So… What Now?

My heart is trying to break free from my chest it’s beating so hard, so fast. I can hardly catch my breath. And my caffeinated beverage I’m consuming while writing this certainly isn’t helping, but everyone has their vices.

My little anxiety gremlin has been popping up more and more the past few days and I can’t seem to push him down no matter what I do. Much to the dismay of my sanity, I think time is really the only cure for this case of nerves.

To bring my Dear Readers up to speed: Recently, I accepted a very fortuitous job offer that has met all of my criteria so far. Seriously, like, nearly all my boxes are checked. It’s a job involving multiple facets of communication–including writing. It’s with an honorable organization with honorable values. Said organization is a non-profit (though that’s more of a bonus than a requirement). It’s all for a cause I really believe in and can passionately work for. Check… Check… CHECK!

Really, there isn’t anything really wrong with this position other than it pays like a non-profit position. Actually, less. But, funny enough, that’s not my main concern. That’s not why I’m fighting to catch my breath or brushing my hand against my bed comforter in an attempt to ground my body. No. Weirdly, this introverted, self-proclaimed loner-I mean, independent being is worried about being… independent. A major piece of criteria this job requires.

Said job is a couple towns over from my hometown–not too far to visit my loved ones as much as I want, but far enough that I can’t really justify commuting everyday. Said job required a relocation. In other words, I had to move. Er rather, I have moved. And I actually start this new job tomorrow (now today when you’ll read this).

I’m alone in my temporary home away from home finally, truly on my own for the first time ever. Unlike college when I was at least still in my hometown and consequently knew and even went to high school with some of my classmates, here I know no one. So not only am I all moved out off to start my first Big Girl Job after college, but my independent living feels more like solitary confinement than blissful introvert-time. Perhaps because I’m not really choosing to be alone as much as I am left alone by circumstance.

To a degree that is at the far back of my mind right now, I am excited to finally be making progress, to making waves in my career and life’s purpose and, I suppose, “adulting.” But getting there isn’t feeling quite how I thought it would feel. No one really talks about this part–the time between aspiring to breakout from the parents’ scope and officially being on one’s own and being relatively successful. No one talks about the heart-racing, mind-numbing transition between the two. No one talks about the living in a hotel eating only Ramen, twiddling their numbs and occasionally suffering from a panic attack while blogging about it while secretly wishing they could be back home in their own bed, their own room, talking with their family about pointless nothings.

Maybe that’s because no one is quite desperate enough to admit such things on their public (read: incredibly personal) blog. Except me.

…I miss my Mom… I’m going to go, uh, try some deep breaths now.

Hang in there, Friends. I pray you are doing better than I this week.

 

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What Makes People So Scary?

Halloween is almost here! Meaning, for some, it’s a time for scaring and to be scared. But if you have anxiety, you’re pretty much scared most of the time–regardless of the date on the calendar.

Now, I don’t know about you, but, personally, I find people to be scary. Sometimes. Now, this isn’t so much because of the current state of the world or the fact that, hypothetically, pretty much everyone has the potential to harm one another… in a life-threatening manner. No, none of that; though that certainly isn’t helping the situation. No, my mysterious yet unremarkable fear is that darn social anxiety disorder (SAD) I possess and talk so much about on here.

Why, what were you thinking?

In a nutshell, my SAD evokes a steady stream of nervousness and excessive worrying anytime I’m around people–most often during situations that are either unfamiliar and/or very public and heavily populated. But don’t get me wrong, dear family and friends can certainly induce feelings of anxiousness within me too. There’s no need to feel left out here, my Readers!

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In all honesty, however, my SAD isn’t such a disturbance in my life anymore–believe it or not. I have learned how to live, how to thrive with this disorder; I have developed mechanisms to cope with symptoms, I have accepted my anxiety, I have come to embrace my anxiety, and, what has been especially helpful, I’m better able to identify and ideally avoid situations in which my SAD is likely to fester–and be okay with avoiding said situations. And most of the time, I am able to avoid excessively social scenarios with ease. But, sometimes, there’s just no avoiding people.

Recently, I attended a community play in which a close friend of mine was performing. I love plays–especially musicals, which this was–as they are really a lot like more organic movies (And who doesn’t love movies?). Everything is so much simpler; you get to witness the passion and work put into the show by the cast and crew in real time; plus, the music is nearly always uh-mazing! And so, so catchy. Basically, it doesn’t take me much to go see a play, much less a musical. And hey, bonus, I get to support my super talented bud. Why not go?!

