Exclusion

Can someone please point me to the part in the bible that says “Yea, forsake thy bretheren/sisteren who differ from thee”? Because I can’t seem to find it. Which is funny, because that’s the law that people seem to be living by these days.

It seems that the more I advocate for inclusion, the more excluded I become.

I feel like a plague or a parasite that people are protecting themselves from. Apparently if you drink coffee, wear tank tops, and think that all people deserve to be treated as equals, nobody will want to play with you. Even the people that have been in your life for years.

The more I think about it, though, the more it makes sense. Even in Primary, I remember having discussions about the importance of choosing good friends who have the same standards as you, which, where i’m from, meant that mormons stuck with other mormons for the most part.

I love mormonism, and I love the people within it. I don’t necessarily agree with everything in it, but I am doing the best I can. And it stings that through my well-known “struggle,” I am having to try my best all by myself.

Every Sunday, I sit through my meetings by myself and try my best to stay calm and keep an open mind, and return home either in tears or in a flurry of frustration or pain.

I can’t seem to find my tribe. Even through grade school, I’ve been in constant pursuit of finding a place to fit in. But now that i’m starting to figure out who and what I am, even the few people I though I had are turning their backs.

Not to rain on anyone’s parade, but I had to get this out there. I feel better already.

A Very Solitary M.

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Disconsolate

It’s 8:00 AM, and i’ve already had my optimism toward the world crumpled into a ball and thrown out the window of a high-speed train for the day.

I’ve already scrolled upon multiple problematic, and frankly, triggering posts and memes that devalue women, gays, and pretty much any other marginalized group you could possibly think of.

One of the most maddening memes of the morning was a pro-bulimia post that was shared by an individual whom I once thought was at least not contributing to the oppression of women. The post was a picture of a woman leaning over a toilet, and the caption said something to the effect of “Call your woman fat because you enjoy the gagging noises.” I wish I could find the original meme, but as of 15 minutes ago, I am no longer friends with this individual on Facebook, which restricts my access to his timeline.

Typically, I do my very best to be a saintly member of society, especially on the internet, but I took this particular post a little personally, as eating disorders just so happen to be one of the battles I have to face, so my impulsivity got the best of me.

“This is pretty offensive.” I commented on the photo.

Now, I know that the individual that posted this admires me visually, so he is typically pretty nice to me. Give or take five minutes after I commented, he sent me a personal message, apologizing for offending me. I explained to him that the content of his posts were harmful and actually pretty triggering to some individuals. His response was that not only does he understand that when he posts it, but that he knows that it will offend people, and that he will continue to do so.

I hit the “unfriend” button faster than you could say “misogynistic jerk.”

I am not sensitive. I completely understand the whole concept of “nobody can offend you without your consent.” I’ve got thick skin and an elastic heart. But guys, if you KNOW that you’re hurting people, why would you deliberately continue to do so? I was under the impression that a lot of the marginalization and sexism in our society is ingrained and therefore, somewhat subconscious, but perhaps I was being a little too optimistic.

Am I naive and over-sensitive for being so disheartened by this? That somebody would intentionally be trying to hurt somebody else? Maybe.

A Perhaps Too Sensitive M.

Innominate

Due to a series of unfortunate events and frustrating assumptions being made about me, I’ve decided to become faceless here. I feel that right now, removing my identity will keep my blog a safe place for me to therapeutically express my feelings without backlash that will inevitably affect my personal life. Cowardly, maybe, but thou hast no right to judgeth me.

For my own sake, I am now going to put an assumption or two to rest. I used to share new posts on my Facebook and Twitter feeds, which granted access to both friends and foes, simultaneously labeled as “followers” on the Internet.

One individual, whom I can only assume was a dedicated reader of mine, concluded rather falsely that I am “struggling,” (in my faith, perhaps?) and felt the need to share this conclusion with a mutual peer. Because people talk, this got back to me and honestly, it angers me deeply that someone whom I haven’t spoken with in over a calendar year would have the audacity to assume that I am “struggling,” and then proceed to share his/her false conclusion with others.

