Thursday, February 24, 2011

pick me, choose me!

I thought I'd blog about job interviews, since I just had a week full of them and I know SO many people are going through the same thing. Advice greatly appreciated.

I know an interview is better than no interview at all. So trust me when I say I am extremely grateful that I had three interviews for amazing positions this past week. It really gave me a boost of confidence, a much needed pick me up. I have no idea how they went...for me, job interviews pretty much go three different ways.

Complete with GIFS. Your welcome.

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Oh em gee! That was amazing! They totally LOVED me. I'm so perfect for this job. I'll get a second interview and then the job will be mine. I've got this in the bag. Oooh, how will I decorate my desk? OH! I should start looking at apartments! I can move out now! I have a REAL job.

That? Is called getting my hopes up too high. Overly confident. Then I receive a rejection phone call or letter, and I'm absolutely crushed.

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I think it went well. Maybe I said too much, though...or too little. Maybe I could have done this. I wonder what that look she gave me meant. Why did they ask me that? I have a headache

Paranoia. Over analyzing every move, figuring out what I could have done better. Constantly checking my phone/email.

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I am so unqualified. I bet other people were so much better. They don't like me. I'll never get a job.
Pessimistic. No confidence.

Really, all three are equally dangerous. I'm happy to report that after some heavy self-talk, I'm remaining pretty calm this time. I hope that sticks, because I'm pretty sure I'll be really upset if I don't get any of them...and then will go back to stressing. (I'm trying not to, I promise I am).

The most frustrating thing for me is this- I know I'm qualified for these jobs. I know I have a remarkable talent for relating to youth and helping them reach their goals. My past supervisors would (and have) back me up on that. I know that even though I can by shy, I am SO passionate about the work I do ( trying to do, ha) that it doesn't matter. I just wish I could SHOW this. It's hard to do that in an interview.

I'm trying to be positive, I really am. And compared to where I was a few years ago, I'm 90% more positive. I just hate this feeling of something being missing in my life. In the summer of 2009, I had this feeling that something big was going to be happening for me. I can't quite explain it, but every once in a while I would just have this overwhelming feeling of hope and pride. Then I did the year of MVC at Cristo Rey, and the feeling went away when that year was over. It really makes me think sometimes- was that it? Was that year my one shining moment? That can't be it, right?

I will just be so grateful when someone gives me a chance.

PS: Thank you for everyone who has been praying for me. Trust me, if it's good news, I will tell you. I will probably hire a helicopter to write in the sky "MEGAN GOT A JOB".

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Letting Go

Lately my mind has been jam packed with “what if’s”. What if I had chosen a different major? What if I had done another year of MVC? What if this, what if that. It doesn’t end well. I get upset with myself, paranoid about the decisions I have made in my life.

I can’t do that anymore. The past is the past, what’s done is done. All I can do is move forward. Sometimes I feel like I’m all out of luck, maybe 2008-2009 used all of it. But then I remember- I am 23. I hate this age, I am more frustrated than ever that no one is giving me a chance, but it’s not the end. I’m working on my patience. I’m working on accepting life as it is. I’m working on not breaking down every time I get a “no” from a job. I’m working on not taking it personally. Because until I have confidence in myself, no one else will.

I don’t know when I will find a job. Maybe it will be tomorrow, maybe next year. Maybe I’ll be in grad school soon. What I do know is I won’t give up. I will keep chasing after my dreams, I will find a way.

I’m making the decision to stop waiting to live and start living. To stop needing something to make me happy and just be happy. I will stop doubting myself. I will stop looking for answers. Some people may be rolling their eyes right now, thinking I’m nuts. But you know what else I’m going to stop doing? Caring what people think.

It’s not going to be easy, this new experiment of mine. But if I work at it, if I make that my mission, I believe things will start to really happen for me. Don’t worry; I’m going to keep working hard for what I want, just differently. I’m going to drop the fear, and live in the moment. This is my life, and while it may not be the one I’ve dreamed of, I need to learn to embrace it and not focus on the negative.

I hope you find the strength to do the same.

