Archive for the ‘work’ Tag

…and tell me how lucky they are to have me.   1 comment

I can start by saying that I’ve been trying to write a post for the past few weeks, especially after realizing that it’s been quite a while since I”ve done so.  I really have.  But with my schedule, by the time I get home from class at night, I am only thinking about getting my schoolwork done and getting into my bed ASAP. 

Tonight is different.  For starters, I don’t have to do any schoolwork tonight since I’m out of class until Monday.  (Yes!)  And second, I have enough time to take the time to reflect on what’s going on with me.  After all, this blog is currently my therapy and therefore, I need to use it as such.

Okay, let me backtrack.  Let me tell you what has been dwelling on my mind these past few hours- or maybe the past few days.  Now I’m not going to go into details, but will say that I’ve been struggling with trying to get someone to trust me; to trust that I am someone who puts others before herself.  Someone who is quite A*MAY*ZING, even if she doesn’t always admit that about herself. 

So tonight, a night that I shouldn’t have anything to stress about, I sit and worry about how to make someone see the real me.  How can I convince someone to trust me?  How can I let someone know that I’m dedicated to the task at hand?  How do I assure someone that I am someone who they will (one day) feel lucky to have in their life?

To be honest, I know I’ll feel better in the morning; and actually, I’m doing okay right now despite writing about it.  I just hope that I can show this someone that I’m as wonderful as I’m beginning to believe I am. 

PS. I’m feeling much better than I did during the last few posts.  I’m definitely getting stronger, day by day.

and there’s this burning, like there’s always been. i’ve never been so alone; and i’ve, i’ve never felt so alive.   2 comments

Monday, I’ll give you the benefit of the doubt because I know it’s tough to follow this A*MAY*ZING weekend of mine.  And work, it’s downright impossible to measure up to two adorable kids, Max (22 mos) and Tommy (6 yrs), beautiful friends, and the fabulous Make-A-Wish Foundation.  But still, you could have at least put up some sort of fight today.  Instead you had me feeling nothing but emptiness.  To tell you the truth, after feeling so alive this weekend, the empty feeling hit me even harder.  Maybe that’s not fair to you, but it’s the truth.O

Everybody Needs Inspiration.  And in fact sometimes the ones that require inspiration are those that are known for inspiring others.  I Need Inspiration.  Fortunately I’ve been able to obtain it in the charitable and social aspects of my life; however, as others know (and I’ve shared before on here), it’s been lacking in another part of my life.  Today it was drastically apparent and therefore, I found myself fighting to feel anything (but emptiness). 

Tonight I came home to find the envelope I’m been waiting on for the past month (if not longer) and I’ve spent these last few hours trying to decide what am I going to do.  The one thing I know is where my Inspiration comes from and this opportunity allows me to follow that my passions.  However, the reality of this situation is that it may not be the right choice- which is what my instinct is whispering.  So here I am, trying to figure out how I’m deemed to spend the next 2 years of my life and truthfully I don’t have a clue.  I just want to do what I know I’m meant to do.  Do what I love to do… what makes me feel alive.

The unfortunate part is that I know I’ll struggle with that empty feeling again tomorrow.  And the next day, and the day after that.  But what keeps me going are the opportunities that light me up instead.  These moments that Let Me Be “Me”.

people know they are lacking something when they are constantly wanting some kind of spiritual guidance.   3 comments

Here’s something I never told anyone before: Usually when I’m walking around- home from the children’s hospital, an errand, or the train station- and feel confused or stressed, I ask God to give me a sign.  A sign of guidance or support.  A sign to tell me that I’m on the right path; or a sign to direct me towards a new one.

You know what, more often than not He gives me a sign.  A Simple Sign.  Maybe a few raindrops.  Perhaps a barking dog.  And every once in a while, the grey clouds in the Chicago sky part and He shines some sunshine down on me- letting me know that He is listening.

Despite the sun shining outside, there was absolutely no sunshine within the cement walls of my office today.  Unfortunately (for me) I mean that figuratively and literally.  I sat at my desk, staring at my computer screen just hoping to feel something.  Minutes passed…and still nothing.  I wrapped my arms around myself, though I felt nothing.  Absolute nothingness.  Isn’t that the worst feeling in the world?

I opted to not start-up a conversation with Him today even if I knew His guidance was something I sought.  However, without even asking, I found myself stumbling upon a sign.  I’ll be honest and tell you that my optimism is quite low (about it) but I followed His lead and took a chance.  Whatever happens, happens so I’ll just have to wait and see.  The truth is, even with things going fairly well these days, I still struggle with the feeling (or lack thereof) that something is missing. 

