Have You Read ‘1984’ Lately?

Okay, so a little disclaimer. This really isn’t related to the administration currently in office. For future reference, this post was initially drafted in January 2019.

I’m only about 45% through the book. So, I won’t make observations past that point. And that’s all this post is…a list of observations and how they appear to correlate to our current time in life.

If you’ve never read the book, you should. It’s on Amazon Prime for free if you’re a Prime member. Libraries have it, too.

Big Brother Is Watching You

So, in the very beginning of the book, Winston is entering into the building where his apartment is located. There is a poster of “Big Brother.” The caption reads “Big Brother Is Watching You.”

My take here is all the damn technology we have (that I am also currently using to post this missive). All the stupid fucking disclaimers people slap up on their Facebook profiles thinking it means Facebook, the government, and our alien overlords can’t take their private info. News flash: when you accepted Facebook’s terms of use / terms of service, you sold your privacy. If you don’t like that, get off of Facebook.

Anyway, you know exactly what I’m talking about…how it seems like you even think that you need to buy something and the ad pops up. I understand how it happens from searching for something via a search engine and then seeing targeted ads on websites and social media. It’s the big, wide world of cookies.

Think about all of the private conversations leaked by Alexa. There’s technology out there that allows people, government or not, to see you through your web cam and you’d NEVER know it (I know – I was victimized by it by the ex). Apps (broad use – anything that allows the following actions to happen) can be used to see everything you type on your computer, your cell phone, your smart anything. Again, there’s a chance you may never know it’s there. Some of the choices are so sophisticated, you won’t find them unless you are very, very skilled or hire someone very, very skilled.

So, yes, we are being watched…all the time. And, yes, it’s okay if you’re okay with that. This isn’t some paranoid idea. It’s just a thought I had the minute I read that in the book.

Newspeak

When I first read this word, I did not read it as new + speak. I read it as news + speak. Immediately it conjured up in my mind the uptick of clickbait. Poorly worded and often intentionally misleading headlines. For example, I recently saw a local news channel’s tweet about a missing 11 year old boy who was found safe and….”no foul play suspected.” Well, I’d fucking hope not since you said he was found safe.

It used to be, not all that long ago, that clickbait type shit was primarily used by people who do what I do (content writing). I’m not a huge fan of it, but it can be used appropriately. I’ve used a few titles that are clickbait designed without being over the top:

Example 1

Example 2

My blog, as all of you know, isn’t monetized. But, I mean, if you’re going to write a blog and you want to be known for what you say, you’re going to create things that bring in clicks…but what I’ve offered via headline has always been supported by the content.

Now, it seems like major journalistic outlets (and even not so major ones) use a ridiculous amount of clickbait and flat out false information both in their title and within the article. There was a time when we ostracized “professionals for that.”

And for good reason. Journalism used to be about truth. Fiction was saved for…well, fiction writers (including novel authors, novella authors, and writers for rag magazines).

Yet, the idea of new + speak isn’t completely foreign to me. I know it isn’t for you, either. I don’t just mean common slang. In the book, the term essentially means that they take away all the options to say something except one or two ways. So that the populace only said what the government wanted. I mean, it is a book that also highlights the idea of a thought crime.

Thought crimes…I could devote an entire post to just that. Anyway…

I liken it to the continued reduction we see in reading comprehension. And, yes, I know there are several legitimate reasons why someone may struggle to comprehend what they read. For many people, though, they just don’t want to be bothered to pick up a dictionary and learn something.

Victory Gin and Cigarettes

I will keep this quite short.

People are a lot easier to control when you keep them eyeball deep in various addictions. When that’s all someone cares about, it’s harder to see the big picture and what’s happening in their lives and in the world.

The Proles

The proles were those looked down upon by most of the working class. This part of society was fairly self contained. They technically had the same laws, but the police never went to enforce them. They could pretty much do what they wanted….and they never realized the power they had if they would only stand up.

I’ll let you draw your own conclusions.

Mandatory Jobs as a Federal Worker

So, I sat down to write this today instead of first finishing the book because some friends of mine who have an afternoon talk show here in my city mentioned AOC and some of the things she’d like to do while in office. One of those things is to make everyone a federal employee. You know, just like in 1984. First, let me state that I have no idea if she actually said or alluded to that.

