Love Absurdly

I have a tendency to tell or text my husband one of two phrases. “Love you mostest forever.” or “Love you ridiculous amounts.” Because I do. He’s my sweetheart, the one I annoy the absolute most, the one I trust to be there. My best friend. We’ve got a nice fifteen-and-a-half-year start on forever. I know I drive him up every nearest wall, and he drives me up a few, too. But I really wouldn’t want it any other way.

I don’t think I know how to love other than absurdly, throwing my entire self into it. Even when it hurts. I may draw back a little bit and even nurse my hurt, but I’ll always reach back out. And I wouldn’t want to be any other way. I wouldn’t be me any other way. So I love ridiculously, superlatively, absurdly. And I’ll never stop.

A Tale of Two Resumes

Disclaimer: These names and histories are ENTIRELY AND COMPLETELY fictional. However, they are entirely true to life, if rather optimistic.

There’s a company hiring for a single managerial position. There are two resumes for the final candidates. One is for Andrew Richards, the other for Andre Watson.

Andrew is 34, went to a fairly decent school, graduated in the top third of his class, has had a couple of jobs, starting in high school, his references note that he is detail oriented, has a stellar attendance record, and an employee of the month award.

Andre is 36, also went to a decent school, graduated in the top third of his class the same year Andrew did, has had jobs dating back to high school, and references paint him as conscientious and organized. One boss mentions that he found an error his supervisor missed that saved his company a couple thousand dollars at one point.

More often than not, Andrew will get called in for an interview before Andre will. Their resumes are actually pretty equal, all things considered, but it’s not just the names, though that has a lot to do with it. Andre’s two years older, and has had more jobs. At least one of Andrew’s is listed as an internship, though a paid one.

But the reason Andre had more jobs was that he actually worked two while he was in high school, because while both his and Andrew’s dads were hurt, Andre’s dad had his workman’s comp claim denied because the bureaucrat deciding it looked at it as a lazy black man trying to game the system. Andrew’s dad had the benefit of the doubt that he actually was hurt as badly as he said he was and that the incident happened on the work site. So while both high-school aged boys worked to help their families make ends meet, Andrew was able to work a single job, and most of his money went toward paying for leisure. Andre also has an additional job on his resume during his college years. His father was still out of work, because his injury wasn’t able to heal properly due to doctors treating him as a drug seeker. Andrew was able to take a summer off and go backpacking across the country with a couple of friends because his dad had returned to work by the time he graduated high school.

Andre graduated college the same year Andrew did because he took a little longer to go through, working and taking a couple fewer classes over two years to help out his family.

It’s so often not just the name that’s different.

I admit it

I finally admitted, out loud, that I’ve been battling depression for a while now. For months. I’ve put up a variably functional front, even been enthused over things here and there. But I’m not okay. And I don’t feel like I deserve to be depressed. I don’t contribute to the physical upkeep of the household with any consistency or the financial upkeep at all. I’ve never in my life managed to keep a single job for longer than about 5½ months. I’m within a year of 40, fat, unmotivated, unskilled, introverted, and, despite occasional efforts to the contrary with things like Lions, feel pretty much not worth the space I take up or the food I eat.

I don’t know if being medicated would help. We can’t afford the copays for me to find out right now. The biggest difficulty, even more so than the copays, is that our only vehicle is gone 5:30 am to 5:30 pm every M-F. We don’t have a particularly robust public transportation system in Killeen, and any offices are honestly too far for me to walk.

Part of the reason I don’t feel like I deserve to be depressed is that for right now, we have our house, we’re only a month in arrears on a few bills, we have insurance that covers going to a doctor to find out if medicating me would help and at least part of any medications that I might end up put on. Even with the issues I’ve got, I’m pretty remarkably privileged. I realize, objectively, that I have no less right to the care I need to live as a whole person. A strong part of me in the depths of my mind still buys into that work ethic thing that I would be better off if I just got my damned ass a job and a car and maybe some therapy. Too often, I hear these kind of thoughts in my dad’s voice. Especially the ones that add in therapy as an afterthought, because I’m weak enough to need it.

Right now, I’m just caught in a spiral of crap and I don’t really see a way out.

New

Naturally, at the start of a Gregorian calendar year, those of us who live by it think of the new. New year, new growth, new look at what’s right and what’s wrong with our lives and our world. Part of that comes from the placement of the new year so soon after the winter solstice, the rebirth of light. So many of our ancestors took that as a renewal of hope.

