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Today started with a text to a former co-worker about my plans to seek out the Brockton unemployment office.  She immediately called me, as I was just about to step into the shower.  The familiar ringtone of my favorite sci-fi show, Doctor Who permeated the quiet bedroom.  I did a spin on my heels and bolted back to my bedroom to answer my phone.

My friend and former co-worker, let’s call her Jody, proceeded to encourage me about my current work-less situation and wanted me to remind myself to not give up too easily.  So one role didn’t open up for me because the company I previously worked for was too far along in the process with another candidate–it didn’t mean I couldn’t try again with something else.

I listened intently and told her about my plans for the day.  I asked her about parking in Brockton because she knew the area better than I did.  She also told me that she didn’t typically miss co-workers after they left our place of employment.  With me, however, she truly did miss me, and her words made me feel all warm and fuzzy inside.  Cheesy, I know, but I don’t know what else to call it.

I shared my concerns with Jody for feeling under-qualified/under-prepared for our corporate world and others out there  Yes, I AM a badass, but no, I’m not a pushy, angry, two-faced person who does whatever they want to get the job, even if it’s not ethical.  I don’t like being dishonest, and even when I know I can showcase my accomplishments, I struggle seeing my positive qualities because I always feel like I need to improve to be eligible for that next stage.  I never truly feel like I’m at my best.  Perfectionism at its best, I suppose.

Jody keeps up my spirit on the phone with her witty, personable nature, and she’s incredibly sassy.  I love it! She makes me laugh and she is very nurturing to me.  She says she’s been in my shoes, and she knows I’m learning.  (especially if I share I feel I’ve made a “rookie” mistake).  I must say I’m definitely lucky to have her and many others in my life who are supportive of me, and of my being successful.  Jody suggested we connect soon to either go to the mall or try out a delicious Haitian restaurant near where she lives.  I told her I’m all up for it! I did have to let her go though because I needed to get to the unemployment office as soon as possible.  The reps on the phone from the previous day assured me earlier was better for connecting with the one unemployment insurance rep on site.

I got myself ready and decided to make it look like I was going to work and not to just collect.  My mother always encouraged me to do this because she said it puts you in the mindset that you are already employed and ready for the job.  I love my mom! She’s great at that stuff.

I tried to ignore that I felt a little pudgy and not in the fanciest clothes, but I still was dressed up.  I looked ready for work, and I wolfed down a soy yogurt with walnuts to keep me going for the morning.  I made sure I had two water bottles just in case I had a long wait, and booked it to Brockton in my little eleven year old Subaru.

The drive was decent, not too long, but then upon arriving in Brockton I realized that most of the streets were all one-way.   I started to pull into a parking garage and panicked that I wouldn’t have enough cash.  I started to back out and almost backed into another car.  I survived though and continued my excursion down many of this small city’s one- way streets.

I kept having to turn left, left, left as far as I could go until there were some do not enter signs and I had to go right or straight.  And the roads! My goodness the roads were bumpy.  Construction was at large around Brockton.  So many manhole covers were not sealed into the asphalt.  My old Subaru is also fairly low to the ground so I felt like I was being jostled all over the place as I drove.

Finally I ended up at the Unemployment Insurance office and circled around for a spot.  It turned out that there were no open spots.  One that I thought was open, ended up being for some staff on the city’s parking authority…or something like that.  I knew it wasn’t for me, and didn’t want to risk a ticket, so I figured it was too good to be true!

I decided I would attempt the parking garage again and I rustled around in my purse and found two one-dollar bills, a dollar coin and four quarters.  I hoped that my time in the UI office wouldn’t be more than two hours, otherwise I’d have to find an ATM.  And nothing around me seemed to be a place I felt comfortable stopping.  So many things were broken and run down in Brockton, it was hard to tell where one store was open and another closed–who knew if I’d even FIND an ATM.

