Thursday, March 25, 2010

Learn To Drown

what if for one minute

he's given a chance
and he does something brilliant
but he'd rather not know
cause walls protect him
his bedroom's a prison

now is your chance boy just ignore
the dreadful things they say
go on, give up, you’ll never win,
no crying now, they're watching him
his blood will boil, the kids will sing
learn to drown before you learn to swim

So, as I’m waiting for classes to finally begin, I’ve been doing a lot of research on what I want to do once I (hopefully*) complete my degree.

The focus I’m most interested in is child psychology/development. I would love to both teach and provide therapy for special needs kids or children with behavioral issues. The education portion appeals to me because I feel like parents are afraid of the stigma involving psychology and their children. Or maybe, they don’t realize their child might need some extra help. As an educator, I’d be automatically implanted into the child’s life and in the position to have an influence. I know how important this is, because it’s something I wish could have happened to me when I was a kid.

I wasn’t a troublemaker. I didn’t get horrific grades. I was pretty average, I suppose. But I went to a small school, and kids are cruel, as they are anywhere. And I just..couldn’t deal. I didn’t really know how to. Self esteem wasn’t exactly promoted in my household. My parents were either blind to it, didn’t think it mattered, or were too wrapped up in their failing marriage to see what was really going on. By 5th grade, I was really waiting for the chance to call for help. One afternoon in our daily religion class, I was given that chance. Pastor Simon gave us an assignment; write down something on a sheet of paper that really bothers you, but feel like you can’t tell anyone. I figured the main message was for him to tell us to go to God with our worries. I didn’t think anyone would be seeing what I wrote, so with my #2 pencil in hand, I feebly scrawled the words “ People make fun of me. I feel alone. No one cares.”

But Pastor Simon began walking around the room, reading what each of us had written on our sheets of paper. “ Susie, you’re worried about your math test tomorrow?” Susie, the smartest and most popular girl in the class, smiled and nodded mockingly. Pastor Simon gave her advice consisting of studying with her parents, and perhaps some prayer, and then moved on to the next student. Finally, he came to my desk. My face flushed and my mouth grew dry. He whispered to me. “ Have you told anyone about this?” I squeaked “ no.” He said nothing more and went on to the other students.

After religion class was over, I desperately wanted to go to the bathroom to throw some cold water on my face. That assignment had taken a lot out of me. As I approached my teacher’s desk, Pastor Simon was confronting him.

“ Do you know this has been going on? I’m concerned for her.” He told my teacher.

“ She’s just going to have to learn to deal with it.” the teacher responded nonchalantly.

Those words sting me to this day. I realize that everyone needs to grow a pair of balls if they want to get through life, and eventually, I did. Or rather, I ‘learned how to deal with it.’ To this day I have trouble expressing my feelings, my needs, or my reaction when someone has hurt or angered me. I was taught early on to keep it to myself. I love who I am, and wouldn’t change a thing. But sometimes, I wonder how different I would have been if maybe my teacher had reacted differently that day. Maybe if he had just reached out, or even called my parents to find out what was going on, things would have been different. But everything has it’s purpose- I want to be that difference in a child’s life when they feel like they have no one else to turn to. And I won’t wait for them to ask or cry for help. I will be the one person that understands them when they feel like they’re alone.

* Hopefully? You ask- where has that positive attitude gone? Well, it’s still here, but I got a response back from some of the Universities I was interested in that their psychology program is a day program. That’s a problem. I have a full time job. An established career, if you’d like to call it that. I need it, to pay my bills, and to pay tuition, because the federal government thinks I make too much in order to qualify for any sort of grant. Funny, because the last time I checked my bank account…. In short, here’s hoping that in the 2 years before I transfer, they’ve decided to branch out to adult/non traditional students a bit more.

Monday, March 22, 2010

A Lighthearted Monday

In preparing for this new journey in my life, I’m trying to give my attitude and lifestyle a complete makeover. But this weekend, I decided to focus on the fun stuff: hair and makeup. I went to the hair salon and said “do whatever you like” and I was very pleased with the results. I also stopped by the Benefit counter at Macy’s and discovered my favorite new beauty product:

Put it on before your foundation, or by itself, and it gives your skin a natural glow. I am in love! . I am pretty fair skinned (ie; transparent) and I’ve tried several products like this before. I too impressed, but this stuff really is amazing.

