Failure Is ALWAYS An Option…

•January 13, 2017 • 1 Comment

…yet we are all so terribly afraid of it. I know I am. And I’ve failed a lot.

I think I focus on my shortcomings and failures too much to really recognize and appreciate the achievements I’ve accomplished, the goals I’ve reached, and the parts of me that are extraordinary. Scratch that. I know I fucking do.

I royally fucked up the first time I went to college back in 1999/2000. Even if I hadn’t gotten so sick that I had no choice but to withdraw, I would have DEFINITELY been placed on academic probation and dropped out. I just couldn’t get into any of my classes that weren’t 100% related to my major (BFA in Theater…as if that was really going to do anything for me)…oh, and Greek Mythology, which I had forgotten I had even taken until I had to get my transcript last year when I applied to an online school on my own last year. (I was summarily rejected, by the way. Which, in hindsight, it’s really good I was declined admission, because after trying 2 test classes through a different online venue, I just cannot stay focused on classes without a professor or set timeline/assignments.)

I was faced with having to do math problems a set certain way that just annoyed me because I absolutely got the right answers without having to do all the work they insisted I do. (I had that same issue all through high school in every single math class I took.) I also felt I was at a disadvantage because I do not remember how to use a scientific or graphing calculator, and I prefer to do things in my head, which is DEFINITELY frowned upon. Then in the English Comp class I was taking, I was tasked with writing a 10 page argumentative research paper, with 5-7 sources…oh, and there were NO guidelines as to what the topic should be. Needless to say, that caused me some serious anxiety, and I never was able to pick a fucking topic that would have been easy to research and write about. I would have been a lot better off had I been assigned a topic.

I did learn a very valuable lesson though. I am not cut out for online classes unless they are integrated with physical classes, or possibly if they are virtual with an actual professor or TA available to answer questions.

I also discovered that while in a professional setting I have never had an issue focusing on tasks or on accomplishing goals, when it comes to this, I have very little (read: none) motivation and focus. Self-paced without guidelines or a professor just won’t work for me. Unless I have an actual issue with focusing in.

I don’t think I do though, because I find it very easy to read 2 or 3 books for pleasure in one day. I can also focus in for hours to build Lego Architecture sets with thousands of pieces. I can also really focus in on thinks like cooking or coloring. Don’t even get me started about more personal pursuits…

I used to be so good at school. Shit went sideways between my Sophomore and Junior years of high school, and I just broke down…I had so much pressure on me from my parents, from everyone else around me, and most of all myself. I fucked up. Me. Only me. I am responsible for being in the unenviable position of being unemployed without a stupid piece of paper that tells prospective employers that they should give a fuck about my resume.

Getting laid off was both the best thing to happen to me (I needed a break. I was dangerously close to losing it.), and the worst. All because the job market in this state is so damned tough. I got lucky 6 years ago that a company was willing to take a risk on me due to my (then) decade of managerial customer service experience. I started at the very bottom of that company and worked so hard to prove my worth to them and to myself. I made every effort to shine and learn and progress through the company. I had 4 promotions in 3 1/2 years. I earned multiple accolades, recognition, and awards.

None of it matters now. Now my worth is determined by a piece of paper I do not possess.

I can only hope that I get answers that will really help me at the end of the month. Due to losing my job to foreign outsourcing, I qualify to apply for a program called TAA. All 600 of us do. As long as I meet all of their deadlines and qualify, I can get up to $23,000 to go back to school. They also will extend my unemployment benefits for as long as I am enrolled full time in school as part of this program. Up to two years! The only downsides are that I have to choose from a list of approved schools and programs…which I don’t have the information about yet.

I’ve been in such a funk the past several weeks…I’m finding it so hard to stay positive and stay optimistic. The end of my unemployment in May just keeps looming in my thoughts. Unless I get approved and enrolled in a program full time through TAA, I know I’m going to have to cash out my 401k to stay solvent and survive. I know I’m going to have to take whatever low-wage, menial job who will give me a chance. I’m not afraid of starting over and working hard…I went from making $18K the first 9 1/2 months at my last job to making a very comfortable $64K base. I know I can absolutely do that again…as long as I’m given a chance.

I just don’t want to disappoint my partner. She’s been so supportive all along. Fuck…I mean, she entered this relationship fully aware that I would be losing my job due to the site closure, and she didn’t care. She’s an amazing woman for that alone. I’m so terribly afraid that she’s going to look at me as a complete failure because so far I haven’t been successful in any job applications, and I’m really struggling. I’m afraid that she’s going to think me weak because she works full time and goes to school full time, and I couldn’t even hack two non-matriculated online courses.

