The 5 Stages of “FUNemployment”

Unemployed-Americans-300x300Earlier this week I was laid off. To answer the 3 questions everyone has an inevitably asked me the past 36 hours, no, I did not see it coming, (I was about as shocked & unprepared for the news as I would be if someone had told me I was pregnant) no, I am not freaking out just yet and no, I have no fucking clue what I’m going to do now. The good news is, seeing as how most of my professional career has been campaigns and just like all really bad relationships , they too come to an end, I’m more apt to handle my funemployment** than most. You go through 5 stages of being unemployed by no fault of your own and they are the following.

Stage 1: ENJOYMENT & GRATITUDE

Most likely to be heard saying: “Thank God, now I can live like a normal person again and finally get to “insert normal human thing here” ( i.e. go see a movie, finally put together that ikea furniture in my house, see my friends & family, etc…)

The first stage is the best because you still have your last paycheck and all your bills are paid for through the next 4 weeks. You form a renewed relationship with your bed, your house, the afternoon sun, hell, even your life. You discover that, there is indeed enough hours in the day to do nothing unlike your previous assumption that there were not enough hours in a day, days in a week, months in year to do everything you use to have to get done. Everyone is nice to you because they feel sorry for you and the most common thing they say is “you should really take some time to just think about your next move.” You’re right anonymous person that is still fully employed, I think I will do whatever I want because I am not yet in the stage of freaking out. Thank you for your semi-helpful, unsolicited advice, now stop talking to me so I can take a 2 hour nap in the middle of the day.

Usually last: 2-7 days

Stage 2:  SHOCK & ANGER

Most likely to be heard saying: “This is bullshit!”

The second stage is not so fun, because you were use to anywhere between a 45- 80 hour work week (and lets be honest, on campaigns it’s definitely 80) and you were just so grateful to be returning to normal human waking hours that you didn’t even realize YOU’RE FUCKING OUT OF A JOB! WTF! In campaigns this stage consist of two possible roads; the first is if you lost your race and you’re angry at the voters/candidate/city/ government in general because you are now back to square 1 professionally. The second road is if you won and you’re angry that no one has yet to approach you about the cushy job in the new Congressman/Governors/Mayors office that they drunkenly promised you that night at the election party because “you’re fucking awesome and we won this thing!!! Whooooooo!”  In all other laid off situations however this is where you get mad at the company/economy/consumers for making this dreaded predicament a reality for you while they’re still sipping they’re Starbucks without a care in the world. It’s not fair, it’s not fair, it’s not fair! 

Usually last: 24- 48 hours but lingers foreverrrrrrr

Stage 3: RESOLVE

Most likely to be heard saying: “All I need to do is spruce up my resume and send it out, I’m a good worker this will all work out.”

You’re a go getter, I mean for Godsakes someone employed you at some point otherwise how would you have gotten here in the first place. You decide you can edit your resume with some new  job responsibilities that were most definitely NOT in your job description but you did them anyway, and spend most of the day trying to come up with different, ways to say “great under immense pressure, stress and no sleep for fucking lunatics who never cared that I basically slaved away for them for months” (see lingering anger/shock stage from above) but you come up with nothing and just end up putting “superior problem solver” instead. You apply for a few things and spend the rest of the day just hanging out and binge watching House of Cards for the 3rd time in a row. Someone will call you for an interview you just know it!

Usually last: 7- 10 days

Stage 4: DEPRESSION & PANIC

Most likely to be heard saying: ” Fuck!”

All those calls you were hoping to receive, yeah well you only had two, one for a job that paid substantially less than what you were making before and sounded either boring or exactly like what you did before just for less money, and the other for your dream job that you know you’d be perfect for… and so will those other 43,767 Suma Cum Laude Master degree holders who aren’t UNEMPLOYED! Those interviews are nice, but you never hear from either of them again and this makes you so upset that you end crying into a pint of Ben & Jerry’s while you sob that you will never find another job you love as much ever again!You realize how unqualified you are do anything and you wonder why you even chose a career path that was so unstable to begin with. Why not nursing, there’s always jobs for nurses and accounts, you could just go back to school and get a degree in that, right? Oh wait, no, you don’t have a job, how are you going to pay your rent, insurance, car payment, cell phone bill, and existing student loans let alone new ones if you go back to school? Plus, school, again, I’d rather just be homeless. You’re fucked, and broke, and have watched every episode of House Hunters you think they’ve ever created. You can’t even fathom how anyone could be a stay at home wife or husband (sans the kids obviously) because you’re so bored that you’d honestly rather take you’re old shitty job back except you can’t, because it no longer exist. 

