is, I know what's causing at least some of them.

I've been purging. A lot. At least two or three times a week, sometimes every day for a few days when I really feel like shit.

I keep trying to stop and falling right back into it.

The last week or so, I've been throwing up involuntarily after meals. Not every meal, but most of the stuff I've tried to eat in a day, my stomach just doesn't seem to want. I've been living off a lot of liquids, because they're easier to keep down. And my stomach HURTS. Not nausea, just cramping pain.

On top of this, I've been off my meds for a prescription ran out. So the last...two weeks? Ish? I've been extra special.

Yesterday, I got scared and went to a doctor.

As some of you know, I don't have a family doctor right now. My old doctor, who I'd been going to for years, turned out to be a bit of a...well, a useless, unethical fuckstain, for lack of a better term. I tried to talk to him about my disordered eating, the psychological problems I've been having and what I feel is contributing to them, and he just wrote me a prescription for Effexor without even wanting to talk about anything else. When I insisted on going a little deeper, explaining to him how long some of this (specifically the self-harm: about a year ago I progressed from pulling out hair and slapping/pinching myself to actually cutting, and that scared me) had been going on, and how it related to stuff I'd gone through as a kid, guess what he did?

He phoned my mother.

That's right, when your patient comes to you and says "my mother beat me and let her boyfriend rape me," the NEW treatment is to just call the mother. Let her, her ex-husband, and ALL the siblings on that side repeatedly phone and threaten me. (I've changed my landline, but have had the same cell number for years now, and they all got it from my sister.) Let a couple of them actually show up at my house to call me names and intimidate me in person. Let her get a lawyer and try to take custody of my child. Never mind that it'll never happen: Social Services has a file on her a foot thick, I'm sure. The point is, I've been through a metric fuckton in the last year, and now I'm dealing with my chronic physical and mental illnesses without a family doctor.

Anyway, what I did was go to the doctor that we saw last week for Ronin's stuff. He's awesome. He's referred me to a psychiatrist, written me a new prescription for the crazy pills, and also prescribed something called metoclopramide. (Yeah, it's a Wiki link. Deal with it.) It's TERRIBLE for long-term use, but it'll get me re-fed for now.

So, this is me saying....I'm not okay. At all. I've tried to be all "Ooooh, lookit me being so tough," but I'm not. I don't know what to do right now, except just throw this out there and ask for prayers/happy thoughts/love/whatever.

And for those of you sitting there going "I knew she was still fuckin' crazy," good for you. You win. Some things really don't change.

Excerpted from an entry in my super-secret ninja LJ

I wish I could stop hating my stomach. I love almost everything else about my body-the way my hair grows stick-straight but thick and tangled like prairie grass, the way my eyes always betray my feelings, the shape and colour of my lips. I love my powerful shoulders and back, my arms that are much stronger than they appear, my full breasts that have both fed my son and aroused my lovers. I'm absolutely infatuated with my own pussy, from the plush outer lips to the velvety wetness inside. I can't get enough of the way my muscular legs look and how much they do for me. Sure, there are other little details of my body that sometimes irritate me, but in truth I usually feel that they add depth and uniqueness to my beauty, like tiny inclusions in a radiant gemstone. But my's too big, there's too much baby-fine hair on it, it bulges and rolls in places that I can't stand. There's a slight overhang where the muscles have never been the same since being severed for the c-section that brought my son into the world. It makes my pants fit poorly. Sometimes I hate it less than usual, but I never love it, and I wish I could.

Friday, May 15, 2009

Adventures In Direct Sales: Why Do I Stay?

There are a few reasons I'm still doing this job. First of all, the reality is that as much as I want to hang myself half the time, the money is better than I'd make doing anything else at this point, and I need that. There's all the usual bullshit about how I'm just not qualified for a hell of a lot, and what I can do doesn't really pay well.

The biggest thing, however, is that I'm a fucking moron and I got myself in deeper than I can dig out. See, the way I got involved with the company is that the boss did a presentation for us. I wanted the system, Chris was ambivalent about the whole thing, and we knew we really couldn't afford it. The boss suggested a program that they offer where you fill out all the contracts and such for the purchase, then work for ten weeks and they basically pay for your machines. Sounded pretty rad. I was also looking for a new job at the time anyway, so after the first week or so, when things were pretty good, I decided to go full-time with this. The part where I'm a moron? All the purchase and financing contracts are in Chris' name.

Now, if I quit before my ten weeks is up, a few things happen: the machines get repo'd, we still get billed for them, and Chris has a repo/collections on his credit report. That's the worst of it. I don't care about the system anymore, aside from the fact that we'd still get billed for it and be out 3 grand for something we didn't even have. Besides, it IS a good system, that's why I wanted it in the first place. But I can't be responsible for us being out that much money AND Chris' credit taking a hit. See, I'm a fucking moron and I got myself into this. That's why I stay.

Adventures In Direct Sales: Just...No.

More background. I have thus far been the only "associate" in the Saskatoon office. This means that my training has been...unique, to say the least. There hasn't been time or resources to properly train me, so I've done everything by the seat of my pants. The boss hasn't actually watched and reviewed my presentation yet, and hasn't given me a lot of the information that new hires would usually get during training.

