Happy New Year!
Now that 2016 has arrived, I usually take this time (like a lot of other people) to reflect on the past year. It had a lot of ups and downs and troubling times, especially with Rosie (my car) and her seemingly constant tire care. Sometimes, I sit back and wonder how I survived it all.
For the past two years, I made a list for the goals/plans of things I'd like to do or accomplish throughout the year. Here is a list of the things I have done:
-Traveled to a new city
-Enter writing contests
-Create/Use a 2015 good moments jar
-Update my stories on FF.Net more often
-Continue to eat healthier
-Become more spiritual
-Push myself out of my comfort zone
-Dye my hair
-Learn a new language
-Learn a new skill
-Explore Norfolk/Newport News
After going through my 2015 good moments jar, I found that I had stopped slipping in good moments after the first few months of the year; around April or so. I decided to do it again this year so I can really keep track of everything that's been going on.
As for my goals this year, normally one of them revolves around losing weight or keeping the weight off. That's usually what everyone's goal/plan for a year is and then they stop going to the gym or trying that new workout by around the middle of January. They do say that New Year's Resolutions are hard to keep. This year, though, I'm doing something different.
I'm not going to focus on my health or my weight, but have more of a focus on my wellness. Health and wellness go hand in hand, but I've had a pretty good grasp on my health. I eat pretty decently, and I don't restrict anything, I just slightly change my portion sizes. However, if you have sour patch kids or hot tamales near me, or even German chocolate cake, then this would be a whole different story.
Wellness is more of the idea of choices you make to have better health and a better lifestyle. I need to focus on myself more, and not worry about pleasing other people. The most important thing in my life should be myself. I always say I love helping people but I worry that one day it'll come back and bite me, which it has. Or, it had, in this case.
Anyone that follows me on Facebook, Twitter, or is in usual contact with me would know that I had faced the toughest time in the last few months. Both of my part time jobs had extended/holiday hours and I was stretched to the max. It's a given that in the world of retail you're going to have holiday hours. At my library job, I had taken on more hours around Sept/Oct because we were understaffed, and I would be going from working 19 1/2 hours a week to 29 1/2. I could easily handle that with working my retail job as well. Then, we were given the green light to work more hours through Jan because we'd still be understaffed until HR hired more people in the division/department I work in.
Honestly, I was skeptical at first, and worried how I'd be able to handle working extra hours at the library and at my retail job. I told my supervisor and she was kind of wondering the same thing as well, but slightly changed my schedule to give myself at least one guaranteed day from off from both jobs, because of the way my schedule fell in-between both. So, in a way, I agreed to take on the extra hours and I was also essentially told I was going to have to take them because of how understaffed we were. At the time, i didn't mind it because I love love love love love my library job, all the people i work with, and what I get to do everyday. Plus, i had wracked my sick hours so if I every needed a mental health day, I don't think my supervisor would have minded if I used some.
So, at this point, as the holiday/extended hours started at both of my jobs at the beginning of November, I was working about 50+ hours a week. I've worked a 40+ hour a week job before when I interned at HRA, but this was different.
Even though my two jobs are a block apart, I have to change my thought process to accommodate the two. My library job is more relaxed than my retail job, the two have different dress codes, one I have to get up early to work and the other (or sometimes both) I have to stay late to close. At my retail job I just help people and at my library job I have to enforce rules/policies and play games or entertain people at the same time. Both jobs I have great company with people I work with, but my retail job I felt was way more demanding than usual, even for a holiday season and I've worked the holiday season at my retail job the year prior. Sometimes I felt I was someone's main go to to person when something needed to be done, and while I like that people trust me to get things done, i quickly felt overwhelmed.
See, sometimes, I have a problem with saying no, especially when it comes to taking extra shifts at either of my jobs. Bottom line, I'll be earning more money. In most situations, though, I can say no easily because I know what i want, what i like, and what i feel comfortable with. While I do push myself out of my comfort zone from time to time, i can put my foot down when needed.
