Back to Reality

Back to Reality

I was planning on establishing a pattern for this blog; maybe I’d blog everyday, maybe every other day, maybe once a week. I haven’t been very consistent, but I feel like there is nobody even reading this yet to notice anyway. If I have any followers who even noticed I was missing from the blogging world, I’m back! Back to reality.

I was at the beach for a few days and off of work for five whole days! It was incredible. I spent the time in a gorgeous house about ten to fifteen minutes from Bethany Beach with my boyfriend and his family. Now, I only see my boyfriend about once a week typically. We work opposite schedules. He has a normal 9:00am to 5:00pm job, and I work night shifts. It’s actually hard to see anyone, family, friends, because of my work schedule. I usually work 2:00pm to 10:00pm, and almost every weekend. When I’m off, I have to try to squeeze everything I want to do into those days.

It was incredible being away; away from my small town, away from my hectic job. I got to spend five days with my boyfriend relaxing on a beach eating seafood and drinking giant strawberry daiquiris, falling asleep laughing and waking up to drink coffee together only to plan the day’s adventure. I got to travel five hours each way. That’s five hours away from my crazy world here at home.

Coming home was hard. This was the first time in my life that I’ve ever felt the desire to move away from home. Maybe it’s the fact that his brother and sister have lived at the beach, maybe it’s the fact that I can’t find a job here at home with my writing degree. Whatever stirred these feelings up inside of me, it won’t go away.

I’ve always pictured my life so differently than it’s going now. When I was younger, I thought I’d be married and settled down in my own house at 20. HA! I’m 24, still living at home and working at a gas station to pay my student loans and not even close to being engaged, let alone married. I know I’m not alone. I know I’m not supposed to have everything figured out already. I know things take time. But I’m so damn restless.

I want my own place to fill with furniture and decorations from T.J. Maxx. I want to host movie and game nights with my best friends in my own little space. I want to wake up everyday and be excited to go to work. I want to write, and I want to get paid for it. I want to be able to see my friends and family whenever I want instead of having to plan around my two days off a week. My list of desires goes on and on, yet I have no idea how to start working towards them. I feel so stuck. I’ve never ever even thought about moving away from the town I’ve grown up in, and now it’s all I can think about.

Coming home from the beach has left me in this rut. I mean, everything is better when you’re on vacation! It’s so hard to return to the monotony of normal life. I want to travel more, go exploring, take pictures. I want to go back to that weekend beach trip and play it over and over again. I want to get the nerve to move away from my tiny hometown and try to make my own life on my own terms, but I can’t figure out how to leave everything I have here behind. I need to find balance in my life, and find the motivation to stop napping and start trying to make things actually happen in my life. Until then I’m just stuck, restless and unsure of the future. Someone send help!

Hiding My Writing

I wrote my first story when I was about seven years old. “Cali the Cat” it was called. My grandpa bought me a Windows 98 back when computers were first getting popular. The first thing I did was open Notepad and start writing. I would sit there every night spilling my little thoughts onto the screen and forcing my mom and dad to read it. I knew from the time I was little I wanted to be a writer. The only difference? Back then, I wanted the whole world to read my writing.

When did things change? I remember doing poetry contests and writing essays in elementary school and making everyone from my parents to my grandma’s friends and neighbors read them. I was so proud of my work. I thought I was the best. Now? Now, I hide a book full of poems under my bed and I keep secret blogs and tumblr accounts with writing on them. I write things on my laptop and hide them in folders under names like “merp” so that nobody ever dares to open them.

Maybe it’s because my writing has changed. I’m not writing stories about cats that run away and the adventures they go on. I’m writing poems about how much I hate myself. I’m writing about people in my life. I’m writing about what goes on behind my smile. Some of my writing is dark, despite how happy I always seem to be. It’s not all kittens and sunshine anymore; being an adult never is.

I’m afraid to show my family and friends. I’m afraid of criticism, afraid that I’m not as good as I think I am. I sometimes feel like nothing I have to say is worth reading. Even this blog; I just find myself rambling. I don’t want people to see how I really feel about myself or about growing up. I want to be a published author. I want the entire world to see my writing, except the tiny percentage that is people that I know. Do you see the problem?

I have a best friend who is an incredibly talented writer and without a doubt the most creative person I have ever met. (Hi, Nathan, if you’re reading this!) We have such a close relationship, and we can talk about anything and do anything together. He’s so passionate about reading and writing, and I know he’d be able to give me constructive criticism and probably even help me figure out what the hell to do with this blog. So when he asked for the link of my blog or asked to read things I’ve written in the past, why am I always so hesitant to show him?  He’s the only one who knows about this blog, and probably the only other set of eyes that’s read some of the things I’ve written.

