When is it enough for you?

“Isn’t it funny. I’m enjoying my hatred so much more than I ever enjoyed love. Love is temperamental. Tiring. It makes demands. Love uses you, changes its mind. But hatred, now, that’s something you can use. Sculpt. Wield. It’s hard, or soft, however you need it. Love humiliates you, but Hatred cradles you.”

― Janet Fitch, White Oleander

If there ever was a sentence that stood out on what explains my mother, White Oleander by Janet Fitch put it into words.

This is my open letter to you because you keep posting on my blog even when I have nothing more to do with you. Your hatred is everything to you. My love for my children and my husband and friends are guiding lights to me. Your obsession to ruin my happiness is not going to work. I am happy; I am successful, I am funny, I am smart, and you are not going to change that with your words.

“The phoenix must burn to emerge.”

― Janet Fitch, White Oleander

I don’t know what happened in your life or your trauma that made you this way. For me, I know and acknowledge the years and cycles of abuse in this family. It is your choice, just as it was mine, to break the generational cycles of abuse. I am not a victim, and I choose the path to love others and give kindly back to the world. If you tried to honestly heal, the world would become colourful for you. Choices we all have them, and we all make them to shape our lives. You choose to live in darkness. That is your choice to cause harm because you are hurting. You are scared that owning your truth would make you vulnerable. You made the choice to live in the prison called hatred and vindictiveness. Once you release that prison and acknowledge your inner child in pain, I hope you can set yourself free of the shadows that eat you day in and day out.

“I understood why she did it. At that moment I knew why people tagged graffiti on the walls of neat little houses and scratched the paint on new cars and beat up well-tended children. It was only natural to want to destroy something you could never have.”

― Janet Fitch, White Oleander

You keep trying to break my spirit. The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again. Only to get the same result. You’re not going to break me like you try to break everyone in your life. I will not allow you to drain my energies and my success because you love seeing misery. I am not alone, as I am surrounded in love. Love from children, love from my husband, and love from true friends. I’m sorry to say, you will never take that love and that support away. I hold the spirit of the elk in my heart and the spirit of the grizzly bear guiding me to protect myself and those who I love. Furthermore, I will always fight for my family and friends and protect them from people who love emotional violence instead of a path to higher self. You have no power over me, and that makes you angry. Unchained and emotionally protected, I am not bound to you. I will not bow or fold to someone who only takes and never gives back in love. We are not alike, and I will never stray in your path to do what you do to others. Telling you no and setting boundaries are not regrets I hold, but value dearly.

Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me.


You choose words like art, I give you that. What you don’t give is the admittance that something is wrong with your mind. You need to admit to yourself that you are broken. No animal or human you choose to harm will fill that hole. I hope one day, when the silence becomes deafening, you can see your broken spirit and mend it. I really hope that when it comes to judgment day, you see the true reality of the damage you caused. Now I will enjoy being myself. I will continue being a business owner; and I will continue being a mother to beautiful sons who will never know of you, or your evils, and I will continue to live without you. I am done with you and your abuse. Furthermore, I really hope you can get help one day and heal your broken mind before it’s too late.

From your daughter,

Aleszandria Barg

Checking the ego of small business clients.

Photo by Jacub Gomez on Pexels.com

I wished clients knew that people who own small businesses are human. What they don’t see is the hard work and exhaustion they put towards making their clientele happy. When you own a small business all the work lands on the shoulders of the owner. They are in charge of clientele, booking, invoicing, and making sure there is money in the account. From the moment they wake up-to-the-minute they go to bed that business is theirs. Even if they have a day off it’s not really a day off because they are managing it inside their personal life. In professional attributes your supposed to be able to leave your personal life behind. When you own your own business it’s not possible to obtain.

