the caged bird sings.

written, designed, and edited by Bee Butler

On finding the source.

Bee ButlerComment

Have you ever known someone with a strange little idiosyncrasy, something funny they did, like licking their finger before they turned a page, or clearing their throat a certain way, or muttering some absurd little saying on occasion? Something that you noticed because it was odd or out of place, and it always stuck with you. Then, one day, you meet their parents, or their grandma, or their uncle or older cousin, and BOOM, there it is. The source. The originator (for your friend, at least) of that weird quirk, in all their oddball glory, clearing their throat or muttering that old adage, and you realized, hey, that's why they do it.

Sometimes, that thing is less of an odd little idiosyncrasy and more of an emotional detrimental behavior that both infuriates and terrifies you. Sometimes, it is something you don't know how long you'll be able to bear. Maybe it's something you desperately beg that person to stop, something you point out that they refuse to believe that they do, or something they turn around and blame on you, as if the fucked up thing they repeatedly do is somehow your fault.

You spend so much time analyzing, wondering if you're crazy or if you really are the cause of their problem, and you occasionally have to reassure yourself that this behavior can be dealt with and will go away.

And then, in one life-changing moment, you find their "source", and you realize that not only will they never stop, but there's even a good chance they'll unintentionally pass that trait on to their kid or someone else impressionable, and you realize in that split second that you are truly fucked.

 

That happened tonight. Someone in my life has a habit that makes me cringe and scream and it is something I have, at length, mulled over and attempted to dissect, only to find out that it was something they picked up from one of their parents. And now, I cannot really see how on earth I was blind enough to think that this was something I could change. 

This behavior is ingrained in my friend's DNA at this point. People our age don't change things like that. Certainly not because someone viewed the way they view me said to. And I know now, without a doubt, that this person can no longer be in my life. And that is so heartbreaking in so many ways. Some part of me always knew that, but I think that this was the nail in a long-closed coffin, and I am at a breaking point I never thought I would see again. I didn't think I would ever say "enough" because of how close we used to be, but this time, I need to love myself more than I love everyone else in my life and say, "Hey, get the fuck away from me and never, ever get close again".

Be careful who you allow into your inner circle. Never ignore your gut feelings. Most of all, meet everybody's parents, because there's a good chance they have some sort of behavior or worldview that they've passed on, and if it's something terrible, you're giving yourself a chance to run before you get to close.





Fuck, man.
I hate growing up.

On credit where credit is seriously due.

Bee Butler1 Comment

When you encounter a person who does something extraordinary, someone who goes above and beyond, not just excelling in their work, but as a human being in a world that is often cold and unfeeling, it is my personal opinion that you should recognize them for it. In this case, leaving feedback with an employer didn't feel like enough, so here you go.

If you ever want to know what bank to work with and live in the North County San Diego area, go to the Chase Private Client banking branch in Carlsbad. James Vasquez will be your hero and your savior if anything goes wrong, and if all goes right, just a nice and helpful advocate should you ever need anything.

I’ve been through an extraordinary amount of crap lately involving my bank and the theft of my identity, eventually equaling over $1,000. I had to get a police report, present paperwork, continually come in to the branch, and make an absurd amount of calls to get my refund, as the money was provisionally credited, taken out due to an error in processing, and then re-credited. It would have been a nightmare.

It wasn’t, though. The entire time I had a branch employee on my side as an advocate, a constant update source, and a never-ending driving force behind getting that cash back into my hand. James Vasquez, my personal banker out of the Chase Private Client Bank in La Costa Town Square (3440 Via Mercato, Suite A, Carlsbad, CA 92009), contacted me diligently, kept me in the loop, left positive and encouraging voicemails about my case (and yes, he always asked if he could call me back or leave voicemails, it was never a problem or an annoyance to receive a call from him) and made sure I had the money by 9AM today, after several weeks of work. I truly feel like I was able to keep my cool about this and avoid a lot of headache and worry because he was the one handling all of the backend work on my claim.

