It’s All About the Hustle

I’ve been hustling. And I do mean hustling hard. I’ve got two side hustles going on, on top of the full-time job (which I’m actively seeking to replace with a different full-time job elsewhere – never satisfied anymore, it seems).

One is the tutoring gig, which is frankly more trouble than it’s worth at this point because of an extended commute and a low cut of the pay. But I’m committed to seeing the school year through. They’ve got another month in these parts.

Second hustle is a writing thing I’ve been doing. Fluffy SEO padding shit to trick google. (They probably think I don’t know what’s up, but it’s fairly obvious it’s all bogus to do some hardcore SEO driving. You know, bolding keywords here and there. Burying a “moneylink” in a sea of non-competing, vaguely related links. Appending exactly three license-free stock photos and one embedded YouTube video. Yeah. Fun stuff.) But you know what? I’ve decided that I don’t care. I’m not screwing over any people with the BS articles and blog posts. I’m helping to trick a search engine that tricks people anyway. And while it still leaves a bad taste in my mouth, at $15 a post…I can’t afford to linger too long on my reservations. I figure…keep this up a couple of months, and I’ll be back to salient. Quite frankly, that outweighs ethics at this point (to a reasonable extent, anyway).

What does bug me is that the hustle further stymies my own words, because damnit I’m churning out four to eight of those suckers a day on top of my day job. But I don’t know how long the little gig will last, so I’m gonna milk it for all it’s worth.

I think…I just needed to vent that. And say that, no…I’m not trying to disappear. Again. Doesn’t mean I won’t. But it’s not my intent.

One day at a time.

One day at a time.

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have some hustling to do.

Adulting 101

  • Move across the country, leaving behind (nearly) everything you’ve ever known. Oh wait, that totally doesn’t count as adulting.
  • Job hunt for three months, because you refuse to settle (at least until your shekels run out).
  • Land a job from your shortlist of “dream” jobs…then promptly find the negatives (even though you actually kinda love the work – don’t worry. I anticipate rants aplenty.).
  • Commuting an hour each way, in good traffic – only taking one week to get sick to death of that aspect. To death.
  • Keeping your after-hours tutoring gigs because bills. Because money. Because adulting. Because your “dream job” is highly underpaid.
  • Become a slightly better-functioning night-owl/pseudo-insomniac and running on four hours of heavily medicated sleep-aid sleep at best.
  • Start adding a shot of espresso to your usual vanilla chai latte because tired as fuck, even though the taste makes you want to spew chunks.
  • Neglect the things you like, again, but this time with legitimate excuses (such as the schedule that has me running from 5 AM to 8-9 PM (which is usually when I finally make it back to basement)).
  • Get used to being abandoned by those whom once claimed they’d be by your side forever. Grow just callused enough to make it through the day, but sometimes still cry yourself to sleep at night. Whoops, that got dark. My bad.
  • What I meant to say was something along the lines of: being lonely as fuck. And also something else to do with that “fuck” word. I want a buddy, a companion, a partner-in-crime, a lover. I’m sick of waiting around for things that I thought were something they weren’t. And I refuse to join some dating service. So that leaves me…right here, bitching!

Hmm. I know there’s more, but I have to get back to work. I took a brief lunch break…a break from writing to write. Heh. Fuck, I’m braindead. I’ve written roughly fifty pages this week – stuff like newsletters, newspaper articles, ad blurbs, radio scripts, and now I’m about to start on blogging. I’ve helped perform interviews. I’ve assisted in ad-buying decisions and helped negotiate contract prices. I’ve improved departmental organization. And I’ve been here a week! I’m fucking tired! And pleased – with my job.

So yeah. Break’s over. Enough writing. I have writing to do!

Oh. And. HI!

Portfolio. What.

Dudes. (Yeah, I opened with that yesterday.) He fucking loved it. LOVED IT. My copy has been declared a rousing success – like three minor changes, and done. It’s finished now and has been sent back to creative for a full redesign around the new copy and ideas we bandied about in this morning’s meeting. It was fucking awesome.

booyah

Yes, I came here JUST to brag. I don’t brag in my day to day. But right here on this space…fuck it. I just bragged. I’m proud of what’s happening, and I couldn’t contain myself.

So I have a question for  y’all. I can finally start building a professional writing portfolio. Do any of y’all have a favorite site or service that you use for that sort of thing? Or do you buy your own site? Don’t worry – I’m not getting too carried away here. I just want to use the brochure as a sample of my work. I figured it would be a good time to think about creating a portfolio.

