The String of Mind

Clutching the thin string of grounded sanity, I see my mind’s form tumble and flip within the capricious flows of time, self, and society. Hurricanes, tornadoes, and unexpected flocks of migrating trends have all affected how close it comes to the ground; how far it stretches toward the sun; and how many holes are ripped through the very fabric of certainty.

Although my mind is on the wind, I have never lost it.

Recently, I have started the next steps of the rest of my life: graduate school. In fact, This is precisely why I have not been able to write lately—I hate that, but school comes first. Since starting the semester, I’ve started looking at life very differently.

In fact, it’s hard to remain the same when thrown into a cluster of unfamiliarity: people, campus, and courses all surround me with questions: “Where do you fit? Where will you go? What do you know?” I have no clue—I end up asking the questions right back into the abyss.

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How do I, someone fixed on routine and familiarity, adapt to the ebbing and flowing of What-Where-Why The F**k River?

First, lets’ reflect on my First Failure: here, we see a stressed Fifi, dying of negativity and self doubt. Well, forget that crap. There’s more to life. While I still struggle with this at times, the difference is astounding. I have become infinitely more self-aware to the point I can recognize and correct some of my behavior before it happens (when I’m not Sammy) and ultimately think more positively of myself, image, and life.

Asset 40Second, I have finally discovered how to do what’s necessary, to prioritize positively and reduce stress—to keep from punching my counter until I start laughing. It is sometimes difficult to just close my eyes and list ten things for which I’m grateful. Once you start practicing, the bad grades, anxiety-fueled nights, and worst fears (paranoia is the next thing to work on) seem more manageable. 

Third, I have begun to fully embrace my flaws. Nobody is perfect—but everybody is special with their own flaws and talents. How cliché, I know. However, to my unqualified knowledge, it is still true and nothing has proved the veracity of this more than my study group. For some reason, growing up, I never felt I was supposed to belong anywhere (no, that’s not a sob story, there’s more arrogance in that thinking than not)—but not anymore. My group (consisting of an ex-coast guard femme badass, a fabulous franchise legacy, an “intern-of-the-year”, an accountant with sick tatts, and a woman with three names) have accepted me in the way that makes me want to do better for them, which is a big deal coming from my Professional Hell, where my patience was tested until I broke into a billion pieces of neuroticism and started a blog to cope. 

But alas, I rise like a mother-f*cking phoenix.

Or a pigeon.

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More like a pigeon—but I’m still flying and that’s what matters. Maybe soon I’ll graduate to Eagle, Hawk or some other badass raptor with excellent vision.

Either way, one thing remains the same: I’m not afraid of failure. I’m not afraid of doing what’s necessary. I’m aware and grateful for all the people I have met and look forward to learning more about others, myself and of what we are all capable.

Like I said, my mind is on the wind, but I have now made myself a boat.

 

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Locked Up “A-Dog”

Although seldom achieved, children have the ability to become well-respected citizens before the age of forty. Patience is one of the “well-respected” virtues best learned (or attempted to learn) at an early age.

Patience is golden: it gives the ability to mentally overcome certain anxieties, including the “rushed” feeling when you’re shoulder to shoulder in a crowded consumer battleground (a mall).

I have an extreme amount of patience and I owe it all to my older siblings.

There were many lessons and tests being the smaller, weaker sibling, but I learned the most from my brother.

Before I go any further, let me explain something: my parents are dog people. They’ve always had large breed hunting dogs (some had the hunting instincts, at least) and have always crate trained. For those of you unfamiliar with the term, “crate training” refers to crating your animal at appropriate times throughout the day (never as punishment) and evening so the dog can learn your schedule, to have their own idea of a safe place, and overcome separation anxiety. Our crate would stay in the kitchen for the duration of training, usually for about three months, and the dog would go in during all meals and at night while we slept. It was a good lesson for my siblings and I—learning how to persevere through two sleepless weeks of howling and yipping made us appreciate how our parents “parented” us obnoxious, spitty, wailing babies (I was perfect though).

This story takes place about fifteen to sixteen years ago when we were finishing the three months of training our dog, Boo. That said, Boo recently passed away last year so I feel inclined to mention he grew up to be a very regal dog. He’d often sit at the edge of the water, close his eyes and feel the breeze lifting off the marsh. I like to believe he was writing poetry in those moments—but who knows.

Anyways, it was summertime and extremely hot. My mother was out running errands, my sister was at a friend’s, and the dogs were lazily basking in the sun (nearly trained Boo included). Meanwhile, my brother, Mick, and I were going about our business. He and I have always had a unique sibling-hood often resulting in mess and potential death.

You can see where this is going.