Like I said, for my own sake, I am going to clear the air here. I am not struggling. If anything, I feel that I am becoming my most authentic self. I feel that I am approaching a place in my life where I am beginning to make peace with all of my contradictions and inner conflicts. If anything, I am flourishing! I am happy, truly happy, for quite possibly the first time in my life. I am accepting the pieces of me that make me different than most others, and embracing them. I am building a mature belief system by consciously deciding what I do and do not believe, what I am and what I am not, and am maintaining my integrity by not allowing anything or anyone to change me. I am in a good place. A strong place.

So, if you’re new to DownWithTheNorm, and have the time and/or interest, you can read my personal introduction here.

I’d also be delighted to receive an introduction from you! If anything, the purpose of this site is for me to be understood, and to understand differing viewpoints and learn from the diversity of humans.

If you’re a returning reader, it’s still me, and I am so grateful to all who take the time to read.

M.

Irascible

Today, I am bugged.

And I have plenty of legitimate reasons to be. I can count the hours of sleep i’ve gotten in the last two days on one hand. We ran out of my favorite caffeinated drink packets this morning. My Chapstick melted all over my jeans on the way to work. I cut my lip on accident whilst trying to pry open a cup of Greek yogurt at lunch today. Global warming.

So EXCUUUUUSE me for being a little “tender.”

Work went well, though, despite my 10 hour shift and it being Friday.

Not to toot my own horn, but I am becoming quite the efficient little receptionist, if I do so humbly say so myself. I even get my very own pen which i’ve labeled with a note that says, “This has probably been in Maddie’s mouth.”

One of the major tasks of my position as Efficient Receptionist with adorable name tag and special pen is to check in patients and also schedule their next appointments.

Never a dull moment in customer service jobs.

We get a lot of older men coming in to my work, and i’ve suffered more than my fair share of passes from these older dudes. But today was noticeably higher-saturated with passes from older dudes.

Wow, please excuse the atrocious grammar in that last sentence, and then note again the lack of sleep of which I am suffering.

Allow me to elaborate:

Old Dude #1: Thank you, missy, you are too sweet.

Me: …..

Old Dude #1: Uh, umm, (stammers, ad lib.) That wasn’t sexual harassment. (Turns and bolts toward the exit, but stops suddenly upon grabbing the door handle and shouts behind him, “have a great day, my dear!”)

Why in the actual hell would you even say the words, “sexual harassment” in this situation?! We could have easily both ignored your forward and borderline inappropriate comment about the sweetness of which I was exhibiting.

Scenario Dos:

Old dude #2: Hey, gorgeous! Sorry I’m late!

Me: ….

Old Dude #2: Oh, no, I was talking to him. (Nods to my coworker, who is a male.) Otherwise, that’d be sexual harassment.

“Sexual harassment.” Can we just delete that phrase from our vernacular? It gives me the heebie-jeebies.

Scenario Tres:

Me: Okay, Old Dude #3, are we scheduling you for 2 appointments next week or three?

Old Dude #3: two, unless the third one is me and you for dinner.

Me: *slams head against keyboard just hard enough to escape consciousness for the remainder of the work day.*

So that had me in a pretty sour mood for the majority of my shift, but it was my very last patient of the day that about made me lose my marbles.

Before you call me a man-hater and start throwing tomatoes at me, please return to your designated seat, make sure you’re caught up on your meds, have a sip of water, and continue reading.

Last patient walks in, and I go about my routine of getting her checked in and ready to go.

Last Patient: It’s so nice to see young girls like you being so efficient!

Me: *looks up from what i’m doing, eyebrows knit together in confusion and disgust*

I was unaware that “young girls” had a track record for being non-efficient.

