A Quick Change of Perspective

Today has been a very busy and trying day. Now that school is starting back up I am back to work and that means my schedule has changed and I am waking up earlier. I am tired now and to make matters worse I was so busy I skipped lunch. Now I am struggling to stay focused and positive. I needed to change my perspective before the negative thoughts crept in so I decided to write a quick list of things that have gone RIGHT today.

As hard as it was, I was able to wake up on time today. I went to bed at a decent time last night and had an idea of what I wanted to wear and what I needed to do in the morning. I got ready with minimal issues and apart from leaving the house and forgetting my tea, everything went smoothly.

I was able to complete all of my personal and professional goals by midday. I worked on math over on Khan Academy and mastered a lot of skills. I did my Lumosity training for the day and found out I had improved on the memory games. I wrote 750 words, finished my blog post for tomorrow, and am now working on this post. I got my new hours for work and sent all the emails I needed to. I was actually very productive.

I stayed as positive as I could and didn’t let anything stress me out. I found out a few days ago that I didn’t get the route or the driver I wanted but I have accepted the situation and moved on. I will make this school year the best it can be and try not to dwell on what I didn’t get. I also found out that I lost a total of three people from my training team. Which means more work and planning on my part but I have decided to take things one step at a time and just do the best that I can. I just jumped right in and started scheduling things. This way I won’t find myself in a time crunch and feeling overwhelmed later in the year.

Looking back now I guess today wasn’t all that bad. In fact, I think I could consider today a success given all that I have accomplished. I didn’t let the stress, schedule change, or skipped meal get me down. I hope you all are having a good day too, and if you aren’t, I urge you to look back and focus on all the good you have done.

Until next time, good vibes everyone! :)

Advertisements

Saying Goodbye to Summer

I work for a school district so, for me, summer ends tomorrow. School starts back up on Monday and that means I am back on a school bus tomorrow to practice my route.*

This is a hard time of year for me because summer is my favorite season. There is so much to do in the summer and everything looks so green and alive! There are water parks and amusement parks, there are festivals and events. Bar rooftops are open and nighttime temperatures are perfect for drinks and hanging out with friends. I am sad to see all that go. In the winter there is nothing to do but stay inside and try you best to keep warm.

Here in Colorado our winters last longer than our summers, and spring and fall are almost non-existent. I’m one of those people who needs sunny days and warm temperatures to feel happy. Seasonal affective disorder I think they call it. I get depressed around the same time every year, just as fall is hitting and when it gets bad it seems like winter will never end. By the time January rolls around I have given up emotionally. I start to feel like the cold and clouds will be there forever, and the warmth and the green will never come back.

I’m already preparing myself mentally for the leaves to start changing and everything to turn gray and cold. I am planning for coping with the cold and I even had a co-worker bring in a new space heater for us all. I will soon be buying a new coat and stocking up on hand and warmers. I hope the bus I will be in is sealed well and that the heaters work.

I long to live somewhere where the sun shines all year and the weather stays nice. I’ve heard Hawaii has nice weather all year-round, or maybe Southern California or Florida. One day I hope to be rid of snow and negative degree temperatures. No more shivering, no more cold, wet toes and no more runny noses!

So today I say goodbye to summer and hope that it doesn’t take too long to return again. I will try to remember all the fun I had this year and maybe the memories will warm my soul when the temperatures outside freeze my body.

*Just to clarify I work as a para-professional, or bus aid, not as a driver.

Someone Broke Into My Car Last Night

We accidentally left the car unlocked, I think. I mean there were no broken windows, no sign of forced entry. They didn’t steal anything as far as I can tell. I wouldn’t have even known if it weren’t for the mess they left after rummaging through the glove compartment. Luckily we don’t keep much in the car. We had been shopping for a camping trip this weekend and we had a brand new tent, two sleeping bags, an air mattress, and a chair, in the back. They either didn’t see it or thought trying to run off with those big boxes was too risky. All in all not much harm done, not financially anyway. The blow to our sense of safety and security though, devastating.

When we initially went out to the car after I had opened the passenger door and seen the mess on the seat, my first thought wasn’t a break in. At first I thought my girlfriend had made the mess. I jokingly asked her what she had been doing and she looked at me from the other side of the car with a confused expression. I still thought it had been her and maybe she forgot what she did. She came over to the passenger side and just stared at all the crap we had accumulated in the glove box that was now sitting in the seat. She looked up at me again and in almost a whisper said that she had not done that. We both stood there, shocked and staring, not knowing what to do next. After a moment I started scooping up our stuff and putting it back and throwing out the trash. We got into the car and neither of us knew what to say.

