What I’ve Learned From Working Three Jobs for Six Short Months – Oh My!

You wouldn’t think a person would actually learn anything when they work three jobs for six months because, well, they’re too busy to learn anything. Perhaps that’s true for a lot of people. I would think people who have worked this much for as long as I have, or longer in some cases I’m sure, aren’t too concerned about what they learn from an experience like this. They’re likely concerned about their paychecks. I am. I know I’m concerned about my paychecks because that has been my main reason to have the three jobs. I’m paying off debts in order to one day go to grad school. But, that’s not all I’ve been concerned about. I may not have realized just how much I’ve learned until now, approximately six months from the start of this journey, but I have these extreme moments of clarity when I realize how much I’ve grown. At times, I even realize how little I’ve grown in some areas of my life. These “moments” come in the form of a shower of light or a punch to the gut. They choose when the want to arrive and how effective they’ll be, little suckers. Fortunately, the showers of light appear more often than the punches to the gut.

Do people even work three jobs for six months? I have one friend who has worked three jobs for a year I think. It must be something like that. I’ll be in the same boat soon enough because I do not see this endeavor ending within the next six months. I’m really just beginning. I’ve only just started paying down debts, or at least that’s how it feels. The chance that you’re sitting at home reading this while I’m at one of my jobs is high. I work about 60 hours a week, but it does vary because two of my jobs are part-time. I hope you don’t think I’m complaining. It’s quite the opposite. I enjoy working three jobs. I know that sounds crazy because, let’s face it, people struggle with working one part-time job at McDonald’s and here I am making it to all of my jobs on time and without taking time off. You know you’re a workaholic when you put work before everything, whether it be health, family, friends, etc. I am a workaholic. You can ask any person who knows me. I am okay with this. I find it more enjoyable than most things usually, including social gatherings, relationships, and sitting at home watching mindless television. When I’m off work, I often think I’m just wasting time and could be doing something productive or making money. No joke, I’m a workaholic.

Now, let’s get our hands dirty. What does an individual learn from working three jobs? It must differ for everyone, and what I learned might not be as important to someone else as it is with me. What I’ve learned, though, surprises me. I hope you’re ready to be mildly disappointed and then drastically enlightened ’cause this girl is ready to share her lessons. Take notes.

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1. Life isn’t fair. There’s really no point in sugar coating this. It is so easy to brush things off by saying “life isn’t fair” and then continue with a 10 minute bitch-sesh about how this congressman or actor or pop star is making millions of dollars while you’re making a measly $9 part-time at Wal-Mart. Yes, it’s true that those congressmen, actors, and pop stars are basically paid to sit on their ass or look pretty, but does complaining about it help you professionally or financially? I’m working this much and for this little while those who are often less educated, less hard-working, and less motivated are making boucoup bucks. It isn’t fair, and it’s frustrating, and I understand why you’re complaining, but getting me to focus on it while I could be making money or advancing professionally is a waste of my time. This is our society. We pay actors and musicians and everyone else in media, along with those in government, more money than they usually deserve. You really might as well just get used to it because the more you watch TV, go to the theater, and vote for that congressman or congresswoman, you’re putting money in their pocket. That’s not to say you shouldn’t enjoy those things or support people who share the same views as you; I’m saying that you should be aware of how our society has placed more value on entertainment and government than it does on the hard-working individuals that support it.

2. Karma loves drama. No matter if you’re Mother Theresa or Saddam Hussein, Karma will love to mess with your life and those lives around you. I used to believe in balance, like when one good thing happens another bad thing must follow. I used to believe that if you’re good to others and yourself, good things will happen to you, yada yada yada. Well, I hate to break the bad news to you. Karma’s just an asshole.  Karma doesn’t give a shit how you treat others. And that thing called balance? Nope! You can have months of great things happening, months where you’re elated to be alive every single day, and then WHAM! just kidding! Let me throw in a car accident or two, or how about make a loved one get laid off? Does that sound nice? Oh, oh! How about I lay you off?! It sucks, but crappy things happen all the time to good and bad people. Likewise, amazing things happen all the time to good and bad people. You just have to make the best of it. Ignore Karma and just do your best when you wake up in the morning to work towards what you want.

3. Gossip is the death of self-dignity. This is obvious when you go to your work’s Christmas party. All you have to do is get a few people drunk and they’ll start talking about those who couldn’t make it to the party, those poor souls. A shot or two should do the trick. Don’t expect sympathy either when they talk about someone who doesn’t deserve the gossip. Nothing is off the table. All cards are laid out and they will stop at nothing to talk about others. If I were you, I would go to every Christmas party possible so you’re not one of their unfortunate victims. More importantly, though, do not join in. You wouldn’t like knowing they said the same things about you, so why would you say horrible things about someone else in the name of fun? Just listen, nod, and keep drinking that cocktail or eating that brownie. Silence, my friends, is golden.

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4. Working hard does not pay off financially. In the long run, that is. Someone out there will still make more money than you. If you’re working so you’ll be rich one day, good luck with this, and please tell me how it goes! If you want to work hard, work hard to make yourself proud or to advance in your career. I cannot stress to others enough that the key to working is not to work for money but to work for passion. If you love your job, you’ll do great and you will advance. If you hate your job but love the pay, you’ll quit it when you’re tired of losing 10 pounds every month, countless hairs from your scalp, and all of your friends. That might be an exaggeration (you think?), but you get my point. I want to teach. It is my love and life. I cannot imagine doing anything else outside of running a classroom full of teenagers. Crazy, yes, but I’m not doing it for the 45-50k a year. I’m doing it because I feel my best in front of a class.

