Here’s a Post with a Whole Lot of CAPS

Hi.

So here’s something about me. I have a degree in Theater. I’m a performer before anything. I sing, I try to tell jokes, and I do musicals. Now, get ready for some news that I’m sure no one knows……

THIS IS NOT A WAY TO MAKE A LIVING.

I mean, it can be… but you have to have the right look, the right talent, the right agent, the right connections, and be in the right place/ right time CONSTANTLY. I’m going to be real with you for a second… I DONT HAVE THAT KIND OF STAMINA OR SUPPORT TO MAKE THAT HAPPEN. I’m sensitive, and frankly I like a lot of other things. I could never focus on my writing, my running habit, or my friends/ family if I was living the Broadway actor life 24/7. I’d love it if an audition really worked out and I got a great job out of it. But I’m not going to break my back and heart day in and day out praying that something will work out when there are ten thousand other girls just like me doing the same damn thing. I’m just going to keep doing what I’m doing, audition when it’s right, take amazing classes, go to shows, meet new people, and hopefully continue to make American dollars in places that I love.

So, in the meantime, I just need a job (or jobs) that make me happy and pay my bills. I’m about halfway there with that one. (Happiness? Check. Pays the bills? Almost check.)  So, I have to have what I like to call “A Patchwork of Jobs” in order to kinda sorta survive. There was a time in my life when I had six jobs at once. (200 dollars here, 350 dollars there…) I was able to make it work for a year, but I couldn’t do it after that. It was exhausting and I couldn’t enjoy my life because I was too tired.

So…. something that happens frequently is the fluctuation of jobs. In my position, i HAVE to take opportunities for employment. I HAVE to say yes to the things that will give me the most in return– the most money, the best time slot, the most benefits (financial or otherwise). And sometimes I have to turn things down and/or switch things up. A lot of employers in this industry understand this. (Thank you to my amazing bosses who have stuck with me and my schedule for a while now. You know who you are) But some of them… HOLY CRAP they will have NOTHING TO DO with those schedule changes.

Today I was yelled at (via email) and was called unprofessional for regretfully stating that I would not be able to fulfill my duties in a previously accepted position. I was apologetic and honest. I potentially have something else in the works that will pay me way more, plus, I don’t want to suddenly find myself with six jobs again. Having that many plates spinning is TERRIBLE and makes me USELESS as an employee because I’m TIRED and SICK constantly. Mind you, I hand’t even signed any paperwork yet with this potential employer. I have had ONE MEETING with this person, in which they hired me WITHOUT EVEN LOOKING AT MY RESUME. I have NOT started this job yet and did not want to have to suddenly quit after already starting my duties. So I thought I did the responsible thing by apologizing, and stating that I won’t be able to do this job.

The beginning of the reply from this employer was an all-caps “ARE YOU KIDDING ME???” followed by a description of my lack of tact.

Wow.

Now, obviously I dodged a bullet here in not working with this person… but the voices in my head are still creeping up.

You’re so unreliable.”

“Stop making promises you can’t keep.” 

“You’re incredibly irresponsible and unprofessional.” 

“This is why you can’t make it in this business. You’re too flighty.” 

“Just get used to being broke and messing up people’s lives. This is who you are.” 

SHUT UP SAD DRAGON! SHUT UP SHUT UP SHUT UP!

I am desperately trying to realize that this is a reflection on someone else. As an employer, this person should understand. There is nothing this person can do to change the situation, so what good does it do anyone to yell at me via email? Obviously this person simply wants to make me feel like s*** before she carries on with her day. That’s the only result possible from this. Even if they are disappointed and pissed off (and they’re totally allowed to be!) isn’t the right thing to do to just say “Thank you” and move on?  That’s what I’m trying to tell myself, but it’s still difficult. Very difficult.

Just wanted to share because fighting the Dragon is a never ending process. You can’t kill it. You just have to keep training it.

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No, You Don’t Deserve It

Recent life circumstances have lead to me start focusing on a concept of less.

I moved from taking up space in an entire house, to downsizing to a single bedroom.

I’ve been working on eating clean, as I’m trying to focus on all aspects of health as well as not needing as much food as I normally consume.

