BLOG: The Word of the Day is Deplorable

I learned a new word this week. That word is Deplorable. It’s a big fancy word for Trashy, but like, in a truly sociopathic type of way. Now don’t get me wrong, I’ve heard this word many times before. However, I did not understand the true *meaning* of it until I finally had a big epiphany about it this week. That epiphany was that I really do exist in a basket of deplorables. The good news is, I am not responsible for the deplorable actions of others. I am only responsible for myself. That’s why I’m so much happier every time I walk away from a situation where deplorables are involved. Mystery solved!

I love my new word. It’s so useful! There are so many situations I can look back on from my 15 years of living here where the terms “deplorable” perfectly describes the behavior of others. Starbucks? So embarrassingly deplorable. Especially embarrassing because it’s supposed to be a “safe space” for liberals. Bloody Mary’s? Deplorable AF. Cleo’s? Literally deplorable since there are so many Trump supporters there. Oh yeah, wait, I didn’t even think of that before as being a real factor. Wow! That totally makes sense! No wonder they adamantly defend men who sexually harass and assault women in public! Because they truly believe it’s okay for someone to just go out there and grab someone by the pussy! Shocker! Yes, in fact, that is the very reason we even know this word exists! The Trump Cult, aka the OG Basket of Deplorables. Very Deplorable! Very Deplorable indeed!

What else we got? Oh, so many. Trashy manager from the Titanic who blew the whole thing up? Deplorable. Trashy, verbally abusive owners of so many places I’ve worked? Deplorable. Frat boys who harassed me online over my column for YEARS? Deplorable. Crazy neighbors from my Downtown Loft? Deplorable. Mechanic shop people who robbed me when my car broke down in Montana? Deplorable. Most of the guys I’ve dated in my life? Also Deplorable. People who pretend to be my friend then have a crazy meltdown over some random thing and blow up the entire friendship instead of trying to communicate and fix it, then go around behind my back and trash me with all these other Deplorable people? Deplorable. My own mother? The Most Deplorable To Look At.

Hmm… I thought there were more for the list. I feel like I’m forgetting something. Clearly it doesn’t matter anymore. It’s not actively feeding the trauma. It just seems like… I keep stepping into these situations where I’m really just trying to exist, go to work, write, make friends, meet new people, whatever, and I keep getting bounced by these Deplorables. I need to solve this problem right now because obviously I need a job. As much as I would love to move, that’s just not an option right now, so everyone has to get over it, especially me.

So of course, now that we understand what Deplorable behavior looks like, let’s examine how I relate to this. Well, I’m not the type of person who goes out looking for drama, yet somehow, it always finds me. Starbucks is the best example. I showed up to work. I memorized all the recipes, I trained hard on my technique, I worked shifts in different stores, I covered for people constantly, I did the shitty tasks like taking out the trash and washing the dishes and sweeping the floors and cleaning the bathrooms, I tried to help others who hadn’t learned the drinks, I tried to get along with everyone, I tried to change the subject to get away from trash talking, all while trying to put a smile on my face after my dad died, and what did all of that get me? It got me targeted by my co-workers, retaliated against, and constructively terminated. Why? BECAUSE THEY ARE DEPLORABLE.

It’s them. It’s not me. I did everything I was supposed to do. I did my job according to the assigned task list. Was that good enough? No. No it wasn’t. Apparently I have to now be best friends with everyone too. Oh, but how can someone be friends with people who are always talking shit about everyone else behind their backs instead of actually doing their jobs? They can’t. Why? Because we’re not Deplorable. And of course, the Deplorable behavior continued WELL after I quit my job with former co-workers of mine harassing me on the street when I’m out trying to take a walk andsaying really gross, messed up shit about me on the group chat. Who does that? Deplorables do that. That is literally the definition of Deplorable. This is not on me. I didn’t do anything wrong. I didn’t behave in a Deplorable way. I was just trying to show up and collect a fucking paycheck and all I got was more bullshit handed to me by Deplorable people. Fuck Starbucks. Read the news and you too will slowly discover just how deep their Deplorability really goes.

Okay, so what am I doing wrong to “deserve” this kind of treatment? Easy! I’m a liberal woman from a Big East Coast city who *dares* to live in a conservative shithole like South Dakota. That’s it! That’s all it takes! I’m cultured and educated and worldly and feminist! I dress up every day! I like to wear pretty clothes and shoes and makeup! I like to learn other languages and watch TV shows in said languages! I like to travel! I refuse to aplogizing for being awesome or shrink myself down to make men feel more comfortable! And apparently, nobody wants to hear about that! Oh no, these poor Deplorables! Everyone feel sorry for them! Start attacking Betsey instead because she said she likes to watch TV in Portuguese and nobody understands what that means so it must be a personal attack on them that I flexed my brain power! Wahhhhhh! Oh nooooo she’s gonna monologue about the TV show she just watched! It’s going to make all the Deplorables feel dumb and inadequate. Run awayyyyy!

Yeah, I don’t know. I literally don’t even interact with people anymore. I’m giving up. I don’t know what to say or do at this point. I’ve lived here 14-15ish years and I’ve made the following observations about the people who live here that consistently turn out to be true: they’re fake nice, cliquey AF, mean to everyone behind their backs, and if you don’t fit in perfectly with their little krewe, they will treat you like you are less than dirt. That’s just how it is. I’m not responsible for that mindset or behavior. I’m tired of being blamed for it. Like, no, this actually has nothing to do with me as a person. This is literally just how you behave. You’ll treat anybody off the street like that. It has nothing to do with me as an individual person. So, therefore, I’m not going to take your crazy Deplorable behavior seriously. Have a nice day!

What is the solution here? I have no idea. My solution is to continue avoiding all of the people I’ve met who I deem to be “Deplorable.” Focus on myself and only myself, no matter how much it upsets whatever random Deplorable person is passing by today. “It’s not about you!” they scream with pure rage. Au contraire, mon ami. You see, people like you come and go, but I’ll always be the only one here for me. There’s always going to be a new version of you. You’re just some random Deplorable person who feels the need to tear me down out of insecurity or jealously or whatever lower base emotion seeing someone like me triggers inside of you. You hate me so much now, but in one year, you’ll just be another faceless Deplorable in my own custom Basket of Deplorables I’ve collected over the years.

Meanwhile, I’ll still be stuck here with me, myself, and I. I’ll spend the rest of my life trapped in this body, trapped in this brain, trapped in this soul. I’m the only one I’ve got. That’s why I put myself ahead of all others. That’s why I focus on me and will continue to do so for the foreseeable future. I will prioritize self-care, responsible financial habits, constructive career development, and building stability in life for the future. I will continue working through negative emotions, resolving trauma, and reconnecting those messy wires in my brain via healthy activities. I will achieve my goals, write my stories, and become the person I want to be: the very best version of me, Betsey Horton, Writer Extraordinaire.

And she finally got her shit together, left South Dakota behind FOREVER, and lived happily ever after.

The End.

BLOG: The Shark is in the Box!

Sunday. Apparently tomorrow is yet another holiday. I guess this has officially been my “vacation” after all. It definitely feels like I just took a vacation. I needed a vacation. This town is such a drag. Time to start over fresh and ready with my new routines and get back to work.

Sticking to my workout schedule pretty faithfully, for the most part. Definitely preferring the intense yoga routines in heated rooms right now. Best thing in the cold, indifferent South Dakota winter. I also just want to not think about anything. I was doing Yin yoga for awhile and I just ended up crying after every class. Over it. I get that it’s an emotional release and all, but crying in front of a room full of yogis invites strangers into my business that feel the need to dispense more useless life advice, and I’m really not interested in hearing any more of that right now. Also, one should always be on guard in any yoga setting, lest you reveal too much, be too vulnerable, and end up in a cult. Yeah, you know I watched that Bikrim cult documentary. Not the first Yoga Cult I’ve encountered in my cult research. They’re all over the place. So yeah, I’m a little weary of it even though I love it. That’s why I’ll stick to the intense hot yoga stuff with the blasting music in the dark, heated room. Music so loud I can’t hear myself think. Perfect. Just what I need.

