Finding Out Who I Am

With recent conversations the topic of “Who am I?” has come up and stuck with me. Some days it’s more of an anxiety than a passing idea. I’ve worried a lot recently about not knowing who I am or why I’m even here. We as humans are always changing and I’m not excluded from that. Everything from religion to education to habits and personality have changed for me; a lot of those changed have happened in the last 5 years. More than anything I’ve changed a lot in the last few months.  At first, I changed for the worst, but now I can see myself making a lot of really good changes. As I got to a better place mentally, I’ve found myself even more lost than I felt during my depression. Now it’s clear-headed lost feelings because I don’t recognize myself since emerging from that darkness I was in for so long.

But who was I before? I don’t remember that girl at all. I remember being popular in my friend group, easily being the center of attention–but not in a bad way. I was always holding court amongst my peers. I was full of light and attracted people to me. I was loud and social and full of energy and hyperactivity that the girl I am now isn’t reminiscent of at all. I’m a lot quieter now, which is something I never thought I’d be.

Thinking back, I don’t know who I was for most of my adolescence. I defined myself in high school and college by who my parents were, who my friends were, where I went to school, where I went (or didn’t go) to church. I don’t think I realized what I was feeling back then; I felt out of place, that was all I knew.  Since moving to Florida, I defined myself by the job I had. Everything revolved around that, and not who I was deep inside, so I forgot.

Being unhappy in the workplace that was the only defining factor I felt I had made me feel like a failure. During my college program, I knew I’d found my place. That was who I was. Then I went to merchandise and lost myself. With a transfer back to the place I was happy, I felt alive again. Look at any of my social media bios and you’ll see “Pirate” on there. Hardly ever does it say “Cast Member” because I never defined myself as that. I was a pirate and only a pirate.  I went back to Adventureland part-time as a “real” Cast Member and in the best way possible thought I owned the place. I was going to apply for trainer and coordinator and facilitator and I was going to be there forever. Moving from my definition to Frontierland has been hard. Again, I felt like I had failed myself and didn’t know who I was outside of my Pirate Life. That’s what I’m struggling with right now. I’ve made myself feel like I have nothing special to prove that I’m unique or interesting.

I thought maybe school would make me interesting. Maybe I needed to label myself as “Student” if I couldn’t have “Pirate.” But why? In high school when everyone was talking about college plans, I joined in, but in my three semesters of college, I changed my major three times and took only one class outside of the core requirements. Everyone knew who they were and the plan to get a degree to match. But I don’t want to be “Career Woman Hannah,” so why do I need to spend the money on school to get a degree that I’m only getting because I’m lost? What I realized I was actually doing was following others on their paths to happiness. I’ve spent so much time comparing my success to others’ when they’re on their path and I’m swerving into their lane. This is the exact opposite of finding my individualism! I can’t find myself when I’m not forging my own way and only following what others seem successful in doing.

I have no answers. Just trying to get out these thoughts bouncing around inside. While doing this, I’ve been making a list of things I know to be true about myself: interests, habits, personality traits all good and bad. I’m not writing down things I wish I was or can be sometimes. But I’m writing down constants in the moment. Deep down, I know I’m special and unique. So I made a list to remind me why.

I don’t believe in coincidence. This post has been a thought for about three weeks, and a draft for one. Yesterday I was catching up on blogs I follow and came across this post by guest writer Maxie McCoy on The College Prepster blog. Incredibly inspiring, this post made a lot of sense for writing this one. In it, Maxie talks about her three buckets of experience: Contribution, Personality, and Values. She goes on to ask three questions, “What does it mean to be radiantly you? What work aligns your talents and interests? What gives you the most energy?” That was exactly what I was trying to do by making my personal list. But Maxie put it into inspiring words and gave me a process and a goal.

I’ve chosen to not define myself by the people I spend time with or the location I work at. I want to look at my “buckets” or list of things I know for sure about who Hannah Noel Jackson is. I’m a writer, a reader, a dog mom. I’m a wife to someone I’m not married to yet; I know that deep down just like some women know they’re meant to be mothers I’m meant to be a wife. I’ve got messy handwriting and I’m stylish as hell. I’m supportive and independent and say whatever is on my mind. I say things without thinking and sometimes I hurt people’s feelings. I’m a hard worker and I’m not lazy. I can perform one-woman Broadway shows in my car. When I care about something, I care a lot. There’s so much to me and I’m just trying to figure it all out.

