Purpose

I wrote this for one of my classes, but I think it’s important and I would like to share it here. Maybe it will motivate someone into creating their own goals.

What is my purpose?  Why am I here?  What good can I do? These are very common questions people ask themselves, especially in early adulthood.  For their entire lives everything has been done for them, or maybe there have been expectations places upon them from parents or other adults.  As they themselves become adults, everything feels messy and scary; at least that’s how it has felt for me at times.  Some people are lucky and have known what their purpose is since they were very young; others may not know well into their forties and fifties.  Feeling like there’s no reason for you to be here can put someone in a dark place.  Finding your purpose can be enlightening and inspiring.  My purpose is to help others find themselves through communication to encourage them to make a better life for themselves.  I’ve only just begun my journey and have set clear goals to make the most of my life.  Personally, I want to change my lifestyle to a healthier one.  Academically, I want to complete my degree in communications, as well as become certified in life coaching, herbalism, and holistic healing.  Professionally, my goal is to work for myself, be able to travel the world and coach from wherever I please, and be financially comfortable enough to not stress about my bills.  Starting off small, my personal goal is simple, but will take a lot of will power to achieve.

I’m on the path to health.  My goal is maintain a healthy weight around 180 pounds, continue to train for faster half marathon times, and eventually embrace a vegan diet.  These things all take time mental and physical strength, but in the long run will make my life so much more pleasant and safe.  This goal is important to me, because I’ve always struggled with my weight and my relationship with food.  As a child, my parents had the same struggle and I watched them try every fad diet and program they could to lose the weight.  My grandparents have diabetes and other medical conditions that I refuse to get.  The only way to prevent these diseases is by changing my lifestyle now while I’m young.  This is also why I want to study holistic healing and herbalism.  I fully believe that everything we need to heal ourselves can be found in nature and I want the knowledge for myself.  I’ve been a vegetarian for almost a year now and it’s been easy for me.  I never thought about cutting out meat until this year, and it seemed like the natural answer for me and I’ve never looked back.  Someday, I would like to become a vegan and cut out animal products entirely.  This is a little more difficult, as most food products have milk or eggs or butter in them. However, cutting these things out and replacing them with plant-based items will be better for my health overall.  Still, the challenge will be putting more effort into my grocery shopping and ordering at restaurants, not to mention the willpower to give up “real” macaroni and cheese.  Two solutions to this and to my overall health goal obstacles will be meal prepping to prepare for an entire week’s worth of meals, and focusing on the bigger picture of keeping myself healthy in my mind and body.

My college education has been a bit of a rollercoaster ride.  After graduating high school in 2012, I attended university for two full semesters before moving back home and transferring to a different institution closer to home.  There, I worked two jobs and only took one class to be eligible for an internship.  After accepting my out-of-state internship with the Disney College Program, I put my education to the side until I discovered what I wanted to study and began working full time.  Now, almost four years later, I’m ready to complete my degree. My goal is to graduate from UCF in 2020 with a degree in Technical Communication and a minor in Mass Communication.  I also plan to take many certification courses through online institutions for Life Coaching, Herbalism, and other forms of holistic healing. I am very passionate about natural healing through essential oils, herbal remedies, and crystal healing.  Learning about energies is something that has become fascinating to me over the past few years, and I believe in its power wholeheartedly. While my ideal career is in coaching and writing, I want the knowledge that comes with healing to be able to offer extra help to my friends, family, and clients as necessary. A possible obstacle will be money.  Money is always an obstacle for most things to help you grow academically or professionally.  However, through scholarships and loans, I will be able to remedy this.  Finding the time to fill out scholarship applications and saving money by cutting out frivolous spending will also help me achieve this goal.

My ideas for what career I want to pursue have changed a lot through the years.  As a child, the first thing I wanted to be was a dolphin trainer at SeaWorld.  From there I wanted to be a veterinarian, then a Broadway actress.  As I grew up and began my college education, I went from an education major to public relations.  Now, I’m not too far off with communications.  My career goal is to become a certified life coach, helping people make and achieve their own goals, while making enough money to support myself and my family, and travel the world as I work.  I’ve always loved talking to people and to help them sort out decisions they need to make.  Life coaching take that idea, but instead of telling your friend what she should do, you give her the tools to discover for herself what she truly wants.  I think this is a powerful career that is very important to those on a journey. I want to be able to have enough clients that I can support myself financially, while still giving each client the individual attention he or she needs.  I want to live a debt-free life in a small home where I have the freedom to travel with my husband and dog, seeing the world and writing about my adventures.  An obstacle to overcome is my own personal self-doubt.  I’m afraid of how people will perceive me as I embark on this journey.  Two solutions are to meditate and get rid of those negative thoughts, and to possibly hire a life coach myself.  Both of these things will help guide me and get into the proper headspace as I grow and go along this path.

