International Women’s Day

It’s amazing to realize how much you change as you grow up. I realize that’s part of coming into adulthood; the time between adolescence and adulthood is filled with so much drastic change it only makes sense. However, I can see a 95% difference in myself from how I was in my teenage years. Growing up in Bible Belt, Texas I obviously had a more conservative outlook on most things. I didn’t understand the LGBT+ community, I didn’t know any people of color, and I was ashamed of being a woman. 

Anyone that knew me back then versus now remembers the days where I was embarrassed to have breasts and hated going bra shopping. I had conditioned myself to look at my own body and demeanor with disdain because my femininity was wrong or dirty. Having boobs was sexy and sex is dirty and girls are supposed to have purity rings and not be aware of them being sexual beings. Or something like that. All of this was something I had made up or assumed; while my parents never mentioned anything about the birds and the bees to me or made me feel ashamed, somehow I still did. Really, many of these feelings followed me into college and down to Florida. It wasn’t until I began to see body positivity firsthand that I realized my femininity is something to be proud of. 

These days I can say without hesitation that I believe in true feminism. I believe in encouraging girls and women to love themselves as an A cup or a EEE, to love their curves and stretch marks and Fred Flinstone Feet. Women need to hear that makeup doesn’t make you beautiful, but if winged eyeliner and a killer cut-crease makes you feel empowered, then by all means go for it. It is entirely your opinion and choices that matter and not that of society. Show your stomach if you want to! Exposing some tasteful sideboob doesn’t make you a slut unless that’s how you would like to self-identify. True feminism advocates equality for men and women alike, realizing that men face just as many social pressures as women do. Opening my eyes to love myself as I am has made me a stronger woman and I want to encourage other people of all genders and identities to feel the same. 

On this International Women’s Day, I celebrate all women. This includes trans women, women of color, republican women, democrat women, immigrant women, women with disabilities, and every other type of women out there. So much of the mainstream society tries to pit women against each other by making everything a competition and putting them down. Telling me I’m not girly enough or not as thin as this woman is a way to break down my mind to conform to the bullshit. We all need to stand together as sisters and use our differences to make us stronger as a group to defend against that bullshit social norm. 

In the past, I’ve felt guilty for going to Starbucks and being perceived as a “basic white girl” or expressing my emotions and being called “dramatic and hysterical”.  Now I realize how silly that is and have chosen to embrace myself for who I am. If I can choose to be unapologetically me, then maybe I can inspire more of my brothers and sisters in the world. I’ve been brushed off when I talk about not wanting to have children, as if this makes me less of a woman. When I asked my gynecologist about a tubal litigation he told me I was too young to make a decision like that when I know in my heart that it’s not something I am going to change my mind on. I’m louder and more independent than most men are used to, and I’ve accepted that that is the reason I’m single; it will take a very special man to be able to handle me.  I talk openly about sex and zit popping videos and other “non-ladylike” topics and I’m proud of myself for having the freedom to vocalize my opinions and feelings. 

As a woman in the United States I realize how lucky I am. Compared to how women are viewed in other countries around the world, here in America we have so many rights to be thankful for. Not only am I lucky enough to be a woman in America, I’m also lucky enough to never have experienced a sexual assault when 1 in 6 American women have. While I am extremely fortunate to not have this history, I never want to take that for granted and forget the women who have suffered through harmful situations because of their gender. From the women in other countries fighting for education and jobs to the women around the world who have been assaulted or live in fear of assault (not to mention the women who have not survived these battles), I want to live to support them and not let them be forgotten. Because I am one of the lucky ones, I feel like it’s part of my duty to stand with victims and offer encouragement to my sisters to stay strong through whatever life throws at them. 