As for my hair, I don’t have a picture quite yet, but I’m definitely happy with it.

On Sunday we spent the entire day spring cleaning, and that also took a much needed weight off my shoulders. So far I think my makeover is off to a good start. Now I just cant wait to begin classes!

And since no one will nominate me for “What Not To Wear”, I’ve got to do the fashion makeover myself. So I’d like to hear; where are you shopping these days? What styles are exciting you this spring?

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Can I Handle It?

These days we go to waste like wine, that’s turned to turned to turpentine….

-Brandi Carlile

Uh-oh. Second guessing myself here. Yesterday afternoon I came home from work feeling a bit wound up. So I sat at my desk for about an hour and scrapbooked as one of my dogs tried anxiously to hop up on my lap. (is she a lap dog? No. but she likes to think she is.) It helped ease my tension for the evening, and I slept quite well, but here I am… getting a little stressed again.

I’ve always been indecisive, and now that it’s time to choose classes, I’m really wondering what to do.

Part of me wants to start slow. Take one course at a time. Ease myself into it. But the other part of me wants to get this over with as soon as possible. So what do I do?

I asked my partner in crime for an opinion, and I noticed a tinge of disappointment when the phrase ‘whatever you think you can handle’ was spoken.

So I started thinking.. Granted, I don’t have children, but will less time at home cause rifts? Will I be taking on too much? Or am I just too worried about pleasing everyone (but myself), a habit that’s hard to break? Now I’m asking myself: What do YOU want? And I don’t know. I’m nervous.

When I do what I want, I feel selfish. And someone most always gets mad at me, for what it’s worth.

I tried to be a good friend this weekend, and a good sister, and a good daughter, and a good girlfriend. All at the same time. I thought I compromised myself pretty well. Apparently, I was wrong.

2 of those 4 people are pissed at me. 1 has said nothing to me except for the usual Political Propaganda email, and I successfully pissed the other one off this morning. (That one was my fault, 100%)

I can’t stand having people mad at me. It’s either my strength or my weakness; I haven’t quite figured that out yet. What I have figured out is that it clouds my judgment. So perhaps in a few days, I’ll have made my decision….

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Feeding the Trolls

“He said I think I’m cured.. no In fact I’m sure of it. Thank you stranger, for your therapeutic smile.”

-Bright Eyes

Is it possible to be your ‘real’ self online? I think so. However good or bad that may be, I think it’s possible for a genuine person to be able to imprint themselves on the internet community and express themselves as who they naturally are. I think it takes a certain kind of person, though, and I’d like to think that most people are this way, and wouldn’t think of doing anything differently.

There are some though, who for whatever reason; boredom, anger, sheer stupidity, or lack of proper entertainment, who waste their time serving a different purpose. And that’s exactly what it is. A waste of time. Attacking the honest, genuine people who want to celebrate each others passions in an online community is their game. What reward they attain from it, I have no idea. I simply don’t think that way.

I’ve never though to myself… I’m going to hop into this forum here and just f*** with people. Just like I’ve never done that in my ‘real’ life. I don’t join a conversation with a co-worker and refute their every claim. I don’t put them down for kicks. Therefore I don’t do it online either. It’s not in my DNA, I suppose. And I have to think… hope.. that trolls aren’t like that in ‘real’ life either. Though I have to say, it would explain a lot about their need to unleash themselves for 12 hours a day on the computer.

I’ve met a lot of jerky people in my life. But I think these horrid personalities found virally are all the more frustrating. You can’t simply grab your friends arm and walk away if they try to interject you. They’re there. There is no escape. This makes it hard for the genuine people- the writers, the artists, and people with an actual cause, to stomach expressing them via the web. At least, for me it does. It’s not that I’m afraid of what they’ll say, or what judgments they’ll make, or what like-minded internet personas they will turn against me. It’s just sickening to see what they do to something that could, ideally, be such a wonderful thing.

