Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Weekly Obsession, October 14, 2014

Not gonna lie, pretty proud of myself for picking up blogging again.

Anyway, it's 11:28am and I'm sitting in my bed with a candle lit typing this to you.  My weekly obsession enables me to do that: the night shift.  For my new job, new people always have to start of with the night shift.  I am actually the worst morning person you'll ever meet, because mornings are the worst.  I work from 4pm-1am most of the week (Sunday I work from 1-10pm) and hit the jackpot with having Friday and Saturday off.  With this schedule I don't wake up until 11am, 12 at the latest, hang around the house by catching up on my shows or go for a walk or go to the grocery store or run some other errands, then get ready and head to work after a great (or not) breakfast.  When I get home, between 1:30 and 2am; I still got some fight left in me so I do something else.  Last night I got home from work and swept and mopped the living room and kitchen, then showered, then watched some Youtube videos.  At 3am, I decided to call it a night and slept soundly.

I've been loving this schedule, the only part is I can't spend time with people after work because everyone's already asleep by the time I get off.  But I still get to spend time with friends on Fridays and Saturdays, and I'd even be willing to grab some coffee during the day on days I work.

Anyway, I'm loving the night shift and wake up feeling grateful that I don't have to wake up and be pried from my comfort so early in the morning and then get thrust into rush hour traffic BOTH WAYS.  Have a great rest of your day, mine has just begun.

Saturday, October 11, 2014

Weekly Obsession, October 11, 2014

Whoa!  It has been quite a while, huh?  My last weekly obsession was at the end of August and was about my new job.  Quick update on that job, I'm still doing well and still like(ish) it.  This week's obsession is loooonnnnngggggg overdue, but whatever.

My house!  A few weeks ago I moved into a new place in a different part of town with a new roommate.  My former roommate of just a handful of months made a big move to Colorado, so I had to find a new place and new roomie.

My new digs are great!  It's another duplex with a great kitchen, gorgeous floors, plenty of natural light, and it's in a fantastically quiet-tree filled-neighborhood!

For the most part we're pretty settled into our home, but there have been a few hiccups and some kinks that still need to be ironed out.  Every time I walk into my home or just move from one room to another, I just let out a little sigh because it feels so much like home to me and I am so grateful to be living here.  I basically love this place so much that I always want people to be here. I want it to be a great gathering spot where people play games, eat, and have a good time!

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Weekly Obsession, August 26, 2014

Hey y'all!  It's been a couple of weeks, I decided not to do one last week because I wasn't in a good head space and honestly was really reeling from the prior week's incidents.  This week will be much more upbeat and exciting.

This week's obsession is MY NEW JOB!!! Yesterday was my first day and as you may know, I've been looking for jobs all Summer.  I am very grateful to have found a job after just a few months because I know some people have looked for over a year.  I want to tell you about what I'll be doing and about the great stuff at this place.

I'll be an internal sales agent/professional at a large, local company called Red Ventures.  When you call to inquire or buy products/services from one of our partners (I believe we have 17), you might be talking to one of us.  I know, I know, that doesn't sound great or interesting at all, and I certainly wouldn't have thought "Hooray, I'm working for Red Ventures sitting at a desk on the phone all day!" had I not heard about the famously awesome work environment and the good money I can make.

Since yesterday was the first day, we went on an extended tour of the large three building, one parking deck campus.  I work at the headquarters, but there's a North Campus as well as one about four hours east.  The amenities of this place are nothing short of incredible, so brace yourself because I'm about to list them all (I might miss a few): yoga/zumba studio, spin studio, bowling alley, biergarten, gas grills, pool tables, basketball court, walking track, ping-pong tables, gym (with weights, cardio machines, etc), company subsidized bistro, company subsidized food court, company subsidized coffee shop, putting green, decks with great views everywhere, free Keurig coffee/tea/hot chocolate, aerobics studio, and that's all I can think of right now so there might be more.  Whoa, that's a lot of stuff, right?!  But there's also a delightful workplace culture that I've never been in before.  Everyone here (that I've met so far) is upbeat and happy to be there.  The company is very good about helping you attain your goals by coaching, they're huge on coaching, but they also don't treat you  like children and give you a lot of freedom with your schedule including overtime.

I've never worked for anyone who cared so well for their employees.  They had a big partnership with a company and the through a quick series of events that company no longer existed.  So they had over  200 employees that had nothing to sell because they were with that company that was no more.  Instead of just laying off all those employees, they shifted stuff around and absorbed those displaced employees into other partnerships.  Most companies (especially ones that are this large) would not have done that, they would have just been like "Oh well, bye y'all."  It's made evident how well cared for us employees are and the CEO himself came and chatted with us yesterday to welcome us to the company and share his vision as well as answer any questions we may have had.  I don't think most CEOs would do that, and be as humble and genuine as he is.

In short: I am so excited about learning more (four weeks of training), I've already learned so much and can't wait to learn more.

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Weekly Obsession, August 12, 2014

This week's obsession isn't gonna be fun or lighthearted, it's pretty serious and scary.  Typically I use this blog as a means to escape and talk about silly things; I am black and always will be, but here I don't have to always be the only black person in the room and to always be reminded of that.  But not today.  Today this is about race, specifically black people and the treatment we receive from the police.

