Emotional Labor

Let’s talk about emotional labor for a moment.

For those of you that don’t know what that is: “Emotional labor is the process of managing feelings and expressions to fulfill the emotional requirements of a job. More specifically, workers are expected to regulate their emotions during interactions with customers, co-workers and managers” Wikipedia

I carry this burden alot, at work, at home, it doesn’t seem to matter. And for those that know me personally, it’s not like i’m sitting on a whole lot of my own emotions – I basically have two (tranquil and pissed) . . . let alone having to feret out and/or deal with others’ emotional shortcomings. Existing in this whirlwind of turbulent emotions is fucking exhausting, which is why I try not to do it.

I get it, as a manager, that’s part of my job. I listen to my employees vent, express their frustration and concern, offering possible solutions, plans of action, or a desired outcome. However, I’ve found myself managing-up quite a bit over the last year and a half. And by managing-up, I mean that i’m doing the same work for those that are above me, guiding their decision making, massaging their overwrought emotions, and fixing the problems created when they can no longer deal with the shit-show of COVID fallout. Altough this isn’t the specific definition of managing-up, there’s an element of doing my job well so that my boss’s job is easier. Since this was always the case, the situation has evolved to something much more demanding on me, where I’ve become the support both managerially (with guidance to deal with situations), disaster recovery (fixing problems that arise from bad decisions), and emotional support. This puts me in a particularly lonely and isolating place. . . somewhere in the middle where everyone has the support they need but me. I have become all things for all people and I’m not entirely sure how that happened.

This past year and a half has been hard on EVERYONE, we all admit that fact. However, the same people that carried you through the beginning, middle, and now this weird lingering end of the pandemic are burnt-the-fuck-out. All we ask of you all is that you pull up your big girl panties, be adults, and FITFO (figure-it-the-fuck-out)!

That’s currently where I find myself, sitting in the eye of a hurricane where everyone has come to depend on me to be the stable, steady one that they can come to but there’s nowhere for me to go.

At home, I’m helping my daughter work through her big emotions and not have her immediate response be a crying fit if something goes wrong. Talking her through all her steps and having the hard conversations about how things make her feel on a fairly regular basis is intense. She’s six and again, I don’t have that many emotions so, this is particularly difficult for me.

So, last week, I found myself at the end of my rope. I couldn’t be polite. I was snapping at everyone. I got up each morning and dreaded walking into my office to discover what new nightmare of idiocy I would face. By thursday, I had had enough and decided to take Friday off as a mental health day. I did all of the things thursday night to prep. I let everyone know, again – taking care of everyone else so they wouldn’t be inconvenienced.

It was glorious. I read a book from cover to cover on Friday. Thank you Lisa KleypasDevil in Disguise was fun. I didn’t check my email, workday, IM, or Slack. If shit was going to burn down, I was going to let it. In fact, one of my employees said she was proud of me for going off grid because even on vacation, i’m never truly out. I have to approve shit or business just stops.

So, I come into work on Monday morning, feeling better but not great, and am greeted with this conversation that is honestly, too early in the fucking morning for this shit.

Boss 7:59 AM
Are you free at 2 pm?

Me 7:59 AM
until 230

Boss 7:59 AM
OK, great – let’s Zoom at 2 then.

Me 8:00 AM
what about?

Boss 8:00 AM
Did your weekend restore you?

Me 8:00 AM
meh

do you have a link?

Boss 8:00 AM
I wanted to check in on what was going with you Thursday evening, specifically, though I think in general, a mental health day was a great thing to do!

Me 8:01 AM
I don’t particularly want to talk about that today. If that’s the only reason we’re zooming, I would prefer not

Its at this point that my good mood starts to decline into anger. Like, what the actual fuck? The only time EVER that I say I need a break and the first thing on Monday morning, i need to report why? I wasn’t capable of being nice. I tried for diplomatic but I think I probably failed MISERABLY.

Boss 8:03 AM
OK, I guess you can come to me when you’re ready to talk.

Here’s the thing, I’d been voicing my frustrations all along. In my mind, there wasn’t anything left to talk about. Plus, i’m not a big talker. I don’t want to talk my feelings out. I want to be left the fuck alone.