Went out last night in search of… something. It was a very odd moment. I walked around the block and stopped at the end to look down the street at my little town sparkling in the snowy winter streetlights. I asked myself, “Am I out right now because I want a drink, or because I want information?” Somehow, a lightbulb went off. I realized… I *was* out in search of information. I don’t know specifically what said information was, but I felt it was coming to me. It did not come in the form I expected, but it definitely came to me. Hard to explain in words. It’s more like a spiritual knowing. You have to feel it to understand it.

So the information arrived, and I was very interested in the fact that I felt absolutely nothing about it. Essentially, someone finally had the decency to explain to me what was going on with the Cleo’s thing. Long story short: misogyny. Big whoop. It was so hard to care. I could tell this person was really hoping to elicit a strong reaction out of me so they could run back to their clique and laugh at me for being emotional, but that didn’t happen. I was just like, “Wow. You know what I actually love about this situation? It proves to me that I did my job as a writer. I went out into this world in which I do not belong. I removed my judgments. I opened my mind. I talked to everyone I met. I got to know them. I tried to understand their worldview. I put up with a lot of negativity, hostility, and judgment in return. All to discover… wow, there really is a reason why some people are called Deplorables. Truly. Some of them really are just… Deplorable. But you know what? I didn’t need social media memes to tell me that. I got my ass off Facebook and went to seek out that information in the real world. I came to that conclusion all on my own. And you know how I came to that conclusion? Because this person is standing in front of me right now trying to rile me up and get me emotional so they can bully me, in spite of the fact that they know my dad just died and I’m going through a difficult time. That is Deplorable. Now I know what that is. Now I understand what that looks like. And I figured it out all by myself. Go me!”

IRL, I was pretty much like, “Okay, whatever. I don’t really care. I’ve honestly NEVER liked Cleo’s. Ugh. Especially that stench that permeates everything. You have truly done me a favor by eliminating it from my rotation. Now I can watch basketball without worrying about being sexually harassed and assaulted. I win!” And they’re like, “What about Bloody Mary’s?” What ABOUT Bloody Mary’s? I have stated now many times that I have no interest in returning there ever again. They showed me how Deplorable they are, and I believe them. I use the line “Stories so controversial, I was banned for life!” as a marketing tool. And guess what? It works. And it’s still working. Someone was just on this site reading my book last night. You can’t win this battle with your small town drama tactics. You just can’t. It’s beyond you. It’s time for you to give it up now.

So, that was my information I received. I think it’s pretty hilarious that I didn’t even know this entire side show was happening behind my back because I was too busy dealing with all the real life shit that happened after my dad died! Good to know I’m finally becoming a real adult, I guess? I’m worrying more about important things than dumb townie drama? Go me? I honestly have no idea how I got so sucked into this strange little town anyway. I guess that’s why they call it The Vortex…

Anyway, I guess now that mystery has been solved and I can move past it. Makes me want to give up my unfortunate downtown habits even more now. But again… sometimes I really do go out in search of stories and/or information. The thing I need to be aware of is how I’m feeling when I go out. Is it a “drink a 4 double bourbons and pass out on the floor because I’m so depressed I want to die” kind of night, or is a “drink seltzers with 3% alcohol slowly over several hours while conversing with randoms” kind of night? If it is a sad night, is there a better alternative we can find than knocking myself out with brown liquor? What might those alternatives be?” Things of this nature, I guess.

I don’t know how I became this person. Not my favourite version of myself. Not the person I thought I’d be. But the more I work through my own feelings and put the puzzle pieces of my brain back together after trauma blew them apart, the more I see why that is. For a long time, it was my escape from my parents’ house. Now I don’t really need to escape my house, so it’s become an attempt to be social thing. But I don’t really like most of the people I encounter at the bars, so I need to do something different. For whatever reason, I’m still getting crazy anxiety whenever I try to work on campus. I think it’s because it reminds me too much of my dad and it upsets me to be there and not meet him for lunch. Fair! Why are these feelings so conflicting and complicated? Why do I love/hate my dad so much? It’s so weird and uncomfortable. Nobody warns you about this when your parent dies.

I did have one positive thing happen when I was out and about yesterday. Once again, I pitched some of my article ideas to one of the Youths and they wanted me to start my new blog YESTERDAY! You’d think after pitching this to random people for 2-3 years, I’d have collected enough positive feedback to just sit down and do it. Apparently it is not that easy. But yeah, they gave me some super positive feedback, right down to suggestions for the first 3 articles I should post. Now the pressure’s on. This is what I needed: a specific assignment with a deadline. Three articles by the end of the week. Perfect. You’re hired as my new Muse. Andrew could never. He’s too busy admiring himself in the mirror. We jumped this shark so long ago. It’s about time we got this train back on the tracks.

Speaking of Andrew, I was inspired by my Ugly Betty post about the Sexy Texy Guy (I just keep giving him new names) to search my TV rolodex for an example of what that relationship looks like to me. I was fascinated by the co-dependent dynamic of Betty and Daniel, but I don’t feel like it looks like that at all. So then I was wondering if I could think of a dynamic on TV that matched it. I was surprised when I came up with Liz Lemon and Jack Donaghy from 30 Rock. Yes! It’s the perfect metaphor! I’m just trying to run my little sideshow without incident, but my meddlesome boss from the top floor keeps coming downstairs to insert himself where he’s not wanted and interfere with my scripts and make outrageous demands for random product placements for microwave ovens. That’s literally what it is, but if there was lots of spicy stuff going on behind the scenes. Wow! Phew! What a relief to write that down. Like, now I understand it. Now it makes sense. Now I get what he is to me. Okay. I still have no idea how this happened, but here we are now. We are advancing and moving forward. We are making progress on this, somehow?

This is how I came to create my own cult. The Cult of TV Therapy. Learn to understand yourself, your mind, and your place in the world around you by constantly binge-watching TV. Come. Join us. We’ll use the money you give us to pay for the increasingly expensive streaming subscriptions and build a big theatre where we can all gather together to watch TV shows and talk about our feelings. Then we’ll all cry together and bond as one. No, of course, I didn’t use your money to buy myself 25 Rolls Royces. What are you talking about? Those were gifts from my wealthy followers. Their lives were so radically changed by my visions that they showered me with gifts. Who am I to say no to a classic, 25 times? Clearly this is my reward for being a god on Earth.

Don’t worry, I’m totally kidding. I would never start a cult. That seems like too much effort. I’d much rather relax on a beach while an attractive waiter with rippling pectorals and abs of steels serves me a pineapple-coconut cocktail and does a little dance for an extra tip. Maybe someday, lol. In the meantime, I’m going to watch more TV and chill out for Self-Care Sunday. And apparently just… pig out? The biggest recent change I’ve noticed since working out more is that I quit smoking cigarettes randomly (just didn’t bother to pick up a new pack) and since then my appetite has been crazy out-of-control. I ate a whole gigantic Kardashian-sized takeout salad in one sitting after my workout yesterday. I usually split that into three servings. Then I ate a cupcake. And a huge bowl of red beans and rice. And like, five packs of snacks. Where did this come from? Don’t get me wrong, it’s definitely a good thing because I haven’t been healthy, but yeah, wow. I just don’t usually eat like this. Wild.

Oh my gosh, just writing that made me hungry. I need to go eat something now. Self-Care Sunday means not smoking to suppress your appetite so you stay very skinny and tiny for no apparent reason other than the weird superficial programming your crazy appearance-obsessed mother gave you. At least now if I gain 10lbs, she won’t be here to bodyshame me over my naturally curvy shape. Yeah, let’s try embracing that journey next. Then I can write that article too! Yay!

Off we go. Have a lovely day.