Or maybe I just need to step back and re-evaluate a few things?

love, save the empty. save me.   2 comments

“I used to have an appetite for my life but now it is gone. I want to go some place where I can marvel at something.”   ~Elizabeth Gilbert, “Eat Pray Love”

For reasons unbeknownst to yours truly, my appetite has vanished.  Literally and figuratively.  As far as food goes, all I seem to be desiring lately is coffee (and lots of it), tea, hot apple cider (with chai), soup, and occasionally a Twizzler- or many Twizzlers.  (Twizzlers: My go-to stress-freeing ‘food’, as well as the choice of several of my dearest friends.)  And while usually tempting, that bowl of guacamole at our table on New Year’s Eve didn’t even appeal (much) to me.  Psychoanalysis welcomed.  Any relevance here?  Stress-related?

Seriously, what gives?  Where did my appetite for food disappear to?  And more importantly, where has my appetite for life gone? 

 

This morning on my way to the train I found myself lost in thought while waiting to cross at the infamous (and typically frantic) Clark/Broadway/Diversey intersection.  Instead of being surrounded by misguided tourists with shopping bags; cell phone- holding parents balancing babies, dogs, and coffee cups; dancing, paper-selling homeless men; and, every now and then, the crazy “Preacher”… the only thing I witnessed was the bitter Chicago winter air stinging my skin.   Other than that, I felt nothing.  Absolutely nothing.  I thought, How can I be here in this huge city, surrounded by inspiration- muses and crazies…lots of crazies- and not be moved by any of it? 

The light changed…and so did my mood.  Walking through the streets, I stumbled upon a memory from last night.  My empty self was soon full as I recalled the words that were spoken to me.  Spoken by a stranger.  Someone who didn’t know me.  But someone who saw something in me.  Someone who believed in me.

“You would make a fantastic nurse.” 

He spoke so softly with a kind voice.  Like a message from God.  He didn’t know me.  And for all I know, that was the first time he’d ever seen me.  The first time he ever saw me interact with a patient during my volunteer shift.  But I saw him come into the room to empty my 2-year old patient’s trash.  I didn’t hear him say anything in the room.  I doubt he said a word.  But he heard me.  He heard me talking to my little boy.  Playfully flirting with him to get this sick little boy to crack a smile or, preferably, stick his tiny tongue out at my silliness. 

But this stranger, My Messenger from God, did not have to say anything.  But he did.  I’m so glad he did.  He could have continued with his work as I washed my hands on the other side of the room.  He could have walked right past me and said nothing.  But he chose to do more.  He made the choice to say these kind words to me.  Words that filled my heart.  Words that I’ll never forget as they reminded me what my appetite for life is.  Simple words that are more meaningful to me than (other) words could explain.

 Although I thought about it, I decided to forgo mentioning my desire to become a Child Life Specialist after, what I hoped to be, a very sincere “Thank You” filled with gratitude.  I thought about it, but chose to enjoy this moment of contentment and understanding instead.  After all, sometimes Silence is the best response one can give.   

If I had to choose one word to describe me/my life, like Elizabeth Gilbert’s Attraversiamo from Eat Pray Love, mine would probably have to be one of two words: Journey. (for obvious reasons) or Patience.  As my mom’s email read today, “Good things come to those who wait.”  Whether or not my tired mind believes that statement right  now, it is the truth.  Or at least something that we must believe to be true.  Patience is definitely a weakness of mine, but life has certainly tested my patience many, many times.  And while I’m still far from claiming my Pro jersey, I’ll say that if you truly want something…really want something…then you have no choice but to be patient.  I won’t lie and tell you that it’s easy.  Because it’s not.  And I’ll be honest and admit that there will be days when you want to give up.  I’ve had my fair share of those and plan on seeing some more in my future.  However, no matter what obstacle may be thrown in your way, when you truly believe in something then you’ll let nothing come between you and your object of desire (goal).  You will always find a way to get around it.

If you want me to be honest & blunt right now, I will.  I will tell you that these past 2.5 years (which adds up to all of my days as a Chicago resident) have been a struggle.  The reason I moved here, my leap of faith, immediately proved to be a disappointment.  It was nothing that I thought it was going to be and everything that isn’t me.  I’ve struggled to get up in the morning and drag myself for the 1-1.5 hour morning commute, and, while I hate to admit it, I tend to feel “empty” for at least 8 hours a day.  While it’s everything I”m not and nothing of what I want, I continue to do it. Why?  Because I have to…until I don’t have to anymore. 

