January Goals

I could very well write about New Year’s Resolutions and how I plan on maintaining long-term goals throughout the entire year. But we all know how resolutions go, and I hate admitting that I’ve failed at something. Instead of writing about the long-term, I’ve decided to break down my goals into smaller, month-sized pieces and share them as the year goes on. Many of my goals may be the same month to month; this makes it less of a resolution and more of a continuing habit.

With all that being said, here are my goals for January

  • Drink more water
  • Run 3 times a week
  • Lose 5 pounds
  • Complete a “75 Push-up Challenge”
  • Complete my half marathon without dying
  • Enjoy my trip to Disneyland without stressing out about money
  • Continue reducing the items I own
  • Crack down on a good skin care routine
  • Publish at least 4 blog posts
  • Read at least 4 books
  • Maintain a private journal
  • Focus on more photography

I tried to make goals that were diverse. Some are health-related while some are personal goals, and some are just good practices to get into. I spent a lot of December thinking on these and making strides to begin my new habits.

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Both in this blog and in my personal journal I’ve
mentioned that 2017 is the year of growth, and I plan on returning to that word throughout my year. Everything I do this year is all based around personal growth. Expect that to be a reoccurring word in my posts.

What are your thoughts on forming New Year’s Resolutions? Do you stick with them through the entire year or do they fizzle out? How do you separate a “resolution” and making new habits, or is there a difference at all? I’d love to know your opinion on this, and I hope you join me through this year of blogging.

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Goodbye Sixteen, Hello Seventeen, Hello Love (Time to Grow, Time to Go)

2016 was by far the worst year of my life. During the last year I hit rock bottom with my mental health and my stress and anxiety levels were at an all-time high. Not only did the year suck massively on a personal level, but it was also miserable on a global level. I’ve never been so happy to see a year end to start fresh.

At the very beginning of the year, my boyfriend and I broke up which left me completely distraught. I was already in a bad place emotionally and that heartbreak just made everything worse. Although that wasn’t the only reason for my downfall, it most definitely did not help. As painful as my year was, I’m very grateful that I finally did something for myself and sought medical help. For me, 2016 was a year of intense pain, but it also began a time of healing when I finally went to get the help I needed. That is a long-term journey that is still a work in progress, but at least it’s progressing.

The monstrosity of “ick” that was 2016 is not all about me and my problems. Every year comes with its own tragedies, but last year had so many events that hit very close to home. Through the many celebrity deaths that hit the world on a personal, nostalgic level as well as the violence around the world (not to mention the insane election), 2016 was all-around a horrendous year for everyone.

I have no intentions of having 2017 be anything but a great year. Although I don’t have any goals or resolutions written down, that is my plan for the week; I want to prepare this week and set myself up for success in this new year. The best thing about hitting rock bottom is that there is only one way to go from there.

My life is extremely blessed because of the people who have stuck with me. I have the most incredible live-in best friends that anyone could ask for; my dog is the greatest and has gotten my through all my emotional turmoil. My family, though they aren’t nearby, have never stopped supporting me despite the distance. As long as I have them, I’ll be unstoppable in 2017.

2017 is the year of me. I’m going to continue putting myself first, and take care of my mental and physical health. This is the year of my writing; I love the release of putting my emotions down on a page for others to read. I’m committing myself to growth and health in this new year. Within the next week I will make a complete list of goals and share them here. For now, know that I am determined to keep my head up thanks to the support and love of those who have stuck with me through a shit year and into the promise of a better one.

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Bad Tinder Date

This experience I’m going to share is so golden I can’t stop telling people about it and finally decided it just needed to go on my blog before I forget all the details through time. I hate dating so much, and situations like this reinforce that and why I am so lucky to not have every encounter end up as bad as this one did back in October.

Carter and I met on Tinder, as you do, and we began talking and texting. He seemed cool, had stretched ears and his septum pierced, and was really into tattoos. We talked about having annual passes to Busch Gardens and how we should go sometime. I love finding people who want to go to theme parks with me so I can have companionship, even if it doesn’t turn into anything romantic. Eventually we planned to go to a Disney park on Tuesday and if everything went well and we had good chemistry and liked each other, Wednesday we would go to Busch Gardens.

Well.

One night he wants to talk on the phone and eventually this dialogue happens:

Him- Are you bisexual?

