YUM YUM Sauce

“Happiness is something you decide on ahead of time.”

While scrolling through my facebook newsfeed tonight, I came across a photo of a beautiful, smiling woman. The caption told a small snippet of her life story and the rules she lived by. Among those words was this quote and as I read it I couldn’t help but feel absolutely blown away. I mean really blown away. Like a-tumbling-beach-umbrella-that-wasn’t-properly-situated-in-the-sand blown away… This tied in with everything I’d been learning over the course of a couple weeks.

You see, being a negative person is, admittedly, as natural to me as breathing. And only recently did I notice that not only do I NEED to change, I WANT to change. I am improving a lot, I must say, and I’m quite pleased with the results so far. Because unless you’re Winnie the Pooh, being a little black rain cloud is kind of, well, yucky and not as carefree and fun as he made it out to be when he attempted to retrieve honey from that bee hive. His mud-covered, red-baloon-traveling, sing-song-y attempt at tricking the short-tempered bees eventually got him a sweet reward. But I’m not so sure being dark and gloomy is as rewarding for those of us living in reality.

Have you ever experienced joint pain or headaches when a weather front moves in and it’s about to rain cats and dogs? Well, you can thank Barometric Pressure for that bout of discomfort. (He’s a total jerk.) Changes in pressure can cause joints to ache and heads to throb. I always get a splitting headache before a good rainstorm. Why I am I giving you this 10-second science lesson? Honestly, I’m trying to sound smart. Okay, honestly, honestly I’m celebrating because I still have some elementary level knowledge stored up here in the good ol’ noggin and I didn’t have to google “why does my knee hurt before it rains” to make my point. But aside from that, I wanted to give you something to think about. If those rain clouds rolling in are causing people pain and I walk around being the human equivalent of that, I’m pretty sure I’d cause them pain, too. Maybe not so much joint pain as headaches but it would be discomforting and unbearable all the same. I don’t want to be that way…

Last week was a tough week.  A very wonderful week. But still… so tough. As this Monday morning rolled around, I was reflecting on everything from those seven days that had caused me emotional trauma, stress, anxiety, and anger. Most of it seemed so trivial while some had justified my actions. (Or at least I thought they did. Really, I didn’t need to worry as much but only later did I find that out.) When I went to work this morning, I was feeling pretty good. That is until I was fussed at by both my boss and the dock lead for things that concerned me but were not my fault. Even after trying to explain why these mistakes were made and why I couldn’t control them, I was micromanaged all morning long and it seemed like nothing I did made it better. Anyone who knows me knows I hate being micromanaged and I work better when you just let me get things done and in the order I see fit. Everything gets done. If it isn’t a drop-everything-and-do-this-now kind of project, I will get to it when I get to it. So don’t worry about telling me a thousand times or freaking out when I haven’t done the fifth thing you’ve just told me to do because I’m working on the first thing you assigned to me two minutes prior… Seriously.

Despite feeling like I wasn’t good enough, I stuck to my guns. I knew I was here for a reason and this must be a test of patience. I tried to do everything I was told to do and with a good attitude. While checking off the tasks at hand rather quickly, I pretty much failed at the “good attitude” part. Those first few hours were met with mumbling under my breath, complaining in my head, and a LOT of eye rolling to myself when bugged with another assumption that I was slacking. Yikes. I needed to do better. But it wasn’t until lunch time rolled around that I really started to change my crappy outlook on the day back to the pleasant one I had when I woke up.

How? Two words. Fortune Cookie. Yes, I totally had Chinese food for lunch and it was delish, however, it was the fortune cookie that made me smile and though it sounds silly, it was really kind of spectacular. I’m not the type of person to live my life according to a slip of paper inside a popular, not-so-Chinese, after-meal-confection. (Fun fact, the fortune cookie is said to have made its debut in Benkyodo, a San Fransisco bakery. However, David Jung of Los Angeles, founder of the Hong Kong Noodle Company, would love to disagree as he claims to be the first to make one in 1918. Others believe it was brought over by Japanese immigrants sometime before the 20th century. I guess we will never know. But what we do know is that they are not of Chinese tradition, their rise to fame began somewhere in California, and they originally didn’t contain your “lucky numbers.”

I always try to save my fortunes whether they make sense to me or not. It’s a guilty pleasure of mine, fueled by my artistic side. And today, the one inside my cookie was extra special. Though I’d attempted blocking out the stress of last week, some unfinished business and anxiety lurked in the back of my mind. Add the crap morning I’d been having and I was becoming that little black rain cloud. But… its words were so simple and paved the way for me to make a complete 180.

“You should let go of negative things today.”

A smile crept up on my face. A smile so wide the Chesire Cat would have turned green with envy. (Actually, picturing that big of a smile on my face gives me the heebie jeebies… Let’s just say I smiled a perfectly proportioned amount for both my face and the moment.) Let go of negative things. How absolutely true and simple. It was so beautiful I almost cried! …Almost.