I don’t have stable work during the Summer months and almost all of my prospective work projects this year fell through, leaving me with a few thousand dollars less than I expected to have.

I have time for what feels like the first time in my adult life– and at first that lead to going shopping and eating out, but my depleted bank account forced me to stop that as quickly as it started.

I am more broke than I have been in years. I’m not fresh out of college anymore, and I have no choice but to pay what feels like an unconquerable mountain of bills. Auto insurance, health insurance, phone bills, student loans and car payments are just not things you think about when you’re 22 or 23. When you’re that age, you’re focusing on how you’re going to conquer the world, and where your next burrito is coming from,  not how to pay boring bills. But now I am drowning in my debt that I didn’t fully realize I had until the last six months or so.

At first I categorized this poverty as extreme failure. I am 27 years old, have had relatively full time work for about two years, and just cannot get my s*** together. I sold a ton of books and electronics out of desperation. I beat myself up emotionally, outrageously embarrassed over this new concept of rationing food and properly planning my driving routes so as not to waste a single drop of gasoline. (Many tears were shed. The Sad Dragon was in full force, plus I was unable to give into my ravenous Starbucks habit, which only gave me more reason to cry.)

But then, a new thought came to mind. Maybe this is an opportunity. Maybe this is just a new lesson I very much needed to learn. Maybe this is my gateway to truly learn how to live with less because I literally have no other choice.

And then I had a thought—-speaking of finances– that there is a BIG FAT LIE we choose to believe when things are rough:

THE LIE: “I deserve it.”

And the lie has two ugly faces. Let me explain.

The First Side “The Go-Getter”: When we’re sad, angry, or frustrated, we often feel like we need to do something to make the uncomfortable pain go away. So we buy stuff. We max out our credit cards on clothes, electronics, make-up, furniture, or toys. We go out for a fancy dinner and have way too many glasses of wine because “Whatever, I deserve it.” Sometimes our friends buy into this lie when they’re trying to help. They take us out and tell us to go flirt with some guy at a club after a bad break up because “You’ve been hurt, you deserve it.” We binge and gorge a bunch of desserts after a super long and stressful day at work and claim “I work hard, I deserve it.” We flop around and complain, do destructive things that are really just a reflection of self-deprecation that we’re choosing not to deal with.

The Second Side “The Guilty Catholic”: This side is more obviously self-deprecating. This is the karma/ Old-Testament-God’s-wrath attitude we get when things go wrong. We accept that bad things are happening to us because we’re obviously awful people. We accept our failure as a result of our obvious crappiness and then go into a massively depressed shame spiral. We think we’re worthless. We get depressed. Often times we become numb and can’t get anything done at all because we can’t think of anything other than how much we suck.

When I first started dealing with this super-broke-super-scary time in my life, I definitely started out as The Go-Getter. I spent money, made a lot of rash choices, believing that I deserved it because I “spent so much time being well-behaved.” I also had just enough people telling me it was time for me to believe that I deserved to go and claim stuff and destructive experiences. I believed the lie. Thus I gave in to excess and stupidity. Then, more recently, as I started to clean up my mess and try to be more responsible, I became The Guilty Catholic. I became increasingly sad as I accepted that I deserved to have my Summer work projects to fall through. I deserved to be broke. I deserved to feel destitute and useless. I deserved to be a Grade-A Disappointment wrapped up in a young woman package.

It’s easy to believe this lie. But now that I’ve gained a little more courage and a few good nights of sleep I realized

I DONT DESERVE ANYTHING 

The Universe doesn’t owe me anything, whether that be good or bad. Stuff is going to happen. And then I get to make choices. Maybe it’s really as simple as that.

I can choose to accept that my worth is not based on my bank account.

I can choose to slow down so I can learn to be more smart with my money.

I can choose to find joy in wholesome produce and going outside so I can stay healthy.

I can choose to get rest, and schedule days where I don’t have to rush, or work, or schedule, or make spreadsheets.

I don’t deserve to live on less— I can choose to live on less and LOVE it.

Maybe I can choose to make French press coffee at home, rather than sitting in a Starbucks drive-thru every morning.

Maybe I can choose to have a really nice bottle of wine once a month, rather than going out to drink a few times a week.

