The Liberation

Deep stuff ahead. You’ve been warned. 

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This months marks one year.

One year.

A whole damn year….

Without The Psychological Abuser in my life.

I’m trying to adjust my perception of it all to look at it as a learning experience and not a waste of good suffering, anger, spite, and time.

I really don’t like to talk about the things he did. Mostly because I don’t want to speak of the devil and have him appear.

But I’ve learned so much about myself and how strong I am.

At first, I was confused and sad. I thought my world would literally implode and everything around me would go to shit and then some.

But it didn’t.

I do feel that in the first few weeks I became so prepared for things. Prepared to lose my job, prepared to lose my home prepared to face the consequences he so rubbed in my face for leaving. I made contingencies and more contingencies.

It was a week and some change from the parting event and there were still “minions” reaching out to me telling me that I was a horrible person or playing dumb asking if I’d heard from him.

Whatever.

I changed my number.

The thing I feared most was that he’d show up to my house. I’d moved to a different state about a year ago, but still not far. I thought he’d come out of the woodworks like a goddamn poltergeist.

But he didn’t.

I’ve moved residences since then.

Sometimes I fear I’m being followed home from work or what have you. If there is a car that has been following me too long or seems to follow too closely, I do the four lefts.

Call me paranoid.

All the ways he had to reach me, I severed, except for my email, which I’m not changing because I have too much invested. Also, I can block it.

Most of the “friends” lost in the “divorce” still bother me. It shouldn’t. Some I had to sever ties with because I knew, even though they were inconsequential to our relationship, he would use them to get to me.

And I still feel bad about that.

My world did shrink a bit. I’m not sad about that. I’ve always been a quality person versus quantity person.

I’m much more careful about what I say on social media. I don’t think anyone really knows me IRL from this blog.

I’ve learned how to make decisions for myself — I’d used to defer to his judgement and advice and now I have to use my own thought processes and figure stuff out. Weigh pros and cons and make up my mind.

I’ve learned how to be a better person — more kind and caring, more understanding.

I’ve also learned how to be more guarded — I rarely confide in anyone anymore. Unsolicited advice from an innocuous person when I was 19 and impressionable is what got me into this in the first place. I curate a lot of conversations. I don’t bring him up anymore, definitely.

My family was always suspect of the Abuser. Asking me why he was in my life and he manipulated the way I associate with my family. Some for the better, some for the worse. I guess their suspicion of him made him suspicious of them and he instructed me to minimize contact with them.

And not all of it was bad. We had some good times. And I guess, in my mind, that those good times overshadowed the horrible times.

As I’ve said before, still haven’t told S.O. about all the bullshit. I did tell him about the one time that the Abuser had tried to convince me that S.O. had given me an STD — it was during my staph outbreak from my rosacea during my homeless adventure. I had gotten a staph bump on my lady bits (which is as horrible as it sounds). And the abuser tried to tell me that S.O. had given me a venereal disease. I thought it was stupid in the first place. I’m the only person S.O.’s ever been with and he really doesn’t have the gumption to sleep around.

I could never tell the Abuser about my sexual assault. Being the deep south, my worth as a woman significantly decreased if I had sexual intercourse with a Black man. I was sexually assaulted by a Black man my freshman year at college. The thought shamed me so much that the thought of it, in my mind, would reduce me to nothing. So, I lied. “Have you ever slept with a black guy?” he’d asked.

“Nope,” I said, my guts filled with shame and anxiety, more so that I’d disappoint the Abuser and less that I’d been sexually assaulted and still suffered the stigma of it. This conversation also happening driving to my grandfather’s memorial. Bad timing.

But I know better. And I’m not as ashamed as I was. More angry. I’ve told S.O. about it, vaguely. But I wasn’t able to talk about it in therapy because I felt it would get back to him.

But yeah… there’s a lot of shit.

I’m gonna be okay, though.

I got this.

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The Politics Anxiety

President Trump Signs Executive Orders In The Oval Office

I’ve become that person I’ve berated, however, instead of continuing the cycle of letting political bullshit on FB make me crazy and anxious, I’m just going to shut the damn thing down.

It’s not that I don’t care about the plight of different peoples, but it’s the fact that maybe I care too much. I don’t know. I think it’s sad what’s going on in the middle east — especially hearing stories about people who actually live here not being able to get back home.

About 15 years ago, my nana’s friend who was from South Africa had moved to the States with her husband and children. She had to return for a few months while her mother was ill and subsequently passed, and something went wrong with her papers and she couldn’t make it back for months after her mother had passed. I think she was out of the country for a full year while her husband and children continued on here.

And it sucks that it’s happening to people who are actually residents not being able to get home to their jobs, homes, dogs, cars, responsibilities.

I understand the need to vet immigrants coming into the country from “questionable” areas and it’s a time consuming process — but these people who are “locked out” are people who have been vetted, known quantities. They should be able to come home.

Conversely, I’m torn about the refugees. Yes, they are coming from war torn countries, but they also bring with them that baggage. Not all of them. And it’s not Muslims in particular — just those who have been radicalized and are utilizing this situation as a means to harm people. But you can’t tell which ones are peaceful and just want to get the hell out of there, which is completely understandable, and which ones are using the crisis to cause terror and harm people.

You want to open your arms and take them in, but at the same time it’s the lesson of the scorpion and the frog. You want to help, but it might just be in the nature of the ones who want to harm to harm. You can do everything you can, but the scorpion is still going to sting you because it’s their nature.

