Stories Pt. 1

I’m under the impression these days that many of us are living pretty poo lives.  Not all. Not few. But quite a few of us are.  I’ve been searching for some outside inspiration for a while, and I referred back to Donald  Miller’s book “A Million Miles in a Thousand Years.”  I’ve referenced the book in a earlier post from half a century ago so I’m pretty sure no one remembers me even mentioning it. Actually it may have been another one of his books….I forget these things.  I love Donald Miller because I can tell he has a wandering mind.  He kind of drifts off in his books and for some reason that speaks to me.  Probably because I drift off whenever and wherever.  In the book Mr. Miller is speaking about life in the form of a story. When one of his friends spoke to him about some rebellious behavior from his daughter, Donald told him that it sounded like his daughter was living out a poor story.  So maybe instead I should say that we are living some pretty poo stories.

It’s easy and almost guaranteed that you’ll get dragged into the humdrum of life.  Responsibilities kick in. Bills become due.  People start looking for an engagement ring on your fingers. You’ve got to get out there in the “real world” and do some adulting like grocery shopping and scheduling doctor’s appointments.  Growing up is a scam, kids.  I would say don’t do it, but…the alternative isn’t very promising.  Before I moved to a bigger city, I lived in a very small town.  We were/are known for our highschool football program.  I’m probably kin to 80% of the population.  Gossip moves faster than the speed of light.  On the bright side, we weren’t one of those “drive through one stop sign and you’re in another town” towns.  After my brother moved  to go to school he didn’t offer me much advice on where I should go or when. He’s the kind of person who only offers advice if you ask for it and even then he’s selective about what he says.  But one thing he told me stuck: “Amber, one thing I’ve noticed about my classmates is that a lot of them finish highschool and they stay here. They get stuck.  They’re smart and talented but they don’t know how to go further. No one has left and came back and said, ‘Get out of here. Go see more than Mississippi.’ They leave school and go work at Lowes or at a factory. That’s as far as they go. That’s just something I don’t want to do. I don’t want to get stuck here.”  Our grandparents worked at factories/mills.  My mom worked a low paying job at the hospital. My brother’s dad didn’t want anything to do with him. Our uncles and aunts work at mills/factories.  We were born into a humble environment, but our town has a complacent atmosphere. They truly do finish school and get funneled into dead end jobs that leave them stranded in the small town life. I’m not trying to judge anyone who works at a standard 9 to 5 or lives in a small town. I work a standard 9 to 5 and live in a small town. But I wonder why that’s as far as some of us will attempt to go. My brother earned his PhD and now works as a design engineer at an elevator company.  He loves his job. He gets to travel periodically to Germany on behalf of the company and genuinely enjoys what he does.  His wife is from Alabama but is now teaching at a charter school in Memphis. She loves to teach and speaks to her class almost daily about taking the opportunity to do and be better. My brother comes back to our hometown and speaks to the younger kids in our neighborhood about what they want to do in life. A lot of them haven’t thought about it. His only desire is to influence them to think about it, not to tell them what to do.  They are both actively writing their stories and encouraging others to carefully craft their own.

I’m currently working at a hotel and, once again, I am one of the youngest employees at the location. When our General Manager cut our hours all hell broke loose.  He didn’t want to admit that he had cut the hours.  He didn’t want to admit that the pay is…..honestly trash for the workload.  One of the ladies went into an uproar about the hour cut and her minimal raise.  Overhearing her say how much she got paid made me wonder because my check is much less than her’s regularly. I wonder how much she’d rage if she got my wages instead.  Anyway. She was looking into a sitting job in the evening to help add a little cushion to her bank account as she has purchased a new vehicle.  Her friend recently quit the job because she did not desire to deal with the employer any longer.  My coworker came to conclusion that she was just lazy and did not want the money. As she told it, it’s all about the money. And I know deep down in my hipster heart that money is a necessity, but how much is your patience and time worth? It’s a moment of your life being bought by a person, a company, etc.  Money generally is the reason why most of our time and talent goes to shit.  Because time is money and talent ain’t talent if it doesn’t earn money. Just today she asked, “Amber, guess how many hours my friend had this paycheck. One hundred twenty-eight hours!” And I’m just like what the…That’s a lot of hours dedicated to a job in just two weeks. That’s time I literally cannot get back. I wouldn’t even want to work that many hours for a business that I didn’t invest in or do not own. I try not to even say anything against her philosophy because I do not have kids. My car was cheap because of hail damage and by the grace of God is paid for. I don’t have rent due. I can’t tell her how to address her struggle because I don’t have her struggle. But it got me thinking. Why do I choose to live life as I do? I didn’t finish school because school coupled with depression/anxiety is a MFT (miserable fucking time).  I write, though admittedly not faithfully and not professionally, but I don’t focus on building a life around it.  I actually write lyrics that I do nothing with, but save on my phone. I’m willingly and thoughtlessly living a poor story.

