Speak Love – TIE

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  • S.B
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October Playlist

On October 1st, I woke up and the first thing I said was, “IT’S BOOT SEASON!” Now that is not the only exciting thing about it officially being October. During the first week of October, I download my “Halloween Playlist” back onto my iPhone and my laptop. This playlist typically consists of 10-15 songs, it just depends on what I want to include on it. I include all the traditional Halloween music, however sometimes I like to include Disney Channel Soundtracks, such as the movies that I grew up watching, that were considered spooky. This year however I am keeping it strictly Halloween themed. Also if you want the playlist, visit my Spotify!

 

This is Halloween from The Nightmare Before Christmas

Thriller by Michael Jackson

The Monster Mash by Bobby (Boris) Pickett

Ghostbusters by Ray Parker Jr.

Spooky Scary Skeleton by Andrew Gold

I Put a Spell on You by Annie Lennox

Time Warp from Rocky Horror Picture Show

Spooky Scary Skeleton (remix) By The Living Tombstone

Seven Wonders by Fleetwood Mac

Bad Moon Rising by Creedence Clearwater Revival

Werewolves of London by Warren Zevon

Somebody’s Watching Me by Rockwell ft. Michael Jackson

Medley: This is Halloween/Werewolves in London/Ghostbusters from The Sing Off

The next chapter

As most people know, I have been house jumping for almost two years now. Straight out of high school I ended up house jumping at few different friends’ houses and had quite a few jobs to keep me afloat. Earlier this year Brandon and I decided that we would try and find an apartment of our own, and thus we would be roommates. It seemed far-fetched at the time, mainly because I had struggled to get approved by multiple different apartments. And at first, it was hard. Brandon and I started looking at a dozen different apartments, most were weeded out due to issues with pet policies or distance. However, after searching for nearly five months we ended up directly down the road to where we had currently lived. In August, we got approved at the apartment of our dreams. It had everything we were looking for, including some bonuses.

We have spent nearly two weeks in our new home, and everything is slowly but surely coming together. Our family has grown as well. We started out with just Alfred, the guinea pig, then in early August Brandon adopted a bearded dragon, named Glaurung. About three weeks ago, we needed up adopting a kitten, and her name is Nala. I never thought I would be anything but a dog person, yet here I am, taking care of a reptile and a kitten. All the animals get along, except for Alfred and Glaurung. It’s not that they are aggressive towards each other, it is just that, for a short period of time their cages were next to each other and that ended up causing some sort of conflict between them. Glaurung’s crickets that would make noise, Alfred getting up at 2 am and making all sorts of noises with his cage. That’s okay though, because Nala gets along with both Glaurung and Alfred.

On other notes, Brandon continues to work on his book, and I am still getting my poetry together and making notes about what the poems mean to me. Hopefully by Christmas or New Year’s I will have a rough draft of what I would like my first poem book to look like. I don’t really know when Brandon’s first book will be finished, but I know he’s also working on short stories and some other creative writings.

I still would like to continue to blog about new food places that Brandon and I go to, we just haven’t been able to get out of Northern Kentucky since we have moved into our new home. Financing our money is now a huge priority. However, hopefully soon we will be able to eat somewhere awesome and I can write about it. There are so many restaurants that I haven’t been to that I would love to write about, maybe even ones I have been to, that I just haven’t talked about.

Brandon and I, for the first time in five years, did not make it to comic-con. Rent is due this week, and therefore we had to make some budgeting cuts. We were both super upset, because so many people and vendors we love were going. However, there is always next year. It will always be a tradition, just like hosting Friendsgiving and Friendsmas. Which we do plan to host again this year. Which will also be documented just as the Christmas Recipes will be.

I am also a part of a really cool organization called Speak Love, which is an all inclusive group that focuses on loving and respecting one another, no matter our walk of life. I’ve known about the group for about five years now, and every year I go to the Anthony Munoz Conference, however Nick (who started Speak Love and is my mentor) came to me and told me that he thought I would enjoy volunteering with the group. He was right, I am not trying to start a branch at Gateway, so more students can be a part of it. Speak Love means so much to me right now, just because I struggled so much to find peace in my heart and now I feel like I have that.

