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The Writing Styles of Yvette Jessen

In the many forms of expression, writing is one of mine, this is about my work, both professionally and in the fan fiction universe.

Welcome To My World

Hello and welcome to my blog.  The purpose of this page is to promote the various writing projects that I am undertaking as well as to share my reflections on life and my experiences.  It will serve in many facets, but will mainly  discuss my writing ventures.  I would very much like to show everyone that unlike on Facebook where I do a certain amount of censoring of my thoughts and ideas, that this is a place where I can really let loose and talk about the (sometimes) political or spiritual ideas that are important to me.  I have never been very good at keeping blogs, but this will be a change I hope.  My next few entries will probably be essays I have written and posted on Facebook during the past few years.

I would like to also put up some links to where I can be found online, specifically my page on Facebook as well as Twitter and Archive of our own.  Twitter is not a very active place for me, because I generally cannot keep my thoughts below 140 characters.  Archive of our own is where some of my fan fiction can be found.  It is my sincere hope to get more of my older stories reformatted and up on that site in a meaningful fashion.

Some useful links for me:
My cosplay page on Facebook  https://www.facebook.com/YvasCosplayProjects/ 

My twitter account:  https://twitter.com/FrauYvaJ

My fiction page at archive of our own. (Due to issues of cyberbullying and harassment, I am no longer on FanFiction.net):  http://archiveofourown.org/users/YvaJ  

 

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Featured post

Courage Comes From Within

July 25, 2017 will probably be a day that will embrace change and understanding in my life.  What it represents is perhaps the internal knowing that I am spirit at the core of my being and that whatever will come, divine order will prevail.  However, what I want to talk about does not just embody a diagnosis of breast cancer, but a way to dig deep inside myself and discovering that I have more courage than I ever thought was possible.

The courage is emerging in such magical and wonderful ways, which makes me strangely grateful for this particular obstacle.  Let me try and clarify what I mean before you write me off as being completely bonkers.  I am trying to see this in many different ways, in positive ways.  It is true that one can take this sort of situation, view it negatively instead of making the best out of it.  This is not a death knell, it’s an obsticle that must be overcome, nothing more. The doctors and nurses who will care for me in the coming weeks will insure that all is well, so it is imperative for me to believe that all is, in fact, well.

Yes, it is scary, and has been in the back of my mind since June 25 when I discovered the lump on the side of my right breast.  The immediate thought, whether I wanted to admit it or not was cancer and while I kept hoping and insisting online that it was a cyst, and even misunderstood the doctor on the 24th when he said that it had not ruptured during the biopsy, I thought he had said it looks like a cyst.  So, great was my shock when he compassionately and kindly said that it was cancer, but with German efficiency, he got me booked into surgery before I had even stepped into the room.  He took into account that we had planned a trip to London and didn’t want to ruin that for us.  Of course,  I reacted as most patients would, I cried, said I was scared, and reached for the hand of my husband who was sitting next to me.  I am grateful for his presence, but I’m also grateful to Dr. Steiner who will perform the operation and has my complete and unshakable trust.

For the longest time, I have been pretty cowardly about expressing my views about the healthcare that I am receiving and today, as I look upon social media, talk to friends, and acquaintances about the diagnosis, I am blessed by the support of friends and strangers alike.  I am grateful for the prayers and moral support that I have been given; whether it comes from friends on Facebook, Burning Skies Cosplay members, folks on Twitter, clogging club, choir, or fellow Bernie Sanders supporters, I am grateful to you all for holding me in the light as I make this journey into the unknown.

Even with that said, there are some things that I can say with absolute honesty and openness that I had never before been able to say.  I have been following the healthcare debate in the US and I am appalled and disgusted at the extent politicians will go to deny people of something that is a fundamental right here in Germany.  I spoke to a woman yesterday who had family members move to the US and start a lucrative business only to be filing for bankrupcy because of a medical diagnosis.  Am I glad I left the US when I did?  Yes, I am.  Would I ever move back?  No, I wouldn’t.  This has confirmed for me that leaving was the best decision I had ever made, even if it left me at odds with others.  Why should I go broke like my friend’s relatives did for the sake of patriotism?

People have been arguing about this debate for a long time and one of the things that it has made clear to me is how people are using the tragic case of Charlie Gard as political fodder to argue their biased points of view.  Why they are doing this goes beyond reason.  First of all, it’s cruel to use a single circumstance to argue against a system that could save countless lives.   I would say that the doctors know far more about this child’s situation than what emotional people get from reading a tabloid.  I think the medical community in the UK has been given a bad rap because this child’s situation has been used as fodder by conservatives to argue against single payer when countless lives here in Europe have been saved because of early detection and sound treatments for conditions ranging across the board.  It’s this argument that escapes me, it’s like poisoning an apple tree because one of the fruit has a worm in it.

I use the tree analogy not accidentally, the apple tree was historically referred to as the tree of life.  Well, life goes far beyond the womb of a woman giving birth to a child.  It is about the care and preservation of human life at all stages.  Why force a woman to give birth to a child only to abandon said woman as soon as the baby is born?  Why force children in schools to go hungry because their parents are poor or working class families?  Why walk around considering those who receive the help they desperately need to be moochers and deadbeats because they don’t live as others think they should?  The hypocrisy is vast and it’s heartbreaking…far more heartbreaking than a cancer diagnosis that can be treated because it was caught at its early stages.

The reality for me is this. Before when I was considered healthy I did not have the courage to raise these questions.  As valid and true as they are, I was scared of how people would react to me.  Now that I am looking fear in the face and laughing at it, I can say what I really think about a vast number of issues without being afraid.  If people don’t like what I say, or they decide that they don’t like me anymore for saying what I think, then maybe they never liked me to begin with and I am better off without them.

