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We’re Not Done Yet. Oh No.

When I was 13, I had an amazing group of teachers, one of whom was Mr. Meinecke, who taught social studies. He was a long-haired hippie who wore cowboy boots and jeans every day, but he was razor sharp and world-weary. Two things about Mr. Meinecke stick out in my mind: once, he caught me trying to pull my hair back with a rubber band (not a hair elastic, and actual, office supply rubber band) and he said, “Sarah, you’re going to absolutely RUIN your hair that way”, and the other was that he introduced me to the term “feminist”.

“You’re a feminist, you know that?” he said to me one day during classroom banter.

“A what?” I asked. I wasn’t often labeled.

“A feminist. It’s someone who fights for women’s rights. Equality and whatnot.”

I remember being genuinely confused. “There’s a WORD for that? For wanting equality?”

It would be far from the last time I wore that moniker.


In high school, we were asked what our career paths were. There were standardized aptitude tests – those tried to sway me towards “administrative tasks” or “educational careers” – or there were sessions with guidance counselors. There were so many ways that we were encouraged to explore our potential, but you know, not TOO far.

My sessions always went like this.

“So – checking name on the paper – Sarah, what would you like to be when you grow up?”

“President.”

:: crickets ::

“No, really. What would you like to be?”

“President.”

“Okay, president of WHAT?”

“The United States. President of the United States.”

“Let’s try and focus on realistic goals.”

It’s actually in our senior time capsule and in lots of my senior year memorabilia – I wanted to be President of the United States. I look at that now and I think, I never said the first female president. I just said President. Because I had faith I wouldn’t be the first.


I could list the #YesAllWomen experiences here that I’ve had – the guy who brought me a banana daily to watch me eat it, the radio director who called me a whore in a staff meeting when I asked for a day off, the many MANY hands in inappropriate places when I was a server – but the truth is this: every exit interview I’ve ever had ended with my (always male) manager telling me, “You’ll never succeed in this new position. You’re setting yourself up for failure.”

I’ve had most of those guys work for me since. I’d like to say I’m better than that, and it’s a momentary victory, but it’s a victory nonetheless.


I have cried so many times this year in particular as I’ve watched women around me struggle. If I look at the statistics, how the demographics of women in management decline dramatically as you go up the charts of either age or management ranks, I have to concur. It’s because the stakes get bigger, the roadblocks seem more insurmountable, and the boys club gets airtight.

I remember on International Women’s Day (which, I can’t help but note, is also National Dog Day) that I shared my feelings The glass ceiling is just a façade that hides an iron barrier. You think you’re shattering something, but it’s only to stop us from trying once the shards fall.


I love politics. I’ve debated running – still debate running – to help institute change. But in my professional career, I’ve had much more effectiveness in positions where I could stay agile, unfettered by red tape or bureaucracy. I’ve satiated my political hunger by working through civilian forums – grassroots efforts or local council engagements – but maybe that time has ended.

Today was a monumental day.

I voted for a woman for president. President of the United States.

#imwithher


So America has made a declaration today. And because I’m an eternal optimist, I cried my eyes out all night and again this morning, but I came into work and looked at these people – my coworkers are my family, I love them deeply without reserve – and I knew that most of them voted on a different ticket than I did. I can’t assume that they were voting pro-misogyny or pro-racism or pro-homophobia or all of the things that were my BIG TICKET ITEMS. I have to assume that they are making a declaration in some other arena, not supporting the man behind the podium or his ill-conceived, small-minded words but supporting the party they believe in. I’m choosing to believe that we need to listen, to understand, to heal, and to recover. And we will.

This morning, I took a long hot shower, applied copious concealer under my eyes, penciled a smile on my lips, and straightened my glasses. We’re just getting started, y’all.

Comments { 5 }

Let Me Just Be Frank Here.

(I feel like that title comes equipped with a Leslie Nielsen quote.)

I have watched this sort of .. phenomenon? movement? trend? .. take place here lately, and while I can typically just silently acknowledge these things and maybe remark on them under my breath or over pillow talk, I think this one particular thing has advanced so far that I cannot sit idly by in silence.

