I am too.
I shall always be too
As a child I was the youngest in my class.
I was too awkward.
I was too small.
I was too weak.
I was too thin.
I was too pale.
“Child, doesn’t your Momma feed you?”
“Child, don’t you ever go outside?”
As a teenager in high school I was still too.
I was still too awkward.
I was still too thin.
I was still too pale.
I was still too weak.
And now I was too tall.
“Oh girl, do you play basketball?”
And now I was too smart.
“Oh she knows all the answers…”
Now in adulthood I am still too.
Still too tall.
Still too pale.
I shall always be too to someone.
And so shall you.
I had to go coat shopping. I had not realized until I got my coat for work just how crappy of a job my regular winter coat had been doing. I was freezing my ass off and I didn’t need to be. Ok, so coat shopping I went. I discovered something while undergoing this little endeavor.
Women’s sizing is all bullshit.
I am not an overly obese woman, but I am overweight. I’m taller than average, but not unusually tall at a nice 5’8″. However, I do have long arms and broad shoulders. This makes getting clothing in the women’s department a bit complicated at times.
Tonight I decided to browse the coat section at Target. I went through the women’s selection for what seemed like an eternity. I tried on everything that looked warm and not horrifically hideous.
Even the XXL coats were too small on me. The shoulders were not wide enough. The arms were too short. And the coat itself was a bit snug over my hoodie.
What. The. Fuck.
So I wandered over to the women’s plus size. Maybe I’d have better luck there.
I found ONE rack of coats. Again. The largest size was too small.
Fuck this noise.
So I went over to the men’s department. Lo and behold! While the selection again was craptacularly small, I did find a coat that not only was big enough, but gave me room to spare if I needed to tack on extra layers. It wasn’t hideous either. I rather like it.
Best thing is, if I never told anyone, they’d have no idea my coat was from the dude department.
Fuck you coat designers and sizing.
Everyone who knows me knows I wear makeup. I wear a fair amount of it. I don’t cake it on or look like I require a putty knife to apply it, but I have a pencil box I got from the school supply aisle and it is full of makeup and application brushes.
I have been given multiple reasons of why I shouldn’t wear it. There’s the usual “But you look beautiful without it.” And the increasingly popular “You’re just falling into the trap of needing to look good for a man.” But let’s not forget my favorite “It tastes bad.”
So let me make something clear about what I apply to my face on a daily basis. I’m not wearing it for you, or you, him, her, or that other person over there. I’m not wearing it for my boyfriend. I’m not wearing it for my job. I’m not wearing it for any reason you can possibly give me that involves another individual outside of myself.
I wear it for me. Just me.
I recently saw a YouTube video done by the author John Green. While he was getting his makeup done for a guest appearance on a talk show, he discussed in voice-over why he actually liked getting his makeup done. A straight man with no indicators of gender bending of any degree or direction declared on a public forum that Yes! He likes getting makeup applied to his face. He admitted he was spoiled by having it done for him by professionals, but the reasons he gave for liking makeup were much the same as why I like mine.
I like the way it feels. When I don’t wear makeup my face starts to feel blech after a few hours. I don’t like that. Some have suggested moisturizers instead. All that gets me is an even grosser feeling and some lovely acne.
I like the way it looks. Now this is more complicated for me than for him. He likes to look like himself, just a bit better. My makeup application is more of an art. Every day I use my brushes to apply colors to a fresh (or not so fresh sometimes) canvas in a way I find appealing. When I am applying makeup to go to an event or just out with friends, I consider what colors I’m wearing. What will compliment my own coloring along with my clothes. How to bring out my best features while toning down the not so great without looking like I just dunked my face into a vat of goop.
I like the process. Some would find this very strange. I suppose it is. It’s something that’s a constant familiar to me. That constant, when I live a life that is seemingly changing all the time no matter what I do, is comforting to me. I use the fifteen minutes it takes for me to paint my facial canvas to think about my upcoming day. What will I be doing? How should I prepare for this?
Admittedly I put far less effort into it before I go to work many nights. I usually sweat most of it off in the first ten minutes after I clock in anyway.
I recently experienced something I didn’t think I had to worry about anymore. I thought I had gotten too old and too fat. I was sexually harassed while at work by a coworker.
Now, I will be the first to say that as far as things go, I was actually very lucky. Lucky to be harassed? No. Of course not. I was lucky in that I have amazing coworkers and supervisors who have supported me through this.
