On love

It feels extremely selfish and unproductive and reeks of privilege to keep writing about mundane life when things are still happening, but I do have to write at least two posts a week (I mean, I don’t — I’m auditing the class so this is self-imposed but so far I’ve been determined to do work like I’m supposed to) and I don’t want another mouth-breather sniffing me out on LinkedIn for political ~discourse~ just yet, so, here we go!

Today I applied for an internship with Disney’s Fairy Tale Weddings (and others, too, but obvi this is the big shiny dream one). I love weddings, and Disney, and love, and people in love, and myself the most when I’m acting out of love. Especially now, I think it’s crucial love is continually reintroduced into the world — and if expensive, outdated, commercialized ceremonies are the surest way I can be directly a part of the process, count me in.

I watched “The Wedding Planner” (again) last night. Really phenomenal rom-com, horrible real-life implications — it scared me to death that the person I get engaged to and I will just fall apart after years of being each other’s one and only. That’s not the theme of the movie, but if it’s what I got from it, who’s to tell me I’m wrong?

Anyway, JLo and Matthew McConaughey basically fall in love at the beginning of the movie, except Matt’s getting married and JLo turns out to be the wedding planner (I said it, I said the title) his fiancée had hired. That’s horrible. That’s a bad thing. But a good, wonderful, magnificent thing is the passion with which we see JLo’s character go about planning and executing weddings. She does it with skill, with ease, with poise, and almost with a sort-of lovingness toward the event itself, not to mention her tenderness with anxious brides and drunk FOBs. She’s pouring love into her work, which is visibly glowing around every wedding scene — even the very first one in her childhood bedroom, where at around 8 years old she performs a ceremony for Barbie and Ken.

I’d like that, I think. I’d like to be able to help couples plan a day to celebrate their love, because that’s what weddings are to me. I don’t consider myself religious, so weddings are, aside from guarantees of tax and general spousal benefits, a celebration of honest, human love, period. And that’s a hard thing. A lot of people can’t do it, and it only gets harder the more times you try. Love as a partnership is a conscious, ongoing choice, from what I’ve gathered reading the blogs of normal people doing life together. It’s not a fairy tale all the way through — and I suppose treating it like one doesn’t help — but it is what you make of it, you, not the universe (it doesn’t care, it’s got better things to do), not your partner, you. You will keep loving as you choose to, not because of what someone else does or says.

I don’t even think I should keep talking about spousal love specifically anymore, either, because friendships and families are so full of love too!! And any kind of love is hard. For anyone, in any way.

But it’s beautiful, and worth it.

And, of course, healing, but not the end-all-be-all or something anyone should be dependent on, because we are our own whole people and nobody needs a “second half.” I’m spewing. I know. Nothing is getting fleshed out, and I’m sorry.

It’d just be nice to have more love in the world, wouldn’t it? It’s harder, but probably way more productive for literally everyone. If by planning and executing a wedding I might coax beautiful, eager love right out of the room and into the world for even just the next day, our little pocket of spacetime might slowly (achingly so) grow kinder. Happier, even. I think we need the help, and I think I’d be good at it.

I’ll post any updates on this particular internship as well as the five nonillion (I learned that measurement today actually, okay tangent — there’s a planet made almost entirely of crystallized diamond, which I’m sure you’ve heard of by now, but did you know it’d be worth 26.9 nonillion dollars?? That’s 29 zeros: $26,900,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000. Outer space has the most impressive engagement ring.) others I’ve applied to.

Stay tuned, I know you’re invested.

On continuing

I’m in the process of revamping my old Disney blog that I kept up with while on the Disney College Program in 2013! Check it out if you like — it’s still got some early 2010s gifs-and-memes charm.

My interview this evening for Talent Acquisition and Marketing went well, and I’ve already made a post about it on the blog; if the Disney internship ~community~ is the same as it was 3 years ago, updates and tips are always welcome. I started up the blog again before I’m even offered an internship position as a sort-of optimistic gesture to the universe, and I hope my independent initiative to help other people with their own internship journeys gives the impartial universe a small reason to suddenly care about my future.