Anyway. I hope to post something more interesting later, but for now…WOOHOO.

Look Ma, No Hands! Or The One Where Stephanie becomes a Copywriter

Dudes. Duuuuuudes. Guess what! Guess what! Ohmygosh you’re never gonna guess.

What? How did? I mean it’s not like I put it in the title. What? Fucking hell, I put it in the title, didn’t I? You people are supposed to keep me from doing shit like that. What am I paying you for?

Sigh. Well, since somebody (cough, cough) let the cat out of the bag, I may as well get to it. How about some background music first, shall we? Haven’t done that for a while.

Got music; let’s go. I am officially a copywriter now. It’s already on my resume as freelance work. But you know how some people fudge their resumes? I’ve never once lied on my resume, but I did use some creative word choices. Such as “freelance writing and copy-editing.” It’s not actually a lie: I’ve done a good bit of editing and writing for other people over the years, though it was largely unpaid work. Research papers, articles, book reviews, theses and dissertations, etc. That line on the resume did the trick, though. And it was a happy accident, really.

So. Local VIP who has contact with other company VIPs all over the country? The one who put in a good word for me in the Portland/Vancouver area? Yeah, that guy. I had to give him my resume so he could send it to his homegirl. Shortly after I emailed it to him, he stormed into my office and says, “Why didn’t you ever TELL anyone you’re a copywriter?” I’m surprised and say, well it was never in an official capacity, and I have told people. “Well you didn’t tell the RIGHT people. Didn’t you know we were looking for someone a while back? And that’s why (your dumbass supervisor) hired that giggling idiot in there!” Nope. I sure didn’t, VIP. You know damn well everything is a secret around here.

Long story short, the guy (just a year or so younger than I am) is being groomed for major leadership. Major. And he’s finally stepping up for real and actually getting involved. (I used to make fun of him. He’d come in the office to chat. “What’s going on in here!?” And I’d say, “Work. Ever heard of it?” Or I’d ask him if he learned a certain vocabulary word from a cracker jack box. I think that’s why he respects me, strangely enough. I’m one of the only people in the building who doesn’t lick his asshole for him.)

He asked me to give my opinion on some blog articles the new girl wrote, the one who was hired to be an in-house copywriter. I asked him how candid he wanted me to be, and he said “be the you I know and love to hate.” HA. So I ripped it to shreds. I didn’t rip her. This shit isn’t her fault. He said straight out that my super hired her because she’s cute and didn’t even bother to ask for writing samples. I feel bad for her, because no one is talking to her or trying to fix the situation. Anyway. So I do that, and he then asks me to comb our website for grammatical errors. I spent an entire day tearing it up, and then he had one of our web dev people fix it.

A week or two pass, and I hear nothing back from him – except that everyone is pleased with what I did. And my super calls me “our resident scholar” now. It’s…fucking lame. But it also feels good.

Yesterday, VIP emailed a document to me. He wanted my opinion. It was several pages long, fucking endless walls of text, so I just gave it a cursory reading and replied to him that I would suggest significant changes. We met for three hours yesterday afternoon to go over what those were, with the end result of him tasking me to rewrite the entire thing from top to bottom. He asked for design critique, too, but I could only give ideas – I don’t actually know design. (Oh. And to be fair, the meeting wouldn’t have been so long if we hadn’t been cracking so many jokes and laughing our asses off to the point that people came and griped at us to shut up. Put the two of us in a room together, and you have an HR nightmare. Alone, we behave. Together, we’re terrible.)

Anyway. I spent all day today rewriting the brochure copy and trying to adjust graphics and shit (that is once I got Archie to stop entertaining every fucking hen in the house – seriously, dating advice, recipe exchanges, cleaning tips – what the fuck, man). The fact that VIP is even allowing me to touch it is funny, really. He befriended me on FB just before asking me to do this…and he asked me anyway. My FB page is pretty much super tame – when I even bother to post anything. Park pictures, the occasional music video, cool art…shit like that. But I DO occasionally drop an f-bomb. And VIP, well, let’s just say his page is full of hunting videos, pictures of his children and bible verses.

Tomorrow, he and I are meeting with creative to look over the brochure, talk about design and layout changes and make sure the copy is cool. Once that’s done? We’re also gonna talk about completely overhauling the website. Those two will be responsible for design, the web dev department will handle coding, and I will do every single word of copy.

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I have a feeling I’ll be doing the pimping without a raise. I’ll do it for the resume line…for now.

It’s daunting, but exciting.

