Category Archives: Personal

Kat’s Misadventures: Kitty Crisis

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I would like to start off this post with a little apology. I decided to take a week (I guess technically two weeks) off from blogging to adjust to life back at home. I thought I was going to be struggling to find a job, but I ended up finding one my first day back at home. So for the past few weeks, my life has consisted of cleaning through my stuff, working the closing shift at a restaurant/cafe, and playing video games. I also began a writing project, and I’m very proud of myself for powering through this first draft. I’m really enjoying myself.

Apologies aside, now I need to overcome my own laziness and make sure I blog at least once a week. Summer seems to kill my productivity for some reason. My next Japanese adventure is coming up soon, so I’ll be getting a ton of new material as I prepare for it. But before I get there, I wanted to write an anecdote related to how it feels to have finally graduated from undergrad.

I think the pinnacle of my “adulting career” was Thanksgiving break of my junior year. One of my professors had asked me to cat-sit for a few days while he and his wife visited children and grandchild. I thought to myself, “If I can babysit, I can cat-sit.” All I needed to do was feed the cat twice a day, let her outside to do her business, and collect the mail. My reward was a healthy stipend, full use of my professor’s beautiful kitchen, and a private place to stay and work on my homework over the break. For a college student not going home for Thanksgiving for the first time, it sounded like a great deal.

After a single night there, I had successfully kept the ancient tabby alive, cooked myself curry and rice, and watched an entire season of one of my Netflix shows. Yes, I thought. This is adult life at its finest. I’m sooo good at this. My years of babysitting experience had taught me a few important rules, the most important of which is this: Don’t watch Batman vs. Dracula by yourself. You will force yourself to believe that vampires are coming to get you.

However, despite my expertise, Fate wouldn’t allow me a few short days of peace.

I didn’t leave my comfortable guest room the afternoon of my second day of cat sitting. I began the strenuous task of mentally preparing to begin an essay about the role of bushido in samurai culture. I watched anime and occasionally thought about my essay. Around 7:00 PM, I decided I was rather hungry, so I climbed upstairs to feed the kitty as well as myself. That’s when I noticed that the door to the music room was open. Huh? I thought. Now that’s peculiar. So I went to close it, but that wasn’t the only door that was open.

The door leading to the garage was open as well. …and so was the garage.

Like any level-headed adult, I calmly proceeded to select a knife from the kitchen, grab the cat, and lock myself in the basement while sobbing like a baby. Oddly enough, I was more worried about a thief than a murderer at this point; I couldn’t afford to replace anything!! After calling every person I knew in my tiny college town, I finally sobbed my last will and testament to a friend over the phone. She convinced me to do a walk through in the house, purple knife in hand, and shut all of the doors that were open. (Why didn’t I do that in the first place?) However at this point, I noticed that several of the lights in the house were now on…and I didn’t remember turning them on…so I locked myself in the basement again and contemplated calling the police.

An hour passed. I still wasn’t dead. But I still hadn’t let the cat out for the evening. Finally, the ancient cat’s whining won me over, and I let her outside…

…for a few seconds before I started to freak out because you know as well as I know that that shadow I saw moving out of the corner of my eye was actually a serial killer rapist vampire human trafficker/catnapper. I grabbed that cat and ran to the basement yet again.

Finally, the youth director from a church I had visited a few times called me back and told me that he would send the ex-choir director of said church to come and check up on me. Fifteen minutes later, an elderly man hobbled up the front steps of the porch to see me, still sobbing but no longer holding my knife. He walked through the house, watched me let the cat outside to do her business, and gave me the pep-talk of the century. Now, I’m fairly certain that most of that pep-talk was sarcastically sympathetic.

I slept with my purple knife underneath my pillow that night and didn’t write a single word of my paper until two days before it was due.

