Taking Out the Trash, LIKE A BOSS – Meme

Taking Out the Trash, LIKE A BOSS – Meme.

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Friendships With Mommies (when you aren’t one)

Every now and then (more often as of recent), I find myself with a desperate urge to make friends. I’m in my mid-20’s, and for some reason it seems impossible to make real, good friends, like how you did in high school, or college if you attended. First of all, I don’t go anywhere that I really meet people my own age, except for work, and they’re all my clients. Many of them are great conversationalists and temporarily fill my gap for human interaction, but how many of them would actually say “Absolutely!” if I asked to have a drink with them? I feel like 90% of them would give me the half-hearted, “Sure, we’ll have to get together…EVENTUALLY.” I mean, what if your dentist asked if you wanted to hang out sometime, or your tax guy? Weird.

Secondly, I’m not an extremely social person. To be honest, I don’t really like people, especially groups. Which leads to my third point, I have a significant other, and we live together. Meeting other couples is like a clever game of mind chess as you attempt to figure out if they’re both normal, if one is crazy, if they hate you collectively, or if you have a real connection, all while being polite enough to not piss off not one, but TWO people. And your significant other is doing it too…sometimes one of you is less skilled than the other and says something stupid that just ruins it for the both of you. And whether your new friend-in-question is part of a couple or you’re just out on your own, let’s face it–people are full of crap. Weeding through the bullshit to get to the morale and character of the person you’re talking to is the challenge in finding a true friend as an adult. Teenagers are jerks too, but adults just seem to have something to prove, and a specific set of shoes to fill, and it’s a lot more effort to chip away that wall than it is for a teenager talking to other teenagers.

Truth be told, I haven’t made a single -true- friend as an adult. They’re literally all people I knew in high school, or even before high school. My two best friends and I all met when we were in elementary school. We’ve remained friends, but not as close as we once were. We’ve moved around, gotten jobs, had to become adults, you know? Life gets in the way and you get busy, especially if you, like them, become a mother.

I’ve often thought about the differences between my friendships with my two best friends since they’ve had children. Now I’d like to be clear here, just because I’m NOT a mom doesn’t mean I’m a delusional moron who expects my friends to still come over every weekend. I understand that kids take a lot of time, dedication, and resources. I’m not a party animal who wants them to go drinking with me twice a week (if I did this, I bet I’d have more friends…xD), and I’m not a bitch who immediately changes the subject whenever either of them brings up their children because I don’t relate. It isn’t hard to imagine caring for a little person and making sure they grow up to be functioning, happy adults. Both of my best friends have changed with motherhood in regards to our friendship, but in different ways.

Friend A-The Doting Mother

One of my friends brings up her kids CONSTANTLY, at least several times in each conversation. She sends me pictures of them with Santa every year (which I enjoy!), she texts me pictures of them mid-blink because it’s the cutest thing ever, she asks me if she told me about how her daughter used the table to stand herself up the other day (yes, you’ve told me four times). Her kids are the light of her life. She rarely talks about her job, but does talk about her relationship issues, which are likely a contributing factor to why she puts so much emphasis on her kids. It’s like “My relationship track record is abysmal, but I have these adorable children! Do YOU have adorable children? Are they as adorable as mine? Unlikely. Let me tell you about how awesome they are.” Our phone conversations are normally pretty good; they often center around her, but about once a month we have a really good chat where we catch up on life.

We don’t see each other often anyway because she lives about an hour away, but we’re used to that. I started to really notice a change when she started hanging out with different people…people who are also moms! Single moms, like her.

One time, one of these friends came in to get tattooed and told me about the fun that she, my best friend, and another single mom had when they and their children went to the zoo together the week before. I tried to act excited, but inside I was thinking…what the hell? We live literally ten minutes away from the zoo, I could have easily met up with them. She didn’t even mention ever going to the zoo until I asked her about it, at which time she played it off as “Oh, yeah, we all went to the zoo, it was fun.” Even though I’ve hung out with her children (only one at this point I believe) a hundred times, and her 4-year old son loves me, I couldn’t help but wonder if it would just be awkward for them if I was the only one without a child present at the zoo.