Goals are very important to make sure you’re making the most out of your life.  Having a purpose gives meaning to those goals and why you’ve set them in the first place.  For me, having goals like living my healthiest life, completing my degree and certifications, and having my dream job as a self-employed life coach all help each other.  My three goals all support my purpose statement, which is to help others find themselves through communication to encourage them to make a better life for themselves.  If I can’t meet my own goals, I have no right to help others make theirs and hold them accountable.  Achieving my goals means everything to me to make my life better, as well as the lives of those around me.  Attending Valencia College is a small part of what will get me to achieve my goals.  Without Valencia, I wouldn’t be able to complete my college credits and go on to UCF and graduate.

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Personal Development Success and Failure

I think there’s something really important in trial and error. It teaches us that having desires alone won’t get us where we want to go; we have to maintain motivation throughout the entire journey if we want to succeed. I don’t believe that leaving a goal incomplete is a bad thing as long as you made an effort in some way.

Did I make thirty-one entries in my journal or on my blog? No, but I brought conscious thought to the idea of writing and keeping myself accountable in other ways. To me, that isn’t failure.

However, I do want to continue the mindset of having short and long-term goals and holding myself accountable to moving to reach them. Pausing, inching forward, and dead sprinting are all acceptable; moving backward is not.

At the beginning of the year I set monthly goals for myself both here and in my bullet journal. That’s a practice I miss. I’d like to continue that through the end of the year as a way of “checking in” on my long-term goals to ensure I’m on the right track. These goals usually range from professional, personal, and financial, and completing even one per month is a success to me. Stay tuned.

Do you have a favorite way of keeping track of goals? Do you use sticky notes on your bathroom mirror, journal about them, or just keep them mentally? I’d love to hear others’ ways of keeping track of their personal development!

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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. 

The Bullet Journal

For way too long I’ve struggled with craving organization in my scheduling; although “organized” is the last word I would use to describe myself, I know I need structure. Every year I buy the cutest planner to fit my personality and fill it out with important dates and my work schedule. After that I never look at it again. Occasionally I might remember it exists and cross out months that have already passed and leave it to collect dust again.

I’ve decided my problem with traditional planners is that they aren’t flexible. They’re all the same and don’t  work for me. I have dozens of break slips in my pockets with tasks and to-do’s that have a much more linear aesthetic that I prefer. When I sit down to make life plans in a notebook, it gets listed. For me, boxy calendar views are wasteful in the end. I have at least a dozen notebooks scattered around all containing the same information. I need one main journal to keep track of my plans.

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Given my life currently, I don’t have “appointments” or meetings to need to plan in detail.  My work schedule is saved in screenshots in my camera roll so writing them down is useless. My life is tasks and flimsy plans with friends with no time crunch. I need to know what day bills come out and when my dog needs her heart worm medication and when to refill my antidepressant prescription and plan out my running days.

With all of this being realized, I began looking at a lot of posts of bloggers who use bullet journals. It’s been a thought in the back of my mind that I wanted to try the “BuJo” life, but like most people just starting out, I was overwhelmed at the amount of creativity most of the examples had. Still, in my fresh mindset I have decided to jump in.  Maybe it will work for me, maybe it won’t. Still, I want to give it a try. I’m standing by my statement that 2017 is a year of continued growth and logging that in a bullet journal with a more linear task list might just be the way to do it.

In less than 24 hours, I already learned some things I do and do not like and things I want to add or change in the future. I wish my journal was dotted or gridded instead of lined, for one, but I like the size and quality so I’ll survive. Before even starting, I made a promise to myself that I wouldn’t compare my journal to the Instagram models; I would allow my bullet journal to grow and evolve with me this year. BuJo would be my friend to learn from week to week and month to month.

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I think that’s my favorite part about the Bullet Journal model: complete freedom. If I try something one week and hate it, I’m not committed to it. I’m in an open relationship with my planner. As I was coming up with my pre-plan, I didn’t think I wanted a daily log. I started off with the blank spread, trying to decide what would work best for me. Then I realized i could do both: on weeks where I know I have a lot going on, I can do a daily log, and on weeks where I’m not doing much, I don’t need to waste the paper. I love the potential lack of waste that comes with this process. If my Thursday is packed, then I’ll do a Thursday log and skip the other days, lumping all my tasks into my weekly tracker.