Now I do take risks from time to time.  In the wise words of myself, you only die once. That’s right Drake; you were close. There was a guy that I had this huge crush on during first grade.  It’s really quite funny to think about because my cousin liked him too and we were in all out war over him.  Now I’m just like…why? who has got the energy…..Moving on.  I was on a sugar rush from too many white chocolate macadamia nut cookies and after some coaxing from my friends messaged him out of the blue. We talked a while after that, but it really didn’t go anywhere. I get a bit embarrassed when I think about it. In fact, if I could go back in time I’d probably toss my phone across the room or delete my Facebook.  Like that Direct commercial. “We’ve got the power to turn back time. Something something something press rewind….Grampy Tim….” I can’t remember the words. But that commercial is genius.  The experience was uncomfortable and unrewarding, but it didn’t kill me. I cut my locs off after having them for three years on a whim at five in the morning. Now I’m a bald head scally wag, but I reckon it’ll grow back.  I applied for a job that I was no where near experienced enough for, and got a call back. Unfortunately, the company had to make changes and the position was cut. Nothing is guaranteed but nothing new happens if nothing new happens. Chances are I’ll fail and look silly. I’ll probably get rejected and have my feelings hurt. But that’s happened when I’ve done nothing at all. I may as well get out here and  fail with pride. Like that episode of Spongebob. “I’m ugly…and I’m proud. I’M UGLY AND I’M PROUD!!!” God, I need to stop watching television……

I get on here all the time and whine, complain, and make corny jokes at the risk of losing every single follower I have (like I have many….) but….well actually I don’t know where I was going with that.  I’m not comfortable speaking about feelings and sensitive experiences.  I’m not a very trusting or confident person. But when one person or two like my posts I feel better because it turns out I didn’t make a complete ass of myself. Someone out there relates to or agrees with my ridiculous rants. Risks can be rewarding. Not financially perhaps, but possibly in other ways.  It may just grant a smile and a laugh which may not seem like much but can help heal a hurting heart. You liked all those h’s didn’t you? Yea, it was clever. *clears throat* No one likes to be the loser.  No on likes to get a “no” or worse, silence.  But everyone wants better.  And for some strange reason sometimes the rejection and reward start to intertwine.  It’s not just about jobs and money. You need a job and you need money.Don’t think I’m telling you to get out here and rob the local Subway. But you also need good health and happiness. And sometimes those factors do NOT intertwine. So you end up with some changes to make.

Many of us don’t have the cushion to take risks to change our stories. Everybody’s situation is different.  A kid living on the streets because his parents are on drugs is living a poor story at the fault of someone else.  Maybe you’re helping care for an elderly parent and all of your time is consumed.  Or a mentally ill child.  I don’t know what you’ve got going on and I’m not trying to knock you over the head. We each move at our own pace.  I just want to say that if you WANT to go back to school, go back. Apply for those grants and scholarships you don’t think you’ll get.  If you apply and don’t get them you won’t be any worse off than not applying at all, now will you? Talk to your supervisor about a raise. Talk to your GM about a promotion. Write the book. Message the girl/guy.  Dye your hair. Grow a beard. A really cool beard. Not that wimpy beard. No one likes wimpy beards. And make sure you condition it and keep it moisturized.  Enter that competition. Get out there and make a fool of yourself. I do it all the time. It’s not even intentional. At some point I just end up doing it…..

I’m starting to get flustered. I can’t really recall where I was going with this post, but that’s probably the result of watching this new show on ID while writing this post.  Hopefully when I come back tomorrow I’ll have a clear head. I’m still trying to work on this bad habit of tossing in profanity. I’m trying, y’all…..

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