The madness continues...more from the Quora Illuminati Group...a composite of the last dozen or so questions addressed directly to me:

How can I join the Illuminati? 

Hello. I am 20 years of age and I work as a clerk at Home Counties Bank. I have been there for six months. My father and mother are from the British Commonwealth of Gambia. I am known to be clean and punctual, and able to follow complex instructions. 

I would like to join because your organization because the Illuminati are known to be wealthy, famous, and powerful, and I would like to be the same. How much money do you need to join? I can pay 50 GBP now, and more in future. Is this enough?

I have been given to understand that you require a ‘sacrifice’ of some kind. I am further given to believe this may be of the animal variety, but could also be human, as well. I am not experienced in either, but would be willing to undertake training, provided that this be done in a safe manner. I prefer weekend classes, but could attend for a full week in six months. 

The other question I might have is the role of faith in your organization. My parents and I are devout Christians. Would this hinder my acceptance or advancement? I would be willing to sign papers renouncing my claim, provided that I receive a guarantee of prompt advancement. Please advise.

In closing,  I am 5’10” tall, weigh 11 stone and favor Manchester Utd. Please reply quickly — I am in need of supplementary employment and income to help my aging parents back home.

It would be funny, if it wasn't so pathetic. The people who ask this, and questions like it, all seem to know more about it than I do: they "know" that they're going to be almost instantly awarded wealth beyond all dreams of avarice, world-wide recognition, and unlimited power, if only because they joined up, in a process somewhere between subscribing to a magazine and applying to a community college, albeit with somewhat different requirements. We'll murder our families, we'll lead young children into sexual slavery, even cannibalism, if only they can have that money.

All they have to do is pay up a small fee, provide for an unspecified, but unpleasant ritual, and presto! You can now control the world economy! No experience needed! The world's your ant farm! Of course, you'll burn in Hell, but well, isn't that what it's about? You mean they aren't Satanists, or perform Blood Sacrifice of relatives, or even need hitmen and kidnappers for their child seraglios? That if they actually existed outside of Dan Brown -- I prefer Robert Anton Wilson -- they might require some knowledge of macroeconomics, international law, area studies, or at the very least, be able to speak and interact with people from countries and cultures not their own? And furthermore, who told these people that handing the Yacht Club a hundred dollars will mean that they'll up and give you a yacht?

No, that's too easy. It would take too long, and they need the money. Now.

I need to write more. Today I made a bunch of food, then my friend asked what I was doing and I ended up running a bunch of errands with her. I get emotionally tangled inside the webs of my head. Writing is a way to clear those out, and it seems as if I get into a streak, then get out of it again. I bought some clothes for work after I ripped one of my work shirts. The other one doesn't fit. I'm upset with the girls, not happy with the way certain things are going at work, but this is my life, and I'm in charge of my feelings. Tomorrow I am going to the dentist for a cleaning and to see what can be done about my broken tooth. I'm sad, angry, disappointed, furious, overwhelmed, scared, and my ego is bruised.

The success of others is something I can celebrate, but there are times when it hurts since I'm very competitive, and it feels as if they are somehow better than I am because they have achieved somethign I could not that I wish that I could. There are many things to love about myself, and comparisons are pointless, but it still hurts. All the more so because it was unintentional. I played a game without understanding the rules, I lost, and that sucks. But it can teach me what to do in similar situations next time. Tomorrow I have to go to work after my dentist appointment, and I'm really not looking forward to working with my boss by myself. Hopefully it will go well. I have said many a prayer that it will, but I am still nervous and have trepidation, especially since it is coming on the heels of what will not be a very pleasant trip to the dentist.

Today I reached out to our district manager. I mentioned that I upgraded my phone, ordered the Apple watch, and will be getting a tablet so I can watch TV on it. I want to get back into shape, the tablet is only $.99, but it will cost me $10/month to add it to my account. Supposedly I am eligible for an employee discount on the 15th which marks 90 calendar days since I started there. Compared to where I was, I am much better off and I realize this. *** I have no idea what pulled me away from this, but I'm picking up where I left off. My tablet was supposedly delivered, except I don't have it, and that's fairly upsetting to me. I'm going to ask about it tomorrow, and hopefully get an answer. On a completely unrelated note, and I may have either touched on this in detail, or more briefly previously, but it's on my mind again so I'm unpacking it.

A couple of the guys I work with drink. They talk about it, and I listen. One of the guys has straight up told me that he has a problem with alcohol. He told me that the other guy goes out and drinks, one time I worked with him when he confessed to coming in feeling as if he was hungover. He was in a goofy mood that day, to the point where we had fun for most of the day, and the trouble with that kind of thing is you don't really know to what extent alcohol is influencing the behavior of another. I've had days where I've been so tired I laughed at things that were not remotely humorous, and maybe it was more the staying up late than the excessive amount of alcohol that had been consumed, but I really don't know that for sure. One of the guys is perpetually, chronically annoyed, and I wonder if this is tied to his drinking problem.