BLOG: I’m the Armadillo in this Episode

Friday. Seriously underestimated how exhausted I would be after Mardi Gras. I kinda figured, “How is it any different than any other period of time since 2020 when I’ve locked myself in a room with a TV and some snacks for a week straight?” Turns out there is a difference. I can’t really explain what that difference is to you, but I know it’s there. Either way, now I understand why everyone takes the rest of the week off afterwards. I definitely took an extra day yesterday to rest and recover. I’ll just make it up today and tomorrow. After all, I only have one thing to do and it’s send out job applications, so…

Spent the last two days binging Ugly Betty on Netflix. I haven’t seen it before, so the writing came as a very pleasant surprise. It’s so good! I’m about to finish the first season. Kinda wild to see a character version of Holidate Guy (I just keep giving him random new names) show up in the first couple of episodes, but as I was watching that little plotline, all I could think was, “That’s just like him.” Lots of exes, lots of kids, lots of complications, just shows up for a good time then bounces to go back home again. Typical. Alas. Dem snakeskin cowboy boots were totally worth it though!

Actually kinda helped me feel better about the whole thing. After all, what do a roadrunner and an armadillo really have in common after all? It could never really work out between us. We are far too different. Then I looked it up just to be sure and discovered that no, he does not make another appearance on the show. He was just a 3-episode plotline in the first season that eventually gets forgotten by everyone involved. Perfect metaphor is perfect and exactly what I needed to see this week!

Definitely gave me the strength I needed to keep my ass firmly planted in my chair and not mosey on downtown to sneak around some dark skeevy bar with him. As a result, I woke up in my own bed feeling refreshed, relaxed, and ready to take on the day. I made the right choice for once, y’all. Now the person who has been dedicating so much of their valuable free time to writing me obnoxious screeds in the comments about my “choices” can officially back off. Congratulations, your feedback was received. Now you can finally sit the fuck down and shut the fuck up and go back to worrying about your own life.

Another fun side effect of my efforts not to leave the house last night was the creation of an amazing Cajun Alfredo pasta dish with bell peppers, spicy crispy chicken, and chicken andouille sausage. And cheese, of course. Lots of cheese. It was so delicious. Officially another amazing creation from Betsey’s Kitchen. Now I understand why my mother wouldn’t let me cook, like, ever, and when she did, she had to sabotage it. She didn’t want me to outshine her, clearly. That’s why she also sabotages every effort I make to improve my life. She doesn’t want to see me shine. But now she’s not here anymore, so I can shine however I want. And right now, my star is shining in the kitchen. I’m so proud of myself for learning to cook. I feel so empowered right now. Love it.

I realized the other day that the only reason I’ve finally been able to “recover” is because she’s not around anymore. I was reading about this in The Red Road book. If a tree is sick, it can go off to rehab and get better, but if it comes back to a forest full of sick trees, it’s only going to get sick again. That is so on-point for my life. I’ve never been able to fully recover from the various traumas I’ve collected in life because my mother was always there to make sure that I didn’t. Now, I don’t have to come home to some random screaming meltdown anymore. I don’t live with her. I don’t communicate with her. I have told everyone in my family very, very clearly that I do not want any kind of relationship with her ever again. She has hurt me so much. She has never apologized. She is never going to. She’s not going to change. And I don’t want to be her punching bag anymore. I’m leaving the forest of sick trees. I’m moving to Fangorn Forest to be with the Ents. I’m not a regular tree. I’m a magical 100ft tall talking tree, aka an Ent. I am the keeper of the wisdom and knowledge in this world. I don’t belong in a dying forest. I’m belong with the Ents, marching to their deaths at Isengard, running Saruman and his evil army of darkness out!

SO THERE!

I don’t know why writing that triggered such a deep, emotional response within me, but it did. Probably because my mother and older sister used to gang up on me together and bully me for liking Lord of the Rings. Because back when I was 14 and obsessed with Lord of the Rings and Star Wars, that was the thing that was always cited as the reason for everyone disliking me and me being so unpopular. If I just shut up and stop talking about that nerdy stuff and just put on a polo from Abercrombie and pop the collar, then I’ll have friends too. Now, here I am, all these years later, and I live in a place where no one wears polos with popped collars (not even to play golf), and people still hate me for wearing “nice clothes,” most of which were purchased second-hand at a thrift store or scored off the sale rack. Nothing changed!

It’s like, you’re just mean and nasty. You’re just bullies who want to tear other women down and hurt them. Why? I don’t know. Clearly my mother has serious psychological issues she is never going to address. And as for my older sister? Well, she’s always been a massive bitch. Now she’s an adult woman who literally pretends she doesn’t have any siblings. She straight-up pretends my little sister was never even born. She won’t speak to her. She doesn’t know her. She makes no effort to get to know her. She doesn’t want to get to know her. She’s just… off in her perfect little Connecticut world. On the rare occasion I do see her once every five years, she’s still the same nasty, negative, judgmental bitch she always was. Only now, I’m not talking about Star Wars and LOTR anymore. I’m talking about learning Portuguese and planning a trip around Africa. And people still hate me! Why? Because people *ALWAYS* find new reasons to hate me! That’s what they do! That’s why I don’t like them! In high school, it was the fact that I was a geek who wrote fanfiction. In college, it was the fact that I had the NERVE to come all the way to South Dakota from Washington, D.C. when everyone knows USD is for LOCALS ONLY (according to the Locals, Only). As an adult, it’s the fact that I’m Betsey Horton, whatever the fuck that even means. I don’t even know anymore. It’s always something new. That’s why I don’t listen to them. Like, yeah, sure, I guess I could change into exactly what this particular group wants me to be at this given moment in time, but then they will just find some other random, new, made-up, totally invented reason to shun me. Then I’ll be left with a wardrobe full of shitty clothes I don’t want to wear and an identity that isn’t mine. And for what? Just to “fit in” with people I don’t like? When I already know I never will? Exactly.

… Anyway…

No idea how I got onto that track. My brain is just…. ugh. I’m still sorting the files, so to speak. I remember when I was living in my downtown loft from 2016-2018 and writing constantly. I had so much trouble piecing together the story of my own life. It would just come out in random bursts. Totally out-of-order. Totally incoherent. No connections made. Just a pile of papers divvied up into short stories. Now the connections are finally coming. I’ve been able to start connecting those lines. You know, these stories of my evil mother and sister’s abuses, all these bullies collected over time, all these terrible guys I’ve dated, all these toxic jobs I’ve worked, it’s all connected.

There is a reason why I accept bad treatment from bad people. It’s because that’s how I was raised. I was raised to tolerate abuse. I was raised to be a scapegoat. I was raised to be a punching bag. That’s the only role I know how to be in. The entire reason I became a writer is to defend myself from that. Literally. I totally get it now. It all makes sense. Writing is my way of punching back. It’s my way of standing up to them and letting them know I’m not going to just sit there and take it anymore. I don’t have to hide in the cave worrying about when the sabre-tooth tiger is finally gonna get me. I’m leading the hunt and bringing home a feast for the tribe. And a nice new fur coat for myself, of course. (We all know I would’ve been a very fashionable cavewoman, btw. Just saying.) I am not afraid of the predators in this world that intend to hurt me, even when I’m surrounded by them like I am right now. I’m the one in charge now. I’m the one in control. I’m not gonna sit here and take it anymore.

So, if you want to join the “We Hate Betsey Horton Club,” you can go right ahead. They meet at Bloody Mary’s every Wednesday night. They’re been having the exact same conversation about me for eight years now. EIGHT. Do me a favor and at least *try* to invent something new, please. I get soooooo bored listening to them tell the same stories over and over and over and over and over again. I wish they could hear themselves talk sometimes. It’s genuinely soul-draining.

Overall I would say I’m doing pretty well given the circumstances. I’m well on my way to recovery. Now that I’ve said that, I’m sure some random person will be outraged and feel the need to write another long nasty screed in my comments section full of insults. Next time, I’ll just hit delete. Thank you for your feedback. Have a lovely day.

BLOG: Red Beans and Rice, Y’all

Made it to Thursday. Officially Mardi Gras’d out, ya’ll. I spent most of yesterday in bed with a hangover, a to-geaux Bloody Mary in a plastic cup, and a gigantic plate of homemade Red Beans and Rice that I made all by myself for Lundi Gras. So delicious! It’s even better after it sits for a day. O.M.G. I can’t believe I made this, ya’ll! Crazy! Officially my new weekly comfort dish. Add it into the routine. Put the pot on the stove and catch up on the laundry while it’s cooking. Perfect. Exactly what I needed after a solid week of binge-watching the NOLA.com parade cam.

