Successful Jealousy

Some people think that fear of failure is what keeps them from achieving the goals they think they want.  But there’s another school of thought suggesting that fear of success is what actually keeps many people from . . . well . . . succeeding.  I think it’s probably a little bit of both, but for today’s purposes, I’m going to discuss the fear of success.

I don’t think everyone who sets out to achieve their goals is afraid of succeeding; there are many people who are able to visualize what they want so strongly, and never waiver from it.  And I say “Good for them!” for being able to do so.  I know that for a while in my younger days, I was actually afraid of success, though–if you’d told me that back then–I would have vehemently disagreed with you.  But as I got older, I started to hear niggling voices in my head about what so and so family member would think if I succeeded.  I’d already heard people say that I was “too skinny,” or that I thought I was “better than” certain members of my family for wanting to eat at “uppity” restaurants like Olive Garden (I’m not even kidding).  So, the thought of being richer than my family was very scary, because I worried how “snooty” they’d think I was if that happened.

Then, when I began to read more about celebrities who’d come from “nothing” to achieve their dreams of success, I’d often hear horror stories about people coming out of the woodwork trying to get into their good graces (most likely hoping for a handout).  Even worse are those who seem so jealous of someone else’s success that they do their best to run a smear campaign against said celebrity.

Case in point, is the family of Meghan Markle.

Now, I’ve never met Meghan, so I don’t know if she’s the nice humanitarian that she appears to be, or if she’s really someone who’s let fame and becoming a Royal go to her head.  Nor do I care.  But the sheer number of spiteful articles out there from her family leading up to the wedding makes me think less about what kind of person Ms. Markle is, and more about the kind of people the rest of her family are.  And if you haven’t seen how much of a smear campaign they’ve been running, just type “Meghan Markle sister” into any search engine and you’ll see a ton of articles where Meghan’s sister criticizes her for one thing or another.  Meghan’s brother also jumped on the bandwagon, as well as her father.  No wonder The Queen was livid with them.  By the time the wedding rolled around last weekend, I was not only sick of hearing about Meghan’s dress, or the wedding, but I was even more tired of hearing about her stupid family.

Meghan’s sister had labeled Meghan all sorts of snotty names that show nothing more than the bitterness of someone who is jealous of another’s success.  Then,  in his own set of articles, her half-brother claimed Meghan is a “phony,” and that he thinks she might be “embarrassed” of her family.  Well, no duh!  When family airs their jealousy and crappy feelings on international news, I don’t wonder why Meghan hasn’t had as much to do with them over the years.  I know that I wouldn’t want to speak to someone who talked shit about me just to get their 15 minutes of fame.

But this is one of the unfortunate side effects of being a celebrity nowadays, it seems.  So many rags looking to get the “latest scoop” on someone, and they’re willing to scrape the bottom of any barrel they can find to dig up even the smallest spec of dirt.  Throw in some disgruntled (and seemingly white-trashy) relatives, and BOOM, you’ve got fodder for years.

So, even though I don’t know Ms. Markle, I want to applaud her for staying strong and not reacting back to all the bad press her family tossed around before the wedding.  I hope that I act with as much dignity and strength if I ever become famous and have similar issues.  Because, honestly . . . I fear I might lose my shit.

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Too Much

“I know you can be overwhelmed, and you can be underwhelmed.  But can you ever just be whelmed?”
“I think you can in Europe.”

~ 10 Things I Hate About You

As you can probably tell, this post is late.  I’m bummed that I didn’t have the presence of mind to get this one written and posted before now, but maybe you’ll understand by the time you finish reading this blog . . .

I know I’ve written before about how busy my life is.  But lately, my life has been CRAZY busy.  My mother has commented in the past how I like to keep myself busy; and while that’s true to a certain extent, I don’t like to be so busy that I have very little time to myself, or that I feel so overwhelmed and stressed all the time, like I do now.  It bothers me that I don’t have enough down time to speak with friends and family unless I somehow squeeze them into my week; usually by combining the chat with one or two other tasks to make it happen.

