Bitch? Please.


Drama ruled much of my life until my late 20’s. I didn’t possess enough restraint to back down from a fight, even when I was clearly outmatched in wits and/or physical strength. Every situation went down in a fucking blaze because my emotions ruled all of my decisions. And because I never stopped to think about the consequences, I ended up losing every single time. I mean, I didn’t always know that I was the loser right away, but every storm leaves wreckage, and during the emotional and sometimes physical clean-up process, I would find bits and pieces of my loser status in the debris.

I haven’t gotten into a serious physical altercation since a group of four Asian girls jumped me outside of a college pool hall. Now that I think about it, that fight wasn’t my fault at all. Except for the part where I questioned the authenticity of one of the girl’s JNCO jeans earlier in the day. Now that I think about it some more, I probably deserved that ass beating because JNCO is an acronym for Judge None, Choose One, and I clearly didn’t uphold the first part of JNCO’s philosophy.

Most of the verbal exchange during my beatdown is fuzzy because I was covering my head (cuz you only get one face). Their angry words were muffled, but I could identify one word, used repeatedly: Bitch. I will never question the realness of someone’s pants again. My bad.

You’re a bitch. Why are you being such a bitch? What a bitch. I’ve heard it from men and from women. From people I do know and people I don’t know. I’m guilty of saying these things myself.

I can’t remember the first person who said these words to me, but it was around the same time that I uncovered a life-altering truth: It it acceptable to have my own opinions. I don’t have to behave/think/look/speak/live a certain way just to please another person. My opinion may not be correct and it may get my ass kicked, but opinions don’t have to be right or popular or even make sense. Those are called facts, and I only know a handful of them. That’s not really the life I picture myself living, all fact-based and shit.

I always want to ask the people who throw it at me as an insult: Did you call me a bitch because I didn’t agree with all of your opinions? Am I a bitch because you assumed that I would behave in a Certain Way, and I didn’t live up to your expectations? Is it because I stood up for myself?

On multiple occasions, I’ve tried to have people pay me something small and reasonable, like a nickel, every time they call me a bitch. I’m a big believer in passive income. There seem to be a few design flaws with my Bitch to Billionaire scheme. Apparently, people don’t even want to give you five tiny cents when they’re all riled up.

I am guilty of this same crime because I use bitch as a putdown. I also find myself adding or subtracting a few words and changing my inflection, and then something like a crude compliment develops. She’s a boss bitch. You’re one of the baddest bitches I know. That bitch is my ride or die. I’ve used it when I can’t remember someone’s name. Sup, bitch, you’re really working that gingham skort. Ok, I’ll be real with you. I use the term to address not only people, but inanimate objects and ideas and basically anything and everything. It’s been a noun, a verb, an adjective, and an adverb. (Well, probably more roles than that, but those are the only four parts of speech I know.)

Even when I don’t use bitch with the intention of insulting anyone, it can still be offensive. Another life-altering truth I’ve recently discovered: Be mindful of the way your actions and words are received. You can act any goddamn way you want, but not with blatant disregard for others. Only losers behave that way.

I’m making an effort to be more mindful. I acknowledge the derogatory origins. But I also recognize the evolution of the word. And the deep satisfaction I feel as my lips purse together to form the initial sound.

Also, I feel closer to Jesse Pinkman. I love that bitch.

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The high cost of low living


An expensive jar of pickles finally gave me some perspective on…perspective.

One of my more finely-honed skills is buying shit that I don’t need. I maximize the potential by occasionally purchasing an item that I don’t need AND I don’t want. Some people consider these items “mistakes,” but when you turn the Hater Mode dial down a few notches, it becomes pretty clear that life has blessed me with “opportunities to learn.” The more you know, the more you grow. (Credit: Either LeVar Burton or Dr. Seuss)

When I have an uncontrollable urge to spend money, I stay away from stores with big-tickets items. Those “learning opportunities” are too hard to hide. I only know this because I once bought a daybed with a big gaping hole in the center where the mattress support beams should have been. Even when the sales associate expressed doubt that I would find replacement parts, it still seemed like a solid purchase. I mean, 70% off the original retail price. It’s a little greedy to expect everything for almost nothing. Harv asked questions like “When you tell me not to go into the library, don’t you think that makes me suspicious?” and “Isn’t a daybed useless if we can’t put a mattress on it?”

I’m not really a fan of people who show off their reasoning skills.

I now limit most of my reckless purchases to the grocery store. When I spotted the elegantly-shaped jar of pickles for twice the price of the crunchy little bitches I normally enjoy, I immediately recognized it as a need AND a want. My family claims that I have an unrefined palette, but would a non-foodie invest in a jar of artisanal-quality pickles? Be real.

In my haste to get all of the groceries into the house from our subterranean garage, I condensed the normally nine-step process into two. When I finally had all of the bags on the landing at the top of the stairs, I accidentally kicked the pickles and watched as the jar popped out of the bag and started rolling down the steps. Maybe it really did roll down slowly or maybe the trauma has colored my recollection. Six steps down, the lid loosened and brine started splashing out.

As I watched those expensive bitches tumble towards the bottom, I winced and thought, “UNREAL. This is the worst thing that has ever happened in my entire life.” And I really, really meant it.

When the jar finally crashed into a wall, most of the liquid already gone, I braced myself for the breakage, shards of glass everywhere. But it remained intact (probably because those motherfuckers weren’t kidding around about that artisanal-quality hype), except for the lid which fell off and the two pickles that followed with it. I did what I thought was best: I retrieved the jar, wiped it down, and stuck it in the fridge.

While I cleaned pickle juice off everything else, it occurred to me that no one is immune to feeling the dings of everyday life. Those small dings can feel so huge and overwhelming in the moment. As a former runaway, homeless pregnant teen, single mom, welfare recipient, and abused partner, I still couldn’t help thinking that a ruined jar of pickles was the worst fucking thing to ever happen to me.

I allow so many inconsequential people and events to affect my sphere on a daily basis, and each ding ruins my day and makes me unhappy and makes me wish I had a car wash for the sole purpose of burying people under it. Tiny grievances take root and break my peace.

My own behavior is the only piece I can control, and when I can’t even reign that in, the most basic action I can take is to keep my perspective in check. I’m currently living a life that is so far removed from the bottom place where I started. Even when I recognize the incredible blessings in my life, I still forget that there are people who face so much more. Things that actually matter.

But in the world of things that don’t matter, I guess pickle wreckage is still pretty fucked up.
P.S. My friend, Bennett, recently founded I think it’s a pretty dope concept. He’s committed $100,000 to buying videos from both amateur and professional filmmakers who are interested in promoting a “good cry” with positive inspiration. Bennett started Onionflix to honor his parents and the true love their marriage exemplified. Read more here about their amazing story. “Life is fragile. Don’t waste a moment holding grudges or worrying about the little things. Don’t screw up amazing relationships with impulsive temptations. Don’t be lazy. Be honest. Be bold. Most importantly, find someone to love unconditionally.”

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