Hungry Dogs of America

I hear you speak, though you shouldn’t dare

Of a future that you claim is bright

Stop pretending you fucking care

For those who suffer silently in the night

You dare claim you want peace for all

But to you, some are more equal than others

Kiss ass when money talks, but ignore the “small”

Wrap us in a blanket of lies; watch us smother

You don’t want peace; you just want your guns

Whip out your glock like a cock and load it

If you’re not the biggest and baddest, it’s no fun

Your hate is just like ammo; you just want to unload it

And money, oh money, how you love your money

You fill yourselves with coke and cash

Money brings the happiness, honey

And saves you when the red and blues flash

And religion; sweet religion… all we need is Jesus

To save us from starving children and desperate mothers

Jesus, surely, would condone our murderous sieges

After all; we must put love for Him above all others.

You’re just a pack of hungry dogs wrestling over meat

Fighting to be alpha, and fuck all the rest

Your violence has spilled onto every street

You’ve moved the world into such unrest

How dare you speak of making things so great

When you’ve left us all so fucking divided?

You spew such bile and senseless hate

And shoot to kill when derided

How dare you speak of ending corruption

When you’re as transparent as a stone?

You’re all just talking heads for the destruction

That has come to my once honorable home.

You’re all a joke, a scam, a fake

You are the enemy hiding in plain sight

You say you’re in this for everyone’s sake

But you’re just rabid dogs looking to fight.

I Do Sincerely Apologize For the Delay…

Wow. It’s really been some time since I’ve written. A lot has happened. Some has been good. I started a really good job with really good pay. Some… not so much. I’ll be completely honest.

I’ve had a complete and total mental breakdown.

It wasn’t all at once. It was actually pretty gradual until it reached a certain point. It started with a random anxiety attack here, a brief moment of hopelessness there. Then, their frequency and intensity increased significantly. With them came irritation and frustration. It doesn’t take much to set me off into a rant. It takes even less to reduce me to tears.

I need help again. I know that I do, and I plan on getting it.

I’m not looking for sympathy. I don’t want anyone to tell me how sorry they are, or to call me “Poor Baby”. None of that is helpful, or even wanted. I want something totally different. I want empathy. I want someone to actually try, really try, to put themselves into my shoes.

Okay, I’ll admit it. I also want, and need, to rant a bit.

Our society is pretty messed up when it comes to mental illness. If someone has a stomach flu, they can be out of work for a few days with no questions asked. There may even be balloons, flowers, or a get well card waiting for them when they return. But, when someone is out due to mental illness and/or a mood disorder… eyes roll. Jokes are made behind their back. They’re greeted with frustration, exasperation, and their job may even be threatened. Employers have no problem adjusting a schedule for outpatient treatment for visible, physical issues. If you need therapy, on the other hand, you’re expected to schedule it on your days off.

Think I don’t know what I’m talking about? Here’s an example.

A few years ago, I had my last (until now) breakdown. I didn’t try to harm myself, but knew that I was only a step away from doing so. I checked myself into a mental health unit. I had to call my boss daily to let her know I wasn’t going to be in. She asked every day when I’d be back, as if I were on vacation. “I don’t know” wasn’t a good enough answer. She wanted a concrete date. By the time I was discharged five days later, my job was threatened. I was written up for attendence. I was advised that making up each hour that I’d missed was mandatory. Negotiation was not an option. I worked over two weeks without a single day off just to keep from getting fired.

It was different when I had a neck injury.

Thanks to multiple car accidents, I ruptured a disk in my neck. Actually, ruptured is a kind word. That bastard blew up like it had been nuked. I was in agony. My right arm was useless, thanks to the contents of the disk sitting on the main nerve leading to it (which was also excrutiating). It was consistantly misdiagnosed for the first month. The same boss was the one who originally ordered me to go to the emergency room. Every day, she had kind words. She promised that my job was secure; and that my health was most important. Once I finally received an accurate diagnosis, I was advised that I could be out of work for up to a year. I had my sister drive me into work and gave my boss my two week’s notice. I also called her boss at home, sobbing as I left a voicemail advising him of what I was doing. My boss gave me a small note telling me how loved and appreciated I was in the office.

An hour after I got home and was situated as comfortably as possible on my futon, my boss called. Her boss had refused my resignation. I was being given a medical leave of absence up to one year. Her boss had confronted the site manager and fought to keep my job. I was to take care of myself, rest, and do what was necessary to heal. I went through my first surgery the next day, and returned three months later to a much warmer welcome than anticipated. I was only back for three weeks before the surgery failed. I was again promised that my job was safe, and told to care for myself. I had a spinal fusion and was out for another three months. Six months altogether. I returned to an even warmer welcome than before. I was given countless (careful) hugs. Some even had tears in their eyes. Coworkers told me that they had admired my strength.

I was working for the same company under the same bosses. There was only one big difference that changed how I was treated. One health issue was physical. The other was mental and emotional.

The brain is an organ. Just like any other organ, it can function improperly or fail. Why is this so hard to understand?

People don’t get it. Even the ones who think they do usually don’t. I hear it all the time. “I know exactly what depression is like. I get sad sometimes, too.” “I know what anxiety is like. Sometimes, I get scared; too.” No, no, NO. That is NOT depression and anxiety. Those are the normal emotions that I WISH I had.

So; what is it really like? I won’t speak for eveyone. Everyone’s symptoms are different. I will only speak about what it’s like for me.

You know how in cartoons they show a person’s thoughts as a devil on one side, and an angel on the other? Imagine having two devils and no angel. One is named Depression. The other is named Anxiety. Depression tends to be the sneakier of the two. He slowly drains the joy out of everything. You don’t FEEL depressed, at first. You mostly feel bored and numb. You don’t really do anything because nothing seems worth doing. You feel yourself becoming more and more drained of emotion. Believe it or not, the numbness gets pretty damn exhausting. Even the simplest tasks, like getting out of bed, seem like too much effort. Why bother, anyway? It’s not like it really matters all that much… Then, Depression becomes even more insidious; and, he moves in for the attack. “Aren’t you just pathetic… It’s not the TASK that’s worthless. YOU are worthless for not doing it,” he says. It starts as a little whisper that you can barely even notice. Then, it gets louder. And louder. And LOUDER. Soon, he’s SCREAMING at you. “YOU PATHETIC PIECE OF GARBAGE! YOU’RE NOT WORTH THE AIR YOU BREATHE! YOU ARE NOTHING TO ANYBODY!” You try to ignore him and block him out; but, that just makes him angrier and louder. “DON’T YOU UNDERSTAND HOW WORTHLESS YOU ARE? JUST DIE! NOBODY LOVES YOU, ANYWAY! HOW COULD ANYONE LOVE SOMEONE AS PATHETIC AND MISERABLE AS YOU! ALL YOU DO IS MAKE EVERYONE ELSE MISERABLE! THEY’RE BETTER OFF WITHOUT YOU! DO THEM A FAVOR, AND JUST DIE!!!”

Meanwhile; his brother, Anxiety, also speaks to you. He tends to be a little more hyper. Depression takes breaks. Anxiety usually doesn’t. “Oh my god, something’s wrong with you. Like, REALLY wrong. Shit; can people see it? Oh my god, they probably can! All they have to do is look into your eyes! Oh god, your eyes! Don’t let them see it! DON’T LET THEM LOOK AT YOUR EYES! LOOK DOWN THEY CAN’T SEE YOUR EYES IF YOU LOOK DOWN! If they see it, they’ll know you’re messed up… Oh god; if they know you’re messed up, they’ll hate you! They’ll treat you bad! They’ll all make fun of you OH GOD THEY’RE PROBABLY ALREADY MAKING FUN OF YOU BEHIND YOUR BACK you can’t let them see you YOU CAN’T LET THEM SEE YOU THEY CAN’T HURT YOU IF THEY CAN’T SEE YOU they’ll see you if you go outside DON’T GO OUTSIDE your family can still see you and WHY DID YOU LEAVE YOUR ROOM THEY CAN SEE YOU AND THEY KNOW YOU’RE MESSED UP!!” And he repeats this over and over and over and faster and faster and FASTER. Soon, you can’t eat right. The stress upsets your stomach; maybe even gives you an ulcer. You’re scared to go to work. You’re scared to even go to the store. You can’t sleep, because Anxiety is running a race in your head; and, he wants to make sure you know it. Yet, despite the insomnia, you’re terrified of the thought of leaving your own bed.