What’s so surprising about my abilities to accomplish office and admin tasks at work? Is it that i’m a girl AND that i’m efficient? Is it that i’m young and efficient? Does she not know any girls who are efficient? And when can people finally start referring to me as a woman rather than a girl gosh dang it I am almost two decades old.

Maybe I just read into these things way too much because of my constant, ever-waxing feminist attitude. Maybe I should have just taken her comment as a compliment and not thought anything more of it. But WHY is it nice to see young girls being so efficient?! Would it still be nice if I were a young boy and being efficient?! Would she even say anything?! WHY AM I YELLING?!

I’m pissed off. I’m pissed off and tired. And now i’m going to angrily slump on my couch and efficiently eat Nutella from the jar with a miniature spoon.

M.

The Most Vexatious

Have you ever wondered, “How can I effectively piss off (insert acquaintance/friend/co-worker, what have you) for the rest of his/her day?” Well pull out a pen and paper, because I’m about to lay out some extremely effective methods. 

1. Be A Snowflake: I’ve coined this term as a “combination of both a flake and a cold-shoulder giver.” (clever, eh?) In order to execute this method effectively, commit to plans with your victim. Make sure you’re the one who sets it up for maximum results. I’d recommend about a week and a half in advance. Then, as time draws nearer, just cut off all communication with said victim. Don’t respond to text messages/phone calls/snapchats/facetimes/whatever else you kids use to communicate nowadays. And certainly don’t initiate a conversation with your victim, either. Don’t offer excuses as to why you will no longer be able to attend these plans, don’t apologize. This way, your victim will be left waiting by his/her cellular device all day, waiting for the cue to meet up with you for those plans that you made that you’re no longer going to participate in because you’re a snowflake. 

2. Be A Debby Downer: be the raincloud that travels to everyone’s parade and unleashes a downpour of negativity as it travels through. Best friend got your crush’s number? Remind her of her cankles, and assure her that he has no interest in girls with cankles. Co-worker got the promotion you wanted? Make sure he knows he only got the gig because he’s the boss’s distant cousin. Just pour out the negativity. You’ll feel better about not getting what you wanted, and your victim will wish he/she never got it, too. 

3. Be A Pinhead Pilot: Make sure that when your SUV hits the highway, it’s in the way. Take your time turning right. If some punk teenager is trying to pass you on the freeway, just stay right in front of that traffic-law violator. It’s a public service, you interfering with them breaching the speed limit. And that turn signal? Forget about it. You wouldn’t want someone to follow you home, would you? 

4. Be A Solutionist: Come home to see your daughter bawling on the floor? Make her realize that whatever is wrong is a consequence of her behavior, and immediately offer your all-knowing wisdom and provide her with ways she can solve her own problems. That’s what she wants from you, right? To show her how to fix everything? Kids don’t just want to talk about their feelings to a good listener, anyway. Plus, sympathy doesn’t solve anything.

5. Be A Morning Person: There is a time for hyper-happiness. And that time is 6:30 in the morning, at the breakfast table, when your family is slumped in a daze of sleepiness and most sensitive to loud noises and smiling faces. Emerge from your sleeping chambers in song. Give each family member an ear-to-ear grin and make sure you wish them a fantastic day, in your best “Disneyland employee” voice. They’ll be longing to punch you in the jugular region for the remainder of their morning. 

6. Be a Narcissistic Patron: You’ve been waiting at IHOP for 32 minutes, and the family that arrived ten minutes after you gets seated first. Who cares that they have a crying newborn and a set of toddler-aged twins? Your party was there first, and you deserve to be seated in the order in which you arrived. Make a scene. Give that hostess a piece of your mind. Make sure she knows that you won’t ever be consuming IHOP’s stuffed french toast again, and that her manager will be hearing from you shortly. Add a snarky comment about how she’s the worst hostess in the history of hostesses. She might shed some tears then and there, if not, she’ll wait till the car ride home. 

I hope some of my ideas helped, or at least generated some other ideas in your little brains of how to piss off the people in your life. Now go forth and conquer, my friends. 

M.