Category: work

residual

I’ve always tried to tell people that my workplace is haunted. The building turns perfectly lovely people into cold-hearted jerks. Docile children suddenly spring into tears and fits of discomfort. I, myself, have been infected. I used to be a good kid. Now, I’m grizzled and grumpy. I see new associates come and go and few escape unscathed. They start out sweet as pie but end up leaving at least a little bit bitter.

Well, my haunted hypothesis was proven correct the other day.

A mother and child walked into my department and wanted to check out. As I scanned her items, I noticed the little boy was punching himself in the face. He wasn’t drawing blood or anything, more like playful knuckle bumps to his forehead. But he did look odd. He stood there, his chubby little hand formed into a biscuit dough fist, rapping his forehead and flushed cheeks in rapid succession. The mother gave me a glance as if to say, “Yeah, that’s weird behavior.” She asked him to stop and he looked at her and replied, “But the ghost is making me do it.”

I know kids have active imaginations. They have imaginary friends and the like. But he didn’t mention it was his invisible pal Henry egging him on. No, this little Haley Joel Osment-looking mofo said ghost.

A few seconds later, as I was bagging the lady’s items, the boy crawled underneath one of the fixtures. The lady told him to get off the floor and the boy said, “But he’s chasing me.”

I handed the lady her bag and she told the boy they had to go. He got onto his feet, turned around and said, “Okay, we have to leave you here now.”

I started to say, “Oh, no, no! Take it with you, please!”

I’ve watched enough of these haunted house shows to know sometimes places are haunted by more than one spirit. And a lot of the time, there’s a healthy mix of merry and malevolent ghosts. Sometimes the good ghosts help keep the humans safe. Did that kid encounter one of the good ones? If so, I suppose it’s a relief that he found it in my department. The kid didn’t seem scared. He seemed like he was having fun, or as much fun as you can have hitting yourself in the face.

Although, with my luck and the consistent stream of crappy customers I have to encounter each day, I’m likely to find more Amityville than amiable around my area. And that makes me suspect that Casper was Catfishing this kid. You know, luring him in with play and gaining his trust before convincing him to take the butcher knife out of the kitchen drawer and murder his parents.

Or maybe the encounter with the kid was an example of my active imagination. I’m not sure I even believe in ghosts. But I definitely believe in energy. Something has to be making us all feel so miserable all the time. While declining hours and increasing workloads are a contributing factor, things were always tense even when the store was doing well.

You ever have a bad feeling around a place or a person? We must all have vibes that we project onto the environment around us. It’s entirely possible that those vibes can linger long after we’ve left. Maybe they get trapped in the air or wood or cement. In the most extreme cases, maybe they even get trapped inside us. Maybe they manifest or maybe they don’t even need to in order to affect someone.

That leaves me to wonder how I’m supposed to tackle this negative energy (or long-deceased douche bag, whichever you prefer). I certainly can’t light up some sage and waft it around the walls without getting the wonky eye from the Christian customers. They’ll just call me a devil worshiper, which will effectively bring more negative energy to the place and undo all my hard work.

And if it’s all about attitude, I’m afraid I’m out of luck on that one as well. It’s hard to combat negative energy when you’re cynical yourself. I have my own demons I’ve got to exorcise before I can get in line with lifting everyone’s spirits by clearing away the bad ones. So for now, until I can figure out how to field the front line of foul souls, I’ll just keep folding my shirts while keeping an eye out for possessed tots flogging themselves in the face.

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a person, then a body

One of my co-workers went in for her usual dialysis on Monday. There was a complication. She was transported to the local hospital. Then transferred to a different hospital. On the way to the second hospital, she died. Just like that.

I’ve known and worked with her for four years. And she was one of the coworkers I liked the best. She trained me when I became a supervisor. She was an older lady who had lived everywhere and had her hand in several different businesses. She was interesting and cultured and an overall cool lady.

