May 29, 2012

How To Get A Man/Job

What my rejection emails really mean.

The title of an article could be "how to get a man" or "how to get a job" and the content, with a few altered keywords, would be essentially the same. I've never really been the person to take Cosmopolitan magazine seriously, or for that matter worry about finding/getting/keeping Mr Right, but I have read enough girl magazines to know that those who do want to get married and have kids and have the kind of life we all believe we deserve that getting older and not having that, or even being close to having that, can make even the most well rounded of girls depressed or, worse, desperate.

But in my ever present job search I'm starting to see a lot, and I mean a lotof the same exact advice for job seekers as there is for women on the man hunt. Here is the advice I've come across and see if it sounds like "get a man" advice or "get a job" advice:

Be confident.
Take the initiative.
Put yourself out there.
Be eager, but not too eager.
Showcase your skills and talents.
Follow up x amount of days after you meet.
If it doesn't work out, move on to the next opportunity immediately.

Any of the above phrases could fit in a dating or job seeking article. And in fact, aren't first dates interviews? Aren't you trying to make yourself seem as attractive as possible while judging whether or not the person sitting across from you is really the great fit you thought he was based on his resume/online dating profile? Aren't there questions you can ask and questions you can't ask, stories you can and should tell and stories you most definitely should not tell? Isn't there a specific dress code that, if not followed, could disqualify you for the position? Isn't it possible (or even likely) to come off as over eager or desperate for the job or boyfriend, scaring away a potentially beautiful match? Holy crap I'm making myself anxious, and I have a boyfriend! I also have a job, but unlike the boyfriend I'm hoping to upgrade A-SAP. 

Thing is, though, that this whole notion has been around a while. There are hundreds of articles that tell job seekers and boyfriend seekers why one is like the other and how to use the tactics in one to get what you want in the other. But both situations are entirely uncomfortable because we're only in them when we clearly want something. So we listen to the advice of those who say they've been there and know what it's like and we play by "the rules" thinking it'll help. And maybe it does for some, but for the rest of us? I for one am starting to feel like a stereotypical 29 1/2 year-old woman worrying about her uterus drying up and being terrified I'm scaring off great candidates with my desperation. 

Only it's not men and potential fathers I'm scaring off, it's a great job. But in a way, finding the right job is like finding the right father-for-my-future-kids to me. Finding a job that gives me more of a purpose is essential because I'm not planning on my "purpose" being motherhood. While other women have their kids, their homes, their husbands and their domestic lives to fulfill them, and possibly are more willing to put up with shit jobs in order to help make their real lives happen, I don't feel like putting up with a shit job when that's my main purpose. In place of motherhood I want my job to be meaningful, to make me feel like I'm doing something that will matter to others. I have no motivation to take the high paying soul sucking job with benefits because I'm not worried about paying for anyone else to go to college. I can be picky and demanding because I have that luxury.

And dammit here I am in the same boat as millions of women my age who are worrying about their rapidly emptying ovaries saying "but I'm ready, it's time, where is he?" about my non-existent future employer.

Fuck, I just realized I'm Ted.

May 17, 2012

Arizona Women Lose Their Privacy

Sure seems that way, don't it?

In March I (and journalists and bloggers everywhere) wrote about the proposed Arizona law that would make it possible for employers to require their female employees to provide proof of a medical condition that must be treated by birth control, and that women who don't provide this proof can be fired for using birth control for birth control purposes.

This same proposed bill was signed into law over the weekend, just in time for Arizona women to celebrate mother's day. I, naively for one, didn't think it would pass because of how ridiculous, not to mention unconstitutional, it is. If planning your family was something you wanted to do, your employer can now make that a lot more difficult. The supposed idea behind the law is to prevent employers from being forced to provide their employees with a service or product that conflicts with their religious beliefs. Supporters have said that it would be unconstitutional to force a church or religious hospital to pay for a medication that it believes is immoral, which most people might agree with at face value. But the law goes so much further than that. 

First, there's a loophole that allows any company to claim religious or moral exemption, allowing any employer to invade the privacy of any female employee or fire her for her personal life. Second, while the law does say that female employees do not have to disclose their medical records to their employer, but it's vague in how exactly these women are supposed to prove (because they do have to provide proof) they aren't taking the slut pills for their "slutty fuck-making*." Third, the bill actually removes parts of the law that this bill was designed after, namely that health insurance plans that cover other medications must also cover birth control. So now, not only do employer health insurance plans not have to cover birth control if they don't want to (Viagra is covered...), they can dictate what their female employees do with the birth control they're prescribed, over threat of losing their jobs. Oh, and anything that resembles or can be confused with abortion pills are excluded from health care plans, but that does kind of go without saying.

But hey, Arizona employers are free to practice their religion and enforce it upon their employees, so there's that. Yay America.

*Best phrase ever.

May 15, 2012

Last Night I Had The Strangest Dream


Out of nowhere, last night I had the strangest dream...

