Today

Living My Best Life

 

When I’m experiencing something new or fulfilling I always jokingly say, “I’m living my best life.” Like when I went to the State Fair and pet the cutest little pig. He walked over to the bars, I stuck my hands through and started scratching his head, he laid down and went to sleep under my arm. I was nearly in tears I was so happy. I said, “We’re just living our best lives.”

Or like when I went to dinner with a hot boy at a restaurant I’d never been to; I had wine I’d never tasted, I tried a new flavor of ice cream. He drove me home in his decked-out Mustang. The windows were down, my hair was up, I was wearing my coolest denim jacket and boots. He let me pick the music. I had one hand out the window, the other in my hair and I couldn’t stop smiling, “I just feel like I’m living my best life- in this car, in this jacket.”

I’ve been reflecting on why I wanted to start this blog. I wanted to motivate myself to live a life exciting enough to write about because I tell myself and others that I’m adventure loving and don’t see settling down as an option. Not moving, not learning, not experiencing is a failure in my book. I believe so much that my future is going to be this mass of incredible that I ended a two year relationship because of it- I wanted adventure, she wanted stability.

It was terrifying to give up on plans two years in the making, but that relationship didn’t fill me with excitement; it didn’t make me feel like it was my best life- or her’s for that matter. And yeah, it’s been hard. We’re friends, we’re not dating, we don’t know other people in the area. But I believe wholeheartedly that it was the right decision, that a year from now we’ll both look back and realize we never would have been happy.

And that’s the only real way to live your best life, right? Happiness.

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Today

Whoops, it’s been a month.

A lot has been happening since my last post. It’s mostly family stuff, that’s what’s kept me off WordPress. That and normal busyness combined with the still unformed habit of blogging regularly. I’m trying!

Work at the department store has actually been great. We had a corporate visit last week so we have been spending every second cleaning up, rearranging, organizing, and preparing the store.

I found it really frustrating at first, I couldn’t help but feel annoyed that we had all this extra work, but if the store was set properly to start with we wouldn’t be as overwhelmed. A lot of my coworkers felt similarly annoyed, even our store manager mentioned that he felt responsible. He mentioned in one of the morning meetings that it was his and the other managers’ faults for not showing the different teams how should be done.

I don’t know him or the other managers well enough to know if he was being genuine, but it was nice to hear that we weren’t being blamed and that he was at least aware of why there was so much work to do.

School’s been going well. I passed the class I retook during the August – October semester with a 93%! As for the GA position, it’s been pretty boring. I was doing homework most of the time. About two weeks ago though, my boss told me she’d been contacted by a local nonprofit that needed a volunteer with Excel/ Access experience to help them catch up on some data entry and office work. She immediately thought of me and has been allowing me to fulfill my GA hours at the nonprofit instead of on campus. It means I have work to do and am getting experience and networking. I love it!

I don’t really have any plans for Halloween. My girlfriend and I talked about a few things leading up to tomorrow, but neither of us has decided on a costume or done anything to make or buy one. I’ll probably end of putting on something cliche and handing out candy with my parents and going to be earlier. …Or more likely: not going to bed earlier and spending Wednesday exhausted. What can I say, I know myself.

That’s the update for now! I’ll try to be more regular, but it’s the start of a new semester and the holiday season is approaching. No promises, y’all.

EJ♥

Today

Death, cliches, and some other emotional bullshit.

Life goes on. That’s what everyone says anyway, even when you feel like it shouldn’t. Even when it feels like the moment you’re stuck in is the only moment you’re allowed to be in forever. Or at least until something equally as tragic happens.

But life goes on, the world keeps turning, etc. etc. It’s a cliche that cliches are cliches for a reason, but hey, I warned you in the title.

I’ve never really dealt with death before. My dog died my senior year of high school, I literally felt her heart stop and it freaked me the fuck out so I just left. I drove to my then-boyfriend’s house and the rest of that memory is blurry.

But now I’m older and people expect things of me. So when my Popa, my dad’s dad, had a brain bleed and we were told it wouldn’t be long, I wanted to bottle it up and drive somewhere that didn’t have the pall of death hanging over it. Is there even such a place?

