Corona on Crack

Hands up.

Hands out.

Hands. Just hands.

Hands sideways.

Hands other sideways.

Hands up.

Hands up.

Jazz hands.

 

I watched the curious man perform the curious upper body routine. I was idling at a stop light, trying to covertly watch him perform this vigorous dance ritual. I nervously darted my eyes away when I thought he’d turn to face me. I didn’t want to get caught gawking and making eye contact. I didn’t want him to ask me for change.

He never even seemed to realize that I, or anyone else was watching him. He didn’t seem to really notice any part of the world around him.

dancing man

He stood on the concrete median, bare chested and beer bellied, all bare, flailing his gray-hair covered arms above and around his head. I squinted, not because of the sun, but in the way one squints when trying to really understand what is happening. Then, I squinted even harder.

And then I remembered: this man is likely on drugs.

Big cities are seemingly always hotbeds for naughty activities and Houston is no different. With all of the good things (lots of museums, shopping, sports teams) come some not so great things (an active drug scene and very, very creative drug users).

Being stuck inside most of the time is twisting my reality. A few times that I’ve been outside, I almost forgot that the coronavirus-related lock-down is happening. I also almost forgot that Houston is full of interesting characters, walking around like anyone else, except they’re actively in the grips of a wild drug trip.

I have seen people walk straight into oncoming traffic (I’ve actually seen this MANY times, believe it or not). I have seen people having sex and performing cunnilingus (Google it) in daylight. I have seen people urinating and defecating on the street. I have also seen people perform complicated, upper body only dance routines. Dare I say that the jazz hands dance was the most entertaining and the least offensive. Although, in full disclosure, I don’t have anything against cunnilingus.

I also once saw a man, wearing very expensive looking house slippers, walk in and out of a Starbucks, over and over and over again. Each time, he would perform a little jig, in the middle of the parking lot, make a twirl, and re-enter the building. I struggled to drive away; I was mesmerized by the oddity of his athletic ability coupled with his drug-induced behavior. “This man could have truly been an amazing dancer,” I remember thinking. I did not have the same sentiment about jazz hands on the median man.

The thing I thought most about jazz hands on the median man is this: it has now been 6 weeks (or longer) that I have been unable to find bleach. Where in the HELL did this guy find drugs?

Sigh.

A Coronavirus Misanthrope

I would describe myself as a misanthrope. A nice one. A nice misanthrope who actually has a few friends that I love dearly. I have always been able to entertain myself with no, or very little, interaction with other people. In the past, when I have been betrayed by friends, I was disappointed, but I never felt any life-changing pang of loss when I was no longer friends with someone. I have never felt that deep, saddening missing of someone who was still alive. I have felt deep sadness when someone dies, but a disconnection with someone who is still alive never greatly affected me. Overall, I would describe myself as not having much deep interest in other people…

UNTIL NOW.

sad gif

Oh my, my, my, how the tides have changed over the past few weeks. It’s as if the tides heard me boasting about my general, seemingly harmless disdain for other people. And then the tides all got together and conspire against me and against all of humanity, to teach a terrible, long-lasting lesson.

 

Dear tides: I GET IT. I AM SOOOOOO SORRY. WHAT CAN I DO TO FIX THIS?

fix it gif
The answer is nothing. I can do nothing.

I suppose that whenever the coronavirus-related lock downs are lifted, I should not go out into the world, continuing to boast about how deeply misanthropic I am. It turns out, that although I am still not pining over missing friends who essentially dumped me for no good reason (I’m looking at all you lames who couldn’t get over my personal decision to not drink until inebriation), I am *totally* missing friendly interactions with strangers.

waving bear gif

Do you remember those people? Strangers? The Starbucks barista that you don’t really know but somehow remembers your name. The old lady in Target that asks you where the cat food is located. The even older lady in Palais Royal whose question about which pair of shoes look better leads to a long conversation about where she is going to wear the shoes (her sister’s funeral) and why she is nervous about buying a pair with high heels (she’s nervous that the graveyard soil will be damp and unsturdy). All of these are real things that have happened to me by the way.