As a strange kid, I often crawled into small spaces to nap so I could feel like an animal (which is what I wanted to be when I grew up). During winter, I’d curl up next to the dogs and sleep in front of the fire to keep warm. Every chance I got, I’d try to become as similar to an animal as possible, assimilating into their lazy, lovable culture—to become one of the pack.

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So, my brother and I had just finished lunch. I was exhausted. Whatever I had done in those few days must have been grueling because I was too tired for words. I crawled into the kennel and laid down.

Mick laughed.

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I laughed.

He closed the grate.

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We both laughed.

He left the room and ascended the three stories of our house to his room.

I waited…

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I called out his name but he couldn’t hear me.

I tried, tried and tried again to undo the rusted latches but my fingers were too weak. Honestly, the crate was probably twenty years old and I was only eight or nine. I couldn’t compete. I tried calling out again, but it was no use. I’m not one for tiring myself out when already exhausted, either. It was evident to me I couldn’t get out neither receive aid to get out until either Mick came downstairs or my mother came home. The way I saw it, I was tired, on a comfortable dog bed, and warm. 

So, I did what any normal person would do: I took a nap.

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Within a few moments of sleepy consciousness to readjust, I was asleep and dreaming of being an animal. About an hour went by before the pounding of my brother’s feet on the stairs, in unison with my mother’s feet ascending the entry steps, woke me.

The entry door opened. Mick’s pace was no match.

My mother walked into the kitchen and placed the groceries on the counter. At first she did not notice me because she was listening to Mick’s feet pounding down the last few steps.

“Mick?” she called concerned.

“Hey mom!” I cheerily yelled (I knew my brother was busted).

It took a moment before she realized I was in the kennel but, oh my, it was beautiful. My brother popped into the room, face red, my mom still trying to understand what the hell was going on.Asset 33

 

 

It didn’t take long for my mother to realize Mick had locked me in the kennel, left the room and ultimately forgot about it until the threat of consequence and punishment was approaching.

What transpired next was the typical “too confused to deal with it” motherhood response:

“Um, don’t lock your sister in the kennel anymore…” annunciated as if questioning reality itself.

Later, once my father caught wind of the events, he had to act mad and give “a talking” to my brother. I know they have always laughed about it. Now that I am older, I wonder how many things they yelled at us for and then laughed about later…

I can’t wait to do the same to my children. Except, I’ll actually use a crate on them purposefully (they’re basically cribs with lids, what could go wrong?).

To summarize, the idiotic things my siblings and I did to each other (I was not too innocent, either) taught us the importance of patience and tolerance, something we carry into our adulthood and will pass on to our future generations.

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Braving the Life You Choose

I consider myself a brave person.

I also consider myself a coward.Asset 20

For absolutely no reason, I will feel the weight of the world. If you ask me what’s wrong and I say, “I don’t know” it is an honest answer. I’ll circle my thoughts over and over trying to find the reason, unnecessarily reminding myself of and reliving obnoxiously negative instances.

Eventually, after a cup of coffee or extremely positive encounter, I’ll forget the weight and feel fine.

I realize I let myself get carried away by:

  • A) What others think
  • B) What I think I should think and
  • C) Worrying it’s all my fault (whatever “it” is, I cannot say).

Anyone who knows me knows I’m basically an open book (emphasis on “basic”) but the book I keep open is the thinnest of many in a series. I may be willing to share and express myself, but this is only the cover, the beginning of a narrative. Not that the rest is negative, it’s just private, personal, and reserved for those who I would casually die for and vice versa.

Like any person, as you get to know me you’ll find each volume thereafter grows in depth and complexity. After a while, you’ll begin to see a few different sides, to see that I have many flaws (in case you didn’t pick up the fact I’m not perfect). Here’s a list of imperfections: one of my vertebrae is half grown, I continually forget to put an oven mitt on when extracting casserole from the oven, I still make casseroles, I have occasional acne that threatens my very existence, I become a troll when I drink, I’m too arrogant to admit I can be arrogant.

But imperfections make you work hard and make you aware of your talents. Imperfections are what shape you into either the person you want to be or the person you think you should be. How do I face these imperfections?

Humor is how I make myself brave.

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Humor is how I survive (because being a twenty-something-middle-class-pale-person is sooooo hard…yeah that’s sarcasm).

At the end of the day, everyone is different—everyone is either naturally equipped to deal with something or not, making it a weakness. Forged from wit and wisdom, only homemade mental-weapons can properly battle these “imperfections.” So, what is it I am not naturally equipped for?

Disappointment.

Extremely cliché and yet extremely true. That weight I mentioned earlier is the immense pressure I put on myself to be both intelligent and successful in fear of disappointment. That weight has turned me into a coward because it drives me to worry about arbitrary things; “What if I’m not the most perfect, intelligent person in the world?!” SPOILER ALERT: Life goes on.