So, if this is what finding courage is about, then I am here and ready to face whatever comes.  Last week, Rev. Tim Lytle said that we are all heroes.  I needed to hear that particular lesson, because as the events of this week have unfolded, I truly believe that I am a hero and I am stepping into the unknown.  Only this time, I know that I am not alone; I have a great deal of prayerful support, and friends who have my back.  I will survive and maybe after my time in the hospital, I will be able to say, I am a cancer survivor and hold my head up high and know that that is the truth.

 

My Thoughts on the New Doctor

I may be opening a serious can of worms by writing this, but I felt that it was important for me to get my thoughts out.  First of all, my feelings should not make me into a [pick a label].   These are just my thoughts, but I am prepared to write about why I have them.

Let me make something perfectly clear; I will not insult anyone who views things differently than me, which is probably what has bothered me the most about tonight’s announcement.  I have been called a lot of names by a lot of people because I am not happy about them naming a woman as the next Doctor.  I have my reasoning behind it, but much of it is not about feminism, but rather about writing and continuity.

I accept it, sure, but I do so on my own terms and not on anyone else’s.  To me, this has only come across as an experiment to see if something completely different is going to work.  Yes, that sounds rather jaded, but that’s my initial reaction on it, and I would never insult the actress they selected, but I will not be forking over money to watch the episodes the moment they are released.  When they come out on tv here, then I will probably watch them translated in German, but I’m not really feeling myself inclined to go out and buy the episode downloads for 30+€ only because it’s ‘Doctor Who’.

Let me just say straight up, I am not a misogynist, I am myself female and I believe in feminism.  I just don’t think naming a female Doctor is necessarily about women’s rights or liberation.  What I do think about are things like reproductive rights, girls being allowed an education, LGBT rights, equal pay for equal work, and women being able to take on the same jobs as men.  That is what feminism is to me, not whether or not a woman is cast in an iconic television series.  If people are going to complain about a woman being cast as the Doctor and tell objectors that they are ‘sexist’ for feeling what they feel, then those so called ‘feminists’ have lost track on what is really important to women.  I don’t think the women who are out there fighting on the front lines for the real issues really give a care that a woman was cast in Doctor Who.  In fact, I would be willing to bet that that is the last thing on their mind.

People are asking why it is that I am not happy about it and I will outline that right here.  I’m not outwardly opposed to a woman being cast as the Doctor, but I do have reservations about it.  The main reservation I have is at the very beginning of the series, there was a character named Susan Foreman who was the Doctor’s granddaughter.   Susan went about calling the Doctor ‘Grandfather’ throughout her tenure on the show.  This was something that was firmly established as the Doctor was this girl’s family.  Later, she showed up in Big Finish audios as an older woman with a son, and Paul McGann was called ‘Grandfather’ even though the actor is younger than the actress playing Susan.  That didn’t feel weird to me at all given what I knew about the characters.  The change in gender may, in fact, confuse some if they are looking at things from the very beginning of the series.  I mean 1963 NOT 2005.  I know a lot of people couldn’t care less about the history and the Doctor’s place in it, but this is something that may come up with classic fans and it may also explain why it is some of us are dragging our feet about a woman taking on the role.

To sort of help that along, maybe what needs to happen with regards to Susan is that sense of awareness for her character that her grandfather could regenerate into a woman.  That was never established in the early days of Doctor Who because the question was never really raised and the significance of it was not present back then.

Today, I think that it would be a nice way to acknowledge the classic fans who are overall hesitant about this particular change.  I am doubtful that the modern day political correct people in charge are going to be willing to do that, though.  It is sad state of affairs to see a fandom being ripped apart over this, but I’ve been in fandoms before and have quit them when the feel of them turned sour, so this is not something out of the ordinary, it does happen.  The reality is this:  I will not stay in a place where people call me nasty names for having an opinion or world view that is different from their own.

The simple act of bringing back Carole Ann Ford could be a way to acknowledge this change and have her bring all of this into alignment with the Doctor’s history.  As it currently stands, I am sitting here with my reservations about the show and wondering if this annoncement was done as a way to shock everyone in the fandom and force us to take sides on the issue.  To me that is the underlying result and whether the powers that be like it or not, this is the result of their decision.

The bottom line for me is this:  If the people who are gung ho about a woman Doctor simply decide to write all of the classic fans off as just ‘misogynist bigots’, then they will have a hard time bringing those fans back into the show or the fandom.  No one likes to be called names and I went through enough of that last year when voting in a blasted election.  I am not going to subject myself to this rubbish again over a bloody television show.

The people who wanted a woman Doctor got what they wanted, but some of them are still resorting to name calling, which is a crying shame.  As I posted above, there are some of us that do have reservations about it, but it’s not about what you think.  So before you decide to call people names and stereotype us, maybe you need to adapt the same sort of understanding and acceptance that you’re demanding from us.  Tolerance is a two-way street and it should come from all sides, not just one.

 

And now for something Completely Different

Yes, this is a title of a Monty Python movie, and while I love all things Python, I have decided to write a few lines about something else I enjoy; Doctor Who.  Now, I’ve not been a huge fan of the adventurous Time Lord for years and years and years, I have found a deep love of the series first through the modern 2005 beyond era as well as the classic era (1963-1989).

Many people assume that I have been involved in the fandom of the show primarily because of of the modern day storyline and that my favorite doctor is one of the four modern doctors; Christopher Eccleson, David Tennant, Matt Smith, or Peter Capaldi.  The reality is; as much as I enjoy the adventures of all four to some degree, my favorite Doctor is Colin Baker, particularly for his work in the Big Finish audios, where he absolutely shines!  Take a listen, if you dare, but don’t say I didn’t warn you when you get hooked!

No I do not have a least favorite Doctor, I enjoy them all to varying degrees and have had the honor to meet three of them face to face.  However I must say that there is at least one companion that grates on my nerves and no it’s not who you think.  I really have no issues with Adric or Peri or Mel.  Those three somehow always seem to get the most critiques from fans, but the three actors who play them are delightful and they were relateable because they were not considered to be perfect.  This is why I like the Doctor’s current companion, Bill Potts, so much.