I’m reading a book right now called ‘Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance: An Inquiry Into Values’

It makes a great many points about the way we view the world, the way we lead our lives, and the effect it has on society. One of the main points I look to today, is that we each must set out to live a life with purpose. Whatever we do, let it have some purpose. Let it be about expressing ourselves, and communicating with our fellow man. The author claims that because so many people today have lost this sense of values, our civilization is crumbling. I can’t help but agree with him. And sometimes I am not on the internet for longer than 5 minutes before this harsh fact draws its dreary head toward me. It breaks my heart. But it’s so hard to look away.

Friday, March 12, 2010

fantastically friday

I always fall in love with an open door….

-death cab for cutie

Thank goodness its Friday. And what a way to welcome the weekend-its office mate’s b-day celebration which means 20 times the usual annoyance factor! *blows party horn pathetically*

As for me, I didn’t even say Happy Birthday. There were many events that led up to this state of silence that could have filled a previous blog, and perhaps maybe ill make a list one day. “Top 5 reasons I hate my cubemate”

For now, I escape. And that’s what writing is for me. The prescription bottle remains untouched in my purse, and I open Microsoft Word and begin to type.

I’ve got 35,166 words of my unfinished novel so far. 1000 of those words may have been done at home, but I guarantee the rest, if not more, were written right from this gray little corner of my world. The fluorescent light above my head buzzes and sucks out all the life and color and creativity from the world, but while its not looking I preserve mine onto the page-within my characters, in their humble surroundings. One of the settings is a yellow cottage, filled with red velvet couches and green arm chairs and paisley curtains. The girl I wish I was lives there, where it’s brighter. And she has a nose ring, something I wanted but could never get since it didn’t match the ‘business casual’ dress code. And now, well I’m almost thirty. The time for nose rings has passed.

So far I’ve stumbled across so many aspiring individuals such as myself, posting their creative and wonderful writing, for all to enjoy. I know I should be working, especially on ‘deadline Friday’.. but they wake me up. I pretend like they’re right next to me, and their written words are our conversation. For once it feels lively amidst this maze of fabric stapled walls… it’s my open door…

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

mine's not a high horse

“ And I watch your convictions melt like ice cubes in an ocean….”

Each morning when I come into work, and listen to the useless ramblings of my office mate, I get more and more motivated to escape cubicle land.

This morning her ploy at getting attention was to blast Pantera loudly through her headphones. It wasn’t an enjoyable sound, not because I’m not into Pantera (which I’m not) but because any kind of music played through the drone of headphones just sounds like someone railing a tin can against your head. But I digress. She got what she wanted, soon another cube slave made their way over and asked what she was listening to. What came next was the most annoying part of her charade; “ Oh, I’m listening to Pantera… have you heard of them? I don’t think they are new… they’re kind of old…” What did she do? Just pick something that seemed the most attention grabbing in the religious affiliated office? Could she be more desperate? “ Its pretty bad ass stuff. Pretty heavy.” Get over yourself.

I went to see the school’s counselor on Monday, and as excited as I was, I have to say the people working there had the passion of a brass doorknob. I suppose I can’t judge them, on the inside, I feel the same way while working but I never let my customers see it! Perhaps I’m not as jaded as I thought.

Needless to say, the counselor pretty much told me I needed to wait for my transcripts to be reviewed. She said the chances of my ‘online’ course credits transferring looked a bit grim, in her opinion. I’m hoping she’s wrong. For now, however, I can fulfill some credits I need that don’t have prerequisites.

I knew for sure I’d be taking psychology 101 this summer. I figured it would be a decent way to fall back into academia. I also have another humanities class to take, and Film and Literature caught my eye. I love Film. I love Literature. I love comparing movies based on books I’ve loved ,while sitting on my soap box aka couch in my living room, so perhaps I’ll give it a go.

I may be getting ahead of myself as it will take at least two years for me to finish my associates degree part-time, but I’ve been looking at schools to transfer to for my bachelors degree. The options are nil.

I find that the schools with psychology programs I like don’t cater to adult schedules, (all I’m asking for is evening and/or weekend classes, and hopefully an adult learning community) and the schools that do offer adult tracks, well, their psychology programs leave a lot to be desired.