I’m so restless with where I am in life, and I know I’m ready to start getting serious about my writing and trying to get it out there. I guess the first step is sharing it with the people who love me the most. Friends, family, if you’re reading this, I DID IT. Until then… hello, beautiful strangers!

Creativity Coverup

Don’t tell me that I shouldn’t wear makeup.
Don’t tell me that I have too much make up on.
Don’t tell me that I should wear more makeup.

I’m 24 years old, and I honestly don’t remember a time in my life when I didn’t have acne. I have horrible skin. I got really into makeup at an earlier age, probably making my skin worse. I’ll admit that I’m definitely one to push confidence. I compliment people every single change I get. Everyone is perfect in my eyes; everyone is beautiful. However, it’s different with myself. I’m my own worst enemy, and I’ve torn myself apart with self hate for YEARS.

Makeup makes me feel confident. I’ve grown attached to it, despite how much I hate the fact that I depend on it so much. I’m leaving the house to run to the Dollar Store? Hold on, let me fix my makeup. Now, don’t get me wrong. I might be painting the wrong picture. I never look “perfect”. My eye liner is always smudged, and I can never seem to cover up my flaws completely. I’ve never even tried contouring or any of that fancy stuff. I’m talking about throwing on some coverup and concealer to hide my acne and adding a streak of eyeliner so that people don’t ask me if I’m sick or tired. I never go overboard, not that there’s anything wrong with that either.

I don’t think girls (or boys) do their makeup to please others. I don’t think they’re worried about others opinions. I’m certainly not. If you don’t like me, don’t look at me. I wear makeup because it truly makes me feel better about myself. What’s wrong with a little confidence boost? Everyone has their own vices. If mine is that I don’t like leaving my house without makeup, shouldn’t you be happy that that’s the worst thing you can find about me? Makeup makes me forget that I have imperfections. It makes me forget about my acne. It makes me smile, and it makes me feel pretty. It allows me to look people in the eye without worrying that they’re talking to my acne, rather than me.

Makeup is creative. It’s really fucking creative. Have you ever seen some of the things that girls can do? Winged eyeliner, contouring, smokey eyes; it’s beautiful, and it takes skill, time, and patience. It’s art that we are allowed to display on our face.

Honestly, I really do envy people that have “natural beauty”. Perfect skin, a natural glow, even skin tones, et cetera. If I didn’t have acne, I probably wouldn’t wear makeup at all. I’m lazy, and that would mean more sleep in the mornings. But makeup has become part of my routine, and I’ve grown to really love it and what it does for my appearance and my view of myself. You don’t like makeup? Good thing I’m not putting it on your face every morning!

Finding a Purpose; Positive, but Impatient

Finding a Purpose; Positive, but Impatient

It’s officially been a whole year since I’ve graduated college.

I’m working at a dream job in my field, English Writing. I’m writing articles for a local newspaper. I have the perfect hours, time off whenever needed, paid lunches, and I truly enjoy my job. The five years that I spent in college and the degree that I worked so hard to get (and will pay off for the next 25 years) was so worth it.

PSYCH. Wishful thinking. I’m working night shift at a Sheetz in a nearby town. Don’t get me wrong, I have the best coworkers and Sheetz really does treat their employees incredibly well. I’m making more money than I have at any job so far, and I’m able to apply for benefits soon. I really am appreciative for the job. I was working in a terrible environment at a company that I’m not really allowed to discuss online. (Don’t even get me started.) Basically, I was working six days a week with “mandatory overtime” during the weekdays in a cubicle listening to court hearings and typing everything that was said. I wasn’t allowed to talk, and we got in trouble for getting up to go to the bathroom too much. I was a depressed transcriptionist that was starting to develop arthritis at age 24 in a prison of a cubicle. I was desperately trying to tough it out because the job felt at least like a good start to build up my resume. However, I found myself mentally exhausted to the point that I would cry for absolutely no reason ALL the time. The job really was ridiculous, and they expected way more than physically possible from a human being.

I applied at so many jobs at local newspapers and anything that seemed even remotely related to writing. Nothing. There are no jobs, let alone writing jobs, in my area. My friend then helped me get into Sheetz, which saved me from the hell that is transcribing and put a smile back on my face. The hours are perfect for a nocturnal little creature like myself. I work 2pm to 10 pm, allowing me to stay up all night and still sleep in. However, now that the weather in Pennsylvania is starting to warm up, I’m not really enjoying spending entire beautiful, sunny days making fried food inside.