On the way to work, her driving and me in the passenger seat, all I could think about was that someone had been in our car. Someone had been through our things. They may have been sitting right where I was now sitting searching and trying to take something that belonged to ME! I was getting angry, I was scared, and I felt helpless. I would never know who did this and they might come back and try again, or worse, try to get into the house next time. I moved my hand over to the driver’s side to pat my girlfriend reassuringly on the leg. It would be ok, maybe this was a one time thing and considering everything, at least we were ok and the car wasn’t broken into more forcibly.

She felt bad though. She blamed herself for leaving the car open. She had went grocery shopping and when she got home we both helped bring the groceries in but she had had the keys. I don’t think it’s her fault, I blame both of us. Neither of us double checked the doors. Bigger than that though is that neither of us was worried about it. Sometimes I find myself panicked with fear tat a break in could occur. We are two women living alone in a neighborhood that isn’t the best. Other times I think it couldn’t happen to us. I get complacent and think once that front door is locked all is well, we are safe. Today I am panicked again and I am looking into some security options for us. Better locks, maybe some cameras, I don’t know. It all feels so overwhelming and I just wish I lived in a world where I didn’t have to feel like this.

I wish I could talk to the person who did this to us. I would start by telling them that stealing and trespassing is wrong, obviously. We work hard for what little we have and it’s unfair to take things that other people worked hard for. They made us feel scared. It feels like there is no where left to go now that I can just relax and feel safe. I am worried about how to protect my girlfriend and our home and what I would do if I couldn’t. They made us feel angry and it was a terrible start to our day and our week. They made us blame ourselves and think we had been so careless and stupid. I would tell them that there is so much pain and sadness in the world and they shouldn’t add to it. Everyone already has so much to worry about and struggle through and everyone needs a place that they can feel safe. We should never take that away from each other.

It’s Payday!

It’s payday so I thought I’d talk a little bit about my finances. Money has been the one area in my life I have always struggled with. Luckily my girlfriend and I have learned from each other and team to do the things we needed to do.

Growing up I didn’t have many good role models for how to manage money. My mother was a struggling single mother so all of the money she made was either for bills or for food. There wasn’t enough left over to manage. There was no talk of savings or retirement. We were just trying to survive. My father spent all of his money on himself. He had more pairs of shoes than any woman I know and he always wore the nicest clothes. He was in the military so outside of that they took care of a lot of his finances. He didn’t help my mother out much so she sued him for child support. She got it but it still wasn’t much.

When I was in the fifth grade we did a school project where we all had to go home and make a product to sell and then they took us to a mall where we each got a store and some fake money. We learned what profits were and how to set up bank accounts and write checks. That was probably the single most educating and positive expierience had had as a child around money.

I moved out of my mother’s house just after I had turned 17 and I got a job working at Target as soon as I could. I set up a cell phone account and a bank account and then proceeded to make a lot of financial mistakes. I turned into my father right away. Immediatly after work on payday, every payday, I went shopping. I bought stupid things that made me feel better and I saved nothing.

A couple of years later, when me and my girlfriend moved in together, we realized that eventhough I wasn’t good at budgetting, I knew a lot about how to set up bank accounts, write checks, set up direct deposit, ect. She on the other hand was very, very good at budgeting. So we became a team and helped each other manage money better. We make choices together and and we consult each other before buying things and before and after the bills are paid.

A lot of couples we know, even married ones, keep their money and their day to day financial decisions seperated from each other. Me and Chardonnay never saw the point in that. We think every financial decision should be made together and we also believe that the money each of us makes belongs to both of us. Our friends and family believe we each have given up our freedom and privacy. I think that the way we do things gives both of access to more money and a greater sense of where we stand.

We had to have some ground rules though. We had to have the same goals in mind and we needed to have a good dose of mutual respect. These are not things we sat down and came up with but rather just the way we did things naturally. We thought all couples did things this way and were a bit shocked to find out we were different from our friends. We do tell each other everything we are doing, down to a $0.99 Arizona tea I bought from 7/11. People see this as asking permission from the other person but it’s nothing like that. Chardonnay would never say no to a $0.99 Arizona tea, but I respect that the money I am spending belongs to both of us and so I tell her what is going on.

