Friday, June 14, 2013

Hope didn't float up . . .this time

So I haven't posted in a long time, actually a lot longer than I thought.

My secret that I had worked on for months (Sept - Jan) was I had applied for and was in the process of interviewing for Teach for America.  My first choice was Gallup, New Mexico.  I was so excited.  I was invited to a final interview.  Last year, 1 in 10 people got a position.  In early January, you were to receive email notification if you had gotten a placement.  All the previous emails were very upbeat and happy words were in the subject line.  This email said "about your application".  I let it sit in my inbox, unread for days.  I knew that I didn't get it, but I couldn't bring myself to read it, not after being so excited and happy for months. 

After that going to my job, that I LOATHED, was made even harder.    

Then a couple weeks, My Aunt passed away (in late January).  After that, all the people that I worked with at the cancer center reminded me of her and it made me really HATE my job.  All of my studies were with people over age 65.  All of these people thought that that could beat cancer even though their doctors (in my cases) weren't being completely truthful about their prognosis.  Yes, we need cancer research to help get rid of this shitty disease, but cancer research is all about the doctors moving their careers forward, not necessarily helping people (my opinion, what I saw, what I experienced).  

I made the decision after all of this that I couldn't wake up on my birthday (March 22) and come to a job that I hated that was making me physically ill.  So I made the decision to walk away from a solid, well-paying job. Kind of a birthday present to myself. 

Nearly 3 months later and it was probably one of the best decisions of my life.  Although I have wanted to push the panic button ALOT, it has helped me see what I want to do.  I want to work with youth and learn more about non-profit management.  So I am now a CASA (Court Appointed Special Advocate) volunteer and I am applying to a local university to get a certificate in non-profit management.

Also I am going to start blogging more on my other site about my large ass :) I want to be upbeat and blog on here, but I am really frustrated with my weight right now, so that one is probably a better platform.  I'll post a link once I am rolling on that one or at least have something worthwhile to blog about.  Hopefully I'll get to that this weekend.  It's amazing how you have no time to do anything when you have nothing to do.  

Unemployed by choice, but glad I did it . . . . Yep, I am that girl

PS Since I am a big believer in hope, I love this quote: "Hope dies last".  I think about this all the time. 

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Does hope really float up?

“Beginnings are usually scary, endings are usually sad, but it's what's in the middle that counts. So when you find yourself at the beginning, just give hope a chance to float up. And it will.”

― Hope Floats 

So I chose this quote not only because I LOVE the movie, but I do think that it's pretty true.

Endings are sad . . . My Godmother and Aunt just entered into her final stage towards "graduation" (as she calls it).  She has Stage IV Ovarian cancer and has been battling for a year.  With no more chemos to try and surgery not an option, she has decided to find comfort with her family and her God and enjoy her final days.  I went to see her last weekend.  She seemed in as good of spirits as you can be when you are only 66 and know that you are dying. period.  Selfishly, I am mad and sad at the same time.  Ovarian Cancer took my grandmother, her mother, when I was about 4 months old.  I lost the chance to ever get to know my grandmother and who my mom might have been had she had her mom as she raised her family.  And now, this nasty cancer is going to take away my only aunt and godmother.  She won't be there at my wedding and I won't be taking my kids to go see her when she's old and gray. It doesn't seem fair.

No one tells you that when you are in your 30s that all your grandparents die and then your aunts and uncles too.  Words just can't describe the feelings accurately. 

And beginnings are scary . . . I've started a new journey (again).  I am so excited and scared shit-less at the same time.  Being single and getting to choose your own destiny, path, career, etc is so cool b/c I don't have to ask for their opinion/permission, etc.  But it's also scary because you know that you have no support, no cheerleader.  You have no one to share in your excitement or hug you when you are devastated that it didn't work out.  I truly believe that if this is the path that God wants me on and I trust in his decision, that it will all work out.  I think that He might just open this HUGE door and say "Ok, there you go".  I also think that when you are happy with you that the universe sends good things your way. Gotta think positive - right? 

But it's hard to be excited and proud of myself when I'm so sad about my Aunt.  Seems like my life has been colliding like this for the past 1 1/2 years - just so done with being sad and losing important people in my life.