5. Laziness gets you absolutely nowhere professionally. Let’s flip the tables, shall we? I’ve been negative so far in my findings, but I wanted to save the good stuff for last. I love being lazy just as much as the next person. After working so many days, I have no problem taking a day or two to watch Netflix, eat chili cheese fries, and stay in my pajamas without the thought of taking a shower and changing. Hell, sometimes I sit in my undies or a robe for an entire weekend. Why? Because I’m a goddamned adult. When it comes to work, however, laziness isn’t in my vocabulary. Everyone’s different, this I know. Everyone has their own way of motivating themselves, this I also know. But being lazy will keep you in the same position for years to come. If you’re not willing to bust your ass for a few hours or get dirty or learn new things, you will not advance. Your professional life is entirely in your hands, and it’s up to you if you want to do well, or if you want to get stuck in a position you’re unhappy in. If you want the former, work hard. Work so hard your hands begin to crack, your throat becomes dry, your sweat begins to drip, and your mind begins to reel. There is no shame in working hard.

6. Organization is your best friend. I’ll keep this one short because this is a personal lesson for me. Many people thrive off of a messy room, office, or desk. If you’re not one of those people, listen up. Stay organized. Have planners, calendars, and a phone that can hold events. I have one amazing planner, a calendar, and a phone that is attached to my hip. If you really want to know how I’ve managed to keep my schedule straight between three jobs, it’s because of organization.

7. Pushing yourself is easier than you realize. I went 42 days once without a day off. A woman told me towards the end of this 42-day stint that her husband used to work a job in which he worked 90 days on and 90 days off. Most business owners run their businesses without days off or having just one day off in a very long week, which I would assume is 60+ hours considering their workload. Pushing yourself to get out of your bed or to be positive while at work is much, much, much easier than you think. It’s all in your mind. Truly. Your body might be tired, but if you switch your mind to a more positive tune, you can do it. It might take some discipline to get to a point when going to work doesn’t seem like a chore, but you will get there if you stay dedicated to why you’re working. If it’s money, family, advancement, or even the people you work with, focus on that instead of staying in bed or doing nothing. Try pushing yourself for a month or two without thinking about what it would be like to stay at home one day and see how easy it will become. You’ll get there!

8. Trust only those who have proven their loyalty. This is sort of a life lesson rather than a work lesson, but the concept applies in every situation. Remember that Christmas party? Can you trust those people? Unlikely. Focus on you and focus on your boss. Aiming to make friends in the work environment can be incredible, but take your time and get to know them slowly. They’ll show you loyalty once you’ve shown them you’re an asset on the job and a nice person to work with. One of the most detrimental things a person can do on the job is trust too loosely because at any turn, someone can go for the same job you’re going for or hurt your chances of making a good impression on your boss. Just keep working, do what your boss asks you to do (within reason, of course – don’t be giving away sexual favors…), and be pleasant with the people around you.

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9. Everyone is fighting an uphill battle, not just you. I have found it so important to remember that everyone is struggling  in some way. Whether it be personal or professional, it doesn’t matter. Remember this and do your best to relate to what they’re going through. Listen. Sympathize. Offer help when needed. People will come to you from all walks of like expressing their worries, and the best you can do is just be there and understand. If a nasty customer comes complaining to you at work, understand that maybe they’re having a rough day or they’re going through something difficult and that you, yes you, can either add to this or reduce it. Adding to it will only hurt you when they complain to your boss. Reducing it leaves them happy and makes a fantastic impression on your co-workers/boss. You’re not alone in your struggles, so don’t make another human being feel alone in theirs.

10. Life is what you make it. Happy, sad, angry, loving, whatever it is you’re feeling, you’re the one in control. It is extremely easy to let outside forces control how we feel. We get caught up in the moment and lose sight of our own capability of controlling our emotions. Letting something roll off your back is, doubtless, easier said than done, but if you can master this, I can guarantee you will do better with everything in life. I struggle with this, but I’m learning that everything is what I make it. Getting upset over something is pointless when I can try to be positive and work towards changing it. It’s okay if you struggle with this, too. We all do, but we can learn from it. You’ll do just fine if you realize that you’re the one driving your life along. There might be a few detours, but you’re still driving. Keep going.

I know, I know. It got sappy. I do apologize. I felt that because these ten things have become so important to me I should share them with others. I’m still learning, but I am loving working this hard. If you’re just finding my blog, I work as a long-term substitute at a local high school, a sales associate at Bath & Body Works, and a recreational leader at a local center for teens. I love all three jobs overall and wouldn’t trade them for anything. I believe I am valued at each of them because of the things I’ve learned, in fact. Teaching comes first, though. I have 52 students currently and I love all of them tremendously, and I love the job itself. I’ve been doing this long-term job since September and have until April or longer when it ends, and I’ll be very sad when it’s over, but it’s amazing for now! I’m very lucky to have gotten it!

I hope you enjoyed my lessons, and it’s okay if you disagree with them. Some of them are awfully blunt and cynical, so it’s understandable if you do. Either way, I hope you gained something from it. Good night, WordPress! I’ve missed you guys!

 

 

 


Dickens’s Great Expectations

*MAY CONTAIN SPOILERS* 

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“Heaven knows we need never be ashamed of our tears, for they are rain upon the blinding dust of earth, overlying our hard hearts.”