I’m grateful for the changes I’ve made since high school. I’m proud to be a woman, and I’m even prouder to be the strong and independent woman I am. Being raised to speak up for myself and encouraged to do anything I set my mind to, I’m using my voice to stand with my fellow women in their right to live the lives they want and not the ones expected of them. Liking Starbucks, not wanting children, listening to bubblegum pop music, wearing pink lipstick and getting your nails done, playing sports, being covered in tattoos and liking sex doesn’t make you more or less of a woman. It makes you you. The most important lesson I’ve learned as a woman is that mine is the only approval I need. I want to support women around the world in their own journeys and battles to achieve their rights and find their individual voices. 

February Goals

I’m very happy to announce that in January I completed 8/10 of my planned goals. Not only did I successfully do the 10 I set out to, I also made great progress in creating lasting habits for my health and well-being. It isn’t important which goals I did or did not meet, what matters most is that I was able to achieve more than I thought I would for the month. 

With that being said, I decided on my February goals. I have less on my list this month, and some are the same or slightly different, while some are new. Although I’m doing a lot of focusing on the short-term goals, I haven’t forgotten about the long term; many of my goals I set intentionally to get into the habit of doing it, so I can eventually turn around and utilize them for a longterm plan. An example would be more exercise: someday I want to comfortably complete a full marathon. I can’t do that without consistent running and training (and diet!!) every day. Another would be my writing: four blog posts a month at minimum gives me the practice and experience to someday get paid for writing.  “I want to learn everything I can, and write down everything I see. Golly says if I want to be a writer, I’d better start now…”

  • Publish 4 blog posts
  • Read 4 books
  • Work out 4 days a week
  • Put (and keep) money in savings
  • Continue to clean and de-clutter
  • No soda

I feel good. These may seem like more “to-do” list items, but they mean more than that to me. These goals mean working to become a better person, both physically and mentally. I want to learn, I want to feel stable, I want to feel strong. I’m so ready to be the best I can be. This month I also want to sit down and seriously begin to plan out my long-term life goals, and I’ll be sure to write about it when I know more myself. 

I Want My Own Family (A Post About Love, Loss, and Want)

For as long as I can remember, I’ve wanted to be married. Ever since I was 7 years old, I’ve known how to take care of someone. When my mom was pregnant with my sister she taught me how to do laundry and take care of a home, and I’ve always loved cooking and can follow any recipe. I was ready to get married even before I had any romantic prospects, because I’ve felt inside that I want more than anything to be a wife. Just like those girls who know from birth that they’re meant to be mothers, I’m meant to be someone’s wife.

I’m very lucky to have grown up with two incredible parents who gave me a wonderful and positive example of married life. Their relationship isn’t perfect, but they worked with such great teamwork and partnership that I strive to be like that. I saw a lot of my parents in the relationship between Jay and I in the beginning. We had effortless chemistry, equality in our interactions, and strong communication. Not to mention undying devotion.

I dream heavily of living in a small home or apartment with the man I marry and a few dogs. To me, having a “house” isn’t important. Apartments are more quaint and less hassle anyway. But I’d be lying if I said I didn’t love the feeling of being in a house when I would go visit Jay. I would very much like the “American Dream” white picket fence home. That’s a big dream that I would be eternally blessed to have. But Home is wherever the Love of my life is. I’ve been thinking about my future family since I was 14. I’ve had a board on Pinterest of “Meals I Will Cook For My Husband” for almost that long.

When I think of my own “family,” I don’t see children. I never have seen myself being a mother and I don’t think I ever will.  Having a family doesn’t have to include procreating. I admire the people who choose to be mothers. My best friend, for example, has had baby fever for as long as I’ve known her. I think that’s absolutely great. It isn’t the life I want for myself. So much so, that the thought of going through Tubal Litigation (having my tubes tied) has had a very serious presence in my mind when I think of the future. There are too many other opportunities to be a part of a child’s life without giving birth to them. I’ve joked about my dog being my child. But honestly that’s enough for me. To have a husband and a few dogs and live happily together is my ideal future.

