Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Life happens...

Well, I'll admit, it's been a while since I posted on here. I had planned to post about my favorite Korean Hip Hop groups, but life happened and I didn't get around to it. I still might do that post in the future. But not yet.

So, it's been a busy few months. I am pleased to say I finished the Spring semester with ALL A's!!! I don't think I've EVER had straight A's in the past. But I'll take it! For my aptx class, my final project was to create a "brand." I had to come up with a logo, letterhead, tagline, company name, etc. It took so much thought and effort, but I did really well and my teacher was pretty impressed. It was probably one of the most useful projects I've done in my entire college career.

I am currently enrolled in an accounting class over the summer. My teacher is awesome and really funny and she breaks everything down to make it easier to understand. I also have a friend from my spring classes in my accounting class, which makes it so much easier. The second I saw him walk in on the first day of class, I was instantly relieved to know somebody. It makes class so much better when you have a friend.

Aside from school, I adopted a pair of kittens from the local animal shelter. When I adopted them, they were both under 2lbs, but full of spunk. They have grown a lot since then, but they are still little balls of chaos. They have chewed THROUGH a tank top strap, thrown water all over the kitchen, climbed the curtains and attacked me in my sleep. They also try to jump into the toilet on a daily basis. But God dammit, they are so fucking cute! Dora (short for Pandora) sleeps under the covers at my feet and starts purring and meowing at me to get up when my alarm goes off in the morning. Navajo can jump really high and she is a master spider killer. They spend half their time sleeping and the other half of the time chasing each other and knocking over their food bowl. They are currently curled up on the couch cleaning each other.

Speaking of new additions to the family, my oldest sister and her husband have officially become foster parents to a teenage girl who happens to be awesome and hilarious. She fits in perfectly with our family and I know my sister couldn't be happier to FINALLY have a daughter to do "girly" things with. (She has a son and a husband who love all things "outdoorsy." So she's been outnumbered for years.) This brings my total niece/nephew count to 7.

There has been so much good in the last few months, but also a little bad. I was sexually harassed by a guy in a car on my way to class one evening. It was a sad reminder that because of my gender, I will spend my life looking over my shoulder and being harassed/mocked/degraded/silenced and there isn't much I can do about it.

I have also recently realized that the only man I have ever truly loved unconditionally and wanted to be with was emotionally abusive/manipulative to me. Even just admitting that is difficult. Things between us were never clear cut and the end of the relationship/"let's be friends" period was filled with arguments and crying and anxiety attacks and it nearly killed me. I spent my time crying and stressing about the arguments. I couldn't sleep and I couldn't eat because of all the stress and drama. It was bad enough that I dropped a large amount of weight in just a few months. Still, I never looked at the situation for what it was. It's still hard for me to "blame" him for all the unhappiness I went through. There is a part of me that wants to jump up and say, "Sometimes, I provoked him, knowing full well that it would end in a fight!" But in reality, none of it was my fault. It never occurred to me that the way he treated me was not a "normal" part of being in a relationship. Not until a few weeks ago. I was reading an advice column that someone else had posted a link to on one of my fav sites. The person looking for advice explained a family situation that involved abuse. The person giving the advice broke it down to explain to this person that this wasn't their fault. I remember reading things like, "walking on eggshells so you don't set them off," and "apologizing even when you know you did nothing wrong" and having that realization that I've been there. He never physically or sexually abused me in any way. And he wasn't overtly mean to me, per se. But the way he said things to me and the way he always pointed out how beautiful/perfect/sexy other women were and how much smarter he was than me, and how he would yell at me for no reason than because he was pissed about something totally unrelated, etc was not ok. Even now that I have a better understanding of the situation, I don't hate him. I don't wish bad things on him. I am actually thankful for that entire time. Because it made me a stronger person. It taught me how to stand up for myself. It gave me the motivation I needed to get myself back on track and focused on my goals instead of focusing on another person. And most of all, it gave me an understanding of what I want and don't want in myself and in a man. It gave me a better ability to spot that type of behavior and an understanding of why I don't want to be with someone like that ever again.

I thought with all that on my plate the last few months, nothing else could happen. I was wrong. I was on my way to work a few weeks ago, when I got caught on a flooded road. My car was eventually pushed completely off the road by the rising floods at which point, the water started leaking INTO my car. I had to bail out through the sunroof and sit clinging to a tree as I called 911 for help. By that time, the water outside the car was above the headlights and washing up onto the hood of the car. From the time my car initially got stuck, to the time I was safely calling my dad from a police car was roughly an hour to an hour and a half. By the time my car was towed that evening, there was mud on top of the seats from the creek waters seeping into the car. I can not say how lucky I am to have made it out of that car and out of that flood safely. People die in situations like that. And if anything had happened differently, I probably would have died as well. It was easily the scariest thing I've ever been through and I am actually quite surprised I handled the entire situation as well as I did. I will admit, I had a 30 second panic attack where I just screamed and freaked out as my car was floating off the road. Had it not been for a semi driver who stopped to help me, I don't know how long it would have taken me to pull myself back together. I can not thank him enough for not only stopping to see if I was okay, but also for telling me what I needed to do after I climbed out of the car and also for risking his life to try to get to me. He was almost washed away in the flood and was unable to get to me. But just having another person there gave me the strength to calm down and pull myself together.

All in all, it's been a crazy few months. There have been so many great things and a few bad things. But I am constantly reminded of how lucky I truly am to have made it through everything.

Thursday, May 02, 2013

Music knows no language...

It's one of those nights where I won't sleep for a few hours. So, instead of tossing and turning in the dark, I'm going to be productive and pop out a new blog post. I've briefly commented before on my love of Korean Pop and Korean Hip Hop music. I thought tonight I'd give you an insight into how that love came about and post some of my favorite songs/videos. (I'll focus this post on kpop only, and then follow it up in a few days with khip hop...) Soooo....Several years ago, I was an avid reader of Perez Hilton's website. One day, as I scrolled through his latest posts, I came across a music video that would change my life.

