Two Girls Holding Hands

Two girls holding hands

Making big plans

To move to a new city

And get a pink-nosed cat

.

Two girls holding hands

Looking up at the stars

Planning to leave a trail

Of daisies and roses.

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Dreams

Dreams aren’t always about winning the lottery, getting the promotion, or wearing a ring. Sometimes they’re about moments. Some they’re about seeing the ocean, going rock climbing, or trying a famous ice-cream shop. Sometimes they’re about watching old movies with a friend or dancing the night away. Sometimes they’re about playing with puppies or eating three different flavors of cake. Dreams can simple. Dreams can be fun. Dreams can be giving yourself a reason to smile.

Dreaming

I’m dreaming
Waiting
For my story to unfold
Limbo can feel eternal

I’m reaching for distant galaxies
But what if I bring myself with me?
What if nothing changes?
I need more than camouflage

But I’m hiding
I need more than bandages
But my wounds
Keep the memories alive

Unfamiliar places
With unfamiliar faces
Unwritten chapters
I wait for my ever after.

My Career Goals Over the Years

“What do you want to be when you grow up?”

We all get asked this question at various stages in our lives. What no one tells you is that adults still feel as though they are wandering, and they still ask themselves this question. I think the U.S has an especially career-centric culture, in some places more than others. I live in New York, and while I live in the suburbs, I feel like there’s still a very fast-paced atmosphere where “What do you do?” is the first thing someone asks you.

I definitely know of people who say they don’t need a career that defines them. They feel a job is just a job, and it allows them to put food on the table and that’s all that matters. I sort of envy people who genuinely feel this way. Having a career that I can be passionate about has always been important to me. And I want to surround myself with people who feel passionately about their work as well. I don’t think people who value their careers are necessarily happier, in fact I think people like this are never satisfied, but I do think they’re the ones who blaze trails. I want to blaze a trail and leave my mark on the world.

Still, I wasn’t one of the those people who’s always known what she wanted to be. When I was a kid, the first career I remember aspiring to was wanting to be a pastry chef. I told my mom that I would open a bakery and make cupcakes for her all the time.

When we played the game Life (ya know, that board game that takes a hellishly long time to complete), I always was excited when I was able to pick the artist card for my career. Instinctively I knew I just NEEDED to be some sort of artist. And in many ways, I’ve done that for the past few years. I’ve written a bunch of poetry and fiction, wrote for a magazine, made lots of art, and I’ve been very poor.

No one tells you how lonely and challenging being an artist can really be. Don’t get me wrong, I still love it. But I realized that being able to support myself and having something to fall back on is super important. I can’t rely on getting a job by chance, like my parents many other Boomers did.

When I was a little older, I decided I wanted to be an interior designer. I thought that sounded like the funnest job ever (and I still do!), and I used to draw designs in my sketch pad.

Sometime around middle school, my aspirations became more social. I went through a phase where I wanted to be a massage therapist, and I would give massages to people in my family. By the time I reached high school, I’d decided that I wanted to be a pediatrician because I wanted to help kids.

Through all of these ideas, the arts were still very important to me. They were my passion. I still liked to draw and write poetry. I liked singing in my music classes. I didn’t always like high school, but my arts classes always kept me going. Things really changed for me in the tenth grade when I started acting.

I performed, took acting classes, did shows through my church, and took every opportunity I could to stay involved with theater. During my senior year, I attended an arts high school alongside my regular one and was a drama major there. I was surrounded by lot of other people who planned to study theater in college, so it inspired me to pursue theater in college as well.

By the time I’d taken my SAT’s and applied to college, I’d decided that I wanted to pursue a career as an actress. I went on auditions, and got accepted to a few theater programs. It was all really fun! But by the time I’d gotten to college, I felt really pressured to have a plan for my life, and I just didn’t have one.

I had way too many passions that I wanted to follow my career. I wanted to act, I wanted to write, I wanted to sing, I wanted to help people. I wanted too many things at once, and it gave me a lot of stress. By my sophomore year, I’d changed my major to English so I could focus on writing, but I still had a lot of ambition with no real plan.