If I have to work in corporate hell, I would rather do something that interests me or that I’m more suited to. I have to say that brochure was a pain in the ass, and I loved every minute of it – even when I was grumbling under my breath at how shit the original copy was. I’ve been wanting to transition in to some sort of writing job for a long ass time now…but it’s hard to do when your degree isn’t in communications or journalism. So this is a HUGE boost for my resume.

I’m officially a copywriter, y’all! That copy is gonna be off the fuckin’ hook. That was a lame attempt at a joke. I’m sorry. No, really. I’m sorry.

P.S. I’m not sorry. To make it up to you, here’s a pretty picture. Clicky.

Cliffs

 

I don’t want to end my streak…

…so I’m here. With nothing to say. Shall we see if I end up saying something anyway, like yesterday. Why not. [(Fuck question marks. Question marks are squiggly little pricks that make it sound like I lack confidence in what I’m saying.) (See, this is the kind of bullshit that escapes when I don’t have a plan! Who the hell has problems with question marks. I do, apparently. Who knew.)]

Uhm.

Uh.

How ’bout them Yankees. No. Shitty topic, seeing as how I don’t give a fuck about them Yankees.

Uhm.

How about cookies. Archie brought cookies in today, some elaborate recipe with oatmeal (who knew), raisins, coconut, some other shit, some additional other shit. She said her Mr. Archie complained they were too dry, so she brought them to work. They were too dry. I ate two anyway. For breakfast, because I’m a gangsta. Also because I’m out of oatmeal so I ate dry oatmeal cookies. Fair trade.

Well that got old fast. What now.

There’s a video going around of goats jumping on a trampoline. It’s pretty awesome, and reminds me that I want a trampoline. I need one to have a bouncing army of Garry Goats. Shit, that means I need goats, too. Good thing I want goats. And chickens. And my own personal library. One of these things is not the same, but I still want them all.

This is really fucking boring. Do I sound sufficiently blasé. Uhm. Uhhhh. How can I liven this post up.

Explosions. That works in Hollywood. But what do they know. They worship volcano aliens. Ohmygod, maybe that’s how the aliens get here. All those fucking explosions are really eruptions, shooting evil alien overlords over the masses. Only they travel via airwaves, so they’re distributed among the masses at summertime popcorn explody movies. Yeah.

Topics are good. I should probably make a list of them or some shit. For days like today, when the lack of said list results in a rambling post about grammar, oatmeal and Scientology. Fucking weirdo.

My shoulder is hurting like a motherfucker. Pain shooting down my arm like needles, fingers going numb. Pinched nerve, I bet. Just what I need. My shoulder is a dick. (Ohmygod I just said I have a dick. I don’t. Unless you count my shoulder, in which case I do have a dick. And my foot that hasn’t healed in nearly a year. That’s also a dick. So’s my head. It hurts like a motherfucker. (Ohholyhell that means I’m a Motherfucking Dickhead. Wow. (I wonder what happens if all those dicks get erect at once.)))

Damn, I’m nasty. That’s okay. Y’all already knew that. And if you’re new here, Welcome to the Gutter. (Please sing that to the tune of “Welcome to the Jungle.” It has the same number of syllables, so it totally works. Trust.)

Going to the orthopedist today to have another x-ray of my foot. I don’t see the point, as I can tell him for a fact it isn’t healed. I’ll give you a hint as to how I know: PAIN. Yeah. Damnit. Gonna ask him if he can either check my shoulder as well or make an appointment to do so very soon. I’ve been putting up with it for a few weeks now, but instead of getting better (as I’d hoped), it’s monumentally worse.  Yay.

That’s okay. I’m gonna beat these assholes somehow, someway. How else will I go hiking once I hit the PNW. Exactly. So these assholes have to heal, so I can hike. I will it so. Damnit.

House. Almost ready to list. I realize I keep saying that, but it’s superclose now. Repairs made and just needs a hard scrub. (My shoulder’s gonna loooooove that.)

Jobs applied to with the company I currently work for – in the PNW. Fuckin’ aye. I’ve got an in with a local VIP who has an in with a PNW VIP. So, while there are no guarantees and it may take a while, it would enable me to keep my current insurance and bennies. Fingers crossed.

Speaking of PNW, considering taking on a roomie when I move. Could save me shittons of money or get me slaughtered in my sleep, my guts churned into a breakfast smoothie. Worth the risk? I dunno. I value my privacy too much, probably. And my guts. Sometimes.