And that’s where my logic is torn. There is so much knee jerk emotionalism but there’s also a logic to it, but all the people who have that pure emotive reaction are drowning out the logic in it all. And the massive amount of differing voices with divisive ideas perpetuated by some mutation of misinformation and truth.

It’s grating on my nerves and I’m to the point where I want nothing of it.

And that’s bad.

Because I’m an advocate of civil rights and a humanitarian. I feel my goal in life is to help as many folks as I can. I go out of my way to be charitable and kind to people, especially on an individual level, but right now I cannot rationally deal with this.

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The Shower Curtain and Bleach Soup

I had a really awesome blog idea last night when I was trying to sleep and I totally forgot.

Sorry.

Cleaning house and waiting for my freshly mopped floors to dry.

Doing so much laundry.

Productive day!

Not so much yesterday. Had a hard time focusing and too much to do. Came home and immediately crashed. I’d missed thyroid meds on thursday and ended up taking it on friday with food (hopefully some absorbed). Today was the first day in two days with proper administration of thyroid meds and I got a crap ton done.

Doctor said my labs look good. Told me that I didnt need a referral for dermatology, but they cant fit me in until March. Do, however, need prior authorization from my health insurance to see special dentist about SSRI induced bruxism and TMJ. Evidently she was freaked out by my jaw popping every time I opened my mouth. Unfortunately, said dentist is out of network under my dental plan. Insurance will still cover some. Need to find new dentist anyways — three dentists have left the practice and jumped ship and they it seems like they are over charging me. Cleanings are supposed to be free and fillings like $8 per surface per my dental insurance formulary thingy…. not $65 and $78 respectively. The oral surgeon who took all my wisdom teeth out in March only charged me $107 for the whole damn shebang — but they want to charge me over half that for a damn cleaning. Also quoted me $800 for a crown, and a trip to the endontist for a root canal. There’s been a filling in that tooth for 15 years… and it’s held up until recently and it doesnt hurt at all. I think I’ll be okay with another filling. And if you do want to put a crown on it, I dont need a nice porcelain thing. It’s in the back of my friggin head. Silver is fine.

Jeez.

Dentistry in general frustrates me. I’m pretty sure my brother didn’t brush his teeth until he got braces when he was 16 and that bastard has never had a cavity. Mom and dad put over $1500 worth of braces into his mouth and the first time he went to prison, they took out his braces and a few years later (can’t exactly remember prison stint this was) he got schlocked and his front tooth got knocked out.

Freaking rediculous.

And I brush my teeth 2+ times a day and floss, but I have cavities.

Life isn’t fair

Well, this was a weird post — was talking about cleaning then got to talking about oral hygiene.

Guess it’s a logical tangent…

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The Masks We Wear

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Yesterday, I read more than a few posts about wearing metaphorical masks to blend in (AnonymouslyAutistic and TheBorderBetween), keep calm, blend in, and live a relatively normal life — mostly not make the people around you think that you are a basket case.

With having an anxiety disorder, in combination with one of the rarest personality types for a female, there are a lot of masks I wear to keep my world copacetic.

Concern — trying to empathize with other people’s problems when their problems seem trivial and there are plenty of solutions around them to fix their problems, but they won’t take them. I love S.O., but I know he will go on and on about work bullshit, and I’m like, “Dude, you have 2 months of accrued PTO. Take a damn vacation and make them realize how much work you actually do and how valuable you are when you are on ‘vacation’ for a month.” I’ve said that so many times I sound like a broken record.

But, S.O. is one of those people I can take my mask off with. And it’s been hard, no doubt. I still have a hard time telling him about panic attacks. I haven’t completely told him everything that The Psychological Abuser did to me, and that I’m still afraid he’s going to come back into my life and snatch away all that I’ve worked hard for like some goddamned poltergeist.

Leadership — I hate when people pussyfoot around and I have to take the mantle of leader. Especially in group work. I hated group projects because I was the one that usually contributed the most and did all the work, then the rest of the group will bitch about how it’s done, but contribute nothing. But when someone needs to take charge, it’s usually me. Even if I don’t know what I’m doing, but something needs to be done. Unfinished things on a deadline bother me.

Productivity — I’m really good at looking like I’m doing a lot when I’m really just procrastinating. Literally, right now. My boss hears the clickity clack of my keyboard and thinks I’m hard at work. But, I’m  an expert at getting things done at the 11th hour. And doing it pretty damn well. I write all my papers the day before they’re due in a 6-7 hour binge. It kind of helps me in that all of my thoughts are cohesive and current. If I come back a day later or spread out the work, I will lose my train of thought.

Having my shit together — this one I can pull off loosely, but I think I got it. I’m pretty good at faking that one. When I come in looking primped and reared to go and I talk about how I’m going to get X, Y, Z done, but I still end up flaking (which is something I despise in other people — yep, I’m a hypocrite).

Sometimes I get so consumed by making sure I have the right mask that I forget what I want in life. I’m too entrenched in keeping masks on to manipulate how people think of me.

It’s rather sad that this is my life.

I had to take one of my masks off for health reasons. My rosacea is flared up and I cannot wear any makeup lest it exacerbate the issue. I posted a bare faced selfie in that post and that, for me takes guts. My skin hates me and I feel like without wearing makeup, I open up a door for people to come in and criticize or offer unsolicited advice on my skincare routine. My skin has always been a constant source of ire for me. I’m moley with dilated pores from my rosacea, redness, and occasional acne.

