On Niceness

On Niceness

Why is it so difficult to do good, to be good? Why does it seem as those it goes against our very nature to do good? Why is everyone so caught up in their own shit that they cannot even see other people much less treat them well? Why does the sun shine so bright? Why can I sometimes not hear the birds chirping? Why, when the obvious thing to do in a moment is just to simply be fucking nice, do so many people opt to be assholes? Even in the smallest, tiniest, most insignificant moments, people choose to harm rather than uplift. Is it really so difficult to be nice?

Doubling

Doubling

It’s official. The work that I thought needed to be done in order for us to start our business here in Colorado has doubled. We had a business idea that worked well, together, as one entity, but now nary the twain shall be. Instead, we must now develop the organizational structure of two business, and we must incorporate and launch them both at the same time.

Honestly, I never thought that I would ever come up with an idea so complex that it would not only require more than a million dollars, but also, it’s now so complex that two businesses must rise from nothingness simultaneously. Goodie. I feel as though I would normally be excited by the complications, but instead, I feel disbelief.

The reality is that I do not really know how to do the thing I aspire to do. What I do know is what I want it to look like in the end, but getting from here to there seems ridiculously challenging. I can’t see it. I cannot create images in my mind about what my life will look like in the future, building this concept. Obviously, I’m doing the work right now, so it’s not impossible; I’m doing it. But the fact that I am figuring it out as I go is not an exciting prospect. At least, it’s not as exciting as I had imagined this process being, when I imagined my life now, six months ago.

And the taunting words keep rattling around in my mind, “Nobody wants to hear you.”

I do not believe I have an express purpose so much as I have a bunch of grievances against shit I can no longer stand. The world needs to change. Education needs to change. Businesses need to change. Everything about the way that we live needs to change, or else, we will not make it to the future we are all hoping for most. It’s the fucking 21st Century, and yet, so much about the way that life is lived and business is managed  makes me feel as though I’m still trapped in the 20th. Lame.

The Role of Ugly Babies in the Universe

The Role of Ugly Babies in the Universe

There’s nothing better than karmic unfolding in the form of ugly babies. Back in the days of my grade-school youth, I got in trouble for writing a note about the principal’s daughter. This same daughter was also caught writing notes, but of course, she did not confess to the note (even though the entirety of the class knew and said that the note was hers) thereby bypassing any reprimands. The saddest part about the whole situation was that my note was about her—a spoiled, bitchy, privileged, “pretty” (for a white girl) albeit overweight (except that she was anorexic and still managed to be overweight somehow), white girl who was psychologically incapable of being nice.

Case in point, the two notes. I wrote about her, about how terrible of a person she was (and still is) through her actions and behaviors that make everyone aware of how much better she is than everyone else. The note that we all knew that she wrote was about the student who struggled greatly to keep up with all of us academically. He was, essentially, a special needs student as he was many years older than us, learned at a slower pace but who would eventually be able to live a mostly-independent life. She wrote a scathing, nasty, hideous note about the most vulnerable person in our class, and we all knew that she did it because we all saw the note at some point (the least popular among us at least heard about it). Nobody will ever convince me that she is a good person. Who you are inclined to be in your youth (high school) says so much about who you are, who you will grow up to be. It doesn’t say everything, obviously, but it says a lot. How many people do you know would write terrible things about a classmate who struggles the most? Exactly. You know the type of person who would do this. Would you be friends with them at any point in life? Exactly. You wouldn’t.

But most people do not know the true nature of this daughter because most people whom she knows now did not know her until very late in her high school career. And those who do know her, overlook anything that might be unsavory because she is “rich” and “well-connected,” and yet, she’s done little to nothing with her life, so I’ll never “get it” when it comes to this woman. I know her, however, and I will never forget.

And so, I dedicate this short (due to the holiday season kicking my ass) report to this bitch of a nightmare, and I rest peacefully in the schadenfreude-like gladness that her twin daughters are ugly as fuck. And the fact that they’re ugly is unfortunate for them, but that’s what happens when your mother is the worst type of person—mindlessly privileged, white, suffered no consequences for wrongful actions. Karma is a bitch, but she’s fair. And so, when I think back on my grade-school years and how this woman has grown to basically be exactly what everyone expected—better than everyone, holier than thou, seated upon a high horse looking down on us, giving us “advice” and “knowledge” about how to live life and/or be “woke”—her ugly-ass babies represent the true fairness of life. Perhaps it’s unfortunate that her babies are ugly (and of course I understand how petty it is to talk about ugly babies), but perhaps this is karma’s lesson to her family. Since her girls are going to be f-ugly (they’re old enough now that they’re not just baby-wrinkle ugly; they are fucking ugly), perhaps they’ll have to actually develop some sort of personality that is more appealing than the way that they look. This is karma’s perfect unfolding around the necessary development that this grade-school acquaintance must endure (also, she posts selfies with narcissistic regularity).

