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Another week gone

Friday, March 06, 2015

I'm having a lot of trouble today. With everything...caring, being patient, controlling my anger...those all sound contradictory but they're all in me at the same time. It's been a really crappy week, for no real reason other than it's winter and Red's coworkers are all terrible people. He tries so hard, he does amazing work, and he's a great person...but it's never enough. They're all these incredibly conservative, greedy, business-oriented bullies who just crap on him every chance they get. He makes almost half the money that the shop takes in at this point, but it isn't enough for his bosses--he needs to make more dollars, not just the highest percentage. He tattooed almost nonstop last week, stayed late almost every night, and even worked on his boss' landlord; but it's not enough. He worked on a day off because he won't charge a couple of our friends, and even though his co-workers tattoo their friends (and the bosses) for free during business hours; it's not okay for Red to do it. He's exhausted and depressed, and always worried they're going to fire him because they don't like him; even though they're just jerks and what they really care about is money, and he makes the most for them. He feels disposable and unimportant. Over the last week, the bosses have completely changed the place, but only in ways that would benefit the two of them; like making a rule that everyone has to use disposable cups because they're tired of the clutter of a dish rack and drying cups. They painted the whole business area, but it's obvious that the only space they did so with any kind of care was the space that *they* work in. They've made it so all three artists have to share one drawing table, in the coldest and most poorly lit area of the shop; and share that space with the female boss's makeup station, because several nights a week she gets ready to go to the club in the last couple of business hours. They also smoke back there; and Red completely quit smoking 2 months ago. He's been getting headaches and a sore throat from having to be back there while 3 of the employees smoke. Being there with him all the time, I absolutely see why he's so depressed and feeling dejected. I want him to be able to leave so badly. I feel like they're slowly killing him, and I don't know how to help. I'm so angry...I practically fantasize about breaking their jewelry cases or ruining the other artists' portfolios, or just hurting them. I never would...I wouldn't do any of it...but I'm just so angry that these people feel like they can constantly put him down, and devalue his time and his work, and steal his clients, and mock him for being a good person who is truly trying to better his situation. I just can't stand it. The bosses are bad enough, but the other 2 artists are also just awful... Not in the sense that their work is, though I really wouldn't prefer their style for my own tattoos--but in the sense that they both think they are better than, pretty much everyone else. They're like a couple of undergrad frat boys, but they're both over 30. They act like they're so macho, basically just being aggressive and bullying people to get their work. It's hard to describe in writing, but think of a used car salesman... Except they're convincing you to put an image permanently on your body. They don't collaborate with their clients, and half the time they purposely do something that the client didn't want or ask for, or sometimes even asked *not* to have...because they want to, and they think they can do whatever they want. And somehow, they never catch flack for it! It's just gross to me, and it's painful to be around. Red and I both have pretty low self-esteem, and they all just feed off of it. Right now, I'm in the basement of the shop writing this blog, because if I were upstairs I'd have to be in the showroom with all of them, and they all have something to say when I'm on the computer, or reading a book, or writing in my journal. Until today, I worked in what was the drawing room. I can't even imagine what they're planning on doing with that room, unless the idea is just that people can't be hanging out in there...even though they're working when they're drawing.

In the midst of all this BS with his shop, we were really tense together from about Sunday-Tuesday. I wasn't feeling well over the weekend, and really didn't want to see my friends who he was tattooing, and I took it out on him. We went from being rude to each other, to having a screaming match about an hour before my friends were due over, to me crumbling in his arms in hysterical tears. Then we were okay together while they were over. By the time they'd left, we were both exhausted and ended up falling asleep while watching a movie. We woke up grumpy together a few hours later, and decided to just go to bed. All day Monday was a struggle. We were both grouchy all day, and in a place where nothing would make us feel better. Then it was back to work on Tuesday, the weather was getting bad again, and I had an appointment with my psych nurse for a med check. She upped my dosage of Lamictal again...I'm not really happy that it needed to happen, but it definitely did. We talked about how I'm not sleeping, and she suggested I try melatonin. I find that pretty much laughable, because I've tried it a couple of times before, and she couldn't tell me a suggested dosage. Luckily the appointment wasn't terrible out-of-pocket, and I was able to get some sample Cymbalta from her; and get the Lamictal really cheap at Sam's Club because it's a generic.

