Unemployment Diaries: California Edition Part VII

After one week I landed my first interview. I was excited to have at least one hit on an application and spoke with HR to set up a time and date to interview.

Before I responded to the offer, I looked them up online and did some research. I suggest all future applicants of any kind check out the magic world of Google and Glassdoor. I inspected its website and social media pages as well. It seemed legit. I even dug further to make sure I wasn’t pulling just the top posts that made them look reputable.

All good.

The only issue I found was nowhere did it explain exactly what the company’s function was and what brands it collaborated with. I figured it wouldn’t hurt to at least go through the interview process to see what came out of it, plus, there’s no harm in practicing your interview skills.

I booked the interview.

A few hours later the pit of my stomach told me to continue searching, because there wouldn’t be any harm in being more informed. And I’m glad I did.

The company has affiliates all over the country, so the reviews I had read and dug through weren’t for the specific location I had landed. When I noticed my error I Glassdoor-ed its specific location in Orange County and realized far more negative reviews than positive.

“They promise you a chance to move up in position, but instead keep you in a low hourly wage position. They have a high turnover rate.”

“I was hired as the marketing coordinator under the impression I would be working on campaigns, but I ended up selling products in Costco at a booth.”

“It’s all a lie.”

“If you want to work in grocery stores at a booth all over Orange County and never get reimbursed for gas, this is the job for you.”

Needless to say my heart sank well into my stomach.

I had already agreed to come in for an interview and kept in mind, if anything this would be for practice.

I spoke to family, explained the situation and how it angered me a company thought it was ethical to imply it was a marketing job, when actually it seemed like a sales position. I went over questions I would ask to see if the reviews had been true, and told the Hubs numerous times I wouldn’t be suckered in, I wouldn’t take another waitressing job with a different title.

My mother-in-law scouted the Internet for additional job listings and emailed links to apply. I spent the next two-isn hours applying to as many jobs my fingers would allow before cramping. I will find an honest job.

***

I got to the offices an hour early. I wasn’t too nervous, but more anxious to see what would be said about the company. When I walked into the lobby it was filled with older men wearing suits, all filling out an application on a standard clipboard. This could be a good sign, right? 

I figured I would be waiting for quite some time because of the number of people ahead of me in the waiting area, and was surprised to hear my name called 10 minutes later.

A lady escorted me to her office and closed the door, and with any conversation it started out with regular chitchat. I explained what type of position I was looking for, why I was interested in communication and how I ended up in California. I mentioned I wasn’t too sure what the company provided for its clients and if she could elaborate both the position I was interviewing for, and the company’s mission.

This is where it went wonky.

She explained because of weird California laws she wasn’t permitted to discuss the business aspect of the company on its website. I think because she knew I was new to the area, this would make sense to me, because what would I know about California? 

They worked for small brands trying to make an impact in the consumer world and promoted products at different events. She continued the conversation about what her job description was and her daily roles. That she needed help managing the 40+ events she manages daily.

I was taught to listen and observe while attending journalism school, and I noticed she never actually answered my question. So I asked again, using different terminology. And again, she circled back to what is expected of her in the business, this time including “big marketing words” to sell the company’s mission. She was trying to sell me the job. 

After she finished, I asked again what exactly my daily function would be in this office. And again, she circled back to her job description and the company’s mission.

By this point I was almost certain I would end up at a booth in Costco selling vegan corn chips to busy shoppers who didn’t want to be bothered.*

 I finally asked, “Would you be putting me in a Costco to sell these products on a regular basis. I have read some reviews about this company and would like to know if these are true, because that isn’t something I would be interested in.”

She didn’t appreciate my question.

“Well, I can’t just hire you into an executive role without proper training. We can discuss your role further at another time.”

And with that she stood up, extended her hand, thanked me for coming in and showed me the door. I held in my fits of giggle until I had left the lobby doors. I wasn’t even upset; I was liberated.

I almost wet myself replaying the interview in my head and especially enjoyed the executive position remark. I mean, when did I imply I wanted to be hired as a top dog? I asked multiple times what my daily duties were, and she couldn’t give me an answer without patting herself on the back, or speaking about how wonderful of a service they do for their brands and business partners.

