Monday, April 30, 2012

Finding the "Me" in "We"

I find that it's most often when we are at our lowest point that we discover small truths about ourselves. My periodic meltdowns, while sometimes embarrassing, are never pointless. I became overwhelmed recently when change became a little bit too much to bear. I have been trying to juggle too many things and finally everything just imploded. I had been focusing on all the wrong things yet they seemed right at the time- getting a job, finding an apartment, working on my relationship. All of these things I would be able to handle if only I had a proper handle on myself. I have been trying to conquer three life obstacles all in one hurdle and it just isn't working. I figured that out the hard way as I sat on the bathroom floor yesterday sobbing uncontrollably. We can't master it all, not at once. It's too much, and sometimes it's okay to admit defeat, to take a step back, to give ourselves a break. 
I have been focusing so much on "we" that I forgot about "me." What do I want? I have made the right decisions so far- quitting a job that was causing me misery, moving out to experience what my relationship would be like sans distance, going on interviews to find a new career. It's just that I've been so caught up in the whirlwind of doing the right thing that I forgot to listen to myself. I thought I needed to devote every once of energy into my relationship and my job search that I ignored myself. I had become part of a "we" and doing anything outside of that context seemed scary. I couldn't even go home by myself because I had become so used to having someone by my side. That's not who I wanted to be, that's not what I want. It's too early for me to be dependent on someone else completely. It doesn't mean I have to end the relationship, it just means I have to make room in it for me. I had been tending to someone else's needs while completely ignoring my own. I ignored them so long that they burst to the surface and forced me to deal with them. So I'm dealing with them, starting today. 
I've decided to take the journey home this weekend by myself. I feel stupid saying it's a major decision to be alone for a couple days, but it's true. I've pushed myself into a timeout corner without realizing what I was doing. I put others' needs before my own and I see that it was wrong. I think I'm scared to face myself. I think I'm scared of what I might find. Maybe I'll realize I'm not supposed to be here. Maybe I'll realize my dream job is something other than what I've been striving for. Maybe I'll realize I'm not supposed to be in a relationship with the man sleeping next to me. I'm terrified of what I might find out. Since when did I become someone less than independent, less than confident with who I am? 
I've made the right decisions so far, but I need to start listening to my heart again because I think I've buried it. Other than having the knowledge that I want to write, I'm not sure what else I know. I know I love the man I'm with, but I don't know if he's the one. I know I like living on my own, but I'm not sure if this state is where I should stay. I've been hypocritical, preaching happiness and independence when I haven't been fully honest with myself. Well I'm taking baby steps again, what about you?

Friday, April 27, 2012


I feel as if my life is forever in limbo. Yet again I am stuck waiting on a phone call, putting my faith in hiring managers, crossing my fingers and praying every night. It's amazing how much of your life can revolve around one phone call, one letter, one email. We are waiting, always waiting for something more. So how do you know what the right thing is? When is it okay to have faith and at what point does it just become foolish? 
Now that I have my sight set on this particular job it is hard to focus on anything else. I have found a place where I can envision a career and now I can't get the image out of my head. I don't want to settle for less, but I don't want to drown as I wait. What if I wait forever? We all know how hiring goes. Sometimes you get the job the next day, sometimes it takes weeks or months to even receive another glimmer of hope. It's a cruel realm- the world of job searching. It has been almost two months and I've turned down more than one opportunity in the hopes of securing my dream job. I tell people to trust me while I am left doubting myself. I think the doubt, the fear is all part of taking risks. I hold my breath waiting to see if the risk will pay off or whether I will be stuck broke and jobless once again, starting the search all over again. 
Unemployment has taught me what I want and what I can live without. I am sure I will soon find what I can settle for as well. It has been a better teacher than school in some ways- showing me the reality of choice, of freedom, of rejection, of opportunity. I only hope my large wager is worth it in the end. I can't go home with nothing to show for it now. I feel like a hypocrite, preaching faith and hope while I am losing it slowly; however, I have learned that life is more like bumper cars than a merry-go-round. You are bludgeoned by choices from all sides and can only hope that the ride will slow enough to make a clean getaway. It's all a learning experience- sometimes it's harsh and sometimes it's easy, but it's all real. I pray that my bumper car is about to lose power so I can climb out into my future reality and put limbo to rest.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

"I'm not a princess, this ain't a fairy tale..."