Monday, February 14, 2011

This one time I did a 1/2 Marathon

Am I really back in Michigan? Is the 1/2 marathon really over? It can't be true. But, here I am. Back to the cold (except it's unusually warm here in MI at 45 degrees).

So. My trip. Well, this wouldn't be a TRUE "event recap" from me without a lot of details (probably more than you want to know). For the most part, it was pretty low key, so you shouldn't have to suffer through too much. EDIT- Ha. Just kidding, I guess. Prepare to read a novel.

It all started on Thursday-I left my house at 5:30 AM to catch my plane. I hate flying, plus I was nervous for the trip in general, so you can imagine my nerves. But, I was so exhausted from lack of sleep the night before; I passed out on the plane. I mean I fell asleep as soon as I got in my seat and did not wake up until I heard the pilot say we were beginning the descent into Nashville. When I did wake up, I forgot where I was! I had a minor freak out moment, thank God the plane was pretty empty and I had the whole row to myself. I had to get to my connecting flight, which was no trouble at all. This plane wasn't so empty- we were pretty packed in there-and no sleeping this time. I landed right on time, got my luggage, and waited anxiously for Babz and Holly. Babz came about 30 minutes after me, and Holly 30 minutes after Babz. SO good to see them again!!!!! Holly's brother came and picked us up to drive us to Holly's momma's house. The whole way I was smiling seeing all the palm trees! We got to Obby (nickname for Holly's mom)'s house, and she was right there by the door to greet us. Might I add that she is the CUTEST PERSON EVER. She'll be 89 in just a few weeks but so sharp, sweet, and a little spunky :) Oh just thinking about her I miss her already. Anyways. We were all really exhausted from a day of traveling, so we pretty much sat our bums on the couch, watching the news story about a 9 hour hostage situation, and didn't move except to go pick up a pizza from Pizza Hut. I was asleep by 9:10. :)

On Friday we all woke up pretty early, spent the morning chatting and watching the news. Then we dropped in on a ZUMBA class at the Jacksonville YMCA. Such a good idea! We had a blast. Our instructor was awesome, high energy. I loved that class! Great workout. After Zumba we went downtown for the marathon expo. We had to pick up our runner's packets, but we were also there to hear speakers and walk around all the booths. One of those speakers was Donna Deegan, who founded the race, she is a 3x breast cancer survivor and a news anchor for a local Jacksonville station. I am SO happy we heard her speak- so inspiring! She really made an impact on me, talking about changing your attitude and the mental in everything. After her talk we walked around the expo for a few hours and got TONS of free stuff-pens, bags, mints, etc. All pink, all in support of the cause :) I also bought a 13.1 sticker for my car- and thought gee whiz I hope I make it as I was paying for it! haha. After the expo and a stop at Burger King, we were back home. We tried to sit in the hot tub, but once we all got in the bubbles stopped! Poor Obby tried to help us out, none of us could figure it out. So we changed into pj's and sat to watch some TV. Well, Holly was determined to fix the hot tub- we went back outside, Holly discovered a little door on the hot tub, Babz found the switch, and voila- it worked. Obby was so proud of "her girls" for fixing it! That night, we stayed in for dinner- Obby made us an AMAZING salad (best I've ever had) and we had leftover pizza. We watched Miss Congeniality and headed to bed.

Saturday was a near perfect day. Obby, Holly, Babz, and I hung out in the morning, and then headed to pick up another backup, Sally, who lives in Jacksonville. What a sweetheart! The five of us headed to lunch, we each got a different salad and they were ALL amazing (at least, that's what I hear, haha). So good to meet Sally and chat with her! We dropped Obby and Sally off then the three of us headed to the beach. Boy did that feel nice. We walked along the pier, saw a pelican, and saw a guy catch a stingray- an exciting day, let me tell you. We also saw the signs for the marathon, so Babz and Holly explained to me that we had just seen the 2.5 miles we'd be walking on the beach during the 1/2 marathon. Yippee, haha. We walked around some of the shops, then headed back to the car and went to Starbucks (can't believe it took us that long to get to one!). The one we went to was OUTDOORS. So pretty! We sat there and chatted for a bit, and then made a stop at the grocery store to pick up a Valentine's Gift for Obby. We went for flowers, a balloon, and candy. When we walked into the door and handed them to her, her face just LIT UP. So adorable! That night we loaded up on our carbs- lasagna and garlic bread, plus more of Obby's amazing salad. We attempted to go to bed early, but when we did get to bed all of us got the nervous giggles. I could not stop laughing when Babz phone went off and lit up the room, so Holly said "what's that light? Up in the sky? I thought it was a message from God". We were so silly...and nervous! I could NOT fall asleep. I kept thinking about that beach, the big hill I had been warned about, what if what if what if. I eventually fell asleep at about 12. We were planning on waking up at 4:30, but by 4 we were up and getting dressed!