This week, there was a hiring cycle and training class going on. One of the managers from Calgary came out to help with that. Funny thing is, not a single person was hired. Apparently, no "quality people" wanted the job. Interesting, I say. Anyway, this freed up today to work on my training. Bear in mind that I've been doing the presentation that I figured out myself from the bits and pieces that I was taught for almost two months now. So, the three of us sat down in the conference room that was supposed to be used for training this week's crop of new hires and went over my dem.

Hoo, boy. Apparently I've been doing EVERYTHING wrong. Now, this wouldn't bother me as much if the boss would acknowledge that it's because I got inferior training. But no, a good chunk of this stuff he insists that he did teach me, I just "wasn't paying attention." I know this is bullshit, and him just covering in front of his Calgary buddy. Besides the fact that I think the two of them were being too harsh on me...there are some things that I feel I've done extremely well which they felt the need to pick apart anyway. Of course, they made sure to point out that they "weren't trying to gang up on me" the whole time both of them were tearing apart everything I did, without a compliment or any buffer for the criticism aside from "you really know the science and statistics side of things, but your knowledge doesn't matter if you're presenting it this way." Um, thanks?

But wait! My presentation is not the worst they've ever seen, and they don't think it's the real reason I'm having so much trouble! You know what IS the problem?

My appearance.

I'm aware that I don't look quite as amazing as I always used to, at least from a wardrobe perspective. I used to have a whole closet full of clothes that were just perfect for work like this: professional but still pretty, pulled-together without being stuffy, and just the right dash of sex appeal thrown into the whole mess. However, I've gained a LOT of weight and gotten rid of all those clothes, and haven't spent the money on a FULL new wardrobe yet because my size and shape are still fluctuating so much that it's pointless to do so. I've bought enough pieces to get by as I can afford them. Now, neither the boss or Mr. Calgary today would flat-out say that I end up looking either slobby or slutty, but that was the gist of their concerns. They talked a lot about the need for "well-fitting" work clothes and how it's problematic when clothing "puckers and bunches and just doesn't look right" or is just too big. Gaping blouses are bad, but so are blouses that are too loose around the waist and shoulders.

Hey, guys: grow a pair of DD's and then go find blouses that fit. I fucking dare you.

Another concern is that the clothing of mine that DOES fit is...well, just inappropriate. "I didn't want to say anything," says the boss, "but it's just that it's all really....well, clinging. You know, in...certain areas." I get it. I have boobs. I cannot dress them to your specifications. I have not achieved the proper madonna/whore balance for your business desires.

Look, I get that I have to dress appropriately for work. But I'm trying so fucking hard, and it doesn't make it easier that every time I find something that kind of fits me, I either gain or lose weight and it all goes to shit. I don't need a couple of young guys (both younger than me and sure that they know more than I do about EVERYTHING) pointing out that sometimes my blouse rides up when I move around and you can see my love handles a little, and it's probably grossing out the customers. (Not their exact words, but it didn't take much to see that's what they were hinting at a few times.)

Also, the reason I have trouble selling to older couples and single women? Probably because I "look like a homewrecker," according to Mr. Calgary. I mean, never mind the fact that I've wrecked at least one home in my day (totally by accident, I swear); where the fuck does he get off saying that out loud?

Sexism and privilege at work, folks.

So, because my day hasn't been awesome enough, I was on my way to a 6:30 appointment and started to feel queasy. I pulled over and went to get out of the car, and I guess I wasn't fast enough. Yep, I barfed on myself. So, I was allowed to go home and shower. Isn't that nice? Unfortunately, I was wearing my last clean pair of pants, so I think I'll have to phone in and say I can't make an 8:30 because I have nothing appropriate to wear. The boss and Mr. Calgary should appreciate that, right?

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Adventures In Direct Sales: Overreacting?

I've run into my share of crazy people doing this job. And probably your share, too. :P Some of them have been just amusingly kooky, while others have been downright frightening. What's unfortunate is that when I tell my boss about the really bad ones, his reactions range from flat-out not believing me and accusing me of just trying to get out of work, to insisting that I should still have finished the presentation in spite of being in a situation that is more terrifying to me than he can likely wrap his head around.

Let's take a situation that I've been in several times in the past few weeks, with some variations. I introduce myself to the man who answers the door and go inside. I see his wife, possibly some kids. I attempt to introduce myself to his wife, and she mumbles her name, then looks at her husband. He shakes his head at her, and she spends the rest of the time I'm there staring at the floor and looking like a scared puppy. That's bad enough, but I can usually muscle through and finish the demo if I have to. (See why I call my job "soul sucking?") What gets me really upset is stuff like what happened yesterday morning, when the domineering husband in question first of all said that "on the phone, it sounded like there was supposed to be a man coming to do this," and then actually grabbed my hands and pushed them away from what I was showing. Seriously, he grabbed both my wrists and pushed my hands to my sides. At that point, I decided to cut it short. If the guy's wife is sitting there looking terrified and he's the kind of person who will, without hesitation, put his hands on a stranger? Yeah, that's not somewhere I'm going to be staying for long. After that, I went to a house that smelled so strongly of human waste that I could smell it on the way up the driveway. When I called my boss and tried to explain that I couldn't go through with it, he told me to do it anyway. Then the whole "random stripping" incident...all in all, I ran into a ridiculous amount of crazy for one day. And for every one of those situations, the boss had a reason I was "overreacting."

