My voice is not important. I’m merely a small written word on the internet that a few strangers might stumble upon. I am a nobody. A nobody who lives in North Carolina. A nobody who likes to write and decided to finally try to be heard. As I go online and read posts from other blogs, I think the same thing about them. They are a nobody. I have never heard of this person. Yet here they are, shoving their opinions down my throat. Here they are, thinking that what they have to say is important.
Where did they get this confidence from? This self-importance? They’re probably some narcissistic a**hole. Yet here I am, writing online for the world to see because I think I have something important to say. Like most people who feel that way, I’m actually just rambling on about nonsensical ideas. I guess I’m a narcissistic a**hole. That’s what random Facebook studies have told me anyway. Apparently taking too many selfies means I’m narcissistic and doesn’t take into account that I’m gorgeous and that I like looking at myself.
Everywhere I look someone thinks that their opinions matters. It’s rather amazing. It’s phenomenal how many bigoted people think that what they have to say matters. How many people whose opinions aren’t complete garbage think that their voice should be heard. Working in retail and hospitality has shown me that some people just want to be acknowledged. I think everyone does. Nobody wants to be ignored.Yet, only the masses are listened to.
I honestly wasn’t sure where I was taking tonight’s post. I was just writing about my observances. There needs to be a way for the minorities to be heard. It’s difficult to appease every single individual. Not everyone is going to be happy. Being white, practically half of my needs are already met. Being a woman, I still struggle in some areas. I’ve got it easy but most of what I’m currently saying right now is being ignored by 90% of any male readers I may get. Also, 62% of statistics are made up on the spot just so people can try to make a point and still sound smart.
Life is constant.It’s constant in a way that it is ever-changing. A year ago, I was working a waitressing job in charlotte. A year before that I was relaxing at the beach every day of summer. A year before that I had just quit my full-time job as a telemarketer. It’s not just jobs and lifestyles that change. It’s the way we think, talk, act, and associate with others. It’s tough to find a rhythm in this ever changing world.
That is going to be my excuse for not writing for the past week and some change. I’m trying to find my rhythm. I’ve started going to the gym again. We’ll see how long that lasts this time. I’m also trying to wake up by 10am every day. Again, we’ll see how that goes. I work best at night, as I find most creative minds do. I’m also, going to once again, continue to write every day because let’s face it, If I’m going to be a successful author/editor, I’ve got to practice.
I’ve decided that tonight, I’ll just start writing whatever comes to mind. I’ll go for fiction. It probably won’t be much. It might not even be a full story. Maybe not even the beginning. Introductions are so long and boring that I’d rather skip it for now. I’ll just write whatever comes to me. No edits. Maybe later, I’ll work on expanding it:
I may not be the most skilled writer that has ever existed. I may not write the best metaphors or enough of them. I may not always be as captivating as I could be. I may not have the best grammar or spelling. I may not be clever. I am going to make mistakes. I am going to keep trying to improve my skills. While the last several posts I have made have been opinion pieces about topics that I care about, I’d like to switch it up. I will probably on occasion still write about opinions that I have, but I’d also like to test out different writing styles. I’d like to give myself writing prompts and slowly improve my skills in writing fiction.
This website will more than likely being helping me come up with ideas for my creative writing prompts. If I came up with them on my own, I’d likely be sitting at my computer screen for days unable to think up something clever.
Today’s Prompt: 100 word short story.
“‘Have you ever seen anything so magical? This is a place of pure bliss,’ She’s wagging her tail as she gazes upon the dog park with such awe that’d you’d think she had been trapped in a kennel since birth.” I translated my dog’s incoherent barks.
“I’m pretty sure that you’re translating wrong.”
“I know for a fact I’m not. You’d understand if you were fluent in barkanese.”
“Pretty sure that she’s saying something more along the lines of ‘I’m so excited to have a place to run. Master is too poor to rent a place with a yard.”
Not entirely sure if that counts as a short story but I really wanted to practice dialogue as well. It’s my least favorite thing to write; therefore, the one thing I should probably practice the most.
