Tag Archives: jobs

Hiding In Plain Sight

So, my seasonal job seems to have turned into a permanent position, which is fabulous. That was what I wanted to begin with. I figured that Christmas was a good time to get my foot in the door so to speak. Also, my kids have birthdays in the end of November and the beginning of December, so I figured that worst case scenario, I would make some extra loot during the holidays and have some experience in the field that I want to have an eventual career in.
Well, it is February now, and week 1 of the retail year, and I am still employed. I absolutely love it there. I have gotten quite a few positive guest feedbacks on our surveys that we invite all our patrons to take. I love the people that I work with as well (for the most part – of course there are a couple of people that I don’t get along with). It is all women save for one gay man, and they all are as obsessed with makeup as I am. It is fun to have a place where I can be around people who have the same passions as me, and I am privy to what new products are coming out as well.
The one single issue that I find that I have is the same one that I have had at every other job, hiding my history. For one, I feel that it would truly cost me my job. Not so much my past drug convictions or assualt arrest, but my numerous theft arrests and subsequent convictions. See, we have a problem with thefts at my store. Ironically we sell a good deal of what I used to boost, but thank God, I never stole or tried to steal anything from my store. There was a big crackdown a few years back on all of the pawn shops in Baltimore that took all of the stolen pharmaceuticals, so no one really has a place to sell that stuff any more.
No, no one is stealing razor blades or Olaay’s from my work. No, they go for fragrance. That and the Urban Decay “Naked” palettes.
Since I have been employed there, I have seen a fellow employee get fired for theft of some sort. I don’t thi that she was physically stealing so much as helping or enabling someone else to steal. Obviously I wou never do anything to jeopardize a job that I love in a field that I love, but would my manager see that? Or if she knew my record would suspicion always be cast my way when ever there is a theft during a shift of mine?
As for the new friends that I am making, would they still like me if they new that I am a recovering heroin addict? It is easy to say that if they would care then they are not people to be friends with anyway, but it is not that simple. I have a very hard time opening up to people and making friends. I don’t want to ruin any chance of making new friends by sabotaging my chance by revealing a past that they really have no business of knowing.
I do feel in a way that after all of the progress that I thought that I had made, maybe I haven’t made as much as I thought after all. Maybe I should be confident enough to say fuck them if they can’t handel my past. I feel like I have been able to own my addiction, but I guess that I am not as secure in myself as I thought. Or maybe, I am allowed to have some secrets. Maybe we all do. Maybe my past is none of their business as I honestly am an entirely different person than I was back then.

2015, A New Year, A Time For New Growth

This is the time of the year when everyone makes their New Year’s resolutions. Me, I’m not much for resolutions per se, I find that 90% of the time they are impractical and people end up breaking them anyway. What I am about is straying to better oneself. Of course this is something that we should all be working on anyway, but we often forget to do it.
Last year, I got back into Tibetan Buddhism again. It has always been something that I studied, but in 2014, I got back into inserting those teachings into my life. Something that I had not been in the habit of doing when I was getting high all day everyday. I find that for me, personally, Buddhism gives me a great deal of peace, something that I have been searching for my entire life.
One thing that I am going to try this year is to stop be so fucking afraid of failing and go after my dreams. I got a seasonal job at Ulta Beauty, and it seems that I will stay on as a permanent employee, so I have gotten my foot in the door. I have talked to some of the girls that I work with who have a makeup artistry license, and they told me of a really good, world renowned school in our area. My goal is to just do it.
I think that anyone who is a parent wants a better life for their children than the one that they had. I don’t really know when or why I started to become so self destructive. I honestly feel like I was born with a hole or a void in my heart and soul. The death of my father and my subsequent rape (not to mention being molested as a a young child) served to farther stretch this hole. Looking back, I don’t know if I was trying to fill the void or just numb the pain of it being there.
I am well aware of the statistics of children of addicts and their likelihood to become addicts themselves. It is most definitely a gene that is passed on, and my kids get it from both sides. I am terrified to think that they may go down the same road as me and my husband.
I am very conflicted on how to broach the subject of drug use with my children when they are of that age. Do we tell them about our struggles, arrests, the hell that we both personally went through? Will this serve to scare them straight so to speak or will the see this as an excuse to use drugs? Sort if like we would be hypocrites to tell them that drugs are bad?
My daughter is so much like me in so many ways. She is such a rule follower. A goody two shoes of sorts, but so was I. I was probably one of the LAST people that one would expect to develop a heroin addiction. From my family history, my upbringing, my graduating at the top of my class, going to college on scholarship with honors, never getting in trouble of any sorts. That is the thing, drug addiction doesn’t care who you are, it can strike anyone, anywhere, at anytime.
Not just for 2015, but for the rest of my kids childhood, I am constantly working towards being the best mother that I can. Most importantly I want to be a good role model. These are “resolutions” that I can keep.

