Friday, June 29, 2012

Confessional Friday

So, I feel like I have fallen off the face of the earth for a while. Truth is, I have. I am just getting used to my new job, and used to not having a laptop.

But, I confess:

1) I have really been missing my boyfriend lately. Like, bad. We were supposed to see each other next week, but it looks like it'll be September. So by then, it'll be 6 months since I've seen him. SIX MONTHS! I can't take any time off at my new job until December, so he has to come here. Anyway, I'm feeling lonely and jealous of anyone who can see their significant other on any regular basis.

2) I have procrastinated mowing my lawn since Monday night. I could do it tonight... Or in the morning when it's not 100+ degrees. See the justification there?

3) I feel like I have alienated my friends at the old job because some of them had to make statements/answer questions to HR after I tattled about the sexual harassment thing. I didn't want to involve anyone else, but I guess that's the nature of it. I could say that if they were real friends, they wouldn't hold this against me. All I did was tell the truth. However, not one of them has contacted me in the last two weeks I've been gone. Not one. That kinda hurts, and I don't want to contact them because I don't want to bring up the incident. I suppose they will come around. I just didn't want to lose any friends over all this.

4) This last one is more of a confession, and with me being catholic and all, it seems fitting. I have been listening to new age speakers and authors on different podcasts and reading books that in a different time would have probably threatened my faith or left me uninterested. I am just sick of all the fighting and religious know-it-alls. I've been searching for something that affects or helps me everyday life. I have found that in some meditation and mindfulness practices. It has really helped me. I wouldn't say it conflicts with my faith (some would), but I will say that I have less and less patience for an intolerant religion and for a lack of open-mindedness. I don't believe all religious people are closed-minded, I just need to move beyond doctrinal or theological discussions into a way that makes my life better, makes me a better person. So, that being said, I still practice my faith, but I also have been doing these other spiritual exercises. There is a part of me that feels really guilty or bad or sacrilegious doing it. I know my parents would not approve. (I know I'm 31 years old, but this is nonetheless in the back of my mind). I'm not sure my priest would approve. But I don't care. I need to get something out of my spiritual practice, and this is helping at the moment.

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Sunday Social

Sunday Social
(Apparently, if it weren't for Neely's blog link ups, I'd never have anything to write about.)

Favorite movie of all time?
Amelie.  It's a French movie from almost 10 years ago.  It is so heartwarming, beautiful to look at, and honestly, it is inspiring to the point of making you want to be a better person.  If you watch Amelie and DON'T like it, that kind of makes me want to question your character.  (Kidding, kidding...just a little bit.) 

Favorite movie quote?
"Nobody puts baby in a corner." (from Dirty Dancing) or
"There are two kinds of women in this world: high maintenance and low maintenance...You're the worst kind.  You're high maintenance, but you think you're low maintenance."  (from When Harry Met Sally

Best movie to watch for a girls night in? about a SATC marathon (the show, not the movies)

Best breakup movie?Along the same lines, the first SATC movie is a wonderful/awful breakup movie.  Waterworks.  Also, Bridget Jones Diary is pretty great when you're feeling single and miserable. 

Favorite celeb eye candy?
Bradley Cooper.  Those eyes. 

Which movie stars closet would you want to raid?
Sarah Jessica Parker.  I feel like a lot of my answers have related to her in this survey.  We do not have the same body type by any means, but she's a doll, kinda funky, and has style. 

Thursday, June 14, 2012

It's okay to be thankful Thursday

Its Ok Thursdays

(Thanks for combining the link up, I did it myself last Thursday).

It's okay that this is my last Thursday at this job, with this company.  It's SOOOOO okay.  I'm looking forward to moving on and moving up.  It's funny how at the beginning of my two weeks notice, it seemed like a short time with so much to do before I was ready to go.  Now it seems like the longest two weeks ever! (plus the two weeks before that applying, interviewing, and waiting).  I'm thankful for a good opportunity right around the corner. 

It's okay that my lawn mower is finally fixed after about a month (I do my own yard work), but that I had the landscaping company come by one more time this week anyway to mow for me.  It bought me about one more week of freedom before I do it myself again.  It's been nice to have a few weeks off, but I'm sure my neighbors will be glad that the yard work will be consistent again at my house.  I'm thankful that it didn't cost too much to fix or to have yard work taken care of for a few weeks.   