I also miss hanging out with my friends. I know, gosh, who doesn’t, right? I miss laughing loudly in restaurants, always saying “yes” to bread baskets, and sharing crazy stories with them. I miss people laughing at my jokes. I miss laughing at stories about other people’s husbands.

I guess some part of me likes some people. Not many people. Only a few of them. But those few people really, really, do count. I miss my people. All five of them.

*all GIFs courtesy of http://www.giphy.com*

3 Ways Being Hood has Prepared You for the Coronavirus

My PostI am coming to you, writing this, from the comfort of my home. I imagine many of you are reading this from your homes, too.

As I am writing this, it’s lunch time and because of the coronavirus and all its nasty impacts, I am now tasked to prepare yet another of my own meals. As of this writing, I have now prepared 100% of my own meals for the past two days. My will power is dwindling and has been stretched to its limits.

Trying to avoid having to clean YET ANOTHER pot, I have decided to eat leftovers. For what I have on hand, the fastest leftovers is the dish preferred by Baby Boomer Black moms everywhere: spaghetti.

As I prepare to heat up the spaghetti, I realize that right now, in these high stakes moments, I have turned on myself, doing to myself what I said I would never do, and that is to tell MYSELF: “Self, IT’S SOME SPAGHETTI IN THERE!” when I ask myself what’s for lunch. I have heard “It’s some spaghetti in there” from my own mother many times, but never, ever, did I think I would have to say those words to myself. I prepare myself to eat the “spaghetti that’s in there” and  long for the sweet embrace of Wendy’s chicken nuggets.

So, before I begrudgingly but somehow also thankfully, “go sit down somewhere” and eat this spaghetti that was “in there”, I wanted to share 3 other ways that “hood / poor / brown / insert your own adjective here/ ghetto” people are specially equipped to deal with the coronavirus pandemonium.

Hood Advantage #1: You Likely Have Leftovers

leftovers

Image credit: https://giphy.com/gifs/Bounce-TV-comedy-bounce-3ov9jEOwe82gUOm6D6

As I have already mentioned, you probably already “got some spaghetti in there.” You might also have:

  • Some Chinese takeout from a few days ago, before that RONA got you shook
  • Some fruit that is soft, but not quite old enough for you to be afraid to eat it
  • Some more fruit that can be thrown into a smoothie that you will drink and wish was ice cream
  • Some green vegetables that you can finally use to make that recipe from the New York Times that you definitely wouldn’t otherwise make unless you just had to (shots fired at myself)
  • Lots of sauce packets from fast food places you’d really like to go to right now

Hood Advantage #2: Your Momma Already Programmed You to be a Germaphobe

germaphobe

https://giphy.com/gifs/funny-star-trek-school-3ne4TnvHYegzm

My mom has been mostly healthy her whole life (so thankful!) and this coronavirus stuff has made me realize why my mom, and other Black moms, are seemingly super people when it comes to avoiding germs and viruses: they “don’t fool with them nasty ass people.” Having a hood momma has prepared you to avoid lots of coronavirus having ass people, places, and situations.

Your mom, like my own, probably does the following things to MAKE SURE they are not, in fact, fooling with them nasty ass people:

  • Hovering over the toilet in public bathrooms
  • Washing your hands before and after you use a public bathroombecause you had to touch that nasty ass door to get in there anyway
  • Opening all public doors with a paper towel, your sleeve, or jacket hem
  • Keeping *STOCKED UP* on cleaning supplies and hand sanitizer, 24/7, 365 days per year and not just cleaning “when this corona thang is going on”
  • Keeping community sized tissue boxes in their purses *all of the time.* My own mother has given tissues to complete strangers…and then washed her hands afterwards (because although my mom is a saint, she still ain’t “fooling with them nasty ass people”)

Hood Advantage #3: You Already Know How to “Not be Tripping”

oprah

https://giphy.com/gifs/oprah-bath-relaxing-MvZKiDJmB1XEs

Look, growing up in the hood and/or poor (rich people and scholars call this being “socioeconomically disadvantaged”) is no cake walk. Many aspects of hood life require you to be thankful, gracious, flexible, and resilient. These four qualities produce people who are not, in fact, “really tripping.”

