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.

Rejection

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.

RejectionSad

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.

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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.

SScribbles

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.

What Am I Supposed to Do?

Hi Friends!

I wanted to get this out at my usual time, buuuuuut thesising and family/fun-time prevailed. I am on deadline after all. Which doesn’t really justify why I’m writing this then… But, eh, just roll with it. I needed a break. From writing… with more writing. Yay, writing! Speaking of which…

As I am thesising and moving toward graduation–now less than a month away–I am also applying for jobs. And internships. And really any sort of employment opportunity that can get me that much closer to my dreams. What are those exactly? Whelp, if you’ve read my past blog posts pertaining to this subject, I seem to already have an idea. Or do I?

Nah, just kidding–I do. But a recent realization has somewhat challenged that idea.

To recap: I’d really love to write and to help people in whatever it is I end up doing–ideally with a nonprofit organization. Seems simple enough. Only how I envisioned using my writing skills in this realm may not align with God’s Plan for me…

Up until about a week ago I thought the communications sector (e.g. writing, graphic design, social media, audio-visual, etc.) was the route I would be taking. All my education and experience up to now has pretty much led me to this conclusion. And that’s perfectly great! I still get to write while remaining relatively versatile and still expressing my fictional organization’s mission.

But on a recent interview with an uh-MAZING nonprofit organization (like, seriously, you guys, I cannot even portray how awesome this organization is–funny enough, it is located very close to my university and I only just found out about it during my last semester. Anyway…) for an, ahem, unpaid internship position, my interviewer mentioned a grant writing job with the organization was to open up in the coming months. That got my attention pretty quickly, 1) Because it was a job, and, more importantly (to me), 2) It was a job that merged my two career ambitions. Plus, it would involve working for an organization with which I fell in love within the first few minutes of walking around the premises. And while all of these factors are great, don’t get me wrong, they aren’t exactly why I’m thinking I need to shift my career focus from general communications to grant writing (though they do play a role).

Now, hear me out: I don’t think general communications are out of the question, but this mentioning of grant writing hit me hard, hit me differently than it has in the past before. To the point where I can’t help but wonder if maybe that is what I’m ultimately supposed to be doing with my life (or maybe just for now), maybe this is what God wants for me. He hasn’t exactly explicitly told me. I haven’t felt it in my heart. But I have been praying about a sense of direction recently. A lot. And, the thing is, this isn’t the first time the prospect of grant writing has come up.

All throughout college, I have had numerous professors and classmates and potential employers encourage my pursuing a career in grant writing. It all involves writing and research and persuasion by way of emotion (pathos) and rationality (logos)–all things at which I’m fairly talented, if I do say so myself. And, best of all, I would be helping people: both those of the organization but also those who benefit from the organization. However, when this suggestion of grant writing has come up in the past, I haven’t always been the most receptive to the idea. I don’t exactly know why–I think I was a little too focused on what I thought I wanted at the start of my collegiate career, and not as welcome to alternate paths.

Well, I’m more welcoming now. Especially since I’ve actually looked more into grant writing as a career, actually uncovering all it entails instead of merely making assumptions based on its title. I mean it’s a lot like being a student: researching, writing extensive papers, using persuasion–all to meet a deadline. Only, instead of grades, your success is measured by receiving the grant for which you apply… or not. So, the repercussions are a bit more extreme. Yay, the pressure.

I don’t know if I truly am meant to do this, if this is what God wants for me. I haven’t felt it in my heart yet, and that seems to be a big deciding factor for me. But if all these people in my life are directing me toward this path, including as of late when I have been praying about direction… I can’t help but wonder… And I guess if I’m wrong, if I am just using my communication-savvy, over-analytical (sometimes) mind to read too far into this, then so be it. But at the very least, this has proved professionally enlightening.

So there’s that! Hope you’ve been having a less confusing time in life, than I, Friends. But if you have, I feel your struggle. You know, to some extent.

Have a blessed week, Friends!

Breaking My Norm

What’s this? ANOTHER surprise post? Ahhhhhh!

Whelp, since my schedule is going to be pretty hectic for the next month and a half which is not conducive to having my blog ready by my usual time, I shall compensate with random timely posts every so often. You’re welcome!

I just got done doing something crazy: I broke my norm. I did something completely out of character from my past pre-college self. Are you ready? Wait for it…

I just went to a movie. By myself. By choice. Isthatcrazyorwhat?

I know, I totally just shattered your expectations–didn’t I? I know, you’re probably thinking: LAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAMMMEE!!!!!! Quinn, you really need to re-evaluate your idea of “crazy.” But hear me out.

My idea of crazy isn’t trekking across the States by myself or jumping out of a plane (though either of those situations would totally amp up my anxiety). If anything, I’m more into the take-a-walk-by-myself-in-a-foreign-country-and-get-hustled type of crazy. But this time, no lying individuals were present, no terrible artwork. Nope.

I just went to the movies. Alone. For me. I had a date with just me.