A conversation this weekend got me thinking about fairytales. Who doesn't love them? Who doesn't try to live them? Who has discovered how unrealistic it is to find prince charming by losing your shoe at a ball? I guess my point is that most of us have grown up with a certain sense of how relationships work or should work. My perception was a naive one and I learned that fast. In high school, I would preach about how hooking up was the worst thing in the world, about how kissing without commitment was wrong, about how I just wanted to find "the one." I was severely delusional. In college I learned how boundaries blur, how the world is not as black and white as my innocent high school self thought, how life is complicated. I used to pass judgement on situations that I had never experienced, and now having lived through more I realize that I was out of line. Life is not a fairytale and love takes work.
I'm not saying that prince charming doesn't exist, that Mr. Darcy isn't out there, but let's just think realistically here. Even if these perfect fictional characters were in the real world how would they act? No one is perfect, and I'm sure even Mr. Darcy has his flaws. Sometimes the person you think to be the most perfect is unavailable, sometimes you get to know him and realize he's not so great after all. It's that first love effect when you see the person you believe to be your future spouse, imagine the kids and the dog, the white picket fence. After a few months go by, you realize you were too hasty in your judgement and you criticize your foolishness. It's happened to me more than once and so I started not having expectations. It works a lot better. Now I'm not saying that you shouldn't hold people up to standards, but I am saying to give people a chance. They may surprise you. Sometimes your complete opposite is your match, but how would you know that if you dismissed them on the third date?
As for "the one," who thought of that? Nine times out of ten you don't meet your soulmate by staring into his/her eyes across a crowded room. The stereotype only gives the rest of us insecurities when we doubt that the one we are with is "the one." Don't do that to yourself. "The one" is who you deem him/her to be. Don't hold out hope for someone to sweep you off your feet because that is not how life works. I'm not trying to be pessimistic, I'm just being the realist. Relationships are work, they are compromise. You don't just fall into sync with a perfect stranger. You will have your differences, but part of being in a relationship is working them out and being stronger because of it. I believe that Lori Deschene, the founder of, says it best: "Real relationships are messy, and it can feel instinctive to resist that- but what a mistake that would be. It's only when we stop learning together that we start to grow apart."
No relationship is perfect, and no relationship can be a fairytale. We can have those moments with our partner where we feel like we're living in a dream, where we label the moment as perfect, but to classify an entire relationship or person as flawless is unrealistic and dangerous. In making that mistake, we lose. Don't be afraid of conflict or compromise, don't give up on someone because they said one wrong word. Keep your judgements in check, remain open to possibility and difference. Maybe you will find your prince charming is less than perfect, but you still love him just the way he is.

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Hope Chest

Keeping a hope chest is a common practice for those who imagine themselves filling the bride-to-be position some day. I have never kept one but I began to think about the concept behind it. You fill a box with napkin rings, dishes, linens, clothing, and other items to use once you enter into the realm of marriage. I have started thinking- why wait? I am not discounting the value of this tradition passed from one generation of women to the next nor am saying it should end, but I have begun to think about it in a different sense. Let's think outside the box for a minute. Would you keep a box of your favorite possessions under your bed to sit and never be used? Would you horde your hopes and dreams away in the back of a closet never to be examined, never to be explored? I'm sure fear has kept all of our dreams on the back burner, locked in that chest, stuck in a closet. It's easier to have them and store them away then actually explore the unstable world of possibility. 
I am trying to keep my chest open, filling it daily with trinkets and future opportunities to be dissected and understood. We all have a lot more time to examine ourselves then we like to think. What is it that you have stored at the bottom of your hope chest? What is it you aren't confronting because you're too afraid to think what if? What is it you are hiding from? We determine our own paths, we make our own futures. So don't keep hope locked in a chest. Let it out to show you the way, let it take over, let it be your guide. The only thing worse than admitting failure is never taking the initiative to try in the first place.

