Day 343 – Past, Present, Tense.

The past two days I’ve been battling a migraine attack that kept me from staring at my screen, since my eyeballs protested heavily to that activity. But I’m alright again and so I’m just going to pick up where we left off… which was at my wardrobe, so I’m smoothly moving over to the topic of guarding your Happy Place.

 

Ever since I found a new job and a great place to live, I’ve been happier, kinder and a nicer person to be around with. That didn’t go unnoticed: I got a text yesterday from a friend saying how everyone was amazed by how smiley and relaxed I looked the other day at a party. And that is exactly the person I want to be: enjoyable, great to be around to, attentive to those around me, too.

 

Yet, there’s been something going on that started to confuse me. Much. It’s a long story as to what and why and how, and how that all relates to one another, but let’s just say that a sad and painful tale from my past all of a sudden caught up with me, and it wasn’t a pleasant encounter: I felt doubtful, unpleasant, hesitant and uncertain. As if history was indeed repeating itself, and the Universe was about to test me whether I’d make the same mistake twice, and it got me all worked up, to a point where I found myself dwell upon past loss and grief, and throwing my happiness at the mercy of not only the past, but also the person I thought responsible for stirring that pot.

 

Wrong.

 

This morning I woke up, my migraine neatly folded and stored until next month, and with a mind clear that I am in control – none else. Whomever or whatever I allow to upset me: I’m the one allowing that. So I decided to reprimand myself for my mistake. I directed my past back where it belongs, acknowledging its facts but putting my foot down to its attempts to mind its business in my present.

 

Like a boss.

Day 342 – In Which I Spent 260 Dollars. On Myself.

I recall a time where I found myself in this fancy shoe store in Belgium. I was on mission to score a pair of boots for the winter coming.

No pair was marked under 150 euros and they were all equally attractive. It was like being dropped in Male Model Paradise and God telling me I could pick whichever one I liked… if I could battle the horror of indecisiveness.

Now, I like myself a challenge every now and then, so I applied the only method viable in situations like this: elimination. But even that plan failed, and after what seemed to be hours of fitting and performing catwalk-worthy strolls through the store, I was sweating and high on an adrenaline rush… and left with three pairs of boots with an equally long pro-list attached to them.

So I did the only thing then imaginable: I bought them all. My then boyfriend was only so happy about that when I got home.

Over the years – and especially in this past year – there was no room for shoes. I couldn’t as much afford as a heel, for crying out loud. I had shunned away from stores, often wondering if this was how I was going to develop some sort of agoraphobia, where in time I would literally cramp up and get a seizure if someone even mentioned DSW in a random conversation.

But please don’t worry about my mental state, because today I visited Marshalls and DWS, not only to discover that the sky didn’t fall on my head for even entering… but to find out that I’ve become a master shopper, and I sure scored my money’s worth. A new bag, new boots, leggings, a new pair of skinnies, a long skirt, a blouse, three sweaters later, I am one very happy, satisfied and somewhat proud little shopper.

And happy that I finally got to do this again. Nothing says ‘reward’ like a new set of clothes.

Day 341 – Push the Buttons.

The other day I got complimented on my annoyance. Or the lack thereof… let me explain: I was in a hormone-driven cranky mood, and those things don’t go unnoticed. Perhaps this person – subject to my snippy comments – is just not of this world, but apparently “it’s hard to push your buttons.” Mainly, I assume, because I have none. “Is that all the crankiness you bring to the table?” I got asked…

Why… yes? I think I’m a horrible enough person on my grumpy days, no need to spice that up. But apparently I’m still a softie even when I think I’m being a bitch.

“It’s probably because I don’t raise my voice.” I defended my lack of bitchy-ness. “Because it’s physically really hard for me to do so… plus, when I’m really angry, I’d start crying. Which decreases the impact of a hysterical rant severely.”, I added.