Public Transit Is Free Here

Public Transit Is Free Here

Here, in the place where I live, the local buses run free, literally free. The storied history of this situation is long and boring, but basically, the town spent tax-payer money on a public transportation system that has yet to be completed. Thus, they’ve decided to force the overarching public transit system (of the larger metro area) to no longer accept payment for local public transit rides as a way to recoup the losses for which the taxpayers have already paid for public transit services. The services in question are supposed to be lightrail services, but the bus, in my opinion, will do for now. I did not live here during the taxation for the larger public transit operation/promise. Thus, I have lost no personal finances to the cause. This means that riding the local bus around here is absolutely free! for the likes of me and my body buddy (i.e. lifemate).

Yesterday, we rode the free bus for the second time, since we’ve moved to this place. We take it out to a larger, broader shopping area that has all of the big box stores Americans love. As dwellers of the downtown area (despite the town being quite small, there’s a bit of sprawl that makes living car-less a bit of a challenge, even with the free bus system), we use the buses to get to shops and such that we might need on any given week or month. We absolutely do not use public transportation for any of our daily needs, that would be nearly impossible with the inefficient, albeit free, system that exists currently. But the worst part about riding the bus here in the town in which I now live revolves around the people who require (are sustained by) the local bus system here in this town.

I am lucky and privileged enough to be able to be floated by my middle-class family, if/when need be. My decision to not have a car reveals a bit of that privilege. I can afford to live in the more densely populated area of the town, right downtown where all the “stuff” happens. I have chosen to not have a car, and I am capable of living without said car by utilizing public transit when I want it, and I live close enough to my daily needs (my place of employment, the Chamber where I take meetings, etc.) to walk everywhere else. I can also simply rent a car on days when I need to travel regionally, out of the town, to the larger metropolitan areas. I understand that this is not the case for most of the local public transit users here in my new hometown.

Case in point, a woman got on the bus yesterday and the bus driver recognized her. After a brief exchange of niceties, the bus driver asked, “I thought you worked at Wal-Mart?” We were on the other side of town from Wal-Mart. Frustrated, she spoke, “I hate that place.” After a short explanation we (my body buddy and I) overheard, we learned from the fellow passenger that she began making too much money from her job at Wal-Mart; she was going to be evicted from her low-income housing. So she quit … on her birthday … because she had had “enough of this bullshit.” The thing I realized right then and there was that she existed in a world that I have never known. And in that moment, I realized that public transit is even more important for towns that want to have an economically healthy population.

This woman on the bus is trapped in an economic system that forces her to remain poor in order to survive. She’s smart enough to know that even though Wal-Mart pays her more than is allowed to be “low income,” Wal-Mart does not pay enough to live among the middle class. Or perhaps she’s merely lazy and doesn’t want to work, and so, she’d rather take her low unemployment and live in low-income housing for forever. This is the argument, is it not? Are poor people poor due to their own laziness and affinity to leech off the larger American economic system, or are they trapped by the system that has pitted them against billionaires?

To hear with my own ears the way in which she described her desperation about making too much money made me cringe. Her options were to be employed but homeless or unemployed in a house. She sees no other way to live, no other way to get out of this hell hole trap that she is trapped inside. Yes, she seemed a bit immature for the look of her, and she definitely seemed like she lacked higher-level education, but she’s surviving. She’s found a way to work within the fucking terrible system within which she is trapped. But is surviving enough? In These United States, is our goal to merely survive? I think not. I think that the situation this woman on the bus is clearly trapped within speaks to a larger degradation of the larger state of our country. We are all on our very own in this “Land of the Free.” But this is not the way that life here in These United States needs to be.

Being not-white and being adopted are not the same thing.

Being not-white and being adopted are not the same thing.

So, there’s this white woman (or family but mostly it is the mother) on the ‘Gram who, in my humble opinion (which is wholly entitled to speak about such an issue), is simply the worst. She and her white (doctor) husband adopted two black, twin girls through an adoption where the birth mother and white woman met.