On my way back to work I began listing all the wonderful things about today. I counted 10 great things and though I’m sure I could find more, those 10 things were enough to change my whole mood around. The rest of my day was great, to say the least, and it just kept getting better. I know not all days will be like this but I want to strive to make them this way. It feels so much better!!

I know God-given joy is better than any man-made happiness. And I know it was His will for me to have that encouragement today even in the form of a little, cookie-covered aphorism. He can use anything to bless us and that’s how I know it was really from Him. I’m very thankful for it. I so much enjoy being optimistic and sunshine-y!

Today I let go of the negative. I counted the good things. I CHOSE to be happy. And because of it my heart is so full. Thanks for letting me share this with y’all tonight. I hope it encourages you and you begin to find the silver lining in every day. Remember that you matter and you are loved. Pass it on. 🙂

I’m finding myself unable to come to a close with this one and, as someone who loves grammar and writing equally, it’s making me nauseous… I need a proper ending but MY BRAIN IS DONE FORMING GOOD SENTENCE STRUCTURE. Therefore, I have no decent conclusion and it is so painful that I’d like to direct your attention to the title of this entry. Aside from the Chinese cuisine I devoured, the title is completely irrelevant and was the first thing that came to mind so I just went with it. 😉 Tadaaaaa!

… Now I want Hibachi…

Joie de vivre, my blossoming rays of optimistic sunshine. Go be wonderful. ❤

Something New

I’m so excited to tell yall that I’m starting a new “segment” for my blog. I had this idea about a month or two ago but never followed through. Now that I’ve had time to gather my thoughts, I’m finally putting it into action. 

(Side note: I’m writing this blurb from the app on my phone, so my apologies for typos and anything that doesn’t make sense. My new phone likes to purposefully mispell words and use them as though they are correct. Dastardly little thing…)

This new event, because I haven’t found a fitting word for it as of late, is called “emPOWerment.” The POW stands for “Person of the Week.” I think it’d be a nice change to hear about others and their stories. The life they’ve lived. The struggles they’ve faced that made them stronger. What makes them great. We as human beings need to be empowering eachother, not tearing our neighbors down because of their race, reliegion, sex, or outward appearance. In fact, it’s not our place to even judge people for their wrong actions. As a Christian, there are things of this world I do not agree with. But that does not mean I hate the doer of such. On the contrary. My heart hurts for them. 

So, I’m making a full 180°. It’s time to focus on the positive and build eachother up. Every week, if I can, I will publish an article on a person I think is worth reading about. (Everyone is worth reading about. But I cannot write about every person I cross paths with in my lifetime, sadly. Though, I would that I could.) Sometimes I will have the pleasure of sitting with them and interviewing them, listening to what they have to say face to face. Other times, I will use my own observations of said person and the beauty I see in them. And I will write to you about the wonders I have been so blessed to learn. 

I’m extremely excited about this and I can’t wait to get started. I already have the first two in mind!! 🙂 

And if you know someone who should have their story heard or be empowered, do not hesitate to send them my way or tell me about them. I will be more than happy to feature them in my writing. 

Embrace. Engage. EmPOWer. 

– Mahatma Ghandi 

 

Very Sour Lemonade

Today, I woke up early. (Like most days when I have to.) But this time I felt a small sense of pride in myself because I am NOT a morning person especially when the onset of cramps and PMS made it that much harder to even THINK about getting out of bed. BUT! I did it and I actually ate a good breakfast and left the house early enough to take care of an errand and hit the Starbucks drive-thru before work.

I got my hot chocolate with a shot of espresso and headed to the bank to make a transfer. My temperamental car had been flashing the oil light at me for a couple of weeks but I knew it wasn’t reading right because it does this even after I put fresh oil in. Knowing it wasn’t accurate, I kept driving. But a few miles down the road I thought maybe it really was time to put more oil in. So, being only a few miles from both the bank and work, I figured I’d just take care of it after my shift. I had everything I needed there in the back seat. Upon finishing up at the bank and attempting to pull onto the highway, my car shut off and wouldn’t crank. Hooray. And to make matters worse, two cars pulled up behind me wanting to exit the bank and there wasn’t a smidgen of room for them to go around me. Yay, Pen Air for having a stupid divider in the parking lot entrance.

Nothing would work. Not the locks. Not the windows. Nothing. I got out of my car and frantically ran to the couple behind me sitting so patiently and told them what happened. The husband was incredibly sympathetic and helped push my car into the grass. I told him my dad could take care of the rest and I would be fine. Lord, bless that man. And bless my daddy. (who had to stop what he was doing at work and drive from Navarre beach to come figure out that the battery had died because after putting oil in her, poor KATY still wouldn’t crank.)

Long story short, I got to work an hour late, the car battery might have a bad connection or might need to be replaced altogether, my body was feeling extremely run down, during all of the commotion, one of my nails broke off so short it was giving me pain (I could care less about the nail. But a nail too short hurts no matter who you are,) and the fact that ONE MORE THING had gone wrong with my car made me feel depressed and utterly unmotivated. But those feelings came to me differently than they have in the past. The best way I can describe them is by saying I felt like white noise. Ya know the horrendous, static-y, monochromatic fuzz that makes your ears bleed when a tv signal has been lost or a broadcast has been interrupted? Okay, yeah. That. Only, I didn’t feel loud or obnoxious.