Growing up I didn't get what my parents meant when they'd say stuff about being treated differently because of my blackness; I think to a certain extent I wanted to pretend to have the same privilege white people have of not constantly being reminded of their race.  I'm am constantly reminded of my blackness, even here in this urban coffee shop, I'm fairly certain I'm the only black person here if not the only person of color.  PoC (Person/People of Color) are constantly made aware (and are taught to always be aware) of our brownness, there is never a time in mainstream America that we're not aware of our race.  With PoC there are all these stigmas and statistics set against us that we don't want to be true, that are hard to swallow, that we fight against, that we don't want to become, but that are ever present.  One of the biggest ones on my mind currently is the amount of police violence against black men and women and children!  It's terrifying and this systematic, racist shit needs to stop.

Since July 17th, in less than a month, there have been five reported occurrences of police brutality towards black men, women, and children.

Y'all, this is fucking ridiculous.  We have a fucking black president, we could have our first woman president in the next few years and this type of police brutality looks strikingly similar to the time of the Civil Rights Movement.

It might not be well known that the origins of the US Police Force point to keep blacking and other  PoC (then not thought of as people)  in their place, i.e. with their slave masters or away from all the white people.  Unfortunately this mentality of keeping PoC in line and protecting white people at all costs seems to be upheld even over 300 years later.

The most recent occurence (that I'm aware of) is of Michael Brown, an unarmed 18 year old SHOT TEN TIMES by the police.  The community of the victim has responded the way many do with signs, with gatherings in memorial of the young man.  In these gatherings, these people have been tear gassed!  Meanwhile there are (WASPs, White Anglo-Saxon Protestant) people protesting the funerals of dead soldiers and they haven't seen any tear gas.  Do you see a problem?!

There are literally white people walking around stores with guns hanging from their backs just living their fucking privileged lives while the John Crawfords of the world(number four from above) hold a toy gun and get killed.  There are literally white men walking into schools and movie theaters who get better treatment than black kids just walking down a street.  There are (white/straight/male) misogynists such as Elliot Rodger who literally had a fucking manifesto about killing women who would not have sex with him that got more sympathy and understanding than Eric Garner (number one from above) whose worst crime was selling untaxed cigarettes and asking the cops to leave him alone for breaking up a fight.  Do you see?

It's disgusting, but mostly it's terrifying.  I have two younger brothers (who, obviously, are black) and many black and brown cousins who I'm so scared will be harmed or killed by the police simply for being out in public with brown skin.  That's a fear that I literally walk around with every fucking day. There isn't a day that goes by that I don't carry this anxiety about whether my brothers and cousins are being treated not just fairly, but like actual human beings.  I am always scared to get that call.

There's a lot going on in every corner of the world and for those who like to distance themselves from  it, I don't blame you, but just remember that some people can't.

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Weekly Obsession, August 5, 2014

This week's obsession isn't anything new to you or me, but within the past few weeks I've become more interested in (read: obsessed with) it and have actually spent hours (seriously) on it in any given night.  YOUTUBE!!!  I've always used YouTube as more of a tool rather than for entertainment purposes, but times are a-changin'!  Here are the YouTube channels I'm subscribed to and why I like them.  In no particular order (actually, kinda alphabetical order).

This YouTuber has a variety of videos but most of them are just like a vlog.  She shares her thoughts on different subjects: love, family, friendship, singlehood, whatever.  She's very positive and has encouraged me to get in touch with my creative side.

I really enjoy BuzzFeed and can spend ample time on the site, but I haven't spent as much time on this channel as I would have thought.  It still is fun to check out some of the videos, I like random trivia.

This is one of my favorites.  Aside from her outstanding hair, she's funny and smart and inspiring.  I like her mix of thought provoking videos and lighthearted, funny ones.  She was already doing pretty well for herself, when she made a Shit White Girls Say...to Black Girls video, she blew up!

This is the above's hair channel.  She has dreads and has had them for around ten years.  She makes videos on how to do different updos with locs.  She's a huge reason why I've decided to grow my hair out and loc it.  Her tutorials show how versatile locs can be and go against the stigma of dreads being dirty and unkempt.  She's basically one of my hair idols.

This has actually been made into a movie and I am exceedingly excited about going to see it.  It started off as mock movie preview, but (many) people responded so positively to it, that the writer made it into an actual movie that'll be coming out this October in select theaters.  It's incredibly fantastic to see black people represented in an honest, positive light and in a movie about black people that isn't about slavery!  I'm crazy excited to see this movie.

She is the creator and writer and star of my favorite web-series to date, The Misadventures of Awkward Black Girl.  Since that show, she's seen a lot of success including writing for some new television shows.  I also really want to be her friend.

I'm going to clump a few of these together.  This is an a Capella group who I have loved from the beginning.  Their arrangements are spectacular and their voices and vocal percussion are sensational.  Kevin Olusola is their vocal percussionist and he is a phenomenal musician who plays cello as well.  I like to pretend like I'm their friends when I watch their PTXVlogs.

This young woman is responsible for answering those burning question you might have, but don't have the gumption to actually ask.  She makes sex education videos on a variety of topics.  She a flaming feminist, which I love, and provides factual information sex/sexuality/relationships/feminism/LGBTQ/self-esteem.  Her channel is a really great resource.

I'll admit that I haven't spent much time on this channel, but I do follow her, Hannah Hart, on other social medias.  Her channel is about fun and food.

I've mentioned before how much I love this artist; his voice is perfection.  So I subscribe to his channel.  He just came out with a new music video and it emotes all the feels.