Instead of feeling anything- related to his death or not, I wanted to just drop my entire life and start a new one. My family, my friends, school, my new jobs, everything. Fuck it all, there are a ton of people in the world, a ton of universities, a ton of job openings. I don’t have to be here to have friends, to go to school, to work.

But then I saw my little sister crying and I knew there wasn’t another her in this world. And then I heard my dad say goodbye to his dad and I knew I wanted to avoid having that same moment with him for as long as possible. And then my mom broke down and I knew I’d have to bring her with me if I left.

I wanted in that moment to take the three of them with me. To move to Colorado to be with my older sister. To pack the pictures and the dog and never look back, because that’s easier. It’s easier to run away than to feel anything.

But what’re the cliches? It catches up with you. You can’t run away forever. Ignoring your problems don’t make them go away.

And now he’s dead. And it’s not even about mourning. It’s about lawyers and wills and family drama and money. Somehow the death of someone they all loved is bringing out the worst in them instead of reminding them how they’re connected. And everyone is spouting cliches about family and love, but then in the next breath complaining about other people and shunning people that aren’t ‘blood relatives,’ as if it even fucking matters. Everyone is assuming they’re right, that they’re feeling the worst, that they’re getting the worst end of the deal.

Death makes everyone start declaring sweeping generalizations about those around them, about life, about how things should or shouldn’t have been. Where did nuance go? Or compassion? It’s like everyone around me is wearing fucking blinders and seeing the smallest parts of something and using that part to define the situation. Fuck, even I’ve been doing it. Isn’t that what the entire paragraph before this is?

I don’t know. What’s the fucking point? I don’t have anything new to say. I don’t have any clarifying statements. I haven’t learned anything, except how to get to the ICU in the Willis Knighton off Youree. I’m a first timer. I’m handling this okay because of beginner’s luck, not because I’m wise or strong or capable or have my shit together.

Psalm 56:3

EJ

Today

Practicing Patience & Understanding

I’ve been thinking about patience a lot today.

It was my first real day at my department store job and I had a GA shift. I’ve also pre-purchased all my film festival tickets so I had a movie scheduled tonight, even though by the time 5:30 rolled around I just wanted to put my feet up and eat something green.

I started my day impatient in the traffic that made me late. I got impatient when I arrived and all the doors were locked- no one had told me anything about a key code when I trained the other week. I was even more impatient when, despite the team I’m a part of having a huge task, no one seemed to know what was going on or how to start. By the time my shift end was minutes away, my patience had nearly vanished when they asked if I could stay longer. I did, for the most selfish reason… $$

I ran home and grabbed my school books (in case I had time for homework), ate, and let my dog out. I was impatient on the drive home, I was rushed when I was home, and I felt impatient in the traffic on the way to my GA shift. You’re seeing how my day was shaping up?

I got to work and had a few clerical things to do before getting back to the research I’ve been working on. I got frustrated and impatient with myself when I couldn’t understand the instructions I was being given and I became even more impatient when I locked a file cabinet I still needed and had to ask for the keys back again.

The computer I have to work on has probably been on that desk for 10+ years and has had a pending update every time I’ve used it the past two weeks. I grow impatient every time I have to do something remotely quickly on that dinosaur, but today was something else!

Finally, I drove to the theater, feeling rushed to get through rush hour traffic and find parking downtown with enough time to pick up my ticket and find a seat. The film was great, quite the respite from my impatient, bustle-y day.

It was during my drive home that I had a little impatient outburst. I was relaxed, driving leisurely- not much traffic at 8 PM, even on Airline. Then, I didn’t turn left at a green light.

I’m notorious for waiting for a green arrow for a left turn instead of zooming during a regular green light. It feels safer to me and I’m always afraid I’ve misjudged the distance. Tonight was no different, it turned green, there were cars coming. Were they pretty far away? I wasn’t sure. But apparently the guy behind me was, because he honked a bunch. It made me jump and press the brake harder. Then the light went yellow, red, and then there was a green arrow.