Can you imagine what would happen to everyone right now during the government shutdown? And there would likely still be a shutdown because we have too many cooks trying to lead the kitchen. The book mentions rationed food, no razors, fake coffee, televisions that watch you and that you must interact with to show your support, and persecution (including death) for thought crimes.

Sounds dreamy. And by dreamy I mean some fucking nightmare.

Screens That Constantly Watch You

The book discusses the placement of screens that constantly watch what’s happening…where they can talk directly to you. You can’t have private conversations. You can’t just associate with anyone you want. If you even LOOK like you don’t support the government, they come and get you.

Pretty easy for me to relate that to our constant use of technology. You can revisit my yammering toward the top to refresh yourself.

Finding a Hide Away

Like I said, I’m only about half through the book…but several times Winston and someone (I won’t try to spoil it for you, but it’s not his wife). sneak off to find hide aways to spend time together.

Remember when we used to be told what a wonderful tool technology would be and how it would make our lives easier? Now we have zombies who constantly look at their screens and probably have legitimate withdrawals without their phone or laptop or tablet or video game. Now, it’s considered progress to “unplug” and not feel like we are constantly tethered to devices. Look at that…what was once the master became the slave.

So, if you get the chance, read 1984 by George Orwell. There are so many points I could make that I haven’t just with the first half of the book…

The Quick Cure for Pigeonholes

I think that most of us can agree that being pigeonholed sucks. If you don’t know what that term means, it means that because you’ve worked in a certain industry for an extensive time (or did certain things for an extensive amount of time), one or more persons (or businesses) think that you can’t do anything else.

And If You’re a Freelance Writer, It Can Hurt Your Business

As a freelance writer (or an editor…or, really, any sort of freelancer), there’s a big likelihood of sticking with the same sorts of projects or working with the same industry over and over again. They like what we do. We know what we’re doing.

Yet, interviewing in other industries for other work can cause the new potential client to determine, without really getting to know you or putting a lot of attention toward what you sent, that you’re not right for the job because you don’t have a substantial history working in THEIR industry. They pigeonhole you. You can’t be qualified because you haven’t worked exclusively in their world. You know, you haven’t been THEIR bird in a gilded cage. You were someone else’s bird in a gilded cage.

It has the potential to leak much suckage into your business. Because, you know, how the fuck can you grow your business (and experience) if people do that?

The good news is, I have a quick cure.

Know Thyself

Don’t worry – I’m not about to get all philosophical on you. What I mean by “know thyself” is to make sure that you can recall each project you’ve worked on with similar features OR that is exactly the same (on the same subject or what have you). Make sure that you have samples (and publication links) ready. And take the time to listen to what they’re saying as they speak. There’s a good chance that they really didn’t take the time to look at the samples they requested. Trust me, I know. I was asked for samples. I sent two. One was an ebook snip and one was a textbook snip; they weren’t related. The potential client stated I sent two samples of legal writing. One was on leadership. The other was on adolescent psychology.

From there, I went forward and discussed published clips where I had written extensively for the legal industry about the specific idea this person had for a project (to show my subject matter expertise).

Whether or not I get the work still remains to be seen. My point in sharing this is to explain to you that you don’t have to get flustered or feel bad because someone pigeonholes you. If you know your previous projects inside out, you’ll find a way to relate it back.

Shit I Learned During 2018

Well, it’s that time of year again. The time of year when people reflect on the previous year…the good, the bad, and the ugly. Overall, 2018 was really good for us as a family. Of course, that doesn’t mean that every single day was smooth sailing. So, I’ve compiled this list of shit I learned during 2018. It’s not written in any particular order.

We All Get Exactly What We Put Out to the Universe

And noooo, I am not talking about religion, prayer, deities, or etc. I’m not even talking about the law of attraction. So, then, what in the fuck am I talking about? The amount of work we all put into our lives, of course. If you want success, you can’t work one day and then decide it is smooth sailing from there. If you want a better tomorrow, take care of shit today. What you do today will affect your life tomorrow (and, depending on what you do, for years to come). Getting more money, more happiness, more anything requires us to actually, you know, do those things as opposed to just thinking about it or dreaming about it.