Mental Health. I’ve taken myself off of all psych meds, and my brain feels better. I still wake up wishing I hadn’t, but none of the drugs I was on ever took that away. So. Fuck it. Why pump my body full of drugs just to feel the same way in the end. So fuck that psychiatrist. Gonna get my GP to prescribe the sleepytime med and stop pouring money down that pill-pushing hodonkey.

Uhm. Those are the shortest updates I’ve ever given. Heh.

Uhm.

Okay. That is all. Good day.

And don’t forget: McGruff the Crime Dog says to Say No to Drugs. I say take a bite out of McGruff.

McGruff
I changed my mind. He’s now my McHomie. As soon as he gets out of prison, anyway.

Achieving You

We weren’t supposed to connect in person.
It wasn’t supposed to be the same in the corporeal.

I was supposed to be a troll.
You were supposed to be superficial.

We were both supposed to be inarticulate and uninteresting.

Your touch shouldn’t have been so electric.
Your body shouldn’t have shuddered at my caress.

Your kiss shouldn’t have transported me to another realm.
My eyes shouldn’t have drawn you into another universe.

I was supposed to be too afraid to let you touch me.
You were supposed to be too repulsed to try.

But Darling.
My Darling.

It’s you.

You are my love.
You are my soul.
You are my heart.
You are my completion.

And the pain is something we must endure in order to experience such depth of beauty.

I hiked 12 miles and broke my foot
To experience some of the richest, most fulfilling beauty of my lifetime.
And I would do so again.

I ached for it.
Fought for it.
Cried for it.

I had to achieve it.

You, my Love; you, my Darling.
I hope I’m achieving you.
I want to achieve you.
I need to achieve you.

Achieve me.

This.

This incredible thing.
This reality of realities.
This is real.
And should be.

But we must endure.
We must achieve.

Stay with me.
Stay with me,
And I will wait for you.

On Diaries and Invasion of Privacy (AKA Young Love, One Yummy Motherfucker and Blogging)

Journaling has always had a significant pull for me. I don’t remember the first time I asked for my own diary, but I know I was little. Even as a child, I was highly introverted and recognized I needed an outlet for my thoughts. Writing would be a way to process the world and my place in it, or so I thought.

Writing My Heart Out

I did pretty a pretty good job of keeping a regular, (semi-)daily diary up until junior high school. I was around twelve years old when I threw in the towel (the first time). That’s when my asshole brother violated my privacy and trust. I don’t remember whether I’ve assigned a name for him yet, so for now let’s just call him B. For Brother. Or Butthole. Take your pick (both will work in a pinch) (eww pinched butthole).

So there I was, journaling my angsty little heart out. About school. About bullies. About shame. About public humiliation. About depression. About music. About boys. Oh yeah. I wrote about boys: two boys in particular. One was a crush I’d had for two years already (who would later become boyfriend, then spouse, then shhh I don’t wanna talk about that right now). I talked about that one a lot. Oh what a crush I had for that little bad boy. And the other was for one who would be my first boyfriend.

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Miguel looked just like this. Only twelve. But still yummy. (Shut up, I was twelve. It wasn’t perverted to find a fellow preteen yummy.)
I’ve mentioned him before. What the hell did I call him? Shit. (No, I most certainly did not dub him Shit. What was it? Fuck me, I forget.) (I totally need a system for this.) Let’s call him Miguel. Oh Miguel, you yummy thing you. He looked just like Anthony Kiedis, and I was So Fucking Smitten.

And before those of you keeping up jump to conclusions – he is not the reason I’m a diehard RHCP fan. I need to write about that soon, but for now – no. Miguel has nothing to do with that. We were way more into Nirvana and Pearl Jam and Green Day at the time. For some reason RHCP wasn’t huge among my little group. So they were mine alone. Anyway. Digressing.

But. P.S. Miguel still looks like that. Fucker. Anyway, so we were twelve, and I had such an overpowering, all-consuming crush on him that I sometimes lay awake nights thinking about him. We hung out together all the time. Listening to music, smoking pot, talking about life and parents and school. His mom was totally whack. I mean seriously. I smoked pot with her. When I was twelve. Yeah. But Miguel and his sister weren’t allowed to. Miguel never got much into it, but I would sneak a toke a lot. He really was a good boy – he was then and, based on everything I’ve heard through the grapevine over the years, he still is.