His favourite is to just not believe me. "Oh," he'll say, "people just aren't like that." No, young, middle-class white man, they're not like that to you. He refuses to believe that I get treated this way, not just occasionally, but every freakin' day. I don't even know what to do anymore, aside from bitch about it.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Adventures In Direct Sales: WTF Just Happened?

Um. Wow.

I just went to do this demo, and first of all, there were about 10 people there, all of them high beyond all imagining. My boss hasn't taken kindly lately to me bailing on presentations because of silly little things like rampant drug use or the smell of human waste permeating the house, so I decided to try to muscle through it. Oh, boy.

The woman I was actually there to see was probably the most wasted of all. At the beginning of my presentation, I go over some basic information and statistics and such. Halfway through this little spiel, she got up, grabbed the cordless phone, and started walking into the other room......

......and taking off her clothes. I'm not even kidding.

I don't think anyone even noticed me leave.

The best part? When I called the office from my car to explain why I hadn't finished, I was talking to the boss' wife, who is also the office manager. I told her the story, and the only part she repeated out loud was "there were about ten of them, all high," and I could hear the boss in the background insisting that I "still could have done the dem." Because that's safe.


Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Yes. Yesyesyes.

From Jill:

For all the data which shows that teen motherhood is socioeconomically damaging for the mothers, what often fails to be mentioned is the fact that a whole lot of teen mothers were coming from lower socioeconomic positions in the first place; so sure, a lot of teen moms won’t go to college, but if college wasn’t on the radar screen anyway, that’s not much of a threat.

Monday, May 11, 2009

Ancient Post, Revisited.

I posted this on MySpaz way back in the summer of 2006. Now THAT was a hell of a year, lol. I think it's time for an updated list, what has touched and affected me since then, but I figured I'd repost this first. :D

Defining music. What was yours? Everyone has those songs that helped define them, for whatever reason. I have a few, from different points in my life.

Moist-"Leave it Alone" Moist was the first big concert I went to, and the "Creature" album was what got my attention. I later discovered "Silver, " which was actually released first, but I was really young when it came out. And for a lot of reasons, Moist has been significant for me throughout my adolescent and young adult life.

Kim Stockwood-"You Jerk" Every pubescent girl needs an angry song. 'Nuff said.

Tragically Hip-"Ahead by a Century" The theme song to the summer of my first kiss. Ten years ago now. Wow, time flies.

Pachelbel's Canon I played double bass in the junior orchestra. Those, what....six? notes bored the shit out of me, but I'll never forget it.

Marilyn Manson-"The Beautiful People" I was such a good kid. So very, very boring. Listening to bad music was the only way I even halfassed rebelled.

Garth Brooks-"The Dance" I listened to this one a lot the year I was 15. It was when I really learned what it meant to live with no regrets.

Rob Zombie-"Living Dead Girl" Dancing at the all-ages goth club after I moved out of my mother's house. Sexy beyond my years, and I never even knew it.

Joy Division-"Love Will Tear Us Apart" More dancing, same club, different makeup. I started to actually grow up a little.

Johnny Cash-"Hurt" I always loved Johnny. Always. My goth friends were ashamed of me. :P And then the two parts of my life suddenly intersected. Not to mention that the lyrics of this song were so right about then......

Jack Off Jill-"Angels Fuck" I didn't want to like them. My roommate, however, was obsessed. After a while, and given the state my life was in at the time, they started to grow on me.

Then my life went very quiet and very dark for a while....bad things happened.

Moist-"Push" Some stuff happened with some things and some people. It was a good year. I smiled a lot. This whole album (Silver) was on repeat. It put the sunshine back in my life.

Since then, there's been a few. But those songs that I listed...hearing them takes me right back to where I was when they touched me so deeply, and I remember both what I was and what I wanted at the time. Sometimes it makes me long for something past, sometimes it reminds me of why I'm glad I moved on...but in any case, those songs (and some others, these are just the biggies) shaped me.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Road Dust, Sweat, And a Driver's Side Tan

Holy crap. I needed that.

Some of you may be familiar with my semi-regular crises. Twice a year or so, usually around seasonal changes, I completely lose my shit. This time around, after making myself and my family miserable for weeks, I decided the easiest way to cope was going to be running away from home. I needed a change of scenery and time to sort out some shit in my head. Unfortunately, time away for me is rare, and I knew I couldn't run all that far, so the whole "running away" plan looked pretty bleak.

Last night, a few things came to a breaking point all at once. Too much time spent inside my head combined with a few issues which some of you know about to push me over the edge. So, kind of on a whim, I got in touch with an old friend and jumped in the car. It was a long drive to make in the middle of the damn night, and somewhere around 1:30 AM I made a wrong turn and almost drove right into the South Saskatchewan (not *literally*, but there was a moment of "WTF am I doing at a ferry crossing instead of on a road"), but otherwise it was a good trip.