Bill is quirky, fun, and very inquisitive.  She’s not afraid to get up into the Doctor’s face and call him out about his non-human-ness.  She offers gratitude where she can, but she can also get angry too and in the scenario that recently played out in the episode Thin Ice, it was not unwarranted anger.  The fact is, Bill’s questions are real, and the argument that she had with the Doctor was also real.  This emerged, not because she was necessarily angry with him, but because the anger she carried emerged through an emotion called ‘grief’.  Having witnessed what she had actually seen gave way for her to understand the way the Doctor lives and how it was that he had grown immune to the calamities that he has witnessed during every single one of his adventures.

Going a bit deeper, I really like the questions that she asks because they are always the questions that I had about the TARDIS.  Where’s the bathroom, why are the seats so ‘unrealistically set’ etc.  It is sort of like asking the ‘Next Generation’ Enterprise crew why they never installed seat belts on the bridge if it’s the 24th Centery?  These are the sorts of questions that every single person has asked over time, but no one has really answered until one of the movies was made and Picard had a seatbelt.  Now the question is; will he use it or continue to fly about the bridge like a popcorn ball in a hot air machine?

Bill’s questions are ones that give off the impression that the TARDIS is as big of a mystery as it is a home and it has the things that each home has; a kitchen or a  bathroom.  I mean; realistically, even the Enterprise had quarters assigned to the people who were on board, so there were never questions about that raised.  With the modern TARDIS, there were discussions of private rooms, but no one ever really ventured into them.  In the classic series, the private rooms were evident and used to help the story along.

To me, the counter to Bill, is Clara; who is probably my least favorite companion, whether considering modern or classic eras.  The reason for that, is the notion that Clara comes off as the ‘perfect’ companion who can do no wrong.  That was the essence that she gave off and it annoyed me to no end.   It was like she went through this thing where she was first the ‘Impossible Girl’, and then when that story ended and the Doctor regenerated and suddenly they tried to make her appear more human with a relationship with poor Danny Pink.  When that did not work, she looses Danny tragically and then later gets her own TARDIS.  Clara is the sort of companion that I was ready to say good-bye to when Matt Smith’s Doctor regenerated to Peter Capaldi’s Doctor.  The few episodes that she was in with Matt Smith were okay, but later, the interaction between her and Capaldi felt forced and consumed with anger and bitterness.  It was almost as though she was fangirling over this young, spry Doctor, and then never got used to working with someone who was older than his predecessor.

The straw that broke it for me was when they used Clara’s face in the opening credits at the end of series eight.  I was like ‘Oh God, what were they thinking?’  Now I know, some fans loved it.  I have plenty of friends who think Clara is the best thing since sliced bread, but to me the whole, let’s put Clara up next to the Doctor thing just made me completely lose any empathy I could have had for her.  I think the only companion who could have even come close to the Doctor in intelligence, wisdom, and guts was Zoe Harriot and even she was not presented as a ‘perfect’ character.  In fact, her friendship with other characters gave her a more endearing essence.  How often have I smiled when she corrected Jamie’s pronunciation of words and ideas or tried to talk down at the Doctor, only to be proven inaccurate?  She was, simply put, a genius character.

I don’t mean to use this blog as a means to bash Clara, but if I had to choose which actors I would want to meet from Doctor who, I would probably pick any actor, companion or Doctor, over her.  The reason is probably nothing at all to do with the actress’ abilities or if she’s nice or not.  Basically, I enjoy meeting people that I can, at least, relate to, and with Clara’s character (which is the only way I have been able to see the actresss), I can’t really relate to her on any level.

To coin a phrase:  It would be impossible.

Finding the Shoe that Fits

brogues-boat-shoes

Everyone probably knows about how hard it is to go out and find the right pair of shoes.  For every event in life we have a pair of shoes that will take us on a trip, to a wedding, or to the gym.  Each event requires a pair of shoes that will work for that event.  If I wore crocs to a wedding, then everyone would look at me strangely and say, ‘those shoes don’t fit the occasion’ or if I wore flip-flops to play in a basketball tournament, then I would probably trip over my own feet and wind up in the hospital.

The act of finding the right pair of shoes is probably one the hardest things that we can do when it comes to going out and shopping for ourselves.  Why is it always so frustrating?  Why is it that when I’m looking for a pair of dress shoes for an event, I always find the most perfect pair of tennis shoes or when I’m trying to find some beach or swimming shoes, I can only find insulated hiking boots?  They may be the most perfect shoes, but they certainly are not the right shoes for the events that I am preparing for.

When I started clogging four years ago, the act of finding the right shoes became very pertinent for me.  One of the first things the instructor said was:  ‘You need special shoes for this form of dance.’  So, I went out and looked for these special shoes.  We went through the mall looking for them, and what I found that I thought might work, turned out to wrong.  The shoes I found looked the part, but they were not the part.  They were slip on men’s leather shoes.  They would work for cosplay, but they did not work for clogging.  When I returned to the class, the teacher said that I would need shoes with laces.

So, off I went, yet again, to seek out the most perfect pair of dance shoes and instead of going to the mall, I went to a small shop that specializes in dancing shoes.  Later, after purchasing the shoes, the instructor was able to affix metal taps to the front and back of the shoes that gave them a distinctive sound whenever I would dance.  If the taps were affixed too tightly to the shoes, then the shoes would make an odd sound that did not match that of the other dancers in the club.  If they were affixed the way tap dance shoes were, then they would not work for clogging because the taps have to be affixed more loosely.  It really was an established sort of science, but it was one that proved vitally important.