I don’t want to be a failure forever. I don’t want to continue to be a disappointment to everyone I come in contact with. I want to be a success story. I want to be someone you can be proud to know.

I also don’t want to be a burden on my partner or on anyone else. I’ve already made it clear that I would not be comfortable living with her until I am gainfully employed again…I just would feel like such a loser asshole. Well, like more of one anyway.

How am I supposed to reconcile that I met MY person finally, with feeling like such a worthless turd?

Advertisements

Forever Is A Promise…

•December 27, 2016 • Leave a Comment

…and so is I love you.

Man, 2016 has been a bitch all around for most of the people I know…not just because of all the childhood heroes and icons that have passed, but just because of everything that has transpired these last 12 months.

This year started out hopeful. I think for a majority of us, it’s ended with nothing but uncertainty in at least one aspect of our lives. For me, uncertainty in a few.

I guess, if there is a major lesson to be taken from this year, my two cents are as follows:

Don’t take today for granted. Sure as FUCK don’t take tomorrow for granted. Neither are a guarantee to you. Yes, you may have woken up today, but that doesn’t mean you’ll wake up tomorrow. – I’m not trying to be morbid here, but it’s the fucking truth. George Michael passed away in his sleep on Christmas, and apparently his partner wasn’t even home when it happened. I think most humans are afraid of dying alone…I know that’s always been one of my fears.

If you love someone, FUCKING TELL THEM!!! Don’t be an asshat and worry that you’re going to sound stupid or they aren’t going to be receptive to it…the bottom line is that unless you’re a stalker and they’ve got a restraining order out against you, you just never know what someone is going to think, or how they are going to react. You also never know what someone is going through. Maybe you taking an extra 90 seconds to call up your college bestie whom you haven’t spoken to except on Facebook in 10 years will not only be the highlight of their day, but maybe it’ll change their outlook on life. YOU NEVER KNOW.

Is there something you’ve been meaning to try? Maybe a new food, or try your hand at a new skill or hobby? Don’t be scared! Try that sushi! Buy yourself a sketch pad and some pencils. You won’t know until you try. Don’t wait until it’s too late to take that first step!

If you’re struggling with something…try to talk to at least one person about it. Maybe they can offer you a fresh perspective. Maybe they can open your eyes to something that you just can’t see yourself. Maybe they’ll bring you out of a funk or help you see you’re being too hard on yourself. (Yes, I am fully aware that this is one of my biggest struggles and challenges in life, and I am actively working on it!)

Make time for the people who are important to you. Make time for the people who you are important to. Maybe don’t ignore that phone call. Write a letter. Send flowers. Go out for coffee. Interact.

Make time every damn day to tell and show your partner that you love them. Do NOT take them for granted. Don’t assume they just know. Tell them. Show them. Listen to them. Be honest. COMMUNICATE! I can’t tell you how many people I know who are married or in long term relationships that don’t feel like their partners love them anymore or care to know how their day was. NEVER STOP DATING! Cherish every single moment you have with the one you love.

Another thing…don’t stress out or worry that something is either “too soon”, or that you HAVE to take the next step in a relationship because “it’s been too long”. Heads up! You are the ONLY person who gets to decide what is right for you. Don’t let someone else dictate how you behave towards the person you care about. Maybe you know 5 minutes into your first date that you feel something undeniable and magnetic towards that person. Maybe 5 years go by and you’re happy just dating and not cohabitating. Only you and your partner have any say on the relationship. Maybe you’ll get married 6 months after meeting. Maybe you’ll be together for the rest of your lives and be monogamous but never live together or marry. Who knows?! It’s up to you to figure out what is right for YOU!

I titled this post ‘Forever Is A Promise’ because that’s how I feel. I don’t make promises that I do not intend to keep. If this year has taught me anything, it’s been to not be afraid of my heart and to let it lead me in my relationship decisions.

So yes, I am in love. I love her. Forever. I promise.

Daunted

•December 21, 2016 • Leave a Comment

I’m almost through week 8 of being unemployed and I just feel…(whip out the thesaurus kids, because I have ALL the feels)

I’ve attended mandatory and voluntary sessions at the Department of Labor, with plans to attend more (voluntary) just to try to maximize what I can out of what the state offers for me. I’ve been taking advantage of the program my former employer paid for for all of us upon the closing of our location. We even have been approved for Federal funding for additional money for training due to being displaced because of outsourcing, and I am definitely looking forward to being able to take advantage of that once we learn what kinds of programs we can go for…I’m just still very…meh.

I don’t know if this stems from my dislike of asking others for help, or my severe distaste for being treated like a child, (seriously, at a meeting I was at yesterday, they didn’t even let us have water at our seats for fear we would spill…) or my general hatred of having to slog through A, B, C, etc to the good stuff that is meaningful from O to Z.