Usually last: 1 – 2 weeks

Stage 5: ACCEPTANCE?

Most Likely to be heard saying: “Well I can’t LIVE like this forever, right?”

I have to be honest I’ve never really gotten to this stage. I usually just fall from depression into something finally falling on my lap, call it faith or divine order or whatever but my acceptance is usually a new job. Of course, somewhere between this stage and the depression was bargaining and planning, you could always just move back home right (depending on your set-up this might push you to send out 16 more resumes in 1 day resulting in you finally getting a job)? You realize that life is filled with the minor up’s and downs of adulthood and this is just part of it. If you’re lucky, you will have gone through these stage with loved ones who would spontaneously stop by your house with booze and movies and would occasionally get you out of your bathrobe while pouring large amounts of support and encouragement onto you so that you can indeed, wake up again tomorrow and look for more work. Hopefully your self esteem has picked up and you remember that you are an asset to any company/campaign that will have you and it’s the other ones loss because you’re amazing ( I mean honestly who else works that hard for that little unless you’re either very committed or a psychopath). Eventually you will be unemployed again and you vow to save money for when that day comes, but then you don’t because you’re in your fucking twenties and thats not even close to a reality.

Usually last: You know…till whenever.

** FUNEMPLOYMENT

Adjective

1. A  time in one’s life when one is not employed through no fault of their own and and may not be looking for a job right away.

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Oreo: My Black History Post

oreoI don’t really remember the first time someone called me an “Oreo”. I think it might have been sometime in late elementary or early middle school when these types of labeling phrases really started making their way around the lunch yard, but I do remember, at the time, I had no idea what it meant. When I was younger I wasn’t much a fan of the chocolate cookie that had only a small amount of something resembling frosting in the middle (I have since consumed my fair share of DOUBLE STUFFED Oreo’s though….), but like most kids I would open the cookie, lick out the center, and feed the rest of the slobbery pieces to the birds. So right off the bat I didn’t exactly connect the word with a positive connotation. For those of you who still don’t know/ never heard of anyone being called this I’ll explain it using the Urban Dictionary definition:

Oreo {or – ee- oh}
adjective
Someone who might be dark skinned (not necessarily African-American, though is predominately used as such) but have the personality and characteristics of a middle-class, Caucasian person.
Now before everyone gets all “lets kill whitey #blackpower” on this blog it is important to note that this phrase originated in the black community as a catchall word to describe black people who acted differently than the stereo type and was also  less abrasives than “uppity negro”, or an “Uncle Tom”. It wasn’t until later that this word started being used by other races and ethnicities to describe black people who acted just a little too out of character to be considered authentically “black”.
Since I can’t remember when I first got called an Oreo it’s also safe to assume that I don’t remember the color of the person who first said it to me either. Growing up in both sunny San Diego & beach, hippie Santa Cruz, California I highly doubt it was any of the politically correct white kids that I went to high school with, or the 10 other black people I spent my teen years waving to in the halls, so lets safely assume it was indeed in my middle school years in San Diego and we’ll 50/50 was someone who was either a white or black person, #duh. Thinking back over the last 10 years of my life I can safely say that I’ve been called an Oreo mostly by white people who, after hearing me cavalierly throw around the word ubiquitous, drop how I’ve interned on the Hill & The White House, and have seen that I’ve dated my share of pigment challenged guys , have dropped it with a smile as if to say it in the most joking way possible in the same way the might drop the word “queer” with their gay best friend(s) at brunch to show how in the know they are. It’s offensive but in the same way a 2 year old saying “fuck” is offensive, more cute than truly alarming. I won’t speak for every black “Oreo” out there when I say that, for me, I’m not really upset when a white person says that I look, sound, & act like them because they don’t view it as “acting” a certain way (they know all white people don’t act the same #duh). I know they don’t use the word to hurt me, or to downplay my accomplishments, in fact, to them I am an exception to what they think is a rule, someone they can point to that defies stereotypes and generalizations. They don’t know that what typical black person acts like because they’re not black, so all their left with are impressions, movies, TV, and the media in general. Like I said, it’s like when I toddler says a bad word, they just think they’re being grown-up and funny, with almost no understanding of the true meaning. Usually after a Caucasian person uses the word “Oreo” I have two options, and what I decide to do usually is based on 1 thing, will I or will I not interact with this person again? If the answer is no I usually just laugh it off, toss my hair, and say “and everyone loves Oreo’s don’t they” without giving it much more thought. If the answer is yes… well then I have to spend 15 or so minutes awkwardly educating said white person on how that term could be viewed as insensitive, offensive, and possibly politically incorrect. It’s terrible for everyone involved but luckily by the end of it the person who originally used the term is so freaked out about possibly being viewed as a racist they may or may not even eat Oreo’s ever again let alone use the term.
I haven’t been called an Oreo as much by a black person but it irritates me so much that I usually just go dark in the eyes and think about punching said black person in the throat. why the 180 if someone of the same race uses this term? Because they know exactly what it means and unlike their white counterparts they use it to demean and be little my accomplishments. To these people speaking well, being educated, dressing like you’re not  in a Tyler Perry movie is “acting white” instead of acting like a contributing member to society. My “Oreo” status to these people was synonymous with being a sellout, someone who “forgotten my roots”. This notion is straight up bullshit. First of all, not a day goes by where I “forget” that I’m black. When I’m on the bus, when I’m at the bank, when I shop at an expensive store or go out to eat at a fancy place with my very white boyfriend I am inadvertently reminder just how black I am. Just because my vernacular is perfect doesn’t mean that my everyday struggles aren’t the same as some fool right out the hood. I worked hard to become this polished not because I’m quick to leave my culture, my heritage, or part of my identity behind me but because I wanted doors to open for me because of who I am as a person and not just my skin color. I grew up with a single, black, teenage mother just like 1 out of every 3 black kids, but just because I don’t watch BET 25/7 does that make any of that less valid? Does that mean that I struggled less because more often than not my head was in a book or out in a cheer competition? The ignorance of some of the people who share my skin color, who came up with their own word to describe how I act and what I like, is a slap in the face to all the work so many African-Americans have done in this country. Those people are more offensive than any white person I’ve ever encountered, and I wish I had nearly as much patience to blow some knowledge into their minds.
My role models have been and will always be strong, black women who dare to defy how people “think” they should act and do whatever they want anyway. This blog post is to all my fellow Oreo’s out there. Beyonce doesn’t just sing R&B, Kerry Washington doesn’t star on a show on BET, Michelle Obama isn’t the first lady of Nike, and there are too many countless others I don’t even have the time to name.
Plus, everyone loves Oreo’s right.?!They are damn good 😉

A Love Story

1800203_10153119652432619_2077850724_nMy boyfriend and I met at the worst possible time but in the best possible way. I was just shy of my 21st birthday and unbeknownst to me, only 2 months away from leaving to join my first ever campaign in VA for President Obama’s reelection. Suffice to say it was not the best time to get into something serious but , when you’re busy making plans…

We are 2 totally different people- he grew up in Arizona the youngest of four boys with two of the most happily married people I’ve have ever met & I grew up on the coast of California, solo (except for the summers I spent with my Dad and brother) and for the most part with a young, single mom. Yet we could spend all night talking about anything and everything that we did have in common. We both loved football, food, and the California surf & sand, not to mention we couldn’t keep our hands off each other. We were the perfect balance to each other, he was calm and patient, I was loud and animated, and we were inseparable.

And then, just like most relationships do, the honeymoon ended. I went off to be the ambitious politico I had been working my whole life to be and he stayed in Arizona, continuing his progress both physically and mentally after a bumpy start to his twenties. And when I needed him most he was there, to drive me across country and to push me towards yet another campaign,this time in San Francisco. Our first year together was plagued by, well…. life. Once the campaigns were over we planned to move in together but things went from bad to worse and as his father disease continued to progress, even faster than anyone wanted to believe, our plans changed. But we held it together, both of us sinking into depression as we watched our relationship weather storms so rough I didn’t think we’d make it. Of course, we loved each other but our relationship started to turn more toxic than healthy and with incredible strength and the knowledge that we had to change something , we took a beat. I took a short term position in New York and we mutually decided we’d try to figure out who we were as people  separately after so much in both of our lives had changed, and then see if we could stay together. After I got back we took things slow, almost like we had we first started dating. We had never stopped loving one another but we rediscovered why we liked one another. Before we knew it we’d come upon our 2 year anniversary and we were closer than ever before but unfortunately, things elsewhere weren’t going so well.