As promised, I have to do a post about Great Expectations. I loved it. More than loved it. I bawled at the end of it. I’m talking about sobbing in my bed with my face in the book. It was downright pathetic – but a good pathetic. The kind of pathetic you don’t feel bad about. Oddly, I feel more pathetic crying over a guy than I do a book. There are many reasons why I loved this book, and I’ll try to cover them as best as possible, but I have to say it all comes down to the characters.

The Characters I Fell in Love With: 

As I mentioned in my other post, Dickens develops his characters extremely well and Great Expectations is no exception. Let me introduce you to some of them.

There’s Joe Gargery, Pip’s brother-in-law. Pip, if you haven’t read it or don’t know much about it, is the main character of Great Expectations. Joe and Pip are very close at the start of the book, but as Pip gets older and moves to London to become a gentleman, Pip rejects Joe. Pip is ashamed of Joe’s lack of education and social class; Pip is rich, Joe is poor. Social class aside, Joe is an incredible human being. He never looks poorly on Pip and is always willing to be there for him whenever possible. It is heartbreaking to see this man, this poor, uneducated man, still hold onto the young boy he raised and loved so much while this boy, now a man, rejects him because he’s of a lower class. Joe never gives up, though, and remains by Pip’s side throughout the novel, both literally and by spirit. And, I’m happy to say, Pip sees the light and realizes his maltreatment of Joe towards the end. Joe is simple and unintelligent, but he is faithful and caring, which should certainly be more important than social class.

“So,” said my convict, turning his eyes on Joe in a moody manner, and without the least glance at me; “so you’re the blacksmith, are you? Then I’m sorry to say, I’ve eat your pie.”

“God knows you’re welcome to it-so far as it was ever mine,” returned Joe, with a saving rememberance of Mrs. Joe. “We don’t know what you have done, but we wouldn’t have you starved to death for it, poor miserable fellow-creatur.-Would us, Pip?” – Joe not minding the convict taking his pie, which was really given by Pip. 

There’s Abel Magwitch, or “the convict.” Pip helps him at the very beginning of the novel, which is usually the scene everyone remembers about Great Expectations – the graveyard in the foggy marshes. Magwitch is terrifying to begin with; he’s robust, filthy, and volatile. As the story progresses, Pip comes into a lot of money through a secret benefactor. *SPOILER* Lo and behold, the benefactor is Magwitch, who worked hard after Pip helped him so he could make Pip a gentleman. When the two meet again, Pip is taken aback by him and finds him just as terrifying as he did when he was a boy, but Pip soon learns the man is as gentle and faithful as Joe Gargery. Magwitch is very similar to Joe in that he is uneducated and is of a lower class.

“As I giv’ you to understand just now, I’m famous for it. It was the money left me, and the gains of the first few year wot I sent home to Mr. Jaggers—all for you—when he first come arter you, agreeable to my letter.” – Magwitch on giving all the money he’s earned to Pip to make him a gentleman.

There’s Old Miss Havisham. She is a rotten character overall in that she raised an adopted daughter to be cruel to men… However, her story is reason enough to explain and make the reader understand her pain. She was left at the altar on her wedding day and jilted by the man she loved, and since then she has been bitter and insane. Oh, but I love her. She is so fragile that you really can’t find her deserving of her pain, despite how she raised her daughter, Estella. In raising Estella to hate men, she hurts Pip because he falls in love with her, but Miss Havisham realizes this and begs for Pip’s forgiveness – which has to be the most heart-wrenching scene of the whole book. Her fate made me want to jump off a bridge.

As I could do no service there, and as I had, nearer home, that pressing reason for anxiety and fear which even her wanderings could not drive out of my mind, I decided in the course of the night that I would return by the early morning coach: walking on a mile or so, and being taken up clear of the town. At about six o’ clock of the morning, therefore, I leaned over her and touched her lips with mine, just as they said, not stopping for being touched, “Take the pencil and write under my name, ‘I forgive her.'” – Pip on seeing Miss Havisham the last time. This is when the bawling started for me… 

There’s Pip. Even though the book is entirely focused on Pip, you tend to forget about him because of how developed the supporting characters are. He deserves mention, though. Pip is definitely impressive. After helping Magwitch as a boy, he decides to do better with his life, which is propelled by his love for Estella, a girl of a higher class. He wants to improve his education, morals, and social standing. He works very hard at this and, thanks to his secret benefactor, he quickly rises in society. He is so self-aware and you really have to respect him throughout the whole book, even though he treats Joe poorly. He’s one of those characters that you can find inspiration in and try to do better yourself, which is probably the biggest take-away from this book you’ll get.

“Out of my thoughts! You are part of my existence, part of myself. You have been in every line I have ever read, since I first came here, the rough common boy whose poor heart you wounded even then. You have been in every prospect I have ever seen since – on the river, on the sails of the ships, on the marshes, in the clouds, in the light, in the darkness, in the wind, in the woods, in the sea, in the streets. You have been the embodiment of every graceful fancy that my mind has ever become acquainted with. The stones of which the strongest London buildings are made, are not more real, or more impossible to be displaced by your hands, than your presence and influence have been to me, there and everywhere, and will be. Estella, to the last hour of my life, you can’t choose but remain part of my character, part of the little good in me, part of the evil. But, in this separation I associate you only with the good, and I will faithfully hold you to that always, for you must have done me far more good than harm, let me feel now what sharp distress I may. O God bless you, God forgive you!” – Pip to Estella after hearing she’s marrying his rival. Also the best love speech ever, not that I’m much of a romantic. 