Starting my little kitchen herb garden was one of the best ideas I’ve ever had. I feel like I can officially cross, “Take a Cajun & Creole cooking class” off my bucket list. It hasn’t been a formal class, but I have learned the secrets of the seasoning. That’s all I needed to know. Proud of myself. Feeling accomplished. I can grow my own food and cook it for myself. Okay, so it’s just herbs, but still. Have you ever tasted bland food? It’s not even worth eating. My food used to be like that. That’s why I was so addicted to takeout. Now I’m learning to make my takeout and it tastes even better. That’s an accomplishment. I’m proud of that. I’m gonna go ahead and give myself a pat on the back. Go me.

You did well, Betsey. No one ever gives you the credit your deserve for anything you do in life, but you deserve some acknowledgment for this one. You did well.

New mantra. Going to start saying that to myself daily to combat the constant negativity I am surrounded by. Hopefully it works out! It’s been easier to shut it out since I started my new workout routine. You know how many of those people I run into at the gym? That’s right: zero. No surprise there! Really says it all without saying much at all. I really hate to be That Person, but there is a very real sense of evolutionary superiority that comes with working out on a regular basis. That’s why the GTL’s are always so douchey. They know they can fight off a sabre-tooth tiger or whatever if one comes along. It’s a thing. You think I felt superior to anyone last night when I had to skip my favourite class of the week because of a hangover? No. But it’s Mardi Gras, and therefore a holiday, so it’s forgiven. That being said, I don’t want it to become a regular thing. I want to go workout. It feels good. Feels better than getting drunk and making bad choices that I kind of regret later.

This is the part of the blog post where we cue up Bouncin’ Back by Mystikal and the montage of scenes of Betsey getting her shit together plays across the screen. See how it feels like I’m not even living my own life sometimes? It’s not even real. It’s just a movie and I’m watching it pass me by on the screen. I’m trapped in my own mind with no escape. The horror, the horror!

Back to the regularly-scheduled routine now that the holiday has passed. Life is about to become very boring, but I’m looking forward to it. My only job now is finding a job. Writing blog posts, job hunting, cooking, cleaning, gardening, and going to the gym. That’s my goal. No bars, no menz, no troubles, no regrets, and especially the part about no menz. Over it. I need to focus on me, myself, and I. I cannot have any of them around draining my energy from me.

I mean, you know, I don’t really feel great about what happened over the holidays with that one guy, but there is something good that came out of it: Andrew finally shut the fuck up! I’ve actually started writing articles again, which I haven’t been able to do in a very long time. He is not there blocking my way anymore. It’s very exciting. I’ve been working towards this moment for years. This character is very annoying to me. Yes, he inspires, but most of the time he just straight-up gets in the way. Now he’s finally gone quiet. It’s very refreshing. Time to be serious and get some real work done.

Meh. It wasn’t the worst thing that could have happened, honestly. It motivated me to get the train back on the track. Sometimes you do something stupid and it ends with you going to the gym 4x a week. It’s not the worst thing ever. I guess I feel sorry for him, in a way. He’s trapped in a prison of his own making, literally and metaphorically. Meanwhile, I’m free as a bird. I don’t have to let him trap me in that cage with him. I can fly away. So that’s what I’m doing. I’m flying away. Now, if only I could get myself out of my own mental cage. I’ll be golden!

Speaking of mental cages, yesterday passed without any incident. I stopped for a minute to wonder when Valentine’s Day stopped being so triggering. I realized it had been so many years at this point. I couldn’t even remember the specifics anymore. Just some very generalized jerk behavior. Really nothing to get that hung up over, in hindsight. I think it really just shows that I was not being taught healthy coping skills or how to navigate relationships at all. Then I look at my parents (especially my mom) and I’m like, “Oh, that’s why.” Thank god I got to be part of the Female Dating Strategy subreddit when it was active. I learned so much on there. It was truly one of the most valuable sources of information for women on the internet. I’m still depressed to see it go down the drain. Sigh. There really is a conspiracy to stop women from coming together to communicate.

Otherwise, pretty much just sticking to myself and minding my own business. I just want to get my life back on track. Get back to work, save money, go back to school, get the fuck out of this toxic waste pit of a town. Et cetera, et cetera. I don’t want to get involved with anyone else’s crazy drama. I just want to be an adult. Please just let me be an adult. Okay, Universe? Can I finally have that now, please? Will you finally let me?

I know, it is so passive for me tot speak to my higher power that way. Gotta grab the bull by the horns and take charge of my own life and all that. Yeah, right, I see what you’re saying, but you also need to understand why I struggle to do that as a person who has had my biggest life choices made for me by very controlling parents. I’m still learning how to choose things for myself. Screaming at me, lecturing me, and ranting about “playing the victim” are extremely unhelpful in this scenario. No one, ABSOLUTELY GODDAMN NO ONE, wants to sit there and listen to someone attack them when they’re going through a hard time. I’m so tired of people feeling entitled to attack me thinking that they’re being helpful. NEWS FLASH: I didn’t ask you. I literally did not ask you for life advice at all. You are not a professional. You do not have a degree. You are a random stranger at the bar shouting at me, or an anonymous person angrily typing up a nasty comment to leave on my blog, or a teenager trying to dispense bad advice they found on TikTok instead of just shutting the fuck up and making the fucking coffee. Do you understand now why I do not listen to people like you or take you seriously? Well, do you? Are you going to stop now? No? Then please know that I hit the mute button when you start on these rants and wait until you’re offscreen to continue watching the show. Thank you and have a nice day.

Glad we cleared that up. Get ready for the clapback in the comments proving my point. It’ll be just like that time I wrote an article about how it’s not okay to sing little songs about getting girls too drunk to say no and all these men responded by threatening to rape and kill me. Way to prove my point! You’re garbage! Thanks for serving me up the evidence on a silver platter. You showed me who you are and I believe you. Now leave me the fuck alone.

Time to get back into positive work mode. Just started watching Ugly Betty for the first time. Need a little bit of workplace inspo to motivate me. Too bad I can’t go work at a magazine for a living because the print industry is dead. Alas. Still helpful to see examples of different workplaces on TV. Anything that isn’t the back room of a bar or coffee shop or restaurant. At least these characters have to get creative with their scheming and back-stabbing and sociopathic ladder-climbing. They usually have an actual end goal in mind, which is acquiring a position of power. Out here it feels like people just do it to be mean. Like they’re forced to wear this fake plastic mask all day long, so every chance they get to be horrible is a purely joyful experience for them. It’s… very sinister. It’s starting to give me Purge vibes. I’ve never watched any of those movies, but I might be motivated to now so I can understand how other people operate. I just don’t get the desire for endless chaos.

Speaking of weird, creepy, Purge-y cult people, I’m still having this weird issue with this total and complete stranger in town. All I know about her is that she worked at Bloody Mary’s a million years ago, so we’ve clearly already been set-up for failure on this one. For whatever reason, anytime I see her, she physically freaks out. Like her face literally melts off. She will stop whatever she is doing and just STARE at me like I’m the exciting new Panda cub the zoo just imported from China and she’s never, ever seen a real Panda in her life before, especially not a baby one! Sometimes she’ll like… run away? Like start power-walking towards Bloody Mary’s and start banging on the door to be let in so she can get to safety. It’s so bizarre! I have no idea who the fuck she even is! It’s honestly just so crazy to see happen in real time. Like, gurl, I’m just going to pay my utility bill like normal people do. Who are you? What do you even do? Why do you think I would take time out of my day to track you down and come see you? Are you delusional? What the fuck were you told about me that makes you freak out when you see me? I LITERALLY HAVE NO IDEA WHO YOU ARE! I ONLY KNOW YOU AS THE CRAZY FACE MELT LADY! LEAVE ME ALONE ALREADY!

Literally, every time I see her now, I just think to myself, “This is exactly why I say this place is a cult. You’re all officially weirding me the fuck out at this point. It’s getting a little intense. Oh well, at least now I understand how and why I got sucked into this place. It’s a cult. It’s literally, actually a cult! These people are brainwashed! It’s a cult, he’s their leader, and I am the escapee who is now being harassed and gang-stalked for sharing my story on TV and exposing their lies to the world. Next stop: Witness Protection Program.”