This is another YouTuber who I think I'd actually be great friends with.  Her comedy videos are always on point and she serves as a source for hairspiration for me.

This is another channel I haven't spent much time on, but I've only been following him for a couple days.  He's been in collaboration videos with other's I follow more intently, but I'm sure it's good stuff!

This is a new one for me as well, but I've already invested a lot of time on her channel.  I literally just notice a pattern with my subscriptions: mostly smart women.  She falls well into this category as she supports what she says with sited information.

This is one of the first, if not the first, YouTube channel I followed.  These are two guys from the above Pentatonix and they are just funny and talented and I want to be their best friend.  They are actually the inspiration for my Weekly Obsession blog idea!

I've looked at zero videos on her channel, but FranchescaLeigh told me to so I did.  I do love her style with clothes and hair and find her to be such a funny lady.  Also her mom is Diana Ross, so she's got diva running through her veins.

I've seen him on other channels I follow so I subscribed and it turns out he's funny all by himself too!  He's one of the YouTubers who's inspired me to get my creative juices flowing.

There you have it, my favorite YouTubers!  I spend hours watching and re-watching their videos, going deep into their channel archives.  I've been seriously thinking about and dreaming up a YouTube channel I do, and they are all my inspirations.

What are your favorite channels to follow on YouTube?  

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Weekly Obsession, July 29, 2014

Hey y'all so it's actually been two weeks since my last blog entry, I was out of town last Tuesday and didn't have my computer.  Anyway this week's obsession is CAKE!!!  I love it and literally crave it   at least five days of the week.  This past week I have had some great cakes and I want to tell you the simple story behind each slice(s).

Last week I went to Greensboro to visit some friends.  On Tuesday evening I went out to eat at this amazing Indian restaurant with a friend who treated me to dinner and dessert.  After dinner she took me to this cake boutique, Maxie B's, and her and I got her favorite cake.  The Brownstone Front Cake.  It's light chocolate cake with caramel icing and a hint of brown sugar and it is exquisite.  I couldn't believe I had lived in Greensboro for five years and had never even heard of this place!  But now I know and now I will likely go anytime I visit Greensboro.

(pic from their website)

Last Wednesday I spent a little (not nearly enough) time with a friend who lives in Winston Salem; he's a music teacher, but works other jobs one of which includes part time work at a Moravian bakery.  There is lots of Moravian stuff in Winston Salem.  Anyway, a few nights before I had told my roommate about how my friend worked at a Moravian bakery in Winston and she froze and asked if it was Dewey's Bakery, which apparently is kinda famous (oops, didn't know) and started gushing about their Moravian Sugar Cake.  My friend and I went to his job, Dewey's, and he treated me to six squares of Pink Lemonade Cake and some of that Sugar Cake!  I had never had pink lemonade cake and had been wondering what all the hype was about, but I totally get it now!  It's hard to describe other than saying it's like pink lemonade in cake form (duh), but not as sour.  The cake was a perfect punctuation for the next couple of nights of coming home from a long day of work.

(it's the one on top!)

My final cake story of the week is from Sunday night.  I was home from work and was literally daydreaming about cake.  I really wanted cake and was trying to figure out how I was going to satisfy that craving without having to leave my house, when my roommate walks in the door with a plastic container in her hand and big smile on her face.  She had been at her sister-in-law's birthday celebration and her sister-in-law had made her own birthday cake from scratch.  My roommate had brought me home a hefty slice: three layer chocolate pound cake, with raspberry filling, chocolate ganache, and butter cream icing!!!  Y'all, that cake was so damn sweet, I got about five little bites in and I couldn't handle anymore.  I was so excited that my cake dreams had come true I nearly cried.  That's just how much I love cake.


Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Weekly Obsession, July 19, 2014

Last night I saw Porgy and Bess with one of my best friends at the Belk Theater!  I grew up playing the music- Summertime, Bess, You Is My Woman Now, It Ain't Necessarily So-  and saw the opera for the first time in college for its 75th anniversary at Aycock Auditorium at UNCG, my Alma Mater.  I didn't think I'd cry because I've seen the opera, but I was holding back tears the whole time and the waterworks came at the end.  Ugly crying.  I'm so grateful to have been able to see this opera; it's so special to me.





Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Weekly Obsession, July 8, 2014

My weekly obsession is a favorite Tumblr (<that's my account, not the favorite one)account I follow.  A quick explanation of tumblr: it's a blog, but instead of just sharing written posts you can share your own and others pictures, links, thoughts, gifs, what have you.  I follow over 100 blogs that range from spoken word, recipes, (lots of) feminism, and White People Said What?