While I am a strong, independent woman, I have the deepest desire to create a home and have a strong partnership with the man I love. Because of this, I love very hard. Apparently too hard. Coming across as “needy” is something I’ve always wanted to avoid, but my passion for spending time with the Love of My Life was taken the wrong way. Being in a relationship isn’t what defines my happiness, but if I learned anything through my almost-seven months with Jay, it was that I discovered a new form of happiness when I had another person in my life to care for.

Similar to that moment that mothers talk about, you’ve never known true happiness until you look into the eyes of someone you love. You can be a whole person before you meet that person, but being with them creates another part of you; they add to who you are. Being together feeds that piece you gave each other and it grows and grows with every moment you have as “Us.”

What hurts more than anything is when that piece stops growing. What happens next is even more painful: losing it forever. That part of you that grew with the love you shared is suddenly ripped from your very soul with no warning. You’re blindsided by the comments made both by you and the one you thought was The One. Things you never even wanted as fleeting thoughts are spouted out by you and your Love. The person you thought could never hurt you has done so much more than that–they tore out what the two of you had cultivated together.

The pain is enough to make you want to die. You feel like you’ve failed. All the reasons you have to blame yourself and the other person are boiling inside as you dry-heave in your bed through tears at the betrayal of the words that have been said. At this point you feel like you’re not complete, and you would be right. For so long you grew part of their soul in your heart and it added to the wholeness you had before you met them. With their love went that piece that made up “Us.” After your heart stops hurting, you are still whole. You’re just the kind of whole you were before you fell in love.

It feels like growing your hair out for a long time and then getting a drastic haircut. You’re used to the weight being there. You try to pull it back and there’s not enough there; you’re used to using way more shampoo than you actually need. You’ve had this style before, but it’s been so long you forgot what it was like. It doesn’t change anything, it just takes time.

Through this excruciating heartbreak of losing my first Love, I got a small taste of what it will be like to have my own family. For a short time, Jay, Fiona, and Watson were part of the family I have with Twix. I called Fi and Wats my “Stepdogs” and did the best I could to take care of Jay. Making dinner for the two of us felt so right. Feeling him breathing beside me at night and rubbing his back until he fell asleep brought me more happiness than I ever knew was possible. The scar tissue on his shoulder that he was so self-conscious about was one of my favorite things about him. I couldn’t wait for him to wake up because I was so excited for Dragon Breath kisses. I loved drinking our coffee together in the morning before he had to kick me out and rush to work. For almost seven months I got to have my very own Home with him.

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Watching movies with Jay and Watson

As much as I want to apologize for loving “too much” and I will admit to needing time with him, I’m not sorry at all. He made me happy when skies were grey. Unfortunately for us, they were grey a lot, and I sought out contact with him because it made me feel better. To me, it was better. To him, I brought a lot of extra stress and negativity that he already had in his life. Mistakes were made and things were said (and not said) and my Family fell apart.

I will never be sorry for wanting that family bond with someone. Because of Jay, my desire to be a wife is only strengthened. I know I’m good at that role, partially because he told me so, and also because it felt right in my heart. I felt as though a part of me that I had always known was there finally got to be expressed. I got to spend time playing house and running errands with him and plucking stray hairs from his face. But apparently it still isn’t time for me yet.

Although we aren’t “Us” anymore and we aren’t even friends, I still love him with all of my heart. I think I will for a very long time. He was a lot of firsts for me, but he was definitely the first to make me realize how much I need my own family. He gave me that hint of Forever that I want so badly. I thought it would be with him, because, in the beginning, he told me he wanted that with me too. But as circumstances changed, so did “Us.”

I’ll get my family. For now it’s just me and Twix again. I’ve got my wonderful roommates to love on and I’ll always have my amazing mom, dad, and sister who are just a few hours drive away. These people all love me more than I think I’ll ever know. I’ve got wonderful friends who are always there for me as I am for them. There’s a lot of extended Family that I want to keep close forever. Someday I’ll fall in love and never have to feel this pain again.

