Saturday, September 22, 2018

If Everyone is a "Victim," Then is ANYONE a "Victim"???

This is what society ought to be asking itself in the wake of Kanavaugh's accuser and her story. I'm delighted that Aziz Ansari hasn't totally been ruined by the words of "Grace" and her being propped up as a "victim" but giving that any credence was bad enough.

Let's explain a few things about law that these left wing loons seem clueless about:

1. To prove a criminal act, the accuser has to prove their case. Being uncooperative doesn't get your case handled. Not answering questions or acting like you are automatically truthful and saintly doesn't lead to a criminal conviction. Put simply, women DO lie. There are countless stories of false rape accusations that led to men being incarcerated, losing careers, losing college scholarships and even one guy losing his athletic career due to a lying female. You can't erase the impact of false accusations & the women who do it should be punished just as harshly as the person they accused + forced to pay restitution to their victim.

2. We also have a concept in the law called "mens rea." You have to prove a criminal intention & mentality. A drunk guy getting fresh isn't enough. He has to have TOLD you "I'm going to rape you," ignored you when you told him to stop, threatened you with a weapon, deliberately injured you or engage in a modus operandi that he used to rape other women (the exact same scenario happening to you that didn't result in rape where it did result in that with 20 other women is more indicative of a pattern). Something to indicate he wasn't just being another drunk person doing something impolite in the moment.

3. Cops don't lock people up for things they MIGHT do. People MIGHT do just about anything: blow up the local 7-Eleven, snort cocaine, call up the space aliens to murder everyone, pass out drunk, eat a bagel, whatever. We don't have the thought police.

4. Getting fresh while drunk isn't polite but it's not tantamount to rape or sexual assault. The law isn't based on politeness, it's based on actual harm being done to people. If that were something you could get jailed for, we'd have to lock up most of the adults in this country (including women because guess what? Women also grope while drunk).

5. The law isn't written for the eggshell skull types but under the reasonable person standard. A reasonable person isn't a whiny little victim who refuses to take any personal responsibility or engage in any measure of common sense. A law enforcement officer would want to know if you were drugged, if you had physical injuries, how old everyone was, where it happened, when it happened, if you made any effort to tell the guy "no" or push him away and so forth.

Exactly what law did Kanavaugh break (specific citation and definition from a statute if you please)? He wasn't an adult at the time, they supposedly were both drinking, she can't recall the date (even the year), whose house she was at, how she got to the party or the bedroom, how she got home, who was with her, none of that. Her own alleged witnesses don't corroborate her story, she doesn't claim to have been drugged, doesn't say she was threatened with a weapon or that Kanavaugh said "I'm going to rape you" or ignored her when she said no or did anything else to deter his actions. What was a 15 year old doing in an environment with drinking and hanging out with drunk people? She also has a changing story & there is such a thing as false memory that has been discussed in the field of psychology.

The timing is also highly suspicious and we're going to high school?!?! Maybe some girl whose bra snap he snapped wants to try getting the FBI to investigate that as well. As an attorney myself, I can tell you that not just anybody can be admitted to the bar. The standards to become a judge are even higher and the ones to become a Supreme Court Justice are higher still. On the state bar applications I filled out, I was never asked about all the parties and venues I attended where alcohol was consumed or who I interacted with there. They ask you about a lot of things & do just about everything but take fingerprints and bodily fluids if you want to become a lawyer anywhere in the US.

I also know of what I speak since I had a similar situation happen to me before I came to law school & after graduating college. I was sober, could tell you the year and month (nailing it down to one of two dates & day of the week) and what happened from beginning to end. A number of actual rape and assault victims have stated similar details & I even read an account from an adult victim who was a child, had consumed drugs and alcohol and said those details were seared into her mind in spite of all that.

Mine happened the night I went to a Halloween party with a sorority sister, her fiance and her gay bestie. As my usual manner, I was sober and remember having a taste of straight up whisky at this party, finding the taste awful and not having any more alcohol that evening. I met new people and just hung out there while also explaining my costume. My sorority sister had invited me to sleep over that evening since the party was going on late and she lived a distance from my home (I drove there). Her fiance had a lot to drink at this party. Later, we all went to a diner to eat and he kept nodding off. I'd been to karaoke with them and other people before so I'd been around this guy when he was drinking in the past. At no time had he ever done anything inappropriate. He'd not so much as flirted with me or given me indication of any romantic interest in me, drunk or sober. He wasn't my physical type anyway and even if he had been, I have never been the type who'd have chased after anyone's taken man (especially a sorority sister).

I was lying down on the couch in my PJ's, getting ready to go to bed. By this point, my sorority sister has gone upstairs. Her fiance comes out, gets on top of me and kisses me on the mouth. I'm like "Get off me. Go find (sorority sister's name)." He persists.

A thought screaming in my head is "This is wrong. This is your sorority sister's fiance."