Movin’ On Up?

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I wanted off by apologizing for not posting in a little over a week. Shit’s been hectic to say the least. I started working (yeah!) at Ulta Beauty. I was a little nervous to go back to work, as I have been a stay at him Mother since the middle of 2011. My husband was laid off about two months ago and has not started back to work yet, and it is Christmas time, so now seemed like a good time to start. I have been wanting to break into the beauty industry for awhile now, and Ulta is one of my favorite stores in the world. Stores always higher extra help around the holidays,so I applied. While it is only part time, it helps with money, and I love it. I get to work with makeup everyday, and my co-workers are awesome. Hopefully this leads to eventually becoming certified as a makeup artist.
I have also been busy with Thanksgiving and my children’s’ birthdays. My daughter turned 9 on November 28. I had to go into work at midnight on Thanksgiving and got off at six am on Black Friday. It sucked, but hey, I was off in time to celebrate my daughter’s birthday. My son turns 6 on December 11. Obviously, money is EXTREMELY tight the last couple of months in the calendar year.
As an addict in recovery, I find that staying busy is important. Fuck, it is vital, imperative to my sobriety. Boredom is one of the most dangerous things to a drug addict. Of course the first struggle is to get to the point where you are not waking up puking all over yourself, drenched in cold sweats, twitching, rolling around trying to get comfortable with shooting pain in your back, and restless leg syndrome. The mistake that people tend to make is that once the ills are gone they think that they are “cured”, that they are no longer an addict. Sorry, but it doesn’t work that way.
When you are in active addiction, you spend the vast majority of your day either getting high or doing activities that are somehow related to getting high (boosting, hustling money in some sort of way, trying to cop, ducking the police, etc). The immense amount of time that is freed up when you sober up is nothing to play with. You truly do not know how to fill your time. Often, you end up getting high, simply as something to do.
Of course, it is a good idea to stop hanging out with the people that you were using with, but sometimes people think that as long as they cut ties with their “get high@ friends, then they are safe. This does nothing to account for the devil that is within all of us. It sounds so cliche, but your addiction really does want to kill you. It will constantly try to trick you into thinking that getting high to relieve your intense boredom won’t hurt anything. Honestly, it might not hurt anything, that ONE time. The problem is that is very hard to keep it to that one time, and getting high daily WILL hurt.
Having something to do is the number one reason why I am so thankful to have gotten the job. The fact that it is in a field that I love is just a cherry on top!