That and because I was dressed up, even though with minimal jewelry, I was definitely getting the “eye” from some men that I was passing as I walked from the parking garage and to the career center/UI office and back.  I was a bit annoyed more than uncomfortable, but it is what it is.  I went inside and asked the receptionist where I could speak to an UI rep, and she was very kind and pointed to around the back of the building.  There was an old school photocopied sheet with times when you could sign up.  It was currently just before 10:30, and the next open time was 11:30.  Thankfully I had charged my phone and brought extra water and a granola bar so I wasn’t too worried about the wait.

Usually by 11:30 I’d be ready for food again, but I thought optimistically and hoped that I could be seen quickly.  Mine was a fairly quick question, so I was a bit nervous when I heard so many people being in the office for more than 10-15 minutes, but someone shared that I would definitely be seen if I had an appointment before noon.  That made me feel a little better.  Why didn’t I call, you might ask? Apparently you can only be spoken to on a day that ends in the last digit of your SSN.  “We’ve got to have some kind of system because of the volume of the calls we get.” —To me that still seemed weird, but whatever.  I was here in Brockton now, the only one of three offices near me that had a UI rep on staff—hopefully I could get this all sorted out now.

One woman came scurrying into the waiting room in a black sundress and a gray, slightly lacy sports bra showing outside her dress straps.  She clearly looked ready for the beach and not the unemployment office, but to each their own.  She had nicely straightened hair and was mostly absorbed in Facebook on her phone.  She kept going on about how she was confused about the parking and “they can never get it right here.”  She sounded like she was asking for money because she said she didn’t bring cash, kept repeating that and shared that she only had a credit card.

With my limited dollars, I shared that I had just enough for my parking, but that was it, and that I was sorry I couldn’t help.  “Maybe there’s an ATM nearby?” I suggested.  A sweet woman nearby in the waiting area with dark hair and glasses and a nice black, blue and white dressy top with black leggings asked if the woman beside me needed quarters and she responded with an, “Oh yes,” and God bless you and bless you and bless you.” (or something like that).

People are still good and nice these days, I thought to myself.  I texted one of my friends who lived in the area and mentioned all the one-way streets.  “It’s the worst!” he exclaimed in response.  Numerous texts to and from him, as well as other friends ensued after that first text.

About an hour later I had to use the rest room and was nervous because it was close to my scheduled time.  By the time I came back out, I was able to come by the room and let the woman know that I had left briefly but now I was present.  She told me to come right in as she had called my name while I was in the restroom.  With just a few quick questions and answers taken care of, she got my situation with the contract agency and how to post a claim for unemployment from them straightened quite quickly.  She was very sweet and I forgot to ask her name.  Isn’t that always the way though?

On my way back to my car in the parking garage, I took a photo of a clock tower attached to city hall and set my WAZE app to the nearest Starbucks.  On my way there, (and on my way to the UI office earlier that morning) I realized a number of people were insistent on walking into crosswalks when the light was green for the cars.  Really people? Each individual was a winner too.  One woman insisted on texting as she walked through the crosswalk, then yelled at the car that almost hit her, the second insisted on crossing in a three lane road of traffic with a baby carriage.  Then had the audacity to glare at me because I didn’t let her pass.  YOU HAD A RED HAND LIGHT, that MEANS STOP! Good grief people!

Luckily I got my very first iced pumpkin spice latte of the season with no hiccups.  (Just my heart jumping into my throat a few times with the way people handle crosswalks in Brockton.) I also resisted the urge to visit Target, which as a self-proclaimed shopaholic, you must realize this was a big win for me to avoid that temptation.  But I’m unemployed! I have to live, so no shopping for me unless it’s food, for now at least. And now I think I’m going to look for jobs and maybe eat some leftover spaghetti and sauce that I made yesterday for dinner.  Fooooood!

 

 

 

 

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I’m recently unemployed.  It’s been crazy.  Typical story: I had a really fulfilling job, loved what I did, and then boom, I was let go.  I was told I was amazing at what I did.  Helped grow a corporate co-op program.  From 10-40 students.  “We’ll give you great references!” “It’s budget, not you!” So I assume I made “too much money.”