So, like I said, we were up at 4 am, out of the house a little before 5. It was a little chilly outside- only about 30 degrees. Now, coming from Michigan, I wasn't that cold- just scared. Holly, on the other hand, from Mississippi, was FREEZING. I felt so badly, because there was nothing we could for her. Poor little thing! Eventually, though, we lined up, ready for the start. By 7 am I was READY for this thing to just start! The energy was amazing though. Everyone was there to run for the same cause- finish breast cancer. That made it special. At 7:30, the gun went off, and so did we-kind of. It helped me that "Beautiful Day" by U2 was playing over the speaker- I knew Laurence was with me! But Babz and I felt like our feet weren't moving, from standing there for so long. I had told both of them to go on ahead of me, Holly would get a head of me but then stand back and wait- so sweet. It was fun to walk with her for the first four miles, especially up the bridge, which is by far the hardest part of the walk- but I also knew I had to come BACK to that bridge at the end! I also cried at one point during those first few miles- the first time a group of cheerleaders went crazy for me. Sadly, by about mile 4, I lost Holly. She had stopped to pet a dog, I stopped to take off my jacket and get water. I saw her a little ahead of me but knew I couldn't catch up, so I just kept my pace. I eventually saw her right as I got on the beach, she was taking a picture of some guys decked out in pink, cheering. But RIGHT after she took the picture, she was OFF! Go holly, Go! I was nervous about the few miles on the beach, but I ended up loving it- that is where I did most of my self talk and found inspiration! What a perfect place for it :) Not only was it beautiful, but they also had huge signs with words like HOPE, BELIEVE, LOVE, FINISH, etc. Loved the beach part! The sand was firm enough that it wasn't too difficult, and the breeze was perfect. It was when I got OFF the beach that I had problems- because of the uneven surface, I started feeling blisters- and it was only mile 7. I was in a LOT of pain from miles 7-9. I felt like needles were pushing through my feet. I stopped very briefly once or twice to stretch my foot, but I was afraid to stop for too long. At one point during at that two mile push, someone on the sidelines said to me "you're almost there". I could NOT help but yell back "don't lie to me!" Then another cheerleader offered me a beer- my response? "I'll die". Whew, those two miles were ROUGH. For a few seconds I thought I wasn't going to make it, quite honestly. But what pushed me through were all the cheerleaders on the side of the road. My bib had my name on it, so having them yell out "c’mon Megan!" pushed me. After a bathroom break at mile 9, I knew I could finish. So I kept on trucking-slowly. Soon I was going back up the curve- the death curve as I like to call it- the curve leading up to the HUGE Bridge. Remember how my blisters hurt more on uneven surfaces? Yeah. Try like...a mile of uneven surface, going uphill. Twas not fun. However, my saving grace was literally a few steps ahead. I had been following this girl the entire time, we were keeping a similar pace. So I sped up to catch up with her, put my hand on her back and said "we're going to do this thing". I'm 100% confident that Loren and I saved each other. She told me she was really struggling, even more than me probably because she was all alone. No one waiting for her at the finish line. So I told her I wouldn't leave her, we'd do it together. A few steps later, we look ahead and see the bridge. Poor Loren burst into tears. I just kept encouraging her, which was also helping me "we can do this, at the top is mile 12!". So we started the climb. Thank the dear Lord, there were a lot of cheerleaders along that bridge, all form sororities and fraternities- so they were EXTRA energetic. Like, in your face, throwing water kind of energetic. They put a huge smile on my face! There was also a little girl wearing a Taylor Swift t-shirt- when I got to her I said "I love your shirt!" and showed her my iPod, which happened to be playing "fearless" (that's the ONLY song I recall from my walk, because I was so in the zone) she smiled and said "thanks! GOOD JOB! THANKS FOR WALKING!". Eventually, Loren and I made it to the top. At this point, people who had FINISHED were running back UP the hill to cheer people on. That's what I like to call insane :) But it did help, so thank you! Anyways- eventually Loren and I got down the hill, and were coming around the last curve. Someone yelled to us- after this curve you can see the finish line! Loren said "JESUS LORD THANK YOU" hahahha. And guess what? We turned, and there it was! Oh boy did I start walking faster! I turned to Loren to keep her going, and said I wanted to jog in. She told me to go for it, and as I took off, I heard her cheering for me :) I said a prayer in my head thanking God for that girl! I ran across the finish line, with tears in my eyes, and after grabbing a water bottle pretty much ran into Babz and Holly's arms. Then came the real perk- MY MEDAL! It was such a defining moment. I also heard someone yelling my name, looked up, and there's my cousin Bonny. I was so excited to see her, and so overwhelmed that she came out to support me. We decided to meet up with her back at the "family reunification" center. Well, that was a 1/4 of a mile away from the finish line! Cruel and unusual punishment, I tell ya! We eventually made it over there, and Bonny and her boyfriend graciously offered to drive us back to our car. It didn't work out, but they could drop us off RIGHT at our shuttle- so sweet of them. I am so glad I got to see her :)