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.

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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. 

  

Pursuing a Degree in Communications

Yesterday I touched on the idea of going back to school. I’ve been researching some different options, from online courses through Texas Tech, University of Phoenix, Valencia, and UCF. University websites are the worst. They’re nothing but labyrinths of information to get lost in. But I’m extremely inspired right now to buckle down and gain some focus on a goal. I’ve said for two years that I’m not that interested in going back to school; I’ve asked people to stop inquiring when I’m going back to get a degree. The answer is now probably Summer 2016.

I’m really inspired right now to do something. I’ve been needing something to do besides sit around watching Netflix; something productive needs to be done. School isn’t going to hurt me one bit. Three or four classes a year won’t get me anywhere fast, but it’ll get me there eventually.

In 2012 I graduated high school and began my college career at Hardin-Simmons University. I already had 12 dual credit hours under my belt from high school, and started at the university taking general studies courses my first semester. Originally, I was going along the Spanish Education route. Before I even took a Spanish or an Education class I knew I didn’t want to teach. So at the end of my first semester,  I changed my major to just Spanish and would figure something out later. I knew I didn’t want to just be a Spanish major, but I didn’t know what else to choose at the time so I left it at that. For a while I considered leaving it, and then getting certified as a translator. This would make the most sense for keeping Spanish. Instead, I went to the academic advisors and talked with them for a long time about my interests and my career goals. After that meeting, we decided Public Relations might be the way to go. At this point, the spring semester was almost over and I didn’t have a chance to take any Communication classes. After that semester, I went home to Lubbock and transferred to Texas Tech for a semester before moving to Florida. At TTU, my only class was a PR class. And I loved it. From the class, it seemed like a good balance of being in an  air-conditioned office, but also being able to get out and do some hands-on work through writing and partnering with other business areas. I’m still very interested in pursuing a Public Relations-type degree.

A few things I have discovered in my school search: Florida Schools don’t offer solely PR degrees, and they don’t do it online. So it’s back to the drawing board. I do know that the University of Phoenix offers a Public Relations/Organizational Communication degree, which I’m still looking into. Valencia offers the same degree transfer plan, but UCF doesn’t offer it online.

I have officially applied to the UCF College of Sciences with intentions of majoring in Communication and Conflict. I have sent out lots of e-mails to transfer departments about my credits coming over from Texas schools. I have reached out the the head of the department for further information on it. I know I want a Communications degree, and this seems like it’s the best for what’s offered as well as my career with Disney. Communication and Conflict is a little more of a business management degree than I thought I would be interested in, but I feel like the required classes will benefit me in working for such a large company, even if management isn’t something I’m interested in. Having a degree with a management slant will (hopefully) make me a stronger and better utilized Cast Member wherever my career takes me.

As far as a minor goes, Spanish isn’t offered online. That’s okay. I still have every Spanish text book from high school and college and can easily keep fresh and teach myself vocabulary. Out of the online minors offered, I’m going back and forth between Journalism Studies and Mass Communication. This makes my studies as a whole closer to a PR-type degree, without the title of “Public Relations.” Because both minors seem so incredibly up my alley, I might just have to double minor, or I’ll eventually make a decision.

No matter how much I work, I still get bored. Hopefully I can channel that boredom into something useful for the future. Who knows, maybe I’ll find myself writing for the Disney Parks Blog someday. Funny how that was the first thing I ever said I wanted to do for Disney. Even in choosing a major with my advisors, that was the thought I had. Now, I don’t necessarily think I’ll ever be doing that, but who knows? I do know come January I’m putting in a transfer for a change. And the Summer brings new things as well.

Inspired to Become Something Great

I’ve been in a bit of a slump recently, financially, emotionally, and physically.  This isn’t the first time I’ve felt this way, and I’m sure it won’t be the last either. Part of living is dealing with the hard times as well as the good times. You can’t have one without the other and I’m trying to remind myself of that, because I know I’ve had plenty of the good, and I still do. But aspects of my current life are not as I would like them to be at this point in my life. Let me explain.