Ha. The power of makeup.

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The Imperceptible Shifts

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I feel like my brain undermines me — stupid work email sends my brain into mental gymnastics which leads me to believe the negative or something pretty innocuous.

And now I have to fake it.

I have to pretend to be happy and productive, when all I want to do is go home, drink wine, and watch TV in my pajamas, snuggle my cats, and forget about this place.

And I know it’s stupid and I’m trying to distract myself, but it keeps bubbling up — the indignation of it all.

Okay. Focus.

Happy thoughts. Get your shit done. Forget about petty people. Don’t think too much about it. Refocus attention. Do your job. Do it well. Be awesome. Fuck everyone else.

I think I got this.

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The Rosacea Problem

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Well, it’s been five damn years and my rosacea has flared up. Normally, I’d be panicking with an impending sense that my entire face would soon look like a pizza and my susceptibility to staph would skyrocket, I’m not that worried. I’m going to see my doctor on Friday for my six month thyroid follow up and have her look at it and/or give me a referral to dermatology.

See, the last few times my rosacea got bad, I didn’t have insurance. And I tried every quack thing I could to get rid of it. The worst it got was when I was on my homeless adventure and I was so stressed and depressed and working all the time in a call center (hello, germ breeding ground) and hostessing at a diner (hello, other germ breeding ground) I got staph.

And it was bad. It was all over my face. I had huge staph bumps on my finger, arm, leg, a few on my butt, stomach. It was pretty gnarly.

I finally broke down and went to the ER. I didn’t have any other options.

They gave me a script for bactrim and bactroban and it cleared it right up. I followed up with a dermatologist two weeks later (out of pocket $120) and suggested for future follow ups to use benzoyl peroxide, which most rosacea forums say will make it worse, but it actually makes it better for me. So I’ve been using it whenever I even have any kind of hint that a flare up is on the horizon.

And now, I have a flare up. It’s on the left side of my nose up to my glasses, the sides of both nostrils, below the left nostril, and on the center of my chin.

And I know it’s genetic — my paternal grandma has it, my dad has it, one or two of my cousins have it. Throw in my dad’s moliness and my mom’s super awesome cystic acne, and my skin hates me.

I’ve had some really awful regular pimples with it (maybe hormonal), which kind of exacerbates it.

Also, I have a hard time keeping my hands off of it. I’m a horrible picker — it’s a really nasty habit, I know.

So, I’ll probably get another script for bactrim and bactroban and watch my skin magically go back to normal after looking like a cheese pizza.

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The Plight of the American Woman — Personal Story/Long Read

Hokay! Here be unpopular opinion and a bit of a long read with lots of legal stuff. Ye be warned.

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I didn’t march this weekend. And it’s not because I don’t support the cause, but because large crowds make me nervous, and we were on the road.

But as a woman, I feel it is my duty to support other women, and that’s what I’m gonna do.

I feel like because women in the first world have access to social media and are more able disseminate their opinions, that the issues and problems of third world women fall to the wayside.

We just don’t hear about them as much.

I used to think the phrase “first world problems” was trite and dismissive, then I realized the plight of women in the first world is just that, first world problems.

We’re worried about paying $7 for a box of tampons, while women in Africa can’t go to school or worry about female genital mutilation.

Who is at risk?

Procedures are mostly carried out on young girls sometime between infancy and adolescence, and occasionally on adult women. More than 3 million girls are estimated to be at risk for FGM annually.

More than 200 million girls and women alive today have been cut in 30 countries in Africa, the Middle East and Asia where FGM is concentrated 1.

The practice is most common in the western, eastern, and north-eastern regions of Africa, in some countries the Middle East and Asia, as well as among migrants from these areas. FGM is therefore a global concern.

Cultural and social factors for performing FGM

The reasons why female genital mutilations are performed vary from one region to another as well as over time, and include a mix of sociocultural factors within families and communities. The most commonly cited reasons are:

  • Where FGM is a social convention (social norm), the social pressure to conform to what others do and have been doing, as well as the need to be accepted socially and the fear of being rejected by the community, are strong motivations to perpetuate the practice. In some communities, FGM is almost universally performed and unquestioned.
  • FGM is often considered a necessary part of raising a girl, and a way to prepare her for adulthood and marriage.
  • FGM is often motivated by beliefs about what is considered acceptable sexual behaviour. It aims to ensure premarital virginity and marital fidelity. FGM is in many communities believed to reduce a woman’s libido and therefore believed to help her resist extramarital sexual acts. When a vaginal opening is covered or narrowed (type 3), the fear of the pain of opening it, and the fear that this will be found out, is expected to further discourage extramarital sexual intercourse among women with this type of FGM.
  • Where it is believed that being cut increases marriageability, FGM is more likely to be carried out.
  • FGM is associated with cultural ideals of femininity and modesty, which include the notion that girls are clean and beautiful after removal of body parts that are considered unclean, unfeminine or male.
  • Though no religious scripts prescribe the practice, practitioners often believe the practice has religious support.
  • Religious leaders take varying positions with regard to FGM: some promote it, some consider it irrelevant to religion, and others contribute to its elimination.
  • Local structures of power and authority, such as community leaders, religious leaders, circumcisers, and even some medical personnel can contribute to upholding the practice.
  • In most societies, where FGM is practised, it is considered a cultural tradition, which is often used as an argument for its continuation.
  • In some societies, recent adoption of the practice is linked to copying the traditions of neighbouring groups. Sometimes it has started as part of a wider religious or traditional revival movement.

http://www.who.int/mediacentre/factsheets/fs241/en/

That is absolutely horrific.

