Tough Girls Cry

Last month my family received (for the second time) shocking news of a horrific accident involving an immediate family member. One is never prepared on how to feel, what to do and how to react. Most people publicly show sympathy, empathy and grieve outwardly. It is just as important to grieve as it is to mourn. With that being said, it is even more crucial to deal with these circumstances head on verses holding it all in until you explode with emotion at the most inopportune time.

If you are similar to me, my way of showing is a bit more complicated with a hint of detachment. My mind heads in the direction of compartmentalization when first processing this type of news in order to create a plan or strategy to “fix” while maintaining a strong facade.

My analytical psyche starts to think of all of the possible surrounding responsibilities, issues and functions that I can act on to repair or mitigate due to feeling helpless in the current situation. Taking charge and leadership over “processes” helps me to feel as if I am contributing, but in a detached manner. (This mindset became second nature to me ever since the age of 14 – when I left my home to relocate to a foster home. Having to grow up quickly in an outside setting coupled with facing difficult life decisions as a teen has contributed to my present coping skills.)

In regards to the accident, my mind took two weeks before I experienced an emotional breakdown which unfortunately happened while I was at work. Luckily, my office was empty and I was saved from embarrassment of having to publicly display my ugly cry face complete with hyperventilating. Suppression was a huge factor in my delay of emoting and it hit me all at once like a ton of bricks.

It was not pretty. It happened in the midst of a phone call where I completely broke down in uncontrollable sobbing for at least a minute straight. Thankfully the person on the other end was kind and reacted with compassion and concern. After I finally got my shit together, I was able to semi save face, call back and finish out my phone conversation.

My first mistake was choosing not to emote as I continued my daily routine – removed. My internal struggle was fear of having someone see me appear as “weak” when I am perceived as the strong one within my friend circles and family. Holding onto that perception with a tight grip skewed my view on myself to maintain a strong, stoic position when faced with extremely emotional situations affecting me or people close to me.

My second mistake was to hold all of my friends and family to enormously high expectations in the ability to mind read my needs and then become equally frustrated and angry when my needs weren’t being met. It was a double-edged sword type of situation – one couldn’t help if they tried and those that tried didn’t help. I was angry at the world mostly due to frustration at not being able to magically fix my family member or turn back time to prevent the accident from happening. #angerdisplacment

For that I am sorry. I am sorry for lashing out/pushing people away/blowing people off. I’ve felt like a crazy person for the past month, but have come to realize that I am neither a superhuman nor a fucking robot! Being strong can only go so far and we all have our tipping point and well…we all know what happens next. FREAK OUT!

A few helpful suggestions to try prior to losing your shit on the daily:

  • Talk to someone, soonish – in depth
  • Grieve/mourn – appropriately & honestly
  • Let out your emotions – freedom!

 

Live and learn and be kind to yourself. You are not alone in this process.

 

Hi there, How Can I NOT Help You?

Have you ever dialed a 1-800 number, typed in your 16 digit account number/verification code, then answered 20 questions and 20 prompts later – only to be met with a person on the other line that asks you to repeat the info you just typed in AND then decides to be a lazy fucker and become unresponsive to your questions?!! Oh yeah, if not – please call your student loan servicers, insurance office, phone/internet/cable/utility companies, banks, or credit card company. These are just a few businesses included in the death circle that can make you feel like flipping a fucking table, pulling out your hair or punching someone in the GD throat. #raging

I’ve since come up with a cheat sheet below on how to avoid some of the madness as well as pressure the “customer service person” to do their fucking job. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve been on the other side and pride myself on providing good customer service on a daily basis even though it’s “not my job”.

By the time you call these businesses and reach a live person you are probably out for blood and on a full rampage. What I try to do from the get-go is preface the call with, “I am not upset at you, but I am upset at the problem.” 9 times out of 10, the person will show compassion and will want to assist you in fixing the problem and immediately start diffusing the situation. If that doesn’t work, please refer to the items below to save your sanity.

Avoiding 20 Prompts – this seems to work 80% of the time. Saves me having to answer about 20 questions via the automated lady and will quickly connect me to a live person, therefore, lowering my blood pressure and anxiety level to slightly elevated.

  • Press “0”, (zero) at every option possible, ALL OPTIONS
  • Ask for “customer service rep” at all voice prompts
  • As for a “supervisor”
  • Don’t waste time entering your info in; you will only end up repeating it all to the rep as if they don’t see shit on their screen or that “it didn’t come through”. All that work. #wasteoftime

Flat Answers– when you speak to a person that gives you flat answers or stays quiet on the other end. They appear unresponsive and cold which makes you wish you could crawl through the phone line to strangle them!

Them: “I don’t know”

Me: “Can you transfer me to someone who does know?”

Them: <silence>

Me: “Are you there? Yes, no? Should I call back when you are done napping or when your done playing your turn on Words?”