Meanwhile, both are slowly chaining you down and paralyzing you. You have trouble thinking. You’ve gone from being mostly emotionless to overwhelmed with feeling; and none of it is good. You have trouble acting, because you’re having trouble making decisions. You see everyone around you living normal, happy lives; yet, you’re drowning in your own mind.

And no, I don’t actually hear voices. I want to make that clear. It’s just the best description I could come up with on two hours of sleep.

People think depression is just sadness, and anxiety is just being a little nervous. It’s not. Either one can keep a person from leaving their bed. The combination of the two is something that I don’t wish on anyone. Yet, if you try to explain it, it’s viewed as a character flaw instead of an illness. Countless studies have shown differences in the chemical and electrical patterns in the brains of those with mental illnesses and mood disorders compared to “normal” people, but it’s ignored; and, that ignorance is killing people. It also just flat out pisses me off. Examples, with my own commentary:

Everyone feels sad, sometimes. Yes; but, their sadness goes away. It doesn’t leave them curled up in bed, crying and wishing that they’d never been born.

Everyone gets scared/nervous sometimes. Does that fear border on paranoia? Are they afraid of leaving their bedroom because they may be judged, or just some general SOMETHING BAD MAY HAPPEN? No? Then, it’s really not the same.

I know EXACTLY how you feel. Ye-no. No human being has the ability to know exactly how another person feels.

Why do you have depression/anxiety? You don’t have anything to be depressed/anxious about! …Um; do you ask people why they have cancer? Juvenile diabetes? Brown hair, green eyes, <insert genetic trait here>? Oh; you don’t? Is it because it’s HEREDITARY? Guess what? My father and at least two out of three aunts on his side have all had depression. On my mom’s side… we won’t go there. That’s just messy. Mental illness and mood disorders have been PROVEN to have genetic components. But seriously; this is not only ignorant, but also VERY rude. Thanks for belittling me.

That bitch is crazy. She must be bipolar, or some shit. *sigh* Thanks for ignoring the multitudes of people with bipolar disorder that are taking medication, going to therapy, and leading productive lives…

Get over yourself. Um, get over YOURself; asshat.

It’s all in your head! I know, right? It’s almost like it’s an ILLNESS… that’s MENTAL…

Stop being so negative! You need to be more positive! You need to just snap out of it! OH MY GOD, WHY DIDN’T I THINK OF THAT?!? HOLY SHIT, I’M CURED!!! HALLELUJAH; CAN I GET AN AMEN? (No, ABSOLUTELY no sarcasm there…) Think of the PA system playing music (or Muzak… *shudder*) in a store. Even if I’m not consciously paying attention to it, IT’S STILL THERE. NO amount of distraction or trying to “snap out of it” will make it go away. It’s a little quieter, maybe; but, it’s still playing on an infinite loop.

Maybe if you didn’t wear black all the time, you wouldn’t be so depressed… Thanks, Mom. Actually; black is a powerful color to me. If anything, black clothing gives me the warm fuzzies (just ask my hubby) (Never mind… He just beta read this, and he agrees.).

It’s because of that music you listen to! Thanks again, Mom. Believe it or not, the music I listen to (mostly metal, industrial, and David Bowie; with tiny bits of techo and dubstep thrown in) is comforting to me. It reminds me that I’m not the only person to feel this way; and may not be as much of a freak as the depression tells me I am. Happy music, on the other hand, makes me feel more isolated. I can’t relate to most of it. It reminds me of how strange I actually am in the eyes of most people.

Except Magic Dance by David Bowie. That song is the shit.

Seriously; mental illness and mood disorders are NO JOKE. They are debilitating. They KILL. Unfortunately; only the flashy ones get attention. Someone has schizophrenia? Oh, poor thing! Let’s help! (And no; I’m not saying schizophrenia is not serious. It is.) Someone has depression? What a pathetic twat. They just CHOOSE to be miserable. You know what? I never CHOSE to be mentally and emotionally crippled; just as I didn’t CHOOSE to be diabetic. I WANT to be happy and productive. I PREFER the diabetes to the depression and the anxiety. I PREFER my migraines (which are mostly gone now due to my new daith piercing; but I digress…) If I was told that losing a hand or a leg or even going blind would cure my depression and anxiety… take my hand. Take my leg. Take my eyes. There’s prosthetics and service dogs and other assistance. With my depression and anxiety, there’s only two devils sitting on my shoulders; slowly destroying my mind.

The United States of WTF? – Part Two

I’m going to start this post by letting you know, dear reader, that I have no problem with either medicinal or recreational marijuana. When my father was dying from cancer, marijuana helped ease his suffering. If someone comes home from a hard day at work, I have no problem with them sitting back and lighting up a joint (or blunt, bong, or bowl). To me, it’s no different from relaxing with a beer and watching TV. I personally can’t partake due to nasty reactions (vomiting, migraine, breathing issues, and YES I found out the hard way…), but I also can’t drink beer due to the same reactions. Despite that, I’m not going to take the fun away from others. We’re adults, here. It’s not my place. This is also going to be short(ish), as it’s not something that’s always on my mind. It’s more of an annoyance.

My issue is not with the recreational smoker. It’s not even with the daily smoker that still takes care of their responsibilities and contributes to society. I’m sure that most of you have seen the person I’m talking about. They’re the ones constantly wearing pot leaf clothing and jewelry. They’re on Facebook and Whisper asking if anyone knows where the good bud is. They post pictures of themselves daily with bloodshot, half-closed eyes and the caption, “BAKED!” They refuse to get a job (likely because of drug testing), but insist that they’re independent artists and musicians; just as they’ve been for the past twenty years, and with just as much to show for it – nothing.

Get a clue. Get a LIFE.

Recreational marijuana became legal in my state in 2012. When the petitions first came out, I happily signed them. When the polls opened, I voted for it. I thought it was ridiculous that alcohol, tobacco, and firearms are perfectly legal; yet, something as (mostly) harmless as marijuana wasn’t. I still do. I also realized that there would be less arrests, and that the sale of marijuana could help the state economy. These views haven’t changed.

Unfortunately, there are some who turn recreational smoking into a complete lifestyle. It’s not always a case of stupidity, either. I’ve seen people write and draw amazing things; but, they’re too focused on getting high to ever do anything with any of it. I watched a guy give an explanation of String Theory that could put anything ever written on Wikipedia to shame… yet, he lived in his mother’s spare bedroom. He didn’t want to go to school and further himself. He just wanted to get baked. It was actually really sad.

Getting high should be a recreational activity, not a life goal. I’ve seen people criticize alcoholics, despite the fact that they can’t remember the last day that they didn’t smoke marijuana. I really don’t think that they have that right. Don’t criticize someone who isn’t sober if you’re never sober. That’s called hypocrisy. And yes, I get it. Getting high is something that’s fun for most people. I used to be one of them, once upon a time. However; if you are broke, carless, jobless, a step from homeless, and still smoking up… I think it’s time for you to reevaluate your life choices. There’s more to life than getting wasted. Posting “BAKED!1!” daily shows the world that you don’t understand the meaning of the word “responsible”. It shows that there’s not much to your life, outside of weed. Your personality has gone up in smoke.

It wouldn’t be so bad if this was just one person every now and then. Unfortunately, it’s not. There actually are people who will not be friends with someone who doesn’t smoke pot. They won’t go places that don’t allow pot. They refuse to get jobs that drug test; then, blame the employers for not allowing them to smoke marijuana. They are perfectly happy doing nothing but smoking up all day and watching television or playing video games; then, in the rare moment of semi-clarity, wonder why they aren’t going further in life. These people are getting more and more common. Even in drug-free workplaces; I’ve heard complaints about the policies from people who either stayed sober long enough to pass a drug test, or those who just wish to start smoking pot. I’ve even watched employees run to their cars and smoke so much weed during their lunch that you couldn’t even see inside their vehicle. I’m sorry, but I have to agree with the employers. If you are responsible for large financial transactions or the operation of machinery, you have no business coming in to work while intoxicated. No drug is that important; not even weed.

Go ahead. Smoke up after work. Just, please; remember that there is more to life than getting high. Much more.