Friday, October 26, 2012

What did you want to be when you grew up?

Simple enough question, right?  Well, think about it for a second.
I’ll give you my run-down of occupations (those that I can remember – maybe I should have consulted my mom first):
-          A vet.  I list this first because it was what I wanted to be forever.  Even after I had abandoned the dream my junior of high school, Freshman year of college, there I was looking at K-State and Mizzou’s vet schools.  I have since looked into vet tech programs too.  If there was a Nurse Practioner position in the Vet world that would so be me – no surgeries, but I would probably have an emphasis in hospice.  Although I can’t hardly talk about my first dog without crying, so maybe I wouldn’t be good at it after all?
-          A pony express rider.  Yes, I am fully aware that when I had this dream that the pony express had been gone for 100 years, but I watched the “Young Riders” religiously as a kid.  I have always had a soft spot for western tv drama with lots of horses.  I also went to Girl Scout horse camp for many summers as a kid and loved every minute of it.
-          A circus performer – this happened after a Girl Scout field trip to see the Moscow Circus in the old Kiel.  It was a beautiful, yet sad building at that time.  The USSR still existed too.  Again, I think it was the horses and the travel.  Obviously I didn’t go far in this dream either.
-          A Nun – I guess you could also say a missionary (once I found out that people other than nuns did good work in 3rd world countries).  Helping people especially kids and travelling sounded like a plan to me.
-          Junior Yr of high school, I started working at my high school’s tv station and loved it.  I liked being in front of the camera, behind it and directing.  I decided to get my bachelor’s in it.
-          Senior year of college – I told my mom that I thought that I wanted to be a social worker.  With a semester left in my bachelor’s, my mom said just finish your degree and come home.
-          I had a short time as an assistant manager at the Mall.  Yes, it’s mindless work, but mall managers make a good living, but I felt that I wanted more than mindless work everyday.
-          I applied to a Masters in Video thinking I might want to try that again, but I didn’t make the cut, so …..
-          I went back to volunteering with children.  One day I thought how can I get paid for this? (without being a nurse or a teacher).  I applied for, got in and obtained my MSW.
-          I love working with kids, but have been in the geriatric field for the past 7 years.  (that’s a whole post in itself)
-          Present Day – I’m a social worker that works in cancer research.  Not my dream, but I’m working on it, so stay tuned. 
Finally, I realized through life experiences that I know what I want to be when I grow up:
I want to be a person who has passion for what they do, someone who makes a difference in the lives of others and most importantly, I want to marry my best friend and be an amazing, supportive wife.
Now you might be asking what about being a mom?  Honestly, I have been around kids my whole life (especially being a foster sister to newborns for 20+ yrs) and I have fabulous biological nieces and “pseudo” nephews and nieces of close friends.  Also, I have worked with kids too, so I get kids through that angle too.  I would not feel that I am missing out if I don’t become a mom.  I think that if you choose your mate wisely, that he or she is enough to have a great life together.  Having children, adopted or biological, I feel is a great added bonus.  But hands-down, I would chose a fabulous marriage and husband (if I could only have one choice). 
I’m hoping that my nieces will love me enough to put me in a good nursing home if I don’t have kids. lol.

They say if you say it, put it out in the universe,  that it has a way of making things happen, so here goes:
I can’t wait to find my guy and be an awesome wife . . . Yep, I’m that girl.

Monday, October 15, 2012

Dream a little dream with me . . . .

I am a closet dreamer.  I dream in silence because I think most people would just think that I am crazy eventhough my dreams aren't anything that earth shattering.   

I blame my dreaming on my “cusp” status.  You see I am a Pisces/Aries blend.  A water and a fire sign – could they be more opposite?  Yes, yes they can.  Pisces are dreamers and seem eternally optimistic, almost hippie-like.  Aries are stubborn, independent and terribly logical.  Several years ago, I was on a horse back ride through the mountains north of Albuquerque, New Mexico.  Our trail guide was in her mid-50s, tanned skin and blonde hair, lots of life experiences and a transplant from California.  She said that she had lived a lot of places, but fell in love with New Mexico.  Anyway, we got to talking on our 3 hour trail ride.  She discovered I was a blend of Pisces/Aries and I said “yeah, makes me kinda weird/crazy”.  She turned around in her saddle and said that she had several friends who were Pisces/Aries blends and that "they were the most interesting people that she knew."  Yes, validation!  Even a fortune teller in New Orleans was confused by my vibes and read me as a Pisces.  I want to believe that my personality is more Pisces, but I know that I am definitely a Ram in so many ways.