I don’t think it’s really sunk in that she’s gone. So many people come and go in that store, quitting or retiring, and I never see them again. It sucks but you move on. This feels like that. It’s like she’s retired. I feel like I might see her pop in every once in a while to check on the store. But I won’t. I won’t ever her hear her page a supervisor over the intercom or see her in her department or joke with her about the dumb customers.

I feel kind of bad but I’m okay. I’ve been fortunate that not many people I’m close to have passed away. And it’s not that she and I were exceptionally close but I did work with her and see her often over the past four years so I guess she counts as someone close. I don’t know how to handle it. And so I don’t.

The whole thing is just so weird. It’s in these moments that, of course, you reflect on death and how it works. She went in to get her treatment, like she always did. Something routine. And then over the course of a couple of hours, she’s dead. It’s the suddenness of it, the jarring transition from life to death. She was a person and now she’s a body. She’s gonna be scooped out and put away. She’s going to be replaced at work. She’s going to be gone wholly and eternally. I will never see her again for as long as I live. It’s hard to wrap my mind around it.

this is why i’m fat and poor

I used to never look at my checking account. I spent money like I assumed it would always be there. I bought stuff I didn’t need. Sometimes I bought stuff I didn’t even want because buying things made me feel better. And buying food always made me feel best.

I avoid stuff. I’m good at it. I like to ignore subjects that make me feel uncomfortable. I always reason with myself that I’ll deal with it when I’m emotionally ready. But I’m never emotionally ready. I bury it deeper inside until it resolves itself or until it becomes unavoidable and I actually have to face it.

My pants get tighter and I tell myself I’ll start dieting the next day. My funds dry up and I say I’ll finally publish my book and hope to make a good bit of money from it. But at the end of the day, I go to the grocery store and stock up on candy. I eat it. And then it starts over the next day and the next week and the next month and the next year.

One of the things I’ve been ignoring the most is my student loans. I’ve been clueless about them ever since I first applied for them. My parents never dealt with student loans before and didn’t know how to help me with them so I just went for a company my college recommended.

And then when they came due, the minimum monthly payments were too high so I deferred them and then used forbearance. I couldn’t find a stable job and the money just wasn’t there. I eventually settled into my retail job and was fortunate enough to be promoted to a supervisor, which gave me a decent pay raise. About that time, my deferment and forbearance was exhausted and I had to start paying them back.

I set up automatic payments from my checking account so I wouldn’t have to look at it or deal with it or think about it. I didn’t even know where to go to check on my balance.

My mom has always dealt with the family finances. For example, my dad gives my mom his paycheck and she pools their money together and distributes it to the appropriate channels. Maybe I’ve inadvertently started to think of my mom as a bank, collecting and lending money as she saw fit and never bothered to develop my own financial independence.

Well, better late than never.

Last month, I really had a talk with myself about how much money I spend on junk. I spent money ’cause I was in pain and it was a self-medicating measure. And that’s why I can’t get mad at myself over the wasted money over the years. I didn’t mean to be wasteful. I just meant to be okay. What’s done is done and I can’t get upset over spilled savings. No matter where I was, here I am now.

I downloaded a few financial apps to my phone and researched my student loans. It was a bit disheartening to see exactly how much I owe back and how little of my monthly payments are actually going to the principal but at least I know now and from this point onward, I have a better idea of where my money’s going.

With this new job, I’m making a bit more money and I’m hoping it gets better soon enough so I won’t have to quit and lose that pay increase. In fact, at this point I should keep the job no matter how much I hate it because this is what being an adult means. I got myself in this financial mess and I have to get out of it, even if it means several years of scraping by and being poor and skipping cheeseburgers so I can use that saved money to chip chip chip away at those loans.

Ah, chips.

No, no, wait. Focus.

