- Whats the point of permanently putting something on your body? Why not just keep it in your heart? You’re right. What is the point of permanently putting something on my body. Instead of wearing wedding rings, we should just use the love in our hearts to show everyone the commitment and love we have for our partner.
- Why not just draw a picture of what you want and keep that forever? Why get married? Why not just draw a picture of the two of you together. It’s basically the same thing as making a lifelong commitment to something you love and have committed yourself to.
- Aren’t you worried about getting a job with tattoos all over your body? Tattoos are becoming a socially acceptable norm. Tattoos have been around since the 20’s. Most employers don’t care, and if they do, they only want you to cover them up during work hours.
- How are you going to feel about those tattoos five or ten years from now? Or when you’re old? First of all, if something is important enough to be permanent on my body, I doubt it’s something I will be over in five or ten years. As for not liking my tattoo’s in old age, I’m pretty sure I will have much more pressing matters to worry about than whats on my skin. And with medical advancement, who knows what tattoo removal could be conjured up next.
- You’ll never find a husband/wife with those tattoos! Tattoo’s are actually a turn on among many of the people of my generation. A lot of people say they are attracted to a person with multiple tattoos.
- You’ll never get a good job with those tattoos! It’s becoming easier and easier to cover tattoos and job policies are adjusting with society and becoming more and more relaxed. Most employers ask that the tattoo’s are covered. It’s not as big of an issue as it used to be.
- What will you say to your kids when they want to get a tattoo? The same thing I wish my parents had said to me; if that’s what you want, go for it. Just make sure you’re sure. And don’t follow the fads. Do it for you.
- (For women:) What if you have a kid and childbirth ruins the area where the tattoo is? I’m pretty sure that when I am pushing a kid the size of a watermelon out of my vagina I won’t be concerned with my tattoos. And I’m pretty sure I’ll be too focused on my little bundle of joy to notice anything else.
- I don’t usually like girls/guys with tattoos. Oh, thanks. You’re a saint. Would you like a cookie?
- But you’re so good looking! So do the tattoos enhance that or nah?
- I would never get a tattoo like that! Well it’s a good thing it’s not on your body isn’t it.
- Okay, but what does it mean? Now personally, I love it when people ask me about my tattoos. But a lot of people don’t. Be careful about the can of worms you’re about to open.
- (If the tattoo doesn’t mean anything:) So why’d you get it then? Because I can.
- What would your parents say? My parents hate tattoos. But it’s not their body. They don’t have to live with it.
- Do you only date other people with tattoos? Do you only date idiots?
- Couldn’t you have spent your money on better things? Like what? My tattoos are important to me. Its art and it’s there forever. If its quality work it wont be cheap.
- Don’t you regret it? No! This is something I put time and effort into. And even if I did. Are you happy with every decision you’ve ever made?
- Isn’t it against the bible to get a tattoo? A lot of things are against the bible, like wearing mixed fabrics, divorce and shellfish.
- Your tattoos will make you look like a felon. Martha Stewart looks is a felon but she certainly doesn’t ‘look like one’.
- I don’t like girls/guys with tattoos. Well its a good thing we’re not dating then.
I started working as a cashier in a store that will remain unnamed almost ten months ago. In the almost ten months I have been working there it never once occurred to me how difficult it is it to be a woman not only in retail but in the workplace but also in the world. Firstly, lets start with the fact that my male counterparts who have the same position as I and do the same work that I do; they earn a dollar while I only earn .78 cents. How about from now on I only do 78% percent of my work. I’ll come in later and and leave earlier and expect to get paid for my full shift. When bagging a customers items, I’ll only put 78% in and leave the rest. Lets play a little role reversal; to all the men out there, how would you feel if you busted you ass at a job and for every .78 cents you made, a woman made $1. Would that make you feel like you are less valued? Would you feel like you are not worth as much? How would you feel if you had to fight for the right to vote or to decide what happens to your body? How would you feel if the history of humankind deprived men of their rights and stereotyped them to ‘be in the tool shed’, or ‘get back to fixing the car.’ How would you feel if you still didn’t make as much money as a woman despite doing the same work in the same position with the same amount of experience. I can tell you firsthand it doesn’t feel too great. Why is it our society as well as many others has decided that a woman’s value, worth and her rights are not as important or crucial as a mans? Can you think of a reason? Any one at all?