I was fed up from a long day and annoyed that this jerk had honked at me for wasting less than a minute of his time. So I was petty and made the turn fairly slowly and then quickly reached the speed limit once my turn was complete. He zoomed next to me, glared, and zoomed ahead. I scoffed and continued driving safely without honking or glaring at anyone.

Then the car that had honked and glared turned into Dairy Queen. I scoffed again and muttered to myself, “In that big a rush to get to Dairy Queen? Jack ass.”

I started imagining to myself what I should have done, like waited through the green arrow so he couldn’t turn at all. Or gotten in the other lane and driven steadily next to a car so he couldn’t get ahead of either of us. Then I reminded myself that those behaviors are dangerous and trying to be safe was the whole reason I’d waited for the arrow!

Still I felt a little bitter. Then I thought about all the times I’ve been in a rush to go no where of any particular importance and gotten angry at other drivers. Though I normally reserve honking and glaring for people on their phones or who don’t use their turn signals.

I thought, well maybe he was getting dinner for his family. Or, maybe he’d been on a road trip and was exhausted- just wanted some fried food and ice cream before crashing. Or maybe he had a shit day at work too and just wanted to get his food and go home.

Then I felt bad for turning slowly and realized I wasn’t being very patient or understanding. I don’t think I actively strive to be patient, but I don’t feel apathy toward the virtue. I’m certainly not as patient with my loved ones as I should be, considering their importance in my life, but I always try to give strangers the benefit of the doubt. At least… when I’m in an okay mood.

But then I wonder, are there things you shouldn’t have patience for? Like hate? Bigotry? If you’re impatient and dismissive of those things can you ever learn enough about them to combat them?

I don’t know. I’m just rambling because I still have homework to do and have to be at work at 6 AM and I’m just not big enough to be grateful for that.

EJ♥

Today

It’s not just kids that let their parents down.

So, I’ve never come out and said it here because it’s just ONE part of who I am, but I’m queer as hell.

Okay?

Sorry if that sucks to you, please help yourself to the door.


Anyway, there’s this Gay & Lesbian film festival in town and I am SO excited.
A lot of the films have panels after to help educate the community and there’s even a “girl’s night” event with a special cocktail for one of the movies. It’s also at a theater that my family loves called The Robinson Film Center, there’s a little restaurant attached- my grandparents even had their anniversary party there!

I couldn’t afford the pass though (no paychecks yet), so earlier tonight I asked my parents if they’d help me pay for it and if they’d like to go to one or two of the movies with me.

My dad: “I don’t go to movies.”

WHAT? I get you don’t go to, like, the Regal theater because of your hearing (Army Vet probs), but you’ve taken me to the Robinson before. But… wait… that was for a Shakespeare remake, starring straight white guys… I think I see the problem.

Whatever. I got pissed and went for a walk.

Been holed-up in my room since I got back, but my mom knocked and wanted to figure out the money thing- she still wanted to help me pay for my pass. Then she asked what movies were showing. I sent her the link, bought my tickets, waited while she took a work call, etc.

In that short time, I managed to get excited about taking her to something that she never would have gone to had I never come out to her. I hoped she’d want to go to the movie with the “girl’s night” stuff, or one with a panel. I was excited for her to learn more about my community and about the shit it’s gone through while she was completely unaware and unknowingly reveling in her straight privilege. I got excited.

When she finished her work call, I went to ask which one she’d like to see and to figure out the tickets. She said none of them really interested her.

She said she didn’t know all the movies would be about …. and then she said she couldn’t think of the “right” word.

She said, “I thought they’d be movies made by LGBT people, with some about…”

“Straight people?”

“I just thought there’d be a mixture.”


Like what the fuck, mom. If you wanted to see straight people being stupid and romantic just go to a regular theater. Or turn on the fucking TV.

See, this is why I wanted them to come to at least one movie during this festival. They don’t even know how to talk with me about this stuff. And they hardly ever try. They just ignore it or get all proud of themselves when they say “wife or husband” when talking about the future of someone whose sexuality they don’t know.

They could really learn something and improve our relationship.

But I’m like 99% sure they wish I were straight.

Fuck that.

Today

First Days & Frustrations

Hello friends!