Me 8:05 AM
Do i need to explain it, because that’s what it feels like. you are asking me to justify my need for a break. I carry a lot of emotion labor in this department and i needed a day where i didn’t talk to any of you

There it is, just laying it out there. No sugar coating. No diplomacy left in me. Plus, I have the sneaking suspicion that she needs me to tell her that my mental health day wasn’t because of her, which is again, more emotional labor.

Boss 8:06 AM
No no no no no – I agree, I’m just trying to figure out how to support?

I leaned on you a LOT last week, and I wanted you to know that I am aware of it, I don’t want to wear you out, AND I want to shift the things that most need to change.

I can’t with this one, as if my reasoning was because I had too many reports to run.

Me 8:08 AM
i need us to follow the policies we have. I lose both credibility and authority when decisions are made contrary to those policies

Part of the issue here is that we have these policies, they’re in writing and publically available. Then someone comes along and is like, but this extenuating circumstance, boo hoo. And we don’t follow the policy becasue feelings. Then I have to deal with the fallout of those breaks in policy and then people circumvent me to go to her because they won’t have to follow policy. Then I have to make her feel better for making bad decisions when she doesn’t understand why people keep acting they way they do. No matter how many times I remind her that its because they get what they want, it doesn’t seem to sink in.

Boss 8:09 AM
Is this about the visiting scholar issue? specifically? or other things?

Me 8:09 AM
culmination of 6 months of this. Name with held, the scholars, etc. I don’t feel like the ground beneath my feet is solid.

Again, me just laying it out there. I’m honestly, not sure how there is any confusion.

Boss 8:11 AM
OK, got it. So let’s just put a pin in it and I will check back in in a month to see whether things are better.

This one leads up to the message from 8:06. The answer about how its going to be better is that she stop leaning on me for everything. And to support, she has to actually carry her own weight. Putting a pin in it, isn’t going to make it better if behaviours do not change.

However, this whole conversation leads into another queston for me; Why does something have to be wrong for me to need a mental health day? Maybe i’m just burnt out. Maybe I have anxiety. Maybe I have depression issues that I haven’t made public. Or a myriad of other reasons. None of that is anyone’s business but my own. The pressure to have to explain myself still pisses me off, even if it was five days ago.

So, here we are. I had to take a mental health day to recoup from all the emotional labor and then come back to the need to pick up someone else’s emotional health before the office is even open for regular business hours.

For all those people out there who are picking up the emotional labor at home, at work, with your friends and family – on top of everything else – I see you.

Putting a Toe back in the Water

I’ve been away for a while now. Let’s be honest, COVID (still with us, unfortunately) put a real damper on everyone’s activities. I have done NOTHING for the past 18 months. Although, this is probabaly not news to any of you. Because all of you did the same thing.

Couple of things that I learned from Covid:

  1. I don’t like getting up and going to work, especially if I can do the same job from the comfort of my own home
  2. Hard pants are stupid. This is in direct reaction to the above.
  3. If I didn’t ever have to go to a movie theatre again, I wouldn’t. I would much rather stream it. I’ll pay the extra to do so too.
  4. When you start taking more pictures of your cats than your kid, you probably need to get out more
  5. Vacationing anywhere now is frightening as fuck because people are stupid
  6. I need a wider variety of restaurant options in my neighborhood. I don’t mind chain restaurants but I don’t want that to be my only option.
  7. Maskne is real, and I don’t like it
  8. When left to my own devices at home, I will drink an entire pot of coffee
  9. Damian Wayne (aka Batman‘s son) might be the best character ever created. Thanks HBOMax for dumping a shit-ton of DC cartoons in your streaming service because the continued enjoyment I get from this bloodthirsty little shit is amazing.

Right now, that about covers it.

Look for more regular postings . . . I promise.

Quarantine…Again

Some sad news. Amber Ruin didn’t win the Rone Award but my congratulations go out to all those that did win.

In other news, our house is under quarantine through most of next week. One of the teachers at Scarlett’s daycare had a positive test for COVID and everyone in the class was sent into quarantine. So, here we are stuck in the house because she can’t go to kindergarten either. Somehow, though, Ross-who works retail-is expected to be at work. I guess quarantine doesn’t apply to retail.

