Chapter 17, I’m Losing My Damned Mind
The collection agency I went to work for in October of 2011 was just more hell. I know that it seems very often I paint myself as a victim here. Like I said before, either I’m trouble or trouble always finds me. I never seem to learn from my mistakes and keep making the same fucked up choices over and over. Like I said in the beginning, I was born a fuck up.
Even in my forties I continued to screw up my life knowing the choices I was making were wrong. That problem of not listening to my inner voice is my real problem in life.
Except for one other collector everyone in the office was black, not including the attorney who was there for decoration so they could call it a law office when I first started. Early on in my life I learned that not just black people but people in general either love me or hate me from the get-go. I found that as my mother told me when I was a child, people were jealous of me. Probably because of my good looks and the fact that I had half a brain.
Yes I did say earlier that I was cursed with stupidity, but in reality I believe I can be quite smart and often when you’re smart people want to make you feel that you’re stupid and when you are good looking and smart people will go out of their way to make you think you are stupid because they are jealous of you. On one of my first day at this job a black girl working there was wearing a t-shirt that said, “Mean Girl” and that she was. I never had a problem with black women, but they always seemed to have a problem with me, perhaps because of the way black men looked at me. They looked at me like I was a meal to be devoured. Was that my fault? I couldn’t change the way I looked, and I refused to make myself less attractive to make someone feel more comfortable. Was it my fault that I didn’t have to buy fake hair, fake nails, fake eye lashes? Was it my fault that I’m a black man’s dream?
I always think it’s interesting that black people fought so long to be accepted as they are. They wore afros in the sixties and seventies and stopped straightening their hair and showed their natural beauty, and then one day someone decided they would start buying Indian and Asian hair and started trying to look like white women again.
Between slavery and segregation there was apparently a meeting of black people, and it was decided that not only would they start straightening their hair again, but they would also pay thousands of dollars to attach fake braided hair to their heads which would express their blackness. Excuse me if I rant here about race, but it is just funny to me how much money people spend to look blacker.
What I mean by this is that in our society people feel it necessary to prove their ethnic identity. Whether its Latino, Asian, Irish, Italian, Greek, Jewish, or black, whatever you are, people seem to feel the necessity to show that they belong to their tribe. Forgive me if I’m being ignorant here but apparently in that meeting someone also decided black women would now start dying their hair blonde and get blue and green contact lenses. I suppose they wanted to show they could do anything white women could do, but I just think it is such a shame that their ancestors tried so hard to show their natural black essence just so the current generation would flip it all backwards.
An interesting fact actually is I recently learned from a DNA test that my mother’s side of the family is two percent black, and we started out from somewhere in Kenya. So, before we were Jews we were black. According to the DNA test I have Spanish blood Italian blood, Asian blood and even some German blood and it turns out I am only seventy percent Jewish on my mother’s side. Unfortunately, I am unable to get the DNA test on my paternal side because I would have to go to Israel to see my father whom I finally found through his ex-wife, the mother of my half sister.
But I digress, as I’ve said I’m an opinionated woman and not everyone’s cup of tea.
Not long after I started working at this fakakta collection agency, a big and bald black man came in shortly after me. If you don’t know what fakakta is, it’s a Yiddish word meaning completely fucked up and not working properly. I won’t even give this black man a nick name because the only proper name is total asshole. Like I told you before, don’t do nice shit for people that don’t deserve it.
I noticed this man didn’t have a car and we lived close by, so I, like an idiot offered to give him rides to and from work. It was all fine and dandy at first until I really got to know him. He was another one of those people that couldn’t say shit to your face, only behind your back. He got in good with my supervisor right away and I strongly believe there are black people out there that don’t trust white people simply because they ae white. It’s called reverse racism and I have experienced a lot of it in my life.
This man that I will refer to as total asshole had absolutely no filter connected between his mouth and his brain. Whatever popped into his head, he felt the need to share with the entire office. Details like how his stomach was turning, that he had to go take a shit, things like that¸ always shared in a disgusting manner and definitely more information than anyone needed to hear. It was a small office and he made sure that everyone heard every detail he was sharing.
