Monthly Archives: January 2016

Hobo Sweaters, Little Black Dresses, and Unicorns

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In case you’re confused as to why I’m writing myself little encouraging vignettes, you can check out yesterday’s post HERE.

I have impeccable style. How would I describe my wardrobe? Vintage bohemian crazy hippie cat lady hobo professional chic. I wear fringe, unicorns, patches, flannel, bright lipstick, crooked eyeliner, sparkles, baggy sweaters, high heels, wool socks, mosaic skirts, little black dresses, super flare jeans, and Hello Kitty. Sometimes I roll out of bed in the morning, throw on a pair of yoga pants, and crawl to class. Sometimes I spend thirty minutes trying on clothes and throwing them into my dreaded pile of yet-to-be-done laundry.

I have never been particularly comfortable with my appearance. Even after I reached my “ideal weight,” I worried about my glasses, my makeup, my hair, my sophistication and flirtiness (however that’s supposed to work), etc. The other day a friend told me I was her “fashion icon,” that somehow my unicorn sweater and unicorn high-tops were praiseworthy. You know what? They are.

I’m a fabulous crazy cat lady hippie.

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I Keep My Confidence in a Tiny, Tattered Box

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I never realized how self-destructive I am. It’s never intentional, but I have an excuse for absolutely every compliment someone throws my way. I’m that girl who answers a professor’s question with a half-raised hand and tiny voice even though I know my answer’s right. I’m that girl that says, “I’m so dumb” every time I make even a little mistake, laughing the statement off as if it’s a fact everyone should know by now. They’re little things, but they’ve taken a toll on me. I didn’t realize how much of a problem these mildly destructive statements were until last week when I was asking for interview advice from my adviser. Her number one tip for me specifically?

Don’t self-deprecate.

After 21 years of shoving my confidence into a tiny, tattered box to hide it from the world, I’m supposed to be proud of my positive traits? My interview with my dream job is a week from today. I have less than 7 days to completely change my attitude. Talk about a daunting task…

I spent today beating myself up about the quality of my blog, my schoolwork, and my personal writing. I don’t put enough thought or time into any of it. I never feel as if I have enough thought or time. I was struggling to figure out what to write for my Tuesday blog post when I had a (brilliant) thought. Why not practice positivity? So this week, my blog might not be the high quality stories I want to tell. But I am going to address a problem that has kept me wandering for ages. My goal is to post something positive about myself every day leading up to my interview to get my head in the zone. If I don’t post everyday, then that’s fine. I’m absolutely human. I won’t beat myself up. But if I don’t get into the swing of things now, I may have too much baggage to deal with later.

So here it goes…

I am a hard-worker. I work my butt off almost every day of the week. I am a student ambassador, section leader in my church choir, Supplemental Instruction Leader, and social committee chair for my sorority. I’m an active member of Alpha Chi and Sigma Tau Delta. I act in plays because it’s fun even if it sometimes takes up 18 hours or more of my week. I’ve had only one B in my entire college career. I turn my schoolwork in on time. I plan huge sorority events. I plan Taco Bell escapades. I volunteer my weekends to tour prospective students.  Last semester, I worked three jobs, had 8:00 AM classes every morning, and was never late to anything. I am a very hard-worker.

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A (Not So) Subtle Change

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No. You’re not going blind. I had some free time today and decided to work on the layout of my blog. I didn’t like how my previous theme had a hidden sidebar. You’ll notice that I’ve attached my Goodreads account as well as a brand new Twitter! (You’ll have to be patient with me. I haven’t used Twitter since…the beginning of high school really.) If you’d like to follow me, I’ll be sure to post updates as often as I can!

As I mentioned last week, I had to go on hiatus because it’s that time of year for sororities. Yes. Recruitment. (As a result, this post will probably be a bit shorter than my others.) It’s a magically frustrating week full of long nights, crafting, and tears for everyone involved. Imagine a piece of coal turning into a diamond. That’s exactly what it feels like by time you get out of it.

You’ve probably never heard of my sorority. I’m a Chi O. No. Not Chi Omega. That’s a national sorority. Chi Omicron. We’re a local sorority, the only group of Chi Omicrons in the world. (At least I like to think so.) We’ll be celebrating our 5th birthday this year, something I’m in charge of planning. Our colors are black, white and robin’s egg blue. Our symbols include the lily, moonstone, and jackalope. (Yes. The jackalope.) And our motto is: Altruism, Diversity, and Fortitude. 