We’re all fine. We’re tracking our temperatures everyday and monitoring any “symptoms” that might come up.

As each day goes by, with me working and Scarlett at home, my house gets more and more dirt. There are toys EVERYWHERE. I don’t see that coming to an end either, mostly because by the time I’m done for the day, I kinda want to hide from everyone. I think I’m going to need a vacation alone when this is all said and done.

Any thoughts about where I could go? I’m open to suggestions.

Residual Magic Virtual Book tour

I’m doing a virtual book tour! Come join the fun and enter to win a free copy of Residual Magic.

October 12 Sapphyria’s Books
https://saphsbooks.blogspot.com/

October 12 Jazzy Book Reviews
http://bookreviewsbyjasmine.blogspot.com/

October 13 SImply Kelina
http://simplykelina.blogspot.com

October 13 JB’s Bookworms with Brandy Mulder
https://jbbookworms.blogspot.com

October 14 Midnight Musings with Bertena
https://vocal.media/authors/midnight-musings-with-bertena

October 15 Momma Says: To Read or Not to Read
http://mommasaystoreadornottoread.blogspot.com/

October 16 Lisa’s World of Books
http://www.lisasworldofbooks.net/

October 19 T’s Stuff
http://www.tsstuff.net

October 20 A Bewitching Guide to Halloween
https://www.abewitchingguidetohalloween.com/

October 21 Fang-tastic Books
http://fang-tasticbooks.blogspot.com

October 22 Westveil Publishing
https://www.westveilpublishing.com

October 22 Roxanne’s Realm
http://www.roxannerhoads.com/

October 23 Supernatural Central
http://supernaturalcentral.blogspot.com

October 23 Paranormalists
https://paranormalists.blogspot.com/

October 26 The Book Junkie Reads
https://thebookjunkiereadspromos.blogspot.com/

October 26 Rajiv’s Reviews
https://rajivsreviews.com/

October 26 The Creatively Green Write at Home Mom
http://creativelygreen.blogspot.com/

We Are NOT Talking About The State Of the World today

I do not want to talk about the shit show of a debate we all experienced this week. Or the fact that Trump and Melania now how COVID. Anyone could have seen that one coming. Instead, I’m choosing a snippet instead. That seems like a better option.

Remember, Residual Magic comes out on October 21, 2020 and is up for Pre-Sale now.

Plus, I don’t have shit to say. So, here you go.

“I’m sorry, what did you just say?” I mumbled, as Tag’s question tumbled around in my head. My brain hitched, unable to follow. The kitchen island was a hard edge at my back as I clutched the sweating glass of soda tight in my hand. Huh, the refrigerator door was open. Did I leave that open? That’s such a waste of energy. Why was I worrying about the electric bill and the energy? God, Brittany, pull it together. Focus!

“I asked if you would like to go to dinner with me,” the werewolf asked . . . again. “On a date,” he clarified as if I hadn’t understood the first time. In all honesty, I hadn’t. I was staring at him with my mouth gaping open wide enough to catch flies but I couldn’t seem to snap myself out of a stupefied shock. His lips turned up in a teasing smirk that made my gut tighten and my brow crinkle in confusion.

“A date?” I asked, my voice uneven and hesitant as I considered. As many times as I’d dreamed of being asked that question by a werewolf—and I had, many many MANY times—the werewolf in my daydreams had never been Tag.

Stewart Taggar was long and lean, towering over my five foot six inches. I wasn’t a giant but I wasn’t tiny either. His red hair was more carrot than auburn but it seemed to shimmer when set against his bronzed skin. He was muscled but not bulky like a lot of the werewolves in the pack. He gazed down at me now in a way that was new or maybe it wasn’t and I just hadn’t noticed. He’d always treated me—I’d thought—like a little sister. Honestly, most of the pack did. Yes, I was only twenty-two and decades or centuries younger than most of the wolves and vampires but that didn’t mean I was a child. Tag wasn’t looking at me like I was a kid, that’s for sure. And I wasn’t sure how I felt about that development.