I wall to and from work. It’s not too far. About fifteen minutes from my house, ten if I leave from school. I quite enjoy my walk to work. My headphones are in my ears, I have a catchy song playing and during the spring or fall seasons, I look at the changing colors of the leaves or the blossoming buds on the trees. It’s the walk home I don’t enjoy as much. I always wear my jacket. Even during the summers when the nights are hardly any cooler than the days. I cover myself as much as possible. I don’t want to wear or show anything that could attract the wrong kind of attention. I keep my keys firmly pressed in my hand, ready to be drawn out at a moment’s notice if need be. I don’t have any mace, but if I did, you can bet it would be out and ready. I keep my belongings close to me. I Cross the street to make my commute as short as possible. If I see anyone at all on the side of the road I walk on, I cross to the other side despite my efforts to shorten my commute. If I see any men on their porch or stoop, talking, smoking a cigarette or hanging out, I keep my eyes on the pavement in front of me. I don’t look at them. I don’t make eye contact. I NEVER make eye contact. I never let them see how afraid I am. I hurry past them as quickly as I can without running. I want to get by them as quickly as I can without making it too obvious that I am trying to get away or in a hurry. I breathe a sigh of relief when I see the tower of my school building up ahead. I am close to home but I am not out of the woods yet. I continue with my fast pace until I am safe at home. I walk as fast as I can avoiding any male attention I can. When I arrive at home, I lock the doors. I work the night shift and often I cannot go to bed unless the doors are locked. I live in a good neighborhood, but I still always lock the doors. You never know now a days. You just never know. I heat up dinner I prepared earlier in the day for a quick meal before bed. When I get to my room, I take my running shoes off and leave them by my bedroom door. I always wear running shoes to work. Because like I said, you never know.
I didn’t realize how hard it was to be a woman in the workplace until yesterday. I went to work and I felt fine beforehand, I felt fine during my walk. I felt like everything would be okay that day. Let me start off by saying, before my shift, I usually go for a run or swim or get some kind of workout in. It makes me feel good, gets all the bad feelings out and its how I keep in shape. I didn’t go yesterday because I have been having sleeping troubles and I don’t fall asleep until the wee hours of the morning and when I wake up it is too late for me to get a workout in before work. (For the record, my workouts take a minimum of an hour and a half). Even if I get a workout in, I still have to go back to my house and shower and get ready for work and then actually walk to work. Back to the original story; maybe I didn’t feel like myself because I didn’t workout or I didn’t get enough sleep. But I just didn’t feel like the friendly, bubbly, exuberant Maddie I usually am. I just didn’t feel like it. I take a vitamin that has a mood support just to help with dealing with customers. That last sentence should speak volumes. I have to take a mood support vitamin just to deal with customers. I am not saying that to speak negatively about myself or any customer in any way. I have a hard time dealing with a lot of people at once and often times people forget that cashiers are people too. We deserve respect. My job has minimal requirements. Mostly anyone could work my job. My job has very little impact on the world around me. These are all true statements. However, I am a person. I deserve respect and I have feelings like anyone else. These are all true statements. I had two customers complain about me because I wasn’t ‘friendly enough.’ I get paid to be nice and kind to customers. Yes, that is a true statement. However, I will not bend over while one spreads his or her ass cheeks and kiss his or her hairy, smelly asshole. I have had customers curse at me, yell at me, scream at me, solicit me for sex and everything short of propose to me. A lot of them get upset when I say no to sleeping with a random stranger. I still have to smile and say, ‘It’s alright. It’s okay.’ What really grinds my gears is how while being a cashier, I cannot have any emotion. I cannot be upset because a customer false accused me of something I did not do, or a customer yelled at me because of a mistake they made. I cannot tell a customer to ‘stop making me feel uncomfortable’ because they were continuously commenting on ‘what a body I have’. I can only be friendly, and bubbly and perky. And perky. Being a woman, I often have to deal with unwarranted and unwanted attention from males. I wear a buttoned up polo shirt as a uniform. It is loose on me. I wear a sports bra to conceal my ample bosom. I wear loose fitting yoga pants and black running sneakers. I wear a scarf over my chest, In the winter I wear long sleeved shirts under my shirt. I wear my hair up in a pontyail or bun with a headband. I wear studs in my ears and a running watch on my wrist. I wear no make up. I am in no way trying to attract attention. Men still come up to me and talk to me, treat me, act like I am a piece of meat. ‘Hi how are you, beautiful. Boy, if my wife weren’t here, let me tell you what I would do to you.’ *Man licks lips.* “Ay, mama cita. Esta bien? How about you’s and me get together sometime?…No? Puta!’ (Puta means bitch in Spanish). I still have to smile and wish them a good day. Because I am a woman and I am a cashier. I cannot defend myself. I cannot stand up for myself. I must send them on their way with a smile and a wish of a good day.