I have another reason to view this time of year as a new one. My birthday comes in hard on the heels of all of this, pretty much a moon behind the solstice itself. So naturally, my thoughts have turned the general direction of what’s ahead for me. Generally, I’m happy. I’m at the point where I’ve kind of got what it means to be me, to live in my skin, down. It doesn’t mean I’m complacent, but I’m certainly content. I can stand here and stretch out, grow into me a little bit more.

I’ve upgraded my Fitbit to a ChargeHR, and I noticed that right about then, I got more steps than I had been… fairly consistently over 3000/day. Now that’s not a lot, really. Certainly not the 10,000 recommended by pretty much everybody. But it’s better than what I’d managed before, and it’s not a huge goal. It’s also something I can look at and remind myself that “Hey, I’ve been doing this, all I’ve got to do is continue.” The bonus is that I’ve found myself looking for ways to meet and even exceed that goal.

I’ve decided my theme for this year is joy. Joy in what I have, in what I am. I’ve picked a few quotes that tickle my fancy with that. “Your body isn’t a temple, it’s an amusement park! Enjoy the ride!” “Not a shred of evidence exists in favor of the idea that life is serious.” and “The purpose of life is to fight maturity.” Another one that brings it a little more down to earth is “I define joy as a sustained sense of well-being and internal peace—a connection to what matters.”—Oprah.

My mini-theme for January is my own path. Parts of it are well-worn, both by my own feet and those of others. Parts of it hare off into mysterious tunnels and twists. I may have to backtrack over bits here and there. There may be parts where I’m trudging, there may be parts where I’m skipping and giggling and dancing. It’s mine to walk.

Equality vs. Equity

I read somewhere recently, and I can’t remember where right now (damn it!) something that clicked in a major way for me. What is being sought is not equality for everyone. It’s equity. The way that clicked it into place for me was a cartoon of three people watching a baseball game over a fence. A teenager, a young child, and a toddler. Equality has them all standing on level ground, with the teen able to see over the fence and the young child and toddler reduced to looking through the slats. Equity put the young child on a box and the toddler on two so that the heads of all three were at the same height, looking over the fence.

The thing is, we don’t even all start on equal, flat ground. As a white, cis, mostly able-bodied woman, I’m pretty high on the slopes of a mountain looking over that fence. Honestly, the only things that put me down on the slopes rather than on the peak are lack of a trust fund, my gender, and my weight. Most of these are seriously mitigated by the fact that I’m white, which is what puts me so high on those slopes. The thing is, realizing I’m that high doesn’t mean I want me and those with me on the slopes to be pulled down to the depths of say… a fat black gay trans* woman who’s confined to a wheelchair. It means I want pile up under her until she’s up to where I am, so she has the same view I get. That’s what equity is. It’s realizing that I start way the hell up here and my responsibility is to do my best to make sure everyone can get where I am, or even higher if I can pull it off.

Capitalism Sucks

At least capitalism as practiced in the U.S. now sucks.

It’s really sad that at the moment, I can name one company that treats its employees as human beings who actually have dreams and hopes and aspirations of their own, rather than cogs in a machine that exists solely to make its owners/shareholders money. There are others, but the one company that we hear about that consistently closes down on holidays (even when they’re major shopping days) to give ALL employees a chance to spend the entire day with their families, provides benefits that do more than just the minimum, and pays a wage that allows more than just paying the bills. Costco.

This came up because yet more evidence that the company the HusBrat works for has gone down the toilet in all of those regards came to light. About 4 years ago, apparently one of those companies that specializes in taking over other companies acquired this one. In those four years, the health insurance program has gone from a pretty good Blue Cross Blue Shield PPO to an Aetna one that’s a pain to work with for my doctor’s office and has higher copays and premiums for less coverage. I’m so glad my gall bladder went kaput back before these changes, at least. Other changes: bonuses got kiboshed, raises all but disappeared, the yearly Christmas gifts vanished, company dinners went away… all the little things that gave any kind of impression that the corporate headquarters realized that they had people rather than drones working for them just poofed.

This is why even if the GOP Congress pulls its collective head out of its collective sixth point of contact and passes a jobs bill, little will likely change for the guy on the ground. Because more often than not, companies are not out there to provide services or products, they’re out there to make money and providing services or products just happens to be how they do so. It’s a pretty fine distinction, but it’s definitely there. And it pisses me off.

Owning my SJW badge, nammit.

Tonight pissed me off.