It just happened to me again the other day. And she’s not the only one who does it, btw. She’s just the one who stands out the most to me because her reaction to seeing me is very obvious and very physical. Anyone who has been hanging around there for years does it. They literally stop dead in their tracks when they see me and proceed to stare at me in silent horror as if the wax is literally melting off their face. But none of them will ever speak to me or say anything at all. So now the question I’m starting to ask myself is, “How much was my alleged source of inspiration actually obsessing over me? Was he literally telling every random person off the street who walked by? Was he doing dramatic readings aloud? Was he making up his own stories to add to this book that he thinks he can write better? Why doesn’t he just write his own book? I wanna see what he’s saying about me in there because I am getting the weirdest looks ever!”

Just kidding. More like, Next Stop: Paris. Or Brazil. Or maybe even all the way around East Africa. Guess we’ll find out. Anywhere is going to be better than here. Especially if there’s a beach and pineapples and coconuts involved. Gotta write that book and make some money off it so I can finally relax and be free, lol.

Alrighty, off to continue my day with language lessons, workplace comedies, intense workouts in heated rooms, leftovers, and job hunting. Mantra of the Day: I am Open to Receiving (especially money and job offers). So open to receiving. I’m so open to receiving, you can just go ahead and put some cash in an envelope right now and slide it under my door. So ready to receive the gift of financial stability that comes with finding a job in a non-toxic workplace where they aren’t constantly trying to run you out because you didn’t smile enough after your dad died suddenly and unexpectedly, lol. Fuck you again, Starbucks! I’ll never stop telling people what a terrible company you are to work for. #ResponsibleJournalism

Off for reals now. Ciao!

BLOG: Day 7/7

We did it. We made it to Sunday and stuck to the planned routine. I will be celebrating with a bubble bath, face mask, and watching the Krewe of Bacchus parade later this afternoon. I have basically spent the whole weekend on a parade binge. Watched on Wenesday, Thursday, and Friday nights, then all day yesterday. Now watching the first three of the day today before Bacchus rolls tonight. Obsessed. Simply obsessed!

How am I doing on my journey to get along with LinkedIn? Okay, I supposed. Made some practice posts using Carnival for content just to see how it works. I was only semi-shocked by the amount of engagement I got. I mean, it’s me, so, of course I’m going to get engagement with any writing I do. I’ve cultivated that on purpose. I was just surprised by fast it happened and how the algorithm works on the site itself. So after I made a couple of those posts and watched what happened live, I realized that, yes, okay, this is not quite so bad as I thought. There’s no one on here attacking me in the comments or sending me hateful messages or trying to call the cops. Had a lot of problems with people (mostly men) doing that in the past. Was very relieved that didn’t happen. It helped me feel more confident. Like, okay, see, you can put out professional marketing content here for practice and nobody is going to destroy your or ruin your life. It’s okay. As you can tell, I have a lot of anxiety about jobs and careers because of my unfortunately experiences in the service industry. Bad leadership, toxic co-workers, gossip, constructive termination, bullying, being targeted for discrimination because of my background and appearance, etc etc etc. I just want to feel safe. I want to feel like the work I do is valued. I don’t want to worry about some asshole actively working to tear me down and destroy my life. I’m just over it. So, yeah, I have to take the time to ease back into this environment.

They say people never forget how you treat them when they’re down, and I will definitely say that is 100% true when it comes to Starbucks. The fact that people treated me so horribly right after my father died was truly sickening. I will never, ever forget that as long as I live, in a bad way. That’s why I am determined to never work in an environment like that again. If I even catch wind of a situation being like that, I am out the door. Nobody else will control my financial destiny but me. I will never let myself be abused like that again. I am worth more. I deserve more. The End.

Spending a lot of time off-screen journaling and meditating over it. People laugh at me all the time in an effort to invalidate me and make me feel like my thoughts, feelings, and experiences don’t matter, but these things do matter. They really do. I’m not “playing the victim” (whatever *THAT* favourite phrase of abusers even means) by speaking about it openly. I had to invest a lot of time into alternative therapies to work through a lot of this stuff. People really need to be more aware of the damage they inflict upon others. This site has always existed as a direct reaction to being treated like that by the people around me. It never changed anything. It just made those people act worse. They never expressed any remorse for their actions. They never apologized. They just dumped more and more of it on me. It’s not right. It’s not fair. But hey. I’m working through it. I’m getting over it. I’ve come out stronger on the other side. Now, I won’t allow talk or behavior like that to negatively affect me again. I’m gonna stand up for myself. I’m gonna take back my power. I’m going to knock down anyone who gets in my way. I’m tired of being walked all over. I’m finished with that part of my life now. From now on, you’re gonna listen to ME. And if you don’t like it, you can just leave.

Yep, like I said, I’m spending a lot of time talking myself up these days. Love to feel awesome and valuable. Haven’t even been to a bar in a week! Don’t need to! Don’t even want to. It’s like, yeah I guess I could over there, but then I’m going to see that one person who is always there complaining about how much they hate their job and I hate listening to it because I would give anything to find and keep a job for awhile, so, yeah. Or, if I don’t see that guy, I get to see the other guy I just made a mistake with and watch as he attempts to flirt with 20-year-olds filming TikToks and Snapchats. There’s no winning here. The only way to win is to stay at home and watch TV. That’s all there is to it.

Feeling pretty positive about the upcoming week. Really enjoying the feeling of accomplishment that comes with setting goals and achieving them. Forgot that for awhile there. So yeah, just stick with the routine, go down the list of tasks that are going to get me where I want to go, and stay positive about the future. Leave all the negativity in the past. As far as I can tell, none of those people are on LinkedIn anyway.

Back to Carnival now! Have a good one!

BLOG: Day 5/7

Friday. Getting shit done. Had my Bloody Mary Brunch scheduled for today, but something about having it on the calendar already made me feel “Mehhhh” about it. I realized I wasn’t actually looking forward to it and it didn’t feel like much of a reward. I just thought about having to listen to that one person who always sits there ranting about how much he hates his job, again, just like he does every day, and I just can’t take it anymore, you guys.

Speaking of jobs, my search for one appears to be getting brighter. My sister started sending me motivational quotes from Instagram every day. It’s been a great replacement for the negativity of reddit. Also cannot even with that app anymore. It’s soOoOoOoOo toxic. I’m trying to switch over to scrolling through my vision boards on Pinterest and job ads on LinkedIn instead. I think it might be working? I’ve already accomplished so much today AND I don’t even want to go to the bar to “celebrate.” Magic. Witchcraft. Mystifying indeed.

I did not go to my third space yesterday because it was so, so icky and grey outside that all I could do was stay in bed. I compromised by working from bed instead. I just spent the afternoon hanging out on LinkedIn trying to get over my hang-ups about it. Followed some new pages, subscribed to some newsletters, joined a bunch of groups, sent some connection invites to old professors and a couple of people from college I haven’t seen in over a decade, tweeked my profile a little bit. I even discovered someone from my old life was creeping on me thanks to the algorithm. Blocked them as soon as I saw the name. No thanks. I am not interested in re-connecting for any reason ever again, especially professionally. Please stay the hell out of my life. Yikes on bikes and trikes.

Somehow, that block made me feel like I was more in control of the situation. Like, no, toxic person from the very distant past, actually you are NOT going to affect the future of my professional life. I am in control of my professional life. I am in control of my career. I am the captain of this ship and it’s going wherever I choose to steer it. Period.

This little attempt to wade into the shallow tide pools of the vast, expansive sea before me turned out well. I made about a dozen connections, received several invitations to join new groups, and even got a message from a French writer requesting an interview for an article on freelancing and digital nomading. Wow! Super cool. Yeah, I guess you could say I’m feeling a lot better about it now. It’s not so scary anymore. It’s like, just join the Yacht Club. Show up and crash the boat party. No one cares. I’m a hot chick in a bikini. Everyone’s going to be asking me if I want a drink or a snack. That plate of oysters and bottle of champagne are just for me. All I have to do is be open to receiving and accept the offer when it finally comes my way. It’s all gonna work out okay.

