Savoring the Moment: A Time I Want to Remember Forever

via Daily Prompt: Savor

There comes a time in everyone’s life where they experience a brief, fleeting moment that is extremely impactful; it affects them in some way, and they never want it to end. When those moments come, it’s best to savor them, and to process everything that you’re thinking and feeling in the moment. Then, once that moment becomes a distant memory, you can still hold onto it and remember what it felt like a long time ago. Here’s one of the best moments that I’ve savored, and that I hope to remember forever:

The Moment When I Finally Met Jesus on a Personal Level, and the Moment when He Finally Showed Me My Identity

This is a two-fold memory that actually spans two different events, but I’m grouping it into one category because it’s perhaps the biggest thing that I don’t ever want to forget. I had grown up in a Christian home always hearing about Christ. I prayed to Jesus, I asked for forgiveness when I sinned or felt guilty about something, I prayed that people would be healed of their afflictions, and I had even asked him into my heart in fifth grade. I read my Bible as often as I could (though probably not as often as I should have) and was heavily involved in youth group all throughout my life. And yet, despite all that, I never really knew Jesus personally, the way that he desires to know us. I worshiped him blindly, without ever really discovering his truth for myself. I followed him because…it was all I had ever known. I’d never known anything different, having been born and raised into this way of life. So of course, it was only logical that I would follow him. However, I needed to truly experience his grace for myself before I could take it personally (in a good way).

In my freshman year of high school, I began being plagued by these terrible thoughts of: “Oh my goodness, what if God isn’t real?” Sometimes, they’d affect my waking consciousness, whereas other times, I would wake up in the middle of the night absolutely terrified that there was a possibility that I might be living a lie. The idea of not having anywhere to go when I died scared me more than anything else. But deep down, I was scared of God not existing, because what did that mean for me? Eventually, the thoughts subsided, and I convinced myself that of course God is real. There’s no reason for him not to be. Still, I never really experienced him on a personal level….that is, not until one night on a youth group trip in San Diego, which was the first time I ever heard him speaking to me.

I was now seventeen-years-old, having just completed my junior year of high school. At the time, I was struggling with feelings of self-doubt, and wondering what my purpose in life was (if I even had one). I felt guilty all the time about a sin that I kept hidden from others because I was afraid of being judged, even though it wasn’t really anything “major.” I went to this youth event, and we were singing “Revelation Song” by Kari Jobe. As we got to the part that goes: “holy, holy, holy, is the Lord God Almighty, who was, and is, and is to come.” I started thinking of how beautiful it will be when we get to be in heaven and sing that directly to God. And then, that was when I truly heard him for the first time. In my heart and in my mind, I could feel him saying, “You have no idea how much I love you.” He began working in me to give me peace and joy that day, and it lasted for a while, but this had just been me dipping my toes in the water. I was to have another experience later on.

In 2013, I was 20-years-old, and felt lost and hopeless. Over the course of the past two years, I had continued to struggle with my sense of self-worth. I had asked God to forgive me for the sin that I mentioned earlier. Several times, in fact, but Satan kept making me feel guilty. His classic lie was: “You’re not really forgiven,” or “did God really say…?” I got into this spiral of sadness, and entered a really dark period of my life. I never self-harmed or anything like that, but I just wasn’t in a good place spiritually or emotionally. I was a volunteer youth leader at my church at the time, and while I could preach about Christ’s unconditional love for everyone, secretly, I believed that it applied to everybody but me. In the depths of my soul, I believed that due to my past, God hated me. In fact, I was convinced that he hated me, and that despite my best efforts at serving him, I would come up short and go to hell. So I was constantly in a state of spiritual torment. I remember one day actually asking God, “what’s the point of serving you if I’m just going to end up in hell anyway?” Like I said, it was a very dark place that I was in, and one that I hope to never go back to. I went to a leadership summit with my church, in the hope to hone my leadership skills and reach the high school and junior high kids that I was ministering to. Little did I know, God had a message for me on that trip. I’ve often noticed that God speaks to me through music when he has something to tell me, and this time was no exception. We were singing Matt Redman’s: 10,000 Reasons, and during part of the song, God spoke to me clearly. He gave me my identity. His words to me were: “I don’t care about what you’ve done in your past. What’s important is the here and now, and who I’m creating you to be.” I felt so relieved, because in that moment, I knew that he didn’t hate me. He loved me, just as I was, no matter how much I felt like the prodigal daughter. However, there was also a part of me that was a little upset and angry, because I had struggled for two years with thinking God hated me, and I was frustrated that he had allowed me to believe that lie. So I asked him, “then why did you wait two years to tell me this? Why did you let me struggle with hating myself and wondering if you hated me, too?” And he gently replied, “the why is not important. It’s how I’m working in you and transforming you that’s important.” And suddenly, I knew that he was right. The reasoning behind my struggle didn’t matter. The point was that God was using my struggle to point me back to him. All along, even when I doubted him and wondered where he was, he was right there, pointing me back to him.