I never saw my life going this way. When I was in high school, I was in the top 20 every single year. I graduated with a 98 percent GPA. I had no idea what I wanted to do with my life. Everyone seemed to have plans, solid plans, that included becoming nurses and doctors, teachers, et cetera. I on the other hand couldn’t see myself doing any of that. I got a two year full tuition scholarship to Pennsylvania Highlands Community College where I took up general studies. I’ll just get my core classes out of the way, I told myself. Two years later, I still had no passion for anything “practical”. I couldn’t figure out what the hell I wanted to do. I transferred to IUP to study psychology. It seemed safe. It made my family proud. It gave my grandpa something solid to brag about when he talked about me to his friends.  Long story short and minus the gruesome details, ironically my mental health spiraled out of control because of my psych classes and college. Rather than dropping out like I desperately wanted to, I switched my major to English Writing. Writing is the only thing I’ve ever truly loved. I was told that there are tons of jobs for English majors. Well, now here I am.

I recently had a weirdly realistic dream that I was working for a local newspaper and I got to go to a huge yard sale with my mom  to take pictures and write an article about it. (Believe it or not, in my town “the great Portage yard sale” is a newsworthy event every summer). I was being paid to do everything I love: spend time with my mom, thrift shop, and write. Ever since then, I’ve been absolutely restless with my life and where I’ve ended up.

I’ve started wrestling with these feelings that I’m such a failure. I know it takes time to establish a life, but I’m impatient. After all, people that are younger than me are getting married, moving into their own houses, and landing awesome career driven jobs. It must be nice. Today, I was at Walmart with my mom oogling over Finding Nemo and Frozen themed Jello. (Yes, I’m an adult.) This woman who looked rather unfriendly was also looking at the same section. Suddenly, she looked over at me and asked me to help her find cook and serve chocolate pudding. I helped her, and we ended up talking. She said that she laughed when she heard me and my mom joking around, and it reminded her about her own mother. She then continued to tell me about how her mother died in a horrible crash last year. She said she couldn’t figure out what to do without her mom, and when she asked for a sign, she got an urge to bake. I saw her instagram, full of pictures of adorable decorated cupcakes and creative treats that she had made since then. Baking is helping her keep this bond with her mother.

This woman opened up to me, a complete stranger, all because I helped her find the pudding she needed when she didn’t have her glasses to find it herself. She was such an unbelievably positive person, despite all of the pain she told me she’s going through. I talked to her for a good 15 minutes, blocking the jello and pudding section and holding up traffic with our carts in the aisle. It felt amazing to see her face transform to a smile by the end of the conversation. She told me that I was a sweetheart, and that it was so nice to be able to have such a deep conversation all starting with pudding. So simple, yet so meaningful.

Maybe I don’t have a real purpose in life. I’m not doing anything that’s saving humanity or making a difference. I’m making fried food at a gas station and blogging from my living room. However, I can put a smile on almost anyone’s face. I’m kind and I genuinely care about seeing people happy, no matter how I’m feeling, myself. I strive to make people happy, and that does make a difference. Not to human kind, but to at least one person. I’m a good daughter and friend. I have so much to offer, but nothing to put on a resume to make myself stand out. They say good things come to those who wait. I guess I’ll just have to stay patient, stay kind, and stay positive. I haven’t found my purpose in life yet, but that doesn’t mean I don’t have one. Even if it’s just giving random strangers a chance to reminisce about their deceased loved ones; I made a woman smile today, and that’s important.

A Little Taste

Ready or not, here comes my opinions. Why do I think that everyone should have to work at least one job in the retail or fast food industry throughout their lives? Well, having worked at the only grocery store in my tiny town for three years and now working at a Sheetz in a college town, let me talk to you from my own personal experience.

Have you ever been in line and heard a customer in a store or restaurant giving a cashier a piece of their mind? Maybe you’ve been that person who received an order wrong or happened to be charged twice when being rung up at a store. Of course you stomped up to the worker and flipped out about their mistake. Right? No, don’t.

My mom is the first person who will fight with a cashier when a sale price doesn’t ring up right or give a fast food worker or waitress attitude when her order is wrong. I can’t even count on two hands how many times I’ve stood behind her saying, “please be nice to them,” and trying to explain to her how frustrating it is to be on the other side of that counter. It’s impossible.

I truly don’t think you can grasp the concept of treating cashiers and food service people with an abundance of respect until you’ve been the person in the worker’s shoes. When I go shopping, I smile at my cashiers. I’ve been behind the counter stuck in an eight hour shift on a weekend when I could have been at a concert with my friends instead. I have to smile and treat people with respect; it’s part of my job as a cashier. However, I’m a human. Don’t I deserve it in return? I tell cashiers to have a good day before they have a chance to tell me. I know how much it surprises me when a customer actually takes the time to ask me about my day or wish me well instead of running out the door without even a thank you.