I was polite, I let her finish her rambles, I smiled and asked questions (which heads-up, you’re allowed to do!). She realized she wasn’t the smartest person in the room, and I wasn’t falling for her sale’s pitch, so she dismissed me. I cried laughing the entire drive home.

***

After I got home, I called immediate family and relived the bazaar interview over and over again. I was pleased I hadn’t allowed her to distract or circle talk me away from my original, perfectly understandable, questions. And I felt validated everyone agreed.

I didn’t barge in to the interview demanding high wages. I didn’t feel I acted like I was above any job because I had my bachelors. And most importantly, I didn’t imply I was desperate for employment. Plus, I learned a little something to watch out for in future interviews.

It took about two hours to inform my family before I sat down at the computer to check out more job listings. I wanted to check my emails first, not that I was expecting a second interview. Sitting at the top of my inbox was an offer from a nonprofit to schedule an interview.

I responded quickly and crossed my fingers it wold be better than the last.

Unemployment Diaries: California Edition Part IV

I had the the whole day on the train, but it felt nice to know I was halfway done with the trip. Traveling by train is interesting and definitely something I can check off my bucket list, but I’d suggest traveling by train would be more enjoyable with a friend.

I went to the cafe car and bought some milk for my breakfast. I had brought my granola cereal and a few bananas to mimic my normal morning routine. The price of food is equivalent to eating at any arena events. To cut some costs, especially if traveling long distances, I would recommend bringing your own snacks and bottled water.

After I finished my breakfast I hung out in the observation car. The windows are larger and the seats are roomier, plus it’s an awesome way to break up the time sitting in your paid seat. I was still in Texas, but the landscape began to show we were headed closer to New Mexico.

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As the train stopped in El Paso, I was shocked to see what the real border between Mexico and the U.S. looked like….

I had traveled to Cozumel a few years ago and understood it was the touristy part of the country, but I had never seen the vast differences of the two countries side-by-side.

As I gazed down the rusted barbed-wire fence, it was apparent which country was which, even though the landscaping was the same, the way it was used was vastly different. Our roads were paved, cut into the mountains and rocky environment. Mexico’s houses were plopped on uneven surfaces up steep rocky roads. It looked miserable, homes barley had roofs or windows.

The fence was a physical representation of where dreams began and ended; a literal and concrete meaning of the “American Dream.” It was humbling to see it with my own eyes, and a reminder to not take what I have for granted. Not a single soul gets to pick what country they’re born in, and I should be forever grateful for my homeland luck.

***

The time zone changes were starving my stomach, because dinner kept getting pushed back later and later. I had also ran out of snacks. When my reservation number (you must reserve a dinner seat earlier in the afternoon with a train attendant) was called over the speakers, I flew quicker than The Flash to the dining car.

The waitresses assign you a place to sit and if you’re a party of one, you’ll be dining with four other strangers. It was a bit odd at first because I sat with three other older gentlemen. One was from England while the other two were Americans.

Halfway through my meal, the man sitting in front of me asked why I was on the train and where I was headed (a normal conversation starter while traveling by train). I gave an edited version of my reasons and of hopes to find a job in California. After learning of my recent graduation he asked what I got my degree in and what I wanted to do.

I expressed my passion for nonprofits, how I had worked for the American Red Cross over the summer and enjoyed every minute assisting during disaster relief efforts and writing blogs for the organization. His response, I kid you not was:

“Man, you sound like the perfect politician. A writer and spin doctor who enjoys working for crooks,” said Mr. Arrogant American.

My other two dining car buddies immediately shoveled more rice and salad into their stomachs. A zillion remarks zipped through my head in the matter of milliseconds. Instead of educating him or throwing my plate at his head, I resorted to a sarcastic quip about how it’s a shame so many people are uninformed.

#winning

Dinner was okay, I questioned how much of the chicken was chicken, but I was too hungry to truly care. I had one more night’s sleep in a coach seat, a few more movies to watch, and then I’d be greeted by my in-laws on the platform where my journey to what opportunities I could create in California would begin.

Unemployment Diaries: California Edition Part III

The past few hours have been interesting. I finally mustered up the courage to leave my seat and use the restroom. I didn’t fall down the stairs, or up them for that matter and all of my possessions were still sitting where I left them.

