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.