Yesterday, August 19th, 2016, James and I talked 5 times. Ordinarily, that would be way too much, but we did so because there were some frustrating things going on, and every step of the way, he was letting me know what was happening and how he was working to resolve it. He initially left a voicemail during the day to inform me that the claim had officially been resubmitted, and to assure me that he had my back and was doing everything he could to get things finished up, because he knew I needed my money. That voicemail almost made me cry, because I had been concerned about getting the funds, but I didn’t want to seem like a pain in the butt or bother anyone about it, and hearing him detail the process and go out of his way to let me know that he was advocating for me and didn’t mind doing so was exactly what I needed to hear. When the fraud team deposited my money in the wrong account, I called back to let him know, and he IMMEDIATELY got on it. He detailed what was going to happen and let me know that it would show up as a transaction, so I never freaked out about the weird things going on in my account as I tracked the funds on my mobile app. When there was an error in the server and the money didn’t deposit correctly between the accounts, James called to let me know, apologized profusely even though it wasn’t his fault, and assured me that the cash would be in my account and ready to use by 9AM today, August 20th, and that if I had any questions, I could call him. The money was deposited right when he said it would be, and he called to confirm that it had gone through. I cannot tell you how happy I am right now.

This case was transferred to James when my previous contact at the bank was busy. He had this mess thrown in his lap at random, and despite a number of hurdles, mistakes, and frustrations, he has been nothing but kind, cheerful, apologetic, and helpful. He is legitimately the best banker I have worked with, ever, and has gone above and beyond in every single aspect of this case. The best part of all of this is that he never once asked me to give him a positive review; I had to ask him if there was a way for me to do so yesterday, because I WANTED to let Chase know that they had an employee who deserved recognition. If this guy is the person representing Chase, the bank looks good, as an institution, and as a private branch. If James Vasquez is the type of employee you’ll encounter as a customer at Chase, you will never want to put your money elsewhere. Please do something to make sure he never has a desire to leave his job with you, because losing James to any other company would be a major loss for you, and a major win for them.

Thanks again to James for getting this all done, should he ever be given the chance to read this. I could not be more grateful.
— My customer feedback on the Chase.com site, left this morning

I wish I could let you hear his voicemails, because they are seriously the kicker in this whole thing, but California privacy laws dictate two-party consent in recorded conversations, and I'm not gonna try to straddle the line there. Just know that it was the kind of voicemail that you've always hoped to get when you were down, worried, stressed, or sad.

If you've got someone in your employ, work life, school life, or personal life who's kicking some major ass, please go thank them today. You don't know how much they may need it, or who might be listening.

Till next time,
 

Situational Awareness.

Bee ButlerComment

JoJo has dropped a new single, the internet gave me four more, I have a real, actual, big-girl-makin'-money job, and my bank account should pull out of the negative sometime today.

 

I swear, this time we're gonna bust it out.
I'm scared to death, I'm not gonna lie about that, but I am so dead set on finally being successful, finding myself and my center, and getting some BALANCE going in this chaotic swirl that's been me for the last (almost) two years.


For the first time since I was 17, I have a 9-5. I'm in school, but it's online. It's gonna kick my ass. I'm terrified, but I am so done failing out of things. I used to be a successful, smart, brave, fierce little girl. And sometimes I think maybe she's still in there. This morning, I'm channeling her like crazy and going full force.

 

And, like she would, I decorated the hell out of a binder to motivate myself.
I may have coffee and pointed-toe business shoes on, but I am still a 12 year old school supplies addict.

Here we go,

Two Pairs of Shorts.

Bee ButlerComment

My friend Carly (formerly Carlovely, for those of you who are Tumblr fanatics like me) posted this photo today, with the following caption:

this is a photo i took today of two pairs of shorts, both mossimo brand from the juniors’ section at target. i bought the denim pair, a size 0, at the beginning of this summer. the black pair are a size 4. let me repeat that, the LARGER pair pictured here are a size 0 whereas the SMALLER pair are a size 4. same brand. same season. THIS is why women have body issues.

I love Carly, and she has dropped a ton of weight in recent years, so she's fully aware of the utter bullshit that is women's pants sizing. I was legitimately furious at this picture, because WHY IS IT SO DAMN HARD TO JUST MAKE UNIFORM SIZING FOR PANTS, DEAR GOD IN HEAVEN.

A bunch of people jumped on my ass when I shared the picture on Facebook, because beauty standards and it shouldn't matter and blah blah blah whatever I'm not in the mood to read those comments today, thanks.

 This is why it matters to me, and to millions of others.

When you've struggled with an eating disorder, the size of your pants can be incredibly troubling. Going from a size five to a size sixteen can make you feel like you're going to die. It's crazy, but that's what fuels anorexia and bulimia; the crazy idea that your value is inherently determined by your size.

