Thursday, 19 June 2014

Things I learned from working in a restaurant

For some strange reason, I always thought that working at a restaurant would be a glamorous job where I'd get to meet all sorts of strange and interesting people and that all the staff would get along and we'd drink and laugh over dumb shenanigans well into the night and bond over tiny hills of cocaine while bitching about that man who demanded that the entire restaurant shut off its music because I'M IN AN IMPORTANT MEETING MMKAY? The restaurant would be full of quirky characters and guests and the rushes would be hair-tearingly busy, but sharing that drink at the end of the shift with your coworkers would be sweeter than an angel's piss. 

Specifically, I blame this movie for all my delusions. 

Hijinks and pranksters and overqualified servers, oh my!

I mean, not everything was terrible. In fact, I'd say that 80% of being in that job was great - there were more days where I would jump out of bed to get ready for work than I would drag my feet to the back entrance wanting to kill myself. The people that I worked with, for the most part, were fantastic people who were hardworking. I liked the fact that I would have a chance to learn in an environment where I wasn't too familiar with anything. It would be like navigating a whole new world of people that I never knew and peering into a lifestyle that I wanted to scope out for myself. 

Also, I needed money. Isn't money always a good reason? 

Working a job where you make good tips on top of a heavy staff discount ON TOP of the fact that the restaurant that I had applied for (and gotten into!) back in August was-a-booming and seemed cool to work for made it a really fantastic experience. But with any job, there are the downsides that make you want to put a campfire out with your face. 

So if anyone out there is thinking of taking on a service industry job, here's five things I learned from working in the restaurant industry. 

5. Your feet will always be sore. 

I take back everything bad I said about crocs. I had the pleasure of trying on a kitchen staff's pair of crocs and it felt like each of my toes were being massaged with a thousand tiny marshmallows.

I would have shanked an infant if it meant that I could have worn crocs for all my shifts instead of the death traps that were my work shoes. 

Oh crocs, my sun and stars, I'm sorry for ever talking shit about you.

If your feet aren't sore, it just means you've gotten used to them hurting all the time. Breaking in new shoes is a bitch. Walking around all the time from the front of house to back of house to all over the restaurant's different sections fetching this and seating that table really takes a toll on your feet. It took me about a month to get over the blistering phase where the skin where the balls of my feet rubbed against the soles literally gave me bubbly, watery blisters. The skin around my toenails started to crack and peel. I started rubbing my feet with vaseline and put socks on before bed just so that my feet wouldn't look like the hooved wonder.

Even then, my feet were always throbbing. During one double shift I thought it would be a good idea to air out my feet from its heeled death traps, only to find that my feet had swollen up and would not fit back in my shoes. Since we didn't have crisco and using pantry butter to slip nasty hobbit-sized feet into size 7 heeled flats is gross, I ended up jamming them back into my shoes and spent half an hour massaging them back in ice cold water once I got home. 

A week passed since I quit my job, but I still felt the after effects. The callouses on my feet started to peel, flake, and crack - not in that order - and I realized how much abuse your body can take while working a physically demanding job, and how long it takes for your body to regenerate. You'd think that you'd be able to snap right back into your pre-work self. In reality, it took me a full month before I felt good enough to wear open-toed sandals and slippers in public. Don't underestimate what your body is capable of, but don't abuse your body to the point that you're falling apart every night after work. 

Imagine that your job all throughout rush hour (not the traffic kind) was to either stay standing bolted to the front of house where all the hostesses are, or to be floating around constantly and consistently and your evening will never end unless a manager cuts you. 

Wait, what? Managers cut you? 

4. You'll learn a slew of new buzzwords and habits.

I learned more new words than I ever had since finishing university. I learned that to 'get cut' was not to be stabbed with a rusty dull fork, but to be allowed to leave your shift for the evening. If something was '86-ed,' it meant that we didn't have any more of those items. Rezos were reservations, campers were ladies who liked to order one tea and 5 pots of hot water while they sat yammering for 5 hours straight, and clopens were the shifts sent from Satan that no one wanted - staying as late until the restaurant shut its doors, then to be back early in the morning to do opening duties. 

"It's 10PM, we're still on a wait, we're 86ed chicken, zero clean linens, and if those campers ask for another plate of lemon wedges I'm going to drown them in the dish pit." - standard nightmare

I was taught to call my location whenever moving around in a crowded area. If I was walking behind someone carrying a tray of empty glassware, I was to say "behind you" as an act of courtesy (also, cleaning up an entire tray's worth of glassware during the dinner rush is a total pain in the asshole). If I was coming out from a corner where people might not see me, I was to call "corner" so others would know that someone was coming round and maybe not rush in with a freshly sharpened kitchen knife or a pot of boiling water. 