DISCLAIMER—I am (as the aforementioned white woman defines) a transracial adoptee. I am of Asian descent, and my parents are two white people. They adopted me decades ago, long before the internet, long before social media, and you know what, they do not perceive themselves as heroes or some fanciful influencers who can and will make adoption #trending. They’re just my parents. I’m their child. They did everything they could to make my life as a former orphan totally normal (my older brother was essential in making my life seem normal). This writing is not really about them, but they are the greatest parents in the world. I’m not biased at all—END DISCLAIMER.

And so, this is the place from where I have come, and this is the impetus for my disdain for said white woman. It’s one thing to do good; it’s an entirely other thing when you want to share, through self-promotion, all of the good you are doing. Of course, I do not know the circumstances of why this white couple chose to adopt not-white kids. I also do not know why it is that they chose to adopt at all. Perhaps they have shared their story, but it is hardly the story about which they want to talk, and oddly enough, it’s really the only story they are entitled to tell. I would take no issue with this white woman spewing her whiteness and lamenting, remembering and rejoicing in the sadness of her motherhood story about how these girls have changed everything, from her perspective. But this is not the messaging of this white woman; instead, she opts for seeking praise for how great of a white woman she is to two black girls. I have many friends who are interracial couples, who (inevitably) have interracial children, and who are in families where nobody looks like anybody else.

The issue is not that this white woman adopted two black girls. The issue is that two orphaned children (no matter their race) were abandoned by the woman who conceived them, and now, they are being raised by two strangers. Yes, race will play a part at some point in their lives, but the issue, at this stage in their lives, is not about race—it’s about adoption. They will forever feel abandoned. They will forever know they were unwanted. They will forever face the challenges that come with being an orphaned child. Whatever this white woman does will not control or change the fact that she is not their birth mother. Someone who was supposed to love them unconditionally, forever, gave them up. The issue with adoption is about adoption, not race.

I grew up not seeing any other people who looked like me, aside from my brother and one other kid my brother’s age who was also adopted from the same country, around the same time (all during the span of a few decades, hundreds of thousands of children were adopted out of this particular country, and essentially, created enough economic activity to jump-start the country from which they were adopted into the modern ages, and nobody talks about this, and yet, here we are, a massive population of Korean adoptees who were shipped to These United States but who are wholly American [leave out the Asian, please]).

Of course, my identity is important. It’s important to know the answers to questions that are obvious, like “Why don’t you look like your parents.” The reason why I do not look like my parents is because I was adopted, not because I am Asian; I just happen to be Asian. My parents went out of their way to make sure that they knew about the country of our birth, our homeland. They went out of their way to educate themselves about our homeland. We traveled to go to a camp that was tailored specifically for adoptees from this country. We traveled to the country to visit and see where we were from, but none of my issues about adoption revolves around my race. Of course, I cannot speak for the girls as they are black, and so, their lives will inevitably acknowledge their race in a way that I cannot relate to. Nevertheless, right now, as children, their adoption issues are about their adoption. People will see them as black kids with white parents, but they will not see themselves as such. They will just see themselves, and then they will look at their parents, and they will not think to themselves, “Oh, there’s my white mom.” Instead, this white woman, as she frets about things I cannot believe she frets about, will be perceived by her twins as their mother. Just mom. No race. And so, the race issues that this white woman frets about now are all about her, not about the actual people who will have to deal with the issues of race…her daughters. It’s almost like she sits and thinks about what the world thinks about her when they see that she has two black girls, like she sits and thinks about her girls’ blackness. And it’s like all of these thoughts make her feel sad, bad, worried about a future that is already making her feel uncomfortable.

I know that I look Asian, but I am not Asian. I know that I definitely do not look white, but I am very white. I did not need to grow up to be everything. I can be Asian-looking because the woman who gave birth to me is Asian. But I can also be fully white on the inside because the two people who saved me are white. All of these people instilled within me an amalgamation of a new identity, me. This happens to everyone. Thus, all of this emphasis on adoption being so strange and different is meaningless and somewhat harmful. Not that adoption should be ignored and dismissed, but the emphasis could change. If this white woman continues to emphasize the race and adoption part, she will forever make her girls feel like adoption is not normal. People within biological families are adopted by biological relatives! This white woman was not chosen so much as as she was willing and available, and so, her emphasis on her being chosen over the idea that she saved two people’s lives makes me sick.

Sure, they can share the tips and tricks of the adoption process, help those who would rather or who have no other option but to adopt, but this particular couple rubs me so wrong because the white woman basically spews every single little thought she has about how (essentially) great, blessed, amazed, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, she is to be able to be these girls’ mother, how “incredibly blown away I am that their mother chose me.” The fact that she shares at all for capital earnings and superficial gains pisses me off. Exploitation much? The fact that the entirety of social media highlights those who already brag about themselves, those who are already predisposed to bragging about the nothingness of their accomplishments pisses me off, I suppose, if I’m being honest. There are so many people out in the world doing good and not shining a light on themselves.