People change. That’s life. I’m not who I was in high school, I’m not who I was 6 months ago. I’m not who I will be a year from now. I’m trying to find who I am in this very moment outside of work and relationships. More than thinking about how those things define me, I need to worry about how I define them. They bring nothing to me, but I can bring everything to them. This whole “find yourself during your twenties” thing is a lot more difficult than tv and books prepared me for.

FullSizeRender (8)

Death of a Bachelor by P!ATD: REVIEW

Pleasant Surprise

I’ll admit I’ve been very out of the loop with everything recently, so I had no idea Panic! At the Disco was even releasing a new album any time soon. I had heard a few singles (“Hallelujah” and “Victorious”) but hadn’t kept up with when a new album was supposed to happen. Recently I went to a drag show at a club with my roommates and one of the songs used was “Emperor’s New Clothes” but I honestly thought it was an Adam Lambert song. Oops. But it made me want to listen to Panic! and that was how I was pleasantly surprised with the addition of a few new singles I hadn’t heard yet.  A few days ago at work, a girl passed by me in one of the boats with an “I’m Celebrating!” button saying she was celebrating “Panic’s new album.” Then yesterday I checked Twitter and realized it had been released on January 15th.

PATD_Cover_FINAL_Death of a Bachelor

First Impressions

The album has been purchased and I’m in love. My favorite thing about PATD is how each album has it’s own “theme” and sound to go with it, yet every album is still distinctly Panic’s. They have their sound as a band, but are able to adapt it so well throughout their albums. Death of a Bachelor includes the jazz influences that I always associate with PATD in “Crazy=Genius” and “Death of a Bachelor.” Along with the melancholy lyrics of “Impossible Year,” “Golden Days,” and “House of Memories,” there is no doubt that this is a perfect example of Panic! At the Disco.

I do wish I’d done some kind of live tweet of my first impression of every song. I tweeted a few things, but I was headed out the door to go to work and didn’t give it the proper first listen. But “Impossible Year” killed me on the way to work.

While I wouldn’t give every song a five star rating, I love some songs enough that I would absolutely rate the album higher. The great songs overshadow the ones that were just “meh.”

5/5 Stars

My 5 star songs from the album are (in no particular order):

  1. “Don’t Threaten Me with a Good Time”
  2. “Death of a Bachelor”
  3. “LA Devotee”
  4. “Impossible Year”
  5. “The Good, the Bad, and the Dirty”

4/5 Stars

Not far behind, these three songs were given 4 stars. Not great enough to be a favorite, but I have a great appreciation for the fun music and lyrics.

  1. “House of Memories”
  2. “Golden Days”
  3. “Emperor’s New Clothes”

3/5 Stars

T0 “Crazy=Genius” I gave 3 stars. I like the big band sound, but the song just didn’t do as much for me as others on the album.

2/5 Stars

At “just okay,” I gave “Victorious” two stars. Maybe just because I had already heard it so often as a single that I got tired of it before the album was even released.

1/5 Stars

Honestly, I’d give “Hallelujah” 0 stars. I have no interest in this song whatsoever. I’m so grateful the rest of the album wasn’t as disappointing as this song. The only thing I like about this song is how the very beginning reminds me of the theme from Rocky. But that isn’t enough for me to enjoy the song. Just a personal preference.

Music Video Thoughts

(These are first impression reactions to the videos. So I’m typing out thoughts as soon as they happen.)

“Death of a Bachelor”- This is just like a slightly more entertaining (and completely clothed) version of the “Girls/Girls/Boys” video (which I know was a tribute video to another artist, shh!). But I love a man in a suit, so the video was fancy. Brendon Urie is just a nice man to look at dance around in black and white.