Since then, I have had a few moments of questioning, and of being slightly afraid that I’m not good enough. I know that I don’t measure up to God’s standards, and that I can’t ever truly measure up until I get to heaven. But then, when I start to doubt and question, I go back to this moment, and I think about what God told me. I am reminded of who I am and whose I am. I know where I’ve been, and where I’m going, and I can’t wait to see who I turn out to be when God is finished with me. I believe that I have promises to keep, and miles to go before I sleep. I can’t give up or give in, I’ve got to stay strong and fight against everything that tries to bring me down. But I’m not alone. God is always by my side. And even on the darkest of days sometimes, when it’s hard to find God in all the chaos, or when I’m not feeling very valuable, I think of these two songs, and they make me happy, and draw me closer to Christ:

I hope this post has inspired you. Don’t forget, don’t ever give up. God loves you more than you can ever know or fathom. And he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus (Philippians 1:6).

 

Horses: Pure Freedom

Horseback riding: there’s nothing like it in the world. My husband and I went last weekend, and I can tell you it was absolutely amazing. Being on the back of a horse is a thrilling, satisfying thing, and you feel totally and completely free when you’re doing this. The way they thunder over the terrain, you and the horse becoming one as it responds to your commands: its exhilarating. It’s everything you could imagine and then some.

I love horses, and I always will.

Reinventing the Wheel of Embarrassment

via Daily Prompt: Wheel

Well, it finally happened. The one thing that I fear the most about doing my business in a public bathroom or the bathroom at work…clogging the toilet. I’ve been known to clog a few toilets in my day. Ironically, the day that my husband and I first moved into our old apartment was also the first (and only) day that I clogged the toilet there and flooded the bathroom, much to the dismay of our downstairs neighbors, as there was an unknown hole in our floor and their ceiling. And well, things got..wet…fast. Fortunately, no damage was done, the hole was eventually caulked, and we moved out of that place and somehow got our deposit back. We’re in a much nicer, newer apartment now and, thankfully, I haven’t clogged the toilet here yet, though I’m sure that “yet” is the key word.

Anyway, it finally happened at work yesterday, and I was so embarrassed. Our bathroom isn’t public, thank goodness, and it has a cipher lock on the door so that only employees can go in, so that saved me some embarrassment, at least. Imagine my horror when I discovered the toilet was clogged at work. I’m not the best at plunging toilets, and I certainly didn’t want to go have someone help me because well, then they would have known that I was the one who clogged it, and then everyone would have heard about it. Office gossip travels fast, no matter what sort of office you work in.

Not wanting to embarrass myself any further than I already had (at least mentally, since no one knows about it except for just now), I grabbed the toilet plunger and said to myself, “ok, we’re going to do this! I don’t need help, we’re just going to try our best and do this!” I was so grateful that the plunger was inside the stall next to the toilet and not in a supply closet somewhere. That’s the last thing I want to be seen toting into the bathroom…especially since I’m still “the new girl,” as I’ve really only been with this company for a little over a month.