It's okay that, even though I was literally trembling and shaking, I was 100% honest with the HR department on my exit interview.  The trembling and shaking part only happened when I had to tell them details of the sexual harassment.  Funny how just speaking the truth is difficult.  It's also funny to [essentially] confess another person's sins.  I tried to remain positive and honest about my other experiences here, which were mostly good.  I'm thankful for the strength of my own convictions.  I'm not a fearful person, but I was still scared to speak those things.  I'm thankful for the other good things from this job.  It was not all colored by the bad experience.   

It's okay and I'm thankful that it's mid-June, and it still doesn't feel like real summer around here. 

It's okay that we are going to be celebrating a baby by showering a mom-to-be this weekend.  I'm thankful for her health, the baby's health, and the fact that I get to see a long-lost cousin at the shower! 

It's okay that I might be knocking out one of my summer projects this weekend by painting the looong, dark, ugly bedroom hallway.  It's the only space in my house that hasn't been painted since I moved in.  I finally chose a beautiful yellow that's creamy and not like highlighter yellow.  I'm excited.  I'm thankful that my dad is an awesome painter.  He will be helping me with this.  "Happy Father's Day, dad!  I'm "giving" you the opportunity to paint my hallway!"  I need to come up with a real Father's Day/thank you gift for him.  In 2 days.   


Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Broken Open

There is a book that is by the same name as my post, Broken Open by Elizabeth Lesser.  When I heard about the book, I knew exactly what it meant.  I said to myself, "that's what happened to me last year."  She talks about being at the lowest point and broken in life, and at that moment, you have within your hands an opportunity to open yourself up to a new way of looking at things, and really, a new type of life.  Despite being broken, you're actually in a powerful position.  You have the ability to change.  It's about halfway through 2012 now, so I feel like I have a little perspective under my belt for the year of 2011, and what a year it was.  It was my broken open year.   

I know we all go through "seasons" of life,  or it seems like things generally go in one direction or another.  They say that bad things sometimes happen in threes.  I'm not a superstitious person, but it does seem that there are trends in life.  2011 (or really, starting in September of 2010) was a very difficult year for me (15-16 months, really).  I am finally not in that dark place anymore, and it gives me hope that you can get through things.  There are some things you'll never get over, and that's okay.  In fact,  when it comes to some types of grief, you don't want to get over it.  You need to acknowledge the loss.  And so, I am going to look back on an unbelievable year in my life.  A year I never would have or could have predicted.  I can say now that I was 100% broken by what happened in my life during 2011.  And, I'm not totally healed yet, but I'm in a much better space now.  I do think these experiences opened me, made me more vulnerable, more empathetic, more grateful in the end.  There were also plenty of days that all I did was navel-gaze, throw a pity party, and cry.  But, I gave myself a year to mourn.  I needed it, and it took that long to come full circle.  In the end, like the title of the book, I do feel that 2011 was my year of being broken open.  And, if navigated carefully, correctly, with enlightenment, sometimes terrible things that break you really can open you up to gifts and change and renewal. 

So, here is what I was dealing with on the "broken" side:

- Death and loss.  Between September 2011 and December 2012, 5 people in my life died.  2 of those 5 were murdered, and they were murdered by someone I also knew.  All 5 of the deaths were big losses, in and of themselves.  Just when I was able to come up for air, it seemed like someone else died. 

- Family drama.  During this time one of my sisters married a guy that was definitely a questionable choice (this was within 1 week of one of the deaths).  I don't say that out of judgment, but based on what my sister herself said about him (at one point when they were broken up), and based upon the two of them living with me for several months.  And speaking of marriage, within months of my sister marrying Creeper McCreeperson, my brother was served divorce papers (wait for it)...while serving overseas in the military.  My heart broke for him that my sister-in-law thought that things couldn't be worked out.  I imagined him coming home from a year overseas in active duty to an empty house, no one to greet him in the airport, and divorce papers.  That is indeed really what happened when he came home.  He lives too far away for any of us to be there when he returned from deployment.  16 months and a long legal battle later, they are finally divorced.   