Maybe I can choose to go for long runs on the beach and feel like a beautiful badass, rather than purchasing massages, expensive make up and hair appointments in attempts to feel pretty.

Maybe I can choose to stay home to read a novel rather than go shopping out of a need to be “doing something.”

Maybe I can cultivate the relationships that I truly love and value, rather than going out constantly with friends, trying to impress everyone I know.

Maybe living on less isn’t actually having less.

zoeyandmia

Until next time, Dragon Slayers!

From ‘Sad Dragon’ to Straight Up ‘Evil Demon Beast’

I’m a big believer in giving yourself a break when it comes to depression and self-deprecation. Humans are complicated creatures with varying emotions and mental states, and so sometimes less than ideal things will happen as a result of these emotions. However, if we’re lucky, we can learn to self-reflect and do everything in our power to be our best self for ourselves and for others.

So let’s say you have become pretty adequate at self-reflection. Let’s say you’re on a path to knowing yourself better than you ever have before. Let’s say you’re a pretty damn good person with a good heart and a strong moral system.

And then, for whatever reason, things go awry. Your Dragon takes over. You let Him get fierce beyond all belief, you listen to His lies, and you act upon them. You allow yourself to go to negative places about who you are and what you mean to people, and you become someone you don’t recognize.

You become destructive. You hurt people. You hurt yourself. You make yourself sick from your own actions. Finally, once the destruction is over you find yourself in a circle of rubble, strewn about by your Dragon’s chaos.

So what do you do?

I’ve been there. I’ve stared at that rubble from my self-war, totally dumbfounded that I was capable of such awfulness. It’s an awfully strange place to be because suddenly you have choices; choices of what the heck to do with all of that mess.

Some choices I made included:

  1. Sitting in the chaos and just bathing in it. I accepted that I am the Sad Dragon and I celebrated it. I metaphorically announced to the universe that I identified with the Dragon and there’s no going back.
  2. Numbing myself to the chaos and pretending it wasn’t there. Some great numbing agents include copious amounts of vodka and whiskey. It’s pretty amazing– when you’re so drunk from alcohol your brain can’t comprehend anything except it’s drunkenness, and your emotional pain goes away. (Somebody’s gotta be making money off of this concept somewhere… )
  3. Claiming the “I DESERVE IT” lie. This is a typical Sad Dragon whisper. It’s the little voice that tells you you’re WORTH getting an enormous hot fudge sundae instead of a healthy meal. It’s the voice that says you’re allowed to binge watch Netflix for 8 hours on a Saturday because you partied too hard the night before. It’s the voice that says you are above everyone else because you struggled over something. It’s Sad Dragon bullshit. “I Deserve it” is the lie that takes the place of the truthful sentence “It’s ok to mess up once in a while, but I want to be better than this.” They are very different messages. (I think I dislike this choice the most)
  4. Staring at the rubble and crying in disbelief and total, utter sorrow. This was the choice of acceptance. It was allowing myself to feel the despair once the high wore off.
  5. Drying my eyes, cleaning up the rubble, and apologizing to it that it will never look quite as pristine as it did before. Asking forgiveness, but not expecting it, and then walking away so the space could heal from my Sad Dragon’s hissy fit.

Now, in a perfect world, I wouldn’t let the Sad Dragon get as fierce as it did in the first place. In an almost perfect world, I would have jumped straight to choices #4 and #5. But that’s not what I did. When a person really messes up, it’s extremely tough to dig into acceptance and get back to the way life is supposed to be. It’s a process.   Everyone’s process is different, and I would never judge a person for dealing with their Sad Dragon’s hot mess in a way that works for them.

My only Soap Box Advice is This: DO NOT LIVE IN THE FALSE REALITY OF CHOICES 1-3 

Those choices are of pain. They are choices of loneliness. They are choices of letting the Sad Dragon win. Then, the Dragon becomes not just a cute Sad Dragon that hangs out with you sometimes, but a terrifying demonic beast that will just continue to widen the circumference of its chaos.

Clean up the mess, apologize, and don’t look back. YOU ARE BETTER THAN YOUR CHAOS.

In fact, you are BEAUTIFUL. Now go on and get yourself a good nap, a green smoothie, and some journaling so you can heal faster.