I did, in fact, go to my evening workout class last night. Hot yoga, of course. I finally achieved Crow Pose. I don’t really know how. I’ve been frustrated with it because the Crow is one of my spirit guides so I feel like it should just come natural, right? But it doesn’t. My body just won’t go there. But it did last night! It was very exciting! I got it and I held it for about three seconds. Looks like working out with the weights is paying off after all. Anyway, it just felt good. Very inspiring. Like, ah, my spirit guide is with me after all. It felt like it went away from awhile. Now it’s back and ready to fly! Love that for me.

Rushed home to watch the second night of Mardi Gras parades. I’m starting to understand what they mean by “it’s a Marathon, not a sprint.” I’m just sitting in my living room watching on TV and I’m feeling worn out halfway through the second parade. It’s okay, though. I’m just using the extra time to drink lots of water. It’s very important to stay hydrated. It’s so much to watch the parades though. It was SO WORTH IT to stay up to watch Muses. Holy crap! Definitely my favourite so far. I’m so excited to see USD Marching Band in Endymion on Saturday and Orpheus on Monday. SOOOOOOO excited! I hope they stop and perform for the cameras instead of just marching by at rest because they’re tired, lol. Something fun to look forward to, I guess.

Today has been productive, as I said. I did very exciting things like reorganize my financial house and file my taxes. So much fun! Now I’m going to spend the rest of the afternoon on LinkedIn instead of sitting at the bar. Can’t wait! Love life with no distractions! I’m getting so much done! Who knew?

Back to work now. Glad this new routine is working out. I was having my doubts at the beginning of the week when I was tired, but I’m feeling much better now. As long as I’m flexible with my time, make adjustments as needed, and stay on track, I should be able to work from home with great success. I’m already feeling more optimistic about the future. Now, if only I could get my creative house back in order and get my new blog done…

BLOG: Day 4/7

Thursday. Not quite on the schedule I made for myself today due to another night of restless sleep, so I moved some things around in an attempt to make it work somehow. Skipped the workout this morning and just rescheduled it for tonight, for example. Spent the morning sleeping. Tried to be productive when I was awake last night by reviewing LinkedIn strategies. Now trying to motivate myself to go to my third space as I planned to try to get some job hunting done.

Last night was the first night I’ve sat down to watch the Mardi Gras parade livestream in NOLA. Loves it! It’s so much fun to hang out with the reporters on the balcony and watch them answer questions from the chat. I have not watched the livestream on an actual TV before, so it had an extra effect of feeling like you’re actually sitting there on the balcony watching it live. So fun! So much better than actually going out and talking to people. I miss the internet during Covid when everyone was online and I could just live in virtual reality world all the time. Alas. I guess I’ll have to settle for the occasional livestream.

Planning to stay in and watch the parades every night for the next few days. Best escape ever. Can’t wait to see the USD Marching Band on there! Twice! So cool! I can’t believe nobody in this town seems to give enough of a shit. If I was running a business, I’d be playing that livestream on TV and offering a Carnival-themed special menu. That’s one of the things I dislike about living here. Nobody ever wants to have fun, there’s no culture, and no one even bothers to make an attempt to do anything. It’s just sit around and talk shit and drag everyone down who wants to try something different. Snooze. Get me outta here. Ugh. Every day I ask myself how I got stuck in this literal worm hole in space and time. I have no idea. I want out so bad.

So tired right now. Where is my energy this week? I have no idea. At least I am sticking to my routine even though I am exhausted and depressed. That’s the goal of the week: get into the routine first, then productivity will naturally follow later. At least the weather is warmish, even if the sky is that horrible February grey that only motivates one to stay in bed forever.

I have noticed that I’ve worked through a lot of the difficult emotions surrounding my father’s death and my ridiculous family dynamics. Feels like I’ve finally, FINALLY reached a place of calm acceptance with that. I’ve heard some stuff about my mom through my sister that just makes me shake my head and sigh. I knew the problem there was never really me. Now I am finally free from her clutches. She can’t dig her claws into me. She can’t hold me hostage. She can’t sabotage me. She can’t even reach me. She can’t talk to me. She can’t hurt me. Not anymore. My sister asked if I was planning to move to that state to be near to them. Absolutely not. At first I was still thinking about going back to DC, but then I realized that for me, the only dream that I have ever had in my life is to live, work, and study in Paris, France. So that’s what I’m gonna do. I’m gonna live my dream. I’m finally putting an ocean between my mother and myself and going to live my best life free from her interference. I am Free! <3

I guess I should use all that energy I just conjured thinking about living my dream to motivate myself to job hunt. Even if it’s just taking that step of getting out of bed. It leads to the next steps of taking a shower, choosing a professional outfit, doing my hair and makeup, packing up my bag, driving to the third space, ordering a non-alcoholic beverage, sitting on my laptop, working through my insane anxiety as I scroll through LinkedIn. Oh look, before I know it, the afternoon has passed me be. It’s time to workout. It’s time to watch the parades. I stuck to my routine today. And now I get to reward myself with Mardi Gras fun that I feel good about. Hurray!

I guess I have to go do that now. Ugh. Just remember, self: I am a Dragon!

BLOG: Day 3/7

Wednesday! Time for the big Mardi Gras/Lunar New Year/Valentine’s Day celebration to commence in the Horton household. If anyone needs me, which they probably won’t, I will not be available again until next Friday when my hangover is hopefully gone. Just kidding, of course.

I’m just going to be watching the OFFICIAL Mardi Gras Parade Livestream every night for the next 7 days. Our Yote Marching Band is rolling with Endymion on Saturday and Orpheus on Monday (WHICH IS LITERALLY THE COOLEST THING OF ALL TIME) so I will be probably be seen in public wearing an evening gown and beads on one of those two nights. I think I will probably go out for Lundi Gras and spend Saturday night at home in a lime green wig with a plate of Chinese food and a rum-spiked smoothie in a plastic go-cup. It’s a marathon, not a sprint. As for Valentine’s Day, well, what can I say? I love Me. <3 My plan is to eat chocolate and take a bubble bath. What else did you expect? Another trip to the Island of Lost Guys? No thank you!

Superb Owl? What is a Superb Owl? It’s Mardi Gras, ya’ll! Nothing else matters! And we are ringing in the Year of the Wood Dragon, aka a new 12-year cycle in my life, in the most exciting way possible! With beads and feathers and masks and jazz! Joy and happiness and fun! Life at its fullest! May every year of my next cycle be filled with the spirit of Carnival!

This is how I make my dreary, sad, meaningless life more interesting. And it works!

Otherwise, how is the routine going? Oy, well, it’s been interesting. My little sister has taken it upon herself to hold me accountable to my job hunt, so she spent some time with my resume last night in an effort to talk me up. That’s quite nice to have for once. I literally spend 90% of my time alone staring at a screen. The only time I have any real, actual human interaction outside of my brother is when I go downtown. As we all know, that type of interaction is usually either transactional, fake, hostile, and/or ridiculous. Not for real. None of those people actually care about me. They’re all talking shit as soon as I turn my back! So, yeah, it’s nice to have someone checking in to hold me accountable. That’s actually really helpful and motivating. Who knew the secret to success is real human connection?

I wasn’t sure how today was going to be when I designed my routine for the week. I left it blank at first so it could be a “check in on how you feel” type of day. I’ve been so exhausted all week and couldn’t figure out why. Today I discovered it’s because of my Moon. It has arrived three days earlier than the day I predicted The PMS Meltdown. Strange. Had to go back and ask my brother if I had an angry meltdowns last week. He said no, but I was *way* more depressed than usual. Okay, so it’s manifesting like that now. That’s… a good thing? Maybe? Anything is better than anger. Anything. Hmm. And here I thought I was just disappointed about latest shipwreck on the Island. Guess it was just hormones. Noted.