If not, that’s expected, and I’m sure instead karma will pay me a visit for getting my hopes up.

A couple more updates on me, Tiffany:

  • I have started eating Greek yogurt because health, and even though I have for some reason operated under the assumption that I do not like Greek yogurt, it turns out that I, in fact, do.
  • However, there is a giant bag of (now-stale) Moe’s tortilla chips in our office, and I eat at least threefold of what it would take to cancel out any benefits from the yogurt.
  • My cat is 1 pound overweight, which doesn’t seem like a lot, but she’s 10 pounds so 1 pound is 10% and Too Much™. Needless to say, she is on a strict diet for small kitties until she is slim and trim at 9 pounds at most.
  • I do not yet have a bedtime routine since starting my Mon.-Fri. 9-5 job. It’s nearing 1 AM now, and I’m doing this instead of literally anything else productive to get me ready for sleep at a reasonable time.
  • But I am drinking more water, and am not often dizzy when I stand up anymore.
  • I took out the trash this morning and ran the dish washer, and my clothes hamper isn’t even half full yet.
  • Checked out a book on the history of magic (unrelated to Harry Potter, unfortunately), looks old, smells old, is extremely interesting but makes me bone-tired when I read it, is probably haunted.
  • Still haven’t finished “Emotional Intelligence” ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
  • I have to hide my new alarm clock underneath a pillow bc otherwise cat will knock it off the nightstand.

Also, I’m working Astronomy Days from 9 AM – 5 PM at the North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences on Saturday, so if you’re reading this from central NC you should come meet some aliens astronauts and get hype about space!!

///

I don’t want every blog post to have a message, necessarily, because that gets heavy and extra and hard for me to write, not to mention hard for y’all to read every time. Sometimes, I’d just like to update anyone who cares on how my life is going as a moderate-to-average person living on this earth.

Maybe someday I’ll have experience-based advice to offer, like the everinspiring Mikala, but I’ll have to be content for now to offer only subjective thoughts and quaint life updates. The ordinary day-to-day is underrated anyway, I feel, and as a firm believer in finding joy in the little things, I will do my best to prove it.

Today, there were 4 different kinds of ice creams in the freezer at work — the freezer on our floor!! we didn’t even have to go upstairs!! — and one of them had three different kinds of chocolate in it. If that isn’t a worthy little joy, I honestly don’t know what else I could possibly offer you.

On magic and mindfulness

Desperately trying to find other material I cared enough about to put some space between politically charged posts, I was delighted to open my computer today and discover that applications for fall Disney internships had opened just this morning! I participated in the Disney College Program (DCP) during the fall of 2013 (my sophomore year) and have wanted to go back in a more professional role ever since; however, in agreement with my parents, I had to get my degree first.

I graduated this past December, and had applied to many spring internship opportunities with Disney that I would have started only a few weeks ago — if only I had applied to ones I was even remotely qualified for, and not just ones I thought sounded charming or prestigious. I am an experienced public relations graduate with considerable involvement in project management and an extensive background in education and presenting. I was not — much to my dismay — experienced in wedding planning at the time of my application, nor did I — or do I — speak more than one language. And I only applied to 3 of ’em.

Since Professional Internship (PI) apps opened this morning, I’ve applied to 6 different positions in PR, communications, events, and leadership, and hope to submit applications for positions in the education department tomorrow. Ideally, I’ll be able to have some small update about my applications every other blog post or so, and then this coming summer or fall this blog will be chronicling my adventures with Disney or the Smithsonian!

For now, I want to use this space to talk about how important the DCP was to me. If you didn’t know — and it’s likely maybe two of you do — I created a vlog for my college program. By the last video I made, I had 300 subscribers on YouTube (and somehow still have them), and my most popular video had around 8k views. That’s not a famously high count by any means, but it’s enough that recreating an internship vlog is something I plan on doing if I am selected for one of these internships, wherever it may be. I loved making the videos, and people responded! That’s what I’m here for!

All right. Working for Disney.