Sure, you are likely taking the necessary health precautions, but if you have been able to somehow still maintain your mental health levels so far, your hood upbringing may be to thank.

Growing up in the hood requires you to learn to sometimes just accept things as they are. Learning to accept things as they are while simultaneously not being discouraged by them, is not only a Zen Master level type skill; it’s also the entire curriculum required to pass Hood 101.

Here are a few hood examples of things that are not easily or quickly change, but despite how much these things suck, hood people continue to live, laugh, love, thrive, and “keep it moving”…

For example:

  • The police might “always be around when nobody even called they ass.”
  • They got money “for all that other shit but won’t fix these raggedy ass streets.”also, “if these raggedy ass streets was over there by where them rich folks live at, they woulda BEEN fixed.”
  • Your next door neighbors may suffer from unwarranted feelings of superiority to you aka “Susie Q nem think she better than us because ole boy she fooling with done went and bought her that old raggedy ass Cadillac.”

You get the idea.

These are all things that just have to be accepted as they are for the time being. And, thanks to your hood conditioning and magma cum laude status as a fine graduate of the hood, you’re especially capable of getting through this coronavirus shit! For real, you ain’t even trippin’ off this coronavirus shit. You’ve got your ginger ale, saltines, and your momma’s prayers…what is there to be tripping about?

Now, if you or someone you know is not from the hood, disinfect your phone and call them. Tell them that you love them. Tell them that right now, it is what it is. Tell them to don’t fool with no nasty ass people. And most importantly, tell them that there is, hidden away, in the recesses of the fridge, already SOME SPAGHETTI IN THERE!

Proof that in my house, there really was some spaghetti in there:

IMG_5895

It Doesn’t Matter

Do you ever feel like no one understands you?

How you feel? Your humor? Your off putting affinity for skulls? Your not so secret desire to live on an island?

Do you ever feel so alone?

Maybe you share some of those feelings and maybe you have some quirks of your own that make you feel ostracized sometimes.

I can relate. Some days, it feels like “Ostracized” is my middle name.

I don’t regularly do the two seemingly most common American activities: drink alcohol and watch tv.

If I had to guess, I would say that on average, I have about one martini every 8 weeks and watch about 1-3 hours of internet videos a week. I watch no regular tv shows, even though I do plan to catch up on “The X-Files” soon.

Do you know what these facts make me? Well, they make me almost a social pariah.

People are so strangely uncomfortable when I tell them I don’t drink much and I watch almost no television. They think that I’m odd, and technically, they’re right.

I feel odd and I feel misunderstood.

I use the examples of television and alcohol as somewhat light hearted examples, but I’ve also often felt deeply misunderstood, sometimes even telling myself that I will NEVER find someone who understands me.

Well, here’s the thing: IT DOES NOT MATTER. So the f*ck what?

Recently, I was listening to an Eckhart Tolle talk and he addressed the ongoing need that we can sometimes have to feel understood. And of course, when our version of understanding does not come, we make ourselves feel miserable. We tell ourselves horrible things, like no one will ever understand, or we are terrible for being so odd, so on and so forth.

But all of those things are unknown. Maybe you’ll find the jelly to your peanut butter. Maybe you’re just a singular, delicious nut spread.

Regardless, the better focus is on understanding yourself. There’s so much focus that we can develop on what other people are giving us that we neglect to give ourselves anything.