I don't even know how I found this blog, likely through some other one I follow, but it has quickly risen to the top as a favorite. Its description/bio reads: "This is a safe space for PoC to talk about our everyday experiences on racism in the many forms from blatant offenses to micro-aggressions. This is a space only for PoC. Not white people. Do not send in anything if you are white, this space is dedicated to us and only us."  At first I wasn't sure how much I liked the honesty of this blog (I kinda thought 'Oooh, you can't say that'), because it isn't common (at least in my life) to openly discuss what it means to be a PoC (Person of Color) in the USA (and other places), but the more I read from this blog, the more I felt safe and a kinship with the people submitting and creating these posts.  In the past week, they (the admins of the blog) have been calling for people to submit a 'side-eye selfie' with things people (likely white people) have said in regards to their race.  I can't even try to pick a favorite, but check out this page and all the other pages.  Just follow the damn blog; it's enlightening whether you're a PoC or not.  Some of the comments people have encountered and posted sound identical to ones I have grown up hearing, these comments have become so familiar to me I have ignored the ignorant, racist undertones and just become accustomed to always being asked and insulted with: "where are you from, no like WHERE are you from?; what are you?; why don't you sound black?; you're like an Oreo; is there some white in your family?...I knew there was some white in your family; I could tell there was some white in your family because your skin is so light (people who say this clearly have ZERO understanding of genetics); can I touch your hair?; which parent is white?; but your hair isn't nappy; *just straight up touches my hair with no permission*; you have a black girl ass, congrats; you're pretty, for a black girl; I forgot you were black until you started singing Beyoncé/any artist that's black; you listen to bluegrass (people who say this have no grasp on where bluegrass music comes from); you don't listen to [insert name of misogynistic rapper]? I'm blacker than you!; how do you feel about the word nigga/nigger?; is negro a bad word?; you sunburn?; you're a vegetarian, but you're black; do you date just black men?; you have an accent, where are you from?; you could pass as Latina (people who say this don't understand that's Latinos are not a race); you don't talk ghetto (not a language, but no I don't speak AAVE); ooo, you got good hair, you must be mixed; you're smarter than I thought you'd be; can you swim?  I heard black people can't swim; you're such an angry black woman; you know you love being the token/only black person in the group; you're way more polite than your people; you don't wash your hair everyday?!  Gross!; black people are dirty, but not you, you're different, you love dogs? I thought black people were scared of dogs."  I could literally go on for days.

I'm willing to put money (but not really because I don't gamble) on this, that you have said some of this stuff to any brown person you've felt comfortable enough with.  And I'm here to tell you to shut the hell up.  Please and Thank you.  I know some of these above questions really aren't that bad and that the only way people will learn is by honest inquiry, but being constantly reminded of one's brownness is something white people will likely never understand.  White people have the privilege of not constantly being made aware of their race, but PoC (in the US, at least) don't have that privilege, not yet at least.  I earnestly invite you to check out this blog, it can bring a lot of insight into what it's like for PoC to live in a world in which 'white is right.'



(here's my 'side-eye selfie')

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Weekly Obsession, July 2, 2014

Hey y'all, so I'm a day late, but it's my blog so I can do whatever I want.  Anyway, breakfast is this week's obsession.

Y'all breakfast is my favorite.  The possibilities are endless!  Eggs, fruit, pancakes, waffles, burritos, veggies, coffee, tea, water, biscuits...whatever the hell you want is game for breakfast.  Breakfast, to me is the most diverse meal and I enjoy it deeply.  The past couple of weeks I have been (more than normal) craving pancakes for breakfast, so I bought some pancake mix (because I was too lazy to buy the three ingredients it takes to make pancakes individually) and made pancakes.  This Sunday I made banana pancakes with cinnamon and nutmeg and they are splendid!

Every Wednesday there's this thing called Atherton Breakfast Club (search the hashtag on Instagram) in which these two guys make breakfast on a griddle and people come eat said breakfast.  Last week was my first time going and I had a great time eating and spending time with people I know and don't know.  I love that breakfast brings people together, but I guess food just does that in general.

Anyways, if you wanna find a shortcut through the labyrinth to my heart, make me breakfast.  It doesn't matter what time of day it is, it just matters that it's (vegetarian) breakfast.

(that's soy bacon, fyi)

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Weekly Obsession, June 24, 2014

Hey y'all, this week's obsession is pretty big and generic, The Internet.  I am in the process of applying for jobs in hopes of finding a new career.  I'm am so grateful for the internet because I don't have to drive from place to place asking if they're hiring, showing off my terrible penmanship on applications.  My dad gave me the idea to look on Craigslist for jobs and that's been pretty great.  I mean, I still have to sift through some shady stuff, but I've gotten a call back from one of the places that I saw was hiring, so Craigslist has reached a new legitimacy for me.  I made it my goal to apply for three jobs a day, but that hasn't gone as planned, yet I definitely am deliberately looking each day.

(I typed 'the internet' into Google and this was one of the first images that came up, sooo...)

"So how has the job search been going, Coléa?" Well, thanks for asking!  Not bad, I guess.  I was just saying this weekend how I can't wait for all the applying I've been doing to finally reciprocate with some phone calls and emails; within the past two days I've gotten some emails (one from an airline and a couple from a music supply store) and a phone call (one of those screening, pre-interview kind).  That's a little encouraging, but neither of those places/options are my first choice.  We'll see.  If you have any leads or money let me know, I will accept either and both.

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Weekly Obsession, June 17, 2014

Hey y'all!  This week's obsession is brought to you by MUSIC!  I have been listening to this musician every chance I've gotten for the past week.  And I want more!!!

Sam Smith is his name and his voice is heavenly.  He's got this delightful voice that has the audacity to go high (I love when men can sing in a high range well), yet he has a soulful robustness to his voice.  I first saw him perform some weeks ago on SNL and afterwards had chills.  Most of his songs are about longing, love, and heartbreak; so, you know, really cheery stuff.  But so real to me.



I hope to hear more from him and absolutely more variety.  Perhaps some more upbeat, happy stuff.