I’m feeling rather lazy today, otherwise I was going to attempt to write another actual short story. One with more of a plot. However, I’ll try to write more tomorrow.
It is quite honestly a miracle that I actually learned anything while in public school. I’m not stating that I had awful teachers. There were a number of teachers that taught me that were amazing. Several of them have become permanent voices in my head still guiding me in the right direction. The public school system had failed me. It taught me that my education was not nearly as important as my male counterparts.
The school board had decided to implement a dress code during my time in hell, I mean, high school. If one chose not comply with the new policy then they either had to sit in the office until their parents could bring them a spare outfit or they had to sit in ISS, In School Suspension. I drove the only car my family had every day. Often times the school would not let me leave campus to go retrieve another outfit. Probably for the best, I likely would not have returned that day. I honestly would have enjoyed ISS except for the fact that I wasn’t allowed to do anything. I’m not complaining because I couldn’t play games on my phone or doodle in my notebook. I mean I was literally not allowed to do anything except sit there and stare at the wall. I was even yelled at for trying to complete my homework in ISS. Please tell me that I am not the only one who sees a problem with that.
After I graduated, I continued to see news stories about high schools around the country trying to regulate the way teens dressed. As I read many of the new policies being attempted, I began noticing a trend. This trend had been noticed by many before myself and has continued to be recognized by many after me. A lot of these policies often seem more geared toward regulating the way that female students dressed. Even as I had sat in ISS, I noticed a discernible difference between the number of female students in there with me for violating dress code than males.
What exactly was the reasoning for the dress code in the first place? The school board wanted a distraction free zone for learning. That would totally make sense, except for the fact that I wasn’t learning. I was missing class and sent to a place where I wasn’t allowed to study or do homework. Now you may be thinking, ‘If you wanted to learn so bad then you should have just abided by the dress code.’ That does seem logical but let’s not forget that I was a stubborn teenager who hated authority and refused to follow rules that I felt were unneccessary. I was often sent to ISS for wearing holes in my jeans. How exactly are my classmates being distracted by my thighs while they’re hidden under a desk? How are my shoulders so appealing that it prevents people from focusing on what the teacher is saying? We should be more concerned about people being turned on by a shoulder.
Recently, the school board in my area decided they wanted to ban skinny jeans. Why? Well, they’ve stated that some over weight girlshad become the subject of ridicule for wearing these type of jeans to school. Instead of suspending the bullies, they decided the best course of action was to ban this particular type of pant. The policy seems rather sexist. Reading through it, I says that if a student does wear these type of jeans then they must wear a dress or large shirt to cover their butts. I am not saying that men are not allowed to wear dresses. In fact, I would absolutely love it if a bunch of high school boys showed up to school in skinny jeans and dresses. However, in this current day, it is far more common for women to wear dresses. Meaning that this policy is attempting to target women and show them that their education is still not as important as their male classmates.
It’s so easy to find flaws in these dress code policies. The skinny jean ban, for example, is notably hilarious for the fact that their labeled that way for being skinny around the calf and ankle. Many jeans, no matter what style, will typically be fitted around the butt. If they really wanted women to look like shapeless blobs, then they should be banning fitted jeans. Just saying, if they want to hide their sexist intentions then they should be a little more smart about it. They are, after all, a board for our education. Shouldn’t they be capable of figuring out ways to improve our education instead of prohibit learning for women?
That being said, I hope that women keep trying to prove that these policies are sexist. I hope students rebel. Not just the women because women aren’t taken seriously. If only women take a stand for their rights, then they will never be treated the same. If men take the same stand in defense for women, then maybe some changes will happen. Maybe young girls, who actually want to learn while in school, will get the same chance as men.