Are you fucking kidding me? If you don’t know, then maybe you shouldn’t be working there. Perhaps answering with, “I don’t know, but I can find someone who can help or get you to the right person” would make you look like less of a dumbass and helpful at the same time. Politeness and helpfulness goes a long way people. I don’t mind waiting if someone is sincerely tracking down an answer or another person that can help.

Them: “That’s not my department”

Me: “Can you transfer me to someone IN the right department, then?”

Are you really trying to shut my shit down? What department do you work in? The big “fuck you” department? I am sure your manager isn’t paying you to sit at your desk and answer the phone with the silent treatment.

Them: “That’s not my job”

Me: “What exactly IS your job? What CAN you do for me? Please transfer me to someone whose job it is then.”

Time to get a new fucking job BETCH if you are unable to help or unable to defer me to someone who can! You shouldn’t be at the front line, answering phones if you cannot provide answers or who to transfer someone to. All I want is answers. If you don’t know, politely put me on hold to find out where to pass me along to – not that hard.

Escalation – I tend to save this option as my last resort, right before I cut someone. I request to speak with the person’s supervisor who technically should be trained in handling raging customers who have reached their max level of patience. Supervisors are usually apologetic, helpful, offer solutions to my problems and immediately start working on solving the issue(s) at hand.

  • Start with this option if you only have 10 minutes tops to deal
  • Write complaint letters to the president/owner
  • Write complaint letters to the Better Business Bureau, State’s Attorney General and the Federal regulating company for that business

After taking a 10 minute break, I am now ready to conclude this blog.

Although sometimes you encounter douche bags that have no clue what the hell they are doing in their job, there is always the flip side – receiving amazing customer service where all of the stars align perfectly and your problems are solved in 5 minutes flat!

It is always best to set the call starting with a positive attitude, politeness and clearly explain your situation. Setting an even tone from the moment you speak can go a long ways in getting what you want without the unnecessary drama.

Rant Over.

 

Check yo self before you wreck yo self

As I mentioned before in a few previous blogs, self-care is essential to the longevity of a healthy life. I am starting to realize this as time goes on and have noticed both physical and mental changes that have occurred over the years. This self-awareness has allowed me to be more in tune with what is going on inside and out which is imperative when counteracting ailments, physical pain, or negative energy.

Learning to identify personal needs and then addressing them with high priority is a constant struggle for me. The little things that were once minute and put on back burner have now come to surface and are haunting me. This includes mental and physical stressors from childhood, old injuries from rough sports, repetitive motion from daily movement and mental/physical disorders.

Not to say that I have extreme cases of each item listed, but they soon tend to all add up (and catch up)…eventually.

Mental Health

For me, this topic has always been swept under the rug as something to hide from others as well as myself ignore. With being a product of a dysfunctional family, many issues today have stemmed from the unaddressed experiences from childhood. The combination of culture and society had me feeling ashamed that I needed mental health therapy and therefore I hid this from my family, friends and professionals at that time.

Today, mental health awareness is more prevalent and there are many platforms to educate society on the different disorders that have long been kept quiet. This makes it feel more acceptable to seek out help when needed and to address issues without feeling ashamed or embarrassed that you aren’t “normal”.

Most companies offer benefits that include mental health as a part of the package and some even offer employee assistance programs at zero or low costs. This service can even extend to your family.

Some programs include topics such as:

  • Counseling and Relationship Support
  • Work life Balance Services
  • Legal Services
  • Financial Services

Please check with your benefits adviser on what your company can offer you. I urge you to take advantage of these free or low cost services may just save you anguish and stress and is a great starting point if you have no idea where to begin.

Physical Health

Unfortunately this area for me is constantly put on back burner. This can be anything from eating unhealthy, lack of sleep, alcohol intake, substantial physical activity, and aggressive sports. The combination of it all has taken its toll on my body and I have missed work and social activities due to constant pain.

Injuries – if you suffer from an injury, please, PLEASE address it immediately and follow through with any physical therapy necessary to repair the current injury and prevent future ones. I realize not all have access to endless means and doctor and physical therapy visits can be expensive, but I have learned that one cannot put a price on health.

Repetitive Motion – due to my job, my sitting position and constant repetition of movement relating to my upper half of my body, I am now experiencing back, shoulder and neck issues. From the menial tasks of typing, reviewing, and sitting – these everyday functions have led to constant pain and limited range of motion. Who knew?!

From both old injuries and repetitive movements, the pain was so excruciating that I finally ended up visiting a chiropractic doctor to assess my condition. The results were both good and bad – according to my X-rays, my neck and back are in Phase 1 of deterioration BUT easily fixable! I was then put on a chiro plan for the next 5 months –not cheap, but this was something I couldn’t ignore any longer. So I am biting the bullet now, but with the peace of mind that I will soon be healed. #iamworthit

Lessons Learned:

  • Avoiding mental health issues can lead to problematic relationships that are unhealthy
    • Meltdowns are not fun for you, your family or friends
    • Your work/career may suffer
  • A negative mental state can also lead and are tied to your physical health failing
    • Can block weight loss, cause prolonged illness and more susceptible to illness
  • Unaddressed disorders may cause permanent health concerns or even lead to death
    • Suicide awareness – pay attention to the signs
  • Ignoring injuries or health issues can lead to more serious long term problems
    • Who wants a hunchback at age 40? Not I!