It’s actually gotten so bad, that I completely forgot to pay rent in November until Craig mentioned it on the 7th of the month!  That is truly not like me!

The frustrating thing is, that I sometimes feel like I don’t have control over how busy I am right now.  I mean, yes, in the long run, I DO have control . . . I can choose to not take any more VO classes, or work on my photography, but that would essentially put a halt to my chosen careers; which doesn’t seem like an option to me.  I could also fully choose to not socialize with anyone, whether by phone or in person.  But honestly, I don’t even socialize all that often as it is, so I feel like cutting even the small bit I do out would be essentially me turning into a hermit (which I don’t want to do, either).

And, even more frustrating is that I feel that the amount of stuff I consciously put on my plate would be just the “right” amount of busy . . . but unfortunately doesn’t factor in the odd thing here or there that Life brings to the plate.  Like our car breaking down, so we had to go shopping for a new one (which took up two and a half weeks, including weekends).  Or, having issues with nearly every aspect of a recent company function, so that I had to put out one fire after another, during my last two weeks at that job.

When things like that crop up in my life, I guess I don’t know what is the “right” answer.  Do I just say “screw it” about the car, and wait until life calms down?  Do I have that same attitude about things going wonky at the job?  Do I then (because I’m stretched thin as it is) pass on seeing a friend for a birthday milestone, when I haven’t seen him in almost a year?

Yes, those are all options, I know . . . but they just don’t seem like viable ones to me.  And, the thought of taking everything off my plate, so that I can be prepared for the unforeseen things that pop up makes me feel like I’m not trying to improve my life.

I’m sure there’s a middle ground, but I don’t know what it is yet.  How do I find the “Whelmed” part of life?

And believe me, I know that mine is not the only life that’s been crazy busy lately.  I’ve spoken with several individuals who–like me–can’t believe 2017 is almost over.  So many of us are feeling stressed right now, that I don’t expect sympathy from anyone, and I actually feel like there’s a “Yeah, what else is new?” aspect to the conversations I have with others about it.

So, I’d really like to find out if it’s ever possible to be just whelmed, but even that sounds stressful.  Dictionary.com has the definition of “whelm” as:

” . . .to roll or surge over something, as in becoming submerged.”
But maybe it’s not as stressful in Europe . . .

The Pervasive Boob Tube

I’m warning you now . . . today’s post is going to be a bit of a rant.  And it’s about the love/hate relationship that I have with TV.

I grew up in the 70s, right around the time that TV started to get really “good,” with lots of fun and educational programming to choose from.  I learned Spanish and sign language from Sesame Street.  The Electric Company’s Easy Reader helped instill in me a love for reading (thanks, Mr. Freeman!).  And to this day, I still sing several of the Schoolhouse Rock songs at the most random times.

We also had amazing cartoons; from the three-hour Bugs Bunny/Road Runner marathons on Saturday mornings, to all the Hanna-Barbera shows where mysteries got solved by those “meddlesome kids.”  And throughout the late 70s and early 80s there was some great pabulum to be seen in the form of prime-time viewing (though now, so many of the shows I loved back then seem dated . . . and not in a good way).

And being of the “latchkey kid” generation, the TV got turned on as soon as I got home from school.  I would try to turn it off to do my chores, but that usually wound up happening 30 minutes before my mother was due home from work.  Sometimes I scrambled fast enough that I was able to get the cleaning done in one commercial break.

I still enjoy watching TV . . . to a certain extent.  In fact, right now there are more shows that I enjoy watching than at any other time that I can recall.  Some of that is due to the sheer number of channels available, but some of it is due to the better writing that has come out of Hollywood lately.

No, my complaint with regards to the boob tube is that it’s begun to infect every single corner of our lives.

People have been watching shows on their cell phones for the last few years now . . . which strikes me as weird, since we used to complain about the tiny size of the available screens back in the 70s.  I just can’t make peace with watching something on a screen 4 times smaller than I had when I was little.