Me in New Mexico
Not too long ago in therapy, my counselor thought that it was really interesting that I go about my issues/problems/ideas in a very logical, yet optimistic way.  (She doesn’t know that I am cusp.) I am not quick to make a decision, think about all the possible outcomes, but I am also undeterred when a decision does not go my way (see Aries – determined).  I think that it is interesting that from talking to her, she can peg me, but I hope so in a way since I am paying her to listen to me.
Why am I talking about this?  Well, for the past 5 years, I have struggled with the question “what am I doing with my life?”  I play it safe, logical ie get a good job, make good money, buy a house and search for the guy.  But where is the passion in this?  Nowhere.  It’s been gone for a long time and that’s what makes my life hard.  I know that other people are facing way harder challenges and I should just be thankful and accept my lot.  But for me, going to work everyday is hard.  I have no purpose.  I dream of all these awesome jobs I would love, where I would love to live, but to uproot your life at 33 is viewed so differently than if I was 24  - some how then it would have been acceptable.  Now people think that I am just crazy. 

So that leads me to this quote:
“I hope you live a life you are proud of. If you find that you’re not, I hope you have the strength to start all over again.” F. Scott Fitzgerald

Or this one:
“I learned this, at least, by my experiment; that if one advances confidently in the direction of his dreams, and endeavors to live the life which he has imagined, he will meet with a success unexpected in common hours. . . . In proportion as he simplifies his life, the laws of the universe will appear less complex, and solitude will not be solitude, nor poverty poverty, nor weakness weakness." Henry D. Thoreau  (I’ve carried around a version of this since I was a Junior in High School.)

Or this one that I just found a few weeks ago, but absolutely love – it’s kinda my mantra right now:
“It is never too late to be what you might have been.”  George Elliot (was actually a women – FYI)
These quotes give me hope.  They make me believe that one day (hopefully sooner rather than later), I can pack up the dogs and hit the road.  Me and them on a new adventure, full of happiness, sunshine, long hikes and optimism.  Space to breath for me and especially for Zoey.  I have promised Zoey since she was little that I would buy her a farm (land) for her to run on, free from her social anxiety and other phobias, but mostly the constant noise of the city.  She’ll be 7 next April and she’s a large dog (100lbs) so I feel the pressure to make her dream come true.  Secretly, I have always wanted to live on a farm (land) too – City people just aren’t supposed to admit that. 
In this book I am reading by Amy Spencer, one of her sections is "what would your 84 year old self do?"  Imagine you get to talk with you but in 50 years – what would she say about your dreams, etc?  I think mine would say “why dontcha stop being a pussy, put on your big girl panties and do it already? Geesh, I can’t take you talking about it anymore.”  Would you want to disappoint you in 50 years?  Probably not J

In closing, my dream factory is always working and now that I have transitioned into a new job that I like even less than my previous one (I spent the whole first week googling jobs – uggh), I have decided to push fear aside and make some big decisions about my life.  I have less than 6 months until my birthday, so I’m hoping to move full speed ahead or at least faster than I’m moving now.   
Always dreaming . ....yep, I’m that girl.

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Bridal Magazine Addiction?

Before you say (or think) anything, let me at least plead my case.

It happened simply enough back in 1999, my Freshman year of college.  One of my 4 dorm-mates was getting married and she left her bridal magazine in the living room.  About this same time I was dating a guy who wanted to married me from day one (in retrospect - RED FLAG, RUN!).  So I thought, there's no harm in looking at this . . . . .

Fast forward through the years where I had another boyfriend that wanted to marry me.  We were so broke, both working at the mall, but the magazines gave us something to dream about.  Remember wedding magazines are around $5 or more a pop.  Don't try to add up this cost - it will make you cringe.

