Freedom Day, Oct 2022 Edition.

I’ve made a lot of gay and trans friends in my forays onto social media as of late. I have to say, homophobes and transphobes are really missing out. I have met some of the most warm, considerate, understanding, and caring folx in the LGTBQIA++ community online.

Here we are again.

I’m just gonna fumble my way through this post by the seat of my pants. It’s been 15 months since I brought home a paycheck. Before anyone rolls their eyes, please understand some of this has been self-imposed.

I’m not entitled to anything. I’m very aware there are people out there in far more need than I. I would love nothing more than to be able to help folx out. I believe in local, grassroots improvements.

I’d probably make a third-rate billionaire, but could we at least slap an “M” on the front of “illionaire?”

I’ve said before I have plans if I can ever get to that million dollar mark. My own family aside, I’d love to be able to help friends out. I’ve met some pretty remarkable people on Twitter, Instagram and out in public who could really use a monetary boost and probably deserve all I could do to help.

Twitter friends are the first people who really come to mind. But it goes farther than donations and small product buys on Ko-Fi, Patreon and Kickstarter. Those avenues are all great, but what if we could do better? What if we could round up a bunch of community members in one place and form a charitable organization?

At the rate we’re going in the US, it might be an underground railroad.

I’ve made a lot of gay and trans friends in my forays onto social media as of late. I have to say, homophobes and transphobes are really missing out. I have met some of the most warm, considerate, understanding, and caring folx in the LGTBQIA++ community online. I almost feel guilty for all the years I wandered around with my proverbial head up my butt.

I thought the #TTRPG crowd on Twitter was pretty cool. Yeah, there are some shmucks out there, but the friends I’ve made far outnumber them. Then, through the very active gaming community, I met a lot of gay and trans folx. I am more than happy to stand up to the bigots, bullies and assholes of the world on their behalf. I feel like I’ve got more family and friends online than here at home in BFN IA. (*Bum Fork Nowhere Iowa.)

The sociopolitical and cultural climate is turning hostile to some of my friends and family. Entire states are threatening to cut medical services and even blatantly discriminate against members of the LGTBQIA++ community. Heck, some states are threatening women’s’ health outright with their abortion ban psychosis. It’s like a big chunk of our politicians have plum lost their damn minds.

Back to my own situation for a few moments.

Race, gender, sexual preference, age, and ability play into everything right now. I regularly get my butt handed to me when it comes to age and physical ability. I would love to rub the noses of some former employers in that particular smelly mess, but I can’t.

What can I say? Big shmucky McCorporate values just don’t match up to helping people and building communities. As long as they’re growing their bottom line, who gives a shit, right?

Lookin at you, Wizards of the Coast. Lookin at you, Paizo. Lookin at you large convenience store chains. I could name companies all day. It boils down to the same old shenanigans. Kick the slightly less “functional” employees to the curb in order to hire younger, more capable ones? Oh, they won’t call it that, of course.

They’re “optimizing.” They’re “economizing.” They’re “maximizing their opportunities” by outsourcing entire departments and firing anyone who doesn’t walk lock-step with their corporate culture. Sorry, my McIdiot doublespeak skills just aren’t in tune with their bullshit corporate culture. At the end of the day, it boils down to a bunch of older, usually white, healthy, cishet, wealthy men making decisions that affect (screw) the rest of us.

Prove me wrong. I’ll wait. What? Oh, that’s right. I’m basically correct.

That 1% (rich people) of the population is pretty monochrome, cishet, and ableist from what I can see. What really blows my mind is that more of the mighty 1% seem to have very little regard or compassion for anyone but their own kind.

I’m happy for you if you’ve got piles of money, honest.

I don’t begrudge anyone who “makes it” in this world. That’s a pretty big statement, all considered. One of the people I admire most in this world, Laura DiBenedetto, totally broke the mold more than once. That’s amazing!

I’ve never asked my friend how much money she’s sitting on. Not my concern. I know it’s likely not chump change. And the major difference is- she’s helping people. She’s making a difference in the lives of other women and even guys like me. There’s one exception among thousands, maybe millions of people.

I was talking to another friend on Twitter about the infamous JK Rowling. The comment about how well she deals with the pain of alienating a portion of her audience with her transphobic views. Rowling replied, “I read my recent royalty cheques and find the pain goes away pretty quickly.”

Needless to say, that comment makes me a bit queasy. I love money. Money can do a lot of wonderful things for people. I think it turned JK Rowling into kind of a bitch. It’s sad but when some people hit the big time, they forget that so many others are struggling with the day-to=day. It sucks.

I’d rather see my next royalty check (*if I had one) as a way to feed my family and maybe help some friends out. Why couldn’t Rowling say something like that? Maybe she could have even gone so far as to say she hates losing fans and she’s grateful for all they’ve done to support her? I know, I’m an idealist at heart.

