Monday, May 15, 2017
Sunday, May 14, 2017
Sunday, April 9, 2017
Two years ago I was working a dead end job that I kept because, like many who work dead end jobs, my family needed the money and we weren't winning any lotteries any time soon. It had been a year of big things for our family of two. We had recently purchased our first home, celebrated marriage equality coming to the state of Illinois by finally getting married after 8 years together, and we were starting to talk about having kids.
However, that year was also a rough one for our family. Our jobs were making both of us unhealthy, both from stress and from not being able to eat a healthy diet or sleep normal hours. My husband lost his step father, and I lost my grandfather, both within a week of one another right before thanksgiving. A few months later I lost my grandmother as well. We also had costly medical expenses and automotive repairs that, coupled with the need to suddenly fly around the country, three times, for funerals, drained what savings we'd built up.It was at this time I decided I needed a way out of my dead end job and find a way to meet the next chapter of our lives head on. We wanted to be fathers, after all, and if we were going to do it in time to enjoy being young enough to be an active part of our kids' lives, I needed to make enough money to make our family dreams a reality.
So, I took a big risk, and changed careers. I took a commission sales job in the financial industry, which sounded amazing on paper. So many people had made so much money in a very short amount of time. I was smart, learned quickly, and felt that - despite my lack of experience - I, too, could become a success story. My recruiter, my manager, my colleagues, all assured me I would be making at least twice, possible three times my current salary within a year. This did not work out as promised.
Here's a lesson you don't understand until you've had to live it: when it sounds too good to happen to you, it is too good and it isn't going to happen to you. Getting started in my new job meant a lot of up front expenses. I had to pay to get licensed, which was hundreds of dollars per exam. I had to pay for marketing and a massive increase in gas since now I was spending all day in my car making sales calls, and I was told that every dollar would be repaid tenfold. That you had to spend money to make money.
Things weren't great, but they were manageable. We were getting into debt, but we kept being assured that thing would work out. The next 6-10 months were a rollercoaster of financial upheaval. Every time I thought about quitting, I'd somehow get just enough of a commission check that I thought...ok...we can make it...things will turn around. I was stuck. I didn't want to leave, because I'd spent so much money getting into the field that I didn't want to let it be for nothing, but I also knew that if I continued down this road the decision to find a new job would eventually be made for me. Then my company was bought out.
Under the new ownership everything changed almost immediately. Commission payments came to a screeching halt. Business I was working on that should have paid out thousands of dollars either never got paid out or, for whatever reason management was coming up with at the time, would get paid out in checks barely large enough to fill my gas tank.
In short, I ended up having to finance almost half a year of my salary with credit. I started working a second job in the evenings and then a third job on the weekend, but no matter how much supplemental income I made, the debt just kept piling higher. The breaking point came last fall when I was forced to start working these supplemental jobs mostly full time.
My primary job had stopped paying me completely. I was driving for a car sharing service 12-18 hours a day, 7 days a week, in addition to other jobs. We went from buying groceries to living off ramen and hoping that we could survive one more day.
I'd like to stop here for a moment. I'm ashamed to write this. I'm ashamed to put this out for the world to see. I'm ashamed to admit that I was too proud to see the writing on the wall and leave my job before things got as bad as they got. I'm ashamed that I couldn't provide for my family. I'm ashamed that I made such a ridiculous series of financial mistakes. But I never stopped working. Ever. It just wasn't enough to stop the bleeding.
I finally got a new job that began in mid-January. It's a good job. I like it, and I very much believe I could find a career here. It pays a solid salary, and it's allowed us the ability to keep our pantry stocked and feel some semblance of normalcy on a day to day basis. But financing your life with debt has a price, and right now that price is high. Despite my new jobs, I am still working 7 days a week between one primary and two part time jobs. Even with all of that, I am desperately in need of the funds to catch up.
When you're making the decision to eat or pay your bills, there are bills that don't get paid. And when you've had to make that decision for months on end, getting caught up on a middle class salary is impossible. So, I'm turning to you, the internet. The internet that gave a man hundreds of thousands of dollars to make potato salad.