But for now, I sit in my three walled shared cube, and listen to voice the on the other side of me discuss American idol with profound comments such as ‘nasty teeth, great voice.’ Oh, how I love the office.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

One More Try: Why I'm Here

When you’re in high school, you think you know everything. Atleast I did. I thought I knew everything I wanted, and if by chance I didn’t, well, I’m sure there’d be plenty of time to figure it out. Given this way of thinking, my first experience doing a semester at community college didn’t go so well. I was told it would be easy. In turn, my effort was lacking. Mostly, I came home from class and played Sims while eating cheetos, or practiced eye shadow techniques in the mirror as BBMak played on in the background.

A few days before Christmas, I received my first college report card: 2 D’s and a C. Ouch. Instantaneously discouraged, I abandoned my plans for college, resolved to move to an apartment in the city with my best friend, and spent a year doing various temp jobs. All of my friends were in school or getting their first real jobs, and once again the school bug bit me. I was living in a bustling city, my best friend was a theatre major and all of our friends were creative and peculiar and much more interesting than me. So what did I do? I enrolled in a very expensive art school, majoring in commercial interior design. How I came up with that one, I still couldn’t tell you.

Suffice it to say, though I love to Illustrate pictures or life-based comic books for my closest friends, and even create some of the most magnificent post-it doodles you have ever seen, a Fine Arts degree was not the path for me. Another disappointing report card was received, and although this time I could say that I did try my best and sweated my way through a semesters worth of arduous critiques, I threw my backpack into the closet and traded it for some sensible loafers and another temp job.

I was placed by a temporary agency in the business office of a healthcare system. Unlike most of my other temp jobs, my co workers were very friendly and welcoming. I immediately felt at home, and enjoyed learning new things about healthcare finance, a needed refreshment from my usual administrative or data entry jobs. When my 3 month assignment ended, the company offered my a permanent position and a wage increase. Of course, I took it gladly. This job would lead me to my longest break from college, and for awhile, I was ok with that.

Within a year I had received a promotion. Within 5 years, I was making a pretty decent amount of money for a non college graduate, and I saw myself growing with the company. I was assigned projects, I did presentations, I was even invited to manager meetings to present ideas. But life happened and my living arrangements changed. I moved further away from my job. Then the office moved further north, and I was spending 4 hours of my day on public transportation just to make it to work.

At the same time, my career moved to a speeding halt. I had been promised a promotion contingent upon my supervisor’s retirement, but she would subtly chat with me about how she didn’t want to retire; wouldn’t know what to do with herself. I’d stop by the local library on lunch breaks and pick up some senior citizen group brochures, send them anonymously to her via interoffice mail. I’d constantly ask about her many grandchildren, and how fun it would be to be able to care for them during the day. After awhile, however, I started to believe her. This woman would never retire. So I searched for jobs within the corporation, even talked to some of the directors of other departments. They all required one thing: a college degree. “ We know how experienced you are, how much you’ve done…” They’d say with a pitying smile, “ But without that college degree, Human Resources won’t even let me formally interview you.”

I took some online courses in Healthcare Administration. It was all I could do, what with me being on the train for most of my evening. I read studiously and posted my papers online. I got a few credits. I got good grades for the first time in my college experience. That wasn’t the problem this time. I won’t go into it here, but I decided I didn’t really care for ‘distance learning.’
Fast forward to 2 years later; I have a new job in a suburb close to home. I don’t have any promotions lined up. I don’t have a college degree. I don’t like working in a cube farm. I have passions, undiscovered, unexplored, vying to get out and do something with themselves. I could compromise with myself. I could finish a degree in finance, and move to a bigger cubicle. But now I’m old enough to know that’s not what I want, and I don’t have as much time to do it as I did 10 years ago. So here it is. My fourth, and hopefully final, attempt at higher education.

That's what this blog is about. The challenges an adult- yes, amazingly I’m considered an adult now, where did the time go?- faces when going back to school to finally fulfill their dreams. Maybe it’s an old dream you never thought you could achieve. Maybe your kids are in school and you have more time. Maybe some internal voice just keeps nagging at you. Whatever the reason, I know there are others like me out there. There has to be. I hope they’re in my classes, because I cringe at the idea of having a group discussion with an 18 year old while I struggle to find out if I’m going to look silly with a notebook instead of a laptop.