All our friends are doing well as well. New chapters in their lives have begun and I couldn’t be happier to be a part of all of them. I don’t want to spill the beans on them, because a lot of our mutual friends have a more private profile, but I can tell you that Hypha is doing great (Also I know she reads this blog faithfully, so if I don’t at least mention her I know I am going to be in for it). Everyone in my life seems to be doing well, Phoebe started school a few weeks ago, and although I told her Kindergarten doesn’t last forever, that there are other grades that come after that, she still says she loves school. My grandparents are enjoying the traveling lifestyle, which I’m so happy that they are doing. My grandparents have done so much for all their grandchildren (especially me) the last five years, and now that all of us are all grown up, it’s time that they start thinking about themselves.

That’s about it with my life right now. Not really traveling, but still writing. Still (trying) to do well in school, although it’s hard with being a part-time worker and having other stresses. But I’m learning to cope with those stresses a lot better, through therapy. I am happy for all of my friends with their lives and how they are living. Overall, after a year of drought, I’m finally getting some rain, so now I’m just going to wait and see how many plants grow.

Until next time,

S.B

An Open Letter to the Manager That Crossed a Line.

In the past years, keeping up with my mental health has been a struggle for me. When I was younger, I used to go to therapy to discuss what was stressing me out, and how to deal with the people in my life. I stopped going when I was about thirteen years old, and it was around that time that I stopped taking 90% of any medication that was prescribed to me. Due to what has happened to me in the past year, I decided to go back to therapy. Starting around late May, every other Friday for about an hour, I am in counseling sessions that deal from a large range of topics.

In August, I started working as a hostess at Ihop. Due to my school schedule, and therapy, my work times are limited and non-negotiable. It’s not that I don’t want to work more hours, it’s that I go to school for 8 hours a week, and I have just about 8 hours of homework. Combined, that’s 16 hours of schooling, and 20 hours of working. Every Friday that I have therapy, I reserve that specifically for therapy. I don’t do any homework, and I don’t work those days. When in counseling, my therapist and I do a lot of writing and a few things with EMDR. Everyone responds to EMDR differently, and I get very tired and sometimes can get headaches from it. However, my therapist believes that it will work and help me cope, and I believe him.

On Sundays and the Fridays that I am not in therapy, I work with a co-worker that is rude and nasty to me. This coworker is unavoidable, because she is a hostess as well. Since I have worked there she has had issues with me. When I first got the drawer at work, she complained because I had gotten it sooner than she had. Then, it was because I was well organized. After that it became a dozen of petty issues. I got yelled at for getting in the drawer when nobody was to be found, again when I took a to-go order and on top of that got a huge tip from the person. Typically, I get along with everyone and if I have issues with them I just look at them and say, “Hey, I notice we have this issue can we work it out?” but even when I tried to be nice or ignore the issues at hand, nothing seemed to work.

I work with the scheduling manager, specifically on Monday nights. This is the only time I work with him, so sometimes, I understand that I overwhelm him with such complaints. However, any time I have tried to tell him that something wasn’t right, I was told that I was complaining to much. Then again, I was told that I was over stressing, that I shouldn’t stress so much. But never did this manager look at me and say, “maybe there is an issue here that we should take care of.” Last week I finally had had enough of all the fault being put on me, saying that what I was concerned about was unreasonable. I finally told him that I didn’t want the conflict at work so I asked for my hours to be cut by two, in hopes that that would help with whatever was going on when I worked with her.

It’s not that I’m not willing to work my job, when I work I am efficient and a team leader. I tell my coworkers, “Dream work makes the team work!” Meaning that if we can all make an effort together, then the rushes won’t be so bad and we can get everything completed properly.

On Sunday, September 24th, there was an incident at work that caused me to complain to my managers. I was told that I would get written up, so would she, but ultimately, I knew, that I was at fault for not being the bigger person. I had told the manager that was there at the time, that I was finished with the pettiness. That it’s not fair to me to have to come into work every Sunday and Friday and must put up with how rude she is being. I was told that when the scheduling manager came in, to talk to him. I immediately knew that I wouldn’t be taken seriously. I told myself that I would be calm and polite, and just tell him that I stressed the same concern. I would confront him ten minutes before my shift ended, in hopes to finally end the conflict at work.

When our scheduling manager came in, I approached him and told him that there was an incident at work that I felt the need to discuss with him. He had already heard the story and had made up his mind that I was at fault. In fact, he looked at me and told me that out of the 75 employees that he has, I cause the most issues and that I work the least number of hours. I pointed out that not by choice do I work those numbers of hours, I just can’t work more than what’s given to me. On top of the hours given to me, I am sent home about two hours early any time we are not busy, and I do it without complaint. He continued to yell at me and finally he told me that I needed to get my shit together.

