Fast Food Frustrations (Pt. 1)

Warning: Grammarly tried to help me but I was too tired to edit everything out. It’s a rant, you know. ~

When I was younger, at an age where I thought I could be anything without having to do much work, I never thought I’d work in a fast food restaurant. Three things that cross my mind about fast foods when I was young: food, toy, and playground.  Come to think of it, it was only when I grew older did I start to think about what it would be like to work in a service-based industry. And I did.

First things first, working at Mcdonald’s opened my eyes to a whole new perspective. Not only did I discover new things about others but I also learned a dozen more about myself (which I never deemed was possible to actually come from my self-proclaimed introvert self). Yep, working at Mcdonald’s as an introvert has quite a lot of challenges wherein I was forced to interact and talk non-stop for one 8-hour shift. And if that wasn’t enough, sometimes it lasts for a 10-hour one (without overtime, sadly).

Now the thing about working in an environment that required you to talk and interact with hundreds of people a day, you can never guarantee of getting a decent human being after decent human being. There will always be the crudest and probably the most uncivilized neanderthals that could ever walk this Earth. Some start off as okay, apathetic (which in my opinion can be the worst of the bunch, too) but some are just awfully rude, you’d wonder how they’ve managed to live in this world without at least getting punched in the face at least five times a day (cause I would if I was violent). You could greet them with the most courteous smile you’ve mustered despite only having 5 hours of sleep, ask them about their well-being in a slightly higher pitch than usual, or hand them their receipts gently–and they’d still glare at you, barely nod, stare apathetically and then grab the paper right from your fingertips and drive away. Cue the part where I just wish they’d hit a car on the road or bad luck, generally. Others even draw their hand back like you’ve just handed them a vial of the most contagious disease in the entire universe and tell you, “I don’t need that”. Well, you could’ve just told me properly before I stuck my hand out in the cold only to have been rejected.

If I was talking out loud, my voice was probably rising by the middle of the above paragraph.

There could be so much frustration in working in a fast-food place and most of the times, there’s nothing you can do. No matter how nice you appear to them, there will always be a bunch of customers you could wish you can throw against the wall. But of course, I won’t forget about the ones who are actually decent enough to never make you feel so inferior about your minimum wage work. Although it always cracks me up when they react about how nice I am to them, which also gets me thinking, “Have we come to a time where basic human courtesy and decency has become so shocking because rarely anyone does it nowadays?” Which is true, right? Right.

Basically, the whole point of what I’m trying to say is that having to work in an environment such as Mcdonald’s taught me the principles of being patient (and also, how high my patience-o-meter actually is). I could feel like throwing a fit but I can’t very well likely in the middle of a shift. I keep tiring myself over having to weigh choices on whether I should be rude right back or should I (sounds easier than most) just gather my wits and keep myself sane by ignoring them and continue being civil.

Basically #2 (and the shorter version): There’s just no peace of mind when working in a fast food restaurant. Especially when it’s a busy day. Hello, hell hole.

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Hypnotic Neuroticism

Fragments of me are scribbled on paper, thoughts lined up structurally in ink. Words flit around my mind, a disarrayed combination of phrases and sentences that I want to write down but am too disorganized to do so.

For a writer can have neurotic days and nights, and long before you know it, their brains have exploded into activity that cannot be controlled, tamed. An endless stream of ideas will cautiously climb on top of another, piling up and turn into senseless thoughts that can no longer be filtered for too much is going on. A writer will try to keep up with the pace; pen sliding across the paper and fingers flying over the keyboard in a manner that one does not wish to destroy the buttons too hard but excitement has long ridden one into giddiness to seal ideas forever in ink. Vocabulary battles will always be there; a struggle for definitions and satisfaction over synonyms and antonyms that can be further used into describing rich details with lighted illumination.

A writer may have the gift to juggle metaphors into existence and present them in ways that are understandable to the readers but the process itself has thrown one into throes of unending comparison.

How do I get my message across when I, myself, am struggling to cross my ocean of confusion?

I am a girl with no concrete beliefs, whose spoken verdicts sway like the bamboos in the wind, whose convictions shake and tremble like the hanging bridge, and whose stand for certainty can be as fragile as porcelain. I am a girl who is constantly in a tug-of-war, my decisions weighed thoroughly and surely even in mere subjects of which shirt to wear, bag to use, and book to read. I can be as confusing as a labyrinth, as moody as the weather, and as vulnerable as eggshells.

I traipse through undiscovered worlds in my imagination, locked away in a jail of my own making, never seeming to be free in the inside, deceiving the people who I see everyday. I am a prisoner of my own thoughts, delving further into the depths of words and skylines of ideas, never really reaching them no matter how much I stretch my hands towards them. My lips never really seem to move and my unspoken stories are long being latched with chains.

The problem with knowing too much is knowing how to differentiate anything from fantasy to reality. Different versions of the truth will fry the brain. The mind becomes a neurotic storage without seemingly any chance of getting better. Grappling with sentences and structures become a daily routine, a substantial satisfaction but never seeming to be enough. And if you rip them apart, blood wouldn’t be the only thing bleeding out, but unspoken and unheard thoughts will drip onto the floor, too. A writer’s block can feel like the apocalypse; everything trapped in abyss and no matter how much you try to squeeze it all out, nothing will come, nothing will save you from the despair of frustration as you helplessly swipe at anything. But nothing presents itself.

I become bipolar. Writers become bipolar.

But I am a writer.

I will continue to be a writer.

For they can have so many dreams they would want to wove together in a tangle of colors, stories turned into written entertainment, or information to be passed onto the curious.

