Unpolished mental spills, very messy
Alone and at peace
It is hard to talk in length about how happy you are to be a single, independent, 23 year old woman without worrying about someone thinking that you are screaming the opposite. Nonetheless, I am feeling particularly assured in this emotion today and not very worried about whether the reader believe me or not. I feel free.
I live very much alone. Virginia and Washington D.C. are slowly returning to regular life patterns after combatting COVID-19 with strict and isolating social restrictions. This time has allowed me to think about loneliness in a million different ways. I have become more comfortable with being alone.
I feel differently than any other time I have ever felt any type of way in my life. Each passing years is this way and, if I am paying attention, I realize this is exciting. Life is exciting. I am growing up. I am at my strongest, my wisest, my most self and it feels powerful. I still have a long way to go, this is exciting.
I spend most of my time alone. I enjoy being alone, I enjoy stillness, I enjoy my mind, I love myself, and I am proud. I fought to be alone. I have been unsuccessful during certain periods, but today I feel a quiet peace in my mind. I have successfully fought off pain from love and feelings of emptiness, even if it just for today. I am hopeful and it feels the most sustainable that it has felt in a long time. I have fought off toxic love, even when I yearned for it. I have fought off the feeling of missing something that is not my reality (usually the general feeling of missing is this, the human obsession for whatever is not in front of us). I have fought off doubt that tells me maybe this isn’t what is best for me, and I continued to assure myself that I am smart and know how to choose my own path. I am living in this self-created present and I am grateful.
I have a job that I earned with the intelligence that I armed myself with through formal and personal methods of education. I live a life of service to my community, but beyond that I am responsible to very few individuals outside of myself. Which feels age appropriate and feels like freedom for me. I live alone in an apartment that I fill with items carefully chosen to bring me the most joy possible in a small space. All of these items were purchased with dollars that I have.
During this period on my own, I am relearning the concept of the dollar. I used to equate dollars to hours of life. A certain number of hours of my life = a certain number of dollars. For everything that I purchased, I would evaluate if owning that material item or participating in that activity was worth the number of hours of life I had to spend to get that number of dollars.
I am thankful that I learned respect and understanding for what hard work entails and what spending those dollars really means, even if that was a route more challenging than many others face. This route was also a lot more fortunate than many others face. Beginning at this point in my life, dollars are no longer equated to hours. I work at an organization that believes I am talented and smart enough to get paid a salary. I take breaks from work, I take vacations, I have some hours that are more productive than others, and I continue to get paid. I receive benefits. My organization believes that my mind and talent is worth that. I fought to experience this part of my life. I also have an immense amount of privilege that allowed me to get here, that is why I fight in my work for those that were not as privileged. Nonetheless, it is important for my own views of myself, to knowledge that I earned this life and I feel incredibly proud.
I dreamt of this reality since I can remember. Sometimes I forget that I made it, I get swept up in all the new worries and challenges that life continues to present. I don’t want to forget. I wanted to live on my own, I wanted to have a job that I love and that aligns with my passions, I wanted to have all the space needed to develop into the woman I want to be. I wanted to be single. I did not want to throw all my energy into a man.
However, as some single women my age must shamefully admit, no matter how great we have it, we often feel lonely, long for love, long for someone to fill the space in our hearts that songs have told us about since we were little girls.
Currently, today, I am successfully occupying all the spaces of my own heart. Today, there is no frustration, desperation, or longing in my heart, my eyes are wide open and looking at the reflection that exists today.
~The exact now.~
I am dancing by myself and I am in love with it. I have a bottle of wine that I bought for myself. I have cheese and crackers from Trader Joe’s. I went to Trader Joe’s earlier in the week by myself. I chose all my favorite foods to fill the fridge that provides me nourishment and happiness. My feet are kicked up on top of the table that I brought here for myself with a candle lit, the window open, the air controlled at just the flow and temperature that I want it at. My surroundings and my reality are everything I could want for myself. I even chose the song playing right now. I have the freedom to choose whatever I want in this moment, in many moments, I hope to spend less time allowing my mind to wander away from this.
The focus is not that these things are just mine, because another one of my favorite parts about having this wine and cheese in my apartment is that I can share them with my beautiful sisters and friends when they come to see me. I am smiling as I drink my wine and eat this cheese because. I live alone in my apartment, and I made every single choice that enabled me to live this way. I am content and I am proud, today.
A Thank You Note, Curtain Call, Campaign Speech, Graduation, Love Yourz
I was driving home today to D.C. from Virginia at 10:00pm on a Thursday. I was coming back from spending time with a treasured friend. She is one my many friend friends that also happen to very deeply appreciate music and its power. I often find myself drawn towards thinkers like her that appreciate these aspects of life that are of the utmost importance, i.e. music. We spent most of our time together tonight talking and researching about music, and it really inspired me.
Rosalía is an artist that inspires me perhaps more than any other that I have taken the time to learn about. She is a woman that is not much older than me, that happened to be incredibly globally successful at accomplishing her wildest craziest dreams. She fearlessly and shamelessly chased and worked incredibly hard and wisely towards those dreams. She proudly takes ownership over every piece of her work while remaining humble about those that paved the way before her. She is now paving the way across continents, languages, and genres, and in a very broad sense, connecting the world, through her music. She inspires me immensely.
On this drive home I was thinking about what I am going to do to change the world. I can feel my ideas fermenting. I can feel my individuality finally finding the courage to fully show itself. I am falling harder and picking myself up, maybe not quicker, but higher in the end. Age 23 is feeling strong. I feel energized by the thought of all the future I have left to craft this life of mine it has had a beautiful start.