The reason I mention this is because I truly believe that finding one’s spiritual path is very much like finding the right pair of shoes.  If I walked into a house of worship and I saw women with their heads or shoulders covered and I was wearing a sundress, I would probably not fit into that place and my presence would be unwelcomed.  If I attended a service and the preacher was speaking about a group or groups of people in a judgmental manner, then I would probably walk out and go somewhere else.

The act of finding the right shoes is very much like finding a place or a community where one belongs and perhaps not just in a physical sense, but rather in the manner or ideology that one has.  If my thoughts and ideals matched the community that I am visiting, then I would feel myself inclined to stay, simply because I would want to be in a place where my ideological or spiritual center is conducive to that of the community.   As I reflected more and more on this sort of concept, my initial thoughts were ‘I must be mad to be thinking about something simplistic like shoes on such a deep level as my spiritual growth’.  I mean; shoes can’t equate to the meaning of life, they only act as a means of getting me from one place to the next…or is that their sole purpose?  (No pun intended.)

When I stop and consider all the places that I go and how walking is sometimes a form of meditation, then perhaps this makes a lot more sense than I initially thought.

Breaking this down a little, I reached the conclusion that if the shoes I am wearing do not fit comfortably, then how willing am I to walk in them from one moment to the next?  If I feel intense discomfort while walking on a cobblestone street; then either the path I am walking or the shoes I am wearing are the problem.  It could be, in many instances, both of these things.  Perhaps the universe is telling me something through my pain and discomfort.  It is not just the question of moving from point A to B, but the question persists about whether or not point B is really where I want to go or the path to point B is not workable.  Maybe the path I should be following will lead me to point C instead.

If that is the case, then perhaps what I’m experiencing is a nudge from the universe, which is telling me that try something new.  Walk on the sidewalk where it is smooth, or change my shoes and walk where I am.  If the path still reaps discomfort with a different pair of shoes, then the path is wrong.  If the shoes reap discomfort with a different path, then the shoes are wrong.  If both changes are made and the pain ceases, then perhaps the right path has been found.  However, if the discomfort does persist, then more changes are clearly in order.

I don’t believe for an instant that I will automatically find the right solution the first time changes are made, but I do believe that it is my soul’s intention to find the path as well as the shoes that will work the best for me.  I also must understand that what is best for me may not be what’s best for another person.

During the past few weeks, I have discovered that the act of finding a place where one belongs is just as difficult as finding the proper shoes for any given event in life.  It’s not just the act of going into the store and pulling down shoes from the shelf and saying ‘oh these are perfect’, or ‘these are just what I need’.  In order to find the most perfect pair of shoes, one has to walk around in them.  See if they can rest against one’s foot comfortably and if the shoes actually move with the person wearing them.

Sometimes, discovering that the shoes that one has been wearing for many years no longer fit or the purpose is served and moving on is the only option.  I think often that finding this out can be very difficult.  One of the things that I have discovered with myself is accepting the fact that I will never be hired to work at Build a Bear.  I’m 46-years-old, not afraid to learn new things, find younger people to be absolutely inspiring, love teddy bears, and have always thought and believed that a job there would be the most ideal thing in the world.  I was devastated the day I discovered that basically they didn’t want me.  It broke my heart, but what could I do?  I had to move on and I had to understand that the shoes I had been trying to wear represented the notion of working at Build a Bear and that would, sadly, never fit me.

What did I do instead?  I decided to start making bears for other people.  I realized that it was not about making a ton of money or getting tons of recognition for my work.  I knew that 99.995% of the time, this form of recognition would not happen.  It is wishful thinking for me to believe that I would constantly be recognized for making these.  After all, only last week, when I was at the dance club, someone did acknowledge me for my dancing, and I ended up the color of an overripe tomato.  Clearly, such recognition was not the reason for my dancing; it was simply me expressing my joy through it.  The reality is that it is really quite simple.  I didn’t need the recognition for the bears and I didn’t need it for dance, because I found joy in doing it.  The shoe fit.

If I were to have expected something in return for the act of trying to spread joy, then that emotion would be depleted and I would be missing out on why it is I’m making bears, dancing or basically anything.  This is how I know that the path I’m on is the right one.  When I begin doing something strictly out of obligation, then I question why I’m there if it depletes my expression of joy.

So, perhaps the idea is to find the shoes that fit and move towards the joy that exists in living and if I discover that what it is that I’ve been trying to obtain does not bring joy, then it perhaps it is time to change my shoes and/or change the path I am journeying down.

Namasté.

Reflections

Things are unraveling fast over on Twitter and yes, I am talking about the United Airlines issue yet again.  The reason I am writing so much about this is because I have been looking deeper into this situation and realizing that a great deal of trauma could have been averted if the corporations were not so greedy.  It is my opinion that much of what has happened with the deregulation of the airline industry has basically given the airline industry a free pass to do whatever they want, whenever they want, and get away with it.

This is also a consumer issue regarding where and how people wish to spend their money. Some may argue otherwise, but it does not change the fact that people are deciding to rip their Star Alliance credit cards up, cease flying with United, which causes said company to lose millions of dollars.  Thom Hartmann complained yesterday about how the stocks are gaining at United Airlines, but I don’t know where he got his stats from because what I am hearing all over Youtube (which is where I generally get my news), their stocks were down two percentage points two days ago and people are speculating about whether or not they could free fall.  Mr. Hartmann went on to complain about the American mentality with regards to things like this, but what I am seeing online is the contrary.  Maybe I’m spending too much time reading my newsfeed on twitter, but what I have been seeing is that most people are completely outraged and upset about all of this.

The other issue that people are talking about and Jimmy Dore summed it up very well was the anger that people expressed about the other passengers not doing anything about what was happening.  ‘Why did the people film what was happening and not come to Dr. Dao’s defense?’  Before casting dispersions on the other passengers on the plane, some of them were probably just too shocked to even respond.  If they did respond, then they could have been arrested and charged with assaulting an officer, even if the officer in question was an off duty cop earning extra cash at the airport from a security organization.  It’s very difficult for most people to stand up and defend a person being bullied.  One sees that every day if they happen to walk by a schoolyard.