I really didn’t make that much compared to other people I know, but one or two train buddies thought maybe I was asking for too much if I asked for the same at other companies.  How is knowing your value asking for too much? I undervalued myself before and damn, I am not doing that again.

But now I’m in this weird limbo where I know I need to pay rent, I should have saved more money than I did, but I paid off my student loans in January, was continuing to do well in my job and thought, hey! Maybe I’ll be here another year before I do something else.  But that wasn’t the case.

And now I’m unemployed.  I woke up yesterday feeling pretty tired, and knew I should immediately jump on the unemployment claim bandwagon, but I wanted to play video games instead.  (My friend from childhood called it “self-care)

So that’s what I did yesterday.  I played World of Warcraft and caught up with a friend from high school over text as she got ready for week two of her new job.  (Ironic right?) She’s in a band though, so she has a backup if things go south.  I have too much stage fright for that :-P.  She is also the same friend from childhood who recommended that I continue playing WoW (World of Warcraft for short) –“It’s self-care, Alicia!  And if you write next week, or go on an interview next week, then great! This week it’s self-care!” (should that be hyphenated?–I’m so far from my days of an English major I don’t even know anymore!)

I also ate most of a bag of Doritos and stayed reclusive in my apartment.  It was fabulous. But a bit lonely.  Today I have plans to meet up with a friend for a walk after she’s done with work.

I also decided to use up the tomatoes my mom gave me and made my first attempt at homemade tomato sauce.  I have not sampled it yet. I was frantically trying to finish it before bed because I was getting to that point where I was too tired to really even pay attention to the stove.  (Working early shifts where you are normally up at five causes this) I was also supposed to make pesto from some fresh basil another friend gave me, but I mistakenly put that in the refrigerator.  Most of it turned brown, the good stuff I chopped up and put in the sauce.  (beginner’s mistake, I guess–GOSH I’m such a millennial–bad joke :-P)

I also realized I have not written much in a long time, and I contemplated coming back to blogging.  This is the second layoff I’ve experienced, and I’m trying to figure out, as one friend, an executive secretary herself put it, if there is a pattern I should be paying attention to, what could it be? She thought maybe I might need to learn a lesson from both experiences.

I’m thinking she could be correct.  I have definitely put off the writing passion for too long, and in the span of fifteen or so minutes, I’ve created a blog post like I used to in my college days.  Also speaking of college days, guess who has a ten year reunion coming up?

No, way! Couldn’t be me…could it? Maybe I feel so confused about the time because I worked at my alma mater for four plus years as well.  Working with those college kids will sure keep you young!

So yes, unemployed again sadly, but maybe something better will come out of it this time around.  A book about my online dating escapades? Working in corporate America as a minority who people don’t see as a minority? Working in IT with very little IT experience? All comedic ideas…What would you like to see from me?

 

Last night I dreamt about Maya Angelou.  I thought for sure that I had met her in person in those first few moments when I woke from my sleep, and I had this urge to find the photograph of us that I was so certain had existed.  In the dream I realized that there was so much remorse that I was feeling from not having written and given up on my dream of pursuing writing due to fears that was the theme in my previous post.  

I came back from a delicious lunch in town with a friend, her boyfriend and family for her birthday, stopped at a little shop that was having a clearing out sale and got some pretty glasses for a good deal.  When I crossed the street and walked back towards my apartment, I felt this deep sinking in the pit of my stomach.  I felt sick for a few moments and every part of my body felt heavy.  This inexplicable sadness came over me and I was sensing that I had been ignoring or avoiding impulses to write over the last week since my last blog entry.   

As I sat down at my computer, wondering why I hadn’t heard from people and starting to feel sorry for myself again, I remembered my dream and went to my bathroom to wash my hands and change into some comfortable shorts.  The cool of the water felt like it was waking me up from the uncomfortable sinking feeling in my body.  I sensed that though I could not recall the entirety of the dream, that Maya was still trying to reach me and remind me of my commitment to my passions.  “If you don’t like your situation, then change it.” were some of her words, perhaps not exactly quoted, but this held the gist of them in some form of phrase or another.  