Me- Nope. I’ve been asked that before, but I’m totally straight.

Him- Good.

Me- ….Okay? Why is that “good?”

Him- Because I like girls I’m with to be as straight as I am.

Me- Hm.

Him- I’ve just had really bad experiences with bisexual girls before. Bisexual people just seem to be a lot sluttier.

Me-  …..

Him- This one girl I was with was checking out another girl harder than I was and I didn’t like that.

Honestly, that conversation right there should have been a red flag. Along with the fact that he chews tobacco–excuse me, “Swedish Snus”–it really was a turn-off for anything romantic to happen. Still, at this point I’m still keeping an open mind for a theme park friend.

I like prefacing Tinder dates and hanging out with a no-pressure disclosure. I’m a big fan of approaching it as friends and seeing if there’s natural chemistry in person and see where it goes. Usually it goes pretty well, and even if it doesn’t, both parties seem chill about the mutual understanding. The same conversation had happened with Carter; I didn’t want there to be insane expectations, but we had been flirting through text to make it clear that there was at least a little bit of attraction there to see how an in-person situation went.

So Tuesday comes around. We had planned to meet at my place around 2:00 so I could drive us to Hollywood Studios and he wouldn’t have to pay for parking. I text him when I woke up that morning and heard nothing. Around 1 I text again and still hear nothing. At this point I’m pretty much not holding my breath about meeting up. Finally at 2 he texts me that he’s just finally woken up and will be at my place a little after 3. This annoyed me because I hate being kept waiting.  Again, at this point, with all the other red flags, it wasn’t a date so I didn’t get that worked up about it. I was still open to change my mind about him and give him a chance out of politeness though.

He finally shows up and I’m waiting outside my building. Just to be safe I didn’t want him to know all the details about where I lived, so I didn’t have him come to my door. Immediately I just know there’s no spark and there wouldn’t be one. Still, I want to be polite and have fun at the park.

We make lots of small talk in the car, but conversation doesn’t flow naturally like it has with other people. At the park he wants to grab food so we head that way before getting on our first ride. This portion of the “date” is pretty mild. Nothing crazy happens. We ride Toy Story Midway Mania then go wait for Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster. I knew the guy checking our lapbars so we got to ride twice. After that we go to Tower of Terror and this is where the date goes downhill.

We stood in line for quite a while, and during that time so many uncomfortable things happened. First, he points to a couple and says, “Aww look, they’re holding hands,” as if he was trying to give me a hint that he wanted to follow suit. Secondly, my body language was completely against that. I kept my distance from him and kept my hands to myself; I stood on the opposite side of the queue from him so we couldn’t accidentally touch.  Third, I wouldn’t make eye contact with him. Through our labored conversation, my eyes stayed glued on Tower because I didn’t want to look him in the eye and give him the wrong idea. Fourth and finally in the queue, he comes to my side of the wall and leans against it so there’s no avoiding physical contact. This guy had to be blind to not notice how uninterested I was at this point.

We get onto the ride and before our seat belts are even on, his arm goes around me. Now, for anyone who has never experienced Tower of Terror, it is not a cuddle ride. I don’t want to be rude and shrug him off, so instead I wait for the ride to start moving. I was seated in the first seat in the row, so with every drop of the elevator I rammed my shoulder (and his hand) into the wall of the vehicle until he finally let me go. But it was after the ride that everything exploded.

Still in the unload area and approaching the gift shop, we have this exchange:

Carter: Do you wanna be gay and hold hands?

Me: Um…I…uh…no…?

Carter: Oh, do you not like holding hands?

Me: No, I do. I just didn’t like the way you asked.

Carter: I just meant, like, it’d be funny, it’d be silly to hold hands.

Me: “Gay” was not the word to use.

Carter: Would it have been better if I’d just asked?

Me: Yes. But I still don’t want to hold hands with you.

And then, the best of the best. The climax of this horrendous date occurs in the middle of Sunset Boulevard.

Carter: So what do you think? How’s our chemistry? Do we have any?

Me: No, I don’t think so; not like that. I’m sorry.

Carter: But we haven’t even kissed yet.

Me: Yeah…No…I’m sorry. But I still want to enjoy time in the park if you want. Do you want to stay here and do another ride, or would you be more comfortable going home?

Carter: Whatever. I don’t care. Whatever you want to do.