So, maybe your family thinks you’re nuts? You might actually be a little weird. Maybe no one does understand you.

SO WHAT?

Do you, who has the most access to you,understand you?

No?

Then you’ve already got enough things to do.

So many, in fact, that you might not have much time to watch the tele.

Until tomorrow my friends…

Is the World Really That Bad?

These days, it seems like the world has gone to absolute shite. There’s seemingly so much violence, hatred, and lying. It is easy to feel that the world is terrible. I know I sometimes feel like it is.

I once read a quote by Eckhart Tolle that loosely said something like “If you think the world is against you, it will be.”

Even though I don’t always feel comfortable out in the world, and I certainly don’t always think about the world as being a warm and fuzzy place, sometimes, the universe smiles at me. Well, often times the universe smiles at me. Does the universe smile at me because I am paying attention and smiling back or because I’m special? I am hesitant to say that I am terribly special, so it must be the former reason.

Allow me to share two mildly heart warming stories from the past two days:

Yesterday:

I was driving along on my somewhat long commute to meet two students. I was just sitting at a stop light, not singing along to music or doing anything in particular, when I casually looked over to my left.

There was an old, rusted, silver mini-van, with several people inside. The driver, a skinny, young woman wearing a colorful head wrap and tank top shirt, leaned over the front seat passenger and waved and smiled, rather enthusiastically.

I looked, then squinted, trying to make their faces out more clearly. I didn’t recognize anyone in the car. The passenger then smiled sweetly and warmly. I returned the smile, with the same genuineness, mixed with a lot of confusion, to be honest. They then casually returned to talking amongst themselves and eventually drove away, like they really were just waving and being friendly strangers. They didn’t ask me for change or directions or anything. I suppose that they were just being nice. Smiling back was a welcome departure from the typically dirty looks I give other drivers.

Today:

Today, I had a bit of a mental block, so I went for a walk. I walked along the nearby trail, which passes a high school. When I got close to the fence of the school, I saw two teenage girls, mimicking walking and then jumping up and down. I thought they were mocking me. The shirt I was wearing was kind of tight and I am not a size two, so I kind of thought they were mocking me for walking and / or being chubby.

As I got closer, I could see their faces and hear their voices clearly. One shouted “YOU GO SIS!” and the other shouted, jumping up and down and cheering FOR me, “I AM SO PROUD OF YOU.”

I was so taken aback that I almost failed to wave back! It was so odd! It went against every negative expectation that I have about interactions with both strangers and teenagers, and these people were both strange AND teen aged!

I waved back and smiled. My head became so uplifted! I smiled all the way back home. I felt encouraged (something that I sorely need these days). I felt like the universe cared about me and was sending me little pats on the back. It was lovely. My mood was improved for the rest of the day and continues to be lifted until this very moment.

Thanks, universe. You’re not so bad.

Until tomorrow, my friends…

My Dirtiest Secret

Here’s the thing: I am not clueless in the kitchen. Through years of trial and error (and watching lots of celebrity chefs on tv), I have actually become quite adequate, dare I say, creative and good, in the kitchen.

I have skills! Finally. Thankfully.

But, I still eat out more often than I’d like to admit and I still eat stuff from the box sometimes. Eating baked good type things from the box is HORRIBLE to me, except for two exceptions: 1) boxed strawberry cake and 2) boxed brownies.

I have no idea why I absolutely love the taste of *only* box strawberry cake. I mean, it’s moist and delicious and slightly artificially tasty in a way that I cannot duplicate at home. For any other flavor, I prefer the cake I can make at home.

I have a bit more of an understanding about my affinity for boxed brownies. Way back in the day, when I was more broke and more skinny, making brownies on Sunday meant that I had a tiny little bit of dessert to eat with my sometimes sad little meals throughout the week. I have a picture of me, standing in the kitchen of one of my first apartments, making brownies, luxurious and thick hair carefully pinned back to avoid contaminating my tasty $1.79 worth of chocolaty investment.