Doing things this way I feel like a lot of the fights other couples have surrounding money are not fights me and Chardonnay will have to deal with. I never have to worry about her spending money I don’t know about or adding debt I haven’t agreed to. She never have to worry that in the event of a break up she might not get what is fairly hers. All of our accounts, minus our seperate Roths which niether of us spends out of anyway, belong to both of us and if we break up everything is half and half. If something happens to one of us the other owns everything. I still can buy things I want and so can she, but we sit down and talk about what what is a priority and when is a good time to make certain purchases. We pay all of our bills and think about big things we want to do first. When we are spending larger amounts of money we weigh the importance of the purchase against shopping for small things we may regret later in the month.

Our biggest obstacle this month is the fact that because of Chardonnay’s promotion we no longer get paid on the same day. For the past 8 years or more we have been and our bills are all set up to be due right after. Now Chardonnay gets paid 10 days later, after some of those bills are due. So now I pay for some bills out of my check and she pays for the bigger stuff, including the mortgage, out of hers. It’s going to be an adjustment for both of us but hopefully after a few months we can start working on paying off our debt, which isn’t a whole lot really, and start working on an emergency savings, which we don’t have at all. We also have plans to finish up our chest tattoos. Gotta have some fun too, right? :)

Living With Rose Colored Lenses

When we think of assumptions we have made that were later proven wrong we usually think of the negative assumptions we have made. I don’t usually start with a negative assumptions, I tend to see the world through rose colored lenses and then am let down by the reality.

My family, and even my girlfriend, have told me throughout my life that I was just too trusting of other people. It’s hard for me to believe that anyone would want to hurt me, either physically or emotionally. I assume that everyone follows the same moral code that I do. I meet people all the time who seem to be good people, at first. I might even see them do good things for others. Some of those people have proven to me wrong. I have learned that people’s ideas about what’s right and wrong can change in a minute. I believe now that people who claim to love and care about you will only do so for as long as it is convenient for them to do so. One minute they are your friend, they are your family, the next, they are your enemy. I have learned this time and time again but I still have something in me that just can’t stop seeing the good in everyone.

When I was a young teenager, before I had admitted to myself that I was bi/lesbian*, I, like most young girls, went through a boy crazy faze. During that time I had many boys, and at one time a grown man, promise me the world in exchange for my time and affection. After they got what they wanted from me that changed. I know that this is a typical experience for teenage girls to go through but no one ever told me that it would be that way. Part of the blame lies with me I guess, I kept letting them do it to me. After I had had enough and I accepted that I liked girls too I dated a girl who claimed to love me. She was dating another boy at the time and she swore to me that she only stayed with him so that her mom would not suspect that she was gay. I allowed her to do that to me because I thought she loved me. I thought there was a glimmer of hope that we could live happily ever after. Later in our relation she also became abusive. One day she decided she didn’t want to be with me but didn’t tell me. She had her friends answer the phone and make excuses for why she couldn’t talk to me. One day one of her friends, frustrated that I wasn’t getting the hint, finally told me that that girl never wanted to talk to me again. I never called back and to this day I still feel a bit of heartache when I think of her.

A few years later, when I was just about homeless. I met a group of teenagers who were all living together in an apartment. The guy who was on the lease was a bit older than the rest of us and allowed me to live there with out having a job. He told me I could just pay him back when I started working. I got a job as soon as I could and began paying for what I could. None of the other 4 or 5 people living with us had a job and one day we decided to get another apartment, just the two of us. We gave the others sufficient notice and we went and signed a lease at another complex. After a few months I moved my girlfriend in and things quickly went downhill.

My roommate began paying his part of the rent late all the time. My girlfriend had to hound him every month just to get him to pay. He stopped buying groceries too but continued to eat our food. I couldn’t believe he was doing this when he had dealt with it from our other roommates in the previous apartment. One day I cornered him and asked him what was going on. He admitted to me that he had lost his job and had been paying the rent with money he made selling drugs. I remembered how he had helped me out when I didn’t have a job and offered to let him pay me back when he found a job again. He agreed and then…he left and never came back. He left all his stuff and never paid us another dime. He did however come back one day while me and my girlfriend were at work and he stole the lock box we kept our rent money in. After that money was gone me and my girlfriend could never catch up and we forced to pay our rent late every month until our lease was up. I never expected he would do something like that. He seemed so responsible up until that point, and he seemed to genuinely care about me.