So I faced the toilet and somewhat confidently (but with mounting doubts) attempted to plunge the toilet. Thankfully, the clog came loose on my first try, I didn’t make a mess on the floor, I didn’t overflow the toilet, and it flush on my first attempt. That never happens. I was so happy. I immediately put the plunger back in its spot next to the toilet, washed my hands, and scurried out of the bathroom. I didn’t want anyone to know what had happened. Ironic, right? Especially given that I’m telling you, now. Oh well, all’s well that ends well. In reality, I guess it wasn’t as embarrassing as I’m making it out to be, mostly because I was by myself when it all happened, but it could have been so much worse. Thankfully, it wasn’t. Hopefully, I don’t ever have to worry about that again. But now you know why I really don’t like doing number two in bathrooms that aren’t at my home.

Whatever. C’est la vie, que sera sera. Moving on, and hoping that I never experience that again, at least not until I have my own house. 🙂

 

Anime Fans, do you EVER Think there will be a Season Two of Monster Musume (Everyday Life with Monster Girls)?

My husband and I stumbled across this cute little anime one day when looking for something new to watch on Crunchyroll. We absolutely loved it, and were practically taking bets on which girl would end up marrying Kimito, and my money’s on Centorea. The series basically leaves you on a cliff hanger, which I freaking hate, and the mangas were no help either! So, do you think there will ever be a season two of this show? I hope so, because the suspense is freaking killing me!

Random Thought/Discussion: Does School Detention Even Do Anything?

This is something I’ve pondered for years. While I was the good student and very rarely got in trouble, there were a few times that I was threatened with detention, but I never actually was made to go to detention. Throughout my high school years especially, I noticed that many students were afraid of getting detention, as though it were some big, scary place where terrible things happen to you. I, of course, had heard about what it actually was, and had experienced minor group detentions in elementary and middle school (mostly just teachers keeping the entire class 30 minutes late after school, which hardly counts), so I never really understood what people feared about it.

At my high school, they always made light of detention and had funny videos that they made to try and encourage us to stay out of detention. They would play them over the school’s daily announcement video feed, and they were often hilarious to watch. However, what I was told and what was depicted was basically this: depending on what you did and who the teacher was, there were two kinds of detentions you could serve. One was directly with the teacher who originally gave you detention. This type of detention basically consisted of you going into the classroom after school and just sitting there being bored for however long the teacher had pre-specified (anywhere from one to two hours, usually), or working on homework during that period of time, or getting lectured by your teacher regarding whatever the situation that landed you in detention was. The radio and TV teacher always said that if another teacher gave you detention, you should ask if you could serve it with him instead, because he had a lot of computers and technology parts that needed cleaning, etc. So not really sure how that qualified as a punishment, or what it was meant to teach you.

The other type of detention was served “to the school,” and was either given because you did something “worse” that merited that type of detention, or the teacher that you got in trouble with just didn’t want to deal with having you serve the detention with him or her. Or you were late. That was automatically a detention if you parents forgot to call out and excuse you from classes when you were sick. Anyway, with that type of detention, a teacher who was typically in charge of handing out the disciplinary slips would come to your classroom and ask to talk to you. You would go out in the hallway and talk with him or her, about the situation. Either way, you would get a detention slip telling you the date and time that you were to serve your detention. However, if the person handing out the slips understood that it was something outside of your control, like your parents had forgotten to excuse you from class, they would still give you the slip, then just say to have your parents call the school and clear it up. Which happened to me once, and I never ended up having to serve detention. Well, in that situation, my parents hadn’t called in until later in the day, after one or two class periods had gone by, but because they called in the next day and cleared it up, I didn’t have a problem.

Anyway, in the second type of detention, there was also a specific teacher who was in charge of running the detention. You’d go in, give him your slip, he’d mark off your name to indicate that you had shown up (you got more detentions if you didn’t show up), and then you’d basically just go sit down, and you were expected to do classwork for whatever amount of time the slip specified that you were supposed to stay there. From what I could gather, and what I had been told, it was very boring.