During a shocking moment, this was not long ago, the three of us were at work together unpacking a shipment when one of the guys said something about either wanting to, or actually having scaled back his alcohol intake. I was wholly unprepared for the other guy to tell him that it felt really good to wake up without having to deal with the havoc it can wreak on your body, and I probably stared at him for several moments as if he was some sort of freak because this was a completely unexpected reveal. We have a heavy bro culture at work, and I expected him to do what he typically does and fall in line with what the other people were talking about. He once admitted he was a very unhealthy person, and one of the reasons I like both of these guys is they are pretty honest, and will answer questions directly even when it casts them in a negative light.

The other day I came in early after my dentist appointment ended later than I anticipated. I was pretty shook up from learning what my bill for repairs was going to be, this after paying five times what I was initially quoted on the phone for a cleaning and films. I was in the break room when the guy I was working with came in to talk to me. We chatted about my mouth and the financial woes for a moment before the subject changed. I have no idea what prompted this remark from me, but I said something about us all being heathens as a rejoinder to something he had said. Then he said that the other guy had asked if he could start getting some Sundays off because he wanted to start going back to church. For a couple of seconds I thought he was kidding since we joke around with each other a lot at work. I still don't know with absolute certainty that he wasn't, but he didn't rub it in if he had been, and experience tells me he would have.

I once told one of the guys that maybe I wasn't the person he wanted to be working with at all times, but that we needed each other, and I still believe this. We have had our share of differences. When I first started I was pretty annoyed that one of the guys I worked with kept interrupting me while I was talking. Finally I asked if I could please finish a sentence, and when he opened his mouth again, I lost my temper and told him it wasn't about him, and it would be nice to hear from someone else for a change. He used to talk about himself to what I felt was an unhealthy extent, I was pretty sharp, and eventually he got to a point where he quit talking to me at all outside of work related interactions. If we were there together without any customers, we were both immovable objects lost in our own little worlds. Strangely, it never felt personal or hostile, and eventually I grew to appreciate the silence.

The other guy called him on it, I didn't know he was doing the same thing to others, and had assumed it was just me even though I wasn't sure what I had done. Things changed, I think it may have been on Black Friday which was the next day the three of us were working together again. We decided to use a gift card we had to get take out, I drove, leaving both of the guys behind. When I came back I found that I had missed out on a sales opportunity, I knew that would happen, but set it aside. The rest of the day was pretty quiet, and since I had arrived first, I got to leave early. I was standing around when the guy who hadn't been talking to me made a conversational attempt. I had gotten a salad, he asked about it, I took it for what it was, a conversational gambit, and we had a short conversation about strawberries and salads.

We all worked together again the following day, and I was glad to see that there were more attempts like the previous one. It couldn't have been called anything other than superficial chit chat, but I felt that an honest and sincere attempt had been made, and I for one tried to do my part to keep the talk going even if we were discussing socks and haggling with retailers to see what freebies could be scored at the mall. Sometimes you have to get to give. We sent one guy home early since it was slow, and I ended up having a decent chat with the other guy. Fast forward a couple of days to the day when a woman who came in wanted to set up Apple pay. She made a comment about her husband tracking her purchases since he received an alert every time she used her card, that upset her, and I empathized because being questioned like that would bother me as well.

After she left the guy I was working with challenged what I had said to her. I had asked if she did any journaling, and advised her to get curious about her frustrations with her husband. The guy I was working with didn't feel that was appropriate, and then he said something about me not liking men. The other guy we work with has made comments like that too, but this is the first time I had had a longer conversation about it. I shared the fact that someone I was married to had used my credit cards without my knowledge, he said something about that being how marriage works, and I just kind of stared at him in disbelief because that is some pretty unhealthy framing. The conversation did not last long, but left an impression on me. I took my break, and we ended up discussing it again, this time at greater length.

At one point he told me that things weren't all about me. It hurt, and at first I tried to shake it off by telling him I needed some ice for the burn. But rather than laughing about it like I expected, he kept talking. This time I really listened to him, not just what he was saying, but his tone of voice, which was one I had never heard previously. He sounded incredibly hurt, and that's when I realized that my comment about it not being all about him had really done some damage. I didn't do anything about it right away. I had another conversation about me not liking men with the other guy, and I talked to my therapist about it today. Her take on it is that I am not a man hater, these guys don't understand how women relate to and connect to each other, and I should just be me and not worry too much about what others think.