The music was catchy. Like, instantly in your head, walking around the house singing the tune and dancing, catchy. And there was dancing! As you may or may not know, I'm a sucker for dance. I can't take my eyes off talented dancers. I grew up in the era of boy bands like N'Snyc and the Backstreet Boys. But I had NO idea boy bands could have so many members. I had no idea what I was getting myself into by watching this video:

"Sorry Sorry" by Super Junior

I soon "forgot" about this song and video. It wasn't until a year later that it resurfaced as one of my "recommended videos" on YouTube. When I watched it for the second time, I was totally hooked. I spent the next few months searching for and downloading a ton of Super Junior's songs. To this day, Sorry Sorry is still one of my all time favorite KPop songs.

After a few months of "all Super Junior, all the time" I decided to branch out into other Kpop groups. I quickly found SHINee. 

"Ring Ding Dong" by SHINee

Again with the dancing. SHINee is probably my all time favorite group in terms of choreography. They are ALWAYS perfectly together and their choreo can get pretty crazy/difficult.

I also discovered DBSK/TVXQ (Acronyms are key in kpop.) through this video:

"Mirotic" by DBSK/TVXQ

This is one of the only songs by them that I actually like. However, a few years after I discovered this song, 3 of the members left the group and formed a different group called JYJ. I happen to really like JYJ.

"Get Out" by JYJ

One of the members of JYJ is Junsu. The first song I heard from his solo career was Tarantallegra. The song is amazing. The video is perfect. It's not overtly sexual, but it's obviously erotic. Junsu sports several looks, including playing a female role. (Not like, "oh, there's a guy dressed in drag." More like, "wow, that woman is really pretty...Wait..What? That's a man? Well, he makes a very beautiful woman.")The female backup dancers have more curves than bones. (And they look FABULOUS!) The dance is out of this world. And the song title was taken from a Harry Potter spell. 

"Tarantallegra" by Junsu. 

After Tarantallegra, Junsu came out with Uncommitted. Love the song. The video is "eh." It works well with the song, but there's nothing really special about it. (Unless you count Junsu's blue hair, which I actually really like. )But the entire song is in English. And not just English, but good English.

So, around the time that I was listening to SHINee and DBSK and Super Junior, I discovered a couple of girl groups. First, was Girl's Generation aka SNSD. (Don't ask me what the acronym means, I honestly don't know.) 

"Genie" by Girl's Generation

Girl's Generation is not my favorite girl group of all time. Honestly, they aren't even in my top 5. I love a couple of their songs, but I find most of their music to be way too "cutesy" for my taste. I do, however, admire their (and all the other girl groups') ability to dance and sing in high heels without injuring themselves or others.

If Girl's Generation is the "barely clothed" prom queens, F(x) is their kind of weird, but way cooler little sister. (Literally. One of the girls in F(x) is the younger sister of one of the women in Girl's Generation.) I tend to like F(x) a lot more. Their music is less "baby cute." They also have a girl named Amber, who happens to get put in boy's clothes pretty much constantly. She usually has really cool short hair (I've actually taken in pictures of her to give my hairstylist an idea for cuts that I love.) and she gets to rap.

"Electric Shock" by F(x)

After several more months of rotating a few of these groups, I discovered Big Bang. My life will never be the same. They are the one kpop group that I love basically every song I've ever heard from them. They make a range of music from pop to hip hop and r&b. Most of them have successful solo careers. This group has had a series of controversies including the leader being accused of smoking weed, one of the other members had a sex scandal (read: he had a one night stand and the girl went to the media about it) and one of the members was involved in a car accident where the other driver was killed. Still, this is a resilient group. No matter what mistakes they make or what life throws at them, they try to stay focused on their music. They are also known for being trend-setters. There is no limit to the clothes/ hairstyles these guys will experiment with. After a while, you just learn not to question them. They can pull of almost anything they wear, if only because they have the confidence to wear it.

From baggy clothes and roller skates:

"Lies" by Big Bang

To suits and tommy guns:

"Tell Me Goodbye" by Big Bang

To seaweed hair, multicolored motorcycle jackets, and ice cream hair:

"Fantastic Baby" by Big Bang

Some of their solo careers have been pretty successful. Most notably G-Dragon:

"Heartbreaker" by G-Dragon

"Crayon" by G-Dragon

And TaeYang

"Only Look at Me" by TaeYang

"Wedding Dress" by TaeYang

One of my all time favorite songs by Big Bang is called "Foolish Love." There is a line that is repeated throughout the song. "Everything's gonna be alright." This is one of the handful of songs that I crawl into when I'm having a bad day or I'm upset about something. Sometimes you just need to hear that everything's gonna be alright.

"Foolish Love" by Big Bang

This song has given me peace during a broken heart, helped me fall asleep when I have insomnia and calmed my nerves in stressful situations. This song is amazing.

After falling in love with Big Bang, I was introduced to their "sister group," 2NE1. These women are my favorite girl group of all time. They are so talented. Their music isn't the typical "cutesy/sexy." They are a modern day Spice Girls. They are the friends that every woman needs. They will bust out the ice cream and alcohol when you get dumped. (After keying your ex's car, of course.) They will remind you of how beautiful you really are when you hate your body. They will encourage you to become an astronaut or an artist or a cop. Whatever intrigues you at that moment. They will make you laugh. They will take you out dancing and give you a makeover. They are the friends you come to trust and rely on for everything.

"I Don't Care" by 2NE1

"Go Away" by 2NE1

"Ugly" by 2NE1

"I am the Best" by 2NE1

There are a ton of other groups in kpop that I listen to and even more that I don't. But I think that's a pretty good start. 