So, I recognized my flaw and started fixing it. That’s where humor has actually made me feel brave. By writing about my flaws through the scope of humor, it’s not only digestible and (hopefully) somewhat entertaining for the reader, but also allows the thoughts to escape the back of my mind and open a pathway of enlightenment (I told you I was a deep, complex person). Honestly, there is nothing I cannot do, admit, or confront with humor. You’re welcome for the double negative. 😉

I have equipped myself with humor to win myself over, to reach toward my goals and to brave the world I live in. Like a Trojan Horse, humor can slip a deep thought into your mind with neither intimidation nor immense negativity and have profound impact. Humor can even invoke non-biased thinking and that is beautiful.

If I lost everything, I still have my words…and words are powerful—especially when they make people laugh.

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#SelfLove: Becoming a Fierce #BusinessBitch

The phrase, “If I was confident enough…” should never be used to start a sentence. Seeing the tag #SelfLove circulate, I find myself respecting the tagger, no matter who it is, for being confident enough to admit their confidence.

Growing both personally and professionally, having confidence used to be a rarity. Albeit my body image, intelligence level, or over-exaggerated humility, selling myself short was a really bad habit.

“Hey, I think I will wear this shirt,” *wears shirt; looks in mirror* “Oh my god, you beast—you should only own sweats.”

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Even now, I wonder whether I am doing the right things, making the right calls or just flopping on the deck like a fish gasping for the comfort of the ocean.

“I’m going to do this thing,” *does thing; everything goes great; less than 24 hours later* “People are only pretending to like the thing I did. I am never doing it again.”

We all wonder what path is truly right for us, what we really want to become within our communities.

Do I really want to a successful #BusinessBitch?

Yeah. I do.

The only thing obstructing my path is my extreme fear of possible failure. If you have ever attended a conference and heard a speech about success, then you have heard this consistent piece of advice:

“You cannot be afraid of failure.” —said Every Successful Person Ever

I hear the words, I understand the words, but somehow I am still petrified. Staring out the side of the career plane, I am left wondering what value—if any—the experience of the plunge will give other than the possibility of instant death.

Oh, and you know what else successful people say?

“You have to hit rock bottom before you start building your foundation.”

Asset 119So basically, jump out of the plane, and see if the fall kills you. If it doesn’t, you’ll somehow get stronger.

Hitting rock bottom certainly happened this past year with my First Failure and Professional Hell. I was so broken after fighting, doubting, and loathing myself, I hit a point where something had to give. I decided I shouldn’t feel stale after one year of work in the creative field; I shouldn’t feel stale while pursuing my passion.

I was tired of being tired.

I wanted to have #SelfLove, not #SelfConsciousness.

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So, I started taking the advice of successful leaders, gathered the confidence, and jumped out of the mundane career plane. I quit my job and began aggressively pursuing my passions: art, design, and innovation and began asking myself a series of questions:

What is my dream job?

I want to help people through art, to publish their ideas, let them see the free air and guide them into the creative oblivion of endless possibilities. I want full creative freedom, to create every day, to be in charge of myself and possibly others.

How can I get there?

Obviously I need to further my education. It is clear to me I am either not ready for the workplace or I need a different level of workplace which furthering my education will (hopefully) provide.

What can I do differently?

Confidently pursue connections, remember rejection is only a 50% chance, and to let my passion—nobody else’s—guide me.

Seeing everything written out, the possibility of having a career and pursuing happiness became clearer than ever, taking my reasoning from, “I just like being creative,” to, “I want to change the creative world for the better, to bring my and others’ ideas to life through design, marketing, and outreach.” 

Discovering this was like falling in love, discovering the universe, and conquering my fears all at once. The expanse of possibilities didn’t narrow: it widened.

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All of this being said, I have since started applying for graduate schools and begun volunteering for several groups, just to gain a little mutually beneficial experience and connections, and started applying for paid internships.

No, my dreams have yet to come true professionally, but I am confident I will soon be the #BusinessBitch which I’ve always dreamed of becoming.

How’s that for #SelfLove?

The Difference Learning Now Versus Then

Education is the number one way to either make your career or break your career—and no, I’m not just talking about institutionalized education.

Let me explain:

At age 18, we are expected to know exactly what we want in life. Here’s the thing: the internet is a large and complex source of navigation between all things intuitive and counter-intuitive.

I am part of the last generation who saw the internet grow, change and share itself with parts of the world previously, solely experienced via a map, magazine or expensive venture.

In other words, ten years ago, flying cars, 3D printed organs and communicative watches were fun to imagine.

Now they exist.

How can we confidently pick careers in this rapidly changing world? How many jobs don’t even exist yet?

