Theme Thursday: Dear Self At Sixteen-Get A Life!

Theme ThursdayTheme Thursday is a time for people to rejoice.  It is that special time of the week where the heavens open up and angels sing because the most awesome writers in the world get together and write about a common theme.   Today’s topic is “Write a letter to your sixteen year old self.” 

Four out of five dentists recommend Theme Thursday.

Oops, wrong letter.

Oops, wrong letter.

Dear Self at Sixteen:

First of all, congratulations.  If you are reading this then you have survived to adulthood, and into your late 30s even.  I’m writing to offer you some advice.  Listen up, I’m not as nice now as I was when I was your age.  I mean I’m still pretty nice, I’m just a little wiser.  Someday you’ll have a blog with that word in the title.  Don’t get too excited, it’s not like it sounds.

So you’ve recently moved to Iowa.  You left the sunny coast of Florida, and you feel like you left your whole life behind.  Believe it or not your life is not over.  The weather (and maybe some of the people) may be much nicer down there but there are some things that are way better here.  For example, no hurricanes.  It’s all good.  You won’t realize how nice the Midwest is until you are much older, and then you’ll learn to appreciate it.

That hair.  My what big hair you have.  Big hair does not equate coolness.  Wait until the Twenty Teens, you’ll look back on that hair and wonder what the hell you were thinking.  Get some bangs cut, pull it back and get it out of your face.  Speaking of your appearance, you are not fat, and certainly not close to being fluffy (except maybe the hair).  The sad thing is that the ideal that our society idolizes is only going to get much more unrealistic.  Do what feels right-walk, do some exercise, but don’t take it to extremes.  You’re only setting yourself up-come to find out no matter how thin you get you won’t think it’s thin enough.  It’s called body dysmorphia, and guess what-you have it.

Oh my, what big hair you have.

They told me I’d have hair like Jon Bon Jovi.  Why did I listen????

While we’re on the subject of appearance, quit acting stupid.  Stop pretending to be normal.  You’re not, and that’s ok.  You can recite The Empire Strikes Back word for word, can read a whole book in one day, and have an undying love for all things geeky.  Don’t stop being yourself just because you’ve moved to corn country and feel you have to act a certain way to fit in.  The normal people are not the people you want to hang out with anyway.  You will find friends who appreciate the same kinds of things that you do, just give it time.

And speaking of being stupid, ditch the boyfriend.  Cultivate your friendships instead.  The friendships will last, the boyfriend will not.  There are far far worse things than being alone, and the friends will not go away.  Besides, the boyfriend is just a stupid guy who has a lot of growing up to do, as are all teenage guys.  Trust me on this one.  You’ll know love on down the road, this is not it.  You’ll have your heart broken more than once, and even when you find the one, it will not be perfect.

Almond kids

THIS is love.

Don’t listen to or waste time on toxic people.  They don’t know anything.  Don’t let others pee on your dreams.  Take some time to figure out what you want to do.  Don’t settle for anything less.  Do you want to write?  Then write.  Do you want to teach in early childhood?  Don’t let other people try to discourage you, especially those who tell you things like “You can’t ever teach kids, you don’t hold your pencil right.”  The last time I checked, holding your pencil one way or another does not dictate where you will go in life.  Do you want to take French AND Spanish your Senior year?  Don’t let that guidance counselor sell you short by telling you that you’ll get confused and get talked into taking Foods.  Do you want to go to the college that won’t offer huge scholarships and grants to you?  Figure out some way to get there.  Find ways to succeed.  Don’t let other people try to stop you.

Quit being afraid in general.  The world does not need more Camerons.  They need more Ferrises.  They also need more people that can tell you what the plural of Ferris actually is.  He’s right you know-Life does move pretty fast.  If you don’t stop and look around once in awhile, you might miss it.  When you are in your 30s and have kids, you’ll know what I’m referring to.  You’ll even write a blog post about it.

Life is not easy.  It’s also not fair.  There’s no perfect.  Even people who seem perfect or have the perfect relationship, trust me, it’s all a lie.  Things will be good and things will be bad.  Often there will not be an in between.  Life should resemble a roller coaster more than it should seem like a sidewalk.  And you know what?  There’s absolutely nothing wrong with it.

Sincerely,

Your 38 and almost 11/12ths year old self

Not too shabby for approaching 40...