The collection business or for that matter the corporate world in general in my opinion is very cut-throat. People will do and say many fucked up things to throw you off your game. In collections, people will steal your accounts and often the manager is in cahoots with them to fuck you over. If you do your job well people get jealous and find ways to get you down. When I did well and collected a lot of money, total asshole would call it “Jewish magic”. Oh, so it wasn’t my hard work or the fact that maybe I’m smart, but “Jewish magic”. How racist is that? As if Jews have some kind of magic that helps them in life. And this coming from a black person. And if you’re a person like me with mental health issues who is already paranoid and in a state of mind that everyone is out to get you they will try to make you think you’re just being paranoid while they do their dirt to fuck you up.
So, this man whom I befriended by giving him rides to work, the total asshole, was another one of those people that talk about you the minute you turn your back.
For instance, we had a woman who was white and married to a black man. They were together a long time, they had children and grandchildren. It turned out she was also on psychiatric meds. I’m not the type of person to dig into people’s personal lives. But total asshole was a busy body. He told me the woman’s husband cheated on her with a twenty-four-year-old neighbor. She came to work crying, but I didn’t ask why. Total asshole just told me while I was driving him home from work.
Once again a coworker was telling me personal details of my other coworkers lives. If I said it before, I’ll say it again, I hate the corporate world. Most people in it are assholes.
One day a call came in on an account that belonged to the woman who wore the “Mean Girl” shirt on my first day. He was working her account behind her back. She was good friends with the manager, and she gave the best accounts to this woman. She gave her the most collectible accounts, people who had jobs and good credit. And my que was what I liked to call “the crap de la crème”. It was amazing that I was able to collect anything at all.
We all had a quota to meet. The more you made per hour the higher your quota was. You could choose to make less per hour so your quota would be less, and you had more of a chance to make commission. The commission was twelve percent of anything you brought in over your quota. I chose the higher per hour rate for security but that meant I had to work harder to make my quota.
We also had a rule that if hadn’t touched your account for at least 30 days another collector could get paid on that account if they collected it. It was impossible to get through your que for it may have four or five hundred accounts it in. Often, the boss sabotaged you if she didn’t like you by letting collectors work your que without you even knowing it. So, when this call came in on this woman’s account and total asshole turned out to be working it, I told her about it. I was trying in my mind to do the right thing, but after this happened they all turned against me.
I was already depressed and miserable ever since I got fired from the last bank I worked at. My so-called friends from the bank were gone, I felt so alone, I was having thoughts of suicide constantly and I made the mistake of asking one guy I worked with for advice about the whole situation. I knew he was attracted to me. We started talking on the phone and texting. I let myself think that he actually cared about me out of loneliness.
Once again I made the mistake of shitting where I ate. I slept with him and anything I told him in confidence he told everyone at the office. Since I seem to only go for total assholes, that is exactly what he turned out to be. He pretended to care about me, and I allowed him to abuse my trust. We never even went out on a real date. I made the same mistake I always make, trusting the wrong person. He was just another asshole that treated me like shit, and I had no one to blame but myself. I came over his house a few times and we fucked. It wasn’t even all that great.
He had no interest in giving me oral sex or any foreplay but after a few times he asked for anal sex. I said, “We haven’t even been on a date, and you want anal sex?” and I refused until one night without warning he slipped himself into my ass. What a dick! Once, he even said to me that I “wasn’t a real woman”. Where did that come from? Because I wouldn’t cater to his every whim like I had with men in my past? He claimed he didn’t tell everyone we were having sex, but they all knew and started treating me even worse than before. They were trying to get me to quit. If they treated me like a piece of shit before, now they were treating me like a piece of gum stuck to the bottom of shoe. I even overheard someone say that I was dating “under” my race. How’s that for racism?
I had a nervous breakdown and ended up in the psychiatric hospital again. I had taken just about every pill I had hoping they would put me to sleep, and I would never wake up. But I woke up after having a long nightmare during which I felt as if I was falling through many different dimensions. When I woke up I was furious at God that I didn’t die. I started throwing things around the house and breaking shit. I don’t remember how I got to the hospital. Maybe I called my mom, probably yelling and screaming and she came and took me to the hospital.