I’m going to detail all of this out because I want any woman who’s gone through this to know they’re not alone. I want other women to see that there are places and people out here that don’t automatically assume the victims are at fault.
At my job we occasionally have temp workers sent in to handle a minor duty when we are otherwise short-handed. I often meet them when I’m relieving them at the end of their shift, but the beginning of mine. This was how I met this young fellow. For the sake of this post we’ll just call him Skippy like that annoying cartoon squirrel. He seemed very nice and such. No big deal.
When the bosses hired in new people to fill in the holes, they hired this boy. He was placed on my shift. Okay, fine. He acted extremely excited to be working with me. I found this to be a little weird, but some kids just are all around weird. I don’t think much of it.
Night one. We’re talking about ages of the various people working. I find out he’s in his early twenties. He doesn’t believe me when I say I’m 38. I shrug. He then tells me “If I wasn’t about to get married, I would find you to be a very attractive woman.” Er… okay. Thanks? I think? I thank him for the compliment(?) awkwardly and then change the subject.
Later he puts his head on my shoulder and informs me I’m comfy. I snort and shrug him off.
Then while showing him a building we were discussing how it’s impolite to wear sunglasses indoors while talking to someone, especially when it’s dark outside. He proceeds to tell me “Oh if I’m wearing sunglasses inside, it’s just so I can secretly stare at your tits.”
He no more than finished his sentence and I lashed out to smack him on the arm. He did not respond with regret or apology. He responded with surprise that I had hit him, and annoyance.
“OW! That hurt!”
“Why did you hit me?”
“Because you deserved it for what you just said.”
“I did not. I didn’t say anything that bad.”
I wanted to hit him again, but refrained. I like having a job.
Twice more that same evening he placed his head on my shoulder. Both times I shrugged him off and told him to stop it.
Later that evening I was discussing my migraine issues with my coworker and friend. For the same of privacy we’ll call him Ralph. I told Ralph about what’s happening with my headaches lately, which have gotten worse since I was given the Depo-Provera shot. This was done so I would stop bleeding to death and give me time to pick an alternative means to control my feminine issues. Ralph expressed concern about me and insisted I needed to change my medication. Unfortunately I can’t because the thing doesn’t wear off until October. Skippy asks what we’re talking about, so I explain it to him. He nods and doesn’t say much. However, once we have driven away from Ralph and are on our way to another place, Skippy feels the need to tell me “My girlfriend has an IUD. I’d warn your man first if you get one. Every time I fuck her I feel like I’m sticking my dick in a light socket.”
Just what I needed to hear.
Night Two: I show up at work and he sees me pull in. While I’m firing off a text to someone once I’ve shut my car off, he runs over and then proceeds to wait right outside my car door until I get out. All night it’s much of the same sexual based conversation. At one point he poked me in my belly. Don’t poke an overweight woman in her belly. That’s just plain rude on ALL levels. I smack his hand away and snark at him.
“You know I don’t like to be touched, right?”
“No, but you’ve got kids so that can’t be all true.”
Again I’m restraining the urge to beat him within an inch of his life. Twice more that night he put his head on my shoulder, and I smack him away.
More than once I told him “If you keep this shit up, I will hurt you.”
He simply responded with “Would you please?”
It got to the point where I simply did NOT want to be alone with this child. In fact, I was becoming downright terrified of it.
At the end of the second night I tell Ralph what’s been going on. I didn’t get into all the details. I just wanted to express how much I did NOT want to be alone with this child. I just wanted him to stop with his crap. Ralph tells me he’ll have a talk with the kid the next night.
Night three… This is where I am reminded of just how awesome Ralph is, and my bosses, while not perfect, could be worse.
I drive to work, only to get honked at. I look over and Skippy is in the car next to me, waving like a mad man. I immediately want to hork up my socks. I slow down enough and then abruptly turn into a gas station so he doesn’t see where I went. I conduct my business there, and then proceed toward work. I realize he might be waiting for me again. I ended up pulling into one of the nearby parking lots and waiting another ten to fifteen minutes before I continue in. I cut it close enough that I could just run in, clock in, and get right to work. Thankfully that night I was doing a desk job and didn’t have to handle any of his training.