I can’t stress enough to take the initiative to practice self-care – both mental and physical – for the betterment of your mind, body and soul.  This directly affects those surrounding you and in which they benefit from receiving the best of you!

<3

#notyourmom

 

 

Pour me, poor me…

Apparently I haven’t encountered enough douche-bags or experienced WTFuck! or Bitch, please! moments to write about lately. Guess I’ll have to stick with the general category and blog about the adventures I’ve been on instead. Sorry peeps, perhaps in the near future some asshole will piss me off and I’ll have more snarky material to write about. In the meantime don’t worry; I have been working on my sass game while out and about to stir up some drama…evidently I need to try harder!

A few weeks ago I came across this business www.getknitevents.com that puts together private and public events in collaboration with local companies here in Minnesota. I was able to con one friend into attending the Southern Minnesota Brewery Tour with me which included visiting 6 breweries, breakfast, lunch, dinner + snacks. Let’s just say that by stop #2, I was ready for a nap! #oldladystatus.

My day started out with the usual shenanigans by dropping my fucking phone from arm’s length above, edge down, directly onto my cheekbone and then followed up with a tongue bite. Yes folks, this was all prior to any alcohol! For serious! So with a swollen face and tongue, we arrived at our park & ride to start our journey in covering the next 309 miles while trapped on a bus with 30 strangers for the next 13 hours. So help me gawd!

As we made our way down to the first brewery almost 2 hours away, our event hosts were both entertaining and energetic throughout the entire trip and started out with explaining the day’s itinerary along with popping in a movie about the history of beer! Thankfully we paid attention as there was a trivia round on some facts noted in the movie. Who knew you could make beer out of duck poop water!

Upon reaching our first destination, our bus crew was alarmingly quiet – granted it was around 11:30am – but still, we were on GD brewery tour and it was time to get turnt up! We all exited the bus like cattle and headed into the building and the tour guide proceeded to educate us on the history of the brewery and the making of the beer, in a timeline fashion. This was the same exact spiel for the next 5 breweries we hit up. THE SAME EXAAAAAACT! Ugh.

At each stop, we were provided tasty beer flights that ranged between 4-6 glasses along with 12 oz. of your favorite beer. We frontloaded at the first 2 stops and we were able to get through all of the tastings and samples like the champs we are! The next 4 stops were…meh…a different story. To combat our day drinking struggles we napped on the way to the 3rd brewery in hopes that we would feel refreshed for the remaining tours. This helped, only slightly.

As the day went on, our bus crew got a bit noisier and rambunctious while the delicious beer flights were getting tougher to finish from so much beer we drank at the previous stops. To avoid alcohol abuse, we started giving away our portions to new friends we made in route as well as passing on the ones that we knew were too much for our palates to handle. #savewaterdrinkbeer

The effects of a hangover were starting to take place for me at about brewery stop #5. Between drinking, snacks, napping and meals – you’d think after all of my experience that I’d have day drinking under control. Nooooooooope! I was definitely on that struggle bus but not to the extent of other passengers. A few rows back, some dude broke his klepto’d shot glasses from the bar! Doh! “This is why you can’t have nice things!”

In the very back row, someone else upchucked on the ride back to the cities, and all I could smell the entire way home was beer barf, shit and cleaning solution. Almost had ME puking! Fortunately, I was NOT a hotmess and was able to witness a very minimal shitshow. Not sure if this was good or bad or bad for business. Obvi I am always in need of new material for my blogs but this time I didn’t mind the somewhat lowkey clowntown on the bus ride home. Maybe it’s a sign of getting old.

A few pointers for those interested in doing a brewery tour:

  • Get a good night’s rest prior
  • Eat a hearty breakfast that AM (bagels were provided, but I ate at home)
  • Bring a draw-string back pack/fanny pack to hold all the things
  • Bring hand sanitizer/wipes (for when your beer spills on the bus from the shaky ride)
  • Bring a neck pillow (yes, the ones you use on the plane)
  • Bring a bottle opener (in case requested – in which it was)
  • Phone charger or portable charger (the bus had outlets)
  • Bring headphones to connect to your phone/music (to drown out annoying drunk chatter)

All in all a good trip – but just long.

You’ve got to mentally prepare for this as well as physically by way of beer- fasting so you can sample all of the flights in their entirety at every single brewery! My attempts were sub-par compared to others, but then again I escaped with minimal pain the next day. I am sure of it.