Nowadays, I have a bit less hair and a bit more fat. I also had to shell out a bit more money for the box of brownie mix, but it is such a fair trade, to be able to make an entire dessert in less time than it takes to heat the oven.

Perhaps, one day I’ll be a famous food blogger. If that happens, I would like the 3 people who read this to keep this secret just between us.

What is a food thing that you secretly enjoy, even though, for some reason, you have some shame about it?

Until tomorrow, my friends…

P.S.

My secret to making these brownies extra delicious is to stir more walnuts into the batter, up to a quarter cup! Shhhh!

5 Things I No Longer Apologize For

Who am I kidding? When have I ever apologized?

Just joking…I have apologized before, but I have to admit that I have used apologies quite sparingly in the past.

These five behaviors are really more like five things I have been embarrassed about in the past and perhaps no one that I know would have any idea that I used to be a little self conscious about these things.

My Affinity for Mayonnaise 

I am that person who asks for a little more, and then some more, and then just one more pass, and then just a tiny bit more mayonnaise at Subway. Or McDonald’s. Or Burger King. Or anywhere. I absolutely love mayo and when I first when to Paris and learned that the French eat mayonnaise with their fried potatoes, I felt that I had finally found a lost piece of my heart and soul.

My Affinity for the Color Red

A few months ago, a friend commented on how there’s a LOT of red things in my house. He opened the cupboards and counted all the spots where he saw something the color red. He counted a lot of things.

I absolutely LOVE red. Red anything. Lipstick, standing mixers, cars, doors, pens, it just doesn’t matter. Red is the color of life to me. Once, I was brave enough to paint the biggest wall in my apartment bright red, like stop sign red. Needless to say, that was my favorite apartment.

My General Dislike of Most of Humanity

I’m not a people person and I don’t understand how anyone could be. I have a LOT of respect for people who seem to just endlessly enjoy the company of other people. I am not one of them.

I am not introverted, however. On the rare occasion I do find a person I quite enjoy, I could spend lots of time with them and not get sick of them. I am pretty friendly and can be quite social. I just strongly prefer my own company and the peace that being alone provides. Is that weird? Don’t answer that question in the comments section.

I have been reprimanded pretty much my entire life, from childhood to yesterday, about how I have such low interest in other people. I am an intensely private person and usually operate under the presumption that so is everyone else and they don’t usually want to be bothered.

I suppose I look at it as if I DO hang out with you, you can be 100% sure that I like you and I want to be there. I think that’s better than the plethora of phony friendships that most people experience throughout their lives. In a way, perhaps I am a trendsetter.

My Indifferent Feelings Towards Mexican Food

I might lose a lot of friends because of what I am going to write next, but, I am not a huge fan of Mexican food. Where I live, in Houston, err body and their momma has a favorite Mexican place, and it’s usually not Taco Bell. Aside from some stellar street tacos I had one time, Chinese food remains numero uno in my book. I also have a very, very high affinity for Indian and Italian food.

How My Aging Body Looks and Feels Sometimes

Have you ever lived in a body that has lived over THIRTY FIVE years? Goodness grief, let me be the one to tell you, living thirty five years is an awesome blessing, but by this time in the game of life, your body might be telling you to sit down sometimes.

So, now when I am tired, I rest. If I am sick, I rest. That might mean cancelling plans sometimes, but I am over apologizing for it. Still being alive is a blessing and having the life experiences to teach me to better take care of my body is *also* a blessing.

I also wax my eyebrows less regularly and I occasionally just put on things I want to wear, with little regard to how well it matches. Last week, I wore a red and white whale print cardigan with a pair of burgundy and white checkerboard boat shoes. I could tell that the two reds did not perfectly match, but I looked in the mirror, smiled, and said, “This is what I look like today.” No one gave even half a shit and this strange outfit did not affect my day in a negative way at all. It was glorious.