This winter/holiday season I felt like I was on the precipice of a mental breakdown. I was so stressed I would have constant headaches, I'd feel irritable all the time, and I was close to snapping at everyone for no apparent reason. I was very forgetful, somewhat sluggish, and every time I did something wrong at work, or something went wrong it felt like my world was going to end. I was getting less and less sleep, and not eating properly at all because my schedule was constantly changing. I almost lost it when I arrived at my library 30 mins late because I read my shift schedule wrong. My supervisor wasn't concerned about it at all, which confused me, but I guess since I'm usually 5 mins early for my shift and we were very very slow that day it wasn't such a big deal.
After talking to one of my co-workers at the library, I discovered meditation. I was pretty much at my wits end and was looking for a way to make my headaches disappear aside from taking ibuprofen from time to time. My co-worker knew I was having a hard time with everything, and I didn't even have to tell her. She could just see it in my face, the way I easily forgot things, or the way I acted and she's only known me since April. That's quite a feat, in my opinion, because I can hide things pretty well.
Meditation was really hard for me to get into at first because my mind constantly raced. Not only because I was working so much, but because I had a lot of writing ideas floating around my head, but that's a usual occurrence. I borrowed two mediation books from my co-worker and read each of them for an hour before i went to sleep, so 30 mins for each. When slowly starting it, i was a little bit skeptical, but still open minded. I mean, if it worked it worked and if it didn't it didn't.
Now, I try to meditate every day or every other day. My headaches where finally gone and I felt happy again, I felt like myself. Although, spending time around my family and my sisters during Christmas instantly put me in a better mood. I was happy just from knowing that I was heading home the minute I jumped into my car.
I've learned various techniques of meditation, where I can meditate for three minutes up to half an hour. It's nice to clear my head and just focus on nothing. Quite frankly, aside from writing down my new story ideas, I think it helps clear out all of those thoughts as well.
Now that the extended hours at one of my jobs is over, I feel like i can breathe again. Don't get me wrong, I'm kind of glad I was super busy. If i were stationary for too long I'd feel weird that I was alone during parts of the holidays since my sisters were already at home after finishing their semester of grad school. Don't get me wrong, I did go out and hang out with my co-workers and friends doing various activities like seeing movies and stuff, but when I'd be back at my apartment eating my super late, and light, dinner before heading to sleep is when it'd kick in.
After taking up mediation, I'm kind of leaning towards yoga, but I'm not too sure about that yet. I enjoy high energy, high action things like dancing and martial arts. I mean, where else but in martial arts can you punch something and not get into trouble for it? My co-worker who got me into meditation has told me about this retreat kind of place where it's all about yoga and meditation. I think I'd like to try it one day. She enjoys doing it. I think she's trying to get me into it so she can have a friend to do the activity as well. She's always so excited and willing to listen when I talk about having a slight interest in yoga. Maybe I should start with YouTube videos first.
The ending of 2015 was okay. Don't get me wrong, spending New Year's Eve with my sisters by going out to lunch/dinner and playing video games for the rest of the night was great. And yet, I was ready for 2015 to be over. I had a lot of setbacks the last few days of the year and I wanted to start anew. Now that I have my positive mindset back, I don't think of them as setbacks anymore. I see them as a set ups for a comeback.
2016 has started off great, so I'm hoping that it sets the tone for the next month and then eventually the rest of the year. I already can see good things coming (Circus Camp at the library, two of my sisters getting their Masters, hours at my library job slowly decline back to the regular 19 1/2 per week), so now that a positive change has occurred, I'm ready to see what is bound to happen.
So, I had to go to an all day staff training at one of my jobs yesterday, and while something caught my attention: a lot of the adults acted exactly like me, or someone around my age. It made me think of how social norms and the views of "being an adult" has changed.
I used to describe myself as an extroverted-introvert or an introverted-extrovert before I knew there was a specific term for it: ambivert. Being at this staff training from 8:30am - 5:00pm made me really notice how people interact with each other. I can easily assume that I was the younger person at the event, with only one person being the exception. Maybe. MAYBE. When I had arrived at the event I couldn't find anyone I knew from work so I decided to sit at a random table with no one I knew. I introduced myself, but then I did the usual: I became quiet, reserved, and somewhat timid. Mainly because I didn't know anyone at the table.