Sometimes I catch myself saying "corner" as I turn into my own kitchen, even though there's no reason to. When I eat out, I try to stack the dishes and minimize the mess that the server will have to clean up - large dishes on bottom, small plates and baby dishes inside the large dishes, with any garbage or leftover scraps scraped to the side of the plate so it would be easier for them to dump it in the dish pits - just so it will make their lives easier. I still refer to reservations as 'rezos' and no one knows what the hell I'm talking about, but it's too late. Those words and habits are etched into my brain forever, and some habits have actually helped me to become a better person. 

3. You'll learn to read people and their needs. 

One regular guest that we had would come in with his son to take brunch once a week, and then would read the newspaper while having a hot beverage. It was a clockwork routine. So one day when the newspaper didn't come, he noticed and I had to tell him that the papers hadn't arrived that day. The guest was very nice about it and didn't raise concerns at all. The next day, I set aside one of the copies and put it on the table where he and his son always sat. He noticed that I'd put it there, and came by on his way out to thank me for looking out for him.

Something like this, except I wasn't wearing that hideous uniform. Blechh.

As a general rule: If it takes you far less effort to do something that can make someone's life easier or make someone happy with no deficit to you, why wouldn't you do it? 

If I happened to be on my way in the kitchen and another server was struggling with clearing some dishes quick enough so she could go greet her table, I had no problem carrying them in for her. If I happened to pass by the soap dispenser and it was running low, I'd just do it without being asked. And from my time at the restaurant, the best staff members were those who knew what others needed without even having to ask. They would sense that a fellow team member was about to donkey punch another staff member and cover for them so they could take a smoke break and take a goddamn chill pill. They would know that their neighbouring server was overwhelmed and would offer to take a table off of their hands. 

Whatever made life easier for each other, you'll find that the best coworkers will be those who save you a slice of pizza and will have your back just as much as you have theirs. 

2. There's zero room for negative energy. 

Imagine being put through a particularly horrible dinner rush where everything goes wrong, none of your pens are working, and that penisface at table 65 left you 3 dollars in Monopoly money instead of a tip like a normal human being. 

"We're so hungry!"

Just as you envision yourself burning the place down and salting the earth along with every other living person in the building, another server comes to you and makes a passing comment about how you need to do your side duties. And so you explode like a reasonable human being and f*** this and screw that and I'm quitting by the end of this night for sure! Except this time it's for real. Except it's going to be next time. 

I had a few moments during my shifts when I wanted to flip the table over and march out, or at least argue with a belligerent coworker. But then taking a few seconds to think about the importance of the situation made everything seem so...temporary. Flipping out over things that are out of your control, I quickly learned, only brings bad energy. This too shall pass, and the guest who gave you the stink eye when you quoted them a 30-minute wait time will probably never cross your path again. 

Being in a restaurant with fellow coworkers is like being on an island all together working on another day of survival. You don't have offices where you can lock yourself in, and there are no hidden nooks and crannies in a restaurant for you to hide in; there are busy hands and eyes everywhere. If you can learn to compose yourself during dinner rushes and still manage to look nice and speak nicely to guests instead of hissing at them like a feral cat, you can compose yourself in any situation. 

Don't be the douche that ruins it for everyone on the island.

1. Keep a straight head and go for your goal.

I never intended to stay as long as I did in the restaurant industry. Unlike a handful of people who were actually in it to win it, I knew a lot of people who I worked with who have, since leaving, gone on to do what they really wanted to do. They go to teach overseas, they go to study abroad, they go to management positions that their education trained them to do, they finally find a career that they can truly call their own. I've yet to lock down the career that I want for me, but I assume that everyone is going through the same. 

And that's the beauty of the industry, really. Anyone from any walk of life can cross paths in a restaurant regardless of age, background, gender, religion, social 'status' or whatever else have you. I've met great people that I would not have had the pleasure to meet and work with had I not worked in this industry. Your coworkers, even if for a temporary time, do start to feel like family. 

A very dysfunctional, semi-alcoholic family.
No one is above or below their job, as it takes all parts of the restaurant to work together to be efficient. It used to be that people looked down on serving jobs, as the job was exactly as its title demanded you to be - to serve. But every time you go out to have a good time with friends or a special night out, remember that there are actual people and human beings with faces and names behind the scenes making it all happen for you. Your food doesn't cook itself, your water glass is not an endless fountain. By the time you've left your table, there's probably a busser already waiting to clean up after you. No one is more or less useful on the floor, and it's too bad that some people don't understand that. The dishwasher is just as important as the cook and the bartender and the busser and all other parts of service staff that make a whole.