Friday, April 20, 2012

Listen to Your Heart

I found a great quote on one of my favorite blogs that I'd like to share because not only is it pertinent to my situation, but I think almost anyone can benefit from it. It reads: “Above all, be true to yourself, and if you cannot put your heart in it, take yourself out of it.” ~Unknown 
I haven't been true to my heart the last couple days. I have been walking along one of Mr. Frost's "roads not taken" while knowing it was the wrong one. The opportunity has not yet presented itself for me to walk down the one I wish to tread, so I started in the other direction. A week ago I thought this was the right direction, now I know it is not. I don't want to feel like a quitter as I turn around and head back the way I came from, but I can't see myself continuing. I have been asking so many people for their opinions and thoughts that I haven't allowed my heart to do the talking. I have known what the right option was from the minute I was presented with these opposite paths, but I let others do the thinking for me. I let others make the decisions even though I knew what my heart wanted. 
It is often hard to do the right thing. I'm always reminded of The Fray lyrics "sometimes the hardest thing and the right thing are the same." The job that I've been learning might be ideal in different circumstances- if benefits were present or it provided a calmer atmosphere and more subtle personalities, but I can't see myself staying here long. If I can't picture myself on this road today let alone in six months, then is it really worth pursuing? It reminds me that sometimes what we think is the best thing and what is actually good for us can be completely opposite. I was seeking creativity, fun, craziness and I found it. Turns out that's not what I really wanted or needed because once stability and a promising career entered the picture, my internal compass pointed right toward it. Now don't get me wrong, the job I'm training for is hard work with some aspects of fun, but I'm beginning to think I need that creativity outside of work. Maybe I try dance lessons or take zumba again, but being surrounded by it and being immersed in it are two separate beasts entirely. The management position of a studio intrigued me because the glitz and glamor of dance intrigued me, not being in charge of it. 
I want to write, I know that's what I want. I want to be involved with words for the rest of my life. I started this blog to stay true to that passion and in my daily journals I continue to pursue it. I remind myself that I left my old job, moved to a different state, and started taking interest in myself for a reason. I came to this point in my life promising myself that I would not settle. So settling is exactly what I refuse to do.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

The Road Not Taken

"I shall be telling this with a sigh/ Somewhere ages and ages hence:/ Two roads diverged in a wood, and I--/ I took the one less traveled by,/ And that has made all the difference." ~Robert Frost

I seem to have come upon two roads in my own life. I guess I should not say two roads yet, maybe a road and a small path is more accurate. I have been offered a job that I really think I will enjoy. I am happy because I believe it will inspire me creatively and supplement my outgoing character; however, it does not offer all of the benefits I initially hoped it would. At the same time, I was just presented with another opportunity; however, I'm only on phase one of that journey as I wait to see whether I will be invited back for the elusive second interview. Today I saw a path forming from this potential opportunity, not only a path but a career. It is not the place of fun and creativity that my first job offers, but it provides stability and a foundation for a career that I've only begun to realize I can grasp. I can't get too ahead of myself on my encounters of today because I have not been offered this job, but I want it. If I am offered the job then I truly will encounter Mr. Frost's two roads diverged. 
It is fear that is holding me back from grabbing on to these opportunities. It is fear that allows doubt to shadow both these potential paths. And it is fear that leads me to question what it is I truly want, fear that pushes me to ask anyone and everyone for their opinion, for if I do that then I can distract myself from the truth. I can distract myself from internally asking those same questions. I know that within the next couple weeks time will tell if I even have to make a choice. While I am scared at the threat of disappointing someone, I'm starting to see that it is a challenge I should welcome. If I refuse to head down a path due to fear of hurting someone's feelings then how am I really benefiting from the situation? Considering the options and deciding what is the best choice for me is not selfish, it allows me to stay true to my aspirations. And I know that either way I will come out a victor. By the end of the month I will be exploring one of these options through no one's decision but my own. 

