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?

Let Me Infuse Some Happiness/Laughter into Your Day

via Daily Prompt: Infuse

Oh the things that I ideate when I get interesting words like this! Today, I decided to do a “random” blog post. I want to infuse a little bit of happiness/laughter into your day today, so I have a few different categories of things that I will be showing you. First, onto the cute animals:

Funny/Cute Animals:

funny 1funny 2funny 3funny 4funny 5

The red panda picture is my favorite, because of his reaction to the rock. The video is even more priceless.

Funny Moments from The Office

Let’s face it, there aren’t many people out there who don’t love The Office. Here are a few funny moments from this wonderful show:

the office 3the office 2the office 1the office 4

Random Facts

random 1random 2random 4random 5

This last one was particularly clever. I play Fallout 4, and had no idea. I thought he was just being funny.

 

That’s all for now, folks. Have a good day!

Unmoored (A Poem)

via Daily Prompt: Unmoored

Unmoored

A ship, tethered in the night, now adrift at sea.

The sky, a black, brilliant, starry scene unlike anyone has ever seen before.

Hope and determination fills your heart as you glide,

As the ship glides in the night, peacefully sliding along its course

Directionless, yet purposeful, you are going where the wind takes you.

A change of pace is what you seek, perhaps a change of scenery.

There is something beautiful about this night.

Is it the gentle slapping of the waves against the boat,

The churning of the water beneath you,

Or the sound of the wind against the sails?

It is all of that, and more.

For the first time, you are setting your own course.

You’re not sure where you’re going, but you know you’re excited to see

The brand new sights, the brand new faces, the people who are waiting.

Those who have made this journey before you can share their experience,

They can teach you how to navigate the waters when storms swell on the horizon.

Come unmoored and ride adrift on the waves.

Let the wind set your course under the stars.

Relax, and breathe in the smell of the ocean air, feel the wind ruffle your hair.

De-stress, unwind, and just be yourself.

For the first time, dare to do something new.

Take a step out in faith, trust your heart to guide you.

You may be afraid, but if you take the first step you will see,

A great adventure, full of happiness awaits.

Unmoored

 

 

 

A Positive Descent into Happiness

via Daily Prompt: Descend

It isn’t typical that you think of the word “descend” or “descent” as a positive thing, however, in this case, it is. With my new job, I am finally able to be myself. I am not stressed out, and after just three days of being there and them allowing me to be hands-on, I have already learned the ropes and understand the majority of my job. They welcome new opinions, and when you tell them that you found a better way of doing something, other than the way that you are “supposed” to do it, or were taught to do it, they say, “you know, that actually makes sense.” It’s so nice to hear that. I’ve never heard that from any employer  before. Typically, past employers would say, “well, that’s just the way we do things, so you have to do them that way,” or “no, your idea won’t work because XYZ.” It’s not like that here at all. Here, they understand that much of what we do involves a very long process, and so they actually encourage us to find ways of doing it that are quickest for us. Which is nice.

In this job, I can be independent, and left to just do my own work. Sure, someone may come and get a status report from me every once in a while, but I’m OK with that. For the most part, I am generally left alone unless someone wants to show me something, or unless I ask a question, and that is wonderful. Best of all, I’m in my own cubicle, which I can decorate however I want, and I don’t have to answer phones (at least not as of yet,) or talk to the public. That’s great for an introvert like me. I am definitely a people person, but I’m more of a one to three people at a time, kind of person, so an atmosphere like the one I have at my new job is very relaxing for me.

Finally, I have my weekends back! I can take time on Saturday and Sunday to run errands, accomplish tasks I didn’t get a chance to accomplish throughout the week, and I don’t have to miss church anymore! This is perhaps the biggest reason for my happiness, because I have been feeling myself slowly drifting away from where I want to be in my relationship with Christ. I think that being able to go back to church every week will help strengthen and renew that relationship again. Of course, I also have every day of the week after 5:00 PM, or weekends to plan things and go have fun with my husband, my friends, my family members, or anyone else with whom I need to make plans.

In short, this job is absolutely perfect! There’s nothing whatsoever that I don’t like about it. I am loving what I am doing, and I am loving the process and everything about the job, and I have finally, finally found my career. This is the job that I plan to be at until retirement. I love it. I am so inexplicably happy, and I hope to be here for a very, very long time!

