Almost 30, and where am I?

How did I get here? And where is here?

I lost my mom when I was 8.

I emotionally lost my father not longer after.

I had my first kiss at the ripe old age of 17.

I went away to college to try to do something with my life.

I tried to be a musician, a physicist, and now I’m in accounting.

I got married.

I’ve had 2 best friends drift away, and 2 that ties got cut with.

I moved to another state.

I cut my father out of my life. For good.

My in-laws have chosen not to be a part of my life.

This is all a part of who I am. I’m not ashamed of any of it. It isn’t a secret. Some of these things I used to keep hidden. Not anymore. No more hiding.

I’m not going to live in the past and long for how things used to be. I’m going to embrace change, and learn to be the most authentic version of myself that I can be.

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Happy fuckin’ New Year

Well. This year is off to a great start.

Get into work. Turns out the boiler had a catastrophic failure in the middle of the night. So it was coooooooold as balls. Ok, maybe not. But it was probably 60F!

Got in around 7:30. Didn’t actually do anything for about an hour, because people kept coming to me with questions! Yay.

Get a text from hubs. Changing garage door code. Don’t talk to his parents. Uhhh. K???

On conference call. Get text-barrage from hubs explaining a bit more. Frantic attempt at multi-tasking failure. Cue hiding in the downstairs breakroom and break down crying for about 5 minutes.

Cue snow. And wind. Looooots of wind. Not helping being cold, as I sit next to a poorly insulated window. (Non-localized phenomena, all the windows are poorly insulated.)

Read the news. Find 75+ car accident on the thruway. Luckily, not on my way home, but close enough to my way home to cause higher than normal traffic. Fuuuuu-

Get home. Find scathing fb comment. Try really, really, REALLY hard not to be a complete and utter asshole. Mostly succeed.

(And because that last one really pissed me off, I’m going to rant about it for a bit.)

So I put a post up a couple days ago, sharing a blog posted called Hate To Break It To You But You Are The Reason Your Life Sucks So Much because it was relateable. MiL apparently decided that I was, like, sub-text posting about her, or our relationship, or something… because she. went. off. This huge tirade, that kinda sounded like she was trying to call me out for being a hypocrit, but maybe not. I’m not really sure. But she turned the whole thing into “you’re trying to be a better person ha ha you aren’t but maybe if you try harder I’ll actually talk to you” or some bullshit like that. Bitch, it wasn’t about you. In this context, I don’t give a damn what you think about me, I care that *I* feel like I’m not being a total shit to other people. I’m working towards what helps me sleep at night, and making sure I don’t get caught in a “woe is me” spiral like I have before.

Luckily, a friend posted a reply to MiL stating her opinion, and messaged me about it. Which was very kind of her, and made me realize that we have more in common than I thought. So that was nice 🙂

Oh, another scathing comment, along the lines of “PS it’s rude not to thank someone for presents” and I had to try REALLY REALLY hard not to reply, “Oh my bad. Thank you for the unthoughtful gifts and spelling my name right on all of them this year.”

Cue hubs getting home, and we go over in more detail what happened. Basically… he went out of his way to make sure I felt safe in my own home, and when he tried to explain this to FiL, literally got a reply that said “Fuck [Tamishu]”. Well. Fine. Fuck you, too.

Ok, I get it. You’re mad at yourself, at the world, at your spouse. But don’t get mad at me when I didn’t do anything. Figure out why you’re angry and work towards solving it.

Or you know what? Sure, be angry at me all you want, but don’t take it out on me. Be upset that I didn’t do something you expected. Be mad that I value my privacy. Be frustrated that I won’t cave and not stand my ground. But these are MY choices, that you don’t get to control.

You don’t like those? That’s fine. You don’t have to. But, and this goes back to what started at least part of this, I’m gonna do what helps me sleep at night.

Ending 2017

Ugh. What a freaking month. On top of a freaking year.

The big thing weighing on my mind, still, is the whole disastrophe with the in-laws. Their whole shit-show, plus how they’re treating me & hubs. And I’ve talked about this with a few people, therapist included. But there’s still something that needs to get out, I’m just not sure what.

So here I am…

Christmas Day, FiL came over for a bit in the morning. He not only dropped off presents (we’ll get to those in a bit) but we all sat down and talked for a while. And it was a good talk. I was worried at first. I had no idea what kind of interaction to prepare for, what kind of conversation might be had… But it turned out that F had gotten some time-distance from the situation, and had reevaluated some things that were said. (This is in reference to a conversation via text a few weeks ago that… was very passionate and emotional, with tempers running hot and people on both sides just looking to hurt the other person.) Which. Whew. I saw the potential for this to go horribly, and I’m so thankful that it didn’t.

Anyway. F brought up some specific concerns about M. Oh, and I did find out some more specifics. Whatever kind of affair F may have been having was not physical. He found someone who just happened to be a woman that he could talk to. He mentioned that him & M had basically stopped talking about anything less trivial than the weather for possibly up to two years. Talking to someone and being able to share powerful & emotional thoughts… that’s really important. I think that’s easily in the top 5 most important things in a relationship. Losing that communication with the person who is supposed to support you throughout the best and the worst times of your life, your high points and your low points, help drag you out of the slumps and share the ecstasy of the highs… That sucks. And you try to fill that void. I get it. And, obviously I don’t know everything about their relationship, but from the way I’ve seen M treat F… I can’t say as I blame him for shutting down and looking for satisfaction elsewhere. I really can’t. I’m not going to condone it, but I can’t find much fault in it. If that makes sense.

F also talked a bit about how he was starting to find out how deep the rabbit hole of M’s fantasy world goes. See, she’s got this idea in her head of what family is supposed to be. And no matter how hard she clings to the perfect ideal of family, no matter how many times she is proven wrong, it’s still only that: an ideal. But… I don’t think she understands that it is a fantasy. I think she really expects that everybody who is related by blood is going to care about everybody else, and always look out for each other, and be supportive and like each other. Part of the reason I think she mistakes this fantasy for reality is that she constantly repeats it. And that she is constantly disappointed. (I have a fantasy where I’m actually an amazing singer, and I run into a world-famous band, and they like me so much that I pack up shop and go sing with them. Am I disappointed every time I don’t meet them accidentally? No. That’s because I understand the difference between fantasy and reality.) Every holiday she tries to get people together, some type of drama happens, or something falls through, and she gets upset that it isn’t perfect.