“Emperor’s New Clothes”- I love the transition from “This Is Gospel” to this song. You really can’t lose with singing skeleton heads. I just keep thinking of the film Horns as well as the “Spooky Mormon Hell Dream” from The Book of Mormon. Overall, spooky video, weird effects, but fun. I love more than anything how they tied it to the previous album.

“Victorious”- Oh. A boxing montage. How original. And Dodgeball. This video is hilarious. Not what I expected at first. Celebrating life’s little victories and moving on. I like it.

“Hallelujah”- Oh. His red suit. I love that. Also I’m getting a “princess is in another castle” vibe. Her dark lipstick is #goals. Brendon and I dance the same way, but he’s better at it. I’m not a fan of this video for the effects. Definitely my least favorite of the videos, and it isn’t just because I don’t like the song.

Final Thoughts

Really, overall I guess I would give the album 4/5 stars. The majority of the songs are incredible, but the last few on my list were duds. But I love my Panic! and Brendon Urie in general, and this album is fantastic. “Impossible Year” made me almost break my two-days-without-crying streak. Almost.

Is this my favorite album by PATD? Probably not. I think I’ll always love A Fever You Can’t Sweat Out best, with Too Weird to Live, Too Rare to Die coming in at a close second. This might be my third favorite album which is still decent in comparison to Vices and Virtues, which I like to pretend never existed. Pretty. Odd. is a fun album, but I don’t have a lot of emotional attachment to any of it.

If you have any agreements/disagreements with my ratings or wish I’d mentioned more things, let me know! I’ve been wanting to add some reviews to my blog for a while, but I’ve never written one before. This will be a journey of figuring that out for sure. I definitely want to hear your opinions on the album if you’re a fan (or if you’re not!).

Less Facebook, More Blogging

As I’ve mentioned a lot recently, I haven’t been myself. Call it depression or a funk, but I haven’t been me for a long time. A lot of factors have contributed to this, but more than anything else it’s been my internal voice that’s caused the most emotional turmoil. Lots of guilt, comparison, and not feeling worthy have played a big part in what’s been wrong. So I’ve been trying to change that.

I’ve made lots of changes physically, emotionally, and environmentally. One of the first things I did when I began to feel clearer was rearrange my room. Just changing the space that I spend so much time in made a big difference to my mental state. I’m trying to run more often to make me feel better physically and mentally. Even making a direct decision to wear makeup and look pretty helps a lot on days when I need that reflection of self-worth. (As a side note, I don’t believe that outward appearances mean shit, but sometimes it helps boost what’s inside. And vice versa.)

Not only have I made the changes in my mind by being more positive and not allowing my negative thoughts to have any presence in my life, I’ve tried to filter out that negativity other places. For me, that means unfollowing a lot of accounts on Twitter and Instagram (I unfollowed over 700 accounts on IG last night until they blocked my access to unfollow for a week). I also deleted a lot of people from my Facebook.

Social Media breeds comparison and resentment of others because of how they present their lives. At least it did for me. I saw how people online present only part of their lives (the good part) and it made me jealous. Because of what I have been going through recently, I wanted to have the happy life my Facebook friends had. Of course, most people have evolved to be smart enough to only post the good, keeping the negative to themselves. Still, I spent a lot of time feeling as though I need validation from all the people I’m friends with on Facebook. I compared my photo or status success with others’ and I felt a lot of pressure because of it.

I don’t feel that kind of pressure from Twitter or Instagram or Tumblr. For one reason or another, Facebook did something different to me. Because of this, I’m reeling back on my usage of the site. You probably still notice me there, but I don’t post much other than links to my blog. I haven’t quite broken the habit of needing to check my feed, but I have broken myself of posting everything, seeking attention for every photo and thought. That’s what my blog is for.

I would very much like a good audience for this platform. That’s my end goal. But I’m not comparing my blog to others that have been writing and growing for years. Everything I would need my friends and family to know, I will text them about. If it’s insanely important to my own growth, I’ll write about it here.