Some collections that are unique to me are my long-term goals and tasks with no time constraint, things like cleaning out my iTunes library and running a marathon; I have a collection of dreams such as buying a new mattress and getting married; my favorite personal collection is my list of dates I go on, complete with a rating system and where we met. A few collections I added are inspired by others I saw online. Gift ideas, favorites of the season, bills and habit trackers, along with a few others are all a part of my bullet journal.

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Something I plan on gaining from this (besides structure) is strengthening my handwriting. This is a big joke, I know. My handwriting has always been horrendous, but I hope that through. My bullet journal I am able to at least have legible scrawl. In the short time I’ve spent making my first spreads, I’ve found a new acceptance for my lack of artistry and cursive/print hybrid penmanship. I discovered that although it isn’t easy coming up with my own doodles, fonts, or borders, I can copy the basic idea from what I find online and make it fit my needs.

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A trend I’ve noticed in the Bullet Journal community is finding a word to motivate or describe the upcoming year. I didn’t think much of it until I kept using the phrase “year of growth” whether it be in my blog, private journal, or even just my thoughts. I mentioned in my last post that “growth” is the word I plan on returning to throughout the year, and I stand by that. Even in the few short weeks of this year I’ve felt a great sense of growth within my self in many ways and I hope to use my new Bullet Journal to continue that feeling.

If you’re curious about how to start or need more inspiration, Modern Mrs. Darcy has some great posts about her own Bullet Journal and her posts include even more links to great resources. Of course there’s the official Bullet Journal website if you want to learn more from the creator himself. For me, I love the flexibility and casualness of this style of planning and I can see myself using it for a very long time.

What Does it Mean to Be Healthy?

I’ve written a lot of posts about rebooting my health goals. Like, a lot. Like here, here, also here, and you get the picture. It’s not that I just stop caring about my health; it just gets hard. Even when I stop eating what’s good for me or lower my activity level, I’m constantly thinking about how good I felt. But let’s be honest with ourselves: “health” isn’t just diet and exercise.

I’ve done a lot of diets and workouts and weigh-ins and measuring and counting. That’s great if that’s what you want or need. To me, my health is not defined by numbers anymore. It also isn’t just about food. Mental health is just as important as physical health.

What does “healthy” mean to me?

  • not biting my nails
  • keeping a consistent schedule
  • hydration
  • not eating only junk food
  • raising my activity level
  • giving myself love and grace
  • not hitting the snooze button

These don’t sound like the epitome of health, do they? But listen, they’re all steps. Having scrambled eggs and sausage for breakfast is better than ice cream (I may or may not have done that yesterday) and even opting out of my daily soda at lunch is a step to making my body happier. Making a turkey sandwich for work instead of stopping by McDonalds saves calories and money–a two-for-one deal!

I’ve never been a “snoozer.” I don’t know what happened recently (actually I do), but I don’t want to get out of bed when I have to. I reset my alarm for a later time and get ready for work at the last minute. I always feel so much better when I just get up and start my day, plus I get to have time to write before work.

Like I said, my health is not defined by numbers. I don’t need to lose a certain number of pounds or eat a certain amount of calories or run this many miles a week. That puts too much pressure and anxiety on me if I don’t meet those numbers. I see nothing wrong with people who need those numeric goals, it definitely works. But that isn’t the best way to motivate me personally. My Fitbit step goal is really the only number I care about.

I’m so incredibly proud of the race medals I’ve earned. Even though I didn’t do as well as I wanted, running a half marathon or a 5k is a huge achievement for anyone. It’s like the quote that says, “No matter how slow you go, you’re still lapping everyone on the couch.” And that’s what I want for myself. Running is so rewarding to me, and after running (mostly walking) a half marathon last November, I got a little taste of the person I could be. I didn’t train like I had wanted to, and that is my biggest regret as far as my health goes. If I could comfortably run three or four miles, that would mean everything to me to be able to work harder for longer races.

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Last night, Enthusiasm asked me how badly I want to meet my goals. It made me think a lot about my past attempts. I won’t call them “failed,” but they were forgotten. Disney costumes are so unflattering, and I’m tired of looking down and seeing my stomach in the pants I wear at work. I know how to dress my body on my own time, but I want to feel better at work. I don’t want to hate myself or feel down about myself for one emotional reason or another. I want pretty fingernails again. I want to be happy and energetic again. Diet, activity, mindset, and consistency are all equal factors to finding peace with myself and my health.