The drive gave me time to just think, not to mention some great scenery. Last night it was pretty dark, of course, but I saw a few meteors and a bit of wildlife. Today I had a better view of the landscape, and in addition to the standard bunnies and birds, got to see a couple of pronghorns just grazing by the highway!! It was AMAZING. I feel all sweaty and gross from sitting in a hot car for 4+ hours, but I don't really mind. The friend provided great conversation, passable coffee (:P), a couple of HBO comedy specials so I didn't have to spend the whole time thinking, and a shoulder to cry on when I finally couldn't dodge the issues anymore and momentarily lost it.

Now I'm home, and I feel better than I have in a while. I have a new perspective on a few things, and I feel like I'm really BACK, in more ways than one. It's amazing what a little time away will do. :D

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Adventures In Direct Sales, Pt. 2: "Your Christians are so unlike your Christ" and Other Annoyances

So, I wish I had something positive to say about work today, but I just don't. First problem: the office is being stupid and letting me take the heat for it. To make a long story short, when someone books a presentation, they receive a free gift. They have a choice between two items. Right now, however, we are out of one of the items and won't likely have more for two weeks. So when the office calls the customer to confirm the appointment, it might be nice of them to say something like, "by the way, I see you wanted item B, but we're currently out of it. Is item A okay, or would you like to reschedule for when the shipment arrives?" But NOOOOO. They just carry on like nothing is out of the ordinary, and when I get to the house and hand them item A, I'm the one that takes shit for it. I'm tired of it. Then when people don't want to see the presentation until we have the gift they actually chose, I get in trouble from the boss. Because you know, it's totally my fault.

Also, the system I'm selling is expensive. I get that. I totally believe in what I'm selling, but I admit that it's a big investment. Now, between the economy being in the shitter and the fact that in Saskatchewan, people don't finance things (that being a big part of the reason we've been hit less by the recession to begin with) any sales I do make tend to be cash or credit card sales. That in itself is good. The "problem" is, people who are otherwise interested but don't have the money right now are not buying on payment plans. According to my boss, this must also somehow be my fault, at least judging by the tone in his voice when I tell him that a customer just doesn't want to finance and therefore won't be buying today. See, he comes from a city where people practically finance cups of coffee, and he "doesn't understand why [I'm] not making sales."

Now for the story referenced by the quote in the title of this post. (Disclaimer: I know not all Christians are douchebags. Love you guys. :D) I had an appointment yesterday in a Christian senior's condo complex. To get my equipment to and from my car takes two trips. So, after I was done with the presentation, I took the first load down, moved my car into the loading zone for the building so I wouldn't have as far to carry the second load, and buzzed the lady's suite to get back up there and get the other stuff. Now, she had mentioned that she was having some trouble with her buzzer, so it might take a couple of minutes for her to let me in, just in case she had to actually come downstairs to open the door.

As I was getting out of my car and walking to the door, a guy walked up and introduced himself as the building manager, then asked who I was looking for. I told him I was here to see "Anna" (name changed) in suite 300. He very gruffly informed me that "there is no Anna in 300" and tried to hustle me along. Of course, since I have a terribly overactive imagination, my first thought was not "wow, this guy is a douchebag" but instead, "holy crap I was just having tea with a ghost." Yes, you can all laugh at me now.

Anyway, I smiled and politely said that I had been upstairs with Anna in 300 not five minutes before, and she had mentioned some trouble with the buzzer, so I'd just ring her and wait for her to let me in. The jerkface building manager informed me that "this is a Christian building, and we don't want just anybody (said while leering at the negligible bit of cleavage shown by my blouse, which can't be helped because I have big boobs, and I'm very sorry that my FUCKING GENETIC MATERIAL is so offensive to your religious beliefs) loitering around and causing trouble." Furthermore, he informed me, "if you don't move your car right now you're looking at a $500 ticket." I pointed out that all the clearly visible signage said that the spot I was in was a fifteen minute loading zone, and I had been there for less than two minutes-in fact, he had seen me pull up. I then pressed the buzzer for Anna's suite and stood there waiting. All the while, this charming fellow kept sputtering about how parking and visitors are up to the manager's discretion. Yeah, the condo manager can TOTALLY tell the condo owners when they can have visitors. Uh-huh.

After a few minutes, Anna from 300 (who the manager had said didn't exist) came down, let me in, and told Mr. Assface that he had better get someone to work on her buzzer, because it was getting to be a pain for her to have to come all the way down and let her visitors in. Yay, nice old lady.

I'm just getting really frustrated with taking crap and getting yelled at by strangers for something that I can't control, which could be avoided if the office would just be honest with people. Ugh.

Adventures in Direct Sales

So, this blog has been a long time coming. Some of you have various levels of knowledge about my mysterious "new job." I'm doing direct sales. I sell an air purifier and a home cleaning system. It's not a door-to-door thing, though I *can* do that if I want to, which I don't. People make appointments with our marketing department, and I go try to sell them stuff. I've been doing it full time for a month now, which is why I've been so unavailable and spacey. The way the job works is that I'm basically "on call" from around 11 AM to 8PM, six days a week. Sometimes I'll randomly have a full day free, but I never know when a call is coming. That's why I can't commit to any other activities during those hours, unless it's something that I can just bail out of midway through if a call comes in. It's stressful and busy, but also a lot of fun. The money is good, and I get to meet some really awesome people and drive all over the southern half of the province, which I usually love.