Well… you see… the thing is… my super amazing, musical bestie is on the very outgoing end of the introversion spectrum. As in she can be super bubbly and energized for hours on end and not appear deterred and, as some strange side effect, she can make friends wherever she goes–including the members of her theatre group whom she has only known maybe a couple months. And, well, after the show, she wanted me to go out with her and these new friends. And… I think you know where this is going.

I couldn’t bring myself to say yes. Hanging out with everyone would have meant so, so much to her and, most likely, I would have enjoyed listening to everyone’s banter. Side note: I don’t know what it is about theatre kids, but they just have this charm about them that makes me momentarily wish I were more extroverted/outgoing/laugh-out-loud-and-love-life-esque in demeanor. If I were born an extrovert, I’d like to think maybe I would have been a theatre. An ensemble member, not a full role. Anyways, digression…

Any introvert in this scenario could happily say no to their friend and not bat an eye. Regular introverts are typically more comfortable with their introversion (e.g. not being around others, needing to recharge, placing introvert needs over simple pleasures of slightly more extroverted friends). But the curse of SAD is those with it care too much about the feelings of others and do, in fact, wish to be more extroverted; they want to change in the way of being more positively judged (read: liked). Basically, in this case, someone with SAD may have said yes to their friend to please them yet felt entirely awkward and anxious the rest of the night out.

Upon foreseeing that lovely outcome, I declined my friend’s invitation. And, knowing each other as long as we have, she understood and respected my decision! Yay! She’s so awesome! But thinking more about things afterwards, I got to wondering why am I so afraid of people? Granted, in this instance, the scary people would have been new and mostly boisterous and, well, scary. But, ultimately, I wonder why I have to be so afraid of people in general? Why my SAD makes me afraid of people? What makes them so scary to me in the first place? Whether they are new or not, or kind or not? What’s the problem?

WHY ARE WE AFRAID OF PEOPLE?!?!!!?

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Whelp, my buddy my pal Google had some relatively helpful, albeit technically unofficial, information… You may recall a previous question-centric post of mine in which I inquired about why we care about what others think of us, because apparently one of my favorite past times is to ask the unanswerable kinds of questions. I did not find any one concrete answer to that inquiry, much like I did not find a cohesive to this, but there is some overlap that I think may be useful… Or not.

Much like our desire to be liked and fear of being disliked, the correlated fear of people in general can also stem from both genetic and environmental factors. Nature vs. nurture, huzzah!

From a biology standpoint, our brain can be incorrectly wired to categorize people in a negative sector early on. Then, as we get older, we continue to associate people with bad experiences and thus, fear people, and consequently avoid them as much as possible. But actively avoiding people? That’s just silly…

Think about it: if you are bit by a dog at a young age, you have a negative experience. Thus, you may associate all dogs with bad experiences and consequently fear and attempt to avoid all dogs as much as possible. Not as backwards when you put it that way. Of course, in this example, the fear was set in motion by an external event not already festering within the crevices of your brain. Which brings me to…

The irrational fear of people can emerge following a negative event, a “triggering event” if you will. This is when you may have been perfectly content interacting with people, but then a negative experience–a dog bite–tarnishes your view, corrupts your mindset, conditioning you to believe people are bad, thus affecting your behavior when forced to approach those terrifying, evil homo sapiens. Or something.

These theories of cause–nature or nurture–are nothing I haven’t heard before. But one result I found, a social anxiety forum (So reliable, I know, but people really make for the best research–ethnography, anyone?) provided a more original morsel of wisdom.

Fear of something can be caused by a lack of understanding, remaining unaware about that something. In this case, being afraid of people may truly be an effect of simply not understanding people, their minds, their behaviors. Or, in some cases even, not understanding oneself.

There’s that adage that goes something along the lines of “How can you expect others to love you if you don’t love yourself?” or something as equally cheery yet good-intentioned. But further thought suggests that those who have negative views of themselves are wont to hold similar views of other people–all due to the lack of understanding of the human population.

To combat this, in order for others to admire, value, and maybe even understand you, you must first learn to value yourself. You must embrace your attributes, faults, quirks–and everything in-between, and learn to become self-aware if not accepting of what makes you you. And if you do that, then you can do the same with people, and step onto the road of understanding them and perhaps not be so afraid of them any longer.

Each of these theories stems from truth; likely, the fear of people is affected by a little bit of everything–biology, environment, self-esteem. I believe that everyone who possesses this fear has a little bit of all these factors–and probably more–combating their view of people, with the intensity of each varying from person to person.