The United States of WTF? – Part One

Welcome to America. This is the land of the free, the home of the brave, the home of… oh, who the hell am I kidding? We’ve become the land of the psychotic, the spoiled, the entitled, and the dangerous. We, as a nation, are focused on fun and self-indulgence. We stopped caring about our fellow man. We are a nation ruled by our love of guns, marijuana, the Bible, and bigotry.

Oh, this series of entries will be such fun; and will piss off SO many…

Let’s start with the guns. Here’s a few headlines, just from this week:

Police ID 3 Injured In Party Shooting Near TSU (http://www.newschannel5.com/news/local-news/3-college-students-injured-in-shooting-near-tsu)

The Comedy Store closes for a night after shooting leaves one dead (http://www.latimes.com/local/lanow/la-me-ln-man-killed-comedy-store-20151014-story.html) [Author’s note: This one is particularly frightening; as a close friend of mine performs stand-up at The Comedy Store.]

Baltimore police arrest man in shooting of 9-year-old girl in Waverly (http://www.baltimoresun.com/news/maryland/crime/blog/bs-md-ci-arrest-20151014-story.html)

1 dead, 3 injured in 2 separate Wilmington shootings (http://www.delawareonline.com/story/news/crime/2015/10/14/wilmington-shooting/73948850/)

1 Dead in Shooting Near Syracuse University Campus, Suspects Shoot at Detectives (http://www.twcnews.com/nys/central-ny/crime/2015/10/14/syracuse-university-students-alerted-to-stay-indoors-amid-off-campus-police-investigation.html)

This is just a small handful of occurrences that happened just in the past TWENTY-FOUR HOURS. This is not even half of the first page that showed up in Google News when I searched using the word “shooting”. Pages upon pages were filled with senseless shootings and dead innocents. Would you like to know what I did NOT find? There was not even a single story in the EIGHT PAGES of news headlines that I looked through where someone successfully used a gun in self-defense. Not even one. Think of how many headlines appear on one page. I counted twelve on page eight. There was not even one gun-toting hero saving their own life, let alone the lives of others. There was, however, plenty of cold-blooded murder.

I was raised around guns. My stepfather was convinced that there would one day be a race war, and that white families would have to defend themselves against the black man (he was a REAL winner [aka ASSHOLE]). I remember shooting a rifle when I was about six years old. I remember the recoil as I fired toward targets on a dirt hill. I remember holding my mother’s hand as we walked the aisles at countless gun shows. I remember the smell of cold metal and gun oil. I remember the old men chanting about how important guns are. I remember seeing the camouflage; not of soldiers, but of hunters. I remember signs that said that I could have their guns when I pried them from their cold, dead hands. I remember my stepfather rushing to purchase an AK-47 in the hopes that it would be grandfathered in when their sale became outlawed. He also had an entire dresser drawer AND a safe full of ammunition. Even as a child, I couldn’t understand why. Since I can’t understand why it’s necessary to have a small arsenal in the bedroom, I’ve sometimes been called a sheep. A libtard. UnAmerican. Yet; even growing up in a home where guns were so important, they were still not as important as the humans living within the home. The guns themselves were locked away. My younger brother and I had no access to them. We were taught how to live safely with them in our home.

Now? Not so much.

Guns today have become the most important thing to America. They have become our drug, mistress, and even our religion. Every day on Facebook, I see posts about how proud people are of their guns. Not their kids, not their spouses; their guns. They will post photos of guns the same way that people used to post pictures of their children. Instead of talking about how Bobby or Sally got an A+ in school, they brag about their new Glock. No matter how many guns they have, they need more. They’re like junkies. One gun isn’t enough. Twenty guns aren’t enough. They need more, more, MORE! The rush that they get holding a new gun is their high. It’s as addictive to them as meth, crack, or heroin.

Thanks to how the timeline is set up, I also see their comments on pictures of guns on Facebook. They treat the guns like they’re women. “Oh, that’s beautiful.” “Gorgeous.” “Oh my god, that’s SO sexy.” They literally salivate over guns. They have sexualized them. People treat pictures of guns the same way that they used to treat issues of Playboy and Hustler. In fact, they’ve actually crossed over into the world of pornography. I’ve seen pictures of nude women lying on top of automatic weapons. Pressing guns between their breasts with orgasmic facial expressions. I’ve even seen pictures of people, both male and female, masturbating with the barrels of guns. Seriously? Why is this a thing? Guns were invented for one thing and one thing only: to kill. Putting them into an orifice is supposed to be sexy?

The only thing that offends people more than disliking guns is the suggestion that maybe, just maybe, people exist that shouldn’t own one. They demand an official, government-issued ID for the right to vote; but balk at having to present the same when they buy a gun. They want welfare recipients to be tested for drugs; but, not to buy a gun. Even if someone has a history of mental health problems, there are many who cry out that preventing them from having a gun is denying them of a basic human right.

I will reveal a little about myself that I don’t like to think about. I have a bit of a mental health history. I’ve been diagnosed with bipolar disorder that swings toward the depressive side, generalized anxiety disorder, and PTSD. While I thankfully don’t have any form of schizoid symptoms, I do tend to have very severe depressive episodes. This has led to more than one attempt at suicide. Suicide attempts, of course, tend to lead to hospitalization. Even with a history of three visits to a mental health unit to be treated for the depressive episodes, I am legally allowed to own a gun. Granted, I’ve never wanted to hurt another person. My thoughts were always of harming myself. However, not everyone with mental illness is the same. My depression led to suicidal thoughts; but, in some, it can lead to HOMOCIDAL thoughts. Just look at how many murder-suicides there are every year! Depression is not the only illness treated at this facility, either. There were people with schizoid behavior in the ward. There were people with rage disorders and drug addiction. There were people VERY capable of violence; yet, our behavior and illnesses weren’t enough to bar us from owning a gun. Someone who drank a bottle of cough syrup with codeine can legally own a gun. Someone who sees shadow men around every corner and hears voices telling them that the ward wants to kill them can legally own a gun. Someone who admits that they fantasize about strangling their wife and kids can legally own a gun. The only thing that would prevent them from legally owning a gun would be if they had committed a violent crime. This is how gun rights enthusiasts want to keep it. Well, I think that’s bullshit. I shouldn’t own a gun, even with treatment; and I’ll freely admit it. My fellow patients shouldn’t have guns. Arming the mentally ill is a disaster waiting to happen. If someone is hospitalized for a mental illness that risks making them a threat to themselves or others, their right to own a gun should be revoked. Period.

I don’t believe that the government should take all guns from all citizens, but I DO believe we need better safety measures. People argue that background checks are an invasion of privacy, especially if there’s a suggestion that treatment for certain illnesses could bar gun ownership. I’m not suggesting that Joe-Bob’s background should list his full medical history. I’m suggesting a database showing those who are no longer authorized to own firearms; and for it to simply say “DENIED” for those individuals. Problem solved. The seller doesn’t have to know your medical or criminal history; just that they can’t sell a firearm to you. It’s not perfect. Some sellers may wonder just why you were barred. However; your privacy would be better protected, people are safer, and most sellers surely have more important things to worry about. I also feel that just as we must pass a test in order to legally drive a car, we should have to pass a test in order to legally own a firearm. If Jimmy down the street can’t pass an exam on gun safety, do you really want him to own a firearm? I’m sure that you don’t; yet, many others do. We should also be required to purchase a gun safe and provide proof of that purchase before we can purchase a gun. Too many people are being killed because their guns are left in the open, and children find them. There have been over forty shootings BY TODDLERS this year alone. At least fifteen were fatal (http://gawker.com/report-american-toddlers-responsible-for-one-shooting-1736636148).

If you would like the stats for a nation that hands out guns like they’re Halloween candy, here you go: http://www.gunviolencearchive.org/. Let the stats sink in. 41,262 incidents. Only 944 are listed as defensive. With stats like that, how can you say you’re protecting yourself?

Don’t ban guns. There actually are plenty of RESPONSIBLE gun owners who study gun safety, and who keep their guns locked away from the reach of little fingers. No, don’t ban them. I’ll say it again; just in case there are still people who believe I’m an anti-gun activist, despite reading this: DON’T BAN GUNS. Make them harder for dangerous people to obtain them. Also, for the love of everything sacred; STOP worshipping guns. By worshipping guns and making them cool, sexy, and a necessity for True Americans™; you are helping to encourage a culture of violence and bloodshed.

Why I Refuse To Call Myself a Feminist

I’ve seen a few articles lately by modern “feminists”. Feminist was a title I once embraced. No more. Why? Because of the sexism of the modern feminist movement.

