I’ve worked in a customer service/ retail environment for many years; Needless to say, I’ve seen many different people, and experienced almost every type of situation you can imagine. I’ve been yelled at, had products thrown back at me, and had to deal with people storming away from what could have been a simple conversation with a very simple solution. Of all the people skills I have acquired during these years, the one I find most important and the one I continue to polish day after day, is patience. Being patient and compassionate toward the person who is shouting at you can be extremely trying at times. I have had situations where I had to bite my tongue so hard, I thought it may need sewn back on. Sometimes someone is standing in front of me talking in circles and yelling and I just can not wrap my head around how this person is not understanding what I am explaining to them or how they are not considering any side of the situation other than their own. These are the times when I have to back up and remember that not everyone is able to handle conflict or a break in routine the same way as me. Say there’s a series of hypothetical How to be a Good Person magazine. You may have read all the way up to Volume 14, sweet! The person in front of you may only be on the second volume. You may have a better understanding of the current situation because you remember something you read in Volume 9, you apply that knowledge, and you are able to move through a conflict or trying moment more smoothly. What you have to remember is that you can’t get angry or impatient with the other person because they haven’t read that far yet; they haven’t learned the lesson as of yet to get them through as easily. “They say” that there is a lesson in every situation and I truly believe that; but we have to remember that we may not always be the one who the lesson is meant for- sometimes we are the vehicle for the lesson to be learned by someone else. Those times when someone is standing in front of you spouting nonsense out of ignorance or misunderstanding, the times when you want to grab their shoulders and shake them to try and make them understand what you’re saying, those are the times when you have to remember the way to handle the conflict (because you remember taking notes on this in Volume 10). This is the time you can share your notes with that person and maybe they’ll be able to apply it next time. It is difficult- extremely difficult– to hold back what you want to say and instead speak with compassion and patience. We can’t make the world better by spreading what is making it worse. Be the light to someone who is walking through darkness, be the vehicle for the lesson they’re meant to learn today to make them think twice next time before reacting the way they have in the past. It may be what they need to pick up the next volume.
There are times in my life where I have an experience that seems totally unrelated to anything of value, but then I later come to realize that there was a lesson there even if it was buried way deep down. A few nights ago for example, I was laying in bed tossing and turning; trying to get comfortable when I realized that the wax melter in my room was bothering me. It has a light bulb on the inside that happened to be shining right through the side hole and directly onto my closed eyelid- obviously causing a disturbance that it hadn’t before (it has been there for months; get over it, Me). Anyways, I rolled over and stuffed my face into the pillow to shade myself from the beaming rays of lightbulb that had overcome me. This clearly wasn’t the answer because I was now asking for a stiff neck in the morning, and/or suffocation from the pillow. So I roll over, tired and grumpy at this point, and I throw my forearm over my eyes; again, in the market for a neck cramp with a side of shoulder pain. Finally, after moments of discomfort and exhaustion from the day, I had had enough of the light. So I crawl out from underneath my heated blanket and soft sheets and turn the light off; knowing all along that it was the reason behind my brief fit of insomnia.
After that night, I thought about the problematic light and my wheels started to turn; why didn’t I just get off my butt and turn the dang light off to start with? — I knew it was the problem, and instead of turning it off and drifting off to slumber-land, I tried every other lackadaisical option I could think of in order to try and find a way around the real problem because I was just too lazy to address it directly. This has been a theme of mine over the past few years; If there was a shortcut, I took it. If there was a way around it, I’d find it. Most of this came from having too much on my plate and I was trying so hard to get everything done that I ultimately ended up with a bunch of half attempts. What I’m getting at is that if you have a problem (most of us can think of at least one) chances are there is an immediate answer to that problem, it just may not be the one we want to hear. It might be too hard, or too far away, or causes us to leave our warm beds (aka the Comfort Zone), but the answer is almost always there staring us right in our closed eyes.