As soon as I told him I didn’t feel the chemistry, he paled and looked like I had punched him in the stomach. I handled the situation delicately because I didn’t want to hurt his feelings, but they got hurt anyway. I felt so bad about rejecting him, but I didn’t want to make the day any more awkward than it already was just because I didn’t want to kiss him.

We still had another Fastpass for Star Tours, but he started walking to the park exit. He’s has no idea where he’s going, he just doesn’t want to walk with me. This is the point where I realize I still have a twenty-minute drive back to his car with him. Now he’s ten feet ahead of me and pissed. For a little while I was honestly concerned about being left alone with him in case he did something drastic. Because of this, I text my friend, Montreh, what was going on. Montreh was on her way over to my apartment to hang out with all of us, so she couldn’t wait to get there and watch this unfold.

On our way back to the car he finally breaks his silent treatment and says to me, “I think we put too much pressure on this whole ‘chemistry’ bullshit.” I apologized again and tried to cool things down until he continues with, “I just don’t get it. It wasn’t until I started online dating that I have so much trouble with girls. It doesn’t make any sense. I don’t see how you can text someone and talk on the phone and everything is great and then you get together and there’s nothing there? What is that?”

I respond calmly with, “That happens sometimes, though. I have plenty of regular friends who are strictly internet friends and when we hang out in real life it isn’t the same.”

“Would you still wanna hook up sometime?” he dared to ask me, which I declined immediately.

He continued to walk to my car so far ahead of me I almost had to jog to keep up. I managed to sneak a Snapchat of his storm-off and sent it to my roommates with the caption, “When you thought this was a date and got butthurt when you were told there’s no chemistry.” to warn them of the story I was going to tell later. The drive home was worrying me because I didn’t know what to expect. It ended up being alright; we made more small talk and things seemed to calm down on his end. I continued updating Montreh at red lights, knowing she was going to arrive about the same time as we would.

During the drive, he gets a phone call from his sister asking him to come spend time with her later in the day and he agreed. When we drove up to my apartment he gets off the phone after making his plans and says to me, “Unless you wanted to hang out more…” and I said (probably too quickly) “No! I mean, my friend is on their way over.”

“Oh, is it a guy? Not that it matters.”

“No? It’s a girl.”

I thought this would be the end of the day. But no. Then he asks if he can use my bathroom and I wanted to die. I couldn’t be rude and say no, no matter how badly I wanted to. I was still afraid of pissing him off and didn’t want him to know which apartment was mind, just in case he got angry later from being jilted. Still, I knew my roommates were home and hoped it would help.

We go in and he starts petting the dog, the last thing I want him to do; he doesn’t need to form emotional bonds. I point him to the bathroom and mouth to my roommates STORY TIME WHEN HE LEAVES. When he comes out I don’t even bother introducing him to my roommates, because he’ll never see them again anyway, but he takes care of that himself. Finally, after standing there awkwardly I say, “Well, our friend Montreh is about to be here so…” and he exclaims, “Hah! Montreh Cheddar!” and it’s obvious that he thinks he’s the funniest person in the world after making that joke. The apartment is silent. He says, “I bet she’s gotten that her whole life.” and I dryly respond, “No, I don’t think she has,” and open the door to hint that he needs to leave.

Outside the apartment, I apologize to him.

Carter: Sorry for what?

Me: …For the whole chemistry thing?

Carter: Oh yeah. Well, do you think maybe, someday,  in the future, there could be something?

Me: ….Yeah. Maybe?

Finally I get him to leave and the second the door closes I dive into the story. Not five minutes later, Montreh comes in screaming and sends me a Snapchat she took outside. The entire day was a whirlwind and it is by far one of the most hilarious situations I have ever found myself in. I don’t wish bad dates on anyone, but they sure make for good stories.

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I’m Still With Her

I’ve never been a politically-minded person. I’ve never been interested in elections because I’ve never felt compelled to have much of an opinion. Everyone around me always had such strong opinions and were much more knowledgeable than me that I felt like I didn’t have a loud enough voice to defend my feelings when it came to the subject. To me it was more important to stay silent than to appear uneducated or to be disliked because of my political opinion.