While I know that my worth does not come from a pair of shorts, my history with eating disorders makes it impossible not to see the connection there. A size sixteen is not the same or smaller than a size eight, and thus, my pants (or the pants in the picture, or any pants anywhere) should not reflect the idea that they are. Women's clothing is sized in an absurd, eating-disorder-fueling, beauty-standard-enforcing manner, and that is INFURIATING to me and so many others who just want to buy some damn fabric to cover our asses. Mossimo and the hundreds of thousands of other brands who size their clothing in such a dishonest and crazy manner need to be subjugated to criticism and consequences so that they can see the error of their ways and fix the problem in their sizing, as well as in their thinking.

The end. Full stop.

 

 

If you cannot wrap your head around that, then please do not ever talk to me about food, or pants, or clothing, or beauty standards, or weight, or actually at all, ever. Just shut up. Because this shit nearly killed me two years ago, and I'm still too close to it to be objective or give a rat's ass about your completely wrong and invalid opinion. Bye.

 

For those of you who get it and are mad as hell at the struggle and BS that comes along with it, know this: You are beautiful, and Target and Mossimo and everyone else can suck it. They are wrong, and your body is right, and we will keep fighting this until something changes, and it sure won't be our minds.

 

Until pants sizes are normal,

I'm a Millenial, and you're welcome.

Bee ButlerComment

I've seen a lot of people my age posting that "I'm a Millennial, and I know we suck, I'm sorry" article that went viral, and I would like to say the following in response:

I'm a millennial, and I know we're incredible, and you're welcome. You older folks crashed our housing market, destroyed our economy, started wars and bankrupted us for trying to go to college, and we still set up your wifi routers and iPhones for you all the time. We keep making incredible art, music, and technological advances, despite the fact that you bitch endlessly about how hard they are to use.

We grew up in an era where change and progress was so constant that in the span of ten years, we went from computers at the public library to laptops in our bedrooms, and we adapted, fast as lightning, and then we explained it to you when you couldn't figure it out. You royally screwed the world that we have to live in when you're gone, but we still keep inventing new ways to reduce and undo the ecological damage you've caused. We also pay into the Social Security you either are or will be collecting, even though, at the current rate, it will be all gone by the time it's our turn to get paid. We take on crippling amounts of debt just to get degrees, and we refrain from knocking you upside the head when you start ranting about how "kids these days don't know the value of a dollar", as if you hadn't TOTALLY DESTROYED THE VALUE OF THE DOLLAR WITH YOUR IRRESPONSIBLE SPENDING.

And yes, we vlog and tweet and message and DM and snapchat and vine and instagram and blog all of the things happening in our lives, because we have a way to document our progress, our struggles, our history as it's happening, and don't you wish you could've done that without running out of space on your VHS? You've got boxes in the garage with newspapers from the moon landing and the JFK assassination, and we've got Huffington Post articles bookmarked and tweets cached from when a black man was elected President and when Prince died. While there's plenty of awesome gadgetry and innovations coming out every day, there's nothing new under the sun, so shitting on us for using what's been made available in our lifetime as though you didn't do the same is not only ridiculous, it's a form of ageism-in-reverse.

You got to be proud of what you achieved and where you went and how you evolved. Guess what? So do we. So for the millionth time, be grateful, and you're welcome, because you can Skype your grandkids tonight before they go to sleep.

With love,
A Millennial, and DAMN PROUD of it.

On guns.

Bee ButlerComment

Watch this, then read below. Your comments will be deleted if you you don't follow those two steps.

Your Website Title

I'm done pretending like I even need to say sorry for bombarding everyone who follows me with things like this, because I watched this video today and then went and followed up on every single statistic, and they are all 100% true.

There is nothing to argue. There is no excuse that can be made and no amount of griping about your right to bear arms that will change the facts in this short clip. We have almost no gun control, we have more suicide, homicide, mass shootings, and gun deaths than any other developed country IN THE WORLD, even when adjusted for population, and all the evidence shows that more guns equals more deaths.

So, in summation, your refusal to lay down your guns is tantamount to your belief that a constitutional amendment that no longer applies as it pertains to its original intent is more important to you than human life.

This has to stop. The sit-in in the House of Representatives is barely a start, and that bill merely wedges the door open. We need to walk through it by banning assault rifles entirely and limiting magazine capacity, as well as requiring background checks, mental health examinations, longer waiting periods, ammunition purchase limits, and, yes, closing the gap on the terrorist watch list and gun shows. You right to holster a pistol does not trump my right to live. Full stop. The end.