If you really want to address the problem you have, you’ll do it. If your problem is that you need $100 for bills, you will make that money appear before the grace period ends- borrow it, sell that bag you spent way too much on and never carry, pick up a few extra hours at work– either way, you’ll make the money appear by addressing the problem directly even if it’s not exactly the way you wanted to do it. If you hate your job, go find another one– I’ve done it! It is difficult, especially if you’re financially strapped (see example above), or if you really like the people you work with and you felt like THE WORST when you walked in to your super nice boss and told them you’re exploring other options. Happiness doesn’t have an age limit, it’s never too late. Everything is a puzzle that can be figured out if you get up and turn the light off already.
About a year ago, I travelled to Chicago to meet up with my best bud and go to the Justin Bieber concert. We are nowhere close to being ashamed, nor should we be, that we were planning this for months. We even tried to get #BrunchwithBiebs trending. Needless to say, four retweets later, we drag ourselves, empty-bellied and Bieberless, to brunch and indulged in bottomless mimosas like nothing ever happened. Regardless of our attempts to hang with Justin in Chicago, we were just as excited to see the show than we ever were. We hopped in car and drove to the venue, stood in line for our $9 beers (because Biebs), and found our seats amongst our much younger co-fans. After the opening performances were done, we anxiously awaited the main event. And as we sat in the the middle of the scream-littered audience, beaming with excitement as the strobe lights turned on and the fog machines warmed up, we could not imagine anything better in that moment.
At the exact second Justin’s backup dancers started their show and the music blasted the beginning chords of the song everyone actually knew all of the words to began, I looked around me; drinking in not only my beer, but the experience we had been waiting for for months! The music, the dancing, the Beibs! How could it get any better??
And then I looked to the woman next to me; She was probably in her 30’s, a few years older than us. Amidst the screaming and jumping that surrounded her, she was seated in her chair, legs crossed, phone in hand, eating yogurt. My only thought was “What?? Justin Bieber is right there! RIGHT THERE! Jumping and singing and dancing! And you’re eating yogurt…” I could not wrap my head around the fact that I physically nor mentally could fit one more ounce of excitement or joy into my being right now and all this lady cares about is whether or not her yogurt had enough granola.
For months, I was baffled every time I thought about that woman. But since then I have found myself in situations where everyone around me was ‘in your face’ excited about something and I was the one sitting there, smiling politely, eating my yogurt. The point is, don’t bring people down because of their level of excitement. If something is really in your heart and has you beaming, you should be excited about it! How many things actually bring that genuine happiness? Drink it all in! Don’t think that other people are purposely trying to bring you down because that’s not always the case. And if you’re the one eating yogurt, that’s okay too! Sometimes yogurt is really good actually and it could be the best thing in that moment because you were looking forward to it all day.
We should be celebrating the excitement of others, even if it doesn’t emanate from within our own hearts.
I would like to take a moment to reflect on a post of mine from long ago—
You feel so much love in a moment.
Then you realize that moment is part of an hour.
In this hour, you realize how little you know about
what will happen in a week.
A week is part of a month, and then part of a year.
What can happen in a year?
Feelings change, plans fall through, people come and go.
A year becomes part of a lifetime.
In a lifetime, we are expected to do something great.
But when will this greatness happen?
When will a lifetime become something worth remembering?
—Only in a moment.
When will my life begin? That’s the question I find myself asking over and over again. I mean, I have a life, obviously. But when will I have a LIFE? I begin to think to myself, at what moment did I actually see myself having a future?
