Six Years…

I’ve been running this blog for this six years, and I haven’t even remembered every “blog-iversary”. It’s probably not worth thinking about every year, similar to how birthdays can lose their excitement after so many of them, despite being only once a year. Still, I never expected this blog to last as long as it has, despite that being the goal from the start. I expected to have deleted it by now due to inactivity or boredom. I guess a “slice of life” blog isn’t a subject that’s too difficult to maintain since, well, life doesn’t stop until you die.

My disappointment in those six years is that I’m not really any better off than I was when I started this blog. I’m still living in the same place, still yearning for freedom and independence, and still trying to figure out how this whole game of adulthood works. Yes, I’m working toward it with school and a job, but I still don’t have it and patience is not a virtue I possess.

Oh, well. Can’t have it all.

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The World We Live In

I started school today. The day itself was fine. However, one thing our teachers are required to do is go over “school shooting” safety. That is, what we’d do in the event of a school shooting. Part of this meant the class had to watch two videos about just that. I understand why this is deemed necessary and I do agreed we should be prepared. At the same time, it’s tragic that we have to.

I’ve said before I don’t want kids. The top reason I’m just not interested in parenting. I have no real desire for it. However, if I did want kids, I’d be lying if I said I’d be hesitant to bring those children into existence.

Yes, yes, the world has always been cruel. School shootings aren’t new. Not for the US anyway. But that’s all the more reason I wouldn’t want my hypothetical kids on this planet. To know all it would take is for me being unfortunate enough to be the closest target when a shooter opens fire and my life can be ended in a split second is already too much for me. I can’t even sleep in the dark because of such fears. Many people would call that paranoid… until it actually happened. In fact, although I was very young at the time, I can remember my home being burglarized. No gun was involved, but seeing your mother attacked while being powerless to do anything more than fearfully hold tight your some-months-old sister (who you barely can hold because she’s heavy) isn’t exactly something that gives me the idea the world is a great place to add children to. My mother has told me I called 911 and saved her life. I don’t remember that, but if it is true, I’m glad I could do such a thing at such a small age. But I’m just as depressed I had to, whether I remember it or not.

I don’t want my toddler-aged child to save my life. I completely admit one of the reasons I would homeschool my child(ren) is the thought I could send them off to school one day, unknowingly giving them the last hug and kiss I ever would, is too much for me to stomach. I can’t do it. Obviously, homeschooling wouldn’t protect my child from a burglar, but at least only I’d be guilt-ridden for failing to protect them (and probably commit suicide to join them unless I had other children or my boyfriend/spouse).

I can’t. I’m genuinely happy I lack interest in parenthood because I just can’t have children while knowing that, though it’s unlikely to happen, it could. All the sweet moments of parenthood wouldn’t make up for the loss of my child any more than having another child would replace the lost one. I worry for my own well-being, and that of my loved ones, as it is. I’d be lying if I said I didn’t have a passing thought every now and then that any day could, unknown to me, be my last day of life. I’ve thought about my boyfriend not hearing from me, assuming I’m ignoring him, and believing for the rest of his life I “ghosted” him with no warning, never finding out I died. I’ve thought about the same happening with my job and my friends. On one occasion, a manager mentioned to me the reason we limit the amount of money in the register throughout the day in case our store gets robbed. Yes, that’s a lovely image to have while working behind the counter and certainly didn’t fuel my already passionate desire to stay as far away from cashiering as possible.

Maybe it is paranoia, but with every new safety precaution that is becoming necessary, it is much easier said than done not to be paranoid. And while it’s no reason we shouldn’t take them, all the safety measures there could ever be could still turn out to be nothing. The high school in Santa Fe, Texas that recently had a school shooting had a safety plan in case it ever happened. It happened, and many people were still wounded or killed.

I can’t do it. I just can’t.

Hope Is Wasted On The Hopeless

In three days, I return to school. After all of the nonsense that happened, I should be happy to return, especially since I don’t have to pay as much as I initially did. The key word in that sentence is should.

I should be happy. But I’m not.

To pay off what financial aid did not cover, I have to make monthly payments, the first of which was due on the day I start school. Unfortunately, the time between receiving that balance and its due date were too close. While I have savings for this kind of expense, I’d rather not use it if I can help it. The result was the split the payment between my most recent paycheck and one of my credit cards.