As I shared in my earlier post The One With All The Good NewsI recently got hired at two new jobs and possibly a third!

There’s no update on the tutoring job yet, we’re trying to schedule a Skype interview, but given how long it’s taking, it’s not looking good. Not too worried though.

Yesterday was my first day at my university and earlier today was training for my department store job! Everything went very well at both, although there wasn’t much for me to do at either in the way of doing actual work. At school I just had a little tour and then did some homework, given that it’s the beginning of a new semester there isn’t much for me to yet. Haha. At the store I filled out a lot of paperwork, went through some training, and was introduced to management. I’m excited to start for real at both!

Along with starting work, yesterday was the first day of school! I’m in an accelerated program meaning my semesters are only 7 weeks long and ‘full time’ on this format is only two courses. I’m only enrolled in one this semester and next because they’re the only courses I need that are offered! So I spent yesterday and part of today doing homework to get ahead.

School is where my frustrations are coming from today. Most every student knows the first few classes are about getting the lay of the course, introducing yourself to the class, reading the syllabus, and other similar ‘intro’ activities. In an online course this means posting an ‘about me’ forum and sometimes a syllabus quiz.

Easy enough, right?

YOU’D THINK SO, but this professor is one of the most confusing, least consistent educators I’ve ever had the displeasure of trying to learn from.

In the ‘about me’ forum, we were asked questions about ourselves, our work, our volunteering, what we’re looking forward to learning, and some specific ones about the coursework. I’m a decent student, so I answered all the questions completely and succinctly in my own little voice.

I log-in today and the only comment on my post is from my professor. She replied to my intro post with the same questions that were in the instructions, but with my name as a sentence starter like she was addressing a letter to me. I reread it three or four times to make sure- they were the EXACT same questions.

Like… what?

Now, y’all don’t know, but this professor and I have a history. I took this same class back in May. I struggled and ended up failing (“my first non-A in grad school,” my pride shouts from somewhere in the back). While of course any failure is the fault of the student, I refuse to take 100% of the responsibility (I’ll take like 70%). This prof definitely contributed by taking over a week to respond (IT’S A SEVEN WEEK COURSE) to my emails asking for help and by only replying to the first and last few sentences of every email despite paragraphs of detailed questions covering the material (BUT I’M NOT BITTER AT ALL OR ANYTHING).

So, I’m thinking about all the shit I’ve gone through with this woman in the past and I’m getting so stressed. Is this how the whole semester is going to be? Is my every move going to be second guessed and put under a microscope because I’m the loser that failed? I can’t fucking take that, y’all.


Anyway, sorry to rant and complain like someone who isn’t in control of her life. I’m feeling really anxious about this course and knew I had to vent a bit about this early frustration before I could get back to my homework. Phew.

I’ll be back later this week with another draft from back in April (the one I mentioned in the other post, but haven’t actually posted yet, lol).

Y’all have a good one,

EJ♥

Adventures

Budget Friendly Weekend Away

Hiya, this is a draft from waaay back in April! Enjoy ♥


When ever I feel stressed or overwhelmed I make wishlists on AirBnB and dream of all the places I’m going to go and the people I’m going to meet and the adventures I’m going to have.

AirBnB lists
My copious AirBnB wishlists

A few weeks ago, I was doing exactly that, but was feeling so down I decided to book Lauren and I a weekend away over Easter. I texted her to make sure she was free and told her not to make any plans!

We drove to Hot Springs, Arkansas and stayed two nights in an AirBnB. The first full day we explored the historic district and relaxed. The second day was really the point of the trip: we went to Magic Springs Theme Park and embraced our inner children! We left on Holy Thursday around 6 PM and returned home early Saturday evening, a quick and successful weekend away!

Overall we had a short and sweet adventure that recharged both our batteries.

Our Budget!

Gas: ~$60

It’s about $30 to fill my tank and I had to fill up twice. This is obviously the most varied aspect of a budget. It depends how far you’re going and even the terrain! I filled up before we left and again before we returned. Hot Springs is only about 3 hours from where we are, but it’s a pretty hilly area so we used more gas than if we’d gone some where flatter, like Texas. Haha.

