So?

“So?” 

This has been one of the most powerful questions anyone has ever asked me. 

Most often, it is my brother asking. He’s a man of few words and rare explanations. 

 

Me: “Mom is so infuriating!” 

My brother: “Why?” 

Me: ” Because she keeps telling me that I’m wrong for being gay; that it’s against God. She can’t even give me a good reason. She says I should basically suck it up and marry a man that I don’t love because that’s what’s right!” 

My brother: “So?” 

Me: ….. 

 

Now, of course it’s hurtful if my mother feels that way and doesn’t accept me, but my brother’s point was that it doesn’t actually affect me unless I choose to allow it to. I am living my life and she is living hers, regardless of what either of us think of the other’s lifestyle. There is no point in dwelling on something that I can’t change. 

Please keep in mind that is just an example. My mother did in fact feel that way, but no longer does. Other people feel that way, which is easier to let go of because they’re not family. 

 

Here are some more examples of where “So?” can be applied: 

 

“That 300 pound woman on the beach is wearing a bikini!” 

“So?” 

 

“That man is kissing another man!” 

“So?” 

 

“That girl is dressed like guy!” 

“So?” 

 

“My ex has found someone else and moved on.” 

“So?” 

 

“Someone stole my parking spot!” 

“So?” 

 

“She’s skinnier than me.” 

“So?” 

 

“They have a nicer car than me.” 

“So?” 

 

“I spilled my coffee this morning.” 

“So?” 

 

 

The list can go on and on. Some things will be more significant than others, but in the end they can all be things we overreact to. 

All this is is learning to let things go that don’t affect us. We all hear about it in our lives, but for me it was my brother always asking “So?” that had the greatest impact. 

Now, when I see something that shocks me or when I’m stressing or getting angry about something, I ask myself “So?”

Granted, the real questions are “Does this matter right now? Does it affect me? Is it going to matter or affect me in a couple days, weeks, months, or years? Is it really important? How significant is it? How much energy does it deserve?”

 

Here are couple examples from today…

When I moved into this duplex, the old tenants had left behind a lot of their old junk in the shed out back. When my new neighbors moved into the other half of the duplex, he took all of that stuff out of the shed and left it in the yard because he needed to store his tools in the shed. He has been saying for months that he will haul the junk to the curb for trash pick up. Some of it was furniture that one person can’t carry alone, so that’s been his reason for not doing it. I’ve been telling him just to let me know when he’s available and I will help him. Reality is, it’s not even our responsibility to get rid of this junk, but it is what it is. 

I worked half of the day today, then came home and did my chores. When I finally got a chance to sit down with my freshly brewed cup of coffee to relax and blog, my neighbor decided he was available to move all that junk. I’d just showered and wanted to relax, not get dirty hauling rotten furniture and trash out to the curb. 

But does it really matter? No. I got up and we hauled the junk out. Now it’s done! 

 

Then, I was nearly finished with my post and one of the neighbor’s friend’s kids run up and slammed into my table, knocking my coffee over and spilling it everywhere. 

I was upset for a very brief second. Poor little girl. The look on her face said it all. I told her it was okay and smiled, and she ran off to play. Again, it didn’t really matter. It took me less than two minutes to clean it up, and I don’t really need coffee this late in the evening anyway. 

 

I have complained about things that don’t really matter in the past, and I’m sure I will again. I am human and I get frustrated. But I would like to try to remember this. I’m posting this more for myself than anything. My brother’s simple question of “So?” really made think every time he said it, so I’m trying to remind myself to ask it when I feel stressed. 

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Beautiful Day

I had a beautiful day yesterday!

I got called out of work, which is bad for the paycheck, but I was thrilled. I’d had so many things that I’d wanted to do around the house, and I got to do them because I didn’t have to work.

Our neighbor moved out a couple weeks ago and she left us some pieces of furniture and paintings. April and I haven’t had enough time when we’re both home to move the furniture inside together. We finally found some time to move one piece in, but not set it up. I decided I could slide it on my own once it was inside.