With so many factors working against you, it can seem impossible, even undesirable to change, to not be so fearful. But I believe it is possible. I know that, to some degree, it is possible. I’m not sure my fear of people will ever be totally evaporated, but I truly believe it has diminished and will continue to diminish over time. I mean look at me–I used to hardly talk to anyone ever at all in my preschool days unless spoken to first, and now I randomly say hello to people I pass by on the street. Granted, I still won’t go out with my friend’s friends (i.e. strangers), but, you know, baby steps…

I still find people scary; this newfound information hasn’t changed that. No matter how irrational I believe my fear to be, my SAD can’t simply dissipate. But I have a better idea of what I can do to counsel it, to face and to challenge my fear, so that maybe it won’t seem so intense or inconvenient or just downright silly at times. So that maybe the next time my friend invites me to hang out with some of their friends…

I might actually say yes.

So until then, it’s time to practice more self-love and understanding.

Stay loving, Friends!

What’s Wrong With Being Alone?

For as long as I can remember, spending time alone has been viewed as a less than ideal way to pass the time. I have never known a time in my short life where hanging out with just your fine self has been deemed fully, socially acceptable; I think the closest we’ve come to showing even a little tolerance to those chronically independent is the here and now–and that’s not saying much. We’ve still got a looooong way to go, my Friends.

Seriously, since when did alone become synonymous with sad, weird, loser? From what I can tell, a large part of this stems from the romantic scene, as, traditionally, one was expected to find a mate to live the 9-to-5, 2.5 kids, white picket fence dream. And those unsuccessful in designating at least one person with whom to saddle their baggage were, technically speaking, unable to fully complete the job-family-home trifecta and consequently deemed weird. And even though we’ve mostly moved away from this gross misguidance on the romantic and otherwise fronts, there still seems to be remnants of that loneliness stigma today–present in the most miniscule of ways mind you, but present none-the-less.

Here and there throughout the media, it is not uncommon to find books or articles or TEDTalks on the benefits of alone time and the factually accurate data to support such claims–essentially media love for the introverts and loners of the world that factually validates their behavior. The masses have slowly come to grips with not only being okay with spending time by themselves, but also publicizing this behavior so as to reaffirm its socially acceptable status. There’s something wrong with this picture, though–we’re under the false pretense that we need permission from others to engage in a healthy, necessary behavior to move forward and to feel comfortable doing so. I don’t think that’s how this is supposed to work… We should be doing this anyway–sans permission and (in my case) anxiety over the approval of others. But, trust me, even when we step out into the world alone and attempt to convey confidence, there always seems to be someone beyond the horizon ready to take you down a peg. I mean, take my experience for example…

I am an EXTREME introvert with the occasional outgoing tendencies in comfortable social situations. But the majority of the time, when I am at home (i.e. Introvert Haven), I spend ALL THE FREE TIME alone, holed up in my room. Okay, not all the time, but a vast majority of it. It’s pretty much been that way since I was a wee lass. In college I spent even more time in my room. Then less, as I became slightly more comfortable with my surroundings and more outgoing. Then a little more again as I need time to recharge, time to spend with myself. After college and during my life of employment the pattern has continued–more, than less, now more again. I know, I’m super cool (read: antisocial). But that’s the thing–I’m an extreme introvert in terms of how much alone time I need to recharge. And I haven’t gotten the impression many people understand that.

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Because I was most often in my room whenever I was home, I acquired the lovely endearment: Hermit. Younger me did not initially understand what this meant, but she became disenchanted with the moniker pretty quickly. My family couldn’t (still can’t) fathom my preference to spend all my free time alone, away from them. And, in all fairness, I couldn’t either; I love my family and friends, and I loved spending time with them, but the need to be by myself in my room, in my world, was simply innate. Nowadays, I have a few more answers for my family and other loved ones that maybe you more introverted introverts will appreciate.

I don’t know what it is, but as I’ve gotten older especially, I have found people incredibly draining–even people whose company I enjoy greatly, though the level of energy varies person to person. I don’t even have to be interacting with others–just being around them seems to wear me out. A day full of indirect and purposeful socialness through school/work/additional engagements takes its toll. Plus, when I’m around people, I’m pretty optimistic, cheery, and, occasionally, bubbly. That also takes a lot out of me, as when I’m by myself, I am more quiet, laid-back; thus the need to be bubbly is pretty unnecessary.