For some people, this industry is where they want their career to begin. For others, it's a stepping stone that you're never too sure when you'll be stepping off of. I was fortunate in that I had other jobs to fall back on after I left the industry and found new opportunities to move forward. But one thing's for sure, if you can make it work in the service industry - taking care of yourself, being eager to learn from others, looking out for other people and keeping yourself positive - you'll be getting to those places that you yearn for soon enough. 

Wednesday, 18 June 2014

To the Skylars and the Cerseis

I just came back from watching How to Train Your Dragon 2 tonight. It was fun, the 3D was amazing, the dragons were exciting to look at, and several scenes drove me to tears so that when the lights came back on, I had a pile of tissues balled up in my lap. Great time. Recommending to everyone, go see it.

There's nothing like a derpy dragon smile to win over your heart.

Anyway, there's a character in How to Train your Dragon 2 who is voiced by Kit Harrington a.k.a. Juhn Snuhh from Game of Thrones. He starts off as a dragon poacher who switches sides once he learns how good-natured and loyal dragons can actually be, and goes from hunting them for bounty to helping the ragtag bunch of dragon riders save the captured dragons. Classic bad guy gone good, am I right?

Just please don't let the patterned beard shave thing become a thing.

Except when I was younger, there weren't many stories of bad girls gone good, let alone bad guys gone good - at least not in my immediate memory. I remember watching plenty of Disney movies and other shows as a child, but not many of them featured a villain gone good. Jafar was and remained a power-hungry lecher, Gaston was and remained a burly egoistic barge, and Scar was and remained a kinslaying hyena mob boss until he became hyena dinner. The boundaries between good and evil are quite clear-cut in a child's mind.

But children grow up. They become adults and learn that although stealing is wrong, there's a grey area in that it could be excused if a man breaks into a bakery to steal a loaf of bread for his starving family. Murder is wrong, but could be excused if it was in self-defense. Sometimes evil is necessary, and it only becomes more so when we begin to justify it. We learn that people do drastic things in the face of death, lust, love.

Suddenly nothing is clear-cut anymore and, as grown people with some semblance of a brain, we should know this by now: humans are complicated and complex creatures who sometimes do the wrong things for reasons which they think are right. We cheer on Walter White as he battles cancer and rises to power as a prominent meth kingpin, even though the things he does becomes more and more wildly illegal. We cheer on the pompous Jaime Lannister as he loses his hand, desperate to get back to King's Landing - even if he has to murder a few innocents along the way.

So why do female antagonists and anti-heroes draw such horrible reactions from their audience that their male counterparts never elicit on the same level?

A couple of rockin' boss-ass bitches.

Unless you've been living under a goddamn rock, you'd recognize both of these women.

For those fond of living the life of Patrick Star, Skyler White (above), played by Anna Gunn, is the wife of the cancer-stricken high school chemistry teacher Walter White, who starts dipping his toes into the Albuquerque (this show is also the only reason I know how to spell Albuquerque properly, thanks for the spelling lesson Breaking Bad) meth industry so he can pool a lot of money in a short period of time to leave for his family for when he succumbs to his cancer. Cersei Lannister (below), played by Lena Headey, is the Queen Regent of King's Landing, where she fights to secure her children's place on the throne as well as the weight of her house name against several other kingdoms who are looking to usurp the throne from her family. Stuck in a loveless marriage, she maintains a decades-long incestuous relationship with her twin brother Jaime.

Both women are complex characters. Cersei would do anything for her children, but schemes and plots to have her own flesh-and-blood brother Tyrion killed. She loves Jaime and endures being married to a man she despises for the sake of her family, yet in the same breath would allow Joffrey to routinely beat and abuse his fiancee Sansa Stark. Skyler cares about her family and obviously cares about her husband, but by the later seasons has fewer qualms about helping her husband get away with his drug-related crimes as she dives deeper into the meth industry. She becomes just as ruthless as her husband while battling feelings of regret and guilt, all the while trying to support her family as best as she can.

All this meth could probably settle my student debts. I'm clearly in the wrong industry here...