Praise be to God My Rock, my Co-Collaborator in Everything

via Daily Prompt: Collaboration

I am thankful to God every day for all that he has given me, and the ways that he blesses me on a daily basis. I also am a firm believer that he collaborates with me in my creativity, and in every aspect of life. Everything that we do as Christians should be done to give him praise, and honor, and glory. When I work on a project, I’m not just doing it for myself or for those around me, but to give him the honor and praise he deserves, and to point others to him. My friendships, my life, my work, my marriage, they’re all to bring him honor. Even my tattoo that I am getting next year is designed to bring him honor, as it is a reminder of all that he has done for me, and all that he has in store for me.

God collaborates with me on a daily basis. He provides me with all the resources I need to get through my day, and I in turn, produce that which he has designed for me to produce. Sometimes, I feel like I don’t measure up, and I know I need to spend more time with him than I do. However, I feel like I am working hard to meet my goals and get where I want to be. The way I see it, any forward progression is good progression. This new job will help me get closer to God, as it will allow me more time to spend with him at the start of my day, and it will allow me Sundays off, so I can go to church more, and even be more active in my church’s activities and volunteer events, if there is something that he lays on my heart to get involved with.

I am so thankful to God every single day that I am alive, and I hope to honor him more and continue to work towards becoming the woman that he has created me to be.

“The LORD lives! Praise to my Rock! May the God of my salvation be exalted!” (Psalm 18:46 NLT)

If I Were an Animal…

If I were an animal, it would be hard to honestly say which one I would be. I think that I would be a combination of a lot of animals, actually.

First of all, I’d be a horse, because they are strong and proud. While I am not physically or emotionally strong, mentally, I am strong. I am a fighter. I keep going, even when I don’t know where to go. With God as my guidance and strength, I can (metaphorically) move even the tallest of mountains. I am also proud of who I am, and the woman that God is creating me to be. I don’t give up without a fight, and I am beautiful, inside and out, just like all horses are. Perhaps this is why they are my favorite animals.

Second, I would be a cat. I am small, like most cats are, and I am also naturally curious. I like to explore the world around me and investigate things that I haven’t previously known about. I always have to know the “why” behind something, and I don’t stop looking or questioning until I am satisfied with the answer. I also really like to sleep. 🙂

Finally, I would be a dog. Dogs are loyal and kind, and will make good companions for life, and I believe that is the case with me, as well. I am a loyal and compassionate friend, and I will never leave your side. Once I am committed to someone, I am in it for the long haul, for better or for worse. I will tell you the truth in love, but I will also do my best to be kind about it.

So what kind of animal would I be? That’s hard to say. But I would hope to be a combination of some of the best kinds of animals in the world…

Why I Cosplay

You’ve seen them before: the people dressed up in strange outfits, running around town, or in schools, etc. It’s not Halloween, in fact, it’s the middle of the year, and yet a small group of people really enjoys doing this on a fairly regular basis. This is the group known as: the cos-players. Cosplay literally means: costume-play, and it is exactly that. People dress up in costumes to emulate their favorite characters from video games, TV shows, anime, movies, and more. Typically, these people go to conventions, purchase memorabilia from many different categories they like, and then go home and post pictures of their cosplay online. If you think it’s strange, you’re not alone. I did, too. In fact, for the longest time, I hated anime, cosplay, and everything to do with it. Though perhaps that was because people used to cosplay in school, which is what annoyed me more than anything. However, after I met my husband, he introduced me to the world of anime and cosplay, and now I love it, and probably won’t stop doing it until I’m in my fifties or sixties. Here’s why:

It Helps Me Get Out of My Shell

As you know by now, I am a very introverted person. I can fake extroversion for the sake of work, but I need time to relax, unwind, do my own thing, and be myself. I need room to express myself in ways that I can’t when I am at work. Therefore, cosplay helps get me out of my shell a little bit. By dressing up as a character that I like, I am able to show others around me the things that I enjoy, and have a little bit of fun while doing it. Plus, it helps me to find others with a common interest. Since my husband and I go to anime conventions and comic-cons on a yearly basis, it is nice to be able to see people of a similar mindset, dressed up in their wide variety of outfits. Plus, if I meet someone who likes my outfit, or if I like theirs, we can strike up a conversation, talk about each character that the other is emulating, and maybe even make some new friends.

It Gets Me Out of My Comfort Zone

Another reason why I like cosplay is because it challenges me and gets me out of my comfort zone. When I was in high school, I wouldn’t have been caught dead cos-playing. Now, though, it’s something that I really enjoy. I definitely feel a bit nervous walking down the street every time that I am headed to the convention, especially with all the people that are not going to the convention, but who are walking by or driving down the same road. I can feel their eyes staring at me, I wonder what they think, and I start to worry that they are silently judging me, especially since I am in my twenties and am still enjoying stuff like this. Whatever, let them judge. If they don’t like it, that’s their prerogative. I don’t dress up inappropriately in any manner, and I don’t emulate anyone violent, so I feel that what I am doing is just a unique, interesting way to have some fun.