The struggle remains, and it thrives within.

But the pleasure of stringing the words into a single thought, a whirlwind of meanings and a cornucopia of emotions, is what keeps me going.

Hidden Between Shadows

The silence segues to something louder, echoing across the small room. Darkness engulfs me like an envelope of suffocation and the struggle for air is as exasperating as the lack of it. A jumble of images zip by, colors clashing and static sizzling through the corners of my mind. I sniff more, the powdery substance inhaled without restriction.The sun peeks from the tiny gap between the closed curtains, a sliver of a ray, a fragile source of light in the dusky room. Figures lurk around, dancing between spaces, jumping over fallen books and bundled sheets, shadows that sweep across and seem to linger forever. Another light creeps in from under the wooden door, a delicate source too, the kind of illumination that catches my eyes. For a moment.

I sniff again, content.
I am alone. I tuck myself in the shadows, where the light is obstructed and I am safe away all by myself. I used to grasp for the gleam of hope left in the recesses of my heart. And yet, a penumbra of secrecy slumbers deep within me, slowly tarnishing my reputation. I fall a little bit into blackness. I used to think of the happiness the world could offer. Of being wanderlust and adventurous. But as bright as that may seem, there will always be the shadows that lurk in the corners, constantly creeping in and unable to be held at bay. It is as bleak as a stormy night, the moon trying to shine but the clouds as thick as rubber on soles. It can be as dreary as a dimly lit room, the light constricted, never being able to fully spread around in a spiral of incandescence.
Most of my life has been spent trailing along the wake of something greater, basking in the shade of someone smarter, prettier…better. I longed to be a part of the light, to be part of the societal group that are valued more but I was always pushed into the shadows where I am disregarded, save for my silhouette that is as vague as the people’s knowledge of me. Pushing people away has been a sanctuary of some twisted sort; away from the prying eyes of everyone and far from judgments that seem to call out from the way their eyes lingered on you for a second too long. Prying fingers clutch on too hard, the clammy grasps on your ankles travel upward, sliding along your arms until it wraps around your neck and you struggle harder. And yet as you do exactly that, the dark creeps in any way, creating the shadows that throw off the light from its path, the illumination from its purpose, the light from its source. Little rays push through, but it isn’t enough. I continue to fall.
There are times wherein I think of resurfacing, to shatter the barricade that separates the light from the dark, and continue with what I have started. But secrets hold on as I kick upward, a blanket of secrecy engulfs me from everyone again, and I stop. There is no way to find the light at the end of the tunnel when there isn’t even light in the first place. When it is just bits and pieces of shadows thrown against the walls, a false hope that someday, I would be back to where I started. Shadows are a part of us. They are the lies we keep, the secrets we hide, the negativity we feel and the helplessness we encounter. And yet shadows can be the bridge to being better, the flap that covers the pain, the door that’s waiting to be opened, and the night sky that’s waiting for another day to begin again.
I bury myself in problems I never needed. I hurl myself in experiences I have regretted. Through repetitive thinking and drowning thoughts, of being in constant battle with myself, I am ready. Ready to walk through the curtains of shadows and into the light of the day, where I will meet the sun as if it was my long-lost friend.

Not A Simple Game Of Hangman

Some of the things we usually remember isn’t always from the present. The past would always be a part of it, lurking beneath the surfaces of your mind, ready to rise up every time a trigger has been pulled. Childhood memories have always been and will always be a part of every individual. Buried deep within the recesses of our minds, it will always take up as much space as it can. The vague highlights of a 13th birthday party; the faint echoes of your adventure with friends by teetering and falling of your bikes; or the comforting pat on the knee as your mom tends to a gaping wound. As much as everyone would like a world full of happy memories, there will always be a fault in everyone’s stars.

The worst kind of pain isn’t burning your tongue with hot food, but it is the struggle to repress hurtful memories that claw and turn your heart raw as it pounds in your head with pain. May it be the churning reminiscence of a belt to the outstretched hands; a verbally abusive session with heavily drunk parents; your hair being pulled from the scalp as you kneel down on salt; or even the bitter taste of abandonment at such an early age in life. As much as we try to convince ourselves that all of it is fine, that it is such a mere stage in life where everyone must undergo, it is not enough to cover the pang of it all. “Pain demands to be felt,” as what I read from a book. And that’s the problem. Not all people can withstand that much emotion and thus results to the widespread problem of today’s generation: teen suicide. Based from a survey back in 2003, a person dies by suicide every 18 minutes with the rate of 10.4 per 100,000 for teens and young adults. And although Oregon has the suicide law, with doctors to help the mentally competent patients to take their own lives, does it give the right idea for teens to also follow this kind of behavior?

The mind of a suicidal teen is a dangerous one. Isolated, full of panic, self-loathing, and soul crushing insecurities. Factors like peers, family, studies, and relationships can have a direct effect on them. Being around the area would be like stepping into a mine filled space with bombs buried deep within. But one cannot simply tick off the factors using ten fingers because its so much bigger than that. The sheer scope of it is too much to handle, too much to study overnight, too much to even put in this here, but we all do know one thing: the present is the window to the past. Most teen victims of suicide have been shoved with too much abuse and abandonment. And with every slight pull of the trigger, the childhood memories that have greatly affected them comes rushing in, overwhelms them with too much emotion it reaches a point of puzzlement until everything just starts to slip right off the edge. Holding on to these issues would be like holding onto a glass of water for a very long time. It starts to wear you down and before you realize it, you are incapable of doing anything else.

Let go once in a while.

It’s time to open our eyes.

This isn’t Hangman where you can just simply choose to restart the game.