Most of this was due to the fact that I lived at home in Texas. I was surrounded by people that I did not agree with. I was the minority when it came to a lot of progressive thinking. Not only was I living in the Bible Belt, I also hadn’t been introduced to many different ways of thinking other than Religion. I didn’t know many gay people or people of color. Although I felt in my heart that I was not like most of the people I interacted with, my own ideas about the world were still forming as I was figuring out who I was and how I wanted to think.

I would have been able to vote in the 2012 election but chose not to even register to vote. I was 18 years old and should have exercised my right to vote in my first election, but the campaign wasn’t important to me. For me, it didn’t feel like it was worth it because I knew I wasn’t educated enough at the time and didn’t want to vote and potentially throw away an important vote. I’m not proud of this, but that was what happened.

This election year I’ve never felt so compelled to make a difference. I registered to vote for the first time because I wanted Bernie Sanders so badly on the presidential ballot. Unfortunately I missed the deadline to vote in the primaries by one day. However, once Hilary got the Democratic nomination she had my full support. As a woman I could see how important it was for me to vote and show just as much determination for her as she has in this race.

I thought there was no way the election would end the way it did. I thought America was better than this. Hilary is not a perfect person. No president has been perfect. But no one has been as bad as Donald Trump. I’m astonished that he was able to run, much less win. I’m humiliated and ashamed of my country and how the vote went. I’m heartbroken that so many Americans don’t care about the lives of groups that are different. The next four years are going to be very scary for human rights. Those who voted for Trump set our country back decades and have failed us.

This election would have gone down in history either way. I just can’t believe that I woke up today to the news that I did. There’s such a heavy weight on my chest because I’m so sad at the outcome. Our country is going to be run by a rapist who brags about how he treats women and people of different ethnic and religious backgrounds. This is not the America I want to live in. The America I want is the one who opened its arms to immigrants and refugees from all walks of life hoping for a better life.

“Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free, the wretched refuse of your teeming shore. Send these, the homeless, tempest-tossed to me, I lift my lamp beside the golden door!”

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Happy Halloween

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Even though Halloween is over and Thanksgiving is completely skipped to make room for Christmas, I still had to show off these belated Halloween photos I have from the last week.

Cody, Ryan, and I carved pumpkins a little early. Unfortunately, they didn’t quite make it to Halloween night. Still, it’s definitely one of my favorite parts of the holiday.

My friend Montreh went out with Twix and me the other day to have a  festive holiday photoshoot. Thanks to the Florida heat, it isn’t your typical fall photo series. Still, I’m so happy to have such great pictures taken of me and my best girl. We celebrated Twix’s 4th birthday on the 22nd of the month, complete with a celebratory Happy Meal for her special day. I love this creature so much and can’t imagine life without her. She’s by far the best dog I’ve ever had or could ever hope to have.

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I worked a long day on Halloween this year, so by the time I got home I was exhausted and didn’t even stay up for scary movie watching like I wanted to. Definitely a lame excuse on my part, but it is what it is. Some year I really hope to have actual fun plans on Halloween. Next year I want to save up to be able to go to Halloween Horror Nights, Mickey’s Not So Scary AND Howl O’ Scream during the season.

Now it’s November 1st, which means it’s basically Christmas. It’s time to deck the hall and break out the holiday vinyl. Happy holidays to all!

What’s New?

Hello, friends; it’s been a while.

It’s about time I give a little update to how my life has been the past few months with my lack of updating this space. While I wouldn’t say there’s been any incredible changes to my life worth individual posts, there have been quite a few shifts that I’d love to give a documented update to my blog.

The last post I made here was an announcement that I was leaving Facebook. Two and a half months later and I haven’t regretted that decision once. Getting rid of that one pressure and stressor has made my life so much better and healthier. I still use other kinds of social media to keep in touch with friends, but it’s honestly been the best time for me to not have Facebook and I haven’t missed it once. Maybe someday I’ll go back, but I don’t have plans to right now.

I’ve been making great strides in my mental health since my last posts as well. As I progress I may make a full post detailing my changes there, but just know that I’m in a much better place mentally and emotionally than I have been in the last year. After a mental breakdown at work and a talk with my leaders, I was able to get the medical help I’ve been avoiding and it’s done wonders for me so far. I do think someday I want to go to therapy as a regular thing, because I think it’s extremely important to talk things through with a professional even if it’s just every day troubles. Mental health is something people don’t like discussing, but I think we should.