I don’t get mad when I have to wait longer than expected at a restaurant. I’ve been stuck on a shift shorthanded trying to make 15 orders in a timely fashion and doing the work of three people because there simply aren’t enough workers to do everything that needs done. I’ve been in a kitchen making food during a busy dinner rush, flying around the kitchen and stressing myself out and doing things literally as fast as I can only to be snubbed when I apologized to a customer about their wait. I don’t freak out on a worker when they accidentally forget my dressing or side when I order food. I simply politely ask if I would be able to get what was missing and say thank you, because I’ve been on the other side. It’s all too easy to make a mistake when you’re trying to bag multiple orders quickly. I’m only human after all. I’m sincerely sorry that I forgot your ranch dressing. I guess you’ve never made a mistake in your life, right? And despite what you say, I’m sure you’ll be returning to our store. If not, good riddance.

I don’t get angry when I have to wait in a long line, because I’ve worked in stores where people have called off and I have been stuck at the register by myself. It’s not the cashier’s fault that they are under staffed or that ten people decided to get in line before you made your decision to check out. Please don’t give them attitude or treat them poorly. And I know that some cashiers have poor attitudes, themselves. Some people truly shouldn’t be working at a store if they don’t like people. I get that, and that is the case in some instances. However, try to remember that your cashier simply might be having a horrible day. Maybe they made a mistake earlier and they were yelled at by a manager or a customer, or maybe they’re having trouble at home and trying to tough it out at work. I’ve had some of my worst days at work, and I’ve tried to smile through it no matter what. Sometimes it’s just impossible.

I could go on and on, but this post is getting way too long. I guess what I’m trying to say is I treat people the way I want to be treated. I’ve been on the other side of the counter working as a cashier and making food at a gas station that offers nearly everything on the menu. I’ve been yelled at by customers while I had to smile and apologize for something that I had no control over. (Believe it or not, cashiers DON’T have any control over the prices at the store. Crazy, right?) I’ve been stuck making food for an entire college town by myself and unfortunately have had to make people wait for their orders because no matter how fast I go, I can only make one order at a time. I’ve had bad days where everything seemed to go wrong. I’ve been stuck at work for my 2pm to 10 pm shift on a beautiful sunny day while my friends and family were doing things without me. I’ve worked at a grocery store trying to get through college, and now I’m working at Sheetz trying to get my shit together and save up money while I job hung post-college graduation.

Working in retail and fast food has give me a taste of the wonderful world of customer service. I know how it feels, and I carry those experiences when interacting with workers at stores and restaurants that I go to, myself. I’m not saying I’ve been treated by shit by every customer I’ve ever encountered. I can actually gladly say that I’ve had many more pleasant experiences than bad ones when dealing with people. I’ve met some of the most kind hearted, generous, and patient people while at work. Maybe they’re genuinely good people, or maybe they, themselves, have worked in the industry and know how it feels. Maybe they’ve had a little taste of my world.

A New Beginning

Asdfghjkl; I have been sitting at my laptop looking for something to do with my Writing degree since I got it in May of 2015, so here I am finally starting a blog. I’ve always had a passion for writing, but I’ve been stuck inside this twisted mix of wanting to scream my poems at the world and plaster my writing all over the place, while also not wanting anyone I know to see it. Maybe it’s the fear that I’m not as good as I think I am, or maybe it’s strictly not wanting the world to see how I really feel or what I really think about things. Writing is a way to expose the deepest, darkest parts of the soul. Is the world ready for a taste of mine?

Maybe I’m just confused in this world where I can’t seem to find a writing related job because I have no experience, but I also can’t seem to find any opportunities to gain said experience. I just want to write. I want to travel and experience new things, or simply attend local events in my town and write about them. I want to break away from the night shift job that I currently work and get my weekends and nights back. I want to feel the spark ignited in my heart when I got critiques on work that I have written like I used to when I was in college. I want to feel the fire burning in my soul when someone tried to tell me I couldn’t rhyme my poetry or write a story with that plot line, and then work hard to prove them wrong. I want to see my name printed beside articles, poems, and stories that are published for the world to read. I want so many things, but I’m not sure where or how to start.

I feel like I need a new beginning. I’m not exactly happy with how things have turned out post-college graduation, and I’m not sure how to get on the track that I want. I guess this is my first step. A blog. Let’s see where we can take this.