I thought to myself, maybe even if I don’t have the courage to sit down and write a whole poem or complete work on this novel, even if I blog today that can be a start.  This can be a beginning. 

I may someday want marriage and children and be aching for it, likely due to my age and that this is something I have always wanted in my life, to be a mom and to have a life partner to love as I do my current beau, but I cannot force these things, and I cannot forget the depths of my artistic dreams.  I cannot forget the importance of these unique talents and internal missions I have and my commitment to them.  

I will continue to work on living in the present moment and thinking positive.  

It’s been a very interesting day for me.  In a summer of more quiet time than usual after a busy admissions season, I took a break from one of my projects to check Facebook.  After scrolling through the posts, I was stunned to learn that a childhood writing idol of mine had passed away.  Maya Angelou, a woman of inspiration, a woman of passion and incredible talent was suddenly gone, and though I knew her to have lived a long and full life, her death tugged at something deep and troubled within me.

I felt incredibly uncomfortable, and initially I had trouble pinpointing what was bothering me, aside from the loss of this great writer of our world and time.  What about Maya Angelou’s death had turned me inside out?

The gloominess of the morning, with a grey sky and occasional cold sprinkles of rain had me feeling less than in a jovial summery spirit.  Here in this building that is almost twenty years from being 200, I have felt poked and prodded by the past.  My 29th year on this earth and I have wondered about what I have truly offered this earth, other than being kind and paying my taxes: what have I done to make a difference?

Looking at Maya’s numerous accomplishments and lifetime achievements in writing, civil rights and empowering women, I feel discouraged to have wasted so much time being afraid to actively pursue my writing career.  I have spent the last year worrying about my ever-ticking biological clock and wondered if I’ll be able to be a mother, longing when I see new posts of babies, engagements and marriages, new pregnancies and births, if I will soon be able to experience that miracle of giving life to a tiny being that will hopefully be able to live a full life and carry a bit of me on with them.  Will the love I have for my significant other turn into marriage as I have longed for my whole life?

In this obsessive worry about marriage and procreation that is often natural to occur in the late twenties for women, I realized I unintentionally neglected one of my deepest passions and desires that I held tight to me as I might a precious jewel for so much of my childhood.  I somehow put down that jewel for worries and fears.  And I cannot understand how I let so much time go by where I had forgotten about my little jewel, my little jewel with an incredible shine.

My stars, I thought, why am I allowing myself to waste my gift, to wallow in sadness and worry because of circumstances in the world that I cannot control? Nothing is certain, and clinging to life (just barely) from day to day, living in a stupor of an overload of social media exposure to friends’ lives that I shouldn’t be comparing my own to, and broken expectations of what I’ve wanted in terms of marriage and children that just don’t make sense in an increasingly more selfish world where individuals kill people en-masse because they can’t get what they want.

Life can be taken away in a moment.  How can I possibly continue to be so fearful and frustrated?

The truth is, I cannot.  Last night, in a moment where I questioned why a spiritual healing practice worked, I was reminded of my Reiki teacher’s lesson:  We cannot control the Universal Energy, or Love, or whatever you want to call Reiki; we can receive it, and give it, but it is not us that is in control of it.  In that moment where I realized that, the energy started to flow from my hands and my friend, an older woman who is a recovering cancer patient, relaxed and told me how good the energy felt.  What does this moment have to do with Maya Angelou and my desire to recover that gem I misplaced/dropped so long ago?

It is this: Though I hesitate to call myself a religious person, because organized religion has been something I haven’t been able to embrace over the years, (I’ve come to terms with that,) but the idea of spirituality and faith in the process of life, and the power of humans to impact others in numerous ways, whether it be in medicine, or holistic healing, meditation, exercise, or even the art of the spoken and written word, these are things I can have faith in.  I have faith in these things because I have seen they can make an improvement in the lives of living, breathing, human beings.  And as cheesy as it might sound, having faith in oneself is probably the biggest component of all of these wonderful things.  If we are unable to have faith in ourselves, we cannot accomplish our dreams, because if you do not have faith, how is it even possible to have a dream?