I'm asking for a second chance for me and my family. For the family I have now, and the family we hope to grow. I am hoping to raise $5000 as a way to get caught up on several back payments and to get some kind of breathing room on this mountain of debt. $5000 is not going to pay anything off, but it would all me to pay bills that we're not paid from having to decide if groceries or credit card bills were more important.
If the gods are merciful, and we somehow raise this amount of money, every penny of it will go to catching my family up. If we are able to raise more than that, I would hope to put it towards paying off our debt, which is sizable when you're having to live exclusively off loans and credit cards when your job stops paying you for half a year. Every dollar that is raised is a dollar towards making my family whole again. Towards putting two hard working people on a path to financial security and possibly have a chance at starting a family in the next few years.
Bless you and thank you.
To contribute to this GoFundMe campaign, or to share the link, click here: http://www.gofundme.com/AChanceForAFamily
Love and Lyte,
Friday, April 7, 2017
We are excited to introduce a new action-drama radio show about three young girls who use their superpowers to fight against injustice and the many harmful practices Ethiopian girls routinely face. Using their powers to see the past and future, Tibeb Girls draws the audience into the typical lives of Ethiopian girls, building empathy for their hardship and a vision of a brighter future. Tibeb Girls puts girls’ issues at the center and provides examples of girls asserting themselves, problem-solving, and implementing solutions. By broadcasting a program that will examine harmful practices and explore girls’ agency in addressing those challenges, Tibeb Girls will foster a culture of conversation among girls, families, and throughout the broader community. Through our partnerships detailed below, the Tibeb Girls is an Ethiopian-led, innovative, scalable and sustainable approach to measurably improving coordination around girls’ issues in Ethiopia.
Wednesday, April 5, 2017
Friday, March 24, 2017
- This was going to be nothing. The "exclusively gay moment" we were promised was going to be as benign as a lingering glance or an oddly enthusiastic grin. We all were going to make too much out of this, and everyone would be pissed that either we were robbed of our "first" gay Disney character (totally not the first) or that Disney was playing activist and baiting the gay community.
- It was going to piss everyone off by having the first "exclusively gay moment" in a canonical Disney Princess film be represent one of the most problematic tropes in the gay community: hetero worship.
Monday, March 6, 2017
Sunday, February 26, 2017
Yes, a little teeny tiny part of me that's covered in glitter and likes hot chocolate and Disney movie marathons was holding out hope of some kind of magical deus ex machina. Don't laugh. I'm desperate.
By now you've seen the news stories that a group of witches, non-religious folks, Christian mystics, and Lana Del Rey all decided to hex the ever loving shit out of our (sorry...choking back bile saying this) President. It started with a call to bind Trump and all those who abet him and turned into a worldwide call to magical arms. February 24, set your wands to "curse" and aim them at the White House.
I wasn't going to do it, because, if I'm most honest, I didn't think for a second it would do anything. And I don't know what that says about me or my relationship with magic or my relationship with the divine. I think it says that I think whatever energy was created by his followers and those that put him in power is mightier than mine. And...again...I don't know how to feel about that.
It was my husband, my most non-religious-but-technically-Catholic husband, who heard about the movement and cheerfully decided we were participating. He's a gay Mexican immigrant. He's angry and scared and a spectrum of unnamable emotions of which I can only guess. It was his unabashed enthusiasm for the event that moved me to action.
Now, I'll admit, I didn't really care to read up on the binding that was going around or to adapt it to my needs. I'm sure it was a fine spell. I figured if I was going to participate, I was going to do the kind of spell I wanted. I called up my friend Vinna Harper (literary maven here at the Riot) who decided she also needed an outlet for her fear and anxiety and that magic was as good a form of protest as any.
That's what I felt this was. Magical protest. Magical psychology. Working through the complex knot work of trepidation and rage and despondency by working magic, because when you have nothing else to cling to you can still cling to your inner spark of divinity. The bit of your heart that never stopped being starfire before it transmuted to flesh and bone.
We decided to make a simple cloth poppet, fill it with paper messages and ideas that embodied Donald Trump's actions and ideologies, as well as our own reactions to them. We colored the poppet to look like him, pants unzipped and penis exposed because of his known history of sexual assault and because of his pride. We named it. And then we stuck pins in it while stating what we wished would happen.