Our kitchen isn’t tiny, but it’s not huge either. We don’t have a lot of counter space. Our neighbor left us a sort of bookcase thing that when turned on its side serves as a portable counter and storage device. I moved it into the kitchen yesterday and filled all the compartments with our packaged foods and kitchen gadgets. I also hung a small shelf on the wall that works nicely as a spice rack. And I hung a picture of New York on the wall.

I secured a beautiful beach scene painting in the bathroom and an abstract tree painting in the foyer. The bathroom painting lights up when the sun shines in because I hung it over the top half of the window. It’s lovely.

I decided to see if I could drag the love seat in by myself, and I discovered that I could! I rearranged the living room.

April and I had been discussing Christmas and our desire to decorate. We’re too tight on money right now to really do anything for the holiday, sadly. I irresponsibly decided to go ahead and take a few bucks over to the thrift store and see if I could find some Christmas decorations anyway. I thought it was also a good time to return the two DVD players that we had purchased that didn’t work with our TV.

When I got there, the owner said he could give me store credit for the DVD players. We had paid $15 for them. I eagerly agreed.

I scoured the store for Christmas decorations and found quite a selection. Most of the things I found were not priced, but the man told me to gather whatever I thought was $15 worth, and then get some more. He said the extra would be to compensate my trouble of having to return three times over a DVD player.

I was elated!

In addition to some wonderful Christmas decor, I also got some decorative pillows for our couches and a gorgeous pair of stilettos. I admittedly love shoes! This pair was priced $30 at Charlotte Russe.
The store clerk also gave me a crate for my bike and some bungee cords to secure it with.

I excitedly went home and decorated the house with the Christmas things I got before April returned from work. It was a wonderful surprise for her. She loved it all.

I was glad that I didn’t have to spend any of my money since I really didn’t have any to spare. Plus, all of the things that I got were worth way more than $15. Those thrift store guys have been so great to me and April since the very first day we moved here.

Our place feels a little bit more like “home” now, and that is a wonderful feeling.

I’m sure all of this was pretty boring to read, haha, but thank you for reading anyway!

Gratitude- 10/17/2012

Another gratitude blog, this time inspired by http://candycoatedreality.com/

She has a great blog, so check it out! 🙂

 

  • Coffee! It’s finally starting to get cool enough that I’ll be able to have hot coffee again soon.
  • My cats. Sweet little creatures.
  • My magnificent friends!!!
  • This wonderfully cathartic and inspiring blog/site.
  • My jobs. I love working in housekeeping at the hotel, and the elderly woman I help once in a while is just awesome!
  • Autumn. Blessed cool mornings. I can’t even express the peace and joy I feel.
  • The beach. It’s fantastic, day or night, hot or cold.
  • My girl, even if she’s not mine anymore. She’s still one of my best friends and she still adds so much to my life.

 

This one has to be a short one today. My battery is dying, haha.

Bad Luck Monday

So many things went wrong yesterday that April and I decided to call it Bad Luck Monday. Haha. 

First thing in the morning as she and I were trying to do our laundry, the washing machine broke. Neither of us have any money at the moment, so we headed to her job to pick up her tips for the week. We had all her laundry piled in the backseat of her car so we could go to the laundromat, then we were going to get groceries afterwards. We were also going to apply for food stamps and go to the hospital to get my heart monitor results. 

With a full day ahead of us we set out for her job. When we got there, I realized I forgot my cigarettes. I knew I wouldn’t be okay without them, so we turned around and went home to get them. Once again on the road back to her job, her car suddenly stopped running. It just slowed down until it finally stopped moving at all. We got it out of the road at least. We both thought it ran out of gas because her gas gauge doesn’t work. We stood out on the side of the road calling and texting everyone we knew, but no one could help us out. A Sheriff spotted us and pulled over to see what was going on. 