For a long time I thought I had to add every person I ever met on Facebook. I’ve learned in the past few years that it isn’t necessary. I have a little over 100 “friends”, and I still feel as though I have a social obligation to some of them. Others I have a genuine desire to have their presence, even if we haven’t seen each other in years; I enjoy the content they post. I enjoy having my closest friends and family to keep up with what they’re doing and to be able to post links and photos to share with them. But I realized I only want to be surrounded by those that I am comfortable around. I don’t want to compare myself to others anymore. I don’t need that right now while I’m doing so well.

I feel like Facebook is bragging ground. Am I playing into that when I post links to my writing? Maybe. But I’m not asking anyone to read it by posting it to my accounts. I don’t even need the validation of a comment or a like. I just want to share my thoughts and feelings from every part of my life; I want to be honest about the good and the bad during my journey. That’s why I wanted to blog: I want to share my life and my reactions to it.

IMG_8862

What I Would Do With $1.4 Billion

With all this talk of the Powerball, I will admit that I gave in and bought tickets. Why not? The grand prize is 1.4 BILLION dollars, how can you not at least take a shot? You either win something or you lose $2. The odds of winning the grand prize are 1 in 292,201,338, and no one has won in months. But the odds are worse if I don’t play at all.

So I bought 10 tickets, and tonight we will see what I win. I’m feeling confident, because why not? I’ve never done anything like this; I’ve never bought lottery tickets or put in the effort to care about it. But with it being such a hot topic right now I thought it might be fun to say I was a part of the national hubub.

What would I do with that kind of money? There’s honestly very little that I want or need. Still, I have a list of things that I would do with any expendable money I were to receive. Here we go. In no particular oder I would:

  • Pay off Jay’s and my student loans (and be able to pay for all the school in the future), as well as any credit card debt between the two of us
  • Buy a small house/condo in cash so I only have to worry about property taxes and utilities
  • Pay off my car
  • Buy Jay a motorcycle
  • Buy my parents a house and pay off whatever debt they have
  • Have my own personal library
  • Adopt more dogs. Hell, we’ll have a dalmatian plantation
  • Get more tattoos

And even then, I’d still have millions and millions of dollars left. I’d take time off from work and take adventures. I’d travel and visit all the Disney parks worldwide. I’d take trips I’ve always envied people taking to countries all over the world. I’d help my friends and family that might be struggling financially. And of course, I’d put lots in savings and invest the rest.

scrooge_mcduck-e1334907919275

Ican’t even picture what $1.4 billion dollars would look like. I imagine Scrooge McDuck and his swimming pool of gold coins. 

Honestly, besides being debt-free and living on my own, not much would actually change. I would still work, otherwise I’d be bored as hell. But I could focus on things that bring me joy because I wouldn’t have to worry so much about being able to pay for necessities. I’m just dreaming. It’s fun to think about all the things I would do with such a large sum of money. Most of what is on my list are things that I’m working toward anyway. But it would  be fun to pay it down immediately.

What would you do if you were to win the lottery? I feel like most people would have a list similar to mine.

 

Two Years

Tomorrow marks two years since checking into my Disney College Program. In two years I have “earned my ears” five times, learning two different roles, three attractions, and two systems. My time working at Walt Disney World has been contained to Magic Kingdom, with the exception of a few merchandise shifts picked up here and there. But for two years I have been statused to the most magical of all the parks at the WDW Resort. I’ve had a lot of great times here, and I’ve dealt with my share of heartache here as well. 

In those two years, I have loved what I do, but I have also struggled with coming to work. During my time here, half has been in a place I consider home away from home, while the rest has been less-than-desirable. I know I’m able to be an A+ Cast Member, because I’ve been that before. Currently, I feel as though I waver between being a C and a B- Cast Member at best. I’ve become the person who shows up to work and collects a check. 

I see nothing wrong with having that kind of job. A job is meant to support you and yours financially and it doesn’t have to be fun. But I’ve had jobs that I loved, and I’ve had that at Disney, and I believe that I still can. Recently, I’ve been in a major depression that has affected how I am at work and how I see my position with this company. For a while, it seemed as though I was going to be stuck here for the rest of my life–and that isn’t the way I wanted to think about a job with Disney. I thought because I came to Florida to work for Disney that it was the only career option I could ever have now. I have come to realize that, yes, Orlando did call me here. But it doesn’t mean I have to be stuck. Just making that connection with myself has made all the difference. 