So something that F said he did, when she tried to make this argument about family sticking by each other, using it as a defense for why H should call her, was he started listing off family members that recently had health problems. And he asked her if she had called any of them or stopped in to see any of them. And? She hadn’t. So why is it every body else’s fault that family isn’t perfect, except hers? Especially when she should hold at least equal blame. I think this is something F has known for some time, but hasn’t ever really put in to words, out loud to himself or to her.

He also said M has been reading his emails. Being the tech-savvy millenials that we are, we both had a VERY strong reaction to hearing this. While he didn’t see the harm in it, outside the obvious invasion of privacy, we put it to him like this: All it takes is someone with an ambiguous name to send you something off-color or inappropriate, and have it get taken out of context. Heaven forbid she actually lose it and hit the “reply” button and take action on it, I didn’t even want to think about that, though I should have. So we told him to change all the passwords on all of his accounts, ASAP. She’s already snooping, what’s to stop her from going beyond email.

So now that I’ve been a mature adult, I’d like to take some time to complain about my stupid Christmas presents. I get it. It’s just stuff. I don’t know why it bothers me as much as it does. No matter how many times I tell myself to let shit like this go, I still find it difficult. (And don’t give me the whole “it’s the thought that counts” bullshit. There obviously was no thought, that’s the problem.)

This year, H got a bunch of new Under Armor clothing. Shirts, shorts, a hoodie. Which, ok, he likes wearing a specific type of shirt they make because they make it in a tall version, and their shirts are actually made to fit a frame, not just get progressively bigger all around with larger sizes.

What did I get? A penguin jar, a light up christmas penguin decoration, some gigantic penguin earrings (that I’ll likely never wear because they are so big), a few pairs of kids socks (which, you know, won’t fit me because they’re for kids), a cookie cutter, and a Yankee Candle Scenterpiece wax warmer thing, which I’m actually excited about.

So, she called H to specifically ask him what he wanted. But she just picked up a bunch of random things with penguins on it because I like penguins. Like… why even bother.

I guess because I’ve had such shitty Christmases growing up. I dunno. I feel so ridiculous complaining about gifts. I mean, at least I got stuff, right? And it’s just stuff. It’s not like it should matter.

I think… I think maybe this goes back to feeling like people don’t listen to me. So, growing up, once I got to a certain age, probably pre-teen years, I started making a list of stuff I wanted for Christmas / my birthday. So I put stuff I REALLY WANTED on my list. Like books, DVDs, CDs… And, while I didn’t expect to get everything on my list, I tried to put enough stuff down so I wouldn’t get all books, or something like that. You know, mix it up a bit. Well, there were things I put down multiple years in a row, indicating that I REALLY REALLY wanted them. And I never got them. Instead I got things like clothing I didn’t like that didn’t fit, cheap candy that didn’t taste good, and dollar store stocking stuffers. I mean, I would still get a couple things from my list, but obviously not ever what I really wanted. (In case anyone is wondering, I REALLY REALLY wanted all 5 seasons of Babylon 5 on DVD. You know, not all at once, of course, maybe 1 season per year…)

Anyway. I did joke with my husband that at least she spelled my name right this year. No, I’m not kidding. On at least 1 present, my name was spelled wrong last year. Thanks, you’ve only known me for 10 years, but you still can’t get my fucking name right.

So yeah. Here I am, New Year’s Eve Eve. Mildly hoping that the new year will bring better things, but not really holding my breath. Mostly just hoping that whatever storm swings in my general direction, I can dodge.

Somebody that I used to know

It’s been a weird day for reminiscing.

I spent some time hanging out with a coworker while procrastinating on working. Bad, I know. But hey, it was a busy day and my patience was running low. We ended up talking about small towns, and running into people that we used to know, which turned into high school reunions.

A big part of the reason I did not go to my 10 year high school reunion is specifically because there are certain people that I don’t ever want to see again. Unfortunately, most of those people were part of my core friend group throughout high school. And so I was afraid of them either wanting to play nice and talk to me, or them not realizing what an effect they had on me and how much I’ve changed since I knew them.

One of those friends I will call R.

R and I were best friends for a few years. We were SO NOT FRIENDS when we first met, in fact, I treated her like an enemy and a threat. See, we both played bassoon, and because we were the only two who played starting in sophomore year, we were both in the highest level band together. But I had been playing for a whole two years more than her, plus I had a private instructor. So I was TOTALLY BETTER and how dare she encroach on my territory. Yeah… That’s all me. I admit it. I was a bitch because I felt threatened by … Something obscure that I had picked up that was mine and mine alone, that I defined myself by, and all of a sudden, here was this other person trying to rip that specialness away.

Anyway. I eventually got over that and opened up to R. Because the friend group I joined at the end of my freshman year, she was a part of. So through various iterations of us being forced together, we eventually bonded.

Fast forward to college. I “go away” to college. That is, I go to a college 45 minutes away and chose to live on campus.So, it’s not a terrible drive home. But not one I wanted to make every single weekend, for various reasons. Including that hey, I’m at college! College life! New people and things to experience! I saw so many of my friends stay local and live at home, and I wanted to adventure out into the world. Though, it was a relatively controlled and not drastic adventure. It was my first one, and I didn’t want to miss out on things. (What things? I dunno. But things!)

I was cruising through my “On this day” thing on FB, and amazingly, on this day, many years ago, I found not one but TWO examples of exactly why R and I ultimately drifted apart. Or rather, why I drifted away from R and just stopped trying to be her friend.

The first was 8 years ago. I made a post that said “[college] can die in a fire”. Ok… not sure what that was in reference to, but it was made at the end of the first semester of my final year. So I’m assuming it was something finals related or possibly independent study related. Anyway. Some comments follow… including one from R: “I agree bc then u could come home!” No sympathy for my situation, whatever it was. Just… She tried to take my problem and make it something positive for HER. My post. About me. She wanted to make about her. Like she was the center of the universe or something.