In this vein, my parents adopted children to save lives, not to brag about whatever accomplishment they felt as though they achieved by being “chosen” to be parents for children who are orphaned. Sure, you can argue that perhaps my mother is not as clever or resourceful in turning her knowledge and experience into a half-assed business/IG post. Or you could argue that my mother not only had enough knowledge and experience to adopt children, internationally, before the internet did everything for you, but also, my mother spent all of her time raising me and my brother (also adopted from the same country, but no, we are not related by blood), used all of her energy and resources to give us the greatest life possible. My mother did not spend all of her time “sharing” and promoting the greatness of the works she endeavored to pursue. No. My mother spent all of that time doing it, and we’re both fully grown, self-sufficient adults. She succeeded (They both did, I am intentionally leaving out my father at this time, using my mother as a comparison to the white woman in question).

So, while it’s nice that the white woman in question (who exists as the impetus of this writing) wants or desires to “share her story,” she embodies everything that is essentially wrong with white women in America, these days. White women in America are capable of turning something like being a black adoptee in America into something that’s all about them. The good news is that all of this white-woman attention might actually be able to bring more issues about race to light, but don’t hold your breath. A white woman will not risk her position. Nevertheless, the issue remains. Whether or not this white woman succeeds will not be known until her girls are both able to tell her and prove to the rest of us that their mother raised decent, self-sufficient people.

A Tale of Two Bosses

A Tale of Two Bosses

What do you do when you realize that you do not really like your boss, and then, you find out that nobody else you work with really does either? And it’s not that she’s my boss so much as it’s that she’s my supervisor. And the issue is not so much about her competence as it is about her personality or “management style.” It’s rough to be around her. The worst part, however, is that she may not even know that she’s coming off the way that she is.

The thing about me is that I try really hard to treat each person as an individual. I try my damnedest to never make any assumptions, and I try really hard to get to know people so that I can know who they are as opposed to who they tell me they are. And so, the issue with this “manager” (and I use quotes here as the term is thrown around quite loosely at my place of employment, and so, she is not a manager [like stated above] so much as she’s a supervisor), revolves solely around the way that she talks to all of us mere, wee, underlings. She talks to us as if we’re A) doing the wrong thing or nothing, and B) not doing it right, and then, all in the same breath, she asks you to start doing some other thing, but she was the one who put you on the task you are currently “doing so badly.” And it’s all in the tone.

Everything about her personality feels contrived. She’s fake. She’s the version of herself that she thinks she should be in her new “management” role. Even when she interacts with customers, she speaks at them as if everything is their fault, which sometimes it is but never under these circumstances of waiting tables (90% of the time, for the elderly). And so, the issue is a matter of style.

The two of our personalities clashed a little bit when she A) reprimanded me for a “mistake” that I did not make, and then B) failed to understand the question I was actually asking her, which made me repeat myself over and over again because she lacked the understanding to know wtf I was trying to explain to her. Our conversation, which to my credit (as I am known for not being able to keep my cool in the midst of an argument with someone who is, let’s just say, stubborn in all the wrong ways) remained calm and collected, became the focal point of all our other coworkers. They were clearly wondering a few of the same things I had brought up, but nobody had said anything aloud before. And then later in the day I was relieved of my stress when a few fellow coworkers (and the next day my actual superior and manager) kindly, quietly and gently made it known that it’s not me; it’s definitely her.

Of course, I have worked for people I did not like. However, the strange part about this particular personality is that nobody else who works there is like her. Everyone else is really chill and is equally put off by her. So, what is management supposed to do, if she’s competent (she is) and the issue begins and ends with her terrible personality? I am genuinely curious as we’ve moved here specifically to start our new business venture, and I may someday have to deal with exactly this same issue.

My lifemate (and body buddy) have discussed a few options, but basically, I’m left with leaving it be. Those are my direct orders from my actual boss, and so, I have to assume that they know that she’s a bit of a pickle, but you can’t fire someone just because you don’t like them—A) you will never have more than two employees, and B) people you don’t like are still capable of doing the job.

I don’t really have a point; I’m throwing my predicament out there to see if anyone has any insight on this sort of thing.

Until next time.