Living a Moral Life: 

Perhaps the largest reason I love Charles Dickens so damn much is his use of morals. I love his characters very much, but his use of morals in his writing is likely why he’s still loved today. The man wrote to show the world that social class, money, and education have nothing to do with being an amazing human being. He was the voice of the poor in his time and still is today because so many good people aren’t as lucky as those born into money or royalty. These people work hard, do good, and are content to just be alive, and Dickens focuses on this most. I cannot say it enough that I love him for this. Many writers write to tell a story, to make it entertaining, but Dickens wrote to better the world – how can you not love him? I’m no saint, but I do try hard in being a good person and this book makes it all worth it at the end of the day when I’m worrying about money, because I know that at the end of my life people won’t remember me for my financial successes and they’ll remember me for treating people fairly.

Great-Expectations-007This is where “great expectations” comes in. When I first started the book, I didn’t really understand what that meant. Could it be expectations from society or another person, or are they expectations a person has for himself/herself? The phrase is all-encompassing, and it really makes you think about the expectations others have on us. As a woman who tries to just live her own life without living up to people’s expectations too much, I even focused more on what this world expects of me while reading the book. Pip begins with expectations he sets for himself, which are to become more educated, more moralistic, and socially raised, but once he meets Miss Havisham and Estella, he begins to focus on what they expect of him. From that point forward, Pip continues to focus on what others expect of him rather than what he expects of himself. He learns what it is to be a gentleman and, unfortunately, practices it by looking down on Joe and eventually Magwitch upon seeing him again after so many years. He becomes ashamed of where he came from and tries to hide this, but as he gets closer to Magwitch and realizes what a good man he is, he returns back to his expectations of himself.

It got me thinking of my own life. I expect myself to be a hard-worker and a good person, and that’s really it. I love working and can’t imagine not having work, so I work hard not because I have to but because I want to. Likewise, I enjoy helping and inspiring others, which is why I want to teach – aside from my love of literature. Society, or others, expect me to be financially stable, intelligent, attractive, and independent. This is going by what I’d imagine the highest standards are. I live in America, and when we see someone with those qualities above, we consider them an “outstanding citizen.” That’s bollocks. Every person has their own battle to face, just like Magwith and Miss Havisham, and to expect so much out of them throughout their entire life is bullshit. I won’t go into what is expected of me as a woman, but that’s a huge list itself. Needless to say, I believe we should be focusing more on our expectations of ourselves rather than what society expects of us.

Dreaming of a Dickens World: 

I know this got serious quickly, so I’ll end on a lighter note: his imagination. The way he describes the scenes in the book is stunning. I would much rather be visiting a graveyard in the marshes than a sunny beach in Jamaica, and if you’re like me in that regard, you will love this book. The cobblestone streets of London, Miss Havisham’s Satis House, the marshes in Kent, they’re all magnificent. I hope I can make my way to England one day to visit places like this.

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I hope this post inspired you to read the book. I honestly think it became my new favorite, which is hard for me to say because I have so many favorites. I know I say this about probably everything I read, but you won’t regret it :)

More Info on the Book: 

The Literature Network


Work. Work. Work. And what’s to come.

It has been two months since my last post. Jesus. H. Christ. Let me explain. Let me paint the picture of the life of a woman with three jobs.

I have worked nearly every day for, well, the last two months. I had one day off several weeks ago, but before then, I worked 21 consecutive days. On top of this, I work 10+ hour days about three or four days a week. Between selling lotions, monitoring teenagers, and teaching them, I am living a very busy life. However, you’d be surprised how easy it is. I’m alert most days and I get plenty of sleep, mostly because I’m beat by 9:00 every night. I’ve got my schedule worked out for all three jobs, and all of them are very accommodating.

Oh! Some cool news (not that you care)! I got a second long-term subbing assignment. Did I mention this in a past post? I can’t remember, and I’m too lazy to check. I think it only happened about a month or so ago, so probably not. I’m teaching a class called “Reading Improvement” to freshmen at my favorite local high school. It’s going quite well so far, with just a few bumps here and there. I get a $14 raise for every day I work and it’s steady work for the next four/five months, so I’m very happy with it.

Now, onto more interesting things. I have been reading pretty much every chance I get in these last two months, and then some. Aside from reading Hatchet and Freak the Mighty in class, I have read Great Expectations, The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, Of Plymouth Plantation, and A Narrative of the Captivity and Restoration of Mrs. Mary Rowlandson. Great Expectations took me a very long time to finish (about three months) due to work and the difficulty of the language. It is easily one of those books you really have to pay attention to because you must get used to the language in order to understand it. Fortunately, I caught on to it fairly quickly, but I had to stop a lot because of work.

As much as I’d love to keep going on this subject, I’m going to stop here tonight. Dickens deserves a good post and one that doesn’t touch upon my life whatsoever. I just wanted to come back for a bit because I missed WordPress. I’ll try to write posts about Robert Louis Stevenson (The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde), William Bradford (Of Plymouth Plantation), and Mary Rowlandson soon, too. They’re all very interesting!

Hope all is well in the WordPress world! Here’s a puppy swinging.


SLAM! – BOOM! – BANG! Poetry.

Okay, let me begin by saying this, I ain’t no poet. I am very, very, very far (light years even) from being a poet. Unfortunately, for the rest of the world, I’m a harsh judge on poetry. I know this makes me a hypocrite, but it’s hard for me to break out of this belief that everyone who writes a few lines that rhyme is suddenly a poet.