If anything should be taught in high schools as an elective, it’s how to master monitoring the evolving market—I think that would be helpful to the students before they’re cast into the world. We have seen such an increasingly intense boom of technology, half the things I learned in school ten years ago have already been corrected and changed.

For example:

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How much more change could there possibly be? A lot.

Politics, science, religion, technology, art, socialization and the workforce are rapidly evolving so quickly, opportunities are coming and going faster than they can be cultivated.

Knowing everything will be extremely different in only a year, how can anyone look at the the world and confidently decide on a path?

Well, that depends on your education—but not that kind of education.

Education extends far beyond institutions. We, as a people, must always educate ourselves to keep up with the changes happening daily. That’s what the internet has created for us: the ability to monitor and follow trends within our circles (as long as you know how to find reliable resources).

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Anytime I struggle in a class, with job software, or even home-improvement I, like many others, go to Youtube and educate myself with any of the millions tutorials posted.

Although my parents taught me, I know plenty of people without the basic knowledge to change a tire. When finding themselves with a flat, they simply use their smartphones to do a little roadside research and—Boom! Knowledge acquired. Problem solved.

People ask me why I have chosen marketing as a career point. It’s a big switch from fine arts and marketing is allegedly a “dying department.” What I have found, much like fine art, is marketing will be around forever, just not in the way we know it today. Between VR and AR, the marketing world is about to have a serious facelift and I want to be in the operating room.

Think about 3D printing companies…do you think they knew exactly what industry they were going to be in 15 years ago? You bet they didn’t. I want to see where the next 15 years will take me…I’m already fantasizing about my self-automated-hover-scooter-cocktail-maker.

In short, the whole point is this: finding your path is going to be difficult, but fear not. The world is changing and it’s going to be overwhelming. Heck, I’m still overwhelmed.

Despite the swirling boom of changes, try to welcome it and remember: if your calling doesn’t seem to exist today, it might exist tomorrow. Make the best out of everything you see, learn and feel the changes moving you in the right direction. Everything is going to be okay.

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What Do I Have to Contribute?

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“In every person’s life, there comes a time when they realize the world is a big, fat joke.”

Interviews come naturally to some and then there’s people like me. Let me give you the sequence of my last interview for a sales / marketing manager position for a gym.

Before the interview, I was confident, felt deserving of the job in question, and knew I could do and say what was necessary to pass their test of character.

This is a big deal because I have always struggled with professional confidence. That naturally happens when your father is an alleged science and technology business “guru”. Needless to say, he gives a substantial amount of unsolicited advice, unrelated to my creative career, paired with expectations exceeding my experience level.

Despite all of the confidence I allowed myself from the safety of my car, my palms grew clammier the closer I came to the building; like a nerd approaching the dance floor, I began to wonder if the world rotated against me just to see how much I’d sweat against the current.

Entering the building, I took a deep breath and convinced myself they’re just people on the other side of the desk. My confidence waivers regardless.

What if they’re not people?

Shhhhhh….of course they’re people. 

But—

Shhhhhhhhhhhh…don’t fuck this up. 

I focused heavily on the surrounding, tastefully accented gym space to distract myself from the pending interview. I took note of all the natural accents of wood and industrial aspects of metal tied together to create a unique workout space for the clientele.

The interviewer approached.

“Hi, I’m Stan.”

Firm handshake, “Hey, Stan nice to see you,” compliment the workplace, “I like your wood.”

Oh GOD that came out wrong…add something to the sentence…

“I meant your wood accents. They’re nice. Gee, I love interior design—what a nice place you have, wow—I really like the atmosphere in here.”

He smirked, noting my oddness immediately, I’m sure of it.

“Thank you, have a seat.”

I took a seat and tried to take in the surroundings, getting a read on his character. Clearly the TMNT mug meant he was a fun guy. For god’s sake he was wearing a backwards baseball cap. It couldn’t get more casual.

Unfortunately, I found myself intimidated by how casual he was. TOO casual. I tried to act casual. It failed as soon as he started asking questions.

“I see you have awesome design skills. Tell me a little more about yourself, what do you like to do for fun?”

“I like to make stuff,” be more specific, “I mean, what don’t I do? I love anything and everything outdoors. And art. Art is fun. I also love to cook. And exercise. I love fitness.”

Am I casual enough yet?!

“Okay, cool, great.”

He then made notes I’m nearly positive read: Likes too many things. Mentality of a five-year old.

“Tell me what you think you can contribute to the team here, what makes you unique?”

“Uh, well as I mentioned, I’m a chef and I can make granola and you can sell it.”

Let’s stop and evaluate:

Can we just notice something here? This was a design / marketing / sales position. Why the fuck did I say the only thing I can contribute is granola? 