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Puzzle Pieces

I spent yesterday trying to solve a puzzle that I've been working on for the past twenty-four years. That puzzle is my life, and I'm just beginning to figure out where certain pieces belong. 
I think we unknowingly categorize people into pieces that belong to specific spots. This one belongs in the relationship corner, this piece definitely belongs to the friend zone, this one doesn't fit at all. The family pieces are the easiest because they automatically belong in the puzzle; it's whether they stay in the picture that becomes the question. I've been weeding out pieces for years, discarding ones that don't fit my needs, keeping ones I know belong. I've found recently that I have been getting rid of pieces that didn't fit nicely in my puzzle, and I now realize that I lost some I needed. 
We have certain expectations that we believe or hope people will fill. When they don't fit into the puzzle like we want them to we are apt to throw them away. Sometimes it is obviously the right choice, but oftentimes we are doing ourselves a disservice. I have come to peace with certain people from my past lately, most of that peace revolving around forgiving myself. I find it amusing how I can attract all sorts of puzzle pieces- different sizes, shapes, attitudes, beliefs. Even though I have made my peace with these people, I know that it doesn't mean I would let them back into my puzzle. If I ever saw these people again, I would be more open to conversation and smiles, but I would never give them access back into my daily life. With this discovery, I realize that I misjudged some people. I had a certain picture of the future in my imagination, a perfect scene, a resounding fantasy where these people fit into certain slots- the perfect husband, the supportive roommate, the lifelong acquaintance. That was wrong of me because I limited some people. There is one person that I saw in the same light for years and have just come to an understanding that it was my emotional attachments to his place in my life that limited his existence in my puzzle. For that I am sorry because I lost a piece that truly belonged. It may not fit where I originally wanted to place it, but it fits all the same. 
We can't bring people into our lives and categorize them. We can't place labels and judgement. We aren't God, and we can't be all knowing concerning the ways in which people enter and exist our lives. There are pieces on that puzzle board for everyone, but trying to predetermine where and if they fit isn't our game to play. We're in charge of only one thing and that is acceptance. If we allow our hearts to be open, it will become all too clear who is supposed to stay in our life and who is supposed to leave it. So don't disregard those pieces until you are sure they absolutely will never fit. View the entire puzzle and not just a section of it. Open your heart and don't be afraid to find pieces with a unique fit.

Monday, April 16, 2012

The Waiting Game

I spend most of my life waiting- waiting for the second interview, waiting for the application status on a job, waiting to hear if I got my dream apartment, waiting for a phone call that may or may not come. Why do we wait? I have realized that while I wait, life continues, oblivious to whether or not I get that promising job. The world still turns regardless of whether that phone call brings acceptance or rejection. Sometimes I like waiting, feeling as if everything is out of my control, remembering there is nothing more I can do. 
I think waiting is alright in practice if it doesn't completely fill your existence. I have been waiting for almost a week so I can go on a second interview for a job. Temporarily, I have given up the job search in the hopes that this would be "the one," so what's the point? I suppose this would be detrimental if I had given up everything in my life for a week, but I have used the time to write, and I'm making progress. I think the waiting game is a fun one to play, if you can distract yourself with other tasks along the way. It becomes hazardous to your health when you sit in the waiting room, life on hold, barely breathing until you hear the news. 
Don't sit in the waiting room. Distract yourself. Continue to move along because whether or not you get that job, life keeps moving. It's up to you to decide whether you want to catch up or lag behind.