Have you ever looked closely at your tv screen when that happens? Sometimes you can see faint, shadow-like images of the show that can’t get through. When I was a kid, I used to think those images were of the people at the dull, spacious, everything-from-the-walls-to-the-jumpsuits-is-white-like-the-scene-in-Willy-Wonka tv station scrambling to put the VHS tape back in the huge, white broadcasting machine with no screens or buttons because that was how tv was made…

Well, I walked around work feeling like a dark, indiscernible figure with no depth or purpose. Please, don’t mistake this for “dead inside” or suicidal. (Not making fun of or taking those things lightly. That’s just not what I mean here.) I clutched my delicious hot chocolate, thankful for a small fix. But all the Starbucks in the world couldn’t change my mood. I was tired. Tired of everything happening at the worst possible times. Like this one, for instance, happening the same week that I only work three days making my paycheck a very crummy sum when it comes in. And on the same day I’m told the application I filled out for the job I want hasn’t been reviewed yet. I didn’t want to feel angry, sad, hopeless, or stressed. I didn’t even want to feel positive and joyful and secure. I wanted to be comatose and that’s what I did. I took my lemons that life so kindly threw at me and squeezed out all the juice without bothering to pick out the seeds. I didn’t add any water because usually when I make “My Life’s Lemonade” the tears I’ve sobbed provide enough water. This time I had no tears.  No tears, no water. And DEFINITELY no sugar.

It’s very hard sometimes to “let go and let God” and “trust Him. He will provide!” But that wasn’t my issue today. I wasn’t worried that I’d never get my car fixed or yadda yadda.That God would never make a way for me. I knew He would. I simply didn’t want to remain positive nor negative. I wanted to care not even a bit about what was going on. I was just DONE. So no, thank you. Don’t waste your “good vibes” on my situation. No need to send them. I don’t need a hug and an “it will be okay!” Don’t lift me up. I’m good.

…or not good.

Something.

I don’t know.

I’m just not. Yeah, that’s it. I’m just not. Like white noise. Something is there. It’s not a full picture of clarity, but it’s not pitch black nothingness either.

It’s okay to feel that for a moment. Don’t worry, I’ll be better tomorrow. But for today, I am static.

With a glass of very sour lemonade.

And maybe a swirly straw. ❤

(And no hot chocolate because, let’s face it. I chugged that sucker in the first five minutes of being at work.)

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Feelin’ the Love

I gained 4 followers in less than 24 hours and received a handful of likes on my two latest entries. As I said before, exclusively on facebook at first, I didn’t revive my blog for publicity, fame, or mass amounts of attention. I didn’t do it for people because that was making me very unhappy and bitter. I did it for myself. To ramble or express what I’m feeling and thinking from day to day in hopes of being able to think more clearly and sleep better.

However, to those who read what I publish and follow me and support me, you ARE greatly appreciated and I do love seeing your names appear in my notifications. Y’all are too kind. So thank you. Very, very much.

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Slow Down and Count the Cats in the Window.

I love driving. I absolutely love it. If I had billions of dollars, I’d probably spend a good chunk on gasoline and a dependable car just so I could drive forever and ever before turning around and heading home. I especially love driving with the windows down when the temperature outside drops anywhere between 50 and 70 degrees. I love letting my hair dance wildly with each gust of wind that rushes through my car as the tires race down the asphalt. A guilty pleasure of mine is to lean the seat back a bit, put my left foot up on the door, one hand on the wheel, and the other out the window. I do this mostly at night or on a back road where there is little to no traffic because, and I’m not always quick to admit this, it isn’t too safe a way to drive. SHHH. But sometimes I just need to let go. Obviously not literally. I’m not going to Carrie Underwood’s “Jesus Take the Wheel” this thing and drive with no hands. Unless of course, I find myself in the exact or a similar situation as the story told in the song. He has control of my life anyways. I’m not going to test Him by doing foolish things. When I say “let go” I mean relax. Breathe. Enjoy the ride.

I was on my way to a movie with my mom yesterday evening and we made a few remarks about the crazy drivers who were, unfortunately, accompanying us on the highway. They were impatient, rude, antsy people who didn’t even want to slow down for those turning off the highway. Mom, in response to one driver in particular who did that very thing, said this, “Everyone is always in such a rush to get somewhere, nowadays.” And it’s true. No one has the patience to slow down even for a second.