For the past year and counting, I have been employed at a retail gaming store. Seeing as I am, in fact, a female; I know that this market is not specifically for men. Gaming, while seeing a shift in its demographic, still appears to be male dominated. After only a month of working for this company, it became eminently clear as to why. Within my first month, I had multiple male customers attempt to inform me that I am not a gamer. This was decided based on a series of questions that usually involved obscure anime titles. I have had multiple men dismiss my knowledge, even on store policy, and immediately ask my male coworkers for a second opinion. Some customers refuse to acknowledge my existence all together. I could probably type a 60 page rant and sell a novel about all the chauvinistic behavior that occurs just in the world of gaming but instead I’d like to take this in another, more broad, direction.
This is not going to be about how I am being excluded from a culture that I know more about than some men. Sometimes they do know more than I possibly ever could. After all, I’m not omniscient. Sometimes they don’t know anything but insist I am wrong anyway; For example, one man attempted to inform me that women can’t use the force because females don’t have enough mitochondria to be force sensitive. Working at this company has not been the only time that I have ever experienced sexism. A plethora of women that I speak to about these issues experience similar problems to the ones I stated previously. Maybe not those exact situations, seeing as some of them are relatively specific to my job. In general, I typically find that my opinion, my voice, is often ignored. I am not considered a human worthy of having anything significant to say. I am not the only one.
When I go out, when I work, when I walk down the street, when I walk across campus, or even if I decide to just leave my house that day; I am at risk for men hitting on me. This isn’t me bragging about how attractive I am. I have been objectified since I hit puberty, as I know many women have experienced the same problem. This is me pointing out that I am in danger. Notice that I used the word risk? I mean that very word. It isn’t an annoyance in the way many men assume. I’m not complaining about compliments or flattery. I actually rather enjoy that aspect of the whole ordeal. Unfortunately, many women around the world have varying forms of unfortunate interactions. Seriously, it’s just a quick Google search away to see what horrible crimes men have committed just because a woman has told him “no.”
There is one answer that seems to work, the one answer that typically makes men just let it go: “I have a boyfriend.” It’s strange how my simple answer of “no” has no meaning to many men except for when it is followed by the statement above. Even during times when I am absolutely single, I use that answer. I don’t particularly enjoy lying. It’s honestly not the best policy. However, these men have more respect for my possibly imaginary boyfriend than they do for me.
Here is all I want; the hopefully obvious point that I am attempting to make. It’s quite simple really. I honestly don’t think that I’m asking for much; just a little respect. I’d like equality. I would like for men to talk to me and actually care about what I have to say. I want them to listen to me. I want them to acknowledge that I have interests similar to theirs and I’m not faking it for attention. Honestly, I don’t want that type of attention from the guys who dismiss me so easily. I want to be able to just say no and let that be taken at face value. I want to be taken seriously as a human being. That’s not too much to ask, is it?
As I absent-mindedly scroll through my social media accounts, I am constantly faced with lists of what not to do in my daily life. These lists instruct me to avoid specific foods. Certain activities are strictly prohibited. My body type is key in figuring out what clothes I am not allowed to wear. If I do my own makeup, I am supposedly applying it all wrong. I am even told what I have to stop doing because men do not find it appealing. Oddly enough, this post was inspired by the fact that I sought out an article on what to write for this blog. The article that I had discovered listed key mistakes that I must avoid while writing; However, all I wanted was a little push in the right direction. As I am reading these articles, I just cannot help but think every single time, “Why do these people think they can tell me how to live my life?”
These articles have only been a recent part of my day-to-day life. It’s not as though I struggled with seeing ‘7 things you’re constantly doing wrong. Number 4 will surprise you.’ in the late nineties with dial-up internet. I wasn’t even allowed access to the internet due to my parents wanting the phone line to be open. Although, being told what I am not allowed to do has always been a major part of growing up. Some were said in order to keep me safe such as being told to never walk down a dark alley alone. Some of the rules were common sense because running with scissors just might not end well. I suppose that both of those examples are not only common sense but also meant to keep me safe. However, some pieces of advise were blatantly as pointless as these articles that I come across everyday.