As far as my emotional state goes for relationships, I’m still all over the place. I’m still not healed from my breakup and I don’t know if it’s really possible to completely be okay after the kind of heartbreak I suffered losing Jay. To be honest, I will never fully forgive myself for causing our relationship to end. But I have made a 180 and have been at least allowing myself to try and have fun. No one will ever be Jay and I would drop everything to be with him again if he asked, but I’m not going to sit around and feel lonely even though I still miss him every day.

My work life is phenomenal. I’ve found my place again and I couldn’t be happier when it comes to where I’m at in my Disney career. I’m still growing and learning and I’ve found a location where I’m loved and supported and feel at home with everyone I’m around. Hopefully within the next year I’ll have made great strides in doing what I want with the company and achieving my goals with the help of the fabulous leadership team I work with.

Things are looking up for me. This year still isn’t anything like I expected or wanted it to be, but at least things have gotten to be a little bit brighter in the second half of the year. Hopefully the next year brings me lots of good news and growth in my life. There’s still a lot I’m working on and hope to achieve within my personal life and my professional life. I hope to update this more often with my journey. Thanks for joining me.

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Good Night, and Good Luck (A Post About Saying Goodbye to Facebook)

I made a post a few months back in which I discussed cutting back on my Facebook usage. For me, the site has become a very negative space. It has been an overwhelming conglomerate of ads and events and group messages and political opinions and all around not a place I felt at home in anymore.

Having a Facebook made every interaction feel like an obligation. I had an obligation to accept every friend request of every friend of a friend I met this one time and will never see again. I had an obligation to wish every person I never talk to a happy birthday. I had an obligation to post things that would be widely accepted amongst the varied groups on my timeline. So often I found myself sharing a post for one group, while it alienated another. Facebook, for me, became a place where I was not allowed to fully be myself.

The obligation to add everyone I had ever met fed this feeling. When you have conservative friends from high school that you went to church with and liberal friends from your current life, there’s not much you can post to please everyone. So often I purged my friends’ list to get rid of people I no longer shared a common interest or opinion with that I realized there aren’t many people I want that close to me.

My blog is mine and mine alone. No one is being forced to read it because they scrolled through at midnight. If you’re here, you want to be. This is my place where I can speak openly and freely and not be censored by people who do not agree with me and want to start an argument. My Twitter is for my stream-of-conciousness thought process. It may not always be right, and I’ve said a lot of things that turned out to be big mistakes, but it’s my way of putting my feelings out into the world without feeling hurt if no one responds. Facebook is all about “likes,” and not getting the response you want or need is an awful feeling. My Instagram, Twitter, Blog, and Snapchat, are for me to express myself. I don’t need responses or attention on those accounts. I did on Facebook.

My Facebook is still “active” because I have seven years worth of photos on there. Some of those photos are nowhere else but my Facebook or they’re more easily accessible there. Not to mention I still want to be able to access my shift exchanges for work and other groups on there. But as far as my friends go, I have deleted everyone. My settings (should be) changed as well. Maybe some day I will feel differently and can go back and add the friends I really want to keep in contact with. For now, however, I have my other accounts and my number to text with, and that’s all I need.

I love social media. It’s a major passion of mine and I’m very involved in it, but with all of the things I’m going through right now, Facebook just isn’t the place for me. I hope the distance allows me to write on here more to keep an updated account of my progress through life. 13567469_10208562718818478_6215295354668456589_n

“The Girl on the Train” Discussion

Everyone seems to be abuzz about Paula Hawkins’ book The Girl on the Train. It’s a New York Times bestseller, and all-around popular book. It has been on my to-read list for a while and I finally got around to reading it. I want to talk about my thoughts on this book and what I did and did not like.  Because this is a “discussion” and not a review, spoilers full steam ahead.

I’m not great at explaining plots, but I will do my best to give a brief overview of the storyline. The book follows the perspectives of three women: Rachel, Megan, and Anna, bouncing back and forth through the timeline around the “disappearance” of Megan. Rachel, an unemployed alcoholic takes the train every day and watches the house she used to live in with her now ex-husband and the neighbors around it. She sees Megan and her husband Scott in the house down the street from where she used to live and creates a life for them in her mind, and one day sees Megan with another man. Not long after she sees the act of infidelity, Megan goes missing. Anna is married to Rachel’s ex-husband, Tom, with whom she’d had an affair before he left Rachel to start a life with her. Rachel involves herself with the investigation, although the detectives see her as unreliable because of other issues along with her alcoholism. Still, she continues to seek contact with Megan’s husband and others involved in the case. Through the perspectives we finally learn what happened to Megan and how all of their stories intertwine.