On what not to do.

Bee ButlerComment

I have seen a million and one things about the Orlando mass shooting, all of them URGENT or SHOCKING or some other drastic-sounding blurb designed to catch attention, as if the bloody murder of 50 innocent people as a hate crime/terrorist attack can be anything BUT attention catching, but there is one thing I cannot deal with. The back story for this guy reads like a conspiracy theorist's dream. His father falsely claimed to be the President of Afghanistan on a television program. He may or may not have been gay. He made comments to numerous people that were charged with racial slurs. He made it known to his parents that he hated the sight of two men kissing. He scared a coworker so badly that he was repeatedly reported to his boss for violent hate speech. He was abusive and his wife divorced him. He was obsessed with the NYPD. He was a for-hire security guard. He was on a terror watch list for a period of time. He allegedly mentioned Al-Qaeda and ISIS in the same claim for his motives, even though the two are at war and don't have anything to do with the other, and an actual militant would've known that. The FBI and Homeland Security flagged him as a threat in the past. Sources report that he made a call to 911 proclaiming to work for ISIS. Nobody has released the 911 tape, which is abnormal in this type of situation. Sources also report that he posted on Facebook that he was going to kill people because the U.S. continues to bomb the Middle East. Nobody reporting that has used screenshots, which is also abnormal in this situation. He may or may not have been hanging around the nightclub in recent weeks. He may or may not have been kicked out of that nightclub for pulling a knife on someone. He may or may not have gone there to get drunk in secret because he could not at home. He may or may not have been a devout Muslim. He single-handedly killed 50 people and injured 53 more using a semi-automatic weapon, even though it is seems physically impossible for him to have smuggled that many rounds and magazines into a nightclub in public in the middle of June without being caught. An eyewitness and shooting victim even came out today saying that he had snipers and other gunmen, that he didn't hate black people and felt bad for them, and that he was doing all of this while speaking Arabic frantically and proclaiming that the U.S. deserved this and prohibiting people from using their phones.

Holy shit, there is a ton of conflicting, insane, creepy, inexplicable information out there. In the coming days, weeks, and months, I'm sure it will all be unpacked and examined, and eventually a theory will be released by the government. I highly doubt that any legislation on gun control will pass, but everyone will talk about it endlessly for a few more weeks, at least. It's a lot to process and think about, and it's a graphic, dramatic, scary, infuriating situation, and talking about it seems to be the only way to deal with these crazy feelings that have come up as a result. You can believe what you want about motives and methods, and you can fight and argue and push until your head explodes. These things remain:

It is not okay to shout "it was a hoax!" as though these people are not, in fact, dead and injured and achingly absent from the world. Just like with Sandy Hook, there are people crawling out of the woodwork to make sure everyone knows that people were plants, people were running the wrong way, blah blah blah. PEOPLE ARE DEAD AND YOU COULD AT LEAST PRETEND TO BE SENSITIVE WHILE YOU CONDUCT YOUR LOONEY BUSINESS.

It is not okay to blame this on the Muslim community, as though they all mysteriously communicate telepathically or have rosters in their mosques for who is and who isn't going to bomb the U.S. for the "motherland", as if they all have a shared "motherland", as though the Muslim community was not already suffering from an absurd amount of abuse from racist people and xenophobic people like Donald Trump, as if being Muslim intrinsically makes you a terrorist. MUSLIM PEOPLE ARE HUMAN BEINGS WHO WORSHIP A GOD THE SAME WAY YOU DO, AND THE FACT THAT YOU KNOW NOTHING ABOUT THEIR RELIGION DOES NOT, IN FACT, MAKE IT SCARY AND EVIL AND THREATEN YOUR COUNTRY AND WAY OF LIFE.

It is not okay to act like this wasn't perpetrated DIRECTLY against the LGBT community, and it would do you well to realize that they are suffering immensely and in even more fear than normal that they could be harmed for who they are and how they feel, which they could no more change than you could change the fact that you breathe oxygen. LGBT people get enough shit on a regular basis, and right now, in the wake of transgender bathroom laws and not even a year into same-sex marriage legalization, the feelings of unwelcomeness and anger being beamed their way have got to be overwhelming. This happened to their community. This affects their community. THE FBI CLASSIFIED THIS AS A HATE CRIME AND YOU WILL RESPECT THE FACT THAT HATE CRIMES TARGET MARGINALIZED PEOPLE AND WE NEED TO CHANGE THE WAY WE ACT TOWARDS THOSE GROUPS.