It’s not that I thought a theater or English degree would get me a job. But I did think that, like most people I knew, I could get a job unrelated to what I studied. I imagined myself working in an office somewhere while I pursued my art on the side, or maybe working in advertising or publishing. I didn’t realize how hard it would really be to get a job in the communications field.

Now, I’m back to having goals in more social careers. I’m pursuing a master’s degree in social work, and I have a plan to be a mental health counselor, or to work in higher education as a career counselor, professor, or some sort of program director. It’s good, because it fulfills that desire I’ve always had to help others.

As for the artist in me, she’s still there, burning with lots of passion but not much direction unfortunately. I’ve done a lot of writing, but it’s not all I want to do, and it’s not all I want to be known for. I want to keep writing, but I also want to make visual art. I want to perform. I want to use the arts to address social issues as well. This is an area where I don’t have as concrete of a vision, probably because it’s much more self-motivated than other kinds of work, and it’s motivated by something other than money.

I learned a few years ago that my career types are artistic, social, and investigative. This makes a lot of sense, and it fits in with everything I’ve ever wanted to do. My personality type is also INFJ, and being an artist and social worker fits well with that as well. It feels good to know that there’s different types of work that can fit each of us.

I’m 24, and I’m still trying to figure out what I want to be when I grow up. But I have more clarity than I did before, I’m more knowledgeable about my opportunities. I don’t want a job that’s just a job. I want something I can be passionate about. My ambitions have changed a bit over the years, but one thing hasn’t. I don’t want to settle. I want to find work that is right for me.

Bi Girl Problems

Trying to find a girlfriend is hard. Like, looking for a needle in a hay stack hard. But to be honest, I think it’s true what they say. Love finds you when you’re not looking for it. Whenever I wasn’t looking for a relationship, there were always opportunities to meet new people, and there were always people who could have been on my radar (or, ya know, gaydar). Now that I’m looking, opportunities to meet new people are just a bit scarce. The world of online dating is a bit too stressful, and a bit too much of a numbers game for me to navigate.

Also, I can’t help but want the story of how I meet someone to be something other than, “We both swiped right on Tinder.” I think it’s awesome that technology can bring people together. Heck, I’ve made some really cool friends online. But when it comes to dating, I almost want to pretend it’s the 80s and that I have to meet people the “old fashioned” way.

I’m also the kind of person who wants to know someone a bit before I date them. Starting a relationship with dating is just so weird to me. Because if you’re dating, of course you’re going to lie about things, or hide things you’re scared the other person won’t like. Not to mention that you’re way less likely to know if the other person is, like, an ax murderer.

I’m kind of in a transition period right now. I’m starting grad school in a few months, and I’ll be moving four hours away from home. I’m broke as hell and am trying to get a temp job I won’t want to quit in the first week. I’m excited to start my master’s degree, but I’m also nervous. I hope it’s a positive experience overall. Where I’m going is a bit colder and snowier than where I live now. But it’s also very beautiful and the people are nice.

We all know that grad students just have SO much time to date (not), but I’m hoping I’ll be able to balance school and my personal life. I want to do well in my program, but I want to enjoy my time there, too. I want to take advantage of the opportunities I’ll have.

On some levels, I think taking a break from school gives me an advantage to someone who goes to grad school right away. I know what it’s like to apply for jobs, to be an unpaid intern, to get paid to do work I can’t stand, and to be self-motivated. I also realized that I want to move to an affordable city after I graduate, and I have a few ideas for the kind of career I want. I have a vision and a plan, which is something I did not have when I graduated with my bachelor’s degree in English.

I’ll try to stop looking for love. I’ll try to let it find me. I’m different in this aspect of my life than I was a few years ago, too. This time, I know what I want. And when love does find me again, I’ll be ready.

 

Childhood Memories and Reflections

When I was a kid, I used to go to my grandma’s house every day after school. And I was usually there in the summer, when my parents were at work. I’d always bring a book to read, or my sketch pad, or one of my poetry journals to pass the time. I’d also play outside with my cousin and other kids in the neighborhood. I was never a kid who felt popular or social or well-like. I was teased or bullied a lot. But the older I’ve gotten, the more I learned that you don’t need to have a lot of friends or be liked by everyone. A few good friends are far more valuable.