Of course, along with the awesome comes the terrible. Like when I get a call from the boss at 7PM saying "I need you to go to North Battleford right away." For those of you not in the know, North Battleford is about an hour and a half out of Saskatoon. So, leaving at 7 PM, getting there around 8:30, doing a two-hour sales meeting, and then driving home in the dark on a stretch of highway very densely populated by deer and coyotes, which increases the driving time because I have to actually do the speed makes for a long night. Not a problem if I know it's coming and can plan for it, but on no notice whatsoever, it's a bit of a hassle.

Or when I go to a presentation at a home where the owner (a single man) gives me a creepy vibe right out of the gate. For example, I went to the home of one guy who spooked me a bit and had framed pictures of his Pomeranian all around the house. Not that there's anything wrong with being devoted to one's pets, but the combination of the creepy level of puppy love and the bad feeling I got the second the guy opened the door meant that I would not have been shocked at all to find out that this guy had a pit in his basement into which he lowered lotion in a basket. I was prepared to just bail out, but I noticed that there were a bunch of other people there. It turned out that this guy lived on the main floor of his house, and had converted the basement and second floor into rental suites for students. The other people were about four of his tenants. I figured that I'd be safe with a bunch of witnesses, so I got started. Halfway through my presentation, the renters all went out for supper, leaving me alone with the creepy dude and the dog. The guy sat right next to me on the couch, uncomfortably close, and said in what I assume he thought was a seductive tone, "so, they let a pretty little thing like you go to strangers' houses all alone?"

Yeah, I bailed as fast as I could.

Better yet is when I get sent to a bad neighborhood. First of all, no one who lives in Pleasant Hill (the "hood" around here) is going to buy a $3000 system like ours. It's just not going to happen. My boss, however, is new to Saskatoon and doesn't quite get this. Then you factor in that most apartments in this city don't have visitor parking. So when I go to an apartment in the bad neighborhood and have to park three or four blocks away, then walk that distance lugging twenty pounds of equipment, I'm not very safe. That being the reason I'm in a bit of pain these days-I'm pretty sure I actually sprained my ankle the other day when, in the exact scenario described above, I was attacked by three girls who figured I was "looking at them". I didn't get as bad a beating as I was expecting, just a twisted ankle, banged up knee and a few scrapes on my hands and elbows from falling over while trying to get away.

Then there was the lady who chased me out of her house. Seriously, a 70-75 year old woman yelled and swore at me and was grabbing a frying pan to chase me with.

So, the last month has been crazy. I just figured it was time to fill y'all in.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Swine Flu?

Okay, I have a theory about this. Using information obtained by following the work of Al Gore, I've figured out the problem.

See, Manbearpig drowned, right? But what happened was the Republican party, acting on orders from Karl Rove and the Emperor, took samples of Manbearpig's DNA and used it in research to develop a virus that would affect both humans and pigs. (It will also affect bears, but at this point that's neither here nor there.) Now, we all know that the Republicans hate anyone who isn't white, so they decided to test this virus in Mexico. They infected a bunch of pigs, intending for the virus to be spread to the Mexican people via direct contact with the animals.

Unfortunately, because forethought isn't their strong suit, the Republicans didn't realize that the virus would actually become airborne and spread that way. Their little experiment got out of hand. By the time they caught on and were prepared to employ their emergency shutdown plan (Dick Cheney was going to go to Mexico and shoot all infected people and animals in the face), the infection had spread too far. Changing air currents caused by global warming had facilitated mass spread of this virus.

You guys, I'm super serial here. The Republican party, using Manbearpig's DNA, gave us all swine flu.

Saturday, March 28, 2009


I have this...problem. A neurosis, a bad habit, whatever you want to call it, this has been with me as long as I can remember. I want it to go away, I want to stop feeling like this, but I don't know how.

See, if I have to be taught something, I feel like a failure. If someone has to tell me something, explain anything to me, or show me how something works, my feeling is that any progress I may have made or any accomplishments, either past or future, in that area, are essentially null and void. My work is worthless if I had to be taught or told something, rather than just figuring it out myself.

Of course, I know exactly where this came from. Even as a very small child, if I asked my mom to help me with something, her response was "If you're so fucking smart, why can't you figure it out yourself?" Not "How about I help you work it out?" or any similar encouraging suggestions. No offer of support while still allowing me to explore my own world. Either I figured everything out entirely on my own, or anything I accomplished was worthless. Entering school only made the problem worse. If I hadn't read ahead in the textbook and learned the concepts before they were actually taught in class, if I had to be "told by the teacher just like everyone else in the class," my intelligence and work were immediately rendered moot, at least in Mommy Dearest's opinion. I'm pretty sure that's how I ended up in AcTal. Not because I'm actually "gifted" in any way, but because I spent kindergarten through grade four trying so hard to be good enough for my mother that I somehow garnered the same level of attention as people who are now at least working toward becoming doctors, lawyers and engineers. Fancy that-me, the future drug-addled teen mom who would barely finish high school four years late, in the same class as future fucking world leaders. I knew there was a mistake somewhere.