The shuttle ride was ROUGH. Almost everyone was a runner, so a lot of hot and sweaty people. We got stuck in traffic, and lost. I almost lost it a few times. We eventually got dropped off, but had to walk (and by walk, I mean hobble) across TWO parking lots to get to our car. We had a blast in the car talking about our walk experience. Got back to Obby's house, where some of Holly's family was to greet us. So happy to meet them, they were all very sweet and friendly. The three of us must have been quite a sight, but they were just so nice. Obby made us bbq sandwiches and watermelon, yum. After everyone we left, we showered and got in pj's. We talked about going out for a nice dinner, steak and potatoes- but uh...didn't quite make it. Instead we had candlelight Steak N Shake Dinner. I was in bed by 8:30! All of us slept great. I woke up this morning to this conversation...

Holly "is you eating?"
Babz "no..."
Holly "I smell bacon. Maybe cuz I was dreaming of Beggin Strips".

If that doesn't put you in a giggly mood, I don't know what will. That was at 6:30 AM. We got plenty of sleep! This morning was pure hang out- watching the news, drinking coffee, etc. I honestly almost cried leaving Obby- she spoiled us rotten all weekend, plus she is literally the cutest person I've ever met. I adore her. Holly's brother dropped us off at the airport, and after we all checked in, I had to say goodbye to my girls. I had an absolutely amazing weekend with them and am SO grateful for them for inviting me, supporting me, pushing me along, etc. I will miss them- and the sunshine- and the palm trees- but not that bridge. ;)

So folks, I did it! It has been a LONG, LONG journey, and I cannot believe it's over. I had an amazing weekend, though. It was exactly what I needed. And trust me when I say this 1/2 marathon was just the beginning. It inspired me even more to get serious and healthy. I'm going to live my life a little differently, I think. After hearing Donna's story, seeing breast cancer survivors all along the course cheering me on, and finishing this thing. I've got this :)

If you read that, I'll give you a cookie. I love you all.

PS- Every few seconds, I think "Holy crap, I did a 1/2 marathon". I don't know when that will end.