We live in a needy society that feels entitled to being treated right now versus understanding the complexity of human needs. Right now creates greed. It creates this sense that they are the only person making the small stay afloat. In reality there are several clients or customers making the company move forward. Every amount of money paid into a small business pays for the person who owns it to live and help their families. That being said, the right now entitlement generates impossible standards for owners to be successful. Clients with the right now don’t understand how they generate extra stress and immobility to function. Right now creates a lack of boundaries and understanding between owner and client. Clients should remember that just like them owners have personal lives outside the project.

This includes days off. Everyone needs downtime to recharge and be refocused. Pushing a person into burn out creates problems inside their lives and the company they own. Expecting individuals to work 24/7 with no breathing room is inexcusable. When clients work someone to the breaking point & the owner is not giving 100 percent the problem lies with being unmotivated and exhausted. The standard should be set to know that small business owners are not robots they cannot operate 24/7. Exhaustion creates health issues beyond not getting the values work the client once held to high standards. It’s inhuman to work someone into a state of depression, illness, and burnout. In 2020, we learned the value of appreciating workers and their needs for family and human interaction. That notion is not being applied to small companies operating to keep their doors open and be able to survive in a shutdown world. Clients need to stop and revalue compassion towards owners and work towards treating them like how they would want to be treated.

Financially clients need to be understanding of the value they place into the owners. Most people see small business as desperate for money. Feeling like it’s not a corporation clients often want more for less. Most owners try to give their best and work on building trusting clientele. They want business because it’s their passion, however they don’t deserve to be treated like second class citizens. Any business can fall apart at any given time. This can be due to economical, financial, or personal stressors. Compact having clientele trying to cheap out and undervalue the lower player on the totem pole. Time equals money to be made when owning a business let alone a small business. Most of the time or in some situations the client doesn’t see the personal hours being placed to keep the client happy. The owner is important in keeping honesty with the client. The client should extend the curtsy and understand the value of the business they are helping.

We are living in a time when equality is being strongly sought out. Human rights go deeply into small business. Locally owned right in your country. Supporting a home business or local no matter how small can change the economy. Keeping small businesses includes remembering that treating the owner like a human makes a large difference. Clients need to understand that personal lives and work lives are not the only thing to make a business stay afloat. Our world needs to get better at how they treat people to see change & see more opportunities to help others flourish. People can change this with getting rid of the entitlement and the ego check. One client can make a difference if they help build a strong company and strong community with understatement of the human needs.

Written by Ali Johnson

Motherhood and Generational Sexism

Tonight’s energy was off, far off. I want to blame it on the full moon however I don’t think it’s the full moon at play for a wonky day. This year and last have all been on paths not understood to many. Parents and kids alike are struggling with discomfort because we have not dealt with a situation with times like right now. Being a neurotypical human being at this time is a challenge. From dealing with boomers and old age opinions I think I’m at my limit with trying to understand the entire situation while trying to deal with marriage and kids.

I’m fighting with myself, my kids, my partner, and now adding to a slim list of people I wanted advice from my grandmother. Tonight I just wanted someone to tell me what I’m dealing with is going to be ok. If not ok just that I’m normal for feeling like I’m going to collapse from all the weight of being an empath. I cannot always be glue holding people together and trying to glue myself back to regular emotions. I’m human it’s not possible to deal with the weight of my family and weight of the outside worlds. Being neurotypical adds to stresses from breaking routines and not being able to cope with constant changes. Sometimes I cannot hold all my frustrations into a bowl without them tipping over and spilling.

I always tell my children that it’s ok to not be ok. I do this by holding them until they feel alright. Telling them often it’s ok to express how they fell openly. I never tell them to stop crying or try to work through the issues with talking. I never give tough love because I feel like it doesn’t hold merit to helping them in their mental growth. Tonight I was reminded why I choose this approach. Phoning my grandmother due to needing a shoulder to lean on she offered her tough love of your mother so hold everyone together and keep your peace to yourself. Feeling more lonely I had to walk away from the conversation. I understand her point of view but the take on it is outdated.