What struck me the most, that left me having a panic attack in my car after the conversation is that he told me that he “accommodates to my issues”. My managers are aware that I have PTSD and High-Anxiety Disorder. I tell them, not to pity and treat me differently, but so they are fully aware that sometimes I might need a 30 second breather. Which I had needed that day. Multiple times, a few managers have mentioned to me about why I don’t work every Friday after therapy, or why I don’t work Saturdays. Saturdays are a different story, that ultimately, if they told me I had to work or I would lose the job, I would do it. But they told me it wouldn’t be an issue. So, I enjoy my Saturdays with my little sister, taking her out to do things and have fun.

I was fully aware at that moment, how I took that statement was that that manager was throwing my “issues” in my face. That I would always be at fault because I couldn’t work 30+ hours a week. I have worked at a lot of different fast food places and restaurants, because I believe that you must enjoy going to work to go to work. That if you don’t like your job then you have all ability to change it. I initially liked working at Ihop because despite that one coworker the managers seemed nice and the rest of my coworkers and I got along. But the more I started to address my concern with the one coworker, the more I realized that none of the managers were willing to confront the conflict. On top of that, last week I had one of the managers look at me and said that they were a dying business and that corporate didn’t really care about them. Another manager told me that she didn’t care about the job because she doesn’t need the job. Why would I want to work for a company when nobody believes that conflict is an issue and that what they are doing with their lives matter? I don’t.

On Monday I started looking for a new job, and I decided the moment that when I got my first paycheck from the new job I would put the two weeks in at Ihop. I won’t work for a company that doesn’t have the same morals as I do and won’t respect mental health.

On Tuesday I went back into work, and he sat me down after he essentially ignored me for two and a half hours. He apologized after he complimented me a bunch of times. As if the excuse, “I had three hours of sleep and I worked the night shift prior to Sunday morning” was acceptable. He kept saying the word “issue” to the point I finally cut him off. I told him, “Don’t say issue if you are talking about my work ethic. Don’t say issue if you are talking about what happened with the coworker and I, specifically say, ‘concern’” He asked me to stay, and when I mentioned getting other jobs, it was like all of my hours were justified and because he needed me on Sundays he was willing to work with me on the hours he just complained he didn’t really need me on.

Yesterday, I hesitated to publish this post. Why? Because the manager apologized for what he had said to me on Sunday, but it still happened. Maybe, I took everything out of line and what he really meant was that he was finished with the concern at work. Maybe, if I wasn’t so upset he would have thought it was acceptable. Or maybe if it is because he was just having a bad day and everyone has bad days.

Well, I decided to publish this. Why? Because regardless of how sorry he is, regardless of the apology, it still happened. It still upset me, and in some ways, even after the talk that we had on Tuesday, it still upsets me. At the end of it all, it doesn’t matter what he meant, what matters is how I took it and the response because of that. What matters is all of the events that lead to that one moment. And non of that is acceptable.

Today I go into work for Ihop, and Thursday I have job interviews lined up. And I still stand by what I said, I won’t work for a company that even on bad days, a manager crosses the line.

P.F Chang’s Review

On Friday night, August 4th, Brandon and I decided to go and try a sit down Chinese restaurant. For most places around our home, there is a 50-50 chance that the Chinese place we are going to go and eat at, is just a buffet of some kind (Or highly Americanized). When going up to West Chester, we constantly pass P.F Chang’s which is what initially brought on the idea to go there.

Upon arriving, the outside of the restaurant has very authentic statues that represent the culture and the way the building is designed is like a mini-Pagoda. The only difference is that it’s one floor plan and it doesn’t build up. The inside however, was dimly lit and had (burning) candles on each table; which was used for lighting. That created a very relaxed atmosphere. A place where you can sit, relax, and enjoy your meal. The décor was also very realistic and none of it seemed out of place. Placed throughout the restaurant were Terracotta Warriors, which stood tall, as if protecting everyone that entered the building, just as they did when protecting the first Chinese Emperor.

The menu was easy to read, as it was broken down into sections. Their appetizers are called “Street Fare”. They named it like wise for famous Asian street foods. When going out to a new restaurant Brandon and I always try and order an appetizer. To us, it sets up the whole meal. If the presentation looks good on shareable portions then we know that so will our food. Same goes for taste. Our waitress was kind enough to tell us what “Street Fare” they are known for and what she recommended. However, we ended up ordering the BBQ Spare Ribs. This “Street Fare” included six pork ribs that were wok-seared with Asian barbeque sauce and topped with sesame seeds. On the side, it also included a spice type slaw. Everything was coated equally and the meat was so tender that I could easily pull it apart from the bone without any mess.