But even worse is that TVs are now cropping up in restaurants, grocery stores and who KNOWS where else!  I can understand the concept of having TVs at a sports bar . . . because that’s why people go to a sports bar . . . to watch their team’s event.  But why does it need to be in other restaurants?  There are a couple diners here in Alameda that have multiple TVs playing any time I go in there.  And Craig just told me about a recent experience at a Burger King, where there were TVs in there playing 2- and 3-minute clips of various shows . . . followed by several minutes of commercials.

And THAT’S what I hate the most about this new trend . . . the advertising!  It’s bad enough that there are more commercial breaks in TV shows now than before.  But–if the Burger King incident is any indication–pretty soon it’ll be 5-10 minutes of TV show surrounded by 20 minutes of commercials.  That trend started to irk me when it infiltrated my sacred movie theaters over a decade ago.  Though, that one I’m willing to put up with so that I can be sure to get my favorite seats when I see a film . . . but I do tend to focus on something else if I can.

But I don’t know that I’ll be okay with the trend of restaurants playing TVs all the time.  I’m actually considering a boycott of restaurants that have said distraction in multiple areas of their establishment.  Craig pointed out that I don’t need an even narrower group of places I can eat (due to my dietary restrictions), but I might be willing to make that sacrifice.  It really irks me to have to vie for someone’s attention when I’m dining out with them (and I don’t care who you are, you’re bound to get distracted by the boob tube . . . it’s designed that way).  It just seems rude and unnecessary to “have” to be connected to the idiot box all the damn time!  Talk to the people you’re dining with, for crissakes!

And, even if I’m dining by myself, I’d much rather have peace and quiet so I can read my book or magazine and not have my attention keep getting pulled away by whatever is being said on the television.

In writing about this now, I realize that I’ve actually started strategically seating myself to where I’m the one in sight of the TV . . . because I know I won’t be as distracted as the other person might (or, at least I think that’s true . . . who knows?).  I hate realizing that I feel the need to think that far ahead about that sort of thing, because that puts me on the defensive already.

So, while I’m okay with TV being a distraction in the home, I don’t need or want said distraction to follow me when I’m going out for a nice meal.  Heck, even a mediocre meal (no offense, BK), deserves more attention than having a TV on in the background provides.

Experience Overload

When I was a little girl, I used to want to be a nurse, a teacher, a mother, and a couple other things I can’t remember now.  My mom told me that I could be any one of those, but I said I wanted to be all of them.  That’s when she told me that acting is a place where I could be all of those things and more.  I was hooked.  From that point on, I wanted to be an actress.

In my 20s, I realized that part of the reason I wanted to act was so that I could be anyone, and anywhere OTHER than who and where I was.  But over the last few years, I’ve realized another reason is because I have this innate desire to experience everything.  While I consider myself to be very empathetic, hearing someone’s story about their experience (good or bad) is just not the same as living through said experience yourself.

And when I say “everything,” I truly mean EVERYTHING.  There’s a part of me that’s curious to know what it FEELS like to be shot, or to run a marathon, or give birth.  Now, I likely won’t do any of those things, because all of them sound VERY painful to my logical brain (as well as for various other reasons), but the curiosity is still there.

The problem with wanting to experience so many things is that, when you actually HAVE had tons of experiences, it’s hard to know what to tell people about yourself, and when to share this information.  I mean, some things come up naturally in conversation, but I’ve known people for years that are shocked when then learn some aspect of my life 2, 5, or even 10 years into the relationship.

And it’s not like I’m going to introduce myself to someone by saying “Hi, I’m Alyx.  I’ve been sexually abused by my father, my mother was an alcoholic, I’ve worked at Disney World (as well as at least 20 other companies), been in a cult, know all the words to at least 1,000 songs, have been bungee jumping, flown in a bi-plane, traveled to more than 10 countries and speak enough of 5 different languages to get by in said countries.”  Not only would that be just the tip of the iceberg that is my life, it would be very weird and a little off-putting to the other person.  For one, that’s a HUGE information dump to get in a 5-minute introduction.  For another, if you were to hear about all of those experiences from one person, you might not believe them.  Some of it might sound like bragging, while other things might be so “out there” to you, that you couldn’t imagine anyone actually doing them.