- Work drama.  This has been alluded to in many of my other posts about work, since I recently got a new job offer.  But, in 2011, I was dealing with an obnoxious co-worker who sexually harassed me (I talked to a lawyer, and yes, it was true sexual harassment that was going on).  I had already tattled to my bosses on several occassions, documented the incidents, tried to forgive and forget.  But after one particular event, I went to a lawyer.  At one point along this journey, my bosses told me that they were going to fire this guy.  (That's probably against some HR rules.)  In the end, of course, they never fired him.  He still works there to this day.  I don't know if they intentionally lied to keep me on board for a while longer, or if they really intended to fire him when they told me so.  By the time I left that job (in February of 2012), unfortunately the dynamic at work was that the co-worker didn't talk to me.  However, my bosses began to view me and treat me like I was the problem.  I was too critical, too sensitive, difficult to work with.  He wasn't lazy, I just was over-zealous to take credit for projects I did.  He may be unprofessional or inappropriate at times, but I just didn't know how to take a joke, etc.  On bad days, I want to sue the place.  I'm not saying I'm perfect, but what he did and how they handled it were really inexcusable.  The only way to fix the problem was for me to get a new job.  Thankfully, I did.  But, dealing with this kind of work situation is exhausting in so many ways.  I worked for almost 2 years exactly with this guy.  And for a little over 1.5 of those years, the situation was as described.  (He managed to be a decent employee during his first 6 months, is all I mean by that.)

- Physical problems.  I'm not one of those people who thinks that 30 is old.  I hope to live for many, many years, so I've got a long way to go before I can claim "old."  However, right at the end of 2010, I turned 30.  I also started having some major health problems.  I stopped sleeping well, really became an insomniac or having interrupted sleep on an ongoing, regular basis.  I know a lot of this was anxiety and fear as a result of the murders.  I would be exhausted and unable to sleep, I would sleep well for one day, then terribly for 3.  Then, I was diagnosed with a blood sugar disorder.  This is going to be something I need to manage for the rest of my life.  Honestly, the diagnosis and dealing with it has made me feel better physically, but it's a constant issue (you know, we do eat 3 times a day, or more).  I also went twice to the ER that year.  And, to top it all off, I had an abnormal growth that had to be removed by my doctor, which resulted in being put on several medications.  I've never been a sickly person.  I'm not overweight.  I workout.  All of this, in my opinion, was directly related to the other things going on in my life.  My philosophy is that "it's all connected."  If my heart was broken emotionally, it's not suprising to me that I had to go to the ER for real, physical chest pain.  That might seem a little primitive, but I really do believe that the drama, stress, and emotional turmoil in my life was manifesting itself in physical ways.  I'm happy to say I'm off all medication now, and I simply manage the blood sugar by how I eat, which works most of the time.  The sleeping is touch and go.  I still have days that are bad on that front, but the fear and anxiety are gone. 

Maybe that was all TMI, but if you consider all that junk going on all at once, you can get a picture of my "broken" year.  I probably could have handled the work situation better if I hadn't been grieving some major losses/deaths.  I probably could have mourned better at the losses/deaths if I hadn't been also dealing with family drama.  I probably could have navigated the family drama if I hadn't been physically sick and exhausted.  But I couldn't put any of those things aside.  They were all happening at once.  You put that all together, and I was broken.  My friends noticed it.  They were "worried" about me.  They had little talks with me, tried to be there for me, but also told me I needed to do something about the cloud that had taken permanent residence over my head.

So, how can I look back and say that 2011 wasn't just a broken year, but an open year? 

Well, I guess that is the beauty of life, the power of the human spirit, the resilience we all have within us. That's easy to say. How do you do it? I think it's different for everyone. I used to hate sayings like "everything happens for a reason," or "what doesn't kill you makes you stronger." On the other hand, I grimace as I admit that there is some truth there.