Not too shabby for approaching 40…

Don’t hesitate to take a look at what other people wrote to themselves.  Join us at the link up on Something Clever 2.0 for the other Theme Thursday posts. And don’t forget to brush your teeth (as recommended by those four dentists…duh).

Dude, Where’s My Love? Oh THERE It Is…

Words to live by.

Words to live by.

I’ve shared several times that I’m the person that, well, never quite fits in.  Never have.  I’ve always been a bit odd.  I wish I could say that it doesn’t bother me because I’m older and wiser now and blah blah blah.  But more often than not it does bother me.  Which is too bad, because if I’m still having teenage angst at 38, that doesn’t bode well for my middle aged years.  What age is considered middle age these days, anyway?  I just read an article about Brad Pitt and how introspective he’s been as he approaches 50.  So maybe it’s 50?  I didn’t have the attention span to finish the whole article anyway…

I’ve tried to fit in, and it just never quite works out the way I’d like it to.  I tend to stick out like a sore thumb, which is interesting because that sure doesn’t stop people when I’m in groups of parents from pretending I’m totally not there.  Sometimes I want to turn to them and say, “You know, I may not be 100 pounds and have my hair perfectly styled and wearing the skinny jeans and the too tight sweater, but I’m a perfectly nice person.  You act like I’m going to wipe a booger on you.”  I really wouldn’t do that, but I certainly wouldn’t put it past my son.  I think I may have referred to good old Winona playing Lydia Dietz on Beetlejuice, which is still one of my favorite movies.  She comments:  “I too am strange and unusual.”  That’s for sure, I could probably win some prizes for strange and unusual!  I’ll take cash, please.

My whole life is a darkroom. One big dark room.

My whole life is a darkroom. One big dark room.

Being part of the whole blogging world has been pretty darn good for me.  Yesterday was EPIC!  I exceeded the number of people that are my “Fans” on Facebook.  I won’t tell you how many of them that are actually my family and friends, but I will say I about bet they are really getting tired of all the crap I have been posting.  I also managed to get the most page hits ever (AGAIN) on here.  This was due to two factors.  1)  I kept relentlessly peddling my story about peeing my pants at Wal-Mart.  I think people finally started reading it so maybe they wouldn’t have to see it, but then realized that it was actually pretty funny.  2)  I am technologically impaired, and spent two hours fighting with WordPress about images.  I almost burned my I ♥ WordPress shirt over the whole deal.  No I DON’T want to put all of my image at the top of my blog post.  Why?  Because I think it looks stupid.  The result was that I totally put everything on my blog post wrong.  Each picture got an individual hit when viewed that counted toward my total visits for the day.  Ooops.  I may accidentally make that mistake again…

I’ve been going through this whole glorious depression thing which in itself is not very interesting or much of a tale to tell.  Unless you like stories about people who cry at the organic grocery store.   But that’s not why I’m writing this.  This is my public service announcement to the world about just giving people a little bit of understanding.

Not that kind of pubic service announcement, but do you remember these guys?  "We're not candy!  Even though we may look fine and dandy..."

Not that kind of pubic service announcement, but do you remember these guys? “We’re not candy! Even though we may look fine and dandy…”

I’m still new to the blogging world because, well, I just am.  I read a lot of different blogs.  One humor blog that I have recently started reading was having a hard time.  Bad decisions, bad luck.  She obviously needed someone to listen.  I commented and left her some real words of encouragement, and that I understood all too well how it feels when life sucks.  I didn’t offer advice, I just wanted to let her know that we are all human.  Every stinkin one of us, and that we are not perfect.  She was really touched.  I’m not writing to tell you all that I am a fabulous person that changed somebody’s life, because I didn’t, I just know how it feels to be there and no one seems to care. You just want some understanding.

I’ve been there, many times in my life, and I have felt very alone many of those times.  One great thing about this online world is that you aren’t ever really alone.  I haven’t exactly had a lot of support for this blog from the homefront.  It’s not that he doesn’t care.  He’s busy, the last thing he really wants to hear is that somebody commented on this or I have this many followers or whatever.  My daughter would rather I throw my computer out the window so I can spend more time doing nothing but cuddling with her.  Luckily I have had a lot of support from the others who do the same thing I do, and that has been wonderful.  I’ve had people help me fix up my blog, tell me where I need to go to get more exposure, and just let me know that they genuinely like how I write and are loyal followers.  Aw heck, this week I have even agreed to do some guest posts on some great blogs!  You have no idea how much that means to me.  The feeling that I am successful at doing something is huge.  Now if I can only get those people who do the “Freshly Pressed” page here at WordPress to get that (hint, hint folks, show me some loooooooove.)