When It Rains It Pours

First of all, let me start this post by apologizing for it taking over a week to get this post up. I try to post every Monday or Tuesday, and obviously I am really late on that. Shit has been hectic around my way. There has been a lot going on lately that has tested my patience, my faith, and my will to maintain a healthy, sober lifestyle.
It started last Monday. My husband had been at his new company since the middle of April. The people that he came there with went to put in their two weeks (for a VERY justified reason, I might add). They had a meeting with the person to explain why they were leaving, and that they would help with the transitioning of jobs. I don’t know everything that happened because I obviously wasn’t there, but shit did not go well. He made them leave right away, and put something on their pink slip like they were fired or involuntary quit or something. Now, I am not going to get into why they wanted to leave because I am not all about putting out other people’s business like that. However, I will say that from what I heard, they were beyond justified in wanting to leave.
Aaron was going to possible go to the company that these people ended up at eventually, but he wasn’t sure. He liked working at this company. On Tuesday, with no notice at all, the boss calls my husband’s foreman, and tells him to tell Aaron that he is laid off. I guess they were worried about him quitting without notice or, more likely, they were retaliating against him for the people that they had an issue with. He had never had a write up, a safety violation, had never no-called/no-showed, nothing. So, BAM, we were left with no money coming in.
Oh, did I mention that my daughter’s birthday is in November, followed by my son’s birthday in December, followed by Christmas? Also we have a pretty steep car payment, along with all of our other bills.
Then, on Thursday, I went to the clinic to get my weeks worth of take homes. My counselor calls me back to tell me that my insurance had lapsed and that they sent them a huge receipt of non-payment. When my husband got his union job, we picked up another insurance, but the clinic doesn’t take that kind. So the other insurance I had paid the clinic and then sent it to the secondary insurance. I never got a bill. The clinic will let it be behind as long as they know that it is coming from the insurance company. Anyway, I owe a bunch of money and cannot receive take homes until my debt is zero. Actually, they are supposed to drop my dose, but I gave them the amount due for the week, and they agreed to keep my dose as is. Wonderful timing. Cause I really can afford that right about now!!!!
In times like these, it is easy for those of us who are recovering addicts to say, “Fuck It!”, and go back to be a full-fledged active addict. My counselor asked me, “Do you care more about the take-homes, or about the quality of life that you have when you are not an active addict?” He is right. While it obviously sucks to have to go to the clinic every day,many it is a hassle, it is not a reason to throw my life away.
If you have ever been an addict then you know the anxiety associated with wondering how you are going to make enough money to achieve the amount of heroin that you need to function. It is not just “to be high”, because while we may want that, if we use daily, we know that that rarely, if ever happens. It is about not puking and shitting all over yourself. It is about having enough to show up at work, and actually work. It is about having enough to be able to be a parent and not let your sickness show through to children who simply do not understand. It is about having enough to pretend that mommy is just lie every other mommy out there.
The peace that I have knowing that I don’t have to worry about those things (not to mention all the legal ramifications that go along with being a drug addict in this country), is an amount that cannot be quantified into numbers. It is a deep, easy peace that I don’t want to give up. Any small disruption to this, causes me huge anxiety.
This is, of course, easier to remember in times of reflection than it is in real time scenarios. I have to remind myself to stop and look at all angles of the situation before I act hastily. Hopefully there is a light at the end of this tunnel.

The Dangers Of Hiding Our Scars

One time I read a quote about how there is no one stronger on the face of the Earth as an addict who has managed to achieve and maintain sobriety. I couldn’t agree more. I have gone through a lot in my life. Rape, near death (through overdose and guns drawn on me), jail, loss of friends and family, and more bullshit than I care to get into in this blog, but overcoming addiction and managing to stay sober to this date was (and is) by far the hardest thing that I have ever gone through.

My question then is if we as recovering addicts are the strongest people on Earth, why are we shunned by the rest of the world? In 2007, I came home from jail after I had spent Christmas and New Years Eve away from my daughter locked behind bars waiting for a bail to be granted so that I could get bailed out on four different warrants. I came home sober to a very different life than I had before I went to jail. My husband was also locked up on a no bail warrant. (Actually, our no bail warrants both arose from a charge in which we were co-defendants. We were charged with everything from first, second, and third degree assault, to theft, to conspiracy.) One of my best friends was locked up in the strict-as-fuck Commonwealth of Virginia.

I knew that going out boosting was simply not an option. First of all, my partners in crime (my husband and my best friend being held captive in Virginia) were both locked up and thus un-available. Second of all anyone who steals (or whores or deals) in order to receive drugs knows that you simply cannot continue that activity if you wish to remain clean and sober. 

Well, I was a single mother with a daughter for whom I was the sole provider of, I needed a job ASAP. I got a job at an UNO’s Pizzeria. I never told a sole there about my history. When I had court dates, I made up an excuse as to why I needed to miss work that day. I was in a women’s addiction group every Wednesday night that I told my managers was a photography class. I told co-workers that I was separated from my husband instead of saying that he was in jail (eventually I did say that he was in jail, I just didn’t tell them that it was drug related).

I lied. I hid my scars both physical and emotional. I wore long selves all the time in order to hide my track marks. I thought that if I just hid my past from everyone new that I met then I could just become a new person. It didn’t work. I was hiding from myself. When I relapsed, I kept lying and pretending that I was not an addict. Know what happened? I got high for three more years. 

We as addicts need to admit our truth. Maybe not to everyone, but we shouldn’t lie. We need to be honest with ourselves. We are and always will be addicts. Society is not going to just decide to accept addicts out of the blue. We have to force acceptance. This will be an uphill battle of course, but I believe that it can happen. When I was in high school and college and diagnosed with a whole slew of psychological disorders it was so very taboo. Being on anti-depressants or anti-anxiety medicines of any sort was something that you just did not admit to. Now it seems that every other person you meet is on some sort of psychiatric medication. 