First CBS with CSI… (this has nothing to do with social justice, just asinine corporate idiocy)

The end-of-PrimeTime slot on Sunday night is where shows go to die on CBS. That’s where they put CSI this year. EVERY DAMNED YEAR when CBS airs the late-afternoon football game, it runs very predictably late, shifting Prime Time, usually by around half an hour. They always just kill the last show of the night rather than switching off with one of the other ones. Both CSI: Miami and The Mentalist were killed this way. This is the second week in a row CSI has not been shown for the eastern half of the country. There are people highly pissed off at them for it and letting them know on social media.

THEN, I click a link tweeted by George Takei (for the second or third time, perhaps someone on his team isn’t paying attention), and run into rampant sexism in the comments. (I know, I know. I’m an idiot for reading the comments.) Worse, it was a guy who used a sexist comment as an example of non-sexism. “women these days need to be more modest” *blinkblink* REALLY? That’s not sexist? Oh, because the person who says that might possibly think men should be more modest, too. And the “sexist trash” actually says “but men can be whatever they want” out loud. Um, first, by singling out women as the ones who should be more modest and not saying “people these days need to be more modest” you’re implying that men don’t need to be more modest and are juuuuust fine. Second, by singling out women and using the word modest, you’re suggesting modes of dress rather than humility (which, being generous, could be what is meant), and thus attempting to judge women’s self-expression in a sexual manner. Every damned person on earth should dress how they damned well please as long as they aren’t violating any laws and should fight laws that are overly restrictive as long as they’re willing to accept the consequences (e.g. the American servicewomen who refused to wear burkas in Middle Eastern countries that required them, even when military policy required compliance with local law, then ended up court martialed or otherwise prosecuted/imprisoned for it).

THEN, I go to Facebook and run across a picture with the comment of “Whoa! Common sense? Wow!” and the text in the picture reads “Thank you, Florida, Kentucky, and Missouri, which are the first states that will require drug testing when applying for welfare. Some people are crying and calling this unconstitutional. How is this unconstitutional???? It’s OK to drug test people who work for their money, but not for those who don’t?… Re-post if you’d like to see this done in all 50 states. If you can afford to buy drugs and extra illegal things then you can afford your own groceries.”

In my comments on the post, I didn’t even ADDRESS the fact that groceries are food stamps, which is a separate program from welfare, but the kind of mind-set that posts or reposts that kind of picture just lumps them all together anyway. Not to mention “extra illegal things” being poor phrasing. Again, with the mindset of the type of person who posts these, it’s illegal things that are extra, not things that are somehow over and above being merely illegal (like extra special). I just pointed out that private companies can drug test all day long and fire you for failing, just like they can have a gay-friendly or gay-neutral policy and fire you for shooting off your homophobic mouth in a public forum because you make them look bad. Private companies are not the government and can do things the government can’t do.

Let me repeat that.

Private companies are not the government and can do things the government can’t do.

The Fourth Amendment protects against unreasonable searches, and drug testing as a requirement for applying for welfare of any variety constitutes an unreasonable search, because just applying for welfare does not, I repeat not constitute reasonable probable cause to assume someone is consuming an illegal substance.

There’s also the logical fallacy of assuming that someone applying for welfare isn’t working for their money. Many junior enlisted… active duty junior enlisted are on food stamps because military pay isn’t enough to cover what they need to feed their families. That discounts the guard and reserve servicemen and -women who aren’t on active status and having problems of their own with companies wiggling around the law requiring them to keep jobs open for those returning from active status or even simply finding a civilian job in the first place.

Or a 38-year-old mother with breast cancer who lost her job for failing a drug test due to using medical marijuana and is refused aid for failing the drug test, even though she can no longer afford to feed her kids, much less the medical marijuana that makes it so she can actually keep anything down, not that that would be a problem much longer, because she’d no longer be able to afford the chemo that was giving her the nausea anyway, at least until she was able to get coverage through the Affordable Care Act which most of these people are against as well. She’d also have the unmitigated hell of trying to find a provider who took Medicaid.

It’s the mindset of “I don’t want my hard-earned money going to taxes that pay for cushy lifestyles for lazy, shiftless druggies.” that completely ignores the very real human beings at the bottom-most rungs of society’s ladder, that assumes the examples I provided are the exceptions proving the rule.

I think what pisses me off the most is that so many of the people with this Fox News-inspired mindset claim to be Christian. Where the everliving hell is their Christian charity and freaking compassion?