Something happened the day I graduated from college.  After all the ceremonies and the pomp and circumstance had passed, I entered a dark phase at the age twenty-two.  I remember being in a numb state the entire drive home from my Alma mater.   I felt empty, as if my purpose had just been stripped from me without my permission.   I had given an empowering commencement speech, but somehow in fear of having no direction or set path, I dropped that gem, that purpose (I think unknowingly) and in turn, I lost the faith I had in my abilities and my dream.

I don’t know if there were events that lead up to that moment, and I don’t think I was mature enough to realize what happened at the time, or perhaps I was simply too afraid to face acknowledging what I had let go of, but I lived the next seven years in a purgatory of unimaginable proportions.  The craziest part was I built that awful place myself and had no idea why, or how to escape it.  I had dropped that gem so deeply inside myself that every time I thought about it, it was painful, and I kept patching and patching and patching that hole, in hopes of forgetting I had not been successful, that things had not worked out.  And yet, how could I close up hopes so quickly?  In all realness, despite years of writing and the creation of hundreds of poems and a handful of novels, I honestly had not even started.  I was still at the beginning when I gave up.

I realize now that it might have been  necessary to go on this seven-year journey.  There were so many dark spots even before that moment after commencement, and I had honestly lost a lot of faith in what was possible because of outside factors, normal coming of age moments and the dissolution of friendships that I didn’t initially know how to let go of.  I was growing and evolving, maturing and changing.  I needed to walk that painful path to understand how valuable this gift was that I had let go of so halfheartedly, even selfishly, you could say.

Today, in that first hour when I had learned of her death, I listened to Maya Angelou read her poem, “Phenomenal Woman,” and took in the message that I loved from the first time I read the poem, to accept the woman I am and to love myself confidently. I realized throughout the day, as the significance of her death weighed heavily upon me, that I could not waste any more time.  My body is not immortal, and my days are not promised.  Living in fear can only take time away from that which you desire to pursue.

I found that as late as it may have taken me to absorb this lesson, learning of her death and the brevity of the time we have here on this planet means we have to make EVERY effort of fulfilling those dreams we have, even if we do fail.

Maya Angelou has said:

“While one may encounter many defeats, one must not be defeated.”

She also said

“People will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.”

and most importantly in regards to any passion:

“Nothing will work unless you do.”

And so my friends, I know it is necessary to start this important work.  I have to make up for this time that I have let slip by due to fears, failures and dark points where I heard nothing but the words “impossible,” “should,” and “never.”  My hope is that I may let go of these words, rub them out of my vocabulary as well as my worries, so I can finally focus on my dream.

There is a familiar-looking gem sparkling from underneath the grass on this wet, rainy day.  I think of another Maya Angelou quote.

“Nothing can dim the light which shines from within.”

I pick it up and my own rays of sunshine emanate from this gem.  It is not only my sunshine, but my inner light and dream that I had buried so deep, so long ago, I was not sure where look to find it…but here it is!  The gem was waiting for me, waiting for me to uncover it, brush off the dirt, and unleash the potential I locked away in fear all those years ago.  I’m not sure where this path will lead, but I am ready to start the journey.

Love and Blessings ❤

 

Discovering My Story

This morning as I went about my morning routine in the office, replying to e-mails and returning phone calls, I had a moment, just what seemed like an odd moment, but still an important one, where I had an extreme urge to blog and get out a plethora of positive, excited emotions.  Ironically they were all emotions dealing with self-acceptance.  I have had brief moments where I see myself in the mirror and I say, “Wow, you’re gorgeous, how did you not see this in yourself before” and others, where all I see are flaws.