It Allows Me to Be Creative

When I am coming up with my cosplay outfits, I go all-out. I don’t just go for the “cheap” version of the outfit by throwing together things that I have around the house. I usually start with eBay or similar sites to see if I can find the full outfit of what I am looking for. If I can’t, then I set to work figuring out how I can make the outfit look like the thing I am trying to emulate, while also making it my own. This year, I am going as the Cheshire Cat from the original Alice in Wonderland. Therefore, I have spent over a year putting together all the different pieces of the outfit, but it is now complete. The comic-con that my husband and I are going to is in June, and I am beyond excited to show off this outfit, maybe take a few pictures with people, and see what others think of it. This will also have been my most creative cos-play thus far, though next year’s will be even more complicated, as it will require actually making the majority of it. Next year, I will be going as Koro-Sensei from Assassination Classroom, which should be pretty challenging.

Here’s what this year’s Cheshire Cat cosplay is composed of:

Hot Topic Shirt
Via hottopic.com
Cheshire Cat Skirt
Via Rock City Skirts @ Etsy.Com
Pawstar
Via Pawstar @ Etsy.com
Dream Fluffs
I actually had these made to go around my ankles, instead of my wrists. Via Dream Fluffs @ Etsy.com
Pawstar 2
Via Pawstar @ Etsy.com
AJs
The pink is significantly lighter than everything else, but I can make it work. I may just use a fabric marker on it to darken it, if necessary. Via AJs @ Amazon.com
shoes
Via halloweencostumes.com

Finally, I am trying to decide if I want to do makeup or not for this outfit. At the very least, I will paint my nose and paint on some whiskers, but I don’t know if I want to do more or not. I wear purple glasses, so anything else might be overkill. But here are a few of the makeup options that I am thinking of so far:

cheshire cat makeup

 

Cat Makeup

I am more of a simple girl, so I think that I would be more comfortable doing the makeup like the second picture, but with a pink/purple nose instead. However, I do think that it would be fun to try and go all-out with the makeup from the first picture. I really can’t decide. I have until July to figure it out, so I guess we shall see what my husband thinks I should do when that time comes.

Well everyone, that’s it for now! I hope you enjoyed learning more about why I like Cos-playing, and hope that you may be adventurous enough to try it yourself. It really is quite fun! If you have any questions, comments, or suggestions, please send them my way!

My Pursuit of Happiness

via Daily Prompt: Pursue

True happiness has always been something that has seemed to elude me, except for fleeting moments of bliss. That being said, there are things and people in my life that continue to make me happy. For starters, Christ makes me completely happy. He is my one true rock and source of life. To him be the glory and power forever, amen! Next, of course, is my wonderful husband. As long as we are together, I know I am loved and protected, and life is good. He is another amazing source of happiness and strength for me. Finally, my kitty, Saber. She makes me happy when I come through the door after work, because she is bright-eyed, bushy-tailed, and wanting to see me and play with me! She also likes to curl up on my lap and sleep there while I watch TV on my days off. Whose heart wouldn’t melt over that?

Of course, while all of these things make me completely happy, there are also areas of life that I have been unhappy. I have felt like I have wanted to make a difference for so long, and instead, felt as though I was simply moving from one meaningless task to another. However, finally, finally, I am moving into a position that will allow me to make a difference. It will be a subtle, behind-the-scenes difference, but that’s just fine with me, because I know that what I will be doing is actually important, and actually helps people get the care they need.

I have also felt like, due to my long work hours, I have been neglecting to spend time with the people that I care about. This will not be an issue any longer, and thus, will make me happier, as I can continue to cultivate these relationships and show people how much I really do care.

Finally, I don’t have to worry about getting screamed at by customers anymore, or put into stressful situations that could impact everyone in the company. This job is a desk job, a cubicle job, on a computer, editing documents, and that is exactly the way that I like it. It’s what I’m good at, it’s something I’m passionate about, and something that I could definitely see myself doing for years to come. Only seven more days til I start. I can’t wait! I’m so excited! This, then, as well as continuing to bond with Christ, my husband, and my kitty cat, is my pursuit of happiness, and I am glad that I am on this path. I wouldn’t have it any other way.