Friday, April 13, 2012

Living, Learning, and Letting Go

Recently, I have had a breakthrough in coming to terms with things that have happened in the past. We all do it- hold grudges, allow regrets to fester, wonder what if? I'm extremely skilled in living in the what if realm. I often fail to find happiness in the present because I am so far stuck in the past. Now I'm not talking about reminiscing, because thinking about good times I've had with friends and family often keeps me going. I miss college all the time, miss the friends I made, miss the fun times, miss the feeling of not needing all the answers right away. For me, college is the best example I can think of to describe living in the moment. Even if I was down or moody, someone new was always there to take me out to dinner, to meet for drinks at the pub, to distract me with a movie marathon. I have found myself thinking a lot about that time and the relationships I formed on campus, relationships that have shaped who I am today. The people I met there changed my life in the best way possible. 
I went in to the college experience timid and shy, completely blind to the ways in which I would learn to open up to other people and not be afraid to explore. I think this is an experience that most people share. We go into college one person and come out completely different. Well I guess I shouldn't say different, just changed, improved. I came into myself there. Do I regret certain choices I made? Of course I do, but then I think where I would be if I hadn't made those decisions. I might not be where I am today, maybe I would have made the same mistakes in the real world where it is seemingly harsher. I know I learned from everything I did, good or bad, and took it in as an experience that helped define who I am. 
We aren't simple, none of us are. We are complex individuals, composed of many parts, of diverse experiences, of varying morals and beliefs, and we can't claim to know one individual fully, not completely. There are parts of each of us that we keep hidden, that we only write about in private, that we only vent about to someone close to us, that we keep locked away in dreams and subconscious thoughts. The only person who truly knows who I am is me, same with anyone. So while we are apt to judge others or think we know best, honestly we don't and we never will. 
I have learned that I have friends who understand different parts of my life. People I grew up with who know where I came from, people who have been there through my darkest moments, people who are there for me now. People come and go, and I thought I could beat the odds and take every one of my friendships from high school with me to college, and every one of my college acquaintances with me into the real world, but I can't. No one can. People are in your life for a reason. They may be there to pick you up and then they leave, they may be there for the long haul, they may only be there to teach you the smallest of lessons. Appreciate them while they're with you and appreciate them when they need to go. Sometimes holding on only holds us back, while letting go is the only way to grow.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012


I have had a rare moment of clarity this morning. Although no one likes unemployment, I am beginning to understand its invaluable purpose for me. Now that doesn't mean I've given up on finding a means of income and have just decided to bask in the love of doing nothing. I've merely decided to embrace the meaning it has for my life right now. I have begun to realize lately that the endless stream of jobs I have been applying to and the countless interviews that I have been on have not really had any meaning for me. I applied to be general office manager of a dance studio today, and it was the first job that I have applied to in a month that I was genuinely excited to hear the outcome. I am not a dancer, although I have taken multiple zumba classes and quite enjoyed them. So it wasn't the art of dance that intrigued me but rather the art of creativity, the opportunity of a position in which my creative mind had a place. While I have been applying to the office jobs, the data entry positions, the administrative aid duties, I have been neglecting my inner child that has been screaming at me. Creativity has been a big part of my life since I took a course in it, but I've put it on the back shelf and now it wants to be taken off that shelf; it's eager for a play date and so am I. I am learning to embrace my unemployment as a way to enhance my creativity, to keep writing, to keep thinking, to keep discovering who I am and what life is all about for me. If we neglect to even begin searching for happiness then what is the point? I vow to find activities that make me happy and stick with them. I may be stuck in the 9 - 5 job very soon, and while I will be grateful for the income, I won't let that limit my potential or stop searching for possibilities. I want to continue writing, I want to take more zumba classes, maybe start up yoga. I'm not sure what I want to do yet, but I know I will have fun figuring it out.

Monday, April 9, 2012

Starting to See the Bigger Picture

I have started this blog in search of the bigger picture. Embarking on a journey of self-discovery lately, I find myself conflicted yet hopeful. Under the pressure of finding a new job, I spend my days searching endlessly for employment while asking myself what is it that I really want? I have so many interests that I find it difficult to hone them into one job about which I can feel completely passionate. I think we're all looking for that dream job, the job where the days fly by because we are so ridiculously happy that it's not like work at all. That's what I want, but it's hard to find the ideal, isn't it? Maybe I need to stop trying. I've often thought about starting my own business, creating something I can market, putting together a team of my closest friends who also see the bigger picture. I'm still in the process of discovery, discovering life, discovering happiness, and discovering who and what is significant to me. This is only the beginning of my search to see the world in the same way I view a kaleidoscope. Look inside and see the colors and patterns shifting and changing with every turn. That's what I want- variation, diversity, spontaneity, life. I think it's all anyone really wants.