SURPRISE!!!  You get a whole other weekly obsession!

ORANGE IS THE NEW BLACK!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
I finished the second season last week and have started watching from the beginning (Season 1) with my roommate who's never seen it.  I am constantly moved by the stories of these women in this prison.  It's so refreshing to watch a show that's not centered around men and that presents women as these non-archetypal beings.  It's invigorating and I'm obsessed!  If you haven't watched the show, I really encourage you to; it shows women in a different light, it shows them as dynamic and real human beings.  It's breathtaking.


Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Weekly Obsession, June 10, 2014

This week's obsession, Peroxide, has a kinda gross story attached to it.

Last Wednesday I woke up late, I either didn't hear my alarm or it didn't go off.  I suspect the former.  I also woke up not being able to hear out of my right ear.  This is not the first time this has happened, in fact it's quite common, so I did what I always do.  I giggled my ear.  But to no avail.  So this is it, I thought, I just can't hear out of this ear.  I went to work and struggled the whole time to even feel like I was in the room with my students and finally told a coworker about my ear.  She suggested I go to the drug store and get earwax removal drops.  I left work early, because I was basically useless and had nothing to do, and went straight (after going to two Harris Teeters without pharmacies, which I didn't know existed) to the pharmacy counter of Rite Aid.  I told her my predicament and she gave me great instruction on how to use the earwax removal kit.

I eagerly got home and busted out the kit.  I tried it.  Nothing happened.  I went to work that afternoon and came home.  Tried again.  No noticeable results.  I went to bed feeling bummed.  I worked on my ear again the next day with the same method and product, all I got was little bits of earwax hear and there.  Gross, but only a little.

On Friday I had lunch with my aunt and told her about my ear problem, she suggested I try peroxide.  So I got some peroxide that night and worked on my ear.  Improvement!  On Saturday I put the peroxide in and chunks of earwax came out.  I'm talking the size of the tip of my pinky finger.  FREAKING DISGUSTING.  I saw that and I dry heaved a little.  I can't believe with all my diligence with cleaning my ears, that that monstrosity come out of it!  I felt betrayed and relieved.  I worked on it for a little longer and more came out.  My hearing still wasn't 100%, but I could now hear out of my right ear.

Finally, Sunday evening, I was driving to my friends house to watch The Tony Awards (because it's the most important night of the year) and I burped and my right ear popped!!!  I was so excited to have my right ear at 100%.

The next day I started working on my left ear.  I want them both to be squeaky clean.  But you guys, seriously peroxide those ears every once in a while.  Apparently we just can't get all the wax and when we try to clean them with a washcloth (or a q-tip which you're not supposed to use) it only pushes the wax deeper.  

So this week's obsession is peroxide because without it I would still be walking around without the hearing of my right ear and would still be falling in yoga because I can't get my balance.

YAY PEROXIDE.


Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Weekly Obsession, June 3, 2014

I've decided to write a weekly blog about something I'm 'obsessed' with.  There's a vlog I enjoy, Superfruit, on which they talk about random things, but they always share their weekly obsessions.  It's kinda fun and goes well with my somewhat obsessive personality; so I'm gonna do it.

This week's object of my obsession are these pants!  I bought them (even though I shouldn't have) on sale at Marshall's and I love them. They have an elastic waistband (which enables me to eat more without discomfort) and elastic at the ankles because that's the style now; all with a fun print of light brown and black.  I dig pretty much all clothing that has geometric patterns so I'm glad they're in fashion.  I wore it with a plain black shirt, strappy black sandals, and a red lip!  My only two complaints are: 1) the pockets are really shallow (which is a vice by The Man to keep women being able to put their full hands in their own pockets) and 2) when I sit it's a bit tight on my thighs (but what else is new?).  So there you have it! I basically want to wear them everyday.

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Update 05/28/2014

Just another update if you're interested.

I just, perhaps 7 minutes ago, submitted an application to become a flight attendant for a mainline, non-legacy, airline.  Basically in the past week I decided that it'd be pretty neat to be a Flight Attendant so today marks the first day I actually started in on the process.  "But, Coléa, what happened to the whole 'moving to Chile' thing?' you may be asking: well I sent in my application packet two weeks ago today.  Two days after I sent my application in I received an email from the Chilean Consulate in DC saying that I don't qualify for the temporary residency visa I applied for.  The email was a generic rejection one so it didn't tell me why, only the kind of people that visa was for and that I could be a tourist in Chile for three months on my US passport.  I sent an email in response asking him what I need to do to qualify for said visa and explained that according to what he said in the generic rejection email I'm the exact type of person who this visa is meant for.  I haven't received a response from him yet, which doesn't make me feel too optimistic.  So despite searing disappointment and a bout of devastation I am choosing to move forward as if I am not either of those things and trying to seek employment elsewhere (live everything, right?), assuming 'the whole Chile thing' (plus some people who were all for it and even excited for my move didn't seem to care or be disappointed) really doesn't work out.  I was thinking of jobs that I thought I'd be good at that would allow me to travel (read: not be stuck in a cubicle under florescent lights) and becoming a flight attendant seems actually pretty cool. So wish me luck as I continue to apply everywhere that will let me.