I’m just as guilty of this. Even though I love driving, traffic stresses me out. My biggest pet peeve is a snail-paced driver in the left lane. I find myself yelling at them inside my car and throwing my hands up in hopes that they’d see my frustration and move over. (Of course, that only eggs them on and makes them want to stay right where they are. And sometimes they even slow down to a lesser speed. Grrrrr.) I started to think to myself. Why am I in such a rush? Even if I’m going to be late, it won’t drastically change things. At least, it shouldn’t. I don’t know… maybe some people have been late so many times, they could lose their job if they are late again. That can be understood, I suppose. But.. Some reasons are petty and insignificant. And no one should be tailgating someone else or speeding around them to shave a minute or two off of their commute home or to the gas station for a Gatorade. NOT worth it. You won’t make it home if you end up in a terrible accident due to carelessness. Or if you do, someone else might not. Think about that.

I’ve been thinking a lot about stress and how to manage it. I’m probably one of the most stressed out people you’ll meet. Or I was before I started to let go. Stress at work, on the road, and financial stress has been pretty easy to manage lately and it’s only by the grace of God. Because I’m usually I big ol’ spazz and those are the areas in which I worry most. I stress about almost EVERYTHING I’m faced with. But I’ve learned over the past several months that even when things less than desirable happen, the bumps still get smoothed out eventually and it really does end up OKAY. I’m still here. I’m still breathing. It’s OKAY. So now I know stressing doesn’t help. I can’t do anything about it other than pray so there is absolutely no reason to panic. Don’t get me wrong… I still stress. A lot. And I have a long way to go before I’m really letting go and letting God but it’s been nice taking these baby steps to a stress-free life.

This morning I was on my way to church when I was given a test of my patience. There are two ways into town. One of them being the ever-busy highway. (Which has been dubbed one of the most dangerous in the state of Florida.) And the other, a nice, residential back road that runs parallel to the first. Both lead to the same intersecting highway but whichever one you choose to take determines how your drive will be. I usually take the latter. I don’t have to worry about traffic lights or four lanes of idiots. Just me, the pavement, and the houses that border it. It’s very quiet and actually quicker on most days. Unfortunately, you’ll get stuck behind a Mr. or Miss La-Tee-Da going 20mph under the posted speed limit on occasion. There’s my pet peeve! It used to drive me insane. (No pun intended.) That is, until today. I was stuck behind a few cars, all of us inconvenienced by the turtle in the front who wouldn’t put the pedal to the metal. I surprised myself in that I didn’t get angry or throw a small hissy fit. (Probably because I had time to spare today and I was going to be on time whether they crawled or not.) But I had all the windows down and the sunroof open, music cranked up, and a delightfully cool breeze befriending me. I wasn’t going to ignore just how great this morning commute was. So I slowed down, backed off the cherry red car in front of me, and took slow, deep breaths in and out. I felt so relaxed.

Y’all. It was AMAZING. Seriously. I just took in the scenery and the fresh, fall air. I sang at the top of my lungs with the radio and I let myself be HAPPY. I think that is one of the best things you can do for you mind, body, and soul. Control your emotions and let yourself just BE. BE still. BE happy. BE stress-free.

On the way home, the same thing happened. And this time, it seemed like this driver was going slower than the one earlier. But I took a deep breath and thought “why do I need to rush? I’m going home. I don’t need to be in such a hurry.” If I’d decided to speed around them and fly home, I would have missed so many wonderful things.

-The gorgeous wildflowers growing in the ditch beside the road

-The butterflies swarming around said flowers

-The good songs on the radio

-The cool, comforting breeze

-The clumsy, carefree puppy running alongside his master on a morning jog

-The adorable monotone cat sitting in the window of one of the houses I’d passed

All of these things bring me joy. Especially the last one. I become giddy inside when I pass by and see a kitty in a window because I know that home is blessed. Sometimes there is more than one feline enjoying life on the window sill. Which makes me even happier. I would have missed that cute, little fella had I been so eager to get home. And I’m glad I didn’t.

Don’t be in such a hurry all the time. Enjoy the music, the fresh air, the scenery.  (PLEASE. PAY ATTENTION TO THE ROAD WHILE INDULGING IN YOUR SURROUNDINGS.) But never drive so fast that you miss the cats in the window. They may not be important to you, but slowing down should be. It’s healthy. And I strongly encourage it.

=^.^=

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The Trying and the Trier

I… Am both of these. 

I can be a very, and I mean VERY, trying person. I can talk too much, annoy everyone I meet, be too pushy, too loud, too hyper, too passionate, too emotional, too sensitive, too dramatic, too clingy, too sentimental, too obsessed with cats…you get the picture. 

I can be a lot of things that try a person’s patience with me. Usually, my actions are backed by good intentions that just couldn’t quite match the train with the tracks. This often makes situations tougher than they have to be. Story of my life. Other times, I can just be difficult. No good intentions. I’m simply being the selfish, imperfect human I am. Regardless of the reason, it has always played a big part in the “going” scene of the saying, “People come and go in your life.” 

However, if there’s one thing I do as much as, if not more than, trying others, it’s trying myself. I mean, actually trying. As in effort.