So my question is this: how is detention an effective punishment? What exactly is it supposed to teach kids? It is literally time-out, but for older kids/teenagers. True, it gets you to focus on your studies, or it teaches you to do hard work, but at the same time, teaching kids that they will be made to study hard or work hard only if they do bad things doesn’t prepare them for life. And putting them in a room and just making them do classwork or stare at a wall for two hours just makes them bored, it doesn’t really teach them anything. I mean maybe if you’re with one of those teachers who lectures you the entire time, then maybe it could be effective, but I doubt it.

Honestly, the only type of detention that I could ever truly see being effective would be a P.E.-based detention. One where you have to show up at the school’s gym and run laps, do circuits, certain kinds of exercises, boot-camp style workouts, etc. Maybe that would be effective, but as for just sitting there being bored, I don’t think so.

So what’s your take on it, everyone? Do you think that school detentions are effective? What about suspension? Doesn’t that just encourage kids to keep doing bad things, if they’re the type that don’t want to be in school in the first place? I’d be interested to hear your thoughts, so join the discussion.

Things People with Anxiety Rarely Talk about but Wish they Could

In a society that moves fast and is constantly saturated with conversation, those of us with anxiety often feel like we are hiding in the shadows. Whenever we try to talk about how we’re feeling, things usually go one of two ways. Either someone responds with, “anxiety, everyone’s got that nowadays,” or “what do you have to be anxious about? Your life is good.” And so, we keep quiet, we make life work behind the scenes, because that’s the area in which we shine the most. It’s sad, but true. As someone who suffers with anxiety, I’m here to describe a few things to you that people with anxiety rarely share, but often wish they could. We’re just looking for a kindred spirit, someone that we can talk to who won’t judge us or try to make light of our feelings. If we could find that one person who would listen in the way that we need, here are a few of the things we might say:

1. We Tend to Overthink a Lot, and We’re Often Painfully Aware of It

I am a chronic overthinker. I know that I overthink everything, but it is because I have found that if I don’t overthink something, then I either end up messing it up, or something bad happens. So, I usually plan far enough ahead that I can handle with adverse circumstances, should they arise, or I can plan around them so they don’t happen at all. That being said, when us folks with anxiety make even a small mistake, we beat ourselves up over it for years. More often than not, we catastrophize the situation and make it out to be worse than it really is. And it’s not that we’re being dramatic, it’s that our brains are just wired that way. For instance, “Oh crap, I forgot to mail that bill that I needed to send in today. It’s due in fifteen days. But, the mail is slow sometimes, and knowing my luck, if I mail it at five o’clock today, it’ll get lost, and then the debt collectors will come after me, etc.” Or, in a more extreme scenario, “Oh no, I forgot to turn the Christmas Tree lights on before I left for home, I hope my house didn’t burn down.” It’s not that we’re worry-warts either, it’s that our overthinking is often a coping mechanism, at least it is for me. The more that I have time to overthink a situation, the more that I can reflect on the “worst case scenario,” and can plan how I will handle it should worst case scenario actually come to pass. That way, I’m not completely blindsided if the worst does happen. I have a plan of action in place, and it won’t destroy me. Of course, my overthinking also tends to stress me out a little bit.

Sometimes, I can’t see any other possibility but the worst case scenario, so then I tend to dwell on it more than I should. And of course, the more I dwell on it, the more anxious I become. And then I tell myself, “you’re overthinking it, stop it, there’s a simple solution.” So then I do the thing that is the simple solution, but then I still fret and worry about it until I have the actual result. Or, I start to say things like, “stop overthinking it and just relax,” which then of course inevitably leads to the “what is wrong with me? I’m not normal…” train of thought. Fun times.

2. We Can’t Turn our Anxiety Off

The one thing that I wish people would understand is that anxiety is not like a television. You can’t change the channel or turn it off if you don’t like what you’re seeing or hearing. Anxiety is raw and real, and while many of us have tried to turn it off, it’s ultimately impossible. Oftentimes, our thoughts run away with us and become flights of fancy, or they just become troublesome nightmares that we can’t seem to shake. For example, if we’re in a situation where we feel uncomfortable, even if everyone else around us feels perfectly fine, we can’t shake that feeling that something isn’t right; and the longer we stay in that situation, the worse our anxiety gets until it ultimately erupts into a fit of tears or anger, depending on the situation.