Addiction is a disease that is both physical and mental. I think (I hope) that one day addicts can openly admit that they are addicts and that they need help. To that end, I hope that help is then readily available. Addicts (sort of like the homeless) are the forgotten. There is not an accurate picture of how many people suffer from this horrible affliction and so there is not enough resources out there for people to be able to help themselves.

I know that it is not easy or fast to change the way the vast majority of society looks at any group that is perceived as a minority, but the issue is that there are far more addicts out there than people care to realize. If people can look past their prejudices and realize that recovered addicts are some of the smartest, strongest, compassionate people in the world, then we wouldn’t have to hide from our true selves and cause greater pyschological  damage to people that tend to have enough damage to overcome. Here’s to hope!

Trying To Take Two Steps Forward Without Taking Three Steps Back

This week, my husband changed companies. The new company is giving him a raise, paid holidays, and a work truck. The work truck is the best part of the deal for us. See, we share a car at the moment. If he has a work truck, then when my youngest starts kindergardten and is in school all day, I will be able to go back to work part time.

The last time I had a job, it was in 2011. I worked as a waitress at a little tavern, near my house. I left the job because we were going to be moving to Tenneessee. We did move, for a month. We hated it. It was in the middle of nowhere, total bum-fuck America. I’m talking an hour from the nearest Target, Best Buy, mall, doctors, zoo, civilization. On top of it, my oldest was starting kindergarten that fall (my youngest was 2 1/2 at the time). The schools were we live now are ten out of ten. The school around there were a four out of ten. So we moved back home, ill as shit. We drove 110 mph the entire way, switching drivers every hour, making an eight and a half hour drive in six.

My husband and I were both in the depths of active addiction. My husband caught a couple of charges and ended up doing some time in Virginia while he was waiting for them to give him a bail. The charge was total bullshit and he didn’t do any time other than the time that he did until we could convince the magistrate to give him a bail. He also got eighteen months with thirteen suspended in Maryalnd.

This is when I got clean once and for all. I did not want to be the reason that he relapsed. The jail that he was in while he did his time in Maryland was a pre-release center. They allowed him to get a job. Once he cam home, he was able to get back into the D.C. union and get a good job with benefits and what not. I have been a stay at home mom this whole time. My son doesn’t go to school until one in the afternoon. The both get home from school right aroung four. So add that to the fact that we only have one vehicle, working has been out of the question. But now we are going to have two cars.

The issue is what job to get. I never finished college, so I have no degree. My work history is all over the map. Oh yeah, it doesn’t help that I have a rather extensive criminal record. The only plus on that aspect is that I have no felony convictions. Unfortunately, you can not take an IQ test to apply for a job. See, I don’t have a whole lot of skills, per se. I am just really fucking smart, but that is not something that you can put on a resume.

I have taught pre-school, I have worked as a receptionist at a car dealership, I have done renovations at Jo-Ann Fabrics, I have been a cashier, I have been a sales girl at Coach. What I have the most experience at, what I did from 2006 untill 2011 is bartending and waitressing. I was lead server at a chain restaurant, I trained other servers there and was the daytime bartender. I was in charge of inventory, ordering liquor, beer, wine, kegs, etc. I helped decide what beers and alcohol we were going to feature during different promotions, etc.

Bartending is an addicts dream job. You work – you get paid. You don’t have to wait untill the end of the week to get paid and try to make the money last, knowing that it will be gone by the end of the weekend (if it lasts that long). Actually, I was really lucky. Since I was a lead server/bartender, I made slightly above minimum wage, plus my tips. Not the $3.07 serve minimum wage, the real minimum wage. That went on my pay check, I got my tips daily. I got the best of both worlds.

I am not trying to go back the restaurant world. It is a feeding ground for drug addicts and alcoholics. There is not a bar, restaurant, tavern, club, pub, whatever that does not staff a plethora of addicts. I am worried that this sort of job will trigger a relapse or at least the overwhelming desire to use. I have distanced myself from all of my friends that are addicts, whether they are in active addiction or in recovery, I am not sure if I want to work at the sort of job that attracts addicts to it. As I stated in the title I don’t want to take two steps forward simply to take three steps back.