New style trend to watch for in Vogue: plaid and whale prints.

 

What are some things that you don’t apologize for anymore?

Let me know in the comments below! Also, I TOTALLY FORGOT to write yesterday. I literally have no excuse. I just plain ole forgot. My bad, y’all.

Until tomorrow, my friends…

3 Songs I am Embarrassed to Admit I Love

Do you ever sing in the car?

Like REALLY belt it out?

I sing in the car like my life and driving abilities depend on my singing. The music is usually very loud to drown out my own voice, but I wonder if I might have a really great singing voice. I’ve never sang in front of people, but even without the affirmation from other people, I know that I am no Whitney Houston.

But, maybe I could be a Miley Cyrus?

Part of my desire in creating this blog is to develop more comfort with myself through sharing more things about myself, with the world, metaphorically naked, for all the world to see.

So, without much more explanation, here is some information that is essentially the equivalent to me baring my soul. Here are three songs that I absolutely love, but am kind of embarrassed that I like.

1. Miley Cyrus: “Party in the U.S.A.”

How can you  not like this song? It’s essentially about a girl moving to a new town and feeling scared. I have done this, IN REAL LIFE, two times. When I first moved to Houston, I played Gwen Stefani’s “L.A.M.B.” album pretty much on repeat, to find courage to be here alone. I can totally relate to this song! Feeling out of place, feeling homesick, feeling pressured–all of those things SUCK! But, when a song you love comes on, you know you’re gonna be o-kayyy (like she sings in the song).

2. Cardi B: “Bodak Yellow”

BIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIITCH. I love this damn song!

Ok, enough profanity on this blog. But, do not click the link to listen to this song if you do not enjoy profanity. Here are some admissions I should make about this song: 1) I don’t know what the title means and I’ve never Googled it. 2) What is this song about, like, really, in the greater meaning of life and the universe? I have no idea at all. 3) I am perhaps totally shallow because I really enjoy this song, even though it’s primarily about being rich and wearing “red bottoms”. Those are Louboutin shoes, for all you people out there who are busy thinking about important things instead of designer shoes.

I became a little obsessed over this song, and eventually read about Cardi B’s life. Turns out, she was a physically and mentally abused stripper who hustled her way into the rap game. Like her music or not, you gotta respect her hustle and desire to get out of her less than desirable situation. I can literally rap along with this song, line for line. Please, no one tell my mother.

 

3. Train: “Drops of Jupiter”

I have been teased about my affinity for “White boy music” (whatever the f*ck that truly means) since I first began to listen to Alanis Morissette back in 6th grade aka a LONG TIME AGO.

More recently, I was teased for liking Train. A friend told me that “all of their music was garbage” and I just have to politely disagree. I love the lead singer’s unusual and somewhat raspy voice and I LOVE the quirkiness of their lyrics.

My favorite lyric is “Did you miss me while you were looking for yourself out there?” The lyrics don’t plainly make sense, but there’s something about this song that I just inherently understand and I don’t really know why.

 

So, there’s my embarrassing list! But, before I go crawl into a hole, tell me your most loved, yet most embarrassing songs.

Until tomorrow, my friends…

What It’s Like: Teaching Kids

Some contents of my purse serve as the muse for tonight’s post. Inside my purse are some meat-pie looking pastries, carefully wrapped in a napkin, a gift from an Azerbaijani grandmother.

I tutor two great kids a couple nights a week. I tutor them in English: reading, writing, and speaking. Their grandmother is in town, visiting from their home country, Azerbaijan, a place I’d barely heard of before meeting these children a few months ago.

About 12 years ago or so, I started a career as a school teacher. I taught elementary aged kids. After I did that for a few years, I transitioned to a job in corporate America, and taught at the collegiate level (freshmen and juniors) on the side for a few years.

Now, I am tutoring two kids and two adults. I’ll write about the adults in another post, perhaps.

