In Which I Shouldn’t Drink Coffee

You know how people are mushy drunks??? I’m a mushy coffee drinker. As soon as caffeine hits my system I’m an emotional wreck. If ever anyone has been fortunate (or unfortunate, depending on how you look at it) to receive an “I love you!” or “I’m so proud of you!” text from me trust I just finished a mug of coffee…..Welp, could be worse! Or could it….

My friend in Alabama sent me a message last night with the link to her home health website for me to take a gander at.  She’s been working on the idea for a while, but never really started putting it into action because while she was in Mississippi, work ate most of her time and also did not allot her any disposable income to put her plans into motion.  After receiving a better paying job offer in Alabama, she loaded up her truck, tossed her two sons in the back seat, and hit the dusty trail.  But she even with her more comfortable living arrangement and higher rank job, she still had the itch to start her own business.  Well it took a while, but she’s been getting her business license paperwork, designing her business card, and completing the website.  Even though she sent me the message last night, I fell asleep before I could open it (it had been raining all day here and as you know, rain is perfect reading and sleeping weather) so I didn’t open it until I was sitting at the kitchen table reading “Rappaccini’s Daughter” and drinking my morning coffee. And I just had to tell her that I was incredibly proud of her. And I am. I probably would have told her that regardless of my choice of beverage, but still, it intensified the need to tell her. Coffee. It’ll make you do things. It won’t help you be productive, but…it’ll make you do other things…..

I’m a bit of a weirdo when it comes to such things.  My friend Bianca used to tell me all of the time, “Amber, you know why you’re cool? Because you have friends, but you act like you don’t need them. That’s cool.” And in my mind I was thinking, “that probably means your standards of cool are pretty low…..and also that I’m apparently a bit of an asshole….” But as I’ve said before, I’m very defensive of myself. I may act like I don’t need someone for the simple fact that I know that it’ll hurt less if that person ever decides that my companionship is not needed.  At the same time, I habitually ask my friends what their life dreams and goals are. Some don’t have any dreams or goals other than to survive in this crazed world, and others have very specific goals. If they tell me a goal they have in mind I’ll let them know I believe that they can do it or be it, whatever the “it” may be. Because, for one, that’s what friends do. I suck at being a friend, but I’m pretty good in that area if I say so myself.  And also because life has a funny, not funny, way of kicking you in the shin and going, “NOT TODAY!” whenever you start inching closer and closer towards your dreams.  Some times your family may tell you that what you’re hoping for is not realistic. Maybe an article pops up on your timeline that says, “Top Useless Degrees” and right there on the list is your degree. Or maybe you’re still in the progress stage and you feel like you’re going to be stuck there forever. And all you really want and need is for your slightly asshole-ish friend to randomly say, “I believe in you.”

It’s funny how time can bring about a change, because back in the dizzle I would be the last person to express anything of the like.  Well, when I was kid I would because I was born to be a delicate little muffin. I remember when I was about five or six, I told my granny, “Granny. I love you. Even after I die and go to heaven, I’ll still love you in heaven.” That’s just the kind of person I was. All kids are kind of like that: hopeful, gentle, optimistic. Then puberty drop kicks you in the neck and well….it was nice while it lasted. After that, being kind is an uphill battle. Specifically, once I hit high-school I lost my gentle edge for a while.  Mostly because during this period you’re trying to find your place in the world. So I was mostly struggling with just being myself, and it bothered me if I did something that my friends liked so they would do it too. It legitimately bothered me. Because I figured if they did it, especially since they were more popular, they’d get the most attention for it. Yea yea yea, I know. Sad *Donald Trump voice* Even when I dyed my hair freshman year of college, both of my closest friends dyed theirs afterwards and I hated it. HATED IT. *Big Sean voice* Poor self image and envy are a terrible mix. *shakes my head* The thought of someone doing better didn’t sit well with me because it made me realize just how NOT better I was doing. But now I know that’s really a sucky mindset and poor heart condition to have.  If someone is doing well then you should rejoice, unless they’re a criminal….And if someone isn’t doing too great then you should empathize because we’re all human and none of us like to suffer. If you extend kindness to someone they will return it to you in your time of need (hopefully. We all know that doesn’t always work out). If you practice being a hater, then you’ll receive hate in return.  Don’t make the mistake of thinking you can make it through life alone. And when you act maliciously then you increase your chances of spending your life by yourself, with no one to celebrate your success or lift you from your own despair. That’s a tough life to live.

