Snake-oil bloggers

Oh dang it! Here’s another rant for you!

I’m quite aware that I pass the image of a very bitter person. This is mainly because

a) all I do is complain in this blog (well, mostly, anyway)

b) all I do…

ah, screw it! Read my About page and you’ll see this forum is a platform for the outflow of my bile when needed! I’m not this negative all the time (I’d be institutionalized by now), but when I’m being positive, I’m usually watching a good movie or taking a walk in the park, not WRITING about it. Maybe I’ll give THAT a go someday, but right now, I’m just gonna go with “NAH!”.

I have very few followers, for which I’m still thankful – some will even like a post once in a while, so I’m happy to know I landed in YOUR reader (yeah, YOU! Think I didn’t notice?) instead of being a random follower to get me to look at your page, which I always do.

And because I always do look at the page of people who started following me, I notice and get annoyed at the snake-oil bloggers. Every once in a while – must be 3 or 4 of them by now – I get a follower, go to their page, and what do I find? Sales. Worse! Self-help sales! Is there a worse kind of help than the stranger imposed self-help? I mean, seriously! SELF-help is SELF-explanatory. It’s the kind of help that has to come from within, or else…. where the hell is the self part?!

I’ve had it. I quickly checked and noticed that, on my blog, you don’t get to see who else is following, and that is good! No way those a-holes will make anyone curious about who else is following me and get yet another hit on their view-counter. The next step is telling them on their comments section that they can kindly stick it where the sun don’t shine – sure it won’t show on their comments, but I’m hoping they have to read everything before they approve the two or three thankful comments that show up (some really seem to only thank out of politeness, it looks like they didn’t even notice what kind of blog they landed in)

And yes, I know some people have to make money somehow, but I cleaned toilets for a living, once upon a time. It’s a decent, hard-working job. Anyone trying to make an easy buck from a low-morale job is telling more about their personality than I am about mine with this blog. I hate seeing people being abused for their vulnerability, and sadly, snake-oil sellers will always manage to get a few. I wish I could do more than telling a few of them that they’re no better than vultures and missed me as a target.

So anyway, here is a big thank you to the few followers who have me on their reader – and even to those who don’t, really. Thank you for not trying to sell me anything.

(I have one blog post every day now. The skies really need to clear up and gimme some sunny weather for my daily strolls in the park again!)

(and yes, this shows I’m unhappy with the image I’m giving of myself on a very anonymous blog. It should also show that I’m EVEN MORE unhappy with snake-oil sellers, don’t miss THAT point before you comment)

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blind-Luck vs look-between-the-lashes-Luck

Some people think that life is all about blind-luck, but the thought of not being able to control anything is way too spooky for me. I’m not a fan of thinking you can control everything through hard-work and sheer willpower either – because well, you’re definitely not getting anything if you don’t work for it, sure; but working for something is not a complete guarantee that you will get it, you’re not god! You’re not omnipotent! There are external factors and you can’t control it all! And I think anyone will know at least one person to whom this applies. I do feel one has to keep optimistic, but assuming you didn’t get something because you just didn’t put your heart into ir or because – bullshit alert – you were unconsciously sabotaging yourself because deep inside you knew it wasn’t for you…. well, that’s the slippery slope towards self-loathe.

But it doesn’t all come to blind-luck. If you remember being a kid and trying to fool someone, you might remember closing your eyes to the point where they really looked like they were closed, but you could still see through a fine blur of your own eyelashes and “guess”. We grownups seem to have mastered the art of seeing life’s choices through the eyelashes and make what we called “pondered choices” or at least “educated guesses”. Looking between the lashes will sometimes even help focus things that aren’t clear.

You still need a certain amount of luck. You can write a kick-ass job application to your dream firm and if you get the job, you might become successful enough to be quoted in bold in a magazine saying you “worked hard and that’s how it goes”, but if you get to a certain age, you’ll know more than one person who wrote a kick-ass job application to their dream firm, worked really hard and only got a nervous breakdown and lasting psychic damage to show for. And you better pray that someone isn’t you!