It was at that point in my life that I decided I would never live alone. Ever. Now you’re probably thinking, “That’s a fun story, but what’s the point? How does this relate to graduating?” I’m getting there, dear reader. Hold your horses. A year and a half later, I’m still known as the girl that fabricated a ghost murderer thief. In fact, I see that ex-choir director at least once a year, and every time, he comes up, places a hand on my shoulder, and smiles at me and then he turns to the person I’m talking to and says something along the lines of, “Let me tell you what this girl did Thanksgiving weekend two years ago…”

But looking back, that year I had overcome a lot. I was working close to 20 or 30 hours a week to help pay off my own schooling. I had a ton of leadership positions in many of my groups on campus. I was taking some of my hardest classes ever (I’m looking at you Critical Theory and Advanced Comp!!!!), and I was surviving in them. On top of all that, I had managed to finish acting in a production of A Midsummer Night’s Dream…and if there are any theatre kids out there, you know that theatre consumes your life. I learned a couple of arias from Handel’s Messiah. I lived 14 hours away from my family.

I bet you that everyone in town talks about how incapable I am at cat-sitting (in fact, I was not invited back…probably for obvious reasons). But being an adult isn’t about having your life together or always knowing how to handle a situation. It isn’t about graduating or not graduating. It isn’t about having a family or staying single and traveling the world. Frankly, I still don’t know what it’s about. I’m technically an adult in the eyes of the law. I sob in my choir professor’s office because Benjamin Britten stresses me out. I consume my weight in cookie dough ice cream every week. I work hard from 8AM to 12:00AM so I can reward myself with two hours of video games, and six hours of sleep. I do just about anything for a free meal. Sometimes, I’m in a hurry, so I use my purse as a to-go container for sweet potato fries.

But I’m also a planner. I spend hours thinking of routes for travel and making packing lists. I run errands to the grocery store and bank. I cook dinner for my family or sometimes for my friends. I earn my own money. I take care of my cats. I go on adventures. I stay home and read.

But no matter what I do, I grow. I’m not the same frightened child watching Batman vs. Dracula and sobbing into a couch cushion. I’m not the same paranoid teen skulking through a professor’s house with a knife. I’m not even the same person I was yesterday, and yesterday, I wasn’t anything particularly grand. I was just a tired cashier-in-training who screwed up at least two orders.

Graduating doesn’t change what kind of person I am. It helps me grow little by little. I’m not where I want to be in life yet. Things like my “kitty crisis” (look at me name dropping the title) keep me grounded and remind me that I’ve come a long way, and I still have a long way to go.

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That Great and Powerful Beast

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Senioritis. It is real. In high school, I didn’t believe it existed, and then about halfway through my senior year in high school I felt something like nothing I had never experienced before. Boredom in its rawest form. I had already decided that I was done with school. I love school and learning, but after senioritis kicked in, everything felt monotonous. I think it was the promise of adventure in the future. In high school, I had college to look forward to.

Now, I have the real world to look forward to. That is equally exciting and terrifying. In a few short days, I’ll know if I’ll be teaching in Japan this fall.

But until then, I have more than enough homework to keep me occupied. Actually, I have a big presentation at an academic conference coming up. So I’m going to keep this post short and sweet so I can focus on other items of importance. (Or procrastinate my way through Easter Break by playing video games to ease the pain of my senioritis.) Don’t think this is a goodbye post.

I’m a little late on the draw, but I would like to officially announce my theme for the A to Z Blogging Challenge. I missed the official theme reveal because of a particularly rough week at school, but better late than never, right?

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A big part of my life was and always has been my online life. I’ve decided to talk a little bit about my personal writing. In this 26 day challenge, I plan to introduce 26 of my retired roleplaying characters; maybe I’ll even make an effort to revamp them after this. I really like the idea of revisiting characters from my past.

I hope everyone has had a wonderful Spring Break/Easter Break. For all my fellow students, power through until the end.

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Home Sweet H-…where am I again?

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We’ve established that I have a terrible sense of direction, right? Right. If I didn’t, I wouldn’t have this blog. Well…I might, but it would probably be named something entirely different, and I’m sure I would have run out of stories to talk about a long time ago. But for the first time in a long time, I’ve decided to talk about an actual “lost” story. Sit back and relax. Feel free to skim over the angsty quote from my poetry, but it seemed appropriate.