The second was 11 years ago, the first year I was at college. She left the following post on my wall: “hey you pain in the butt what… you cant leave me any messages anymore? our last conversation really didn’t accomplish much other than directions… when are you coming home?” Again… all about ME visiting HER. And “coming home”. This “coming home” thing is particularly bothersome. I didn’t want to “come home”. That… that was no longer home for me. Even then, I think I was set on not sticking around my home town for forever. I wanted to go somewhere else. Not sure where, but… I didn’t want that to continue to be “home.”

So, ultimately it was this incredibly self-centered attitude that just really got to me. In the four years I was away at college, I don’t think she visited me once. I went back a handful of times, but by junior year, I was really trying to make a life for myself around / at college. I had gotten an on-campus apartment, I got a job up there so I could continue to work through the school year (because tuition is expensive, folks). I had changed my major my sophomore year, so I was on overload for the last 2 years trying to complete coursework that was designed to take 3-4 years. And I was trying to figure out what I wanted to do after college… Masters? Job?

My new best friend, K, ended up changing colleges and majors, so we didn’t get to see each other much after that. But she still made time to come up and visit me once or twice during that time. And we’re still best friends now. In fact, she’s coming to see me in a couple weeks! I’m excited!

I don’t know if R has changed in the past few years since I’ve spoken to her. Part of me wants to give her the benefit of the doubt. But a much bigger part of me is convinced that she is one of those people that will never change, and we’ll just end up in the same cycle. At some point, I had stopped reaching out to her. Texting, facebook, whatever… I just… stopped. And she never, not once, said a thing to me about it.

I remember a few years ago, I was feeling nostalgic, and reached out to her then-fiancee, (who was her high school love and a terrible boyfriend but whatever) and said that I kinda miss her. He said she missed me, too. So I refriended her. And… I don’t remember what happened. But, I feel like it was the same old, same old, and I ended up unfriending her shortly afterwards. And once again, absolutely nothing.

I have one friend, we’ve been friends online for a number of years now, 4 or 5 years ago, I noticed I had stopped seeing her post on FB. I then realized she unfriended me, so I checked her blog… Turned out she took something I said really badly, it was not how I meant it to come out, but… there you go. But I really valued her friendship, so I ended up emailing her about it. And I ended up blathering about that, about how it hurt, and I didn’t mean to offend her, and I wish she had said something… really emotional stuff. And she responded. And we talked about it. And she ended up re-friending me, and we’re still casual friends today.

So… did R just never realize? Not care? Where was the outreach from her? Did she not realize that I was so, so tired of always being the one to make an effort? Should I have told her that? Would it have helped if I had?

This summer, K & her husband had a big house-warming / birthday party, and invited about a bazillion people over. Me & hubs went. And… shortly before we went… I saw that R had responded to the FB event, saying she was coming. And I kinda panicked. But I really wanted to go to see K and catch up a bit. So we went anyway. And pretty much as soon as R showed up, I told my husband we should go. Because I really didn’t want to see her. Well, I ended up running into her on my way to find K to say goodbye. And she was all “oh my god I haven’t seen you in forever!” And it started to sound like she wanted to talk and reminisce and pretend nothing was wrong… But I dodged out of that saying I had to leave, hubs had to work early, blah blah….

And yeah. It’s like she doesn’t realize how badly she fucked up. I’m done being the one to reach out. I’m not going to do it again. It’s too stressful. So… sorry, R, but, well… I’m not really that sorry. It’s not me, it’s you.

Frikkin holidays, man…

So… ok. This has been a weird couple of days. Day? Shit, it’s been just over 24 hours, so yeah, day, really.

Yesterday I get home. Hop in the shower. Kinda hear my husband talking on the phone, sounds like he’s talking to someone from work. Get out, get dressed, get told, “Wow has today been a day!” K…? What’s up?

He’s stressing because they found out today two of their employees are quitting. One, I don’t know why. The other “needed a change” and that change just happens to be going to work for their only direct competitor in their market. Great. Oh, also, his parents might be getting a divorce. …

Uh, what?

Yeah. About that…

Right up front, I don’t know the whole story. I don’t even think I know *half* the story, so I think I’m gonna try to talk to his dad tomorrow. Initial reaction is MiL is blowing this out of proportion, but… after thinking about it a bit, something maybe doesn’t quite add up.

What do I know? Apparently FiL was out to dinner Saturday (??) night. Possibly Sunday. This is where it’s fuzzy, because the day DOES make a difference. See… he works out of state, and he was home Friday night, and mentioned something about breakfast on Sunday, so I think that means he would’ve been here Saturday, but probably back where he’s working on Sunday. Anyway. He’s out to dinner. He pocket-dials MiL. And she overhears… something… Apparently he was out with someone of the female gender. And this has culminated in her believing he is having an affair.

Initially, I thought that dude, he has every justification to going out with clients / contractors / coworkers / whoever. I mean, he’s not at home, and part of his job is going to be talking over dinners. That’s just how it is. So she’s blowing this way out of proportion.

But this is where the importance of the day comes in. Because if it was SUNDAY, a day when he would be out of state and possibly working again, it makes a lot more sense. But if it was SATURDAY, and he was here, and presumably she thought he was not at dinner with a woman, well… That looks a little more suspicious.

The other reason I thought she might be overreacting is something that happened a few years ago, now… FiL was working up in ME at the time, and the three of us went to spend a weekend with him. Well MiL woke up early and went to get on his computer to play games or whatever, and found “things that she didn’t like.” Err… ok, what, the guy living hundreds of miles from home has porn in his browser history? Whatever. Ew, but whatever. No, after talking to him, it wasn’t porn. He had bookmarked some website about bodybuilding that he wanted to go back to later and read. Dunno if it was just about female bodybuilding, or bodybuilding in general and there happened to be pictures of guys AND girls. Don’t really care.