Gradually as more people entered the large room and sat at the table I was sitting, I noticed that everyone knew each other. Then it hit me: this is exactly what teenagers and young adults do in social situations where they don't know anyone except for one or two people. They stick where they're comfortable. So, while everyone else at the table was seated with someone they knew, I was all alone. Of course, they welcomed me into their conversations and I got to know some new people but I instantly felt left out. However, this gradually changed through out the day when our similarities came to light.
When put in a situation where I don't really know anyone and I'm not too sure on how to start a conversation, I either do something on my phone or write in my journal. During the breaks through out the day, everyone at the table would be on their phone checking email (or text messages) or answering phone calls. While participating in one activity during the day, everyone at the table had to agree on an answer to a question and if someone didn't agree we weren't allowed to write it down. For example, everyone agreed that their favorite candy was Hershey's Chocolate. However, it took us a while to agree on favorite sports team because we were somewhat divided with Eagles and the Redskins. So, when it came to favorite vacation spot, someone jokingly answer "My House" and we all agreed before writing down the Beach.
I recently had a conversation with my sisters about how hard it is to meet people both in a dating and a general social aspect. In some ways, I could be described as a homebody and in some ways I wold disagree with that. Lately, though, I have been. Working 10 hours a day roughly 5 out of the 7 days of the week I do find myself yearning to go home when I'm done with the day and wanting to stay home and do nothing but relax. Aside form tending to my apartment or going grocery shopping, on my full days off I do nothing except stay in my apartment. Why? Because for 5 out 7 days where I worked 10 hours a day, I was around people. This is the ambivert in me, but I can't be around people all the time. I need to have my batteries recharged. I need alone time, which is why on my day off I do nothing and I love it. Rushing around from one job to the next for the previous 5 days wears me out quickly especially with having to work beginning from as early as 7am and no getting home until 10pm or later.
Of course, this doesn't mean if a friend or a co-worker calls me up on my day off and asks me to hang out or to do something, I'll decline. I generally accept as long as I can have a portion of the day to myself. I think it's also because I choose to see people instead of working around. It's kind of hard to explain and I don't want to take up all of my time on this post to go into that.
To go back a few paragraphs, the woman that made a comment about home being their favorite vacation spot had to be in her late 30s or early 40s, so not too much older than me. It was sitting and talking with these women of various ages that made me realize that adults now are different or changing than the adults I'm used to seeing like my parents.
When I view my parents as adults, I see people who are always on the go even on the weekends when it's their days off. I see people who can run on very few hours of sleep, who work hard at their jobs, who can easily converse with other people, who know how to interact in life. And then, there's my generation where we have so much technology we just have to send a text message to talk to people. This, however, isn't a bad thing. I know a lot of people who get anxious and nervous at the idea of talking to someone face to face or even over the phone. I know people who have to rehearse what they're going to say so as they don't "say something stupid or dumb". Technology makes things easier for those who are introverted or have social anxieties and this doesn't necessarily mean that they're homebodies or anti-social and it shouldn't be viewed negatively.
Adults don't understand how hard it is to truly meet people and makes friends. Think about it, when they were growing up, technology was slowly changing and it wasn't as prominent as it is now so they're used to interacting more with people. Growing up, I had built-in friends with my sisters and my classmates. Then, when we all graduated from high school i kept in touch with a few, and held onto them while attending college. In college, i did make a few friends through some classes and shared interest. After graduating from college you're thrown into a world where all of your friends are all of a sudden are busy at different times, you move to a new city, and then you're all alone. Sure, sometimes you'll skype, text or talk on Facebook but it could be months to years because you see your friends face to face.
You don't know anyone or anything in the new city you moved to. Those who are extroverted can easily strike up some new acquaintances or friends because they feed off of people's energy. Those who are introverted or ambivert may take more time or turn to befriending people online through shared interests. Online friends are becoming a normal thing and that's not bad. Not everyone on the internet is lying or stalking you. Having a friend online gives you someone else to connect with and to gain new insight or an opinion. Plus, for some people, it makes it easier to talk to them because they don't have to do it face to face, they just talk through a computer screen.