“I am terror, the dripping cold sweat down the back of your neck;
you imagine the worst, and you should. Can’t turn back. Not now. Ring
the doom-ridden device once more. I’m there. Still waiting for you
and your cumbersome smile that hides that unspeakable thing.”
-from “Home(less)” an original poem

A little known fact about myself: I didn’t get my driver’s license until the day I left for college. I had planned to get it earlier that week, but I erm…well failed that test which was deceptively easy. The driving instructor pitied my existence after I failed it the first time, so she let me retake it after a few days (even though I think I was supposed to wait a month), and I passed it the morning I left for college. My first road trip involved weaving through the construction outside of Little Rock and my father yelling at me, saying that driving under the speed limit was not acceptable. I lasted about an hour before I lost all feeling in my hands from gripping the steering wheel.

That was part of the reason I traveled home infrequently. I. Hated. Driving. My first semester away at college, I think I visited home a handful of times. I returned for holidays, of course, but I never wanted to drive back for the weekends. I wanted to hide in my room, sleep for 16 hours straight, and “catch up on homework.” (Note: I’m fairly certain I never caught up. I might still be behind.) But I remember traveling home for the first time, not very well, but the memory’s up there in my noggin. I wanted to go see my friends at a football game at my old high school.

My old high school terrified me at the time; actually, it still terrifies me. I returned there recently, and I was too scared to go to the bathroom because the little high school Kat in my head was saying, “Just hold it. You don’t wanna’ sign for detention. It’s not worth it.” (Note: If we wanted to use the restroom at my high school, we had to sign for detention.) But it was just a football game. My father drove me to that school five days a week for two years. I figured I could get there without much trouble. Eight minutes of driving. Right?

Wrong. I left with thirty “just in case” minutes to spare, and I was still half an hour late. I must have taken a wrong turn in Albuquerque or something, but I ended up in quite possibly the scariest neighborhood I had ever seen. As my car slid past a few beat up houses, people came out to stare at me. I finally turned into a gas station, activated my GPS, and let it do the navigating for me, but I’m still ashamed of that moment. How in the world could I get lost in my hometown, a place I had lived for a few years?

Maybe I’m unobservant (or selectively observant). Maybe I could blame my bad sense of direction. Maybe it’s because I was seeing my hometown through the eyes of a driver for the first time. Or maybe it’s not home.

My family doesn’t live there anymore, and I doubt we’ll ever return. I left behind a few good friends, but after I graduate from college, part of me doubts I’ll ever live in Arkansas again. (I’ll probably regret writing this statement sooner or later.) It’s weird how a home can feel as though it isn’t one. My dorm room (even though it changes every year) has almost always felt like a home to me.

It’s weird thinking that in a few months, I’ll technically be homeless. But here’s to hoping that I’ll find a new one, a better one.

Anyone else ever feel lost when you’re at home?

Regressing & Progressing

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Last week was a tough week for many reasons. Nothing exceptionally awful happened, but I could tell that I was losing my drive. My grades were a little lower. I interacted with fewer people. I stayed up later putting off work I didn’t want to do. I also skipped out on my weekly blog post and neglected my daily Bible reading. (I’m trying to do a “read the Bible in a year challenge.”) I spent the weekend telling myself, “You’ll get back on track. You can do it. Just push through it.”

But I didn’t push, and I’m glad I didn’t. I spent my weekend locked in my room watching some Law and Order SVU on Netflix and cleaning out my cluttered desk. I did some laundry and gave myself a facial. I ate a pint of cookie dough ice cream. I doodled. And you know what? By time I woke up on Monday, I felt a lot better about everything. I honestly can’t remember what it was that put me in that Mood. (I think everyone has experienced that  Mood at least once.)

For this week’s post, I decided to remind myself of the progress I’m making on the little things in life. I’m worn out from writing, so I decided to ease back into blogging with something simple.