Anyway, one of the things I've worked so hard on since gaining my freedom is getting that shit out of my head. Rationally, I know that I can't be expected to just absorb everything through osmosis, or have a preemptive basic working knowledge of every subject I will ever encounter. And even though I pride myself on being a fast learner, I will occasionally struggle with some subjects or tasks. That doesn't mean that I can't perform those tasks and become fluent in that subject matter, even excel in those areas-just that it may take me longer to reach that level of fluency than I would like. And rationally, I know that what is amazing about me is not necessarily natural genius, but my willingness to throw myself into learning and to work as hard as it takes for as long as it takes to achieve my goals. I even know that it's stupid to compare myself to my former classmates, because while I certainly have a few areas of privilege that I have to face, what I don't have is class privilege or the privilege of a supportive family. That means that I wasn't starting on equal footing with many of them, and therefore can't be fairly expected to finish on equal footing. But that doesn't make it any easier to placate the ten year old inside who still believes that unless she figures it out for herself, absorbs all the information in record time and does everything better than everyone else, none of that hard work and basic reality matters in the slightest.

Right now, for example, I am typing with puffy eyes and a runny nose caused by spending the last half hour in tears. I've been struggling with my sales closing at work. Now, my sensible, grown-up, "recovery brain" tells me that closing a sale, especially the sale of a very specialized product, is not "basic knowledge." Even more so when that closing is done in a very specialized, scripted way dictated by the office rather than by your own situational judgment. This is like nothing I have ever done before. I shouldn't feel bad that after three tries in the field by myself, my boss doesn't feel that I've quite gotten it down. Three attempts at a brand-new skill not ending in complete success (I haven't even done what could be called "failing" at this, just haven't performed completely up to par with more experienced people) does not make me an idiot or a failure. The fact that my boss wants to review some concepts with me and do a little review/training on Monday doesn't mean that I'm stupid. At least, I hope not. See, that's how fucked up I am-I don't even know if I'm being hard enough on myself here.

Anyway, that's the part of my brain that is having so much trouble right now. The fact that I haven't fully developed this skill after three tries, that I have to be taught more about it, is killing me. I feel like a failure and a moron.

So, how do I fix this? How do I start believing the sane part of my mind instead of the part that probably just got punched one too many times when I was a kid?

Saturday, February 28, 2009

And I Thought Cats Were Smart...

Today while we were doing some stuff around the house, cleaning up and getting ready to take Ronin to his dad's place for the night, I heard the cat absolutely yowling from the living room. I ran in there to find out what was up and found him tangled in the vertical blinds. Somehow, he had managed to get one paw caught in one of the tiny chains that connect the bottom of the panels, then proceeded to get himself even more tangled up in his panic to escape. There were chains and strips of the blinds wrapped around all four legs and his neck. I seriously have no idea how he got like that, but I'm just glad it happened while we were home and able to help him so he didn't choke himself.

So, I'm trying to get him untangled and he's fighting and panicking, biting and scratching the crap out of me. Ronin is next to me, crowding in and trying to see what's happening, freaking out, crying and yelling. I'm alternately yelling at Ronin ("That's not helping, either shut up or go into the other room!" Because, you know, it's hard to keep your cool with a psychotic cat and a screaming kid.) and at the cat ("I'm trying to help you, stop scratching me!"), both of which I'm sure were really helping the situation. After I nursed my kitty wounds and comforted first Ronin, then the cat (who was cowering in terror and staring at the blinds like they were going to run across the room and attack him), I dismantled the bottom chain connector thingies. The blinds are a bit floppy now, but at least they won't kill the cat.

Seriously, how does this shit happen?

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Real Men Do Terrible Things.

And so do real women.

I've gotten a lot of Facebook invites lately for the "Causes" application, specifically the cause called "Real Men Don't Hit Women" or some such. While I appreciate the intent of the app, there's something about it that doesn't sit right with me. It's the use of the word "real." Authenticity is not something that can be determined this way. Melissa over at Shakesville explains it better than I ever could, 'cause she's crazy smart like that. (Follow the link to her letter that's in that post-it's also amazing.)

Real men do all manner of things, both good and bad, and so do real women. The use of the word "real" in this context has always bothered me, in many different circumstances. It bothered me when I was thin and struggling with the "real women have curves" claptrap that gets thrown around as a poor substitute for size acceptance. It bothered me when I was a single teen mom and heard the owner of the daycare my son was in making a distinction between teen moms and "real moms." It bothers me when used as a tool to enforce gender stereotypes and heteronormativity, as in "real men don't cry" or "real women know how to cook" or any one of a million phrases like those. And it bothers me to see authenticity used in this context, however well-meaning.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Hey, I have kind of a strange question...

It's, um, kind of an ADULT question. That I'm asking for no reason, especially no reason having to do with writing erotica on LiveJournal.

Okay, so....

Have you ever had sex in, alley, or a parkade? Is it a logistical nightmare? (I mean, assuming reasonable weather. Obviously you don't want your bits out in -50.) And how could this be accomplished by a hetero pairing if the woman is wearing pants rather than a skirt? Just, um, curious. Message me if you have any thoughts on the subject.