Then we spat on it, burned it to ash, dumped the ashes in the toilet and...well...fiber and coffee was involved before we finally flushed him down the drain. (Note: we saved the pins and did not flush those down our plumbing system... Just saying, before someone freaks out about fish eating our spell ingredients.)
It felt good. It felt like release. It felt like protest. It felt holy. And I have no clue if it "worked" in the sense that I have no idea whether we will be seeing Trump impeached and removed in the near future, or suddenly afflicted with maladies unknown, but I know for damn sure it made us all feel better and more secure and more united, which is magical in and of itself.
Love and Lyte,
Saturday, January 28, 2017
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Sunday, January 15, 2017
Left, right, or center, social media algorithms - Facebook especially - have been learning what you like, dislike, and, more importantly, what keeps you engaged and using their service. If you comment on pictures of animal rights issues most often, then that's what will continue to propagate in your feed. This "Filter Bubble" has helped to further drive a wedge between folks with slightly differing opinions into people with diametrically opposing world views, because we can no longer look at the same information and see it how it happened. We see it in the context of all of our neighboring progressive or conservative leaning material. We see it commented on by like-minded liberals or conservatives who help skew our view.
Monday, December 12, 2016
Dr. Torres will be discussing the recent election and what women should be doing to prepare for a Trump administration in regards to access to healthcare, birth control, and abortion.
Meg Elison discusses her novel, The Book of the Unnamed Midwife, and its upcoming sequel regarding a dystopian future in which women are endangered and access to proper healthcare is a thing of the past. (I promise this was written to be fiction.)
News: Michigan HB 4643, update on the DAPL Standing Rock "victory", and a restauranteur that's ensuring transgender people have a safe place to work.
Word of the Day: Salient
Inciting A Riot is now a Patreon supported podcast. If you'd like to support this show, as well as my joint show Inciting A Brewhaha, please consider giving a small, monthly donation at Patreon.com/IncitingARiot.
Love and Lyte,
@IncitingARiot on Twitter
Subscribe/Rate/Comment on iTunes: http://bit.ly/iTunesRiot
Friday, December 9, 2016
Wednesday, November 9, 2016
When I started seeing the results in placing like Florida and Pennsylvania returning a hefty surge in Republican votes and the conversation began to shift to the so called "Blue Wall". When Her path to the presidency became contingent on the possibility of a few voting districts in Maine. When we were hoping for upsets in Georgia.
The polls...all the polls...were wrong.
From the information I can gather, as our nation begins the post-mortem analysis, a few things seem to have occurred:
- Voter Apathy - Our country already has one of the lowest voter turnouts in the developed world. Nothing about yesterday's numbers seems to have changed that fact. People saw polls that universally favored Clinton and either didn't show up or otherwise felt comfortable not voting for her.
- The divided Democratic base and the fact that the margin of victory in many of these states seems to correlate with improved numbers for Johnson and Stein. I have seen no state that she lost where the difference in Trump's lead to her wasn't dwarfed by the number of people who voted third party.
- White men and self-described Evangelical voters had a massive surge for Trump. Massive. He won them in nigh-unprecedented numbers.
- The data seems to indicate - based on reports I've heard on NPR and seen on CNN and Bloomberg - that the Comey letter regarding Clinton's emails caused just enough doubt and wiggle room in the "Blue Wall" and other Rust Belt areas of the country - as well as, of course, Pennsylvania and Florida - that Trump was able to successfully sway voters in recent weeks.
- You are not, we are not, moving to Canada. At best your citizenship would take 18-30 months to get through, and by then it'll basically be time to elect another president. At the very least, mid-term elections will have happened, and we will have the chance to change the House and Senate blue. The real power is in Congress, and it is there we need to aim our efforts for the time being.
- Speaking of, Congressional Republicans don't like Trump either. They, by and large, don't have a big problem with marriage equality or freedom of religion. (No I'm not trying to polish a turd, here. I recognize the chasm between the left and right when it comes to minorities.) The Congressional Republicans are the kind of fiscal conservatives that make it difficult to create new social change, but don't bother much with actively rolling back rights once given. We are going to have to place our faith in moderates like Marco Rubio and company.
- Obama can still make sure that the final Supreme Court seat is filled during his tenure. This will help to stymy the damage from last night and ensure that any further madness is reduced to the next 4 years and not the next 4 generations.