Kpop is a great genre of music. It's got variety, catchy tunes, and killer dances. It's great to listen to in the car, or when you are trying to go to sleep. There are probably hundreds if not thousands of kpop groups and I've only scratched the surface of them. The lyrics are mostly Korean, with a few English phrases mixed in. But it's fun to sing to, none-the less. 

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Choosing happiness...

Spring is here. The weather is beautiful. The semester is almost over. Summer is near. And I can't stop smiling and laughing. It's like, all of a sudden, I'm let myself be happy. Enjoy the moment.

I'm looking back on this past semester. I've learned so much. I've had so many great experiences. From volunteering at KC Fashion Week to having some of my art on display in my school's art gallery. I've met some really amazing/funny/talented/inspirational people. I've remembered what it's like to be silly with (new) people. I've learned to dance as I draw in art class. (It helps. Trust me.) I've learned to get up in front of my peers and give speeches with confidence. I've learned how to ask question after question and then ask another question just to make sure I understand. I've remembered how to let my guard down without fear of being hurt. I've learned how to see the beauty in the challenges I face. I've come to realize that I can learn a lot from people I would have dismissed before.

A lot of this learning comes from just CHOOSING to find the happiness in each day. When you stop putting up barriers, you can let so much GOOD in. When you choose to say "good morning" to people instead of hiding behind your phone, people generally say "good morning" back to you. When you let people see who you really are, they, in turn, will do the same. If you go out into the world looking for the good, you WILL find it. But you must learn to LOOK.

Maybe life isn't perfect. Maybe you are having a bad day. Life can still be good. You can still be happy overall. Maybe it's the silly things. Surrounding yourself with people who make you laugh. Learning about things that interest you. Watching Bill Murray and Tom Hanks movies on a Saturday. Cheering on your favorite sports team. Falling in love with a thousand people you'll probably never meet. Finding your perfect song to sing in the car. There is something to be said about choosing to be happy.

Sometimes, you just gotta be happy. It's amazing how great it can feel to just let yourself find happiness. In this moment. In this place. Choose to be happy, and you WILL be happy.

Monday, April 22, 2013

The true price of terrorism. Can we ever just take a break?

A week ago today, two young men set off bombs at the Boston Marathon. I won't go over the details because, as of today, many details are unclear and those that ARE clear can be found easily through your favorite search engine. Aside from that, the Boston Marathon bombing ISN'T the purpose of this post. I have been examining my thoughts on the effects of terrorism for the last several weeks. I've tried to organize my thoughts and examine why I, personally, am so upset. (Parts of this post are taken directly from a conversation I had with my best friend over Facebook dealing with our confusion over these recent events. All of the comments/ thoughts are my own, not the comments or opinions of others in that post.)

It's very difficult to put into words how I, and many other Americans, feel in a post 9/11 America. Before 9/11, we had this false sense of security. I remember being so confused on 9/11. I remember asking, "who would be stupid enough to attack America?!" In my (16 year old) mind, we were the greatest, most powerful country in the world. Anyone who attacked us would have to be an idiot. Now, many years later, I understand how naive I was on 9/11. I understand that the reason that one act of terrorism was able to affect us so much was because of that simple naivety. This was so devastating to us because we truly believed we couldn't be touched.

So much has changed since then. I did a post a while back on how 9/11 changed our lives. One thing I didn't mention in that post (mainly because at the time, I hadn't realized it) was how much more angry Americans are now. I believe that is one of the biggest prices of terrorism.  Americans have become so angry since 9/11. Maybe I just never paid attention before that. But since then, I've noticed how angry we are as a country. Between religion, politics, gay marriage, abortion rights, gun laws, immigration, racism, sexism, the economy, terrorism, bullying, etc. You just can't get away from all the fighting. It's exhausting. And maybe social media and the internet and the 24 hour news coverage with the ticker at the bottom of the screen all play a part. But it just seems that the only thing that "brings up together" is tragedy. But even that only lasts a few minutes before we are at each others throats. I've noticed it in myself. I'm angry. I read the news stories about rape victims having video of their attacks shared online, and people wanting to arm every American with an arsenal of guns because they will somehow magically protect us from the "bad guys." And I'm angry. And it scares me that I'm this angry. I'm angry because I feel like everyone is falling apart. This country is falling apart, and I can see it. And I WANT to help put it back together. But I don't know how. I don't know how to take away all the hatred and the fear and the blood-lust that seems to spread like wildfire. And I guess that's the true effect of terrorism. I don't want to live in a post 9/11 America anymore, because we have forgotten why this country used to be great. It used to be a land of freedom and the American dream. And it's devolved into constant bickering. Americans seem to hate each other almost as much as the terrorists we so loathe. We are turning into the people we hate instead of realizing that their way; constant war, feuding, intolerance and hatred, is NOT the American way.

Going back to the Boston Marathon bombing, once the second bomber was caught, everyone got so excited. "It's over!" The nation sighed a breath of relief. But it never really IS over, is it? Because each time we breathe a sigh of relief that we've caught this week's villain, another one steps up to take his place. I think that part of the reason I can't get all excited. Because I know in a few weeks or months, someone else will attack and kill innocent people. And the American people will be shocked and horrified until we catch/kill that guy. But we never learn anything. As a country, we aren't making an effort to understand it all. We blame it on religion or a mental illness and move on. But we never want to look closer at the situation. We never learn anything except how to be angry and hateful and paranoid. We need to start asking more questions and digging deeper instead of just writing if off as a religious terrorist or a crazy person. There is more to this. People don't plan terrorist attacks overnight. They don't just wake up one morning and decide to bomb a marathon or shoot up a school. There is a path that has lead them to that point and we need to start looking for it.