I will achieve my dreams. I always struggled to articulate them. I am someone who has many dreams and has to pursue many types of interests to feel satisfied with my life experience (big fear of commitment). I am not someone that could just pick one and run with it – like Jiro Ono. However, at this time in my life, I am feeling my ideas coming together. I am not predicting that I have it all figured out at this exact moment. I have many falls left to take and many other words from others to listen to. I am just telling you what I feel. I feel my purpose, lessons learned, sources of inspiration, knowledge acquired, and pure born essence all beginning to come together. I am going in the right direction and I can feel it in my core.
So I came to the realization that I am going to be very successful, happy, famous, and positively impact the lives of others in my life. I was thinking about all of the people that have played a hand in shaping me into who I am. I feel an intense sense of gratitude in my heart for every single one of them. I close my eyes and I hold my heart when I think about it.
I am going to write a list, in absolutely no particular order, of some of the people I owe a massive thank you to if I were to receive my Rosalía level big break tomorrow morning. I am certain that I will miss some people. I apologize, loved ones, queridos, if I miss your name. I promise that I will include your name in my end-of-life success speech that will most likely be viewed across the globe (if we all make it out of 2020 alive).
My friends. I shake my head in disbelief that the universe blessed me with so many incredible, inspirational, loving, forgiving, open, wise, service-oriented, empathetic, and compassionate peers in my life to bring me so much joy and purpose. I lean on them so often. Friends, you have no idea how many times you have saved me. I mostly try to keep named private in these posts… but with this post, worst thing is that someone reads this and discovers that I have the greatest humans in the world all in my life. Thank you, Tulshi, for knowing me better than anyone, you have always seen me, always loved me unconditionally, and genuinely just been the sister that I chose. My happiest memories live inside of you, thank you for being the only person on the planet that can laugh with me about certain memories that are so crucial to who we both are today. Thank you for making me a better person through your relentless care for others, for being a role model to me when it comes to focusing on ourselves, keeping important things private, owning my style, and for making me believe in myself when I see the way you believe in me.
Speaking of sisters, thank you also to the two that I didn’t choose. You two have made me who I am probably more than anyone else on the planet. I am a leader because of you two, you taught me how to take care of someone else. As long as you two exist, I know that I have two humans that would truly murder someone on my behalf. The three of us are a force, and it gives me hope in life to know that it will forever and always, as long as I breathe, be the three of us in this together. I don’t care what happens, I don’t care how different we are, I will never forget or allow any of us to let go of the relationship that we have. I will always fight for you two. I am so proud of both of you, and there is nothing I look forward to more than watching us all blossom through life. Thank you, Hannah, for showing me what loyalty really means and the comfort I can have for my entire life knowing that you are in my corner. Thank you, Aleigh, for being my littlest bug, I hope you understand one day what that unique type of love for you feels like for me. Thank you for for inspiring me with your curiosity for life.
Eric, you are one of the greatest friends I have ever had. I am so thankful for all of the ways that we challenge each other and I am so thankful that the universe put a friend in my life that shares such a strong intellectual and energy-level connection. You are such a bright force in so many of my college memories, some of the most joyful times in my life. You have changed the way I think about many things, you have changed the way I challenge and push myself, and as we have discussed before, being friends with someone as great as you affirms the greatness in me. Thank you for introducing me to Jasper and Angelika. Angelika’s entrepreneurship and courage in chasing her dreams inspires me often. The love you both have for each other makes me believe in good love. Jasper has forever impacted me with his ability to wake up the overwhelming majority of days and audibly shout with his hands in the air: “Today is going to be a great day, Julia!”. Thank you Caroline, for teaching me how to truly let loose on the dance floor. When I think of free spirited beauty, I imagine you. Thank you, Salome, for being such a symbol of strength and peace. You have taught me so much about mindfulness, love, the best imaginable form of selfishness, and enlightenment. Thank you, Alex, for matching my brain frequency, trusting me, and providing me so much love in our friendship.
Thank you, Alex, for being the first love that set high standards for how any boy should treat their girlfriend. Thank you for making me feel adored, respected, and heard, I hope that I never settle for less than that. Thank you to the loves that came after and showed me many of the different emotions and types of love that one can experience in life. Thank you for passion, admiring me, showing me when I deserve more, laughter, the ability to recover after hurt, traces of wild, lust, confidence, vulnerability, sharing stories, and experiencing deep forms of human connection with me.
Thank you, Mom, for gifting me with compassion, an appreciation for life-long learning, and forever telling me that I am capable of greatness. I am entirely certain that my strong sense of confidence, the confidence that I think will lead me to the most success in my life, is because of you and Dad. Thank you, Dad, for giving me the ability to connect with any other human from any walk of life. Thank you, Uncle Paul, for encouraging exploration and travel at a young age. Thank you, Aunt Bethany, for sending me on the trip that inspired my entire career. Thank you, Fisher, for being a life long best friend. You are another person that allows me to rest easier knowing that I will forever have you looking out for me and cheering me on. I cannot wait to continue growing up together, I look forward to sharing future memories together often. Thank you, Tyler, for being such an outrageously wonderful presence in my college experience and for our conversations that ground me more than you know.
Thank you teachers. Thank you for inspiring so much of what I am and what I will become. Thank you Mr. Firman, for giving me the love of reading and encouraging me to be a writer. Thank you, Ms. Nicholas for being the first to recognize my public speaking abilities and gift for writing. Thank you, Ms. Drembus, for making me feel like the most special humans on the entire planet and for a continued friendship that brings me an immense amount of joy. Thank you, Ms. B, for being one of the most incredible and selfless humans that I have met to this day, I idolize you for so many reasons. Thank you, Ms. McBride, for similarly making me feel like an angel and inspiring parts of my journey at Tech. Thank you, Mari Carmen, for bringing flamenco into my life and being the reason I studied abroad in Spain, absolutely one of the greatest decisions of my life that brought some of the greatest months of my life. Thank you and Vinodh, for making me feel like I have permanent family in Blacksburg. Thank you, Dr. Sinno, for pushing me through some of the most challenging courses in my life and inspiring me to come out stronger on the other side. Thank you for being a role model for teaching, I so often use your methods in my classes.
