I’m Unhappy

I’m unhappy. I’m unhappy. I’m unhappy. I’m unhappy. I’m unhappy. I’m unhappy. I’m unhappy. I’m unhappy. I’m unhappy. I’m unhappy. I’m unhappy. I’m unhappy. I’m unhappy.

And it’s okay to feel this way, sometimes.

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I Didn’t Think I’d Cry

when you passed on. I knew I’d be sad; 12 years is a long time to be part of someone’s life. I watched you grow and although I wasn’t the best at caring for you, you never held a grudge. You weren’t perfect either, but you were mine and I loved you.

I didn’t think I’d cry when you passed on, but I did, old friend. I did.

I miss you, Jet. You were truly a girl’s best friend and I’ll never, ever forget you.

A Lesson in Karma During 4th Grade Science

Did I tell you about the time my 4th grade science teacher put a curse on me? Yeah, that happened.

She was a slender thing, with dark skin and darker hair that was always tied in a low, thick ponytail, not unlike an actual pony’s tail: Ms. C. I remember exactly what she looked like, but for the sake of a good story I want you to picture Zoe Saldaña with glasses and anger issues.

Anyway, Ms. C was lecturing our class again on something “bad” we had done. I’m putting “bad” in quotation marks because I doubt that whatever deplorable thing took place was serious enough to warrant a 20+ minute talking-to, but then again, I remember Ms. C being quite the humorless individual. This part of her character, an utter lack of a funny bone, saddened me because she was one of the youngest teachers at our school. Unfortunately, she was no ally of ours.

Back to the story at hand: Ms. C was yelling at us, wasting all of our sweet time and putting us at a great academic disservice. I recognized that my peers and I could have been learning about the Earth, maybe even sparking a future career interest in geology in one or all of us, but instead a finger, a bony finger was being wagged at us. So, like all children past, present, and future in the process of being scolded, we stared blankly, counted our teeth, thought about why we drive on a parkway and park in a driveway; our minds were everywhere, but there.

When she finally wrapped up this speech, I was put in a mindset of praise. So much so, that before I had the chance to think about what I was doing, a whispered, but emphatic “Thank GOD!” escaped my lips.

“Who said that?! Who said ‘thank God’?! WHO?!”, Ms. C growled. Maybe this is the right place to note that I attended a parochial elementary school. Thanking God was serious business there, so saying it in the context in which I’d just done it was not small potatoes.

Ms. C scanned around the room for a tell, a crack in the facade, of the guilty party, but we were a bunch of (angelically) poker-faced 4th graders. In my heart, I’d hoped she’d just let it go, shake it off, etc. However, she took the situation from 0 – 100 (real quick) and threatened that if the perpetrator wasn’t named, we’d be missing recess.

Now, if there’s one thing that elementary school students value most during the school day, it’s recess: The daily opportunity to step outside of the educational assembly line and be children. You take away recess, you take away what separates kids from lower species, like adults. To my surprise, no one called me out (Though, one boy did look at me, but I shooed him with a “Boy-if-you-don’t-turn…” look.) and I’ll forever be grateful for that fact.

Still, I wasn’t going to allow my classmates to be punished for my compulsion to add commentary to everything, so I took a deep breath and put my hand straight up. Ms. C looked at me and twisted her face into a wry smile. “Okay,” she started.

At this point, I was scared. Not of the impending punishment, mind you. I was fearful of the possibility that she’d go off on yet another angry tangent. My little heart wouldn’t have been able to take two of those in one day.

“Okay, just remember that whatever you say or do is going to come right back to you. It’s called karma, boys and girls, and it always comes back,” she stared straight at me with the final three words, “to get you.

Silence.

Me, in my head: Is she threatening me? Who would say this to a child? And why is she bringing Eastern philosophy into this decidedly Catholic environment?

And that was the end of that. She gave us an abridged lesson and then dismissed us (even me!) for recess.

Every now and then since that day, I think back to Ms. C’s karma talk and wonder if what goes around had indeed come around and punished me, yet. For the longest while I didn’t think so: life’s been pretty good to me. But, now that I think of it, I bet Ms. C is the reason I’m allergic to peanuts. Yeah, that’s it.

“It’s better to move with the ebb and flow of the sea, than to try and build a home in the sand.”

-Me

A quote I came up with late one night, when I decided that I’d rather live an intentionally transient life, than one of false security.

Sleepy & Filterless (A Life Update)

Sorry in advance for any typos, continuity issues, run-on sentences, or overall foolishness; the title of this post is an accurate description of my present state of existence.

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It’s been a mighty long while since I’ve made a post here (my apologies, I’ve been distracted), though I’m ready to change that right now. You see, I should be doing my hair and making sure it’s somewhat presentable for church tomorrow, but I haven’t the energy nor the patience to make that happen without my tufts of tangled coils ending up as litter in my carpet. I am in NO condition to wield a detangling comb, so I’m just going to put on my satin bonnet and call it a night in that department.

Now, back to whatever it is that’s happening right now with this blog post. I guess I could fill you in on what I’ve been up to lately. Since early January I’ve been interning (yes, I’m a postgrad intern, again) at an educational media company in Brooklyn. My primary role is to assist with research and educational content development. I’m really enjoying my time there; the employees are super kind and approachable and I love the work I’m doing. As I’ve noted in a previous post, educational media and technology are the career fields I’m most interested in pursuing, so this has been a fantastic opportunity to learn and get my proverbial foot in a proverbial door of some sort.