Maybe it was when I started to get acceptance letters for colleges? I ripped those envelopes open so quickly just to read that the first word was “Congratulations!” That did give me a confidence boost. All the hard work I put in during high school; learning things like geometry, chemistry, Spanish, etc.; I’ll finally be able to surround myself with other people who also found these subjects just as useless as I had. I would be able to share my brilliant thoughts with intellectual scholars who will genuinely appreciate them. But after I was accepted, I thought about what I really wanted to focus my studies on. Maybe I could be a teacher and help to shape the young minds of tomorrow with my witty remarks and patience. Or maybe I would join a club and become the president so that I can become an advocate for some cause that I found was greater than my own. As wonderful and exciting as these ideas were on paper, I was unable to put these plans into action. So I guess this plan gave me more overwhelming feelings of uncertainty than excitement about starting life.
It could have been when I graduated college. I finally had a degree in something I enjoyed doing: Writing. Although, after I graduated, I realized that I had spent so many hours reading, analyzing, and picking apart the work of other people, I was never really able to find my own voice. Sure, I had a piece of gold accented paper in a cheaply made cover saying that I had taken all of the classes I was supposed to take. Little do people know that some of these classes caused me to change my style to fit the persona of a caffeine addicted, sleep deprived, borderline alcoholic college student who was trying her best to make it to class every morning after fighting sleep on the quiet third floor of the library while trying to finish that 29-page analysis of a book written by a dead person. But I did it; I have that piece of paper.
Maybe my life would begin after I graduated and began to give my credentials to those who were in charge of jobs I could picture myself doing everyday for the rest of my life. I had a lot of connections in various areas of work, so I was positive something would come of it.
Months later, I’m still working two- crappy, minimum-wage, part-time jobs while living in my parent’s house. I’m still giving my resume to people; but now it is being given to just about anyone who will take it. I have just enough money to pay bills and maybe, if I’m lucky, buy food every once in awhile. Rather than pursuing my true calling— whatever that may be— I’m simply searching for something that will allow me to experience the feeling of having money leftover after I pay my bills. All I need to do is find something that gives me the same spark of excitement that I felt while opening acceptance letters, or holding that diploma. I want to find the one thing that will give me that spark of happiness and self-worth everyday. I just need to find the path that will lead me there.
Well Briana from a few years ago, I’m glad you’re here. I’m 2017 Briana and I am not sorry to say that I’m glad you felt that way because DO I HAVE SOME EXCITING NEWS FOR YOU!? You did it! How silly do you feel knowing that you were worrying about all of those things back then– your “crappy” jobs, not knowing your true calling… Did it suck feeling that way? Yes. Was that a dark place in my life? Absolutely. But alas! Here we are.
Yes, it sounds cheesy to say, but everything really does work out. I was put into that position for a reason. I took the time to sulk in what I thought was the worst situation I could be in with a stupid diploma and a bed in my parents’ house. But looking back, I can honestly say I would not change anything. I just realized that this turned into one of those perseverance stories I always read that tend to make me throw up in my mouth a little bit. Hold on, let me redirect. I thought I was in a bad position, and sometimes you are. But I had the choice to sit there and melt into a dough ball of sadness and regret as to why I wasn’t born with more athletic ability or an amazing singing voice. I had the choice to stay at home and give up. Here’s the difference I see in myself now and and why I am so proud of years-ago Briana. She got up, retouched her lipstick, and decided to keep looking for what she was meant to do. I avoided writing for so long because I didn’t think I wanted to do it (queue the ‘I told you so’s’). But in the journey I’ve been on to find myself succeed, I found that I find the most success in helping other people succeed. Now, I don’t mean I ride on the success of others and expect the credit for it. Not what I’m saying at all. What I mean is that I find true joy in seeing other people when they’re genuinely excited about something. That ‘kid on Christmas morning’ look. I recognize the look on someone’s face when they’re ready to give up because I looked at that face everyday in the mirror. I somehow found the exit to that maze. I don’t know if I could remember the way out exactly, but I wouldn’t hesitate to join hands and figure it out together by sharing all the information I have.