Recently I’ve been binge-listening to the podcast Literary Disco and in one of their episodes they discussed the question “What is more important? Good characters, or good plot?” This book to me is a perfect example of a book with great plot but awful characters. I felt as though the characters didn’t have any separation between them. All three women have basic names, which was annoying enough as a reader. Beyond that, all three of them suffer from acting out sexually, yet having a problem with a male character having an affair. They struggle with dependency on alcohol and are all three emotionally unstable because of the circumstances they find themselves in throughout their lives. The husbands, too, are very similar in character. Though Scott is not as extreme as Tom, they are both emotionally and physically abusive to the women in their lives. Because of the lack of diversity in their characters, it took me much longer to read the book than the plot lead me to.

The plot itself was very engaging. I was so interested in finding out who had killed Megan that I wanted to devour the book. It was only the uninteresting characters that had me putting the book down because I got bored so easily by the flatness of the characters copied three times. Had the plot been weak, I would have put the book down permanently. Having a good story can make up for any bad character, and I’m not sure a great character can defend a weak plot.

The way these female characters thought about their desire to be desired bothered me on a personal level. Both Anna and Megan glow in the fact that Tom would have an affair with them. The fact that they were each able to seduce him made them feel so powerful. Megan also finds herself in the bed of her therapist and makes her friend cover for her throughout her affairs. Scott, while he is also manipulative in their relationship, has every right to be suspicious of his wife. She gloats to herself that she is found attractive by other men and desires that feeling. While it doesn’t seem like the sexual aspect of her and Scott’s relationship is lacking, she is unhappy being tied down to him, I guess, and acts out when her thirst for sexual gratification isn’t met. In Megan’s situation, it does seem to be more of a psychological disorder that leads her to her sexual impulses and infidelity (and ultimately her death).

Anna’s story is slightly different. She and Tom met when he was still married to Rachel and they began a sexual relationship. Anna bragged to Rachel later in the book about all the times Tom was with her instead and has zero regret for tearing up the marriage. While Rachel had driven a wedge between herself and Tom because of her alcoholism and depression, Anna feels no guilt for the part she played in the divorce. She loved being a mistress that won. She’s proud of herself. At the end, karma hits her hard as she finds out about the man Tom truly is.

Rachel doesn’t act out quite as much as the other two, her struggle is with alcohol more than sex. However, she does somehow find Scott in a bad moment after Megan’s death and they spend the night together. In that situation, it was clearly a mistake and both parties realize their tryst was wrong given the circumstances.

Recently, many of the books I’ve read have aspects of infidelity to them; some more than others. In those books, it serves a purpose and has a reason for being in the story. While the topic upsets me greatly, I can understand it in instances like Among the Ten Thousand Things, where the affair has already happened and the entire premise is about the family learning to live with the consequences, and Life After Life, where it shows one of the various life paths Ursula ends up in because of past choices. In The Girl on the Train, I felt like the crazy sex triangle was too much and too easy a plot device for the mystery. And again, it also made Megan and Anna much too similar characters in their composition.

The buildup of the mystery was so good. The majority of the book was full of story and information about the murder that kept me reading to finally know what happened. All the way until about the last fifty pages it was all buildup. Suddenly it turned into a dramatic action movie with supervillain monologuing and I was almost disappointed in the ending. I wasn’t surprised at all, but I was let down that we learned that Tom killed Megan in the way we did. I wish it had all been from her perspective and not told from Tom at all. The entire ending was much more cinematic than literary in my opinion. I guess that’s good since the film is being released in October of this year.

Overall, I liked the book. If I’m not feeling a book, I don’t finish it. But as a thriller, the buildup was more exciting than the conclusion. I gave the book 3/5 stars for the poor character development and undesirable level of women thinking they’re cool for seducing married/professional men. Had the characters been more diverse, I could have easily given this book a higher rating. While I wish I had loved the book more than I did, I am grateful for not having spent money on it. I would recommend this book if you’re looking for a fun poolside read, but I’ve read better.