Ralph did as he said he would and pulled Skippy aside to warn him to leave me alone because what he’s doing is considered sexual harassment. Skippy gave HIM a completely different response, acting like he had no idea. While I’m sure he knew perfectly well what he had done was wrong, I think the very angry man in his face made him reconsider his actions. Me being angry? No big deal to him. Ralph being angry? He knew he was in trouble.
Ralph also told our immediate supervisor that something has been going on and that he should talk to me. We’ll call him Sam. Sam returned to where I was and asked what has been going on. I hedged around it for a bit. Why? Because I was afraid. I knew what other women had gone through. I was afraid the instant I filed the complaint, I would become THAT woman. The trouble maker. The “one of the guys” rep I had built up would be demolished into itsy bitsy shards, never to be repaired. I would somehow be seen as weaker and less than I was before. My biggest fear was that my friendship with Ralph would somehow become damaged.
Sam pressed for me to tell him. He finally point blank asked me if Skippy had touched me. I told him that yes, he put his head on my shoulder, even after I told him to stop touching me. He nodded and then walked away to call his boss. We’ll call him John. A few moments later, Sam returned and told me he was going to pick up Skippy and he wanted me to type up a statement of everything that had happened between myself and Skippy that I considered questionable or offensive. While this is going on, I get a call directly from John. He apologized that I had gone through such a thing and assured me that Skippy was going away, never to be seen again.
Now… once I realized it was over? I cried. I burst into tears and cried like I was told my dog died.
I finished my statement and sent it off to all parties involved. Ralph and Sam both insisted that if anything like that ever happened again, I needed to tell them and to make sure not to gloss over it or brush it off as nothing.
The anger is still very much there. I didn’t think it would be. He’s gone, so I should be fine, right? I’ve gone through worse things. And yet I’m still bursting into tears at random moments. I’m still enraged that I was placed into this position. I still feel… violated. I’m still distressed that I couldn’t rearrange his face each time he touched me, for fear of losing my job. I’m still afraid of repercussions even though I’ve been told there won’t be anything beyond my needing to sign the paperwork and talking to HR. Ralph seems to be more concerned about me than put off that I needed help, but I fear what I cannot see.
You don’t realize just how personal and invasive sexual harassment can be until you experience it. There are women who endure this day after day, week after week. They do not have the amazingly supportive people at their backs that I do. They get blamed. They are treated as the problem. I wish I could find all these woman and hug them and then go after the ones harassing them with a baseball bat.
Honestly, if I had the less supportive coworkers, I likely would’ve beaten Skippy until I broke something and then promptly quit.
Alright. I’ll come out and say it. I’m a reasonably smart person. I’m not a genius and I’ll never be asked to join Mensa. But I’m still above the national average.
Now most people greet this with envy. Oh how it must be so nice to be so smart. How they wish they were as smart.
Don’t. Really. Don’t.
There is a problem with being a smart person. Especially if you value having any time to yourself. That being, people expect you to do things you really don’t want to do.
One of the things I hear a lot. I mean a LOT. “You’re so smart and you’re so good at this, why don’t you do this as a career?” or “Why won’t you go to school for this?”
The simple answer is I do not WANT to do these things. Yes, I can do a lot of things. But just because I’m good at something doesn’t mean I like doing it. In some cases, the thing I’m good at, I downright hate doing. I mean I really hate it. The worst part is just because I can do it, many expect me to be perfectly okay in doing it for them.
Bookkeeping. I’m good at it. Some would say I’m great at it. I can pound through numbers and make shit balance like there’s no tomorrow. I. Fucking. Hate. It. I find it tedious, soul draining, and stress inducing. But yet many keep trying to push me in that direction even when I keep digging in my heels and veering off to some other tangent. One can almost hear the screaming as I run off into the sunset.
Computers. I was decent enough at it. I managed to get a job on the Geek Squad and not get fired for being incompetent. In fact, my bosses in general considered me a valuable part of the team. However, even months after I quit that job, I cringe and die a little inside when someone tells me they’re having a problem with their computer.
Some in my family shook their heads in disappointment when they found out I took a job as a security guard. A waste of my intelligence, they say. Perhaps they’re right. But I know I was sent to my post because I was intelligent and had experience in things that required intelligence. I was hired at that post because of my intelligence. And the job I’m doing requires a great deal of memorization, computer handling, and sometimes some very important decision-making. It’s not perfect. No job is perfect. But it’s far less stressful than a lot of jobs I’ve held. I have awesome coworkers that I get along with amazingly well. And I can advance if I’m diligent and stick with it.