I also felt nothing in terms of arousal (remember, he wasn't my type so I had no interest). I'm also not turned on by taken men, especially when they're taken by a loved one.

In this stern, "don't fuck with me" tone, I say "If you don't get off me right now, I'm getting up and going home." I was livid, not thinking about "how are you going to get this guy off you" but just pissed at that moment. I was in a fighting mood & fire was flowing through me.

He gets off me and goes upstairs.

The next day, I tell the gay bestie in private since I feel it's not worth blowing up her relationship when this guy could have been blackout drunk and not even remember doing it. I still feel it was a drunken blunder vs. a deliberate and intentional action. I told her friend in case he wanted to tell her or if he saw some red flag and felt it necessary to speak up. I guess he didn't since I never heard from her later on or got confronted with it. I no longer speak to her for unrelated reasons but I never called myself a victim, didn't call the police (since there was nothing for them to do) and didn't hang out with them again since I was in the process of moving for law school at the time and my schedule got filled up anyway. Plus, I don't think my sorority sister invited me out anyway since she was busy with engagement stuff.

I never felt there was anything he needed to apologize for since he might have been blackout drunk. Blackout drunk means you don't remember anything you did at the time. My father experienced that a lot. I chalked that up to an unfortunate episode that I handled. I wasn't injured, didn't get raped, didn't get threatened or abused and I don't live with psychological trauma from it. My childhood with an alcoholic father and my divorce were traumatic. This was merely a guy being impolite and me standing up for myself; it didn't require the police or a jail cell or ruining my sorority sister's relationship. He wasn't some career rapist or a guy constantly harassing women or even a guy who'd ever harassed me. I've seen cretins & dealt with plenty of other drunk guys getting fresh. I know how to take care of myself & have told off as well as slapped guys for doing that.

From living with my father, I wouldn't have gone to a high school party with alcohol even if I were invited since drunk people do stupid shit and it was never my scene. My parents would have killed everyone involved if I had gone to such a party or were drinking in my teen years. My mother didn't tolerate that shit and people who are smokers, alcoholics, drug addicts and the like will be the first to come down on you if you start doing that stuff. My father would have been harder on us than anybody if we thought about engaging in underage drinking.

I know people who were molested by family members when they were kids (and knew about some of that before I went to college; one of the victims had been a close friend of mine). I know someone else who had to fight off an armed attacker. Those people qualify as victims. People molested by adults in power as children or told "sleep with me or lose your job" are victims. People who were drugged unknowingly and wake up not remembering what happened are victims. I am not a victim.

It's a disservice to victims to shove me or anyone who lived that into the same category & dilutes the entire concept. Who's really a victim if everyone is a victim? It also insults women since it declares all of us helpless fragile flowers who can't live in the adult world.

I think there should be mandatory assertiveness training for women starting in junior high school if not sooner. I can't stand the "I'm too weak to defend myself" garbage. If you're that helpless, why are you in a major city, hanging out in bars or venues with drunk people, living away from your parents, raising children or doing any type of adult task? Fix that shit!!! Take a self-defense class (many places offer free sessions for women). Get a licensed gun and learn how to use it properly. Get some pepper spray. Be aware of your surroundings. Don't hang around scumbags. Act like an adult, not a child. Parent your damn children & stop worrying about if they like you or not.

There's a reason bars and clubs have security guards. There's a reason you have to be 21 to drink legally. Women are told to travel with friends, not leave their drinks unattended and everyone is told not to get blackout drunk or trashed with people they don't know. Why is society coddling people who play stupid games and complain when they win stupid prizes? Where's the demand for personal accountability and responsibility for yourself?

Susan Smith's legal team tried to excuse her killing her kids by talking about her childhood. The jury didn't fall for it then but I'll bet if that case were tried today some idiots would excuse her behavior just like some are trying to excuse Asia Argento. I ask "If rape victims are so likely to molest others, then why aren't we sequestering all of these victims & treating them like any sex offender so they can't have any opportunity to rape someone else? Why aren't they registered on a list or banned from certain jobs & neighborhoods?"

This narrative of "helpless woman" also does the exact opposite of empowering them. It encourages a societal scheme that says "women can't drink or go to bars or clubs," "women can't be around men AT ALL without a male relative present," etc. What does that sound like? If you said "Sharia law" you'd be right. Third wave feminists appear to be too stupid to see it. No one has debated me to the contrary on this. Make women seem impossible to deal with and incapable of advocating for themselves or protecting themselves and we'll end up with laws like that "for our own good." I personally find that offensive & distasteful since I'm not some helpless fragile flower nor do I need such coddling. I like to hope most women feel the same way & despise the third wave feminist logic as well.

Thursday, August 23, 2018

Greetings. Did You Give Me Up for Dead???