My sleep was disrupted again, so I decided to lay in bed doing Yoga Nidra instead of getting up and going to a yoga class. Felt like that was what I needed more at that moment. When I finally got up, I looked at my planner to figure out the easy tasks I can take care of while I’m in First Day of Moon Mode. I shouldn’t be doing anything, but I have to do something to stay accountable to this routine, so I will clean my kitchen and fold laundry. All day, just folding laundry. Folding laundry and reciting mantras. So exciting. I know the Positivity Mantra thing is cheesy, but it really does work. If you tell yourself you’re awesome for XYZ reasons over and over without any interruption, you start to believe it. That’s really helpful when you’re staring down the total and complete douchebaggery that is LinkedIn.

I also did an activity yesterday that made me feel surprisingly confident. I took a shortened practice test version of the Foreign Service Exam. This is a test that 4 out of 5 people fail miserably. I am one of those people, lol. I took it once in college and left the room with my tail between my legs. This time, I was just kinda curious, so I decided to see how I would do with it a decade or so later. I only failed with a 51%! That’s without studying or prepping or anything. 51%! The glass is literally half full. I already know half of what I need to know to pass that exam. That’s awesome. Some of those questions felt like I would have known that had I studied first. I should study and take it for real and see how much I fail by.

Keep in mind, this was a random practice test, so the questions were centered on History, Economics, and Management. The idea was to take this test and examine your weakest areas so you know what to study when you’re prepping for the real test. I wasn’t taking it very seriously. It was some random thing I found on Google. I was in bed wearing my pajamas. I just wanted to see where I stand.

First they hit me with a bunch of hardball questions about South America. This was frustrating because I have only recently started studying the history of South America and there’s a pretty big gap between the Pre-Colombian Era, the Age of Exploration, the Treaty of Tordesillas, the Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade and Operation Condor. So, yeah, that was annoying but it didn’t intimidate me because I’m just not there yet in my studies. Then they asked about Asia, which is like… hit or miss. I knew what the capital of China was in 1923, but couldn’t remember how many countries border it. Lesson learned on that one! Next time just look at a map! Then they hit me with a bunch of questions about Ancient History, which were a piece of cake. My US History knowledge is SOLID, but I’m definitely getting some of my Presidents mixed up. I mean, what do you want from me? It’s a bunch of rich, white, landowning males. After awhile, they all kinda start to look the same. US Geography and Civics were also a piece of cake.

The other two sections from this practice test were Economics and Management. As far as Economics goes, I’ve dabbled in it once or twice. I’m not a stranger to it. As I recall, I found it quite stimulating when it came up in class because it’s just the Philosophy of Money. It’s more about ideas and concepts than actual numbers. It’s just been so long since I’ve taken that class that I couldn’t remember most of the acronyms. Felt like, okay, I just need a refresher course on this and I’ll be fine.

The Management questions are what got me. I was surprised at the fact that I had an extreme reaction to some of the questions asked. Basically, they give you a scenario and ask what you would do in that situation as the leader in charge. Some of them gave me flashbacks to terrible, terrible management decisions I witnessed while working in retail/bars/restaurants/cafes/Starbucks. It was very much a, “I *KNEW* what they did was WRONG and the MF’ing US Foreign Service Exam is here to confirm it! SO THERE! SUCK ON THAT, YOU WANNABE DESPOT!” type of situation. Some of the questions I had no idea how to answer simply because I have no experience as a leader, or I had only seen poor examples of leadership set by others. I simply haven’t been given a chance to learn the right way to do things. That was when I realized… hmm… maybe I really do want to go to graduate school in France after all.

Might as well. Isn’t that the dream, Betsey? Hasn’t that been the dream all along? To live and work and study in Paris? What are you waiting for? Now is the time! Go and live your dream! You could totally get into graduate school there! You have a B1 level of French! Why? Because you studied your ass off and never gave up on it even when you struggled and some French people were kinda mean to you for no reason. Stop waffling over it and just doooo ittttt alreadyyyyy!

Okay, I will, but I also have current bills to pay and need to save up a certain amount of money to pay for my tuition, apartment, and living expenses. Right now, getting a job that pays $$$ is my my priority. Getting my financial house in order so I will be eligible for a visa and can afford a nice apartment is my priority. Being healthy is my priority. I can wait another year to apply for school. For now, I’m very focused on the short-term priorities. Then once all of these basic things are in order, I can go back to school. Seems fairly reasonable to me.

So basically, yeah, turns out taking that practice test for the Foreign Service Exam was exactly what I needed to do to motivate me. I bet I could pass it in a few more years. Once I get some proper work experience and grad school under my belt. Travel more. Keep up my languages. Make the right connections. Doesn’t feel like that far of a stretch to me. So I smoked some weed to help me manage my depression and anxiety. I applied for a medical card. It’s gonna be legal soon anyway. It’s not like I’m a criminal, you guys. It’s like a Michael Phelps-type of situation. If he can win all those Olympic medals and smoke a bong, I think he’s doing just fine.

Back to my regularly-scheduled programming now. I think I will rewatch Treme again to help me get in the mood for the season. Something fun to have on as background noise while I fold laundry, aka the most boring chore of all time. Then I can feel like I’m actually at Mardi Gras! Yayyyyyyy!

*sings* It’s the most wonderful tiiiiiime of the yearrrrr!

BLOG: Day 2/7

Tuesday. Day 2 of my Weekly Routine attempt. So far it’s going well. I’m taking note of where I’m running into issues. For example, I did not accomplish ALL of my cleaning tasks yesterday, so I will probably have to split them up into two later. I did not sleep as well as anticipated last night, which lead to me feeling extremely tired today. The early morning workout did not help. However, I made it to both the workout and to the first test “third place” on my list for the week. So far, I like the vibe. And by that, I mean I’m the only person in here at the moment. Perfect. No distractions. Seems like it could be promising, especially given the fact there is an Evil Eye hanging on the wall. How very refreshing to see. I already feel safe at home.

Though it is a victory that I’ve already made it here, I cannot rest on these laurels long. Now I actually have to do something productive, whether it’s write an article or bum around on LinkedIn trying to find a job. Oh, how I despise LinkedIn, but I’m balancing it out with enough self-esteem building exercises to blow sunshine out your ass, so I’ve gotten used to it. Just gotta play the game. It’s taken me a long time to figure out what that game is, and I still have no idea how to play it, but the point is that I’m working on it. I just try to remember how many ridiculous people I know have steady, full-time employment and try to imagine how they got where they were. I don’t really like the answer, but clearly I need to channel my full inner Dragon energy if I’m going to survive in this post-apocalyptic capitalist hellscape. It is what it is.

What I’m noticing is that regardless of the routine I use to get here, I keep getting stuck in the same mental headspace. That space is just… blank. Nothing at all. This makes no sense. Why is it I can stand in front of a stranger and talk at them for three hours about random subjects, yet when I sit down to write, it comes out like this? Well, I suppose something IS better than nothing, but the something sure looks like a pile of crap to me. Alas. Perhaps it will inspire some random passerby. “If Betsey can pull herself out of her depression nest in the middle of the cold, dark, lonely South Dakota winter to go work out, dress up, and stare at LinkedIn for an hour at a coffee shop, so can I.” I guess it really is my goal at the end of the day to help others with that. I guess I just have it in my head that I have to be some Perfect Instagram Influencer Type before I start dispensing life advice. As we all know a little too well, I am not THAT. At all. I am messy and flawed and just out here trying the best I can. Maybe some people find that a little easier to relate to than an impossibly filtered perfect picture. This is what I tell myself to get through moments like this.

Most of the time, I just sit here staring out the window into space, wondering what’s wrong with my brain that I do all this crazy planning on paper and then just can’t seem to take it any further. It’s just like… blocked. There’s something that is blocked. And the frustrating thing is, no matter how many routines or schedules or plans or whatever I put myself on, nothing fixes it. Like… what is going on here? There is so much inside my brain. Why does it feel like it’s stopped working when I need to be working? Why did it keep me awake all night with flashbacks from Starbucks but refuses to spit out a coherent article when I sit down to write? Ugh. Hates it.

Don’t worry, I am definitely NOT sitting at a Starbucks right now. I stopped supporting them. Just the idea of ever drinking their coffee or supporting their business in any way ever again makes me feel physically ill. And oh, look at that, there’s yet another huge story in the news about how fucked up their business practices are. Wow! Surprise ending! #HatesThem! I never thought I’d ever say that, but here we are now. Maybe people can change after all. You know it was bad when someone as emotional as me sends one of their comfort blankets they’ve been using for well over two decades up in smoke.