When the second bomber was caught, I remember reading comment after comment about how we should just kill him. Don't give him a trial. Don't ask him any questions. Just kill him. It scares me to think that this is what our country has become. In no way do I condone what he and his brother did. They murdered innocent people. They injured over a hundred people. And they took away a sense of safety from the people of Boston and this entire country. But if your solution to that is to just kill them without a second thought, I can't agree with you. This kid is 19 years old. He's lived here for over ten years. He has friends and family and he (until a few days ago) was a college student. This kid is a human being. And unless we want to devolve into terrorists ourselves, we need to start remembering the value of ALL human life. Not just the lives of those we approve of. Do I think he should be punished? Of course I do. But killing him in anger isn't a punishment. It's just a way to make ourselves feel better for a few minutes. Does it solve anything? No. Do we learn anything from killing? No. But we lose so much. This country prides itself on being "better" than other countries. We have a moral compass. So, what happens when we throw that moral compass out the window and start flying blind? We become what we hate.

We need to do what we can to understand what path these young men took to become terrorists. We need to look at how mass shooters become mass shooters. What can we do to prevent anyone else from taking these paths? What can we do to protect ourselves from the people we can't "save" from this life? We need to take a look at ourselves and our own anger and learn how to control it. We need to learn the difference between justice and vengeance. We need to work toward becoming a great country again instead of throwing out our ideals to indulge in our anger and fear. Because if we don't, this country will continue to fall in on itself.

Tuesday, April 09, 2013

Sporting KC and The Victory Project

Late last summer, my best friend got me hooked on the local professional soccer team, Sporting KC. Now, I'm not a "sports" girl. Never have been. I generally find sports to be boring and drawn out. (Seriously, why does a football game have to last like 4 hours?!) But I kept going over to her apartment and she always had the Sporting game playing in the background. Before I knew what had happened to me, I was in love. The games last roughly 90 minutes (time can be added before half-time or at the end of the game to cover stoppage time.) and the clock doesn't stop for injuries or to "reset." The games are INTENSE. The players run run run the entire time. Whether intentionally or accidentally, players get pushed down, stepped on, or kicked by the other team. They fight to win and make this city proud. And this team has heart. You can see it in their faces when they are disappointed in themselves and you can see it when they dance, flip and slide all over the field when they score. 

But there is something else that I love about Sporting. The guys on the team as well as the managers, owners, etc, all love this city and it's people. They love the fans. Team captain and goalkeeper Jimmy Nielsen has been known to play pickup games with little kids in the park. Aurelien Collin gives his game jersey to a fan at ever won home game. Whether they win or lose, the players always take to Twitter to thank the fans for our support. They thank us for being part of this team and for cheering them on to victory and supporting them even when they don't win. When they are on their way back to Kansas City, they let us know they are coming "home." 

To many people, the players calling KC "home" might not be a big thing. But to a lot of us, it means so much. We all know this isn't a big "exciting" city. And it's not a city known for great professional sports teams. (Google the Chiefs and the Royals) So, to have our players like this city and it's people, it means a lot to us. We don't want to be the place that players hate to live. We don't want our professional athletes to be miserable the entire time they're here. So, to hear them say that they love this city or that they love a certain neighborhood or restaurant, it makes us happy. We want our players to be happy here. Whether they choose to live out the rest of their careers here or only spend a few years with us, we want them to enjoy their time here and feel like they belong here.

So, my heart melted this morning while checking my Facebook account, and saw this link. Sporting KC has started a project called the Victory Project to help raise money for local kids battling cancer. 100% of all donations go straight to helping children with cancer. This is such a great way for all of us to get involved and help out some great kids. At the time of this posting, Victory Project is raising money for an 8 year old boy named, Xander. He has a brain tumor that is causing blindness in one eye and partial vision loss in the other eye. The money raised to help Xander will be used to purchase a Topaz CCTV to help him keep up with his school work at home. It magnifies the screen so Xander will be able to see his work. This is such a great cause and I encourage anyone and everyone to donate if you can.

To learn more about the Victory Project or to donate, head on over to Victory Project.

Tuesday, April 02, 2013

Is "buying American" un-American?

This semester, I'm taking a speech class. For my persuasive speech (final speech of the semester! HOLLA!) I'm talking about the importance of buying American made products. Quick info on why I chose this topic:

I'm an apparels and textiles major. Basically, my classes center a lot around manufacturing, buying and selling different types of garments. I'm learning to construct clothes, I'm learning about the history of the fashion industry, and I'm also learning about international trading. For one of my classes this semester, I had to learn the basics of the foreign fashion markets and their effect on the domestic market. As I was nose deep in info about the difference between bootleg and counterfeit goods, duty fees, trade agreements and import quotas, I found out I had to do a persuasive speech for my speech class. In my sheer insanity, I decided to kill two birds with one stone, so to speak, and do my speech on the importance of buying "American." I had just read in my Aparells book that the United States is number one in the entire world for buying imports but doesn't really compete in exports. Frankly speaking, we just don't make stuff to sell internationally. This, for those of us "in the know" is called a trade deficit and can greatly affect the economy. (Read: NEGATIVELY AFFECT)

Before I go any further, I want to clarify: I strongly believe that it's important to purchase internationally manufactured products AS WELL as American made goods. Frankly, the international markets give us a variety of fabrics, technologies and innovations that we just can't get in domestically made goods. It also helps the global economy, which in turn, can help our national economy. There is nothing wrong with purchasing goods made overseas in addition to buying domestically made products. The problem is, when everything we purchase comes from other countries, American workers are getting the shaft. (Not to mention, cheaper prices on imports can also mean cheaper or unsafe products. We've all had the clothes that tear or fall apart after just a few wears and we all know about the recalls on lead-laced toys.)