I can pay the credit card off. There’ll be interest, but what that will amount is barely a pinch in comparison. At the same time, this is the first instance I’ve put a large purchase on one of my credit cards. And since I’m still paying off a medical expense, it wasn’t really something I wanted to do. There was no option I wanted to do.

I’m not happy. I’m worried. I’m sad. I’m afraid. I’m frustrated.

The looming question in my mind, the one that stands over me like a collapsing tower, is: Is it worth it?

I have to hope it is, but debt, however necessary it may be, is never fun to owe. Putting any part of the payment on my credit card was a one-time thing. That I had to do it to begin with makes me hope completing this school is worthwhile, but fear more and more it won’t be. Excitement and fear are not two emotions that can mix within me. One kicks the other out, and in this case, fear has sent excitement packing. I feel unnatural as it is, being someone who’s just starting school while everyone else is graduating (two of my friends from high school graduated with their bachelor’s – one in chemical engineering, the other in psychology – just days ago), so more than anything, I want my time and money toward this school to prove to be worth the debt. Worth the stress, the tiredness, the temporary smacks to my credit score. But, admittedly, mostly worth the debt.

I won’t know if it’s worth it until the end. I have to hope it is. I have to believe it will be.

But I don’t know if I can!

MLM – Many Lying Manipulators

Some time ago, I discovered a section of Reddit called “Anti-MLM“. I’d heard of MLM before, but all I knew about it was the meaning of the acronym: multi-level marketing. I never understood what MLM was about or why they were considered shady.

I read the thread for fun and some laughs, but I learned quickly why MLM has the reputation it does. MLM is essentially interchangeable with “pyramid scheme”, but even the ones that (supposedly) aren’t pyramid schemes are no better. The basic is: you pay for a set of start-up supplies (beauty products, clothes, etc) and try to sell them while trying to persuade other people to sign up for the same company. A lot of MLM companies have “levels”, so the more you sell and more people you convince to join, the higher your level goes.

From reading that section (subreddit), it seems many of these companies target a specific group. They aim for people – especially women, it seems – who are unemployed, recently finished college, are stay-at-home parents, or are just struggling financially in general. While it’s undoubtedly immoral to prey on those who may be vulnerable, I’m more disgusted with the attitudes of the people who fall into these scams.

To an extent, I have some sympathy. I don’t have a child, but I do know what it’s like to struggle and scramble to keep your bills paid and stay afloat. However, many of the people who sign up for MLM companies are very patronizing and outright dishonest.

For starters, a common theme seems to be that a regular job is the “real scam”. When someone dares to question why they need to pay to sign up, the usual retort is that an ordinary job makes you pay to work there as well, via requiring you to buy a uniform. This is completely ignoring many jobs provide uniforms for free or have a loose dress code where there is no specific uniform. My job falls under the latter, and my uniform was $15 to $20, an amount I make in two hours of work. If you already happen to have clothes that fit the dress code before you start working, you don’t have to pay anything. Similarly, many consider college a scam as well. I do think the system of education (higher and lower) is long overdue for an overhaul, but that doesn’t mean college itself is terrible. There seems to be a common notion everyone with a regular job is miserably working from 9am to 5pm under a cold-hearted boss, or everyone who attends college is drowning in several thousands of dollars in debt while unemployed or underemployed.

What’s more egregious is many of the supposed benefits spouted about joining a MLM companies often contradict. The biggest example of this is how they advertise you can “be your own boss” and claim they are “small business owners”. In the same breath, they scream the company they work for is not a pyramid scam. I don’t think anyone needs a business degree to figure out the obvious flaw there, but I’ll point it out anyway. You are not “your own boss” if you work for a company, let alone a business owner. People who work for MLM companies have bosses just like any person who works for genuine companies. Why would a business owner receive a paycheck from anyone? Payment from their clients for providing services, yes, but their clients aren’t their employees. Speaking of benefits, there’s usually no mention of the benefits a regular, full-time job provides like health insurance and paid time off. And of course, the people with regular jobs are the people they count on for their sales to begin with.