And finally, the betrayal that hurt the most was the most recent. My own brother has cut me out of his life. For a couple of years my family family lived with me and my girlfriend. It was a tense time for all of us. Me and my girlfriend are quiet people who keep a regular work/sleep schedule and my family tend to be pretty chaotic people. They are loud and they like to stay up late. We all struggled to come to agreements on who should clean up what and my family did not pay us rent regularly. One of the areas we fought most about was the lack of responsibility my younger bother and sister had. They didn’t help clean up and they wouldn’t follow the rules. My mother made excuses for them and cleaned up after them and we felt that was wrong. One day, just before they were going to move out, we all got into a fight.

My girlfriend had asked my little sister to clean up her room because she had not gone to school, as she often didn’t. My girlfriend was a bit harsh to her but she didn’t do anything I wouldn’t have. My sister got upset and called my mother and brother. They got upset and accused my girlfriend of over stepping her boundaries. My own brother accused me of not protecting my little sister. My brother, in my opinion, took this as a good opportunity to tell me exactly how he felt about my girlfriend. I felt like all she had ever asked him to do was help out a little and clean up after himself. We got into a screaming match and he told me he never wanted to speak to me again and told me to “have a nice life”. I told him he should probably spend the night at our other sisters house and we could work it out later.

That was months and months ago and he still refuses to speak to me. The thing that hurts is I have done so much for him my whole life and loved him like he was my own son. I took care of him as a baby and helped him when he had trouble in school. I value our relationship and would do anything to work this out with him but he refuses. He has blocked me so that I can’t call his phone and he talks bad about me to the rest of my family. When my dog died and I was devastated he told my mom that he didn’t care. He talked bad about me on Facebook and tagged me in it so all of my family and friends could see it. When I go to my mother’s he ignores me. I don’t understand how he could do this to me. It seem selfish and pointless and I never would have expected it from him.

These are just a few examples of the ways I have been hurt by assuming other people would never hurt me. I assumed they cared about me as much as I cared about them. I assumed I meant something to them. I’m not perfect, and I have hurt people too, but I always try to admit when I am wrong and make things right the best that I can. I am always shocked when others are unwilling to do the same for me.

I am working on finding a happy medium. I want to be able to form meaningful relationships with other people but I need to be able to protect myself. Other people can be mean, they can be heartless, and they can be selfish. They can also be kind, caring, and loving. I once read that we teach others how to treat us. We show them by letting them know what we will accept. I want to be an example of a caring, loving person, but I also want to show people that treating me badly will not be tolerated.

Writer’s Block? Or Just Plain Fear?

I’m not sure I have ever experienced true writer’s block, but I do have a feeling of being stuck sometimes. I love to write and I have plenty of ideas. I write every day but just not here. I’m new to blogging, and writing for an audience, and it has turned out to be a bit more difficult then I had imagined. When I write for myself I just let go of whatever is in my head. I write about what I did that day or even what is going on in the moment. It’s easy but that is not always what other people might want to read. So I get stuck. Thinking about it now though, I realize the thing holding me back is not so much a lack of ideas, but rather a fear of failure.

Right now my main source of ideas comes from reading other people’s writing. I have drafts with titles that are either responses to other articles or are inspired by them. The problem is I collect drafts and ideas and never follow up and write about them. I read, and read, and read, and I hardly ever write. I guess I’m just afraid of sounding stupid or writing something no one cares about. I am afraid no one will read this, or if they do they will hate it. I am afraid of finding out I have no talent for the things I enjoy. Every time I sit down to type out a post, in the back of my head I hear a little voice telling me that this is pointless.

The more I try and, I admit, the more I see my stats go up, the fear fades and the voice gets quieter. I am sure the fear will never fully go away but my strength is growing and I can fight it. I can just DO IT an see where this takes me. In the end I feel good about this. I’m putting myself out there in a way that no one else I know is. I am facing my fear and expressing myself and that is something. I think to myself what is the worse that could happen? Maybe no one reads this? Maybe no one does care? Maybe someone does think I sound stupid? What do I care? I am doing something I love. A lot of my time is taken up by doing things I don’t want to do and this is my escape. I am here and every day I try a little harder to just write SOMETHING. Every day the feeling of being stuck goes away, little by little.

