Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Hopes for the Future

The transition phase I am in right now is simultaneously frustrating and rewarding. After another interview for a job that I can't take due to low pay and no benefits, I am stressed to my breaking point. It is difficult for me because I don't want to sell insurance or work in retail or manage a studio, I want to write. I want to edit. I want to work in publishing. My life circles around reading and writing. It features English and always has. I want to be a part of the writing world, now more than ever. Unfortunately there is this little thing that the real world likes to term "experience." It's a rotten word really because those of us who want to start in a career can't gain it until we are granted the chance, but those employers out there aren't looking for entry level, they want seasoned professionals. See the disastrous cycle I have become a part of? 
I like to write, I love to journal, I'm emotional and I like expressing it through words. I wish I could summarize myself and my abilities on a one page resume, but the truth is that I can't. My resume reads of my "experience" in the fields that I have been pushed into due to needing a salary, a means to an end. The only experience I have that I truly count useful I developed in high school and it is no longer applicable to the direction in which I want my life to go. Maybe I am meant to manage my own small business or just write the novel that I keep saying I will sit down and conceptualize. The truth is I would love to have a small office to myself, books lining the walls, papers strewn across the desk, but a smile on my face as I discuss a book deal or help future clients. Now if only I could find that "in."
I know that I just need to keep trying, and I haven't given up. Even if it means I have to settle in the meantime, I can still keep my sight set on the future. I can't lose the plans I have. I hope in writing them down, in making them somewhat public, I will stick to that promise. I have the support I need, I have motivation, now I just need a chance. All I'm asking for is one chance to prove myself. I hope I will be granted that wish soon.

Monday, May 21, 2012

Rainy Day Revelations

If there is one thing that makes me reminiscent it is the rain. Rain is one of those sounds I can't resist falling in love with each time I hear it. I can hear the curtain of droplets falling on the porch outside, teardrops staining the glass door, catching in the screen. The sound has the ability to either put you in the worst of moods or make you reminiscent, staring out the window with a cup of tea and a head full of thoughts, words unspoken, past events forgotten until now. While these sessions of reminiscing have the potential to be dangerous, I believe that they are quite necessary. They allow me to sit and have a conversation with myself. When was the last time you can say you've done that? Talked to yourself? It's vital, it really is. 
I think of all the things I've done, the people I've known, the friends I no longer talk to, the events that have led me to where I'm sitting right now on the bedroom floor listening to the rain hit the porch. The road has been a little rocky but in no way disappointing. We are shaped by every action we take, every word we say, every decision we make. I'm not proud of all the decisions that I have made, but if I hadn't made those mistakes I might not be in this place of knowledge today. I still have so much to learn, but I've come a long way from a few years ago. I'm happy. I can say that I am happy. I have something to be thankful for every day and it's because I choose to be. I have surrounded myself with people who care and for whom I care very much. 
I used to think I could change people. If I've learned one thing, it's that people don't change. If you want someone in your life you have to be willing to accept the person that he/she is. It's no one's job to change another human being. We change of our own accord, if we want to, if we will it. We don't change for others, we change for ourselves. Other people may give us the strength to make change but unless we take the first step, it's of no use. 
Things might not be ideal, things will never be perfect, but if we are happy overall then everything else doesn't seem as bad. There is no set definition of happiness- not wealth, not the perfect job, not true love. Every one of us defines what it means to be happy. I challenge myself in that definition every day as I learn something new about my character. I challenge you to do the same. Fill your life with people and things that make you smile. If someone is bringing you down constantly, rethink that person's presence in your life. If your job is making you drag your feet daily, monthly, yearly, consider a career change. Cutting people out and quitting your job aren't ideal, I realize this, but just think about it. Once you start to put yourself first, everything else falls into place. I don't have everything figured out yet but I'm starting to and it gets better. I promise.