The dream was from my point of view, but I was this other woman, someone I don't know. I/she was at a bank or some similar public building, like I/she worked there, and in the middle of the day a masked man all in black with a gun came and shot up the windows. Everyone ducked and no one was hurt, but it felt like the man was after me/the woman. The man also had a dog with him, an all black pitbull who was ferociously barking and would have attacked once the glass windows fell, but the man was chased off by sirens or a cop. 

That night I/she was at home, shaken, looking through the glass door to the back yard. Suddenly there were these lights shining right into the house from the dark yard. I/she was scared, but then these three cops came out from the shadows and told me/her that they were assigned to watch over the house and make sure the attacker didn't return for me/her. I/she was relieved, but then the cops showed me/her the dog from earlier, the all black pitbull. She had been cowering under a tree, her mouth gashed open probably from the broken glass. One of the cops asked what I wanted to do with her, as in would I keep her or did I want her to be euthanized. The cop didn't present the question that way, but a pitbull that was kept by a bad man and would have attacked people? There's no way anyone else would have been responsible for her. I/she was really nervous about the idea, but didn't want to condemn the dog to death. It wasn't her fault she was owned by such a bad person, and deep down I/she knew a dog like that could be rehabilitated. Reluctantly, I/she agreed to keep the dog. But just then, the dog came up and put her mouth on my/her arm and gave just enough pressure to cause me/her to panic. What if the dog didn't let go? I/she tried to call the cop's attention to the situation, but right when the cops turned around to see the dog loosened up. All my/her fears slipped away and I/she believed the dog would be good.

Later on, I/she was in an indoor farmer's market with the dog, who was now healed and wearing a bright pink harness to show off her girlyness. I/she was still a tad shaken over the attack and not really interacting with too many people or making eye contact- just focusing on picking veggies. The dog wasn't leashed, but was staying by my/her side the whole time like a good dog. Then this couple with two leashed dogs came in to the market and the pitbull took off after them. But for some reason not a single person was concerned, least of all me/her or the couple with the other dogs. The pitbull ran up to the other dogs and they all sniffed each other and romped for a few seconds before it just became too chaotic with three dogs in a farmer's market. Everything was fine and turned out well.

Strange dream. I think I might like having a pitbull one day.

May 10, 2012

Stupid Is As Stupid Does

Click to read- unnatural marriage

One of my best friends has suggested we try to ignore everything Palin and her ilk have to say, but I simply cannot help my anger at the ignorance they spew, so here goes.

Yesterday, in a wonderfully refreshing and progressive display of support for all Americans, President Obama declared his unequivocal support for gay marriage. The first president to do so, he said that his daughters helped him realize the error of his ways in not being more bold on this front. The civil rights issues that gay Americans are currently experiencing is in every way, shape and form the exact fucking same thing that black Americans (and generally Americans who just weren't white) experienced just a few short decades ago, and arguably still have to deal with. Anyone who says differently is sexist and racist or  doesn't have any information to back up an argument.

While I, and millions upon millions of my fellow citizens and friends, am incredibly excited at the prospect of what the president's comments mean for the future, I recognize that he did say this not one day after North Carolina banned gay marriage and civil unions, the separate-but-equal qualifier that gay marriage opponents keep throwing around. Which means gays in North Carolina are not equal even a little bit... they're second class citizens, not allowed to declare their love and commitment to their partner even in a totally governmental, non-religious way. No rights, nothing. The president's words also come at the beginning of 6 politically charged months, when the rift between conservatives and liberals is stronger than ever, when these words might mean losing his re-election campaign. Props to him for making that strong of a declaration at such an uneasy time, and I hope it serves him well.

In the meantime, however, we have the Palin crew preaching to the conservative ostriches. Bristol (she's the daughter that got knocked up right before Republican presidential hopeful McCain picked her mom to be his running mate, then broke up with the baby's father) chastised Obama for listening to his kids and not being a father. In short, she says that Obama should have explained to his daughters how their friends with same-sex parents are wrong and immoral, and that while "they are no doubt lovely people" he should have shown them that only a father and a mother can properly raise a child. Bristol is a shining example, having inadvertently gotten pregnant in high school when she was unmarried, but she proved that she was mature and responsible by marrying her baby's father and raising her baby in a loving, mother-father household. Oh wait, that's wrong. Bristol had the baby out of wedlock, broke up with the father, didn't allow the father to see the baby, and then had a roller coaster relationship with him after that.

But that's beside the point, at least to the Palins and their followers. What Bristol is really saying is that it's nice that Obama listens to his kids at the dinner table, but rather than take their words to heart and learned to be a better father, man and president, he should have told his daughters that that's not how the world is, and although some people choose that lifestyle it's wrong and should not be condoned. He should have been the person to explain to his daughters how some people are treated differently because of who they are. He, who was alive when the last civil rights movement was in full swing and whose mother undoubtedly went through certain ordeals just having him, should have explained to his daughters that relationships like the ones their friend's parents have is wrong. Bristol is really saying that Obama should be a hypocrite. (Seriously, read this. It's in her own words, in her personal blog on this family-oriented website. I'm reading between the lines, but the idea is clearly there.)

