Labor Day Ranting: A Compendium Of Bullshit

It’s Labor Day, so I’m gonna take a break from the structured blog posts I’ve been writing and just rant a little. Which I really need because I don’t really have any other legit medium to rant anymore. I don’t have friends who live near me, or who have much time for me. My husband doesn’t care about hearing me rant, and half the time it’s him I want to rant about. And my therapist ditched me for a month–which is seriously messed up. I need a new therapist.

Anyway, if you have always wanted to hear the rambling ranting of a freelance writer and mama with Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, it’s your lucky day! Oh but before I get to that, Simply-Linked came back online. That means Off-Fridays is back! I’m working on getting those libraries updated so this can’t happen again, but for now, let’s build this addiction one. It was interrupted when the service went out, so there’s no links besides my own. Will you add your posts about addiction? Whatever that word means to you! Click here to get to it.

To start off with some positivity this Labor Day, my two-year-old has recently gotten into dancing, and she’s super creative about it. It’s adorable. She’s doing it right now. Like jumping and spinning and wiggling her arms. She is truly a magical wonderful little being.

But you came for a rant.

My Husband’s Bullshit

I think my husband’s bullshit is on the top of every wife’s rant list, but I’m at the point where I can’t contain it. He’s doing some adjustments on his medication, and one of his lesser qualities is that when he feels crappy or has a less-than-nurturing experience, he takes it out on everyone around him. Which means me. And the girls.

During this medication adjustment, he’s been snapping at me over every little thing. He yells at the girls. Every time I turn my head, he sneaks away to our bedroom to read or lie on the bed, refusing to help out unless I literally go get him…and refusing to even say, “hey I’m going to lie down.”

He’s not the only one with mental and physical health problems. Maybe this is TMI, but I had to go to the doctor last week because I’ve been having heavy menstrual bleeding every day for over a month. It’s probably the result of my Nexplanon implant,  but my doctor was pretty concerned about me being anemic, and was even talking about the possibility of IV iron. So my husband’s not the only one who’s tired and down. But in this home, when he feels badly, there’s only room for his needs.

My Therapist’s Bullshit

My therapist was really supportive while I was dealing with The Ex and his abusive litigation. She’s helped me with other things too, like finding resources to help with our rent or utilities. So, yes, it would be totally ungrateful of me to deny that she has been very helpful during crucial times of my life.

But she has also been unapologetically absent during crucial times of my life. Like right now, when I could really use reliable human support, and instead have to resort to ranting on my blog instead. Or, the week of my birthday last year. That was literally the anniversary of my suicide attempt, and the anniversary of a deeply traumatic event during my abusive relationship. I needed support then, and that’s something she absolutely should have known. Yet she did the same thing then that she did now, and has done a couple other times during our year together.

She forgot to reschedule our weekly appointment. And, she neglected to tell me about it. So, I showed up for an appointment that didn’t exist. Because she hadn’t reserved my slots, other people were scheduled for them. Did she extend the offer to tell those other people there was a scheduling error? Nope! She just said I can either come in at a time she knows is very difficult for me, or wait a month to see her again. Mental health care for the American poor, my friends.

Editor’s Bullshit

For the most part, I have loved working with the editors who have published my work these past few months. I appreciate the opportunities I’ve been given to share my voice, and I look forward to continuing to work with them on new works. Editors are human, and busy humans at that, so I generally give them a lot of leeway. But there are some editors who are just filled to the ears with bullshit.

One editor, who works at a publication that does not pay exceeding well and also (not surprisingly) doesn’t publish writing of the highest caliber, asked me to write something on spec. For those who don’t know, this means she’s asking me to write the piece but not promising to buy it. A rather annoying request, but not uncommon for new clients. I was confident that I could write this well, and didn’t have any other pressing assignments at the time, so I agreed.