That’s why it takes so long to really get to know someone.  By the time you meet them, they’ve likely had at least 20 years’ worth of experiences to share, as have you.  But that’s one of the reasons I’d rather hang out with someone in a one on one setting, so I can take the time to get to know them.  Hear what makes them happy, sad, excited.  That’s something you can’t do in a crowded bar, or party.

It’s also hard to know what experience to bring up when I’m meeting a new group of people (in a class, or large auditorium-filled seminar) and have been instructed to share just one thing about myself to the group.  Such an open-ended question will have me searching for quite a while through my memory’s data bank in order to come up with the “appropriate” choice.

Still, I wouldn’t trade all of my experiences for anything.  I’d much rather have the experience than have other people know about it.

But, if you do meet someone, and s/he tells you that s/he’s had a bunch of experiences . . . give him/her the benefit of the doubt, would ya?  ;o)

Shedding a Little “Light”

Every now and then I’m struck by just how many different jobs are out there.  Jobs that many people probably don’t think about, because the product is just always there.  Some of my previous ponderings have been over the plastic ends on shoelaces (called aglets or aiglets), the handles on coffins, and even those cup holders at Starbucks.  All of these things are necessary and we’d be lost without them, but we usually end up taking them for granted, especially if we’re not the ones who work on these items.

Some of these odd jobs might now be automated, but at some point, someone, somewhere had to actually design the products, and someone else had to make them and/or attach them to whatever product they’re a part of.

There’s a great show called How It’s Made that shows things like this.  It airs on The Science Channel (sometimes several episodes back to back), talks about anything from potato chips to caviar to snowboards and even big construction machines.  There are some things that I don’t particularly find interesting, but by and large, I LOVE this show.

Anyway, lately I’ve been pondering automobile tail lights.  It’s a weird thing to be thinking about, I know, but when I’m in traffic at night, and they’re sitting there in front of me, it’s hard not to see the unique designs they’re coming up with now and wonder “Who thought of that design and why?”

I know that interesting car features have been a big thing for years.  Back in the 50s many cars had fins, others a porthole in the rear window, but I’d never really noticed the tail lights to see if they, too, were unique among automotive companies.

So come with me and take a look at the (oftentimes) interesting world of car tail lights . . .

First we’ll start off with the more “regular” looking tail lights.  These have been on 90% of the cars out there for several decades now.  There might be a few tweaks here and there, but mostly they’ve been sturdy, functional, and somewhat boring:

plain-tail-lights-group

Next, we’ve got a few cooler-looking ones.  These car manufacturer’s apparently decided to blend the tail lights into the new, sleeker lines of the car.  To make them a part of the car’s design, rather than an afterthought:

cooler-tail-lights

And then there are the REALLY cool, trippy kinds of tail lights that mesmerize you a little bit:

trippy-tail-lights

In fact, it’s the eyeball-looking lights (above) that caused me to want to write this blog.  Those things are so cool, but still freak me out a little bit . . . like the car is looking at me sideways (which I’m sure is what the manufacturers were going for).

Paying attention to the tail lights (while I’ve been working on this blog) has helped to curb my road rage a bit, because I can focus on the different designs in front of me, rather than the slow person in front of me.  But it’s not so distracting that my attention is diverted from what’s happening on the road.

How about you?  Have you ever wondered how they made that, or who came up with that idea?  If so, I’d love to hear about it.

An Unlikely Soldier

I’m just gonna come right out and say it . . . This election SUCKS!

Not only because our new dictator-in-chief is a reality show buffoon, whose petty, xenophobic, misogynist, and homophobic tweets have incited people to crawl out from under whatever rock they’ve been hiding and be just as vulgar.  Nor is it because it seems he’s trying to undo all the good, progressive growth our country has gone through over the last 50+ years, and turn us into a fascist oligarchy.

Those things are horrible, true.  But what bothers me more about this election is to learn just how many people in this country seem to WANT the fascist oligarchy, or hate on any group of people who aren’t Aryan straight men.