I will judge you by how you treat your server at a restaurant.

See, here’s the basis of my judgement. 1) I worked in food service for a LOOOOONG time growing up, so I am arguably more sensitive than most regarding this issue. 2) Servers are, you know, PEOPLE. It’s akin to how you treat children and animals. (Both of which are also scorecards for how I judge you as a person.)

I have always known people who are naturally bad tippers. That’s .. well, okay, that’s not fine, but it is at least more palatable to me because while they were cheap, they were never rude. But now it seems to be a growing trend that people are not only cheap, but also rude and condescending to their servers. And I CANNOT TAKE IT.

If you believe yourself to be superior to your server, to the point that you cannot even address them as a human being, then STAY AT HOME. These people are BRINGING FOOD TO YOUR TABLE. They are doing you a SERVICE.

Treating your server with disdain or condescension does not make you look assertive. It does not make anyone think, “Oh, that guy? That guy is a go-getter! Who knows what he wants!” No, treating your server – or any human being – that way? Only makes you look like an asshole.

If you have bad service, it’s totally okay to call over the manager and let them know. It is NEVER OKAY TO NOT LEAVE A TIP. NEVER EVER EVER. A lot of mistakes are not the server’s fault, and the server still depends on your gratuity to pay their bills. Would you blame the bus driver for your kid’s bad grades in school? OF COURSE NOT.

I’ve spent most of my life going behind bad tippers and righting their wrongs. If we’ve taken up a large table and then my companions left a measly tip? I’ve gone behind them and fixed that. I don’t mind that. (20%, y’all. 20%. Not a dollar or two.)

But if you’re with me and you’re just a downright ASSHOLE to the server?

Not only am I going to compensate for your behavior, but I’m ALSO going to gift the server of something even better: me letting you know exactly how I feel about it.

Comments { 51 }

Some Whining: Let Me Give You It.

I remember taking vacations growing up. I remember the yearly trip somewhere, be it the beach or grandparents or St. Louis or wherever. I remember packing up our conversion van and hitting the road.

Somehow, I didn’t get this gene. I WANT THIS GENE. We have not taken a true “vacation” since 2009, when my parents treated us to a week at the beach. It was AWESOME, and even Tony – who was maybe 18 months at the time – wistfully longs to visit “da beach” again. Before that, it was our honeymoon.

We just cannot travel. We cannot. And it eats me up. I crave fresh air, NEW air, and different food and new textures under my feet. I miss the adventure and my wanderlust just fills me with bitterness and resentment.

But we have a kid in daycare. Another one in private school. We have two car payments. A mortgage. An A/C unit with a deathwish. Crazy, stressful, unrelenting jobs. These things sap most of our resources. And, amazingly, it takes resources to travel.

Summer has hit, apparently. And the travel bug has bitten me. Like, eleventy frillion times, and the itch is constant.

****
I have a love/hate relationship with interns every summer. Not with any particular intern, not personally, but just with the theory of them in general. I want to gather them all in a room and then tell them, “STAY IN SCHOOL. GET YOUR DEGREE. AND THEN LIVE A BETTER LIFE THAN I DID.” I want them to see the abundant fluorescent lighting here, and how it accentuates the bags under all of our eyes, and how we all walk with our gaze downward. As R said on Twitter, “Take a good look at the people who have been here a long time, and decide if THAT is the person you want to be.”

Now, the great thing is: it could be worse. I love what we’re working for. I believe in what we do. And I like most of the people I work with. But we are a culture, here. A way of life. And you have to wonder if the way of life is worth it, in the end.

****

Okay, seriously, can we TALK about the whole zombie explosion and the guy eating the other guy’s face off and the woman eating her baby and the weirdo sending dismembered body parts to Canadian government officials? Because, y’all. MEMORIAL DAY USED TO MEAN SOMETHING.

****

I got up at 4:30 the other morning and met some friends for a sunrise run. It was amazing. Seriously. Since we’re in the throes of summer right now (which, HAHA, is not even the throes of summer, but it feels like a tour through North Hell), running at dawn is about the only time I won’t perish in the heat. And it was lovely.