When I ventured to the cafe car, I did make a fool of myself, naturally. I couldn’t figure out how the door that separated one train car from the next opened. Mind you, there was a huge button in the middle of the door that said PUSH. When I pushed nothing happened, so I tried to open the contraption like a sliding class door. Nothing. So I tried again and then again. After what felt like forever I finally punched the button that said push and it opened …..

A crew member was on the other side watching me struggle and I muttered, “sorry, apparently I can’t read,” as I walked by. I could do nothing but laugh, typical Shannon move.

My train, and I couldn't help but get a picture of a guy taking a picture of what I was taking a picture of ...
My train, and I couldn’t help but get a picture of a guy taking a picture of what I was taking a picture of …

The train stopped in Austin, Texas, by far the biggest city we’ve trucked through, and I soon found out a bigger city means more people waiting to board the train. I lost the seat next to me and am now making friends with an older women who’s headed up to San Fransisco.

She takes the train every time she travels to Oklahoma to see her sister. And even with my fear of flying, I tell myself she’s nuts for taking this long of a trip twice a year. I realize I might have to suck it up and fly if I can’t find a job in California. There’s no way I’d want to wait two days to see my Hubs again. 

I figure my passenger buddy lottery lucked out and at least I didn’t get stuck with someone creepy. After all, I will be sleeping next to this person for the rest of the night. We are now parked in San Antonio waiting for another train to arrive that we’ll hook up to, to make the rest of the trip west.

It’s there, standing outside of my temporary home for the next two nights, I get my first whiff of home sickness. I want my bed, I want my puppies and I want my husband. When did I turn into such a big baby? I used to pride myself on my independance and my ability to step out of my comfort zone. Now, I couldn’t be more anxious to get home.

After a long chat with my mother-in-law and a few crocodile tears later, I felt a bit better about what I was doing. And a few hours later I realized why I was feeling so overwhelmed and emotional. It comes every month and I’m not sure why it still surprises me, duh.

Because the layover in San Antonio was long, many passengers left the station to visit a bar and stretch their legs. And if you’re thinking what I’m thinking, you’d be correct. I thought I was going to have a rumble at 2:30 a.m. when they all showed back up to make the departure. Smiley stomped up to the second level and shouting about how he couldn’t find his seat.

When the train hooked up to the other train, the crew members came on board and turned the seats around, so the passengers would be sitting forward when it began moving again. Yes, slightly confusing for the sober person, but impossible to navigate for the drunk.

He stopped by my seat twice to ask loudly what the f**k happened to his seat. I was huddled under my blanket and snuggled into my pillow trying to figure out the most least comfortable position to fall asleep in. The last time Smiley stopped to bark, I ripped the covers off my head and gave him the meanest stink eye I could muster.

It must’ve worked. I didn’t hear a peep from him for the rest of the night. I wish I could say that about the other members of his drunken party. It’s funny, people say New Yorkers are the biggest arseholes of the country, yet I had enough common sense to not stomp around, talk on my cellphone (who the hell is up to talking at 2:00 a.m. any ways?) or chat with my passenger buddy like it was 2 p.m. in the afternoon…..

Overall, I got about thresh hours of sleep my first night. I had planned ahead and brought my own blanket and pillows, so my head wouldn’t be trying to find a comfortable resting place on the arm rest. I also brought Wet Wipes to mimic a shower before bed. I didn’t have to use the mace I kept tucked in my jacket pocket and I did manage to get some uninterrupted sleep.

PS: When you sleep on a train it’s almost impossible to not accidentally bump your seat buddy. Do your best to focus on counting sheep.

Unemployment Diaries: California Edition

Welp. This past Monday I was on a train headed to Los Angeles. A 36-hour tour (in my Gilligan’s voice) from North Texas to the West Coast.

****

Last week I blogged about not being able to ignite my spark. I had forgotten that my spark was in the shape of a 5’8 good looking, former Californian – my husband. A few days prior to my Columbus Day voyage, my husband got home from work to announce he had pulled the trigger. I was leaving to see what opportunities lie out west.

I spent the majority of the rest of that day bawling my eyes out, and it shocked me I was taking such good news, terribly.

But duh, it’s the fear of the unknown, and I’ve always hated when people would use the cliché. My life has changed so many times I refused to believe I was afraid of the unknown. Hell, in four years I’ve moved to two different states with a possible third move on the way. How could I be afraid of the unknown?