It’s really a win/win. I’m saving money and calories. And I’m pretty proud of myself because I haven’t spent any more money than I’ve absolutely needed to this year. Sure, we’re only 18 days into the new year but I’ve really concentrated on doing better. It’s one step at a time, one day at a time. And I feel good about it so far. I hope I can keep it up!

do not allow back

This is embarrassing to write about but we’re all family, right?  I’ve talked about all my other mishaps, be they spiritual, physical, and social.  Might as well talk about my professional snafus, too.

When I was seventeen, I quit my job as a florist assistant after dealing with dead people, nearly wrecking the company van (on several occasions), and inhaling second hand smoke from my soot-stained boss.  I quickly moved on to be a cashier at a pharmacy.  Things went swimmingly for six months until I sold cigarettes to an underage girl.  The girl worked with the Alabama Alcoholic Beverage Control Board and several agents quickly swooped in and told my supervisor.  I was fired on the spot.

Now, let me explain.

I was fat, pimply, and insecure.  I didn’t have a voice.  I didn’t like to “confront” people.  The girl did look too young but I was too scared to say anything.  I felt a rush of nervousness hit me, a bad feeling, but I ignored it because I didn’t want to come off as rude or suspicious of her.  Yeah, it was my job to be suspicious and check her age but I didn’t think of it in those terms.  I just thought of it as one person dealing with another.

And it was a huge mistake.  All these years later, it still embarrasses me.  No one likes to talk about how they were fired but I was fired for doing something illegal.  I look back on it now and I feel dumb.  All I had to do was ask for an ID but I couldn’t even muster the courage to do that.  And because I couldn’t ask a simple question, I was fired and it made my life spin in a different direction.

Cut to a few weeks ago.  A former coworker from my current job called me up and told me he had gotten a position as an assistant supervisor at that same pharmacy.  He said there was another assistant manager position open in another city and he said I should try for it.  I immediately thought of my termination and wondered if I could be hired there again.  I didn’t want to express that to him, though, because it was embarrassing.  So, I shrugged off his offer and made lame excuses and said I wasn’t sure if it was right for me.

The job did sound pretty good, though.  More money.  More hours.  I just had to face that shame again.  I finally expressed my concern to him and he said he’d speak to his store manager to see if I could be hired again.

Two days later, he sent me a text message saying I was on the “do not allow back” list.  I wasn’t necessarily shocked but just knowing it was official was disappointing.  There was the smallest part of me that held out hope.  But that hope was squashed, just like it always is.  Just knowing I’m on a naughty list somewhere makes me feel dirty.  Filled with more shame.

It’s bad enough that the dumb, huge mistake I made ten years ago still embarrasses me, it’s also still holding me back from better opportunities.  I didn’t even ask for the opportunity.  In fact, I avoided it  ’cause I didn’t think it would work out.  Naturally, it didn’t.  But it was like the universe had to bring my bad decisions back around to me, another reminder of mistakes and failures, of setbacks and shame.

A week or so later, I walked into that pharmacy to pick up a couple of things.  I had just come from work and I had on a dress shirt and tie.  A man with an unkempt beard and a limp came up to me and asked, “Do you work here?”

“No, I don’t,” I replied.  “I’m sorry.”

“Oh, no, it’s okay,” he said as he hobbled away.  “Sorry for asking.”

I wasn’t talking to you, mister.

zombie vomit bag

“I have heard it said love endures all things, now I know that it’s true, 
stronger than the grave, death can’t put it out, here I am, the walking dead, 
still next to you…”
-Showbread, George Romero will be at our Wedding

We decorated Valentine bags at work so everyone could put goodies in them.  Everyone decorated their bags with sticker hearts and puff paint, which is all well and good but I wanted to do something a bit different.

 I designed my bag around the Showbread song George Romero will be at our Wedding.  It’s about a zombie who vomits up a wedding ring and realizes he ate his wife.  He eventually finds her, zombified, and they stay together, despite them both being dead.  It’s about how love can overcome all things, even death.  It’s actually a really meaningful message beneath all the entrails. 