You Can’t Trust Just Anyone

As usual, I had a year of wanting to believe the best in people and give people a chance. The problem, for the most part, is that people want certain things out of life, but once they figure out it’s hard, they quit. They make excuses. They want things handed to them. Or they lie to you and try to cheat you…and then try to make you into the bad guy. I’m incredibly glad I’ve always been a good record keeper. That will always continue. It provides a certain level of protection for what I do and for my reputation.

Time Off Is Essential

Honestly, this is kind of a catch-22 when you’re self-employed because if you don’t work, you’re not getting paid. In 2018, though, I found out just how much time off does for me. In general, I’m a “writeaholic.” I’d say workaholic, but we did my yearly calculation of time…but I’m always thinking about what I write for my clients or for my audience*…or for myself.

I took a few weeks off over the course of last year. Some of that time was planned. Some of it was not, but was necessitated between devastating migraines and the youngest kid being sick. (And 2019 just seems like the year that everyone will catch everything going around…) It took a lot of constant reminders to myself to stop worrying about that time off. So I could rest. And when I returned to my work, I was far more productive.

Better Nutrition = Better Overall Life

We keep improving our diets. In July of 2018, we started “clean eating.” Which, if you don’t know what that is, think about how back in the day our grandparents (great grands for some of yall) would KNOW what was in their food. They ate what they grew…and it was back before most food was comprised of 87 ingredients most of which we can’t pronounce. We weren’t strict clean eaters. We were common sense ones. More fruits and vegetables (oddly, we look for produce from Mexico and other foreign countries because remember all of the recalls on American-grown produce? Funny how that happened, huh?). Reading labels and not buying shit with a fuck-ton of ingredients we couldn’t pronounce or identify.

But, it kept moving forward. We bought a juicer. Bull and I had already cut back some on meat. We ate a lot of chicken because of its lean nature. Heart health was important for me. Physical fitness for BJJ competitions was important (and is important) to him.

Now, we’re vegetarians. Again, not super strict. It’s not a moral issue because, let’s be real, two more vegetarians isn’t going to stop the slaughter of animals (and trust me – I do not like the inhumane conditions of most places that process meat). We’re back to heart health, physical preparedness, and, as we’ve learned, feeling better overall. And, yes, we ate turkey on Christmas. We still go out and have the occasional hamburger. Although I learned yesterday, the hard way, that I should probably just pay the upcharge and get a vegetarian patty. Talk about feeling sick.

I Need More “Me” Time

I told Bull in late December that I planned to be selfish in 2019. He looked at me weird because I’m not a selfish person. Pretty much everything I do is for someone else. That’s not a complaint, by the way, it’s just the nature of who I am.

Basically, the more “me” time is shit I do that I want to do because I like it. I’d give you a list, but I’d sound like your grandma (read: quilting, crocheting, embroidery by hand). I’ve got some other things in mind for the summer while my 18 year old is at basic training.

Clarity in Goal Setting Is Crucial for Success

This is something I’ve always known at some level, but it wasn’t until around September when I bought myself a birthday present (Tony Robbin’s Ultimate Edge) that I started getting really clear about things I wanted to do in my personal and professional life. So, I bought a special notebook and that keeps my morning and evening power questions as well as my goals. I revisit my goals periodically and also do monthly goal setting (which then breaks down to what exactly must I do for each week).

I also chose three words for the year that I want to represent my life. I did this last year around September and set reminders on my phone. That was very helpful for me.

Meditation Is Life

This last year, I’ve also realized just how important that both meditation and yoga are for helping with the severe anxiety I deal with. It helps me remain calm and recenter my thoughts. I’ve been pretty good for a few years now with countering my thoughts and even not having a lot of negative thoughts, but sometimes they still creep in. I’m only human. Meditation and yoga are integral for me now.

So, that’s really all I have except:

And I Thought, “This Is How It Ends!”

So, two nights ago was some straight, next-level Final Destination bullshit. Pandora, my biggest dog is always under my feet. She will start off on the bed with us and then eventually move to sleep in the floor on my side of the bed. Also on my side of the bed is a nightstand that once belonged to Bull’s grandfather, a chest of drawers, and a juicer.