Access to education is another issue that first world women don’t have to worry about. They are worried about manspreading and mansplaining when women in Africa and Asia are denied education.

Despite progress in recent years, girls continue to suffer severe disadvantage and exclusion in education systems throughout their lives. An estimated 31 million girls of primary school age and 32 million girls of lower secondary school age were out of school in 2013. Sub-Saharan Africa has the lowest proportion of countries with gender parity: only two out of 35 countries. And South and West Asia has the widest gender gap in its out-of-school population – 80 per cent of its out-of-school girls are unlikely to ever start school compared to 16 per cent of its out-of-school boys. Furthermore, many countries will still not have reached gender parity. On current trends, it is projected that 69 per cent of countries will have achieved parity in primary education, and 48 per cent of countries will have achieved parity in lower secondary education by the 2015 deadline.

Girls’ education is both an intrinsic right and a critical lever to reaching other development objectives. Providing girls with an education helps break the cycle of poverty: educated women are less likely to marry early and against their will; less likely to die in childbirth; more likely to have healthy babies; and are more likely to send their children to school. When all children have access to a quality education rooted in human rights and gender equality, it creates a ripple effect of opportunity that influences generations to come.

https://www.unicef.org/education/bege_70640.html

Or what about the way women are treated in the Middle East?

1. India (some parts): Road safety rules don’t apply to women. In some states of India, women are excepted from safety rules that mandate motorcycle passengers wear helmets — an exemption that kills or injures thousands each year. Women’s rights advocates have argued the exemption springs from a culture-wide devaluation of women’s lives. Supporters of the ban say they’re just trying to preserve women’s carefully styled hair and make-up — which isn’t exactly a feminist response.

2. Yemen: A woman is considered only half a witness. That’s the policy on legal testimony in Yemen, where a woman is not, to quote a 2005 Freedom House report, “recognized as a full person before the court.” In general, a single woman’s testimony isn’t taken seriously unless it’s backed by a man’s testimony or concerns a place or situation where a man would not be. And women can’t testify at all in cases of adultery, libel, theft or sodomy.

3. Saudi Arabia and Vatican City: Women can’t vote… still. This is amazingly the case in Saudi Arabia, though a royal decree, issued in 2011, will let women vote in Saudi elections in 2015. Vatican City is the only other country that allows men, but not women, to vote.

4. Ecuador: Abortion is illegal, unless you’re an “idiot.” Begum says this is the policy in Ecuador, where abortions have long been outlawed for everyone but “idiots” and the “demented.” Politicians are considering a policy with the more politely worded term “mentally ill,” but that won’t change abortion’s legal status in Ecuador — or, more importantly, the fact that the law is frequently used to criminalize miscarriages.

5. Saudi Arabia and Morocco: Rape victims can be charged with crimes. Many, many countries fail to protect the victims of rape, but some go a step further — punishing women for leaving the house without a male companion, for being alone with an unrelated man, or for getting pregnant afterwards. The most infamous case may be Saudi Arabia’s “Qatif girl,” but a recent suicide in Morocco also made headlines — 16-year-old Amina Filali killed herself after a judge forced her to marry her alleged rapist, in keeping with a policy that invalidates statutory rape charges if the parties marry.

6. Yemen: Women can’t leave the house without their husbands’ permission. Yemen, where this law remains in force, does allow for a few emergency exceptions, Begum says: if the woman must rush out to care for her ailing parents, for instance.

7. Saudi Arabia: Women can’t drive. Read more about the ban and how women are challenging it here.

The good news? According to the World Economic Forum’s most recent gender gap report, equality has made “modest” gains in the Middle East. And Begum, of Human Rights Watch, says there’s lots of agitation for more change.

“Women in Saudi Arabia are highly educated and qualified,” she said. “They don’t want to be left in the dark.”

https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/worldviews/wp/2013/10/27/7-ridiculous-restrictions-on-womens-rights-around-the-world/

This right here is why I’m more afraid of being a woman in a third world country than being a woman in Trump’s America.

And human trafficking, which is a problem everywhere, not just in third world countries, but in the US as well:

Women constitute a large proportion of the overall number of people trafficked, that is transferred within or across national borders from their place of habitual residence;

The illicit movement of women takes place at the hands of “traffickers,” loosely defined as people profiteering from organizing, carrying out or otherwise facilitating the illicit transit of persons;

The majority of trafficked women find themselves trapped in debt bondage, servitude or slavery-like conditions as a result of being trafficked;

One of the forces driving trafficking in women is demand for their employment – be it “voluntary” or “coerced” – in the sex industry;

Any of the women trafficked for work in the sex industry are subjected to human rights abuses directly resulting from being trafficked;

There is evidence that the fewest trafficking-related human rights abuses occur at the women’s places of habitual residence, while such abuses often commence at transit locations, and they become more prevalent at the final destination;

Trafficking in women reaps huge financial profits for the traffickers and has, therefore, seen an ever-increasing involvement on the part of international organized crime.

http://www.stopvaw.org/Finding_a_Common_Definition_for_Trafficking.html

Women in the first world are leading the race for women’s rights. We are showing the rest of the world what it is to be a woman and what it is to be equal. We should be setting an example, and I’m not saying the women’s march was a bad thing — I think it is wonderful that this was the largest peaceable protest ever. But I feel it was mired in minutae and didn’t properly target these issues of where women are really and actually oppressed.