Yet on many occasions I've had the pleasure of seeing repetitive, misogynistic comments about both female characters - how they are power hungry, manipulative bitch wives who are cold and uncaring and don't deserve the men in their respective lives. I've actually stopped arguing with these kinds of posters long ago, because they've already made their minds up. To them, there is no such thing as a complex female character, and she can't be seen as sympathetic unless she has a terrible back story that explains how broken she is before a hero comes to rescue and fix her.

Mini bomb-ass in the making. I'm rootin' for you! Woot! 

Take Arya Stark, for example.

A huge fan favourite, she's seen as the scrappy girl who bends genders and will do whatever it takes for her and her friends to stay alive. She'll chop off her hair, backtalk grown men, and confront red witches while practicing her swordsmanship to kill about half of Westeros to avenge her family.

Might I add that Arya is supposed to be nine years old? I think I was peeling dried glue off my fingers and eating chicken strips with milk when I was nine. I wasn't keeping a murdery hit list of people I want dead. Arya's parents are both dead, her sister is presumed missing, three of her brothers are dead (as far as she knows), and her pet direwolf was chased off. She witnesses not only her father's beheading, but the mutilated body of her brother Robb. That's a pretty tragic back story for a nine-year-old girl.

But even then, with an orphaned young girl who does the best she can to toughen up in the wild you get this sort of reaction from viewers once it becomes clear that she is no longer Arya the naive little girl: (pulled straight from discussion boards)

"She has way too much attitude for her own good, and she also is getting too big for her boots.

"I hate her because she's ugly. It's clear at this point that she's not going to become attractive as she ages, she'll look no different at 30 than she does now. Mannish face, toneless stick body, no ass.

"I hope her throat is cut and she's thrown overboard." 

Maisie Williams, accomplished 17-year-old child actress.
It's just too bad user douchen00b69 doesn't approve of her ass. 

Arya Stark, the character, is nine years old. Maisie Williams, the actress who plays her, is all but seventeen.

Gotta start breaking them down young, right?


How quickly do we stick women and female characters into black and white boxes? We should have all learned by now that nothing in this world is black and white - we're not watching Disney movies here.

And while similar horrible things have been said about the insanely talented Jack Gleeson (who plays psychodouche King Joffrey) - "looking at his face makes me want to punch him, I hate Joffrey so much I wish bad things upon the actor, and is Jack Gleeson actually as much of a dick as he is in Game of Thrones?" Joffrey isn't hated because his sex determined that he should act a certain way and he went against the status quo. People hate Joffrey because he is a terrible person, period. No one hates Joffrey for not being 'man' enough or having the wrong number of freckles across his nose.

A terrible person who also loves puppies!

"The things I do for love," says another fan favourite Jaime Lannister before he throws Bran out the window, crippling him for life. Yet I was able to sympathize with him in his inner struggles - being a Lannister doesn't buy your way out of trouble, it's hard doing the right thing but being seen as a cold-hearted monster in return, and knowing that the only way you can be with the person you love is to constantly sneak around and lie and kill to make that happen - and not once did I dislike Jaime Lannister "because he has too much attitude for his own good." I had moments of strong dislike towards him, but I also felt incredibly bad for him in other scenes and was happy for him when he got his groove back.

You know, sort of like how you would see any person you interact with in real life.

Women like Cersei Lannister and Skyler White are fictional characters, yes. But it's not a stretch to make a connection that people who claim that they 'hate' a certain character because they, for whatever reason, believe that female characters on television can only ever be tropes of the nagging, shrill bitch and can't be sympathized with at the same time (and you better look good while doing it) would judge and rate the women around them with the exact same misogynist lenses.

So now I watch and listen. I listen to how we talk about fictional female characters, and though I don't even try to persuade keyboard warriors to think about the character as her own person and not just a means to propel and decorate the male protagonists' storylines, I have enough instances in real life where I feel the need to school people who have set ideas of how women should be and where they belong in a story meant for female and male audiences alike. I hope we have more of Skylars and Cerseis in film and television. I hope we have more complex characters, both male and  female, who can carry strengths and weaknesses without being watered down to a dumb punchline stereotype.

If you hurl misogynist insults about a well-fleshed, well-written female character and extend those insults to the actresses who play them, I wonder what sorts of mighty judgement you pass on not only women you barely know, but the women who are closest to you. I'm not about to argue with you about the fact that Cersei or Skylar can be terrible, conniving characters. That much is clear. But if you find yourself unable to sympathize with their characters in their darkest moments and instead turn to predictable insults of them being uppity women who don't know their place, I'll silently question your mental maturity and wonder whether that's how you think of women in general. All the better to avoid you, my dears.