I can also say that the people who are verbally attacking the other passengers have probably never in their lives had such an experience that left them completely powerless.  How many people would be ready to play ‘Superman’ or ‘Wonder Woman’ when an injustice happens in front of them and then later they ask themselves what they could have done differently to help the other person?  In many cases, they were just struck powerless.

To give you an idea about how people can be put into a state of shock, indulge me as I tell a story.  When I was about twelve-years-old, I was nearly hit by a drunk driver while waiting for the school bus.  The drunk driver comes barreling down the street racing towards me and weaving from one side of the road to the other.  For whatever reason, I am standing there completely frozen and unable to move.  I just stared at this car as it was careening towards me.   I couldn’t move an inch, not even to run to the neighbors; I was completely frozen on the spot.  The shock was just so great that I didn’t really ‘come around’ until after the guy barreled into a ditch about 100 feet from where I was standing.  At that instant, I came out of my shock, raced across the street towards home all the while screaming my head off.  I was absolutely terrified!

Later, I was asked, ‘why didn’t you run to the neighbors?’ or ‘Why did you just stand there looking like an easy target?’  I could not answer them except to say ‘I don’t know’ or burst into tears. The thing that most of the people I told this experience to didn’t get was that during that instance, my body was so tense that it refused to move until the driver plowed into that ditch.  It was literally like everything was moving in slow motion as I stared at that car coming towards me.

In the wake of this experience, everyone around me was telling me just how wrong they thought I was for not getting away from the drunk driver when obvious danger was present.  They were projecting fault onto me as opposed to where it really belonged and that is on the person who was driving that car!  What was I supposed to say that would pacify them?  ‘I’m an idiot’, perhaps?  It is very easy for other people to judge and say how another person should or could have responded, but until they are actually in some kind of harrowing situation, they really have no right to do that at all, and in today’s social media world, this happens every single day.  People are very quick to judge and oftentimes they have no right to do so.

The other argument that I have been hearing, I touched on in yesterday’s posting and that is, ‘oh you’ll change your mind when United gets the cheapest fares and then you’ll happily be flying’.  Actually, no I won’t.  Traveling is stressful, and I am one of those people who believe that peace of mind is not just important, it’s imperative.  When I want to go on a trip, it usually means I am flying to a place or flying home from a place where I obtain an opportunity to relax.  The last thing I need when I travel is to contend with flight personnel trying to kick me out of a plane, or being told that I have been bumped from the fight because they overbooked.

Last year, we traveled to the United Kingdom and one of the things we did was we traveled from London to Preston.  By train the cost would have been close to 180-200€ for two people both ways.  By, bus we could travel at a fraction of that, at 30-35€.  We opted to taking the bus, but it was a nightmare.  On the way to Preston, we were about two hours late.  When my husband went to use the toilet, he came back and his face looked the color of guacamole.  He was disgusted; someone had vomited all over the toilet compartment, rendering it out of order.  After that, we decided that our peace of mind when traveling was a far cry better than saving a few Euros to get from one place to another.  He has affirmed that the next time we want to travel around the UK; we will forgo traveling by bus and just go by train.  The bottom line is, I would rather go on a trip not having to stress about what carrier I am on or if their customer service doesn’t stink to high heaven than to take the cheapest route possible and hope that one gets there and back.  It gives new meaning to the term ‘getting what you paid for’.

The news that I heard today while scrolling my twitter feed is that Dr. David Dao has hired a lawyer and is filing a suit against United Airlines.  Good move on his part.  No one deserves to have the snot beat out of them for no reason whatsoever.  I hope he cleans their clock.

Apparently, United Airlines released a statement saying that they would no longer use the airport security personnel to handle these kinds of situations.  Well, they should never have created this situation to begin with, but I’m hesitant to rejoice right now, I’m just going to wait and see.  Of course, I don’t really see too many overbooking situations coming up for them since so many passengers are avoiding their airline all together.

Finally, I don’t know if this is true, but I heard that United Airlines wants to pay the ticket prices to all of the passengers on that flight.  Hard call if that happens, but I do think that a few hundred dollars cannot compare to seeing someone getting beat up in person; that is unless they’re ringside at Wrestlemania.

There’s bound to be more news coming out about all this, the story is not over yet.  Of course, at some point, I may need a vacation from Twitter.

Too Little, Too Late

I tried to write a catchy title that would draw people into reading this, but I realized that there really is no way to actually do this in the reference to what is going on. Compassion is a commodity that seems far removed for some people, while for others it is a mantra that has made it increasingly difficult to read or watch anything about the United Airlines story and how it is all unfolding.

Catching up on Twitter this morning, I have come to realize that this story is far from over and all parties involved may be in for a bumpy ride or a turbulent flight as the case may be.

  • United Airlines is playing serious damage control and doing a very crappy job with it.  They have argued first that the passenger was ‘rude’ and ‘belligerent’ and they stand by their employees.
  • The CEO, Oscar Munoz, was given a public relations award several weeks back, but after this story went viral, instead of actually living up that award he received, he doubled down on his attacks against the victim.
  • United Airlines stocks began to plummet and according to Jimmy Dore, the reason could be because the Asian and Chinese market reaction has been sharp and unapologetic.
  • The overwhelming loss of capital has caused Mr. Munoz to offer a more ‘sincere’ apology which given the public reaction, has come ‘too little too late’.
  • Along with news media (mostly stemming from corporate lackeys) I have come across conflicting stories smearing Dr. David Dau and outlining his past.  (Later, I read that there were two men with that same first and last name and that those who are pushing the ‘bad past’ narrative had actually used their media sources to attack the wrong person.  This is unsubstantiated, but by tomorrow there will probably be more clarity.)

