The Occupation Nation

When I first heard about the Occupy movement I was ecstatic. Finally, after years of hiding in our bedrooms and complaining on blogs like this one, real people were doing real things to make a difference. The protest renewed my faith in the system, in people’s desire to seek change. As I watched the camped out activists, I was reminded of the Vietnam protests and the massive movements in the 60s and 70s, the picketers fighting against injustice and the establishment.

The only thing is, in this case, I’m not certain anyone is sure what the Occupy movement is trying to achieve.

If people are gathering in the name of a cause, or even several causes, great. We’re legally allowed to gather in protest in the constitution. But what exactly is the goal of the Occupy movement?

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Call it Occupy Wall Street if you like, but the celebrities we worship and politicians we voted into office make up most of the population of people we  are protesting against. The big businesses are the only things left in America that still provide jobs. There are no small town businesses left that have survived the oil, fast food, media and factory farming rampage. Every town has a Shell or BP gas station, a MacDonald and good old cable television. 99% of your options have been systematically destroyed so that when someone asks you what you want you think “do I want Chinese or Mexican for dinner?”.

Even inside the system we can tell something is wrong. Politicians spin fantasies to win us over. They create imaginary insignificant gossips and enemies to distract from the subtly squeezing hands around our necks. This is not a system that can be changed by protest. Those in power tend not to bow to the masses, even if it is to their advantage. They will simply lie about it and do what they want anyways.

They have created a generation that is easily distracted and quickly bored. Today the Occupy movement is news, but when the country stops caring, will the people go home? What must happen for the movement to have worked? I know we will say that if the top 1% taxes are raised and enforced that it will change something, and fix the economy, but are we really satisfied with giving more money to the government that has forsaken us? Perhaps the money will go back into financing socialized healthcare and welfare and school programs, but as far as the budget is concerned that money would just serve to finance yet another needless war. Will it improve the environment, or lessen corruption, or give the people any more power than that which our corporate overlords allow us to have?

The system is broken, and we have taken a step in the right direction. The people stand together, but our voices are many and easily drowned out or silenced. We are organized without a direction, standing together without any purpose other than rage and frustration. We are like frightened sheep, bleating around in our pens. How wonderful would it be if someone could focus the strength of this new arm into a fist? How much change could we do if together we do more than just speak our minds, but fight, break down the walls of a system that has decided that we can be controlled and openly lied to? How many of us are brave enough to fight for a future where no man can say he deserves his riches any more than his neighbor?

People call it a class war, but no one really seems to know who to fight. Make no mistake, the lords and ladies and kings and queens did not die out in America. They sit upon their thrones and pass the power and corruption on to their heirs like so many families have done for hundreds of years. They consider themselves noble, better than the common man. They are not satisfied with anything less than amassing more money than they could spend in a lifetime, and they do not live in the world we do.

They could not hope to understand what it is like to watch your children raised around drug dealers and taught how to live from Wal-mart paychecks to feed the kids they had at 14 because state funded middle America doesn’t teach basic sex education. They can’t know what it’s like to die alone in a hospital, not because there is no cure but because you have no insurance.They can’t understand how honest hardworking people can be poor and homeless and need any help they can get, because nothing in their lives was ever fair.

Life for the rich is a walk in the sunshine: friends are plentiful, opportunities grow like weeds, and ordinary people look like tiny ants from the tops of private jets and skyscrapers. The CEOs and private billionaires don’t know what poverty is. We can’t expect change from the politicians with their gold lined pockets or the businesses that pay them, or the media that tells us what they want us to believe. We can’t expect handouts because the government is done giving them, and we can’t expect to change anything by staying within the neat little boxes they make to keep us in line.

My main question is this: Do we need a protest or a REVOLUTION? Car mechanics have a term for it: totaled. In a situation beyond repair, there’s just not enough left that works properly anymore. You can sell the parts for scraps, or perhaps take working bits off other cars and build yourself a new machine, but broken things aren’t just going to fix themselves. We need a new car. We need a new system. And we can’t just sit back and expect the old one to suddenly fix itself.

