For sometime I haven’t actively looked for freelance writing work.  This last year has been horrible for me health wise and now that winter is here and it’s cold all I am doing is sleeping.  I took two naps yesterday.  Who does that?  My fibromyalgia and arthritis are kicking my ass now that it’s cold out.  It’s even difficult to eat because of the amount of pain I am in, I am constantly sick to my stomach.  I have been taking my meds like I am supposed to but they aren’t helping a lot.  I do have a doctors appointment next week so hopefully he can figure something out.

The time that I haven’t spent sleeping I have been using to play The Sims 3, watch Avatar and rework a number of my Magic decks.  Speaking of those Magic decks, I put together a metalcraft deck.  One of my daughters put together a green and white defender deck.  The play test game of those two decks went on forever.  I think it was the longest Magic game I have ever played one on one.  She ended up letting me win just end the game because we had been playing for so long that she had grown bored.  I think the decks work.

Since I don’t know when I am going to feel well enough to do anything I have been picking up articles here and there from Demand Studios.  This is the one place I should not be writing for.  It really doesn’t agree with me and I have started to take it personally when they tell me to rewrite something.

Here’s how it works.  They take search engine search phrases and pay people to write 750 word articles on the search phrases.  Doesn’t sound to bad on the surface, but here’s the thing.  Almost everything has to be done in the form of a how to list, a fact sheet or a list.  How to lists are their favorite.  Everything is pretty vague. Here is an actual writing assignment up for grabs at the moment.  How to Design Beautiful Corner Borders.  The only additional information you are given is that it’s for the software category.  No, you can’t ask for more information on what they want because they don’t know.  All they know is someone ran a search engine search for this phrase and therefore someone (mainly them) needs to provide that information.  So, they expect someone to write this not knowing what software should be used or what these borders are being used for.  These type of articles account for the bulk of everything up there.

When I come up with something that I feel I can write on without doing too much research (they are paying me to write, not research and I am not researching how to rebuild a car engine to write a step by step how to article in 750 words or less for $15.00…seriously, they want this) I claim the article.  One of the last topics I claimed was How to be a Punk Rock Girl.

There are a number of lame articles like this on teenager blogs across the interwebs.  They all state that you need to wear a certain kind of shoes or something.  You know, the entire sheeple  mindset of “If you don’t do it this way it’s wrong” thing.  What happened was someone came along doing their own thing and others liked it and decided that was the way it *had* to be done.  Happens all the time.  It’s how so many fads get started.

So, I decided to write this article.  I put a lot into it and they want me to rewrite it.  I understand the “don’t use name brands thing” that they told me but still, if people don’t know what they are looking for they can’t find it.  If I had a dollar for every person that asked me what hair dye I used and where I could get I would be able to get lunch at McDonalds from something other than the dollar menu. People really don’t know who makes these products.  I also gave some advice that I was recently given from a hair dress and I was told that I couldn’t include it because it was written in first person.  I have seen other things that people who have written for Demand Studios written in the first person so how do they get away with it and I can’t?  I feel like special rules are being applied to me there.  There is some other stupid stuff that they want me to change (they said that I contradicted myself by mentioning that punk fashion is DIY and yet I mentioned designer punk clothes that are put out by companies like Tripp).

Then there was the warnings section that I filled out.  I was told to remove it because I couldn’t possibly know people would react to someone if they followed my directions.  Seriously?  This is what really pissed me off, and there is no way I can’t take it personally.

We all know that this is the kind of article that is going to be frequented by teenagers and young adults looking to fit in somewhere because they are looking for acceptance.  That is what following fads is about, wanting to look like the cool kids.  The look is popular and therefore you will be popular if you sport that look.  (Thank the fashion gods that no one has decided that they need Lady GaGa’s meat dress to be fashionable and fit in.)  I was a teenager once and things haven’t changed over the years.  If anything else they have gotten worse.  Somewhere along the line it was decided that you needed to wear a certain brand of shoes or jacket or whatever to be accepted, and this was always decided by the rich kids.  At some point kids started getting beat up for their shoes and bullying got out of hand because someone was different.  Public schools had to institute uniforms to help get a handle on these problems.  I remember in the mid-90’s a friend of mine showed me the list of what her daughter needed for school.  There was a list of stuff they also were not allowed to bring to school in the way of school supplies, and it included things like Trapper Keepers or pencils that had pictures on them.  In school I always had pencils with Garfield on them, it was my thing for a number of years.  Many schools have outlawed this kind of thing.  In order to keep order, schools have had to enforce conformity to almost a Nazi extreme.

This is part of why I homeschool.

The thing is, going punk may not be the way to get acceptance.  I tried to point this out in a round about way.  Punk is about non-conformity.  You end up sticking out like a turd in a punch bowl.  Believe me, the person walking through the crowed mall with the blue mohawk is going to get attention.  I was walking through the mall one day during those few hours that there are few people there and there was this guy in there.  We had the same hair, only his was blue instead of purple and we were geeking out over each others hair.  My husband felt like he had briefly stepped into the bastard child of the Matrix and The Twilight Zone.  Actually, I think that pretty much sums up living with me.  No one forgets me.  Everyone remembers the girl with the purple mohawk.  When I cut it a few weeks ago a number of people at one of the local grocery stores commented that I had cut my hair.  A purple mohawk is just something you don’t see every day and people don’t forget.

For every person who has said they like my hair there have been three others who treat me like the scum of the universe because of how I look.  These are people who don’t know me who have made snap decisions based on how I look.  There is the woman who, in a public bathroom, came out of the handicapped stall that I was waiting for (she wasn’t handicapped), took one look at me with my hair, bondage pants and Lake Erie Monsters sweatshirt and stuck her nose in the air and walked off.  Then there was the soccer mom who was offended I was standing five feet away from her in the meat department.  Then there was the guy who parked next to us in a strip mall, took one look at me through the car windows, made a face like someone just beat the shit out of his mother and his dog, and moved his car.

…but I can’t possibly know how people are going to react to someone if they follow my how to be punk directions.  That is what I was told.  This is how ‘normal’ people have reacted to punks from day one in the 70’s.  It’s not going to change any time soon.   This is one of those things that you have to seriously think through.  For example, if you are looking for work, it can seriously limit your job prospects because companies have dress codes (I can name three places where I live that would hire me with my purple mohawk and tattoos – one of which can not be covered because of it’s location).   I know someone who was kicked out of her church because she wore black nail polish – no other reason – her and her mom are not allowed back.  I have a friend who works at a bowling alley, of all places, and has to cover his tattoos.  When was the last time you honestly asked yourself, “How are other people going to react if I (fill in the blank) and can I live with it?” before you did something?  How many things have you done that were life changing, even in a small way, that you didn’t expect to be?

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