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Relationship Reflection

Currently I am reading the novel One Day by David Nicholls. Within less than 24 hours I have become so wrapped up in the plot and the characters that I have read half the book already. That's what a good book does- makes you hungrily devour every word, breeze through every chapter, get to the end only to regret having gone so fast, wishing you had poured over the text more slowly. That is what I aspire to achieve in writing one day- a novel that has you so immersed in the lives of its characters that you feel as if you're a part of the story.
The novel reveals the dynamics of human relationships quite honestly, making it very real. Now I'm a fan of a nice happy ending just like the next person, but if I am to be honest, lately I prefer more realistic works of fiction, raw even. Chronicling the human condition is a tough feat and when authors try to wrap it up with pretty bows and perfect couples it doesn't do it any amount of justice. Relationships are messy, at times they're unsatisfactory, yet at other times you wouldn't trade that other person for anyone else in the entire world. I admire the authors who can capture this reality so clearly that the reader can't help but get emotional. If I could spill out my emotions onto a page for an audience it would be a scary thing to behold but it would be the truth. We vent about it to best friends, memorialize it in journals, cry about it before bed, why not be able to express that? It's what I want to do, what I've always wanted to do- write about it.
This novel just makes me think about the importance of relationships. We fill are lives with so many different types and nothing is ever black and white. There's family of course but then there are friends, enemies, "frenemies," what-ifs, significant others- the boundaries constantly intersect, the lines are blurred most of the time. I learned this as early as middle school when a crush became a tormentor; in high school when a best friend forever became a backstabber; in college when a first love became a womanizing loser. We don't know how life is going to work; we have it figured out one minute, then the next it all falls apart. We think we know what's best, but we don't. We think we have a grip on things but we're really losing it bit by bit. Life is complicated and it's always refreshing to be reminded of that.

Friday, May 18, 2012

Places of Peace

I have found over the years that there are three places where I think best and can find the most clarity. Often when I am confused or upset, I flee to these places in the hopes of making sense out of all the buzzing in my head. I would highly recommend finding your places of peace. I must refer to author Julia Cameron who writes about the art of creativity which has helped me in my life, especially when I'm down. In her book The Artist's Way, she outlines that writing in a journal daily and going on weekly artist dates with ourselves are key. In another of her books, Walking in this World, she adds another key element to creativity and peace. This is walking. Daily walks can help us sort out all the issues floating around in our heads and maybe even provide solutions for our problems. 
The walk is one of my peaceful places. While I recognize that walking is not a place, it does not ever matter where I am, as long as I can walk and think about everything and nothing as I please. I often don't find solutions to my problems this way, but more often than not I do find peace. Clarity often comes when I hear the birds sing or see a tree blossoming. It always strikes me when I come across a monarch butterflies because they serve as reminders of my late grandfather. A simple reminder like that can bring a smile to my face and assure me that while I may not have the answers now, I will in time. 
The second place where I find peace is in the shower, odd as it may seem. It is often when I am thinking of nothing that poetry pops into my head. I have to repeat the lines over and over in my head so I don't forget them between conditioning and drying off. A hot shower is often an escape for my mind and body. My mind wanders and I find it so relaxing that my fingers often shrivel up like prunes before I find that the water is growing cold and it's best to get out. 
The third and most important place of peace I have found is the beach. There is absolutely nothing like coming to a hill and hearing the ocean behind it. Just the sound of breaking waves gives me goosebumps. You can't replicate the feeling of sand between bare toes, of the seagulls flying high above, of the wind whipping your hair around your face. I become lost at the beach, surrounded by a bubble in which I am trapped most gratefully. I wander along the water's edge and stare at my feet so long that I forget about the vastness just to my right. Hearing the sound of a boat's horn, children's laughter, the ceaseless coming and going of foaming water, it's incredible. I always know when I'm upset or confused or just looking for answers that I have to find the water. Even just being in its salty presence calms my nerves. It is often by the water's edge that I make the hard decisions, that I uncover even harder truths. 
I walked through the park today, watching the water sparkle in the sunlight, and realized how much I'd been neglecting myself again. I haven't been as faithful with my journal or my posts. I haven't been as faithful to finding happiness. I'm having to settle on a job soon but am reminded that I don't have to settle in life. There are things we have to do in life, but it is us who dictate how we choose to do them. We decide our attitudes, we make the decisions concerning our own lives. That's something that can never be taken away and should never be forgotten. Above all, you are the most important person in your own life. So don't hide just because you've grown comfortable. Don't become apathetic to choices that only you can make. If you don't stand up for yourself, how do you expect others to?