So, I have just embarked on my adventure into the world of researching American made products. After a simple Google search of "Why buy American?" I stumbled across several sites instructing me that buying American is simply "Un-American." I'm sorry...What? Apparently, America was founded on capitalism (silly me, I always thought it was founded on ideals such as "life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness" but what do I know? I was only born and raised here.) which we all know is about getting every last dollar without spending a dime...Or is it?

Capitalism is defined as: an economic system in which investment in and ownership of the means of production, distribution, and exchange of wealth is made and maintained chiefly by private individuals or corporations, especially as contrasted to cooperatively or state-owned means of wealth. (

Let me re-read that one..."in which investment in and ownership of the means of production, distribution, and exchange of wealth..." Whoa whoa whoa there! You mean capitalism isn't just about sucking every single cent out of something without spending a dime?! Well, call me confused!

Buying American IS the American way. Because buying American is about more than saving a few pennies here and there. (Companies pay duty fees for goods imported into the United States. This is to give domestically made products a fighting chance against imported goods. Basically, you are paying to import something into the country, which brings the overall "cost" of imported goods up to a rate closer to that of domestically made goods.) Buying American is about taking pride in your homeland. It's about helping out your neighbor. It's about supporting ethical treatment of employees.

There's a reason that imported goods can come cheap. Workers in foreign countries are often forced to work in inhumane conditions. (Google search "Bangladesh factory fire" to learn more about unsafe conditions in the factories that your favorite Walmart clothes come from.) Many work six to seven days a week, for more than 14 hours a day in unsafe conditions and all for very little pay. Many of those workers are children. There is a reason that Americans started creating workers' unions and child labor laws in the early 1900s.

Buying American means paying American workers competitive wages for quality goods. Yes, you might spend a few more bucks, or have to search a little harder. But with the constant fear of unemployment rates and unsafe goods, wouldn't you rather spend a couple extra dollars at the checkout for a little peace of mind? Wouldn't you rather give some money to your friends and neighbors to help jumpstart our economy?

Probably the easiest way to do this is to purchase local. Whether it's locally grown produce or shopping at a small boutique in the city, it's a great way to not only purchase American made goods, but also a way to truly become part of your community. Get to know the tomato guy at the farmer's market or the lady who sells handmade jewelry at the local craft fair. We, as Americans, owe it to ourselves and to our country to start taking pride in how we spend our money.

So, next time a major holiday, birthday or anniversary rolls around, do us all a favor and buy something made in America along with that new ipad.

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

25 Facts...

So, a former classmate/ facebook friend of mine did a blog post of 25 facts about herself. I thought that sounded like a good way to get myself back into the blogosphere. So, thanks Lacey for the idea!

1. I have an unnatural fear of people in masks.

2. When I eat sweets, I have to eat something salty afterwards.

3. I'm terrified that if I start dating someone, I'll be forced to sacrifice my dreams and goals for my relationship.

4.When I was a little kid, I wanted to be two things: Reba McEntire and a Power Ranger.

5. I hate seafood because of the texture.

6. I laugh in my sleep. I've woken myself up on several occasions.

7. I love being a student. I'm always happiest when I have structure and am learning.

8. I've had the same best friend for around 12 years.

9. I got a concussion from hitting my head on the refrigerator door.

10. I love Korean pop and Korean Hip Hop.

11. I hate waking up early.

12. I've fallen in love with the same man twice. Once when I was 16. The other time when I was 26. He broke my heart both times.

13. I have two older sisters and an older brother. The four of us are totally different, yet somehow the same.

14. I love to laugh.

15. I clench my jaws in my sleep. It gives me frequent headaches.

16. I am terrified of water. If I get into a pool, I start having trouble breathing before the water even reaches my chest.

17. I want to travel the world and be changed by it.

18. I love fried foods.

19. I made my first ever snowman when I was 28 years old. It was a Hello Kitty snowman.

20. I used to be in love with a co-worker who was Mormon. It broke my heart when I realized  that religion was the only thing that stood between us pursuing a relationship.

21. I love making lists. It helps calm me down.

22. I love wearing dresses. They make me feel feminine.

23. I would much rather have a movie day at my best friend's apartment than go to a big party with a bunch of drunken acquaintances.

24. I believe in ghosts.

25. I believe that each person has a small group of "soul mates" but they aren't romantic partners. They are the friends who choose to stand beside us in life. They are the people who shape us into a better version of ourselves.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Settle down...

It's been way too long since I've updated, but a lot has been going on these past few months. Blogging just hasn't been on my mind.

Where to start...Where to start....

The last time I posted, I was working in a restaurant. I ended up quitting and going back to my old job as a temp. It came down to knowing I was giving up every weekend for the entire summer, dealing with drunks, homeless people, and the cops every night I worked, and only getting paid nine dollars an hour for my trouble. Getting a paycheck every two weeks, and not being able to afford my car payment with an entire paycheck was the final straw. I swallowed my pride, went to my old job and signed up to be a temp. I've been back for a few months, and it's back to normal. I get paid weekly. I can afford my bills. I work (mostly) 40 hour weeks. I'm home before 4:30 every day.

I've started taking a hip hop dance class again. I'm still terrible at it, but I love it.

I passed all my classes last semester! I don't remember if I posted that on here or not. I'm enrolled in only one class this semester. English 101. I started the semester this week. It's strange to have only one class each week, instead of being in class everyday. However, I feel that if I really want to pass my English class, I need to focus on it instead of juggling several classes. I had my first class last night, and I think I'm going to hate it. My teacher is a scatter-brain. This wouldn't be an issue if it was a creative writing class where you are encouraged to free-think and let your mind travel where it wants to go. But this is a composition class. Essay writing is difficult. Everything must be precise. So, having a teacher who can't focus is going to be difficult. Oh well, only 15 weeks left.

Now that I've got the easy stuff out of the way, I guess it's time for the "real" stuff.

