Wind-up

I swear

I was born

with a wind-up winch

in the middle

of my spine.

It gets cranked and

twisted,

’til I am tense

with the strain of it.

But instead of running or jumping,

I unravel.

 

I’ve been meaning to do a wrap-up of NaNo for this year, but I didn’t feel like it today. Here’s a poem I recently wrote instead. I hope everyone’s doing well.

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To fluorescent lights

How I hate thee

O fluorescent lights!

You burn my retinas by day

and haunt my dreams at night.

I know you exist to be suns

no matter how awful the weather

but if we need a manmade sun,

we surely can do better.

 

Since starting my first full time job in August, I have discovered the depths of my hatred for fluorescent lighting. So I decided to write a poem about it.

Check in #2

Hello, everyone! I just have a few little things I want to talk with you about and to let you know what you’ll be seeing more on the blog in the coming months.

  1. Balancing work and art is difficult but insanely rewarding.
    So as I said in my last check in post (which you can read here), I got promoted at work. I’m now working full time instead of part time, which has been an interesting switch. One thing no one tells you about working full time is that you get into such a routine that it’s kind of hard to get out of it, even for a weekend. It’s a first world problem, I know, but I’ve never heard anyone talk about it.
    Coupling a job and art are difficult. There are times when you’re just too tired or there’s too much going on that it feels like you can’t get anything done. But I’ve become good at stealing time or making time to get some writing done. I’m still getting there, though. For all of you who might be struggling with this kind problem, it can be done. Just keep going. You can do it.
  2. Teaching involves a lot of thinking on your feet.
    Quite a bit of the new job is comprised of teaching, especially with technology. In order to be a teacher, you have to be insanely good at reading people and to be willing to try to explain the same things differently to different people. I never quite understood that before, but I think I’m getting there. To all you teachers, hats off to you.
  3. It’s almost fall. How did that happen? But fall means cool writing things.
    I can’t believe that summer’s nearly over. It was a busy, anxious, yet wonderful time. Things in my life have already started to mellow out, for which I am insanely grateful. And I’m planning quite a few things for the blog for this fall.
    As some of you might remember from last year, I decided to create a month-long poetry challenge, in which I post a poem every day. It’s called the October Poetry Project. My thought was that since quite a few people know that NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month, more info on that here) takes place in November, why not have the month of October be dedicated to poetry? I realize that April is National Poetry Month (at least here in the U.S.) and I should probably try to tackle my challenge then. But October seems to lend itself more to poetry than April does, at least to me, so expect poetical whimsies every day (I hope) in October.
    And, in case you’re wondering, yes, I will be participating in NaNo this year. More on that as the time draws closer.
    In the meantime, I’m going to do my utmost to try to post at least once a week for the rest of September. I’ve found a few book tags I’d like to do and there are some other thoughts I’d like to share with you.

So that’s all I have to share with you for now. I hope you’re having a great day and I’ll write again soon! Bye!

The inevitable anniversary blog

It’s been a year. Since I graduated from college, that is. That fact is so hard to believe.

marci, catherine and me

From the right, my friend Marci, my roommate, Catherine, and me. We met at our pre-orientation and ended up being in a lot of classes together since we were all English students. This was taken before the big ceremony. No one looks good in academic livery, but we didn’t do too bad. 

In many ways, it still feels like I’ve been on an extended break, that I’m still waiting for the call from my university, wondering why I haven’t come back to finish up my studies. But I did finish and I do have the diploma, and now I have a year’s worth of work, interview, and writing experience I couldn’t have seen coming. And through all of that, I’ve learned a lot. The following list is not a list of things I’ve learned and then moved on, it’s more of a summing up of bits and pieces that have been reinforced to me over and over during this first year in the “real world”.