Rule #1: poetry does not have to rhyme.

Let’s carry on. Now, I know what you’re thinking. “Jesus, what a snob.” I am a snob. I am a snob of music, all literature, and sometimes food. Here’s the catch, though: I’m the same as all those amateur poets who call themselves poets and all those amateur writers who call themselves writers. Am I a writer? I write, yes, but am I talented enough to actually call myself a writer? This gets me thinking. Perhaps talent has nothing to do with it – perhaps it’s how we see ourselves. In that case, I am a writer, or am working to become one someday.

Rule #2: make your poem move us.

Don’t just write poetry because you want to be a poet. Write it because you want to move mountains, part seas, change minds, create tears and laughter, make a difference.

You might be wondering what brought this on today. My friend showed me some slam poetry last night, and it really got my mind reeling. I’ve liked slam poetry for a very long time and would absolutely love to attempt it. I have no problem reading in front of others or even performing a little while I do it. When I’m excited enough about what I’m reading, it becomes a performance in itself. My problem is how, good lord, how do they come up with such ingenious lines?!

I began looking up some good slam poets online and found this lovely TED Talk by Sarah Kay, who definitely inspired me today to think hard about poetry. It’s worth the length of the video if you’re into poetry and especially performing poetry.

In it she asks to begin by thinking of 10 things you know to be true and 10 things you should have learned by now. I decided I would do this, to just have a good ol’ stab at it. Why the hell not, right? What else do I have to do? Wait… laundry, give the dog a bath, clean my room, clean the living room, get ready for the week ahead of me. Eh, fuck it. When I’m inspired, I have to write. If I don’t, I lose the inspiration entirely and it doesn’t return until much later.

10 things I know to be true:

  1. The only way to learn is to make mistakes.
  2. Life is way more enjoyable when you do things that have an uncertain outcome.
  3. I live to inspire others.
  4. I’m happiest in front of a class or when I am inspired by an author or poet.
  5. Writing your own story is more difficult than it should be.
  6. I want to be a woman who inspires other women to become independent and outspoken.
  7. A child’s hug is one of the best feelings in the world.
  8. We can only overcome pain and suffering if we look forward to tomorrow.
  9. We can do anything we want if we believe we can.
  10. I am blessed with more than I deserve.

10 things I should have learned by now (some of this I have learned but still practicing):

  1. How to say ‘no’ to smooth musicians.
  2. The ability to walk away from a bad relationship/friendship when I see one.
  3. How to be fully independent.
  4. How to forgive others.
  5. How to say ‘no’ to cake, burgers, french fries, and everything else that’s bad for my body.
  6. How to stop worrying.
  7. Not to use my debit card so much.
  8. Not to be so impulsive.
  9. How to write better.
  10. How to create poetry, fiction, and better narrative.

The, uh, 10 things I should have learned by now are awfully personal, but oh well. That’s part of writing. I am working on ideas for a poem in my busy head, but I’ll provide you with something that inspires me to do this. It isn’t a poem; it’s actually song lyrics, but it would be a damn good poem if you read it out loud.

Oh, where have you been, my blue-eyed son?
And where have you been my darling young one?
I’ve stumbled on the side of twelve misty mountains
I’ve walked and I’ve crawled on six crooked highways
I’ve stepped in the middle of seven sad forests
I’ve been out in front of a dozen dead oceans
I’ve been ten thousand miles in the mouth of a graveyard
And it’s a hard, it’s a hard, it’s a hard, and it’s a hard
It’s a hard rain’s a-gonna fall.

Oh, what did you see, my blue eyed son?
And what did you see, my darling young one?
I saw a newborn baby with wild wolves all around it
I saw a highway of diamonds with nobody on it
I saw a black branch with blood that kept drippin’
I saw a room full of men with their hammers a-bleedin’
I saw a white ladder all covered with water
I saw ten thousand talkers whose tongues were all broken
I saw guns and sharp swords in the hands of young children
And it’s a hard, it’s a hard, it’s a hard, and it’s a hard
It’s a hard rain’s a-gonna fall.

And what did you hear, my blue-eyed son?
And what did you hear, my darling young one?
I heard the sound of a thunder that roared out a warnin’
I heard the roar of a wave that could drown the whole world
I heard one hundred drummers whose hands were a-blazin’
I heard ten thousand whisperin’ and nobody listenin’
I heard one person starve, I heard many people laughin’
Heard the song of a poet who died in the gutter
Heard the sound of a clown who cried in the alley
And it’s a hard, it’s a hard, it’s a hard, it’s a hard
And it’s a hard rain’s a-gonna fall.

Oh, what did you meet my blue-eyed son ?
Who did you meet, my darling young one?
I met a young child beside a dead pony
I met a white man who walked a black dog
I met a young woman whose body was burning
I met a young girl, she gave me a rainbow
I met one man who was wounded in love
I met another man who was wounded in hatred
And it’s a hard, it’s a hard, it’s a hard, it’s a hard
And it’s a hard rain’s a-gonna fall.

And what’ll you do now, my blue-eyed son?
And what’ll you do now my darling young one?
I’m a-goin’ back out ‘fore the rain starts a-fallin’
I’ll walk to the depths of the deepest black forest
Where the people are a many and their hands are all empty
Where the pellets of poison are flooding their waters
Where the home in the valley meets the damp dirty prison
And the executioner’s face is always well hidden
Where hunger is ugly, where souls are forgotten
Where black is the color, where none is the number
And I’ll tell and speak it and think it and breathe it
And reflect from the mountain so all souls can see it
And I’ll stand on the ocean until I start sinkin’
But I’ll know my song well before I start singing
And it’s a hard, it’s a hard, it’s a hard, and it’s a hard
It’s a hard rain’s a-gonna fall.