Right after I started back at my old job, I got the news that my dad has cancer. The dreaded "c-word." No one likes hearing that word. It's a frightening subject. My dad was in surgery just days after he found out he had cancer. The doctors removed about half of his bladder. He was in and out of the hospital several times after. He got an infection. After they put him on meds to kill the infection and sent him home, he had a severe allergic reaction to the medication and was back in the hospital. It seems like he can go about a week fine, but then something happens and he's sick again. The surgery removed the cancer and he was told to come back in six weeks for a follow-up to make sure the cancer stayed gone. He had his check-up last week, and it seems that the cancer has come back. It's not as much as before, but it's growing fast. We are waiting on test results to know where to go from here. I hate waiting. I hate not knowing what the future holds. It's difficult for me to take this one day at a time. I spend most days blocking it out. It's what I do best.

This is my self-defense mechanism. Whenever things are too difficult for me to handle, I just block it out. Go to a place in my head where life is normal and easy. A place where I can be happy and stress-free.

While all of this was going on, my nephew's father died unexpectedly. I won't go into details, but it was a shock for my sister. As if dealing with our father's cancer wasn't enough, now she has to figure out how to tell her son that he will never know HIS father. He's less than a year old now, but someday, he's going to want to know what happened to his dad. Needless to say, it's been a stressful few months for my family.

The one bright side to this summer had to be the zombie run. I DID IT! I can't believe I actually did it. Especially since we really didn't train for it much. The run wasn't bad, more like a strenuous hike through the woods, tripping over logs and sticks. The zombies were awesome! Nothing like coming to a clearing in the woods and seeing an open field full of zombies! The obstacles were the killer for me. Climbing walls, running through mud (or face-planting if you're me), crawling under electrified fences. Add in running from zombies and you've got a good time! I'm so glad my team and I had matching shirts. The second everyone starts running through the field of zombies, it's total chaos. It helped so much to be able to look around and see the royal blue shirts of my teammates and know they were still with me. I will no doubt be doing the run again next year. Maybe this year, I'll actually train a little bit more!

I guess that's the update for now. I'd like to say I'll update at least once a week from now on, but I doubt that I actually will. I will try to make it more of a regular thing, instead of once every several months.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Mommy wars...

So, I have recently started reading STFUParents. It's a website dedicated to the stupid/annoying things parents post on their fb. There are instances of "mommy jacking," i.e.-One person posts a status update saying they are waiting on cancer test results and it's stressful. A friend comments how they know EXACTLY how they feel, as they are waiting on test results to see if they are having a boy or a girl. (Basically, any post involving, "Oh, that sucks for you. Now back to me and my baby stuff!" Even when the mom is posting on someone else's status update.) There are "gross out factor" posts, which involve, "My kid just pooped the runniest poop ever." There are posts about mama drama. There are posts involving moms who think they are the greatest person ever just for having a baby.

This website is addicting in the fact that it reminds me no matter how annoyed or grossed out I may get by the things some of my friends post about their kids, it can always be worse. It also makes me feel like I'm not alone in thinking there are just some things that you don't need to post on facebook.

Earlier, as I was playing on stfu parents, I somehow stubbled upon another blog which had this post. Now, I'll admit, I was warned ahead of time that this post had come off as offensive. Not because the content wasn't safe for work, or was of a sexual nature or anything like that. It was offensive because it was so one sided and mean. I encourage you to read it and let me know what you think.

Here's my take on the post:

"T.V. does not rot little brains"
     Now, I'm not one to judge others for sitting their kids in front of the tv while they cook dinner or to get a few minutes peace. Do I think it's ok to allow your kids to watch tv all day every day? No. It squanders their imagination. Active minds are more creative and engaging. Children should be outside using their imagination. They should be learning the alphabet or colors or shapes. Regular excessive television viewing can lead to childhood obesity. Also, it all depends on what your child is watching. Dora the Explorer is one thing. But if your child is watching talk shows, soap operas or shows that are just too "mature" in any way, it's not doing them any good. And if you want to say tv doesn't effect your child, I better not see you in ten years blaming tv (or music) for ruining the youth of America (or any other country for that matter).

"I've been parenting for longer than you like 90 years."
     I understand that since I don't have kids, there are going to be things I don't know how to do. That being said, I have 6 nieces and nephews. I have baby sat every one of them from time to time. In a pinch, I can change a diaper, (not well, but I know the basics.) I can make a bottle. I can rock them to sleep. I can read them a story. I can play zombie games. I can play tea party. Do I know every little thing about being a parent? No. That doesn't mean I know nothing about kids. In fact, some of the people who are best at understanding kids, are people who don't actually have kids. Um, hello? Supernanny. And frankly, there are tons of people out there who have kids, but don't know the first thing about being a parent.

"I'd like to hear something redeeming."
     If you want me to praise your kids, make sure they are praise-worthy. I won't tell you that you kid is really well behaved if he just punched me in the face. Sorry, not going to happen.

"I have been beaten into submission."
     And you a better mother for it? I doubt it. I work at a job that has beaten me into submission. Am I better at my job for it? No. I'm easily annoyed, upset and stressed through my entire shift. None of which are great qualities for an employee.

"It's rude to offer parenting advice, unless specifically asked."
     I can understand this, but remember, that's a two way street. I won't offer parenting advice, but I expect you not to offer advice on my life choices unless specifically asked. This means, I don't need your opinion on my singledom, my lack of kids, or my choice of college or jobs. Unwanted advice of any kind, is usually considered rude. Also, consider that many people are actively trying to have children, but have been unsuccessful. Asking them why they are waiting or if they want kids comes off as a judgement. If that person wants a child, but is unable to conceive, those comments are hurtful and cruel. Keep that in mind.

"I wish you a difficult child."
     Wow. I don't even know what to say to that.