You shouldn't. I just continue being busy. Mostly with work stuff and my social life. You should always make effort to see your friends and forge relationships with people who lift you up, inspire you, motivate you to better yourself and the like. Psychologically, it's healthy to do this and social isolation will lead to major problems. This also helps from a networking standpoint since people who know and like you are more likely to refer you places and opportunity can arise that way. Perhaps I'm also cleaning up the emotional and physical wreckage from the past 4ish years. Things are definitely moving onto a better track.

I got to see Mr. Big Stuff a few weeks back when he came to town. He wasn't staying too far from me & he genuinely was happy to see me, I felt. Those time zone changes will kill you traveling from China to NYC but he told me about some changes going on in his life that might permit us to resume our prior boyfriend/girlfriend relationship. I felt like informing Captain Horndog with a sense of smugness about that, a whole "you wanted to write off this guy but he's accomplished more than you have." These days, though I felt like it wasn't really worth it. I'm not entirely convinced Captain Horndog is all that concerned about me and Mr. Big Stuff makes him look like chopped liver by comparison. I even saw pics he'd posted recently & thought "Mr. Big Stuff you aren't but you do okay for your age bracket." I'd probably still knock a bitch out for daring to insult or belittle MY friend, though. I'm that way with all my guy friends, particularly if I see someone reject them in a way I find rude or classless. You can reject guys in a kind & polite manner. If they persist after you do that, THEN you can be a jerk. You don't do it beforehand.

After seeing Mr. Big Stuff, I realized I'm over what Comic Book Boy did and actually have more feeling towards Mr. Big Stuff. The question is do I like Mr. Big Stuff based on his own merits or because he was there for me in major ways post-separation/post-divorce & if it weren't him, it'd be someone else. Honestly, despite Mr. Big Stuff having flaws like anyone else, I feel like it's more that I like him on his own merits vs. his being convenient or a mere handsome face. We had our falling out and reconciliation so to me, if someone makes the effort to reconnect with me that means I had an impact & matter to them. He told me I was the only person he'd actually seen during his visit. When asked if I was his girlfriend, he said "something like that." It both scares and pains me to admit it but I think I might even be able to love again though I will never, ever tell a guy "I love you" first. I might not even be able to admit to myself that I love a guy even if I actually do. The pain and fear of rejection are too great for me. I would need an emotional insurance policy or a backup to lessen any pain if I didn't get the same level of love or concern towards me. One thing that gives me hope, though, is that this particular guy told me that he doesn't view me as some passing fancy he's killing time with until somebody better shows up.

Before he said that, I wasn't so sure he viewed me as somebody he might see a future with (which is how I interpret "I don't consider you some girl I'm killing time with until someone else shows up & then I'll drop you like a bad habit" since there's really no other meaning from that). The birthing babies issue also comes into play on this one since I figured he was just waiting around to find some girl willing & able to birth his babies vs. the childfree woman who's had a tubal.

I tell people about some of his actions and a lot of people are Team Mr. Big Stuff and very against Comic Book Boy. Many aren't enamored with Captain Horndog either; I've distanced myself from him emotionally though I feel like he hasn't got a lot of real friends he can speak honestly with so my presence is an act of Christian kindness & human decency.

There's no question about Mr. Big Stuff passing the swoon test or being on my intellectual level. I actually thought to myself recently "What would I say about this guy if he rejected me? I can't declare he's some loser or not good enough for me like my ex-husband." It made me feel empathetic to my ex-husband and how he might have felt about me rejecting him. He couldn't exactly declare me inferior or not a catch. It occurred to me that maybe I could forgive him so long as I never forgot what he did & didn't condone his behavior. It feels like holding on that now would be absurd, especially if I end up in a serious relationship with Mr. Big Stuff. He did act jealous when I mentioned having been with this one guy friend months before though there was no future there & we don't have an exclusivity agreement due to distance. I just haven't felt like dating or being with some other guy at this point since it feels like "there's Mr. Big Stuff & then there's everyone else". You don't meet guys who are really special all the time, certainly not in the wilds of NYC. He's also interesting and complex like I am, another thing that's hard to find.

But I definitely have some things to rant about: for example, seems the "Me Too" movement loses legitimacy when Asia Argento sexually assaulted a 17 year old when she was 37. I find that creepy considering I've had young guys hit on me but I never bother if they're not at least the legal drinking age of 21. That way, it's more likely they are legal.

Not to mention this guy was a child actor in one of her films & she's some rich bitch who's part of film making royalty so imagine the power imbalance there. I didn't feel sympathy for her as a victim in light of her not being some poor woman with no connections or ability to retaliate & who also DATED her supposed rapist for many years (was that in spite of his being married?). Sorry, staying silent without bothering to warn anybody (even privately and individually) means you're allowing MORE people to get hurt & serving as an accomplice to such things.