I am a feminist. I am not against men or mankind. I believe in equality for all. I do not believe in advantages for women and leaving men in the dust. However, I want my voice to heard and it to be known that I am a woman. I am not a piece of meat. I am not someone to be fought for in the hopes of winning. I am not a toy or a prize. I am not a damsel in distress. I am a woman. I deserve equal rights. I deserve equal pay. I deserve to work in a job where I can stand up for myself, I deserve to feel things and emotions beyond happiness. I deserve for those emotions and ideas to be seen as more than ‘a woman’s thinking’ or ‘its her time of the month’ or ‘shes too emotional’. I deserve to be taken seriously. I deserve to feel safe. I deserve to feel like a man in a man’s world, instead of a woman in a man’s world.
- Okay, I have an hour to swim. And its only an hour right? I can do this.
- yeah, I can definitely do this.
- It’ll take me five minutes to change out of my sweaty clothes. Putting on a bathing suit over a sweaty body is like wrestling with the devil.
- And then I have to go get my gear. And I’ll probably stop to chat with the lifeguard. So its really more like a 45 minute swim.
- And that’s what, a warm up, swim and a warm down. Psh, that’s nothing I’ve got this.
- Oh god I hope I don’t see anyone I know here. I hate wearing my bathing suit in front of people I know.
- I look fine when I’ve got my shorts on, if only my shorts were, like, permanently attached to me.
- oh crap. Of course two of the fittest guys I know are here and meanwhile I had twizzlers for lunch.
- Oh shit. None of the lanes are open. That means I’ve got to ~gulp~ share.
- Okay, just ask that old lady if you can share her lane with her. Yes, you can do this. Just ask. Just do it. Like ripping off a band aid.
- Okay so at least the old lady let me share a lane with her. She shouldn’t be in the way too much. Now I can really stretch out.
- Oh good the fit guy has left. Now I can take his lane AND go as slow as I want.
- Oh no. He’s back. He just went to the bathroom.
- Ugh that means I have to actually try during my workout.
- I wonder if he thinks I look like a drowning cat when I swim.
- Alright. That’s gotta be, what fifteen, twenty minutes past so far? I’m almost half way done!
- its only been three minutes?!
- I’m quitting. I’m quitting life. I’m just going to float here like a piece of wood until my time is up and then go home and order take out.
- Okay, warm up is done. Just a quick workout and you’re almost done. Only thirty minutes left. And that’s fifteen times two. And one of those fifteen’s is a warm down. Warm downs are easy so you really only have fifteen minutes to go. Okay, okay. You can do this.
- I cannot do this.
- Thank god the old bag has left.
- That was mean. She was nice.
- If I decide to do the butterfly will it look like I’m showing off? Well what if I just add it into my workout? There is no way I can do more than half a lap of the butterfly in a row. Okay nix the butterfly. I REPEAT; NIX THE BUTTERFLY!
- I going for the fly
- Why did I do the butterfly? The cute guy probably thinks I had a seizure while swimming.
- Okay, workout, done. Now time for a warm down,
- Just fifteen more minutes. You’ve come this far, you’re almost one.
- Okay, fifteen minutes should be up fairly so– what its only been six minutes? Ugh. Fuck this. Just fuck this.
- I might as well keep going. It’d be a shame to quit now.
- Tell ya what, you can order pizza if you finish.
- What kind of pizza do I want? Or do I want a calzone? or a burrito?!