I’m happy for celebrities that went from living out of their car (Lizzo) or being otherwise homeless (Rowling) to making heaps of money. God/Source/Universe bless each and every one. Awesome. But I’ve come to realize I relate more closely to the person they were before that first big break came along. I love them now (Universally speaking,) but I’m rooting for who they were when that first check rolled in. The gratitude, the love, the joy and the excitement were all there! That’s what I think many of us are aspiring-to.

That’s my rant for now.

I had way more I wanted to discuss, but this is getting kinda long. There’s a lot going on in the RolePlaying Game industry worth discussing. I see a lot going on in the world, or at least in my world that is worthy of comment. There’s more to come.

Thank you for being here. I appreciate you stopping by. Carry on.

My One Year Freedom-versary!

All I can do is speak my truth when it comes to pain. I wake up every day feeling as if I have been beaten with a sack of hammers one at a time.

Yay! or is it yay?

It’s officially been one year since I was um, uh, “released” from my job. On one hand it was a blessing. Spiritually, I’m still grateful for this on so many levels. I still have to be careful with what I say because of all the NDA and Severance Agreements. (Grrr.) On the other hand, being broke is kinda not fun…

This is going to be another bittersweet rant on my part. I’ve still got plenty of emotional and psychological scars that may never actually heal entirely. I intend to put myself on a timeline for my greatest and highest good, but it’s been some serious work getting there so far. Therapy has definitely been super helpful.

Pain. Physical, mental and emotional friggin pain.

The physical pain is one thing, but…

All I can do is speak my truth when it comes to pain. I wake up every day feeling as if I have been beaten with a sack of hammers one at a time. As a result, sometimes I have to call in sick to work, or at least that used to be the case. It got to the point where I had to apply for FMLA. My body has been used and self abused enough over the years that it just doesn’t function as well as it used to.

Fibromyalgia sucks. Arthritis sucks. Exhaustion sucks. Pain pretty much sucks. There, I said it.

I fight depression a lot. It’s been a year long battle not to feel like a total failure. I know I’m not, but sometimes I need to remind myself of that. Not having a job has left a bruise on my ego- a pretty big one.

I think some things may have been said prior to my unfortunate separation from that company that are still gnawing on me even today. Without getting into specifics, I flunked a friggin PTSD survey for crying out loud. Or passed with flying colors depending on how you look at it. (Whichever result we didn’t want? Yeah. That one.) My therapist says I’m still hanging onto a lot of anger and resentment, too.

I still can’t deal with criticism. It’s not pretty. I don’t even like going out in public. I know it sounds terrible.

Healing following the end of any relationship, including a job, takes a long time.

I’m still coping emotionally.

I keep telling myself I’m past it. I’m over it. I’m good. I’m happier without it than with it. For the most part I am over it. Really. I’m good.

Then something comes up to remind me I have zero income. My pride kinda steps in to remind me I’m not a breadwinner in a family of six. My oldest son has started busing tables at a restaurant. My next oldest is mowing lawns all summer. I’m working on… I intend to be a writer.

I turned 50 less than a month ago. It’s been a rough year. Sometimes I feel like I’m getting better. I can almost go out in public sometimes, for a short while. I’m still not big on “people-ing.” as my wife and oldest say it. Criticism tends to start a spiral ending in my poor therapist. Yeah. My therapist is awesome, though.

Some days the bear takes you to therapy.

It’s not all doom and gloom.

My wife, Heather, has been incredibly supportive through this whole thing. I’m pretty happy and grateful every day because I’m living in a house with my family. We have enough to eat. The bills are getting paid. She’s a super mom when it comes to taking care of the kids. She’s also an A+ baker.

I appreciate her a whole lot. She’s very camera shy, so no pic. Thanks, Honey!

My friend Laura DiBenedetto once asked me to draw up a list of 50 things I’m thankful for. It’s a good exercise. When you’re down it’s not as easy as it sounds, though. I think I actually did a hundred once. It’s 25 daily if you’re following The Six Habits Workbook. Regardless, the idea is I have plenty to be grateful for. I really am grateful for each and every one.

This website, my blog especially, has benefitted from me not traipsing out the door to work every day. Once toxic corporate culture wasn’t sucking the creativity and will to live out of me, I became much more productive. This blog means so very much to me. It’s been a daily endeavor for me every day since I rebranded it at the start of the year. I love writing!

Heather, family, Laura, readers, Bimoji, anyone else who I forgot.

It was for the best all around, I suppose.