The end of the school year is eight (school) days away and I am freaking excited.  It's a strange feeling knowing I'm not coming back to teaching after summer.  It's scary, but exciting.  There are lots of factors and soap-boxy reasons that I'm not returning to education (at least as a teacher) but here's an abbreviated version: tired of the US education bureaucracy, tired of NC politicians degrading educators, tired of my school administration, and tired of being broke every single month of the year.  At this point I want ONE job that I like, that pays all my bills, that provides insurance (and dental).  Please don't misunderstand my reasons for discontinuing my teaching career, it's not the kids.  It never was the kids, even the really terrible kids who I rejoice when they're not there.  Yesterday I was watching my kindergarten kids watch The Wiz and I just looked at their faces and reactions and dancing and couldn't help but feel adoration for them.  I love them sooo much, I'm almost in tears about it.  All my students are so, so special to me and even on our worst days when I don't have a hint of like towards them, I love them deeply.  I will miss the connection a teacher has with their students, and I will miss the onslaught of compliments I get from some no matter how crappy or average I look, and I will miss students coming to me with their lives and asking me to help them with it, and will miss seeing their faces light up when they see someone who looks like them being phenomenal because representation matters, and I will miss them trying to hug me even though they just came from outside are soo sweaty and gross, and I will miss their terrible jokes.  I will miss it all, I will miss them all.  Being a teacher is easily one of the most gratifying things I have ever done and I am grateful to have experienced meeting and shaping our world's future.

I got a haircut last week and I freaking love it.  It's the shortest it's ever been so there's literally nothing to doing with it but wear it.  


Sunday I went to my first Bikram Yoga class!  Bikram Yoga, or hot yoga, is like doing yoga in a sauna; the temperature in the studio gets up around 102 Fahrenheit.  I had been wanting to try this for years now, but something always stopped me; I found a Groupon for hot yoga classes down the street from where I'm now living and went for it.  I've been to two classes and have 18 more.  The first class was a breeze, but yesterday's class was a beast, upper body strength isn't my forte. If you're looking to push yourself hot yoga should be tried!

Last week I finished the book, Invisible Ellen, and my conclusion is that it's a feel good book.  The ending was tidy and mostly inconsequential and I finished not wanting more, but being completely satisfied with it.  Now I'm (barely) working on a new book by Ann Brashares, the author of The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants, called The Here and Now.  I didn't realize this was a young adult book, so now I'm less thrilled about it, but the plot seems pretty good despite.  It's about a teenage girl sent from the future to live in the here and now (*wink*) but she must follow some rules to avoid problems...then she falls in love with a person from the present, which is against those rules.  Anyway, we'll see.

That's pretty much it.  I hope enjoyed.  You are loved and wonderful.

Thursday, May 8, 2014

Updates

It's been a while since I've written a blog post, so I figured I could update y'all on my life recently. I'd say a lot has happened. 

Two weeks ago yesterday, I moved. I'm now about 30 minutes south of where I was before in the city I grew up in instead of living in a surrounding city. My roommate is a generous nurse who I know from church. I've never lived on this side of town and I LOVE it. It's only about 15 minutes from the school I teach instead of the 45 minute minimum commute I had before. Now, my commute is a dream and I don't have to wake up nearly as early as before so I don't feel resentful or like shit first thing in the morning. It's great how close I am to the things I love about this city; I never realized how isolated I felt when living in Concord.  I'm quite grateful to be where I am for the time being, even if only for a few months. 

My new place doesn't have cable or internet (yet) so I've been finding other (better) ways to use my time when I'm at home. That means I've been reading a lot.  Reading is literally one of my favorite things to do on this planet; it feels necessary to me like sleeping and eating. A couple nights ago I finished a phenomenal book called Americanah by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie (Chimamanda.com). She says things in this book about race and the USA that I wouldn't dare to say out of fear. The main character is an amazing, intelligent woman who I would love to be real life friends with. Coming off of a high from such a great book, I'm always scared the next book is going to be a deep disappointment, so I decided to read a book that I was already not too interested in. I haven't even officially started Invisible Ellen by Shari Shattuck, but my interests are already surprisingly piqued. The dedication page reads as follows "This book is for anyone who has ever felt they didn't count. You do. Your spirit shines as strong and as pure as any other." How lovely, huh? Maybe I won't be disappointed in this book. 

Yesterday, I actually received a requested letter from my doctor saying that I am healthly as of my last visit with her. It was for the temporary residency visa application packet for living in Chile for a year. The whole process has been a lot of hurry up wait but I almost have all the paperwork required to send off the packet to the Chilean consulate in DC. My hope is that once they receive my application, they quickly decide that they just have to have me in their country and they graciously grant me a temporary residency visa. I don't imagine there's a lot of people in this region trying to get a visa for Chile, but who knows (well, actually the consulate knows and holds a lot of power). I've been saving for several months now, to be able to buy a ticket and still have some money when I move down there. Sometimes it's been easy, but other times I have to tap into those savings to pay bills and live. It's a battle to save when I already don't make enough money as it is, but I'm trying. So if you're feeling generous, toss some money my way, I won't say no. I've requested to be able to enter the country the first full week of July, which is quickly approaching. I had a really great job teaching English lined up, but that ended up not working out, so I'm also trying to find a job down there. None of it feels real because there's still a lot of uncertainty, but I'm trying to stay optimistic and motivated. 