Working for Walt Disney World, I’m feeling very unfulfilled in my job, and it’s taking a toll on the rest of my life. Come January 13th, I’ll have been with the company two years. In my mind, at this point in my Disney career, I should be further along. I wanted to be, and I could have been. I still can be. In two years I’ve done two different roles in three locations, being trained in two systems and two attraction complexes. Since January of 2014, I’ve been trained at Pirates of the Caribbean, Splash Mountain, Tom Sawyer Island and The Country Bear Jamboree. I learned the merchandise computer system as well as the Fastpass+ system. The happiest I have ever been was the time I spent at Pirates. If you’ve known me or read this blog at all, you’ll know how in love I am with that attraction. I had to leave it twice, and I’m never going to be able to go back. My heart is broken, but I know it’s not the end of my Happiness at Disney. I’ve learned that Merchandise wasn’t a match for me, and neither is Frontierland. Being in two areas I’m not happy has been a struggle. I want to find my Disney Home, and I’m trying.

When I first started working for the company, I thought it would be awesome to not fall in love with anything and to travel my way through property trying new things. I’ve reminded myself of that dream of two years ago, and that’s what I’m going to try for now. I’m going to transfer to different places and see how it feels to learn different roles and different areas of the massive property of WDW. I want to take a break from Attractions and the theme parks, and maybe try resorts. Magic Kingdom is my favorite park on property, and its magic has been fading for me because it makes me too sad to be there for work, that I don’t want to be there for pleasure. I want that back.

A few days ago I had to park in Guest Parking to go to work. I walked onto Main Street USA and saw the Christmas decorations for the first time this year and heard the castle show,  Dream Along With Mickey. As I walked past and into Frontierland, I began to cry. Just as Mickey says, “Take the dream with you, wherever you may go!” I lost it. I’ve momentarily lost my Dream, and I’m trying to pick it back up. For me, hopefully, taking a break from the Magic Kingdom is my solution.

I’m so lucky to work for this company. Even if I don’t get paid enough and days can be long and guests can be mean, there are so many days that are wonderful and guests who are so kind. I know there are better things out there for me within the company, I just have to search for them.

I don’t have a degree. I didn’t know if I ever wanted to go back to school. Even though I don’t want a cubicle desk job, I’m starting to think that I would still like to pursue a degree. I already have about 40 credit hours of general studies done, and I was loving the Public Relations class I was in my last semester. So today I started doing some research and collecting information about classes I could take online one at a time. Even if it takes some time, I don’t think finishing up a degree is going to hurt me at all. It may not help, but it might. But I would hate to not have one and then find a place within the company that at least wants me to have something to show for myself. One class a semester will be slow-going, but not impossible. I could get three or four classes a year done and graduate soon enough. I don’t want to overwhelm myself, but right now with my uncertainties about my career, I can’t help but think that online classes will help me have a focus on something solid and will give me a better advantage than if I didn’t have any degree.

Maybe 2016 is my year. Maybe this is a wake-up call and a time to get inspired to become whatever I want. I’ll never forget the day I moved out of the dorms at Hardin-Simmons University and my RA, Whitney, hugged me and said, “You’re going to do great things. And I’m going to watch.” This is why my blog is entitled “Orlando Is Calling;” it never stopped calling when I moved here. Orlando wants me here and I want it too.

Thanksgiving Traditions

Hello, there!

I’ve got lots of things to say about my recent training at the Country Bear Jamboree and Tom Sawyer Island, as well as about my Disneyland trip!  Lots of things are going on in my life right now, some good some neutral, nothing bad!  But with Thanksgiving being next week, I wanted to post this first.