So… This is a blog I reclaimed from my past-self. Two-years-ago Briana was a totally different person then Present-Day Briana. I am grateful for the person she was; she taught me about the things I always wanted to do but was too afraid, as well as reminding me of the ideas she had about herself which I no longer choose to entertain. She was insecure, depressed at times, and confused about her purpose in life all while trying way too hard to find it. I am grateful for her and for those struggles. Had I not known the girl I was back then, I would not be the strong, empowered woman I am today. This blog will be filled with her stories and how she learned from this experiences, and grew as a woman who found her purpose inspiring, motivating, and lifting others to reach their full potential. If you are able to find a similar person in your past, or similar qualities in the present, I hope that you are able to get acquainted with her and learn from yourself while opening your heart to the beautiful life you are meant to live.
I finally have the time to start blogging again; and a great time for it because it’s a great way to clear my head. As you may not know, I took the last year to try and get myself together (key word: try). I started a new job, graduate school, and have really been concentrating on my fitness journey. The job isn’t bad (customer service isn’t ideal, but a jobs a job for now) and school is difficult (nothing new there). But I have found a sense of comfort on this fitness journey. I ran my first half marathon in May 2016. It wasn’t the best experience, but it also wasn’t the worst. I finished in 2 hours and 23 minutes (eh.) but I finished and I ran the whole time. I didn’t say I ran at a fast pace, by any means, but my goal was to finish, run, and not die. Woo Hoo! Anyways, I took it as a learning experience because I was mentally weak which led to not training as I should have, resulting in a very sore few days. I recently registered for the same half marathon in May of 2017 and I have an entirely new mindset going in this time. I even got my sister (a powerlifting badass) to register with me. We’ve been running regularly via a program we ripped off the internet somewhere and it’s working pretty well so far. One reason I have a different mindset going into this half is because I decided to use the charity program offered by the marathon and chose to fundraise for Multiple Sclerosis (MS) in place of a race registration fee. This charity is very near and dear to my heart because my dad suffers from MS and we figured, if we can raise the money and help another family who is in the same situation we are in, then I couldn’t ask for anything more. If you would like to donate to our fundraiser, I’ll include the link and thanks in advance for your support!
1.You know yourself better than anybody but you’re also a complete mystery.
Sometimes you feel like you know exactly what you want but as soon as you pursue it, things just feel.. Wrong. In college it was easy to enjoy your time and look ahead to the future and see a successful happy version of yourself. But now you’re here and you want nothing more than go back into you tiny dorm room and eat Doritos while binge watching shows on Netflix. It’s very easy to lose your sense of self. You obvously know yourself but there are times where you look in the mirror and have trouble seeing YOU the way you are. There’s nothing wrong with this . It may just mean that you need to backtrack a little; do some soul searching. The whole ‘lose yourself to find yourself’ thing isn’t so crazy after all.
2. You still don’t know what you want to be when you grow up- and that’s okay.
Everyone has a dream job. Waking up and actually wanting to go to work… Is that even a real thing? Maybe. You’re working in a dead end office with no real opportunity to move up and earn enough to pay bills and maybe still be able to eat something that’s not frozen on occasion. These are the times that you may need to reconsider your plan. Ask yourself: Is this really what I’ve been put on this planet to do? Or am I stuck trying to run through wet concrete? Everyone hears the phrase ‘Work isn’t supposed to be easy… That’s why it’s called work.” False. You don’t have to hate your job And you should give yourself a little more credit. Find what you love to do and find a way to do it.
3. Your parents may not always get your choices, but they’ll always have your back.
We all make questionable decisions whenever we feel threatened or trapped by the things going on in our lives. Routine is good until you’re stuck so deep in it that you feel suffocated. It makes it very easy to make rash decisions like quitting your decent paying, but miserable job to go pursue something you love, even if it doesn’t work out. That’s when your parents come in. They may not see this as a good idea, but you’re an adult and are in full control of your own decisions. They will back you up and catch you when you fall- that’s what they’re there for.
4. You probably won’t get an elevator ride to the top- sometimes you have to climb many flights of stairs just to find that you left the keys to the door in the car.