But apart from my inability to go cray-cray or transform into a raging bull, I do get cranky, moody or annoyed from time to time. And these are some (irrational) triggers to flip my mood…

Tourists (Mainly on Times Square) I know. I KNOW!!! We love tourists here in Manhattan, but sometimes (sorry, tourists, that’s an understatement) we like them a little less. It’s all alright to keep our economy going, but do you have to walk so slow!? And what’s with clogging Times Square?? This girl just wants to go home after a long day at work! Have some sympathy for people not city trippin’! PLEASE!

Terrorist. I swear to God: if the subway closes at some point and I have to take a bus – or worse: a BIKE – to work, due to a terrorist threat… there’s gonna be HELL to pay, ISIS (and others) PEACE ALREADY, B*TCHES!

- Strollers on the Train during Rush Hour. Oh. My. GOD!! That’s a very cute baby and all, but as if stealing at least 5 standing places on a 8.30am train isn’t worse enough… exposing that angel face to the gazillion germs on a morning commute while you firmly keep your toddler from touching the soles of his shoes, does seem a little off.

- Social Media of All Sorts… My youngest brother installed Whatsapp on my mom’s tablet a while ago. Which means that I’m now available 24/7… you might say that I’m the person in control of that, but when I fail to respond on the app, there’ll be an email and a Facebook message shortly after. My mom is cool and all, but I wish she’d be a bit more chill on Social Media. I need a “don’t disturb” app for that.

- AAARGH… Hormones! On a good normal hormonal day, I can pretty much deal with any of the above… except maybe for terrorist, because they are some serious assh*les – pardon my French.

But boy, oh boy, when my hormones go on a rush, there’s just no limit to how far I can roll my eyes and how deep my sighs-of-annoyance.

 

That’s right. I’m pulling that card. Always blame it on the hormones.

 

PS: if I offended anyone with the above excuse for a hormone-driven rant, I do apologize… especially if you’re my mom-on-a-hormone-rush. Love ya!

PPS: EXCEPT when you’re a terrorist. Then there will be no virgins in heaven for you.

Day 340 – SOLD!

I had a minor sale a couple of weeks ago, but yesterday I closed a more substantial order that had my ambition all revved up.

At the start of my employment, neither me or my employer had a clear goal in mind as to what sales target to set. Truth be told, until last week I only had a handful of samples available to show to the market. Those first weeks, I was busy setting up an office.

But the absence of a set target had me thinking about sales driven positions. For me personally, the lack of pressure works wonderfully well: no set number means the sky is the limit, and although I have a comfortable fix income, I’m anticipating that outstanding numbers should increase that monthly paycheck asap.

It’s an unusual situation, though. Most people I know who are in similar jobs, have a base pay and add their sales commission to that part. Sure enough, when times are good, I bet they make more than I do. But the opposite is also true. For those months that – for whatever reason – things slow down, they might be digging in their savings or last month’s check to make up for it. And in the end, it all evens out and all that pressure and stress are uncalled for.

I’m fairly certain that my ease also translates in my behavior towards (potential) customers: I’m easy going and patient, I don’t have to bother annoy call them weekly to request updates in hopes I’ll close a deal before the month is over. Which – in my humble opinion and in an industry where projects take a while to complete – is only beneficial for all parties involved.

Every now and then, people feel like they need to “help” me with sales tips and tricks, assuming that my quiet nature is a handicap in a relentless environment, whether these people have backgrounds in marketing, finance or advertisement… but quite honestly…

I don’t think I need help at all (just yet)

Day 339 – No Need to Argue.

I used to be quite an explosive person. I’d get mad or upset in a heartbeat and the speed of 200 miles an hour from smile to frown.

I’d storm out of a room or yell the most hurtful thing flashing through my mind, my vision blurred with a red rage. And half a day later, after calming down, I’d apologize and think very big of myself for being able to admit my behavior may have been a bit dramatic. I’ve never had an issue apologizing… but isn’t it better to have nothing to apologize for?

wrong

Over the years, my ability to flare and explode like fireworks on the 4th of July, toned down… a lot. Not that I don’t get angry anymore, but I’ve learned that – most of the times – it’s just wasted energy, and mostly wasting my energy. Some things are just not worth it (remember my motto: do I want to be right, or do I want to be happy.)