So today, I was particularly surprised when this little thought nagged at me all day to blog, and to talk about how proud I am of who I am and who I’ve become.  It started with a ritual I have in the morning where if I have a presentation or something that I have to orally prepare for, I talk out my thoughts and organize any concerns that are bothering me.  I have been thinking about an hour-long talk I’m giving in the summer about my ethnic background at a conference and what I am going to say.  Every day as I think things over, the content changes, I remember bits and pieces of my past I’d forgotten about, and ultimately I sometimes end up leaving for work feeling more confused about what I’m going to talk about, than when I first started getting the thoughts out as I’d gotten out of bed.  I’m really not sure how the conference talk is going to work out overall, but I can tell you that I just feel incredibly passionate about this upcoming experience because it’s a chance to tell my story.  And at this point in my life, I can comfortably say I’m proud of that story.

I did a lot of amazing things in college, and my alma mater truly opened the door for me to be creative and to be myself.  Faculty nurtured me, taught me, constructively criticized me and ultimately helped me break out of my very hard shell.  I struggled with this transition, this change, and I was terrified of myself.  I wrote a one-woman show about my experiences with racism because of the nudging of a persistent writing professor who taught me that writing about oneself is often the truest form of writing.  It’s real, and people like real.  It was the most difficult thing I’ve ever done, and despite it’s success, I found that for a long time, I struggled with people approaching me about it.  I didn’t know how to take praise for what I had done, because I did not see it as extraordinary.  I saw my uniqueness as a way for people to point me out and to pigeon-hole me.  I feared being different because I longed to be loved and thought that love somehow coincided with assimilation.

I got angry about prejudice and spoke out against it, but as strong as I was, there was a part of me that was always terrified.  A part that was always angry.  I didn’t feel like I belonged anywhere.  I wasn’t the white New England girl, but I wasn’t black either.  And here I was, being told I looked Spanish, so I should speak it, but I had chosen to speak German, in addition to my native English, because I fell in love with the culture, and the romanticism of both Austria and Germany, the Sound of Music, and the fact that my mother’s family had come from Germany.  And I was incredibly agitated that the vast majority of the public that I met in my retail job (customers typically) would regularly insist on putting me in a box and needing to label me.

I discovered that even moving to rural New Hampshire, that this was still a theme in a little New England town that, despite it’s remoteness and whiteness, I still love to call it home.  I didn’t grow up here, but I went to school here, and now I work here for the same institution that helped me find myself and encouraged me to embrace my diversity.

I have discovered many things over the years; I have discovered that I “pass” for white, but that people still want to identify me, and that they are always going to ask questions about my appearance, but I am starting to see something that I couldn’t see nearly ten years ago when I started college as a freshman:

I see that I have long brown curly hair, and though it struggles with humidity and frizz, and it isn’t the easiest to manage, I love it, and I wouldn’t change it for the world.  Sure, I don’t mind a trim here and there, and maybe I’ll cut it short again if I feel like it, but I don’t need to color it.  I don’t need to be blond or red or purple or whatever; I am happy with my natural brown locks.

I have hazel eyes and no, they are not the blue eyes I always felt I had to have, but I am okay with hazel.  They’re pretty, and a perfect mix of my mom and dad: I have bits of blue from my mother’s German side and bits of brown from my dad’s Caribbean side.  And I have skin that is olive.  I don’t have quite the awesome Italian or Greek tan, but my skin is beautiful, even if I still get acne as if I were a teenager ( though I’m close to thirty).

I have put on a few pounds, and definitely could stand to lose some weight, but the odd thing is, despite the need to lose weight for health reasons, I’m not unhappy with my size.  I’m a taller woman, and would definitely like to be a healthier weight, but I don’t look in the mirror and scowl anymore and stress excessively about wearing makeup or heels.  I don’t wear heels because of a bad back, and I don’t wear makeup for the most part unless it’s for theater, because I just don’t feel like it.  And no one says anything about it.  No one focuses on what I look like.  I dress professionally; I wear what I want, and when I want to dress up for a date with my boyfriend, I do that.  But I don’t need anyone’s approval to be happy and content with who I am.