That seems to be the rundown on all the news that I have read on Twitter.  I do not know how the markets are, I’m not an economist, but I do know that ‘for every action there is an equal and opposite reaction’.  United Airlines is probably learning that rather harsh lesson in the wake of their verbal attacks on the customer. If they had apologized at the start, then things would not have careened so far out of their control.

The people are angry and unforgiving and rightfully so.  I believe the issue goes much deeper than just one individual’s horrible experience of being physically and emotionally harmed.  The passengers know that such a travesty could have very easily happened to them.  Perhaps that is why the people are reacting in the manner that they are; they understand this.

Sociologically, I think we are at a tipping point.  Society, as a whole is sick and tired of businesses treating them like garbage.  This basically means that customers are sitting at home and watching how CEOs and other fat cats are trying to increase profits at all costs. Through this, I believe that they are heading up their operations through inadequately training their employees, providing part time jobs without benefits, decreasing salaries, hiring only those who can be easily exploited, and the list goes on and on.  The only goal I see here is profit, profit, profit.  They frown on unions or worker rights and they are getting richer and richer as a result.

How often have you gone into a business and said ‘ten or twenty years ago, the customer service was much better here?’   My husband says this every time we go to the post office.   When the government allows businesses to do what they want when they want, then things like overbooking flights becomes a daily norm and that’s what’s happened here.  Now people are aware of the harsh reality that comes from overbooking a flight.  They also understand that customer care should be as good as it was twenty years ago.  When it is not, they start asking why.  This is not just a verbal inquiry; this is done with their pocketbooks.  This is why United Airline stocks are now falling; the customers are staging a revolt.

Sunday evening in Chicago was probably the catalyst that reminded all of us that we will not purchase goods or services from a company that uses bullying tactics.  It is no surprise that Twitter is now full of customers who are saying that they have been threatened by airline employees as well.  I don’t know how much of this is true, but I can imagine that if a corporation has the politics and laws on their side, then they have probably gotten away with things like this for years.

Twenty something years ago, I actually flew United Airlines several times and back then they were a fairly decent airline.  I won a flight through the university on United and that was a very cool deal.  Of course, this was back in 1992 and I used the ticket to get to New York, just prior to traveling to Russia to study.  I had no serious complaints about the airline, but that was a long time ago.

Times have clearly changed.

Today, I see companies still treating their customers this way. Like most politicians, CEOs are far removed from regular people and their experiences in life.  In my earlier posting, I mentioned ‘Undercover Boss’ and my unwillingness to watch anymore episodes of it.  The bosses go through the week-long scenario and supposedly learn how to treat their employees nicely.  Now maybe, as someone pointed out to me, not all CEOs are the stereotypical ‘stuffed shirt’ and insolated tools, but Mr. Munoz does leave that impression.

However, it is important to note, as kindly as the bosses treat their employees in this show, the cameras are rolling and everyone wants to put their best face forward while on television.  Shut off the cameras and who really knows what they’re like?  They may hate their customers as much as some of their employees do; we simply do not know.   The point is, customers and employees are two different things and the show is about the relation between the boss and his/her employees.  I think it’s nice that employees are treated as valued members of a team, but I’m going to be blunt here.  Right now, in 2017, the customer is not king, they never will be king, and it is wishful thinking to believe that companies will admonish their employees to treat their customers as such.  This is a very jaded point of view, but United Airlines is case in point to it.

Mr. Munoz has shown that he places a much higher priority on his employees than he does on his paying customers.  The customers are the people who keep the business in business, but he clearly does not seem to realize that. I do not need a degree in economics to point that out, it’s established.  Even a ten-year-old running a lemonade stand knows that if he or she doesn’t have customers or is rude to them, then they will not sell their lemonade.  That means businesses should strive to treat their customers with the same respect and dignity that they use when addressing their employees.  If they cannot do that, then someone else should be in charge of the operation.  This man clearly missed the mark with his so-called ‘apologies in triplicate’.

The fact that most people on Twitter have noted that his apology was not sincere is abundantly clear.  He has tried several times to tarnish the name and reputation of the victim, and he has failed miserably.  He now has to take a spoonful of humility and offer some semblance of regret for the actions of the people on his watch.   If anyone were to ask me what I think about this, I would say that Mr. Munoz has no humility whatsoever and that he has thrown blame around in the hopes that it would stick elsewhere.  The unfortunate reality for him is that nothing has stuck, except perhaps the image of a man who was humiliated and harmed beyond reason for the tactless, heartless, and appalling actions of the employees in his company.

 

Come fly with us…er, no I’d rather not!

Yesterday I was sitting at the computer getting a cramp in the back of my neck from reading my Twitter feed.  That happens very rarely with me, but for anyone who has been paying attention to what is going on outside of home, yesterday a video went viral about a doctor from Kentucky who got the snot beat out of him while sitting in an airline seat hoping to fly home.

Now, I will say it straight up, there is absolutely nothing that any sane, level headed, person with any semblance of a brain could argue that would justify what these United Airlines personnel did to this poor man.  I say it is more the airline’s fault than the cops involved, although I would not ever say that they are completely innocent bystanders, not by any stretch of the imagination.  What they did is criminal and they should be charged accordingly. Of course, I know that’s wishful thinking, nothing will happen to them.  This is just another example of the old addage of ‘he who has the gold makes the rules’ and the rest of us coach class travellers will just have to buck up and deal with it.

Hearing this poor man screaming as he was being dragged down the aisle of the plane and later seeing images of him with blood in his mouth and uttering ‘just kill me’ and ‘I want to go home’ made my heart shatter.  I can only imagine how it was for the other passengers who bore witness to something that not only harmed a person’s well being, but could be construed as ‘police brutality’, ‘human rights violations’, and to some extent ‘torture’ and ‘humiliation’.  United is responsible for this and if this man or any of the passengers on that flight gets something akin to PTSD or anxiety disorders because of this, then the airline should be held criminally and financially liable!  These actions were callous, insensitve and inhumane (and that’s being nice, because I could think of a few choice words for what I think about all of this).  No amount of money or flight vouchers is going to change that fact and this airline deserves every last bit of bad PR that they receive and I hope that social media will continue to give them the verbal thrashing that they deserve.