I’ve also internalized the truth of the matter: If God can and will do it for someone else, he can and will do it for me.  Of course, I struggle with this from time to time. At some point later I’ll have a post about God NOT doing it for me because emotions…they’re fickle things….BUT I also know that if my heart is not in the right place, then he can’t give me anything or do anything for me, at least not to the extent he desires to.  So now when I see someone else being blessed, I thank God for it. Not solely because I know that he can do the same for me, but because I’m grateful that each of us has a great purpose for living.  We may struggle to get there, but it’s still there. “For I know the plans I have for you…plans to prosper you, not to harm you…” Yes. Yes I did use profanity and quote a bible verse in the same post. Forgive me, Lawd. I especially think of the people who swam through the swamp, and still ended up on the peak of the mountain. You never know what people went through to get where they are. It amazing to hear individuals’ stories about their backgrounds and compare that to their accomplishments. Truly amazing. Let that be encouraging, not envy inducing.  And believe that God has things in store for you as well. Now, it may not come in the same package as someone else’s and it definitely won’t come when you think it will, but it’s coming.

So in my caffeine chronicles I’m here to say that I’m proud of everyone here. Even if you don’t think you’re where you need to be or should be. I’m still proud and I still believe in you. *cue the national anthem playing in the background, and an Eagle perching on my shoulder….And my head on Barack Obama’s body….but with his smile….* Too much detail…..

Life and Living

You ever notice how life gets in the way of living?  I know it’s cliche, but I truly believe that many people are just existing. I was speaking to my boss back in April of this year about quitting the job.  He asked me if I had any plans or any jobs lined up and I had nothing, zilch, nada. I didn’t have an application submitted or a freshly updated resume.  I wish I could at least say that I had saved up some money in my “fuck you” stash, but I was blowing money left and right. I guess it sounds silly that I would want to quit a job and have my future finances be pretty ambiguous.  But I think that I have gotten very complacent because I know that it doesn’t matter how tired I am of being stuck. It doesn’t matter how much I wonder what my future will look like. It doesn’t even matter that I am constantly questioning how long I can continue at a high pace, low wage job that has nothing to do with anything I have a passion for. At the end of the day there is a time sheet with my name on it, and I can clock in to spend 8 mind numbing hours pushing thoughts about my life into the darkest recesses of my mind.  I realize that life does not care that I am not working in my desired field. Life does not consider that I have desires for which I do not have finances. Life is worried about how I can afford my own place, how much my phone bill is, how will I eat?  That’s why I say that life just really gets in the way of true living.

I like to read different stories or listen to interviews where people who were just lost in the turmoils of life found their way.  My brother has a thing about messaging me the convocation speeches from non-traditional speakers. I’m pretty sure he does this because he really wants me to return to school (but then again that could just be me). I have seen J.K Rowling as well as Steve Jobs tell their stories. J.K. Rowling lived in poverty and Steve Jobs didn’t even officially attend college. Am I the only person who is like, “where the fuck do I sign up for that transformation???” But these type of stories remind me that it is possible to do something you love and not just drag through life on the pure need for survival. On the flip side there are people who never get that opportunity or maybe they do and they are struggling. We have all witnessed someone who fit the “broke artist” mold. My friend Jonathan is an artist and when I say that he is talented I’m not joking. But he has experienced the strain of being an artist in a world that treats art as an extracurricular activity. It’s tough to take that talent and turn it into a bread winning career. To be honest this is my  greatest fear. I love to write; I won’t claim to be published author worthy, but I still have a passion for it. But what can I do with this passion that also doubles as a livelihood? If I were J.K. Rowling talented or Khaled Hosseini talented then I may not have that fear. But in my self evaluation I find myself to not be as talented as they are. Which leaves me asking, “okay…well what am I good at?”