Carry on.

Monday, January 19, 2009

Yes You Can!

Bush's last day. Thank God.

Melissa over at Shakesville covers it nicely.

I'm hoping Obama can do something ASAP about that HHS rule and ensure that shit like this is properly dealt with. Assault based on imposed morality and disguised as medical treatment would earn someone a good kick in the cunt if I had my way.

To the Americans reading this...I hope you choose to have a fetus donut tomorrow. Eat some abortion sprinkles for me!!

That's about all...just wanted to congratulate the US on the end of this horrific era.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009


So, I had my MRI last night.

It was horrible.

I considered taking a Lorazepam (anti-anxiety meds) before leaving the house, as I had read that some people find mild sedation to be beneficial during the procedure. I decided against it, however, since nothing had actually been mentioned about it when the appointment was made and I didn't want to be sedated if I wasn't supposed to be. I figured, "I've had a CAT scan before, how much worse can this be?" Turns out it can be a lot worse.

I initially went into the room alone with the technician. Chris had come with me to the hospital, but he stayed in the waiting room. I don't know if anyone reading this has ever had an MRI, but it's not a fun experience. You lie flat on your back in a tiny little tube, with a your head essentially locked in place by a plastic cage apparatus. You've got industrial noise-blocking earphones on, with wiring running into them to play music and allow you to hear the technician's voice. You have to stay in place for a bare minimum of fifteen to twenty minutes, while the machine makes noises that even the music and headphones can't block out. And the magnetic field is's like standing directly in front of the speaker at a club, only the sensation goes all the way around your body.

I lasted about a minute and a half the first time I was put in the tube before I had to be pulled out, shaking and sobbing, by the tech. We talked for a minute, and when I told her I had considered taking a Lorazepam, she said that someone should have mentioned that doing so would have been perfectly fine. Apparently, people with no history of anxiety have had the same reaction I did, so for someone with my history a dose of Lorazepam could have been a great thing. Eventually we decided that we would bring Chris into the room, with the hope that having someone there to comfort me would relax me a little. The tech told me that we wouldn't be able to talk or anything, but he could sit at the end of the bed and she could attach a mirror to the plastic cage around my head that would allow me to see him.

The tech got Chris set up in a chair with another set of headphones, and put me back in the tube. I spent the next twenty-five minutes or so alternating between praying, staring in the mirror at Chris, and squeezing my eyes shut so I at least couldn't see where I was. I somehow managed to lie still for the whole thing, though a few times I thought I would just lose it and try to rip the stupid cage off my head myself. I didn't realize how tense I had been until it was all over and I sat up. Once my muscles started to relax, I almost fell over.

Now all that's left is to wait for the call from my GP's office to tell me what the results are. Hopefully it's nothing major, but I'm still absolutely terrified.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Another One...

Um, dude.


(Please don't ask why I'm posting all these Britney fan videos. I'll just change the subject anyway.)

On a Happier Note...

Okay, this kid is my new hero. For serious, y'all.

Normally I'd be all, "blah blah blah sexualization of little girls blah blah blah" but seriously...this kid can dance.


Some of you may remember about a year ago when I had some serious health problems-fainting spells and random bouts with hives, anaphylaxis and other awesome stuff. No one could tell me what the problem was. The allergist's work was inconclusive and none of the trouble seemed to be related to my blood sugar. The CAT scan, however, showed..."something." That's all they would tell me. Something abnormal, but not urgently so. They said, "we'll book you in for an MRI."

Well, that MRI is coming up on Monday night. (Seriously, don't you LOVE Saskatchewan wait times?) I haven't fainted in a long time, but I still have random dizzy spells. Sometimes I have to sit in a specific position so the room stops spinning.

Honestly, I'm scared shitless. Especially since I have no idea just what was abnormal about my CAT scan. Something going wrong with my brain is (and has been for just about as long as I can remember) one of my worst fears. Aneurysms, tumors, damage due to trauma...I've got a whole list of things that could go horribly wrong, and I (somewhat compulsively) go over it in my head at times. Especially with recent hype about the potential long-term consequences of multiple a survivor of some pretty heinous abuse which resulted in more concussions than I care to remember, and as a garden-variety megaklutz who falls down stairs and bangs her head on things fairly regularly, I'm terrified that there's some sort of trauma-induced time bomb in my head. What if the concussion from that last fainting spell was the trigger for something horrible? What if I'm one "stand up into the kitchen counter" accident away from being the next Chris Benoit?

I know I'm probably overreacting. I do that a lot. But seriously, I'm fucking scared. It's probably a good sign that I sat on that wait list for a year-it means that whatever was on the CAT scan wasn't an immediate danger. But what if it wasn't then, but has grown or gotten worse over the time I was waiting? What if it's an emergency now? I just want Monday night to be over with so I can get some sleep.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

On Religion and Morality

Okay, I'll be honest-this post is primarily about my opinions of Christian morality. It's not that I have a beef with Christians in general, just with the ones who are assholes. But I hate assholes of any faith. This rant in particular is about Christians who want their morality legislated.

