Curiouser & Curiouser

Life’s short. Get curious.

Keeping the Dream Alive January 8, 2011

Filed under: adulthood,happiness,life,thoughts,work — curiouserx2 @ 5:08 am
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So….. I had an interview today. And it’s awful, truly awful because: I REALLY WANT THIS.

Goals are fantastic, as are dreams. But wanting things really, really badly? That’s a double edged sword, mes amis. On the one side, having a great drive and passion toward something gives you courage and pushes you to be your best in order to attain that something you want. On the other, you have to be prepared for the worst (i.e. not attaining it). Not getting the “Snack Bar Attendant” position at your local country club is easily laughed off. Not getting something you really want can scratch even the thickest skin.

You might recall a certain girl who had a certain tryst with a certain online reviewing community (cough, cough… Yelp!… cough) about a year ago. You also might recall how she rose through the ranks from out-of-town underdog to 4th-interview finalist for a community manager position in Raleigh. What you won’t recall, however (because I breezed right over this part), was that same girl getting some very bad news on Christmas Eve and crying into her parents’ guest room pillows because she didn’t want them to know how destroyed she was. (And if you’re new here and don’t know what in god’s name I’m talking about, here’s a refresher: https://curiouserx2.wordpress.com/2009/12.)

This time I’m doing my best to take a different approach to things, or at least to get myself in a slightly more shatterproof mindset. If nothing else, I’m starting to get a much better handle now on a professional direction for myself. This position (which will remain nameless… sorry) bears a striking resemblance to Yelp’s community manager. Between these two I’m drawing the lines and connecting the dots, and they’re creating an image of “My Dream Job.” It’s one thing to know what you’re good at (I write, I take great photos, I dig meeting new people, I dig people in general, I love fashion, I like to work out, I love good food…) and quite another to figure out how all of these piece of you can be amalgamated into a career. A good place to start is keeping a mental list of all the times you REALLY WANTED SOMETHING. Or even the times you got remotely excited about an opportunity. Or, for that matter, to make a list of the companies you love and respect and to start looking into how your unique blend of talents might be put to good use to further their missions. Maybe you’ll have to go out on a limb. Maybe there’s a move in your future. Maybe you need to do something that scares you a little.

Maybe (and I’m stealing this idea, but I *love* it) , you should do one thing that scares you every day.

I did my thing today. Did you?

 

In Which I Return to Reality January 3, 2011

Happy 2011, everyone!

Tis I, your favorite unemployed writer/photographer/adventurer extraordinaire returned from the jungles of our nation’s capital and beyond. After three weeks of fairly solid R&R (my definition of which is admittedly a bit wonky and includes exploring the frigid streets of New York and Washington, learning to run hills because northern Virginia’s Escheresque laws of physics cause streets to only run on a steep, perpetual incline, and holiday activities such as taking our car to the mechanic twice and baking 657 cookies that I couldn’t eat  due to my Christmas-crushing wheat allergy….), I’m returning to reality with superhuman motivation.

Par example: In three weeks’ time, the cats had transformed our cozy little apartment into a DEN OF DESTRUCTION. It was like a feline Lord of the Flies – reduced to their primal instincts in order to survive (never mind we have automatic feeders and a friend was checking on them every other day…), they’d removed two-thirds of the Christmas ornaments from our tree and hid them strategically (or not) around the house, dragged the faux moss from one of our houseplants into their litter box and somehow managed to track litter into *every* corner of the house.

But, with the precision of two seasoned cat owners, Jeff and I tackled the wreckage in a matter of a couple of hours (eat your heart out, FEMA). Then it was on to more important matters – namely, that I am still jobless. And yet, somehow I’ve managed to rack up a To Do list longer than Bernie Sanders’ filibuster. The common thread among the items on this list? The shared goal of putting my talents (besides my ability to balances sixteen water glasses on a single tray) to work. Granted, I can see that if I don’t act fast to get myself some kind of temporary back-up, I’ll be running into an old friend I like to call Financial Ruin. But even if I’m stocking quilted duvets at Bed Bath & Beyond or (god forbid) waiting a table or two again, at least I’ve got The Machine whirring away in the background. The gears have been greased. My list of Things and Stuff is rolling. I feel like I’ve been playing the role of starving artist ever since college and that maybe all I really need to do is push it just a notch harder, work just a little smarter, shrug this idea off my shoulders that creativity is for the privileged few, and make. it. work.

