The movies lied to us

I have a dilemma. I would really like to bitch and moan about how freaking tired I am, because that’s what the Internet is for, right? Bitching and moaning.

The problem is: if I do that, some jackass is bound to say “just wait until you have kids.” and then I will be thoroughly disappointed that said jackass is not standing directly in front of me to receive a well deserved punch in the throat.

But… if teleportation existed the way ’80s and ’90s sci-fi movies promised it would, it would be far easier for me to deliver the aforementioned throat punch. And then I could utilize the Internet for its intended purpose (other than, you know, cat videos and porn) without fear of disappointment.

The point is, kids: never believe what you see in the movies. 

Who says there’s no pragmatism in anxiety?

I suppose if you’re going to lock yourself in a room in your house and not be able to get your mental shit together enough to actually leave the room and do the myriad things you have to do, the bathroom is not an unwise choice. 

This is actually a surprisingly  bolstering realization. Not bolstering enough to get me to leave the bathroom, but it’s nice to know that my fucked-up, anxiety-riddled brain at least has the wherewithal to not force me to pee in the laundry basket. So there’s that.

OK, let’s try to combat anxiety with organization. After all, part of what has me in a tailspin this morning is having too many balls in the air and feeling like I am going to fail miserably at juggling them. 

It’s big, immediate things like deadlines. It’s the things that lurk around the corner, like not enough work. It’s stupid things, like why I didn’t start trying to combat been the wings years ago. It’s what am I going to do about my name after the wedding? And it’s the voices in my head trying to be louder than the ones that say writing helps, the ones saying “who wants to read this? who cares?” And warning me about the risks of honesty.

But despite the fact that I’m not entirely convinced, you can’t live your life on the bathroom floor. So… Let’s see what we can do to get up.

If you’ve been here, feel free to play along. The goal is to make a list of everything that needs to be done so it’s written down and not swimming around in my head. Ready? Go!

OK, so the problem there is when you get into multiple step things that need to be done then it just becomes another bees’ nest of bullshit. May I just say that people who do not at least occasionally feel completely pummeled, ’80s racist boxing video game style, by life are hereby formally invited to soak their heads. 

I’m thinking maybe post-its would be a good method. Write each thing you need to do on one and when it’s finished, rip the post-it in half. That seems like it would be cathartic, yeah?

But acquiring post-its means going outside and going outside means leaving the bathroom. And apparently that’s too much of a fucking challenge for my brain to take on right now.

So we’re back to square goddamn one. And I’m hungry and bathroom sink water doesn’t taste nice. Any of you brainiacs have any thoughts?

(It’s cute how I write that as though people are reading this.)

Mental healthcare — isn’t it ironic (don’t ya think)?

“Are you suicidal?”

 This is a question my doctor asked me during an appointment to get a referral to a psychiatrist for new medication. 

In the spirit of both eradicating stigma related to mental illness and avoiding bullshit, I have long carried diagnoses of anxiety disorder, major depression (as opposed to bipolar depression) and attention deficit disorder. So now you’re caught up. 

Trying to find the most effective way to treat/contend with my personal smorgasbord of crazy has been an ongoing project. And let it be known that the medical community does not make it easy. 

A goodly portion of mental health professionals don’t accept insurance, patients often have to see one doctor for therapy, another for drug consultations, another for prescriptions, you get the idea. Basically, people who are in medical need of less bullshit get a hit parade of overpriced bullshit dumped in their laps. Rain on your wedding day be damned, Alanis should have been singing about the mental health system in America.

So when my doctor asks “are you suicidal?” It roughly translates to “there’s not an actual rush to improve your course of treatment, right?” That is the standard: If you haven’t bought the gun, squirreled away the pills, sharpened the razor, written the note… You’re cool. 

To reassure any kind souls who might be concerned for my safety, no, I am not suicidal, nor do I self-harm. 

But the fact that that’s basically what determines whether someone is in actual need of help drives me to a different department of the nut college than the one I’m already attending. 

“Oh, you got slashed across the neck? Well, has your head actually fallen off? OK will if not you’re fine just put a Band-Aid on it.”
This is probably a poor comparison, because a deep enough blow to the neck with a sharp object could either result in the severing of a major artery or perhaps of ones spinal column, or something science-y like that. I don’t know, I’m not a doctor. 

The point is the chronic and sometimes overwhelming exhaustion and pure bullshit, to use a scientific term, that accompanies things like depression are not only not helped but are often exacerbated by this lovely system that we call healthcare. 

And I’ll leave you to contemplate the irony of that particular title on your own.

why ‘herstory’ must be banned

My blood pressure rises whenever someone uses the term “herstory.” 
Number one, it’s incredibly annoying. 

Number two, the word is not “hisstory,” as in “his story,” it’s “history.” Think of it as “hi! story!” as in “hello, there is a story here.” That’s where the word comes from: Estoire, story, chronicle. History is a chronicle of stories. 

Number three, the way to advance women in history is to write more of our stories and keep on doing it, not to put women on the short bus of the chronicles of time. 

Number four, see number one. 

#pitchmyvagina

There are a lot of things I like about freelance writing, mostly the flexible schedule and the ability to do it in my underwear, but there’s one thing I really, really, really hate:

Pitching.

Pitching is The Worst, in title case. It’s not just the fact that you have to have the right idea and the right style, it’s that you have to tell the right person all about your right idea and right style in the right way.

So you spend your time crafting the perfect pitch, and then nine times out of 10, IF an editor gets back to you at all, the response is “thanks, but I’ll pass on this one.” I get it. Tons of pitches come in. An editor doesn’t have time to reply to everyone in detail.

But you know who else isn’t mired in time? People who are pitching stories. Which brings us to the right etiquette: I’ve heard editors say they would never run a story or work with a writer who pitches multiple outlets at once.

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When I’ve applied for jobs, I don’t wait until one company rejects me before I send my resume to another. I’m in a long-term relationship, but when people are dating, or whatever people do in the Tinder/Match/rightswipe age, they don’t wait until one potential connection fails miserably before texting the next one, do they?

I don’t think I could take trying to date on top of everything else. It would be like trying to pitch my vagina.

 

 

honesty isn’t the best policy?

I am currently seeking work, and as any of us who have ever looked for a job or assignment knows, it’s an incredibly time-consuming, tedious process. Nearly every book, article or expert I’ve consulted on networking, however, advocates for the “informational” conversation: “Dear So-and-So, I’m so interested in hearing about your career path…” Often the advice is to not even mention a job possibility in initial correspondence. As someone with a fondness for efficiency and a low tolerance for bullshit, I find this advice suspect.

Can anyone provide legitimate insight as to why a more direct approach is not generally advised? Not “Hi, we went to the same school, will you hire me?” of course (though that would be really nice), but “Dear So-and-So, I am interested in Position X at your company. Would you be willing to have a conversation with me about your experience and my background to determine if there might be a good mutual fit?” or some such.

Frankly, any time I say that I am interested in “learning about your experience” or “finding out more about your career path,” I, A) am certain the recipient can see right through that claptrap, and B) feel as if I’m representing myself as a wide-eyed “newbie,” rather than as the experienced professional I am.

We often talk about being straightforward and asking for what you want, especially “as women,” but there’s so much advice out there to beat around the bush. What’s wrong with saying “I would appreciate your help/advice/insight in service of a goal?” Isn’t a direct approach more efficient and productive for everyone involved?