Oftentimes, I’ll say, “I’m worried that we’re going to be late to this event.” And then someone says, “We’ll make it, don’t worry.” And then with every second that goes by, I’m sitting there internally thinking to myself, “We’re going to be late, we’re going to be late.” Usually, even if we are late, no one is ever angry with us, but of course, I don’t see it that way. I just see it as, “Oh my gosh, we’re being rude, we’re late…” or “We’re going to be in trouble for being late.”

Lately, my classic thing that I can’t seem to turn off is the “We’re going to get evicted” worry. We have a great landlord and excellent neighbors. And I try to be as courteous to everyone as possible, but sometimes I think I can be a bit excessive. Sometimes, I have to run the dishwasher or take a shower at 8:00 at night, and I worry that it’s going to be too loud for our downstairs neighbors, since we’re on the top floor, and that we’re going to get evicted. But no one ever complains. Sometimes we play our music loudly or watch fairly loud videos, and again I worry that the volume will bother our neighbors, but it never seems to. However, the biggest one in this category is with my loud friends. Oftentimes, their voices exceed normal decibel limits with how excited or frustrated they get with the games they are playing or the jokes we are telling, and I often have to remind them to keep it down, because we live in an apartment and I don’t want to get evicted. Usually, they’ll say something along the lines of, “I don’t care, it’s not my place…” which I immediately follow up with, “but I’m your friend, and it’s my place. You should care if what you’re doing ultimately ends up with me getting evicted.” Surprisingly, we haven’t had a single complaint against us, but that thought is always there, nagging at me in the back of my mind. Would I love to turn it off and just go with the flow? Of course, but that’s impossible.

3. We Typically have Very Low Self-Esteem

Because of our anxiety, we’re already “different” from the rest of the group. We don’t meet the status quo, so we’re outsiders, and we know that. However, because we know that, we tend to internalize many, many things. For instance, the biggest thing that I internalize are things related to my faith. If I mess up even in the slightest, I feel like I am a terrible example of a Christian, and I will keep praying for forgiveness over and over again and listening to Christian music until I feel better. It’s sad, and I know that’s not what God wants for me. He wants me to be free to enjoy this wonderful life that he has given me. Fortunately, now that I have a new job with better hours, higher pay, and nicer people, I am starting to learn how to do that. It is a slow process, but one that I hope continues.

In general, we tend to struggle with believing in ourselves. When we say that we want to do something, someone close to us will ask, “well, why don’t you?” And then we list off all the reasons why it’ll never work, and ultimately talk ourselves out of it. Or, conversely, we often allow ourselves to be talked out of something by others because we either take their criticisms to heart, or we do what they ask just to get them to leave us alone. Again, this is no way to live, and we know this, and it is because we know this that we feel there is something wrong with us. Pointing out the fact that we worry too much just adds fuel to the fire–it’s another thing on the list of “things I need to fix.” And then we stress ourselves out trying to fix it. I personally am guilty of this type of frustration. I often find myself getting annoyed, because someone asks me to do something, I do it, and then they get upset because I did it. Or I find out that they don’t like what I’m doing, so I stop, and then get told to just be myself and not care what others think.

Be yourself, they say. So I act like my little old self, with my seemingly old-fashioned beliefs, my strong convictions, my likes and dislikes, and so forth. Then I get told that some of those things are downright terrible, or that I shouldn’t say certain things or behave in a certain way. So I try to correct those things, and then when I correct them, I get told that it doesn’t matter what others say–that I should just do what makes me happy. What do you want from me, society? Make up your mind! I’m just one person! I can’t do everything or be everything! Like Hawk Nelson says in their song: Everything You Ever Wanted: “I tried to be perfect, tried to be honest, tried to be everything that you ever wanted.  I tried to be stronger, tried to be smarter, tried to be everything but you.”