I knew for myself that I had to have a full year of grief. Although there were 5 deaths I am referring to, I told myself I got a year for the people who were murdered. (Only one more death happened after that.) On the days I could barely breathe for the pain, I told myself that it was okay. Feel it. Mourn it. Grieve it. You've got a year, I said to myself. And honestly, not to add another cheesy saying to the pile, but I told myself that the only way out of this was to get through it. "Yea, though I walk THROUGH the valley of death, I will fear no evil..." (Psalm 23)

Anyone's death, especially the death of wonderful people via a senseless murder brings priorities and perspective to life. It's easy to see what really matters and what really doesn't when you're reminded of life and death. It's easy to see that daily struggles and difficulties pale in comparison to the thought of your friend's last moments on earth being ones of terror and pain. I don't want to diminish the importance of the daily stuff of life. That's where most of us live, most of the time. But, I have to say that it made me more patient, kinder, and more empathetic to have a powerful reminder of life and death CONSTANTLY a thought away. It made me more present. Life really is a vapor. And, the daily, small things matter. I don't want to be detached from life, but it made me detach more quickly from the stupid stuff that can bog you down.

Having said that, I also had to move beyond the grief. And it is possible to grieve and move beyond it and learn from it all at once. This is not a science. I felt all stages of grief almost simultaneously at moments. But, in order to heal, especially from the fear I felt after the murders, I had to rephrase my story. I had to reframe my thoughts. I had to see it differently, or else I was re-traumatizing myself every time I thought of the murders, which was (and is) daily. Multiple times per day. You see, the home my friends lived in was much like mine in its layout. I mean, the only difference was a wall I have in my living room (making it 2 spaces), whereas they had one big living room. And, although their perpetrator was caught, I still carried fear after their murders. I imagined their bodies in my hallway and my kitchen because they were found in their hallway and their kitchen. In a house with a layout SO similar to mine. I know that sounds silly. But it's where my mind went. I decided that I could not just remember how they died. I had to remember how they lived. Isn't it wonderful that I knew such people during my lifetime? What could I learn from who they were? Isn't it wonderful that they were so humble, so loving, so giving? How could I be more humble, loving, and giving? Isn't it wonderful that the last words that I exchanged with this woman were literally "peace be with you." What a gift. I remember thinking how peaceful she was and how I appreciated her spirit as we exchanged the sign of peace that night. Isn't it wonderful that she had the name of a flower, and I happen to have over 13 types of that flower in my backyard? I prune the roses and think of her. As a simple dedication. As a reminder of beauty. As a tribute to her beautiful life. Isn't it wonderful that I had one of those visitation dreams after she left us? It was very simple. She was sitting, almost floating. She was wearing her favorite color (pink), and the simple smile she had. She was happy, at peace, whole. It helped me move on. It helped me not define her by her death. Yes, the murder really happened. But, I can focus on who she was to me. And that brings me much more peace. She was such a giving person. And I feel like she spent her first few hours in the afterlife visiting people in dreams to release them from the nightmare of her passing. It really helped me.

Monday, June 11, 2012

Snapshots - work

I think it's interesting to look at the same set of facts/circumstances at different times in life.  It's sometimes a good checkpoint to see where you've been, where you're going, or how it's gone.  I like to call them snapshots, and I do them for different categories of my life (work, family, relationships, money, etc.)   

May 25, 2011 versus May 25, 2012

May 25 of 2011, I interviewed for a different job out of state.  My job at the time was miserable.  That week, I remember that my boss had recently called a very good and capable co-worker names and ridiculed him in a staff meeting.  Meanwhile, the same boss was ignoring complaints I had about a different co-worker who had been sexually harassing me, and had openly admitted to me that he drinks on lunch break and had slept with students.  I was really, really frustrated.  I had been lied to, taken advantage of, and I had work with with a lazy jerk.  I was tired of being half of team Dumb and Dumber.  The longer I stayed, the more I felt like an idiot for staying.  I drove through some horrible storms on the way to my interview that day.  I believe 5 tornadoes touched down.  I kept thinking to myself, "Do I really want a change so bad that I'm willing to drive several hours in storms and driving rain for the chance?  If I get this job, do I really want to try to sell my house and relocate in less than a month?"  And the answer kept coming back, "Yes.  I most definitely do want a change that bad."  I didn't end up getting that job, but it was good to get another interview under my belt.  They picked an internal candidate, but I had dusted off my resume and gotten my interview skills polished again.  I was happy that I had taken concrete action to change my situation, even if it didn't pan out. 