The feminist movement started as a way to promote gender equality. It has done great things. Here in America (and most other countries); women can vote, drive, own property, go to school, and are not the property of their husbands to be bought and sold at will. We can even divorce, if we want to! There is still gender inequality in some areas; most notably, in the work force. Women still tend to receive lower wages than men. I’m not going into sexual harassment, because that subject is often subjective and incidents towards men are often unreported. Violence against women is still very much a HUGE problem, especially in many foreign countries. That said, I don’t believe the modern feminist movement is the answer.

To be honest, the modern feminist movement seems to have nothing to do with its roots of seeking gender equality. It promotes the idea of repressing men. Almost every feminist site or essay that I’ve read as of late blames every female issue, from negative self-image to painful menstruation and pregnancy complications, on men. Some authors feel that all men are closet rapists. Some women even state that all heterosexual sex is rape! They feel that even when a woman wants it, she’s being fooled into THINKING she wants it, and only gives in because she doesn’t understand the error of her ways. That men are not needed for even procreation; only their ejaculate, which is to be handed over and inserted by the woman. Umm, excuse me? They also claim that the body isn’t made for sex or childbearing, and that those are just ways for men to assert dominance over women. I wonder how they got through high school biology. They feel that men are incapable of having any feelings outside of greed, rage, and lust. They are incapable of love, and must never be trusted under any circumstances. They are all animalistic rapists. If it seems that I’m exaggerating, go ahead and follow this link: https://witchwind.wordpress.com/2013/12/15/piv-is-always-rape-ok/. Once you’re done reading the article, take a stroll through the comments section. This is NOT just one woman with this point of view. This is one of MANY.

While it’s true that that’s an extreme point of view, there is still the underlying tone of misandry in even the least extreme sites and essays. Men cause all problems. Men are always wrong. Men can’t be trusted. Men are unintelligent. Anything that doesn’t show women as superior to men in all ways (books, video games, television, movies, etc) is anti-woman. If a man is harmed in fiction, it’s okay; but a woman being harmed is society’s way of promoting violence toward women. If a woman checks out a man, she’s simply expressing her sexuality; but if a man checks out a woman, he is objectifying and sexually harassing her. If a man abuses a woman, it’s one of the sickest things he can do; but if a woman abuses a man, that’s funny! Down with men! Women are superior! Anyone who disagrees is sexist, a rapist, or brainwashed!

This is the exact kind of attitude that created the feminist movement. These were the same attitudes that women have been treated with throughout history, and the exact thing that it used to fight against. It’s appalling. It’s complete hypocrisy. It should NOT be okay to bash men. They are our lovers, sons, brothers, fathers, co-workers, friends, and more. Is this how we want our loved ones to feel? That they are less than us, all because of their genitalia? It shouldn’t be okay to bash ANYONE regardless of gender, religion, color, nationality, orientation, disability, or creed. If you want to hate someone, do it based on their actions; not their genes, faith, or origins. Men have not set back the feminist movement; the FEMINIST MOVEMENT set back the feminist movement. So, I consider myself pro-equality; but, I am a feminist no more. I’m done with the double-standards.

I must also say that I’m disgusted by the attitude of these “feminists” towards the transgender community. Here is an early quote from the West Coast Lesbian Conference’s keynote speaker, Robin Morgan, in 1973: I will not call a male “she”; thirty-two years of suffering in this androcentric society, and of surviving, have earned me the title “woman”; one walk down the street by a male transvestite, five minutes of his being hassled (which he may enjoy), and then he dares, he dares to think he understands our pain? No, in our mothers’ names and in our own, we must not call him sister. My, my; how tolerant of you. Lesbianism is all-natural and will be accepted by all, but transgenderism is an abomination. What hypocritical bullshit! But, surely, attitudes have changed since then; right?  http://theterfs.com/2013/10/09/hypocrisy-hate-and-harm-no2h8splc/ Oh…

There are actually a few feminists who remember what feminism really means; which is this:

fem·i·nism
ˈfeməˌnizəm/
noun
  1. the advocacy of women’s rights on the grounds of political, social, and economic equality to men.

Where does that say that we are BETTER than men? Unfortunately, the voices of the true feminists are being drowned out by the voices of RadFems; and, outside of yelling that not all feminists are like that, they’re doing far too little to make their voices heard. As a result, the word “feminist” has become tarnished. It’s been twisted. It’s dirty. It’s irredeemable. There’s no longer any fixing it. It’s been used to spew too much hatred, and to encourage far too much pain. Congratulations, RadFems! You have totally destroyed the very thing you once claimed to stand for!

We need a new word for true feminists. I, personally, like the term “equalist”. Here’s why:

Equalism or Equalist may refer to: Egalitarianism. Gender equality. Racial equality. (Wikipedia – https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Equalism)

Gender equality… hmm… why does that sound so familiar?

I WANT EQUAL RIGHTS FOR ALL. If a company offers a male a certain wage, then a female in the same position should get the same wage. If a man is harassed by a woman, I want him to be able to take appropriate steps to end the harassment without having his masculinity attacked. I want everyone to be able to walk down the street without receiving unwanted attention. I want everyone to have the same rights, dammit! Unfortunately, that’s not what the modern feminist movement is fighting for. If anything, it is creating a NEED for men’s rights groups. I’m not promoting the meninism or red pill men’s movements by any means, and will surely write about THOSE special little snowflakes at a later date; but, the modern feminist movement is working hard to create a world where men have to scream to be heard. How ironic. How sad.

Libtards and Conservatwits

OH DEAR GOD my brain hurts. The battle wages on between the liberals and conservatives. I consider myself neither, deep down; however, I publicly identify as liberal because my beliefs lean more toward the liberal side of the spectrum. I don’t believe that Americans should have to starve, and I don’t believe that this country was ever created to be a Christian country. Because of that, I’m considered unAmerican.

Really?

I saw a post by an ultraconservative lately that said, “How to annoy a liberal? Present them with facts and logic.” My response?

“How to annoy a conservative? Try to convince them that EVERYONE has a right to have their basic needs met. Try to convince them that people who aren’t rich and white still matter. Point out that they oppose abortion; but also wish to take away food and medical care from the children they force to be born into poverty. Remind them that this country was built on religious freedom, not Christianity.”

Admittedly, I was sort of asking for it. I’m angry with the way that this country’s working poor are treated. I’m angry that so many are denying access to birth control and abortion, yet want to take away food and medical care from these same children that they fight so hard to bring into this world. I don’t like abortion either. Let’s get that out of the way. I seriously disagree with it being used as a primary form of birth control. However; if a woman’s birth control fails, or she doesn’t have access to it, or she is raped, or she’s ill, or she’s in poverty… I think it’s a more humane option than forcing the woman to have a child that will likely suffer. Painful to think of, but it’s better to end the life before it can feel the pain than it is to force it to suffer abuse, starvation, and disease over the long-term. Want to end abortion? Save the children we already have. Give the unborn better options for a better quality of life.

Again, my OPINION; which is protected by the First Amendment.

Here’s the responses:

“Drink the coolaid? Do you?”

“I want equality, but I also want special treatment!”

“You do realize that your liberal values are rooted to unfulfilled childhood urges for others to pamper you, right?”

“Tell me it isn’t possible for people to be this motherfuckin’ stupid.”

I stated that I HAVE worked for the past 16 years, with few employment gaps (like now). I don’t ask for handouts. I don’t use state assistance. I still struggle. The response? “You’re an Idiot! I came from a poor family and through hard work I became part of the middle class. Give it a try.” So… working for 16 years isn’t working?

Here is one of my favorites. Keep in mind, I’m arguing that BABIES have a right to be fed and to receive medical care. BABIES. “Exactly how is it a ‘right’ that people have their needs met?” Straight from an ultraconservative’s mouth. Babies don’t have the right to be fed or to receive medical care. Yet, I was also told that “lying thieving baby killers do annoy me.” SO… abortion kills; but, lack of food and medical care doesn’t. When major corporations force employees to work in hellish conditions for slave labor and receive tax breaks, that’s economics; but when the poor want to receive help getting out of poverty, it’s theft.

I’m confused.