But while I grew calmer and more Zen, I noticed something peculiar: a lot of times, people intentionally want to push your buttons, trying to evoke a reaction, corner you in a position where you’d seemingly have no other choice than to defend yourself. Whether it’s your mom trying to guilt rip you for not calling 2 days in a row, your friend questioning the outfit you selected for a night out or your boyfriend trying to make you jealous: most people love to pick a mild fight.

I’m not a Saint and I’m most definitely not perfect, so occasionally, I do find myself bickering back, my voice getting a bit higher, my breathing a little harder. It sometimes feels like the most fulfilling thing to do, would be to enter the rink and participate and a couple of rounds of bitch-slapping… but talk about the greatest anti-climax in the world.

So what I do these days, is breathe… and typically walk away if I can, whichever way I can: kindly yet firmly state the conversation is over, and hang up the phone. Physically leave the room to create some distance.

I might let the other person rage or vent if I feel that’s what they need to do – if I can handle it and if I’m not the target of some major name calling. But in the end, I will state that there’s no need to argue.

Because I don’t care about being right.

 

Day 338 – Don’t Worry. Everything is Getting More Expensive.

You may know them too: those people who still remember the price of bread, beer and a pack of cigarettes 50 years ago. And to be honest, even I recall a time where I bought pants at Zara for less than 20 dollars.

 

We can ponder over it until eternity, and it’s a fact you used to get more out of a 100 dollar bill – but there’s not really a thing you can do about it, now is there? Life in general has grown more expensive. Once upon a time you might have been able to purchase a home on a strip of land for the same price you know spend on a tiny car.

 

I started thinking about this when I read an article in a Belgian newspaper that had people stagger: the yearly tuition for college is going up in the country. From 900 to 950 euro a year.

 

via gifsec.com

via gifsec.com

I didn’t forget to add a couple of zeros to that number. You can get an education (books, copies, housing and booze not included) for less than 1500 dollars a year. (Just to make these numbers accurate: including housing, books and supplies, one year at a Belgian college would cost about $9,000 – far less if the student keeps living at home and commutes back and forth)

 

The tuition and fees for a year at an American community college add up to $9500… or also: American (public/community) colleges are about 530% more expensive than their Belgian opponents.

 

Utterly shocked.

 

Yes, everything is getting more expensive… but some things still remain affordable.

 

(at least in some countries)

Day 337 – Planning the Future.

As you may have noticed, it’s been hard for me to keep up with my daily commitment of writing on here lately.
There’s a couple of reasons for that, all good ones at it, too. But with the end of a year in sight, it’s time to start thinking about the future of this blog and fear thy not: I will continue writing on here. Just and definitely no longer daily.
The challenge of dedicating time to – kinda – document my journey has been beneficial, though: writing down the course of a day, certain happenings or difficult situations helps me to put things in perspective. Sharing my burdens helped me release the tension, while sharing my joy and small victories made me strive even more.
At the start of this blog, I frantically checked stats – cheering them on like a Wall Street Stock broker. But after a while, I realized that it wasn’t about the growing audience – it was mostly about me, and if my story inspired as much as one person, I’d already won.
Writing has been a huge part of my life and there have been times where “becoming a writer” was a goal as big as life itself. But throughout this journey, and with everything that’s currently going on in my life, I’m not sure that dream is still standing on the pedestal I assigned it to. Or to put it differently: I’m fairly certain I’m not putting that much pressure on the fulfillment of that dream anymore.
I write because it’s something I like doing… and if I truly want to write a book, I’m just going to have to sit down and write the story. I think that is going to happen one day.
Anyway.
I just wanted ya’ll to know that I won’t be pulling the plug of the light I installed in this virtual space, but it will become more of a holiday home rather than a permanent residence.
And I’ll be happy to welcome you for some fun and distraction.