This is sound advice, however, I have to work with both of these guys, and I really don't need or want a reputation that is negative. Going forward I'm going to be more careful about what I say. I can be supportive of women without dissing men, I also think that there's no pleasing everyone, and as long as I sell, this will be less of an issue. I think I am one of the most tolerant women they know, and put up with all sorts of comments about things that I shouldn't have to in a work related setting. I could put a stop to it if I really wanted to, my therapist asked why I didn't, and for the most part it doesn't bother me because I feel as if these guys actually respect me, and probably even enjoy having me around at times even if I get under their skin on other occasions. I'm good for them, they're good for me, I've heard the term MILF before, and I get that they are going to drool over attractive people who come in just like I will when my time comes.

I've said this before, I like people with class. I want to be a classy person, the kind who never questions what is right, they automatically act with integrity and grace because they can't imagine an alternative. I found a meme I like online, according to it; boys have swag, men have style, and gentlemen have class. There is probably a feminine equivalent, but I'm not sure what it is off the top of my head. I have seen a lot of growth at our branch, and I'm proud of all of us. Three of us are perfectionists, and probably organized to an extent that many others aren't. The fourth person isn't as organized, but he's no intellectual slouch, and I adore him for being as empathetic as he is. There is something comforting and right about working with people who do not leave a lot lying around, prize efficiency, and keep things tidy. Both of those guys get credit for that, and it makes things like their disparaging comments about women much easier to bear.

I don't mind the comments for the most part. I feel as if it is just talk. One time I said it felt like a family there, another guy agreed, and today my therapist said the same thing which I felt was perceptive of her. For the most part I get treated like I'm one of the guys. They trust me with those comments and I trust them not to throw me under the bus. I've heard my boss stand up for me publicly, he said he has done so privately, and I have no reason to doubt his claim. He said the other guy has to, and I believe this to be true as well since he has told me about things he's said that have been a matter of me getting credit when it was due. I don't know what is going to happen in the future, but for now, I am extremely grateful for those guys. My therapist said that they treat me like a sister figure, I hadn't thought about it like that previously, and wonder if she is onto something I didn't see previously.

Sometimes, and I even said this to one of our customers, I told her that the guy I was working with was like the punk younger brother she may have had, and she knew exactly what I was talking about. We say things to others, but I think we're also pretty careful about how far we go, and try to gauge reactions. All of us have crossed many lines, but it feels like we have an unwritten set of rules that unravel and untangle as we get to know each other better. I can't figure out why it doesn't really feel disrespectful, but it doesn't, and I know that if I really wanted to put a stop to things, I could. Maybe that is the difference. My old boss said a lot of things that were highly NSFW, but she was a woman which doesn't really make it any better. It may be dysfunctional, but it's our dysfunction, and I've spent some time thinking about this without coming up with any sort of plan, probably because I really do not care what they say as long as I'm okay with it.

Probably one of the coolest things is the loyalty there. I know those guys have my back, I'm heavy on appreciation and gratitude because I am beyond joyful that I never have to return to my old job. An interesting side note is that whenever I have a bad day at work, my nightmares are about the people and the job I had in the past. People I work with currently have shown up in dreams, but never in any sort of negative context, just as characters who were there for some unknown reason. I have no idea what I'm doing as far as the operations part of the job goes, but as far as some of the interpersonal dynamics go, I feel much more comfortable there. One of the guys hugs me when I hug him, I haven't hugged the other guy, but I probably could. The other guy rarely works there anymore, I saw him today, and gave him some hugs which was nice. Whether this is a career, or just another job, I'm in a much better place than I was. This feels divine and cosmic, but also kind of like a joke. But it's fun to finally have a nice phone, and I'm looking forward to having a tablet as well as a watch. 

Sometimes I need to have my world rocked a bit. I guess it's about time I accepted that I can lean on others and learn from them in ways that aren't work related. One of the guys loves to shop, and I went on a spree that felt justified after talking to him. It's cool to have input that is outside of my comfort zone and experiences. It's great to be exposed to an industry where I have much to learn, and I love working with people who are direct, and willing to have the tough conversations even when they don't go as well as either of us would like. Today I sent someone an apology, I sat there sweating about it until he replied back that he had accepted it, and then I knew I was forgiven. It was a very short exchange, but I think it really helped. I feel as if I'm owed some apologies too, but I'm okay with owning my actions which apparently were more hurtful than I had intended. I can be hard on others, myself too. It was a great lesson, and I think we've all benefited from the experience. I was brave, I did the right thing, and then I was rewarded for that which is how it should be. 

All my best to you and yours, this was therapeutic, cleansing, and healing, I needed this space to write through what I was thinking and feeling tonight. Off to bed, praying for a good night's sleep.



P.S. I never could have predicted a day like today, but here we are.

P.P.S. A friend encouraged me to get back on Instagram, and I did. Currently using it as a personal digital scrapbook. It put me in touch with my youngest, and sparked some fun conversations. My friends are smart, and I'm really glad I'm getting better about listening to them.


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