Guest Post: Would You Like Fries With That? (Meet Amber Hott)

amber hott fries with thatEarlier this year, I gave a small talk and then Get UNstuck workshop down in Denver. After the workshop, a bubbly young woman waited patiently in the wings to speak with me. Turns out, she loved funny things — and this was long before my decision to pick up and move to Chicago to study at Second City. Not long after, she sent me a beautiful thank you note for my talk that evening.

So I invited her to be my guest at the upcoming Kathy Griffin show coming through town. We went. We had a grand time.

We’ve stayed in touch — and today, I’m delighted to introduce you to the sheer fucking splendor that is Amber L. Hott.

Have a guest post of your own to submit? I’m getting through them. Gradually. Submit yours here.

*****
I was 27 years old and working at Burger King. In walked a regular. I smiled and with a joy that could only come from anywhere but there and said, “Good Afternoon! Welcome to Burger King!” He smiled back and replied, “So when you were a little girl did you think you would grow up to work at Burger King?”

I desperately needed that shitty job that I commuted by bus to and from, totaling 4 hours on a bus a day. I smiled again and gave him some bullshit about how I liked my job. Oh yeah, I liked dealing with assholes like him. I liked how customers on a regular basis treated me like the scum of the earth because of my occupation. I liked being judged as unskilled because of where I worked. I liked serving up big helpings of diabetes to little kids. I liked cleaning shit, in its literal form, out of the play area. I especially liked being paid $8.25 an hour.

I felt like a failure.

What this asshat didn’t know was that I got pregnant at 15, my mother abandoned me at 16 and I married an abuser that was seven years my senior at 17. I had three kids by the time I was 21. I had every reason to fail.

At 22 I was fighting depression. A doctor who I had never met before, after asking a few questions but still not really knowing anything about my life, misdiagnosed me with a mental illness that I didn’t have. I believed him with devastating consequences. After placing me on five medications I became someone else. Someone who loathed herself because she wasn’t herself anymore and she didn’t know how to be the girl she used to be. I had no short term memory. I was tired all the time. I had massive weight gain, ADD, anxiety so bad that I had constant tremors and was too terrified to take a shower unless someone else was in the room. By 26 I was divorced, hungry and homeless. I had every reason to fail.

Fast forward to today. I have been off all psychiatric medications for over two years. I’ve had multiple doctors tell me that I was misdiagnosed and never had anything beyond severe depression. I’m halfway to my college degree. I don’t work a shitty job because I’m my own boss. I’ve become a comedian, a theatre actress, a writer and a producer. Yeah, I get paid to do all that fun shit, and I have more doors opening from the last 3 years of hard grueling work. I love myself. I love who I have become and I love who I am growing into. I have a tremendous support system and I have a voice in my community. I take my strong female presence everywhere. I didn’t fail.

So when that 65 year old, wrinkly, shriveled man with 4 teeth and stringy greasy gray hair judged me for working at a fast food chain that he ate at almost daily, he didn’t realize that it was a major fucking accomplishment because two years before that I couldn’t take a fucking shower, let alone hold down a job.

While he goes home alone to his TV knowing he’s nearing the end of his life and has nothing but a shitty attitude and a social security check to show for it, I have my youth and my entire life ahead of me still. I’m only 30. I’ve moved on and am making a difference in my community. He’s choking down another cheeseburger.

So what’s the point of all this anyway? There are a couple points.

I’m sure that nobody reading this would ever act like that asshat above, but just in case I’m wrong, knock it the fuck off. You don’t know the story behind the woman taking your order, or the man that’s digging through the trash. They are still human beings with worth and value, and most importantly, feelings. Even if your shit smells like dew covered lilies on a crisp spring morning, it’s not okay to walk around with the goal of making people feel bad about themselves. You might see someone struggling today but that doesn’t mean they will always be struggling and it certainly doesn’t make them unimportant or unworthy of kindness.

And to those struggling, you’re not always going to have situations conducive to living your potential. It might not be your fault. Maybe it was something you were born into. You have to fight. When you can’t see making it, fight. If I can go from “mentally ill” to hungry to homeless to running my own life and helping put food on the table by turning ideas into actions and investing in my community, surely where ever you are, you are not destined to stay there. You have importance. You have worth. The world needs you.

I had every reason to fail. But I didn’t because I’m special. But here’s the best part; I’m no more special than you. So when everything’s dark and you don’t know how you’re going to make it, take another step forward. You can do it because you’re special and important.

*****

amber hottAmber Hott considers herself a Colorado native. She is currently studying psychology and holistic health and should graduate with her first degree in 2014. She is also a stand-up comedian, actress and PTSA mom. Amber is a liberal/feminist/hippie and isn’t afraid to be controversial. Check her out on Facebook at The Hott Comedy Experience.

28 comments
WTFMarketing
WTFMarketing

Amber: nicely done. I always like hearing a fellow superhero's origin story.

Your honesty about depression is refreshing; it's not something you often see talked about in public (even though it really, really should be).

SonjaHauser
SonjaHauser

I F'in LOVE this.  Proud of you and all of us special people who keep fighting back and moving forward.

SantoshKumarSingh
SantoshKumarSingh

Amber...This is truly inspiring. Hats off  for not giving up. Amazed at the things you are doing today. Stories such as yours put things in perspective. 

Arielle West
Arielle West

I've met Amber a few times as we live in the same City, but on opposite sides of it. I can't really say I know much about her, and after reading this I was really surprised as I never expected this, but again what you do you usually expect? 