And what I hate even MORE than that is that I can’t seem to accept the “other side’s” point of view on this one.

I’ve tried most of my life to be someone who lives by the edict of “To each his/her own.”  I don’t expect all of us to see eye to eye on every issue, but I believe we each have the right to our respective opinions.  I truly used to think I was like that.  But I’m so incredibly scared of what might happen over the next 4-8 years (God, PLEASE let it only last for 4!), that I have no desire to even listen to what the “other side” has to say.

And I tried.  I really did.  There was an article I saw online where a female reporter decided to sit down and talk with a Trump supporter who lived in her neighborhood.  Apparently what I saw was her second conversation with the guy, and they were sitting down openly discussing their opposing views and also responding to various comments in his Twitter feed.

I totally applaud her ability to be able to sit down and have the discussion with him, because, yes, we DESPERATELY need to have open conversations with each other, to try to understand where the other is coming from (because, maybe the “other side” is only afraid of people, because they don’t understand them).  But, unfortunately I got maybe five minutes into the video, and then had to shut it off.  I am so adamantly against this incoming administration and everything they stand for, that I found myself unwilling to listen to this man’s side of things.  He seemed so angry and (in my opinion) ill-informed about what went down, that I had to shut the video off before I began screaming at the screen.

So I find myself in much the same position I’m accusing the “other side” of being in: angry, resentful and unyielding in my beliefs about what is “right.”  I’ve said for some time that the only thing I’m bigoted about is a bigot . . . and here it is, staring me in the face.

But thankfully, there are millions of people who aren’t on the “other side.”  I was SO happy and proud to see all the people out there who marched last weekend in protest of Trump and the crap he’s trying to do.  It’s heartening to see just how many people are out there in favor of the things I support.  It gives me hope that all might not yet be lost.

But there is still a fear inside of me that we might be headed toward another Hitler-like regime.  What with Trump already forbidding certain news agencies to his hearings, and changing the government websites, it feels like the dictatorship is gearing up.  Which makes me think that a revolution isn’t far behind.

And that comes to what scares me the most . . . if a revolution is imminent, then I feel that I must do my part to keep entire groups of people safe from such atrocities as were thrust upon Jewish people in Germany, or even Asian people here in America.  NOBODY should be put on some sort of “registry” just because they follow a non-Christian religion.  Nor should anyone be forced to “convert” to a “more acceptable” lifestyle.  Just the thought of either of those things coming to fruition pisses me the fuck off!  So I feel like I need to join the fight.

Deep down I’m terrified of being jailed or killed over this, but I also feel that I’d be an absolute coward to not stand up and fight for something I truly believe in.  I have too many gay/black/trans/Muslim/etc. friends whose livelihoods appear to be on tenterhooks as of January 20th to just sit idly by and not do something.  I wouldn’t be able to look myself in the mirror ever again, if I sat on my hands.

I never wanted to be a fighter.  I even refused to go into the military (even though I needed the money for college) because I just don’t agree with using excessive force to get what you want.  I had always prided myself on letting people have their own opinions.  But this election has been divisive, and in my mind this new administration is very dangerous.  I have to stand up for what I believe in.  So if it means I need to go out and fight . . . then fight I will.

Vive la revolution!

New Year, New Me

As I’ve stated before, I’m not usually one for making New Year’s resolutions.  I generally feel that, if you’re not willing/ready to make the change at any time of the year, chances are you won’t succeed at it just because a new year has begun.  Maybe that’s just a defeatist attitude that I’ve used to keep me from attempting to make any large changes each year, but it’s not like I’m ever graded on my human-ness by whether or not I participate in this social activity, so I haven’t cared to look at it any deeper.

This coming year, however, I have decided to make some changes.  I don’t know that I’d call them “resolutions” per se, but these modifications are things I feel are necessary to my emotional and physical well-being, if I hope to enjoy a healthy long life.

The first is to be MUCH more diligent in changing my eating habits.  I’ve known I had Hashimoto’s for nearly two years now, but I’ve been pretty lax about making sure that I avoid gluten at ALL costs.  Sometimes it’s because I don’t want to cause too much of a fuss, but it’s mostly because I don’t pay that close attention to ingredients when I eat out, so I’m sure there are times when gluten still gets into my system.