Being healthy, both emotionally and physically, is hard. Creating and keeping healthy habits takes time, but I know just as well as anyone else that it’s so incredibly worth it. So here I am, starting again. I’m picking up where I left off with my health and doing my best to make a better physical and emotional situation for myself.

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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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.

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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.

30 Days of Writing Prompts–Days 1-9

(These few will be more condensed than I hope the future prompts will be. I’m squeezing 9 into one post, and don’t think anyone wants 5-paragraph essays on 9 topics.)

1. Tell us about something sweet.
I could go into detail about agave nectar and natural sweeteners and my new favorite paleo treats, or I could tell you some work stories. Work stories are much more magical than any post about food I could come up with.
A few days ago I was down at Funload, or Dante’s 10th circle of Hell, counting down the minutes until I could be rotated to the next position. When I’m down there, I am still extremely pleasant, as it’s the only way to stay awake and functional. I tell guests goodbye, or thank you, or have a good night, then they leave. Sometimes little kids will stop and talk to me. This particular night, a little girl and her mother walk past and her mom says to her, “Tell her!” and this three-year-old looks up and me and says, “Have…a…magical …night!” and I stood there and cried internally for the rest of the rotation.

Another time, I was at merge, and a girl about my age came down through stand-by with her friends. She had a very dapper dress on and I complimented her and told her that I thought your dress was beautiful. As she walked down the Port side queue, she turned back to me and said, “YOU’RE beautiful!” and I stood down there, dumbfounded.

Another night, I was walking in front of the ride and gave a family directions to Fantasyland (easily the worst place to get directions to) and as I walked away, I heard the little girl tell her parents, “She was nice!!”

It’s sweet things like this that make up for any crappy guest that can ever come through to try and make my day miserable. It’s virtually impossible for anyone to ruin my day when I have sweet families who can turn any moment around and be just as magical (if not more so) to me as it is to them. That’s what working for Disney means to me.

2. What was the last thing that made you laugh?

This. 

After sleeping next-to-literally all day, I walked into the living room to my roommates watching Hercules. This quote will forever make me laugh because it’s the absolute greatest. Honestly, Hercules is full of so many great moments that are easily forgotten. How many times a week do I go up to someone and say, “Hey kid, you wanna buy a sundial?” because it’s probably a lot. Just the overall style of this movie is so reminiscent of classic cartoon humor that I will always love. 


3. What is your favorite movie?

I’m a chick that loves her movies. I’m one of those who LOVES EVERY MOVIE SHE SEES AND EACH NEW ONE IS HER FAVORITE. I love every genre. My Netflix “recently watched” is a mess. In my “Recommended for you” section, it looks like I’m a family of 5 with a foreign exchange student living with them. Asking a person like me about her favorite movie is the same as asking me about my favorite book, or a mother about her favorite child. It can’t be done.

With that said, my go-to movies that I will forever cherish are easier.

  • When Harry Met Sally
  • Gone With The Wind
  • Treasure Planet
  • Thumbelina
  • This Is The End
  • Rocky
Of course, there are dozens more, but this is an alright mixture of the types of movies I like. You’ve got your classics, your rom-coms, your animation, your comedy, and your Stallone. I can’t help it. I like movies. 


4. Have you made any progress with your resolutions from the beginning of the year?

I stopped making NY’s Resolutions. Why wait till the beginning of the year to make a change? I don’t believe that resolving to do something should be confined to January 1st when you could just as easily start in June. My paleo journey started June 1st. I didn’t have any specific reason for that date, it was just a day I woke up and said, “I’m tired of living the way I am, so I’m going to change.”

Also, people get so worked up about New Year’s Resolutions. I don’t want that stress on myself to conform and make a resolution just because everyone else is.

5. How do you handle change?
Change is something everyone has to deal with in some way or another. In some ways I’m alright when it comes to change, and in others I’m not so hot.

For example: I was more than fine with moving to Florida. This has been a long time coming, and I was fully committed to being here and making that move. Everything seemed to be perfectly lined up in order for me to be here, so the change for me was a little too easy, I think.

At the same time, it’s been hard having so many people leave now that I’m here. It nearly killed me to have my best friend here go back home, and I suddenly felt the pain my mom did with me leaving home. As crappy as it makes me feel, I miss Skylar more than I  miss Jaelen. It doesn’t mean that I don’t love Jaelen any less than I ever have, or that I’m better friends with Skylar. None of that is true. But I have been away from Jaelen and we’ve had a long-distance best friendship for a long time. It’s been normal to be away from her when it was so sudden when Skylar had to leave.