I’ve now had to unfriend a relative that I love dearly and will truly miss. Why? She has bullied myself and my friends RELENTLESSLY for the past two days for having any beliefs that have even the slightest scent of being liberal; all in the name of God and traditional values. I believe that every child should have food in their mouth? SOCIALIST COMMIE SCUM! I believe that everyone should have access to affordable healthcare? YOU DISGUSTING, FILTHY LIBERAL! I believe that the babies that are forced to be born deserve to have a good quality of life with access to food and medical care? YOU’RE AS BAD AS HITLER!!! Her recommendation was that all of the poor get food stamps and go to churches and food banks. When presented with articles from MULTIPLE sources showing that these methods are woefully inadequate, I was told that I just want to abort babies. No, I do not. I believe abortion is a symptom of a failing society, not the cause. I believe that no CHILD should have to languish for months or years and die just because their parents don’t have REAL jobs and are part of the lower class. This same woman stated that no children are starving in America. Oh, if only that were true! Just because a child can possibly receive one meal a day, five days a week at school doesn’t mean that they’re not starving. They are lacking proper nutrition that their bodies and brains need to grow. They have to worry more about when they will eat again than what they learn at school. How will they ever gain the skills and knowledge to get out of poverty when they can only think of survival? Why do they matter less than a fetus that lacks the ability to feel pain, and that doesn’t yet know the pain of being one of society’s undesirables? Where is the conservative uproar when the ones who have already been born suffer?

Another issue that I have is the constant cry from conservatives that libs are intolerant. Let’s see… who pushes for an end to racism? Who pushed for marriage equality and won? Who allows other religions to worship unmolested? Libs. What do I see as the conservative definition of tolerance? The freedom to discriminate against those of other races, religions, and sexuality. So: fighting for gays, minorities, and non-Christians to have a the same rights as everyone else is intolerance; but calling someone a faggot, n***er, or devil worshipper is tolerant? In what twisted world?

Another example of her logic requires some backstory. Twelve years ago, I had just moved to this state from across the country. My son was four. I had a severe knee injury that severely limited my ability to walk and stand. My ex-husband refused to get a job. He said it was MY responsibility because my son was mine, not his (notice I said EX?). My sister helped with food as much as she could. It wasn’t enough. We ate once a day. Sometimes, I went without so that my husband and son could eat. Food banks were experiencing shortages. I could visit once every two weeks. I’d often come home with a loaf of bread (or bag of rolls), a couple of cans of corn, a bag of beans, a bag of rice, and a pound of meat. This was supposed to last for two weeks. I had no car and could barely walk without wanting to scream in pain. I couldn’t get to any local churches for help. Most churches don’t exactly deliver; and most will turn you down if you aren’t a member. Until I received food stamps, my child often ate only one meal of beans and rice per day. Welfare and food stamps saved me, and most importantly, my SON, during a time of temporary disability. I wasn’t buying caviar and lobster. I was paying rent and buying Hamburger Helper. According to this relative, the food banks and churches should have been enough; because rice and beans can be healthy. I was apparently just lazy with what I was given. I was lazy for not finding other food banks; because there are NOW FOUR in the county. The same county as Seattle. When I explained that they weren’t available then, and that I had no car, I was told to stop whining and making excuses for being lazy. “There’s buses!” Buses require fares that I didn’t have. “Quit your whining. It’s nobody’s fault but your own that you didn’t put in the effort.” It was even implied that my child should have been taken away and placed into an already overpopulated foster care system.

How careless of me to have a genetic condition that degrades my skeletal system and has resulted in the loss of 75% of the cartilage in my knee. God; how could I be so lazy as to allow that?

On to the flip side. Libs: Yes. The rich abuse the poor. We know this. They should pay more taxes and contribute more to society. People need their basic needs met. However, Prada is not a basic need. Lobster is not a basic need. It’s true that the Welfare Queen is something that’s grossly exaggerated; but, I have this to offer. This is an actual quote from a welfare recipient who was a receptionist at an animal clinic that I used to work in: “I will get rid of my dog before boxed dye or Walmart shampoo touches THESE locks!” This is a woman who supposedly loves animals and is below the poverty line. Between her TANF and her job; she could afford salon coloring every few weeks, salon manicures every week, and salon hair products. I couldn’t afford that working full-time at thirteen bucks an hour! She also proudly showed off her Nikes, her Gucci bag, and her iPhone; all while complaining that she wasn’t receiving enough from the government to pay her rent and bills or feed her kids. Would you like to know where the stories of Welfare Queens come from? I present to you Exhibit A. This is what happens when you don’t regulate the usage of government assistance. She could buy an iPhone and designer items, but couldn’t pay her rent or bills. She used it for wants, not needs. Yes, comfort is important: but Nikes won’t feed a hungry child. They won’t keep a roof over their head. Food and shelter should come FIRST. As for the food… again, comfort is important. Surviving on ramen and Hamburger Helper doesn’t cut it… but why is it necessary for you to have the candy, soda, and LOBSTER that I can’t afford, even when I’m working full-time? There’s also the viral video gem of the mother that proudly states she will never get a job because she gets a check every month from the government (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wrDvrDVhlo0).

Ladies, ladies… I have something to tell you that may shock you. Guess what? Government assistance is supposed to be ASSISTANCE; not a LIFESTYLE. It is meant to help you survive in times of need; not for you to live in luxury! I acknowledge that there are FAR fewer cases of welfare abuse than the conservatives would like us to believe; but, damn! People like you are the reason they want to end all assistance! Those of us who need it during dark times such as layoffs, illness, deaths in the family, temporary disability, etc. are having a harder and harder time justifying it when people like you take it and act like entitled little children! You aren’t smart because you managed to cheat the system… you are the moocher that the conservatives warn about! You are adding fuel to the fire! Unless you are truly disabled or at least TRYING to work, you deserve the bare necessities and NOTHING more. You deserve to survive. You DON’T deserve to have luxury handed to you when people who work hard can’t have the same. As for those with disabilities; I don’t find it fair to withhold comfort just because they can’t earn it the same way as everyone else.

We need a welfare REFORM, not the eradication of a safety net. We need to be sure that poor families have a chance; but we also need to regulate how the money is spent. More fresh fruits and vegetables; less steak and lobster. More weather appropriate clothes; not more stylish clothes. Phones are great and a necessary evil; but the impoverished don’t need the latest iPhone when there’s no food on the table. Pay the bills, not the hair stylist. We need to find a way to be sure that the benefits received are used responsibly. We need to stop starving children, and stop bringing more children into poverty.

Let’s move on, shall we? Let’s talk about tolerance. Tolerance doesn’t mean having the right to discriminate based on religion, gender, orientation, etc; true. However, how tolerant is it of liberals to constantly bash Christianity? Freedom of religion means ANY religion; and that includes Christianity. Don’t like Christianity? Don’t convert to it! It’s that simple! Fight the twisted ideals, not the whole religion and everyone that practices it! Fight the oppression, not the whole religion. Not every Christian drools over guns, hates brown people, and hates the poor. Hell; Weird Al is so devoutly Christian that he doesn’t even swear, yet he fought FOR gay rights and marriage equality! Just as not every Muslim is a terrorist, not every Christian is a bigot. There are extremists in every group. They are usually the minority. Don’t lump them all together. I’m also sick of both sides calling the other bigger racists. If both of you are so against racism, then why not work together to stop it and help keep minorities out of poverty?

There’s so much I want to say. There really is. However, I can’t find the words. I’m too pissed. We’re also in the middle of a heat wave, and my brain just might be cooking. I’ll leave you with this: SHAME ON BOTH SIDES. You have BOTH fucked up royal. BOTH of you. Both sides have become so convinced that their way is the ONLY way to save America that they have plugged their ears to any other ideas and become inflexible. Look at inflexible objects in nature: they can’t bend, so they snap. They break. They fall. Just because you believe strongly in an idea doesn’t mean it’s automatically right. Just because you disagree with another person’s views doesn’t mean they have nothing to offer. Hell; one of my best friends is pretty much on the opposite end of the political spectrum as me, but we get along great! We love each other to death; and woe to the poor bastard that insults one of us in front of the other! We talk and debate, rather than hurl insults. We listen to each other. We come together to find ways to make things work in a way that benefits BOTH of us. Isn’t it about time you guys do the same?

Fact: America is broken. Everyone had a hand in breaking it. It’s time for us to come together and fix it.

Would You Like Employee Abuse With That?