Father's Day Party Ball fail

After a certain point in my late childhood, I probably stopped giving my dad shitty homemade gifts (such as sloppy handmade baked clay mugs that probably had like, three different holes in them that it couldn't even fulfill its existence as a cup let alone a good gift) and started to give him actual gifts that were made in factories and not from the hands of a grubby 8-year-old. He was probably very thankful that his child was now growing up and could start to pay it forward from whence she came.

I do remember one particularly awful father's day plan that I'd ingeniously come up with when I was 6 years old. My sister was in her third year of just learning how to sell me out to my parents by learning how to speak in broken/unfinished/repetitive sentences, but she saw me arts n' crafting away at my two-part father's day surprise and so was able to join me in the plan. 

We cleaned two instant-noodle bowls, filled them with bits of confetti and colourful papers, and taped the bowls together, but not too hard. The idea was to hang the instant-noodle bowl contraption filled with colours and candy at the top of the door frame of my parents' room so that when my dad came out of the room, we would be waiting to pull a string that was attached to the bottom of the insta-bowl. The force of the pulled string would pop open the (deliberately) poorly-taped-together shitbox and shower my father with the greatest gift any father could get - shitty homemade art projects and the blood and sweat toiled by your children who made you that shitty homemade mug, which I'm pretty sure what love is. 

Shouldn't be too hard to picture it, but here is a visual representation of said father's day party ball.
After showering my dad with confetti and his daughters' love, my sister and I were going to make him a big breakfast fit for a dad-king. But we didn't want to ask our mom for help (too stubborn), and so we came up with the next best thing: toasted bread and jam with milk. Simple yet whimsical and cute. My dad would be f***ing thrilled. We were the best children ever. We were the Asian Shirley Temple Sisters and we thought we were goddamn adorable. 

So my sister and I woke up early to hook the death contraption father's day party ball up onto the upper door frame, but we had forgotten a critical thing: there was no hook above the frame! All was lost and we'd never feel the warm hug of our father. We'd have let him down. 

But my sister was a smart monkey. 

She ran to the next room, clever girl, and brought back a single purple tack ("um, what kind of first impression did this tack make on you that you can recall its colour 18 years later? Are you a liar?" No. I promise this makes more sense later) and suggested that I tack it above the frame so we could hang the disco ball. My mom had just gotten us a large corkboard for us to share, and bought a box of tacks so we could use them to put things up. My mom put far too much trust in us and sharp objects. So I, going against my dad's wishes that we 1. do not put stickers around the walls of the house, and 2. not make tack holes in the walls without permission, broke his rules so that a greater happiness could be achieved. 

When we heard footsteps approaching, my sister gave me the cue. Trying to muffle our glee-filled child giggles, we put on our best surprise faces as I yanked at the string just in perfect time for our father's day party ball plan to work out perfectly. My dad was covered in confetti and coloured bits of paper that we painstakingly carved from the bodies of construction paper, and my sister handed me sliced bread so I could stick it in the toaster to make toast, and we served it with jam and milk and everyone was happy and my mom took lots of photos for us to bond over 18 years later....

...what the hell did you think I'd be writing about? That one time everything went perfectly fine and everyone was happy and no dramatic chaos swirled about? 

What really ended up happening was I yanked the string in perfect time for my MOM to shuffle out the door in a sleep-induced morning stupor. It would have been kinda cute, endearing even, if the father's day party ball plan worked and ended up covering my mom in the confetti flakes instead of dad. 

Instead, the loose tape we used to hold the two bowls together turned out to not be loose at all, and came crashing down in its destructive, plastic ball glory and hit my mother right on her head. And even then: 

Mom: What the HELL are you girls doing?

Me: Why didn't it work??

Sister: I dunnnnno. Cookies? I like flowers. 

Mom: It's so early in the morning. What did you hit me with?

Me: I don't understand. It should have worked perfectly. 

Sister: Let's make toast! 

All the rabblerousing had woken my dad, who ended up having a rushed breakfast that wasn't our toast (it was probably rice) and went to work, completely unaware that anything remotely significant was happening. OH NOTHING DAD, JUST WANTED TO MAKE YOU A HAPPY FATHER'S DAY PARTY BALL. Sorry for failing you so hard that you didn't even notice we were trying to make something happen.

Dejected, my sister and I resolved to retreat back to our room to do whatever children do. There was always next year, we believed. And next year we would nail it and papa would be proud and mama wouldn't be hit over the head with a party ball.