May 25 of 2012, was another day at my current job, a job I started in February.  Because it's summer (and a Friday), I got off at noon.  I had applied for an interviewed for a job on a whim a week before this May 25.  That Friday, I was waiting on pins and needles to hear the outcome, I had interviewed just 2 days earlier.  All of my references told me they had gotten calls about me after my interview, which I took as a good sign, but I didn't want to assume that it meant I got the job.  I was cautiously optimistic, but content to stay put if that's what happened. 

Between one May 25 and another, I had left a toxic situation for a good one, and I had taken the steps to go from a good to an even better situation.  I was content (am content) at my job, but applied for this new one, nonetheless.  When I think of myself driving through storms for the chance at a change, one year ago, I'm reminded of how far I've come.  I did get the change I was looking for by getting this job, and it has proven to be a valuable training ground in a new skill set.  I never would have been qualified for my new job I'm about to have, without getting the current job I have.  Between last May 25 and this one, I had applied to at least 5 jobs, gone on 3 job interviews, and in the process got 2 new jobs.  (3 new jobs if you count my 3rd job I had this year teaching a course).  Between last May 25 and this one, I did manage to dump the toxic stuff, and I think I got stronger in the process.  The drama never died down.  In fact, it just culminated until the day I left.  Again, this post only focuses on my work life, but when you spend 40(+) hours per week doing something, it's important that it's a good situation.  That's a huge part of your life.  I can't say what a peaceful feeling it has been to work around adults who are professional, consistently do their job, and are polite/pleasant to be around.  My co-workers are definitely not my new BFFs.  They have been nothing but kind to me.  A detached, healthy relationship is pretty great for the workplace, especially compared to a very up-close, obnoxious, and hostile one.  I'll take it.

And so it goes. 

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Sunday Social

Sunday Social

How did you come up with your blog name?
Well, my blog address comes directly from my name/nickname.  The name of the blog or subtitle, "And so it goes" is sort of the feeling I have when life happens, and I look back at everything as I move on.  It's an expression and a feeling of " there was that."  It's also the title of an older Billy Joel song I listened to growing up, and it's a phrase Kurt Vonnegut uses.  I guess it's my way of saying that sometimes life just happens, in spite of or because of us.  It can be exciting, awesome, shocking, or sad.  But, so it goes.  That's the adventure we're all on. 

What is your favorite thing about blogging?
I'm really new to this blogging thing, but I unwind or deal with things by writing them down or writing down how I feel.  It helps me work through life.  Before I blogged, I wrote.  I also have really enjoyed reading others' blogs from all over the country, and it makes me realize that we're all in this together.  We share so many life experiences, even though we may not know one another, I can relate to what I see on so many other blogs about the joys and struggles of life. 

What is one thing you have discovered because of blogging and now cant live without?
Hmm...I have liked book recommendations, recipes, etc. 

Facebook or Twitter? and why?
How about both.  I like facebook for posting pics and more in-depth catching up with long-distance friends and families.  I like twitter for just random thoughts or following celebrities.  Also, I'm friends with my boss on facebook, but not on twitter, so there's a tiny bit more freedom on twitter for me.  (I'm about to change jobs, and my boss is totally cool anyway, but it's always in the back of my mind). 

If one celeb read your blog who would you want it to be?
I am in love with who I think Sarah Jessica Parker might be in real life.  I also adore Ellen, Tina Fey, and a few others.  I'm not sure they would get anything out of reading my blog, but they are a few celebrities that actually seem like good people. 

What is something you want people to know about your blog?
My blog is 100% honest because I remain somewhat anonymous with it.  I tell how much money I make, my pet peeves, my struggles, my sins, and all of the good things too.  I don't reveal where exactly I live or what exactly my name is.  Sometimes writing is catharsis for me, so it can seem like I'm really deep or heavy.  That's not necessarily how I am all the time in real life, it's just sometimes I write things out in order to deal with them.  By no means do I want to be Debbie Downer, but I don't always have to write out my feelings to process the good things as much as I need to do that to process the bad things.  I am an optimist in real life, and I try to stay positive.  Sometimes my posts are a really personal way of dealing with the negative. 