I’m only 24 years old, but it’s amazing how much has changed. When I was younger, there were no smart phones, and most kids didn’t have a cell phone until they were thirteen. I didn’t use social media, most of it didn’t exist yet anyway. I never had a MySpace page. The most I used a computer for was to play games on Nick.com. When I did get my first cell phone in middle school, it was a silver flip phone and I only used it to text my mom.

My grandma was a smoker. She drank coffee every morning, and her favorite foods included shrimp, avocado, scrambled eggs with bacon, and crab cakes. She watched soap operas every day, so me and my cousin were very familiar with General Hospital and The Young and the Restless. She watched the news a lot. She wasn’t always easy to get along with, which is something only my family (and a handful of nurses) could understand, but she still did a lot for the family. She used to take my cousin and I to the park, and would make us sit at the kitchen table until we finished eating our dinner.

We also had to eat our food before we could have juice so we wouldn’t fill up on the drink first. My cousin and I used to take our food to the trash, one forkful at a time, if we didn’t want to finish it all, and were too scared of getting caught if we dumped the whole plate. We used to draw with crayons under the coffee table in the living room, playing tic tac toe, but it wasn’t discovered until years later, when she got a new table.

Grandma liked opera music. She used to sit in her car for a while, just to listen to it. She used to make the best lemonade I’ve ever had, and she also made really good spaghetti and meatballs. She used to drive me crazy when I was younger because she would never. stop. talking. Even when I was trying to do my homework. She used to to say she loved me, and that she thought I always sounded so sweet on the phone.

When I was still figuring out my career, she said she thought I would make a good school teacher. It’s kind of funny. A part of me regrets not being certified to teach, even though I don’t want to teach k-12. I have an interest in teaching at the college level, though, and I’m pursuing my master’s degree in social work. I may still end up working in a school after all.

She always liked when we would go to her son Frankie’s house for Thanksgiving because he lived in a nice house out east. There was a lot of peace, quiet, and nature, so she liked to spend some time outside to look at the trees.

I always liked writing and art classes. My cousin liked playing basketball and dancing. I don’t have siblings, but I was always at their house, so we basically grew up together.

In a lot of ways, I’m still the same person. I still write poetry and make art. I still sing and love expressing myself. I’m still patient and want to help people. But I’m also more confident, at least I’m trying to be.

I had a good childhood because of my family. I always had people there to help me, and to take care of me. I know that I’m blessed with a lot of love. My journey has been shaped by everything I had when I was younger, all of the things I didn’t have to work for.

Now that I’m older, the future can feel really uncertain. It feels like I have to figure everything out on my own. I still have my family, of course. But I feel like I’m always worrying, always feeling like I’m not doing enough. When I was in school, succeeding there was enough. I’m hoping I’ll be able to find that kind of focus again in grad school.

I’m turning 25 in one month, and I find myself feeling like a failure again and again, because I want to succeed in everything all at once. I feel like I’m being pulled in so many different directions. I look to the future and feel uncertain. I look to the past, and I feel regrets. But I also feel blessed, and loved. The good moments of the past will always belong to me. They are treasures I can carry on my journey. I am blessed, and I can’t see the future, but I’ll be fine.

Hopeless

It’s not that everything is hopeless. I know it’s not. I know I’ll find another star to wish upon. But I had a dream wrapped around my heart so tight, that when it was time to let it go, I was left gasping for air. I couldn’t function, or rather, I didn’t want to. I wanted to lie under the covers and never greet the sun again. Some days are just like that. But I return back to normalcy the way I can’t help but return to the ocean’s surface. Sometimes hope meets you half-way, even when you ask it to leave. It doesn’t want you to stay buried under the covers. But my hands are empty, the ghost of a dream remaining, my heart still aching. And I keep recounting the steps I’ve taken to see all the ways I went wrong. I keep looking ahead, not knowing what steps I’m supposed to take. All I can do is keep my eyes on the horizon, waiting for a new star to find me.