She denied me guidelines when I asked for them, but I did my best to mirror the general length and tone of the other pieces on the site, and to write my best. Now, on spec means she gets to reject it if she wants to, but the problem here was that she didn’t even respond. I had to send a follow-up inquiry over a week later just to get a rejection, which is highly unprofessional. Once the editor gets to the point of requesting something on spec, she needs to respond in a timely manner–without forcing the writer to follow-up. Needless to say, I won’t be sending pitches her way anymore.

But that’s not the worst of it. I’ve had two editors from highly regarded publications ask me to write articles for free. I may not be a big name writer, but I’m still pretty damn good. I am certainly trained and experienced. I deserve to paid, and I usually do get paid. That’s not even the biggest issue! These weren’t businesses with newsletters…these were publications. Their product, the thing they make their money from, was literally content. Not paying their content writers is beyond disrespectful. If you’re running a publication and you’re not paying your writers–any population of your writers, for any reason–you don’t respect writing and you don’t deserve high caliber work. This happens too often, and I’m sick of it.

I’m at the point where I won’t write for these places on principal, even if the exposure could have been helpful. Seriously, they could have offered me a small honorarium and I probably would have taken the job, but I am NOT writing for a major publication for free. And neither should you, in my opinion.

Other People’s Bullshit

There’s plenty of other people’s bullshit to go around, yeah? So I’ll just give a couple brief examples. One of them comes from a truly random person. A troll, I suppose, though admittedly of the milder variety. Still, when the timing is right, even the mildest of trolls can hit their target.

She emailed me at one of my more obscure email addresses to tell me that she couldn’t read the font of my blog. Which is pretty damn ironic because in order to locate my email address, she had to read the font of my blog. Honestly, this comment would have been meaningless had it not been for the “tone.” She wrote in a nasty, condescending way. What was the point? Did she really think I was going to change my entire blog for her? I like the way my blog looks. I like that it’s different. I’m different. And anyway, most people people can read white on black. It’s a pretty common contrast…Also, I was already stressed and depressed when I opened it. I didn’t need someone else’s misplaced vitriol and unwanted criticism.

Then there was the doctor. A certain doctor wrote an email to his subscriber list in response my Vox First Person article. He essentially said that I was sleepy because my dose was too high. In reality, he had no idea what my dose was, and ended up being completely off base. My dose was far lower than the amount he’d guessed. It was an assumption, and a wrong one. But not the last one he’d make with me.

Later, I asked him to be a source for another article I was writing. Normally, I like to conduct these interviews organically by asking questions as they arise in conversation. But he asked me to send him a list of questions to “prep” for the interview. I obliged, and apparently, he didn’t like them. He assumed they meant I had some agenda, when I was only information gathering, and responded my requests to schedule a time by sending me other sources. One of them actually worked out, so that was OK, but it was not until much later that I would learn he had assumed I was trying to “debate” him. Nope,not so much.

Finally, the straw that broke the camel’s back as the say goes, he tried to steal my byline. Yeah, really. And he packaged it as an OFFER. I don’t want to say which publication, because it hasn’t been published yet, but it’s a prestigious publication, and one which I’m proud to be writing for. This doctor runs a group. It’s a good group with good goals. I like the group. I don’t like them enough to give them my byline though! He acted as though it would be beneficial to me to affiliate myself with them by giving them credit for my writing (um, what?), and also that I could benefit from his editorial advice. As far as I know, he has no writing experience. He certainly makes too many assumptions to be a good journalist. It was an extreme insult, fueled by hubris and the desire to further his group’s agenda by gaining this prestigious byline. Ironically, if he had deigned to answer my questions, his group would have been mentioned in the article by way of quote attribution. Oh well.

So anyway, that’s what’s bugging me most this Labor Day. I’m pretty depressed. I need some new work, and to get paid for my previous work. I need a support system that I 100% do not have. I need a therapist who accepts my insurance and keeps my appointments. It’s very hard for me to feel like I matter when I don’t matter to anyone else.

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