Thank-You Etiquette

Thank-You’s are a big part of our society. They help us to remain polite, kind, caring people who genuinely appreciate the things that others do for us. Without saying “thank you” to someone for the things they’ve done, we might come across as rude or ungrateful. However, there isn’t really a one-size-fits-all type of thank-you that is appropriate in all scenarios. The type of thank-you you choose will largely depend on a number of factors including: who the subject of thanks is, what they did for you, how well you know them, and where they live. Here’s a look at some of the etiquette behind the various types of thank-yous, and when you should use them all.

Verbal Thank-Yous

This type of thank-you is my method of choice. When someone gives me a gift, if they are right there with me to watch me open the gift, then I say “thank you” in the moment. Once I have thanked the person, I believe that should be enough. They have been thanked for the gift and can see that I appreciate it. Typically, I don’t follow this type of thank-you up with a thank-you card, because I believe a card is not necessary in this situation. They already know I said “thank you,” there shouldn’t be a reason to say it again. Unfortunately, I do know a few people who demand thank-you cards and sometimes even thank-you phone calls after being verbally thanked. I do it, but it’s a bit annoying, as it feels like they’re looking for me to grovel, at this point.

Text Message Thank-Yous

Text message thank-yous are appropriate when you were either: given a gift in person but had to leave right away and weren’t able to open it right then and there, or when the person had you go pick up the gift from somewhere, and wasn’t able to see you open it. That being said, this type of thank-you should only be used with immediate family members or friends, and should also depend greatly on the type of gift that was given. If it is something small, then a text message thank-you is appropriate. However, if it is a large item, or something very meaningful or quite expensive, a thank-you phone call or even a card would be a better method of thanking the gift giver.

Phone Call Thank-Yous

Sometimes, the best type of thank-you is a phone call. These should be used in the event that a family member who is either significantly older than you or who isn’t part of your immediate family, drops off a gift or sends one to you, regardless of item type or value. This type of thank-you is also appropriate if the giver lives in another city, state, or country. Then they can hear you express your thanks right there on the phone, and you can also have a meaningful conversation with them.

Email Thank-Yous

I feel as though email thank-yous are extremely formal, and the only time they should really be used is when you are thanking someone for a service they have provided for you, an event that they hosted, or something along those lines. For example, after a job interview, you should immediately send a thank-you via email to all those who interviewed you (if you are able to obtain their email addresses). You should also send a email thank-you to event coordinators, photographers, cake decorators, customer service representatives who did an amazing job (this would typically be if you had live-chatted with that person), etc.

Thank-You Cards

Here’s the big one: the thank-you card. I always feel weird writing thank-you cards, because I never really know what to say, especially if the person that I am writing to gave me a gift that is meant for a specific purpose. I mean, how do you write a thank-you card for someone who gave you a toaster? While I am grateful for the toaster, I feel like my thank-you message would sound something like: “Thank you for the toaster. I am going to use it to make toast…” You don’t say! That’s what toasters do! So how does one write a thank-you card in this scenario? Generally, I say “Dear X, Thank you so much for the toaster! I really appreciate it. It is certainly something that [Insert Spouse’s Name] and I have been needing for a long time, and we will definitely get a lot of use out of it. Thank you also for coming to our wedding (or whatever other event it may be). It was nice to see you there. Love and blessings, Bythnia.” Now, if the person wasn’t able to make it to the event, I will write the same message, but will leave out the part about their being at the event. I may change the line to something more suitable, or I may leave it out entirely. It depends on the person to whom I am writing, and the reason why they couldn’t come to the event in question.

As for when to write thank-you cards, these should be used whenever you have thrown a big event, like a wedding, bridal shower, baby shower, etc. When there are a lot of people and a lot of gifts involved, the event is generally seen as a “formal” event, even when it is relaxed. You may get a lot of people from out of town coming exclusively for your event, so it is important to let them know that you appreciate them. This is the only situation in which I believe you should still send a thank-you card, even after giving a verbal thank you. It’s just seen as a common courtesy. However, if you have not thrown a big party/event, and have received a gift for a birthday, or for Christmas, or just because, then I don’t believe a thank-you card should be necessary unless you want to send one.

Hopefully, after reading this guide, you now have a better sense of the etiquette behind each type of thank you, and can understand when certain scenarios merit one of the aforementioned types of thank-yous. I also hope this guide takes a little bit of stress off of you when preparing thank-yous, and that you will be able to express your gratitude in a way that is appropriate for the giver of the gift or provider of the service in relation to the situation. If you have any questions, leave a comment for me!