I was forty-three years old, and I still hadn’t learned not to fuck the men I worked with. I still hadn’t learned to keep to myself and mind my own fucking business. I felt so stupid and wanted to kill myself every day. I thought about slashing my wrists while sitting in the bathtub. I hated being in the hospital. It feels like one, long, never-ending AA meeting. They try to make you feel good about life with meetings and activities. You can’t smoke, so you’re withdrawing from nicotine, which according to many doctors is worse than withdrawing from heroin. I guess after about ten days I got better because I just did whatever they told me to do so I could get the fuck out of there and I had to go back to work and face everyone. When I came back the manager came up to me and gave me a strong hug. I thought she hated me, I thought they all hated me. My whole life I felt like I fucked up everything and everyone hated me.
After I came back to work, I felt even more paranoid, like they were all laughing behind my back. Total asshole was making comments like “We don’t need suicidal people here”. I was furious and after a couple weeks I got sick of all their shit and texted all of them “I’m tired of being a punching bag for all of you” or something like that and that’s when they fired me and again I was back at the psych hospital. At forty-three I was still fucking up my life. Now I was on suicide watch. The manager from the collection agency sent cops to knock on my door to make sure I was ok. Everything was a big blur again. I was unemployed again, no family, no boyfriend, no friends and the only reason I didn’t slit my wrists was the thought of what could be on the other side if you kill yourself is worse than what is here on earth. And now the reason I don’t slit my wrists is the thought of what that would do to my mother and the heart ache it would cause her.
After that breakdown my mom pushed me to apply for disability which I got but it wasn’t enough to cover all my bills and my mom continued to help me make ends meet. Eventually in 2015 I got a part-time job doing telemarketing for a loan company that was under the same ownership as the small bank I worked for. I had seen a guy at Wegman’s (a local grocery story) who worked in the IT department for the collection agency I left in 2007 and he told me they were looking for telemarketers.
At this point, the clinic that I go to for my psych services also had an employment program to help people find work, but they never helped me find a job. I always seemed to find it on my own. I went to work for this loan company in 2015. As usual, at first I was doing well but loan officers are liars. The telemarketers were supposed to receive a commission if a lead they generated turned into a loan that closed, but very often the loan officers would say the loan was going to close and then at the last minute they would claim that it fell through so the telemarketer wouldn’t get their commission. I never got one commission at that place.
In our office in Columbia, MD there was only one other telemarketer. There were several others at the main office in White Marsh, MD but only two of us in Columbia. The other telemarketer I worked with in Columbia had been with the company seven or eight years and was the top telemarketer, so of course he got the best calling lists. He supposedly made tons of money. He was an annoying, black, gay guy and another one with absolutely no filter between brain and mouth. Whatever he was thinking was blurted out. He was another one that was good friends with the manager of our department and apparently they had an arrangement that he would get paid all his hours even if he didn’t work them because he was in school to get a degree as a social worker of all things. If he was my social worker, I definitely would have killed myself.
I guess they were testing me, and I failed the test when the manager asked me what time the other guy left and instead of saying I don’t know I told him what time he left. The guy ended up going off on me saying that I was a danger to him. That’s when it started to go downhill. It was January of 2016. I had been there since October of 2015; I didn’t know anything about their arrangement. They had been friends for many years. Apparently when asked where is what’s his name?, I was supposed to say, “I don’t know”.
“Why were people constantly coming for me?”, I asked myself. Seriously, is there a fucking sign on my forehead that says, “it’s ok to fuck with this one”? Maybe I’m just a magnet for assholes.
But all that shit is nothing considering what happened to me on February 16, 2016. The night before, I was talking to God, telling him he must hate me and that he doesn’t give a shit about me, and I don’t believe in him anymore. The next night around two in the morning, I woke up in the most horrific pain I have ever felt. It was like someone was stabbing me with knives or shards of glass from every side. My entire body felt like I was being stabbed. And then I realized I couldn’t walk.
The pain was unbearable and when I tried to walk I fell out of my bed. I crawled to my phone and called my mother. I thought maybe I could wait while she came to take me to the hospital, but she was completely out of it. She had just been on vacation in Mexico in January and on this particular night we had an ice storm. I ended up having to call for an ambulance and in the meantime trying to get dressed while crawling on the floor as the pain kept shooting all over my body. I thought I was going to die. As many times as I wished that I would die somehow, as many times as I wished for God to kill me, when it actually felt like I was going to die, I didn’t want to die, the irony of life.