Ah. The fast food employee wage debate. Let’s see how much trouble I get into with THIS one. I, of course, am biased; because up until now, I WAS a fast food employee. However, circumstances have made me more than a bit concerned for my safety and that of others; so, I’m quitting. Bad me, quitting without notice; but, I’m not going to contribute to accident and injury.

Here’s my experiences with fast food Hell.

The Interview: I meet with M, the store manager. The interview questions are standard. However, M seems to have moved beyond coldly professional to straight out unfriendly. Several times (at least five), she points out that this fast food “restaurant” is “a FAMILY establishment”. When she leaves for a moment, I quickly take stock of my appearance. Black slacks, black dress boots without heels, black sweater vest, black and white striped dress shirt underneath. My shoulder-length hair is neatly combed, and the sides are carefully pinned away from my face. My nails are unpainted. My makeup is subtle, barely noticeable. My only jewelry is my engagement ring and wedding band. I’ve done my best to have a neutral appearance. Maybe it’s my body posture that hints that I’m not family friendly? I’m doing my best to appear at ease without seeming TOO at ease. I’m keeping my back and neck straight, despite it causing pain due to a previous neck injury. Is it my speech? I’m using my best customer service voice and attitude, which had served me well in the past.

She returns with a new hire folder. She tells me point-blank that she has reservations about hiring me, but won’t say why. She advises me that open availability during all business hours is a requirement. I silently curse. I won’t even be able to pick up a second job to help my financial situation. I will be working the front counter. I’ll mostly be working in the mornings, but only doing the actual opening procedures on rare occasion. She tells me when to go to orientation. I thank her for her time and for the opportunity to join her team, like a good little puppet. We part.

Orientation: I have the hubby drive me to the training office a few cities over. We quickly learn that the orientation actually starts an hour after M had told me to be there. We wait. Once I can finally go in, I and several teens fill out tax forms. Once that has been completed, we are encouraged to tell the orientation leader our names and our plans for the summer. I share that I plan on attending a symphony and spending time with my son. She immediately looks at the floor and laughs. Call me crazy, but that doesn’t seem to be a good sign. We are later advised that no matter how early we request a date off, it can be denied for little or no reason.

We spend an hour being told about our jobs. We will be making $9.47 per hour (Washington state minimum wage). We do have benefits available to us, but only once our schedules reach thirty-five hours a week. We are advised that we will likely be working twelve to twenty hours a week. Crew wages cap out at $9.50. Supercrew (equivalent of crew trainers) cap out at $10. Shift managers still make less than $11. We are expected to be fully proficient at all work stations within sixty days. That means register, grill, assembly, maintenance, and drive-thru (where applicable). At thirty days, we will receive our first employee review. We are advised that for most areas, management are REQUIRED to state that we need improvement; no matter how good we’ve become. We are also advised that business needs are our top priority – even when we’re not at work. When we reach the section on food and work safety, she skips it; but still tells us to sign off on it.

A young lady was later sobbing in the bathroom, because she realized that she would have to quit her soccer team in order to stay employed.

Next come the uniforms. I am 5’10”. My bra size is 34D. I request a Large size shirt, due to my bust and general size. I’m given a Medium. I’m refused an exchange. I try it on, per my employer’s request. It barely fits over my chest. My employer considers trying a size Small. I refuse.

The next part of my uniform is a knee-length skirt. In food service. Where I’ll be working around hot grease and oil. I can already picture bad things, but I’m desperate. Any job is better than no job; right?

I cry on the way home.

Day One: Four hour shift. I’m given a quick tour of the store. The employee break room is actually only a little cubby hole that’s tucked into the same narrow corridor as the office area. There is nowhere for us to store or warm our own food. Our only options are nonperishables or food from our own store. I receive criticism for my hair. It’s apparently not contained enough, although it’s not in my face and barely touching my collar. I explain that the rest is too short to tie back. I’m asked if I’ve considered a new hairstyle.

I’m then taken to the front. My “trainer” (another crew member) shows me the register. After having me watch her take one order and being supervised while I take a second, I’m left on my own. Whenever I ask for help, the shift manager rolls her eyes.

Day Two: Three hour shift. I’m opening with another employee, J. I’m not told that I’ll be spending half an hour in the freezer, and that I should have brought a coat during the beginning of summer. I can’t feel my fingers by the time we finish stocking eggs, bacon, sausage, six racks of buns, muffins, biscuits, pancakes, hash browns, fries, hamburgers, four types of chicken, fish, and desserts for the entire day. We are then left with ten minutes to roll twenty breakfast burritos before cooking sausage, two types of eggs, and bacon; as well as baking biscuits and toasting muffins. We also assemble half of the equipment for the day. All of this takes the two of us forty-five minutes to complete. She then shows me how to cook the sausage, bacon, and two types of eggs to company standards. We finish with five minutes to spare before the store is open. The manager, E, doesn’t check the quality of products; despite company regulations. J does. “E trusts me.”

As we are opening, J realizes that she doesn’t have enough of a food product. She drives to another store half an hour away to borrow some, as the closer store is also out. She’s not compensated.

When J returns, she shows me how to filter the fry vats. I’m immediately worried. Remember; I’m wearing a knee-length skirt. To protect myself, I’m given a rubber apron that only covers me to the end of my skirt. My shins are still exposed. The filtering machine is uncovered, and barely comes to the middle of my shins. J wears the same, and a pair of rubber gloves that come to the shoulder. She admits that “We’re also supposed to be wearing face shields”, but that the store manager won’t order one. M feels they’re not necessary; and the franchise owner agrees. She attaches a pipe leading from the vat to the edge of the machine. She turns the vat heating element off and begins to drain the vat. I step back. I can feel pinpoint droplets of hot oil splattering my legs. “It’s part of the job,” she says. She uses a metal rod to unclog the drain when it’s clogged with fries and other debris from the night before. Using a hose that is attached to the machine, she rinses the vat with the now filtered oil. She scrubs it with a special cleaner and a long stick with a scrubber pad, then rinses again. She then uses another stick with a grill rag on the end to push the rest of the oil out of the vat. She rinses it again before plugging the drain and using the hose to refill the vat with the filtered, but almost black, vegetable oil. She warns me to be sure that the vat is turned off, or the oil will catch fire. I’m now afraid of starting a fire. “Don’t worry. Fires here are common. Just throw a lid over it.” I’m not comforted. I’d worked in a different location with the same company six years earlier (at night; which is why I have not a clue what to do at breakfast), and fires were far from common.

J supervises me while I filter the next vat. I can feel the oil splattering. Thankfully, there’s no visible burns. With the third vat, J says I’m doing “good enough” and leaves me alone.

I’m paranoid about the vats being on.

I also learn that the previous night, a manager had slipped and thrown out her hip. She was encouraged not to document the injury.

Day Three: Three hour shift. J and I open together for the last time. Being new and unsure of where things are, I’m behind. J helps where she can. I learn that I hate burritos with a fiery passion. They are time-consuming to make, and the store sells them like they’re going out of style. J ends up taking over when I’m falling behind, then gives me a checklist for the opening shift. It’s four pages long, and is to be completed in the first forty-five minutes of my shift. She also tells me I won’t have much time to learn the menu items. It’s best to take a picture of the cheat sheet hanging above the assembly table and spend time memorizing it at home, as I won’t have the time to learn it at work. Every time the shift manager catches me looking, she tells me that I need to hurry and says what’s on the sandwich.

I filter the vats on my own. My shins are splattered once again. Not hot enough to leave a lasting mark, but enough to make me wish I knew more languages to swear in. Being inexperienced, I take longer than most employees. The shift manager rolls her eyes. I also learn a valuable lesson: always check the valve connected to the hose at least five freaking times before removing it from the holder. It’s very loose; and just nudging the filtering machine is enough to turn it on. I discovered this after accidentally hosing my exposed right shin with oil. Luckily, thanks to my fire paranoia, it hadn’t been heated for a good ten or fifteen minutes. All it did was hurt like the dickens and leave a red mark that only remained for a few hours. It’s a good thing that the vat had been off for so long. If it hadn’t, this could have easily been a third degree burn and hospitalization. I would likely have been accused by the company of being careless. M later tells me it’s not a big deal. She’s done it before.