But look. We all look up weird stuff on the internet. I’ve looked up poisons, lethal injection, laws of robotics, about self-driving cars, physics, mathematics, orgasms, all kinds of drugs, legal and illegal, gun death statistics… and that’s just the slightly weirder things that first pop into my head. There’s a REASON everybody laughs a little too hard at the impersonation medical alert bracelet that says “delete my browser history.”

ANYWAY.

So hubs gives me a brief run down. I ask a couple questions, he has few answers, because he says he doesn’t want to get involved in it. Fair enough. I don’t really want to either. I don’t want to be on a “side” or be accused of it or whatever. But I am curious by nature…

So I go to the FB.

Where I find a post saying “Christmas is cancelled due to unforseen circumstances” or some bullshit like that.

Let me explain this real quick.

MiL has a big, extended family. 5 brothers, with all kinds of nieces, nephews, cousins, etc. So what we normally do is have a small, close family celebration on Christmas Eve, where she makes dinner and we exchange presents. THEN on Christmas Day she does a big “open house” and makes enough food to feed 3x the number of people that show up, which is already an insane number, and invites anybody and everybody to stop in and say hi and stay for a few minutes or a few hours or whatever.

CHRISTMAS DAY is what she said was cancelled on her post.

Ok… well, I have mixed feelings about this. Because yay, I don’t have to go and feel awkward around people! Boo because hey, free food.

But whatever. Her call. I think her posting like that is kinda shitty, because it just screams “pay attention to me.” Which… I’m not a fan of. Regardless.

Tonight, hubs & I are hanging out. I’m playing with my early Christmas present (electric kettle! ooooooo) He says something like, “by the way, just ignore that text message.” Uh… k? What text message?

Turns out MiL sent a text to me, him, one of our mutual friends, and a number I’m assuming is mutual friend’s kid, since we’re the normal Christmas Eve crowd. What does the text say? “In light of current issues, I will not be celebrating the holidays. There will be no Christmas Eve dinner nor Christmas Day.”

O…………k……………..

At this point I’m ready to say fuck it! Hubs can invite his coworkers over, I can invite my coworkers over, and we can have our own Christmas dinner. Cause I feel like that’ll be wayyyyy less stressful.

Trusting things online

I’ve got this friend over on FB. She’s older than me, the next generation up or so. She just put up this post about “all accounts being hacked” and that she has no plans to open up a 2nd account. People can post whatever they want under your name! Sad that we have to do this, but we have to be vigilant!

Like… really?

First off, what exactly are you doing that makes people steal your name & profile picture, and open up an account in your name? How does this happen? No, I’m serious. Knock on wood, I don’t think this has ever happened to me, or if it has, nobody has said anything about it.

Second off, do people REALLY need to be warned about not clicking on things from sources they don’t trust?

Second off, part B, I mean, apparently so, since you felt the need to post this warning in the first place. (Side note, pretty much everyone I’ve seen post a warning like this has been in the 40/50+ crowd. Never seen anyone my generation or younger do it.)

Third off, if people are dumb enough to do shit like this, your warning is not going to stop them, so let them stick the fork in the electric socket and learn that way.

I guess I just don’t understand this absolutely trusting nature people have towards things that are on the internet. And this goes beyond fake profiles on FB.

Fricking 15-20 years ago, people had to be warned not to click on pop-ups that say “You’re our millionth visitor! Claim your prize here!” People had to be warned not to respond to the Nigerian prince with their bank account information. No, really, he doesn’t want to transfer all his wealth to you.

Today, people share links to pseudo-blog sites, claiming the pizzagate thing is true, to climate change is a hoax, to Hillary Clinton joined ISIS.

You people do realize that there is NO REGULATION on the internet, right? For a couple bucks, you can start your own website and publish whatever the hell you want on there. Who’s going to stop you? Nobody. (Until what you publish gets somebody in trouble, but maybe not even then.)

Like, you don’t cite Wikipedia. Anybody can edit that shit. You click through to the sources at the bottom, and cite that.

I am just continually amazed at the gullibility of people…

The thing that really got me about the above-mentioned FB post is that the poster responded to one of the comments with a frowny face emoji. Like she was personally hurt by someone making a joke of the situation. I mean, it’s just so absurd, I don’t know how to NOT respond with a joke.

If you are really dumb enough to actually get a key-logger and get hacked, dude, that sucks, but what the hell were you thinking?

That happened to me once while playing WoW, years ago. Luckily my husband was in the same guild, and told people to kick my characters out before the stupid gold-farmers could do any real harm. And I went around changing all my passwords (because I was dumb and used the same one across multiple accounts) as soon as I found out, and contacted Blizzard support, hoping they’d at least be able to restore my account, but accepting the fact that I was probably going to take a loss on some things. Amazingly, they were very nice and restored my lost gear and let me keep all the mats that were farmed, so I donated all those back to the guild, but I was not expecting things to go so well. I fucked up. I learned. It happened exactly ONCE.

Let me repeat that: It happened to me ONCE.

So how is it that people have seen this happen to others, and been a victim more than once, and it STILL HAPPENS TO THEM AND THEY FEEL THE NEED TO PASS ON WARNINGS.

How.

I don’t understand.

Complaining about complaining

I’m just gonna put right at the beginning that this is probably going to be a long, rambling post, cohesiveness to be determined…

The other night, I was in the car with Hubs (H), and in-laws (M & F). And for whatever reason, the conversation turned into one long complain-fest.

I get it. Some days you just need to complain about every little thing. Ok, I do this, and I assume others do, too. Some days you just feel like being whiny.

This is something I’ve been trying to change in myself, at least the complaining TO people part. It isn’t easy, and I fear that sometimes my coworkers get sick of hearing what I’m frustrated about. But when I’m having a bad day, sometimes they just pull it out of me! And I do the same to them. So, I guess we all have some level of sensitivity to it, and that varies from day to day.

And I guess my sensitivity to complaining was just especially high the other night.

Anyway… so we get home, I hope onto the FB to scroll aimlessly through my newsfeed. And… what do I find? A bunch of complaining. It felt like literally 75% of the posts I was reading was complaining about something or other. Work or family or whatever.