In almost any discussion that touches on moral issues, especially where stuff like sexuality is concerned, you'll get someone coming in saying "the Bible says blah blah blah." You'll get told that a given position is wrong because the Christian god says it is.

Let's get something straight here. When a belief or action is dictated in the scripture of a certain faith, that mandate is for the followers of that god and adherents of that faith. Your god says "only have sex with members of the opposite gender within a legal marriage," mine says "only have sex with adult humans who have consented to have sex with you."

Hindu people don't eat beef. Jewish people don't eat pork. Have you ever seen a Christian arguing that no one should eat beef or pork, because a god said in a holy book that they didn't want their followers to do so? I sure haven't. Usually I hear Christians saying that they can eat what they want because their god said so. Hell, a lot of them even apply that concept to the different parts of their own scripture! I've never heard a Christian saying they don't eat shrimp because the Bible says not to, even though it clearly says so in Leviticus 11:9-11. The common justification is that "those laws were for the Jews-there's a new law under Christ." Okay, so if you don't have to follow the Jewish law, then why should people of other faiths follow your religious laws?

I'm sure there are people of other faiths doing this, but the fact is that I primarily see it coming from Christians. That's probably because Christianity is the socially dominant faith in this part of the world, and when you say "god" in North America, people tend to assume you're talking about Yahweh. Even with that assumption, though, I don't see Jews doing this, and they worship the same god. I have Jewish friends who keep Kosher, but they've never told me I'm going to be struck down for liking bacon on my cheeseburger. They seem to have pretty much the same idea that I'm trying to get across here-that their god has told them not to eat the little piggies, and therefore they won't, but until my god tells me what I should and shouldn't eat, I've got nothing to worry about.

That's all I really had to say. It just frustrates me when I try to talk to someone about an issue from a legal standpoint and they keep bringing up what their god thinks about it. I imagine the people doing this wouldn't be very happy to have Hindu dietary law passed into secular governmental law-why do they think it's okay to demand that their religious morality be legislated?

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Girly Insecurity

I try so hard to be all, "RRRAAAAWR SMASH TEH PATRIARCHY" and not give in to all those "ideals" that get hurled around. I really do. I mean, if I were really that worried about it, I'd probably do a lot of things differently-lose weight, dye my hair back to a "normal" colour, dress more "normally"...a lot of things. But in spite of my best efforts to proudly wave my freak flag, every now and then something just gets to me.

This weekend, I had ample opportunity to observe the non-freakish, sense-of-humor-having female of the species, and I couldn't help feeling like I fell horribly short somehow. It wasn't just one thing, either-I can easily find fault with pretty much everything about myself, especially when compared to a room full of "pretty girls," which I am decidedly not. (Note: I'm not saying I'm not beautiful. I know I totally am. But I'm Not A Pretty Girl in the Ani DiFranco sense.)

Let's look first at what's been the biggest hurdle for me-size. When I was all cute and tiny, I somehow felt like I "fit" better in the world, in a very literal sense; I didn't take up too much space. Now, I take up way more than I ever thought was possible. It was painfully evident to me this weekend, dancing with my adorably petite female friends-I felt like a fucking hippo. I felt awkward and excessively fleshy, like parts of my body were just spilling out of my designated compartment and into space that I had no right to occupy. I know that this is an issue that gets addressed repeatedly in both feminist and FA circles-the right to occupy the space that you do, rather than the space that you "should." And I've found it so easy to get on board with that in the bigger picture-I will fight for other women's rights to occupy their space. That doesn't mean that I've completely come to terms with the amount of space I'm taking up.

Even looking at the other women in the room who took up just as much (or even more) space, I felt inadequate. Those other women, while they may have occupied the same area I did, at least had the "decency" to not advertise their occupancy. They had "tasteful" outfits, subtle makeup and quiet hairstyles. They were quiet and tasteful-worlds away from everything I am. My voice is loud, my dancing is stompy and outlandish, my conversation topics are frequently controversial. I don't look or act anything like I "should." Even when someone who is otherwise "ladylike" acts a little like me in some small way, they seem so much more able to pass it off as an isolated quirk. When I do the same thing, it's just one more item on the long list of reasons I'm not "right."

My insecurity about this stuff is, thankfully, no longer overwhelming enough to make me actually want to try to fit in. I'll do what I want, and it's your loss if you don't like it. And I know that part of my insecurity is honestly just my own, caused by previous experiences and other factors that don't necessarily include the way other people actually respond to me. But another part of it is based on how people respond to me. I'm lucky to have some completely non-judgmental friends, and I appreciate them more than I can say. But then there are other people who fall along a whole spectrum from "trying to be supportive but still falling prey to a few societal expectations of appropriate femininity" to "unashamedly judging anyone who doesn't fit into their personal ideals," and that's incredibly frustrating. This is just more venting on my part-I doubt there's actually anything I can do at this point beyond just ignoring people who say or do hurtful things. I just wish people would give me some damn credit once in a while. I'm loud, unashamed of my unconventional opinions, and a little strange-looking, but I'm also one of the smartest, most caring and overall fantastic fucking people I know. It's just too damn bad that so many people will never realize that because they can't see past the fact that I'm not a "hot chick" or a "lady."