I’ve been having an extremely difficult time concentrating on things that should be a cake walk to me…yet when my partner asks me to look at problems in her advanced textbooks, I find them easy and engaging. This is a HUGE problem. I shouldn’t be sitting here putzing around with a fucking remedial math class and English composition class just because I hate the way that the coursework is laid out and assumes everyone is an imbecile. Right?

I’ve known since the first day I signed up for this class I was going to have to do a research paper, and not only can I not pick a fucking topic that is easy to do that I am actually interested in, I just am completely unmotivated to even go to the library to do additional research. Meanwhile, if I were assigned to write a critical response about Elie Wiesel or even fucking Melville, I could knock out 15 pages in one night.

I don’t know why I changed. I used to not care about being vested in something. I used to not have to be interested to do well. Now I just feel resentful and fucking bored to tears. I struggle to stay focused…but let me read something I am interested in and I will blow through 3 250-400 page books in 24 hours and retain the information.

I know this is patently not normal. My attention span is just fucking shot. Maybe its all the years of dealing with completely vapid people in both a personal and professional capacity…I’ve just lost my competitive edge to feign interest anymore. Something has to change though if I have any hope of bettering myself and getting out there and climbing back up any sort of corporate ladder to make financial gains worth a damn again.

I just don’t know what the fuck I’m doing.

Unto The Breach…Of Unemployment & Possibilities

•November 2, 2016 • Leave a Comment

So part of the reason I’ve been kind of quiet lately is that I’ve had some CRAZY things going on in my life. The biggest one being that the job that I have held for almost 6 years decided that under their new ownership, they would be closing all locations in my state. Our official last date of employment was yesterday, 11.01.16. My last day of work was 10.31.16.

Oddly, I am excited for the opportunities this may bring me. It’s hard to think about opportunities when you’re in a position that you don’t mind and you get paid incredibly well, with great benefits. The only things I am NOT excited for is the nonsense that has ensued by myself and my former coworkers when it comes to registering for Unemployment.

We had the DOL visit our office last month to get all of our paperwork and everything started, yet when we all logged onto the site today to begin our claims, we found nothing was actually created, and our claims are all being put on an 8 day hold while they confirm our employment and layoff statuses. So, can someone tell me why exactly we already filled out all of this paperwork???

My only saving grace right now is that even with the severance that we are receiving (and signed our lives away for) not coming for a few weeks, I’m good financially. I budget myself pretty well. Of course, if the severance payment gets stalled because the company has 600 of us trying to collect all at once and then something unforeseen happens with my Unemployment claim, I’m going to be experiencing some serious angst.

Again, I am extraordinarily blessed with a partner who completely understands all of my frustrations about everything that has been happening with work, and who is also extremely supportive of any and all decisions I make moving forward about my future. She’s been the biggest help, and the most tremendous stress relief to me for a multitude of reasons. I’m not quite sure how I will ever be able to repay her for all that she’s done for me, just being by my side.

I’m definitely going to be taking a couple online pre-requisite classes to see how I fare with self-paced online learning, and then take it from there as far as pursuing a degree to better myself and my chances of landing another high-paying, high satisfaction job.

The future is wide open and I can’t wait to look back a year from now and compare where I am today and where I am then. One thing is for certain, I’ve learned so much and grown immensely these past almost 6 years, and I’m not about to stop! Nothing can hold me back but myself!!!

School’s In For Autumn…

•September 27, 2016 • Leave a Comment

So…my girlfriend has been phenomenal with her support and encouragement of me. She pushed an idea that I was toying with for months into an actual reality. I am in the process of becoming a matriculated college student for the first time in 16 years.

I will be striving towards a B.S. in IT Management, blending both of my previous professional backgrounds of management (albeit retail) and now technical support. I will be taking all of my classes online, and it’s completely self-paced. So if I’m extra diligent, I could have my degree within the year. Which is amazing for me because I’m tired of looking at jobs where I have all the experience in the world for, but because I don’t have that stupid piece of paper, hiring managers won’t even think twice about my resume.

I definitely would like for my next job to provide the kind of growth opportunities that I have experienced over the past almost 6 years, and I would love to continue making strides towards that ever elusive goal of making a six-figure income a reality. I have goals damn it and they need to be met.

I definitely want to buy property within the next 3 years. I want to take many more trips (Vegas in March CANNOT get here fast enough!) and experience many things. And I want to do them all with my love by my side.