Now, I don’t know about other places in America (or even Florida), but where I’m from law enforcement officers do not help people. They will call an ambulance or make a report if there’s an accident, but they won’t actually help people with anything. This Sheriff took April in his car to get a gas can and some gas, brought her back and even put the gas in the car for us. If that wasn’t enough, he stayed to make sure the car started. Sadly, it didn’t. It didn’t budge at all. He looked under the hood for us and checked the fluids. He determined that it was likely the fuel pump. He only had one seat in his car, so he drove me to April’s job and then went back for her. 

It completely blows my mind that this officer helped us so much. Never in my life have I seen a law enforcement officer putting gas in someone’s car or checking the fluids under the hood. That is seriously foreign to me. I thanked him and told him how much I appreciated it and that the law enforcement where I’m from just don’t do that. 

The Sheriff was the best part of the day and the only good luck we had. 

So, since April had to spend the last little bit of money she had on the car that’s no longer in service, we didn’t have anything left for groceries. We thought we could get her tips from work, but her boss said they wouldn’t be ready until the next day. We found a ride home and April found someone to help get her car off of the side of the road. Our neighbor fixed our washing machine and I managed to throw together a pretty good dinner. Things were starting to look up. 

Then April realized she’d lost her keys and her ride to help with her car lost his wallet. Luckily both were found, but it took hours to find them. Meanwhile, the washer broke again with April’s king sized comforter inside. April, Jessica and I had to wring out and hang up a soapy, sopping, 100 lb blanket. Then I realized we were out of drinking water (our tap water isn’t safe to drink), so I had to borrow some from Jessica and then find some change and a ride to the store to buy more. 

I never made it to the hospital and we never got groceries. April and I are both fairly positive people, so we sat for a while laughing at our Bad Luck Monday, then decided that all was fine because at least our rent is paid for the month! Next month and the car repairs can be tackled then! Haha. 

 

All in all, I think we were more amused at our bad luck than stressed by it. This is what I love about April. We can be in a crisis and just laugh about it while facing it and figuring out a plan. We still didn’t get groceries, but we’re getting the car towed by a friend and I got a ride to the hospital for my results. Everything is going to be alright. 

 

The Good

As soon as I moved to this town, I felt the energy here coursing through my spirit and changing me for the better.

Everything we do in life changes us just a little. Everything has an impact. Everything affects us in some way.
Moving here has been the biggest step in the right direction that I’ve ever made. I did it right. I made sure I was moving in the right person (my best friend), made sure I had the finances needed to make the move properly, made sure I had my pets and their needs in order, made sure I had the right moving vehicles, made sure I had a job and some means of transportation… Just made sure that everything was right. I think that’s partly why this move has been so good. The hardest part was actually finding a place to live, and at the last moment we found the perfect place. Not to sound too far out there, but there really is an energy here that is syncing with my own and guiding me in the right direction in all that I’m doing here. It is affecting me deeply and opening me up.

I’ve felt less anxious, stronger and braver. I am able to do things that I haven’t been able to do in the past. I’m meeting more people and making more friends, being more social than I ever was before.

I get judgement for being a housekeeper, but everyone has to start somewhere. I chose that position; I wanted it. On my first day of work I was offered two separate promotions. Yesterday I was offered one of them again. Clearly I’m impressing someone with my work. I’ll probably accept the promotion.

My bosses like me. They’re all working to get me more hours and better pay. I knew if I went into this job with a positive attitude and eager spirit, everything would work out and I would be happy. I’d hoped that maybe I could move up in position after proving myself, but I didn’t stress about it. I certainly never expected to be offered a promotion on my first day.

I didn’t stress about money, or transportation, or friends, or anything. I stress once in a while, it’s unavoidable. Life is just stressful sometimes. But for the most part, I don’t stress. I am more carefree than I even thought was in my nature. It’s good for me. I can be too intense sometimes.

My house is modest, I guess, compared to anyone with a higher income. Maybe it’s even smaller than normal, more run down. I don’t know. To me, it is beautiful. It is perfect. It is home. My first home. I think it’s big. My room is definitely big. I have plenty of space, and the place even almost looks empty compared to other people because April and I don’t like to keep a lot of stuff. I’m finally living in a decent sized house that’s clean and clutter-free. Moving from my mother’s hoarded trailer where I only had one room to live in, this is amazing.