The odd thing is during the past several weeks, I have been watching this reality show (Undercover Boss) on Youtube about CEOs who want to improve the work environment for their employees, which should be later reciprocated to the paying customers.  This incident totally destroyed any love that I might have had for this show or the bosses involved with it.  It left me feeling that CEOs the world over simply don’t care as long as they get their bottom lines and high profit margains.   The response from United Airlines reminded me of the ‘Wizard of Oz’; no brains, no heart, no courage.  I think I will probably never again watch an episode of ‘Undercover Boss’ at all.  It’s not worth the effort since my opinion of these people is now at rock bottom!  It was pretty low before, but now it’s just in the gutter.

This is a sad reality in today’s world, and it is shown when a man, who simply refused to ‘volunteer’ his seat on a plane got the crap beat out of him and the higher ups only came back with tired old excuses.  ‘But…he was belligerent’, ‘we asked nicely but he refused’, yadda yadda yadda.  Newsflash, United Airlines, I would have refused too and I think most all of the people on that flight actually did.

Why was this man singled out and kicked off anyway?  Could it be because he’s Asian?  Or maybe because he has a smaller stature than those big bad Kentucky dudes and would be easier to manhandle?  Imagine what might happen if they tried to rough up a woman.  It is my opinion that they singled this man out because he would be unable to adaquately defend himself.  This is an assumption, I don’t know the real reason behind it, but I do have these suspicions.

The fact that United Airlines wanted to kick paying customers off the flight so they could accomodate other employees of the airline is sad.  The customers deserve better, but as long as the airline has these outdated by-laws, then nothing is ever going to change.  I think that now people are waking up and going to other airlines.  I hear stunning reviews about Southwest and Frontier, so maybe there is hope after all.

I read an article last night that said that the heirarchy of society has basically affirmed and reaffirmed what has been happening with the travel industry.  If you’re at the top, you’re safe, but if you’re just a lowly coach class passenger then you can consider yourself lucky to arrive at your destination at all.  With United Airlines, it would seem that if you arrive on time and without a bloody nose or some externally induced trauma, then you can consider yourself lucky.

I read several tweets that said that people would be able to fly cheaper in a few months so boycotting does not help.  I say baloney.  Some people actually do put compassion over cheaper faires.  Just because some person on Twitter thinks that way, does not mean that everyone does.  The story about the leggings may die off and people will go about their everyday business not caring, but the images of man with a bloody face will remain in people’s consciousness.  Sadly, this man will probably see it everyday and be reminded of it each and every time he goes online.

My thoughts are with you, Doctor from Louisville.  Get well soon and I’m sending you a lot of light and healing thoughts, both physically and mentally.

It’s a Matter of Perspective

Today I read an article about women who try to make themselves look younger than they actually are.   Now, I’m 46-years-old and I have had people tell me I look considerably younger than I actually am.  It’s a huge compliment to me to be told I look 35-40 years old.  I may not necessarily concur with the assertion, but ask any woman who is in their mid 40’s if they like it when someone says, ‘wow you look ten years younger’, and they will say ‘thank you’ or get wide eyes and say ‘really????’ while internally dancing a jig and crying out ‘BOOYA!’ while in the middle of said happy dance.

This article went into detail about things like make-up, leg shaving, and what I will just call ‘personal hygene’.  I never once thought about whether or not things like shaving my legs or other parts was such a big freaking deal.  I just did it because having spikey legs and such is horribly uncomfortable, especially when trying to sleep in the summertime.  Also having underarms that resemble toilet brushes all the while trying to pull off wearing a bathing suit just ain’t that much fun.  I just could not get into dealing with swirly hair under my arms in a swimming pool.  If that’s corny then so be it.

So, these so-called writers have come out and tried to convince their readers that because a woman actually wants to do things to look younger, that she fits into a box or that her partner would only consider her to have sex-appeal if she made herself look like a kid.  So, let me get this straight; if a woman actually wants to do certain things to enhance her appearance, that she is automatically trying to be a Barbie doll to someone else.   Basically, all this article proved to me is that people are going to generalize about how women or their partners are going to behave because of some argument that women are contributing to a culture that many of us are completely unaware of.

Rubbish!

I guess gone are the days when a woman can spend a little bit of time pampering herself,  not because she is trying to impress her partner or wants to be viewed as ‘attractive’, but maybe because she wants to do these things for herself.  Way to generalize how people take care of themselves!  Next thing you know, people are going to say that women who hide the grey by dying their hair are trying to do the same thing, or women who use cold creams to hide wrinkles are going to try and make themselves look like a little girl….oh wait, they already implied that!  Why can’t these so called ‘experts’ just accept the fact that a lot of women actually use creams, masques, dyes and other personal hygene products to make theselves feel good about themselves, not to contribute to some cultural dysfunctions that have nothing whatsoever to do with what or why they are doing these things in the first place.

I guess next time I want to have a facial at the mall, I will have to ask myself who is going to come up to me and make generalizations about what I am doing and why I am doing it.  Sheesh…and people wonder why so many women have been contending with self-image issues.  The moment they do try to do something to feel good about themselves, there’s some ‘Klugscheißer’ (smart ass) who wants to tell them every thing wrong that they are doing.   This is my main takeaway from the article.

Okay, yes, maybe there are women who do those things to make themselves feel like a Barbie doll or a figure out of an anime cartoon.  If that’s their thing and it’s not hurting anyone, then let them be and stop judging them.  If that is what gives their relationships a bit of fun, then it’s their business not mine.