Even though the hospital was about fifteen minutes from my house, the ambulance ride seemed to last an hour while the shooting pain continued to attack my body. When I got to the hospital all I wanted was for them to give me something for the pain and let me go home, but whatever they gave me made me pass out.
I woke up to find out that I had three blood clots that were removed in an emergency surgery and my right foot sustained nerve damage as a result of either the clots or the surgery to remove them.
I had had a blood clot in my right leg back in 2012. On the weekend of my birthday, I went to get an ultrasound on my right leg because it was hurting and feeling tight. The office was across the street from the hospital, but they wouldn’t let me leave in order to walk across to the hospital. They had called an ambulance, but I made them cancel it because I didn’t want yet another medical bill. I called my mother and waited for her to take me. I was in the hospital for two days and they gave me a blood thinner through an i.v. and discharged me. Now after the emergency surgery it turned out I would have to be on a blood thinner the rest of my life. My toes in the right foot felt like they were overlapping, and I had a feeling of needles in my foot. My foot now had a condition called a “drop foot”. My ankle swells if I walk for a long time, my toes don’t straighten out all the way and now I also have a condition called nephropathy, which is when you don’t always feel something touching you. I decided this was God’s way of laughing at me, saying “Ha, I’ll show you”, “You think I don’t exist, let me show you my power, never doubt me again”. So now I have no doubt that God exists, however in my opinion he can be an asshole.
They wanted me to use a walker, but I refused to look like an old lady. I started using a cane. It has been five years this month of February 2020. I did the physical therapy for a while which helped me get my balance back, but I stopped going because it stopped being challenging. They had me doing the same exercises over and over and I needed something that would challenge the nerves in my foot and leg.
At first, I couldn’t look up without getting dizzy. I wasn’t really walking; I was dragging my foot with me when I walked. I didn’t know that I would be able to drive. My mother was driving me to and from work. Then one day I decided to try driving because my foot moved a little up and down just enough to push the gas pedal and you really use your leg to step on the break. I went to an empty parking lot and just practiced at a slow speed driving around. I started being able to drive myself to work.
I went back to work after a little over a month. And for a while I even quit smoking. I started vaping but with no nicotine. The doctor that did my emergency surgery told me things would get better after a year.
When it was close to a year and my foot wasn’t any better, I said, “fuck it” and started smoking again. He didn’t know what the fuck he was talking about, he was a cardiologist not a neurologist. When I realized I need to see a neurologist, the first one I saw explained to me how slowly nerves grow back, if they are not dead. But the first neurologist literally looked like she was straight out of “The Lord of the Rings”. She looked like a fucking hobbit and she overtalked me and never let me ask questions. She talked to me like I was an idiot, and she didn’t give me an electro-magnetic test they’re supposed to do. So, I found another neurologist who did the test and according to him, my condition would never improve. He prescribed me a medication for the discomfort and pain in the foot. But as many doctors when I would ask direct questions he would not give me a straight answer. Finally, one day I asked him “Are some nerves dead that will never come back?” He finally said yes, that’s correct.
After that I found another neurologist. This one had done the worst thing a doctor could do; he gave no hope.
I refused to believe that because the physical therapist told me it is possible for even dead nerves to regenerate if you do prescribed exercises. However, I refused to believe that a fifteen-minute exercise routine, doing the same thing over and over again could regenerate some nerves. My foot wouldn’t move to the right, and it doesn’t go all the way up. I decided to try a short yoga class. It was difficult, but shortly after a miracle happened. One day my foot started moving to the right. Then with the whole Covid pandemic yoga classes were now only by video and I prefer yoga in person. But in the meanwhile, I’ve joined a gym and have found that I’m able to last for twenty minutes or so on the elliptical machine which can’t be bad for circulation of my foot. Yes it’s hard but knowing I can do it is worth it.
My mother ended up moving in with me for a while, until she drove me nuts and I literally threw her out and told her to go home when she overstayed her welcome. She was avoiding the mess at her own house.