Claire and Katie. Thank you for being my rocks. Katie, thank you for the immense love that I feel from you and all of our irreplaceable memories. Thank you for inspiring me with the strength behind your voice, honesty with the world, and guiding me through hard conversations with myself. Claire, everything about who you are inspires me so much. Thank you for your laugh, your listening, your patience, and your acceptance of others. Thank you Meli, Yuliia, and Elisa. You three stood by me through truly one of the most challenging periods of my entire life. In moving back home, you three were my light. I am thankful for where my journey led me because it led me to a friendship with you three. Yuliia, thank you for showing me strength and honesty, I admire you so much you have no idea. I look up to you so often. Elisa, your words and presence have done so much to bring me warmth and when I think of you I literally glow a little bit because that is just the light that you shine – this sounds sappy and almost disingenuous, but I could not mean that more accurately about the way that I see you. Thank you, Meli, for checking on me when no one else was, thank you for responding to me with the perfect words even if you didn’t realize how perfect they were. Thank you for seeing the best in me and inspiring me so much with your strength, charm, inner beauty, and confidence.
Thank you to my language students that bring me so much pride and joy. Thank you for sharing your journeys with me and trusting me to guide you in a new and unfamiliar place. Thank you John, Levon, Pat, Darrel, Henry, Savannah, Marshall and others from the OG neighborhood squad for being such a crucial part of my foundation. I am so thankful to have shared some of the most innocently joyful parts and most rapid growth parts of life with you all.
Thank you Jena for being brilliant and believing that I am brilliant. I treasure you in my life so intensely and I dream about our adult friendship together. You make me laugh and you are one of my favorite people to speak with. You have directly made me a better person by making me recognize ways that I can be a better friend and human. You are forever yourself and that makes your energy so captivating to be around. Thank you for being a part of Spain with me. I can forever marvel at our ability to talk endlessly, same with you Nala. Nala, your mind is so incredibly beautiful and I cannot believe you spend time listening to mine as well. I am so thankful to bounce off of you when we are together and when we check in with each other. You, to this day, perhaps did one of the nicest things a friend has ever done for me. You inspire me and you make me feel so much less alone when I feel alone. You are one of the most judgement free safe spaces in my life, and I am so eternally grateful that you share my perspective on many regularly questionable topics. I am entirely beyond confident that you separately yet similarly to me are going to take the world by storm. I fully believe that for Jena as well.
Thank you Brooke and Emily for having walking glows illuminating from your bodies at all times because that is just how good of humans you are. Thank you for inspiring me so much with you way you bring and practice love in the world with your students. Thank you, Ama, for challenging my world perceptions more than many of my professors ever did. You are a revolutionary, as much as I am confident that I am going to change the world, that is how I feel about your capabilities. Thank you, Famata, for being the first person to ask me to get lunch at work, you made me feel so welcomed in a time where I needed it, and you do that for people so frequently. I admire your thoughtfulness and selflessness so much. Thank you for your strength. Karely, thank you for without a doubt being the best first boss that the world has ever seen. Thank you for taking so much care in helping me to grow, I feel like the luckiest person in the world with my current career under your management. I trust you so much and I am thankful to know you always have my best interest at heart. I am so thankful to work alongside someone that cares just as much as I do about the populations we work with. You have taught me so much about this work, professional life in general, how to be a bad ass, how to find balance, how to advocate for myself, and the list could go on and on and on. Thank you, Leezia, for being the closest thing I have seen to a superhero in my life. I, amongst many others, want to be you when I grow up and I don’t know how you do it. I am so often thankful to work with you and can’t believe I got to the place where that is possible. You have shown me what it means to fight for your community, you have made so many sacrifices.
I could genuinely continue writing this Thank You Note for the next two hours. I think this was a really beneficial note. I can feel the love in my life pouring over the page and I can feel the many presences of those that are routing for me in this journey. You all give me so much strength, t h a n k y o u. T h a n k y o u. I am so thankful. Again, loved ones were missed, but this will not be my last opportunity to thank you. I promise to let everyone know. I can’t wait to be famous, change the world, and reach enlightenment.
My favorite thing to see when I open my eyes is sunlight. The morning brings sunlight. It makes green leaves look alive as the sun shines brightly through them, making glowing dancing leaves. My mind is alive in the morning. It is easier to focus on one thing that passes, and then the next. After a certain part of the day my brain begins to think at things all at the same time, but not thinking of one thought completely, not acknowledging all of them but more like letting them drown each other out so that all I hear is overwhelming. In the morning my mind is slower, in a way that allows me to feel peace and productivity at the same time. Later in the day, I need to enact stress to feel productive. My brain gets tired from having to make so many decisions, but in the morning it is fresh and it returns to almost a fresh setting.
In the morning, my phone is not lighting up, vibrating, or pinging to tell me who I need to answer to. Even just the sight of those words – phone, ping, vibrate actually activate my stressful feeling of urgency. That is why I separated this paragraph, to keep the thought of my phone to its own bubble, then I can resume my happy and beautiful reflections while feeling powerful morning energy. My phone is also the connection to hearing the voice of my loved ones when I feel alone, my phone also allows me to hear music, audiobooks, and podcasts that fill my mind with thoughts that inspire me to move. I cannot throw my phone out. But in the morning, when no one else is awake, it does not ping. That brings me a lot of peace. I can separate from the phone for a little bit in the mornings.