We weren’t out for time or distance, just wanting to stretch our legs a little. And in not worrying about time or distance, we had a great pace. For over two miles. Which is almost the 5k that I sucked so badly at on Saturday. Which makes me think this running thing is more than just a little mental. Because I could’ve easily finished out another mile yesterday morning for the full 5K course and in WAY better time. Because I didn’t care about time. Or pace. Or distance, even. I just wanted to stretch my legs.

(Thanks, Jennifer and Anita, for the company!)

****

As if I needed another Mommy Guilt blow to the gut, the only thing Tony has asked for over the past few months is to get back to swim lessons. For some reason – unseen by his momma, who will not put her head underwater – the child loves swimming. He actually can’t swim, but he had made some HUGE strides through the last round of lessons he took. (In .. February, maybe?)

We finally made it over to the YMCA to sign him up for June’s classes, and WHAM!, the schedule has been adjusted for summer. The latest class starts at 5:00. We cannot reliably get away from work in time to get him to a 5:00 pm class.

And it BREAKS.MY.HEART.

So we’re looking into other options, but MAN. 1) I love the YMCA, and would rather spend my money there. 2) That’s where we’ve always gone, and you can’t beat the price. 3) I DON’T NEED ANOTHER THING TO MAKE ME FEEL GUILTY ABOUT NEVER BEING HOME.

****

Silver lining: apparently, I have whined enough on ANOTHER topic to make a difference.

I am posting this from work.

Comments { 7 }

CRABBY AND STABBY.

I’m in a fantastically crabby mood.

It’s nothing YOU did, obviously. You people are great and amazing and quite frankly? I need you here. In my life. Like, ALL THE TIMES. But you’re not here, and that makes me crabby too.

Ah. Okay. Actually, it IS something you did then.

***

So the freakin’ dog ate my freakin’ phone on Thursday night. I am of two minds about this.

1 – Yes. It happened. And I let it. I left my phone sitting on the couch as I was hurrying to get everyone packed up and organized and out the door for dinner.

2 – WHY DIDN’T ANYONE NOT LET THIS HAPPEN?

I understand that Numero Uno up there is far more realistic and accountable and I get that. And instead of being upset and angry and flipping my gawddamn lid like I wanted to, I sucked in a deep breath, and recited that line to the children. We have a dog who chews things. Which is why we pick up after ourselves.

But see? See that last line there? THAT’S why Number Two keeps popping back up. Do you KNOW how often I circle our common areas, picking up what a boy has left behind? DO YOU KNOW? Do you know, for instance, how often I’ve saved Bryan’s phone/Playstation Remotes/Tv Remotes/plastic dishware from having this same fate? I literally never leave the house without first circling through those rooms to make sure everything is put away. In fact, part of why I LEFT the phone in the first place is that I was hurrying to get Tony’s snackware put away.

But I left my phone out. It was me that did it.

I just wouldn’t mind someone having my back occasionally.

***

And that’s really the crux of my really crabby mood lately. This is totally a WAHHH POOR ME moment, but hey. I’m human. I’m allowed those. This week is kind of a banner week for me, really. I got accepted into my college of choice. I’m having my big graduation race this weekend, and I may serve as a mentor for the next training class. I’ve also spent my free time studying up on different tutoring curriculums and how they work or conflict with different learning disabilities.

The response I’ve received on those items?

Did not meet my expectations.

So I’m in a crabby mood.

***

My email signature at work for years has read Desire. Ask. Believe. Receive. which is a quote from Stella Terrill Mann. I’m just not a fan of kvetching without working to find a solution. And I feel like I’m trying masterfully hard to make solutions where there are none. And I’m just ready for the pieces to start falling into place. I’m also starting to wonder if I’m trying too hard, making my expectations unrealistic, or if I’m looking at the wrong pieces. Maybe I need a different puzzle entirely.

***

GRADUATION RACE TOMORROW! THERE ARE COOKIES AT THE END!!

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You Know I Can VOTE Now, Right?

I made this grandstand proclamation some weeks back that I would start doing an SNL recap. Then I promptly stopped watching. So I’m really impressed with my own stick-to-it-iveness there.