 I spend a good bit of my life giving my all in some areas. (While others could stand a bit more of my effort and attention. I’m getting there, ma. Promise.) I try really hard to please a handful of people. I try to be smart. I try to take the blame for others mistakes if they affect me, so that they won’t feel guilty. I try to mask my own pain and sadness so others don’t have to feel so bad. I try to act like something doesn’t bother me when really, it’s killing me inside. I try to apologize just so things won’t get worse even if I didn’t do anything. I try to paint well. I try to eat healthy foods. I try to get a grip on my life and make it better. I try to do too many things at once. I try to be social instead of introverted. (Ps. That’s an astronomically difficult thing to do most of the time but I still try.) I try to be selfless. (Again, difficult.) I try to be friendly to people who are different. I even try to think kind thoughts about my enemies. (Chalk that up to yet ANOTHER very hard thing to do.) 

I fail at ALL of these. ALL the time. Sometimes I get mad and happily let someone else take the blame. Sometimes I curl up with the family pet at a get together because talking in groups can be scary. Even though I fail a lot, Sometimes I feel like all I’m doing is trying. I’m neither succeeding nor failing. I’m stuck in this rut of “keep trying” when there’s nothing here to tell me if what I’m doing is right or wrong. Kind of like when a video game glitches and your character gets stuck in a corner and just keeps running in place. I feel like that some days. Honestly, I’d rather fail a few times than to keep running in place so much. Because then I’d at least have a small sense of direction about me that just might help me decide what to do next time. 

I get awfully tired of trying. I’m not gonna lie. Sometimes I just can’t figure out how to be better and running around in circles is exhausting. Heck, running is exhausting. I don’t care if I’m running triangles, squares, or to the mailbox and back. Either way, I’m gonna break a sweat. 

I guess the purpose of all this is to say that I’m not perfect. And when I still don’t get it right after trying so many times, it’s frustrating and I don’t let myself forget it so easily. And when I neither fail nor succeed after endless times of trying, I want to give up. 

It’s okay to feel those things. But I can’t let them fuel my actions if it’s only going to drive me negatively. Same goes for you if you’re feeling this way. 

I’m not really sure there even was a major purpose behind this. I just needed to ramble a bit tonight before sleeping. This was on my mind so this is what I wrote. 

I hope and pray that all of you trying triers out there will someday be trying doers. “Trying” because, let’s face it… Not EVERYONE is going to like us or if they do, they won’t like every part of us. And that’s okay. 

May your “try” become “do” and may it be a success. Or failure. 

I just hope it’s beautiful no matter what. 

Dear Generation X and Older, Here’s Something You May Not Know…

YOUR WAY IS NOT THE ONLY WAY.

Times. Have. Changed. We are living in new, modern times. Updated. Refreshed. Cutting-Edge. Regardless of how you put it, this means that virtually everything is different now. I’ll give you a couple examples to warm you up before dropping some ground-breaking information on you that you won’t want to miss.

1: Advanced Technology

Just look at our cell phones. That right there is probably one of the biggest, and most obvious transformations and we hold it in the palms of our hands. Okay, okay. Lately, major corporations, let’s call them Crapple and Cramsung,  haven’t exactly produced the greatest product. (Crapple, because they basically suck lately. Cramsung because they pack things into a phone and put it out for the world before its even ready.) They are taking away features people love and adding features we didn’t even ask for, then charging us MORE than an arm and a leg to have it. (Which is just more proof that they pay absolutely no attention to the “Suggestions” or “Customer Feedback” sections on their websites.) Other products are spontaneously combusting or catching fire and posing a serious threat to consumers everywhere. Nice one, guys. You really outdid yourselves this time. Fortunately for you, we’ll ignore those flaws for the sake of making a point. Older generations? Do exactly that; look past the recent issues and you’ll notice just how far cellular technology has come along.

One word:

RAZR.

Hahahaha yes. The RAZR. This sleek, stylish flip phone debuted in 2004. At the time, I was a clumsy, care-free, 4th grader with an embarrassing haircut and I paid little attention to ever-improving technology. But even I knew that sweet Motorola phone was coveted by so many. In 2005 the RAZR V3i was an even bigger hit with cellphone users. Especially in the colors maroon and orchid. My basketball coach had one. My teacher had one. My neighbor had one. Half my church congregation had one. Yeah, buddy. Those were the crown jewels of mobile phones. I’m not even sure my family was using cell phones at that time. And if we were, it was a blocky, indestructible Nokia that charged a dollar a minute to use. FANCY! *Insert eye roll*

But now look at us. We have touch screens, 4G LTE,  Angry Birds, banking apps, 16 megapixel back cameras, notes, weather apps, email, virtual wallets, and MUCH more all accessed easily on a thin, rectangular gadget that fits in our pocket. Holy Crapple!

Example number 2: High School Graduation Requirements

That’s right. I’m talking about the ever-changing and frustratingly inconsistent list that determines whether a student graduates or not. In my senior year of high school, the math requirement changed. I had not taken the specific math course they decided was necessary. I had taken the one that was ruled necessary since, like, EVER. Thankfully, I escaped by a HAIR. The new requirement didn’t apply to those of us set to graduate in 2013. SCORE. However, I felt bad for my younger friends, especially those who were home schooled and had to change their lesson plans and etc. to fit the “rules.” Y’all survived. Congrats!