I have struggled for years with this battle.  I suffered anxiety and stress and worried about every possible outcome of a situation and other than creating sleeplessness or weight gain, the worry did nothing to benefit me.  I wanted so badly to be accepted, but at the same time feared so greatly facing my identity and being content with it.  Sure, some people are always going to alienate me, some are always going to say something racist, some are going to be gender-ist, and some are even going to tell me that I shouldn’t have been born, BUT, I know that I am truly content, truly happy with the beautiful woman I am.  I am black, I am white, I am German, I am French, I am Bermudian, I am American, I am a New Englander and an English major with passions for theater, reading, writing, and loving and healing other people.

And I am learning every day to accept compliments when I receive them, and to be thankful for them.  I am learning to celebrate my accomplishments and be excited for future possibilities.  I am learning that just because I was in pain for a long time, does not mean I have to stay there.  I do not have to be stuck, and though it will not be uncommon to experience race-related pain again in my life time, I will not let it define me, and I will not let it consume me as it had in the past.

A young freshman girl came up to me after a performance of my one-woman show about growing up biracial, and she approached me with such light and excitement because of my show; she was also of mixed heritage.  She told me that because I had done this show, she felt that she could do something like it some day.  In the memories I have of this time of my life, this is one of the few that I remember with fondness because so much anxiety had plagued me during my preparation for the show.  I remember approaching my theater director and telling him I didn’t think I could do the show because I thought someone would come after me and hurt me.  That they would be disgusted with my revelation of my background and want to kill me.  When I told him this, my director said, “That is exactly why you need to do this show.”

These memories are reminders of what potential I have always had in myself, and also about the importance of continuing to “let my light shine” for lack of a less cliche phrase.  I come from a family of teachers on my dad’s side, and though I never felt like getting up in front of a classroom, I always felt amazing on stage, and I think there is still some teaching in my blood that can be done, it just might not be in a classroom.  I think I might be a teacher, but not in the “traditional” sense.  I think I’m going to make a difference and influence the lives of others, and that sharing my personal story is a huge part of that.

I could say that I’m sad that it took me so long to realize these things about myself, about my inner and outer beauty, about my unique background and experiences.  No one else has these specific traits or stories, so how could I ever have wanted to be the same as others, when being different is honestly, so cool?  So I will not say I’m sad, because I am not.  Not anymore at least.  And I can’t beat myself up like I used to, because I no longer see the point.  I see beauty and love and truth in who I am, and that my palette of colors truly makes the world a better, more interesting place.  No need for assimilation, no need to blend in.  If people think I stand out, then let them get to know me and I can teach them all the cool things about myself.

Today is a good day to be happy.  Today and every day, and to love your own story.  And if you like, to share it with others.  🙂

It’s been an interesting day.  The first sunny, snow-free day in ages.  It’s 12 degrees and it feels like spring is coming.  (this is because it’s been very cold the last few weeks, 12 FEELS warmer than it is)

I worked this morning and though it was a productive day, where I helped families in the college search process, I found my mind was a little distracted.  I typically go to a Saturday morning yoga class and though I don’t mind working the occasional Saturday, I greatly missed my routine this morning.  I also missed the class last weekend because of Valentine’s weekend, and though I asked, my boyfriend was not keen on going to a yoga class.  I didn’t mind though because we had such a wonderful weekend together, and I hardly get to see him since we are long distance.  And I went to the yoga class on Wednesday, I just like to do it as often as I can.

I suppose I also feel a bit cloudy and tired because I attended an international festival for the current students and, though I told myself, “I’m leaving at 7:30 or 8:00,” I still didn’t leave till 9:00.  I have a very Type A devotion to my work and the students that attend the college I work for.  It’s my alma mater and I’m very passionate about the school and what it offers its students.  And I have always loved supporting our students because I know how much it means to them when staff and faculty come to their events.  The community is amazing and I’m very happy with the work that I do.

I do, however, think I over-commit myself.  And then when I finally get time to myself, I don’t want to do a thing.  At least nothing productive.  I usually just want to sleep or play computer games.  And though I have always been an involved individual, I find myself spread very thin lately.  Longing for sleep is a recurring theme in my days, and even when I get to sleep, sometimes I can’t fall asleep.  My mind is always running with “What do I have to do tomorrow? How much time do I have for activities on the weekend? When do I get groceries? Will I have time to go see that event? Can I do one of my art projects or read a book?”