It isn’t me. At least so far, and I’m still willing to try everyday until this ridiculously resilient body gives up or I get into a constant comfort zone. But on a bad day, the thought of this randomness will knock the air right of my lungs. Some mornings, I’m performing the easiest tasks at work that even a simple monkey can do, listening to the same people telling me the most obvious stuff I already know about my tasks, alternating between “Yessir” and “I know, I know, you told me before” and letting my thoughts roam free, and I’ll suddenly have to force myself into sighing for breath and mutter “Jesus f***, how did my life get this complicated?”.

I’ll tell you how: I squinted, like everyone else. My best friend squinted and got all the happiness she deserves. I’m still working at it: trying to make better choices based on squinting, waiting for the results of my squinting to land me to a better place and working on accepting what I can’t change. I’m miles away from where I want to be and miles ahead from where I was only a couple of years ago. Like the Germans say “only those who don’t do anything never make mistakes”. But just in case the mistakes aren’t really always mine, I’m looking for solutions. 

Smarty-pants parody of your average plus-size blog-post

I have been fat all of my life and hated my body the same amount of time. So I’ve allways hidden my body. It wasn’t until I recently completed TWO WHOLE DECADES of my life that I realized, this wasn’t me. This was the patriarchal society telling me how to see myself and how to feel. And it was time that I starded feeling beautiful, no matter what others think. But I’m still gonna blog about it and show others how beautiful fat people can be, just because.

And I’m also here to tell you that YOU must feel good about your curves too! Even if I have an hourglass-shape and you have a big bulging belly, YOU are beautiful too and don’t let my overall insecurity oozing all over this post make you think otherwise! You should totally wear hot-pants although you’re plus-sized, no mater how crooked or ridden with varicose veins your legs are! If others don’t like they, then THEY should look away! If you don’t like it… well, look away too, but wear them anyway! And to prove it, here’s a selfie of me in a skimpy skirt, taken from above because any insecure person knows it’s the best angle and making a goose face, because duck-face is for skinny superficial girls!

And I’m not superficial, by the way. I have only been feeling sorry for myself my whole life because I never felt pretty. And now I’ve decided to prove to the whole blogosphere that I’m deep and meaninful by considering myself pretty, even though I don’t look like your average size zero model. In a partriarchal society.

PATRIARCHAL SOCIETY!!!!!

—- End of sarcasm

(for anyone who doesn’t follow me: size 24 here *wave*)

You gotta love ’em. I get that everyone goes through fases and needs an outlet (hell, welcome to my bitchin’ and moaning lair, dear readers!) but do all these teenagers and young adults need to try to tell me what to feel and what to think? Is it really any better than the “patriarchal society” and the size 0 models telling me what to feel and think? And why? Why are all these bloggers so much better than the “patriarchal society” and the size 0 models, I wonder?

But still, it’s an average. Which means, there are still plenty of good posts with the plus-size tag, which is why this tag will, for the time being, be kept in my WordPress-Reader. And I will still pat myself in the back everytime I say stuff like this in my blog instead of commenting and calling anyone in their hypocrisy in their own comment section. Baby steps.

Being an authentic asshole

When the new colleague told me a couple of days ago that she lived for a year in a residence for the homeless after just coming out of bankruptcy; finally landed a measly job with us that allows her to rent a flat; after she told me how sparsely her flat is furnished and how she’s missing everything and can’t buy much because she doesn’t earn much (although she makes more than me, because she’s full-time and I’m part-time), I zoned out for a second. And I promptly told her “Hold on, I’m figuring out what I have at home that I could give you…

But as you might’ve noticed by some of my blog entries, I’m bitchy. And I can be an asshole. And sometimes, I feel like being an asshole is the more authentic me. Don’t get me wrong, thinking of how to help someone that has in any way something in common with me is something that comes to me very naturally and sometimes even baffles people around me – I guess not all impulsivity is bad – but I do realize that I write people off quite easily while I’m more than willing to accept and disregard stuff from very close friends and a couple of family members (but like… not even ALL family members)

Most people will say, this is my low self-esteem speaking out, but I always felt like bad self-esteem was putting yourself down in an unrealistic fashion. People will almost yell when I cook dinner and say “dang it, I’ve done this better before” like it’s something awful to imply that I’m such a badass, I’m able to cook that awesome meal EVEN better – the people accusing me of being negative are actually focusing on the negative part of my comment, har! But I do feel that if you’re an asshole to others once in a while, there’s nothing wrong with being an asshole to yourself once in a while, because anything else would be hypocrisy. And you know, sorry but I can’t be a hypocrite, I got my hands full being an asshole and whatnot.

