• Damn the Man,  This is Me

    Where The Heck Have I Been? A Story In Graphs

    By now, you’ve noticed I haven’t been blogging as much. Lately, once a week is about all I can manage. Why, you ask? Well, I have a convenient chart ready that explains where my time has gone and simultaneously demonstrates my bomb Excel skills. Where Natalie Spends Her Time Hm. Something’s not right. I didn’t include some of the other stuff, like forgetting important dates, crying about it, and not cleaning my house. So I just made another chart. Other Important Ways Natalie Spends Her Time Okay, this one’s not entirely accurate. There were a few hours on Valentine’s Day when I needed to not work and you know, spend…

  • Ovid Quote
    Alcohol and Sobriety,  Damn the Man,  This is Me

    How I Talk Myself Down: An Unemployment Checklist

    There comes a time in every job search when you start awakening with a start in the middle of the night, covered in a sheen of sweat and vague recollections of a nightmare about working at Starbucks and maybe at some point you were bottle-feeding a kitten that morphs into a baby piglet. This time usually coincides with the last few weeks of your unemployment checks, right around the time you’re cataloguing every mistake you made looking for freelance work during the past seven months and my God, why didn’t you apply for all the jobs, just to be safe? Gentle hints from loved ones about maybe getting a full-time job…

  • Alcohol and Sobriety,  Damn the Man,  This is Me

    The Art of Holding Back

    Looking back, I’m not sure why I was so nervous. Maybe it’s because it was my first “real” job after rehab and the wounds of alcoholism were still too raw, my self-image tender and peeling. Maybe it’s because I hadn’t worked at an office in three years, since getting laid off right before the recession. Maybe it was being one of two women in a roomful of construction men who bandied about casual insults like they were NERF balls. In any case, I was the low woman on the totem pole and grateful to have work at all after nine months scrambling frantically for any scrap of employment that didn’t…

  • Damn the Man,  Depression is a Bitch,  This is Me

    A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to Work Today

    A funny thing happened on the way to work this morning. And by “on the way to work,” of course I mean walking the twelve steps from the coffee maker to my desk still clad in my pajamas. Let me set the scene for you: Late Wednesday I lost a copywriting contract that was important to me. It was steady, well-paying work that I enjoyed doing – the first time in my entire life I did something at which I excel in exchange for monetary compensation. I didn’t do anything wrong, it was just one of those downsizing things that have become an integral part of this post-apocalyptic economy. I’m no…

  • Damn the Man,  SoCal,  This is Me,  Writing

    Just Say No

    This isn’t a real post, FYI. This is me coming up for air. Gulp. I once saw the biggest opportunity… When I first got laid off, my plan was to be open to possibilities. I am of a cautious nature, and don’t take a whole lot of risks. Burned before? Yes, many a time. I am an expert in the field of chances not paying off. It was sort of my major in college. But when I got laid off and started freelancing, I began saying yes. Why not do everything I’ve always wanted to do? I had time. Perhaps it would bolster my resume. It sure couldn’t hurt it.…

  • Freedom!
    Damn the Man,  This is Me

    Freedom is the Best

    My days have gotten much more palatable since getting laid off in July. Rather than squeezing tiny drops of enjoyment from things like my drive home from work and stolen moments of frantic writing, I now look forward to every day. Every damn day. It seems a little excessive, huh? Granted, not every day is a cake walk (a couple of hours job searching in this economy is enough to crush even the chipperest of souls). But since deciding to go the freelance route, basically I wake up every morning excited. I love my first cup of coffee of the day, steaming and bold. While sipping those first precious drops of my…

  • Magazines
    Damn the Man,  The Sacred Arts,  This is Me

    Speaking of Fashion Magazines…

    As a recovering perfectionist, in the past I’ve held myself up to very high standards. In fact, my standards were too high. I discovered this last year, when I injured myself by over-exercising. Since then, I’ve made gradual shifts to be more kind to myself, not holding myself to an impossible idea of perfection. This includes how I view my body. Last year I committed to stopping the hate-talk about my appearance, taking care of my body, and learning to see it as beautiful in its own right, without feeling the need to wish it was different. Fully inhabiting my body, with its excessive curves and strong muscles. When I started Operation…

  • breeze
    Damn the Man,  The Sacred Arts,  Writing

    Saving the World, One Poem at a Time

    I just wrote a post that left me in tears. How could I publish something so ranty, so raw and so potentially argument provoking? I hit save, closed my laptop, and walked away to have my cry out. Here I am again. I’m very upset over not just the government shutdown and the lives in turmoil because of it, but over the reactions of people I know. I have never seen such vitriol, such a lack of compassion. It gets to me. But after a good cry and a good think, I decided that the world doesn’t need another rant from someone who has been hurt by what’s going on…

  • Walmart
    Damn the Man,  Family Dynamics

    Walmart Trunks

    “I am so sorry,” I repeated for maybe the fortieth time as Mike and I walked through the automatic doors of a store we both didn’t want to enter. “No, hon, I’m sorry. I know how you feel about this place,” Mike also repeated. We walked through the store briskly, wasting no time browsing. Ours was a get-in-and-get-out mission. I hadn’t heard him ask me to get his board shorts out of the drier and throw them in his backpack, and he hadn’t realized I hadn’t heard him. Only once we went to jump in the pool at our friend’s house in the desert did he discover the mishap, and…

  • You me & Dupree
    Damn the Man

    How to Survive a Layoff

    I just might be an expert at unemployment. This is my fourth time being unemployed in search of work, and my third layoff. I try not to take it personally – it’s just the economy for someone who graduated during the recession (holla, class of 2011!). So anyway, as I have become an expert in unemployment, I thought it would be nice of me to impart some of the wisdom I’ve garnered from multiple layoffs. Please feel free to print this list and tape it to your bathroom mirror, or staple it to a former employer’s forehead should you ever meet in person again. How to Survive a Layoff: Let…

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