I want to say that joining Chi O changed my life, but I can’t say for certain what my life would have been like if I had never joined a sorority at all. Chi O didn’t pull me out of a gutter, clean me up, and teach me how to be altruistic. I’m confident that I could have been a strong, independent woman without ever joining a sorority at all. In fact, I’ve always been that way. I like to do things on my own. I like to be alone. In fact, I’m alone right now, taking the day off from people and noise and life. I’m perfectly content with my pile of homework, Law and Order: SVU, and blog.

But joining Chi O did teach me that I’m much stronger when I’m not alone, that it’s all right to ask for help. I remember one day in 2013 when I trudged into my sorority’s apartment for some reason. I was hardly ever in there as it was. I spent my free time buried in my books. (I still do that.) I do remember that I was in a terrible mood. It had been a long day with one thing right after the other, and finally, everything had worn me down. I sat on the apartment’s sofa and sobbed. Two of the girls living on the bottom floor, Ariel and Konnie, heard me. I don’t think they even asked what was wrong. But Konnie brought me medicine for my headache, and Ariel spent the next ten minutes darting to and from her room bringing me things from her “stash” of feel-better items. I left with tea, an apple, a candle…

I don’t like people to see me cry, but I know I can cry around my sisters. They don’t ask what’s wrong because they know I don’t like to talk about it. They don’t judge me for crying because I’ve seen them cry too. They know that I’m a finicky perfectionist control freak. They know I spend my Saturday nights studying instead of partying. They also know that I’m a terrible crafter and an awkward orator. But they keep me around anyway.

Through all the catastrophes, shenanigans, apartment messes, tears, and laughter, it’s been a pretty great ride. I’ve realized my flaws in these past few years, and my sisters have taught me that those flaws don’t have to be flaws. And for that, I’m eternally grateful. ~XO

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I am not an adult. I am a lie.

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For some silly reason, I thought I’d have my life together by now. How hard could it be? However, the older I get, the more apparent it becomes that my life is a conglomeration of fragments held together with crusty masking tape. I am not an adult. I am a lie. I may do my own laundry and have my own bank account, but when it comes down to it, I’d much rather hide from life behind my stuffed animals and neglected dishes. And to think…people my age have families. With babies.

I’m lucky to have kept myself alive for this long. I couldn’t imagine being responsible for something that doesn’t respawn.

In honor of my last semester of undergrad starting today, I thought I would tell you a lovely story about how a senior in college can ruin absolutely everything by ignoring the problem.

SPOILER ALERT

Moral of the Story: Do NOT ignore the problem under any circumstances.

I don’t know if any of my readers are parents, but even if you’re not, imagine this: you get a bill in the mail for $16,000. Oh yes. I neglected to fill out a “randomized survey” that my school sent out. (I say it’s “randomized” because I got selected to fill it out every year. And every year, I made my mother handle it.) I’m a fairly organized person, so when I make a to-do list, I prioritize. Things related to school and work are always at the top. Little things like surveys are at the bottom. My to-do list remained packed full of school and work related items for most of the semester, so I didn’t even touch that survey until my mom called me with news about that little bill.

I forsook the natural order of my to-do list and decided to deal with the problem. One little survey. Easy. If I could hammer out an A-worthy 1200 word essay in less than 3 hours, I could complete a silly little survey. I took one look at it, saw the words “call the IRS” and decided to let my mother handle it. Again. That’s what parents are for after all. She handled the problem (as usual), and I thought that was that.

Until my mother received another bill.

Two threatening bills for $16,000. I had to do it. Not her. Me. Myself. I had to do the thing. I finally worked up the courage to put on my big-girl pants and made the phone call. I sat on that phone for hours trying to get information that didn’t even exist. HOURS. (Note: It was probably 30 minutes.) And then I spent the rest of the week running between the financial aid office and my adviser’s office in tears because I knew my mother would kill me for putting this off. (I should probably add that I put this survey off for at least four months. You might say that I’m a PROcrastinator.)

This whole mess climaxed into a messy explosion of, “I can’t adult!” in one of my meetings with my adviser. How in the world was I supposed to balance this $16,000 mistake with my schoolwork, jobs, and other responsibilities? I wanted to disappear under my flannel unicorn sheets and never come out.