A quiet, people-less space gives me ample freedom to do my favorite, introvert things, like read, write, create, be with God, watch movies, listen to music, etc. Some of these can technically be done with others present, but that’s not always ideal–especially if these nearby spectators are talkers. Look, as an introvert, I’m all about the deep, analytical, out-of-this-world discussions. But when I’m in My Zone writing or watching a movie, I am at peace, a peace that I don’t want interrupted with mindless chatter. But, let’s be honest, that’s kind of rude to admit, so it just seems easier (read: more polite) to do these introvert things away from the crowd in my Introvert Haven.

The best thing about being in my haven-esque room for me, though, is the temporary respite I receive from my social anxiety. As I’ve mentioned on my beloved blog, social anxiety can oftentimes feel as though you have your own private audience with its members’ eyes trained on you at all times. Every little thing you do becomes a public act. Talk about high pressure. Granted, this can happen even when there’s no one around, but in my room, I’m often the only occupant and who else are we more comfortable to be around than ourselves? It’s a moment of bliss to have the microscope off me for awhile and it is alone in my room where I am gifted that bliss.

Basically, alone time to me is unbelievably amazing not to mention vital to our health–I’m just a more extreme case. But there is one more point I’d like to add to this already verbose post before I exit stage right…

Sometimes, even when we’re with people as mandated by society, we’re not really with one another. Sure, we’re all together in the same room, but it’s not often everyone is interacting and/or fully engaged in the interaction. There’s often a buffer of some kind, be it a book or movie or phone or background noise; a lot of times people are invested in some type of non-human-related outlet even if they may be physically present among other humans. Basically, you’re spending time alone–you’re just around other people. I call it: Introverting in the Same Room. But because this version of introversion appears more social (and consequently less hermit-esque), it’s deemed more widely acceptable.

Hmmmmm… Just something to think about.

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Have a wonderful week, Friends! Remember to spend some time with yourself, being alone, NOT lonely.

So, you want to teach?

The sole, minor–and believe me, this is minor–regret I have about studying English in college stems from the assumptions people make about my career path. Or lack thereof. Granted, this can happen with any major. And, granted, these assumptions seem to arise due to a lack of understanding or an understanding that is centered around one experience the presumptuous have with said major. But, that does not make it okay to assume my course of study and potential careers based on the name of my major… Even though, let’s be honest, that’s pretty much what everyone does (Oh, you’re biology major? So, you’re going to be a doctor, right?!)

Let’s think back to 20 seconds ago when I informed (read: reminded) you of my decision to pursue a degree in English. Depending on how much you know about studying and making a career out of this subject, there is a chance your mind wandered to books or writing or, most commonly–at least in my experience–teaching.

I cannot tell you the number of times I have told family, friends, random strangers of my plans to pursue an English degree and been met with: “Oh, so you’re planning to teach?”

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NO!!! NO I AM NOT! STOP ASKING ME THAT!!!!!

Okay, obviously I don’t respond quite as…passionately as that. But the feelings I work to contain pretty much resemble those of Michael Scott learning poor, dear Toby has returned to the office. For one, I am disenchanted, to say the least, that so many misinformed individuals assume the primary job for an English major is to teach. And, on a more personal note, I cannot fathom why anyone who knows me would think I’d be a teacher. Like, have you met me? I’m not exactly what you call assertive, domineering, aggressive. If anything, I’m passive-aggressive.

Actually, could you imagine a passive-aggressive teacher? That’d be the funniest thing ever! Okay, but really.

PATeacher

I know, to a degree, I could make a… passable instructor. But, if we’re being honest, I would not be a top-notch teacher, not positively impactful, not personally content. Trust me, I know.

Because, PLOT TWIST, I’m a teacher… Sort of.

I am an assistant teacher for English as a Second Language classes in my hometown, as said hometown is considered a safe space for refugees to reside, build new lives, and, well, learn the English language–and maybe some American-isms–along the way. Basically, we have a high need for English language learning, and thus, offer multi-tiered English courses to meet this need.

I joined this program during my first year of college. My alma mater prioritizes learning through service projects and community involvement, often providing if not requiring students to partake in giving back. And it’s pretty awesome! But anyway, through a course I took on intercultural communication, I was connected with the English as a Second Language program in my town. And, though scary at first, it was not long before I was smitten with helping others, with serving my students.