When I changed from teaching kids to college adults, many of whom were older than me, everybody and their momma asked me the same question: How is it different? My go-to, cheeky answer was always, “You don’t have to take adults to the bathroom.” Karma laughed at me and once sent me an adult student who did ask, on several occasions, if she could go to the bathroom.

Teaching is kind of “old hat” to me now; even when I meet new students, I have now done it long enough that I can at least PRETEND to know what I am doing. It takes a lot of practice to even get the confidence to be able to pretend to be a confident teacher, unless you’re kind of a pompous, know it all asshole, which in that case, please do  us all a favor and stay out of the classroom. What I’m trying to say is, teaching should have a sense of respect and humility, both for your students and for your profession.

Teaching kids is challenging in its own way. Children are PAYING ATTENTION. Don’t believe the horseshit you hear on the news about how six in one children have ADHD. They might, be even then, they’re still closely paying attention to everything you do. EVERYTHING. Understand the difference between paying attention and judging you. The kids are attentive; the adults are probably judgmental.

Children aren’t thinking about bills or if they took the chicken out to unthaw. Depending on their age, they may not have a good sense of embarrassment or self awareness. They’re doing their thing and watching you do yours.

With kids, it’s a lot of work to exemplify an excellent role model, pretty much at all times. When I taught elementary school, I did not cuss, not even on the weekends. I just recently started to feel comfortable saying the word “stupid”, even though I’ve taught for years. Working in the oilfield helped me develop a hearty potty mouth, which I thoroughly enjoy, but you’d never know that when I am around young and impressionable ears.

Kids are also way smarter than most adults give them credit for. Children pick up on and absorb energy better than adults, too. If you let your child know your burdens, they will help you carry them, regardless if you have asked them to or not. I once worked with a kindergartner who came to school looking very concerned. He eventually began to cry. When I pried an answer from him, he told me that he was worried because his mom and dad “were down to their last $5,000.” He had overheard them fighting about money and even though he couldn’t even count to 500 or 5,000, his little mind could clearly interpret that something big and scary was wrong, so he worried about it. He internalized it.

I have dozens of stories like that; stories of children truly being sponges, and not always soaking up the good stuff.

Teaching a child also has a weight to it, at least it does for me. Since children have much less life experience, I find it to be so important to do two things: 1) be present with them while you are around them because 2) that affects their perception of the world.

A child that experiences an angry parent can grow up to be worrisome and fearful. A child that experiences a neglectful (physically or emotionally) parent will fight the demons of inadequacy for the rest of his life.

It is really an honor to be able to be a teacher. The job REALLY SUCKS, but it’s still an honorable one. Between utterly ridiculous parents, pushy school districts, and insane principals, I have no idea how I survived with even a shred of sanity in tact. Oh, and don’t forget the year that I had strep throat three times and my vocal chords became infected, which irrevocably changed the sound of my voice. Almost no one that I know now actually know what I used to sound like. Ah, that was fun. Good times.

Kudos to you if you’re a teacher. The job can be so damn thankless, but from one former teacher to another, I THANK YOU.

Until tomorrow, my friends…

What It’s Like: Being an Entrepreneur

It’s horrible. The END.

 

Wait, sorry, please come back, and I’ll tell you what it’s like to be an entrepreneur. And, before you stop reading, this is not some post trying to sell you a class on entrepreneurship. This is just an honest, one woman account of what it’s like to be an entrepreneur.

First, a little bit of my backstory.

I guess I could say that entrepreneurship is in my blood and my nature. My father was an entrepreneur for as long as there are stories about him, at least the ones that I have heard. I did not grow up around him, but I know some things about his entrepreneurial adventures.

My father owned a nightclub, neighborhood grocery store, and a mechanic / tire shop. My mother told me that she had no idea why he owned a nightclub; he did not like people and he especially did not like drunk ones. I suppose that I get my misanthropy and dislike for alcohol through my father’s blood line.