As a woman living in the first world, I feel privileged to be here. I don’t have to worry about the horrible things that happen to women in other places in the world.

I’ve never felt oppressed. I make more money than S.O., and all the women I know make more money than their male counterparts. I’ve never been discriminated against because of my sex. I don’t know anyone who has been discriminated against because of sex, gender, sexual orientation, or color. I’ve seen discrimination toward the immigrant population, however there are structures, especially in the medical world (in which I work) to assist with language barriers and there are federal laws protecting people who speak languages other than English — if an institution receives any kind of federal funds, they are required to have a translator. In Florida, because there are so many Spanish and Creole speaking people, businesses go out of their way to hire bilingual people. I’ve seen more discrimination in the medical field, in terms of hiring, against people who ONLY speak English. Hell, I’ve lost out on jobs because I don’t speak Spanish.

When it comes to reproductive rights, the only discrimination I’ve encountered is from my own body — like yesterday when I bled through my pants at work and that was my exit cue. I’m fortunate enough to have insurance through my work and all my reproductive needs are very much affordable. I don’t feel there is any deliberate discrimination against females specifically in the medical field — it’s against poor people in general. In my experience, birth control, has been pretty affordable until you get into the specialty types. When I was on tri-sprintec it was a whopping $9 without insurance, which you can get an script for at your local county health department. However, if you have specific medical needs other than preventing pregnancy, it might cost you a bit more. And that’s healthcare in general. Certain general antibiotics are free at Publix pharmacy — but they’re for typical things (strep, staph, etc). When you get into the specialty drugs, it’ll cost you.

So, I don’t think it is women, specifically, I think it’s poor people. Women’s healthcare is more extensive and expensive, yes, but after having insurance, I can safely say it is no more expensive than seeing another specialist like a dermatologist or endocrinologist. Hell, my annual visits are free and my IUD is only going to cost me my specialist co-pay.

In the terms of civil rights, especially in the work place, women have gotten the short end of the stick concerning pregnancy and breastfeeding. However, there are federal laws in place protecting women and minorities:

Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) of 1990:

The ADA is the federal law that prohibits discrimination, in hiring, promotion, discharge, pay, fringe benefits, job training, classification, referral, and other aspects of employment, against qualified applicants or individuals based on disability (ADA as amended, Titles I and V).
Barring undue hardship, the state provides “reasonable accommodations” for persons with disabilities when they apply for a job or, if employed, to help them perform the “essential functions” of their job.

Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act (GINA) of 2008:

Title II of the GINA protects applicants and employees from discrimination based on genetic information in hiring, promotion, discharge, pay, fringe benefits, job training, classification, referral, and other aspects of employment. GINA also restricts employers’ acquisition of genetic information and strictly limits disclosure of genetic information.
Genetic information includes information about genetic tests of applicants, employees, or their family members, the manifestation of diseases or disorders in family members (family medical history). It also includes requests for or receipt of genetic services by applicants, employees, or their family members.

Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA):

FLSA is the federal law requiring the state to pay covered employees at least federal minimum wage and overtime for all hours worked over 40 hours in a workweek. Overtime pay is one and one-half of the employee’s regular rate of pay (sometimes referred to as time and a half).

And a few others:

• Civil Rights Act of 1964, as amended, Titles VI and VII
• Sections 760.01 – 760.11, and section 509.092, Florida Statutes, Florida Civil Rights Act of 1992
• Vietnam Era Veterans’ Readjustment Act of 1973, as amended
• Code of Federal Regulations, and
• Chapters 110 and 112, Florida Statutes

-FL DOH employee handbook

If you are a female and are experiencing workplace discrimination in the private sector, you need to make it known. In the public sector, that shit won’t be tolerated. If the head honchos don’t have an open door policy, take it to the news, get a lawyer, do something. Because standing in the street waiving a sign isn’t doing it. Again, actions and words.

And this isn’t just a man vs. woman thing. Men get it too. But you don’t hear about it because a lot of the things they deal with, to discuss it openly stigmatizes them or when they do, their issues are trivialized.

1. Men get longer prison sentences than women for the same crime

Nowhere it is written in law that men are to receive harsher sentences than women but the fact is they do.  And not just a little bit longer. When Prof. Sonja Starr looked at federal criminal sentencing, she found that men received, on average, 63% longer sentences than women for the same crimes, and women were twice as likely to not even be jailed when convicted.  That’s something to consider when you see things like “men commit the most crime”. It appears that men are sentenced for the most crime. Going to jail apparently has only a tenuous relationship with committing a crime, as long as you are a woman. Men are punished far more harshly than women, and women are likely to escape being punished at all.

2. Boys are more likely to be on psychotropic medications than girls

By the time he reaches high school, a little boy growing up in America has a 1 in 5 chance of being prescribed powerful Schedule II psychotropic medications to calm his behavior so he will sit quietly and obediently in female-dominated classrooms. Boys are diagnosed with ADHD at twice the rate of girls, and while there is no law written anywhere that says boys are to be drugged into submission, that is in fact what is happening. Girls are largely exempt from pharmaceutical behavioural controls and boys are not.