I understand that in times even before I was born woman were not allowed to express frustrations. The world told woman that we needed to keep the family from turmoil and provide only positivity and not let the men fall. There is a whole generation of women who keep these outdated values and pass the knowledge onto future woman with families. This advice blocks mental health and creates environments of depression. A Woman experiencing issues and frustrations should be able to find someone to talk to and have help from their partner in making their households safe. She told me that I should compose myself and make a better environment suited to the boys.

I cannot stress how these words affected a woman in my time. I’ve heard it from the generation as my mother-in-law and grandmother. They grew up in a sexist generation built on trying to dominate woman into silence. This generation my generation have grown away from the sexist values and are finding our voices to seek help. It’s a balancing act to find help, and it’s a balancing act to still help the home front but have independence to do both. My question is how do we build a village and how do we move forward in accepting damaging advice. It’s not about putting on a brave face it’s about actually being able to feel and to be human.

I don’t have immediate solutions to issues in the home right now. What I do know is I need to work and being told to quit my job twice by people above the generation because women need to sacrifice everything for their families is not the solution. Telling a woman to give up everything the love and have is not advice to aid one in a good direction. I don’t agree with the old age idea that woman’s purposes are for children and men only. We need independence. It’s time to have independence. Women have fought hard to get into a place to make a difference in the world. They should not be shunned by one bad day into retreat after fighting hard to stand among men. The equality I seek does not lie just with me, it lies with my partner in helping the home be a home.

The second one was saying that I should send my son who has Asperger away because we have had a string of meltdowns. The words that hurt the most was you need to get control of his autism. I am a neurotypical woman in a non- neurotypical world. My child is also neurotypical. Understanding at one point we would just medicate or force neurotypical people to act normal and hide disabilities from the outside world is not a solution to modern problems. Taking away from that it is sexist to assume a mother should hide her issues when it comes to disabilities and their children. I hid my disability to force normalcy to fit in. I used to take it that I embarrassed my grandparents for being different. What would the other woman say about them? It shouldn’t matter. Women should help women understand that challenges and frustrations with motherhood and special needs is something that needs to be helped not hidden. By sending my child away it states to him that he’s a burden when it’s both our fights to learn to grow and understand one another.

As much as I wanted to reach out for guidance I understand there’s a difference of time between us. I hope one day that if I meet a girl who needs help I won’t dismiss the woman from the time who fought hard the rights we hold to freedom today. I will hold the mind to heal instead of telling what they need to do. Wanting woman to be fierce, but I also want them to have a voice and know that it’s ok to not be ok.

My take from my lesson tonight is I can love someone with a different opinion however I do not have to take that direction when I felt dismissed and unaccepted. I don’t have to give up my job to make others happy, and I can figure out my village even when it feels far away. Motherhood and womanhood is not about giving all yourself to others, so they can be happy. What I do know is I am here, I will keep trying, hear me roar.

Written by Ali Johnson

Photo by Karolina Grabowska on Pexels.com

Metal Music is a Foundation. Take that Tipper Gore!

I love heavy metal music, but I also love classical music. I grew up on Ozzy, Rob Zombie, Slayer, Greta Van Fleet. My love for music started when I was in kindergarten. My dad or uncles would pick me up from school and play bands on mix tapes eventually CDS. Imagine if you will a little girl with ridiculously long hair moshing it out on the spare bedroom screaming on top of her lungs. The child with girly clothes listening to Dragula” by Rob Zombie, from the Hillbilly Deluxe album jumping from one spot to another. Not a care in the world it created my mental home away from it all.

Rob Zombie, More Human than Human photo cover. I do not own any rights to this photo.