It is colder in the morning, but I love to go outside in the morning. I feel strongly that I despise the cold, but perhaps I need to work harder to accept and appreciate it. I can still prefer warmth. There can still be warmth in the mornings and this is my absolute favorite. A morning warmth feels fresher than in the afternoon. Right after the sun rises and right before it sets are the most beautiful parts of the day. Witnessing this, you cannot help but remember how powerful the force of each new day is, and it makes other things seem silly and allows you to worry about them less. It makes you want to forgive, it makes you want to accept whatever happened the days before and just enjoy this new morning that feels like how life should.
When I wake up, I am not immediately hungry, but then I am and I can enjoy the most fabulous meal of the day. Mornings mean coffee and croissants. Mornings mean fresh fruit smoothies with honey and orange. Mornings can mean crunchy toast with peanut butter. I’m not sure if breakfast is my favorite meal of the day, but it is my favorite meal of the day to experience in the mornings and I love the mornings. I love coffee and tea and the most I really love you croissants.
When my two younger sisters and I used to fight when we were kids, few fights carried over until the next morning. The morning was a chance to wake up, smile, and act like nothing happened. Sometimes that meant there were no apologies, but children’s egos are not that worried about closure in that form. The morning always brought love and forgiveness.
When I was in college, my wisest revelation was that I am a morning learner. I used to stay up into the hours of 2am, 3am, 7am… trying to study or finish a paper. Don’t get me wrong, I could do it, but the battle with myself was insanity and self torture. It would take me 10 hours to write a paper that should have taken me 5, or an incredibly more advanced paper could have been accomplished in those 10 hours. I was much more successful and happy going to bed at 10pm to wake up at 4am to work on a paper. Still not enough sleep, but college is this whole other thing. I am thankful that my lifestyle now allows me to focus more on sleep and a healthy morning routine.
No one can steal the morning from me, I can choose to live a life where I experience the morning every day. I believe that I am at my best self in the morning. Occasionally a substance from the night before makes my mind feel depression, or an interruption of my thoughts comes from my phone, or there is immediate urgent need as soon as I wake up and then my mind feels stress. However, my default in the morning is a smile. I am allowed to open my eyes and see the sun, or see rain, or see leaves, or hear birds, or hear the silence of less human movement and just focus on my own and the movement of earth and presence. I am grateful. I am allowed to go outside and run and celebrate a new day, a fresh beginning. I am allowed to be productive however I would like to be productive – write, read, study. I hope not to miss too many mornings, I will work hard to experience mornings and remember the joy that they give me. I am truly at my best in the mornings.
I really didn’t know shit
Much has changed in my life in very little time. Graduation feels much farther away than it really was. That was the center of my universe, spending last moments with my most treasured roommates, saying goodbye to professors, my coworkers, Arabic, assignments, losing the weight I gained throughout the festivities, anxiety about moving back home, extreme anxiety about finding a job. I now have a job, I am sitting at my job right now after a paid two-week holiday break and I am in a beautiful office space in downtown D.C. with quotes from Malcolm X, James Baldwin, and Fannie Lou Hammer behind me. Since September, I have been doing the work I am most passionate about and very minimally impacting a national case that affects the lives of hundreds of thousands of undocumented immigrants. Although my impact on this team is minimal, it is still pretty amazing to be a part of. I stumbled upon this job posting around midnight at a point that I was very much slowly giving up on the job hunt. Not giving up entirely of course, because I didn’t have a job, but had given up hope and was struggling to give all my effort. I pulled together a cover letter and writing samples I believe in a matter of 45 minutes for this job posting in which the deadline had already passed for. I received an email back immediately the next morning from a coworker who is now a friend that has taught me so much and that I look up to in so many ways. Turns out I was exactly what they were looking for and as I have now spent 4 months in this role, they are exactly what I was also looking for. I am now interviewing for a full-time salary role that was essentially designed for me. Life is absolutely insane and no matter how many times someone has said those words to me before this moment, I did not understand the true gravity of this until post graduate life.
Moral of this reflection of life since graduation: I didn’t really know shit.
But I am grateful and forever a humbler student.
Can’t sleep. Am I working too hard?
Thoughts. There are so many thoughts running around my head. I felt inspired by my thoughts so I told myself that I should start writing, but social media and tiredness had me sunk in my bed, so unwilling to take off my work clothes, and pointlessly scrolling through social media and comparing my life to others, which sort of led me to this idea… am I working too hard? Is it really actually contributing to my overall goals? Or am I just using it as an excuse because it feels easier somehow than branching out in other ways? I think sometimes workaholics delve into their work lives because they have social anxiety or a lack of satisfaction in other areas of their life. I am worried that this could become me. I enjoy my friends at work but I wonder how many of them that I really enjoy spending time with would spend time with me if they were not forced through us working together. However, I am not really sure how much I care about that. I enjoy spending time with all types of people, especially new people, and especially ones that can teach me or show me a new perspective.
However, I recognize that life is incredibly short, and I do not want to work it away and not make time for the things that matter to me, or the things that society typically tells me should matter to me (confused on what is what and which of all that is right). Lately, I have been feeling like quality time with friends or adventures should be my priority but it is not. I continue to reevaluate why I am in Alexandria in the first place. I am here to spend time and strengthen the relationship I have with my family. And I am here to save money and take a pause while I try to navigate my future. I feel like I have made excellent progress in these areas. As I am not paying rent, working my ass off, and wisely budgeting my accounts and spending, I am raking in the money (raking in the money for someone that works as a server and nanny 7 days a week). And I have so far been pretty content with working my days away and not having time to do things on the weekends. I am a bit worried for myself that I am so okay with it. I have always been one to hustle and dedicate myself to the grind, but now that I am entering the adult world more and more I do not think the challenge is making time for the grind, but making time for the special moments that matter and connections with friends. However, as I continue to think about it, I think that the connections and relationships that I am developing through my jobs is still sort of providing me with fulfilling that social craving.