Six Years Ago…

  • I had moved to Arkansas and started school at a high school I absolutely hated.
  • I auditioned for All-State for the first time and made the women’s chorus.
  • I quit piano and started taking voice lessons.
  • I never once went out with any of my friends.
  • I went on my first date ever.
  • I became an active member and then a moderator of a group of gaming/roleplaying/writing forums.
  • I went to Washington D.C. for the first time.

This Year…

  • I’m pushing through my last semester at a college I love (in Arkansas); if everything works out, I’ll graduate with highest honors.
  • This semester alone, I’m singing solos at 3 separate concerts. I’ll also be performing Brahms’s Requiem with the Arkansas Symphony Orchestra and several other college choirs this weekend.
  • In addition to voice lessons, I’ve started playing my flute again and continue to be an active member in theatre.
  • I may not socialize a lot, but I’m a leader in several different student organizations including my sorority, the English honor society (Sigma Tau Delta), and the student ambassadors.
  • I’ve decided that I’m content being single; and I’m going to wait on the dating until I’m comfortable with myself.
  • The forums I used to moderate revived with many of the old members. Reuniting with internet friends was a huge plus to my year.
  • This past school year I’ve traveled to Japan, Chicago, Houston, and Dallas. I’ll be returning to Washington D.C. this April to present my research paper “I Always Feel Like Somebody’s Watching Me: A New Historicist Approach to 1925” at the Alpha Chi National Convention.

When I look at where I’ve been, it’s easier to see how far I’ve come. What about you guys? Do you ever feel as though you’re going nowhere fast?

Meet the Wanderer: Chapter 2

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Discovering Yourself as a Writer

If you missed my first chapter in this series, feel free to check it out HERE. My goal in introducing these chapters is to give my readers a better idea of who I am behind the wall of text. I could be a robot pounding out posts, but I’m actually just an overly caffeinated young adult with too much to say and not enough time to say it.

This month’s topic?

HAPPINESS: What is your own secret for happiness? If you had to sum up your ideas, what one word would you use to describe how to be truly happy.

Believe it or not, I struggle a lot with “being happy.” In the real world, I feel as if I spend my life pretending to be a-okay. I smile because I’ve heard that smiling makes it easier to feel actual happiness. I laugh because I’m nervous or uncomfortable. I joke. I giggle. I act. But none of it feels real at the end of the day. In fact, it’s tiring. Being “happy” all the time drained me, so I gave up and embraced my other feelings.

To be happy, you actually don’t have to be happy all the time. Crazy, right? Once I realized this, I felt a lot better about myself. Having a bad day? Rant about it. Cry about it. Get it out of your system. Suddenly it’s gone. Worried about something? Worry about it. Finish worrying. Move on. Perhaps it isn’t that simple for everyone, but I realized that once I stopped trying to ignore the rest of my feelings, I felt a lot better about myself. My friends and family finally got to see the real me.

But that doesn’t mean one should embrace these feelings all the time. In Japan, I got lost a lot. Sometimes I got lost alone. Sometimes I got lost with a group. Usually, when I got lost with a group, at least one person got REALLY upset. One time, my friend and I spent an hour looking for a cat cafe in Akita City. (We wanted to spend our afternoon petting cats and eating silly little desserts.) My friend got incredibly upset, especially after we had to ask for help. We found the cafe about 45 minutes after it had closed. She apologized over and over and over, but honestly, it was fine. I could get frustrated, but how did getting lost actually hurt us?

As I see it, we saw a lot of the city. We found the cafe so we could go to it next time. We spent the afternoon with each other. Maybe we wasted a little bit of money traveling into the city, but is it really worth spending my afternoon angry over a couple of dollars or yen?

I’ve found myself asking “Is it worth it?” a lot recently. Surprisingly, that mindset has helped me keep my emotions in check, especially during particularly stressful semesters. Since my prompter seems to like one word summaries, I’ll leave my readers with this:

Think. If you’re miserable or frustrated or confused or just struggling to be happy, think things through. You don’t have to do it alone. You could perhaps think out loud with a friend, but don’t dwell on it. I promise you’ll be a lot happier.

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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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