Oh, speaking of 'nailing it,' remember that purple tack that fell on the floor when I yanked on the party ball? I ended up stepping on it with my big toe and it got lodged in there pretty good.

I screamed, my sister screamed, and I screamed at her to pull out the goddamn purple tack, both of us howling. Her from the fact that she thought me being impaled with a thumbtack was enough to kill me, and me from the fact that I couldn't even do father's day right only to have the cherry on top be a rogue purple tack that was jutting out of my toe taunt me.

It was like punishment for not doing father's day right. Since then, I've managed to get my dad gifts that I believe he would want and managed to get it right every time. But every father's day I think of that one time when my sister and I thought we were being cute and creative and extravagant, and then I remember the screams and the purple tack, and then I decide that I'll just get him a good read and a good bottle of whiskey.

Friday, 6 June 2014

This is my year. I just know it!

I feel the worst thing that anyone can do is compare themselves to other people that they deem to be successful, usually due to some sort of societal standard that dictates that you have to have a high-power career by 25 and 2.5 kids (or 1.5, you're not a statistic of the 21st century, you special snowflake) by the time you turn 30. 

I'm completely guilty of comparing myself to these standards. And it's the weirdest thing, because when I was 13 years old I wanted nothing to do with university or letting anyone get near my own genitals. When we drove by beautiful homes all I could think about was how much room there would be for fun. 

Now I'm worrying about whether I'll even have a full-time career by the time I'm 25, can't imagine putting a down payment on anything let alone a husband (that'll be 10 goats and 20 sacks of rice, darling), and every time I see a gorgeous house surrounded with ample forest and rolling lake shore waves I think how much the occupant must be paying out monthly. I miss a time when I could be making finger paintings with my mouth full of cookie dough and not have to worry about student loans. 

Times are changing, obviously. But I will say that I would give anything in the world to go back to a time when trying to get a job and thinking about my future weren't even in my peripheral. I want to roll in the dirt and dance in the rain and find someone who, when they spot me dancing in the rain like a lunatic, will be unafraid to come and join me in the mud.

I want a job that I can be proud of. I don't want to list off the three-to-four part time jobs I hold at once at any given time in my post-high school-life that keeps me busy and profitable enough that I don't feel like a completely dependent child that is still living at her parents' home. When you ask me what I do for a living, I want to say "well, I'm a [dream job that is also realistically attainable and profitable. Somewhat]" and not "Well I worked as a hostess at a restaurant by day and I tutor children during the weekend and occasionally get kickass opportunities to actually get paid real money to write - the thing I love to do."

And don't get me wrong. I loved every single part-time job I kept and I wouldn't make any different choices. It's just that, at some point, I want to be able to state my profession in a sentence less than seven words and not have people confused about what I proudly do for a living. 

For some reason, I've been feeling a sense of panic that if I didn't have a job almost straight out of finishing my degree, I would be a complete failure. But now I've come to accept that maybe using this extra time to better myself with regular exercise and writing will help me better than simply taking every opportunity from graduation to employment for granted. 

You wouldn't hire a dolphin-hating, drunk arsonist? Me neither.

Around this time last year, I shut down my old blog for good. 

I was told that keeping a blog under my real name with all the content I created would be sure to jeopardize my future. As much as I wanted to call bullshit - apparently one can even keep a mayoral crown even after smoking enough crack to suffocate a rhino - I understood that some of the things that I expressed my opinion on, such as gay marriage, unpaid labour, and feminism, would be seen as wary at best and a liability at worst. 

(Gay marriage is none of your damn business, you bigot. Unpaid labour and anyone who uses it should be sent to the farm where all dogs go to heaven. Feminism is needed, and amazing.) 

It was pretty well-visited for the small little thing that it was, and whenever someone gave me feedback about my writing it felt like unicorns were throwing up on my head (Hasn't happened yet, but I bet it's fantastic) and it's what kept me writing for as long as I did. I wrote the way I wanted to, dropping vulgarities and obscene metaphors and put myself and my personal experiences out there.

Needless to say, I wasn't exactly proud of all my experiences. And I certainly don't think that any sane employer who happened upon my writing would appreciate that I've had my share of drunken adventures, being irrationally afraid of dolphins (Spiders are cool, though), and taking home discarded furniture to burn for fun. 

I'm not sure the world is ready to hire a dolphin-hating drunken arsonist-in-training and be okay with that.

For all intents and purposes, this will be my space to write. If my only way of self-absorption can be allowed to shine through on a small corner of the Internet going virtually unnoticed, I would be really happy.