Since then, I’ve seen her attending birthday parties with these friends, most of which I know from high school but am not officially acquainted with, unless you count Facebook, and pictures of her children at the mall or wherever they may be. But my friend has only, in the 2 1/2 years since my boyfriend and I have been living together, visited my house one time. I normally end up making the hour-long drive up to her house if I want to see her.  She AND her children are welcome to come over any time! But for some reason, I feel guilty saying, “Hey, I know you’re a single mom and you have a 40 hour workweek just like me, but since we have the same days off, maybe you could come visit ME for once, since you haven’t seen our place that my boyfriend and I moved into over a year ago? It sure would be nice to see you!”

Friend B-The Socially Awkward Hermit Mother

My other best friend is almost the exact opposite. She tries her best to keep in touch with me and actually initiates visiting about as often as I do, which is great! The reason behind this is that she has very, very few friends, and for the first 2 years of her mommyhood, she didn’t really interact with other adults, at all, except for her then-boyfriend and her current fiance. Most of her high school friends were bad influences–they did drugs, had random sex, ran away and snuck out of the house, and she did a lot of that with them. After you have kids…not so much. The plus is that our significant others get along well enough too for us all to go out together and not kill each other as well, and she lives a bit closer than Friend A.

We don’t talk a whole lot in between our visits, but I try to stay caught up and we never miss a “Happy birthday” or “Merry Christmas”. When we do talk, this friend doesn’t talk much about her kids at all, unless something amusing happens. She thinks I’ll be bored of hearing about them because I don’t have kids of my own, and because they aren’t mine. On the contrary, I do enjoy hearing a little bit about them (just not about every booger they picked or the shape that they were laying in for their naps this afternoon)! Her kids absolutely adore me, and I always end up playing with them when I visit her house, but she seems embarrassed that they ‘harass’ me because it’s not something I do on a normal day. I’ve offered to babysit countless times (her girls are 5 and 3), but she always laughs and says that I don’t know what I’d be getting into.

My Conclusion: 

What I glean from these two perceptions is that apparently, because I don’t have children, that I’M different. Friend A prefers to hang out with and talk to other moms because she feels that she has more in common with them now than she does with me. Friend B likes to pretend that she doesn’t have kids when we hang out because she fears that I will find her boring and stop hanging out with her. She believes that because I don’t have kids and because I’m undecided on whether or not to have any, that children revolt me, that I don’t understand them, and that they frighten or aggravate me with their very existence.

But the truth is that I care very much about both of my best friends, and I welcome their motherhood lifestyles and simply want to be part of their life in general, despite my own lack of genetic offspring. I wonder why it seems so different? Thoughts?

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‘Radioactive’- Anime-Inspired Illustration

'Radioactive'- Anime-Inspired Illustration

I finally did some digital art! I KNEW I HAD IT IN ME. I did this one with no anatomical or shading references; there are a few things I know are inaccurate, but I’m happy with the result.

This illustration depicts a character from a post-apocalyptic society, which is heavily industrialized, but dramatically diminished from the populace that we know today. And yes, the title was inspired by that ridiculously catchy song of the same name. xD

Commentary – What It’s Like to Be Poor and Make Terrible Decisions

My blog today is on an article that I stumbled upon after a Youtube video on the distribution of wealth in America prompted me to look into where I landed on the scale and how much the top 1% really -do- make…and I found this:

http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2013-11-23/what-its-be-poor-and-make-terrible-decisions

I attempted to register with the website to join the commentary discussion, but unfortunately the ‘standard approval time’ for this site is between 4 and 7 days. Zero Hedge’s rule #5 notes that they’re ‘far too busy to contact users, so if someone asks for your password they have too much time on their hands to be us,’ and when rules #4 told me that I should have no expectation of privacy, I said no thank you. When a website’s register rules are condescending to me, I can only imagine how the users and SUPER BUSY staff must be.

So I’m just gonna be on here instead. xD

Basically, this article is a personal account from one woman about how there’s no hope to reach out of poverty, even if you try, and that this mentality has kept her stuck and “made” her make terrible decisions. I thought to myself, “Okay, what sort of situation would force someone to make decisions that aren’t in their own best interest?” I went there expecting to find some factual evidence of things that our government may be doing to hinder the progress of those who aren’t even a blip on the wealth distribution scale. Instead…well, I found a lot of excuses.