- Definitely taking the mexican route tonight. Can you say Chimichanga? No I want a burrito the size of my face. I deserve . I definitely deserve it.
- Oh time’s up! When did that happen?
- I really should use food more often to motivate myself.
- Good workout. Same time tomorrow?
It’s better to feel pain than nothing at all.
In a world full of people, differences outweigh similarities. These likenesses include things like laughter, family and pain. This post will be focusing on the latter and how to deal with it while away from home.
Tragedy strikes with no rhyme or reason. There is no pattern or enigma when it comes to tragedy. The thing to remember when tragedy occurs is everyone deals with it a different way. I am the type of person who cries at everything. I hold funerals for beetles and have memorials for pets. I am a sensitive person who feels everything; good and bad. When tragedy hits my life, I find it helps to process things out loud with only my closest friend(s) to listen. I seek religious reason and read my bible. I spend time by myself thinking and reflecting. Sometimes I go to members of the clergy to seek answers. The point of this rant is to understand that there is no right or wrong way to process grief. There is no right or wrong way to feel. Emotions are a common union. We all feel.
How to cope with tragedy away from home:
- Tragedy means something different to everyone. A family member falls ill, a beloved one passes away, a parent loses their job, a pet dies. Everyone feels saddened by something. Remember, there is no right or wrong way to feel. Do not apologize for your emotions. They are real and valid even if you cannot make sense of them. First step in dealing with tragedy away from home is acknowledging your feelings. Validate them. Once you do that you will be closer to grieving and moving on from the tragedy.
- Once you have acknowledged your feelings you can start to figure out why you feel that way. (It sounds silly but some people don’t know why they feel a certain way). Did your parent lose a job and now you feel like the burden is on you? Did a sick family member pass away and you felt like you should have been there instead? Did your parents divorce and you feel like you were powerless to stop it? Figure out why you are feeling this way. Why the tragedy impacted you the way it did.
- When you learn where your feelings come from you can start to grieve. Everyone grieves differently. It isn’t black and white. There are multiple ways and multiple steps for grieving. For example: When I grieve, I first like to be by myself. I need to process whats happened. After that, I eat. Like really eat. And not the good stuff, but the bad stuff. Chocolate, pizza, burritos. Usually after I grieve about the tragedy I grieve about my waistline. (Wrong time for a joke?) after my feast, I talk to people I trust and who i know can weigh in on how I’m feeling. Sometimes I need someone to listen and not say anything and other times I need someone to speak the words I can’t fathom myself. After that I can usually start getting back into the old swing of things. The length and time of grief isn’t set in stone. Some people take longer than others.
- Post mourning period doesn’t mean the grief is over. People often live with grief for years, tucked neatly away in the back of their mind. Sometime grief never goes away. My nana and pops lost one of their children. A couple of years ago I interviewed my nana for a school assignment and she cried at the mention of her late daughters name. Sometimes grief never goes away. Sometimes you learn to live with it and learn to carry on your everyday life with a shadow following your every move. Don’t be afraid to seek a therapist or professional help. Plenty of people see counselors just to deal with the hardships of everyday life. If your grief follows you like a shadow, please seek professional help.
- Sadness isn’t a walk in the park. It isn’t easy. It’s no picnic. But remember, you will smile again. And when you do, don’t be afraid. Don’t feel guilty. It doesn’t make what you went through any less real or your loss any less difficult. What happened was real. But the world will keep turning if you smile or enjoy yourself or have fun.
I have my nana and pops, my stepdads parents and my gran and grandpa, my mothers parents. I am very close to my gran. I am close to her because I wasn’t overly close with my grandpa. It still hurt when he left us. It hurt my mother even more. My mom is a daddy’s girl. She was so close with my grandpa. She had a very hard time with the loss of my grandpa. Holidays and his birthday and trips to see my Gran are still hard for her. She grieved and she felt her loss. But she still smiles, she still enjoys life and sees its value. Nothing can last forever, not the good and certainly not the bad. Remember that your hard time will pass. **
*I am not a professional therapist. I STRONGLY recommend seeing a professional when you experience loss no matter the degree.
*This post was inspired by a beautiful and kind family of angels in my town who loss one of their sons in 2010 and most recently another one this past July. Please pray for the Ellsessar Family.