All of those thoughts and experiences were in my diary. So were the details of the day he finally asked me to “go with” him, and how excited and nervous and scared I was. My first real boyfriend! Elementary Mario had no idea he was my boyfriend, so that didn’t really count. (Shut up. It totally counts.) Miguel and I were only a thing for about two weeks. Three, tops. It was awkward, and he wasn’t ready for a girlfriend. I was all in, but he wasn’t ready. At least that’s what he told me later, and I believed him because he didn’t have a serious girlfriend for at least a couple more years. (It didn’t help that his best friend kept making fun of him about us – I mean hardcore, too. That butthole. He ended up being a crackhead. That’s what you get!) (And, I will confess it crushed my soul when I found out Miguel finally slept with some girl at a party he went to freshman year. Casey, you bitch.)

But that two weeks was enough for my diary to fill with the sordid details of kissing in his bed (on top of the covers) and how it felt when his hand went up my shirt. (He had even asked permission.) I’m certain that book was filled to the brim with award-winning writing and frameable art (who wouldn’t want to frame hearts and arrows adorned with Miguel & Stephanie 4-Ever?)

It broke my heart when he broke up with me, saying it was too awkward and he’d waited too long and now it felt like he was kissing his sister because of how close we were as buddies. He was sweet about it, and we miraculously remained friends until I moved away (to a different apartment complex). 

Attack of the Pinched Butthole Brother

At some point after Miguel broke my heart and my crush moved back to the bad boy, B found my diary. I thought I was being clever when I hid it between my mattress and the box-frame. I hadn’t yet seen all those movies where every kid in the history of fuckingever uses that as a hiding space.

Not only did B find it, oh no. He also had to read it. And he was not content to stop there, either. I came home from school one day, and B and his bitchass pal, let’s call him “Bitch”..you know..for bitch, were already there, playing video games (on my NES, damnit). And oh the devilish smirk that plastered itself across B’s face when I walked through the door.

You know what’s coming, don’t you? Then I shall spare you the suspense. B stood up, diary in hand, and commenced to reading it aloud while his bitchass pal, Bitch, literally pointed and laughed at me. He even had the audacity to hold his sides, laughing so hard it hurt. B really outdid himself, too, drawing out the loooooooooves and even holding the diary up and pointing at the hearts for all the world Bitch to see.

I hated him with an unmatched fury. Both of them. And I told them so, through screamy sobs.

I hate you! I HATE YOU! GIVE IT BACK!

When I finally snatched it away from him, I promptly ripped it to shreds. In his defense (the only one I’ll allow him here), he tried to make me stop. But it was his fucking fault; he’s the one who drove me to do it. I probably would have done it one day, anyway. I hadn’t kept any of the previous diaries, because I always felt childish, stupid and vapid. But this was different. This was the first time I’d had the privacy of a diary breached (the first time to my knowledge, anyway). I tore that bitch to pieces, marched it straight down to the apartment dumpster, came back upstairs and cried and cried of embarrassment and shame and hurt feelings and rage.

And Then There was You

I was mortified. Completely mortified. And I’ve had a pretty fucked up track record with diaries/journals ever since. I tried again a couple years later, but then my mother found it. B wasn’t living with us at the time, so I tried the same hiding spot again. Different apartment, same fucking spot. So fucking naive. Oh yeah, she found it. And for the first time in months decided to speak to me. Well, more like sobbing in my general direction. I lied to her about sex. I hadn’t had sex at that point, but I had gotten very fucking close. I told her those were just fantasies. She believed it. Probably because she was living in her head, anyway, and was willing to believe whatever made her life easier to live. I could have told her anything, and it wouldn’t have changed our relationship or her life. No matter what I told her, she was going to spend her home time crying in bed. So I made it easy,

I can’t believe you read that. But it isn’t true. None of it is true. Don’t worry.

And then I shredded it. I tried again a few years later, when I was living with the bad boy. But he always insisted I read the entries to him. So it was more a log of my life as one-half of a couple. It lacked depth and fullness, but I was happier then, for a long time. I still felt like I needed my own space, but I never got it (not that I pushed for it). I still have a few of them, all with twenty to thirty pages filled. But then I stopped for good, because they weren’t really mine. Not fully.

image
Two of them I could easily get to. Isn’t that blue one gorgeous?
I tried a couple of blogs over the years. But I always bulldozed them. Never felt good enough or safe enough. But the itch, the need has never left me. The need to purge my thoughts, get them down and out. Work out the meaning of the world, or at least my place in it. In writing.

And then there was you. I’m finally sticking with it. And while I know I haven’t been with you long, believe me when I say this is what Stephanie sticking with it looks like. I also know this is far riskier than a little paper journal hiding in my bed or underwear drawer. Yet this blog is giving me something additional that no diary ever could: accountability, community, commiseration and dare I say it? Friendship. So, for now at least, I’ve decided the dangers of discovery are worth it.