My favorite, however, how they claim you can “make money from your phone anywhere, any time”. On the surface, that sounds great. However, many of the people who advertise this post about “earning money” from places like the pool, the beach, or just relaxing in bed. How are you relaxing if you’re working? When I clock out at work, I am done. I don’t have to think about work any more until the next shift. I don’t want to work while I’m on vacation or just having a nice day off. Chances are if I’m at the pool, I’m with my best friend or my boyfriend. I’d rather be in the water, swimming and having the time of my life with them, not or posting ads from my phone while they have fun without me. Yet at the same time, there’s the claim that “you control your money”. In other words, you do have to work hard to profit from MLM. So, which is it? Easy money-making while having fun, or as much dedication as any other job? Also, if you have kids, how are you spending time with them while posting ads online most of the day? I supposed there’s nighttime when they’re sleeping, but doesn’t that kill the idea you do have to work hard at MLM?

However, something I happen to find infuriating is many of these consultants also advertise dangerous ideas. One I’ve seen a lot is ingesting essential oils, despite the bottles themselves having warnings that they aren’t to be ingested. I’ve also seen beauty products that notoriously caused damage instead of enhancing looks, but the consultants blamed the result on the buyers for “improper use”. That might be an excuse when it comes to a few people out of very many (and even then, you should still address those concerns), but not when it’s the majority. Apparently, there are some oils that can be ingested, but essential oils for scents aren’t those.

Perhaps the worst is that as a result of joining an MLM companies, many of these people alienate their friends and family because they eventually do almost nothing except advertise. While that subreddit is often funny, it also has a lot of sad anecdotes from users who had to cut off friends or relatives because they never contacted them except to try to sell to them or persuade them to join. In worse scenarios, attempts were made to trick or bully them into buying or selling, and they were met with belligerence when they refused. A lot of the regular users of that section refer to MLM as a cult overall. I’m not sure how accurate that really is, but with how common certain elements are (regular jobs and all colleges are scams, assuming anyone who in college or a regular job is miserable, treating all jobs as office types, willing to alienate their loved ones, refusal to admit some products are faulty, etc), it would indeed come off as a cult if it were more serious than advertising products you bought.

Something that also makes me cringe is a lot of these MLM consultants refer to themselves as “boss babes” or claim they are building an “empire”. I work at a job where we could wear rain boots and cat ears, and still be within the dress code because our bosses are light-hearted and not picky. Yet, unsurprisingly, no one does that because it looks too silly to be taken seriously in any work setting that’s not a daycare center. Five of my seven bosses (managers) are female and the moment “boss babe” came out of their mouths, I’d no longer take them seriously. That’s not to say we don’t have fun at work, but we do it off the clock and away from customers. The other annoying part of this is it calls attention to the “boss” being female. Why? Yes, I understand the need for women to be recognized in working world, especially in certain fields that are still male by majority, but if feminism is supposed to mean men and women are equal, why is there a need to remind everyone you’re a woman? Isn’t that point that gender is irrelevant and shouldn’t be paid attention to? Personally, I don’t want someone to respect me because I’m a woman. Respect me because I work hard, or I’m kind, or I’m good at whatever I do. But not because I have two X chromosomes!

I do hope there’s someday a way to shut down MLM and pyramid scheme companies. I have personally never encountered a MLM recruiter, but if they are widespread enough to have the reputation they do, the best that can be done for now is warning people of these companies, especially those who fall under the categories these companies tend to aim for. While I lose sympathy the moment the consultants of these companies begin mimicking their tactics, I still do recognize they were likely pressured and had their vulnerable spots hit. I have bent to pressure and gotten far in over my head than I realized something finally forced me out. That may be just how most of the people who fall for the empty promises these companies spout have get out of it. Hopefully, it’s before they have no one left.

No Birthday

My birthday is in two days. I could not care less.

Is it what I’m putting myself through even worth it?

Is all this stress really going to pay off in the end?

Is there a point to this struggling besides making me wish I didn’t exist to deal with it?

Does it matter if I return to school or keep working?

Is being frugal worth it if I’m broke anyway?

Why am I still going on with this? Why am I still trying? What am I getting out of this?

What is the result of all this? What am I supposed to look forward to?

Does it even exist?

The only “good” thing about this birthday it lets me return to school.

My hours have been cut, I am pinching pennies, I can’t afford so much as pack of cupcakes, and I have no one to spend it with.

There is nothing good about this birthday. I don’t want this birthday. I don’t want to remember it.

No, I’m not okay. No, I’m not happy. No, I’m not looking forward to my birthday. It can die.

I don’t care.