There is ZERO reason for me to doubt myself. In fact, I sell myself so short, that I lie about my capabilities in the complete opposite way people usually do. Instead of saying, “Oh yes, I’m brilliant and I am so capable of doing this job because I am the best an only candidate just like me,” I say something more along the lines of,

“I know my resumé looks impressive and my portfolio is outstanding, but you really should know I suck at everything I do and I’m completely incapable of having a conversation with anyone in a professional environment—ha, ha—I left this out of my cover letter, but sometimes I’m most certainly insane.”

The interview continued just as atrociously.

“What do you consider the most valuable part of design in marketing?”

“Well, visual captivation is the gateway into informative advertising. You draw someone’s attention through images and color rather than through text as the design represents what the company being advertised is about,” would have been a great answer. What I said, after a long and awkward pause, was completely different from any answer that would have made sense,

“Colors are important. Design helps businesses.”

In short, I basically devolved into a cro-magnon carrying speech around as if it were some crude tool developed by an even cruder tool in order to smash gravel. That is probably even more sophisticated a description than I deserve.

The interview ended on the same note as an interrogation with a guilty suspect in denial.

“Well, I think I have everything I need.”

“I bet you do,” with my best shit-eating grin.

“You should sign up for some classes. Let me know if you think of anything else.”

“I sure will.”

I immediately went to my car and rested my head on my steering wheel in defeat.

What do I have to contribute?

Fucking granola.

This is one of the worst interviews I have ever had—I cannot be mad about it. The fucking ridiculousness of how badly I represent myself professionally is somewhat of a goldmine for anyone looking to feel better about their lives.

🙂

School: Actual Hell

There is nothing I can do about the way I am.

Who am I exactly?

I am a human bred to succeed but ended up on the runt side of the litter. I have to sell at a much cheaper price and with less promise than the other pups. That is what having a Fine Arts degree from Chum Bucket Programs is like.

This program I entered was an actual sitcom. Like most people, I have had many experiences that are sitcom worthy.

But OH. MY. GOD.

Let’s start at the beginning:

Everyone knows junior year in college is one of the most pivotal regarding your track to graduating and finding your career path. That is precisely why I took on an unpaid internship through the Campus Art Gallery with a woman we’ll call Gigi.

It started out great. I only needed to fulfill 120 hours as the semester requirement, so it kept me very busy on top of my 20 credits and part-time job. I actually ended up doing more for the gallery than my homework. I learned a lot about graphic design and began pursuing the dream of becoming more than an artist.Asset 14

On a side note, I was also very close with Gigi’s husband, Dan. He was the advisor for my concentration and my guide through senior thesis. Basically, he was in control of my future.

I was on both of their good sides. Life was busy, but great.

I ended the first semester gallery with 210 hours of the internship completed. Since it carried on into the next semester, which was going to be busier than the previous, I decided to ask the supervisor if I could carry-over the hours. She said, “yes.”

What she really meant was,

“Yes, but I will be extremely bitter about losing my free labor and—by the way—I will influence my husband against you when it comes time for you to
graduate.”

Fast forward to senior year.

Pleasantries evaporated.Asset 16.png

School was actual hell as my friends and I scurried to complete our factions of thesis. As tough it seemed, I grew closer with all of them and we had fun, GOD FORBID, planning our thesis show.

My project was a graphic design medium paired with an extremely satirical lens. You can only imagine most people liked it EXCEPT for the teachers because, according to these artists, “Computer art takes no talent.”

Bull. Shit.

I had spent hundreds of hours on each of my pieces, managed to get my point across, and provided humor all the while.

BUT NO, the bullshit gets better.

By better, I mean pettier. 

After fighting to prove my work was worthy of the label “art” (at that point, the word “art” was a trigger word, just ask my roommate/best friend (an actual ray of sunshine (who will kill you with her pinky (because it shoots out sunshine)))) for months, the show was coming up quickly. The last semester was upon us.

Now, somewhere in Hell, Satan phoned a friend to make life especially challenging for me.

The last semester requirement was to take on a class labelled “Gallery Internship” with Gigi.

At this point, all of her animosity had brewed at a pleasant distance while spreading rumors to the teachers I was a “Lazy, Rude, Sassy, Bitch.” 

This is obviously not true of my character: I worked extremely hard through all of my classes to the point I had severe anxiety. Not only that, I was in the middle of planning my wedding, working a midnight-shift part-time job, and dealing with my mother’s declining medical condition (she is fine now, TG).

But did they hear me complain?

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No.

Even if I did, they probably couldn’t hear anything over their self-involved, inflated and petty egoist whimpers.

Moving on.

So, the first day of class went as expected. Gigi assigned all of the graphic design, roughly five projects, to me. Everyone else had a light load and her respect. I had neither.