Also not at a bar. Obviously. Well, maybe not so obviously. Usually at this time of day, I would be sitting in a restaurant with a bar eavesdropping on people. That has gotten SO old lately though, ugh. I just can’t listen to the Talk of the Townie anymore. Also, just trying to drop as many “bar times” from my schedule as possible after my somewhat embarrassing run-in with Mr. Levi Gene. Talk about a rock bottom moment. Ick. Anyway, glad it happened because now I am extremely motivated to stay away from bars, as well as just get out of this town in general. I know, I say that all the time, but this one was so ridiculous that it kinda sent me over that edge I was already teetering on. So yeah, here we are now. Go me, I guess? Hurray for not being afraid to be the Anti-Influencer. Don’t actually be anything like me, just follow my collection of tips and tricks to be the better person I, too, aspire to be. It’s a collective effort to be a better person.

Can’t believe I haven’t even been here an hour yet. Why am I like this? I guess the point is to get here and get into the routine. One it becomes a routine, then perhaps the inspiration to work will come? I don’t know. I just feel like… I have no idea what I’m even doing right now. Yet somehow I remain better dressed than 90% of the people I encounter here. So, there you have it. At least I’m doing something right.

Time to go stare at LinkedIn. I found it really helps not to look at the main feed. It literally just feels like a Circle Jerk-type of situation and I just can’t take it. I just look at the postings instead. I know I’m supposed to be “reaching out” to “people in my network” but literally nobody on there looks or feels like a real human being. It’s just soooooooo icky. I can’t stand it. I guess I need to use my desire to stay away from it as fuel to motivate me to get it over and done with as soon as possible. It doesn’t really help that people in my network have traditionally been extremely closed-off, cliquey, catty, backstabby, and gossipy, so… yeah. I’m starting to prefer the idea of reaching out to total strangers at this point. At least if they never respond, it doesn’t feel like they were ever really there in the first place. I guess that’s a good way to look at it.

As you can see, I am using as many coping mechanisms as possible to put myself back into a healthy mindset and routine so I can leave this place behind forever and actually turn it into real literature. I need to go be a real person and live a real life.

Okay, stopping this post for real now. Wish me luck.

BLOG: Slowly but Surely Getting It Together

Monday. Back in my office again. This is becoming a regular thing. That’s a pretty good sign considering the fact that I’ve spent most of my time recently moving between the bed, the chair in front of the TV, and the bars. Time to be a real person again (if I ever even really was) and take back control of my life.

This week I am exclusively focused on building a better Weekly routine. I’ve got the Daily routine on lockdown for the most part. Now I have to give a stronger framework to the entire week so I can actually stick to the daily pattern. Right now, my goal is to make it to Sunday keeping the framework I built for the week intact. I have, in fact, included a certain “regular” lunchtime routine in this schedule, so that it’s already on there. That’s my one day I have scheduled for my “Bloody Mary Brunch.” Anything outside of that is a No. It’s not happening. That’s my one day I get that and that’s it.

Otherwise, I am focused on building a routine around my workouts and choosing some new spots in town to sit in. I’m over Downtown in general. Honestly, mainly just tired of listening to the same group of people talk shit about everyone else who isn’t in the room at the moment. I’m going to seek out some student-dominated spots so I can absorb their studious, motivated energy and use it to propel myself forward in life. Not sure where these spots will be yet, but I will find them. I made a list of new ones to try that I haven’t been to before. Way to motivate myself. Let’s see how many job applications I send out this week.

Quite pleased with the little script I wrote on Saturday night. There’s a couple of things I love about it:

  1. It wasn’t inspired by Andrew. Sure, he was featured as a character, but he is not the main character in the story. I am. The idea did not come from him. It came from me. The idea was inspired by quite a variety of things I’ve been experiencing in Verm since my Bloody Mary’s days ended back in 2018. Or was it 2017? Who even remembers anymore, honestly? Everything before the pandemic is a blur.
  2. Other characters finally stepped forward. I have mentioned in before that I keep a running list of characters I encounter in my town. This is the first time they’ve started coming out on the page. Before, it was all still VERY much centered around Bloody Mary’s. Now, not so much. The rest of the town is starting to take shape around it. The characters are starting to gather in crowds, waiting for their chance in the spotlight. It’s progressing. See? I’m not mad about getting #Banned4Lyfe. In hindsight, it’s actually worked out quite well for me. If you wanna be mad, blame him for unleashing me on the rest of the town. See what he did there? Because I do.
  3. LOL at Levi. I feel like I can finally move past that ridiculous episode now that I’ve written a funny little story about putting, not one, but three pies in his face. Sometimes you gotta do what you gotta do. It’s totally okay to write totally and completely, 100% self-serving stories to make myself feel better about life. I don’t have to feel bad about it and other people don’t have to get it. It is what it is.
  4. While the story is somewhat based in raw emotion, it’s clearly progressing past that. The raw emotion is starting to take a very peculiar shape, and that shape appears to be comedy skits. Turning rage and pain into humor? That’s the real challenge in this game. That is something I have long-aspired to do but found myself incapable of. So, something is happening here.
  5. I definitely still need to work on making my characters sound like themselves and not me, but I’ve known for like, decades, lol. I’m not there yet. These things do not manifest overnight. They just don’t. The difference now is that I’ve spent 15 years around these people, so now I understand what they are *actually* supposed to sound like. I’m just… not there yet. I need more time!

See? Wow. And here I thought I was metaphorically trapped in a giant, sunken tar pit surrounded by mammoth skeletons. No escape possible. No way forward. Just getting sucked deeper and deeper down into the hole, never to see the light of day ever again. But apparently, it’s actually working out fine for me. I’m creating my very own Town. Betseyville, USA. Far from everything, even further from ordinary. Come for the controversy, stay because you also accidentally stepped into the exact same tar pit and got sucked down into the void.

So, yeah, I guess that really did make me feel better in more ways than one. Self-esteem boosted! Also, I checked my recent stats again and Bloody Mary’s actually really is blowing up like crazy again. It’s been years since I’ve seen that, but yeah, there’s definitely a pattern starting to reappear. Now THAT makes me feel better about life. Some of those people just… gave me such an unnecessarily hard time over it. Like, it was just crazy. It was not a normal reaction. Those people are not normal. I can’t imagine getting that angry over a book, but I also didn’t grow up in a small town in the middle of nowhere. Cannot relate on a significant cultural level. I’m disappointed in myself for letting them get me down as much as they did, but they caused me real, serious, significant problems that were based on nothing but fake, malicious gossip designed to damage my reputation. That’s not my fault. That’s not my problem. That has nothing to do with me. That’s all him and his creepy little cult of loyal followers. And now he’s gone and wow, surprise! No one actually gives a shit anymore! So, yeah, it definitely makes me feel good to know my book has outlasted all that crazy, unhinged bullshit. I survived. I’ve outlived my enemies. There’s nowhere to go from here but up. Time for me to reclaim my title as Writer Extraordinaire and take back my power of the pen.

Time to get back to my day. What’s on the schedule for today? Well, I decided to start out with a soft-ball, aka working out, doing laundry, running errands, and cleaning up the apartment. Classic GTL, without the T. Maybe GCL? Gym, Clean, Laundry? Lol, whatever. Does anyone even still get that reference anymore?

Anyway, yeah, focused on cleansing the space and getting ready for the week. The next three days are about finding a new third space where I can focus on getting some job applications and blogs done. Friday is when my brunch is scheduled, so, let’s see if I can accomplish something before I get there. Maybe I will skip it altogether because I absorb so much energy that I end up on a roll. What a dream, lol.

Well, there you have it, ya’ll. I’m not perfect, but at least I’m trying. I’m out here doing the best I can to be the best version of myself I can be. You may not always like it, but you better respect it. Otherwise… perhaps someday, you, too, will become the subject of a story where you receive a pie to the face. And guess what? You probably deserved it.

Have a good week, ya’ll!