Can you guess who it might be? They’re one of my very favorite singers.

Bob Dylan

Before I go, I’d appreciate any advice on how to start this little endeavor and how to create poetry. I know I’m a bit of a snob, but I’m trying to break down my walls here! Help! :)


Oh, Dickens.

Let me tell you about my friend Charles Dickens.

As a kid, I’d sit down in front of the TV every Christmas hugging a stuffed animal and curling up against my mom or dad and watch a fabulous rendition of A Christmas Carol. The rendition I’m speaking of is, of course, A Muppet Christmas Carol. Who doesn’t love the Muppets, right? Fozzie Bear will always hold my heart. I always thought to myself how moving the story was. It was wholesome. It was simple. It had Muppets (waka waka waka). It was, and still is, one of my favorite Christmas stories.

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The original A Christmas Carol didn’t have Muppets, but that’s okay. I’m an adult now and can gain more from reading the book than I can watching a version of it with Muppets leading the scenes and making quirky, yet hilarious I might add, jokes. ;) I finally read it nearly a year ago and it became one of my all-time favorite books. It became a favorite so much so that I will be reading it to my kids one day every year around Christmas because I believe every person should have a little Charles Dickens in their life, and my kids will be no exception.

Like every author I love, I obsess over them. I stay up late reading about who they were as a person. I go out and frivolously buy more of their work, not because I’ll be reading it back to back, but because I have to have it. It is my link to them. It is a portal for me to dive into their world, their mind, just like every other avid reader out there. Well, I did this recently. I could only really afford just a couple of books, so I got Nicholas Nickleby and Great Expectations.

I’m nearly halfway through Great Expectations and I’m definitely eager to finish. It has been an excellent read thus far, and the characters are very well-developed. Since it’s an awfully large book, I thought I’d break an entry about it and the author in two.

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Old Miss Havisham

This book has made me love the man even more. His ability to develop his characters so skillfully with backgrounds and dialogue, as well his necessity to include morals into his pieces proves him to be, to me, one of a kind. Combining these characteristics of writing into a piece of literature is not often seen, especially the use of sound morals in writing. That’s what captured me in the first place – the morals. I’m not the type who lives by the strictest morals and I’m not religious at all, but his beliefs on the goodness of man speaks to everyone, hence why he’s still popular today.

There’s a reason behind his use of morals in his work that many readers don’t know. Being the obsessive lit. nerd that I am, I had to do my research. Here we go:

When he was just a boy, his father was arrested for not being able to pay his debts, which eventually caused Dickens to leave school and find work in the factories. His family was very poor when he was young, and he had seven siblings, which did not help financial matters I’m sure. In leaving school and working in the factories, much of his inspiration for his future essays and fiction came into his life. His focus, therefore, was always placed on poorer-yet-moralistic characters, such as Joe in Great Expectations and Bob Cratchit in A Christmas Carol. That’s precisely why he is considered one of the most loved authors in history – he writes for the common man. Why? Because his father was a common man and he was a common man until he reached fame. His family wasn’t well-to-do while he was growing up, nor did he get the very best education. In fact, to make things easier on his family, he left them and lived in friends’ homes while he worked 10-hour days in a shoe-blacking factory. He lived in tiny rooms and paid what he could to help his family.

The spectacular thing about this, though, is that through all of this he read and found the inspiration to write. It wasn’t until he was 21 or so that he began working for the press doing political articles and writing for sketches, which later turned into Sketches by Boz. With the success of the sketches, he eventually began The Pickwick Papers… and the rest is history.

There is more to come, and the review will be one of my favorites. For now, though, I leave you with some of his very best quotes about the common man.

“It is a fair, even-handed, noble adjustment of things, that while there is infection in disease and sorrow, there is nothing in the world so irresistibly contagious as laughter and good humour.” – A Christmas Carol

“Suffering has been stronger than all other teaching, and has taught me to understand what your heart used to be. I have been bent and broken, but – I hope – into a better shape.” – Great Expectations

“Pause you who read this, and think for a moment of the long chain of iron or gold, of thorns or flowers, that would never have bound you, but for the formation of the first link on one memorable day.”  – Great Expectations

“There are some upon this earth of yours,’ returned the Spirit, ‘who lay claim to know us, and who do their deeds of passion, pride, ill-will, hatred, envy, bigotry, and selfishness in our name; who are as strange to us and all our kith and kin, as if they had never lived. Remember that, and charge their doings on themselves, not us.” – A Christmas Carol

“I see a beautiful city and a brilliant people rising from this abyss, and, in their struggles to be truly free, in their triumphs and defeats, through long years to come, I see the evil of this time and of the previous time of which this is the natural birth, gradually making expiation for itself and wearing out…” – A Tale of Two Cities

“I looked at the stars, and considered how awful it would be for a man to turn his face up to them as he froze to death, and see no help or pity in all the glittering multitude.” – Great Expectations

I’m at a loss for words with this guy at the moment, so good night AND PICK UP ONE OF HIS BOOKS! YOU WILL NOT REGRET IT!