This also reminds me of the fact that it can feel darned near impossible to discover a talent and hone that talent when time is so limited. J. Cole said it best when he said that so much of our time is dedicated to work when work doesn’t even value our time. Think about it.  If you get paid $7.25 an hour, that’s basically what your time is worth. One-third of your day is only worth $58 before taxes. Before work you’re really only up long enough to get ready for work and commute to work. You burn those 8 hours and then you’re back home. You COULD be a super productive person and get straight to business as soon as you kick off your work heels. Then again, you could be tired from the grueling day. You slump into the shower, you fry a bologna sandwich, and you have just enough energy to peruse the internet. That can easily be 3 hours of downtime before you’re counting sheep. That’s 24 hours gone before you even notice. Before long that’s 120 hours gone. The glorious weekend is here, but you have to take those precious 48 hours and utilize them as best as possible. If you’re like me, you disdain even the suggestion of productivity because you’re just trying to kickback for once. I used to tell myself that I was lazy, but I really just don’t want to sacrifice the few hours of downtime I have. I admit that I get agitated with folks who say, “well everyone has the same 24 hours in their day! It’s how you use it!” It is true that we all get 24 hours in the day, but we don’t all have the same resources. And resources dictate how you spend your time and what you spend your time doing. Someone working two jobs has less hours of free time than I do with my one job. Someone who is born into money definitely can have more free time than I do. It’s more than just the amount of hours in the day. It’s about how many of those hours do we have to ourselves and how many we are able to dedicate towards building upon our talents or passions.

I probably am just trying to give myself some excuse as to why I have to force myself to do something other than nap when I get home from work. I feel a little bit better because I spoke to my aunt today who told me she hasn’t been doing any writing because of the lack of energy and inspiration due to her job.  Frankly many of us want to do a lot, but the drive is being sapped by life’s circumstances. Perhaps I’m trying to extinguish this small flame of anxiety I have since I have decided to quit this September. I have no idea what I am going to do when I quit other than pray and believe that God will reveal the next step to me.  If I’m making a mistake I’m just going to have to make it. I can no longer coast through life just because my job seems safe (and really no job on the lower end of the job ladder is safe). Jim Carey spoke about his dad in a convocation speech this year. He said that his dad was always funny  and that he believed that his dad could have been a comedian. But his father forwent his passion of making people laugh to work at a secure regular job.  He ended up losing the job and the family struggled anyway.  Jim Carey said that he realized that if he was going to potentially fail in life, he would rather fail while shooting for his dreams than to fail while just trying to make do. I have been comfortable and complacent and it has gotten me no where but stuck in a rut. It has robbed me of my motivation and my time. A lot of years can go by before you wake up and say, “what am I doing? What am I living for? Why am I here?” I actually started asking myself those questions freshman year of college and I ended up dropping out (so beware…). I was paying for tuition when I had no idea why I was in school. I was a psychology major really for the sole purpose of learning to fix myself (though I still love to read case studies from psychologists). I ended up going back to school two years ago under the sociology major (which I loved much more. Sociology is God’s gift to man. We didn’t deserve such a gift), but the question remained, “what am I doing this for? Why am I here?” And I quit again after the school took my scholarship for not having enough hours. Now I’m at a point where I’m 23 years old at a job that I probably would never advance at, and I’m just thinking how long I can keep this up.

I texted my brother about two weeks ago and told him that I did not think I would continue living longer. It was unfair of me because I know that he wouldn’t know what to say, but I just had to tell someone.  I previously told my mom that I did not want to live anymore, and I feel terrible because that’s a large burden to put on a parent. I would like to do something grand to make my mom proud and also rich. I would buy her and my stepfather a new house on a lake since he likes to fish. I would tell her she could quit her job and do whatever she wanted to do. But at the heart of it all I just don’t want to disappoint her. And when you’re stuck the first thing people do is ask your parents. Then your parents end up bearing your shame. The fact remains that I can only live my own life; if I don’t know how to live it, then I don’t really want to live it. In April I gave myself a deadline that I would either find myself or kill myself by August 28th. Don’t worry, I don’t plan to keep that deadline. But the hunger to live is so strong in me that I have definitely got to find myself or I will eventually permanently lose myself.

I know this post went all over the place and I apologize for dragging on (I don’t know why I do that, I know no one’s going to read this).  But if by some chance someone does read it and you’ve conquered this type of battle PLEEEAAASE tell me how you did it. If you feel the same as me have no fear; We’re in this together. There is a world out there for us and life still in. We’ve just got to go for it.  Because I’ve been shown time and time again that life will always try to block your happiness. Sitting there not going for it just really isn’t too much better.