Keep in my mind: I’m an introvert. Not only that but a very introverted introvert when it comes to the spectrum of introversion. Add to that I’m relatively independent, self-reliant, and, oh, I have social anxiety–all in all, I’m not the most fond of unnecessary social interaction. (Not that you’d know by my perma-smile whenever faced with a stranger in public. I mean, c’mon guys. I may not love socializing, but I’m not going to be rude about it. Anyways.) I don’t get out much, and up until college, embarking on a social outing alone would have been included in the list of my Top Fears… which is pretty weird when you consider the traits I just mentioned…

It’s just, in a place like the U.S., social life matters. Having friends, extremely visible friends plays a vital role in your image, in how others perceive you. Especially in the grade school years. And when I say visible, I’m not talking of the non-imaginary variety; I mean friends who go with you everywhere. And when you do spend time apart, you’re communicating with one another via message system or social media, as if to say Look, everyone. Look at how social and popular I am. Yes, it is so neat how close we are. 

But the thing is, once you get to where I am in life–in college, about to enter that “Real World” (or maybe you realize this earlier in life, if you’re lucky)–you realize that 1) It’s really just a big facade, and 2) It’s not that important, really. Looking like you’re social and have friends really doesn’t matter, doesn’t compare to actually having genuine friends. Who may not be there to fill a physical absence, but who is always there to console my anxiety episodes, to help me think through my problems, to make me laugh uncontrollably with just a look. That is what genuine friendship looks like, and it can’t always be made clear by a physical being standing or not standing beside you.

And I guess it took me going to a movie by myself to–not realize that. No, I realized this earlier on in college, in high school, even. But, to be fully comfortable with the idea, to embrace it, that’s what this movie date did for me. Sure, I’ve done things by myself before, like running errands or going out to eat. I mean, I’m an introvert–I spend a lot of time by myself. But running errands and eating aren’t deemed solely social activities by society. Something like a movie is…even if it’s literally spending two hours in the dark not socializing (Hey! Introvert’s dream date come true! Kidding…). So this was a pretty big step for me. To not only be introverted in public, but excessively so.

After getting over the fact that I was literally the only. Single. One. in a theater full of couples (might’ve had something to do with the fact I was seeing a coming-of-age romantic comedy and it was discount night for students at the theater, but besides the point), I was pretty content with myself. I was happy with where I was, I was at peace. I was comfortable. I didn’t need a friend next to me to look credible, normal. And when you have social anxiety, and are convinced everyone is always watching you, when in reality they are likely doing anything but, that’s an AMAZING feeling. Maybe it’s just the irrational, anxious part of my brain talking, but I felt like everyone around me could see I didn’t mind being so independent, so single in a room full of socialites, and were secretly in awe of me. Or something. Yeah… all in my head…

So after coming down from the high of doing a big social thing all by my big girl college self, I just wanted to document my experience for you Readers and share what I learned. Hopefully, if you are wiser than I, you’ll have already learned this lesson. If so, enjoy the review. Take pride that yet another individual has finally embraced her independence. If not, well, here’s to something new.

It’s time to break your norm, Readers.

Times Like These

It’s no secret I’ve been suffering through some copious amounts of anxiety as of late. More than I usual–and understandably so, I think. But all that came to a momentary halt when I came home from work on Friday and was greeted by my younger brother, Max–and a present. He had specially made. For me.

Let me just pause here to review for you Readers who may not be as familiar: I’ve written about Max a bit on here, but just in case you do not feel like searching through my blog’s archives for accounts of our sibling interactions, here’s the gist. Max is my younger brother whom I love with my whole heart…and who also happens to be on the high-functioning end of the spectrum of Asperger Syndrome (which is on the high-functioning end of the spectrum of autism). Basically, he has AS, but functions so seemingly “normal” (by society’s definition, anyway) in everyday life, passersby would likely not know he has it unless told. At the very least, he may simply come across as eccentric, but beyond that…

Asperger Syndrome and autism have made remarkable waves throughout media in recent years, so I think the general population has a decent grasp on the concepts. But, in a nutshell, autism is a developmental disorder that interferes with the ability to communicate, to interact with the outside world. Asperger Syndrome is much the same, only the interference with communicating is, I suppose you could say, to a lesser degree; as I said, AS is more high-functioning. So while someone with autism may struggle to interact with another, with the outside world, to the extent of being nonverbal (no talking), someone with Asperger’s does talk and interact with others, but there are conditions. Maybe they talk too much about a certain subject yet are notably silent on others. Maybe they pace back in forth while they talk. Or don’t make eye contact. Or speak in a flat, monotone voice. It all varies, case-by-case. In short? Autism folks struggle to communicate; Aspies, as well, but to a lesser degree–so much so that they are more perceivably “normal” to the rest of us… yet, not normal enough.