All of his businesses were successful and he was successful. He lived well and drove nice cars and had a nice house. I never saw the inside of the houses or the car, at least in my memory, but I have heard about them.

My elderly uncle once told me a story about how my father was also kind of a shrewd / asshole / rule following kind of guy. My uncle said that once, a guy went into my father’s grocery store and practically begged him to let him buy beer on a Sunday. My father told him no, and didn’t budge.

I am starting to see a theme here: I look like my mother, but the inside of my head and the darkness of my soul are thanks to my father. I would have done the same thing, if it were me. Get out of here with your Sunday beer money, sir. Come back when the laws change, duh!

I’ve never had much interest in rule or law breaking unless it’s speeding while driving. I just cannot stand to go 35 mph. I simply must go 38 mph. Call me a rebel.

My own foray into entrepreneurship began in middle school. In between the bell rings for us to change classes, I sold cookies to the greedy and hungry kids. I even sold them after I was caught with “contraband” and sent to the principal’s office. I retract my previous statement about not breaking rules. Those rules would have negatively impacted my business. So, perhaps, I would have sold that guy a beer on Sunday.

I majored in Business and Entrepreneurship in college. Then, one day, years after graduating from college the first time and the second time, I had a dream of opening a bakery.

Over the years, I have toyed with the idea of opening a bakery. The idea of it is crystal clear in my head. I even recruited a friend to help me figure out numbers, costs, all this stuff. It’s a somewhat secret dream of mine (as in everyone I know knows about it), and I would like to make it happen one day, hopefully soon.

But for now, my life as an entrepreneur is based on the reality of needing money and paying bills, you know the unsexy stuff. Right now, I am loosely a writer (kind of) and I work for clients. It is terribly unsexy, but it is a good way to put my pinky toe into the world of being a bonafied business owner, a self employed guru in the making.

So, what’s it like?

IT IS TERRIFYING.

I do not have the finger strength to write all the things I could write about the fear I have experienced and continue to experience as an entrepreneur. When you’re first starting out, the learning curve is so steep, that you just have to commit to feeling like you’re drowning. You might feel like that for the foreseeable future. So, commit to being uncomfortable and get on with it.

YOU ARE NOT SLEEPING ALL DAY.

This past week, I have worked so much that I couldn’t even turn my brain off. So, even when I was asleep, I was still having some weird dreams about due dates and such. I barely took lunch breaks and I certainly was  not napping!

YOU WORK NO MATTER WHAT.

Sick days? GTFOH. Pain? Work anyway. Tummy aches? Work anyway. Sick and tired? Get your ass to the desk.

THERE IS ALWAYS WORK TO DO.

As a service based entrepreneur, it’s kind of like feast or famine. You either have so much work that you want to run away or there’s no work and you consider becoming a street beggar or gypsy.

YOUR BRAIN IS RARELY OFF.

See above explanation.

IT IS REWARDING.

Yay! The “man” is YOU. You get to boss yourself around and make yourself miserable! It’s great.

YOU HAVE SOME FREEDOM.

Unless you’re farther down the entrepreneurial road than I am, then there’s not a shit ton of freedom. You have to find your own customers, please the customers, deliver the product or service. Basically, you might be able to work from 9:48 am – 7:02 pm, but you’re still bound by your need to make your business successful.

YOU HAVE ALL OF THE RESPONSIBILITY.

This one is a doozie. It is both liberating and misery inducing. You are the king of the castle and it’s great until you realize that all of the knights and peasants are looking at you to direct the show.

 

With all of those things in mind, I am still incredibly fortunate to even have the opportunity to be an entrepreneur. My route to entrepreneurship was convoluted and almost terrifying (to say the least), but I am happy to be on this road.

Enough talking to you; I’ve got to get back to alternating between working and crying in the corner.

Until tomorrow, my friends…

PS! Are you an entrepreneur? If so, what’s your business? Leave me a comment below!