4. We Actually Want to Get Out and Try New Things

As much as we get anxiety in new situations, we also crave fun and adventure. We want to try things that take us outside of our comfort zone, but we want to be able to do those things on our terms. If someone forces us into a new or unique situation, we will generally balk at it, get frustrated, or decide that we want no part of it. However, if it’s an idea that we come to on our own, decide, “hey, this would be fun to try,” and are able to do it with a group of friends, in an environment that makes us feel comfortable and where no one is judging us or laughing at us, then we are generally ok with the new activity.

One example of the above-described situation is this: I hate public speaking. I am not good at it at all. I can communicate much more eloquently in writing than I can when speaking. When I speak, I often lose my train of thought, stammer, stutter, and the like. It’s not a pleasant thing at all. However, when speaking about something that I am passionate about, I can go on for hours. For instance, if I were leading a Christian seminar for teenagers or young adults, I think I would be good at that and would really enjoy it. Or if I were talking about horses or my favorite movies with a complete stranger–I could go on at length about it. However, if someone were to stick me and a random stranger together and say, “you’ve got an hour to learn about each other,” it would be an extremely awkward situation for me. I wouldn’t even begin to know what to say, except for making small talk. It would be something along the lines of, “so, what are your favorite animals?” “Oh, well I love horses and wolves, though I don’t own a horse; but I have a kitty cat.” “Oh, really? I’m more of a dog person, but cats are cool.” “Oh yeah? That’s nice. Well, what are your favorite movies..” But of course, there would be random, long, awkward silences in there as well. It just wouldn’t be fun. However, if I initiate the conversation, then I think it would be different. However, even then, I get in my head too much. When my husband and I went to a comic-con a few weeks ago, there was a girl there who had a really neat tattoo. Every time I’d see her, I’d want to go up and compliment her on her tattoo, but then I thought that she’d look at me funny or think I was weird, so I just didn’t say anything to her. In retrospect, I wish I would have. It might have opened the door to an interesting conversation about tattoos in general. Oh well, what’s done is done. C’est la vie, right?

So, anxiety isn’t what a lot of people think it is. In fact, many of us don’t talk about it, because we know that we won’t be understood or taken seriously. The next time someone brings up their anxiety to you, don’t downplay what they’re saying, but actually take the time to hear them out. The more willing you are to listen to them, the more they might surprise you, and the better you may be able to understand them and be the support that they need.

 

Crisp Bills: A Love-Hate Relationship

via Daily Prompt: Crisp

This post might be a bit odd, but that’s okay, because I am odd. I was inspired by this daily prompt that was posted a few days ago, as it reminded me of my days working retail. I don’t generally carry cash, and when I do, it seems like I either get crisp bills that stick together and are hard to tell apart (in terms of how many I have) or I get severely crumpled ones that look like they’ll disintegrate if you even touch them. However, it’s the crisp bills that I really can’t stand. Here’s why:

Due to the “sticky” nature of crisp bills, it’s hard to tell how many someone has given you at one time. Not only that, but they also feel a lot thicker, so it’s harder to tell if a bill is real or not. When I worked retail, that of course meant that I had to bust out the counterfeit detection marker and mark all the bills, which typically elicited either outrage at my having the audacity to verify the authenticity of the bill, confusion as to what the marker was for, or a stupid joke about the authenticity of the bills. Either way, they just aren’t my favorite. Even when I’m paying with them, I feel weird, because I have to make sure that I have the right amount, so it often takes time to separate them at the checkstand, and I really try my best not to be that customer.

That being said, there’s nothing quite like the feeling of getting a crisp, new bill in your hand. They look nice, they smell nice (yes, I have a thing for smelling paper, I don’t know why), and they’re just fun to look at and use. But they’re frustrating at the same time, so it really is a love-hate relationship.

I don’t know, that’s all I’ve got. This word was weird, as I was originally going to write a post about autumn, but it’s not even summer yet, so….I didn’t want to get too crazy.

Alright, folks, have fun. Stay cool!