I never bought into the whole "Me Too" movement since we can safely say about 98% of women (if not 100%) have been sexually harassed or abused or had to deal with some kind of BS at the hands of a guy. Things like rape and sexual assault should call for people to seek out counseling and therapy as well as going to the authorities instead of waiting decades, dating the abuser, seeing the abuser more than once, and all kinds of craziness the Hollywood types did. Absent being a Scientologist or a literal prisoner, I think the people who say women in entertainment who are big names and came out with these stories basically prostituted themselves to get ahead have a very valid point. I also have it on some good authority that you can actually get someplace without resorting to the casting couch. But no, you don't get to publicly complain about a serial rapist while molesting people yourself.

I'd rather see mandatory assertiveness training, self-defense training and full access to weapons for women to use in self-defense vs. women telling other women and the world to be helpless victims in fear of everything & everyone who must wait on an authority figure to solve their problems instead of creating their own solutions. Some of the stories propped up for this movement diminish actual victims & harm their credibility. Not to mention dismissing men who've experienced such things. That's a whole other topic & I knew we'd find female abusers sooner or later.

I also read a story this week about someone I dubbed "Cunty McCuntface" who set up a mass Tinder date in Union Square and made all these guys compete for a date with her in person. She lies about the nature of this project, decides to publicly humiliate them and thinks she's some sort of prize worth all this BS. I think she's inviting karma to bite her in the ass & deserves to have been publicly humiliated by the "winner" or lose a job or suffer some kind of retribution. If she were a guy doing that, he'd be run out of town if not figuratively stoned for his behavior. Why should it be acceptable for a woman to do it?

A real hottie wouldn't waste her time setting up elaborate games, nor would she have to. Guys would do that on their own volition. A smart woman sure wouldn't do that since they know it's a good way to get a guy to harm you physically so you can't use sex appeal anymore or walk the streets or exist on the planet. Why not just stick your head in a lion's mouth? It also seems out of character for a Southern belle since they might use guys for things but they're way more polite and charming about it. They wouldn't disgrace themselves in public by looking like uncaring, unfeeling bitches to the world at large. Not to mention they do actually feel men have a purpose & tend to be more respectful of them than third wave feminist types who want to destroy them. I betted this waste of life was an ultra liberal or third wave feminist based on this happening in NYC & NYC being a haven for those types (many guys have told me as much & said finding a woman of my mindset is unusual). If this dumbass responds, I would love to read it.

I also keep hearing from people in my past, which has been a mix of reactions. Some I'm happy to have heard from and some just don't fit in this new landscape. One was a pre-divorce friend I'd wondered about from time to time. It seems I got divorced and became a high school popular girl. I have to say that can be fun but also incredibly draining and somewhat annoying at times.

Monday, June 18, 2018

Catching Up, Reflection and Sorting Out Paradigms

It's been oh so busy. Mostly with life reorganization, taking care of unfinished business and figuring out what pieces of my old self are appropriate to keep and what pieces I should be trashing in light of the newness of everything.

4 years after the end of my marriage & with my things now securely in a place where I'm not under pressure to remove it promptly, I've finally had true opportunity to reflect and start to really process everything. I realized earlier this year prior to getting representation that I'm happier than I was when I was married to Comic Book Boy in Queens. I finally had the opportunity to get the things I wanted and had been deprived of for so long: my entire DVD collection, my stuffed Oswald the Lucky Rabbit, clothing I'd wondered where it had gone to, making recipes for myself I'd not made since before I got divorced. Now I've been trying to figure out how to adapt things for my new existence, a more realized me if you will. Making recipes perhaps is one metaphor for such things. I actually was able to obtain my Ex-Boyfriend scrapbook and nearly finish it. I got to write my closure section about my ex-husband and even included this letter my mother sent to him shortly after he threw me out into the street with nothing. It was extremely touching and made me feel so loved when I read it.

Recently, a photographer friend created a photo collage of me from modeling pics. Seeing that also made me feel really loved.

But I realized in looking at my ex-boyfriend scrapbook that perhaps it wasn't as pessimistic an exercise as you might think but more of a way to make the best out of rotten situations: to use things your exes left behind or that got left with you never to be returned to that jerk & make art from it. I definitely view this book as a work of art. It also serves as a reminder to me of why those relationships ended & why it would be a bad idea to go backwards.

It's weird that I get dudes from my past coming back from the ether to talk to me. Or I should say dudes from my post-divorce past like to come back from the ether; they always tell me they never viewed me as a slut or a loose woman despite meeting me in a time of serious emotional strife and pain. Some of those guys didn't even have sex with me so it's not all about seeking to get laid. I definitely would not want to talk to my ex-husband if he tried that; I'd ask Captain Horndog to handle that for me & say anything he'd like to make Comic Book Boy suffer + get him out of my hair. Getting my things out of my friend's house recently prompted a wave of nostalgia to hit me, certainly as much if not more so than when I first went through the regression of my divorce.

As I said before, divorce is a regression since you're moving from living with a spouse to being single again; lots of people move back in with their parents or go back to their childhood towns. It's more a question of how far back you regress. Now it feels like I've regressed to law school.