The lodging: $187

Hotels can be the most expensive parts of travelling, but sometimes AirBnB can save you hundreds! I easily could have spent double if I’d stayed in a traditional hotel. This trip was my first experience with AirBnB and I can honestly say I will utilize AirBnB every time I travel. (Future post coming: Tips to utilize AirBnB. Lol.)

Our hosts were Mickey and Jill and we stayed in a little apartment space they created out of their basement. It sounds like it could have been sketchy, but was actually beautiful and very cozy! Their property is located in a neighborhood called Hot Springs Village, a gorgeous gated community that is literally packed to the brim with things to do.

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Photo taken from the AirBnB listing, for more information click here.

While the AirBnB as a little farther from where we were visiting, it made more sense to make the drive to/from a few times than to pay nearly $50 more a night for the convenience of being a few miles closer. I was also sold on this listing because it had a fridge and microwave! If you want to read my ravings about my wonderful AirBnB experience you can check out my review on the pages linked above, I really go into detail. Haha!

Food: ~$23

Along with accommodations, food can be one of the most expensive parts of traveling. I find that when I travel I want to try new places that my home town doesn’t have or I like to indulge in treats I avoid at home.

To save money on food we made frozen pizzas to make and eat on the road the day we left. As mentioned, I chose our AirBnB because it had a fridge and microwave. This meant we were able to pack foods for lunch and dinner (Mickey & Jill provided breakfast foods/ snacks in the room!). We packed microwave rice/ soup for our in-room meals and a picnic lunch for our day out.

 

Screenshot 2017-04-27 07.00.08
Naan!! Taken from the Tosha Kitchen website.

We planned to eat out once, so before we left I found a restaurant near Bath House Row that was accommodating of our food allergies and was different from what we could find at home. This led us to Tosha Kitchen, a delicious and cozy Indian/ Pakistani restaurant located right off the main street of the Hot Springs Historic District. We spent about $23 there, opting for lunch specials and sharing an appetizer.

Activities, Day 1: ~$57

Our first day was spent exploring the main street right off of Hot Springs National Park. We walked around Bath House Row, a street full of historic bath houses that have been around since the late 1800’s utilizing the areas natural hot springs. We went in antique shops, boutiques, a lot-park, a old-fashion toy store, and of course the Bath Houses.

Exploring the area was free and allowed us to talk, relax, and enjoy everything the area had to offer. We paid for admission to two things,  Hot Springs Mountain Tower ($10 with military discount) and Tiny Town Trains ($12). Both of which were entirely worth it! Check out my post Exploring Hot Springs, Arkansas to read more about those adventures!

Hot Spring Mountain Tower.png
A view from Hot Springs Mountain Tower

The non-essentials that we spent money on were some macaroons ($5) at a sweet boutique, postcards and souvenirs ($12), and a spirograph that we fell in love with at an old-fashioned toy store ($18).

Overall, we had so much fun and didn’t spend quite as much as I had anticipated! The best part is that if we hadn’t bought snacks or souvenirs/toys (that we didn’t really need☺) we only would have spent $22 on admission to the tower and Tiny Town!

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Some of our spirograph doodles!

Activities, Day 2: $53.80

Obviously water/ theme parks can be very expensive. I decided to add Magic Springs to the itinerary because I knew Lauren would love it (she’s a kid at heart ♥). Mid April turned out to be the best time we could have planned the trip. The weather was perfect, and since the water park wasn’t open yet, the admission price was reduced! There was also an April special going on since it was the last month before the water park opened. And of course we had to pay $10 to park.

We saved by packing our lunch, not purchasing a locker, and only playing Plinko ($5) once! Haha. Lauren won two free funnel cakes! Which also saved us money because we definitely had to get funnel cakes!

♥♥

At the end of the weekend we spent a total of: $380.80

However, you can subtract $40 if you don’t count the souvenirs, spirograph, and the game of Plinko. Lol. It was definitely worth it. We had so much fun! I got to revel in the history and charm of the historic district and Lauren got to let out her inner child at Magic Springs. We didn’t break the bank, but we got to have a little vacation.

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Selfie in the park ♥