In my nannying job, I am being reminded of the innocence of children. I am being reminded to try and honestly live my life a little bit more simply, as they do. To take the time to sit by a fountain and eat my lunch, to appreciate flowers, to take my time at the farmer’s market, and to ask questions about everything. I am learning valuable things that will shape my thoughts as I contemplate one day being a Mother myself. The family that I am currently caring for is reminding me of why I was so passionate about babysitting when I was younger. It is restoring confidence that I do in fact have a motherly nature about me. I am understanding, loving, firm, but always patient with children, to me this interaction comes naturally.
Urbano is toughening me up. I really think I am practicing not letting my mind dwell too much and to not be too sensitive. I am learning the most incredible things about Mexico and food. My Spanish is improving dramatically as I am literally practicing full-length conversations on so many different topics with friends from different accents and vocabulary from countries all throughout Latin America. I am improving my hustle and working well under pressure. Even the craziest of my coworkers fascinate me with how they choose to cope with the shit life throws at us. Even if they are coping with it through drugs, partying, alcoholism, being an ass hole… I feel grateful to work alongside people with such different life experiences, from different countries, different ages. Even if they are showing me ways that I do not want to be. That sounds really judgemental and I don’t mean it to be that way. I am trying to express that I enjoy learning about how they became who they are, one of my favorite things to inquire about someone. Even if they are somewhat of a jerk in their present version of themselves, usually it is for a reason. Learning this reason helps me to appreciate them more for who they are, be more patient and understanding when they are ass holes, but also reflect on what life can throw at you. Hopefully through this reflection, I can better anticipate these pit falls that can happen to anyone, and just hope that I have discovered the grace to deal with them. And contrastingly, if I do end up being grumpy, slightly negative, jerks as some of my coworkers are… maybe I will be more forgiving and accepting of myself. I wonder if that will make sense when I read over that again, I am not really realizing how tired I am and I think those were complicated revelations to explain even if I wasn’t about to fall asleep.
On Instagram, I looked at pictures and videos of friends travelling or going out every night or paying for expensive hobbies and I thought to myself… “well they are lucky to have that privilege and I am not so lucky so there is nothing that I can do about that”. HOWEVER, I am one of the most privileged people on the entire planet and my limited scope is a lot less limiting than many people that I have come to know. I know for certain that my life could be whatever I want to make it. Money will always be an obstacle but I still choose what to prioritize in my life. If I wanted to spend more and do those things that my friends are, I really could. I think it is easier for me to fall into my same patterns and fall into the grind if I take on this “well I need money and this is my reality” stance. There are plenty of people who came from similar financial situations as myself and I just want to take ownership over the fact that I can in fact work smarter instead of harder. Right now, restaurant is a big part of my journey but I know that I do not want to do it forever for many reasons.
While money for me up until this point has been punching a clock and logging hours away, the older I get the more precious I see the hours of my life as. I just do not want to get too caught up and pointlessly spend so many hours in a place that is not going to in the end leave me happiest and most fulfilled. At first I was thinking to not use my financial situation as a crutch for not pushing myself, but it is also definitely true that money = work. While I don’t want to go too far deep into it, I really admire my skills as a hard worker and my humility in that. But still, I see how hard some of my coworkers, or friends, or my Mom work at their career and I admire them so much for it, but there is a fine balance and I do not want to work away my precious life. This further motivates me to find work that is constantly allowing my to be happy, continue learning, growing, and feeling fulfilled on a daily basis. Babysitting is also reminding me of this needed switch.
As I continue in my young adult journey, I think that my vision of what happiness, balance, physical and social health look like is going to change depending on my setting. I want to continue giving myself the skills to adapt depending on those changes! If I always have the same expectations and don’t bend them depending on my context, I will continue feeling disappointed in myself. Right now, I think it is really okay that I am dedicating to the grind and I should be happy to have my friends that I am finding in unexpected locations. Still always make time for old friends when possible, but just because I don’t have time to go to salsa during the week or am too tired for back to back plans on a Saturday, does not mean that I am not living my best life. I cannot do it all. I really can’t and I just want to forgive myself for that and be okay with it. I am really just trying my best and I need to be open to other ways of feeling like I had a complete and fulfilling day. The factors that are included in this vary so much. I feel inclined to make a list but I feel as though that almost goes against the objective of openness.. anyways, here are some basic ones that I think will stay consistent and that I have learned throughout trial and error that they are best for me…
For every day to be a good day, and for those days to sum up to a beautiful and fulfilling life: I need to move and take care of my body in some way every single day (eat healthy, go on a walk, dance, stretch, go to the gym, spend some time in the sun, enjoy healthy and fresh food ingredients), learn something, enjoy music, connect with old friends, meet new friends…
I cannot compare myself to others, that is always a dumb idea. I think that I try my best to observe and learn from others, but when it becomes comparing when I am negatively judging how I am doing in comparison to someone elses’ accomplishments, nothing can ever be achieved from that. I deserve better than that because my journey is only my own and no one but me can direct it. My time and energy are precious. There is only so much that I need to spend on my own self improvement and not enough of it to do that while holding myself to the standard of others.
This time in Alexandria, I want to articulate my goals and dreams, become confident that I can achieve them. I want to develop habits, like focus on my health, that will persist throughout this crucial adult-habit shaping period. I want to love being single and love the opportunity to create myself as a complete person on my own so that when I do one day find a partner, we can form the healthiest relationship possible. I want to work on my anxiety, and over thinking, and over dwelling and sensitivity and worrying what anyone has to say about my journey besides me. I want to make progress on ACCEPTING and ADAPTING to whatever life throws at me in order to have a perfect day every day. A day that is perfect because I say that it is.
Goals for this week: Sign up for flamenco classes! Complete Fulbright drafts! Start my books about Mexico! Go to the gym as much as possible!