Gratitude is not an attitude

Gratitude is not an attitude

When your boss ought to know more than you about certain things (probably most things) related to your employment, i.e. all the things you need to do at your job, the most important thing becomes your boss’s own competence, and yesterday, not only did I learn that my boss is highly competent, but also, she’s unlike any other boss I have ever had before. Of course, I am a new employee (still under a probationary period), and perhaps, the boss is capable of seeming competent for a short period of time. I do not believe that this is the case, but obviously, anything is possible. And so, I tread optimistically with caution, as I have been brutally disappointed before, after exactly this sort of employment excitement.

Thus, my point seems to be circling around thoughts about how I am feeling validated in my personal ideologies about how to be a boss. This is, after all, the reason why I am working at the place I am working under the boss for whom I am working, to learn from her, everything that I can for my own business. And yesterday, she validated my natural proclivity for being generous.

One of my greatest fears in life is having someone take advantage of me. I hate it. There’s nothing worse than working hard for someone who could not give a shit. There’s also nothing worse than offering an opportunity to someone who does not see it. Also, there’s nothing worse than being taken for granted as either a great employee or employer. And this is where, so far, my new, current employer has everyone beat. She is not ungrateful. She does not let hard work go unnoticed.

As the snow fell and swept through Colorado yesterday, I thought, for sure, that I would be called to not come into work. As a newbie (and thereby unnecessary to daily operations, as of yet), I figured I would be the first to be cut or set free for the day. I was wrong. Not only did I have to come in, I was under the impression that we would operate for regular business hours (luckily we closed early), but this is not my point. My point is that I had no problems going to work. I thought that it was a bit strange, since I knew (without a doubt) that it would be slow (nearly dead), and it was. However, my boss made it clear that the lack of busy-ness would be perfect training ground for me, and it was. The day ended up going super fast because my boss was able to train me on things that I would not have been able to do during normal levels of customer traffic. And, since I was able to train as slowly as needed due to the slow dribble of customer arrivals (which I still cannot believe that anyone would willingly trudge into the snow, but I know that I am guilty of this all the time on snow days), I feel really confident in my newly-acquired skills.

Herein lies the lesson that I truly learned yesterday by trusting and not fighting against a boss to whom I have willing turned to learned—I finally have the competent oversight I’ve been searching for my entire life. Not only is my boss highly competent as a business owner and operations manager, she is also full of heart, love and warmth. I feel like a person when I work with her. And my coworkers seem as equally happy to work there as I am beginning to feel.

I have my own plans for owning and operating a business similarly complex as the business I have joined. And one of my greatest fears is that I will be too nice, too generous, too easily taken advantage of because of my niceness. At the exact same time, I also greatly fear demanding too much of people because I am demanding. Both of these fears have been greatly diminished because I am witnessing, with my own two eyes, that not only is it possible to balance these two seemingly conflicting ideals, but also, it absolutely works as a way to make employees feel good.

My boss was tough yesterday in demanding that the business be open, but she thanked us (the skeleton, bare-bones staff that came in yesterday, despite the feet of snow) for going out of our way to make sure that business was open for the community in which we live. Every customer who walked through our open doors was very grateful that we were open. Our boss was grateful that we all came in to make her business functional for the day. I am grateful that my boss is human enough to understand that she had requested something from us that went above what is needed from us as employees of an establishment that could have just as easily been closed. She thanked all of us who worked with more than just words, and for this, I cannot help but feel seen and cared for. It’s a simple thing really—seeing people as people. And yet, the task seems nearly impossible for most.

And so, the lessons I am learning hardly have anything to do with my actual job description. I know how to do the work for which I have been hired. I am merely being run through the ropes of this particular establishment. What I do not know, however, is how to be a boss to a lot of employees, but this is why I have chosen to work at this particular business. I’ve entered the business at the bottom of the chain, but I am taught by and interact with the top of the chain every single day. And the person at the top of this chain is teaching me all of the lessons I will hopefully need to learn before I start and open my own complex business; she’s teaching me not only how to treat my employees like people, but mostly, she’s teaching me that it’s okay to inject a lot of humanity into the rigorous work of hourly employment.

Obviously, I do not think that she is perfect (nobody is), nor do I think that the owners run a perfect business (nobody can), but I do think that I have greatly lucked out in being able to learn from someone who is setting an amazing example of what business ought to be … a place where people trade their time for the work that needs to be done, while they build a life from the sufficient amount of money they earn in exchange for their time and work. Business owners, to me, have a huge responsibility. And so really, all I’m saying is that it’s nice to work for someone who feels that burden of responsibility and who does the right thing by maintaining the loyalty of employees through gratitude and thankfulness, by acknowledging that a business is nothing without its employees.