Dream lives do exist, but not without hard work. It’s easy to see famous people who are really talented and think, “lucky them.” Not that they didn’t have to work hard to get where they are, but it’s definitely a lot easier whenever you have a real talent that doesn’t involve being able to eat a lot of tacos in one sitting (dibs on that talent.)
Sometimes you work really hard for something and it still may not work out or be what you thought it would be. There’s that soul searching again. You don’t have all the time in the world, but you do have time to change your path. If it really makes you unhappy, don’t waste your time on it.
5. Your security blanket needs to go into the yard sale bin.
Although you will come to bends and obstacles in the road, you can’t just turn around and run. There are times when you’ll need to put your big girl panties on and walk into the fire. It’s difficult and sometimes overwhelming, but everything happens exactly the way it’s supposed to and contrary to popular belief… THINGS WILL BE OKAY.
- Well, I don’t feel that tired; maybe today will go by quickly.
*10 Minutes Later**
- Maybe not..
- At least the coffee is free.
- Crap. There’s only enough left for one more cup… I don’t want to have to make a new pot.
- I’ll just get some water.
- At least I have a lot of work to keep me busy.
- Now I have to pee…
- Okay. That’s better.
- Might as well fill my water while I’m up.
- Why am I so thirsty?
- I forgot chapstick…
- What if everyone thinks that I have chronic dry lips?!
- Maybe I should let them know… but be subtle.
- “I can’t believe that I forgot chapstick! Worst thing ever! Right?!”
- “Oops. Sorry…”
- Is it too early for lunch?
- Maybe I’ll just have a snack…
- Let’s see what’s in the vending machine.
- I should at least try to be healthy.
- Screw it. I’m getting chips.
- 90 cents? I can swing that.
- What happened?!
- Where are my chips?!
- You $%#%$!@!!! You ate my chips! Stupid machine…
- I didn’t want chips anyways.
- I have to pee again.
- Excuse me ma’am, didn’t you see my feet under the door?
- Now isn’t the time to fix your hair.
- Don’t you know it’s common courtesy not to linger in the bathroom when someone else is in there?
- Can’t I just have one minute to myself? DAMN!
- THAAANNKK YOU!
- Now maybe I can finally get some work done. Some people are just so inconsiderate.
- Wow, it’s already… oh.. 10:31.
- Maybe listening to music will make the time go faster.
- Hmm… OH YEAH! Journey! This is my JAM!
- JUST A SMALL TOWN GIRRRLLL!
- LIVIN’ IN A LONELY WORLD!!
- Are my headphones plugged in all the way?
- Yeah. Okay good.
- SHE TOOK A MIDNIGHT TRAINN…
- Wait, they are plugged in, right?
- Okay. Good.
- Is this too loud? Can they still hear it?
- No. I don’t think.. No. I’m good.
- What’s that? Your daughter is selling what?
- Girl Scout Cookies?
- OF COURSE I’ll buy some of the leftovers.
- GET IN MY BELLY, THIN MINTS.
- ha ha! Oh, trefoils? yeah. those are fine.
- Yeah, I have no idea why you would only have those left either. That’s weird.
- There isn’t any chocolate on them of anything.
- Or any real flavor at all for that matter.
- Thanks so much!
- What are you rambling about over there?
- OH. The vending machine gave you TWO bags of chips?
- That’s weird.
- Good for you…
My life is an endless sea of small, yellow post-it notes.
If it’s not in this book, it doesn’t exist to me.
Highlighting is a must to showcase importance.
Planner is clean ’cause my life is a mess.
A piece of glass with a personality disorder.
The reflection can be something beautiful, or it can fill your throat with a lump of hatred and detest.
How does it decide?
Does the mirror know what is within you?
Or does it take pleasure in cruel jest.
Does the mirror have a soul of its own?
Is this soul reflected in the eyes of the one through whom the glass looks?