 

 

Changed My Theme

If my blog looks a little different, don’t worry, I haven’t been hacked, and you’re not on the wrong site. I just changed my theme. I though the other one was a little babyish, but since I’m getting a tattoo in 2018 and this theme sort of reminds me of a tattoo and it looks cool (which is odd, since I am scared of owls), I figured I’d switch to this theme for a little bit. Just giving everyone a heads-up.

Free to Be Me: Escaping the Retail Uniform Once and For All

via Daily Prompt: Uniform

You never realize how good it feels to be free from the horrid uniforms that you have to wear in retail (or most corporate, customer-facing companies, for that matter), until you finally are free. For years, I hated wearing my various companies’ uniforms. It didn’t make me feel like part of the team at all, it just made me feel frumpy and unnoticed, if anything else. I looked just like everyone else, so there was nothing unique or individual about me. Fortunately, when I started my job at this new company a few weeks ago, one of the many blessings that came with it is that, while I still have to wear professional clothing, it can still be business casual. And, even more importantly, every Friday is casual Friday. We’re talking jeans and t-shirts or hoodies! Yay!

Now, I never really realized how badly uniforms affected me emotionally until my last few months at my former company. I was craving some sort of self-expression, and I finally found a shrug that the company had created for us to wear, and since I could wear solid-colored shirts underneath it (gray, blue, black, white, etc.) I felt semi-empowered. I finally had a choice in regard to what I wore! And it finally gave me an excuse to wear jewelry! Normally, I only wear my wedding ring and that’s it, because there haven’t really been many opportunities for me to express myself in the workplace. Now, however, that has all changed. At my new company, I can wear a nice sweater, a dress, pretty much whatever I want as long as it meets the business-casual criteria, which really isn’t all that hard to fulfill at all.

There are many reasons why my depression has lifted, and most of them are job-related, but I think my clothing is honestly the biggest reasons. Perhaps it also has to do with the fact that we have casual Fridays. I love wearing some of my favorite t-shirts with various sayings on them to work, to see who gets the reference. So far, this is the only one that I have worn on a casual Friday, and no one really noticed it, but I’m hoping they eventually will.

I also found out that we have a Christmas party every year at my company, and do Secret Santa. We had that at my last company, but it was a holiday party, and Secret Santa had to be called “Secret Friend.” However, this company is so laid-back that I don’t think most people mind calling it Christmas or Secret Santa. Anyway, I’m going to find out if the party happens during the workday, or after-hours. If it is hosted after-hours, and if  we don’t have to dress professionally for it, or if we have an ugly sweater contest, then I am totally going to wear this. I bought it specifically for use around the holidays for two reasons. First, I love the Lion King. It is absolutely my favorite Disney movie ever. Second, who doesn’t want an ugly Christmas sweater?

Finally, being able to dress the way that I want to opens up more doors for me in terms of conversation, which means that I can spark more friendships, find common interests, get recommendations on where to shop for certain items, etc. There’s just so much freedom in wearing what you want. I fully believe that we wear that which we want to define us, because we like it, and our likes and dislikes are part of who we are. Therefore, when I can wear what I want, part of my true identity comes out. I don’t feel like I have to hide in my shell anymore, I can just be myself. And what a beautiful feeling it is to simply be oneself.

 

Finding Inspiration in the Imaginary

via Daily Prompt: Imaginary

We all have had imaginary friends in life, and as we have gone about our life journey, there have been imaginary characters that we have related to in one way or another. Perhaps that character is from a cartoon, a movie, a video game, or something else entirely. Whatever the case may be, that particular character inspires us for one reason or another, and as a result, we end up liking that character for the rest of our lives. I personally don’t see anything wrong with that, but maybe that’s just because I’m the sort of person who finds beauty in the small, everyday things, and sees a deeper meaning behind everything (but you already knew that from my various INFJ posts. ) Here are some of the imaginary characters that I can related to, and the reasons that I have for being inspired by them. See if you agree with my picks:

