It’s been a quiet few weeks here at BrazenShe. I have a bunch of stuff in the pipeline, but I have been focusing my free time on a business venture.
Running BrazenShe is rudimentary and fun. I write whatever I want, whenever I want. It’s great practice at crafting engaging pieces around maybe less-than-engaging issues.
I adore writing in my own voice. It’s just about the most fun a girl could have. I have developed and tweaked my style for almost 30 years. But I don’t exactly fit your boilerplate professional mold.
This has made it somewhat difficult to translate my ever-increasing experience administrating my little corner of the web and slowly, fitfully building a personal brand that’s functional and true, into paying work.
It’s frustrating to have a valuable skillset and struggle to make it work for you. I was a Content Creator, Cultural Critic and Social Media Manager, working a cash register or a factory line.
Something isn’t right there.
I recently took what little spending money I have and threw it toward some comprehensive internet marketing training. Less than a month into it, my estranged father messaged me asking for contact info for my sister.
He said a friend of his needed someone to build them a website.
The timing was just too perfect. I had to jump for it in spite of myself and everything that’s happened.
Turned out the friend is actually an age-appropriate lady Old Dad was seriously involved with for several years around the turn of the century. She has since settled into the role of Family Friend. Also, it turns out, she’s actually pretty cool.
I never got to know her back then, I was in high school in a different state. But she’s a RadFem and loved the blog! She specializes in a wonderful method for getting rid of her clients’ debt, which she does at no cost to them.
All I have to do is get the site up and spread it around a little. She’s already been doing it for years and the clientele is essentially assured.
Accidental Christmas Networking
Last night was the Christmas Parade downtown.
Many of you may not be familiar with this concept. You read that right: A Christmas Parade, which is just about everything you might imagine it to be. My kids rode a float with the theme, ‘The Night Before Christmas’ and had pajamas on under their coats.
I’m kidding, of course – I’m sure the coats came off as soon as they were out of sight. I know the 6th grader was sharing a blanket and getting smooches from a chubby girl with a loud mouth. Hmmmm….
I was networking too, as it turns out.
Really, I just love this old man who owns the house next to the parking lot where they all gather and mill around for two hours in the cold, among the exhaust of idling Diesel engines.
Hiding Beside the Ice Box
On the back deck, the guy who was my son’s Scout Leader his first year was giving out hot chocolate. I wandered inside, probably looking for a bathroom, and ran into Bill in the kitchen.
He recognized me from my job at a local Big Box home services store. He told me about his real estate holdings, and how he hired women to do painting and light carpentry topless.
His sharp eyes glinted as he explained, “Normally, you might wait all day for a delivery. But if the delivery guys heard there’s topless women, they show up at eight a.m.!”
His logic was solid. And he was giving out alcohol, so I was smiling and nodding to avoid going back outside. It’s amusing when someone tries to shock me, new acquaintances usually underestimate me.
And this house is next to, among other things, a homeless shelter. Right there on Main Street, with the churches, library and shops.
Many of the residents have a high school education, and some don’t even have that. A lot of people around here are addicts (recovering or otherwise) or children of addicts, with few skills.
And the “good” jobs in the area want to pay you $9-$12 an hour to do manual labor for 12 hours a day, seven days a week.
Yes, seven days a week. That’s every day. You’re pretty much guaranteed to burn out, if you don’t just bank all that pay (no time to spend it anyway!) and move the fuck away from here.
So, I can see the appeal, if I’m honest. Earn $25 an hour just for painting walls without a shirt? In context, it looks like a pretty good deal.
But that absurd demonstration of everything wrong with Capitalism was just Bill’s opening feint. Only the deep lines in his face give away his age, he is clever and nimble, as well as plain hilarious.
And, of course, he owns the building. I neglected to ask what the decorators of this nautical kitchen were wearing.
I walked the parade, had an asthma attack, and had to push the stroller (that’s right, I drink and interact with children. I’m an adult, not an asshole. And believe me, you are plenty sober after walking two miles!) over and sit it out on the curb.
The next year I left the baby at home. Bill was there in the kitchen with the liquor and we went back and forth over politics and history, sexual norms and possibilities for the future.
It does take more than rum to secure my company for two hours.
And, I admit, I hide from the crowd. The noise and the fumes, the endless shouting. It’s a guaranteed headache for me.
I promised Bill I’d see him again next year. Reveling a little in the feeling of finally having an accidental tradition to look forward to.
At some point this year, I was telling Hubs about it and he said he had met the old guy. That he was awesome and one of the most interesting people he’d ever met.
This made perfect sense. Bill could be my husband’s eccentric uncle. They are cut from similar cloth. This year his work hours made it possible for him to come meet my parade buddy.
It was so beautiful. I do enjoy having a partner I can present with a social opportunity, and he will capitalize on it.
Scout Leader and fam were there with hot chocolate. There was the business manager tending her little bonfire. In years past I have hidden from the experience. This year it was was a natural flow and I had a great time.
Scout Leader is a Web Manager by day. He told me he needs people to run social media campaigns. I’m supposed to call the office and set up lunch.
Life is Weird
So far, I’ve gotten voicemail three times. But he lives around the corner.
Bill invited us back any evening we want. Jack insisted we need to make it more than an annual tradition.
Meanwhile, I’m patching jeans and selling my possessions for spending money.
Life is weird.