It’s so crazy that in a time of my life where most people would find it absolutely acceptable to be freaking out in a panic, I’m the most calm and sure that I have ever been. Getting laid off November 1st has actually proven to be an amazingly positive catalyst for me. I joked around for months that if the hammer came down I would take time off and enjoy it…exploring new things and new venues to continue my personal and professional growth.

I was already very easy going about the whole thing, and having met my emotional, philosophical and mental match has simply made this whole process even easier and less stressful. It’s incredible what the support of a single woman can do for your whole outlook on life.

Since I’ve met her and we’ve begun dating, I’ve applied for my passport, started writing a lot more, applied to college, and I’m thinking about the next steps that I need to take to ensure our happiness in the months and years ahead. And she definitely will be in my future for a long time. Hopefully, until the day that I die.

That isn’t some puppy love statement either. I feel like I am at home with her. My life was complete before, I was a whole person, but now I feel like I am living life plus. She is the extra bonus that I only dared to hope for.

We are extremely well matched in every aspect, and I have so much love and respect for her working full time and attending school pursuing a second degree. She’s so intelligent, and we can talk about absolutely everything in a way that I have only experienced with friends who have been colleagues before. She is not intimidated by my vocabulary, and she adores that I read voraciously. She also encourages my writing and my passion for food.

It’s kind of funny really…I’ve been in relationships before where I have said to myself, “Well, OK. We don’t outright hate each other, maybe we should just be together forever”…but never have I ever had an experience that parallels the day I met her.

She came to see me at Taco Tuesday. Within 5 minutes I knew. I had an insatiable curiousity about her. I wanted to watch her and hear her speak…and I really wanted to kiss her. Lucky for me, she felt the same. Neither of us have looked back since.

She makes me want to continue to strive to be the best human being I can possibly be. She has just gotten me from the rip, and as each day passes, and we get to know each other better, there has been nothing about either of us that has given the other pause.

I feel supremely confident in saying that after a few more months time, once I’ve settled in a new position, I will be asking her to marry me. I can’t imagine my future without her in it. And I’m fairly certain that she feels the same about me.

If You’re Ready…I’m Ready

•September 15, 2016 • Leave a Comment

I don’t even really know quite where to begin. Yeah, I know…the beginning, obviously, but shit.

So, about a month ago two of my friends set me up on a blind date in the city…well, they brought me to the city and there was someone waiting to meet me. I had a decent time, and we made plans to get together alone, which we did. It was also a decent time, and she wanted to go out again, so I made plans…that I ended up canceling.

I ended up canceling because I very unexpectedly met someone else. Someone I had an immediate and powerful connection with. Someone who I knew after 5 minutes there would be no further dates with anyone else. Incredibly, she felt the same about me. 

So, thank you match.com and Taco Tuesday, because without them, I’d probably be muddling through and going through the motions right now. 

Instead I am happy. So. Fucking. Happy. Happier than I’ve been in a long time. I’m losing my job, haven’t made a decision yet about going back to school or not, everything is up in the air…and I am so calm and unburdened by any of those things. I feel like she causes the best parts of myself to naturally just shine through. 

For our second date I was already thinking about tracking down sunflowers (her favorite) to bring to her. I was already walking around my life smiling like an idiot. I couldn’t wait to see her and see if the connection from our first date was still there. It was. Stronger. 

We can talk about anything and everything. She’s intelligent and still pursuing additional higher education (a real turn on, actually) while working full time in an exacting field. She loves to cook, and she cooks for me often. We have just clicked in pretty much every aspect. All the heavy, important life stuff, we have so far agreed upon. 

Most importantly, she takes me exactly as I am. No questions, no strings. She sees my flaws and accepts them. She encourages me to continue to improve myself and pursue whatever opportunities arise from being laid off, even if that means I can’t afford to eat anything fancier than sandwiches and ramen every day. We actively communicate and check in with each other, often, especially about where our heads are at and how we are feeling. 

I’m not bored. I’m not with her because it’s time to be in a relationship, or because it’s what you’re supposed to do after going on a couple of dates with someone. I’m with her because it just feels right…

…fuck…my heart is doing little flips even just writing about her. 

I…I think this is what it’s always supposed to have been like…and I feel like such a fool for not waiting for this sooner. I have made a ton of mistakes and wasted a lot of time with the exact wrong people for me. A lot of pain and failure and disappointment has happened in my life over the years…waiting almost two years diligently to be ready for her to walk into my life has been the most fulfilling time I’ve ever spent on myself.

I can only hope that I am able to show her and articulate to her everything I am, everything I feel, and everything I wish to become. 

This might just be it…

Banana Pancakes

•September 4, 2016 • Leave a Comment

If you had told me even a week ago that banana pancakes were going to play an important role in my current life, I would have died of laughter. Little would I have known.