I understand that people are concerned about negative cultural norms as becoming the norm.  I also realize that there are things that should never have become normalized.  However, as a woman who has always believed in freedom of expression, I have to say that these people who come off trying to sound like ‘experts’ are not helping bring women up; instead they are trying to tear them down for aspiring to change the aspects about themselves that they are not happy with.

If anyone ever said to me that the only reason I lost weight last year was to make myself sexier to my husband, I’d probably laugh in their face.  My husband loves me without condition, I don’t need to lose weight for him, but perhaps what I did was lose the weight so that I would have a much healtier lifestyle than I did before.  Not to mention, I would feel much better about myself as a person.

 

 

Tick…Tick…Tick…BOOM!

 

Explosions (3)

I know that this is either going to be a short entry or one of the most long-winded rants of my life, but I want to say something that I think is very important.  About a month ago, I got angry on Facebook.  I don’t just mean angry to the extent that I had to go back and rethink what I had said and later apologize for it.  I mean; I got really mad at someone that I had known for several years and someone who, whether rightly or wrongly, knew exactly how to press my buttons to such an extent that I finally told them ‘enough is enough’.

Yes, I will openly admit that I got mad and I did something that I have never done on social media, I typed the f-word without so much as cringing or excusing myself.  I know that young people read my postings sometimes, but in my defense, I came to realize how often in my life I have refrained from expressing my emotions because I was scared of how other people were going to react.  I rarely swear unless I am really upset about something, it just does not happen with me that often, but like any other human being, I do get upset now and again.  I try very hard to not post it on social media, but every so often, it can happen.

One of the things that happened during the past year, and maybe the weight-loss actually ties into it, I have become more confident and vocal about what I feel.  I have realized that when people step on me and start putting me down, I won’t stand for it anymore.  This doesn’t mean that people can’t have an opinion, of course they can.  What it means is that if they want to be understood, then they should find a kinder way to express their differences of opinion or just post it on their own wall so their friends can provide support to them during the uncertain moments in their lives.  It’s easier to find support through one’s own circle of friends than to post it to a friend’s wall in the hopes of finding it through their friends.

One of the things that this person said to me was that they were offended by what I posted.  I read through everything I post, unless I make a note at the top that what I am posting is for me to watch or read later on.  At any rate, what I posted, I believe and it is not necessary for me to try and justify my feelings by asking people if what I posted on my wall offended anyone.  I am of the mindset that 90 percent of the postings that are shared on social media could be taken out of context and someone could find a reason to be offended by them.  Just because people are always looking for something to get offended by, does not mean that I am sitting here looking for the means in which to fulfill that particular desire.

With that said, I do try diligently to not offend people, but I also know that my wall is my wall, and I will not post disrespectful things to my wall, but I do not want or need people disrespecting me.  During the past year, I have been on the receiving end of people’s judgmental words, their condescension, and fears just because I’m not like them or I don’t agree with what they think.

I believe that people always have a choice, they can either unsubscribe from my stuff showing up their newsfeed, they can un-friend me, or they can just move on.  That’s what I do; I generally move on.  I have actually been tempted to engage people in dialogue when I disagreed with them.  I even wrote postings but then never posted them because I concluded that it wasn’t worth getting into an argument with someone about.  Everyone can decide if they want to engage in a dialogue about anything they see online.  Going to someone else’s wall and getting mad at them for posting their opinion and arguing that they are offended by their initial opinion is silly.  I will never do this to another person, even when people do it to me.

For many years, I believed that defending my honor was just a means in which to prove someone else’s level of rightness or that I am just being a *itch.  I never really understood the notion that I was trying to defend myself and that I am perfectly within my right to do so.  I understand that people are sensitive about certain things, particularly in this political climate.  I therefore, have ceased posting on Twitter and Facebook anything of a political nature.  I read a great deal about politics, I studied it and I find some areas of it to be a mixture between fascinating, annoying, stupid, frustrating, and corrupt.  However, because I do not stand solidly on one side or the other, I simply read a lot about it and formulate my own opinions based on the varied materials that I have read.

What is my opinion about the current state of things?  I believe that people should stand up for what they feel is right; they should stand up for the oppressed and fight back when someone else tries to harm them, their families, and their community.  I think that in this modern era, everyone is entitled to certain things; their health, a stable environment, clean water, peace of mind, a right to a good-paying job, and to be represented when it comes to governmental institutions.  If someone is not being properly represented, then yes, they have a right to make their voices heard; political parties be hanged!  I also believe that smoke and mirrors are only good in magic shows, not in politics.

So, with all that said, do you know what happens when you hold things inside and not speak out?  You get angry and that anger emerges at the most inopportune moments.  It leaves you to wonder later why you got mad about it in the first place.  What triggered it?  Was it really that important?

That’s what happened to me.  I held a great deal of anger inside; never talked about it or discussed it, and only got angry when something completely unrelated to it popped up out of nowhere.  The event of a month ago was in reality small potatoes in comparison to what had happened three years ago.  Imagine that; I have been sitting here holding on to this frustration I had about something that happened so long ago.  I realized that it wasn’t the person saying ‘your words upset me’, but instead they were words that were spoken three years ago that hurt so deeply, but were buried beneath a smile and shrug of the shoulders.

I realized that by holding back on my feelings that maybe I was doing that person a favor, but I was doing myself a tremendous disservice.  The peace that I needed back then was only discovered when I finally let my anger emerge a month ago.  Today, I may no longer be friends with the person in question, but the reality is; if a person treated me in such a way that I held back on saying that that they hurt me three years ago, then maybe they were never my friend to begin with and only liked me because I capitulated to them.  If that is what made me want to keep the peace then perhaps this was never a real friendship to begin with.  Sometimes, people can be toxic without even knowing the level of toxicity they bring into a ‘friendship’.

And sometimes, it takes a massive explosion of emotion to make someone wake up and realize that what they had been doing to keep the peace, only succeeded in escalating the conflict.

 

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