To hear gleeful laughter from a student when they understand a new concept, to see the prideful glow on a student’s face when they receive high marks on an assignment, to speak with them in English long after they have left my class, a strong sign of continual studying and improvement–it all just warms my heart. Oh, and don’t even get me started on the relationships among students; natives from across the globe who hold vastly different experiences, different stories, different beliefs, getting along like old chums–especially when they live in a place where many can’t have different tastes in music without exchanging death threats, but that’s for another rant post–truly fuels my passion for kindness and for service. So much so that I have remained an assistant teacher for these courses, as a volunteer, ever since that first year in college.

Even still, all of these pros to this assistantship have not formed some newfound desire within me to become a full-time, head instructor. Funny enough, I have found myself in a part-time assistant teaching position for an ESL course–on top of my current volunteer position. Though the context of this new classroom is a bit different, the pros have remained the same. And though the pros have remained the same, I am not especially gratified as an official assistant. Perhaps because I am given more freedom to instruct, to lead. Things that, one-on-one or indirectly, I am happy to do. But to be socially anxious yet placed in front of about 20 strangers and required to tell them what to do? That just isn’t me, that is not a gift in which I feel I can most effectively help people.

So no, I don’t want to teach. Even after trying my hand at it for several years now, in more ways than one. I think I’ll remain a passive-aggressive volunteer instructor and leave the aggressive-aggressive to those who truly aspire to be lead teachers. Meanwhile, I’ll be praying this position isn’t God telling me to become a teacher…

Then, I guess the question becomes: “So… you want to… write books?”

…Sigh… Just, don’t. Don’t even get me started.

Have an angst-free week, Friends!

The Kind Rejection

Such is the norm in my current realm, rejections are not too difficult to come by when applying for ALLLLLL THE JOBS! It just seems to be a part of the process… a big part of the process… like, a big enough part I should start a “Wall of Rejections” like my parents did back in their post-graduate days. But in all honesty, I can’t even handle someone looking at me funny without getting riled up about it, much less face a wall of “No’s” every morning when I wake up. I just. Can’t. Oh, sadness… Right, rejections.

Something I have noticed more and more in my recent rejections is… they are kind of borderline, passive aggressively rude. I know, coming from someone who is highly sensitive to criticism, this isn’t much of a groundbreaking revelation or likely to be taken seriously. But think about it. Really think about it.

So many rejections that many amazing, talented, and often qualified job candidates receive are written in a style that can make them feel like anything but the catch they are. And I find that heartbreaking.

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Using myself as an example, I worked nearly the entirety of college–I prioritized my studies to complete two majors and a minor in four years; I took on multiple internships to gain experience in my field; I held officer positions in several committees at my university; I found time to give back to my community between studying and working. I’m AMAZING (she said humbly) and I have little to show for it in the job market. There are many graduates from my class who did all I did and more within four years and even for them the result is the same–nada. We are all still getting passed over for candidates who are “more qualified,” “better equipped,” and “more experienced” than US.

Granted, that last part most rejections have the decency to exclude, but it is pretty strongly implied. Essentially, you’re pretty great, but just not quite good enough. Almost, but not quite. But, you know, good luck on that job search. You’ll make someone out there very happy. Just not us. And, sure, a couple messages like this is okay… I guess. But when everyone is consistently telling you how neat you are but just not for them, you’re pretty much left in the dust, inadvertently turned away by everyone (each under the false pretense that someone out there will hire you). You see, that system doesn’t really work, yet it’s the system we have.

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Awesome people feel not quite as awesome because they are only reminded of what they lack, not what they hold that is of value, and, even then, they are reminded in the vaguest way possible. Which is why I propose The Kind Rejection. As in, yes, it’s still a rejection (you’re not going to get a secret job offer while being told no–even if it’s a nice no), but it is a rejection that is worded nicely, politely, honestly, and detailed.

Why not take the time to detail a candidate your reasoning for not selecting them for the job rather than simply brushing over the justification with a vague phrase? “Underqualified”? What key qualifications were they missing? “Inexperienced”? What kind of experience would you like to see? Essentially, what can a candidate do to receive strong consideration for the job in question or a similar job? Don’t simply call out a recipient for what they lack and leave it at that. What are they lacking specifically? What would you like to see more of in this candidate if you were to receive an application from them in the future?