I’m not going to get into all the boring details about what the requirements were before 1975-ish and what they are now. And, personally, I don’t want to do all of that research. That’s not why I’m writing this “letter” that’s about to be jam-packed with toe-crushing F.Y.I material. Phones and education are just scratching the surface of change and we millennials (as I honestly HATE being called because of the bad rep we get on a daily basis) are thriving in this truly disparate lifestyle.

Now that I’ve opened the gateway for the purpose of this post with some pretty obvious and probably dispensable information, I hope you’re ready to have a bombshell dropped on you.

As said at the very beginning of this piece, your way is not the only way. And I’m so very thrilled to explain why and just what it is I am talking about.

SUCCESS. Everyone wants it. Everyone has their own idea of what success is and how to achieve it. And everyone thinks their way is the best way. ESPECIALLY the majority of the members of Generation X and above. (To those of you who don’t shove your methods and “constructive criticism” down our throats, nothing to see here. Move along. This doesn’t pertain to you. Also, THANKS.) However, if you’re the older man sitting in the booth with his wife at Waffle House, talking trash about the 22-year-old waitress serving you saying “She’ll never amount to anything. She’s obviously not smart if she’s working here,” or if you’re the rich, lawyer dad lecturing your son because he wants to be a chef and you don’t think he’ll make enough money and “cooking isn’t a man’s job,” OR if you’re the stuck-up, judgy, suburban housewife who frowns upon young girls going after careers thinking “every woman should stay at home,” STOP IT.

STOP IT STOP IT STOP IT. UGH!!

That waitress? She’s working killer hours so she can afford to take classes at the local college which, by the way, she is attending when she isn’t at work serving your snarky self.

Your son? He has skills you probably aren’t even aware of and maybe, just MAYBE, if you try some of his dishes your mind will be blown and you’ll see just how much potential he has. He could own a classy, expensive, five-star restaurant some day. He’ll be fine. Trust me. Cooking most certainly can be a “man’s job.” Tell your son I said keep it up.

The working woman is not an issue. What I’m about to say will equally anger both feminists and the judgemental housewife from “another time.” Brace yourselves. Women weren’t created to do everything a man can do. They were created to do what men CAN’T do. To COMPLETE them. It’s OKAY to work. It’s OKAY to get an education. It’s OKAY to want to be single and independent and never get married. It’s OKAY to be a stay-at-home mom. It’s OKAY to have kids and work so long as work doesn’t become more important. It’s OKAY to be a doctor, lawyer, musician, teacher, chef, writer, actress, realtor, or whathaveyou. Women CAN have important careers just as much as a man can. But women should not have the goal of overpowering men to prove we can do things and have equal rights. Honestly, it makes you look stupid and weak and desperate. Women are strong because of the role we were already given. Childbirth. Mothering. Menstrual crap for crying out loud. We work when we’re sick. Mothers never take a day off. Women are already powerful and needed and important. STOP TRYING TO PROVE WHAT WE ALREADY KNOW BY SHOVING YOUR FEET INTO A MAN’S SHOES. Just STOP. You don’t need to prove anything!!!

A working woman is fine. A non-working woman is fine. Quit pulling the drapes back and peering out the window at your generation Y neighbor who’s kissing her also working husband goodbye and driving to her place of work. Don’t you have a pie in the oven? Go clean your already spotless kitchen for the THIRD TIME TODAY and leave that young couple alone. They’re not hurting anyone and they’re not hurting themselves.

Y’all need to leave the men and women of the younger generations ALONE. Please. I’m begging you. Your constant critiquing, that we don’t even ask for to begin with, makes things worse for us. Want to know something else? I’m twenty-one, I dropped out of college after attending no more than two years. I failed probably three different classes while there, one of them twice, and I hated school because I had no idea why I was even there. I didn’t even know what I wanted to do because everyone older than me shoved it in my face since day one that I HAD to attend college and I HAD to do so right after high school otherwise I’d be jobless, homeless, and stuck. (Thanks for killing my drive.) I worked fast food for two years, I’ve had 4 jobs in the past three, I can’t seem to save money very well yet, and I don’t always keep my room clean. *GASP* I know! I’m a MESS! I’m HOPELESS! But guess what. After taking a much-needed break from college and not going along with what everyone else my age was doing, I finally figured out what I wanted to do and I’m EXCITED to go back to school. I may graduate later than others but who cares? Who said I had to have my degree before I was 25?? Just because YOU did it that way does NOT mean I should have to in order to be successful. Some of y’all didn’t even go to college so don’t even think about telling me how I should. Some of you tried the whole “break” thing and it took you even longer to finish and you SWEAR that is the wrong way to do it. “Just get it done and out of the way ASAP.” Okay, that’s a great idea. But everyone is DIFFERENT. Different ways work for different people. Just because it didn’t work for you doesn’t mean it won’t work for me or someone else. STOP FORCING YOUR OPINION DOWN OUR THROATS LIKE YOU KNOW BETTER. Because NEWS FLASH. YOU DON’T. Yes, you are SMART. And you do have a lot to contribute to the world and to us “babies.” But you have got to stop saying it’s the best and only way. That just makes us angry and feel extremely pressured to fit a mold that clearly wasn’t made for us. Oh, and we really don’t care what you think we should do. The older we get the more we realize we are the only ones who determine our futures. (God has the ultimate plan for us and may His will be done) but no other human being gets to decide how we pave our paths to success. When we “leave the nest” our parents don’t even get to choose how we make a life for ourselves. Why should you??