It’s simple when you have a clear mind to think about it. I’m worried this trip will end in heartache. I’m afraid I won’t land a job in my field, the trip would be for nothing and a waste of money. I’m not sure when I’ll see my husband or puppies again and the same nagging question of if I could afford living in California, remains.

Knowing I don’t have a definite date of when I’ll be reunited with my tiny family is the hardest. I don’t think I realized how much of my stability, saneness and homey feelings resided in the Hubs. He had been deployed a few times, gone for weeks during work-ups and were used to the normal goodbye exchanges.

But I had never left him.

I had always done the dropping off and picking up.

In each goodbye, I would think how easy it was to be the one leaving and how hard it was to do the sitting and waiting. Ha. On the drive to the train station the Hubs and I had a great laugh about my ignorance. It ain’t easier leaving, it’s friggin’ harder.

I felt uneasy for the rest of the week, but was surprised to hear well wishes from coworkers and managers after I explained what I was going to be doing.

“That’s great you’re taking a chance!”

“Good for you! I think this is going to work out, I can feel it!”

“The best part about this is you’re getting out of your comfort zone to make a change. Many people wouldn’t and simply sit content, or accept it. You’re going out to grab it!”

It gave me an extra pep in my step the rest of the weekend, they were right, everyone I had told was right. This was an adventure and I should enjoy it. How many people are lucky enough to have in-laws who invite you into their home AND offer to help you find a job? I’m going to guess not many, or even if they wanted to, couldn’t.

The pep talks carried me as far as the platform out front of my locomotive. The Hubs had helped load my luggage onto the train and get me settled in a seat. We hugged, kissed and began to walk our separate ways, but I had to sneak one last hug before I could leave (I always need the extra freebie).  

Awhile back I kept the mantra, why not me singing in my head while writing and submitting my personal narrative to a writing competition. And I won. I can only hope past mojo can get me the same result.

Aww-Jammit

Per a sporadic conversation last night with my husband about a documentary we watched on Netflix. The conversation was about controversial topics and what our own personal opinions were. I brought up the Kellogg’s PB&J Aww Jammit commercial that was aired before Superbowl Sunday in February.

My husband didn’t believe me when I told him it had caused such a hubbub online. I brought up Kellogg’s Facebook page and found the commercial post that can be found here. I began to read the comments out loud and I must say, if you ever want a good laugh, head on over and make sure to read them OUT LOUD.

The number one complaint I found from consumers through comments was the notion the nurse had eaten a baby. Second, that it promoted cannibalism and thirdly, it was wrong to craft such an advertisement that is geared toward children.

I find it hard to connect an animated poptart that is drawn on paper and jump to Kellogg’s murdered a baby. That is a huge leap and frankly a bit dramatic. You can’t murder something that isn’t real nor living.

Second, cannibalism is defined by merrian-webster as a ritualistic eating of human flesh by another human, or the eating of flesh of an animal by the same animal. So by definition the human nurse who is assumed to have eaten the baby poptart cannot be used as an example of cannibalism, humans are supposed to eat poptarts.

Thirdly, yes the poptart is a baby and the commercial is geared toward children, so why is it acceptable to promote such behavior to a child? Easy, kids thoughts are very singular and wouldn’t see the problem unless an adult prompts them to think otherwise. Children know that poptarts are supposed to be eaten for breakfast as a tasty treat.

The first thing my husband said after I read through some of the nasty baby murdering comments, was that this is what Kellogg’s wanted. The company wants people to talk about their brand and as said before in a previous post what is really deemed bad PR?

Is there a line brands shouldn’t cross? Well, personally I hardly think an animated poptart being eaten (the way it should be) should cause so much of a stir. Then again, people were up in arms about the bi-racial couple in the Cheerio’s commercial and their daughter. So who knows what people are thinking.

In conclusion I don’t think you can make a line between good and bad PR, because everybody is different and have different triggers. So though this commercial doesn’t upset some, but it obviously upsets others.

I guess the only thing you can do is not intentionally cross any true controversial or disturbing line.

Coming Home

Vacation is officially over, I was back on the road again and how depressing it was. I didn’t want to leave, man oh man I didn’t want to leave, but as the old saying goes, all good things must come to an end, one way or another.