When it came time to tour the gallery and plan out the space our pieces would go, Gigi commanded I stay in the basement to work on my many projects while she and the rest of the class left. What is this, fucking Harry Potter? Is she a fucking Dursley?

I rolled my eyes. The class consisted of three people, all my friends, so I knew they had my back and would ensure space was saved for me in the gallery, much to Gigi’s dismay.

An entire semester of this and worse went by and the time was nigh for us to set up the gallery. This meant applying our installations, pottery, and prints to the walls and ceiling.

When we arrived the day after another show, we found the gallery was not yet empty. The girl who had showed the week before was only starting to strike her show from the walls. Naturally, we helped because we had only two days to put our show up (we had about 20 hours worth of installation). After eight hours (the girl we were helping left about a hour after we started helping) of repainting, patching, and moving walls around we were ready to start installing our show.

24 hours later, the show was installed. All but one of my pieces.

As I mentioned, I had gone the graphic design route. All of my work was complete EXCEPT for the one thing I had to special order two weeks in advance. They had lost my order and I had to rush it. It was out of my control. Everything else was done and I explained the place I ordered it from was dropping the ball but it would be in in the next day.

Gigi tried to pull the piece from the show and convince Dan to fail me.Asset 17

Luckily, this did not happen.

What did happen, was when I did get the piece in its spot, the week went along well and people loved the show. Opening night, I noticed the wall label (telling what the piece was called and made out of) had gone missing from its spot.

I asked her what happened to it.

Apparently, she had taken it off the wall and thrown it out because I allegedly said, “the piece will not ever be in the show,” even though I repeatedly apologized for its tardiness and continually ensured her it would be in the show.

Five minutes after the confrontation, she came up to me with a crumpled wall label. In a crowd of hundreds of people in my cocktail dress, I was reapplying a label to the wall.

Out of spite, I applied it crooked.

But I’m a perfectionist and fixed it anyways.

So, the show went greater than expected. All of my friends had fantastic work and the piece I entered late was a huge success. I think this infuriated Gigi.

Striking the show, all memory of the help we offered the girl the previous weekend evaporated from Gigi’s mind.

We spent hours and hours fixing the gallery up and, honestly, most of my work went onto pedestals and tables so I did not have much to repair. I found myself helping my friends out instead. Somehow, I was reprimanded for the “condition of the gallery” along with my roommate. My roommate was punished more for this—I guess Gigi did not think the punishment during the semester was harsh enough. We laughed all the way off the fucking campus, diplomas in hand. 

Long story short, anyone who claimed to be my friend thereafter was condemned and looked down on after I graduated.

I know what you’re thinking, “Don’t flatter yourself. She didn’t care that much.”

On the contrary, one of my best friends was in her intern class for the following semester and apparently she gave a speech about how unsuccessful our show was because of the “laziness and lateness.”

Oh, did I mention our show was, according multiple faculty members (ones who were not petty) and students, one of the “most successful shows” they had been to?

Yeah.

Suck it, Gigi. 

We all have Gigi’s in our lives. They are there as a test. What is the test? Well, it has to do with resisting murder.Asset 13

Job Search Engines: Pt. 2

In the previous post, we discussed the dumbness that comes with Job Search Engines. Well, I’m not done yet. We now continue the stream of consciousness, but involving solutions this time.

There is no question. JSEs get paid to throw any job that might stick at a candidate so they may collect commission.

While this can be good and lead you to something great, it can also be extremely depressing and lead you down a long road of bullshit.

Searching for a graphic design and/or creative jobs, I am constantly recommended jobs having no relation. For example, searching “Artist,” will lead to a dozen listings calling for a “Sandwich Artist.”

Obviously, “sandwich artist” is not a creative services position. What we can draw from this example is people specifically create postings to snatch candidates stereotypically, notoriously struggling with unemployment. Always keep this in mind.

Tip #1: Keywords Are Magical or Tragical

Keywords can find your dream job or land you in the sunglass hut (there’s a story there but not for today) depending on how you search. The content of every JSE is like a sandbox in which you must sift, sift, sift until you find the treasure.

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You know yourself best. Get creative with keywords of things you like to do.

If you are looking for something manually creative, do not search “artist” or “art”. Try instead: “creative art,” “illustration,” “painting,” or “gallery.” These will basically bring you to a slue of different positions more relevant than the latter terms. You will easily avoid the “sandwich artist” dilemma.

Another tricky position to find is Marketing. I cannot tell you how many pyramid-schemey jobs post under the identity of “Marketing Manager, Entry Level and Paid Training.”

AVOID THESE. You’ll want to search something more specific than “Marketing jobs.” I have used “marketing assistant” or “director,” “creative assistant” or “director.”