I wanted to draw a vomiting zombie on the bag but then I thought I’d put Photoshop to good use and designed the zombie dude in the program and printed him out.  I taped him to the bag, which gave a nice 3D effect.  And instead of just drawing vomit, I made it interactive so you can spin the vomit around.

 I also created a QR code which links to the song and on the back of the bag, I printed the song lyrics.  So you’ve got your physical, visual, and auditory interaction, which I thought was pretty neat.

 

Here’s what the bag looks like.

Here’s the back of the bag with the song lyrics.

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avoidance

I admit I’ve never been the best at social relations but throughout the years, I think I’ve come a long way from being painfully shy in front of everyone to being able to crack jokes with strangers on occasion.  As much as I’ve progressed, I realize I still have roadblocks, like when people converse with me on subjects I don’t give a crap about.

How do you squirm your way out of inane topics?  Do you pretend there’s an emergency on the other end of your “vibrating” phone call?

“This debt ceiling discussion is fascinating but my son got his penis stuck in the swimming pool filter.  Again.  The doctor said he could circumcise himself the next time this happens!”

Do you feign a bathroom emergency and politely excuse yourself from the topic at hand? 

“My apologies.  I’d love to hear about the grooming habits of your ferret but I’ve got to go to the john and pinch off a loaf.”

Or, as I’ve been forced to do, do you stand there and take your punishment?

People are always talking to me about their kids or home improvement projects and frankly, I don’t give a crap about either.  It comes from place of a lack of commonalities between me and the people I interact with on a daily basis.  I’m weird and I’m into weird stuff.  I don’t have kids.  I don’t like kids.  And I don’t like HGTV so the chitchat about your electrical sockets gets lost on me.

And if the topics are boring, their unbearable, like when people want to tell me about dead animals.

Being an animal lover, I don’t want to hear horrific encounters people have had with furry creatures, like how their pet goats were violently ripped apart by a pack of wild coyotes or how their fluffy new kitten crawled into their dad’s engine and the mess it made when he started it up that morning or how they hit a deer with their car and it’s leg got caught in the carburetor and it was dragged three miles until the tendon finally snapped, leaving the poor thing wailing and writhing in the road.  And then they finish off with h a sensitive, “At least it didn’t ruin my paint job.”

Every time someone starts up with a dead pet or abused animal, the ASPCA commercial starts rolling in my head and the Sarah Mclachlan soundtrack drowns out stories of slaughtered shetland ponies or drowned puppy dogs.

As I’ve said before, my job isn’t physically hard.  But the mental exertion of pretending to be engaged in conversation with customers wears down on me.  To protect my sanity, I usually tune them out and employ the usual head nods and verbal cues to continue their stories.  All the while, I’m wondering when they will stop, or if they ever will.  Is this my hell?  Replacing the inferno with insufferable stories of potted plants and parenthood?  I just don’t have the energy.

It’s sad to admit I often evade these types of people.  If I see them coming (or in some cases, hear them, because their incessant laughing is so booming), I hide behind fixtures or walk in the opposite direction.  I’ve even ducked into a fitting room like I’m dodging a grenade and waited there, holding my breath until I hear them pass.

Now imagine having to do this dance daily.  And imagine getting caught like a fly in a spiderweb of stupid stories, tightly bound by social niceties, squirming on the inside but knowing it’s futile.  You stand there and give up, laugh out loud and let the poison infect and numb your skull.  

english is my second language

While at work a couple of months ago, my high school AP English teacher came in to shop.  I walked up to her, excited to tell her about my newly acquired passion for writing.  I haven’t seen her since I graduated high school in 2004 and thought she’d be happy to hear about my venturing into her field of expertise.

After we caught up for a bit, I told her I liked to write now and she smiled a small smile and I told her I was even published in my college’s literary journal.  Not a huge deal but it was something.  A good start.  I might have made a misstep, however, because I said her class helped me enjoy writing and I thought my writing grew while under her guidance.  I even bragged a bit and said I thought I wrote some pretty good essays during the times I had her in 11th and 12th grade.