I know, I know – why the fuck is the juicer in my bedroom? There is an explanation for that. Baby Bull has gotten to the point that he doesn’t tolerate loud noises from pretty much anything. That includes lawn mowers, weed eaters, vacuums, washing machines, and…the juicer. (Our juicer isn’t even loud, by the way…) So, to just make life easier on school breaks, I remove it from the kitchen and put it in our room since I won’t be using it with him almost always home with me. I have no intentions on terrifying our kid…and, yes, I miss my juice. But, whatever.

Anyway, throughout my day, I constantly have to maneuver around Pandora. She will sleep as close to my feet or chair or desk or whatever as she possibly can. You’d think that, by now, she’d be used to me stepping over her.

The lamp was on the other night (because I’m always worried about accidentally stepping on the dog) and around 2 am, I had to get up and go to the bathroom. I carefully placed a foot down between Pandora’s paws (because of how she was splayed out). She looked up at me and I said hi. I kept getting up (because it’s not like we haven’t done this dance a million times in the past together) thinking she was just gonna let me step over her.

Oh no…not that night. She tried to stand up right when I did and tripped me. I thought, “Oh fuck…this is how it ends. She trips me. I fall backwards and slam my head on the nightstand…and then, just like Final Destination, somehow the juicer ends up in the air, comes apart, and the blade will come out and kill me!”

For the record, even IF the juicer would have somehow come apart, there’s no way that could have happened. The blade is stored within the metal filter thing that separates the pulp from the juice. But, at 2 am, my brain doesn’t give a shit. I was SURE I was going to die. Also, I didn’t fall. Miracle of miracles.

Unfuck Yourself: Motivational Speech of the Day

It is okay to think about why you do the things you do. It’s okay to acknowledge that some of your behavior is hardwired into your brain because of shit in the past. It’s normal. We all have shit that affects our behavior.For some of us, we have plenty of control over our external actions and can put on a fantastic external attitude while our insides feel like an episode of Jerry Springer where two kissin’ cousins are shocked to find out that their stripper threesome unicorn is really not such a unicorn after all, but rather…a honeybadger in unicorn’s clothing.

Because we all have our fucking issues. Every single one of us. Yours aren’t any worse or better than those experienced by someone else.Reality is subjective. I’ve said it over and over again. Everyone has some valid feelings…and feelings that other people would not find valid (although they are because everyone has a right to feel things).

Feel the things, if you want. But there’s two problems with constantly feeling the things from the past.

First problem – you’re continuing to solidify your actions and thoughts. If you have PTSD (I do so I totally get it), you continue to relive not just what happened but what it felt like, the temperatures involved,emotional sensations, colors, and everything that was involved with what happened. And I say from experience that shit sucks. The more you solidify something, even if you do NOT have PTSD but went through something really shitty and it causes you to act like a jackass toward everyone else, the more you’ll continue to repeat the cycle. You have to learn how to stop the broken recording your head. It is NOT easy. You have to stop every stupid ass thought and counter it with something positive. And yes, you’ll feel stupid at first whenyou do it. Over time, those other thoughts won’t happen as much…and for those with PTSD, it’s easier to come back to reality.

Second problem – you’re robbing yourself of the here and now and the person you always wanted to fucking be. You did not grow up wanting to be a miserable little fuck. You did not grow up wanting to be stuck in a perpetual cycle of poverty or violence or anything else. You’re an adult now. You and you ALONE are the sole responsible party for what happens in your life. If you’re not doing what you wanted to do, that’s on you. And getting to where you want to be is a lot of fucking work. Daily work. It’s hustling and grinding inside of yourself. It’s showing up as your best self every day. It’s remembering that there’s no such thing as imposter syndrome although we all feel as if we’re fakes when we try to move on to the next level. It’s embracing the unknown although it’s fucking scary although we may not like where we are right now.

Don’t let your demons destroy your life. YOU truly are the only solution to your life. No one else. Nothing else. Just you. So what are you gonna do about it? Are you gonna keep being miserable or are you gonna show up and put in the work to get what you want out of YOUR life?