3. Far more men than women die on the job

Again, there is no employment law anywhere that says women are to work in cushy, air-conditioned offices and men are to work in dangerous mines, factories and roadways but the reality is that very few women work in any occupation that will lead to death, while lots of men do. When you hear media feminists calling for quotas in boardrooms or in tech giants like Google or Amazon, ask yourself why these same women are not calling for quotas on heavy equipment or oil rigs? Why is it that women seem to want equality for the sweet jobs, yet have no problem watching the bodies of men crushed, trampled, burned or pulverized pile up on the really dangerous, crappy jobs? Women are largely protected from workplace fatalities and men are not.

4. Most of the homeless are men

There is no law anywhere that states women are to be protected from homelessness and given social resources to prevent that from occurring, and yet, that is exactly what happens. Most of the homeless in the US are men, but most of the homeless women have children with them, and are thus able to avail themselves of social services not available to homeless men. The end result is that women are protected from the full effects of homelessness and are afforded special protections to ensure it does not happen, and men are not. There are some deep structural reasons for that, but if you are going to be homeless, it’s best to be a woman. You’ll get some help. Men won’t.

5. Over 40% of victims of severe physical domestic violence are men but 99.3% of shelter spaces are for women only

This one is a little bit tricky, because while the domestic violence law is written in gender neutral terms that do not exclude men, the act itself is called VAWA – the Violence Against WOMEN Act. Technically, men are legally protected from intimate partner violence, but in practice, men are likely to be the person arrested, even when they are the seriously injured party.  Here is a summary of surveys that show time and time again that women are more likely to initiate violence, and yet men are arrested 85% of the time. This is not codified in law, but seems to be the law of the land. We know that 40% of senior staff at Jezebel openly admit to violently abusing their male partners, and none indicated any repercussions for that behavior, so it stands to reason that most women can freely abuse men and assume no consequences. That is not the case for men.

See here, here, and here for the evidence.

My goal in drawing attention to the ways in which men are, in fact, at a distinct disadvantage is to highlight the importance of what feminists like to call “intersectionality”, or the study of the ways in which different forms of oppression and discrimination interact with one another. It is a truism of feminism that the simple act of being male confers a privilege that is not available to women, but neither legal nor social examination of male privilege bears this out. Women have more legal rights than men and men are discriminated against in some very important ways that are not codified in law but might as well be. Gender really does not tell you anything meaningful at all about what forms of oppression or discrimination any given individual is likely to face. A homeless male war vet up on a felony charge of assault is both legally and socially at a huge disadvantage over someone like me. To simply point to his gender as if that confers an advantage is not only deeply inadequate, it’s worryingly reminiscent of fascism. When facts and realities cannot penetrate deeply held prejudice, it’s time to start dismantling the source of that prejudice.

http://thoughtcatalog.com/janet-bloomfield/2014/08/5-ways-society-discriminates-against-men/

In addition, more men are sexually assaulted in prison and men are usually on the losing sides of custody battles. Men are doing the jobs that women won’t do — hanging drywall, plumbing, waste management, asbestos abatement, oil rig work, etc… And that’s because it is dangerous. My dad was installing acoustical ceiling, fell off a scaffold and shattered his wrist and fractured his pelvis in three spots.

So yeah, lots of things are shitty. But instead of pointing the finger at men, that they are oppressing us females, why not work together to remediate the shittiness. This isn’t a man problem or a woman problem — this is a human problem.

I guess, what I’m trying to say, is that we don’t know what the other is going through. Some folks have it way better than I do, some have it worse. There’s this old cliche about walking a mile in someone else’s shoes, but you’ve heard that.

Essentially, we need to drop the minutae bullshit and focus on the real issues where people are actually still experiencing physical violence. Because at the end of the day, physical violence trumps hurt feelings. Period. And we have systems in place to protect minorities and women, they need to be better utilized.

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The Blood Letting

Today was a uniquely horrible day — It started at midnight installing my new-to-me washer and dryer. It took a full two hours. S.O. and I had to go to Lowes to get a metal dryer vent and metal tape. I had to rewire the dryer to install the correct plug.

And I gouged my thumb open trying to cut the vent hose connected from the wall to the dryer — literal blood, sweat, and tears into this.

We finished at around 2am.

Moment of truth — turning on the water valves.

… and they’re rusted shut.

Had to call maintenance.

S.O. stayed the night. He left around 6:30am after a brief sleep and drove home. His mother gave him a bunch of shit for spending the night on a work night. I was worried about all the debris on the road from the storm and tornadoes we had in the area yesterday.

Luckily, I was already expected to be late. Had to do blood work this morning. Right when I walked I the lab, the power went out. Not everywhere in town was as fortunate as us to have maintained power. The news said the storms were worse than Hurricane Hermine.

So, I waited for half an hour in the lab. I was about to leave and I got two feet from the door and the power came back on. Within 10 minutes, I’d given two vials of blood and was on my merry way.

Got to work, reared to go, then the cramps hit. I was training new people and felt it — the most horrible cramps I’ve had in a while.

And then I bled through my pants. FML.

Went home and was still miserable.

Luckily, my property manager got my message about the valves and sent over maintenance. Who had to use huge wrenches to open the valves.

Evidently, Harley didn’t like the maintenance man. I assumed she escaped. I spent an hour looking for her around the neighborhood.

She was inside the damn couch.

But now I can do laundry. Ever been so damn happy to do laundry.