Another issue with a serving job is that aside from management, there is very little room for career advances. There is no raises. You can not budget the way you do a normal job. There is no, “If I work 40 hours, then I will make this much.” It varies too much. You could make thirty dollars on day and three hundred the next, it is hard to tell. Obviously a Saturday night will tend to yield more money than a Monday lunch shift.

As a mother, being a manager at a restaurant interests me very little. You work very, very long hours for very, very little pay. I am not interested in working sixty hours a week or more for thirty thousand dollars or less.

So then, the question is, how do I move forward? I am keen on becoming a makeup artist. Makeup is something that I love and am very much obsessed with. This is a hard field to get your foot in the door. Clients tend to want to hire people based on word of mouth, and if you have no experience it is hard to get the clients to yield that experience.

Since I have started writing this blog, and getting letters from people thanking them for what I have written, I am thinking that social work is my calling. I have laws had an internet in helping others, but going through the trials and tribulations of addiction, I really want to help fellow addicts. A friend of mine that I used to work with, is heading up a homeless shelter in Baltimore over the summer. I told her that I would love to help her in any way possible. I sincerely hope that she takes me up on this request.

When I was getting high in the streets of Baltimore, I saw, met, got high with a number of homeless people. As a society, we need to help them, I want to help them personally. It is a matter close to my heart. Homelessness is the core problem, but substance abuse or mental health issues or physical and/or sexual abuse is almost there as well. These are issues that need to be addressed with these people.

Of course,this would be great experience as well. I know that I am more than likely have to get a degree in order to be a substance abuse counselor, but at least this is one profession where my past struggles and history with addiction and my criminal record will not hurt me. Actually, it will probably help (not the criminal record). It would be great to use my addiction for good.

I have gone through hell and back to get sober. I might as well try to do some good with the knowledge that I have accrued along my journey. If I can help someone from making the same mistakes that I have, then perhaps all of this pain was not in vain.

As a recovering addict, it is important to not get too complacent or cocky. It is important to keep those memories of the depths of our disparity at the forefront of our minds. I am not talking about dwelling on the past with a stubborn refusal to move forward, I am simply talking about not forgetting how hard it was to acheive sobriety. When we get too comfortable with being clean, when we forget how far gone we let ourselves get, it is too easy to slip back into addiction. I want to move forward, but I do not want to slip back into old habits by feeling like I am invincible.

Oh, Make Me Over

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“Oh make me over/ I’m all I wanna be/ A walking study/ In demonology” – Hole “Celebrity Skin”

I mentioned that I am trying to become a makeup artist. A friend of mins who owns a wonderful company called “Blend Make-Up Artistry”. She told me the best way to break into the business was to get a job at MAC, Sephora, or Ulta. They can certify you, and then a company similar to hers would hire you. While a company such as MAC will teach you and certify you, you need to have a fairly knowledgeable foundation. I already have this, but I have been working on knowing everything.

I am a stay at home mother currently. I do looks from Kevyn Aucoin’s books, “Making Faces”  and “Face Forward” in myself and my daughter. She does not share my love of makeup. The only time she wants her makeup done is for Halloween, when she is a different Monster High character every year. I have also been re-creating looks that I find on YouTube or sites such as “BeautyBybel”.

“When I wake up/ In my makeup/ It’s too early/ For that dress”

My love of makeup goes far beyond a possible career opportunity. Beyond making myself look pretty. I love the ritual. I love being able to turn myself into different versions of myself with the flick of a cat-eye liner, or the application of a pale pink lipstick. I find it liberating that I can be a sweet, demure stay at home mom, a sex-pot diva, or a goth princess. I can be Madonna, Cher, Marilyn Monroe, a swinger, an ingenue, a bombshell, or a siren.

I have been contemplating the idea of selling Mary Kay or Avon while I am a stay at home mom. This would enable me to earn some income, procure more contacts in the cosmetics industry, and have some work experience that is in the make up field. (I have plenty of work experience, but none in this field).  I tend to lean more towards high-end brands, so Mary Kay would probably be more in line with what I would be looking for. Any store I work at, I would be a salesperson. Yes, you do makeovers. And show women how to achieve different looks, but it is all a tool to sell the products. Being a Mary Kay saleswoman would look good on a resume.

I am into the idea of showing women how to liberate themselves by putting on some lipstick and eyeliner. At the end of the day. It doesn’t matter if society finds you beautiful. If you think that you look good, you will have an air of confidence that is immensely sexy and can not be destroyed.

Go Eagles! Game day makeup
Go Eagles! Game day makeup