Slowly but Surely

So I know I haven’t been blogging like I should but I want you to know that doesn’t mean I haven’t been doing anything productive. Things have been a little hectic around here lately so I haven’t done everything I’ve wanted to. I am getting back into the swing of things though and so far it is going well. I am getting back into things slowly, building new habits as other parts of my life calm down. Little by little things are falling back into place. I try to do just a few, small things a day until I have built up a good habit of doing them, and then I build on it with another habit. The goal in the end is to get healthier, learn new things everyday, and become a more creative person.

I have been able to keep up with writing 750 words a day everyday for about 36 days now. I am very proud of this streak! In the few years I have been writing over on 750words.com I have only been able to complete a monthly challenge twice. This last month I decided I was going to write everyday NO MATTER WHAT! And with a little help, and a few gentle reminders from my girlfriend, I was able to do it.

I recommend everyone give 750words.com a try. When I first joined the site, it was free and I didn’t realize that it is now a paid membership with the first 30 days free. Anyone who joined in the early days has free membership but doesn’t have access to some of the features. I donated $5 this month so that I could use the “time off” feature so my streak wouldn’t be broken by an upcoming camping trip I will be on. I’m trying to earn the “100 days in a row” badge dammit!

I have also started up again with Khan Academy. I dropped out of school in the 10th grade due to emotional issues and I always felt like I missed out on learning so much. I loved learning and it’s a shame I left school but Khan Academy has given me another chance!

I first learned about Khan Academy years ago through an article in one of the popular science magazines. In the article it talked about how kids could learn math well beyond their years by through the video and problems. I signed up to learn some basic Geometry to tutor my little brother. Then I started using it for myself. At first just for math but I’m getting in to the science videos too. I have caught up and a lot that I missed out on and I look forward everyday to jumping on there and learning something new.

I also tried a couple of new “brain apps” recently. One of them is called Brain Bean. This one is pretty cool but you are only given four games to start out with. The others must be bought for $0.99 each. I really like Letter List game which is free so that’s nice. The game starts by giving you a random letter and you have to make as many words as you can within a certain amount of time. I like this because it forces me to dig deep and remember words I don’t use that often. Seems like a good thing considering I like to write!

I’m also giving Lumosity a try. I downloaded the app on my iPad a week or so ago and I’m not sure how I feel about it yet. The app works flawlessly but I hate that I only get 3 games a day. I would consider paying for it but the $15 monthly price is a bit much in my opinion. Especially when I feel like I can find other ways to work my brain everyday. They do have a website where more games are available but I would like to use my iPad as much as possible. They state more are coming soon though so I may stick it out and see where the app goes.

There are a few more good habits I would like to add over the next few months. For one I failed miserably with the “100 Days of Creativity” challenge. I’m not giving up though and that will probably be the next habit I incorporate. My main issue was coming up with things to draw everyday. I think next time I might try combining the idea of sketch notes with a visual journaling type of thing. I’ll use typography and doodles that pertain to what I do, think about, and feel everyday.

I’d also like to build on my writing by trying something new. I’ve decided to give poetry a try. I’ve never liked poetry much but recently I discovered the Spilled Ink tag over on Tumblr. The blog that started it states that the tag was implemented to separate old poetry from the new writers on Tumblr. I scrolled through and I found a lot of writers whose work was really interesting! So I have been thinking about learning a little bit about how to write poetry and giving it a try myself.

Lastly I have to finally admit that I also failed miserably to quit smoking so I am going to try to quit again by the end of September. Work is stressful right now and I have so much going on that if I tried to quit now I know I would just fail again. I need to get through a few VERY SPECIFIC things before I quit. I’m not making excuses here I swear, it’s more akin to setting a date, I’m just not sure exactly what that date is yet. On a related note I also need to find a way to work exercise into my weekly schedule. I work early in the morning so while that is my ideal time it just won’t work. I am thinking mornings on the weekends and a couple of evenings during the work week.

So please be patient with me while I slowly but surely work my way back to WordPress and blogging. As you can see I am trying to build good habits without overwhelming myself in the process.

Until next time, good vibes everyone!