It was hard. Magical, sure, of course — we literally had training classes on how not to ruin the magic accidentally for children — but hard. I broke down in the storage room 2 months in because I still didn’t know where everything was and just wasn’t fast enough, not to mention my feet hurt, I had mega stress acne, my “costume” looked ridiculous on me, and my parents were three states away. I’d found the DCP in middle school and looked forward to it for yearsand what I got was not what I expected.

It was exactly what I needed.

School had been basically on autopilot my entire life, never requiring much introspection or self-awareness — until I got to college. All nighters were devastating to my psyche, not because I was tired but because I was failing at something that used to be better than easy. Every low score was a judge of my character, not of my aptitude in a standardized subject, and every hour spent rereading the material proved not that it was difficult, but that I was inherently too stupid to understand it at all.

I’d loathe to start assignments because I knew I wouldn’t get them perfect — and what’s the point if they weren’t perfect? — and so became a procrastinator, where in earlier school years I’d been unfailingly “work then play.” Procrastinating assignments made them even less impressive than I imagined, which led to stress, which led to more procrastinating, which led to more stress, and anxiety, and the absolute inability to take the necessary step back to deal with everything I was feeling.

So I went to Disney World, and it worked.

After I allowed myself my 2-month-mark breakdown, I realized I was surrounded by likely the largest, most supportive network of people I would ever come across, from my leaders and coworkers to my new roommates here with me and my family missing me back home. I realized that living and working in an area where one might interact with hundreds of people from all over the world in a single day, just passing through your life, was exhilarating, and almost sacred. I realized that the world was so much bigger than the forum posts and essays and research and PowerPoints I was never not anxious about, and that I really, really needed to take a few hundred deep breaths to make up for it all.

Now, I didn’t learn about self-awareness as a concept — and certainly didn’t learn about mindfulness — through this program. But I started to pay attention. What I did learn was that I was allowed to be not-great at something and still have value. My leaders showed me that. From my roommates, I learned to try things with my full heart, even if I wasn’t exactly sure how to go about it, and it would be more fulfilling than if I knew everything and had done it perfectly the first time. From my coworkers, I learned to watch, listen, and understand, and that that’s what could bring magic to my life, not fireworks or make-believe.

And from my parents, I learned that working in Disney World for the rest of my life was not a viable second option to getting a college degree.

Since I’m not trying to make this sound like a “why I want the job” essay on an application, I’ll spare you the summation of what I could offer Disney by going back to work with them. Hopefully they see that on my resume. I do, however, want to charge you with taking your own step back and for a moment viewing your life as an impartial, third-party observer. Who do you appear to be? How are your actions affecting others? And how are they affecting your own self?

This entire post has become a roundabout way of saying that we all should try to be kinder and more compassionate to ourselves and others. The world will remain tense, anxious, and self-destructive if we keep refusing to pay attention and listen. Make a conscious effort today to be mindful, and again tomorrow, and the next day, and the next, until it’s second-nature. Be kind. Be kind. Be kind.

And if you’re planning a trip to Disney this fall — I hope to see you there!

On participating

“Flights packed with Women’s March participants are cheering all the way to DC.” x

“BREAKING: @CNN reports more people on National Mall for #WomensMarch than yesterday at this time for inauguration.” x

“The Women’s March movement is taking place on every continent, even Antarctica.” x

“Aerials over Chicago, Boston show large crowds that have gathered for regional Women’s Marches x

“Metro was half empty for Today: Crowds overwhelming Metro for x

“BREAKING: AP sources say crowd packs entire route of Women’s March, preventing organizers from leading formal march toward White House.” x

“It’s official. The is now the largest presidential protest march in history.” x

Today is important.

Already, the Women’s March (on Washington, Raleigh, Boston, London, Chicago, and NYC, to name a few out of the 600 worldwide) is a movement spanning continents, while just two months ago was a “mere seed of an idea” posted on Facebook by Teresa Shook, an older woman in Hawaii (x).

The closest Women’s March to me is at most an hour drive away.

And I am not there.

