The Shutdown and How it Shutdown My Life

From the cartoonist Joe Heller.

It has been a bit of a anxiety filled 10 days for me and my partner due to the stupid government shutdown. I am a very dedicated Democrat, so I will avoid any mean name calling, try to understand why the Republicans are shutting down the government, and Avoid my urge to have a pity party for one (millions are affected just like me). I don’t want to be political or stir up any emotions because I just don’t feel one person can make change like I use to when I was 16. All I know is that this government shitstorm is affecting me and it feels really shitty to be used as a pawn for government rhetoric.

How is it affecting me? Do I work for the federal government? Nope. But the job I did get requires a government background check before I can officially start. I did all the necessary paperwork on time and when it was sent to the government I knew it was out of my hands (and my employers). I was suppose to start my new job this Monday but most federal employees are on furlow, including those that do the security checks. OMFG! I can’t start my fucking job! There is nothing I can do but wait with the rest of America.

I know a lot of people aren’t affected by the shutdown in the way I am. People just don’t realize how important things are until they don’t have them. For example, not having government open has highlighted to me how it is needed. Or health insurance. I have been uninsured for 10 months because I wasn’t offered it by my previous employer and I cannot afford it from a private company. Or marriage. If someone said you could not get married than you might realize what an important right that is. The prospect of marrying my long time partner is such a special chose. Even education. Look at the courageous Malala Yousafzai who stood up for women’s education in Pakistan and continues to amaze all of us.

I guess my point is to share how a non-government person is effected by the shutdown. My life is literally on hold and I am in financial limbo. There are so many sad stories about wives of fallen soldiers not getting benefits, our gem of national parks being inaccessible to the public, and men and women who work for our government waiting to see how, and when, the Political parties will come together and do their jobs.

I am just so over it.

love, Sarah



Yes, you heard me right. I need to not feel beautiful and I need to look boring, dull, and bland. It is not often in a girl’s life that they want to feel ugly. I shared in a post recently about Dustin Hoffman and his realization of the heartbreak us ladies go through. I, like a lot of women, have wanted to feel womanly and beautiful since I can remember.  Yet now, I need to not stand out in a crowd and need to not be remembered. This is because I just got a job as a librarian in a male prison.

I am actually super excited about this job and the opportunity to impact lives of a very under-served population. Books can and do change lives. I get to be that person that shows these men that reading can benefit their lives. I may even get to teach a few of them how to read. It is a proven fact that incarceration and illiteracy are tied together. Today, about 60% of inmates are illiterate. I may be a little idealistic here, but I think you have to be in a job like this.

Now to the big downfall of this job: I am a young and feminine woman. These men are in prison surrounded by other men. I may be one of the nice experiences they have in prison and I do not want to get any kind of sexual attention. I actually am not worried about in the prison setting. You always have a guard with you [and I believe the library is a privilege for many inmates]. I am worried about after the release. I really do not want to deal with a stalker situation or get contacted outside of the prison setting. Because of this, I have decided to look as boring as possible. Yep, I now need to try NOT to look pretty – a complete contradiction of what I have been doing my entire life.  A little liberating even? I hope I can document some of this in the blog — I feel like I am doing a social experiment!

My Steps to NOT Looking Pretty

  1. Hair must be up. Hair down is a little to sexy for this job. I think I can still do some cute up-dos!
  2. Very light make-up. No lip color, no eyeliner, very light blush. I think mascara is still ok and light powder. Maybe this will be a good chance for me to fight pimples by being make-up free? I feel life is unfair when you are worrying about pimples and wrinkles at the same time.
  3. Shop at Good Will for baggy slacks and big button down shirts.
  4. No more dresses and skirts. BOO.
  5. No heels and I have to hide my “dude” tattoo on my foot. This might strike up some conversation about my personal life [yes, I have a “sweet” to my dude] and make the inmates too … curious?
  6. Lots of sweaters and layers. Hide my curves at all cost!
  7. I think I can still paint my nails? I don’t think pink nails drives men wild.
  8. Basically, I need to just buy clothes that are as boring, unfashionable, and dull as possible. Yet, I need to look clean and put together. I am a little worried about falling into a frumpy rut. I need to make sure I dress up on the weekends and feel girly. If you haven’t figured out yet, I am a pretty girly person.
    My "dude" tattoo.

    My “dude” tattoo.


    From ALLDAY Creative Inc’s Tumblr. I do not want this reaction in the prison. No dresses for me. BOO.

Does this post sound as conceited and I imagine it does? I completely realize there may not ever be an incident and that I am stereotyping these men into a horny and uncontrollable box. Nor do I think I will be a hot commodity in the prison yard. But I am aware that the prison guards call the librarians “inmate lovers” because it is our duty to help them. I also am aware  library experiences in a prison setting can be a positive interaction for inmates, compared to other experiences they may have in prison.  Knowing all this, I feel how I portray myself with my clothes will greatly impact how I am treated. Shit, sometimes I envy men and their penises. They don’t ever need to worry about looking too sexual because their top shows the shape of their breasts.

On a funny note, I did try to research “how not to look pretty” and I didn’t find anything. Shocking right? No woman has ever tried to look boring on purpose! I did find this awful country song “Try Not to Look So Pretty” by Dwight Yoakam.  I guess this is my new anthem.

love, Sarah