“Aren’t you a little old for her?” a gruff, clipped voice called from the kitchen doorway. Without my knowledge or permission, my body reacted to that voice in ways that made heat creep into my cheeks. Everett Cooper was three or four inches taller than me at most; lean and muscular. He seemed to be gaining bulk every day and it looked good on him. His sandy blond hair was styled away from his face, exposing the deep navy-blue of his eyes. His gaze fell on me like a weight, not crushing or overwhelming but comforting and all too familiar.

“That’s for her to decide, pup,” Tag responded, with an edge of condescension in his last word that surprised me.

Tag and Ev were friends, or at least had been, I’d thought. I wasn’t sure what was going on between them lately, but something was definitely up. Standing between them, I was ridiculously uncomfortable. Tension boiled in the kitchen until it was a physical heat against my skin as the two werewolves faced off. Sweat beaded on my upper lip. I was waiting for one of them to pee on me and mark their territory or something dumb like that. To be honest, I only wanted one of them to pee on me. Oh God, that didn’t sound right.

“She’s not going anywhere with you, old man,” Ev growled, squaring his shoulders. I perked up at that statement. I may be desperately inlove with Everett Cooper in a shameful and embarrassing sort of way, I wasn’t fool enough to lie to myself anymore about that fact. I was head-over-heels in-love with the idiot. That didn’t mean he could order me around like a piece of property. Because he couldn’t. I did not belong to him.

“Whoa whoa whoa!” I huffed out, throwing my shoulders back in irritation and raising my chin in defiance. I was a strong independent woman, darn it, and even if Ev was the man of my dreams, I wasn’t going to let him talk about me like a piece of meat.

Yes, Ev had kissed me a couple of weeks ago. Yes, it had been a-maz-ing. And yes, I’d said I would wait for him to figure his stupid, insecure, man-baby crap out. But it had been more weeks than I’d like to admit since our kiss and I was tired of waiting for this grown man to figure out what he was going to do with me. If anything. Maybe a little fire under his rear end would move his addled brain along. Or maybe he’d decide I wasn’t worth the effort and let me go. Either way, it was good to know . . . wasn’t it? That’s what I told myself, anyway.

Both men turned, meeting my heavy—okay, angry—stare. I was too young and too cute for heavy. I just didn’t have the menace behind any stare to classify as heavy. Feisty anger though, I could do.

“First,” I started, meeting Ev’s deep, dark, and penetrating gaze. Ugh, he was so cute. Shake it off, Britt. Pull yourself together. “You’re not the boss of me,” I hissed. Tag snorted in laughter and I turned on him, “Second, don’t provoke him.” Tag had the good sense to drop the grin on his face and appear suitably apologetic. “Third,” I said with a bright and cheerful smile that was actually true, and my smiles hadn’t been true for a very long time. “Tag, I would love to go to dinner with you.”

“What?” Ev erupted, wide-eyed surprise clear on his face as he took an aggressive step in my direction.

Residual Magic Blood and Bone Legacy Book Cover

Sexism: Large and Small

We, as women, face a lot of roadblocks and bullshit that men just don’t run into on a daily basis.

These are sometimes small and simply annoying. An example of this is the last time I went to buy a car. For the first half an hour, the salesmen talked directly to Ross, leaving me out completely. We kept giving each other some epic side-eye, kind of hoping he would notice. He didn’t. Finally, Ross turned to the guy and said, “You’re going to have to convince her. She’s the one buying the car.”

Incidents like this, happen to women a lot. Most of the time, we roll our eyes and move on with our day. Sometimes, though, it’s not small and it’s not meaningless.

I realize that I’m paid less than my male counterparts for the same job- a better job, actually.

I realize that men get away with so much more than a woman would be able to get away with in the workplace. I see this on a daily basis with some of the male employees at my place of employment.

I also realize that I, alone, cannot change it. However, sometimes its incredibly hard to swallow.

This week, I was kinda offered a promotion but not really. It was an offer to take on more work and consolidate two jobs into one. I expressed concerns that the percentage they were offering for this “promotion” didn’t seem appropriate as compared to others in the same position or for me to sacrifice my home-life-which I would ultimately do in some regard. But I was open to a continued conversation. This is how negotiation works.

We are told as women to know our worth. If we don’t ask and just do what you are told without expressing your desire for more, you won’t get it. I fully stand behind this sentiment. I know my worth. I’m worth more than what they were offering…much more.