To tie back into the book I'm reading, Invisible Ellen, I've recently, within the past month or so, realized that I have been a person who has shrunk, who has inadvertently tried not to count. I tried to make myself small, tried not to take up space. This is not literal space; it's the kind of space one takes up when around others and although they care for those others they still make sure they are getting what they need and want. My whole life I've been taught, either explicitely or inadvertently, that I'm to put others' needs and wants ahead of mine, that my needs and wants aren't as important or urgent as others' around me. I've been taught to hold others in higher esteem than myself. I've been taught that I don't deserve the good stuff that others deserve. I've been taught I'm not as valuable as others. This is sadly a fairly common thing for women to do in a patriarchal society like ours; women will shrink and contort to the whim and comfort of the men around them. They'll make themselves fit into the cracks of the men's, both strange and familiar, lives. But I do this for the men and women in my life. So while I was still making myself small and inconsequential for those around me and realizing that I was calling myself un-valuable to myself and those around me, while I was trying to take up as little space as possible always giving up my space for others, I was losing myself. I was suffocating and being crushed under the big wants and needs of everyone I love around me, I wasn't fighting back. But there were a few times when I did push back: I asked (having to gather the strength and gumption) some people close to me to be considerate toward me, to let me know when..., to not push your will on me when..., to let me say 'no' when... And every time I was met with annoyed glances, 'the silent treatment', meetings (that felt like ambushes and left me raw) in which I was cornered while they told me all the ways I had hurt them, and other hurtful retaliation. Their responses made me recoil back onto my tiny island which was losing its space. They were no longer safe people to be in relation with because they wouldn't let me take up space, so I tried to minimize our crossing paths and interactions. But even then I was attacked for doing so, I was called childish and passive aggressive. But allowing oneself the space to heal and become isn't childish or passive aggressive it's important and necessary. And it's what I'm doing, now. Countless times a day I remind myself that "you deserve to take up space" "are you taking all the space you need" "have you factored yourself into this equation?" It feels both exhilarating and terrifying and I like it. I don't want to be/feel small, I don't want to be on the periphery of people's lives. I'm either in your life or out of it, but I will not be on the outskirts looking in occasionally invited to a get-together. I'm either all in or all out. So if you want me and will welcome me with all my space (including the space I'm regaining), then invite me for coffee or food, or something. I'll probably say yes. 

That's it folks. 

Sunday, March 2, 2014

Live Everything

Something I have always felt deeply, is that I'm unique. Not in the good way in which we're all special, in the 'Oh my God, there's something wrong with me, I'm all alone in this world' kind of way. So when I come across someone who shares something (principle, idea, belief, trait) I thought I was alone in, I rejoice. This last week, there was much rejoicing in my heart and mind. 


I meet with a mentor (not the actual term we use, but mentor is easier to understand) monthly and she's been a haven for me. Every time we meet she (perhaps inadvertently) reminds me that I'm not so unique. Her and my personality types are very similar and her balance and poise is something I aspire to be and have. This past week we discussed the part of me that often feels most out of control, my emotions. There are times when I literally feel like I'm losing it, like existential crisis level, and there are times when I feel nothing, just neutral.  And, of course, there are times of heart exploding joy. But what I don't experience is simple happiness, or simple sadness; my emotions, when I allow myself to let them out of the dungeon of my heart, always put on a huge production. They can't just walk through the door, they want a light show, fog machine, and all of my energy and attention. And up until this week, I've thought this was purely unique of me, but it's not and I am glad. I'm relieved to know others feel emotions as intensely as I do. But most of all I'm relieved to know that I don't have to feel the imbalance of these emotions, that I can feel these big crashing waves of emotions and turn them into something lovely and productive. 


I can live through the ebb and flow of emotions, refocus my eyes and realize I'm in the same ocean as everyone else; I'm just riding the waves more. 


Sticking with the ocean/sea metaphor: today's message at church was such a comfort because pastor said that we're fighting the same storms (like the kind Paul from the Bible was fighting while on the sea), just in different ways. So when I'm clumsily trying not to die in the ocean, I can look, really look, and see others in the same storm on a different raft. I'm often asking myself "Am I doing this (different things within life) right?" I try so hard to produce the right answers, but today I learned that God isn't interested in the right answers from me, He's interested in me becoming the right person! PHEW! That's great, because I failed that test a long time ago, but 'becoming' is something I can do. I've got my whole life for that. 


Here's a quote that resonated deeply with me from church this morning:

"I would like to beg you, dear sir, as well as I can, to have patience with everything that is unresolved in your heart and to try to love the questions themselves as if they were locked rooms or books written in a very foreign language. Don't search for the answers, which could not be given to you now, because you would not be able to live them. And the point is to LIVE EVERYTHING. Live the questions now. Perhaps then, someday far in the future, you will gradually, without even noticing it, live your way into the answer." Rainer Maria Rilke (emphasis mine)


We don't have to worry if we've got all the answers right, we can focus on, at times surviving and at times thriving, living life and being the person we're meant to be. 

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Getting what I deserve

Something I'm understanding about myself and trying to change is the way I receive help and love. It's painfully difficult for me to ask for and receive help and love, even from people who I know would (do) gladly and generously give it to me. This is especially strange because I try my damnedest to give it to people, yet I don't let myself receive it. I suspect my struggle comes from not thinking I deserve such basic human mechanisms. 