When ordering the entrée, the waitress made it very clear that everything on the menu is made to share. That P.F Chang’s is very family oriented and encourages everyone to share. Most places, if you are caught sharing food it can be an upcharge or the waitress/waiter will say something. I found it unique that the restaurant was going against that social normality. Brandon ended up ordering the Singapore Black Pepper Chicken, a spicy entrée made with peppers and onions. I ordered Beef with Broccoli. We both ordered white rice, which came in one big bowl, instead of two.

When I think of black pepper chicken, what comes to my mind is the black chicken covered in tangy sauce, it’s typically crunchy and hard to get around. When I think of Beef with Broccoli, what comes to my mind is tiny sliced broccoli with tiny sliced beef, lightly coated with sauce. THIS WAS NOT THE CASE. When our food came out, not only did it look delicious and appetizing; it was! Brandon’s Singapore Black Pepper Chicken had so much flavor and the peppers were cooked just right that it was almost hard for me to eat my own food. The Beef with Broccoli, had an even distribution of both and was covered in sauce, that I didn’t even need to add soy sauce to my plate. The white rice was also soft and made a perfect side item to our meal. We also ordered two vegetable rolls, which made a lovely addition to our plates. The rolls were obviously made with fresh veggies and weren’t dipped in oil before being cooked. With each bite, I just wanted to eat more. At some point, I did become full and had to take home left overs.

Overall, our meal was reasonably priced and for rightful reasons. The portions were big, the food was made fresh and wasn’t greasy. Our waitress, whom we left a good tip to, was polite, honest and friendly. She stayed on top of things (such as refilling our drinks) and was constantly asking how we were doing. When we asked for to go boxes, she boxed everything up for us, and even brought us fresh white rice.

Below, I have included the cost break down, which will include a rough estimate of each individual price. I enjoyed eating there so much, the next day I joined the rewards program. Which after much review is also an awesome program to be a part of, you can earn so many points and earn free meals because of it. I most certainly would give five out of five stars, and will more than likely be coming back to my new favorite Chinese restaurant.

THE COST BREAK DOWN.

2 sweet teas: $6

BBQ Ribs: $6

2 spring rolls: $4

Chicken Entrée: $15

Beef Entrée: $15

In total our meal was $56

** Does not include Tax

To learn more about their menu: https://www.pfchangs.com/menu/main-menu/

Dinner Conversations (Short Story)

     I’m sitting at the dining room table. It’s been a long day of school, and my parents expect me to say something more than, “It was boring.” Which, no matter how true it was, apparently saying it seems worse than telling a lie. “It was great. I learned new things.” I could tell them that, however that involves another conversation… which includes saying what I learned.

What did I learn today? In second bell Marcus decided to throw an eraser at Isabell, who then made a huge scene, which the teacher bought. In study hall, I finally finished my sketchbook, with my own version of Vincent van Gogh’s Starry Night. At lunch, I again sat by myself, but that’s mainly because my group of friends no longer exist. Well, Maria still has my back. You rat a kid out once for cheating and suddenly you’re the snitch of the eighth grade.

It was at that moment that I realized that my parents were staring at me. I had a plate full of chicken, rice and broccoli and hadn’t touched it yet. It was father’s favorite meal, which meant mother was up to something. “Placement tests for the art school is a month.” My mother said, while looking at my father. This was an argument which they had been having for a month now. Mom wants the art school, and father wants the public school, which he attended. The issue with both was that I wanted to get far away and just live a bit. And as usual, they go off into their own conversation on why the other is right.

There is no time like the present.

“So, as it happens, I found a really good school for next year.” My parents look at me clueless. This had been the longest running conversation at the dinner table. The conversation about my future beat out our conversation on how we would beat the apocalypse. Which is a conversation we’ve been having for over a year now, due to all the apocalyptic shows my father watches.

“That’s good sweetie!” She’s trying to be supportive, but every word is cracking because she doesn’t want me to go to the district public school.

“Wherever you want to go, is where we will send you.” He says confident that I’ll pick the cheapest future for myself, go into the family business and still be highly successful.

There is no time like the present. I play with my fingers and scramble the words out. “There’s a boarding school, about four hours away, located in Nevada.” My parent’s jaws are dropped. For once they can agree on one thing, I was going crazy. I have an opportunity to live my life outside Roseburg, Idaho and be proud of it. I don’t have friends here and it will be hard enough going to high school.