And it was super frustrating! Most days I don’t care or notice. Some days I do and just give up and go off to read something else. But every once in a while, it really bothers me.

I remember one post… a lady I know through H’s family posted about the monthly (bimonthly?) thing a local utility company puts out, saying “You used x% energy compared to your neighbors.” I guess it’s a push to try to get people to use less energy, or to try to be more energy-efficient. I dunno, we’re almost always either below average or average, so I don’t really pay much attention to it. But people were going ON AND ON in the comments about how the company was “energy shaming” them and listing reasons why their energy use was high. And then someone was talking about how the company would use it as justification to raise the rates, and someone else was saying how it was just a waste of time…

And that whole exchange just really bothered me. I wanted to hop on there and defend the company, saying that they aren’t trying to “energy shame” you, they’re trying to encourage you to not kill the planet by leaving all your lights on or whatever. I get it, a family with kids is going to use more energy than just our 2 person household, but hey, maybe read the stupid thing and switch to LED or CFL bulbs or something. Like, you’re ok with taking the 0.5 extra seconds to through your bottles in the recycle instead of the trash, but you can’t buy a different light bulb? Or turn your heat down a couple degrees? Or program your thermostat so it raises or lowers the temp, based on if you’re home or not?

But I ended up deciding I didn’t want to potentially get in a fight with a bunch of people on the internet that I didn’t know. [Sidenote, typing that sentence made me think of this part of The West Wing, where Josh discovers the internet. As it is Josh, it does not end well… https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AAB858elJOw ]

Anyway. So I decided not to potentially fight with the crazy internet people. What did I do instead? I decided to read my book. Much better choice.

And I get it. There’s a certain hypocrisy in a post like this. I’m complaining about people complaining. How does this make me better than them? It doesn’t. So why do I get to do it, but I also get to get frustrated when other people do it? I dunno. I mean, I don’t think I should. But here I am, hundreds of words in, and I’m still not done. I’m not sure how to reconcile this idea.

I actually think it was FB that made me first realize the hypocrisy in acts like this. FB has changed a lot over the years. But I’m pretty sure I remember putting up posts like “can’t believe all the complaining she’s hearing today” or shit like that. And I’m pretty sure I remember reading other people posting things like that, complaining about complaining, and realizing that hey, that’s a bit of a double standard. So I try to not do it.

I guess maybe that’s part of what makes me so sensitive to the issue. It’s a behavior that I’m trying to change in myself, so I notice it more when other people do it. Kind of like when you get a new car, you notice all the other cars like yours on the road.

Part of what made me want to change was that I realized that complaining and being upset about a lot of things wasn’t really good for me. I spent so much time frustrated or angry over things I had no control over. And what do I have absolutely no control over? What other people say. So why is it SO HARD (sometimes) for me to remember this?

One of the topics I keep coming back to in my therapy sessions, that I actually haven’t visited in a while, so maybe I’m due, is that I’m not sure I know how to manage my anger. Growing up, pretty much the only behavior I saw was passive-aggressive behavior. That and yelling until people listened. (Or gave up because they didn’t want to listen any more. It’s hard to tell on reflection, but I suspect there may have been more of this than I realized at the time.) So… I think I’ve been nurtured into thinking that is how to deal with anger. And yeah, it’s A way to deal with it. But it’s not a way I particularly like, having been a victim of it, and also having the victim side explained to me by people who I have targeted.

So I’ve been trying to not be passive-aggressive. But that unfortunately sometimes leaves me at a loss on  how to deal with some situations. I catch myself biting back sarcastic remarks, which is kinda my default (and has been for a while). It’s a way to be able to say “I was just joking don’t take it seriously” and try to back out of a situation without the other person thinking I meant any real harm. Which, I mean, sometimes I do and sometimes I don’t. I can admit that. Here, at least.

I think part of the “problem” is that I sometimes have a difficult time expressing or even figuring out what exactly is bothering me. I feel that writing down or talking out problems helps. So that’s what I tend to do, but I feel like a lot of the time it ends up sounding whiny or whatever. And maybe that’s ok?

I guess there’s such a perception in society that we have to be “fine” all the time, that when people aren’t, it’s looked down on. And I worry that people are judging me and thinking I’m always upset about something. I try not to be, but if I don’t let it out, I just dwell on it, and then I AM upset all the time. Ok, maybe that’s an exaggeration.

Again, I guess this goes back to people have good days and bad days. Sometimes certain things upset you more than others. And that’s ok. Really. For the most part, I like to think I’m relatively understanding. And at least for the people I care about, I try to be there as someone who will listen and help them figure out or move past their problems. But hey, some days, I just don’t have the spoons to deal with my own problems, let alone someone else’s…

I guess the other day was just a low-spoon day. Work and then dinner took a lot out of me.

30 Things I’m Thankful For

I really, really want to write a scathing “fuck the holidays” post. But as this is Thanksgiving (ok, 2 days after, close enough) I think I’ll try to focus my energy in a more positive way.