Extra Info:

Website dedicated to Charles Dickens

Related blogs or blog posts:

dickensinrealtime 

Boe and Arrow’s post Great Expectations by Charles Dickens

“When the church came to itself…” by The Straining Reader


Harnessing Potential

Alright. Alright. I couldn’t stay away entirely, though I got incredibly distracted by other things. Again, this is probably something you haven’t noticed. I’ve been busy. I’m now in full swing of subbing, working at the store, and (hopefully with some schedule adjustments) working as a Police Activities League Specialist/Mentoring Coordinator at the local youth center.

That said, I would like to make some changes to this here blog.

  1. I’ll try to keep the negativity to a minimum. I’ve been negative in some of my other posts and I don’t like it. It doesn’t sit right with me.
  2. Remember when I said I’d like to tell my story? (You probably don’t.) I’m ready, but not to just come out with it; more-so to tell it in pieces whilst trying to inspire those who read my blog.
  3. More literary reviews are to come. I’m reading Great Expectations and am falling even more in love with Charles Dickens.

Now then. What I’d like to write about is harnessing potential. Oh, yes. We all know what potential is. It’s that thing that eats away at us when we don’t apply ourselves to things we should apply ourselves at, i.e. school, work, relationships of all sorts, blogs. I haven’t fully lived up to my potential with this blog. I could use it for so much more. Instead I use it for rambling, sometimes journaling, and telling you what I think of certain pieces of literature. The latter is cool, though. I’ll keep that up, not because you find my reviews riveting (ha), but because I find it fun to do them. As you all know I’m pretty passionate about literature.

The rambling is something I can’t help, and the journaling is really just an annoyance for me. What I’d like to use this blog for, other than my awesome reviews, is to show the world that happiness comes once you’ve dug yourself out of shit. Jesus, I’m rambling again.

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I had this incredible conversation with my friend today about who and what we want to be. Both of us have been through some painful stuff in our lives, which is normal for every person, but we’ve spoken enough about it in the years we’ve known each other to realize change needed to be made. My change came about a year and a half ago, which is something I may have mentioned in the past on here. I’ll reiterate it a bit for you all tonight:

A year and a half ago, I found myself in a very deep depression and extremely angry with where my life had lead me. I had been angry with things done to my family, which I realized was the main cause of the depression and anger in my life. Once I realized this, I began changing my ways and the things I once thought were out of my control. I ended a friendship that was very unhealthy, though I admit I restarted it some months later only to find it unhealthy again, and now I am free of it for the final time. I ended my most serious relationship because I realized he was similar to my father, the one who hurt my family, and because I knew the relationship was not what I wanted. What I wanted was to find peace within myself. I began going to a therapist weekly until I was able to find my footing and move forward. And, lastly, I began to believe in myself, which is something I had never done before.

I always felt I was unworthy of success, that I was not capable of challenging myself to use the potential I knew I had. I did awful in high school and community college. I half-assed my jobs most of the time. I always knew, though, in the back of my mind I could do more. I was tired of letting myself down. At this point, I was done with my classes at my university, but I actually did extremely well because I wanted to apply myself in them. But I had more work to do. I wanted to do better in my jobs and to especially find a career that I’d love. I wanted to improve my relationships with family members and friends. I wanted to “harness my potential.” I think of it more as power, but power has such a strong and negative connotation that I’ll use potential instead.

It took me 25 years to get to a point in my life to say, “I know what I’m capable of, and if I put my mind and hard work to it, I can accomplish anything.” It’s true. I honestly believe this. The funny thing is, and I talked about this with my friend, when we tell ourselves that we’re not going to do well at something or that we’re terrible at something we want to be good at (such as math, art, writing, etc.), it becomes true. What would happen if we told ourselves, “I can do this. I can be a great writer”? We become what we wish for. I refuse to say “I am…” because I believe that allows room for disappointment. When we struggle with something we’re so confident in, we become disappointed. Rather, think of yourself as a constant work in progress. “I can be a great writer, friend, teacher, partner, etc. I will continuously work on it because there is always more to learn.” There is always more to learn. 

With the huge world around us, the number of things to learn is infinite. We can learn more about our craft, our career, the people we work with, the people we love.

Every person we come in contact with is a pool of facts. Do we want to ignore those facts and become less of a good friend, brother, sister, father, mother, partner, daughter, son, or do we want to listen to those facts and improve who we are to them? Because who we are to them means much more than we realize. Imagine not having that person in your life, if they suddenly disappeared. It’s heartbreaking, and being someone who has suffered a great loss, I know just how heartbreaking it is. They think the same of you. You wouldn’t think a relationship requires potential, but it does. It requires work and application. Without those two fundamental qualities, there would be no relationship. It’s up to you if you want to lose the relationship, or to be a part of it. And, of course, there will always be relationships that just need to end because they are unhealthy and do you no service. If that’s the case, have the courage to walk away and focus on you.

Harnessing your potential at school and work is simple. It may not seem so, but it is. People are much more complicated because there is more than one person involved. When it comes to school and work, it all comes down to you. How do you want to see yourself at the end of the day? Do you want to see yourself giving up on an assignment because you found it too difficult or you were too lazy? Do you want to do only so-so at your job because you don’t care enough about it to try harder? I got real tired of coming home feeling like I could have done better when I would get off work, and I got tired of feeling like my assignments were only good enough to pass. Again, if you tell yourself you’re not going to do that well or there’s no point in trying, it will become absolutely true. But if you actually try, if you harness your potential, success will be sure to follow. Make yourself proud of the work you do every day rather than let yourself down. Believe me, letting yourself down over and over is just not worth it. You will not move past it unless you believe you can do better, and you can. We all can.