The art of listening

I was talking with one of my sisters recently and she started venting about our other sister. See, sister A was complaining about work stuff: shit her boss does, shit her colleagues do and, mostly, shit her boss does and why her boss shouldn’t do it the way she does and and and. To this, B demanded of A to give her 3 good reasons why A wouldn’t open up her own business “if it’s that easy!”. But you see, A never wanted to be a business owner, so she couldn’t give B more than that one reason – which seriously trumps any other reasons – and B just wouldn’t shut the hell up. B demanded more reasons. A was upset. Obviously!needed to vent but she wasn’t allowed. Because had many opinions and many ways to show the error of her ways (this behaviour is, by the way, one of the many things that makes B a total bitch in my eyes and the reason why I actively avoid her).

Well… It’s hard to be a good listener and to me it’s hard to even stay focused on what people are saying (jump to minute 1 of this video if you want to get an idea of what it’s like being in my head) but amazingly, I managed to clench the insane need to say “That’s what YOU do with me all the time! It’s annoying as all hell!”. Instead, I managed to shout “Oh my god, that is SO annoying! I HATE when people do that to me! I just feel like yelling, shut up! I just need to open up, it doesn’t mean I need help! I’ll ask for help when I need it, shut up!”

obviously and thankfully didn’t see herself in my vague accusations. I will eventually tell her that offering help when I don’t need it feels rather insulting, but instead of being a nag myself, I managed to be supportive. I’ll nag her some other time, we’re still young! But this made me realize how tricky listening to people is. Sometimes we think giving advice shows caring and good listening skills, but there are good chances that it’s not the case most of the times. It’s at least something to consider.

Let me tell you, personally, the best listeners are my best friend, who will invariably listen to all I have to say and just comment “Fuck, friend… sucks…” or another awesome friend who, after I got fired in January, and after listening to all the crap my boss was pulling, instead of offering advice just looked about to explode and said “I would love to come across that woman on the street, really. I’d have a couple of things to say to her.”. None of these helpful comments include advice.

Turkish delight – Yeminet! (Longread)

I have been in financial dire straits for the past couple of months. Ironically, I seem to have put myself in this situation because, when I lost my job in January, I didn’t want to become unemployed for even a single day: I took the one thing I had in offer, which was a part-time. After a couple of months, I feel like I was taken hostage by my current employer and it’s my own fault, no less – I should’ve never signed such a fucking crappy working contract, but I so wanted to avoid unemployment…

I’ve made major cuts. I couldn’t, for the first time in years, afford to buy a ticket to visit my family in the summer: I had to ask a sister to buy me the plane ticket and used my online banking to set my account to pay her back, 55€ a month until August/September. My “splurge” for this month was a bottle of bike-chain oil and a 16€ seat for my crappy bike – biking on sunny days is still cost-free.

So when I came home two days ago, started loading my washing machine and a comb dropped fom above and fell in right through a crack beyond the washing-drum and beyond my reach, my blood froze in my veins. I will spare you the agonizing details of the misunderstandings that delayed the coming of the technician, later to be known as my guardian angel. I was nervous, panicky and got a knot in my stomach when he told me on the phone it was gonna cost me 70€ to retrieve the comb. This month I was to pay 80€ less rent because of overpaying last year, and I was happy. Suddenly, wham! 70€ are gone! I cannot get a fucking break, can I?

When I opened my door yesterday and a handsome 6’4” turkish man stood on my doorstep I was mostly in awe of his looks, but still, I just showed him to the washer, explained again what happened, and went back to skyping with my sis in the next room – dying to tell her what a tall drink of water was fixing my machine and not daring because, who know who understands MY native tongue? He called me and asked for a few items – a bowl, a piece of wire and a towel – and kept working. After a while he called me and had a good talk with me.

“Your heater is shot” he said “and this” he said pointing at the comb “this alone is gonna cost you… what had we agreed on? 70?”. I started panicking. “I can install a new heater, I have a used one in my car, but that’s going to make 95€ total. But it’s totally up to you, because I’m going to be honest, this machine is in very bad shape. It’s totally up to you”.

Cannot… get… a fucking…. break!