With that, I’m making a change in my Disney career. I’m going to try to find my place here again, and I think going to a different park may be the best thing for me right now. Too many thing in Magic Kingdom remind me of the past and I think it’s prohibiting me from moving on. Not only am I going to try and find my place in a different park, I’ve also made the decision to allow myself to leave if I don’t find my place. I used to think I would be a failure if I quit Disney because that’s why I moved here. Now I know that is not the case. As long as I don’t leave on bad terms or get fired, I can always come back. I can come back front-line, or I could come back professionally once I finish school. All I know is I’m not tied to anything. 

I genuinely hope that I find home again. But I’ve made peace with myself to not feel so much pressure about it. All I want is to feel happy going to play at the parks for fun and to not hate my job. Life is too short to hate your job, especially when you work for Disney. 

In the meantime, I’m going to send in my college transcripts and work on a degree and see where that takes me. Life is so vast and at times scary, but I will never regret the experiences I have had in Orlando and I hope to have many more adventures here. So happy two-year anniversary to me, and here’s to whatever future time I spend here. 

  

One Little Spark: Anya

For the recent past, I have had very few moments at work that make me say, “This is why I’m here.” I used to have those all the time; I always made magic and helped guests feel special. Since being in Frontierland, those moments are few and far between for me. There’s a lot of pressure to meet dispatch intervals and make our numbers and rush guests that I fail to remember that Courtesy is more important than Efficiency.

Tonight while hanging out with my favorite singing bears, a family came into the theater with a stroller being used as a wheelchair. At first, I rolled my eyes; why didn’t they just park it in stroller parking? Their child wasn’t using it anyway. Then I saw her.

This precious angel with her face-sized lollipop and what was left of her thinning blonde hair pulled back into a ponytail was walking with her parents. If I were to guess, I would say she was around five years old. Her eyes were as big as the sucker in her hand and I walked over to her to tell her to put it away.

“Hi, Sweetie. Just for the show I’m going to have you hold your lollipop and not eat it, okay? The bears might see it and want you to share with them.”

She nodded in agreement, but her parents took it and put it in the stroller anyway. She and her dad continued to tell me all about a video they saw on tv of a man being chased by a grizzly bear. I promised that my bears were nice bears, I just didn’t think she had enough candy to share with all of them.

It was then that I knew what I had to do. I asked her if she would like to help me start the show and she immediately jumped up, ready to go. I found out that her name was Anya, and she was from England. Her dad videoed us as I walked her over to the microphone, started the show, and introduced her to tell the theater hello and welcome. She ran back to her seat and I went back to mine. The entire show I watched her dance in her seat and I sobbed silently.

After the show, she gave me a high five and her dad thanked me and shook my hand. I wanted to hug every one of them and thank them instead.

I’ve missed these moments. I have so little time it seems to do anything magical these days. Not only that, but I’ve almost always been so easily irritated that there’s no room left in me for magic. But today was different. I swear sweet Anya came into my theater to remind me that I am capable of making magic at work.

DSC_8451

Relocation and Change

Hello, friends.

There are a lot of changes going on in my life–past, present, and future. These changes are mostly within myself that are expressed outwardly in attitude and decisions, etc. In order to continue with these (I hope positive) mental and emotional changes , I’ve decided to relocate my blog from Blogger to WordPress. I’m doing this so that eventually, when finances allow, I would like to own my own domain.

I’m extremely passionate about writing, and I want to take a chance and start writing more to be able to grow as a writer. Maybe writing professionally isn’t for me, but maybe it is. And I’m sick and tired of being afraid that I can’t achieve the deepest desires of my heart because I don’t think I can survive on writing alone. I have an entire post in the works just on this topic.

Originally, I was just going to make a Facebook status and share the link to my blog. It got real wordy real fast, so why not publish it here? This post is very much just an extension of a Facebook status, without the “continue reading” tab. No one likes to click those. Facebook statuses are supposed to be longer than Tweets but not as long as a full-on blog post. At least that’s my opinion.