That said, I’ll move on from my whole “potential” spiel. I sound more and more like a teacher every day. I get to see “my kids” tomorrow, the same kids who inspire me to keep moving forward on my road to becoming a teacher. I love them and they love me, and thinking of their smiles and laughter and jokes and curiosity brings more joy into my life than I ever could have imagined. They are one reason for my happiness.

My Kids

My Kids

Good night, friends. It’s nice to be back.


Finding Love

I can’t warn you on the length this time because I have no idea how long it will be. I hope you enjoy it nonetheless.

I thought to myself this morning as I was getting ready for the day how far I’ve come in the past year and a half. I asked myself, “What was the greatest thing you ever did for yourself?” My answer: Leave behind negativity and create change. About a year and a half ago, I went through a very large change, one I never saw coming. I ended my longest relationship with a man who wanted to marry me (the relationship wasn’t healthy despite him wanting to marry me); I ended a friendship that plagued me for years; I confronted my anger about my father; I sought therapy (and succeeded with it); I decided to remain single for at least a year to find myself; and I vowed to myself to follow my dreams and change the world.

And here I am.

I don’t want you thinking that I’ve left behind negativity altogether. I believe that’s practically impossible. We all have bad days and bad people in our lives. But I did everything in my power to move forward. At the time of this change, I had several friends ask me what I was doing. They asked if there was something wrong with me, if I was okay. Funny thing is, I was fine the entire time. Much of the change was incredibly difficult, but the moment I got the ball rolling I knew I couldn’t stop. I was meant to change in order to become the person I always wanted to be, and I’ve nearly become that. I still have a long road ahead of me, but I am on my way.

The hardest part about all this change, surprisingly, has been to remain single. Before all this, I was the girl who would jump from relationship to relationship, or at least date immediately after ending a relationship. I never knew who I was because I was always molding myself to fit with another person. Then I broke free and promised myself I wouldn’t do that again. I would remain single and figure out who I was. It’s been well over a year now since then and I’ve remained, but there was someone recently that nearly grasped my heart. It was complicated from the start because both of us are so busy and not really ready for a relationship, and so I ended it because I knew it would be the best decision to make. In turn, I may have lost a friendship I cared greatly about. I hope I can get it back in time, but it still makes me sad to have lost something important to me.

And then I realized something today. I have all the love I need in my life right this moment. I have more love in my life now than I did a year and a half ago, and I believe it all started with me trying to change my life for the better because now I can see it, appreciate it, and encourage it.

Us being silly on Thanksgiving

Us being silly on Thanksgiving

I was with my mom most of the day today and at one point I saw a friend of mine. This friend is all tatted up, has huge gauges in his ears, a piercing through his septum, and a big bushy beard. What does my mom say about him? “He seems really nice!” It hit me then how accepting and loving she really is as a person. She always has been. I’ve never heard her speak ill of someone who’s “different” than her. She’s never been one to look poorly on someone of a different race or sexuality than her, and in fact she’s always embraced it. One of her mottoes is: “There is good and bad in every race.” She has always accepted my friends, every single one of them, no matter how out there they may be. I’ve thought of many favorite things that I love about her, but I have to say that this is my absolute favorite and something I will try to carry with me.

I was with an old friend of mine today, as well. We went out for dinner and a movie, and when he drove me home, he told me it was the one year anniversary of when his mom died. I asked why he didn’t tell me sooner and he said, “I just wanted to go out with someone who really means a lot to me, and you’re one of those people.” I just about cried hearing that. He’s very much like a big brother to me and we’re extremely close, so it was an honor to know I mean that much to him. He’s lost both of his parents and I’ve lost one of mine; it’s been something that we’ve bonded over throughout the years. He and I are complete opposites. He’s very big and boisterous while I’m small and more laid back. We have very different tastes in, well, everything, and we approach things differently. I consider him a best friend, though, because he listens to me, protects me when I need it, and fills my heart with laughter. And, to him, I am his “Jiminy Cricket,” as he likes to say. I give him moral advice all the time, probably weekly, so this fits. I love it!

When I came home I thought of the others in my life. My tiny immediate and gigantic extended families that have always been so encouraging to me, and my friends, different as they are, who stand by me always. My mother, who tells me that I must become a teacher because she knows I will make a difference. My brother, who guides me every step of the way. My uncle and aunt, who encourage me to always appreciate family. Ides, who gives me a different viewpoint whenever I need one. James, who can make me laugh until my stomach aches. Kim, who reminds me to always cherish the past. Amber, who will always remind me to be the strong woman I want to be. Cyndie, who is so passionate she will do anything to do what she loves. Linzy, who wants to change this world as much as I do. Josh, who tells me it’s okay to let go sometimes. Chad, who is always there for an adventure whenever needed. Greg, who has more courage than anyone I know. And lastly I cannot forget the students who have touched my heart. They, along with those above, are my driving force to continue on this path. They are the reason why I want to teach, why I want to change this world, even if the change is small. When the semester of my long-term ended, they gave me a golden award saying “Best Teacher” on it. I keep it next to me on my nightstand for me to see it when I go to bed and wake up.

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I have all the love I need, and it’s been with me all along. It just took changing my life for me to see it. I told this to you tonight in hopes that, if you are where I was a year and a half ago (angry, miserable, and lost), you will change your life. Sometimes it’s a small change. Sometimes it’s very drastic, like mine was. Whatever you do, know that you have a team behind you who will root for you the entire time and that you can thank them when you finish your journey. I promise you are loved more than you realize.

Good night, WordPress.


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