But don’t stop there. Why not balance out the negative with something positive, something complimentary–pun not intended? It’s likely there is at least something to like about the rejected job candidate; tell them so. Everyone is awesome in some way. What did you find particularly intriguing about this person? Do they have strong writing skills? Are they are incredibly personable? Are they are highly software savvy? Tell them. But then also tell them how they can further develop this strong suit, how can they can highlight their top qualities. In other words, what does this candidate need to do to be more awesome or how can they play up their awesomeness?

Lastly, there may be a little something extra you may want to tell the candidate, some helpful advice to offer. You began your rejection with why you didn’t choose the candidate, what they were lacking, and then you reminded said candidate of their talents. But now, if you want to be especially helpful, you must advise the candidate on, essentially, how they can be better, how they can improve–without making them feel like they are a less than individual. Whether this be elaboration on an aforementioned lack of job experience or a top-notch strength or a suggestion on the candidate’s next career move or maybe advice on what not to do at their next interview, your can hold real power–especially if you can offer it wrapped in a positively-worded package.

All in all, the biggest priority in The Kind Rejection–aside from the rejection itself–is to be kind. Of course you have a job to do aside from rejecting job candidates, you have other responsibilities. But there is no reason why this part of the job cannot be done in a positive manner. Aside from merely doing what is right and honest and good, you should want to provide a candidate with a kind rejection so as to maintain positive relations.

Clearly, this individual is interested in your organization and though they may not have been a sufficient fit for one of the current jobs offered, they may be ideal for a future position. If you were consistently honest and kind to this person during the initial hiring and rejection processes, they will be more likely and willing to try their hand at an alternate position with your organization in the future. You get a super awesome employee to hold a job at your organization and the previously rejected candidate gets a job–all thanks to kind critiques and advice offered through your Kind Rejection. Win-win!

If you ask me, you really can’t go wrong with this idea. Certainly, you can’t do any worse than telling me I’m essentially not enough for a job, or not as good as someone else. So The Kindness Rejection is at least worth a shot, right?!

So, was this pitch okay? Did I win you over? …Oh, I don’t have enough experience in sales? There’s someone with more relevant experience than I? Okay… I’ll just wrap up all my hopes and dreams in this ole college degree of mine and see myself out…

Hire me, Friends… Please.

I Don’t Know How to Do This

It’s been officially one week since I’ve been technically unemployed. No internship, no freelance work, nothing. And, to put things simply, it’s a really, really difficult place to me.

Thinking about it, I’ve been employed in some way, full-time, part-time, temporary, internship, paid, unpaid, office hours, freelance for the past five consecutive years. I have been gaining real life experience, creating real, solid work to stuff into my portfolio–all to eventually gain an oh-so-inspiring job in my field for the past five years. Only to fall flat.

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Getting there…

Now I have no job, no income, no prospects. Just a degree…and, you know, some marketable work experience. And, for some reason, without that ideal job, I feel like I have next to nothing. No, not for some reason–I know the reason. And not next to nothing, I know I have something. But without my Great Job, my mission, my great, big purpose, what I have outside of a career, doesn’t feel like much.

If you look back on one of my last posts, I’ve really made the effort to enjoy this new phase of life–I travel, I spend more one-on-one time with my family, I read–for fun. Okay, so I’m still pretty lame, but I’m definitely enjoying my open schedule. Until it became too open, even for me.

I’m to the point where my unemployment state is getting dangerously close to ruining a lot of the progress I had made with my mental health while in college; it’s becoming unhealthy on a physical level even. I sleep in, like really sleep in. A lot. My diet is terrible. Self-care is minimal. Motivation is inconsistent. My schedule is so open that there’s really no schedule anymore. And instead of being excited, feeling free because of it, I’m just a mess. Because, at heart, I’m a doer. I need to be doing something. Something worthwhile. Not just whatever this is right now.

Look, I know I look like one of those workaholics, someone who places so much into their career that they couldn’t care less about anything else in life. And, to some extent, I can be that. But I promise, a job isn’t all I want out of life and isn’t all I have been getting out of life. But when you combine the fact that I’m a recent grad with my personality, you get someone who isn’t merely looking for a way to make rent, but someone who wants to make a difference for others all-the-while staying close to their personal values. A good portion of my work experience has been spent merely amping up my skills and not prioritizing the cause of my workplace. So, I made a vow upon graduating, that I wanted my next job to pertain to a cause about which I’m passionate…

…and I think I’m learning the hard way that that goal is just going to have to wait yet another job change (read: job, not career change). Yes, a good reason I’m still awaiting prospects several months following graduation is that I’m trying to hold out for that ideal job. But I also want to at least somewhat use my degree. Those two factors shouldn’t be so limiting in my quest for post-graduate employment; actually they’re not, looking at the varying results from my job searches. It’s just that those factors plus me, new graduate…don’t seem to result in my favor.