My favorite was always when you checked out at the store.  The checker would say "oh are you getting married?  No, I just like looking at them."  I tried to tell myself that I was being an informed consumed that when "it" happened, I would be ready.  I could plan my dream wedding in moments with the help of all this research.  My mom always told me that everything I liked would be outdated by then.  I like to think that my wedding will be timeless, so her comment didn't matter.

Then my glorious moment occurred when I moved into my house.  I treated myself to a year long subscription of Modern Bride, Bride and Elegant Bride  - it was a special bundle.  Every month, I look forwarded to mail.  Then into that first year, they canceled Modern Bride and Elegant Bride, which was ok because because Bride was always my favorite one.  I renewed for 2 years.  My sister was always afraid for any potential boyfriends.  What would he think if he walked into my bridal magazine extravaganza?  Don't worry kinda like Playboys, I hid them, camoflaged them, on planes, I would put them inside other magazines because you don't want people asking questions.  Once on a plane, the flight attendant said over the loud speaker that they had a bridal magazine to give away and it took all my will-power not to press my call button.  Then I realized, oh, I already have that one.  That's not new.

It wasn't just bridal magazines through the mail, I also searched for them on trips.  I have Colorado, Florida, New Orleans, Alabama, Pensacola, FL, Maryland, VA & DC, MO & KS, Destination specials, and my hometown St Louis Weddings.  And let's not forget Martha Stewart Weddings and In-Style Magazine's Wedding Special.  Remember I was being an informed consumed?

Or there was the time when my friend got engaged and I brought her about 2 dozens magazines to look through.  I know that you are thinking, how sweet.  Kinda, but not really.  Before letting her borrow the magazines, I put my return address labels on all of them - I was going to get them back!  Then since I didn't want her cut them up, I got her color-coded post it tabs to put on the pages.  Red for flowers, yellow for hair, etc.  She just laughed.  What is wrong with you brides?!?!? You have all the excuses in the world to go buy ever bridal magazine and you don't?!?!? I think that all my friends that have gotten married in the past 10 years collectively have had about 10 magazines total and that's because "people" have brought them for them, they did not actively buy them themselves.  Insert my sad face here.

After 2 years of monthly service, I didn't renew.  It's been 2 years now.  I do slip up from time to time and buy one.  Like the time that my boyfriend and I got back together (7 yrs on and off) and I took him to my super secret wedding location.  I naively thought, we're going to do this, this time.  I even had a diamond and platinum Tiffany's commitment ring to prove it.  Well, it's not my super secret wedding location anymore and the commitment ring, well I do love that ring on my right hand. 

If you are keeping count, I have been engaged 3 times, no wedding and probably hundreds of wedding magazines. 

Zoey and I in the secret location. Simply beautiful.

Secretly, I do have my ultimate dream location, it's beautiful and simple and definitely me (I found it when I was researching parks to go hiking at with Zoey in Florida.)  I'm saving it for the one, not the kinda one, or ok let's do this, this time one. Simply, my guy.  I will probably ultimately elope, just me and him, on our day.  I want a man that says I love you so much, meet me here next Thursday and that will be our story, told by a fabulous photographer so that I can share it with fmaily and friends later.  All the magazine clippings that are currently in file folders waiting to be put into "The Wedding Binder" will probably not even get flipped through.

What ever happened to all the magazines you ask.  Well, after I went through them, they got recycled.  I did allow myself to keep several of my favorites.  Brides, Washington DC - I got this one when I first moved to DC for grad school.  It was thin enough that I could keep it in my bag and flip through it on the subway.  I just think that DC is one of the most romantic cities that I have been to, not exactly sure why.  It just is for me.  I kept the Martha Stewart Weddings with the Today show couple Cody and Jess.  They are so cute and young and had this huge beautiful wedding - themed Breakfast at Tiffany's.  I have a couple of The Knot yearly guides because they have ALOT in them and I didn't want to tear them apart.  Now with the internet age (and I haven't even joined Pinterest yet - eventhough my sister has and has a "ideas for my sister's wedding folder"), you can save images and find almost anything you want related to weddings. I do search on there now from time to time to quench my wedding itch. 