People are good
Today, I was riding into work on the metro as has become my new habit since starting my job in mid September. I have come to treasure my commute time. I love sitting on the metro, usually in one of the seats next to the wall so that I can put my head against the train and release the angsty energy that I am feeling through putting my feet on the seat beside me or putting a hood on or blaring my music as loud as it will go. I love mind wandering. Sometimes it is not good for me and I begin a horrible cycle of overthinking about love or men or those kinds of things. But sometimes, I have really wonderful thoughts that I think are shaping who I am as a person and I think without this special time to really wander my mind I would not be growing as much. I have also really loved taking time to listen to music, not in the normal passing way like when I am listening to music as I am doing work throughout the day, but appreciate the sounds and analyze the lyrics. I am learning to love podcasts, podcasts about life or guided meditations. That is another thing that my commute is allowing me to do, take as much time as I want to breath, and practice being able to focus longer on that. I also love people watching on the metro and seeing all the different types of people that come together to live the day-to-day 9-5 life and how we all go about coping with that in a different way.
Today, I had a really wonderful metro ride. I had a negative start to the morning and was determined to kick those negative thoughts from my mind and was not having success at it. I could not gain the control of my thoughts to forget about outside influence and the way that other people decide to live their lives and just focus on my present, something I am really learning how to do. I am trying to find the balance between learning and listening to others and learning how to listen to my own desires and intuition while not being too arrogant about it but also understanding that I have developed a strong sense of myself for a reason and that now more than ever through my adult life, I am the sole person truly looking out for myself. My decisions may not be what is always considered universally right or wrong and I just have to trust my own interpretation. Anyways, in light of these recent revelations I think that I have been growing impatient with those that are always thinking inside of their boxes, much is usually the older generation. It is discouraging and slowing of this rapid growth that I am feeling inside of me to be around my parents or grandparents, who I love, but I have to acknowledge that I am growing impatient. But I do not know everything. I do not know better than them. I think for my own life and who I want to be, I know best. It is my responsibility to not allow their ways of thinking and functioning to affect mine but to also respect that they are the way they are as a result of their generation, what life has thrown at them, and the way they need to function mentally to survive.
These thoughts were really frustrating my head space this morning, however, talking to this stranger gave me such beautiful perspective. He sort of saved me from a train ride that I think would have been a darker mind wander, or perhaps I would have found my way out of it, unsure. Usually when a man starts talking to me in public, it is to hit on me. And I am not a bitch for thinking this, and I do not think this is a unique narrative for me, this is a common narrative for any woman. While I have been trying to get out of my comfort zone when it comes to social interaction and stop dreading socializing for whatever reason it is that humans in our culture do that, I will not apologize for being rude to a man I do not know in public and assuming the worst about them, because the worst is usually what women experience. But before being rude to every man that speaks to me in a public place, I of course have my intuition to utilize. This guy had a wonderful energy and did not send any negative signals and so we chatted the whole way from my metro stop to downtown and it was beyond lovely. We talked about the places we work, politics, art, and other things along those lines. What really inspired me the most was when I brought up the concept of not knowing my outlet of art and how I think it is such an important part of the human experience that I want to find my piece in. He pulled out his sketch book and showed me some of his anime-like drawings. They were so beautiful and impressive. We talked about how for some reason you have such a protectiveness over your art, and it made me realize that that is how I feel about writing and made me think even more about how writing is my art. This also makes me think of the irony of the world for putting me in a communications job role, I think I am meant to reflect a bit on how I want writing to play a role in my life. He also mentioned an argument from a tweet that I read recently that suck in my mind, and Brandon had mentioned that he read it somewhere online as well. People need to stop placing importance on our passions, skills, talents, or interests based on how much we can capitalize off of them, usually in a monetary way. I really felt this and am so happy that we touched on it in our discussion. I am a smart girl, and a lot of the moves I make in life have purpose. While I am proud of myself for my efficiency and ability to work towards my goals and dreams constantly, I don’t want every move in my life to be made thinking about what I can gain from it. It doesn’t matter if I suck at something, if it makes me happy I should still pursue it, and it is not a waste of time. I think I already practice thing and usually don’t think many things are a waste of time, but still remembering that not every step I take has to be towards the greater goal of financial or career success.
Then! After I finished my conversation with Brandon and he had to get off of his stop another girl had overheard our conversation, I am not sure if they were previously friends or not but she had a sketchbook in her hands and sat down next to me and began sharing her fan-inspired art work from one of her favorite shows. She was totally shy about it being nerdy and did not think I would be appreciative of the nerdiness and I said omg girl I freaking love it. She was so talented. She got off the metro very shy-like and little did she know that she had also made my entire day. None of us exchanged Instragrams, phone numbers, nothing like that, just enjoyed the conversation and the opportunity to learn the different perspectives of one another. It warmed my whole heart and was exactly what I needed to start my day. My whole walk to work I could not stop thinking about how beautiful people are.
As I have entered the “real world” outside of college I am genuinely astounded by all of the new things I have been learning about myself and the world. I never thought I knew it all, but I definitely thought I had a lot of things figured out. Turns out I don’t know shit, and I am so excited about it. My journey of learning about the world and people has only just begun. I really feel like I am gaining momentum. I feel like I have done all the right things to prepare me to be where I am currently and that I have all the tools to apply for my success however I want to, and that life can be anything I want it to be. This is exciting and I am happy to be optimistic but I am also incredibly aware of how life can be cruel to the most random of targets. I know that while I never know what positive things lie around the corner, I am sure that my life has hardships in store that I could never have imagined. So far my path has been overwhelmingly good to me, and I won’t be mad at my destiny if it decides to take a challenging turn, I just want to continue developing the skills to handle whatever ends up being thrown at me.