  1. I’m thankful I’m alive! And in pretty decent health. Sure, I could change some things, but I’m overall pretty ok.
  2. I’m thankful for my husband! He is pretty awesome. We struggle with some things, but who doesn’t? The important thing is we’ve made it this far. 5 years married, 11 years total together. Looking forward to many more!
  3. I’m thankful for:
    1. Living somewhere with internet access.
    2. Living with a roof over my head.
    3. Not living in fear that my things may be taken away from me.
    4. My job.
  4. I’m thankful for my friends! Those that I know IRL and those that I only know through the internet. Some of my longest running friends I only know online and have never met in person.
  5. I’m thankful for Tad Williams and his website, formerly http://www.shadowmarch.com, which is how I will always remember it. The books he’s written have moved me in ways I cannot explain (at least not without this becoming a dissertation) and the people I’ve become friends with mean so much to me.
  6. I’m thankful for the coworkers that, over the past six months, I’ve gotten close enough to to call friends. They make the stress of work bearable.
  7. I’m thankful for my husband helping me to get my head on straight financially. Quick backstory: Due to things that happened just over a year ago, we decided to split our finances up. Some time in the spring, I was having issues. Bad issues. Like, I wasn’t going to be able to pay my bills because I bought too much frivoulous crap issues. But I swallowed my pride, asked him for help, and he not only helped cover what needed to be paid (which I did pay him back for) but he also helped me figure out a way that I wouldn’t spend to excess like I had.
  8. I’m thankful for the #MeToo campaign, and all the awareness it is bringing to sexual harassment and assault.
  9. I’m thankful to be working for a company that has actually decent benefits.
  10. I’m also thankful to be working for a company that has given me a chance to prove myself in a field that I had little experience in and no formal training or education. So I still struggle with the technical terms, and the law parts are mostly lost on me. But I am a great problem solver, and that fits in well! Speaking of problem solving…
  11. I’m thankful for my college education! Even though I got my degree in physics, spending two intense and rushed years with my advisor and professor Dr. Meyer has taught me so many skills that have carried beyond the classroom. Specifically, learning how to be a problem solver.
  12. I’m thankful for music! Music is the thing I can turn to when I’m troubled, happy, anxious, nervous, angry, frustrated, needing focus, etc. It can change my mood or enhance it, depending on what I need or want. And not only is it something I can enjoy on my own, but it is something I can share with others, and they can share with me.
  13. I’m thankful for my therapist. She has helped me a lot over the past year, understanding the world and myself. There’s a lot of stuff I’ve only ever discussed with her, nobody else, my husband and best friend included. But she is there, without judgement, and has helped me feel better about myself. I still have a ways to go, but I know I’m on a good path.
  14. I’m thankful for writing! I haven’t been doing it as much as I want to, as I’ve been so drained a lot of the time after work. So my creative work has been suffering. But I’ve been blogging here, and journaling, and those have definitely been helpful.
  15. Speaking of, I’m thankful for blogging! Relatively anonymously! There are times when I have SO MUCH I want to say, and physically writing it all out in my journal is daunting, but it’s something that I need to get out and work through.
  16. I’m thankful for my hookah. Ok, this one sounds dumb, but I’m running out of “important” things. But it let’s me sit down and relax, particularly if I’ve got stuff on my mind. I can sit and smoke and read or write or just peruse the internet.
  17. I’m thankful for our new leaf blower! We got a cheap, battery powered one when we first moved in to our house, and it was alright. But the battery charger bit the dust, and the company apparently discontinued that charger. So my husband bought me a gas powered one that actually MOVES the leaves, and I cleaned the gutters out this year in like, 15 minutes 🙂
  18. I’m thankful that we’re in a place, financially, that when something like the above happens, we can afford to replace or fix whatever the problem is.
  19. I’m thankful for baking. Heck, I did a whole post about this not to long ago, go read that if you want justification. 😛 But, to summarize, it’s something I feel like I actually understand, and I get an immense sense of accomplishment when I successfully make something, AND when people enjoy it.
  20. I’m thankful for my Nook! Do you know how many big-ass books I would have to carry around if I didn’t have that thing? It is absolutely amazing that I can have massive tomes in this tiny piece of technology.
  21. I’m thankful for digital photography. The sheer number of photos I can take with my DSLR camera, and the fact that I can examine them shortly after on my computer, is just amazing. I have learned more about *how* to take a picture in the few years I’ve had this camera than I ever thought I might learn. I first learned on film, and boy… Not only would that get expensive, but it would be a much slower process.
  22. Really, I’m just thankful for technology. I’m thankful that I’m alive in a time where these huge leaps are being made, and that I can take advantage of them. Just in my lifetime, I’ve seen: CDs die and MP3 players rule, home phones die and smart phones rule, Bluetooth. WiFi, the rise of digital photography, the rise of digital media, the rise of the internet, smart cars, smart homes, smart everything except people… It’s crazy. I love being alive right now.
  23. And I’m thankful for all the hard work put forth to make all these things a reality. People much smarter than me have made my life so much easier, and I don’t think they get enough credit.
  24. I’m thankful for my local libraries! I grew up going to the library. I read so many books and watched so many movies thanks to my hometown library. I know I don’t necessarily want to waste money on books or movies that I don’t like, and it’s nice to be able to spend a few cents on gas for a few hours of entertainment, instead of dropping $20 only to be extra disappointed when I don’t like it.
  25. I’m thankful for the internet. I’ve mentioned this other places throughout this post, but we truly live in a world that is always connected. And I can therefore be connected to friends all over the world, people I would never know otherwise. But not only are people always at my fingertips, but so is an infinite amount of knowledge. If I want to compare prices, it’s right there. If I want to look up the definition of a word, it’s there. If I want to look up a process or procedure, it’s there. If I want the news from today or last year or last decade, it’s there.
  26. I’m thankful for Rear Admiral Grace Hopper and her quote: “Humans are allergic to change. They love to say, “We’ve always done it this way.” I try to fight that. That’s why I have a clock on my wall that runs counter-clockwise.” It helps me to remember that there is always room for improvement, and that stagnation is dangerous.
  27. And because I’m about to be sucked into it… I’m thankful for Twitter. The organization does some stupid shit sometimes, but as a platform, I love that I can read thoughts directly from journalists as they’re happening. Not only news stories, but their reactions to current events, and their opinions about their own pieces. It’s probably my favorite social media platform for that reason.
  28.  Since I’m going on a direct path, I’m also thankful for Spotify. I have found so much music because of Spotify. It helps me get through my work day, and my drive to and from work. I have listened to more different music over the past year than I think I have in my entire life.
  29. Alright, and I guess I’m thankful for Facebook. It was super useful in college to connect with classmates, and it’s been cool to be able to connect with people I’ve lost touch with over the years, both from college and other places.
  30. I want to end on the most important note, which is a reiteration of two of the above points. I’m thankful for my friends. So thankful, that I’ll take this opportunity to mention them all by name (not full names, I’d like them to have some privacy. And I realize this opens me to becoming not as anonymous, but… well I don’t think this is really a harm.)  Kelley, Clay, Deanna, Marian, Ylva, Ron, Johan, Mike, Andy, Shannon, Chuck, MacKenzie, Mark, Pat, Sean, and Milla. If by some weird chance any of you see this, and you would like your names removed, just ask 🙂

 

Sludge

via Daily Prompt: Sludge

I feel like I am constantly wading through sludge at work, and every time there is an end in sight, it starts raining again and there is even more sludge.