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The Way Home

And because of our luck, we are driving home in one of the worst storms N. Florida/S. Georgia’s had since Hurricane Hermine. Tornadoes have killed 11 in the area so far, so we opted to take the backroads home instead of I75 and I10.

In addition to a washer and dryer, got belated Christmas gifts as well — hand me down $400 Dyson vacuum, new book shelf, some wall art, and an entertainment center. Also $200 — dad said it was fair because they’d spent that much on my brother in prison for Christmas.

I did get to see my nana. She’s still pretty bad off, but at least she’s home.

Her garden is absolutely lovely

I treated S.O. and myself to oysters. We slid into this little dive bar called the Nice ‘n Easy Oyster Bar before a huge biker gang reunion came in and managed to down 4 dozen between the both of us.

And, now we’re on the way home through this:

All and all, it was a good trip. My family behaved themselves, but I’m pretty sure it’s because S.O. was there.

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The Road

S.O. are on the road right now, down to the folks to retrieve my new-to-me washer and dryer that I dont have to buy.

I had to move my cat box out of the utility closet to make room. I’d originally wanted stackables so I could keep my cat box in there, but the phrase “free, just come and get it” was super appealing.

I hope my family behaves. Maybe the will since S.O. is coming.

I am buying his gas and food this trip — least I could do.

It’s nice having a boyfriend with a truck.

I really hate the word “boyfriend” — S.O. is 31, aka not a boy, and we’re much more than friends.

Just the connotation — when I think of the word “boyfriend” I think of some pizza faced 15 year old sneakily holding hands with his girlfriends while they watch a G rated movie with her parents.

And “fiance” is kind of a loaded word because it implies a definite “when” element. We don’t really have a definite when. And people just have this expectation and feel they are entitled to a say in our relationship. We just are. And, we are happy.

And yeah, the wait and long distance sucks, but he’s worth it.

I just hope my family doesn’t poke at that open wound and make it worse.

Evidently, we were being cute last night. At Zaxby’s, he put his amr around me while ordering and the young female cashier commented how she wanted a boyfriend. I chided her it was more about quality than quantity, and to wait for the right one.

Reminded me of that song lyric from the movie Juno, “We sure are cute for two ugly people.”

I hated saying that to her, though — not because it was untrue, because it’s not — I hate giving unsolicited dating advice, but I ccouldn’t think of anything else to say.

But, I am super excited about a washing machine and dryer.

I’m going to treat S.O. to the Nice ‘n Easy Oyster Bar in Deland. Don’t think we’ll be there long enough to go to Daytona or anything.

We’ll be coming back tomorrow.

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The Inauguration

I haven’t had coffee in a week — 1 cup later, ya’ll get two posts on one day.

Unpopular opinions ahead. Ye be warned.

I try to think of myself as a reasonable, even keeled person. I don’t jump to conclusions, I think things out, I listen to both sides, I weigh options, and I research.

And after pondering it, the only thing I can say at this point is:

I sincerely hope President Trump does well.

And that’s what you have to do. I wouldn’t wish anything bad on him. He’s going to be the leader of the country and just asking for him to fuck up A) is irresponsible because if he fucks up, it fucks everyone up and B) don’t make that bad juju and jinx us.

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^^This kind of shit, right here, is the reason we can’t have nice things.

And I’m not saying Trump is the greatest thing since sliced bread and the sun shines out of all of his orifices. Hell, I didn’t vote for the motherfucker (#feelthejohnson).

But I’m not going to wish him ill. It’s like shooting yourself in the foot. If he fails, we fail.

Simply put, shit rolls down hill.

But folks don’t think like that — they use this knee jerk emotionalism to make their decisions and it’s not right. They don’t think, they open their mouths and shit and vitriol comes pouring out.

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^^This right here, ain’t helping. All you did was set your dumb ass on fire.

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^^This ain’t helping either. That blood could have went to save people’s lives — 20 pints of blood went into this. That’s 20 lives that could have been saved.

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^^Just eww. That’s not sanitary.

Instead of wishing death and badness on someone who is going to be leading our country, can’t we just hope that he does a good job. Bring on some good energy. And if there arises a need to truly protest and stand up, the shit these SJW’s have been doing ain’t working.

I had to tell a friend of mine, who is LBGT+, that no, there won’t be a lynch mob at your house trying to string you up when Trump takes office. People don’t got time for that; they’re more worried about putting food on their table and paying bills. And last time I checked stringing anyone up will give you a criminal record, which makes you pretty unemployable. They might talk a lot of shit, but at the end of the day it is all talk. It’s sticks and stones. And if by chance they do decide to lynch all the gays in the south, call me. I will be there in a heartbeat to defend your rights in front of God and everyone. And I have some redneck cred. I don’t pussyfoot. Or better yet, learn to defend yourself.

I wouldn’t consider myself a gun nut, but I am a proponent of the Second Amendment. In that, I am a female who lives alone with two cats in a medium sized city. I can’t afford a big dog, so I have a Glock instead. My rule is that if someone breaks in and aims to cause mischief and harm in my place of residence while I’m not there, that’s what I got insurance for. If I am home, and it happens, someone’s getting shot.

Period.

I’m very libertarian in my views. I have my rights, you have your rights, everyone has equal rights up until your rights treads on someone else’s rights unjustly, then you’re in trouble.

And it’s kind of funny, in a weird ironic in my head way, that these uber liberals who are so against guns are suddenly and magically realizing why we have a second amendment.