"Please don't tell me how tired you are."
     Oh, yes, because only parents know how to be tired. Forget the people who work full time jobs and go to school. Forget the people with chronic insomnia. Forget the people with financial stresses or difficult family situations. It's not like any of that wears down the body or mind.

The entire post seems so "holier than thou," as do many of the comments. Having a child doesn't make you better than those without children. Not having children doesn't make you any better than those who do. It means that you made a choice (or had a little surprise, whatever.) to have a child, where as I made a choice not to have one. Please don't tell me that I'll understand once I have kids. I'm sure that I will to an extent. But that comment alone is very condescending. There is nothing wrong with me for choosing to wait to have children. It's not a priority for me yet. I am choosing to put myself through school. I am choosing to spend some time abroad. I am choosing to spend my time and money on myself. This may seem selfish. Maybe it is. But it's my decision. And as long as I'm not pushing my selfish will on others, I don't see it as a problem. Isn't it better for me to enjoy my life and try to grow and enrich myself now, so that when I do decide to have children, I can be a better, happier mother?

I am in no way trying to offend people with children. Most of the people I surround myself with have children. (And I adore those children.) This post is not directed to any of those people, because frankly, they have never offended me for my lack of children. This is just my own opinion as a non-parent.

Do you agree with my opinions? I'd love to get feedback from both parents and non-parents alike. As a non-parent, I can only see the world from my side of the fence. Parents, are there any things that non-parents say that annoy or offend you?

Sunday, April 29, 2012

They're coming to get you, Barbara!

Guess who's about to start training for a 5k! Now, I have a strict policy on running. My policy is that the ONLY reason to run, is if you're being zombies. "So, why are you training for a 5k then?" Because I've found a 5k that PROVIDES the zombies. Oh yes. I said it. I'm going to run a race where I will be chased by zombies. There's also an obstacle course that includes lots of mud, water and maybe a little blood for good measure.

A few days ago, my friend posted a link on her facebook to the "Run for your lives" website. They have races all over the country. They are awesome. My brother in law has already agreed to run the race with me. His wife (my sister) is bringing my nephew to watch us run for our lives. The whole family is pumped. 

This race is perfect for me. It's not a "straight down the road" race. This is a run through the woods, dodging zombies, getting dirty, doesn't matter who wins, just don't get "infected" practice apocalypse. Part horror movie, part old school playtime, this race is my dream come true. 

From what I understand, you get flags to wear around your waist. Just like in flag football, the "zombies" objective is to take your flag. If you lose your flags during the race, you become "infected." You still get to run the race, you still get a prize. But we all know the race isn't about prizes. It's about surviving. 

I haven't been this pumped to exercise since....Well, probably ever. I hate working out. I have always wanted to find some sort of exercise that can get me moving without making me realize I'm working out. I think I've found my sport. I can't wait for this race. 

Bring on the apocalypse! 

Saturday, April 28, 2012

Oh mom...

Several months ago, I went through one of the most difficult and frightening days of my life.

I was sitting at a stoplight. It was mid-day and I had just gotten my car inspected and the oil changed. Sitting at the light, I took a drink of my Dr. Pepper. I slightly turned to put the can in the cup holder. As I turned back, I glanced in my rear-view mirror. That's when I saw the jeep behind me start to jolt forward. A durango had come over the hill, and didn't slow down for the light. Before I knew what was happening, I saw the durango push the jeep out of the way and slam into me. I couldn't do anything. I was blocked in on all sides, there was no where for me to avoid being hit. As the durango slammed into my mini cooper, I spit my Dr. Pepper all over myself and the steering wheel. I sat for a few seconds in shock.

Skip forward 20 minutes and I'm sitting on the sidewalk trying not to move as a cop is asking me what happened. I'm calm. I can handle this. But I can't. Because I see it in my mind. I play it in my mind as I recall that accident. But every time I see the durango in my mind, I see it coming for me, and I feel that fear. The fear that says, "I won't walk away from this." I can't stop the tears. Everytime I try to recall what happened, I start to cry. The ambulance shows up. They put me on the backboard, and I'm calm. I have to be calm. And I am. Until they ask what happened. Then, I'm crying again. In the ambulance, I hear the radio, I hear the monitors, I hear the emts talking. I want to close my eyes, but I can't. Because everytime I do, I see it and start crying again.

I'm wheeled through the er. Nurses ask me questions. "What's your name? What year is it?" I'm calm. Until they ask me what happened. And I'm crying again. I'm scared. I shouldn't be going through this alone. "What's your social security number?" I know this. How many times have I had to know it from memory? But I can't remember it. The numbers get jumbled and I can't figure out the right combination.

I'm in the waiting room, watching for my sister to pick me up. There she is, and for a few minutes, I'm going to be ok. Seeing her there, I can be calm. I'm not seriously injured. I'm joking about being covered in Dr. Pepper.  We get to the house, and she wants to come in.

My mother has just had surgery a few weeks before. She's laying on the couch in serious pain. Before I can even gather my head, she's laying face down on the bathroom floor. She's in and out of consciousness and barely breathing. I'm sitting in the hall terrified that I'm watching my mom die right in front of me and there's nothing I can do. The ambulance is on the way, but I'm so scared they won't make it in time.

My sister is better at dealing with emergencies than I am. Most people are. I never know what to do. "Get a cold rag." I would never think of that on my own. She's instructing me to do things. I know that if I were here in this situation alone, I would have no idea what to do. I would collapse in the hallway and watch my mother die. Not because I want to. I'm petrified in this situation. I freeze. I don't know how to be comforting. I don't know how to think. I shut down. My fear takes hold and I'm powerless against it.

Hours later, we are all surrounding my mom in her hospital room. She's awake and asleep. The machine beeps...beeps....beeps...Then, it sounds like an alarm is going off. I stop breathing. This machine "alarms" every few minutes. But I can't handle this alarm. Because everytime it goes off, I think my mom is dead. And I start crying again. I'm crying silently until my aunt notices. She hugs me, and I lose it. Nothing anyone could say would make me feel better. I need air.