Times have changed. We will learn at our own pace and we’ll get there eventually. We will be the future and we will run it well. We will dream our own dreams and achieve them without your excessive and unwanted handholding. We’ll fight for a chance to be something great and we will win. We will fail several times but we’ll keep trying. We will make mistakes but we’ll learn from them.

We will do things our own way. We WON’T do them your way.

And it will be okay.

Sincerely,

a stubborn, reckless Next Gen who is tired of your crap

Ps. To the millennials who think being “on fleek” and having more than 12 likes on Instagram is TOP PRIORITY, and thinking you can continue to mooch off of mommy and daddy’s bank account for as long as you want because they won’t stop you… Y’all the whole reason the rest of us hard-working, dedicated, NON-MOOCHING, young adults are drowning in flack from the elders. Please. Separate yourselves from us. It’s embarrassing.

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Retail or Circus Act?

I work a fairly decent job at one of the local department stores and though it’s proven better than some of the jobs I’ve had in the very distant past, it can be a NIGHTMARE!

I’m not using that word lightly. And as if it isn’t enough during the day, I have terrible dreams about it at night. (Yep, even the weird, show-up-to-work-naked ones that make ZERO sense because you could swear you were wearing clothes two seconds ago.) Maybe I allow too much stress to seep in during each shift or I don’t take a breath quite enough in between the hustle and bustle but some days I am ready to pull all my hair out and roll around on the floor singing Sarah McLachlan’s “In the Arms of an Angel” within the first two hours of my shift.

While I’m thankful for the very TEMPORARY job that’s keeping me busy until I go back to school for an actual career, after days like today I grow more and more impatient for that “something better.”My shift started with a sudden panic. To better understand why I dealt with this momentary trepidation here’s a small backstory. Monday (yesterday), there was a huge fiasco surrounding my bank. An unknown charge went through and I had a sob fest in my car when the funds I had saved for that specific bill, and then some, that I TRIPLE checked on my lunch break to make sure were still there, were mostly gone. The bank was closing in 15 minutes and the insurance company in 30. Major traffic and no time to fix everything. I called my mom, nervous and upset. We worked it out so that I would go to the insurance office and explain what happened, bring them the measly $76 that I had left, and my mom would pay the last half for me tomorrow while running errands. Well, I went to the office and told them what happened, they worked with us on the issue and were very understanding.

Now back to present day. Tuesday. Almost a whole 24 hours later I opened my employee locker and stuffed my oversized handbag inside and a sickening realization washed over me. Sure, I told them what was going on but I failed to carry out the paramount part of my mission; PAY THE $76! I frantically thought of ways to do that before they closed, knowing mom would be frustrated with me and things would come crashing down if I didn’t. I thought about telling my boss I had a situation and would be right back in 30 minutes but after having to bail two days ago due to being sick, I knew that wouldn’t fly. Back to the drawing board. After figuring out I could use my measly half-hour break to skip lunch and run this errand at 3pm, I relaxed a little. I let my mom know what was going on and how I was handling it and all seemed fine… Until the fear of another possible charge being put on my account ate at my insides. I had to pray and ignore it and begin my day.  (Ps. That was way easier said than done.)

Thanks to that itty bitty episode, I clocked in late. So I rushed to the register still reeling from the stress I put on myself and the underlying stress I still had. My department was flocked with customers and I’d hardly stepped a foot on the sales floor before a customer threw her armful of merchandise in front of me with an exasperated sigh and 2o,000 questions about her coupons. The manager had to pull an employee from Men’s department to help us tackle the checkout line. (Please…don’t take that word choice literally.)  Clothes flooded the fitting rooms, most of them left behind by lazy customers lacking the character and good morals required to PUT THEIR UNWANTED STUFF ON THE RACK THEY LITERALLY HAVE TO WALK BY UPON LEAVING THE DRESSING ROOM. (PLEASE. Don’t be that person.) Both the “Go-Back” rack by the fitting room and the one by the register were crammed with clothes that were practically taunting us, waiting to be put back in their proper places. Those racks then overflowed into not one, but TWO shopping carts in a matter of minutes. There were two of us working and a line that just wouldn’t quit. Go-Backs were not our top priority but it frustrated me to no end having so much cluttering our workspace. And it only got worse.