I fall asleep every night listening to the sound of traffic driving by my window, and it’s somehow exhilarating and calming at the same time. Maybe because I grew up in the woods with the nearest civilization about 12 miles away. Maybe it’s less lonely knowing society is right outside my window.

I know a lot of people who can’t stand the noisy city life, but it’s comforting to me. I remember the first time I spent the night with someone in a city. I lay awake smiling by the window, listening to the sounds of the city below. The street lamp on the corner gently lit the room, glistening off the shiny decorations my friend hung from the ceiling. I knew then that I belonged in the city, not in the country with crickets and chickens. That peace, that incredible calm that overwhelmed me that one single night made me fall deeply in love with the city. Any city. I loved the lights. I loved the noise. All the cars and motorcycles, the trains passing by. I was filled with an excitement and peace that I’d never known, and I sought it since then. Now I have a little bit of that.

I’m living in a smaller town than I’d like, but for right now it is wonderful. I will someday move to New York City. My heart is there. I know that will be my home someday, but it may not be for many years yet, and that’s okay! I’m happy where I am now, and as the years pass I will enjoy every place I call home until I make it to New York. Everyone who knows me associates me with New York. I have never lived there, yet they call me a New Yorker. My mother is from New York, so I’ve even been told that I have a slight New York accent. I bet I’ll live in a few different places before getting to New York. I look forward to every single experience.

Our house is technically a duplex, just bigger than a normal one. Our duplex neighbor, Jessie, and her three little boys are the best neighbors ever. Right from the very first day we moved in, Jessie was warm and welcoming. She has made dinner for us and given us things like trash bags when we’ve run out. She has allowed us to share her washer and dryer so we didn’t have to buy our own. The washer and dryer are on the porch, so we can all use them and even help each other out with laundry. April, Jessie and I are like an odd sort of little family. April and I watch Jessie’s boys whenever she needs, we attend parties together and plan events. We take care of each others’ pets. We spend evenings on the porch sharing wine and chatting. We share our friends and go out together in groups.

My cats are just blissfully happy in the new place. I even got them a cat tree so that they’d have their own piece of furniture, complete with toys and scratching posts. They have so much room now to run and play , windows to stare out, multiple soft places to sleep, and uncountable little hiding places. One of my cats crawls up into my vanity dresser and has claimed a drawer all to himself. Whenever I can’t find him, I pull out the drawer and there he is, all curled up and sleeping peacefully.

Oh and the beach… Can’t forget the beautiful, sunny beach. I’m actually beginning to get a tan. Mostly, though, my freckles are just coming out. Haha. I love the beach and I’ve really enjoyed going with friends and taking pictures. We dance in the water and lay out in the sun. I haven’t let my fair skin keep me from the beach! It will get used to the sun. Haha.

So you see, there is so very much that is good in my life here. I’m changing every day, growing stronger and becoming better. I am so filled with gratitude for all these amazing things in my life. Good things and opportunities keep coming my way, too. In addition to my job, I’ve been able to do things on the side like cleaning houses or babysitting to earn extra money. I haven’t stressed and it’s all been working out. Things here are just amazing. I’m making friends and thoroughly enjoying my life.

I know I’ve repeated some things here that are in other posts, but thank you all for reading anyway.

Flawed

* There will be some venting and foul language in this post.

So, my beautiful new town has a flaw. I suppose I should have expected it since this is a college town where most people my age are in school and building a future for themselves. Still, I don’t understand the preoccupation with money and the road to riches. I don’t want to be “poor” or whatever for the rest of my life. I’m not someone who could be content without money or living paycheck to paycheck. That is just what my life is right now. It doesn’t mean I have no aspirations or goals for my future. I have more than I know what to do with. I just know my abilities and I know what I can manage at this stage of my life.