Sitting outside of the hospital, it's a pretty day out. Not too hot, not too cold. The sun is shinning. The wind is blowing. It dries my eyes and gives me something to focus on. But sooner or later, I'll have to go back into that hospital room. Eventually, I do. More siblings have arrived. My sister is having contractions, but it's just dehydration.

The night ends with all of us heading home. My mom still in the hospital. She had internal bleeding, but it stopped. I breathe a sigh, knowing she's going to make it through the night.

Even now, everytime I think about that day, I cry. It's probably the most terrified I've ever been about something "real." This wasn't unnatural anxieties. This wasn't monsters under the bed. To this day, I'm still terrified.

Something that struck me that day is how alone I felt. In the ambulance, in the er, in the hallway, in the hospital, I felt as if I was standing against hell on my own. I don't manage trauma well. I internalize everything. I refuse to burden others with my emotions or fears. But at the same time, I'm unable to hold it together. I can't function and figure things out logically. I need time to process everything.

I will not cry in front of anyone if I can help it. I remember feeling weak because it seemed like all I COULD do that day was cry. I'll never forgive myself for losing it that day. I'll never forgive myself for failing to keep it together. I'll never be able to repay my sister for being strong and carrying the world for me that day.

Thursday, April 26, 2012

I'm not what I've become...

Today, I'm dealing with a feeling that I experience a lot of. I don't often talk about it, especially with people outside of a close group of friends and family. Over the years, this issue has been a large problem in my life.

I have anxiety. The anxiety that I feel varies on a day to day basis, but it is always a struggle to overcome.

I began to realize my anxiety was becoming a severe issue several years ago. I was in my early 20's and had otherwise been a normal, well adjusted "adult." I had never really noticed how bad my anxiety was getting until I chose to go to a concert alone. This was something I had done in the past from time to time. Most of my close friends were away at college and couldn't come into town for random shows.  I went in, sat down in a random bar chair, and waited for the show to start. Once it did, I wanted to get closer to the stage, but my anxiety held me back. I felt like, if I got up and moved, people would look at me and judge me. Instead of being judged, I chose to stay where I was at.

A few months later, I was going to visit a friend in Chicago. A small group of us were going. I was pumped to see my friend and explore Chicago. Only one problem: I had never flown. The night before our flight, I couldn't sleep. I wasn't worried that our plan would crash. I wasn't worried about terrorists. I was absolutely terrified that the plan would take off, and I would freak out for no reason. Obviously, this is not a normal fear to have. When we arrived at the airport that morning, I was in a panic. Waiting in line to check in, I could feel my heart pounding. It got so bad, I actually considered getting out of line, calling my dad to come pick me up, and skipping my trip to Chicago. If my friends hadn't been there with me, I would have. But I didn't want to look like a chicken, so I stuck it out. Turns out, I love to fly, Chicago is a great city, and I had tons of fun visiting my friend.

That was a turning point for me. I had to get help and figure out a way to deal with my issues. I won't go into all that went into figuring things out. That's a post for another day. You may be wondering if my anxiety is as bad today as it was back then. The only answer I can really give is that I have to take each day as it comes. Most days, the anxiety is minimal and I can handle it pretty easily. I've learned that keeping to a routine and being able to know what is going on beforehand is probably what gets me through most days.

That last part is why I am having anxiety today. In my last post, I talked about my new job. Starting a new job is stressful, especially when it deals with two things that give me the most anxiety: the public and phones. What is it about dealing with the public and phones gives me anxiety? Simply put, everything. One thing I loved about my old job was that I didn't have to deal with customers. If I screwed up, my boss dealt with me. But when you work with the public, there are times when they yell at you. Sometimes, they ask questions that you don't know the answer to. It's a whole multitude of unknowns that terrify me.

Phones terrify me because of the same unknowns. When it rings, my heart starts to race, my palms get sweaty, my lungs tighten and my face begins to flush. Who is calling? What will they want? What if I accidentally hang up on them or give them the wrong answer? What if I can't hear them clearly? Right now, my palms are sweaty just thinking about this. These fears don't just hold true for work phones. Those closest to me know that if they want to get a hold of me, they need to text me. If my cell phone rings, I won't answer it. It doesn't matter if it's my best friend or my mom. I will send it to voice-mail. There are exceptions to the rules. I am getting better about answering the phone when it's someone close to me.

So, how am I dealing with the new job, knowing I can't avoid two of my biggest anxiety triggers? A huge part of this is reminding myself that if I can't wrangle my fears on a simple job, I'll never be able to move to the other side of the world. It helps by just making me suck it up and do it, but the stress is still there. The night I had my first training session, I was a basket-case in the car. I walked in and could barely speak. After I got a little more used to the women that were training me, I began to joke with them. I got called in to work for tonight. It's supposed to be pretty busy and they needed a little extra help. My stomach is wiggly and I've been feeling pretty nervous all day. I know that once I'm there a while, I'll be fine. Mostly, just getting myself there is the hardest part.

In my day to day life, I end up forcing myself to do things I don't want to do in order to live a somewhat normal life. When people first meet me, I don't come off as having anxiety. I might seem a little shy or reserved at first, but I'm usually pretty personable. I find it pretty easy to joke and laugh with people I've just met.

I have big dreams and goals of traveling and owning my own business. I'm covered in tattoos and I change my hair color or style more than most people change their sheets. Sometimes, I don't understand how I'm able to tackle these things with ease, yet can't do simple things without a mini-meltdown. Will I ever be able to just jump into situations without the fear? I can't answer that. All I really know is that I won't let my anxiety hold me back from the things I truly want. Life is for living and even though that's a struggle sometimes, I plan on living as much as I can.