All day long it was just the two of us; me and my coworker. We’ll call her Jane for identity conservation purposes. Jane told me when I got there that she’d barely left the register since 8:30. My manager, who was now standing with us, agreed and forced a smiled. It was now 12pm. Ouch. I grabbed a couple of shirts and tried to put them away before the next rush while our fellow sales associate from Men’s dept., we’ll call him Tarrence, was still sorting out an issue with a customer’s check after trying for several minutes to process the transaction. Though I’d had several clues in the first 5 minutes, I knew for sure at that moment, it was going to be one heck of a day.

By my lunch break, I was STARVING. But, I had no time to eat. Running the insurance errand, successfully might I add, to cover up my stupidity took all of my 30 minutes just as I’d anticipated and before I knew it, I was back on the floor, “hangry” and not at all in the mood to deal with any more “I can’t find my coupon. I just had it!” junk backing the line up to Timbuktu. But, in the game of Customer Service, a good and reputable employee forces a smile if she wants to remain employed with a clean record. And that’s just what I did. I had to fight with the computer to get a coupon to go through. I lost and my manager had to take care of it with her super, magnificent, managerial “powers.” I had to make three different phone calls for different credit card issues and item inquiry issues and the phone wouldn’t work for several tries. And the line kept getting longer and longer and LONGER. But I still kept a smile and replied, “I’m doing well” to every “I’m great! How are you?” I didn’t let the go-backs overwhelm me because I knew there was nothing I could do about it. I was doing all I could and I wasn’t about to add unnecessary stress into my life (on top of what I already had.) It worked and I’m quite proud of myself for taking action to remain calm because I am NEVER calm. Ask anyone who knows me. I’m a big mess and may the Lord bless them abundantly for putting up with me so graciously. I love y’all. Seriously.

So, I pushed through until 5pm when Jane’s shift was over and I was stuck ALL. BY. MYSELF. until 6pm when the night crew was scheduled to show up. That was mega stressful. One customer needed help ordering something online, another couldn’t find shoes in her size and needed me to check in the back and while bouncing back and forth between the “online order” customer in Misses and the “shoe size” customer in the shoe dept. a line of impatient customers developed at the register. No… more like SPAWNED. Right there. Just *POOF* HUGE LINE. Like someone dropping a villager spawn egg in Minecraft, these customers just appeared out of nowhere. I SWEAR. I just stood there, frozen, in the isle that connected both departments, all eyes on me like I was about to perform a knife-juggling act while hula hooping. I felt like my brain was on fire and my body no longer knew how to human. I must’ve looked like an idiot. I radioed for backup and two customers, upon hearing that I was the sole commander of the register, took their money-spending selves to the checkout in Men’s. I was slightly relieved yet offended. “What? You don’t think I can handle this myself? I can get this line moving quicker than you think!!” But really… I was mostly relieved. Less work for me. It was finally 6pm and I was finishing up with my last customer, EAGERLY waiting for my replacements to show up. This lady was PRECIOUS but she stood there for five minutes sorting through her email to retrieve her $10 OFF coupon. “It’s here. I know it. They just disappear sometimes.” *chuckles*

Yep. You’re so sweet. And I totally understand. But I really want to go home. Oh. Perfect. Three more customers have now lined up behind you, it’s 6:10, night crew still isn’t here. *Smiles*

I finally finish her transaction and hand her a coupon she received for making a purchase. This then reminds her of another coupon she wanted to use today. She moves to the back of the line and waits. NIGHT CREW SHOWS THEIR SWEET, SWEET FACES. The angelic choir couldn’t sing louder. We get through the other customers and lucky me gets the sweet, older lady from 10 minutes ago who then wanted to return all 15+ items and RE-purchase them, this time using the original coupon and the one she forgot about. Yay. 

She was super sweet and apologetic and grateful. I was thankful she was nice and patient… and NICE. But it was now 6:20. I hadn’t eaten all day. My sciatic was KILLING me. And I really, REALLY wanted to go home. I smiled, wished her a pleasant evening, saluted my manager who was now standing beside me, and I RAN like freaking Seabiscuit, ripping off my nametag to prevent getting stopped by a typical “I-just-read-your-nametag-and-noticed-your-walkie-and-I-also-see-that-you’re-in-a-hurry-but-let-me-ask-if-you-work-here-and-then-ask-another-very-obvious-question-while-you’re-trying-to-leave” type of customer. I had two things on my mind when I clocked out; Starbucks hot chocolate because I won a gift card at work the other day (yay stockroom perks!) and DINNER.

The day wasn’t so bad now that I look back on it. But holy freaking moly was it tiring! I was spread way too thin and I’m very glad I work in the stockroom tomorrow so I don’t have to handle people and numbers and clothes thrown across the room with the hangers M.I.A. I think everyone should work retail once in their life to gain experience and a better understanding of what Sales associates go through on a daily basis. But for those who don’t, you can just read my retail blunders and gain some helpful insight. Maybe even laugh a little and thank your lucky stars you never had to be apart of this.

Whatever your reason for reading this, thank you and you’re welcome.

I’m clocking out for the night.

Oh, and Tuesday? Well, it will be referred to as “Monday Jr.” from here on out…

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