I see nothing wrong with working in housekeeping at the hotel, painting on the side and trying to sell my artwork, and not having a car. I now live in a place where I don’t need a car. I can ride my bike, walk or take the bus where I need to go. I have my best friend/roommate to drive me elsewhere if need be. I will enroll in the community college when the time is right. Yes, community college. I bet that will be another thing I get judged for.

I am managing my finances just fine. I keep a little extra in case I need anything. I have a bit set aside that I can dip in to and pay back later. I’m not worried about money, and even if I am technically “poor” I am not going to worry about money. April (my roommate) and I have each others’ backs in case one of us falls short in something. I’ve got my rent for the next three months covered. I won’t make much money at work, but my bills are covered for the next few months to give me time to settle into work and make money. I may not have extra cash lying around, but I made sure I moved here with enough to pay the bills and feed the cats. I’m perfectly confident in my ability to take care of myself. I saved every penny before moving- simple pet-sitting or babysitting jobs. I saved all year just to have that safety net for when I moved here. It’s not that much, but it’s there now if I need it. I have a little extra cash for occasional outings. I don’t ask people to pay for what I need or want. If someone offers, I’ll accept and cover them the next time. April and I always take turns when we go out.

I have never in my life called myself poor. I’ve been on food stamps, eaten at soup kitchens and received food from charities and food banks. Yet it never once occurred to me that I was actually poor. I’ve never taken anything from anyone that I didn’t need, and I have felt guilty when I have had to get food from charities. I have a list of everyone who has helped me because as soon as I can afford it I am going to make donations to them. There have been a lot of wonderful people and organizations who have helped me and people I know, so I will pay them back someday so they may continue helping people. I don’t know why I’ve never considered myself poor. I guess it’s because I know what the poorest of poor really is and I have always had a roof over my head and someone, somewhere, to help me out.

In my old town, everyone is “poor.” Maybe that’s why they didn’t judge me for not having money. I don’t know. This is just a bit of a shock to me. I didn’t realize I would be judged for not having a car, working a “poor” job or whatever. Especially since it was fully my choice not to have a car. I don’t like driving much, I don’t see the need for a car here, and since I don’t really want a car, I see no reason to take on the costs of owning one.

My mother looks poor, acts poor and announces to the world that she is poor. I am the opposite. I don’t care where I get my clothes from, but they are always nice clothes. I dress for the life I want to have, not the one I do have. I spend a little extra on makeup and hair-care when I can, and I always look nice. No one ever knew that I crawled out of the shitty trailer in the woods. I never looked like I belonged there. I didn’t tell people that I couldn’t afford the same things they could. I didn’t get jealous and make people feel bad when they splurged on something they wanted but didn’t really need. I didn’t bitch and groan about not having money. I knew people who did all those things and I refused to be one of them. Sure, I’d pick up a coin on the sidewalk to stick in my pocket, but I’d pick up trash to throw away, too. I have seen my mother dive in front of moving vehicles to grab a nickel in a parking lot. I am not that damn poor! That is just embarrassing.

I don’t look or act poor, but I am not going to be ashamed about where I work or the fact that I don’t have a car. I truly cannot believe that I am being judged by these aspects of my life. My finances do not make me who I am. They never have. Someday I will have money and I won’t struggle for anything, but right now I am just starting out. I moved here to make a better life for myself and I am doing just that. Everyone has to start somewhere; this is where I’m starting.

I guess I will only have “poor” friends here if everyone else is going to judge me by my income. My best friend, April, my neighbor, Jessica, and my coworkers, Michelle and Cathy- they are good people. They have varied incomes and I have no clue what “class” they are, no do I care in the least. They will be my friends, and anyone else who isn’t going to judge me.

I apologize for the anger and foul language of this post. I am truly blown away by how many people think a person’s income determines their worth here. It makes me angry. I’ve never encountered so much judgement all at once on this aspect of my life. I love this town, but I’m beginning to realize that it’s flawed and I’ll have to learn how to deal with it. No worries, though, I’m still thrilled to be here and my life is still as wonderful as ever. I just needed to vent a little bit after all the judgement lately. People must think “poorness” is contagious.