Finishing that scrapbook makes me feel better, like I'm getting some closure I never got from my jerky ex.

I also went on a dating sabbatical because I was sick of that bullshit & the lying of men. I feel like I live in a world surrounded by idiots who don't appreciate my value. In NYC, it seems that any guy fitting my physical type & isn't working in my industry is too busy trying to sleep with commoners, has major mental issues (immaturity, insecurity, actual diagnosed medical conditions, whatever) & seems to have mistaken me for a commoner he can treat like shit. This doesn't fly with The Angry Redheaded Lawyer. It shouldn't fly for any woman. I'm definitely not the only woman around here who's said "Fuck you for not appreciating my value."

When you're attractive, it's worse since then you have guys thinking you're supposed to fawn all over then despite them doing nothing for you sexually, not being your type for whatever reason, being in too close of proximity to you because of industry or having mutual friends or making my ex look like Brad Pitt by comparison. Having standards is not a crime, nor should it be. I like to think I learn from my mistakes. At least one thing I have learned is that not every guy rejecting me is because of me. Some of them were just too fucked up for me. Some just simply had no appreciation for my depth or intelligence or skills that your average woman doesn't have (hi, natural redhead, native Southerner so actually know how to cook & have a sense of manners, lawyer AND creative talent so kicking butt in left and right brain stuff). I've realized I don't want to deal with some guy who is intimidated by me or asks me to dull my light for him. Nobody needs to be doing that for anybody else. You need to find people who lift you up & accept you for you, not people who drag you down or discourage you. Find your tribe, if you will.

I feel like I'm making progress on my tribe. Had a realization yesterday when going out with a guy I'd had this bad date with last year and swore I wasn't dealing with again. I saw him somewhat recently at this party I went to after not going to any in a while (as I'm not sure how people will react to me since I now have representation & I don't want to get pressured to set up meetings or get people's ire over it since God forbid I get something I've worked for). He apologized for the bad date and we started over. I went out with him again yesterday and realized he might be good for me since I discovered I'm not nearly as shitty in some sports type stuff as I thought I was. That's a cool thing right there.

I remembered what I was doing last year and got sad about that guy turning out to be a jerk but he did give me my first hickey since Comic Book Boy so I felt like that was a victory. I've actually moved more towards not wanting meaningless sex since emotionally, I've not been fantasizing about my ex-husband or being intimate with him nor had an urge to do so. Mr. Big Stuff has taken over there.

He also said something to me that is making me wonder if he views me as more than some passing fancy he's killing time with. That's an in person conversation, though & he's no where near where I'm living.

I also finally found a way to start doing yoga after years of wanting to do it but not doing it. My manager even advised me to start doing it. I'm far from an expert or super flexible or great with balance but I find myself freaking out less often since having started it. I do like that it's not supposed to be a competitive thing but about YOUR time. This is something I try to remember and focus on when doing it. I also love that nobody bothers me there or tries to pick me up; I don't see anyone I know there so I can be left the hell alone, just like I want and prefer. When we get out of this heat wave, I'll be going again this week.

I even have things starting to flower in my day hustle; we can't really call it a "day job" since I'm not a waitress or bartender but am using my law license in opportunities I never got when I was married to Comic Book Boy. I recently got an opportunity to learn a new area of law that might seem contrary to my stance against illegal immigration but isn't because I'm all for people trying to make things right and use the court system to become legal if they're here illegally. I'm more than happy to help someone make good if they messed up or are in dire situations like the people I'm representing have been.

As I predicted, the good stuff is starting to cancel out the bad shit I've had to deal with. You don't forget the bad shit happened but I know I can use this in my creative pursuits, be it writing, acting, or some other direction I take it in. It seems I'm also good at giving advice on marriage since I lived it & saw what it's like when it's bad.

My unofficial gay bestie said something interesting: he says you have to be an optimist if you want to live in NYC. In fact, he claims you can't live here if you aren't an optimist because the city wears you down and if you're pessimistic, you'll never make it since you'll get too weighed down in the crappiness of the MTA, the bugs, the mess and all the other crazy things that are NYC. He actually told me recently that something I'm pessimistic about seemed contrary to my "being an optimist." That made me wonder "AM I an optimist?" I mean, I'm not Rose Nylund or this one girl I went to college with who was Little Miss Sunshine to the point that she seemed insincere when she expressed an emotion other than cheerful or happy.

We often associate optimism with naiveté and stupidity, things I don't feel I have in a lot of areas of life. Can you be an intelligent & realistic optimist? I like to think maybe you can be & you can still be a fighter. In my case, I'd say if you manage to get through what I have you have no choice but to be optimistic in some fashion since that's what will keep you alive. It's like "I got through all this defying a ton of odds so how could I be a true pessimist?" I always said I was a pessimist on people matters but never on career or getting to live where I wanted to; I always believed in being able to do that stuff but not that I'd find true friendship, certainly not love.