Large corporations…

Was I the best employee? No. I mean, they did gimme the ax, didn’t they? Sadly, it wasn’t an issue with my skills as much as my attitude and my willingness to call bullshit when I see it. I don’t imagine the FMLA helped, but of course we can’t prove anything or really speak of such matters. BUT, it’s nice not having to be out of the house for 48 hours per week and deal with all the Mcgarbage of corporate life. I guess they did what they thought was “best for the company.”

Personally, other than missing the paycheck, I don’t miss all the bull I had to put up with (no specifics.) One of my main objections to the job, besides having one, was that I was working in an industry known to be incredibly destructive to the Earth. It was tough to reconcile spiritually every day.

In a very general sense, I believe it best to put people before profits. I also think it’s better to promote creation over destruction, which some industries globally are pretty horrible about. Last, I prefer prosperity for all over greed. Despite any company’s lip service, win-win usually doesn’t happen.

Disclaimer: Some people mistake me for a Socialist or a Communist. Now, to be fair, I have studied about both quite a bit over the years. If we’re being honest, some tenets of a socialist democracy do appeal. Unfortunately it’s prone to abuse, corruption, misinterpretation, and ultimately suffering. So, love our government and economic system in the US or hate it? Still better than the alternatives as far as I’m concerned.

My happy place.

Flowers grow in shit, too- metaphorically and practically. I ought to know. I’ve seen enough of it.

I’m grateful I’m no longer working in that awful place, or any awful place for that matter. I love my family a lot more than I hate dealing with big businesses. More importantly, being on my own in the “workforce” has been a huge blessing!

Think about it. No job gets me more time with my family. Theoretically a cleaner house. (Still working on that. See also, kids.) I get to go to ball games and roleplaying games that I wouldn’t have gotten to otherwise. My wife loves all the attention she gets these days, I think.

Not to brag, but I get to rest on the pain flare days. No one freaks out when I say I have to stay home. On the days when everyone is in school (my wife is a teacher) I get the whole house to myself. Just me and the cats. Still… I get to meditate, nap, eat stuff out of the air fryer, write, play video games, and run errands. It’s freakin amazeballs!

If anyone thinks I’m ever going back to a corporate environment of any kind, they’re sadly, tragically mistaken.

Startups, small businesses, local endeavors, individuals are more than welcome to invite me in/ hire me. (<gulp!> I guess.) I’ve been known to bend over backwards to help doing volunteer work back in ye olde days. These days, I’d work for credit on the right project. I’m not sure about working pro-bono these days, but I might consider it for the right person.

The one thing I will never go back to, short of a corner office and a six digit salary (LOL!) is a large, unfeeling, uncaring, nameless, faceless, rotten corporation. (Which ones are rotten? Umm…)

About the time anyone started talking yearly performance reviews, big meetings, (forced) peer interactions, or any of that other corporate Mc-culture crap? I’d be out the door. The last thing I want is to put myself in a position where the review makes waterboarding seem like a summer olympic event. I will never do harsh criticism again without going off and I will happily die on that hill before I let anyone tear me down.

That is one nervous breakdown I do NOT need ever again. You could call me into a meeting with six or seven people to tell me I’m employee of the year and I’ll be f’kn absent as Hell or fightin mad. I don’t care. If I even sense it in the air, I’m gone!

Jeffco’s Employee of the Year.

Let’s be honest. Working for myself is where it’s at.

Yeah, my profits have been down since January. It’s easy to claim $0 on my taxes yet. However, we’re into July without any pesky profits. It’s like we’re selling money repellant around here. Oh, wait. Okay, we’re giving away too many free samples of money repellant. Check.

(I WAS JOKING!)

All joking aside, better times are on the horizon. I’m working on new ways of monetizing my endeavors. I intend to have some kind of income flowing within the next year. It’s going to get better. Seriously, that’s the next hill I’m willing to die on so to speak.

I truly love being my own boss. I haven’t applied to work at someone else’s business since February. Really, it’s the best way for me to go. I’m happy like this. I’m free to do just about anything I set my mind to. I wish I had come up with a plan to do this years ago.

I’m going to consider doing some freelance or contract work in the coming year. It’s similar to working completely for myself and it pays better. I’m also going to get something published one of these days, even if it’s small, electronic (pdf) publication to start getting myself out there. Part of the key to getting discovered is appearing somewhere, right?

THANK YOU FOR BEING HERE!

Seriously. I can’t think you enough. I appreciate you being here. I love having readers. I love having people visit the site. You’re awesome! Thank you!

I love you all!
You ARE valued.
Photo by Katie Rainbow ud83cudff3ufe0fu200dud83cudf08 on Pexels.com

Please practice kindness. Embrace joy!

I bet someone scrolled down this far to see if I posted a different picture of me in a unicorn costume. Mmm hmm.
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