Even if you are unqualified for a “director” position, your search might find a sentence like “…will report to marketing director…” in which case, you are likely qualified. It basically narrows everything down to real offices where you can learn from real people, superiors and peers alike. You can even try searching programs or OSs you’re expert with.

Tip #2: Use Them, Don’t Abuse Them

If you are not using more than one JSE, then you need to start. Seriously. The smaller, homegrown companies typically use one site. How do I know this?

BECAUSE I AM USING FIVE JSEs AND I HAVE SEEN THE DIFFERENCE SIDE BY SIDE.

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LinkedIn, is great for larger companies if that is what you want. However, depending on where and what you are looking for, these are less postings.

Indeed, Monster & ZipRecruiter are pretty great for finding smaller companies. In my cross comparisons, I have noticed larger companies tend to post on both of these if not LinkedIn. The point is, most of these are reliable if you can search around the spam.

Craigslist. I know it is not a typical JSE, but sometimes it can present unique opportunities (no, not that kind of unique). Use only as a last resort. Yes, I might be biased because Craigslist is as fucking scary as clowns. Sifting through the perverts and prank posts is a waste of time, unless you are looking got be a nanny or dog walker (which there is nothing wrong with. Kids are great. Dogs are great). Even then, you might get killed. HOWEVER, I have seen unique jobs listed there for which I could not pass applying. It can also give you inspiration. Just use the Craigslist safety zones if you insist.

In short, using more than one JSE will rock your world with opportunities, if you allow a little extra search work.

Tip #3: Pay TF Attention

As I mentioned, going between JSEs can show the same listing on different sites. Make sure you keep track of which jobs you apply to and for which you are most qualified. Keeping track of your most promising opportunities will narrow down your most powerful skills, potentially leading you to a position that can strengthen what you lack.

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Additionally, do not just headline listings before you apply. Often, the posting will specify something that can make or break your opportunity. If they mention wanting someone with a sense of humor, ensure your cover letter is not static and mundane. If it mentions a required/preferred mystery program of which you’re unfamiliar, mention on your resumé or cover letter how easily programs come to you—then familiarize yourself with tutorials on aforementioned mystery program. It will come up in the interview if you make it that far.  

That’s all of my unqualified advice about JSEs…

Therefore, use JSEs wisely: instead of letting them lead you around, lead it around to what you like and see what best suits your interests.

Demand the change you want to see in the job listings. Do not let it defeat you.

At the end of the day, you’re the one selling your skills. You should be the only salesman on your block.

Job Search Engines: Pt. 1

Job Search Engines are like your most condescending, frenemy who thinks they’re always right.

Basically, now I know what it’s like to meet myself (LOL, I know who I am).

If anything, JSEs create a perfect reflection of who you are becoming.

As a recent graduate (it’s been a year, that’s not recent you MFKR, get a job you bum), my job-hunting patterns reflect my confidence levels.

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One day, I’m looking at assistantships and managerial positions; the next day, I’m looking at dishwasher and housekeeping positions. I am not dissing the latter two professions; the fact is, I have a degree and a dream in something else entirely. I owe it to myself to find the best path for me, not to weenie out wondering what could have been. 

Besides, I swore off restaurant service a long time ago…but that’s a different story. 

In my nearly hopeless search, I have basically become the most creative keyword-search user of all time. I know the job postings are out there—I also know the position titles can be disguised by something extremely boring and sometimes mislabelled completely. I have many, many tips for job searching (coming soon). Anyways, my search pattern and frequency of searching has begun getting recognized by the JSEs. As if to say, “Hm, you haven’t found anything yet?” like a coffee date with your most condescending, infuriating frenemy (AKA: a coffee date with myself), all of the job searching sites have started dropping hints:

LinkedIn: There are no relevant positions within your area (or in the entire world).

ZipRecruiter: three pages of…Are you looking for a graphic design position? Drive Uber instead (because there’s no hope)!

Indeed: Restaurant service and factory work seem to be your best bets (You have no skills).

Asset 63Doesn’t it seem like the sites are trying to tell me something? Well, here’s the thing: I need a stable environment in the arts industry. Look, the thing is, JSEs are basically salesman whose purpose is selling jobs. I am taking my time finding a job. I am lucky enough to be in the position to take time between functional paychecks. 

I cannot have another repeat of petty, ridiculous sabotage.

Naïve me just wants to go to work, create stuff, and feel proud of my job.

That is basically impossible.

Realistic me wants to just give in and stay in factory work because I know I’m comfortable with it.

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Realistic me is also petrified of waking up in 30 years and wondering, “Why didn’t I (verb) try harder or (verb) care enough to follow my dreams of becoming a (noun) professional badass?”