There is absolutely no excuse for my absence; one of my Facebook friends is the co-emcee for the event and I’ve seen no shortage of posts about it, I have coworkers and friends that would have gone with me, I have coworkers and friends that are there, my day is free, it is not freezing outside, I’m not sick, I’d have transportation to get there, and I care furiously about this message.

But not enough, clearly.

This post is one I needed to use to say definitively that I am not doing enough. As the immortal words of Kylie Jenner warned us at the beginning of 2016, it’s time to start realizing things — and I’ve realized that I am not participating. In this maybe-4th wave of feminism, in other causes I care about, in hobbies I insist I don’t have time for, in practicing mindfulness, and even in conversations and outings with friends, I am not engaging as genuinely as I know I am able to. I often say how much more I prefer to listen than to talk, but I’m not here to live my live passively, and I’m certainly not doing myself or others any favors by remaining a wallflower.

I care about feminism, because it matters to me how I and other women are perceived and treated by this country and the rest of the world. I care about empowering girls in STEM fields, because I was interested but wasn’t pushed to pursue them when I was still learning the basics, and my brother was. I care about being compassionate toward one another and aspiring toward a future of learning and understanding, because I believe that is the only way humanity will progress into a group of compelling leaders, explorers, educators, and caretakers. But no one knows any of this about me, and I haven’t made even a dent in any sort of movement, because I don’t participate. So that’s going to change.

First, I’m publishing this — which is a small step, but it’s relatively huge for me to admit an enormous character flaw, and one I’m going to have to do a lot of work on.

Next, I’m going to stop scrolling. I’m going to call my representatives when their phone numbers pop up from activist (participating) friends on my Facebook or Twitter feeds, I’m going to click “Going” more often, and I’m going to close my computer when I’ve done whatever task I opened it to accomplish — hopefully, most often, adding to this blog.

I’m going to send my application into the Smithsonian for an internship encouraging and educating girls in STEM, and I’m going to work harder at my job now to implement those same ideals in the after school program, and not just copy activity ideas from Pinterest.

I’m going to reach out to friends first, and show the ones I still have close that they mean the world to me. I’m going to take walks, and take pictures, and take chances on opportunities I often ignore or shy away from entirely. I’m what, 1/5th of the way through my life? At best? What am I doing?

This year I am going to care deeply, and then I’m going to prove it.

What are you going to do?

On goods and greats and mommy health blogs

I’ve decided to start blogging every other day unless I’m doing something of importance, which I’m often not. After work I just kind-of do…nothing, and until a miracle happens and I find the motivation to drag myself to the gym for health ever at all I need to have a Thing™ or I’ll probably continue actively melting my brain with Netflix and online retail therapy.

I’d like to re-title this blog, because “[uncertain]” is fake deep and way extra, but in truth it’s the one word that describes every single aspect of my life (except my S.O., we’re killin it. #goals tbh) and I think the brackets hint nicely that it may one day be replaced with something better. It would be cool if that hadn’t sounded like the start of a mommy health blog.

Though, I suppose, if it had been the start of a mommy health blog, the blog would have a theme and the author would know her purpose. That’s where I’m struggling, I think. I’m not quite sure how to identify myself as separate and unique of others. I’m good at many things, not particularly great at one or the other, and there isn’t one single thing that I can pinpoint as my favorite — which is going to get me into trouble in this branding class I’m taking, probably. I like outer space (but don’t enjoy and can’t understand higher-level physics concepts, and so can’t pursue much there), I strongly believe in the (intersectional) feminist movement (but as a white woman it feels more necessary to listen than contribute much to the conversation), I have neat handwriting (but there are thousands of beautiful calligraphers, and they all use the same Pinterest fonts), I can play the flute (above-averagely, which isn’t good enough),  I love photography (though am mediocre at best), I love travel (but lack the funds), I adore the theater (but fall short of talented), I’m perceptive, self-aware, organized, good with kids, reasonably funny, and observant, I value kindness, want to see more women in STEM, and often give good advice — but so do millions of other people.

I don’t know what my passion is, is the problem. And maybe there isn’t anything. That’s okay, I guess, but doesn’t bode super well for standing out in a job market or branding myself over the course of this semester. Or being happy with the career and life path I choose.