Please don’t feel sorry for me.  I don’t…anymore.  I won’t lie, that whole first year, maybe even 1.5 years, was dreadful.  But discovering my passion- what fills my empty soul- things have gotten much better.  I know what I’m good at; what makes me “me”; where I belong; and what I love to do.  Finally figuring that out is why I forbid you to feel sorry for me. 

Sure, I’m not there yet.  I’m not completely full yet.  And truthfully, I may never be.  But I’m being patient, and more importantly, I’m not giving up.  Because once you find what fills you, what makes you feel alive, then you just have to put all hands on deck and go for it.  Never give up.  Don’t you ever give up.

 Song of the Moment: Love, Save the Empty by Erin McCarley & Lovesick Mistake by Erin McCarley

somedays you just have to throw on a cute outfit and say, “okay monday, please be good to me.”   Leave a comment

I changed my clothes twice this morning before opting for a much cuter third choice.  I rationed that this Moan-day was going to be a rough one, so perhaps it was best to at least look cuter than I’d be feeling.  So I walked to my dress closet (not as fancy as it may sound as it’s mostly filled with empty  boxes) in my black leggings and pulled out the never-been worn black tutu-like dress, threw a black cardigan over top, black ankle boots, and completed with a front-braided ponytail…and TA-DA! 

Despite the exhaustion that is still seeping through my entire body- from my little Alfalfa hairs to my tippy toes- I really did think that the outfit would provide a mood booster.  Perhaps even some good luck.  No such luck.  Today was brutal. And that’s all I’m going to say. 

I forced myself to head straight to the gym after the commute back to the neighbor, and ran before my 1-hour spinning class.  While the stress dripped out of my pores, I couldn’t relax and even had a mini-panic attacked during class.  Oh well, I survived and the workout definitely helped; however, I hate to say it but today’s brutality may very well continue into tomorrow.  Maybe another cute outfit is in store.  Actually any outfit that is clean will do.  Note: I need to do laundry.

Good night, kids!  Hope you had a better Moan-day than me.

wake up lonely with you by my side, one more night it doesn’t feel. there are movies playing in your eyes, you dream of our fortunes. but you’re wrong. i don’t belong to you.   4 comments

Instead of writing another love letter, I think it’s time that I stop hiding behind the pen and ‘fess up to what’s really going on.  I am feeling so down this week.  I cannot seem to shake it.  Like every other funk I went through the possible diagnosis: Sick? (No.) Period? (No.) Tired? (A little.) Sad? (More than I like to admit.) Lonely? (I guess.) In need of the weekend? (When am I not.)

So if you put all of these symptoms together, the diagnosis is quite simple.  Drumroll please….I think I’m just in the wrong M-F ‘relationship’.  Following?  Trust me there are other symptoms that favor this diagnosis, but I’m going to save you from (some of) my ramblings.  You’re welcome.

Now you know I’m not good at relationships, in fact I’m horrible at them.  Or is it fair to say I’m horrible if I don’t do them at all?  (To be debated and analyzed later by my shrink.)  So based on what I’ve learned from romantic comedies and others’ experiences, when one relationship isn’t working then it’s time to A) walk away; and/then B) either find a new one or take time to be by yourself.  Unfortunately when it comes to the inevitable M-F ‘relationship’ world, at my lovely age of unstable, non-existent savings account, I cannot literally afford to talk time to be by myself. 
Okay, enough with the analogy.  I really do see this as being in a relationship; a really bad relationship.  Should a job ever feel that way?  It takes up so much of my time and almost all of my energy.  It’s been draining of me of my sanity as well, especially lately.  Every day I try to think positively, but as soon as I enter the building- if not before- it’s gone until I feel the fresh fall air of the evening upon me…as long as I don’t think about having to repeat the cycle again tomorrow.
  
I know I shouldn’t feel this way, but it’s not always easy to walk away from a bad relationship, is it?
In catching up with my DVR I was easily comforted by Robin’s line in How I Met Your Mother:“I am done with this (city).  It wins. I just want to move somewhere near and start over.”
 

This is and isn’t how I feel.  I still cannot figure out my verdict on this city.  It’s far from perfect, but is it worth giving up without testing the waters of a new ‘relationship’.  Do I belong here with ‘someone’ else?

 I literally packed my bags and said goodbye to my friends for this relationship.  I’ve given 2 years of my life, fighting every dragon along the way.  I’m tired.  I cannot find the energy to even wake up in the mornings- not even with the incentive of Starbucks.  Is this taking chances is supposed to be?  Do you man-up and face your fears only to fall flat on your face?  What am I missing?  Is this the reward for fighting the battle of life?  Haven’t I paid enough dues to deserve something out of this deal?