A part is delivered for the ice cream/shake machine. M comes in on her day off to fix it. She brings her four-year old daughter, C, with her. As M is fixing the machine, C is given free reign of the store. In other words; a toddler was running around the office, break room, stockroom… and KITCHEN. I watch, horrified, as the child squeals with delight while zipping by within two feet of the grill and fryers. As I’m having visions of Extra Crispy Toddler, the other employees are giggling and encouraging her play. It makes me wonder just how often this child visits the store and uses the kitchen as a playroom. I end up risking injury to myself while protecting this child, who had no business being there in the first place.

This is not the job training that I had expected.

J tells me that what happens in the kitchen, stays in the kitchen.

Day Four: I’m working 4 – 7 pm. The schedule says “Cleaning”. As soon as I arrive, M asks how close I live. I tell her two miles. “Do you drive?” “I don’t have a car…” It turns out that M had wanted me to wear normal clothing, but had forgotten to call and tell me. I learn that we have an inspection next week; and the store is receiving a deep clean. I have my son and my mother-in-law run me a pair of pants. Due to the uniform gapping between my breasts, I already have a shirt underneath.

That night isn’t so bad. I am given a Magic Eraser (oh, I’m sorry… a “power pad”) and told to clean the grease off the walls around the walk-in refrigerator. It’s so grimy that the pad is destroyed halfway through. I was more afraid of being up on the ladder, however. I’m afraid of heights, and other employees aren’t especially careful when rushing by.

My next task is to clean the area inside the walk-in by the door. Thankfully, I had left my coat at the end of my last shift. I scrub with a scrubber pad, a “power pad”, and a plastic bristle scrub brush and degreaser. I end up having to resort to using a plastic knife to scrape at the built-up filth.

Please, God; tell me that little fluffy gray bit that I just saw go under the food racks was just a ball of dust.

Day Five: Four and a half hours. After one shift of watching and one of being supervised, I’m opening on my own with A; a manager that I had never met. Although she seems nice enough, she’s a bit off-putting. Hell; the woman is an Amazon. She also feels that my training has been thorough enough that I don’t need any help. When I’m late with cooking the food, she makes sure that I know about it. When I’m running behind with the vat filtering, she makes sure that I know about it. If I’m behind on ANYTHING, she makes sure that I know about it. As much as I like A as a human, her employee relations could use some work.

At least she had someone else make the damn burritos.

Day Six: Four and a half hours. Shoot me now. G, another employee, called out. She was my only hope of help until 10 am. That’s three hours!! E and I do our best to keep up, but inevitably fall behind. We have no backup. No other employees answer their phones or return E’s calls. Of course, E is frustrated that I, a new employee, can’t pick up the slack.

Thankfully, G shows up two hours later. I guess her emergency wasn’t so urgent. I get sent to my nemeses, the fry vats and filter. After I’m done, I’m told that I need to always have the vats finished within an hour; even if I’m emptying one and replacing the oil (which only happens every ten days at the earliest – enjoy that next order of fries). This is after not even working there a week yet.

M calls that afternoon. Can I work a split shift the next day? The second shift would be cleaning. No big. “Sure. Do you want me to just wear street clothes again?” I ask. There’s a pause. When M speaks again, she sounds genuinely confused and concerned. “…No… I just want you to wear regular clothes…” I don’t laugh. She’s apparently serious. “Okay. I’ll come in wearing REGULAR clothes.” Once the call has ended, I laugh hysterically… until I realize that this woman is allowed to make executive decisions that can affect the health and safety of her employees.

Day Seven: Four and a half hours. Fuck it all. I’m still too slow for E’s liking, and she lets me have it. Not only do I have more items added to my morning duties (without additional time), but she berates me in front of a fellow employee and customers. She informs me that I’ve been there long enough that there is no excuse for being any slower or less knowledgeable than any other employee in the store. She insults everything from how I stock the store to how I wrap sandwiches. Customers look embarrassed. G smirks, and offers no help. E then orders me to cook more eggs. We had run out, nobody informed me, and a customer ordered several egg sandwiches. I cook the eggs and set the metal egg ring to the side. I’m apparently still too slow, because E tells me to pick up the pace. I reach for my spatula while rushing. I know I should have looked; but I was still upset over being dressed down, and panicking over getting shit done. My hand comes down on the metal egg ring that had just come off the grill. I immediately pull my hand away and yank off the glove. E is still calling for the eggs. I get them into their container, then inform her that I burned my hand and needed to examine it. “Put another glove on. We don’t have time for that. We’re already behind because of you.” I’m then quickly sent to filter the vats. While the gloves usually protect from most of the heat, my already burned hand feels like it’s on fire. E then informs me that she will not document what happened, as it’s not a real injury. G tells me I’m making something out of nothing. After all, she gets burned every day.

I have a full-blown anxiety attack on the way home. Once my mother-in-law sees my hand, she covers it with aloe. Thankfully, it seems to be treated in time. It does swell. It turns red and shiny. Parts look crispy. It hurts to open fully. But, it’s not blistered. I avoided scarring. I think.

I still go in for my three-hour cleaning shift. After all, I think, I can still scrub with one hand; and it’s more money on the paycheck. Instead, I’m greeted by the franchise owner; Al. He hands me a few rags and a bottle of degreaser; then tells me to open the cabinets under the fry vats and clean the grease. I just can’t get away from those fucking vats. I open the first cabinet and already feel pretty grossed out. Everything is covered with a layer of old, hardened vegetable oil that is at least three millimeters thick. I can almost hear it laughing at the degreaser. I’m given a putty knife to scrape it out. Of course, I had the luck to burn my dominant hand. When I couldn’t keep a good grip on the putty knife, Al asked why. I told him about the burn. He looked at my hand and said that E was right; there was no point in documenting it unless it had been a REAL burn. I’m then sent back to the same task. I scrape at least a full cup’s worth of crud from the bottom of every vat. As I’m doing this, people are still using the fryers above me. I have hot oil drop on me at least three times. I’m glad I’m wearing pants this time. By the way; did you know that vegetable oil will turn green with age? I didn’t either – nor did I know about the rat trap that nearly snapped closed on my arm.

Day Eight: Tonight was supposed to just be another cleaning night. My uniform is in the wash. 3 – 8pm; that’s it. After that, I have two days off to think of what to do. It’s not that we don’t need the money. We really do. However, I can’t bring in money if I’m constantly hurt and treated like garbage. I was happier doing customer service for a cellular phone carrier – and that’s saying something. Even my mother-in-law, who had pressured me into accepting this job more than most, told me, “No job is worth killing yourself for. This place isn’t worth it. There really is no saving this job.” All of my in-laws and my husband agree. This job has to go. It’s too dangerous.

At noon, I miss a call from M. She leaves a message to call back, but doesn’t tell me what she wants. I try calling six times. With the sixth try, I get E; who tells me she doesn’t know what M wants. After I push her to find out, she asks M (who seems to have been standing next to her). “Oh, yeah. Our closer called out. Can you wash dishes tonight?” I explain that my uniform is in the wash. “That’s alright. You can go home to change or… whatever.” “Well… what time would I be getting out?” “11:30, at the latest.” Why not? It’s just dishes… I am, however, amused that a “horrible” employee was called in for extra hours twice in a week.

My first cleaning task is to clean the walk-in freezer floor. Again, I’m glad I’d left my coat. I’m handed some cleaner in a bottle and a scrub brush. The floor is covered in congealed blood and frozen, smashed fruit. Spray and a brush won’t cut it. Back to the trusty putty knife… M tells me to take my time and “make it pretty”. B, her supervisor, keeps popping in and telling me to hurry. M comes back and says to make it pretty. They switch back and forth for the whole hour that I’m in there. Keep in mind, the freezer is sub-zero; and I have neither gloves nor hat. My toes hurt from the cold. B finally comes in with a disgusted look. She tells me I’ve spent enough time on it, and to dry mop and come out. “It’ll have to do.” I’ve only removed a quarter of the crud.

At least my toes can finally thaw.

My next task is to use a wire bristled brush to clean the wheels on all of the equipment. The grease is so thick that some of the wheels can’t even move. Some can’t even be unlocked. I am also, again, risking hot grease and oil raining from the sky.

I take my meal break. I change into the uniform that my hubby brought, per M’s request. I’m one minute late. Despite using what is supposed to be my time preparing for more work with them (that I saved their asses accepting), I’m criticized for it. I go into the back to wash dishes. This isn’t just dishes. This is also every piece of removable equipment from the kitchen. I again receive eye rolls if I don’t know where a dish or piece of equipment goes. I leave, with my husband, at 12:09. He has to wake up for work in five hours.