Why I take the time to read these posts has become a mystery to even myself. Being told how to manage my life envelopes me with a rage that makes me want to rant on the internet while not caring how many followers I lose along the way. How narcissistic must a person be in order to feel the need to dictate everyone’s daily life? (On a side note, I’d like to take this time to tell you all that you should abide by my every word. I have a blog and access to the internet; therefore everything I say is law and should be taken at face value.) For all I know, these people writing these lists online, are just like me. They could be in their twenties and barely know how to lead a full life as a functioning adult. Yet I click on them every single time I scroll past one and I scoff.
I will never follow the advice of these posts. Not because they are completely wrong. On occasion, these writers have fair points to make. Those few and far between points falls under the category of listening to common sense. If I followed every single piece of advise given to me from these articles that I read, then I would not live. I would become devoid of my individuality. Life is about making decisions and not always making th right decision. There may be a day when I decide to walk down a dark alley. There could possibly be a day I choose to run with scissors because of some emergency scissor running reason. I really couldn’t come up with a reason to run with scissors so just do not do it.(There is never an emergency scissor running reason.)
It’s time to start making mistakes. It’s time to do your makeup wrong a few times in order to get it right. It’s time to start a blog and ignore the advise from those who have been writing far longer than you have. It’s time to start wearing what you want to wear. It’s time to stop dressing for other people. It’s time to date how you want to do date. I am going to make a promise to myself to stop clicking on these articles. Even though I never listen to the advice anyway, I no longer want that negativity in my life. I want to be filled with positive ideas of what I can do.
It stands to reason that my very first blog post should consist of my reasons for starting this blog. I suppose that I could start with a nice anecdote from my childhood about how I always thought I would want to be a veterinarian. I loved animals, still do. In my young mind, it only made sense to take care of them. Quickly, I threw out that idea due to the fact that veterinarian is still something that I have to google search to figure out the spelling. Seriously, my spelling on it is so terrible that even auto-correct doesn’t have any idea what I’m trying to spell. Another reason, the real reason, I gave up on that idea was because I am terrible with anatomy and biology and basically all natural sciences in general.
I was probably about eight years old when I decided that my perfect career wasn’t perfect for me. For the rest of my young life I have been asked the question “What do you want to be when you grow up?” As I am almost positive everyone else in the entire existence of civilization has been asked that same question almost a million times. Everyone has been asked that by their friends, teachers, parents, relatives, and by strangers who ask way to many personal questions considering you’ll probably never see them again. My answer most of the time has always been, might even still be, that I do not know. It took me a while to come to terms with the fact that my answer, while being in my early twenties, is an okay answer to have. I always thought I would have my life figured out by the time I reached this age especially because, as I scroll through Facebook these past couple of weeks, I see many of my classmates from my highschool graduating class are now graduating from college. It would seem as though they have their lives figured out.
The realization for me attempting to start a blog and start writing for money should have been an easy one. It had been staring me in the face throughout all of my schooling. Many of my english teachers consistently pushed me in the direction of writing and I resisted like a screaming toddler at the grocery store. Maybe, just maybe, I rejected writing out of fear of the public rejecting my written word. It’s absolutely nerve-racking putting a piece of your soul out in the open to be judged. Then there is the possibility that I tried different career paths because I thought there was no money to be made in just writing what I want to write. Afterall, very few authors make enough money to even live off of just from their writing alone. It is a very discouraging field to try to get into. Then again, in this day and age, no job is guaranteed even with an education. Don’t fret for I do have a back up plan to make money and live off of just in case I am not as good of a writer as I know I can be. I will still be working at retail in an attempt to get by in the mean time as well.
This very first blog post is me taking my first steps into the world of being an adult. It’s my way of making my own personal mark on this world. I’m doing this because I hope that I can grow as a writer. I hope I can make a career out of this and leave my dead-end retail job. I hope that I no longer have to dread the future; that I have something to look forward too. I hope that if I do become successful in any way, shape, or form that I can be an inspiration for those who also feel that they do not fit into the world. My name is LaTashia Madsen.