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A Kick in the Teeth (A Post About School Frustration)

If you’ve followed me on any social media or browsed through my blog at all, you probably know that I’ve been trying to go back to school. It’s a topic I’ve been extremely excited about and talk about it often both online and in person. Foolishly I believed applying for college at 22 would be just as easy as it was at 18. I’ve learned through this process that it is ten times more difficult and I wish I understood why.

The first difficulty I had was with my residency status. When I first moved to Florida, I made the mistake of not getting a new drivers license right away. Jumping through hoops to get official documents proving my employment and lease payments was annoying, but it wasn’t impossible.

The second was (and still is) proving that I’m an independent student. This is the part that completely baffles me. As far as federal money goes, if you’re under 24, single, childless, and have living parents, you’re still a dependent.  So while I’m 22 and 100% financially independent, I still have to have mommy and daddy involved in my education or I won’t be able to get any loans or grants. I’ve been living on my own for two and a half years, and have payed for 80% of my bills for that entire time. A few months ago I became 100% responsible for all of my expenses. I haven’t lived under my parents’ roof in years, yet somehow that isn’t enough to be independent.

Never mind that turning 18 brings the label of “adulthood” as far as the government is concerned. As a 22-year old I can join the military, vote, buy a house, buy cigarettes and alcohol, have sex with another adult, gamble at a casino, drive a car, own a gun, and more. But god forbid I don’t feel the need to include my parents financially in my education. In that situation I might as well be 14 years old with no rights again.

Having a degree isn’t everything. I don’t feel as though it’s the end-all be-all of life, however I was looking forward to it. I’m not sure where my life will take me, and I wanted to have a piece of paper with me that might prove to be useful. If I want to pursue something that isn’t front-line, I’m not going to get there until my thirties now.

I’m just really frustrated and disappointed. By the time I’m 24, I could be halfway through with school. Instead, I’ll just be starting. I’ve already taken two and a half years off and feel far enough behind as it is; now I’m set back another two years. 2016 is not my year and I’m really discouraged in how things have been going so far. I’m not going to give up, of course. Knowing the setbacks and failures of so many now-successful people has taught me more than enough to keep me working hard to achieve my goals and to be something useful.

You may not realize it when it happens, but a kick in the teeth may be the best thing in the world for you.

-Walt Disney

Stay Safe, Friends

Wow, friends. There’s a lot of shit that has been happening very close to me recently. First a few nights ago there was a shooting at a concert, killing the performer Christina Grimmie while she was meeting her fans. Second there was another shooting and hostage situation just last night at Pulse, a gay club. Both of these shootings happened in Orlando.
I woke up this morning to texts from the group chat between one of my best friends and my roommates asking if we were okay. After realizing what happened, I jumped on Twitter to see all of the comments from the news, from my friends, and the drag queens I follow. It’s such an awful thing to wake up to, especially with it being a place I visit. 

 While I haven’t been to a concert in over a year and I was not at all familiar with Christina Grimmie as an artist, it’s so scary to know that these things do happen so close to home. I do go to Pulse often enough with my friends and roommates, and that is even scarier to know I could have known someone that was there last night. 
I’m not going to be one of the people who say “All of this happening in Orlando is so awful. I just can’t feel safe anywhere anymore.” It is awful. People are awful. But I don’t live my life believing that I am not safe. I do my best to put myself in situations that keep me safe, I make decisions based on that idea. But I am not fearful with a “nowhere is safe” mentality. I do put a lot of faith in our security partners at Disney that they assist in keeping guests and cast safe during the day, and I do hope they take their roles seriously especially after this week. 

 We had a class at Disney recently that taught us if you see something, say something. Don’t wait until 20+ people are dead to come forward as a witness. 
Any of us could have been involved in these events. This could happen anywhere. I’m used to it happening “anywhere” and not in my city. But the truth of it is that anyone is capable of such awful violence, but you can’t live in fear of it happening to you. Be proactive when you go out and be aware of and for the people around you. Do your best to keep yourself and others safe no matter the situation you might find yourself in. 
This isn’t meant to be a detailed journalistic post. If you want those details you can Google them. This also isn’t meant to be a political post about gun laws, because I’m not knowledgable enough in that to comfortably put those opinions out there. This is nothing more than a reminder to whoever may read this post to be safe in any situation. It isn’t well-written and wasn’t planned at all. I just felt the need to write something quickly on such a prevalent story that happened so close to me.