I was getting more and more nervous, made the guy repeat himself several times, swallowed dry a couple of times and I finally said “Well, thank you so much for your honesty, but 100€ is too much for that piece of junk. Sucks that I’m losing 70€, but if it’s this bad, best if I buy another second-hand piece of crap….” We then talked a while, I explained how I got the machine second had, got an offer from him but had to refuse because it was way over my price-range and he even agreed that if I could find cheaper junk with warranty (I can) that’s certainly better and he won’t even try to convince me otherwise. He gave me tons of tips on what to look for and how to haggle, where to look, so nice…. and then I gave him the 70€ and he looked awkwardly at the 50 and the 20 and stuck the 20€ in my way. I pulled back “No way! We agreed 70€, sucks to be me it’s true, but take it!” and he just said

“No, you take it, don’t you worry.” he said “I’ll get enough money anyway and I’m the owner of the company, so you go ahead and keep it.”

Well…. what can you say to that? I took the money, thanked him in a shakey voice, walked him out, listened to some more of his good tips, said thank you in a voice that was getting shakier and shakier, closed the door behind me and finally got back to my sister on skype. I sat down, the tears started rolling and I yelled “I’m so FUCKED! My washing machine is trashed! Look, he gave me 20€ back, so that’s something, huh? FUCK!” She then started her usual over-patronizing talk of “look, forget the money you owe me, we’ll deal some other time” because oh well, I’m not even going to get into how this kind of patronizing shit from my family might sound helpful but actually stunted my development as a tax-paying grownup. I wouldn’t hear it and told her so. I told her I’d find a way and she was getting the money, whether she liked it or not, I was just so hormonal and so upset that everything had to be such a fucking challenge in my life.

Suddenly, the doorbell rang. I told her “Wait up! It must be him, must’ve forgotten something”. I rubbed my red eyes dry and glanced at the washing machine on my way to the door, but couldn’t see any forgotten instruments. I opened the door and he stood there “Look, I was outside and I suddenly thought something up, I’m so silly! Can I come in?” I was uhm…. well… not totally dumbstruck, because I managed to say “sure!”

“It just hit me! Look, you were going to lose 70€ today, right? You were going to give me 70€.  You DID give them to me, and I gave you 20 back.  And you know, sometimes you need fresh air to have good ideas it seems and I’m thinking… I’m not going to try and convince you, if you say you’re buying another secondhand washer, do it. But if you want, you give me the 20€ back and I build this functioning  heater into your machine. Your washerwon’t hold forever, but you can save up for a new one!”

Uhhhh…. fuck yeah! Not only had he given me a 20€ discount on the previously agreed fee, he was giving me a 5€ discount on the heater and giving me LOADS of wiggle room! I was so grateful I stood the whole time there and chit-chatted with him – he wouldn’t take a cup of coffee and I later had to wonder if we have ramadan right now (we don’t). We talked about the state of things, both of us foreigners in Germany. His reasoning was that people should help each other out when they can, because you never know when it’s going to hit us and he added “It’s really hard when you’re on your own, I know. And as a woman, it must be even harder, right?” I didn’t quite know what to tell him. I felt like saying I never felt the impact, although I was never a man, so I can’t know. The truth is, I never really felt like I have it harder because I’m a woman, but it’s getting harder and harder to argue the opposite.

The guy was finally done, I gave him the 20€, I thanked him profusely and he said “Damn, why didn’t I think of it? You know, fresh air! But now I have a clean conscience and you can save up for another washer. Just go easy on this one, small loads, it should hold a while” I walked him out and surprisingly, my sis was still online. I got to tell her the story and the party pooper said “Clean conscience? He’d have a clean conscience if he put the new heat in for free, but like that….” – jesus fuck, if you ever wonder why I mostly sound this bitter on my blog, just think I grew up surrounded by comments like this!

If anything, I’m allways in awe of how some people will still ocasionally prove me that not all is lost and that I still should have hope. I’m still getting teary eyed when I think of it, and I suspect it will be years before I won’t feel moved by the kindness of this handsome stranger and if that ever comes to be, I’ll be very disapointed in myself.  This man was no less than a guardian angel to me yesterday.

Yeminet!