Yes, I could do jobs that pay more. But the higher pay doesn’t really make it worth it. If I’m going to spend most of my waking time doing something, I want it to be something that doesn’t make me want to hang myself from the nearest tree.
What I find intriguing is nearly all of the sexism I get aimed at me concerning my work doesn’t come from my coworkers. What little I did get from coworkers was either not serious and intentionally trying to rile me up, ie “You hit hard for a broad!”
Or well meaning but head shake worthy all the same. “Oh sorry. This is a guy conversation. I mean, we’re talking about taking a crap, and you’d probably be offended…”
I find those moments amusing and probably not as offensive as many women would.
The outside sources are far more frustrating and serious. While I was working on the Geek Squad, more than once I was faced with comments like…
“You don’t look like a geek. You’re too pretty.”
“Are you sure I shouldn’t talk to one of the guys?”
“Oh they put a pretty smile out front to appease the masses. Now go back there and find me a real geek.”
Directed at my supervisor “Does she know as much as the guys?”
To my supervisor’s credit, he was always extremely excellent in handling these issues. Once, after he assured the customer that I was quite capable of doing my job, he hid in the back so he wouldn’t have to testify in court just in case I went over the counter and clobbered the dude. I think he was secretly hoping I would do just that.
Now, with my new job, the sexism I get is a bit different. I don’t deal with customers or clients much. It’s from people who find out exactly what I do for a living. The most common one?
“Are you sure you feel safe doing that and being a woman?”
Now, since I took up being a security guard, I could understand the first part of that question. “Are you sure you feel safe doing that?” Yes, that’s a perfectly valid question. If you didn’t know I worked at a private boarding school during the midnight shift and the most action I see is the local wildlife, then yes, it’s a completely legit question.
What I want to know is why “and being a woman” has to be thrown in there?
The other one I get a lot is “Oh, so they must have you doing dispatch.”
They assume because I’m female, I must be tucked safely away in the office where nobody can possibly harm me.
I hate this. I hate that my sexuality makes me immediately judged as somehow being inferior for my job when most of those doing the judging have no fucking idea what my job actually is. I hate that because I was born with my lumps on my chest instead of in my crotch, I am looked at with confusion and concern when I say I work a security job and I actually do patrols.
Why does “Being a woman” need to be included in whether or not I can make sure doors and windows are locked?
What’s even more frustrating is when I get this from other women. I want to shake them and explain to them why this very mindset of theirs is making it difficult for future generations of women to be seen as equals.
We cannot expect others to see us as equals until we see ourselves as equals. I am not inferior. I am not a target. I am not a victim. I am a human. Treat me as one.
My friends know I draw sometimes. They also know it’s rather sporadic and sometimes infrequent when I do.
I’ve struggled to explain this. Perhaps it’s the depression. Maybe I just need inspiration. Maybe this. Maybe that. I really don’t know what it is that provokes my brain into wanting to draw.
But I sure as fuck know what makes me stop.
I find I am loathe to share my work on many forms of social media anymore. Every time I do, someone asks me to draw something for them.
No. I do not want to.
When I draw or paint, it is for me. I’m doing it because I alone want this. Sometimes I will give my work to someone else, but it’s because I wanted to.
While many would think I’m handing over just a piece of paper, I’m really giving away a piece of myself. To ask me to just give away a part of myself so easily and lightly makes that part of me shrink and withdraw into a dark corner. I never know for how long it will remain there.
I’m not wanting money. I just want to be able to share these bits of my soul without others demanding I give a part to them.
Ok. So my new job is full time, but they don’t offer health insurance because of the Obamacare/Affordable Care Act. *sigh* Fine. So I signed up on the website before the deadline (barely) and went through those hoops. Thankfully that part was relatively painless and I was able to get a decent (albeit an HMO) plan, minus the tax credit, that cost me about $70 a month.
Humana sent me my plan card. Since I’m on an HMO, they had designated me a Primary Care Physician. Ok, fine. Not like I had anyone I was particularly attached to. However, this dude was located in downtown Detroit. Fuuuuck that noise. So I checked to see how I could change my PCP (please see above, I’m not on drugs) to someone closer. I had to scan through the FAQ’s for a bit, but I found it, and was able to find a doctor through their website who was nearby and seemed like a decent fit. I called the insurance company and got my PCP changed over.