I’d rather have the line,

“I’m so glad I (verb) worked my ass off so I could follow my dream of becoming a (noun) badass MTHRFKR, someone (noun) my kids can (verb) be proud of.”

I just need that line to be filled in full, to know I tried my hardest each and every opportunity I received and succeeded in turn.Asset 68

I do work hard, though. Really hard. Which is the frustrating part when there is little reward. No, I don’t need a trophy; it’s not that kind of reward. When a millennial talks about rewards there is always that inherent moment where people sigh and roll their eyes.

The kind of reward I am speaking of is the kind that makes you feel yourself: the kind that makes you know this is exactly where your need to be in life.

I need to make the best of what I have, break the chains in my mind that tell me, “You won’t,” and start rephrasing them to say,“You will.”

I know I can do whatever I need to do, that is not the issue.


Asset 67The issue is breaking my self consciousness and fear of Failure. I just need to embrace Failure, make it my apprentice, and keep working hard until Failure has the confidence to leave. That is the only way to grow.

Do not let the recommendations of the JSEs infuriate you. It will only force you to succumb to their business strategy. The people behind JSEs get paid to find you a / candidates for a job and, like most salesmen, it means their interest is in what’s best for them, not what’s best for you or for me.

Only we know what’s best for us.

I will begin breaking the chains by never fearing what I might become…

…and see what happens.

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#Determination: Make Your Dreams Pursue You for Once

Having decided a career-elevating position is more important than money, I have been pursuing opportunities for the first time in my life.

Don’t get me wrong: everybody needs money; money = food = energy.

But listen:

I have never been one for volunteering and here is the important explanation:

In middle school, I was introduced to the “beach sweep” version of volunteering. Taking place around a toxic, city lake surrounded by “carnage” (dead fish, heroin needles,  human nests, the occasional stray bullet, and busy traffic on all sides), my first volunteer experience was not exactly great. The second “beach sweep,” a landscaping project, was really fun until every single kid, including myself, broke out in poison ivy so strong we needed to take super steroids for a month (longer for some).

I swore then and there, “I’m never volunteering again.”

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I know, some of you must be thinking, “Who is this spoiled bitch?” Well, guess what: I am admitting I was wrong. I should have more open-minded, less selfish, and less proud.

In these tumultuous times, as my young brain begins to comprehend personal impact, I have felt the need more than ever to give back, to tell someone “Hey, you, you’re great and I want to help you somehow.” I just wasn’t sure how. That’s partially why I’ve started this blog—to host an anonymous platform which people can use to process their experiences and feel their importance.

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Needless to say, I should have given volunteering another chance sooner. I missed a lot of amazing opportunities to give back.

It only took fifteen years to suppress the negativity and pride to give volunteering another chance—and I cannot express how glad I am for it.

Through an amazing friend (you know who you are—you also inspire me you wonder-nugget), an opportunity came about and I found my next move.

Asset 127My Amazing Friend talked to a local scientist who needed help with their PR and social media management. No resume, no application, no interview: just a meet n’ greet “What can we do for each other?” conversation developed. Basically, how interviews should be (If only I’d known way back when). It went great.

Understanding I am currently between jobs, school and otherwise, the scientist saw a chance seldom people see in me (that’s not a pity-party, I cannot blame anyone for overlooking me when people are moving into my city from the art capital of the world and deservingly sucking up the creative jobs, FYI).

So, I was offered a volunteer-ship to gain beneficial experience, as mentioned in my previous post.

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In the past week, I have attended meetings with both the funders and board, shared insight and ideas about PR, and written a press release (which was apparently really good—I’ll take the compliment!). Working hard for something I am passionate about, doing something I am applying to graduate school for feels good. I am applying my degree, using my connections, able to connect with the creative community, and working from home while I run this blog, run my store, pack to move (50% done!), prepare for Mexico, apply to other jobs and to graduate schools.

Everything feels right.

I haven’t expected anything (specifically impending failure and doom), haven’t asked for anything (specifically whether or not I’m doing the right thing), I continually shut down negative thoughts (I say “yes, I can” instead of “Maybe, but…”), and have learned so much because I am passionate.

Working hard, contently being myself, everything is right.

All of my research and soulsearching has paid off: I have been offered a contractor position by the scientist as her organization’s PR and Social Media Marketing Manager. I can still work from home, have the ultimate flexibility, and find additional work knowing I am already building my stats (resumes are just glorified “Pokémon” cards) with which I can attack the next great opportunity.

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It may not be a big deal to some, but to the daughter of a businessman I now understand the merit of volunteering from a business stand-point: it shows the type of person you want to be in your community, in your career, and proves to yourself there is more to work than money.

Literally, I cannot express how grateful I am for everything—for everyone—that helped me.

You don’t always know you’re following your dreams until they come true.