Hotel Livin'
Hotel Livin’
Hanging out in our big bed not wanting to leave
Hanging out in our big bed not wanting to leave
She's a person, I swear
She’s a person, I swear

So we packed up our belongings, sadly crammed them into the car, fed the puppies and let them wander around one last time in the patch of grass behind the hotel. We got our complementary breakfast one last time, omelets from the omelet man, and headed off to tackle the 11 hour drive we had ahead of us.

I took a few last gasps of Colorado mountain air and snapped a few desperate photos of the mountains, merely to symbolize our last morning with the mountains on our side.

A very sad morning indeed, not just because the trip was over, but because I would no longer be able to wake up next to my husband and share a cup coffee with breakfast including him. Since the day we met our schedules have been opposite, so the few times in our relationship where we can start and finish the day together are important.

I’m not sure why I thought this drive was only 9 hours, maybe because that’s how long it took to get to Florida from Virginia, but this trip was definitely almost 11 hours, my poor puppies and numb rump.

The first 5 hours of the trip were easy, we passed the time with two favorite car games, one being The Animal game – my personal favorite and the other, The Alphabet game – Matt’s personal favorite.

The Animal Game is easy, and can be played in line at theme parks or 11 hour car drives. You start with ‘A’ and name as many animals starting with the letter ‘A’ and you continue throughout the alphabet all the way to ‘Z.’ When somebody is out of animals (usually if only two people are playing) the other person has to name one more animal with that letter to win the letter, the loser has to start off the next letter. If you have more people in the group, the harder it is and instead of having to win the round the loser is out, until a winner is left.

The Alphabet Game is eerily best played with two people. One person starts at the beginning of the Alphabet and the other at the end. Using each letter to find a word, outside of the car beginning with their letter, whoever gets to the other end first wins, and as beginners luck has it, I won.

We finally hit Texas a bit after our games ended, and I was surprised to find myself excited to see this flat dry and dead hunk of lump state. A little more than 5 hours to go until home, hallelujah.

Hello, Texas ...
Hello, Texas …
They're so cute sometimes :] but obviously, over the trip
They’re so cute sometimes :] but obviously, over the trip

As we got closer, about 10 minutes from the house, we encountered the insufferable road blockage due to construction,. This lead us on a detour in the opposite direction we were trying to head towards and cut us through the little town of Krum, adding an extra 15 minutes to our arrival, woof.

Coming home is always a nice breathe of fresh air, especially when the house is already clean. Home safe and sound and already planning our next adventure. Until next time, stay weird Texas.

Road Trippin’ The Weekend Away

Ahh–vacation, it’s finally here! Today me and the Hubs are driving up to Colorado Springs for a long weekend, it lieu of our Spring Breaks. The beach did have its appeals, but the mountains won out. Plus, it’s a dog friendly city/state and there’s plenty to do with your pups, a win-win for us.

While we trekked into new territory, it still looked pretty similar to home. Texas is ginormous, but it generally has the same feel. A lot of farm land, old rusty cars rotting away into the dirt piles and way too many cows. Did you know that there are more cows in Texas than people? “Let’s hope they don’t figure that out,” as my husband would say.

As we drove north west, nothing but open road, we rocked out to oldies but goodies. We rapped Lil’ Wayne, Eminem, and a mix of old southern rappers, Crime Mob anybody?

After knuckin’ and buckin’ we turned the music down, randomly told stories, and posed questions to stir up more random conversation, the kind you only have when you’re stuck in a car with nowhere else to go. Then, we enjoyed the silence and scenery.

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Still in Texas, only two hours into the trip, not desperately wanting out of the car, yet.
One of my two, Hurricane Bailey, or just Bailey.
One of my two, Hurricane Bailey, or just Bailey.

I think it’s more telling when you can sit in silence with your significant other, not having to entertain each other, or feel like there needs to be a conversation in order for us to be an awesome couple. I think when you find someone you can enjoy the silence with, that speaks louder than words.

We made our way through Wichita Falls, Amarillo and other small farm towns before we hit New Mexico. I was shocked by how quiet these small towns were. Not many people on the road, except the few cars that were driving through, and the one flashing yellow light on Main Street. Not official ghost towns, but close enough.