My End of the Story

First, I’d like to tell you all a bit more about me so you know I’m not an elitist prick who’s typing this from my iPad with my Starbucks coffee on my college campus that my parents paid for me to go to and who pay for my college dorm. I’m 24 years old, and as you all know, I’m a tattoo artist. I’m an only child, but growing up, we didn’t have a huge amount of money, so I’m not as ‘spoiled’ as the only child terminology leads many to believe. Emotionally spoiled…oh yeah. My parents thought I was a prodigy and they’re very proud of me. Materialistically, maybe before the age of 10, but I recall being grateful because I wasn’t yet at the age where material goods mattered. That didn’t happen until I was in 7th or 8th grade, and by then we lived pretty modestly.

I grew up in a double-wide mobile home in the mountains that my dad had built a foundation for and converted into a home. My parents did every addition to the house themselves: my dad built us a garage, a huge front deck, and a back deck. He redid the floors and installed the carpet, and my mom redid the kitchen splash tiles, paint, and  trim, all themselves and with minimal budget. My parents, especially my dad, were the epitome of hard work, and I was taught that I had to work to get the things I wanted, and that I had to pick which things I wanted most because of limited resources. As a child, I was told “no” and didn’t put up a hissy fit so every parent in WalMart could shamefully judge my parental influence.

I got my first job when I was 18, just after high school, working at Jamba Juice for $9/hour, and after a few months I started my tattoo apprenticeship. Apprenticeships are not paid jobs, so I used money that I had saved up (some of which was given to me, but some of which I had earned at my job) for gas money to the 40-mile away destination so that I could do that full-time and not have to work. Eventually I did some receptionist work at the tattoo shop for $40-$80/week because the price of gas was going up, and I was spending $40/week to get down there.

During the end of my 2-year apprenticeship, my dad had been struggling for almost a year to find steady work, and my mom had taken a part-time job at the liquor store and was making about $120/week. It was just enough for food and utilities, so my parents fell 3 months behind on their mortgage and unfortunately lost the property to bankruptcy. It was really hard for me to lose the house that I had grown up in and move to an apartment with my parents (albeit a really nice one) when my dad found work doing maintenance at an apartment complex. I vowed at that time that I would never let myself be financially irresponsible because I was terrified of being homeless or having to lose a house of my own.

Eventually, my parents moved to Arizona, and I was forced to figure out how to be a grown up. I had been tattooing for about a year at this point, but I had just moved to a new tattoo shop and had no clientele. My boyfriend and I had been together at this point for almost a year, and he was struggling to find steady work as well. I moved in with him and his mom (and our dog that my boyfriend had begged his mom to let him adopt from the shelter), storing away most of my stuff in her shed. During that time, we were on food stamps for 3 months, and I was paying $100 for rent until I made more. But within 6 months, I was on a roll at my new job and we were finally able to move into our first dinky, hideous, 600-sq foot apartment. Woo!

Fast forward to 2 years later, and we live in a 2-story duplex with a basement, and the addition of a kitty to our family. I carried both my boyfriend and I financially for over half of this time while he sifted through different jobs that told him full-time and only delivered 10 hours of work a week, and yet we still had money to go out to eat, go to the movies, the zoo, a casino resort overnight, and a bunch of other fun things, because I’m financially responsible. I don’t make a ton of money, but we don’t struggle…but if I’d given up like the girl in this article sounds like she has, you can bet we’d be back at my boyfriend’s mom’s house, and I’d be miserable.

I COULD have taken up smoking to deal with the fact that I felt like a prisoner living with my boyfriend’s mom, in his 12×12 room with limited access to the living room and kitchen because she hated that we lived there, but was too nice to not offer for us to stay. I COULD have stayed on food stamps for longer, but I felt bad enough having to use them anyway that it was the first thing to go when I could afford it. I COULD have pretended that credit wasn’t necessary to rent an apartment, but instead I applied for my first credit card while I was still living with my parents, because I knew I’d have to play the credit game eventually. I knew I’d have to be a grown up someday.

Lots and Lots of Excuses

I get that there are a lot of poor people in this country, a lot of whom have families and are struggling. I get that. I know it’s not their fault a lot of the time. But at some point, you have to take responsibility for your own actions and see if they MIGHT have something to do with where you are in life, and if you’re saying that your situation is MAKING you make decisions that keep you in that situation…you’re playing the victim, simple as that. The victim doesn’t take responsibility, or problem solve, or change their perspective. The victim is entitled to feel wounded by their situation, and everyone else plays a role, but not them.