This is to all of the people who've been so awesome to me in this here blogging world.

This is to all of the people who’ve been so awesome to me in this here blogging world.

One thing I’ve struggled with the last couple of years is exercising, and with the being an unemployed bum AND not being able to get out and move around I have really sunk into the depths of bummerdom.  I already don’t feel wonderful about other things, so the extra smooshiness around my middle (not a muffin top, more of a coffee cake) is certainly taking some of its toll on my self esteem.  One fabulous blogging friend reached out to me and let me know that she too has been there, and has been very supportive of me throughout the flab and the anxiety.  It made all the difference.  I’m not going to name her, but she knows who she is!  😉

It’s getting better.  I’m feeling a lot better the last few days.  I’ve gotten out, I’ve moved around, I’ve done some stuff.  Now I’m still unemployed and feel like a big losery loser, but I’ve got a lot more hope than I’ve had.  The candle is still flickering in there!

I’m thinking back to when I was employed, however, and working around toxic people all of the time, and thinking that in a way maybe I am better off NOT working.  One woman in particular had the nerve to tell all of my coworkers during an organization wide meeting in the room that I was weird.  ALOUD.  Right in front of me.  It had to be the most backhanded compliment I had ever had in my life.  If I wasn’t so nice, I would have thrown my pizza at her.  But I sat and took it.  People like that, well, I hope they get what they deserve.  Thhhhhhpt!

Are you wondering if I forgot what my point was?  No, I’m still doing my little public service announcement.  If you see someone who is usually pretty funny have a heartfelt blog post, and you can relate, just take a moment and share that with them.  It’s so good to know that you’re not alone.  Or maybe there’s a mom who is a little different and doesn’t seem too comfortable around other parents.  Take a moment and say hi, you may be glad you did.  People like to be approved!

We constantly quote this, I didn't even know what it was called until I accidentally found it.

We constantly quote this, I didn’t even know what it was called until I accidentally found it.  I was APPROVED!!!!

The Approval Center (Click to view)

So hey, it’s the holidays.  Share the love.  Come on people now, smile on your brother (or sister).  Just because I’m feeling pretty good about this, I’m going to share this classic commercial, because I can.  And because I REALLY want a Coke.  Peace man.

Coca-Cola Hilltop Commercial.

Again, my apologies for no image to go with this.  I only had the above images because I had this post almost done before they did whatever that they did that I am too ADD to figure out.  Anyhooooo….  Last minute additions have no visuals!

Caught With My Pants Down: It’s All a Dream (Get Your Mind Out of the Gutter!)

Are dreams like the tree in “The Empire Strikes Back”, where you face your fears?

Oh boy, I had another anxiety dream last night.  This one was really weird.  Freaky.

I moved back to my hometown.  I don’t know why.  I went out and applied for some jobs.  I got hired at one place right away.  I mean I literally started working immediately.  It was a place that sold jewelry.  And comic books.  And I think Chinese food too.  Yeah I thought that was strange too.  There was a cash register, only the boss didn’t actually keep any money in it.  At least not one dollar bills.  A customer needed a dollar for some change, which is weird because it’s usually the other way around.  But I couldn’t find any dollar bills.  I went to the boss and asked her where they were.  She blew up, she exploded at me, called me all kinds of names, because I didn’t know where she kept this stuff.  Apparently there was some sort of drawer that was nowhere near the cash register just chock full of one dollar bills.  And I was just supposed to know that.  Then I had to work really late and wasn’t allowed to leave until all hours.  After I left work I really had to use the bathroom, so I stopped at some random house and used their bathroom.  There was just a blanket covering the doorway, and the toilet sat dangerously close to the door.  Just as I sat down to do my business, the police raided the house.  And I was there, using some stranger’s toilet with my pants down.

It wasn’t like this. There was a blanket.

Then the alarm went off.

The kicker about this wasn’t just the fact that I literally was about to be caught with my pants down.  It was who the owner/boss of this Chinese restaurant/jewelry/comic book store was.  It was a combination of the evil supervising teacher who got me off on SUCH a good start of my music education career and the babysitter that my son used to go to who never had a good thing to say or a smile, ever.