Health as a religion, skinny as a health synonym

In about a week, I will have officially lost 1/10 of my weight – my doctor is going to shit a fucking rainbow when she sees me, even if for the whole world, I’m still just the obese woman who probably goes to McDonald’s every day (god, I hate people). I have also, after 18 long years as a smoker, gave up smoking… er… 9th of September last year, that was my first smoke-free day (I’m not even into that vaping shit, don’t get me started on those…) It’s my second go, so I’m feeling confident, because I know from last time that when my head goes “but you could be an occasional smoker, so many people do it…” IT’S A TRAP!!!

And one fine Saturday, I was trying the new pair of jeans I had ordered by catalog, my usual size but finally a beautiful bootcut that is so hard to get by in my size, and they wouldn’t fit, and I shouted out loud to myself alone “FUCKED IF I’M DOING THIS SHIT AGAIN! NO!!! My change in food habits and lifestyle starts TODAY!” and it did. And the jeans almost fit now – (I don’t have to squeeze in, but they only officially fit when they don’t make a camel toe)

Anyway, I did neither of these things for health or beauty. I quit smoking because my cough was getting on my nerves and smoke-breaks were allways a sore subject at work (even if they were never the problem, they were just the scapegoat for the bosses)

If you could take a sneak peak at what I’d like to do with many pounds less, you’d see me running up the stairs so I won’t miss the train (I can only fast-pace up the stairs, that bugs me!) and you’ll see a lot of me sitting cross-legged on the grass or on top of a bench. You might see me with my leg crossed over the knee, realizing that I shouldn’t do it anyway because of my bad circulation and uncrossing it again. I’m doing it for freedom of movement and comfort.

And a few days ago, I forbade my sister of saying the word “healthy”. I can’t even explain her how to make a tasty sauce out of broth, wine and herbs to pour over a chicken breast and she tells me it’s not healthy, because it has like… 1 teaspoon of butter in it and butter is unhealthy. Oh, and any cured cheese is also unhealthy and loaded with bad fats. And and and. And please never ask me to eat anything you cook, ok?

A girl at work is quite slender, she just has hips (like oh, say, women?) and a bit of fat over her muscular thighs. She has a thin waist and the trained belly and arms you’d normally see on a fitness-magazine cover, but she has loudly informed us she’s on a weightwatchers diet. She’s also eating the wrong kind of bread (the kind that makes you slowly absorb the carbs and will have your glicemia peak rather than stabilize and make you feel satisfied is what she eats). She eats the wrong kind of bread because the right kind is too dry without butter. When I suggested replacing the butter with fresh cheese (my kind of thing), she promptly explained to me that fresh cheese is just way too fat. And she won’t eat fat. At all. THAT’s healthy…. *dramatic eye roll* She’s aiming for 8% bodyfat. I told her she was overreacting and she promply described her 100-calories-a-day eating, 90 pounds heavy, 5′ 9” sister as overreacting. Uhhh… sweetie, that’s a fucking eating disorder, not an overreaction!

Another co-worker who is almost grotesquely skinny usually gives me a ride after-work and one day I asked about what she ate at home, because she is a vegetarian and I thought, maybe she knows some good recipes. Huh… she explained she only eats one or two cookies at work (if we happened to make those teeny-tiny 1,5” cookies that day…) and leaf salad with some olive oil when she gets home. And in the summer she does 30 miles on her bike daily on an empty stomach. And today, to further my shock, she said “if I ate too much one day, I just won’t eat anything for a couple of days” and I don’t think she’s joking. She also doesn’t like to go on vacation, she prefers to cash in the vacation she didn’t apply for, so who the f*** knows on what drugs that otherwise sweet girl is running.

Incidentally, none of these 3 women likes fashion or has ever looked at a runway model longer that 5 seconds. They don’t read Cosmo (or any other silly-ass women’s magazines), they don’t hunt the internet for dieting tips and they never follow the trendy diets. They never even advise each other on how to lose weight, each one convinced they have found the path to happiness.

I’m not going to give you the “I’m fat but healthy!” shit, because seriously, I’m tired of that self-delusional bullcrap too (it’s f***ing amazing you’re doing yoga! Keep it up! But your internal organs still don’t give a f***!). But “I’m healthy because I’m skinny” is nullcrap too, and oh, by the way: at least one of these skinny women has been diagnosed with a fat liver. Yeah.

Overall, screw it all! I just want to find my middle term and not worry about health. If I only have one cold a year and don’t suffer major trauma, I just neet to feel content and comfy. And that is seriously hard for me, so… STFU people. Sheesh…. :|