What It's Like When Your Dad Works An Offshore Oil Rig

What It's Like When Your Dad Works An Offshore Oil Rig

Working on an oil rig has its many pros and cons, but I wouldn't trade my daddy and his weird job for the world.

Most people's parents are educators, doctors, lawyers, secretaries, plumbers, construction workers, business owners, farmers, veterinarians, etc. Most people have parents that work in pretty common jobs. They go to work at maybe 6, 7, 8 in the morning, and then come home maybe 3, 4, 5, 6 in the afternoon. They are most likely off for Christmas or Thanksgiving, with a few exceptions. Basically, they have mostly normal jobs.

I never had that normality growing up. My dad is the head electrician for an offshore oil rig off the coast of Africa. He works a month there and then comes home for a month. It has been like this for my whole life. He has had a little bit different schedule throughout the years, 14 on 14 off, 21 on, 21 off, and he has also been in different locations, Louisiana, Mexico, Brazil. He doesn't get to come home for Christmas, Birthdays, Thanksgiving, etc unless it falls during his off time. He's missed holidays, birthdays, softball games, tennis matches, barrel races, prom, etc. He only gets to call certain times, or Facebook message every now and then.

However, it is not all bad. My dad has a very important job that not many people acknowledge. He helps a company that drills oil, a very important necessity to our everyday life. He also gets to travel all over the world, and he always brings me back souvenirs, pictures, and stories about what he sees. It's also really awesome when my dad is home because, for a whole month, he is off work. He can take me fishing, go to the movies, etc. This job, while it has its many sacrifices, it pays my dad very nicely and has helped support my family tremendously, which I greatly appreciate.

There're a few ways you know your parent works offshore that I have found universal through the other kids I have met. These include being excited for gas prices to rise because you know it's better job stability for your parent. Understanding that when your parent calls, you gotta answer, no matter what you're doing because they don't get a bunch of time to call. Dealing with the hate from environmental people due to the BP oil spill. Learning the oil rig talk, and dealing with the slight increase in curse words when they come back home because it's a bunch of men on a rig together. Countless trips to the airport. Meeting the other kids like you at the schools they have to go to. And the list goes on.

It is also very scary. For any of you that remember the BP oil spill, that could have been my dad. Or if you watched the Deepwater Horizon movie, that stuff can really happen. And having to fly there and back? We all know stuff can go wrong on airplanes. It is very scary to think he could leave and I could never see him again.

With all the pros and cons, it is really cool to have a parent that works on an oil rig. So the next time you are at the beach and you see those weird structures out in the distance in the middle of the ocean, think of my dad, and all the other dads out there.

Here're some pictures...

Christmas on the rig

My dad! In his work uniform

Cover Image Credit: Vernon Moore (My Dad)

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Why Do We Hurt Each Other?

recognize what you are doing, and stop it. stop it before it kills someone.
Belle B
Belle B

Note: names and other details have been changed to protect the privacy of those involved.

It’s no secret that gossip kills. You can turn on the news any day of the week and see another tragic story of a bullied teenager who took his own life. You probably know what’s like to be on the other side of gossip, yourself. It’s not pretty. While gossip and rumors are not reserved by a particular sex, girls tend to take the whispers to an extreme. I’ve known many people in my life that have been affected by the hurtful words of their friends, and I’d like to tell you about them. By understanding the impact your words can have on others, maybe we can change. I hope we can change.

I was once a star
Shining bright
You pulled me out of the sky
Stole all my light, why? Why?

I once knew a girl, in middle school, named Joanne. Joanne was sweet, but no one gave her the time of day. She’d raise her hand in class and everyone would stare at her until she put it back down. She’d eat lunch by herself, in the corner of the cafeteria where no one could see her. She smiled at everyone who passed her in the hallways, and she’d help anyone with their homework, if they asked. But, no one ever asked. No one wanted the help of the girl with glasses and braces. Not even me.

I never paid attention to Joanne, and I never stopped any of the other kids from hurting her. I let it happen, not thinking of any consequences or anything that could have possibly gone wrong. Soon, when I got to high school, I forgot about Joanne. I didn’t think anything of her.

Joanne killed herself a year later, jumping off the bridge into the Chicago River. I sure wished I’d thought of her, then.

I was once a boat
Sailing off to sea
You dragged me back to the shore
Changing my course, why?
Why me? Why you gotta pick on me?

My junior year of high school, there was a boy named Charlie. Charlie had so many friends, I was often envious. He was on the school hockey team, he had an amazing girlfriend, and he always knew how to have a good time. No one looks at the star athlete when they think of a victim—I know I never did. I never knew that Charlie was afraid to go into his team’s locker room, because he knew if he did then his teammates—arguably the boys who were supposed to be his brothers—they would give him Hell. They'd whisper to each other, wondering what he was doing that night, who he was seeing. They'd tell him that his side-shot needed work, even though he'd practiced it for hours the night before. They'd say he needed to be more of a team player, even though he was the only one who actively asked how each player was doing that day. And when he finally did something right, they wouldn't even acknowledge him.