Arielle West
Arielle West

and somehow I still have that = sign by my name. 

LuzMarielDonahue
LuzMarielDonahue

Amber: I worked at Starbucks for 5 years and saw douches like this all the time. All the while my parents had kicked me out and I was working my way through school on my own. My life has never been even a third as hard as what you had to go through. I really needed to hear this all tonight. I'm in a much better place now but I was really getting down on myself. Mostly for things idiots I've met online have emailed me. Stupid shit they had no business saying. Slapped me the hell out of a funk. THANK YOU. You're vulnerability, openness, and general awesomeness are appreciated. ((Hugs))

Arielle West
Arielle West

@LuzMarielDonahue When I was working in the service industry, I tell them either we're working our way up, or we can't all be the CEO of a company. That usually shut people up quick.

CeliaMilton
CeliaMilton

I love Erika and I love her blog. Seems like there is judgement going in both directions here.   He's a human being too.

AmberHott1
AmberHott1

I agree he is also worthy of respect which is why my response to him wasn't rude. I still didn't go out of my way to make him feel bad. Thanks for the comment. You can't please everyone nor should you. I still appreciate the feedback :)

Raschella
Raschella

Wow, pain in the ass trying to figure out how to post a comment here! From email, to blog post online, to looking for your website home (which I luckily have bookmarked) and tracking it down that way...OK, whatever, so I'm just not technically savvy. But I made the effort because I really, really wanted to say that I LOVE this post. It's stop-you-in-your-tracks inspirational, a bitch slap if there ever was one, and should be read by anyone with a brain, a conscience, and goals. It's not that it's something we don't already know (or should ), it's how she said it, it's the grab you by the balls pay attention way she wrote it, and of course, it's one of those ultimate success stories that makes us all touchy-feely-happy. 

Amber, fucking awesome, and Erika, thank you for the introduction (I said fucking just for you, because the word should always be in there somewhere...keeping things real...)

AmberHott1
AmberHott1

Wow, thanks so much for all the effort you out it to say that. I so appreciate that!

AmberHott1
AmberHott1

Thank you all so much for your kind words. I'm glad you enjoyed it. Some comments tickled me and others nearly brought me to tears. Thank you for your comments.

bdorman264
bdorman264

Great story; way to draw the line in the sand and do something about it. 

I'm a volunteer Guardian ad Litem and I'm the 'voice' for children who have been placed in the system typically because of 'asshat' parents. I only mention it because it has made me a lot less judgmental and sometimes people get the short end of the stick through no fault of their own. 

Best of luck on your continued journey. 

KimStebbins
KimStebbins

This is beautiful, I just printed it off to send to my 23 year old daughter who is currently struggling with addiction and recovery. She is a beautiful soul with a huge heart and she is a brilliant writer–but she feels like a failure. As of this past weekend, after an intervention of sorts, she willingly went back to the rehab she ran away from a couple of weeks ago (she admitted herself there in the first place). It was a very scarey two weeks and she nearly died. There are some people in the family who think she is mentally ill. She's not–she has depression and she's an addict. I KNOW your story will speak to her. Thank you for sharing it.

AmberHott1
AmberHott1

That is such a huge compliment. My eyes got all watery! Best of luck to you and your daughter. She can do it! She's proven to have the will, and that's the first step. Congrats to her for seeking help and congrats to you for being such a loving mother.

ASwirlGirl
ASwirlGirl

Amber, thanks so much for sharing your story. You truly took life's lemons and made lemonade - in a tall, frosted glass on the rocks. All the best to you as you continue on your awesome path.

greeneturtleman
greeneturtleman

Helping to put Human back in Humanity!!!!! You put a new twist on "Slingin' Ink" !!! I feel the LOVE , I take the LOVE and I pass it on! Sum it up I LOVE this "PLACE"!  =D EASY ..PEASY-  Unca Aaron

LindaEsposito
LindaEsposito

Thank you for sharing your awesome, heartbreaking and brave story, Amber. Your reliance is such an inspiration to your three children, especially.


Best of luck with all your endeavors :)

Jason E Mueller
Jason E Mueller

Wow, that was pretty inspiring. I mean the whole attitude shift and seeing how your successes came to you at the right time is amazing.  I myself need to re-adjust my attitude as my self perspective is a little negative right now, thanks for showing me what a light at the end of the tunnel could look like.  Great guest post!

JDFriend
JDFriend

Congratulations Amber, what an amazing story! Thank you for posting Erika. I hope both you have a spectacular day. ~Julie

Emmluu
Emmluu

If you weren't there every day to feed that asshat, he would die of starvation.  People like that are unfortunately very miserable and the only joy they can have is trying to pull others to their level.  Kudos to you for staying above all that.  This story is very inspirational and really made my morning!!!  Thank You!!!

KillianMIck
KillianMIck

Beautifully said. My daughter is currently working at a gas station/convenience store and gets shit from people like the asshat who disrespected you. She is 20yrs old, and is putting herself through graduate school. Yes, at 20. She will have her Masters before she can legally drink, but she is treated like she is some sort of waste of skin because this is the job she can find right now.


Fuck anyone who judges another person, especially without knowing their story. You're an amazing example to your kids, and they will become inspiring examples for others because of it. 

missbritt
missbritt

This is a great reminder to treat everyone with respect and dignity.