So, I guess the point of this weird rambly post is that A.) don’t wish the leader of the free world ill, because if he fucks up, we’re all fucked, B.) find better ways to protest that don’t involved lighting yourself on fire, wasting perfectly good blood, or wishing death on someone. Do something productive with your time — serve in a soup kitchen, volunteer, pick up garbage, protest lead paint… I dunno, and, B.) if the current political climate makes you fear for your safety, learn to protect yourself and take your safety and wellbeing into your own hands.

And please don’t interpret this as “hey, she said go on a murder spree” because no the hell I did not.

Jesus… just take responsibility for yourself.

And dude, don’t pick a fight with Hell’s Angels and combat vets at the inauguration. You are going to get laughed out of town or beat up or dead.

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Use common sense folks.

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The Resting Sad Face

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Okay.

This makes three times in the last month.

My resting face is evidently a sad face. Or maybe I just have had a disgruntled/anxious look on my face for the last month.

Three people that I work with have stopped me in the hall, whilst walking, to ask what is wrong and if I was crying.

The first one, was one of the nurse I work with. She was rushing to get back to her office and stopped mid sprint to check and see how I was. My nose is always a little red from rosacea, and I’ve been a little sniffly.

… but three times.

First is funny, second is coincidence, third is just weird.

I feel like I need to consciously smile at everyone now.

Or maybe I don’t hide my anxiety/meltdown well.

Lady parts and problems from here out. Ye be warned.

I think my body is giving me one last “fuck you” before I get my IUD. I *finally* started  my period today after six anxious days of being late. And any female, whether sexually active or not, will freak out about being late. Seriously.

And then, when it did start, with much pomp and circumstance, this morning, I was about floored with cramps. I was walking to the cafeteria because Tuesdays and Thursdays they have biscuits and sausage gravy for breakfast, and I was with a coworker, and I had to stop and grab the wall to keep from going to my knees.

Freaked them out.

I went to the restroom, and behold!

Yeah.

The Floor Sleep and Morning Routines

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My sciatica has been acting up again — yeah, I’m falling apart. Also my rosacea is trying to flare up around my nostrils. Fun times.

When I got home, I was in agony. I got on the floor and did some stretches, realized how comfortable I was, grabbed my pillow and blanket and laid down on the floor and watched a movie. Well, fell asleep during the beginning of the movie and woke up on the floor around 2 in the morning. I slept on the floor from about 7pm to 2am.

And my back didn’t hurt. But I was stiff everywhere else.

And went to the bed, woke back up at 5 and have been up ever since.

I even put on make up this morning! Well mostly.

I did my coconut oil scrub last night because my skin is being weird and it seems to help.

Ingredients:

  • 2 heaping tablespoons of coconut oil
  • a table spoon of honey
  • enough sugar to give it the consistency of cookie dough (if that makes sense

And just go to town. I like it on my face, arms, back (especially since it’s been so dry), and legs before I shave so they are nice and smooth.

I’ve been using Physician’s Formula products for as long as I have worn make up. I really like their pressed face powders, but their loose powder is way too messy. I’ve been using their BB cream, but I’m not a huge fan of it. But I want to use it up.

So far, my favorite foundation is Ulta’s Double Duty foundation. But it’s a little pricey and I usually get it on sale.

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I have a thing about spending too much on a product and it not working or making my rosacea flare up. That’s why I can’t bring myself to splurge on high end products. Also, it might start a thing where I’m addicted to high end makeup and my bank account can’t handle that.

I do have an addiction to lip products. Bad.

I’m in love with Revlon’s Color Burst Matte Balm. I own four colors. I’m in love with matte lipsticks. Especially these! I think I own about 27 different lipsticks/glosses/creams/sticks/things. Not counting all my chap sticks. I used to think lipstick looked bad on me, or it was too bold, but I love it. Deep reds, bright pinks.

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This brow gel (which isn’t online or I’d link it)  was in one of their goodie bags and I’m addicted. When I was told by my doctor that thyroid meds would make me lose my hair, I was like “cool, I got too much thick unmanageable curly hair on my head”. Nope. Lost the last third of my eyebrows. And I’ve always had thick eyebrows I had to tweeze into oblivion, because that was the style. And now thick eyebrows are back in, mine are disappearing. It’s damn disappointing.

I’ve been using Ulta mascara that comes in their freebie bags when you buy $20. I think I have two or three now and I just alternate. I haven’t had to buy mascara in ages.

I just started using blushes. I always felt I was already pretty red to begin with, but I like the peachier tones ones more than the pink/red tones.

But usually when I just kind of roll out of bed, I moisturize, maybe a little primer if my skin is being weird, some powder, brow fill, mascara and I’m out the door.

 

The Passive Aggression

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I used to be that person; that was the only way I could redress any grievances — by being sullen, snarky, talking shit about you behind your back (still do that some times).

Sometimes I just need people to tell me what I’m doing wrong. So I can fix it.

And not doing this pussyfooting. Not productive.

Today is sucking bad.

Nothing really witty or insightful.

Sorry.

The Beautiful Morning Hike

S.O. and I went on a hike down one of our local trails that runs through town and it was positively lovely!

One of the most interesting things I notice is winter in North Florida seems like it’s fall, winter, and spring all at once.
I saw some azaleas blooming at work. I love how lush it gets, but my allergies go nuts. The two springs I’ve been here, I had bad respiratory and skin allergies. But still pretty. When the azaleas are in full form, will definitely post pictures.