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Donald Trump – Class Warfare

I don’t think most people in comfortable living situations truly have any idea what an economic crisis is. They complain about having to pay more for gas, or plane tickets, or taxes because the small things are their biggest problems.

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An economic crisis isn’t an inconvenience. It’s families struggling to feed their kids, thousands having to quit school to earn enough money to keep a roof over their heads, it’s living with 12 other people in a single room and whoring yourself out on the street just to get formula for your baby.

The classes have never been more disparate. The middle ground is disappearing as the rich get richer, and everyone earning less than 70,000 dollars a year is joining the ranks of those who earn less than 20,000. The charity of man is being weeded out, voted down and budget cut.

I can’t think of anyone better to lead the greedy, power hungry, trickle down, evolutionary economists than a man like Donald Trump. He is the god of stepping on the little guy, brutality over charity and doublespeak and distraction before any semblance of honesty. He has kicked his way to the top and has yet to advertise his own plan for the future, but rather likes to spend his time bashing the president and turning every silly little insignificant detail into a issue of massive national security.

If you truly believe that Trump is what this company…. sorry, country needs, then by all means, vote to give this corporate overlord all the power he needs to ensure that no one who needs help will ever get it again. Personally, I’d like to side with the guy who has to swim against the Republican torrential stream to get anything done, but has still fulfilled so many of his campaign promises. The man who created jobs for road workers, initiated energy changes, tried to help the disabled, the old and overworked single moms to get health insurance and basic living conditions and managed to still keep his sense of humor. But thats just me.

Money Mail

So after checking my mail nearly constantly for the past month, everything I had been waiting for arrived on the same day.

1. My Debit card – finally, I’ve been waiting for 2 weeks

2. My Background Check Info – basically just said that the credit company doesn’t have any record of my social security number, so my number receives an incomplete when verification is attempted. I am planning on calling the company on Mon to discuss these issues, and try and understand them. As a result of this report, I have tried to find out my credit score, or verify the number myself, but with no luck.

3. A strange letter from Ameren (my power company) telling me that they were owing me $154 for apparently no reason at all. This is a direct result of my housing establishment removing responsibility and giving it to me. I’m pretty sure that kind of switch that costs me that much money should be illegal.

So basically, despite the promise of maybe getting a job decorating cakes at Walmart (interview No. 2 on Mon!) or working at CVS, I’m not even sure what the background check means, and it could cost me every job until I get the situation resolved. I’ve been filling out applications galore, exercising, eating right, turning off lights when I’m not using them and recording my income in a budget book and even trying to keep plants alive, but it seems all in vain.

Being responsible and living alone is now costing me far more money than previously anticipated, to such a crazy, exorbitant amount that I’m not certain I can survive in the real world without my parent’s help.

Not only that, but I still have an old power bill unpaid, no job to pay anything, and NO idea how much the new power bill is going to cost per month (considering AC costs in the summer and the fact that I’m no longer sharing the bill. I need a money miracle.

The Great Job Hunt

Well, the main goal right now is to get a job that will pay me a regular paycheck. My parents have made a deal with me that they will keep giving me enough money to live on until I get a job, as long as I fill out 10 applications a week. The issue is, since this is the deal, I feel like some of the applications I would normally have done and turned in right now, despite that the locations are not hiring right now, I’m putting off. Since I’ve already reached my 10 application quota, I’m afraid I’ll run out of places to hire me/the will to keep on filling out the same useless information for places that won’t be hiring for months.

Currently, over ten potential employers know my social security number, by next week it will be 20. Of the potential 50 or so applications I may fill out before I get a job (or more), how many of them will call me for an interview? How many will even consider hiring me since I am a fairly messy, disorganized and opinionated person.