I meant to talk about this earlier, but I guess I forgot: Around the time I was offered this intern position, I was also offered a full-time position with a well-respected nonprofit organization, which I turned down. While it was an exciting thing to field my first big-girl, full-time, salaried & benefitted job offer, I wasn’t excited about the position. If I had said yes, it would’ve been solely for the notoriety of the organization and the money. I’ve never been one to allow money or other people’s opinions of me dictate my decisions and I wasn’t going to start then. So, rather than the safe/sensible choice, I chose the risky part-time internship that pays only slightly above minimum wage and probably won’t hire me afterwards.

Call me a hopeless career romantic, but I think love is more important than money when it comes to work. The majority of your waking hours are spent at work, so it’s in your best interest to at least like what you do. Also, I figured if I can’t take a career risk now when I have very little to worry about (beginning of my career, no dependents, no bills other than loan repayments and a credit card with a $500 limit), then there’d be no way I’d be able to take risks further down the line when there’d be more at stake. All in all, I think I made a pretty solid decision.

I should also say that in addition to my internship, I took on a part-time position at a fancy NYC preschool earlier this month. There, I help with administrative stuff and substitute in classes when a teacher is out sick. My initial application was to be considered for a full-time associate educator position for next year, but they needed someone promptly, so I stepped in. I’m still being considered for full-time, though it’s nice to (a.) get a feel for the school environment beforehand and (b.) become well-known to teachers and administrators so they’ll want to keep me around. Hanging out with 2- through 5-year olds everyday isn’t all that bad either.

Should I talk about my sister, too? She’s doing well! It’s been 5-ish months since she finished her last cycle of chemo and she went back to work in January. She’s also going to CancerCon in Colorado next month. I’m so very proud of her.

So, that’s my life in a sleepy, filterless nutshell. There’s lots more I could write about, but if I’m not asleep within the next 15 minutes I will be very unpleasant to deal with, come morning. Good night!

Sometimes

Sometimes I find myself wondering, mentally wandering really, what it would be like to live a simple life. One where I worked with my hands and the sun kissed my face lovingly as I toiled. A life not lacking in work, but without busyness; without the sense that there must always be something to do, something to catch up on, something to see.

The picture that my mind holds of such a place is always by the sea. An isle, full of natural beauty and salty, tropical air. Though I won’t have much in the way of money or possessions, I’ll always have enough, plus some to share. And life, while simple, is never easy. But at the end of the day, when the sky is dark and I exist in the hazy limbo between asleep and awake, a feeling of peace will wash over me, a profound contentment with who and where and why I am.

Love

I’m not one for New Year’s Resolutions, but after all of the craziness that made 2014 a year of unmerited struggle (with pockets of beauty strewn in), I have decided to make one. Now, this isn’t your typical “lose weight” or “read more books” resolution, as those are things I intend to do that go without saying. The resolution—or more accurately, goal for growth—that I’ve made for myself is the result of much thought, meditation, and prayer over this closing year:

My growth goal for 2015 is to love better and more fully.

What does that mean? Well, it means a lot of things; it’s an intentionally vague statement that encompasses a world of change, but I’ll do my best to dissect it.

I’ve been reading through the Bible on a (nearly) daily basis for some time now and a few days ago, I came upon 1 John 4. That chapter, which speaks extensively about love, captivated me in a way that, even now, I have trouble putting in words. So much so, that I reread it (and re-meditated on it) two additional days before moving on to the next chapter. What stood out to me most was how love, real love, was never described as an emotion. All love was tied to action and sacrificial action, at that. It reminded me of a saying I’d heard somewhere about love not being love unless it costs you something…

There were two main types of love described in this chapter. The first: God’s love for us. The second: the love we should have for others. The love that God showed us in sacrificing His Son for us should affect us deeply, especially in regards to how we love those around us. And not just those around us that we like or enjoy the company of, we should share this love with everyone. (Yes, that includes the annoying, horrible, ignorant, racist, sexist people, too.) I know this is a difficult thing to hear and subsequently apply to one’s life, but it’s a precursor to loving God. We are said to all be made in the image of God, so if you hate the people you see around you, who have bits of God in them, you can’t love Him, whom you cannot see.

So, in terms of my growth goal, I want to love God, others, and myself better and more fully. I want to love recklessly and without fear of that love going unrequited. I want people to think I’m crazy for treating others with genuine kindness and respect even after they’ve been insufferable to me. I want to love.

In The Time Since

In the time since I wrote my last full-length post, I’ve started writing a handful of other blog posts. Good, right? Yes, except for the minor fact that they’re all sitting incomplete in my drafts folder. I don’t know why, but I start each of those posts with a vigor, an inner excitement about being able to put my thoughts and feelings into words and share them with you. Though, somewhere along the line, I look at what I’ve written and all I see is facile, simplistic word-vomit that I couldn’t possibly publish.

Looking back at the types of things I had begun writing about (dealing with rejection, the folly of expectation, the thing you fear most), I realize that they’re actually very thoughtful topics and not simplistic at all. What’s been happening, I think, is that I’ve been unconsciously employing a defense mechanism, here. See, I’m an extremely private person, so whenever I wish to write about something personal or intimate I have many levels of self-preservative mechanism to surpass before that can happen.

In the time since I’ve been home (yep, still funemployed), I’ve been riddled with quite a bit of insecurity and self-doubt; even in areas that I tended to be fairly confident about, like my writing ability. I’m in a rut, though it’s a good one. Not “good” in the sense that I like to feel this way, but that it’s forced me to see both myself and the world in a new light. For example, I’ve learned—really learned—that my worth as a human isn’t diminished by my joblessness. My value isn’t determined by what I do or don’t have or what I can or can’t do.

My worth is in the fact that I merely exist. I’m valuable because God made me and He loves me and He says I’m valuable. And I can live with that.

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I can also live with the fact that this post may not be very cohesive and that it went in a completely different direction than I anticipated. Oh well, c’est la vie.