I feel like I can't do this anymore. I guess I'm just depressed, but I just don't want to do anything...I don't care. I don't even really want to eat, or sleep, or watch TV...I just want to be away from everything, and that can't happen. We didn't exercise at all over the weekend, and then Red threw his back out so we didn't Monday or Tuesday, either. On Wednesday we forced an hour jog with 20 minutes of yoga for me and boxing for him. Last night, nothing again. We wanted to take the time to cut our hair and dye mine, and I had a meeting during the day that I needed to do a write-up for; and I wanted him to be able to relax and take a bath after a bad couple of days. Tonight we're doing the same routine as Wednesday, and hopefully a little more. Sadly it depends on how late we get started; which depends on how late he might have to stay at work, what we decide to make for dinner because we have to start from scratch tonight, and how cold it is in our unheated basement when we get home. Sometimes it can take an hour for the electric heaters to warm the space enough that I can actually do anything. Luckily I bought plenty of meat and some veggies at Sam's Club when I went to get my meds. We were totally out of meat, and finished our leftover chicken/rice/veggie meal last night; and we've both been wanting fast food lately. It's been 2 months since we got fast food, or ordered out. At this point, we both know we'd be incredibly sick from it...but it's still a comforting idea for some reason. I can't stand that about myself and my thinking; it's so incredibly illogical. I'm still trying, though. And 2 months is a lot for us...before that we were eating "out-food" probably once a week or so, and buying stuff like pizza bagel bites when we went to Sam's Club, or sweet-and-baked goods probably half the time we went to the store. We both still have an incredible sweet tooth, but we're working on that. We've made desserts at home a couple of times, but we try to do healthier versions of recipes by replacing oil with applesauce, adding whey protein to recipes, and making mini-versions of our favorites (key lime pie, specifically).

I hate how slowly things are going, but I don't know how to get more motivated when just cooking at home every night for 8 weeks is a huge accomplishment.
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Member Comments About This Blog Post
  • KATIAT325
    Regardless of whether or not his bosses believe in mental health disability, it is still a disability, especially if he's been diagnosed. As for looking for another job, have him ask himself, is the place he's in really that much better than somewhere else? I mean really, if it's such a hostile work environment, he should look for somewhere else. If anything, he needs to network and meet people from the industry, who can check out his work and maybe steer him into a better direction.

    Also, if he is a legit independent contractor, he can set his own hours, as long as he pays his cut to the bosses. If he's not really an independent contractor, but they treat him that way, but that's not how he operates, he needs to document that, because he can be classified as an employee.
    2232 days ago
    His ailments actually are much like mine--bipolar, extreme depression, panic disorder, chronic pain. Sadly, we live in one of the only 2 states that doesn't regulate the tattoo industry; his only real option is to be an independent contractor, with no government protectionshould as a worker. Though he has private health insurance, the deductible is high enough that he still doesn't have a doctor...of any kind. He manages amazingly well, being completely unmedicated; and his bosses "don't believe in mental health disability." It's a really difficult position...I've been trying for over a year to get him to see someone, anyone... Along the lines of another job, he's both concerned that word would get back to his coworkers; and that since we aren't regulated, he would end up somewhere unethical, or unclean. Or that he'd find out he's no good. I understand exactly where he's coming from. I feel the same in looking for work myself.

    2232 days ago

    Comment edited on: 3/7/2015 5:45:00 PM
  • KATIAT325
    I would say make sure you are familiar with your state's employment laws in regards to overtime, meal periods, etc. With your guy's portfolio an work ethic, have him apply to other places, why not? Also, if he's clinically depressed as well, have his doctor write a request for an accommodation at his work, and if it gets denied or he gets punished, he should file an EEOC claim. If your state has a labor department, please check out what your partner can do through them as well.

    I hope things get better, and that your weekend will be peaceful. If you can, look into a hostel to stay at for a weekend or something, on the cheap, somewhere nearby, and have it be a mini vacation.
    2233 days ago
    I'm sorry you guys are going through all of this right now. Our kitchen is almost done, and you guys are welcome to come over for dinner and as much venting as you would like :) On some of my worst days, I swear forcing myself to work out is the only thing that keeps me from punching people. Try to hang in there. emoticon
    2233 days ago
    Don't know what to say, except you guys are doing the right things. Keep working on your plans. Things are bound to get better soon.
    emoticon emoticon emoticon
    2233 days ago
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