We hired a new guy ehh about a month ago, maybe 5 weeks. He’s supposed to be strictly data-entry. Processing invoices for our one (big) client, and that’s it. He’s only part time, so this should fill up his time, though the plan is / was to move him to full time and have him pick up some slack for one of our other processors. Last month, we had the panic of “ok there’s a lot of invoices that haven’t been processed for month end, Tamishu needs to help process them” because I’m the next in line for knowledge on how to do this. Ok, fine. Whatever. It sucked, but we got through it. I wasn’t happy with the end result, but I wasn’t about to pull a 60 hours week outta my ass for these guys.

Guess what’s happening again this month?

Because NG (New Guy) is not processing up to speed yet, or is having trouble asking questions, or… I don’t know. Some combination of the two? He’s very, very shy. Worse than me, which is saying something. I mean, sure, when I first started, there were things I was afraid to ask too because I thought they’d be silly questions. Especially when I first started in accounting, which is more where this guy is at. But dude, I really hope you realize sooner rather than later that NOT asking questions is GOING to come back and bite you in the ass. Hopefully soonish, since I’m finding these things that are 3 weeks old that should have had some progress made on them…  And you can bet your sweet ass that I’m telling my boss these things, since he’s the one who asked me to step in and help.

And of course this comes not only when it’s a short week this week, because of Thanksgiving, but I also took the early part of next week off. So I have another 1.5 days to get… a TON of shit done. And this gets added on top of it.

I kind of hate that I’m getting used to having the conversation of, “Ok, I have A, B, and C to do, and in my mind, they’re all equally important. Boss, what should I prioritize?” On one hand, it’s good, because when I have to prioritize them, I try to do them all at the same time and get stressed out. Or get a little bit of each done, realize I can’t finish any of them, and then get stressed out. So being able to recognize that someone else needs to help me make this decision is important. But on the other hand… Look, these all have deadlines, and I’m going to miss 1 or 2 of them, and that bothers me. Because there are rules (the deadlines) and I can’t follow them. I know it’s not my fault! I get that, really. But it still feels like a bit of a failure on my part.

I feel like work has been this constant uphill battle since the spring, and I still haven’t reached the top.

Or that I’m Sisyphus.

Or whatever analogy floats your boat.

I had this talk with my boss today… or last week… or something… About how I have 6 vacation days left that I need to use. And I have no idea when to use them, because I feel like I can’t take time off. If I do, things aren’t going to be done, so I’ll just have that much more shit to do when I get back. It’s not just going to magically go away when I’m not there. And while I kind of like that I’m the only one that knows how to do some things, it’s kinda stressful in this situation! I like the job security. But even if I had 100% confidence that someone could step into my job and pick up where I left off, I wouldn’t be in danger of being let go. One, they like me. Two, I have enough knowledge that it would be hard to replace me. Not impossible, but you probably couldn’t pick just anybody off the street. Three, enough people know that I’m willing to learn that they know I can pick up new things and step into a new role if need be. (You know, as long as someone else picks up mine…) Four, enough people know that I’m a good problem solver, and THAT is apparently hard to find.

So, you know, I’ve got all this going for me. I don’t NEED to be the only one who can do certain tasks. I don’t really WANT to be the only person who can do certain tasks. But I still am.

I think, and I’m trying to work on accepting this, there are certain things that will never go away. Or at least they aren’t going to go away any time soon. Now that we’re fully staffed, I can work on transitioning some of my stuff away, and hopefully it’ll be pleasantly more than I’m expecting. There’s a couple semi-complicated things, and I say semi-complicated because there are multiple steps, and the steps are different across clients, that I know will be moving eventually. And hopefully they’ll move faster than I’m anticipating. I’d love to be able to, in December, just say “Here, New Chick, do task A from start to finish.” I know that won’t happen, because NC doesn’t know task A from start to finish. But even if I can say, “Here, NC, do task A from start to half way through,” that would be a huge help. And then maybe in January NC can take it from start to almost the end.

The scary part of this whole thing is still New Guy. I really, really want him to work out. Because we did the whole “fire the person currently in that position with no immediate replacement” and that was NOT FUN AT ALL. I have no desire to repeat that. I mean, I think he’s already doing better than the last person. He at least seems to have some kind of retention and ability to learn. The other person was just… You would say, “Do X because Y.” Ok, she would do X. Then, a month later, when X rolls around again, she would do something totally different. Or you would say, “Use method A with client M and method B with client N.” And then she’d just used method A for everything, until a week later, when someone finally realized it was wrong, correct her, then she would use method B for everything, and… yeah.

But New Guy is just… so AWKWARD. He’s starting to open up to his boss, but she’s out on disability for the next two or three weeks because of a surgery coming up, so I’m a bit nervous about what might happen. I’m supposed to be his point of contact in place of her. And… I just can’t shake the feeling that he doesn’t like me. Maybe he’s just not comfortable around me. [Sidenote… I was talking with coworker A about this, and he said, “maybe he just really likes kids” because NG’s boss has a 1 year old, but the WAY he said it… Oh man, I called him out on that! Man, don’t even joke about that shit! lol] Coworker M was also relating the story about how he recently went to the bathroom, and NG was in there, he said hi to NG, NG just kinda mumbled and turned around, but then proceeded to stand in the bathroom the entire time M was in there! Not washing his hands, not really doing anything, just kinda standing off to the side…

Don’t get me wrong, bathroom etiquette is something I struggle with as well. The whole talking while you’re peeing thing? Yeah, not a fan, but some people do it, so I try to push through it. But it’s a bit different with girls than with guys! I imagine, anyway. Not a guy, so I can’t say for sure. Girls, we’re sitting in our stalls, there’s a wall between us. We can’t see each other, even though we both know what we’re doing. Guys… I dunno, I just can’t imagine it would be comfortable to be holding your dick and talking to somebody at the same time. Especially if they are also holding their dick! I feel like that just crosses some kind of personal boundary! Heck, I dunno if I’d be comfortable talking to a guy through a wall knowing they’re peeing on the other side. I think it’s the touching that bothers me more than anything.