I ended up getting fired from that job too. That’s because the president of the company is also an asshole. He rolled out this software for the telemarketers so that instead of using lists on paper for leads we had a que to go through. Managers and their fucking ques, I swear. I wasn’t getting any leads and we got and extra dollar or two on our hourly pay if we generated a certain number of leads per day. While my supervisor was on vacation one week, I asked the president if I could use the old papers lists since they seemed to generate more leads, he said “Ok, whatever works”, but then when my manager got back from vacation he started being a dick saying we had to use the new software. When I questioned him as to why we would use it if it wasn’t generating leads he got pissed off and fired me for questioning him.
Total dick like most bosses are. I can’t stand my way or the highway managers and bosses. Why not listen to the feedback your employees give you? If generating leads ends up making money for the company, what the hell do you care from where they come from? Ah, the corporate life.
And there it is, the corporate life. That was the attraction of stripping. Although I worked at a particular club, I was my own boss. I set my own schedule. I could go to almost any club in the country and yes I got naked for money. Yes I did table dances and lap dances. Yes, sometimes it was disgusting to dry hump men for money and yes sometimes they came in their pants. I didn’t tell you that truth at first, but there it is. I started out just being a stage dancer and towards the end I was working in clubs where some girls were doing God knows what with the customers. Yes, at the end I was willing to have sex with a man for money. That was my rock bottom. That was the reason I thought I needed AA. That was the reason I thought I was an alcoholic and guess what, I still miss it, I still romance it.
Those were my glory days. I was young, beautiful and in love with a drug and sex/porn addict. No one was standing over me telling me what to do once I left him. And I traveled to different places and got to see other parts of the country. It was all bittersweet. I hated it and loved it all at once. I had no boss telling me what to do and at the time the lap dances/dry humping was worth the cash. If I walked out with five or six hundred dollars that night, I was happy. I could pay my bills; I had my own place and for a minute I had no man. Truth be told I did have sex with some of the customers, but I dated them, I didn’t take money for the sex. In my mind I wasn’t a whore, but if I was a whore or someone else is a whore, well shit it’s one of the oldest professions in the world, and it is a much-needed service.
There are way too many sexually repressed people in the world and way too many couples who get bored being married and don’t do things to spice up their marriages. The only problem is threesomes and swinging create jealousy for some people, like me. Me, I have to own my dick, I can’t watch my mate receiving more pleasure from another woman than he does from me. I can’t eat pussy just because that’s what my man wants to see, especially the pussy of some bitch I can’t stand. I can’t be with a man that wants to please himself more than he wants to please me. I cannot be with a man who doesn’t want to watch another man give me pleasure and the double standard.
I think I was twelve or thirteen when I found the book ‘The Happy Hooker’ among my mom’s things. I don’t remember anything about it now except that this woman was happy doing what she did. We are all whores in my opinion in one way or another.
After all, we all go to work and do what people want us to do in order to earn a living and many people kiss the bosses asses, so what’s the difference between a stripper or a whore than the rest of the world? There’s plenty of politicians and lawyers you could say are whores or actors who simulate sexual situations on screen for money, are they not whores in a way?
In my opinion we are all whores. The irony of life. My old boss who sat there with the Guatemalan woman across from me at that lunch making me feel ganged up on saw me talking to someone on Facebook about looking for a part time job contacted me asking if I was interested coming back to the same company as a part time collector and being that beggars can’t be choosers I took the job.
After all my disability doesn’t pay my bills enough and I hate asking my mother for money and being a burden on her. So here I am a whore, I took the job. It’s been almost two years since I started writing this book. When I had no job this book became my life. I was dying to get everything in my head on paper. Now that I’m working even though it’s part time, the job can be draining and leaving no strength to sit and write. My stripping days as you can see were much more exciting, at least in my opinion. So, I would say in a way I am a whore because I need money and although I thought I would never go back to that company, here I am, Now I’m working from home part-time due to the Covid pandemic. My manager is either crazy or bi-polar. He has had the nerve to scream at me at the top of his lungs when he is upset, which makes me think he is crazy and if not on medication he should be and he is possibly bipolar. May be now you can understand why I miss my stripping days. Speaking of whores, we may as well discuss my relationship with God.