I’ve filled out 8 employment aptitude tests in the past 4 days, and I keep on changing my answers, because I’m not sure what the right answer is. Do I say I’m messy when I’m trying really hard to be more neat? Do I say I have no regrets? How can anyone say they’ve NEVER said anything that has hurt another individual in some way? I feel like all of my weaknesses come to light through the painful repetition of questions.

I wish I could just say: I am not a neat person. I am very talkative, opinionated and lack a certain level of tact. I do not always love everything in my life, and things can get me down. I am loud, I am sometimes unhappy, I don’t always try my very hardest and I don’t work at super light speed. I am not the “perfect employee”, but I will love whatever job I’m given and will keep working hard, because it will give me money for food, and interaction with people on a daily basis, and afford me greater freedom from my financial burdens, and my parents.

If only employers would ask us questions about what we expect of ourselves, how hard we try and overcome our inadequacies, instead of asking us all our weaknesses, no matter how humiliating or embarrassing. I am only 21 years old, and I have too many faults that I have not learned to overcome yet, but damned if I don’t try every day to do something better. Put away a plate, fill out an application, listen for once instead of talking, appreciate people for who they are and the hardships they are going through, instead of expecting them to exist and work purely for your own comfort and gain.

I try and improve myself every day, and the reason I won’t get hired is that I’m not there yet. I’m not yet perfect. Why would you want me to be?

The Day from Hell

Now this day was in no way the worst day of my life. I’ve had days where I was sicker, busier and had more shit happen to me. This one just happened to be on the first day of finals week, in a thunderstorm, at midnight, in the rain.

The day started innocuously enough. I languorously waked from happy dreams with a slight tickle in my throat and sat up to greet the morning in song. Much to my surprise, however, I found my voice was incapable of producing anything more than a strained growl. I instantly turned from sleepy stupor to panic. My juries were tomorrow! How was I to sing in them if I had no voice?

With white-board and marker in hand, I ran over to the music building to tell my voice teacher, who sent me to the nurse’s office, which was closed for the lunch hour. I spent the waiting time stitching a pair of torn hikama pants. The nurse gave me no more information than I already had. My throat was sore… I was given ibuprofen and numbing lozenges and told it was not infected.

I ran back to the music building to check out a pair of cameras for a video shoot that evening, to turn in my peer evaluation for an Ethnomusicology and to work for an hour before my 6pm final. Even getting to my final involved driving my car back and forth between the same two parking lots over the course of ten minutes. By this time it had begun to rain lightly, causing my sandaled feet to shiver in agony.

After the final, I drove my friend to grab the cameras I had left at my apartment, changed my shoes and grabbed the 21 pizzas he had ordered from Domino’s for our aikido dinner. I had barely enough time to go over the filming schedule for the night, grab a slice of pizza and publish a website before we were all running over to the Fine Arts center with the gear, cast and props.

The filming went surprisingly well, considering my laryngitic status, the complete unfamiliarity with the ancient cameras we were using and the constant miscommunication between people. We actually managed to get most of the filming done in the time we were allotted with only a couple separately located scenes left to film. Star trek meets aikido has never been more epic. By the end of the session, I was beyond parched, exhausted and a little cranky, so I loaded the cameras into my car and headed home. The moment I exited the building, the thunder-clapped clouds began pelting down golf ball sized raindrops.

I was just getting my gear out of my car and had retrieved the cameras from the trunk when I realized I had locked my keys in the car, and myself out of my own apartment.
The next hour involved calling AAA and Security during a thunderstorm, at midnight, in the rain (in a locked and gated community) and having them let me into my apartment and my car. The walk back home left my pants soaked to the knees, my brain dead and my body too tired to care.

I hope you had a better day than I.

I’m beginning to hate romantic comedies.