  1. There will be twists and turns you won’t expect. And things will not go your way.  Learn to be okay with that.
    I’m not going to get into too much detail here, but suffice it to say that the dreams I had of getting the perfect job and moving away from home right after I returned from school did not happen. There have been so many days that I’ve beaten myself up because I feel like it’s my fault that I am not where I want to be in life right now. While I know that sounds stupid (and it kinda is), it’s also an understandable reaction. People’s dreams sometimes take a long time to come true, if they ever come true at all. And while that’s discouraging, being upset about it doesn’t help anything. So if you ever feel sad because you don’t feel like you’re where you’re supposed to be in life, it’s okay to be sad, but don’t let that sadness weigh you down. Use that sadness as fuel to keep going. You can do it, even if you don’t think you can.
  2. Celebrate your successes, even the little ones.
    It can be easy, especially when you’re just starting out, to ignore the successes you do have because they are not the kinds of successes you’re aiming for. Success involves a lot of plodding along on a path that will eventually take you where you want to go. It’s so dumb and demoralizing that (at least in the U.S.) we have this idea that success occurs in a shoot-to-the-moon kind of fashion and that once you are deemed “a success”, you better do all you can to hold on to that title and that validation. While those stories make for interesting fodder for Hollywood, I’d safely wager that if you ask any successful person, they’d tell you just how long and how difficult a journey it was. So celebrate your little successes, because that means you’re one step closer.
  3. The key to being thankful is being observant.
    Noticing the little things and taking the time to be thankful for them is almost, maybe even more important thank being grateful for the big things.
  4. Getting an interview doesn’t mean you have to take the job, if they even offer it to you.
    Since I started my job search late last May, I’ve had several in-person and phone interviews for different jobs. The one thing that has been consistent with all of those interviews was the fact that I got incredibly anxious about moving and how I would handle the job before the interview even happened. While it’s important to be well-informed about the job, what you’ll be doing, and where you will potentially be living, it’s also important to keep yourself calm and not to get ahead of yourself. While getting an interview is a good sign, it doesn’t mean that you’re going to get the job or that you’re going to have to figure everything out at the drop of a hat. Take everything as it comes and don’t try to climb the mountain before you’ve even arrived at its base.
  5. There are some things school hasn’t and couldn’t prepare you for.
    School, like everything in life, is a mix of the mundane and the magnanimous. It’s only now that I’ve been out of school that I realize just how much of school I found boring, even though I know I’ve been incredibly lucky to attend school at all. I’ve also realized that, though school feels like it finishes your education, it really is only the beginning. I remember my Victorian lit professor telling us that when we were discussing the influence of England’s universities on the writers of that period. He said something like, “The end of our formal education is only the beginning, which is why they call graduation commencement.”

I hope you’ve enjoyed my little reflection of my time out of the education system. If you have any school/life stories you’d like to share, please do! Happy Mother’s Day to all the mothers, stepmothers, godmothers, and mothers-to-be!

 

How I feel about the election

I should be an informed citizen

but I don’t want to be locked in an asylum

I should definitely do my taxes

yet no one taught me how to file ’em.

They want me to pick a side

but my beliefs aren’t right or left

they’re children squabbling in a sandbox

while Lady Liberty looks on, bereft.

They want to lock the country’s doors.

Our pristine shores don’t need foreign mud

yet those who scream for this the loudest

have so much Europe in their blood.

It’s all done for me, part of the future, they claim,

all done for democracy.

Then how come I can’t help but feel

these politicians have forced so hatred much on me?

A couple of things

Hi, there. So I didn’t mean to take an almost month-long break from blogging. The long and the short of it is that I’ve started to write for a couple of different websites (I’ll link to my pieces under my “Writing” tab) and it’s resulted in me neglecting my own blog. But I’ll try to be better about this in the future, I promise. In the time since I last wrote, I’ve made a couple of changes to my life that I’d like to share with you. They’re not big changes, but they’ve made a big difference and I hope, if you decide to try them, they’ll help you, too.

  1. Praying the Chaplet of Divine Mercy every morning.
    I started doing this in addition to reading the book 33 Days to Divine Mercy (which you should totally read) and it’s been a beautiful way to start the day. Even though it’s hard praying right after you wake up, the practice of doing it in the morning ensures that I’ve prayed a least a little every day and helps me to dedicate the day to God and his mercy. It’s also nice to have some quiet time to fully wake up and take a few deep breaths before plunging ahead into whatever the day brings. You don’t need to be Catholic to pray this prayer and if you’d like to learn how, here’s a great website to learn how to do it.
  2. Getting off the internet by 11 p.m.
    So I’m kind of breaking this resolution by writing this right now, but I promise I’m getting off as soon as this is up. I had this incredibly bad habit of working late into the night and then staying on the computer for sometimes up to an hour afterwards just goofing off on the internet in order to de-stress. Unfortunately, I carried on this tradition into post-grad life. I’d get on the computer to check my email and answer some messages and would soon fall down the time wasting hole that is Youtube only to emerge an hour later, frustrated with myself. I finally decided that enough was enough. Late night internet usage was a fine way to de-stress when I was in the pressure cooker of college, but not any more, especially since I need to develop some kind of routine. And it’s been really great. For one thing, it’s helped my eyes (my eyes hurt if I stare at something too long, as I tend to do when looking at a computer) and it’s also helped me get to sleep. My mom once told me that she can’t browse the internet or listen to music at least an hour before bedtime. I didn’t understand that because, though at that time I didn’t use the internet too much, I definitely listened to music before going to sleep. But now I understand what she said. Electronics stimulate your senses in ways other things don’t  causing your brain to work differently than it would. Unplugging before bed has given me the chance to slow down, be silent, and give my brain a break.