However, the response I got back was the typical demoralizing “how dare you” attitude that we as women are very very accustomed to hearing. Not only did I get the “how dare you”, but I also got mansplained about what it would take and that I should talk to others to see how this “promotion” works. The final insult wasn’t an overt threat, but the insinuation that if I passed on this “opportunity” another one wouldn’t come around.

Okay. So, there’s a lot to unpack.

First, each one of the people I was encouraged to speak to makes more than what I was asking for with less years of experience.

Second, the whole premise for the organizational structure of this position is based on ME. But this person decided it was essential to tell me who to talk to so that I could REALLY understand what it involved. I don’t particularly need this mansplained to me. Thanks though.

Third, and this might be the worst of all, was that this person is a woman. If you think that sexism doesn’t happen between women, you would be mistaken. It happens quite a bit.

Fourth, being a hiring manager myself, I understand that convincing someone that the position is a good opportunity and making them excited to accept the position is just as important as everything else. Walking away from this conversation which was entirely one-sided, I felt like I’d been taken advantage of and that I wasn’t respected at all. So, one has to ask what kind of attitude will I have with the new people I’ve now been coerced to work with?

I’m not alone here. I know that women around the world face everyday incidents that we don’t even recognize as sexist any more, or maybe never did. We’re so conditioned to accept these slights and insults. And when we don’t, we’re insulted, threatened, and belittled. And quite frankly, I’m tired of it. I’m tired of watching men do a piss poor job and not only get paid more but congratulated for doing the minimum. I’m tired of busting my ass and it not only going unnoticed but then expected for less.

This event seems particularly hard this week, given the loss of #NotoriousRBG. She was an advocate of gender equality and fought long and hard to elevate women and their choices to be equal to their male counterparts. In some ways, she was successful. It never once crossed my mind that I couldn’t do something because I was a woman. I know that those barriers were there for my mother, my grandmother, and her mother before her. In that respect, those women who fought and came before me were validated. The next generations didn’t experience the blatant sexism that was so prevalent not that long ago.

Instead, we deal with the subversive put downs. The unnoticed degradations. The insults. The gaslighting. The humiliation. And the shame of daring to want more.

The announcement of Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s death hit me harder than I thought it would. I had read her opinions and her dissents, reveling in her reasoning and the arguments she made that were not just relatable but sound. She was a champion for a cause she believed in. That I believe in and fight so that my daughter doesn’t have to deal with the same questions that I have experienced in my life. I’m more confident than most women in my own worth and my ability to do my job, or just about anything out there. So, this hits particularly hard because I never once questioned that I was qualified, talented, or worth what I was requesting. To be told I wasn’t, just pisses me off. However, there are women out there that believe it, who believe the put downs thrown at them daily in little ways and not so little ways.

I’m tired of it.

I’m tired of being called a bitch when all I am is confident.

I’m tired of being called a bully when I refuse to back down to your pressure and your insults.

I’m tired of listening to old white men tell me what I should be doing with my body, my speech, and my ideas.

Fuck you

Sound off! Tell me your stories.

Genetics are a funny thing

I’m going to tell you a little story.

My first year of college, I was living in the dorms and my room mate had gone home for the weekend. It was siblings weekend so my brother came up to sleep in the dorm and act like an 18 year old when he was really only 14. I don’t remember doing a lot of horrible stuff. We did have some alcohol, as youths are prone to do when left on their own. For the sake of my brother’s privacy and embarrassment, he will not be named. However, he still thinks this shit is funny, so fuck it, Michael (and I’m your big sister so I’m going to continue to call you Michael and not Mike for the rest of your life…because I can)- you’re about to be outed.

The one thing I do remember from that weekend was that my brother’s feet were THE most vile things I’d ever smelled. I don’t know what his socks were made of but we had to throw them away. We literally took them down the hall and tossed them in the trash can in the hallway.

It didn’t matter though. Whatever chemical reaction that transpired between his disgusting 14 year old feet and those socks, had permeated through the hallway and tainted the very air. I lived on the first floor next to the lobby and all weekend people strode through the lobby and were commenting “What the hell is that smell?”

Well, it was my brother’s feet.