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

The "D" word

In the last few days I have come face to face with the thing from which we constantly are running- death. In my experience, death is the thing you don't talk about, it's the thing that is scary and non-existent until it ironically comes into being only when we lose someone close to us. And so I wait for it to strike as my grandmother lays in her hospital bed. No matter how old you are or whom it has come to claim, it is still terrifying. It doesn't matter if you think you're prepared, if you saw it coming, if you knew it was the end, because you're never actually ready. I think the worst thing is not knowing what to do- whether to visit or to wait for the phone call you know will surely come. Death puts us all in a sort of limbo, another world of being, of waiting, of scarcely living. 
This experience reminds me of the losses of others. The second someone is in the position of loss, the memories flood in about your own set of losses. Everyone has struggled with the death of a loved one, a friend, or maybe even a stranger. It connects us to everyone else yet it separates us. I guess living in the wake of another's death leaves us in a purgatory on earth. New days spent without the knowledge that our loved one is still within reach, can still be contacted. I pray that my grandmother wakes up, I pray for a miraculous recovery. Isn't that what everyone wishes? I think the reality is harder to face than the hope for something better. My heart goes out to those who have lost and those who believe they might be in the presence of loss shortly. It is not a pleasant waiting room in which to sit, but you should know you're not alone.

Friday, May 11, 2012

One Step Closer...

Another day, another disappointment. I marvel today at the fact that I can interview for so many different jobs and only like one out of a dozen. The only one I've fallen in love with so far has taken it's sweet time getting back to me regarding the second interview. 
As I sat for an hour interviewing today, instead of focusing on the questions asked, I could only think of other matters: the fact that I almost got in at least three separate accidents on my way there; the reason the pay must be so great is because it is in the heart of a city; while the people were nice, I couldn't help but notice the bars on the windows... Why is it that we get stuck with so many unappealing options? I've tried to dig out the good ones, I have, but I'm realizing that they are extremely difficult to come by. Many believe that the perfect job doesn't exist and while I understand (and sometimes embody the same belief), I also think that there is a position that is right for every individual, it's just a matter of finding it. That may take days, months, or even years, but if you search hard enough, you'll find it. 
I should have known that my morning would end somewhat disappointingly. I left one state for a career change and found myself beginning to interview yet again in the field I left. So it stands to reason that I would start to have second thoughts. I'm realizing that sometimes the jobs worth having are worth waiting for yet I know that we don't all have the option to wait. I know I don't. As funds are running low and my search becomes a little more stressful daily, I try to look at the positives in my life. At least my housing situation has worked itself out, at least all my close relationships are still intact, at least I still get up every day willing to see where the day goes. I'm even open to disappointment because there is a lesson to every effort, an outcome to every event. If I hadn't gone on the interview, I would have wondered. With every interview, I gain less doubt and rule out possibilities I might not have experienced before. I only hope and pray that they get me closer to the real thing. I am open to settling, but only if my gut tells me that I could stand working at a place for more than five seconds. If you can't see yourself lasting two weeks, then maybe you should spend more time searching. I can afford to search for a little bit longer, and at least I'm narrowing down what I will and will not settle for. 
In moving, I've witnessed a lot of change in myself and in what I am willing to fight for. I'm willing to say no to a future employer if I know it won't work. I'm willing to travel someplace I've never been (even if it slightly scares me) for an interview. I'm willing to apply to jobs I would never have considered before. It takes courage to say yes, but it also takes courage to say no. Settling doesn't mean you have to be miserable. If I end up settling for a job to pay the bills in the meantime then so be it. But I won't stop searching for what I truly want and neither should you. 