During the all day meeting, when speakers would ask for a comment or ask a question and no one would respond or raise their hands, they would warn about calling on someone or volunteering someone to give an answer. This really needs to change, especially for introverts. Some people may not feel comfortable speaking in public for a variety of reasons and then you calling on them and in a way 'forcing' them to answer doesn't help anyone except yourself wanting an answer. Of course, this varies in each setting ie school and other places; however, its like your pulling someone out of their comfort zone against their own free will. Everyone should move out of their own comfort zone when they choose to.
The bottom line is, everyone adults differently, especially with the gap between the adults in my parents generation and my generation. Okay, so more like my grandparents generation and my generation. The world is drastically changing and advancing, as well as how people interact with each other. The term homebody shouldn't be viewed negatively, and in the coming years it probably won't be. Everyone does things differently, and I think we should all just accept that.
So, I'm doing something different for this Fashion Friday. I made a friend on tumblr and I quickly noticed her amazing fashion sense when she started posting pictures of herself. A lot of the clothing she wears I would love to try, but I'm sure, and using her photos as evidence, they work for her and would probably look like I slightly missed the mark if I were to ever try.
This is Anna, and yes I got permission to use her photos for this post. What first drew me to this picture was her leather jacket. Okay, and her eyebrows because I am super envious of them. Anyway, I think leather jackets are perfect for those cool summer nights and especially in the fall. They can turn a somewhat nice/dressy look even dressier if it fits your personal style or can bring it down a bit if you want to add in a splash of casual. Her pairing it with the bright top underneath helps make the jacket stand out.
I then picked this photo because of the whole outfit. I don't know if flannel is more her style or a normality of where she's from (which I'm not going to say here cause of security reasons) but it definitely works for this outfit and a few other photos she's posted. Having the black high-waisted leather skirt and black shoes definitely help the shirt pop, because of its dark colors. The gold necklace was also a nice touch because it brings an overall statement to the look, but also doesn't detract your attention. She really knows how to work her colors well.
Finally, i chose to talk about this picture because it is one of her more casual looks. Because of the lightning, I'm not too sure what color the top is, but it doesn't matter because it matches the light wash denim so well. The fact that Anna matched her dark shoes with the outline of her shirt, and her belt helps bring this whole look together. And i really like the anklet she has on her left ankle (at least, i'm pretty sure that's an anklet) because it's an accessory that stands out and also brings the pants and the shoes together, since the footwear has a white edge.
With her personal style, I can tell that she'll try on clothes that she likes and just goes with the flow. She definitely has an eye for detail and seems to try mix and match, with great results. Some of these looks I may have to try myself as we get into the upcoming Fall season. :)
Today at work, I was complimented on how patient I was with a customer. They were trying to use a $10 off coupon they received as a reward for collecting a lot of points from shopping in the store. We had to go through so many steps for her to complete her rewards profile (something you need to do before you can start getting your rewards, usually customers do this after initially signing up for the rewards program) that I ended up trying various different steps for her to get her coupon as well as typing things into her phone for her since I can type pretty quickly. You should actually see how wide people's eyes get when I breeze through typing in their info to sign them up for the rewards program.
I would think people's first impression of me is different than how I actually am. I can actually be shy from time to time, and I think I have the "resting bitch face" so people either assume I'm upset or something is wrong, or that I'm intimidating. This isn't the case, or at least, it's not the energy I want to put out into the world. Most cases, I'm just thinking about something very hard. After graduating high school, I've tried to adopt a more positive outlook to life and it's been very beneficial for me. I just have this drive to help people. I like helping people even if its as small as holding a door open. I'm just very perceptive and sometimes I can tell when someone needs to vent. I just want to put others before myself, even though I worry I will be burned in the end. Unfortunately this has happened numerous times, and yet, I still want to help people.