The day after Thanksgiving, Nicholas’s father passed away after a 3 year battle with ALS. The morning Nicholas called to tell me I didn’t think it was possible for my heart to feel that much heartbreak. Seeing him go through the most life changing experience a person can go through, the loss of a parent, rocked me to my core. I found a level of empathy and sympathy for him that came so naturally because I love him so much. Watching his family struggle through the last few weeks of Ron’s life was like watching my own family struggle, but from the sidelines there was nothing I could say or do to make the person I loved the most feel anything other than pain. It hurt. It still does. Yet, out of such tragedy we grew closer and not further apart. My biggest fear was that the death of his father would push him away from me and instead we’ve reached a new level of our relationship. Looking at him as his family and friends gathered for his fathers funeral I saw someone I was so proud to call mine. Nicholas has always supported me  in everything I’ve wanted to do and honestly, anyone who can put up with me deserves some sort of medal. Everyday he makes me laugh and when it’s just him and I it doesn’t matter what we’re doing, I’m having fun. He is the most loving, generous, and heartfelt person I’ve ever been with.  His ability to grow and change is so apparent in the fact that he’s not who he was when I first met him- he’s better.

It’s not a traditional love story but it’s ours.

How I Learned to Break Quietly & To Myself vs. Loudly & To Everyone

screaming-579286-mMy best friend left the state. For her I am optimistic, putting in perspective the few things that still aren’t perfect in her life. It isn’t my turn to get a pep talk, to depend on her visits, to speak instead of listen. It’s my turn to be her cheerleader. So I break quietly.

My boyfriends father passed away 2 months ago. For him I am strong, always trying to stay upbeat in a time when his world is crumbling down. It isn’t my turn to hurt, or want, or need anything. It’s my turn to be his rock. So I break quietly.

My new job is… a heavy sigh when you can’t get any air into your lungs. For this I am to remain calm, letting the unfair things and the new workplace nuances roll off my back when there isn’t room for anyone else to “feel” a certain way. It isn’t my turn to be right, or patted on the back, or liked. It’s my turn to be the silent one in the back, speaking only when spoken to and happy for the opportunity. So I break quietly.

My landlord is possibly a meth head and my roommates are strangers. For this I am to answer their texts, emails, and questions as if it is my day job. It isn’t my turn to argue about who should do the dishes or take out the trash, or pay more for electric when I’m only living there part of the week. It’s my turn to say “okay, sure”, keep as much as I can clean, and stay in my room. So I break quietly.

My body is on a one woman campaign to bring me down. For this I am to drink lots of water, sleep 8 hours, eat only the “healthy veggies”. It isn’t my turn to be tired from a day of work, stay up late and eat cookies, and skip the gym. It’s my turn to be a model for treating you body right, fuck the comfort. So I break quietly.

My parents are breaking free of me financially. For this I am always on a plan, scraping pennies, forgoing things I want and barely deviating from a budget. It isn’t my turn to be taken care of, secure, or stable. It’s my turn to grow up, take care of myself, and be proactive with my goals and aspirations. So I break quietly.

There is no time in my 24 hour day, in my 7 day week, in my 30 day month to stop for any reason. I am coming into my womanhood and for the most part I am happy. I love my life but boy do I wish I could take a break and just fall apart sometimes. I wish I had known that being a mature adult really means learning to sacrifice your own feelings and desires for the things that matter most in life. It is the blessing and curse of being a woman. The whole world rest on your shoulders but god damn if you’re not smiling while it happens.I wish I knew that just because you gain another year of knowledge doesn’t mean you don’t break anymore, rather it means instead of breaking loudly to everyone, you break quietly to yourself, wiping your tears and going about your day before anyone even knows there’s anything wrong.  It’s fine, at least I learned the lesson.