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Let Go

I learned this week how quickly things can turn around. Right in the middle of what I had already deemed the worst week ever, I smiled. 
It had started off as a bad week as each day brought something new, and by new I don't mean good. I held my breath on the third day as I waited for more bad news, but it never came. Instead, we got approved for the apartment we wanted, I got a call about a job interview, and a baby was born on a birthday we were already celebrating for another. Literally all of the bad news we had received over the course of the week was turned around in the span of a few hours. It's hard to know what to attribute the happenings of yesterday to-- luck, fate, faith, chance? 
The truth is I had been preaching "it all happens for a reason" all week, but even I was losing my stamina as I sat on the bed and waited for another bomb to drop. With a few phone calls received, the bomb never dropped. It just goes to show that even when we lose faith, something happens to remind us that there are higher powers at work. We can't know everything and sometimes we just have to let fate take over and show us what is supposed to happen. It's no use worrying over things you can't change. Sometimes letting go is the best thing you can do. We always think we have control but at times it takes things outside of our power to remind us that we don't. 
I do believe that everything happens for a reason, but it doesn't mean that I don't get discouraged. It doesn't mean that I can't fall off the wagon. But sometimes you just have to let someone else take over and trust that it will all work out. Giving up isn't the same as letting go. When we let go, we allow opportunities to come to us, we allow the world to show us what it is we truly need. We let fate take action, and while letting go can be the hardest and scariest thing to do, I believe that in the end it is all worth it. 

Tuesday, May 8, 2012


Inspiration comes in many forms, often through events or signs, maybe through people or things. I found myself inspired by three different people this weekend and I would like to share my experiences. I think it's important to recognize those who inspire us and not forget the lessons we learn along the way. 
My first source of inspiration was found within my mother. In her early to mid-fifties, she has taken on a completely different career. She is a zumba instructor, and I couldn't be more proud. I attended her class for the first time on Friday and couldn't stop smiling because I could see how happy she was. The other women in the class talked to me afterwards just to sing my mother's praises. An older woman came up to me to tell me my mother was a very special person and I responded, "I know." Not only is she more fit than I am, but she also exudes a confidence that I envy. She took complete control of the class and despite being completely winded and exhausted, it was the most fun I have had in a while. I was a little kid again as I beamed up at the instructor in the front and felt like shouting, "That's my mom!" The truth is that our early sources of inspiration never die; if they are strong and well founded, we rely on those people throughout our lifetimes. It is my mother who I call when I have a difficult decision to make. It is my mother I call just to cry. It is my mother that I rely on even more now than I did when I was younger. We can't let those people forget how important they are to us. We have to let them know that we remain inspired. 
My second source of inspiration came in the form of my sister. Ever since we were little, she has always been the one with the plan despite my position as the eldest. I have let my path twist and turn in multiple directions as I try to figure out my life purpose in the overwhelming career world while she has traveled on the straight and narrow for years now. Saturday marked the culmination of her journey as she walked across the stage to receive her diploma dressed in cap and gown. I teared up a little as I always do at these events, but I was overcome by the feeling of pride I had for my little sister. While she is the one that is supposed to look up to me, I've always admired (and been jealous of) her certainty and confidence in her career path. Now that she has graduated, she is armed with years of internships and knowledge, ready to accomplish the goals she set before she was five years old. I am so proud of her for that. As we both search for employment, I am just beginning to figure out what path I want to step on while she will be continuing on one she has been traveling for years. Her accomplishments are enviable and I don't have to wish her success because I know it won't be long before she achieves it within the big, bad job market. 
In keeping with the family theme, my third source of inspiration is my brother. On that same night, we watched him perform in his high school's spring musical. He is a phenomenal actor, and I am always cracking up at his antics onstage because he embodies his characters so effortlessly. This was the first musical in which he had a large singing role, and we were a little bit apprehensive. To be honest, I don't think any of us knew what his musical range was or if it was existent. All I have ever heard are his versions of Rihanna songs or Katy Perry's "Hot and Cold," which I was graced with on the car ride up to graduation earlier that day, so needless to say I was a little scared. During his first solo those fears were gone. As he danced and sang with everyone onstage I had no doubts that he was made for his role, despite his protests that he was just alright. Having acted in high school and college, I remember the strength and courage it took to get onstage in front of strangers. I was especially proud of him for trying something he had never done before as he sang and danced for family and friends, shamelessly exaggerating and never disappointing. 
All in all, it was a long 24 hours, but I wouldn't trade them for anything. I have been aware for a long time that family is special. I enjoy a close knit bond with all of my family members, and I know this is not the case with all families. My point in all this is to remind you that inspiration comes in all forms. I try not to take my family for granted, and I owe a lot to them. They remind me, each in their own way with their own goals, that those you love and those who love you should never be forgotten. I've learned to be observant, to be open to new experiences, and in doing so I've found inspiration in many of those around me. Sometimes it's right in front of you waiting to be recognized.