She smiled again and mentioned my science teacher’s daughter, who was one grade above me.

“Yes, I still remember her essays.  She was one of the best students I ever had.”

I didn’t understand why she chose to compliment some random girl who had nothing to do with me but I pressed on and casually asked her if she would like to read some of my writing.  She was retired by this time and so I thought not only would she have the time to read it but I hoped she’d be interested to see how I’ve grown as a writer.

Instead, she let out a sigh.

Here’s the part where you say maybe she’s been busy.  She’s retired from teaching so why would she want to proofread some chubby art failure’s emo rants?  It’s like folding shirts for 8 hours a day and coming home to do laundry.

Well, I didn’t ask her to proofread anything.  It was as if I were offering to let her borrow a book of short stories and essays, something she would hopefully enjoy and not just edit.  Something pleasurable and not a chore.  I just wanted to know if she thought I was a good writer.  Deep down, I still needed that validation.

And she sighed and I felt dismissed.

She did give me her e-mail address, though.  “Now don’t lose it,” she said, a tone of irritation in her voice, as if it were this big deal to give me a torn piece of paper with her contact information scrawled on it.

It hurt that she would be so dismissive.  As a teacher, I thought she’d jump at the chance to encourage and nurture my writing.

I always thought it would be nice to get published and become successful and if I were ever interviewed I could look into the camera and say, “I finally got my validation, Mrs. L.  I don’t need your approval anymore.  I made it and you could have been a part of it but you sighed instead.”

It reminded me of the time I was in community college, needing validation about my drawing skills.  My art teacher didn’t like me for some reason and didn’t hesitate to tell me I wasn’t talented enough for SCAD.  But I got accepted and got a scholarship.  And I graduated cum laude.  And I realized I didn’t need her validation because my degree was my validation.

But the joke was on me because I ended up working the same job I left to go to college and better myself.  As fate would have it, I saw that art teacher three years later while I worked in the shoe department.  She looked at me and a flicker of recognition brushed across her face.  She remembered who I was and then she realized where I was.  And she smiled this cocky smile so I could see all of her yellow teeth.

She got her validation.

Yeah, I knew he wouldn’t make it. 

And I had to sell her a pair of shoes and look at her shit-eating grin the whole time.  I felt so low.  As much as I had accomplished, as much as I wanted to prove her wrong and stick it to her, she ended up sticking it to me.  So what if I had a degree from a college she said I wasn’t good enough to attend?  What does an education matter if your peddling pumps?

And so I put away the thoughts of proving my English teacher wrong.  I didn’t want that to blow up in my face like with my art teacher.  But the thought of her sighing haunted me.  All this time later, I can’t help but to keep thinking about it. 

That afternoon, I got off work and went home and took the folded piece of paper out of my pocket.  I looked at her e-mail address written in ballpoint pen across the wrinkled paper.

I crumpled it up and tossed it in the trash.

homewrecker

Several days ago, work girlfriend (WG) told me she and her fiance got into a big blowup…over me!  She said her fiance picked up her phone and noticed a text message sent by me and he got jealous.

I mean, I can’t help she wants deez nuts, ya know what I’m sayin’?

Just kidding.  But he wasn’t happy about us sending each other text messages and she actually stood up for me and said she’s known me longer than him and I’m her favorite person to work with and he was just going to have to deal with it.

I was surprised.

But his unhappiness must have affected her to some degree because the texting has decreased.  And since the holiday hours are over, we don’t work the same shifts and therefore don’t have lunch with each other anymore.    

I actually don’t mind.  Her constant texting got in the way of me writing and working out and stuff so it’s a bit of a welcome relief.  The only problem is I’m hesitant to text her anything at all, even if it’s work related, because I don’t know when her fiance is with her and if he’s going to pick up her phone and get upset.  I definitely don’t want to be the cause of their problems…but I have to admit it’s interesting to have my name on lovers’ lips.