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Thankful Thursdays

Its Ok Thursdays
For the last few weeks, I've been doing "it's okay" Thursdays.  Today, I think it's appropriate to do a "Thankful Thursday," and here's why: 

1)  I'm thankful that I have a job.  Actually, two jobs, to make ends meet.  Although I sometimes grumble at working seven days a week, it has allowed me to be a homeowner, pay off my debt quickly, and frankly, survive and take care of myself.  I know many who outwardly might seem like they're doing okay, but really, they're getting further and further in debt.  Sometimes I hate having to take care of myself, all by myself, without a significant other's income, but I need to remember to be grateful that I can and I do make it work.   

2)  I'm thankful that a few weeks ago (on "it's OK Thursday"), I revealed that I had applied for a job on a whim.  I was shocked when they interviewed me, and even more shocked when I got the job!!!  My first day is less than two weeks away.  It's a good pay raise and a good title/promotion for me at a new university.  I am so incredibly grateful.  Someday, as a result of this job, I might be able to quit my second job and just be a normal person who works Monday to Friday.  But for now, I'm going to sock away all my extra income into savings and just catch up for a while.  In a year from now, I will see where things are after I've been at the new job a while and have my savings in a better place.

3)  I'm thankful that even bad things can turn out for good.  I know that really sounds all Cinderella/Polyanna/cheesy.  But, the truth of the matter about my job situation is that I left a job in February of this year because I was being sexually harassed by a co-worker.  If that guy had not been so obnoxious and unbearable (for 2 years), then I wouldn't have been looking for another job.  In February, I found one and made a move from one department to another at the same company.  It was a small pay raise, and in a slightly different area of higher education.  In the last four months, I have learned a new skill in my job.  It's a more universal skill with certain software that I can take to other universities across the country.  If it weren't for learning this new skill, I never would have been qualified for or applied for this [even newer] job I'm about to take.  So, if it weren't for the inappropriate co-worker, I never would have gotten both of these new jobs or the training it took to be qualified for the second new job by getting the first new job back in February, make sense?  It's hard to remember that bad things can work toward a good ending when you're in the middle of the pain, or when you don't know where everything is heading.  When I look back over the course that the last 2 years have taken, I can only say I'm grateful.  It wasn't easy every step of the way.  In fact, it wasn't easy at all.  There were many, many bad days.  2011 was just a horrible year (not only because of work, but other things that will have to be for another blog), but in the end, it turned out for the best, and I'm so grateful. 

4)  While I'm grateful for friends, family, and loved ones, I will leave this Thankful Thursday at that.  There is more to my life than work, but that's what's going on with me right now, and I'm overwhelmed by all that is good and all that is G-d, which brought me to this moment. 

Friday, June 1, 2012

Oh my

Its Ok Thursdays

It's okay...

1) It's okay that I'm doing "it's okay Thursdays" on Friday.   

2)  It's okay that things can change in a blink of an eye.  I don't want to jinx anything, so I will just say that I'm truly grateful.

3)  It's okay that I believe in G-d.  Sometimes I'm mad at this G-d, sometimes I even yell or scream inside my head at this G-d, but I still try to believe.  I don't understand the athiests who say they're mad at G-d, and therefore don't believe.  If he/she doesn't exist, how can you be mad at them?  Be mad at people for doing evil things, be mad at society or the government for making those evil things easier (in some cases), but don't be mad at G-d.  We all have a free choice in how to live.  Anyway, referring to number 2, I am incredibly grateful to the Source of all that is good for what seems to be an unexpected opportunity right around the corner.  I still believe, even if I struggle in other ways.   

4)  It's okay that it's June 1 and 61 degrees outside.  Incredibly odd in our neck of the woods, but it's definitely okay. mix it up a bit...
It's NOT okay...

5)  It's NOT okay that I have slept like total sh*t all week.  I don't have too much caffeine, I do exercise, I don't get it.  Might be time to see a doctor, it's interfering with my life. 

6)  It's NOT okay that my parents are getting older, and I'm just now feeling like I have a good(-ish) relationship with them.  How can we make up for lost time?  How can they know I love them?  How can we make the most of it all?

7)  It's NOT okay that I still don't know what to do about the long-distance boyfriend.  He wants to get married.  I don't feel ready.  I don't want to lose him.  There are times I push him away and want space, but I still want to be loved. ugh. 

8)  It's NOT okay that I have gray hairs, a few (not bad) wrinkles, and acne all at the same time.  I'm both too young and too old for all of this!!  Blarg.  Mirrors, beware.