I’m just good at being good at things, you know? If I could get a letter revealing my talents and options moving forward, whatever they are, even if I’m not very fond of them now, I know if I work at anything I can usually pull it off. I’d study chemistry and wine and business and open a winery if I knew it’d be successful. I’d sit through another 4 years of college of all physics classes if I knew I were destined to be a NASA engineer. I’d even have a kid and buy organic and cut out all sugar if I knew my mommy health blog would be a hit. I like being good at things. Of course, “good” isn’t nearly enough for…anything, but if I just knew what to go after, I’d do it. I’d work extra hard for “great” if I knew.

There’s some repressed memories of rejection and fear of failure playing into all this, I’m sure of it.

I like where I am now, I do, and for now (through May, when my job contract will end) I’m content to live in the present. Today was great, I got in almost 10 hours of work, and tomorrow I’m attending an Eagle Ceremony for which my brother is the Master of Ceremonies. There’s also free dinner. My lacking-prospects future is a back-burner worry, my friends. C’est la vie.

On fresh starts

Thursday of last week I co-led a bullying awareness workshop for kindergarteners. To my own earlier surprise, its necessity was not brought about by the smallest possible public-school-aged children being bullied, but rather by their collective obsession with justice and its enforcement. While nearly all were familiar with how to say “I’m sorry” as sincerely as possible (we went around the circle and practiced), only one knew “I forgive you” to be a good response — though he also threw out “Stop, Walk, and Talk” when asked how to respond to a bully (tell them to stop; if they keep bullying you walk away; if they follow you talk to a grown up), so we figured this wasn’t his first rodeo.

In his book “Emotional Intelligence,” Daniel Goleman illustrates this phenomenon in young children, and points out that when they get into squabbles and an adult manages to stop the screaming or hitting, the children’s ” … thoughts are still fixated on the trigger for the anger … and the anger continues unabated,” (48). This is because, Goleman explains, young children often lack the capacity to cultivate self-awareness, and are neither able to access the option to not-act on their anger nor the option to let go of it altogether.

So, with research from the psychology field behind us, my co-lead and I spent the majority of the workshop emphasizing the importance of forgiveness, and of giving people a “fresh start” when the offense is minor (all those present under 6 were astounded to hear not-sharing was a forgivable infraction).

“You get three behavior strikes here, right? And if you got three strikes today, how many strikes would you start with tomorrow? Zero! Because we give you a fresh start each day, even if you maybe weren’t so nice the day before, right?”

Eventually, the kids got the call and response down:

“If you hurt someone at all, what should you say?”

“I’m sorry!”

“And what should you do if someone apologizes kindly and sincerely?”

“Forgive them!”

“Because we want to give them a–”

“Fresh start!”

Of course, we did not raise the capacity for these 5-year-olds to become self-aware and deal maturely with their anger in a half hour workshop configured with their short attention spans in mind that day. We did, however, introduce them to the idea that no matter how long it’s been and almost no matter what the offense, everyone deserves a fresh start.

Including me, and this blog.

I haven’t posted in over a year, but I was incapacitated with severe dehydration (and likely a combination of drastically poor eating habits) one week ago for an entire day and have since more often than not stood up to black, patchy vision and also I don’t exercise.

In short, one week ago gave me access to the self-awareness I needed to get my life together, and rising from the ashes is this blog to keep me in check and hold me accountable to doing more — and better — for myself. Clearly I don’t know what that means right now at all, but if my life wasn’t in shambles at 23 how would I ever have a shot at being a surprise millionaire with a quirky backstory when I’m 60 and the planet is dead and I have just enough millions to get me a ticket to the nearest habitable planet and reverse my aging process? It’s all a strategy.

I’m making light of depriving myself of basic self care because I make $12/hr in a devastating job market and have lived with the irony of “advanced and gifted” intelligence v. anxiety for years, but please, if you want or need one, and you’re reading this, take a step back and give yourself a fresh start. It’s never too late, too early, too many or too often. We deserve that from ourselves, at the very least.