So in the midst of all of this, I recognize that I’m in need of some balance.  And due to some poor eating habits that I’ve developed over the years, I have put on a good amount a weight.  So my plan today, was to go to the gym, but I found I had started to doze off once I got home and sat on the couch to check facebook.  I wasn’t even on a pillow; I simply leaned against the wall, and found my eyes closed, and my breath starting to relax.

And though everyone is entitled to relax, I found I was beating myself up over not going to the gym, or vacuuming and chewing bubble gum or eating a cookie.  On some level I think I have this fear I’m going to miss out on everything or that I’m not up to speed on the goals I have set.  But in talking to friends, I find I have to remember the quote, “You are not Atlas, carrying the world on your shoulder.  It is good to remember that the planet is carrying you.”  -Vandana Shiva

So I suppose, again, I have to remember that if I take things one day at a time and it will be much easier.  I don’t want to jump ahead on anything that I’m not ready for, but I also don’t want to waste time and not start things like establishing healthy habits of exercise and eating right.  So it’s not 100% scheduled to a T yet, but at least it’s a start.  And I have supportive friends and family and loving boyfriend. 🙂 It took me a long time to get here; I think right now I’ll just give myself a metaphorical pat on the back and continue to think positively.

…And maybe put the Dubble Bubble away.

I have realized through various experiences I have had in the last year, health scares of my own and people I know, an injury I had, people coming in and out of my life, etc., to keep those I love and care about close.

If someone is a priority in your life, you let them know as often as you can.  It’s that simple.  Every day if you are able!  If you have friends you care about but don’t see every day, still keep in touch as often as you can, if they truly matter to you, for if you are to put them on the back burner, how are they to know over time that they are still important to you?

And personal energy is important.  There needs to be balance.  You need to take care of yourself.  If you are the one giving all the time, learn to step back.  If the person really wants to be in your life, friend, family member, significant other, etc., they will let you know, and remind you of your importance in their life as well and give back, because they will WANT to be there and have you be a part of their lives.

I bring this up because I have had loved ones, both friends and family struggling with this stress, and after seeing various posts on facebook, and knowing my own experiences,  I want them to know and understand that it is okay to step back.

In some cases, for example in my own various relationships where I have felt this pain, I might step back as well.  I have felt mentally burnt out because of a number of events in the last year, and for my own sanity, I might retreat, but it doesn’t mean I don’t care; I simply am making the choice to take better care of myself.

I am also hoping these people I care about, will see the need to reevaluate how they treat other people, because in my heart, I know they are good people, they just might not see how they hurt.  Or they don’t feel they have to give or need to give, that a person will continue to hand them love on a silver platter and expect an obedient friend or romantic companion who will give until they have nothing left to continue to act in that manner towards them (because they believe or desire this type of relationship to be acceptable.)  And then, if that person cannot give what the non-understanding person expects, they might move onto another person, or go back to that person they initially drained when they have recovered (if that person allows that behavior back in their life).  I don’t need to tell you that that is not an example of a healthy relationship.  Eventually someone will give up or experience emotional distress from the behavior.

For those who give and forget to give to themselves, a little self-love is very healthy.  If you are afraid of giving, but you want someone to be in your life, (a lover, a close friend, family member, etc.), think about giving a little more, and you will get amazing things back.  If you care more about material things, that will become evident over time, and you will lose the person you care about.  Be proactive, and make a change to better your mind and your heart.

That being said, I might need the occasional reminder to let go of what I can’t control and let go of those people and practices that no longer serve the path of a positive life experience.  I needed to get this out for a long time, and I struggled with the wording, so if this seems a little rough around the edges, that is why.  The biggest piece I want people to take away from this is that I’m not trying to attack anyone, I simply am explaining an awareness I’ve gained and if it is beneficial to others who might be going through a similar experience, I hope it can help.

Thank you for listening! 🙂

Peace, Love and Blessings! ❤