In another blog post written by Bristol just weeks ago, the single mother proudly proclaims that not only is she not living with her boyfriend/father of her baby, but she has no intention to. She brings Beyonce and the New York Times in as testimonials to her abstinence cause (poorly), saying that living together before marriage practically dooms you to divorce. How is Bristol following her own advice? After all the publicity her mother's surprise VP bid brought the family, especially the unwed pregnant daughter, Bristol was able to command enormous fees to speak at high schools and colleges about waiting until marriage to have sex, something she is so clearly unqualified to speak about, no doubt gets advertising revenue from her religious blog, and even has a goddamn book, and is fortunate enough to have the money to have bought herself a nice house, renovate said house, and live independently (or so she implies... I have serious doubts) until she's ready to move in. This isn't the same "I'm a single mother and I'm damn proud of the job I'm doing raising my kid" schpeel we've heard a million times over, mostly deservedly so, it's a unique and self hating "I'm a single mother and I'm damn proud of the job I'm doing raising my kid but you better not even think of doing what I did because if you do it it's wrong" hypocrisy that puts me over the edge. I have no idea how people don't see the blatant lies and discrimination she puts out. Shouldn't someone like Bristol be all for healthcare for mothers and children, all for social services for young, unwed pregnant girls? No, she did what millions of girls and women do and was praised, and then turns around and blames those who did exactly what she did. Some champion.

I realize I've gotten myself all fired up over someone who really does not matter and whose opinion is absolutely worthless, but there are too many people in this country who follow her opinions and even value them, too many people agreeing with people like Bristol and her mother that certain Americans are more equal than others, more deserving of rights and liberties, and frankly just all around better than the rest. This is bullshit and I'm going to call her out, even if only on this little blog, in my little corner of the internet. One day, hopefully within my lifetime, we're going to look back on this time and on people like the Palins with the same disgust we now look back on the people who said a black person and a white person couldn't marry. One day we'll plainly see the ignorance these people have and pity them and their hatred and fear, and be glad that the truly righteous agenda, real equality for every American, finally won.

May 7, 2012

Worst Race Ever

Not really. The pretty medal made it all worth it!

Yesterday I ran the second annual Safari Park Half Marathon (again, for the tigers) and boy was it a rough one. There were a few different points when I wanted to give up and walk the rest or just stop at the next medic station, and I started the run with a full bladder and a rumbling stomach, both of which stayed with me through the next 3 hours (I did stop to pee but was so concerned about getting back out there that I got in and out as quickly as possible, not completely emptying my bladder). 

Although, 90% of the difficulty was my own fault: I didn't train hardly at all, my only long run being the 9ish miles of the Hot Chocolate Race and nearly every other run being less than 5 miles, so I couldn't have been too surprised at my awful time. But then I didn't help my own cause by having shoe problems and changing my race shoe twice in the final week, finally settling on the same pair I ran in this race last year, which I reasoned was better than running in a week old shoe that hadn't had time to be broken in yet. 

The last 10% of the run was totally not my fault: whoever designed the race and decided that a GIANT DIRT HILL was a good idea should definitely not design the next race. This hill was not just any hill, and made the elephant hill of last year look like a driveway. It was enormous, super steep, and all dirt, and I applaud anyone who actually ran that thing. I started off at a jog and pretty quickly gave that up, and jogged over the crest, but that hill was no joke.

Speaking of jokes, the hill had a few punny jokes to try making it more bearable. Why did the tiger lose at poker? Because he was playing with a cheetah! My favorite: What does this hill and an elephant's trunk have in common? They both suck! HAHA! They did make me smile on the hill and briefly take my mind off it, which I guess was the point, but then again I really like punny jokes.

The run did feature a pair of cows, a camel, wine "glasses" of Gatorade at the winery, several animal statues, an elephant herd and a few other cool things worth taking pictures of, but without someone to take a picture for me (and a camera...) I couldn't really take any of that with me. 

All in all it would have been a decent run, all things considered, but the minute I crossed the finish line I suddenly stopped breathing. That has never happened before and it was completely terrifying. My boyfriend was at the finish waiting for me and I eeked out that I couldn't breathe- my lungs felt tight and tiny and I wanted giant gulps of air that just weren't coming. Volunteers handing out medals tried to congratulate me and I couldn't respond. We walked over to the medic station (which seemed to just be a place to get ice on the knees) where they summoned EMTs. While I was waiting I loosened my bra and could breathe better. They hooked me up to two different machines and said my readings were perfect... except for my heart rate, which was a little high, but then I'd just finished 13.1 miles. After a while, when I was breathing normally again, they were satisfied that I wasn't going to collapse and made me sign a waiver saying I refused to be escorted to the hospital, meaning I didn't want an ambulance ride. Actually, the way it was phrased was, "I'm guessing you don't want a ride in a big red box, do you?" I denied and signed.

I didn't feel well for a good portion of the day after that. I was nauseous, had a headache and obviously was sore pretty much everywhere (even my arms for some reason), so I slept for most of the day. This run really took the wind out of me and it'll make me think long and hard about doing it again. In the end, though, I'm really glad I did it and glad I finished, but next time I'll be a lot more serious about training so I'm better prepared.