Also, the more I speak to my functional medicine doctor, the more I learn that there are other foods I should be cutting down on, or cutting out of my diet entirely.  I’ve been fighting it like a five-year old throwing a tantrum and being mad at my body for being this sensitive, but I’ve finally started to accept that I need to put on my big-girl panties and stop letting my ID control me.  Mine isn’t a life-threatening disease (yet), but I know that I can feel better than I do right now . . . and I WANT that.

The next shift will likely happen as a result of eating better for my body . . . lose weight.  Both Craig and I need to lose quite a few pounds, but we’ve let our reasons and excuses keep us from doing just that.  Well, Craig’s been encountering more and more health problems due to his weight and our not-so-great eating habits, and neither of us wants him to have to be on medications for the rest of his life, so this is one change that we’re gonna work on together.  YAY!  The fact that I want to go to Hawaii for my 50th birthday is a HUGE incentive.  We both want to go hang gliding, walking on volcanoes, and even ziplining . . . And we’d probably have a better time doing those if we were down to healthier weights.  We’ve got until 2020 to get there.

The other switch that I’m going to make is to stop playing so many video games.  I started using them as a little break/de-stressor from the daily grind, but it’s now become more than that.  They’ve come to take up a good hour or two of my days . . . which is time that I could put to MUCH better use with editing my current audiobook or auditioning for new voice over gigs.  Or even taking new photos or editing old ones.  I have two amazing careers that I really want to get off the ground, and playing video games is taking up too much of what little free time I currently have (since I have a day job as well).

These are three really good switches that I’m going to be making in my life.  So, why am I waiting until the new year to make them?  Probably the same reason so many other people don’t make the changes right away . . . I don’t wanna!  lol  While that’s meant to be funny, it’s also quite true.  My ID is definitely sensing the danger of not being in control for much longer.  It’s one of those consequences of not disciplining oneself enough as you’re growing up . . . you spend 40+ years doing/eating whatever you want, whenever you want to and not thinking of the possible repercussions (because you don’t notice any for the first 20+ years of your life).  That’s a LOT of years of bad habits to try to overcome.  So I guess I’m giving myself a couple more weeks of “freedom” before I make the necessary changes.

The funny thing is that deep down inside, I WANT to make these changes.  I know, inherently, that all of these changes will make for a MUCH happier, healthier Alyx.  And I so desperately want to be happier and healthier.

So, maybe these last couple weeks of 2016 are really a chance to let the deeper part of me work on convincing my ID that these changes are a GOOD thing.  Probably not, but I’ve only got two more weeks to make excuses.  ;o)

Giving Thanks 2016

I wasn’t sure if I was going to write a Giving Thanks blog this year or not.  What with emotional landmines I’ve been uncovering, the charged political environment, and the fact that 2016 has been taking so many good entertainers from us, I didn’t know if I’d be able to come up with much.

But I saw a post recently that helped put things back into perspective.  It doesn’t matter which one it was–especially since I’ve seen several different ones over the last few weeks–but here are some to put you in the same state of mind:

happy-thankful

 

 

 

 

 

 

60033-being-thankful

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

being-thankful

 

 

 

 

 

 

So as I sit down to write this blog, I’m looking at the things in my life that I have every reason to be thankful for:

  1.  My family – My husband, Craig, is SUCH a wonderful, supportive man.  I couldn’t ask for a better life companion, and I’m SO grateful that he’s in my life.  My step-daughter, Athena, is also an amazing young woman.  I love watching her grow into herself, and enjoy hearing her insight into a variety of topics.  And I simply adore our two cats, Jasmyn and Bot (short for Purrbot).  These wonderful bundles of fur make my heart swell with love nearly every day, and I couldn’t imagine my life without them.
  2. My job – Yes, I’m back at a day job, but once I got over my bruised ego at not being as successful as quickly as I’d hoped to be, I can see that this new role is much better suited to me.  Plus, it pays well and they’re willing to let me work part-time, so I can have more hours in the day to pursue my preferred interests.  It’s also close to home, so I’m thankful for the short commute.
  3. College – I’m thoroughly enjoying the classes I’ve been taking this Fall semester, and am looking forward to the new ones in the Spring.  Obtaining new skills and meeting new people in these classes will help prepare me better for my chosen careers.
  4. Entertainment – I’ve seen some amazing movies and TV shows this year (I’ve also seen some crap, but the good outweighs the bad in this case).  I’m thrilled to see new voices coming out with snappier writing and better interpersonal relationships.  It helps me to know we’re moving in a good direction.
  5. Sleep – For the few months that I stepped away from a day job, I napped nearly every day and it was AWESOME!  I’m sure I was one of those kids who didn’t like naps after a certain age, but I’ve definitely gotten over that.  Even at my day job now, I try to find a little nook somewhere at least once a week to nap during my lunch hour.  That kind of reset does wonders for my mood, as well as my mental clarity.

There are quite a few more things I could list here, but I’m guessing you, dear reader, will be thankful if I keep this post relatively short.  ;o)

I wish you all a Happy Thanksgiving!  May your holiday be filled with love, laughter, great memories and a wonderful nap.

America’s Reality-Show Election

I know this isn’t my normal day to post my blog, but with the election next week, I felt compelled to write a special one . . .

Four years ago I wrote about my decision to vote for the first time in my life (you can read parts 1 and 2 of that blog here and here).  This year it didn’t occur to me not to vote, but this might be the last year that I do so.

I was right in fearing the floodgates opening up once I started thinking more about politics.  The last several months have been exhausting to me.  With all the social media blurbs about this candidate or that one–not to mention the fact that The Daily Show (a satirical news show on Comedy Central) has talked of practically nothing else–the only way I can avoid hearing about the latest scandal or lawsuit is to put my nose in a book, or get outside (both of which I have done, with great pleasure).

And it wasn’t just the non-stop, in your face coverage that got to me; that happens every election year.  It was also the ridiculous reality-show vibe of the entire thing.

First off, there were . . . what . . . 17 Republican candidates originally (not counting another 5 who had filed the correct paperwork, but were never included on ballots or in debates)?  I’m fairly certain that’s unprecedented.  As the months wore on and the debates happened, they kept dropping like contestants on Survivor, and many of my friends who normally vote Republican said there wasn’t a good option in the bunch (I agreed with them, but I’m not Republican, so that’s not surprising).

Then, there were the issues with corruption in the Democratic National Committee.  I was a HUGE Bernie Sanders supporter, and actually looked forward to the election with the prospect of him in office.  So the voter suppression and other shenanigans that happened around the primaries were disheartening and angering to witness.  And I’d probably be happier about breaking the glass ceiling if our first female Presidential candidate was someone I trusted and liked more than Hillary Clinton . . . like Elizabeth Warren.

And then, looking at all the local and state-wide proposals in my vote-by-mail ballot became a daunting task.  When I saw the size of the booklet explaining the proposals for California, I about fell on the floor.  I wanted to make sure that I understood each issue before voting on it, so I read the unbiased summary and then each “For” and “Against” comment.  And those damned rebuttals!  The ones that weren’t full of fear-tactics were so childish, they boiled down to “Nuh-uh!  You’re the liars!”

The whole process of actually reading the proposals and filling out the ballot took me 3 three days.  Granted, I spent only an hour or so each day, but still, that went on WAY too long!

But the worst part of this year’s election, in my opinion, is how Donald Trump’s presence as the Republican nominee has brought out all the racists, misogynists, and the like who have been keeping their mouths shut because the wind was blowing in a different direction.  But now, with all the inflammatory things he says, these ignorant (not stupid, mind you, just ignorant) and closed-minded people feel free to openly slam, bully, or worse whatever race, religion, sexual orientation, or other category of people they feel threatened by.  We’re approximately 150 years out of slavery and about 60 years out of segregation, for goodness sake!  I realize those are relatively short periods of time in the history of the world, but I can’t bear the thought of us reverting back into those days!  Not to mention all of the other great stride’s we’ve made for equality recently.