So these are just a couple of little things that I’ve started doing that have been helping me live a better, more peaceful life. I know everyone saves these kinds of life-hack, advice posts for around New Year’s, but you don’t need a new year to start making yourself new. Do let me know if you decide to try one of these and I hope they help! Good night, dear readers.

Rejoicing in your gifts when surrounded by the gifts of others

Hi, there. So the Olympics are in full swing and have been on almost constantly in my house. My family and I have always been Olympic fanatics, both for the summer and winter games. I would even “play” Olympics when I was little. This game only occurred once and consisted of me doing a front flip off our side table into the seat of the recliner next to it. I was two and I nearly gave my mother a heart attack. Needless to say, that game was never repeated.

While I’ve been guzzling all the footage of the 2016 games that I can between writing and working, I have been struck by how different I feel about these games than I did about the ones in 2012. To give some context, I had just graduated from high school when the London 2012 games happened. I was about to head to a university a few hours away from home and the summer had not been kind to me. A family illness and multiple issues with friends had whittled my heart down. I was really looking forward to the Olympics because I had such wonderful memories of my family gathering to enjoy the way the games bring people together. Yet all during those games, the one thought that constantly nagged at me was “I can’t do anything like that!”

for blog

This picture didn’t exist for the 2012 Olympics, yet if it did, it perfectly describes how watching them made me feel. Credit to Social Work Tutor’s facebook page.

Yes, I found it so upsetting that athletes my age or even younger than me were being so awesome and drawing so much attention. It was so silly since I probably couldn’t do any of the things that any of them did no matter how hard I tried, yet my confidence took a sucker punch every time I watched an event. Maybe it didn’t quite happen that way, but that’s how I remember it. I was so down on myself, uselessly, because I will never come close to anything like that and other people my age or younger could. Again, so silly. But at the time it wasn’t.

Fast forward four years. University is done and I have my degree and am in the uncertain zone of figuring my life out. And while people my age or younger are still being super awesome in all their athletic events, I feel nothing but happy for them. When the women’s gymnastics competition began, I cheered so much for those wonderful ladies. I’ve been constantly astonished at all the events, the dedication these people put into their sports. And I haven’t once felt bad about being athletically challenged.

It’s important to rejoice in your talents and to share those talents with others. For a long time, I thought that was an act of pride and belittled myself as much as I could. Yet that’s not true. Rejoicing in your talents and using them to the best of your ability is one of the reasons you have those talents in the first place. Being envious of other’s gifts while being down about your own is not only hurtful, it’s ungrateful. It’s like taking back a garment that fits you perfectly to try to exchange it for one that’s “better” and flashier. Pardon the ineffective metaphor, but you get what I mean.

What this all boils down is that humanity is constantly altering its roles of do-er and appreciator. What your friend can’t do, you can, and what one stranger can do extremely well, one other stranger can do only mildly well. While it’s a huge temptation to get upset about these differences, it’s better if we try to appreciate and encourage one another. Because we need each other, no matter how hard of a fact that is to accept sometimes. No one person was created to do it all but we all were made to do it all together. Thanks for reading this ramble. Have a beautiful night, everyone.

Some thoughts on “adulting”

So some interesting things have happened in the past few days, but the most interesting happened at work. I had to fill out my first accident report. Don’t worry, it wasn’t me who had the accident. One of our elderly patrons fell in the parking lot and I called 911. I comforted his wife while remaining calm and getting all the necessary information for the report. Fortunately, he wasn’t hurt too badly and his wife, once the initial shock was over, was really nice and cooperative. This experience was over in about ten minutes yet I’ve been thinking about it ever since.

I didn’t hear the phrase “adulting” until some friends of mine graduated from college the year before I did. But this experience with my first accident report has made me consider what it means to “adult”. Growing up, I thought adulthood meant working a job and going to the grocery store and paying bills. But, as I know now, those are all things that adulthood entails, not exactly what it is. Yes, you do have different responsibilities that change as you do different things such as finishing your education, finding your first job, or getting married. But there’s no magic switch that’s flipped that transforms you from “child” to “adult”. It seems that adulthood is a series of judgment calls, such as “Do I take this job that’s farther away than I wanted to go?” or  “Do I freak out about this accident or stay calm and make sure everyone’s alright?” You just have to take the challenges that life throws at you as they come and learn and grow from them. And while that can be difficult, it is necessary. And I’m glad I’ve learned that lesson now instead of a few years down the road. I have a feeling it will make this whole transition into life after school easier. Here’s hoping, anyway.