The jury is still out on love for me but I do find Mr. Big Stuff's query to me on the subject interesting & confusing. I'm the woman who thinks you're lying if you say "I love you" and it's in a dating/romantic context (or you're trying to manipulate me in some fashion by using it as a "get out of jail free" card to treat me like shit). I tend to think guys saying that are only in lust with me, don't know me well enough to make such a statement & think I'm completely stupid so insulting my intelligence (which is a huge pet peeve of mine). I have a whole nuanced view on the subject; I can say it and accept it from friends & family members who aren't completely dysfunctional. Is it screwed up or just a byproduct of my upbringing, growing up in the Southeastern US and the divorce I had? I go with byproduct of my circumstances.

These are the thoughts rolling in my head, the observations I've made. I've sorely needed to write here as my therapy and catharsis from things. Not to mention ensuring readers know I've not dropped off the face of the earth or ceded my identity. It's hard when you get representation since you also have to sort out how that fits in with maintaining your core identity.

Yeah, these life changes have been better for me & I feel like once all this clearing is done I will definitely be kicking butt on the creative side of things. I might even make it to that billboard Comic Book Boy has to pass by everyday. That would be poetic justice in more ways than one.

Saturday, March 24, 2018

That Phoenix is Starting to Soar

My mother wrote a letter to Comic Book Boy after he threw me out into the street with nothing. God only knows if he ever read it but she said of me "(My real name) is a phoenix – she will rise from the ashes of this situation because I know she has the strength and fortitude to go forward regardless of any situation she has to face." That letter still brings me to tears when I read it, both at how much my mother loves me & at the emotional scope of what he did.

But, after some great career leaps post-marriage and feeling discouraged after the whole Harvey Weinstein situation came out (my former film company actually was supposed to have a meeting with the Weinstein brothers where chances are, I'd end up having to interact with them as the company's Production Executive/In-House Counsel and generally the person who made potential investors feel more comfortable with her presence since fly by night companies don't typically have an attorney in the partnership ranks) I got some very unexpected news that actors kill for. I got an offer of representation from a manager. Not just any manager but a manager with a track record & more industry experience than me. Someone who accepts me for being me & isn't trying to tell me to go dye my hair or no longer be a natural redhead with a natural redhead's temperament or give up my law licenses. My social media will give you exact names & all but CBU Management, Inc. deserves a shout-out here since I officially signed with them this past week.

For those not in the entertainment industry, having a manager makes a difference in doing this professionally & making a living at it vs. doing this as a hobby in your leisure time. Lots of people come to NYC and struggle for years to never have a manager at all. A manager with experience can determine the types of auditions you get to read for.

I've been here over a decade but for 7 of those years, I was chained to a marriage. There's no way in hell I'd have been able to take this representation if I were still in that marriage or if I were working in the nonexistent full time legal job that people have tried pushing me to do for years. I don't feel like I'd be able to do it if I were in a serious relationship either since then you have more complications to deal with in that realm. A few people I've met have representation but I don't think a single creative I know who's also an attorney has a manager & I'm not sure any have agencies even on a non-exclusive basis.

Getting a manager was one of those things I never expected to happen. If you follow my blog, you've read my reasons why. When you're outside the norm, it's a lot more difficult to get things the way you need them for your peace of mind, practical reality and so forth. I've spent an entire life being outside the norm by being a redhead, not being a stereotypical person of my socioeconomic class, not being a full on liberal or conservative, not being a pretty airhead or a smart ugly type (though I didn't own my looks until much later on & definitely didn't own them 100% until I started modeling when denying them at that point would have been absurd), not having a bunch of friends that looked like me, not being a stereotypical attorney, and so forth.

One goal I have made for myself is network elevation, which seems to be paying off in spades these days. I met an attorney who is doing the plan I'm trying to do (make a living at the law stuff while still getting to do the creative and production sides of things). He even lives near me & believes in me/roots for me (and is just one of many good connections I've made in the past few months). Now I get a lot of guys from the industry asking me out and wanting to consider the romantic stuff but I feel that in business, you shouldn't do that. It's too murky and awkward and I value professional connections who root for me in life who I can talk to about things while keeping sex out of the dynamic. It's a perception thing & I just don't view those connections in that way. You should keep those worlds separate to save yourself problems & hassle. Nobody can ever accuse you of molestation or sexual assault or rape if you never dipped your pen in the company ink.

I think I'm still in shock about this since it came out of left field. I went into a networking meeting with my now manager thinking we'd be discussing my legal background or maybe my producing background & the creative side would be an afterthought. Plus, I've had to do everything myself for years & not get much feedback on if I'm doing stuff right or not. People I've met in fashion actually said I was the most professional person they knew but that's not led to many real, paying modeling jobs; it's been all talk but no quantitative action as I'd get rejected or put in as a backup model.