Ok, so now that my blog post has devolved into talking about dicks…

Now’s the perfect time to bring up the teabagging conversation???

Yes, this really happened. Oh, lunch crew…

Coworker A spray painted a bunch of coworker M’s stuff gold. Random shit, like his silverware. And it really annoyed him! So… he threatened that the next time coworker A was off, he was going to teabag his whole office… Me & the other girl, we were just like, this is completely unnecessary for lunchtime. BUT I think coworker A is off tomorrow, so I’m half-tempted to go see if I can buy a jumbo box of lipton teabags at the store on my way in tomorrow and present them to coworker M, and ask him if he wants to help me tape them all over A’s office. Cause that seems like it would be hilarious. I’m thinking monitor, keyboard, writing utensils, eating utensils, random papers, chair, desk, cables… yeah.

These are the things that help me push through the sludge. Getting people just a little bit annoyed, but also making them laugh about it.

Jumping on the sexual harassment bandwagon

I apologize in advance, but this is probably going to be rather lengthy and ranty.

I saw a post over on the phaseborg that was basically complaining about the number of sexual harassment complaints that have popped up over the past few weeks. Wondering how long we’re going to let people tarnish other people’s reputations? Because so much of it comes down to a “he said she said” argument.

And that just makes me SO MAD.

I’m gonna go ahead and get the disclaimers out of the way. Are there false accusations? Probably. Are there cases of misinterpretation? Probably. Are there cases of “oh shit I’m in over my head how do I fix this”? Probably.

That said. Why would you ever NOT believe somebody about this? Why would you NOT want a potential crime to be investigated?

Does anybody ever call the police and say, “Hey I found a dead body” and get the response “Oh well you might be imagining it” or “I think you’re exaggerating”? Or, “I witnessed a murder” and get “Are you sure they weren’t just playing around?” FUCK NO. Schools go on lockdown for people carrying props, for chrissakes.

So… some specifics.

“Why is it when someone gives you a hug, it’s sexual harassment?”

Because that is unwanted physical contact, gtf out of my personal bubble, you animal. Any unwanted physical contact, be it a hug or a pat on the shoulder or guiding your arm, is harassment.

Now, is it the same for everybody? Of course not! And that’s what makes this whole situation so complicated and so frustrating. What YOU think of as unwanted and what I think of as unwanted are possibly two very different things. And what counts as unwanted more than likely varies from person to person. Like, I’d be ok if coworker A gave me a hug, but if coworker B did it, I’d be creeped the fuck out. And, to take it a step farther, maybe coworker A would be creeped out if we hugged, but because one of us would be creeped out, it would never happen. Or it might happen once, and then one of us says “let’s never do that again” and the other one, like a NORMAL HUMAN BEING, would respect his or her wishes.

I think a good rule to follow is to not make physical contact until either the other person initiates it, or until you’ve known the person long enough and potentially had enough accidental contact, that you know the other person is ok with it.

“… put themselves in positions that may receive unwanted attention. If you put yourself in that spot, are you that naïve that you don’t think there is a possibility of inappropriate conduct? ”

This just… The first thing I thought of is that this is an exact parallel to the argument “Well she was wearing [whatever clothing] she was asking to be raped.” No. No. No. NO. Being around PEOPLE is a situation that you may receive unwanted attention. Does that mean that just by going to the grocery store, I should accept any inappropriate conduct? FUCK NO. If you’re going out to get milk in sweatpants, going to the club in a slinky dress, or having cocktails at a benefit gala in an evening gown, you should 100% expect nothing but respectful behavior from everybody you may come in contact with. I don’t care what you wear, where you are, or who you are with. NOTHING gives another person the right to touch you if you don’t want to be touched, make suggestive comments to you, or act like they have any right to your body as an object.

I’m reminded of the campaign I saw some time ago, where people were arguing that the phrase “No means no” should be replaced with “Only yes means yes.” Because there were so many instances of people arguing “well, she didn’t SAY no, so I assumed consent.” Bullshit. Just because someone doesn’t answer your question, or answers it ambiguously, does not equate to them saying yes. Especially if you never even asked the question in the first place!

Don’t get me wrong. On one hand, I’m glad these questions are being asked. It gives other people a chance to state their side of things. But on the other hand, do they have to be asked in a “well back in my day…” perspective?

I get it (kind of). Things are changing, we as humans are not comfortable with change, and well, the world kept turning before this was such a big deal, why is it a big deal?

And all of this isn’t even taking into account the horrific history of people NOT being believed when they’ve disclosed their stories. Because of arguments like the above. (Plus, this is all biased, as it is from my perspective, a middle-class white girl in a first world country with a 9-5. I haven’t even touched on what happens in the gay communities, to transpeople, to sex workers… )

But this is exactly why more and more people are starting to come forward now. Finally, FINALLY, they’re believed. They feel like they can admit the truth and not be ostracized because of it. It’s not (I think) because people want to see those with power & money fall simply because. It’s because they know they’re not alone, and that is a powerful thing.

I mean, it’s such a common trope, I feel like there has to be a name for it. Like, how many episodes of Law & Order are there were there are multiple people that can testify against someone, but none will do it until someone else steps up? Is it some weird variation of the bystander effect? Or the domino effect? This has got to be a real thing. (I just don’t have the Google-fu to find it right now. I did a search for “why do more people admit to something once someone else has” and I got a bunch of hits for articles related to cheating…)

I guess once more this is a topic that falls into the “we’ve always done it this way” category of thinking, which I’ve written on multiple times. Just because it was this way, doesn’t mean it was right, and doesn’t mean it can’t be better.