Continuing on. I’m working on myself to find inner peace with who I am and what is going on around me. I want my blog to reflect the growth and progress (and the difficulties) that are coming with that mindset. I’ve been reading some amazing books and have had conversations with amazing people in the last week that have given me so much insight to who I want to be and how I want to see myself getting there.

All of this seems pretty vague right now, and that’s because I have future blog entries that will explain in detail what I mean. For now, this is a quick update before I need to get ready for work. Future entries of these subjects will be planned and edited and proofread, whereas this is very by-the-seat-of-my-pants and rushed.

I just wanted to share that this is where my blog now resides. I’ve heard wonderful things about WordPress, and as I grow, I would like my blog to eventually reflect that. It’s still in the works; I’m tweaking and adding and formatting as best I know how, but I’m content with it. If anyone has any suggestions on things to add, I welcome them. Or just encouragement on this journey to see what I’m called to do next.

Thank you for reading, and subscribe via e-mail over to the left (or via Bloglovin’!).

Yours,

Hannah

1508564_10207213761655392_3125438988423266831_n

When it’s time to change you’ve got to rearrange who you are and what you’re gonna be.

Books I’m Bringing Into 2016

In 2015, I told myself I would read 75 books. I disappointed myself terribly and only read 6 by the end of the year, most of them being trade paperback comic books. I don’t know if I’ve ever read so few books in a year, and this year I vow to do better. Reading has always been so important to me, and it breaks my heart to know that I’ve slacked so much, especially when I know how many books I have still unfinished on my shelves and how many more I want to buy. This year, I set my goal a little lower, putting it at 40 books. This gives me less pressure, but still gives me a challenge.

In the last few weeks I came into some book-buying money through gift cards and used them very wisely. Today I want to share with you the books that I’m bringing into 2016 with me. Not all of these books are new, and I won’t be mentioning in detail every book I purchased. But these are the ones that are most important for me to read first.

Two of the books I will be reading soon are ones that have been on my wishlist for quite some time. I’ve just been waiting on the money and the paperback versions to be released. They are Room by Emma Donoghue and I Am Malala by Malala Yousafzai. I’ve been the most excited to own these two very different books and finally getting them in the mail was so relieving to my bookworm heart.

Another two that I was excited for were Osama Van Halen by Michael Muhammad Knight and The Sanctuary Seeker (A Crowner John Mystery) by Bernard Knight. It’s funny, I didn’t intentionally group these two together by last name; it just happened that way. I’m looking forward to the first because I am in love with another book by MMK, The Taqwacores, and can’t wait to read another in the same feel. The second was recommended to me by my boyfriend, so I think reading something he’s told me about will be a fun thing to get into. I haven’t read a good mystery in a while, adding to the excitement of getting into this one.

Some others that I got are continuations of series I already had. I got the fourth volume of Hawkeye, third and fourth volumes of Ms. Marvel, and The Scorch Trials so I can eventually start The Maze Runner series.

One of the books I hope to tackle this year was an impulse buy. I heard a few people on YouTube talk about it, but I mostly bought it for the cover. It’s so incredible that I specifically wanted to own the hardback copy. This book is Illuminae by Amie Kaufman an Jay Kristoff. Yes, the book sounds incredible as another apocalyptic planet invasion series with the way the story is told through “hacked documents”, but I definitely judged a book by its cover with this one. Nonetheless, I can’t wait to get into it.

Some books that are out of the norm for me I think are going to be the very best in the end for me to read. Oprah Winfrey’s What I Know For Sure and Serena Dyer and Dr. Wayne Dyer’s Don’t Die With Your Music Still In You are non-fiction self-help books that I need desperately right now. I’ve had Oprah’s book sitting on my shelf for some time now and only now has it been appropriate to mean something to me. The book by the Dyers was given to me today by my parents to help me get through some hard times. I’m hoping to read these quickly in the next few days and change the way I think and see myself in a more positive way.

I have plenty more books on my shelf that I’ve started and need to work on. But these few are the most recent to my collection and the ones I’m most excited to begin for the new year. As always, I’m accepting recommendations, but if you’ve ever seen my shelves or my Goodreads “To-Read” list, you’ll know I have plenty to keep myself busy.