A quaint building in small town, Texline.
A quaint building in small town, Texline.

As we entered New Mexico, the scenery hadn’t changed much. When you enter a new state the scenery should immediately change, especially for people who have been in a car for 5 hours already. Though, it was starting to get hillier, the clouds were getting lower and that dirt mountain rock began to appear, we were inching closer and closer.

Finally out of Texas. Two more states to go!
Finally out of Texas. Two more states to go!
"Rocky Mountain Dirt Stuff"
“Rocky Mountain Dirt Stuff”

About 25 minutes upon entering New Mexico, the Jeep overheated and we couldn’t go above 40 mph. There was a loud grinding noise and we had to pull over. What kind of car overheats in 60 degree weather? Thank Zeus for Google. The Hubs got onto a message board, found the trick, and after a mini freak out from me, we were on our way again.

(Apparently, other Jeep owners had this overheating problem also when they drove 75-80 mph for a long period of time. If you find yourself in this problem, put the car in neutral, wait for the transmission light to go off, and wah-la, you’ll be on your way.)

As we entered Colorado, FINALLY, The Rocky Mountains, with their thin blue mist, were to the west driving with us the last 3 hours of the trip. The change in scenery helped, a little, but we were all ready to be done. That last leg of the ride always takes the longest.

The Hubs with the Rockies in the back.
The Hubs with the Rockies in the back.

While we wound up and down and around the mountains, we noticed a few historical signs talking about some memorial, we decided to Google, nothing like a little history on a long trip.

Ruins of Ludlow - Wiki
Ruins of Ludlow – Wiki

The Ludlow Massacre was an attack on the miners and families of Ludlow Colorado, by Colorado National Guard and Colorado Fuel and Iron Company. At the start of the fighting, any where between 19-26 people were burned to death in a single tent, women and children alike.

The strikes lasted from September 1913 to December 1914. It was dubbed one of the worst and deadliest incidents in southern Colorado history. The strikes were led by the United Mine Workers of America, and were fighting for better working conditions.

Interestingly enough, John D. Rockefeller, Jr. was the chief owner of the Colorado Fuel and Iron Company. The results from this massacre, led to 8 hour work days and chill labor laws.

Historian Howard Zinn described the Ludlow Massacre as “the culminating act of perhaps the most violent struggle between corporate power and laboring men in American history”.

In total, around 200 miners and their families lost their lives. The remains of the burnt town can still be seen in the completely abandoned city of Ludlow Colorado in the southern part of the state.

As we pulled into our hotel parking lot, It took everything I had to not run underneath the bed covers and fall asleep. It was dark by the time we pulled in to Colorado Springs, so I could only see shadows of mountain tops, but it was nice to know they were there.

In the morning, it was going to be a beautiful sight and I can’t wait to get the party started, vacation never felt so good.

I’ve got the ‘Ities & the Itch

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The art of writing is a sacred being, its appeal is charming and the idea easy, the latter is never true. Writing isn’t easy and it never will be. If you write long enough you acquire a passion for words and new ways to express them, but it’s never an easy journey, though nothing worth while hardly ever is.

Any soul who enjoys the magic of writing remembers when they first got the itch to put pen to paper and create something creative. Any “great” remembers the craving to prefect a skill became apparent. A jolt of weightless energy that hits you hard, causing the lightbulb to brighten above your head. That’s what I want to do!

Personally, I was little, maybe six or seven, too little to actually be thinking about future plans, but I knew I enjoyed reading what I wrote and creating short stories were my fav.

I acquired an eccentric style of writing while in grammar school, and my mom thought it was adorable. I had a funny tendency to only write on the left-hand edges of my paper, the rest of the paper seemed tainted. I remember thinking, look how many pages I can write! Well, when you only use half the page …

My signature trademark was soon corrected by the first or second grade, whenever the teachers start to send you home with real homework. I’m sure it’s Pre-K now, the books are heavier and the snow they have to walk to school in is deeper.

Anyways, my itch started with writing fan fiction, I didn’t know that’s what it was called, but regardless, anybody remember the T.V. series Arthur? Yes, yes I did. I wrote my own stories for Arthur and his family and friends to wander through. I wrote some stories that were funny, others were sad. Mostly, I liked to write ones that had a good moral buried in it. Typical Shannon, I was seven going on 30. 