When I was younger, I strongly disliked being called sensitive. Growing up in a family with 5 siblings, with three of them being the same age as me, and looking exactly like me, it was hard for me to find where I fit, not just in my family, but in society. People would just call me "Jackson" or "Quad". Now, don't get me wrong, I love being a multiple, and I wouldn't imaging my life any other way. They're my best friends. I know it must be hard to remember whose name goes to who. Some have told me they were embarrassed that they couldn't tell us apart, but they tried. I always knew the difference with those who tried and those who didn't.
With not really knowing where I fit, I think i found myself just filled with a lot of different emotions. I was easily offended by something or upset by something and people would say, like clockwork: "Why are you so sensitive about everything?" or "Stop being so sensitive."
Unfortunately, I think that had affected me a lot. It's made me somewhat hard and some could see that as me being cold. I'm not that harsh of a person; however, if anyone messes with anyone in my life, I will be quick to knock them down a peg, so I guess there is a bit of a spin to it. Because of those comments, I don't cry that often. I hate to cry, i don't like how i feel after i cry, and sometimes I just feel like I'm weak after I do it. There has yet to be a movie where I cried while watching it. I do admit though, i did get misty eyed during Toy Story 3 and Inside Out. Also, who can keep a straight face when watching those videos on YouTube when those in the Army, Navy, Coast Guard, etc return home.
Now, i see being sensitive as a good thing. It means people can trust me with their problems, and that I will actively listen to them. It doesn't matter what my issues are at the moment, if someone needs to vent I'll give them my full attention. It may take a bit for someone to find out that side of me, but it's always been there, just buried a bit.
I've been meaning to write a new blog post for ages but now that I have two part-time jobs I barely get enough time to rest. Don't get me started about my "to-do list". Can you believe it? I actually have a "to-do" list.
Anyway, back on March 23rd, I started working part-time as a Library/Computer Aide at the new Slover Memorial Library. I actually knew I had the job a few weeks before hand but I didn't announce it to anyone except for my sisters and my parent's at the time because I didn't see it as officially my job until I received my first schedule.
There was a slight delay in getting my schedule for two reasons 1) At the last minute, I was switched to a different department, and 2) I had to change my Kirkland's schedule which wouldn't go into affect until I started working at the library, so it was pretty stressful around that point.
I had changed positions from somewhere on the first floor, I don't know where, to the 5th Floor. The Teen Floor. Now, I'm pretty sure I was switched because I know a lot about video games and computers. They even asked me questions about it during my interview and I just went on and on about my favorite games and different consoles i've owned, played, and know how to operate.
Working here is like a dream. I essentially get paid to write, play video games, and play games with the patrons. I usually work in the computer lab and aside from monitoring what people are doing in there, it gets boring fast. That's what my supervisors warned me about from the beginning. So I bring my memory stick with me and just work on my stories or novel ideas in between doing my job.
When there is down time in general, usually around 6pm on weeknights, i try to find things to do which basically means playing Super Smash Bros Brawl and Mario Kart 8 until I notice something needs to be done, or until someone wants to play a game I'm playing. I also get to take the time to draw, put together a puzzle, or read.
Now, don't get me wrong, I actually do work. I do collections work, check out game controllers, and check out the study rooms. I sit at the front desk and answer as many questions as possible, if i can, before directing people to another floor. I help set up for programs and events, and sometimes participate, and I clean up the floor when it is close to closing. My supervisors say it is the most fun floor of the whole library and I couldn't agree more.
I LOVE it here! I love the atmosphere. I love the people I work with and the people I talk to every day. I just love libraries in general. This library has a 3D printer, a cafe next door, a gaming lounge where we get to blast music after 4pm (Kpop anyone? That's the only thing i play when i run the music if I'm working desk, aside from Disney), interactive maps, a digital production room, a Mac Lab, and many other perks. But the number one best thing, is that it is right across the street from the mall so going from the library to Kirkland's (or Kirkland's to the library) is easy. Plus, with working here I can FINALLY wear something other than just black and white.
"Keep your face always toward the sunshine - and shadows will fall behind you." - Walt Whitman