I totally get it; I’m a new grad with impressive experience but not with the vast, hardcore extensive experience you need. I’m a risky hire. But also, like, how am I supposed to obtain that hardcore experience if no one’s willing to give me a chance? This phase of life is becoming so frustrating, trying, and downright heart-wrenching.

Experience

To hear you aren’t good enough or that while you are impressive, you’re just not as good as someone else is already pretty damaging to the self-esteem. But to be met with the same degrading comments a half dozen times each week for nearly three months? The rejection really starts to take its toll. All those comments begin to feel like the truth, like you really aren’t good enough. And I don’t know how much more I can take.

I know I haven’t found my first post-grad job for a reason. But I’m becoming unnervingly antsy with God and His Plan while I wait. And the looming debt of student loans is a pretty big part of it…

Take care, Readers. Meanwhile I’ll be here poring over job postings and inhaling Ramen…

SHE LIVES! Ya know… Kinda…

Hi Friends!

I’m back! More or less, officially or unofficially… I haven’t decided how often I’m going to be writing for the public eye but I have decided I do indeed want to keep writing for you all (all two of you) for a least a little while longer. So: here we are! As inconsistently as ever.

It’s been a minute–or two–since I last wrote, and I suppose you could say some things of interest have happened in the Post-Grad Life of Me. But I think rather than document such things in my traditional whirling commentaries (read: babbles), I thought I’d do so in list form, one item for each week I’ve been absent from the blogosphere–with potential for an additional post of two dedicated to some of these items below in the near or distant future.

GradMeme

Enjoy, Friends! It’s good to be back! More or less…

I graduated college! YAAAAAAAAY!!! With two majors and one minor in four years! Somehow. I dunno–it’s a major accomplishment to me (pun not intended)…

I went on a solo road trip to visit family during some momentary downtime following graduation. Ya know, before starting out in the so-called Real World. Also another major accomplishment for my infrequent-highway-driving self.

God led me to a so-called Special Friend during this visit along with their beloved family (which is pretty exciting for my #ForeverAlone self). And even though I don’t know how this will pan out or what their role will end up being in my life, I am so grateful to acquire more amazing people in my life!

My post-grad career path began with the BEST Job (read: internship) I think I have ever had, affirming what I believe I am meant to do… at least, at some point in the future.

Said job (internship) opened an official paid position that was right up my alley for which I applied… More on that later.

Upon recognizing my calling, I pondered applying to graduate school.

I went go-karting for the first time EVER! It was SO AMAZING!!! I am so disappointed in myself in that it took me more  than two decades to do so.

God offered the most phenomenal reminder of how wonderful my family is–immediate and extended–during a long-awaited family reunion. Full of the usual craziness and love. 🙂

I. Went. KAYAKING!!! For the first time EVER! What is it with these delayed discoveries?

I returned from amazing reunion to a rejection from Most Amazing Job Ever and a revised termination date…

DOOR

…and then proceeded to go out into the community to conduct outreach and be an all-around pleasant individual even though I felt like crawling under the covers back in my bed for the rest of the day…

…and instead used big job rejection to fuel desire to continue exploring the job market and apply for ALLLLLL THE JOBS. Not literally… yet.

I applied to graduate school.

Annnnd that pretty much brings us up to now. With me waiting, twiddling my thumbs, anxious as ever to hear back from this job or that job or graduate school to hear I got the job or got in or didn’t get in. And basically the Post-Grad Life of Me has had an abyss of highs and lows and right now, I’m at a bit of a rocky low.

But it’s okay! Because whatever is supposed to happen, will. Anytime now, God. Anytime…

 

Moving On

Hi Friends,

I know the schedule is kind of out the window right now and for the foreseeable future it will be… at least while I get my head on straight.

For those playing along at home, I am about to graduate with my undergraduate degree and will soon embark on my whirlwind of a career…er, internship: serving in the nonprofit sector and helping others with my communications abilities. From a financial standpoint, it isn’t the wisest choice I’ve ever made. But in terms of happiness, potential opportunity within the field down the line…it’s worth the momentary setback–if you could call it that. In any regard, it is only for the summer; come fall, should I not have a full-time position lined up with this organization, I will continue to seek employment. Full-time employment–with benefits, 2.5 kids, white picket fence, the whole shebang. Just kidding… But really, I know I can’t live in this fantasy land of wanting to do what I love and love what I do forever–especially once my student loans are due, am I right? But for now, I’m going to enjoy this opportunity.