I would also like to point out that I, and to put that into a bit of perspective, can’t smell. It has to be incredibly strong or right up in my face. I’ve literally walked by dead skunks on the road and not smelled them. I, however, distinctly remembering being on the verge of vomiting in the presence of that smell. So, if I was sick over it, what must other people have experienced?

So, what does this, gross but hilarious, story have to do with anything?

Here’s the thing. Genetics are funny. My daughter has inherited that weird stinky feet gene. She’s five! We were washing her sneakers every day. Spraying them with deodorizers. Anything we could think of to get it to stop. You could smell her feet when her shoes were still on. Everything she put her stinky feet on was contaminated. I pulled out her yoga mat the other day to do yoga and the minute I put my face on the mat, I smelled her gross feet.

I started to think that maybe it was her feet but maybe the socks or shoes too. I vaguely remembered that my brother had been wearing a pair of my Dad’s black dress socks. Why? I have no idea. I started investigating her socks. Were they natural fibers? How much polyester was actually in them?

Here’s the thing. Almost all the socks that we were buying and available at my local Target – because that’s the only place I actually go – were all polyester, or spandex, or something else. None of them had any real cotton in them.

Enter Bombas.

These are way more than I ever wanted to pay for any of her socks. But, they are more than 70% cotton. Which has made a world of difference. Her feet haven’t turned into a sewage cesspool since we changed the socks over.

Plus, when you order socks, they donate socks to homeless shelters. It makes me feel like I’m doing something responsible.

I’m giving you a chance to get 25% off. Click the button below if you’re interested.

Full disclosure – I get a kickback if you do…money toward more socks. I’d like to keep my daughter’s feet from stinking up my house, her kindergarten class, my car, and basically any other environment she encounters.

What have we learned here? Well, a few things:

  1. natural fibers are better
  2. Cheaper isn’t always better
  3. You never know what weird shit is going to turn up in your kids

Catching Up – Where Have You Been??

So, I’ve been gone for a while. The world has descended into a dumpster fire of epic proportions. In addition to COVID overwhelming everyone, we were also a bit swamped with everything closing down but still having to work full-time. I still had a book to finish and Scarlett was now spending all her time cooped up in the house with me. People were dying in droves from a disease that most of Washington wanted to ignore or play down.

Then George Floyd and Breonna Taylor were murdered and when you thought it couldn’t get worse, it did. People were marching-are still marching-and the information divide between right wing and left wing was an all out assault. and white people everywhere were either just discovering that black people were mad, or making gestures that wouldn’t really fuel change but made themselves feel better…cause, white people. I didn’t feel like anyone needed another middle aged white women telling the internet how horrible white people are in general. We all know that already. No one really wants to talk about the deep systematic changes that would need to take place to even make a dent in the institutional racism we have in place in this country. I’m sorry to say that breaking it down and rebuilding it all is probably what its going to take. But, our politicians are basically shitty people who are afraid to do anything of real value and California is basically an inferno. Sooooo, there’s that. I know i’m forgetting something because 2020 has basically sucked big donkey balls.

So, in light of all of that. I took a little blog hiatus.

But I feel like it might be time to get back in the habit of entertaining and spreading my joyful and sparkling personality around the faceless, cesspool of the internet.

So, let’s catch up.

First, I finished Residual Magic! Yay!

I’m sorry, I didn’t hear loud enough applause for that miracle of miracles. I. FINISHED. RESIDUAL MAGIC.

It will be released on 10/21/2020. I’ll have links later when it goes up for pre-sale. Look at my sparkly new cover.

Isn’t it pretty!

Anyway. During our time at home, we’ve also tackled a project or two that NEEDED to be done. The basement bathroom for instance.

This is what our crappy bathroom in the basement looked like after we ripped out the moldy vanity. Trust me…it wasn’t a good look

Before

After

This is what it looks like now. Ross and I did it ourselves…for the most part. We did call in a plumber for some work that we weren’t comfortable doing ourselves but all the rest was us.

Yesterday, we also added to our house.

Meet Oliver and Percy.

Percy is very outgoing…Oliver, not so much.

I think that about catches everyone up.

Good luck in 2020! We’re going to need it.

Kickass Women, Saving the World

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