It is not okay to parade around saying you feel terrible for "the gays" as though you magically give a shit about them when last week you were screaming for someone to shoot all the lady-boys in the wrong restroom, making this all the more disgusting than it already was. You don't get to carry around a token gay friend like you've already done with your token black friend and excuse your latent homo/transphobia with a falsified humbleness and respect for lives lost in the wake of a tragedy, as though your actions did not condone this exact event only a few days before. YOU ARE PART OF THE PROBLEM IF YOUR ACTIONS AND WORDS THIS WEEK DO NOT MATCH YOUR ACTIONS AND WORDS LAST WEEK. THIS IS NOT A CAUSE TO PICK UP AND PUT DOWN AT YOUR CONVENIENCE. YOU ARE NOT EXCUSED FOR YOUR HORRIBLE BEHAVIOR BY DECRYING A "BAD GUY" WHO MADE THEM HIS TARGET WHEN THEY WERE YOUR TARGET ALREADY.

It is not okay to pretend that praying about this is enough to fix it. It is not okay to act like speaking to who or whatever you believe in excuses you from taking action against a brutal and horrific tragedy. God is not going to walk down here and magically revive these people because you gave Him a little lipservice. Praying is great, and I'm so glad you took time to remember this event in your conversation with a deity, but you have to do something, or you need to shut up. PRAYING AND THEN REFUSING TO TAKE ACTION IS ASININE. CONTACT YOUR SENATOR OVER GUN CONTROL, OR SEND MONEY TO AN LGBT CHARITY, OR CONTRIBUTE TO A GOFUNDME FOR A VICTIM, OR CHECK YOURSELF AND RECOGNIZE YOUR PRIVILEGE AND CORRECT YOUR BEHAVIOR. JESUS TOLD YOU TO LOVE YOUR NEIGHBOR, AND GOSSIPING TO HIS DAD ABOUT THEM DOESN'T COUNT.

I am at a loss for what to do or think or feel, but I know that the above mentioned things are not it. Now, get yourself together and make things better, even if it's just for today. There has been enough loss and pain. Do some good, watch yourself, and remember that it could've been you, and next time, it might be, so your response should probably reflect what you'd want if that happened.

Yes, that is rape.

Bee ButlerComment

Several of you have pointed me to the statement made by the young woman who was sexually assaulted at Stanford. The statement she read aloud after the defendant, despite being found guilty by twelve jurors on three FELONY COUNTS of sexual assault, was given six months in jail. Six. Months.

Here is what I have to say.

 

 

Rape is the absence of consent. No matter what some bumfuck, redneck, ignorant, backwards-ass state court (Oklahoma) says, being drunk removes your ability to consent.

“Forcible sodomy cannot occur where a victim is so intoxicated as to be completely unconscious at the time of the sexual act of oral copulation,”

Bullshit. Forcible sodomy, of the digital, oral, dick, vagina, breast, hands, hips, ass, mouth, face, hair, dildo, ET CETERA AD INFINITUM can occur AT ANY TIME to ANY HUMAN BEING, REGARDLESS OF GENDER, CLOTHING, INTOXICATION LEVEL, SEXUAL HISTORY, ET CETERA AD INFINITUM. Rape is sexual activity in the absence of consent. And this woman was raped. And because her rapist was a young, white, fast-swimming prick with a giant family bank account, he gets a slap on the wrist.

I am not okay with that. No one should be okay with that. What he did to her is unforgivable. What the judge did to her? That might actually be worse. I don't care what you believe or where you stand or what your thoughts on feminism, consent, alcohol, intent, and sluttiness are. Rape is a vicious, hateful, disgusting crime, and it should be punishable to the fullest extent of the law.

If I am drunk, naked, in your bed, hand you a condom, kiss you, and then say no? And you continue? You are raping me. You are a rapist. Brock is a rapist. The seventeen year old boy from my church WHO I DATED is a rapist. No matter what happens in life, regardless of any medals won, degrees earned, paychecks cashed, children born, and accolades accumulated, you will never be able to wash yourself clean of that title. Now and forever more, you are a rapist. We, however, do not always stay victims. We are free. We are strong. We are brave. We are still standing, still shining, and like this incredible young woman said, we are fighting.

Someday, justice will come. Until then, we will not be silenced.
You should be very, very afraid.