I understand that fast food isn’t meant to be a career. I’m not arguing that it is, by any means. However, it’s also sometimes the only job that a person can get in this economy. Most think that it’s an industry kept alive through teenage labor. It’s not. Most employees are in their late twenties, thirties, and forties. The median age is 28. Most think it is the domain of the uneducated. It’s not. There are many in the industry who have already completed higher forms of education, but couldn’t get a job in their chosen field. According to http://jobs.aol.com/articles/2013/08/13/fourth-adult-fast-food-workers-are-parents/, a third of fast food employees have some college education. I’ve also heard it said that fast food workers should only get minimum wage because all they do is ask, “Do you want fries with that?” and flip burgers. No. We are cooks, customer service, maintenance, housekeeping, stockers, and sometimes even food quality specialists – all wrapped up in one person. Yes, PERSON. Believe it or not, food workers are actual human beings; not biological machines. Fast food is extremely physically demanding. It requires you to be fast on your feet, and to remember food safety guidelines. You must be patient with customers that sneer at you and treat you like you are less than human. You are expected to complete full-time tasks with part-time hours. Injuries are the expectation. It’s not a job for the unintelligent or the weak.

“Well, why don’t you just get a REAL job?” you ask. Gee; the thought never occurred to me… *rolling eyes*

Yet; when employees ask for livable wages, the country flips. Fast food workers are too lazy and unskilled, everyone says. Lazy? In what part of my week was I being lazy? I was expected to be a fully knowledgeable, proficient jack of all trades immediately with next to no training. This expectation is common in the food industry. These jobs are ridiculously demanding, nonsensically dangerous, and ridiculously unfulfilling. While you are sitting behind a desk in a nice, air-conditioned office; fast food workers are LITERALLY pouring blood, sweat, and tears into their work so that YOU have the convenience of a ready-made meal. They are dealing with inhumane working conditions and injuring themselves so that you can have the burger that you don’t feel like cooking. They are making life easier on YOU; and how do you respond? By treating them as if they are less than human, and telling them that they don’t deserve to have the ability to take care of their basic needs. You tell them they don’t deserve more pay, and sure as hell don’t deserve federal assistance. You call them greedy because they want to live. Instead of crying out that giving them enough wages to meet their most basic needs will destroy the country, I want you to tell the truth.

You hate food workers. Period.

You don’t see food workers as REAL people; only a convenience that makes your life more comfortable.

You enjoy treating food workers horribly and demanding that they continue working their asses off in inhumane work conditions for little more than pocket change because it makes you feel better than them. After all; at least YOU aren’t a food worker.

You enjoy their suffering, and will stop at nothing to make sure that it never ends.

Stop claiming that you love fellow man if this is what you want for food workers. You don’t love fellow man. You only love people who are just like you; and to Hell with the rest.

Not a Crime Against Blacks, Just Christianity… Wait, What?!?

Last night and this morning, the nation received horrible news. A young, white male entered a black church with a .45. He spent an hour with the congregants; praying and studying the Bible. He then stood up and revealed his weapon. He made it clear that he was going to shoot the church members because they were black. He said, “You’ve raped our women, and you are taking over the country … I have to do what I have to do. You have to go.” He opened fire. Nine people are now dead.

Dylann Roof apparently has a history of racism. He often wore a jacket that featured patches of the flags of Rhodesia, now Zimbabwe; and apartheid-era South Africa. He had told friends that the end of apartheid was wrong; that blacks and whites need to be seperated. He embraced the Confederate flag, which was created by the South when they decided that they refused to be part of a nation that would allow “Negros” to be free. He’d proudly told friends that he’d joined racist groups. He spouted racist jokes. He’d even said that he wanted to start a civil war, and kill himself once it started.

Fox News, of course, said that this wasn’t an attack on the black community. It was, of course, an attack on Christianity.

You know what? FUCK YOU, FOX NEWS! I am a white woman, and I can tell you this: THIS WAS AN ATTACK ON THE BLACK COMMUNITY!! THE GUY SAID IT HIMSELF AS HE WAS KILLING PEOPLE!!

I am getting so sick of this “WAR ON CHRISTIANITY!” bullshit. That is exactly what it is: bullshit. Christianity is the largest religion in America – and has proven to be the most intolerant. I’m not speaking of ALL Christians, mind you. Some actually remember to love thy neighbor, and to remove the plank from their own eye before complaining about the mote in their neighbor’s. They’re not the ones I’m talking about, here. What I’m talking about are the conservative whackjobs that claim to hate Westboro Baptist Church, yet are only one step behind them. I’m talking about those who whine about the Constitution, yet try to oppress anyone that isn’t like them. Over just the past YEAR, I’ve seen it get RIDICULOUSLY out of hand.

“The Christian bakery is being attacked because of their religious beliefs!” No, they were attacked for being assholes; and the courts – which are backed by the Constitution – ruled that they had unlawfully discriminated against someone. If you refuse to serve a member of the public because they are of a certain legally recognized and protected demographic, then don’t have a public business!

“Gay marriage is an attack on Christianity!” No, it’s a fight to have love and commitment legally recognised – just like with interracial marriage; which Christians ALSO tried to block. Also; if your marriage is destroyed after the legalization of gay marriage… your marriage already had problems. The gays had nothing to do with it.

“Abortion is an attack on Christianity!” No, it’s something a woman may choose to end an unwanted or risky pregnancy. There are thousands upon thousands of children in the foster care system. If you force a woman to complete a pregnancy to save the child’s life, you also need to adopt that child. Period. It’s the only humane and CHRISTIAN thing to do. You are also sometimes telling a woman with little to no income that she MUST shoulder this burden; yet, you want to cut her healthcare, food benefits, and monetary benefits. You want her to have a child doomed to a life of poverty, starvation, and misery. Once that child is forced into a life of crime just to survive, you will be more than happy to kill that child with the handgun that you also fought for with a mouth-foaming frenzy; and you will pat yourself on the back for it. Admit it: you are not pro-life. You are merely pro-fetus. Once it’s no longer a fetus, it doesn’t matter to you.

“Poor Josh Duggar is only being demonized because he’s Christian!” No. He’s being demonized because HE MOLESTED FIVE LITTLE GIRLS. I don’t care that he was “only” a teenager. He was NOT just “curious about girls”. A boy of fourteen or fifteen years old knows that it’s WRONG to touch young girls. He ADMITTED that he knew it was wrong, but didn’t stop. He didn’t just “cop a feel” like some have said. He reached into the underwear of a five year old girl and fondled her genitalia. Five. Years. Old. Let that sink in for a minute. If the people I know found out that a teenager touched their five year old that way, they’d at LEAST call the police IMMEDIATELY. Most would have beat the ever-loving snot out of him. Some would have even shot him. No; he’s not being demonized because he’s Christian. He’s being FORGIVEN AND GLORIFIED because he’s Christian.

“Taking the Christ out of Christmas is an attack on Christianity!” No, asshole. It’s merely recognizing that not everyone is Christian. I don’t know why saying “Happy Holidays” is so damn offensive. Christmas is one of many holidays in the holiday season. “Happy Holidays” encompasses that… and Kwanzaa… and Chanukah… and Yule… and other holidays celebrated by other faiths – LEGALLY RECOGNIZED FAITHS.

Speaking of tolerance… I’ve seen that word thrown around a LOT lately. In the words of the Great Inigo Montoya, “I do not think that word means what you think it means”. Tolerance, from the dictionary:

tol·er·ance
ˈtäl(ə)rəns/
noun
  1. 1.
    the ability or willingness to tolerate something, in particular the existence of opinions or behavior that one does not necessarily agree with.

So; when a store refuses to provide a service to someone of a different race, religion, or sexual orientation: that’s INtolerance. When they are sued in return, it’s not. When a member of the LGBQTI community speaks out about being treated horribly by a Christian, that’s NOT intolerance. When minorities, whether of race or orientation, speak out about being treated in a way that is inhumane; that’s not being intolerant. Tolerance is treating them like the human beings that they are without discrimination. Tolerance does NOT mean to be given the freedom to take away the freedoms of others. Get a dictionary. Read a book that ISN’T the Bible for a change. You might learn something.

This attack was an attack against the black community. Outsiders don’t need to fight a war against Christianity. Christians are doing a good job of it all on their own.

May those killed in this attack rest in piece. My heart is with their loved ones.