Recovering Bridal Magazine Addict?  . . . . Yep, I'm that girl :)
PS Before I wrote this post, my sister told me that she discovered that her really good friend also have a bridal magazine subscription.  SEE - I'm not the only girl that does this.  Non-engaged bridal magazine buying women UNITE!!!!!

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

A Secret No More. . . .

My last post was about how I was trying to keep a scret.  Well, I did. 

My secret was about a job.  A job that I thought I really wanted.  A job that fulfilled all of my wants, so I thought. 

It was at my undergrad.  Let me tell you that I was pretty neutral when I attended there 10 years ago, but I thought it would be a good experience to take this position, career-wise.

When I arrived in town, I instantly had this "heebie-jeebie", gut reaction to being there.  It was not the comfortable place that I had built it up to be in the month long interview process.  I had visited my friend there several times over the years and never got this feeling.  I got a better feeling vacationing by myself in Florida than I did pulling into town.

The interview was over 6 hours long.  The people I met were so nice and wanted me to join their team sooo bad.  Over the past 3 years, I have been greatly under-appreciated or some might say neglected by my former boss (she moved on to another position).  Most of the time, the program I managed just consisted of me and sometimes a part timer, so you can imagine how lonely it can be.  I don't know that she ever thanked for a job well done, or great idea, etc.  So here I am with people complimenting my ideas, my fabulous resume, telling me I should pursue a PhD - it made my employee self-esteem shoot through the roof.  And that made turning the position down even harder.

I have discovered, probably starting in my mid 20s or when I went away to grad school, that your gut feeling is super important and that you should probably listen to it.  So when I pulled into town and all this "uck" kinda fell over me like a blanket, I knew it wasn't a good thing.  Turning down the job felt like I was being mean to friends and made me think "what the *$&# am I looking for"?  I felt comforted on the way home when U2's "Still haven't found what I'm looking for" came on the radio. It might be a sign? Or not. 

In addition to my gut check, I have been working really hard about not settling (6 months of counseling will help with this).  There was nothing wrong with the job, but there was also nothing more they could have done to sweeten the deal and there was nothing that made me go "wow, I have got to have this job".  It just wasn't the right fit for me and that's really hard to say when there's nothing wrong and you have been looking for a new job for 2 years and your current job will not exist Jan 1, 2013. 

Like I have told myself, if I find the job that is just perfect, ignites that passion in me, makes me look forward to going to work, Yes, I would sell my house, pack up the "kids" and hit the road without hesitation.  A new adventure where I am happy and fulfilled working 9-5, sounds like a dream right?

My mom asked me if she thought God was testing me by offering me this job.  I said I didn't know, but sometimes wondered.  I guess you could also think about it like a game show - do you keep what's behind door #1 or do you go for what is behind door #3.

Although hard, I have decided to continue to search for open doors, not settle and look for my happiness.

Zoey & I in Colorado - June 2009

Haven't found what I'm looking for, but still searching . . . .yep, I'm that girl.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Umm. . . eek. . .I'm terrible at keeping secrets, but I'm getting better

So everyday recently I wake up with this bubbling excitement mixed with a heaping dose of unsureness and a pinch of sadness - shaken, not stirred.  And I am TERRIBLE at keeping secrets, but oh, I've been good with this one.  It's not that I am trying to be mean to others initially.  I have just learned a lot about me lately (6 months of weekly counseling sessions will do that to you) and I have learned that you don't have to tell everyone EVERYTHING.  And as my sister says "Liz, don't poop on your own parade." I don't want to poop on my own parade and have discovered that it's more fun to bottle up this excitement and pure pride in myself than tell people and just be disappointed in their reactions or better yet, they try to one up me b/c their jealousy.  who knows.  I have also learned through therapy that I am a happier person "when I am not investing my energy in friends that don't give me back the same".  Again, counseling with the right counselor is FABULOUS.  It doesn't mean that you have failed, that you are damaged or whatever other negative you can think of.  It means that you realize that you need help - whatever help means to you.

I hope that I can post my secret soon - the waiting game sucks.  And if I don't post anything, don't ask as I will be in therapy. . .again.  Just kidding, maybe.

So are you intrigued yet?

I'm FINALLY learning how to keep secrets (at 32) . . .yep, I'm that girl.