As much as I don’t care for Hillary, I think she’s a FAR better candidate than Donald.  And, even if he did win (which I highly doubt), it’s not HIM I’m afraid of; it’s the hordes of people who agree with the crap that comes out of his mouth.  I personally believe he says that shit just to get a reaction out of people, but those who support him really do have that kind of mentality.  And they are the people we now have to deal with every single day, regardless of whether he takes the Presidency or not.

So yeah, this might be the last year that I vote.  I understand that thousands of women fought for my right to vote (many of whom died for it), and I’m eternally grateful that they did.  I will never fully understand the hardships they went through, or the sacrifices they made.  But they fought for my right to vote, not the obligation that I do so.  And I don’t feel that I owe it to anyone to be this overwhelmed, frustrated, and frankly disheartened by a process that goes on WAY too long.

And, if Mr. Trump does win this year, I might just be moving to another country.

First Two Months of Freedom

Well, it’s nearing the end of the second month since I quit my day job and began to focus on the careers that I want to do: Photography and Voice Over (VO).  Only, it hasn’t gone quite the way I’d thought it might (though, what does, really?).

The first two weeks found me vacillating back and forth between staying the course or going and finding another admin job.  There’s something definitely comforting about having a steady income, especially when you get paid weekly (which I did).  When you don’t see that money coming in and only see money leaving your bank account to pay for bills, rent, etc., there are definite moments of freaking out.

But aside from the financial freak outs, let’s call them, I have THOROUGHLY enjoyed my independence!  It’s been wonderful to spend my hours working on things that will further my career goals, rather than sitting at a desk plodding through daily work that doesn’t feed my soul.  I’ve always been a generally positive person, but I haven’t felt this energized or true to myself in years!  My functional medicine doctor even commented on how much healthier my adrenal glands are since leaving the daily grind.

Another “issue” (we’ll say, for lack of a better term) is that I never realized just how many of life’s things had been relegated to the weekends, or put on the back burner indefinitely.  I’ve heard newly retired people say that they’re busier than when they worked, but never fully understood that . . . until now.  What with grocery shopping, dishes, cooking my own meals, running this errand or that one, my days are jam-packed!  True, I feel FAR more productive than I did when working the day job, but if I thought I’d be able to spend 8 hours a day on VO and Photography, I was sorely mistaken.  I’d say I get to put in a good 5-6 hours a day on my careers.  Which is still great, as it’s a huge improvement over the 1-2 hours I was able to do every couple of days.

I’ve also decided to go to college full-time to get a degree in my chosen professions.  I’ve never been to college before, and I’m trying to find ways to not have to work at a desk job ever again.  My big hope is that I’ll be able to find grants or scholarships that will help pay for college and my bills, but I’d also be willing to do internships or work-study to help augment my finances, if need be.  That will again diminish the time I’m able to focus on auditioning for VO jobs, or edit photos, but it will hopefully help me in the long run.  But, this is the first week of my first semester, so there will be more updates on that as time goes along.

The biggest issue has probably been learning to structure my time properly (which is partly why this blog is a day late).  Another benefit of having a day job is that you’re more aware of time passing.  You know what day it is.  And for me I had systems in place at work that helped me organize my life.  I’ve never wanted to be attached to my mobile phone, but now I have to be, because that’s where I’ve begun to put all of my appointments.  If I don’t, I forget said appointments and then beat myself up for it.

But Craig was right . . . I have learned a LOT already.  I’ve taken a couple of VO webinars, which led to a free 2-week all-access pass to other online VO courses, which has been great.  I’ve submitted some images to some gallery contests, so we’ll see what happens there.  AND I’ve been able to work on projects that have been stagnant for 2 years, because I was just too busy or emotionally exhausted to focus on them.

So all in all, I’m VERY happy I decided to quit my day job!  It’s been emotionally freeing and empowering to realize that what I want IS important, and that I CAN achieve my dreams.

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