Take this past Saturday for instance, I was in a hole. It was a familiar hole, but still a hole nonetheless. I felt myself slipping into the hole a couple days before, but knew it was going to happen no matter what. Like when I feel menstrual cramps coming and I know there's nothing I can do to stop this month's period, so I reluctantly go with it. I felt myself slipping into the same pit of feeling unloved, not liked, and unknown as I've been in before. It was an all day affair and it was exhausting and it was heart wrenching. Yet I wasn't completely disconnected from people and I actually got some important shit done; I was texting one best friend and emailing another and it never came up (because I was too beaten to bring it up) that I was struggling with my very existence. I thought 'I don't wanna burden her', 'it'll pass so why involve anyone else?', 'I don't want to sound needy', etc. I talk myself of asking for help. Why? Perhaps I don't think I'm loved enough by some people for them to care enough to help me. I don't know, but it needs to change. I can't go through life pretending like I need nothing from anyone, because that's a freaking lie that I tell myself and let myself believe. 


It's okay for me to need it's okay for me to lean it's okay for me to ask it's okay for me to accept. 

Sunday, January 19, 2014

On learning to not feel like a monster

I'm not really sure how to start this blog post.  Should I start with a couple stories?  Or how about an explanation of my personality?  No?  How about I just jump right in?  This is a really personal post, a stab at vulnerability, but I've been mulling over it since I've started exploring this part of myself.  And in speaking with loved ones, I've discovered that I'm not alone.  Just today I was having lunch with a friend who empathized with me, but who has also found the strength that I've only yet to start exploring.  I hope this post proves beneficial to others, because, yes, I have found others who can identify with me, but I still think there are a lot of other people who are still in hiding.  And that's not fair.  So here we go.

Something I've learned recently about myself is that I repress my emotions in sacrifice for others' needs and wants who I care about.  I've mentioned this before, but now I'm actually doing something about it.  And it's hard.  Like always having to reassure myself hard.

As far as I can remember I have wanted others to be happy and feel loved.  And wanting these things for others isn't a bad thing at all, in fact it's quite good.  But the way I go about loving and caring for others is rather unhealthy for me.  I, essentially, don't let myself live because I'm so preoccupied with others.  I don't allow myself to feel, or think about what I need, or to think about what I want.  There are so many things about myself I want to explore, but I've been putting them on hold trying to make others' happiness a reality.  And I do all this without telling anyone, because love doesn't boast, and unconditional love doesn't do so seeking something in return (and I would never want anyone to feel like they owe me).  That's how I love others, but it's costing me my self love.  I don't want others to feel imposed on or inconvenienced so I don't bother them with how much I care (more like obsess about whether or not their happiness is intact) about them and how I need/want their friendship (or their help), so they won't feel pressure from me (pressure to what? I don't know).  And in doing that I isolate myself because I am not willing to put myself out there and be vulnerable because I don't want to be annoying or be thought of as needy, so I won't make the first move in asking for friendship and time and energy from the people who I care so deeply about.  That being said, it is heart-crushing to not have that love, respect, concern, thought, and consideration I have shown and felt towards someone who I have deemed as friend reciprocated.  To love and to not be loved back is destroying.  And that's how I feel, used and destroyed and misunderstood.  Not by all who I love, but many.

So now I'm trying to flip the script, kinda.  Instead of pulling a Bruno Mars, catching grenades and what not, I want to show love to others and not internally be destroyed.  This looks like me taking the initiative when trying to get together with friends instead of waiting to be called/invited and then being devastated when (always when and never if) I'm not thought of.  This looks like NOT telling myself they probably don't want to spend time with me so I shouldn't even bother to ask.  This looks like having enough respect for myself to hold back on/from relationships that make me go back to my old self-sabotaging ways.  This means saying 'no.'  This means not worrying about everyone I care about to the point where I literally worry about them in my sleep (i.e. one time a friend and her husband were having problems and he made her feel unsafe to the point where she slept elsewhere and I had nightmares about her running from him for a few nights).  This means saying yes to my needs and wants.  This means being more vulnerable with people who I trust and feel safe with and perhaps widening that circle a bit.  THIS MEANS A LOT.

Those things are fine and dandy, but they scare me.  This is new territory and, frankly, exploring it makes me feel like a monster.  My whole life I have shown love by putting others' needs and wants ahead of mine and put my needs and wants by the wayside.  And I've done this willingly.  I've done this because that's what I've been taught love is.  So now that I'm actually trying to consider my needs and wants, I feel selfish.  I feel like I bitch, I feel like a monster.  I feel like this selfish monster who's only concerned for herself and pays no mind for others' needs or wants.  I feel like the bad guy.  And it is an exhausting struggle to try to constantly convince myself that it is more than okay to say 'yes' to me while convincing myself others will likely not suffer in my doing so.  It is an exhausting inner fight to force myself to actually think about my feelings.  It is an exhausting battle to stop myself from automatically choosing what will make others happy and actually consider how I think/feel about the situation.  It is just plain exhausting to retrain my head and heart to stop people pleasing and allow myself the freedom to just be.  You know what?  It's worth it.  I'm worth it.  And, like my friend tells me, sometimes you have to put yourself and your needs first in order to keep sane, especially when others haven't been doing so for you.

This self-consideration/love frontier is intimidating for me.  It's forcing me to stop and think about how I fit into the picture.  And from my perspective it looks like withdrawing from some relationships that have done more harm than good because I have given and given and have never felt loved in return.  But everyday I wake up and remind myself that I'm no monster for loving myself and one day it won't all be so hard.