Did they not see the hurt in his eyes when they shit on him like that? Could they not see that every little remark, every joke, caused him pain? I didn’t. I didn't realize that without physical bruises that there could still be an injury. When I looked at Charlie, I saw the cool guy at the table. I saw him with his arm around his girlfriend and thought he was lucky.

That same year, Charlie slit his wrists in the bathtub of his mother’s house. I didn’t think he was so lucky after that.

And I don't know where I'm going
But when I get there I can say that I have been the kindest me
That I could be
Can you say the same?

You’re starting to notice a trend, I hope. Joanne and Charlie weren’t the only ones that have been so adversely affected by the hurtful words of others. I’m sure you know many more, unfortunately. There have been many instances of violence in the recent past, and we’ve gotten too used to it. We forget that even though words are small, they make a big impact. No, words are not the same as a person releasing an AR-15 on an unsuspecting high school, or a nuclear war across the sea. I might even challenge you by saying words are worse. Words shape our entire lives; how we think, how we act, who we are. Words are the basis of existence.

I was once a tree
Rising from the ground
Winter Spring Summer or Fall
I still grew tall till you cut me down
Are you really happy now?

My last story doesn’t have an ending yet. It features a girl I still know, in fact, a girl I am quite good friends with, named Taylor. Taylor is a strong leader; an important figure in my community. She takes charge, and she devotes herself to every task she commits to. People look up to her; they respect her. However, with respect comes torment. Taylor cannot walk into the room without all eyes turning to her, watching her. Taylor cannot hang out with someone in public without the world wondering, “who is that? Is she dating that person? Does she love that person? Are they just friends?”

Taylor’s life is the lives of everyone else, and it hurts her. A person’s right to privacy is her lifeline. When she loses that, she loses her sanity. It’s like being a celebrity without the fame and fortune, and it kills just the same.

Taylor is still alive. She is still a leader. She still holds the respect of everyone she meets. But, Taylor is reaching her breaking point. When she has to avoid certain places in her community because she knows that people in there will talk; when she has to have secret meetings with her friends because otherwise the world will erupt; when she cannot be with someone she may love because everyone and their mother will have something to say about it, that is when this gets out of control. What if Taylor decides that enough is enough, like Joanne, like Charlie? Would that stop the gossip? I never want to find out.

Now I'm a shooting star
Can't catch me
Tried to pull me out of the sky
Steal all my light, but look
It's not dimming

I want to know why we feel the need to talk about the people around us. I’m not saying I’m better than everyone; good god I’ve been known to thrive on gossip. I’m trying to stop, I know it’s hard. It doesn’t even occur to me as gossip anymore, just discussion. Is that the problem? Do we not know what we’re doing? We need to. Maybe if the people who hurt Joanne and Charlie would have stopped if someone took them aside and said, “hey, this is wrong. This hurts people and you need to stop.” Sometimes things get lost in translation and social norms, so much so that we don’t even realize when we have a problem.

If you have a problem, talk about it. If you see something, do something about it. Don’t let the world tell you what’s right. You tell you what’s right. It starts with you.

(Lyrics are from “I Can Say” by Olivia Millerschin)

Cover Image Credit: Joshua Earle
Belle B
Belle B

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To My Anxious Best Friend, Here's What I Want You To Remember

I believe that you can conquer this and take on everything that is thrown at you.

Dear Best Friend,

I know that you are frustrated right now. It seems like the whole world is against you. Your mind is racing at 100 miles an hour. You feel like you haven't slept in days. It seems like you have no time to do anything fun like go to the movies. There is nothing in the fridge because you haven't had a chance to go to the grocery store. I know that there is a lot on your mind, but allow me to ease your nerves.

You have nothing to worry about. I know that upcoming events are making you second guess every move that you make. Have no fear. You have been prepared for months for this event. Every possible outcome is already an absolute in your mind. You know how to handle it when it finally arrives. There is no reason to be concerned. I know that you got this.

People are always going to tell you that you are fine. Honestly, I know that you are not okay. You feel like the walls are closing around you. The day is as gloomy as a Halloween night. Every difficult homework assignment is due at the same time. I know that everything is not 100% alright. Sometimes you just need to have a time be angry. That is alright.

Think about what the overall goal is. That may be the only idea that will help you survive. Don't think of the worse case scenario. Think about what if everything worked out the way you want. This gives you confidence and security that everything will be okay.

Please don't be afraid to talk. I am always here whenever you need me, even if it is at three o'clock in the morning. Sometimes you need someone who is willing to hear about everything including the little things like how you forgot to buy a new toothbrush.

You need to make sure that you breathe. Be like Peter Pan and think about a wonderful thought. The time you broke your shoe so we had to use tape to fix it. That all-day hike that we went on. The day you got engaged. When you went to the best restaurant with your brother. The only thing missing is pixie dust and then you are flying through this period in time.

I know you are anxious, but all you need to know is this: I believe that you can conquer this and take on everything that is thrown at you. The last thing that I want to say is, let go and let God.


Your Best Friend

Cover Image Credit: Unsplash

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