Back to Max’s gift. My little brother has surprised me with his behavior throughout the years. And this past weekend, he continued that trend. Individuals with Asperger’s are not typically known for their thoughtfulness; they tend to live in their own world, focusing on their perspective. I attribute it to a starring character in a movie–the person with Asperger’s takes on the main role, while everyone else serves lesser roles. Everything that happens to the former is a BIG DEAL, and is interpreted and reacted to only based upon on how said happening affects them. Seems kind of selfish, yes? But I think we’re all pretty guilty of that from time to time. In any regard, while Max exhibits this way of thinking, he also balances it out with his random bouts of thoughtfulness.

Evidence A: I’m a pretty big fan of Disney. I mean who isn’t, to some degree? I’m certainly not a fanatic by any means, but do I like the movies, the catchy songs, the overpriced theme parks? Yeah! I do. So anyways, Max is taking an art class at school this semester and I guess his teacher was giving students some free reign in their latest project and so Max sketched a detailed replica of the acclaimed Disney Castle…with the intention of giving it to me. Which he did! And Readers, let me tell you my heart became so full right then–so much that I think it promptly melted as a delayed response to the kind gesture.

Look, I know, in most other cases, with “normal” siblings, this wouldn’t be a big deal. Some siblings might be genuinely touched but not make a huge commotion out of the affair. Others might not think anything of it, limply accepting the drawing and then forget about it in the weeks to come. And there are those who may not do much of anything at all. I mean, it’s only a drawing, right? Of something I only like, but not fanatically love. What’s so great about that?

Max and I are not a “normal” case (is there such a thing with any set of siblings, though?). I don’t see a measly sketch. I see tangible evidence of my dear Aspergian brother thinking of someone else. I see an act of kindness, of love, that lets me know Max loves me and thinks of me and values me. To receive that, when people with autism/Asperger’s aren’t known for their consideration or their affection, just warms me to my core.

And gives me momentary respite from my constant, nearing-graduation-anxiety. Nothing distracts you from life’s hardships quite like love…or something. And I’m thankful I’ve been granted times like this to remind me of that.

Love on, Readers.

Okay, Fine–I’m Scared

Do you remember a few posts ago, when I was so confident, so at peace with where I was in life–despite not having my future figured out beyond graduation? I remember concluding with something along the lines of, “I hope this season of peace lasts!”

It’s like I know myself so well, like I knew my unusual bout of contentment wouldn’t remain.

Now, I wasn’t being negative, just realistic. I know myself (you know, to some degree) and I worry about everything. It’s just who I am–it’s side effect of anxiety, or something. So when I wasn’t worried about my lack of post-grad job, lack of calling, lack of purpose, I suspected it was only a matter of time… And I was right! Not that I wanted  to be…

Once I officially hit the two month mark before graduation, reality really set in for me. I’m doomed to a series of lasts with where I am in life. Er, a suspected series of lasts. Who knows? Maybe I’ll go back to school after all. But at the moment, I’m planning on this chapter of my life to come to a close. After I walk across the stage, receive my diploma, I will be diving into the workforce, impressing my new employer with my super awesome writing skills. Better yet, helping people in need with those writing skills… somehow. But once all that begins, I will no longer be in school. A life I’ve known for the past 17 years or so will be replaced by another. And that’s kind of daunting.

I should clarify: I’m really not that sentimental about leaving school behind, no longer being a student. Sure, these past four years have been filled with an abyss of change; I’m not the same person now as I was coming into college, that’s for sure. But I’m ready for something new; I’m ready to break free from the coddling of school and enter the real world. Ready to help the real world.

No, what I’m more fearful of is: I don’t know what this real world, what this new life will entail. I don’t know my path, what His plan is for me. Sure, I’ve talked about on here my ideals to write and help others and to somehow merge the two, but that’s what want to do. I don’t know if that’s what I’m supposed to do, what He wants me to do. There’s a difference between passions and talents and callings–only in some instances do those happen to be synonymous (also known as a vocation, but I digress)–and I’m not sure my wants and abilities align with where the Lord places me. I mean I imagine He’ll interfere at some point if I’m barreling down the wrong path; I’ve prayed for Him to direct me. But so far, I’m still waiting. I’m still uncertain. And that scares me.

I don’t know what’s in store for me next. And when I hear everyone else disclose their plans following graduation, whether it be workforce (already signed on for a job) or graduate school or mission work or some other amazing Plan XYZ, how they seem to have everything all figured out, I’m led to feel… left behind, I guess. Like everyone else has their life together and I don’t. Look, I know there’s a chance they don’t, in fact, have their life together as much as they may say they do. I know comparison is detrimental–especially for someone with anxiety. But knowing that isn’t going to stop my worry, prevent me from wishing I had A Plan after I move from one phase of life to the next. I just want to know what I’m supposed to do, what I’m meant to do. But I don’t. And man, Readers, it’s teaching me a whole lot about patience and God’s timing.

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I actually haven’t even seen “FRIENDS,” but this seems relevant…

And if any of you Dear Readers who may be going through something similar, who are about to embark on a new time in life, who don’t know what’s next? Whelp. I feel your pain, I do. Huzzah, solidarity! I’m here, too, waiting right there with you… I guess we’ll see what happens, right?

Also, for the record, I don’t hope this season lasts.