Job Judgement

Work is wonderful!

 

I am so sick of people looking down on me for being a housekeeper at a hotel. I feel no shame in my job at all and I do not appreciate the judgement I’ve received.

I love my job. It is perfect for me. I’m a “clean-freak, very detail-oriented, introverted and socially anxious. Being in the background doing methodic and repetitive work is exactly what I want. So, why all the judgement?

I won’t be a housekeeper forever, but at the moment I am not in school and the only jobs available to me are minimum wage jobs. I chose this job. I wanted to work in housekeeping. I haven’t had a job since 2008 and housekeeping was the one thing I was pretty sure I could do with comfort and enjoyment.

 

My First and Second Day: 

I met the head of housekeeping and the housekeeping staff. They are wonderful people. I trained with someone and she “sang my praises” all day, telling the bosses to keep me. I trained with someone different the next day, and she was even more impressed with my work than the first woman. I’ve been complimented and offered advances already. I’ve been told that I’m “overqualified” and doing great.

I declined their offer to put me on the front desk. That’s not where I want to be. I’m in my element behind the scenes cleaning rooms. If the head of housekeeping is serious about making me her assistant, I will accept. For now, though, I am happy where I am. I’m learning fast and impressing everyone. I’m not bragging, I’m just making my point that my job is what I want and what I’m good at.

 

Judgement: 

This is my life. Not anyone else’s. I believe that people should work where they’re happy and comfortable. I have that. Why would I want to work in a place or position that makes me uncomfortable or anxious just because it’s more “acceptable” in society.

If flipping burgers makes you happy, work at McDonald’s.

If sanitation makes you happy, work as a janitor or trash collector.

If busting your butt cleaning up after people makes you happy, work in housekeeping.

Forget the judgement and do what makes you happy.

I would rather be happy than rich if I had to choose between the two. Right now at this present stage of my life, I have to choose. That’s just life. I don’t have a college degree, nor do I have any special abilities that will take me places naturally in the work field. I’m okay with that. What other choice do I really have? Being miserable and complaining all the time? No thanks!

I come home every day and tell my roommate all about my day. I talk about how great the people are, how the staff is like a family, how I love what I do. I’m happy and I enjoy the hard work.

I have a safe and caring work environment. I got lightheaded at work and the woman I was working with immediately jumped to my aid. She shared her homemade lunch with me (it was delicious, by the way), and made sure I got food at lunch time which the owner of the hotel ordered for the whole staff. I sat with her and her friend and they included me and made sure I didn’t get left behind in anything.

 

The Staff: 

These are good people! I love them. I can tell they are going to be my work family.

I’m surprised by one thing, though. The staff, though no one is racist at all, seem to separate themselves by race. At lunch, all the white people sat at one table and all the black people sat at other tables. My extremely pale white self sat with my new black friends. I absolutely love Michelle and Cathy and I will surely spend my time with them. Nothing against the white people there, I just like Michelle and Cathy better. Gosh that’s rude to say, but I’m just being honest.

I also prefer the black men to the white men. They’re nicer, friendlier, more helpful and considerate. The white men ignore me while the black men talk to me and jump in to help me when I fall behind.

I have never seen race when I look at people. I have no qualms about calling people black or white. I don’t think it’s racist to do so. It’s a description of someone and there’s nothing wrong with it in my opinion. I’m white, very, very white. That’s a fact. I’m not going to be offended by anyone referring to me as such.

When I say that I don’t see race, I’m being literal. I have this problem (if you want to call it that) where I have trouble recognizing people. This includes race. I’ve met several people at work that I couldn’t remember if they were black or white. One woman I thought was white was actually black. Another woman I thought was black was actually white. Oops.

 

 

I love my job, the environment, the actual work, the people, everything. I am happy and I’m even making friends. I’m comfortable and I look forward to work every day. I’m not going to tolerate people judging me.