I felt like getting to be a professional actress making a living at this was like me having a soulmate; that it was simply too out of reach to even consider for a second that it could happen to me as I wasn't going to give up my identity or my education for it & it felt like you had to be groomed as a child or in your 20s or you were out of luck as a woman. Oh, and forget about doing much if you're a natural redhead; you'll see fakes but few natural ones around & you get to hear about how ugly you are. After all, "redheaded stepchild" is hardly a term of endearment.

It's also "oh, shit I can't be as angry at my ex for what he did." The fucker actually did me a bigger favor since again, couldn't have a manager if I'd still been married. Especially at the end, he'd have fucked that up. I couldn't do it when I was a transient with no place to live & it might have been hard when I was dating Mr. Big Stuff (though I still talk to him & have fondness towards him; saying his name aloud or thinking about him makes me smile) or dealing with the nightmare housing situations. I might just end up on that billboard in Times Square or those ads plastered all over NYC yet. That whole "being famous" thing might end up happening whether I want it to or not but I don't have those kinds of ambitions since I'm not selling my soul or sleeping my way into things. If I haven't done that after a decade in NYC, why start now? I might have to actually forgive that jerk.

Getting a manager might seem like your work ends but it doesn't. Your work is only beginning since that's saying you are now a force to be reckoned with. If you get picked for the Olympic team or you make the pros in a sport, that's when you train even harder and have to be more disciplined. You don't just slack off & rest on your laurels until game day.

At least for me, this doesn't feel like I engaged in a pie eating contest where the prize is more pie. That analogy is typically used to describe making partner in a big law firm. So many lawyers in those firms HATE their jobs. I've heard lots of lawyers in court talk about how they hate their jobs. I've only been doing appearances since I don't want to be one of those lawyers who hates their job. Ever since I got that management offer, my heart & spirit have felt light. It's been this happy euphoria, this feeling that things are paying off and that things may actually go my way after all. My feeling is if I never have anything beyond a boyfriend or a FWB who sticks around, I will at least have a career where the hard work is actually worth it financially along with spiritually.

My unofficial gay bestie recently observed that you have to be an optimist if you're going to live in NYC since daily life here would wear you down completely if you were a pessimist. I thought about that & he's right. If you're going to work in entertainment, you definitely can't be pessimistic about it; if you're trying to get out of poverty, you can't be living in a poverty mentality & convinced you'll be stuck there forever or self-fulfilling prophecy will get you every time. Others have told me post-marriage I have a positive energy. I never thought of myself in that way since I was this cynic who had goth friends in high school + college and dated Vampire Boy, who had his own goth friends. My ex and I got along based on this layer of cynicism; he understood me. I was never this one girl I knew in college who seemed so happy, she was faking it & irritated me with this show I felt she put on vs. being genuinely happy. I'm still very cynical about people (especially guys) & can't see that changing in the near future.

However, I did accept the compliment especially when Coney Island Guy said I reminded him of Cindy Sanders in "Freaks & Geeks."

Perhaps I've become optimistic about life situations since when you have nothing left, you'd better have hope in the future & believe that where you are today isn't going to be where you are tomorrow since you'll never survive if you can't do that. If you went through what I did and you survived, then you kind of have to be optimistic since you know you're capable of making it & if you did it once or twice you can do it again. It might be hard & you might not be where you want right away (I'm definitely not where I want to be just yet) but if you know you overcame a crisis before, you'd be foolish to presume you couldn't do it again. I can't see things that way with my love life but I feel like nobody I'd consider romantically is on par with me mentally or emotionally; both of those things matter. Now I feel like I've got the task of career to handle right now & don't need the stress or aggravation of sex doll seekers and insecure little boys.

Friday, February 2, 2018

Look at Me, I'm Self-Employed

Yeah, this post title is deliberate as it's from a song called "Takin' Care of Business." I've been self-employed for quite sometime and I feel it's necessary to tell you the good, the bad and the ugly of it.

The upsides are you work for yourself. Nobody gets to tell you you can't do something you want to do or who to work with or not work with. No workplace gets to censor your creative voice or demand you to put up with incompetent behavior. You get to keep a bunch of money for taxes and pay Uncle Sam in the end instead of waiting around for a refund. In theory, your time is yours.

The downside is you typically have to build a business. That part is extremely difficult, especially if you're not an expert marketer, come from tons of money or some great school where you've got built in contacts (and even going to an Ivy League school doesn't make you an instant millionaire as a gentleman in my life would freely point out). You also have to find people who actually advocate for you & think of you for things instead of the other guy. Your taxes are also a tad more complicated & forget about getting those done for free unless you're dead broke. Not to mention you most likely don't have stable income & you aren't guaranteed a given rate or paycheck. There's a lot of uncertainty to it all.