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My mom used to keep them in her dresser, the bottom right hand drawer. By the time I was in my teens the drawer resembled how stuffed and worn it was, papers were being pushed from the sides, the handle was hanging on by one screw and the drawer had long been knocked off its frame. It was the perfect setting for where my mom crammed us kids’ works of art.

The prized possessions were all slightly brown and had obviously seen better days. Every once in a while I wonder if my mom still has them shoved in that drawer, but the memory vanishes by the time one of us calls each other.

It took years of denying any worth to my writing before I told myself to shut the -efff up. I started my higher education with the thought I’d never leave education, I’d just become a teacher. I did my classroom visits and almost ran out the door, though working with kids was rewarding.

I think that when something sinks its teeth into you, it’s hard to deny the sting it leaves. Writing got its dirty paws around me long ago, and the sooner I realized it, the quicker I believed I did have a purpose. College really does seem to suck the life out of you sometimes. 

When did your passions sink their teeth into you? Was it a furry, ( what was Arthur? An Aardvark?) cartoon friend that sparked your enthusiasm!?

-Ramble Out

Truckin’ Up To Buffalo

Is it safe to say that we, as human beings, have an overwhelming urge to fit in or feel like we belong to something? Set aside the notion of it being corny and think about it. What defines you as a person? Is it your culture, religion and family? Are you apart of a team or nostalgic about where you were raised? What is it?

78a48737096afc9efe56b310147da5b3I was born and semi-raised in Buffalo, New York. My memories of winter being my fondest, building igloos in the feet of snow we were destined to get each year and never knowing what you were for Halloween, because it was too cold to matter, everyone was double layered by the end of October anyways. My husband actually tells people I’m Canadian and that he suspects I married him for the green card.

I always felt like I belonged in Buffalo, maybe it’s because I was still young and didn’t know what it felt like to be the new girl yet again. It was my only home and I didn’t know what it meant to be anywhere else.

When I was in the fourth grade my family moved me closer to New York City. We lived in a small town called Walden. We had a town square, that mostly consisted of a library and elementary school. There were no Walmarts, but instead local grocery stores like ShopRite and Thruway.

I had made my best friends again, learned what it meant to have best friends and got my cootie shots here. I was still an outsider though. I wasn’t born in this small town and my family wasn’t tied to the local hairdresser, mechanic or family doctor. I said pop instead of soda and talked with an accent.

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When I was in eighth grade we moved again. This time, a lot farther and a little hotter. I started high school in Jacksonville, Florida and thankfully, finished it there too.

Who even knows who they are in high school, or what it means to find yourself. We all thought we knew what was up, swore we had a clue, and couldn’t be told any different. It was never the case and high school was weird.

I moved again when I was 22, with my new husband to Virginia Beach, Virginia. The first time a huge move would be made without my family. I had a new one now that consisted of only one dog at that time and a husband. I was nervous and excited at the same time.

I met two of the greatest people in Virginia, and unfortunately, true to fashion, I had to say goodbye to them a little over a year later. The Hubs wasn’t going to re-enlist and we wanted a change. Virginia smelled of sea water and he had been stuck on a boat long enough.

Ever since that move, a little piece of me never truly recovered, my husband included. He misses the ocean and being on a coast. I miss my friends and feeling like I belonged. I had people I could confide in, ladies need ladies night with plenty of wine. I can’t always lean on the hubby, Zeus knows he needs a break.

We landed in Denton, Texas in 2013. I am currently finishing up my under-grad degree and planning my escape of this flat-tornado filled-hotter than hades- state the sooner the better.

There are days I want to run home and scream, but I don’t know where home is. I listen to people talk about childhood friends, how the neighborhood has changed since they were kids, the gossip that ensues with people who have known each other for entirely too long, and I don’t have that. Will I ever? 

I’ve had an overwhelming feeling that I wouldn’t feel complete unless I moved back to Buffalo and gave it another try. Easier said than done, my husband is from Southern California, that adjust might kill him, Virginia almost did.

How do you deal with emotions that never really get resolved, even after long nights of brainstorming it? Do you push them aside and bottle them up, or rant and rave to yourself late at night, when everyone is asleep? Is it the curse of overthinking or does it mean something deeper? Tell me.

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