My need to stop watching coincided with two very important events. 1) it stopped being funny. Not even chuckle-inducing, it suddenly became painful to watch. I’m sorry, but if you have a sketch as promising as “You Can Do Anything”, a show encouraging folks of my generation to just start blogging about something and you can be a professional at it and then it FAILS TO DELIVER? Fundamental failure there, my friends.2) Suddenly, my rights to my own ovaries were being questioned.

Yep. I’m about to get political.

But see, not really. In my eyes? I’m not speaking politically at all. I AM laying claims to my own body and my choices regarding such, and for some reason, in the past two weeks, this has been declared a political decision.

It started when Obama said that maybe insurance companies should be legally required to offer contraceptives, even if business-owners fundamentally/religiously disagreed with contraceptives in general. I .. I don’t know. I realize that my point of view on this is very limited: I don’t have any ideology to color it in any way. I know a lot of folks who have religious objections to contraceptives, and that’s fine. Dude, we live in this amazing country that allows you the freedom to do that! And worship whatever you wish! And that is AWESOME.

But .. um .. I don’t have such objections. So, regardless of whom I work for, I would like some contraceptives, please. I .. I am inclined to think that it should be a rule. A law. What have you. I think that is .. well, I’ll say it’s fundamental for women’s rights.

(Also, a stunning statistic was released that same week that had me believing NBC made it up: 98% of Catholic women polled had used some form of contraception. But then it was echoed on NPR, so .. NPR does their homework, is what I’m saying.)

Okay, so all that aside, one of Santorum’s backers then came out and jokingly said that he didn’t understand all of the commotion surrounding this, he didn’t understand America’s preoccupation with sex. Why, in his day (he joked), women held an aspirin between their legs for contraception! HA HA HA HA, OH. OH, I DO SO ENJOY YOU LAUGHING ABOUT MY BODY. PLEASE, NOW JOKE ABOUT HOW WE COULDN’T VOTE IN YOUR DAY, EITHER.

Then! OH, THEN.

Wait, first. First, let me say that I never really found Rick Santorum to be much more than a mosquito on my radar. Occasionally, I’d hear this random buzzing, but a quick swat would dissipate it. But now? Now, he and his sweater vests and his misogyny scare the placenta out of me.

So Santorum was quipping about how he believed that some prenatal care should not be covered by insurance because it would increase abortion rates. The interviewer I heard gave him a chance to clarify that response (i.e. BACKTRACK THE FUCK UP), but .. he didn’t backtrack. He moved forward. He stated that he believed some prenatal care – specifically amniocentesis procedures – should not be covered because “they increase abortion rates”.

?!?!?!!?!!?!!??!??

By his logic, women (and only women; he never mentions men being involved in abortion decisions, oddly enough) only have an amniocentesis if they are worried of abnormalities or defects or what have you, and if they find anything less than perfect in the test, they abort.

This is also a man who believes that the preferred method of contraception should be the rhythm method.

Okay, look. Just like I praised our freedom of religion earlier, I feel the EXACT same way about your political association. I have been a Democrat for all of my voting years, but admittedly, I work on Republican-funded contracts. (.. so far.) I honestly do not mind which way you vote.

But ladies, I just want you to KNOW what is happening out there. I want you to know that suddenly, decisions are being made for us akin to 1900. We are suddenly being relegated to second-class citizens. And we are just women! Can you imagine the trickle-down effect this will have on the Gay/Lesbian/Bisexual/Transgender community?

I would almost – ALMOST – be tolerant of the contraceptive issue if I felt a fair panel was being created to judge it. But no women were invited to participate. NONE. NADA. And the few that tried to participate were rejected. Because “this is not a women’s rights issue. This is a religious issue.”

So women are not allowed to choose in either the medical OR the religious forums.

I am VERY, VERY CONCERNED. And when I saw Amy Poehler pop in on SNL’s Weekend Update, I hoped she would give voice to my frustration and fear.

She tried, but even she could not adequately articulate my rage.

Because we are way past “REALLY?!”

Comments { 17 }