I may be getting a little redundant with this line of thinking, but if it’s a pep talk I need, then that’s what you all get as well 🙂

Now – off to finish designing my business cards (finally finished my Photoshop tutorials *AND* got PS5 for Christmas!!) Oh – and today’s photo features Skipper, my canine companion in D.C., looking rather fearless, which I found apropos of today’s post. Also, he rocks a fauxhawk like nobody’s business and that alone makes it worth a look.

 

The Ballad of Evil Twin May 8, 2009

Filed under: happiness,life,road trip,thoughts — curiouserx2 @ 7:31 pm
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n28501299_31455424_110Let us begin with a little clarification: Evil Twin is neither evil nor my twin.

I would say she is merely my sister, but that’s not entirely true either. Evil Twin has been everything from my sworn enemy to my best friend. She is my partner in crime, my creative cohort and, if we’re being honest here (and why not?), a source of both inspiration and frustration.

Our history begins in a hospital waiting room. E.T. (ha!) has come to see her new little sister for the first time. She is 3 years old and small for her age, dwarfed by the chair she sits in. Someone, perhaps mom herself, places a bundle of blankets and pink, wrinkled baby into E.T.’s arms. Someone has a camera on hand to capture the moment, and here is what the evidence shows: E.T. with her elbow on the armrest of the chair, leaning her face on the palm of her hand, eyes rolled upward to the camera, brow furrowed, mouth pouty, barely holding the screaming, red-faced baby in her lap.

That snapshot is a pretty accurate portrayal of our first 16 years together. Me: trying, and perpetually failing, to gain her approval. Her: trying, perpetually to be left alone. There were moments of triumph for me during those years – times when her guard would drop just long enough for her to allow me to tag along on a shopping trip or evening at the coffee shop – but these were few and far between.

Flash forward to E.T. leaving home for college: Everything changed. I’m not entirely sure what occurred here. Perhaps I had finally done enough growing up that she and I had something to talk about? Perhaps the first move (we’d made many as military brats) without us awoke a new appreciation for her family? Your guess is as good as mine. The certainty here is that we quickly became allies and haven’t budged as such since.

Now flash WAY forward to 2:28pm, Friday, May 8, 2009. Evil Twin is currently on her way to Columbus (likely somewhere in West Virginia). Just her and Moose (Gabe’s little quasi Chihuahua cuz). She is strong, fierce, independent. She is recently separated.

Yes, Evil Twin feels as though she’s awoken from a blurry dream, many years long. Rather than crumble along with her marriage, though, she’s done something quite the opposite.

I don’t know what set the snowball rolling exactly; I could take an educated guess. I got a call from her one evening, and the rest was history. Within weeks she had asked for a separation (with inevitable divorce, as her husband’s behavior has only served to put any doubts to rest), found friends to stay with, then a room to sublet. Those first few nights I spoke with her, she was terrified and having difficulty imagining life without her husband. Well I knew she could. The whole family did. I mean, this is the girl who, during a high school trip to England, took a train from London to Ipswich BY HERSELF, then trekked across the moors on foot to reach the tiny hamlet and sturdy old home where my father had lived for a year as a child. But her state of mind was a testament to the power of influence from someone you think you love and you think loves you.

In the past couple of weeks, she’s been involved in volunteer work, taken an interest in Super 8 film and started a personal blog. She’s nurturing the few friends that were hers and hers alone (most had been mutual, if not just her husband’s), imagining up plans and inviting people along. She’s offered to be assistant director for a local production of Cabaret.

In short: Evil Twin is back.

I’m finally seeing the girl who planned to move to overseas with me (even if we never did it…), the girl who jumped in a car to drive to Canada with me because we had a couple of days to kill, the girl who had always imagined something greater for herself than becoming a housewife and hockey mom. Here is the girl who’s acceptance I always wanted and finally have (no kidding – the night she invited me out with her and bought me my first Milky Way Latte, I thought I’d died and gone to heaven). In truth, we’ve accepted each other, flaws and all, and have found we make quite the team.

Part of me, I think, has been waiting for this version of her to emerge (there have been temporary glimpses over the years, some of my favorite memories) as long as I’ve known her. It’s just a bit mind blowing to finally see her standing, in full color in my living room. She glows.

Yes, it’s painfully beautiful to see the real Evil Twin step forward. There are many things I’ve hoped for; and many times I’ve been heartbreakingly disappointed. So when something like this, something I’ve hoped for perhaps since I lay writhing in my sister’s lap 28 years ago, actually comes to fruition? Have you ever been so happy it hurts your chest a little? And you risk short-circuiting your keyboard with your stupid happy tears?

Well, you get the idea then.

~a