Almost back to BOOKED and BUSY
Hello world. I return after over a month, how exciting, I will not give up on blogging! Just read my last post to see what kind of writing style I went with and was so happy to discover that I have made so much progress in this last month or so! In the job hunt, in my mental space, in my goals, in articulating my dreams, figuring out what I want, and that all makes me so proud. Even though on the day-to-day I always feel like I am not doing enough, looking at that progress in my thought process was really refreshing to see. Continuing to apply to jobs, coffee dates with people in my field, asking others about their career choices, working out, interviewing, being in the D.C. space, going out with friends, working at Urbano 116, babysitting, being around family… everything that I have been investing my time into has been helping me to grow into the bad ass bitch that I continue to be.
I finished my third round of interviewing with for a Communications Fellowship which and I am really excited about the potential of working this organization. The three different women that I interviewed with were great listeners, affirming, taught me to reflect on my experiences and aspirations in different ways, and inspiring individuals themselves. I really hope that I get this position, but if I don’t, it is okay, and I will continue to look for organizations modeled similarly to them with similar mission statements. I have figured out that it is really important to me at this stage to pursue opportunities working with immigration and refugee rights and that do have the skill sets to not settle for something else, I just had to overcome the fear of my own expertise not being good enough. I also accomplished a good amount of work on my Fulbright English Teaching Assistant application this week. I am applying to Mexico and very motivated to pursue this opportunity. I aim to get as much writing done with that as possible before I begin working a full-time major-related position. I have also been enjoying tutoring a family of 3 children in Spanish and I believe that it is, unintentionally, helping me to articulate in my essays my own personal teaching style and methodologies. I have also dove into some babysitting opportunities. Lord help me, I might be too old for this shit but the family I am currently working with is going to pay me $20 an hour, WHAAAT. I would do a lot of things for $20 an hour.
I began seeking out babysitting jobs because I have been monitoring my budget more diligently than ever before. I do not want to forget the reason why I am sacrificing my values of independence and self-sufficiency to move back in with my parents, and that is to save money. I have a difficult time saving money because I like to also focus my life around the idea that money is not important. So then when I pose the question to myself: “spend on this experience? Save? Treat your friends because you love them? Save?” I usually choose spend. However, I am working on just avoiding situations in general where I pose myself that question, because right now saving is really important for whatever my next step is going to be. The harder I work now, the more freedom I will have later. Although I try to focus on living in the now and truly enjoying the present is the only way to find happiness, I’ve got big dreams!! And they require investment.
Speaking of dreaming and being bold, I am going to dance at Claudia’s Steakhouse this weekend for a $PAID$ flamenco gig, HA, that’s crazy. I am honestly petrified. Of what, I am not sure. I am afraid of messing up and looking silly I guess, but unless it is singing or dancing for some reason, when else am I afraid of that in my life? I love flamenco. I remembered when I practiced yesterday for the first time in 3 months. Although I am not perfect I really do love it and I have been dancing for 4 years. I am definitely still not a professional or really consider myself impressive by any means but I need to stop crapping on my abilities and recognize that I am kind of impressive honestly. I can’t use castanets and my footwork is sloppy and untrained, but I have the duende for sure, and that is 75% of flamenco I believe. Juego y teoría del duende written by Frederico García Lorca defines duende as the physical or emotional response to art, it is what gives chills, makes someone cry, it something that someone has that cannot be explained. I am not saying I am an incredible artist like Lorca or Camarón or Paco Lucía or any of the other flamenco gods, but I know that I have the duende inside and I just need to tap into my confidence and pull it out for a performace.
I’m starting a blog!
“Always my writer…”Mom
So I am starting a blog today. I just graduated from Virginia Tech with degrees in International Public Policy, Spanish, and a minor in Arabic… is a sentence I have written in cover letters and emails perhaps forty-seven times since graduating. I am currently on the job hunt for various positions in development, as a research assistant, in international education, in English tutoring, in fundraising, and basically anything at this point. For someone with such a specifically crafted major, I never thought I would be so lost with where I wanted to guide my direction after graduation. But that is okay. I have been hanging out in my college town before moving back home with my parents in two weeks to seek employment in D.C. and save money while living at home for a year or however long it ends up being.
During this period in my college town, I have more or less been treating it as my own personal meditation retreat. I am not actually practicing mindfulness, like perhaps I should be, but I have a lot of hours and days to reflect on where the hell I am trying to go at this point in my life. I am taking the time to say a couple extra goodbyes to friends, professors, and the community and nature of Blacksburg as a whole. I am really thankful for this period and this it was a smart decision.
Something that this little vacation has made me think a lot about is writing. As stupid as it sounds and as much as I hate verbalizing, when I think about my life in the future I am basically as general as… “I want to earn money travelling and serving others.” I want to believe in myself and all but it is just so broad and unrealistic and if I have the cojones to dream that big I better have a damn plan to back it up. Nope. I mean I know that I am passionate about certain issues in international development, primarily migration. I have regions that I fascinated with and have a heart for, based on my previous travel experiences and languages, but what the hell… shouldn’t I have a better idea by now?
But this little vacation is also teaching me about letting go of my desire to control my destiny. Why do I feel like I have to figure it all out now? No matter how many people tell me and how many times I understand that my life is going to slowly unravel and that I have no idea where I will be 10 years from now… I still feel the pressure to make the right choice that will inevitably lead me to where I dream of being. But I have gotten better at this in the last several weeks. All throughout my last semester of college, I was really busy, but I am always really busy, a very busy-body. I hate when people claim they are busier than others and the word “busy” in general as an excuse for things, because I recognize it was all my own doing. I am just using this word to show how unnecessarily and exhaustingly full my days became by the end of four years of undergrad.
My life was full, and I am not paying $24,000 a year to not seize every opportunity that comes my way. Nonetheless, I learned that there needs to be a balance and that I will not find happiness through pushing myself that hard. But on top of that, when I look back I can’t really think of one activity or job or person that I would have wanted to give up, because every single one taught me something and brought me to where I am. So I always want to have a full life and have an expansive network, but perhaps go with quality over quantity in involvement and connections. I need to full-ass more things instead of always half-assing them.