Thanksgiving has always been a strange holiday to me. It doesn’t look like the Barefoot Contessa set the table with silver serving platters with everyone dressed nicely in their holiday best. Thanksgiving dinner for my family and extended family is every day clothes, paper plates, and eating spread out over four different rooms because no dining room will fit four families. None of this is wrong or bad, it’s just not like the Hallmark Channel portrays a big holiday meal.

The one time I can remember having a traditional Thanksgiving meal, I was sick out of my mind. I can vividly remember my 6-year-old body curled up in the floor of the living room, wrapped in a blanket, watching the parade while my dad hosted Thanksgiving. We had our fancy plates and silverware and the table was perfect. And I was down for the count. Later that afternoon I passed out on the couch for several hours and woke up to my family decorating the Christmas tree without me.

Really, all holidays feel like this to me. Christmas is much the same. It doesn’t feel like the movies. And it never will, because movies aren’t real. I’ve never had a bad holiday. I’m not upset that we use paper plates because using actual dishes for 20 people isn’t economical at all. Honestly, if I had a Thanksgiving like I think I dream of, I wouldn’t recognize it. Because that’s not how my holidays are. I’m not even bitter about it.

So I want to pose a question for you, my three readers. What makes Thanksgiving Thanksgiving? I’m not talking about spending time with your family and being thankful for being together. That’s what everyone will say. Is there a dish you associate with Thanksgiving or Christmas dinner because that’s what your grandma has always made and you look forward to it every year? (If so, please share the recipe with me!) Is there a certain decoration you love putting out for the fall? What is something that makes Thanksgiving your Thanksgiving? You can put family in your answer, but I want something more unique from your answers as well.

For me, every family gathering has my Nana’s pistachio pudding. When she texts me back the recipe maybe I’ll post it. It isn’t traditional for Thanksgiving, but it’s a Jackson staple. My Munner never cooked, so for Stewart dinners, we would have pizza or sandwiches. Even that made our holidays unique to us. You don’t have to have the big turkey and place settings, it’s true. If we’d had a big cooked meal at Stuart Christmas, it would feel strange, because that’s never how we did it. And that’s okay.

Another thing I look forward to, or used to when I lived at home, was a little pumpkin tea set that always came out with the fall decorations. When I was very little, my dad and I would always have tea parties with my Beanie Babies, so I had tons of different themed tea sets. The pumpkin one was my favorite, even if it was just seasonal and out in the house.

These things are what make Thanksgiving mine. Nothing crazy, and nothing like it’s portrayed. But that’s fine. I’m an adult. This is only my second year on my own. Last Thanksgiving I worked 14 hours between two lands of Magic Kingdom. I shared a potluck with the Main Street East family, as well as in my own location at Storybook Circus. I’ll be working again this year with ol’ Br’er Rabbit. That may be my life. But I’ll start making my own traditions, finding my own ways to make the holidays belong to me. I may carry recipes from family with me, or I may find a Mom Blogger’s recipe that I take for my own. Share with me your favorite Thanksgiving recipes or stories! I’m really interested in hearing about what makes the holidays special to you.

Christmas, Packing, Birthday Resolutions, and More!

It’s been a while since I’ve written anything. Basically, my life is full of anticipation for the near future, and one can only say

so many times before it becomes obvious. Also, the only thing I’ve even been able to think about writing is about the Duck Dynasty stuff that everyone has been talking nonstop about. 
But, honestly, anyone who knows me knows EXACTLY how I feel about the topic, and so I will save it for another day when it isn’t expected. The hipster inside of me wants to wait anyway until it’s no longer on the trending topics to mention it. 
Christmas happened. That’s a thing. I pretty much had the best Christmas ever. Nothing can really beat having the one-and-only Mickey Mouse call you while you’re watching the Disney Parks Christmas Parade to tell you you’re going on a Disney Cruise right before DCP check-in. So Christmas will be continuing for weeks! Sorry, Piper. WHICH IS ANOTHER THING. My sister is such a Grinch. She HATES Christmas so insanely much. I don’t understand. I love Christmas. 
I’ve been struggling with packing these last few days, just knowing how far I will be away from home and HATING the idea of not bringing something I need ASAP just to have to buy it there when it’s sitting at home. I would rather bring too much then spend money I didn’t need to if I’d just brought the dumb thing in the first place. Not only am I packing for life in Florida, but I’m also packing for the drive down there and the day or two at the parks, but now I am also packing for the three day cruise from the 8th-11th. So I’m trying to figure out what to pack where so I know where it all is!