In the end, I resolved my $16,000 mistake. I actually don’t remember how I did it. Part of me wants to believe that the financial aid office became so fed up with me that they decided to let it “disappear.” But there’s a slight chance I did something right.

I’m aware that this story makes me sound like a whiny brat and not a 21 year old college senior. (You’re probably thinking, “They let his girl into college?”) I should know how to do all of this by now. But hasn’t everyone had to learn a “how to adult” lesson the hard way? Suddenly, I turn 21 and taxes, full-time jobs, and pantsuits are a frightening yet boring reality. Real world problems are terrifying, but at least I know how to deal with one of them now.

NOTE: Next week is recruitment week for the sororities at my school. As such, all ladies in a sorority are required to deactivate social media. (There are a lot of rules that go along with recruitment.) To stay out of trouble, I will not be posting next Tuesday. Hopefully you will see me on Friday however!

Meet the Wanderer: Chapter 1

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A resolution I have this year is to keep my blog on track by writing a few different series. Allow me to introduce the first.

Discovering Yourself as a Writer

I found the image linked above on one of my many Pinterest adventures which aren’t half as glorious as they sound. I like this set of prompts because they allow me to introduce myself in a series of stories. I hope answering a few of these questions makes me seem a bit more human. To most of you out there, I’m a wall of text behind a computer screen. I swear there’s a plucky young bespectacled ginger behind all these words!

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Branding: What single word describes your personality? How does it affect you as a writer? Are you whimsical, gregarious, or fierce?

You know what I’ve always hated? Word limitations. “This essay must be at least 1200 words” or “please don’t write more than 500 characters for this statement of purpose.” I know guidelines are important, but seriously…one little word to describe myself? I’m an incredibly diverse person. I’ll watch gory action films while hugging Percival (my purple unicorn pillow pet). I’ll go shopping…and then pop into the GameStop to see if Dragon Age or Assassin’s Creed is on sale. I’ll wear over-sized sweaters and slinky evening dresses in the same day!

However, recently I completed a job application for a program that allows me to teach English in Japan once I graduate from college. It has been my dream for several years now to teach in a foreign country, and I finally got the application in my hand. I filled almost all of it out in one day…except for the statement of purpose–the most important part. I didn’t write that part the next day either. Or the day after. Or the next week. You can see where this is going…

I waited until the night before I needed to mail it out to even start on it. I wrote a draft and thought I was done. But then I woke up the next day. Hated it. Trashed it. Panicked. Cried in my adviser’s office for about fifteen minutes. Finally, I proceeded to write a new statement and revise it about five times that day with the help of one of my English professors, a career counselor, and a pep-talk from my roommate.

I always say I’ll stop procrastinating, but I don’t. Why  wait? Because I hate writing about myself. (Funny…considering that this is a blog about…me. But I’m not trying to get a job or scholarship from you guys!) I’m always looking for a single word that makes me (of all the people in the world) stick out. There are hundreds of funny, creative, sarcastic, or cat-loving individuals. How can I describe myself in one word or even 500?

(Just so you know, I haven’t heard back from that job yet. They’ll be calling about in two weeks. Here’s praying.)

My writing is as diverse as my personality.

I can’t exactly describe myself as whimsical all the time. Sometimes I write incredibly…dark things. I also can’t describe myself as sarcastic. If I were witty and sarcastic all the time, my readers might not take me seriously or think that I’m not as believable as I should be. I certainly don’t want to become my own unreliable narrator. Saying I’m “creative” would be a cop-out. Writing, no matter what it is, requires a little bit of creativity.

You’re probably thinking…why not go with “diverse?” You just said it yourself about a hundred times, you silly goose!  Well…the answer to that is: even that word doesn’t seem to accurately describe myself or my writing the way I want it to. I don’t think I’ll ever be happy with a single word because I’m always going to be a huge combination of words. I’m not sure anyone out there would count awkward-imaginative-sparkle-tastic as a single word. Any takers? But if someone put a gun to my head and told me that I absolutely had to choose…

Experimental. I always try new things, go on adventures, and jump into the middle of battles. My writing is still experimental. I want to try new forms, new ways of characterization, new plot devices. I want to take concepts that have been done and redo them. My personality is constantly shifting, making room for a better balance of social awkwardness and professionalism. In a way, I’m still finding myself, and maybe I’ll never be that one word.

Or maybe I’m just over-complicating things!

What about you? What’s your “branding?”