Is this my fate?  Where I really belong?

So maybe this is a love letter.  A love letter without much love.  This is my last chance letter before the goodbye:

Dear ‘Reason Why I Moved to Chicago in the First Place’,

Are you worth the fight anymore?  What am I really still doing here?  Do I belong here anymore?  Because honestly, if I really do, then you’re going to have to step up and show me why.

Waiting for your response,

Kristen

Song of the Moment: Belong by Cary Brothers

happiness looks good on you   1 comment

I’m back!!!  Finally!  Is it really Friday?  Seriously, this week is such a blur, but for a very, very, very good reason.  Now I would tell you all about my week, but this is the weekend and the first rule of the weekend is that you do not talk about work.  So I cannot talk about this week, not one mere hour of it.  Get it?  If you don’t, I’ll break the code for a second and say that this week was all about work- 24-hours a day, for the past 4 days.  Okay.  Maybe I have to talk about work a little bit, so here it goes…

This week, over 150 people from across the country- that are attached to my non-profit organization in some shape or form- traveled to good old Chicago for the launch of our new initiative to help make positive, healthy changes in schools for the benefit of the students, staff, and surrounding community.  With the generous support of the Chicago Bears, we were able to work with two urban elementary schools on projects, such as painting their cafeteria & new mural, making improvements to the playground, building a brand new fitness room, taste tests of new healthy fruits, vegetables, and whole grains, and energizing fitness activities.  Oh yeah, and the kids had a blast with the Bears mascot too!!  More pictures & videos will be posted soon so check back on our website at www.ActionforHealthyKids.org and our Flickr page, http://www.flickr.com/photos/actionforhealthykids.

I could tell you all about the week’s events- from how my alarm went off at 4:30 am three days in a row; to all the running around Chicago that we partook in; early morning and late night prepping; and how sore my mind and entire body are- but instead, I’ll say that every moment of it was A.MAY.ZING. and worth all the exhaustion.  Why?  Two reason: 1) The KIDS and their excitement & happiness; and 2) The people- old friends and new friends- that I had a chance to spend this week with.  As one of our 150 volunteers said, “This week was recharging!‘  I am recharged.  See, this is the past of my job that I really do enjoy…the reason I took a chance and moved to Chicago for the position in the first place.  That was over 2 years again.  Wow!  Actually, Wednesday marked the 2-year work anniversary.  I began serving the organization in Columbus, Ohio in July 2007- ironically officially beginning with my AmeriCorps*VISTA training here in Chicag0- but I didn’t begin my employment with national until September 29, 2008.

This week I had a great opportunity to spend time with two former colleagues of mine from Columbus, Shelly & Jan.  Not only was it great to see and catch up with them, but I also enjoyed witnessing- for myself- how much I’ve grown since I was living in Columbus and first moved to Chicago.  As I said to Shelly, “I don’t even feel like that person anymore.” 

I will never tell you that moving/living here was easy.  In fact, it’s been down-right difficult for me, especially in the beginning.  I have never felt so out-of-place in my life.  I have never struggled so much to find where I belong.  But, I will always, always, always carry this adventure with me: The struggles & the successes.

During the activities that occurred this week, I had multiple people (men & women) point out my smile.  It was “you’re always smiling”, “you always seem so happy with that smile of yours”, and “there’s that smile of yours again”.  Much to my surprise, I even got hit on by two different guys- one (cute guy from Seattle) in an elevator when I was E.X.H.A.U.S.T.E.D.- but I’ll take it.  I was so taken back that I went back to my room and Facebooked my dear friend, Adriana, saying “I think I may have just gotten hit on in an elevator.  Maybe?”  It’s just been sooooo long since I’ve been hit on by a normal (at least looking, non-homeless) guy.   Sadly, I’m being serious about this.

I’m realizing that my tiredness is drastically affecting my writing in this post (my apologies) and so I’ll make my point.  Happiness is the most attractive quality one can have.  Confidence is the best accessory.  I am grateful that I encompassed both this week.  I don’t always carrying one/both with me when I wandered through the city streets, and hardly ever during the work hours, but I’m very appreciative for the differences that this week’s schedule entitled me.

So I guess the lesson learned is to enjoy what you’re doing and you will ultimately inspire, not only, others and yourself.  Smile because you will make the world around you a better, happier place- for yourself and others.