The babysitter one was easy to explain.  She just got a job where I used to work.  Doing not the same job I had done but something similar.  I was surprised and not surprised that they hired her.  She’s just the negative person that they like there.  Toxic environment.  Good for her.  I hope they all bring each other down together.

But the Supervising teacher?  I really had hoped that 15 years later I would begin to move on from that negative experience.  This is one of the reasons why I started my blog.  I wanted to be able to tell about my life, mostly funny, and to be able to look back on those bad experiences that have been dragging me down with humor.

The first two years of my college career were shockingly awesome.  I was so down because I didn’t get any money to go to the school I really wanted to go to.  Instead I lived at home and went to a community college.  I was expecting to loathe it.  But some good stuff happened right off the bat.  Remember I was a band geek.  Upon exploring my musical options the band director at the time asked me this question:  “Is there any other group in the music department you might be interested in?”  I thought about this for a moment.  I was terrifed of the high school chorus director, therefore I never did any vocal music.  “I always thought it would be fun to sing.”  I barely got the words out of my mouth when I was almost literally picked up and thrown across the hall into the vocal music director’s office.

Guess what?  I could sing.  I could sing well.

Memorieeeeeeees….All alone in the mooooooonlight…

For the next two years my college career centered around music.  Community College is an interesting place.  You meet people of all ages, from all walks of life.  The professors are more interesting than anyone you’ll probably meet.  Not only are they your mentors, they get involved and are your colleagues.  I left that place really feeling that I could make something of myself.  Then real life reared it ugly head.

I went on to attend Lord Valdemort College (The School That Cannot Be Named).  At first it was exciting to be out on my own and all that jazz. As time went on I should have known something was wrong.  In the end I realize that after everything that could have happened I could have so SUED THEIR ASS.  But as usual, I rolled over and took it.  I crawled under the proverbial rock and tried to go on as if nothing had happened.  And stuff kept happening.  That hole under that rock got pretty deep.

HA HA HA. That’s some dark humor for ya…

I’m not necessarily blaming the school itself.  But there were certain people involved with that school that did stuff that they shouldn’t have.  They should have let me transfer without fighting it, and filling my head full of things that you don’t tell a person with anxiety problems, like I’d have to pay back all my scholarships.  But they were more interested in my money than they were letting me be successful.

My student teaching experience had to be beyond a shadow of a doubt one of the most awful experiences that anyone should have to endure. I’m saying that because there would be more awful experiences. I was given no direction, no mentoring, no support, no anything from my supervising teacher.  I was yelled at, told I was useless, and taunted when I tried to tell other people what was going on.  If I hadn’t opened my mouth to that other teacher, however, I would have probably gotten an F because no one seemed to realize what was going on.  I wish I could have seen the whole thing go down, the elementary band teacher chasing down my adviser as he left the school, screaming at him.  All because he never even set foot in my classroom to see what was happening.  That woman to this day is my hero.

I’d like to think my supervising teacher was like the Borg Queen. She had her own body though. And to think if she wanted to assimilate me she would think something I did was valuable.

I eventually was rescued from that situation but I never recovered.  I understand the supervising teacher had a nervous breakdown the week after school got out, brought on by personal issues in her life.  Turns out that what happened had very little to do with me.  To this day though I spend a great deal of time wondering how I could have dealt with that situation and made it work for me.  I analyze it over and over.  But the awful truth is that she was against having a student teacher from the start.  And she was a brilliant pianist, I could plunk out chords and could play music with a lot of practice.  Noone seemed to get that I set out not to teach vocal music but elementary band.

I really think I was thrown to the lions.  Even when they pulled me out of the coliseum, my wounds were pretty bad.  I floundered.

If there was only Facebook, and blogs, and search engines at that time.  I may have felt like I wasn’t the only one in the world going through this.  I’m sure I wasn’t.  And people could comfort me by sending me stuff like this:

And I have yet to share the worst experience.  That’s enough gut wrenching sharing for today.  Tonight we’ll see what else I dream about.  Unless I have a cool dream like working on the Enterprise, I don’t know if I want to have any dreams!

I actually dreamed I ran a daycare on the NCC-1701-D. It was the coolest dream ever.