In my last semester I worked between 15-25 hours at a Wine Bar, was taking 18 credits, part of a service fraternity, volunteered with my ESL students for 3-5 hours a week, tried to exercise every now then, engaged in binge drinking once a weekend, had some friends, danced a whole lot of flamenco, and tried to sleep every now and then as well. There was zero time for applying to jobs. However, I could have prioritized it. I don’t think there was anything wrong with prioritizing social experiences and I don’t know if I necessarily should have prioritized jobs, but I often tell people that I couldn’t, when the reality was that I could have. But every time I tried, a mental block would go up and I would get really afraid. Afraid of rejection, afraid of being under qualified, afraid of not finding my passion, and just so much uncertainty that made me feel vulnerable and unprepared. So here we are after graduation. But I finally feel mentally prepared to tackle the job search, and I am proud of that and forgive myself for needing that extra time.
I got way more side-tracked than I thought I would, but I have decided that I frankly don’t give a shit and that this blog is going to be whatever I want it to be. Last week, I was thinking that this was going to be a travel blog and that I was going to research how to make money off of blogs and basically make it as a blogger. I sat down at a Starbucks in a sofa chair on this rainy Monday with the outlet next to me as I was ready to plug away for hours at starting this blog page. And as I always do with writing, I procrastinated through research and outlining and designing and did everything but actually write for as long as possible. However, it wasn’t a complete waste because I concluded that I do not want to be a travel blogger AT ALL. Not even a LITTLE BIT.
I came across some of the most superficial blogs, some of the most inspiring and kick-ass, but they had one thing in common, a WHOOOOOOLE bunch of work behind the scenes. There is no way that I could commit that much time to typing away on a computer, taking photos, submitting writings, researching trips… honestly I feel like travelling completely full time for me would take the joy out of it. I am too invested in my passion for international development to just become a freelance traveller and writer. However, I wanted to discuss why I even thought about being a freelance travel blogger in the first place. During this vacation in Blacksburg, I have been thinking a lot about how I always wanted to be an author. I voiced this dream of mine for the first time during a picnic in a park with my most treasured and enlightened friend, Megumi. I told her that I have a dream but that I am too embarrassed to share it because it sounds silly and just not concrete and not attainable enough. She said “cmonnnnn…..,” I smile softly and shyly, and she follows with “tell me, tell me, tell me, cmoooon” and I told timidly her I always wanted to be a writer. I said that I feel like I always struggle with ownership over my own voice and confidence in my ability to communicate effectively. I feel as though I have a creative and valuable mind, but I always shy away and doubt my abilities. This manifests in the way I speak, in my academics, when I write, and even when trying to master other languages. I dream of over coming this and I have just began to notice how much of a repeated theme it is in my life.
Anyways, I am not going to make this blog comprehensive to all audiences. I am not going to make this blog perfect and polished. It will be slightly filtered because I want it to be public eventually. While it will be extremely vulnerable, genuine, and daring (how I strive to live my life), I will just slightly leave out things that I may want to talk about extensively but know that my Mom, Aunts, Uncles, future employers, and grandparents may read it. But this is a statement I am making at 22… I might become even more bold the older I get, and not grossed out about the thought of my parents and relatives reading about the sex, drugs, rock and roll side of my life. We will see with time.
I am going to work on word vomiting for a little while. Maybe as time goes on I will aim to write more condensed and polished pieces, or maybe I will diversify sooner than I thought. However, I think that what my writers voice needs right now is just to flow. I have also never typed a personal entry this long before and I am amazed at how long it is so quickly. I have hella journal entries, and they are mind vomits but they are all shorter because my hand would have started hurting five or six paragraphs ago. So this is cool, I feel like I am becoming advanced with the laptop. I am starting to get really excited about this. Daring to dream: I want this blog to be something that is uncovered online as my first public writings after my book becomes a best seller. I already know what I want my first book to be about, and it is good. So good thing that I haven’t told a soul (I am pretty sure, but sometimes I have a bigger mouth than I think). At least from this point forward, I am not telling a soul, because it is that good I think. Even if that book doesn’t become famous, I am going to work really hard to get it published. I want this blog to be a starting point in my writing journey.
The journey started a long time ago, probably in Mr. Firman’s fourth grade or Mrs. Nicholas’ second grade classrooms, but this is where it is going to start to go public and become more bold. I am going to pursue a lot of dreams in life. But I have concluded that writing is one that I want to start today and work at until I don’t want to any more. I predict I won’t ever want to stop, but I am just leaving room for my future self to change her mind and not be disappointed in herself. I am going to practice this art, seek out education, and self-improve. I am very excited.
I am going to write new posts, I am going to post old journal entries (probably edit them, not to filter them so much that it changes their authenticity, but just as a better second draft, which is also good writing practice), I might share some academic pieces, I am really into the idea of doing song translations and commentaries, and I am just going to make this whatever I want it to be. I am not going to narrow it down and I am going to dive into a lot of different interests that I love having without fearing of sharing my perspective. I do not have to be an expert on everything in order to form an opinion on it. And with that, I am going to build my voice more strongly and fearlessly. With that, I hope to leave a mark on my world in some way, but not being afraid to be me. This is where I think a beautiful form of happiness can lie.
I hope to over-come my foot-in-mouth disease, I hope to learn to live in the present more, find control over my monkey mind. I hope to have better control of my rhetoric and come into my own and really see myself for the unique and bright mind that I am. I feel as though I have so far to go and even writing this paragraph is making me feel a little vulnerable. But I want to dive into that vulnerability and either embrace it or erase it. I want to find part of my happiness in writing and I have a really good feeling that I am on the right path already.