Many moments pass.

I start to eat. I’m scarfing down my plate, so I can leave the table and go to my room. Nobody is talking. They both can’t be thinking that much, they barely think that much in general. As they continue to sit in silence, I get up. I push in my chair and clean my dish.

“Sweetheart, wait.” My father, holds out his hand. He’s going to give me that, father side hug and tell me what a huge mistake I’m making. That boarding school is for teens with issues. I don’t have issues, obviously, because I’m their little girl. But I please him and walk over. Leaving my dish in the sink.

“May I ask why you’d want to go to this boarding school?” If I knew he was going to ask questions, I would have prepared for them.

“Well… um…” How do I put something so cruel, into the nicest words for such fragile people? I’m fourteen years old, that’s not how the world is supposed to work.

“I want to move away, be on my own. I want to experience new people, and can say I enjoyed it. Staying here, where the sun hardly shines makes me depressed. I don’t have friends at school, my teachers keep sending home notes saying they need you to sign off on things, which I then sign. It’s not that you two did anything wrong, or that you messed up… But secretly I’m wanting more.”

My father hugs me, and for once he’s on my side. “Okay, I understand. I’m not hurt, and if it’s what you want then I’m sure your mother and I can get –” He’s cut off right in the middle of his heart warming speech. A speech I desperately needed from him. Why would my mother do such a thing? This may be the only time I get this from him.

“No.” The most understanding person in this room says. She gets up and walks out of the room. I sit down at the table once more.

Father looks at me and says, “Maybe next dinner she’ll be alright.”

A 1 in 4 Chance

1 in 7 men will also encounter some sort of domestic violence. So, out of 600, that means 85 men will experience domestic violence. For women, it is 1 in 4. Using the same 600 that means 150. More personally, my graduating class had 222 women in it. That means, out of those women, 55 of them would experience domestic violence in their life time. Sadly, one of them was me.

In December, I considered myself lucky. I thought, those numbers would never be me. You see, the older generation, taught the next generation that, yes the world is cruel and full of unfortunate things but, we are lucky enough that we only see it on the news. That only big cities, or people who walk near alleyways are going to get hurt. We tell ourselves that we should feel safe, that we have no reason NOT to feel safe. But we never truly know how unsafe we are. The cruel world that we see on the news, is just around the corner. Things like domestic violence, assault and battery, they don’t just happen to people in alleyways. They don’t happen to people who keep their doors unlocked. They don’t just happen to people who live in big cities. On top of that, it’s not always committed by people that you don’t know. Sometimes it’s people you willingly invite into your home. People who you trust and even care for.

On January 4th at 8:30 am, Assault and Battery happened in my kitchen and dining room. By people I’ve known mscreen-shot-2017-01-18-at-1-22-46-pmy whole life. Since that moment, all I could think about was, “why”? I had a personal connection to these people, it’s something I would have never seen coming. At night, I don’t close my eyes counting sheep anymore. When I close my eyes, I see myself being hit, repeatedly. I see myself being thrown to the floor, my head pounding against the hardwood and my back being kicked.

Everyone tells me that my bruises don’t look bad, but when I look in the mirror, all I see is the purple and blue marks that now cover around my eye. A nice warm hug seems nice, until I realize that I’m trapped within someone’s body. It’s the little things that I loved doing that now seem so scary. All because I was told, “It would never be me.” Because I was told, that good kids like me don’t get hurt like that. That obviously, only people who throw punches receive punches.

I refuse to think like that anymore. I have children, young ladies looking up to me. If I told them, that the cruel world is miles and miles away from where they slept. I would be lying. That world is right outside our doorstep. In these past days, I’ll admit I let this one incident consume my life. Because I was… I am scared. It’s not a matter of “If” it happens to me, it’s a matter of “when” it happens to me. Nobody should have to live like this.

I can’t just let what go happen to me. I shouldn’t be asked not to press charges because someone might get upset or hurt. What happened to me is unacceptable, and naive to think that it would never happen again. I am 1 in 4, and eventually I’ll be okay.

For more information about types of violence, please visit the websites below:

National Coalition Against Domestic Violence 

Andrew D. Stine: What’s the difference between Assault, Battery and Domestic Violence? 

30 Shocking Domestic Violence Statistics That Remind Us It’s An Epidemic 

Violence Against Women 

RAINN

To seek help, please visit:

Women’s Crisis Center

The City Mission 

The National Domestic Violence Hotline