1. The Original Cheshire Cat

cheshire gif

The original Cheshire cat from the 1950s version of Alice in Wonderland has always inspired me. Ever since I was a kid (90s baby), this beloved, kooky cat has stuck with me, and as I have  gotten older and appreciated the finer things in life, some of his quotes have really stuck with me. For instance, the GIF that I just posted has one of his classic quotes. Ironically, I actually have this image posted in my cubicle at work, that’s how much I like it. You see, I know that I’m “not all there.” I can be a bit eccentric at times, I get some strange ideas, and sometimes I say and do just plain goofy things with no rhyme or reason. It’s just who I am. And people have taken notice in these instances, and often remarked on my odd behavior. However, I don’t let it get to me. Rather, I embrace it. I acknowledge that I am a bit “mad,” as Alice and the Cheshire cat would say. But honestly, I wouldn’t have it any other way. It makes me unique. And surrounding myself with others who are equally odd often makes life fun.

2. Tomoya Okazaki and Nagisa Okazaki (Furukawa)

clannad gif

This is a story that speaks to my heart. The anime is called Clannad, and the continuation of the series occurs in Clannad: After Story. This is the first anime love story I ever watched, and it was the first anime that I actually liked and got me hooked on anime in general. My husband recommended it to me when we were dating. Folks, if you want a tear-fest, then boy oh boy is this the anime for you. It will tug on your heartstrings in more ways than one. Now, the reason that I relate to these two characters is because of many of the challenges that both of them face. Tomoya Okazaki has good friends, but is never really happy until he meets Nagisa, due to various circumstances in his life, some of which I can relate to, and soem which I cannot. Then there’s Nagisa. She always is trying to do the right thing, to be “good enough,” and to keep the peace at all times. She’s everything I want to be. PLUS, the love that they have for each other is amazing. You can tell they were made for each other. My husband and I have that same kind of relationship. We are soulmates. As long as we’ve been together, I knew he was the one. And we are committed to being by each other’s sides forever, just like Tomoya and Nagisa. Truly a match made in heaven.

3. Jonas from The Giver

giver 1

I have read The Giver several times in life, and each time, it has utterly captivated me and rocked me to my core. I first read it in 8th grade, then again in 9th grade. All throughout high school, I would read it on my own, because I liked it that much. Then, finally, I was able to purchase the entire quartet (yes, there are ultimately four books that make up the complete series, and what a series it is!). I enjoy reading it because it helps me see things differently. I suppose that I most relate to Jonas because he doesn’t take the world at face value, but questions everything. He wants to see the world at it’s full potential, and he understands the true essence of right and wrong. Ultimately, he wants to unlock the door to whatever it is that he’s missing in life so that he can share it with others and bring them to a place of unrivaled love and happiness. What an amazing endgame to have! He inspires me nearly to tears in ways that I can’t even begin to describe. The movie was excellent, but the book is utterly AMAZING! If you’re even remotely interested in this series, I highly recommend you read at least the main book, The Giver, first, then watch the movie, then read the remaining books in the series to put the pieces together. Trust me, it’s well worth it.

4. Augustus Waters from The Fault in Our Stars

The Fault in Our Stars Gif

This has got to be one of the most inspirational characters of our day. Augustus Waters never lets anything get him down, even on his bad days. He’s always finding something to smile about. Not to mention, he speaks like a poet. I mean, just look at the quote above. Hazel wants nothing to do with love, because she knows that it will ultimately end one day, and she wants him to be spared from that, and for herself to be spared as well. However, Augustus doesn’t care. Rather, he decides to spend forever with her, and to help her make the most of her life, while he simultaneously makes the most out of his. He helps her to see life in a positive way, and he helps infuse a little bit of life and happiness into the world, just by being himself. I tend to be a bit of a pessimist, but his personality is one that I aspire to have, or at least to work on having some day soon.

These are just a few of the imaginary characters that I can relate to. I can’t think of any more off the top of my head, at the moment, but I know that there are plenty more. So, what do you all think of my choices? Can you relate to any of these characters, too? Also, what are your choices for the most relatable and inspirational imaginary characters?