As a person who refused to work as a waitress in college because she didn't want to work for tips and refused to do commission based jobs or miserable base pay + commission, self-employment and this business building stuff is especially scary. I still have to control panic and stress attacks when I don't get a paying assignment on a given day. Plenty of people say I stress out too much and definitely have far more faith in me than I have in myself some days. I've been called "a shark," "a survivor," and I'm convinced there are people who think I'm Superwoman while I'm frantically thinking and telling people "No, I'm not."

When people think you're Superwoman, they never believe you have weak moments or are in need of help from anyone. They think you can magically take care of yourself and make things happen. I guess if you knew my full story, you might draw such conclusions about me.

One thing you learn as an adult is that nobody really has it together. You think they do but in actuality, they are dealing with credit card payments, bad credit scores, taking help from relatives, enduring insane housing conditions, suffering from health issues, all kinds of stuff. It makes you miss the days when your parents were superheroes and took care of everything no matter how bleak things looked.

I've seen this happen in the business world as well. It seems the self-employment panic attack happens even if you are paying bills successfully and businesses can close and merge after many years in existence. My former therapist told me she experienced that for years when she started out and told me I just needed not to fixate on that or stress out if I didn't get an assignment on a given day. I try to use that time to do other business obligations & tasks I need to get done that I'd usually be too busy for like business networking, responding to e-mails, submitting for casting calls and even simple relaxation.

You learn that the house isn't build on the solid foundation you assume it is, whether that's a business or personal existence.

The best way I could describe being self-employed is living in a perpetual state of unease and worry about whether you're going to make your bills this month. The constant worry that if this goes sour, everything will come crashing down around you. You ask yourself "How are you going to deal with it?" Some choose self-employment and some are forced into it. I was definitely forced into it due to being so unique when it comes to my skill set & talents. From what I hear about people's jobs, though, I feel like it's a better route than a job I'd hate where I'd be forced to change my entire identity. I definitely know life is precious and time is fleeting so you may as well do what makes you happy vs. worrying obsessively about your credit score.

Knowing the big truths makes it feel more encouraging, like I'm on this journey and I'm not going to be in the exact same place 5 years from now. More recently, I've been looking back on where I was 4 years ago. I actually saw a pic from a fashion show I did nearly 4 years ago since a friend shared it on her Facebook timeline. I had vivid memories of doing that show and how I was feeling at that time; modeling that night was a literal escape from the hell of my household with my ex-husband.

I have also thought about where I was when I started on my new legal work almost 3 years ago and what I've learned in that time along with the progress I've made in my creative career that I never got when I was married.

But knowing all these things, does anyone still get the fear that all their effort will be in vain? That the worst case scenario is going to happen and no matter how much you try to prepare for it, you know there's no way you could handle it long term? That it couldn't become your new normal & you'd want to die if it did?

My big fear is being forced to live in NC again; I'm a really crappy Southerner, you know. I don't like country music, I don't have a Southern accent, I spent a childhood overshadowed by my sister and it's just far too small for me. My eccentricity might be noticeable in NYC & I might be "weird" here but this is a city of weirdos so nobody hassles you for your own individual weirdness unless it's in the form of "she needs to be locked up" crazy. I stuck out like a sore thumb in NC and in my childhood though I've been gratified in recent times by people who knew me back then saying I was pretty, had worth and all that good stuff. It made me realize my lifelong problem wasn't the problem I thought it was & I know how to manage that one far better, in a more healthy and positive way. If I didn't know how to cook, didn't possess charm + manners & have more conservative leanings on some subjects (including a belief that God exists), I think they'd revoke my Southern card.

Being self-employed feels like being on a tightrope extended between 2 high rise buildings with at least 20 floors & knowing that there MIGHT be a net at the bottom if you fall but you don't know how sturdy the net is, if anyone's going to be holding that out for you, and you have no safety harness to rely on. But I consistently have to remind myself that much of my life has been like this. Getting thrown out by my lowlife ex and my transient life was definitely like this; yet so many people claim I'm a survivor and have "survived" this. I feel like I'm still recovering but there are things I'm not dealing with anymore that made me realize "hey, they're kind of right."

I've also questioned whether anyone really has an easier existence than me & I feel like the answer is "no, their existence is just difficult in other ways." The big questions come up a lot when you've lost a parent, gotten divorced, lived as a transient or talked to people who sound like they're doing a lot better than you (I've found out those people have envied me or thought I had it made in various ways).

I'll be the first person to tell you self-employment is not for everyone. You have to be extremely ambitious, determined, motivated and a freaking force of nature. You also have to do you best not to let the anxiety and instability eat away at your soul. It shouldn't be glamorized though it is how most businesses came to exist & there are all sorts of stories about famous owners and celebrities who had extremely difficult times to get where they are today. I like to think maybe my dark days are getting brighter and I'm either going to be confronted with full sunshine or I'm going to be dead and leave behind an indelible mark on the world. So many people never show you the reality & I feel it's only fair I oblige by sharing my truth with others. They also say writing reduces stress so if you feel it, you may want to try it sometime.