For so long, I’ve walked around impervious to passion, my solitary status set in stone.  I was not the object of infatuation or jealousy.  And now I kind of am.

But things are definitely changing.  The mutual enjoyment of each other is slowly fading. 

I expected it, knew it was only a matter of time since she “announced” her engagement.

I’m fine with it.  There’s plenty of deez nuts to go around.

job limbo

Last March, a co-worker of mine walked up to me with the biggest smile on her face.

“Heeey, what’s up?” I asked, unnerved.

“I have a question for you and I want you to keep this between us.”

“Okay…”

“I know I’m not supposed to do this but I am starting up a business and I want to take you with me.”

“SIGN ME UP,” I said. I didn’t know what the business was. It could have involved me fisting dwarves on the Internet for the website humantootsiepop.com. I was up for it.

She smiled even wider. “Excellent!”

The job turned out to be for a glass repair company. She wanted me to be in the office handling the phones while she and her husband cut and repaired and installed the stuff. Sounded fine to me. Really, I just wanted to get out of my current job and never have to fold a shirt again.

She projected the company would start up later in the year, around late October or early November.

It was my turn to smile wide. I would be able to escape retail hell just in time to miss the holiday rush. Excellent!

Well, October came around and asked for a progress report.

“Things are taking longer than expected,” she said. Cue the heart drop. “It’s looking like early next year. In January.”

Okay…

A couple of weeks later, I heard through a supervisor that she tried to quit. When I saw her, I questioned her about it.

“Heard you tried to jump ship?”

“Yeah. Well, I’m just trying to get this business going enough to get you on board and working here is cutting into that. But the boss talked me into staying through Christmas.”

I wondered, if she had quit, if she was going to let me know or keep in contact with me as she expanded her business.  It won’t lie.  It worried me.

So, December came and went and I made it through Christmas with the incompetent holiday help and when January rolled around, I was ready to leave the place.

The other day, I asked for another progress report.

“It’s looking like this summer,” she said. This time I gave her an audible sigh.

“I know, I know,” she said. “We just gotta get our revenue up.”

Every time she mentions the job and hiring me, she tacks on another 4 months. It’s definitely worrisome and maybe I wouldn’t be so willing to stick it out with her if she weren’t so nice and I wasn’t so desperate to get out of retail hell. Working at the new job doesn’t sound like a load of fun as I’ll still have to deal with people but it will be over the phone instead of in person and I won’t have to deal with their coffee and cigarette breath or pick up pins or assemble another stack of jeans so I’m down.

I just keep thinking the new job will hopefully be less stressful than the one I have now and that will allow me some mental clarity to be more creative with my writing and possibly even start back drawing and even animating.

I don’t see this new job as a career but a stepping stone. I’ve never tried to be bratty about my jobs. I don’t know what my true passion is so I can’t say I want to find the perfect job because I don’t know what the perfect job is for me yet but I’ve always said I just wanted a decent job to help me pay the bills and save up for an apartment one day.

Plus, sticking it out with her guarantees me a new job. It’s much easier than trying to send out resumes and going through tedious interviews and getting my hopes up and never receiving the call of good news.

Right now, I’m just coasting. I’m seriously over my job right now and YES I AM GRATEFUL TO HAVE A JOB but I’ve also checked out. It’s mentally draining and physically boring and I don’t even know if the company will last much longer because they have been going through some financial hardships that rumors say they can’t recover from so that also makes me not care anymore. If they are already going down the crapper, I’m not gonna break my back.

The problem is, although job opportunities are few and far between, I’ve skipped potential opportunities because the co-worker is so sure of me having a position with her. I don’t want to let her down because I’ve already told her several times I’m ready to go with her as soon as she’s ready for me. I know it’s silly because it’s my livelihood and not hers but I have no reason not to trust her.