The more I watch romantic comedies, the more I’m convinced that it’s a conspiratorial attempt at deceiving women into believing complete fantasy. All the romances are unlikely, short and spur of the moment, people falling in love over a few days, ladies men changing their ways for the perfect girl who is in fact riddled with flaws that are meant to endear her to both the man and the audience. It all just seems like the men of Hollywood write these things with a huge romantic comedy machine, doling out exactly what every woman wished would happen with that dashing French exchange student next door, but inevitably is always nothing more than a pipe dream.
The recipe is simple: take one pretty, quirky, interesting girl and a fairly gorgeous but somehow annoying, chauvinistic, or flawed guy and put them together in an unusual situation. Let them flirt for about 80 minutes of screen time, or anywhere from a couple days to a couple weeks in “real time”. Let there be some reason 20 minutes before the end why they might not be able to get together, and then resolve it with a happy proposal, holding hands or kissing moment.
Yes, it creates tension and conflict but the idea of a complete stranger, who doesn’t really like you at first, falling in love with you over a few days to the complete exclusion of all rational thought and reason, including giving up everything they know to be with you is preposterous. The short romances happen, yes, and it’s exciting and marvelously romantic, but that kind of love don’t happen in real life. Real relationships are more than just messy; they’re annoying and boring and sometimes fun but usually just sitting on the couch, occasionally going out and growing a stronger connection to someone because you feel you must develop that strong bond (although it’s all genetic) in order to not live a life alone.
Women get the short end of the stick in this case. We are set up from a young age watching these fictions which convince us to go for attractive, mysterious men who act like assholes because they’re “really sweet and kind”, we just have to find it in them. We try and hold onto men who know their situation, and exploit it to get the most out of it, which usually involves as many women as they can get. We think that someday soon he’ll fall in love with us and we’ll live happily ever after. He knows that you’re just one of ten girls who are dying to sleep with him, and takes advantage of that. Not only this, but society sets girls up to be convinced that unless we are gorgeous and thin and charming and sexy, we will never find the perfect guy, and so because we see our own imperfections, we settle for less and hope for better. Men are set up to think that even, especially, if they are completely disrespectful, rude, arrogant and callous, that they can get any girl they want, and that might as well be true.
Perhaps my favorite films are the one’s where the ending isn’t textbook happiness, but instead a positive spin on losing the love: 500 days of summer, My Best Friend’s Wedding, or better films that show the realistic nature of the growth of relationships, like Harry met Sally (although this does follow most of the romantic comedy rules).

I’m afraid I make the same awful decisions that all these other stupid fantasy women do, only the men I fall for aren’t played by Hugh Grant, or Matthew McConaughey, and they don’t fall in love, they just move on. And for that, I can only blame myself, since I don’t really fall in love either. Except when I do.

The Seven Stages of Grief

Apparently, it is a widely accepted perspective that everyone goes, in some degree, through the seven stages of grief. Although Depression may permeate the entire process, the stages are as follows:

Shock or Disbelief
Denial
Bargaining
Guilt
Anger
Depression
Acceptance and Hope

I feel like I spent a fair amount of time in denial, skipped right over guilt and went straight to anger and depression, but sometimes it’s hard to tell whats going on even in myself.
I spend most days in a fairly good mood, with lots of plans and classes to distract myself, projects in the works, analysis of management techniques and self help books. However, when the evening rolls around and I have nothing left to distract myself, my true thoughts tend to be more telling of my mood. I have so far gone only one day without bawling at night, and I broke that record yesterday.
I find it strange the sorts of things that can cause me to simply break down. Initially it was wanting the whole thing back, to go back to how it was and erase the past couple days, then it was the fact that he chose someone else over me, and now it seems to be righteous anger over the fact that he seems to be completely happy while I’m miserable (this coming from someone who claimed to care about my feelings). The fact that he regains every aspect of his life save me, and I lose everything including him seems so unfair that as angry as I am, I still end up crying.

I feel like I’m getting better, sometimes. I just wish I knew when I’d stop being so hung up on this whole situation and feel like I can move on with my life.