Something else I decided to do it forget about New Year’s Resolutions. Not like anyone ever keeps up with theirs anyway. But I AM choosing to decide my resolutions a week and a half early and do Birthday Resolutions instead. It’s basically the same thing since my birthday is so close to New Years. BUT it makes more sense to say you want to do something during a certain age. So here are my 20 Year Old Resolutions:

  1. Train for a half marathon
  2. Begin reviewing things. (I suck at trying to review, so I want to get better at that)
  3. Be able to do a handstand
 I say I want to TRAIN for a half marathon, but I want to do the WDW Half or Princess Half which are in January and February, so I can’t complete it while being 20, but I definitely want to get to that point in the next year. 

As far as reviewing goes, yes, I watch a lot of movies, read a lot of books, listen to a lot of music, but I really struggle with thoughts when I say if I like something or not. In the next year I would really like to focus on explaining WHY I like or don’t like something. I think watching BookTube reviews and seeing blog posts on certain things will really help me develop my own opinions and be able to express them. It takes practice, which I have zero of!
For the handstand, doing that involves gaining muscle and upper body strength. While that is the end goal, there is a lot that goes into it. This also means I will have to do some yoga and other things that will help gain that strength to be able to accomplish this goal! I have been wanting to get into yoga for a long time, but am too self-conscious to go to an actual class, so I’m stuck doing things in my room from YouTube until I can gain some confidence to find a good outlet for it. 
My journey to Florida begins on Saturday. My entire life will be packed up into my car and my mom’s car to take me to live at the Happiest Place on Earth. I switch from being insanely ready and excited and nothing-can-stop-me feeling, to being terrified and upset with the realization of how far away I am going and the people I will be leaving here. It’s such a HUGE thing and a MAJOR life change for me that I know I will learn from and grow through it. Still, it’s a lot for me. But I know I will not regret the opportunity I have been given, even as I sit in my room like: 
So don’t expect a lot from me in the next little bit of time on here. If you care, follow me on other social media for up-to-date information until I write a full wrap-up probably after I’m settled in Orlando! I’ll have plenty of photos and videos that I will want to share!

This is Halloween

Does it ever just HIT you that you look like an adult? Like you wake up, everything is normal, and then as you’re brushing your teeth, you look in the mirror and think, “Oh my god. I have the face of an adult. When did that happen?” I don’t know what it is, but that happened to me yesterday.

Of course, I will NEVER feel like an adult. I’ll be 80 and still giggling over princess movies and Disney World. Still, yesterday was a reminder of inevitable adulthood. There are some things I’m definitely excited about when it comes to “growing up” but they’re things like being able to decorate for holidays the way I want to. Which will be childish, as opposed to the fancy-schmancy way my interior decorator dad does it. Maybe some day this, too, will change. But I’d rather die than completely grow up.

Never in my life have we celebrated Halloween. It was evil and we were going to Hell if we celebrated the pagan, satanic holiday. Sure, it is. But we don’t care anymore. We don’t skin cats or anything, so we should be okay. But I really enjoyed handing out candy last night, even for a little bit. I wish I had dressed up, but I just wore everyday clothes.

Obviously, I’m not ready to grow up.
Still. It just made me excited to have my own place, decorate it, and make as big a deal about holidays as I want. Christmas, too. I want my own christmas ornaments, my own carved pumpkins. I want to put things out for día de los muertos. It’ll be great. 
Can I please seasonally work Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party and give out candy? Pretty please? That would be the best.