Fast forward to today. I called the office to see about setting up an appointment. They ever so rudely informed me “We don’t take your HMO. We don’t know why Humana insists on keeping us on there for that. You’ll have to find someone else. *click*” Ok… and a merry fuck you too.
Now, the insurance company had told me that because there was some confusion and chaos involving the PCP’s, they were not being particularly strict about who I went to see, as long as they were within my HMO network. Ok. Fine. So I found another doctor with another office that was also nearby. I then called them and asked if they took my insurance. Yes? Great! While making my appointment I explained what I was dealing with and how long it had been since I’d seen a doctor for much of anything. She nearly dropped the phone.
What? Is six years a long time? Huh.
Called Humana and got my PCP changed yet again. I told them what happened when I called the previous office to make an appointment, that I had already found another doctor, and that I had an appointment. The rep was rather impressed that I had already done that much before calling and apologized that I had to deal with such a rude person in my attempt to seek some attention to my physical well being.
My appointment isn’t for nearly a month, but I had asked specifically for a Monday since that’s my only weekday I have off. I’d rather use my day off for daytime appointments since the rest of the week I should be sleeping during the daywalker hours.
Also, I have come to the conclusion that if you agree to take the survey while they’re directing your call, you get through a LOT faster and the reps are ever so much more pleasant and helpful.
The signs are all there. Flowers are blooming. Birds are chirping. Frogs are waking the dead each evening with their cacophonous voices. Despite the mid-April snowfall, it’s all melted away. The days are getting longer.
So why does it not feel like spring?
Probably because day after day I keep waking up to see a cloud-covered and sunless sky. Perhaps it’s because I still need to wear tights under my pants while I’m walking around outside doing my job.
Oh, for those who are keeping up with those things, I ended up taking a job as an overnight security guard at a boarding school. It’s full time, so it all works out.
I have realized that the state I live in essentially spends half of it’s year in winter. For someone who loathes winter, cold, and snow, this is not an ideal situation. So why do I keep coming back?
My friends and most of my family all are in this general region. While I was off living somewhere far warming, all I could think about some days was how homesick I was and how badly I wanted to come back. Of course, I mainly wanted to visit in the summer, but still, I wanted to come back to see those I love.
The things I suffer through for those I love.
So I decided to make a change in my life. It’s a big change, but not an uncommon one.
I decided it was time to find a new job.
I suppose it would seem strange. I worked my ass off for a year to reach my current position. Once in the position, I was happy as a clam. However, I thought it would be a good idea to transfer to a location closer to home to save on gas money. A month later, I would rather slit my own throat than go into that buildings some days.
I have discovered that part of a good job isn’t just the job you do, but who you do the job with. You could have the most awesome job in the world, but if your coworkers suck and make you feel about as welcome as a venereal disease, then it’s just not very awesome anymore.
I thought I just wanted the job itself when I was working so hard to get it. Admittedly, it was a better job than the one I had. But now I see it wasn’t so much the job, but the people I would be surrounded by. The job itself? Really not all that spectacular. But I wanted to be a part of THAT group. I wanted to join and be a part of a team that I thought was just awesome. And when I did finally join them, they made me feel like I was meant to be there. They were happy that I was with them. When I hear from them, they tell me they miss me.
My new location? No. They’re not happy I’m there. They could care less if I disappeared tomorrow. They are young, for the most part, and clearly never realized that cliques have no place outside of high school. The job itself is not great enough to overcome this mind numbing hassle. The pay sure as hell isn’t worth it. And it’s become painfully obvious that I won’t get full time anytime soon.
So… onward I go.
Today I interviewed with a staffing agency that wishes to place me with a local company. My test scores blew them away.
“So, even if you did data entry non-stop all day, they’re usually looking for 6000 kph. With your 10… well , we’ll just say 11,000 kph, I think you’re well beyond that. Your Excel scores are solid. Now, the listening score… You are number 56.”
“What does that mean?”
“It means out of the thousands of people I have given this test, only 55 of them before you have ever had a score above a 90%. You missed one question. Only four people have gotten a 100%, and you were one question away from being number 5. That’s just amazing.”
If I get this job I’ll be full time, I’ll get 3 bucks more an hour, and it’ll be steady Monday through Friday. It’ll be midnights, so I’ll be working Friday night, but I’m really ok with that.
I’m feeling pretty good about life.