Even though I’m excited for what’s to come, I’ve just been hit with what I’m leaving behind–not so much college itself, but my professors, colleagues, friends–the people, my current internships. All have had real impact on me the past year especially and a small part of me just wants things to stay the same a little longer (now that I actually have time to enjoy them). But alas, living in the past, in regret is not the way to go–so I will attempt to both enjoy the now (as I’ve actually done a decent-ish job of doing lately) and look to the future and the abundance of opportunities it may hold.

But all that being said, I have to tell you guys: I’m going to be taking a break from blogging for awhile. Not forever, perhaps not even a month–I don’t know, really. I just need to sort out some personal things (i.e. my life), just do some things for me, and, maybe, for once, not blog about it all. 🙂

All in all, I am planning to return–I just don’t know when… So, until then, Friends, have a blessed, peaceful life.

You Never Let Hard Times Get You Down

Sometimes, I wonder if I’m addicted to doing nice things for people.

Not in the literal sense. I’m not entirely certain one can be addicted to such things–I suppose it depends on your criteria of addiction. But I’m to the point where not doing nice things for others, showing kindness is…out of character for me, it feels alien. It’s like a sign I’m not doing so well.

Or maybe it’s because I do nice things I, myself, am not doing so well. I hadn’t really thought about it so extensively before.

A large part of why I do what I do adheres to Christ’s sentiment, known to many as the Golden Rule–do unto others as you would have done unto you (i.e. treat others how you want to be treated). I treat others with kindness, because, ideally, I’d like to be treated the same. Does that always happen? Most of the time, yes. But also… as I’ve gotten older and fallen further down the well into adulthood, I have discovered the world is not a genuinely happy place. Not entirely. There is so much negativity, so much hate and discontent–it hurts my heart. So, by some crazy logic that only someone like me could have, I attempt to compensate in my corner of this negative world, with my little ounce of kindness.

Plato

But that doesn’t always mean I’m genuinely feeling kind or nice. As you may recall (I mean, I never really let anyone forget it–I’m so transparent), I have anxiety, of the generalized and social sorts. And though I’ve been feeling sooooo much better in the past couple months overall, I still have my breakdowns, my bad moments (like earlier this weekend, for example…). But the thing is, I am honest about my anxiety–just not with every single person in my life. Not everyone knows about these gremlins in my head, and I forget that sometimes. All they see is the kind, thoughtful, happy, sweet girl going out of her way to do nice things for others. They don’t know about the other sides to me. And that was made apparent to me this week.

I was presenting one of my theses to my class this week (yay!) and, following the showcase, was supposed to be a discussion. But instead, I opted to lead an activity–you may have heard of it. Essentially, everyone is given a piece of paper. You write your name on the paper you are given and then that paper is passed around the room to the other participants. Every time you receive a new paper with someone else’s name written on it, you write a compliment about that person, about the owner of the paper. At the end of the activity, you will receive your paper, and will now have a page full of kind thoughts directed toward you. Is that great or what??? It’s kind of like a yearbook page… but more kind.

Most of the comments I received referred to me with the adjectives used above (e.g. kind, thoughtful, sweet). But there was one remark in particular that really caught my attention: “You never let hard times get you down.”

Oh, classmate. If only you knew.

Actually, she technically did know at the point, as I had just revealed my anxiety to everyone in the room (as it was  the basis for my thesis–combating anxiety in college). Yet, she still believed in this sentiment about me enough to tell me, even after my big revelation.

But that got me thinking about how others perceive me, how my continual kindness and optimism are interpreted by others. Apparently, I don’t let the tough goings in life deter me. Unfortunately, that’s not so true.

People are already burdened with so much grief in the world; I want to relieve it–at least momentarily–in any way I can. Being kind and optimistic is one way I can do that. Besides, adding my personal troubles to the pile doesn’t resolve the collective grief everyone is experiencing, it will not improve the general mood. I don’t need to deepen the burden… though, ironically, I have no problem attempting to empathize with the grief of others…

So, I’m afraid, I too, have my moments. Have my hard times. But helping others feel good, feel better is more important to me than dwelling on hard times.

After all, kindness doesn’t cost; so, just remember to be kind, regardless, because you never know what may going on in life.

Stay kind, stay blessed, Friends.