Change is something that I handle situationally. Some things are easier to let go than others. But in the past I’ve had more trouble because everyone in my life was able to move on sooner than I was. But now I don’t feel so left behind and the change has been easier.

6. National Doughnut Day! Will you be celebrating with homemade doughnuts or picking up a box at the store? Share your best doughnut story or recipe.

With my new Paleo lifestyle, I was not an observer of National Donut Day. I’ve seen some recipes for paleo donuts, but have yet to try any of them. So hang tight and possibly someday I’ll try one and share it. I do remember way back when in Preschool, when it was my day to bring snacks, my mom would bring donut holes for the class. It’s not a great story, but it’s more of a memory, I guess?

 7. What is something you always take with you on vacation?
Any time we go on vacation, my packing list starts being compiled a week early. My bags are packed five days early, and I’m in the car first thing in the morning the day we’re supposed to leave. My must-haves are:

  •  my camera
  •  necessary chargers
  • more books than I could possibly read on a trip
  • earphones
  • my pillow

8. When did you learn how to swim?
I’ve known how to swim for as long–and longer–as I can remember. I could swim before I could walk. I remember taking swimming lessons and they made me open my eyes underwater and tell them which color diving ring they held in front of me. I was always afraid to open my eyes so I would guess.

I was also that kid with the irrational fear of sharks in the pool. Honestly, I still kind of am. I won’t go to a pool by myself. Weird? Definitely. 


9. What are your five can’t-miss blogs? Write about them, and give some link love.

The first blog I ever really followed was Ree Drummond. She sent me a signed cookbook and I fangirled majorly.

I also love keeping up with Joseph Birdsong through his blog. I watch his videos on YouTube as well, and it’s just another outlet to experience his dry humor. 
My coworker, Ian, just shared a link to his blog a few days ago and I’ve thoroughly enjoyed looking through it. He has a great writing style and some great topics that go beyond your typical Disney park enthusiast blog. 
But, honestly, I don’t follow that many blogs. I’ve been dying to find more average Joe blogs like mine to follow, but it’s tough. I stick to mostly YouTube video blogs, where my list is infinite. 


30 Day of Writing Prompts

I’m striving to be a better writer. It’s been a passion of mine for as long as I can remember, but I’m very out of practice. In 7th grade, I wrote, formatted, and sent out my own newsletter to friends and family. In high school I was on the newsletter and yearbook staff. All throughout high school and college, I not-so-secretly loved any writing assignment I was given, whether I cared for the topic or not. Being able to bullshit through an essay on a novel I didn’t read or a moment in history I didn’t care about was a thrill for me. Who knows how many blogs I’ve started and forgotten about in the past because I didn’t live an interesting enough life or have enough of my own thoughts to keep up with them. When I have an idea for a story I want to write, I lose motivation and tear myself down because my plots lose (or never had in the first place) their points. But practice makes perfect, and I’ve been practicing.

I’ve always wanted to do something with my life that includes writing. But I want to write on my own terms. Being a journalist would be fun, but there are so many articles I had to write and meet the deadline, but I had no passion for it. Taking a creative writing class would be neat, but I much prefer this kind of outlet where I can express my opinions on things that matter to me in my world. So as much as I love to write, I have no real desire to be a journalist or an author as a career. With that being said, I wouldn’t complain if I had one of those “cool” blogs that strangers follow. Not to monetize my blog, but just as a real person that has a real life that people are interested in. But that’s a shot in the dark  because I’m a little too boring still for that. An item on my bucket list is to write a book. With my love of reading and writing, I feel like it’s the obvious option for me to do someday. Again, it’s a long way off because I have 4.3 million prompts in my head but no driving plot. Maybe someday my writing will mean something.

So, to help aid my practice and passion for writing, I found an article of writing prompts for the month of June. The first 9 I will do all together in the next post, then I hope to keep up every day or so in succession with the rest. I love writing prompts and the freedom they allow you once you’ve got your initial starter. This will be both a challenge and a thrill to have to write about each prompt in some way, shape, or form.  Don’t worry, I’m sure I’ll double up some days if I have any other pressing thoughts of my own for other posts. But this will help me break out of my comfort zone just a little bit and expand my writing to something else. Also, feel free to give me any prompts yourself or direct me to your favorites. I always love new ideas to write about! I really want this to be an active blog, even if I have an audience of five people (and that’s high-balling it).