I loved the guitar rifts, the reckless abandon, the hair, I loved it all. Growing up rock and metal had heavy influences on my talents. I learned to enjoy reading from album pamphlets. I wrote lyrics from songs recorded from the radio. Learning great patience as an ADHD child and spent too much money on tapes to record for hours. I can talk hours about musician interviews and how Twisted Sister, Dee Schneider taught me about freedom of speech or that Marilyn Manson taught me it’s ok to disagree with media. Part of me feels music in my soul; when I hear it and feel it, I can build a soundtrack to my day. I still make soundtracks no longer calling into the radio just to hear the Foo Fighters or to hear my number one song Bullet with Butterfly wings by the Smashing Pumpkins. I now use Spotify because I’m a grown up, and it takes less patience to build my daily track.

Over the years certain soundtracks have saved my life. Linkin Parks Hybrid Theory saved me from dark depression. I remember they came out my high school years. I was secretly drinking at friends houses in the morning to escape from my reality. The drinking was to hide the pain of childhood sexual abuse, parental abuse and depression. I had untreated PTSD and ADHD. I’m not a headcase but had lots of unresolved trauma built up. The first time I listened to In the End by Linkin Park my spirit woke. I beat that song to death after every counselling session. When I was angry, I would play the entire album on top volume until the thoughts in my head couldn’t be heard. Hybrid Theory reawakened my great love for music. I soon pirated countless albums and purchased CDS with whatever money I had. I would often skip class and bus down to the mall to buy a new album from the discount bin to see what album would speak to me. One band that I enjoyed and currently enjoy is Pantera.

Linkin Park- Hybrid Theory Album Art cover. Art cover created by Shinoda

Pantera spoke to me in ways to grasp my anger. Harness it and release it through singing along. My ADHD has wild crazy days that I need the face paced sound of Cowboys from Hell. Good Christian families say this particular band has no sustenance on a persons values. I whole heartily disagree and would tell them to shove it with a cactus. Following the songs of Pantera it helped allow the high vibrational energy of ADHD to flow. Following the drum beats of most fast pasted metal taught me to fidget and taught me rhythms. During work outs I use bands like Pantera, Tool, CKY, and Red Sun Rising to channel extra energy and to feel more alert exerting the pent-up energy I often try to hide. Music and artist that have a craft to invoke emotional release should not be silenced but embraced. Listening to these bands have given more effective outlets than therapy. Imagine allowing more people to feel like they have a space to be themselves and be allowed to feel emotions we try to silence in society.

I even found community in metal music. There was a teacher who taught at my school for music appreciation. His name was Mr. Knowles, and he was a gift from the universe given to misunderstood kids like me. Sitting in his class seeing painted desk covered with album art and allowance of self creativity. He never once judged children or adolescent youth instead he would listen and try to approach with philosophy. In our class he asked students to make a soundtrack that explained situations in our life. It had to be in chronological order. The first song on my soundtrack was Sing Life Away by Rise Against; I chose this song because it explained my adventures of running away and people I had met on chance. I remember Mr. Knowles saying it was a wise choice, but I should meditate on why I’m drawn to sad songs. He suggested albums with happier tones but still allowed creative thought on lyrical content. In came the band The darkness I found great joy with upbeat tones and directive to change my voice in trying to sing along. I had discovered I love dancing to upbeat rock music. Such bands as Trooper, Tenacious D, Van Halen, and Offspring have become cult favourites to play during my happier moments with my ADHD and high-energy personality.

Foo Fighters Logo by Generalgregsworth from deviant art.com

Metal music opened doors in my life. Without it, I cannot imagine being the person I am today. Being here and present today is largely contributed to metal. In the 1970s to early 90s Tipper Gore and the and FCC tried their best to rid metal from the airways. I’m so forever grateful for the artist who stood up for themselves and others saying no you cannot restrict our rights. Metal is not just long hair, it’s not just rebellion it’s about family, outlets, community, and a sense of self. Lives count on metal music to bring them back from the brink of desperation and allow for voices to rise. Metal music is home to many but is a home to me nonetheless.

Written by Ali Johnson