I guess I’ll just have to wait until summer gets here. And nag her about the job as much as I can.  Maybe it’ll help motivate her to get things going sooner, if for no other reason than to get me to stop nagging.

victor/victim (i love to complain)

The co-worker who played the race card all the time also called me out the other day.  I said something about how he and the other co-worker who moonlights as a preacher had all the luck with customers.  They always ran into receptive individuals who treated them warmly while I got stuck with the disgruntled, disheveled, and diarrhea prone.

He smiled and said, “Come on, man.  You play the victim.”

His words struck me like a slap to the face because that’s what my counselor said to me when I was in college.  At the time, I thought my counselor was full of crap and didn’t understand what I was going through.  And here was this guy, having only known me for a couple of weeks, giving me the same diagnosis.  He already had me pegged.  Am I that transparent?

Maybe I am.  Maybe I do play the victim and it’s something I’ve subconsciously done and I never realized it and yet it’s plain to everyone else.

It’s painful to see myself like that but it’s also necessary if I want to correct it.  In some ways, I feel I’ve made peace with my pain.  We are all hurting.  We didn’t choose to be born but yet we were thrust into this cruel world.  We are all victims but some are just more vocal about it.  No one’s pain is more important or unjustified than anyone else’s but we continually negate other people’s negative feelings.  Sure, I agree some people do have it worse than others.  I’ve said multiple times that I don’t even have it that bad.  But does that mean I should strap on a smile and act like everything is fine?

I think there’s a fine line between being grateful and being gross about it.  At the end of the day, if we and our families are safe and can feed and clothe and house ourselves, we really have nothing to complain about.  And yet, we all complain.  And then we get annoyed when other people complain.  How many of us really examine our situations and realize we have it better than probably 90% of the planet and then and immediately put an end to our own rants?  I’d venture to guess not many, including those who complain about others who complain.  It’s all relative, really.

I complain to vent.  Sometimes, it’s how I get through the day.  It doesn’t mean I’m not grateful for what I have.  It doesn’t mean I think I have the worst life ever.  But sometimes I get pissed off about things and I need to express that.  I express myself.  I complain.  I piss and moan.  It’s what I do.  It’s what feels good.  And I’m darn good at it.  But it’s not all I’m about.  If I had something good to express, I’d express that, too.  It just so happens I haven’t had much good to express lately.

And just because someone seems like they have it all together, don’t make the mistake of thinking they actually do.  My outside world might seem fine, but on the inside, it’s on fire.  It’s not so much a physical suffering but an emotional/spiritual one that not a lot of people outside of my blog have access to.  It’s that silent and unseen slicing that gets a lot of people.  It’s the hurt hidden in plain view.  It’s the fear of the consequences of complaining.  We are taught to get up and get over it.  Quit yer cryin’!  Stop yer complainin’!  There’s starving children in Africa, for God’s sake!  We should be grateful we can breathe, they say, even if we’re inhaling hell.

Ultimately, I think a lot of us can be less whiny, including me.  And a lot of us can be more compassionate as well.

I’ve tried to be more accepting of the nature of my being.  Some people are just more unfortunate than others but with bad luck.  Some are unfortunate but the odds are in their favor.  Some people are naturally happy and some are born bleeding.  Yep, I’m the hemophiliac.  I’ve made a conscious effort to stop blaming God for my troubles.  It’s conceited to think he’d single me out and send a mack truck full of crap barreling into me.  At best, he loves me.  At worst, he doesn’t care.  Either way, it’s not helping my condition.  What is love without action?  If I don’t know about it, does it really count?  Not in my opinion.

I’m just trying to learn to take the blows and keep it moving.  And I complain to get some of the pain off my chest.  It helps and I don’t care.  I don’t have to justify  myself to anyone ’cause no one knows the extent of my imbalanced brain.  But I try to justify myself anyway.  And I vent to people because I want them to know I’m not a victim and bad stuff really does happen to me.  I point out specific examples, sometimes as they happen, to show them I’m not making it up or playing a role.

But am I trying to convince them or myself?