In this story, the woman mentions talks about the first time she was pregnant and about her kids. She says that Planned Parenthood is 3 hours away, and that sliding-scale clinics can’t help you anyway, which implies that she never took measures to have safe sex. I’ve been taking birth control pills ever since I was 16 years old, and I’ve NEVER been to a Planned Parenthood. Ever. My state offers county-based, sliding scale planned parenthood services, and I had free birth control pills all the way through my apprenticeship and up until my first tattoo job. Rich people don’t get sliding scale services, by the way. It was an hour drive, but you only have to go every 6 months, and it’s worth it because I realize, as an ADULT, that I’m not yet ready for kids. I’m sure that her child is a blessing to her, but I just don’t get why, even with children, you would think things are hopeless. I mean, she’s going to college for God’s sake, THAT’s something! Doesn’t she realize that with whatever degree she’s getting that she won’t have to work 2 jobs, and she won’t be so tired that she resorts to 20 cent frozen burritos? She can spend more time with her kids!

Which, by the way: you have a HUGE “large pleasure to hold on to,” and that’s being a mother. If materialistic wealth if your idea of a “large pleasure,” then no wonder you’re playing the victim; you have no grasp on what’s really important, and your perception revolves around what you’ll ‘never have’ instead of what you do. Some people can’t even have children. They’re probably a financial burden, but they’re YOURS. If you didn’t want them and you couldn’t travel to planned parenthood, then don’t have sex. In fact, were you and your husband in this financial slump before you got married? Why are you picking him up, and from where? What are his excuses?

As far as the Patriot Act making it harder to get a bank account…I don’t even have a clue what that means, unless it’s some liberal brainwashing that tells her that the government knows how much she makes. THEY DO THAT ANYWAY. It’s called taxes. You know, that thing where your WIC comes from that everyone pays into? That thing that WOULD fund food stamps for you if you didn’t have an excuse for why that wouldn’t work out for you too?

My favorite is the author’s justification for smoking. If you can afford cigarettes, but not food, then I can’t find any sympathy within myself to give you. Seriously? I’ve done the math on this before because everyone I know smokes, but let’s do it again. Let’s say you’re a mild smoker, and you smoke half a pack a day. If you average 3 packs a week of the shittiest cigarettes known to man, you’re looking at $10/week, or $30/month that could be used towards groceries, or whatever else you need. But it’s a stimulant? No, it’s a habit. If you want to be stimulated, stop eating crappy frozen burritos and buy some foods with real nutrition via your cigarette money, or with food stamps. I assure you, you won’t get roaches from cooking–I’ve left dishes in the sink for a week and left the trash unattended for two (because I get busy sometimes too), and the most we got were some flies. My bad.

I’m sorry, I’m ranting…

The point I’m getting at it this: there are some people who are truly in need of assistance. Some of them are humbled and grateful by any act of kindness, because they still have hope that things will turn around. They know that they don’t live in a 3rd world country with no running water, and if they can still walk and run, then they understand that it’s kind of a big deal to have that going for them.

Some of them are entitled to more, and because of this attitude, they won’t be grateful, and they’ll never be inspired to rise above what they are and make a difference to themselves. The author says that her point of view is “self-defeating, but it’s safer.” Safer than what exactly? If you’ve really hit rock bottom, what do you have to lose? It’s not safer, it’s more convenient. What if you were to put in the effort required…and you fail? It would be heartbreaking, as she says. But do people become successful because they never failed? No. They become successful because they continued to try, learning from their mistakes along the way, and because they refused to be a victim.

I AM SORRY that that was so long. I really, really want to hear your thoughts on this, people! This perception is becoming very pervasive in America, what is your opinion?

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Pedro the Owl – Tattoo

Pedro the Owl - Tattoo

This was. SO MUCH FUN. xD Can you believe someone actually asked me to draw this for a tattoo? I actually drew a character that my boyfriend made up, his name is Jose the penguin, several years ago. He sells oranges and also wears a sombrero, though his is much tinier. And now he has a cousin, Pedro, who simply loves to partay. xD The girl got it to celebrate her Hispanic heritage, AND HE IS SO CUTE.