Sunday, February 6, 2011

I'm Gonna Make It To The Other Side of Down

This might be too soon...I mean there's a possibility I'll end up in an ambulance on the course next Sunday. But I'm not sure I'll have time to blog before then, and I need to get this out sometime :)

I set a goal, and I'm about to accomplish it. This is not a small goal. This is 13 miles. Up until a few months ago, I never thought I'd be able to do this. Marathons and 1/2 marathons were for super intense runners, not me. Sure other people do it all the time, but there's no way I can. Here's what I've learned-

Yes, actually, I can. And so can you. I've said this a lot during my training, but I am so very serious- if I can do this, so can you. For one thing, I'm not fit, at all. But with hard work, dedication, and support from friends and family, I am able to do a 1/2 marathon. The second- I tend to get really excited about things and then just drop them. I've gotten better with that (it takes a little growing up), but this training was so different. I wasn't going to let it go. I was going to prove to myself, and all those around me, that I could do this.

On Sunday, I will cross that finish line. I don't care if I'm crawling, I don't care if it takes me all seven hours. I'll do it.

Thank you to everyone who has supported me through this- it would take too long to name all of you, but specifically my family, Babz, Holly, all the backups, my friends. Everyone who has liked a status or sent me a text or donated- THANK YOU.

Thank you also to all the artists who's music has pulled me through the training- Kelly Clarkson, David Archuleta, Melinda Doolittle, Mandisa, Rocket Summer, Sara Barielles, Lady Antebellum, Lady Gaga, Nicki Minaj, Taylor Swift, goes on and on.

Wish me luck. If you think of it, next Sunday, say a silent prayer for me.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

A New Kind of Idol Experience

I just watched American Idol...blindfolded. If you happen to stumble across this blog and are wondering if I'm sippin whatever Steven Tyler is, you're wrong. I wrote an entry last night that led up to this decision. I really was interested in how my views on the contestants would change if I did not know what they looked like. Overall, I thought there was a ton of talent in tonight's episode.

Blindfold Experience Notes
-I can say that I was most definitely less distracted. I wasn't thinking about J.Lo's outfit or if the contestants were wacky. No cute boys could make me suddenly like their voice a little more. Just pure raw vocals for me.
-I may spell people's names wrong. When I blogged about Idol for the Detroit News I had to make sure everything was right- name, age, hometown. This time I just took a guess. I have no idea if the first dude with the sister spells his name Kory or Corey. I'm gonna go with Kory.
-Whenever there was just music, I knew in my head they were probably showing scenes of Austin or the crowd, and I was kind of all "yeah yeah get on with it let me hear someone sing". Also, when 17 year old Holly sang, and was apparently quite broken up, I had a hard time sympathizing with her because I couldn't see her crying. I heard her sniffles but was urging the judges not to give her a second chance. In the end I was glad I did, because she did much better on her second song (why did it have to be a Miley song, though?) They also did a montage of "heartbroken" contestants, and again I couldn't really feel for all. I usually feel bad for those people seeing their red eyes and shaking hands...but not tonight.
-Because I already know what Ryan + The Judges look like, I could picture them in my head as they talked. Everyone else, I tried to create on my own. For most of the girls I got young and blond. Boys, tall and rugged.
-I am going to try my best to not find out what they look like until I see them again in Hollywood...I won't seek out their auditions on MJ's or youtube, but I do love watching Idolooonies so that could present a challenge.
-They showed a few really amazing auditions where they didn't introduce us to the contestant. If I had not been blindfolded, I would have seen their names on my screen. But I couldn't. One of them was a guy who was freaking outstanding. I have no idea what his name was but he sang "Rusty Cage" and killed it! He was one of my favorites and I can still hear it in my head. Whoever mystery dude is, I hope he makes it.

Other General Thoughts
-I liked that John Wayne dude. He's got some STRONG country vocals. My only concern is that he won't be able to step outside that box.
-Courtney Henry, the one in love with Ryan Seacrest...made me laugh so hard. I liked her voice (and choice of song), but she was a little too generic.
-"Idol's First Power Couple" (which by the way, everyone knows was actually CAKE. hahaha). They were both pretty good! The girl (Jacquelyn, I think) sounded like Megan Joy from Season 7. Unique voice. Guy (Nick) was good but boring.
-I didn't take many notes on Janelle but from what I remember she sounded a bit like Carrie. I liked her.
-Last audition was Casey Abrams, he did that freestyle thing that I LOVED. He was a little screamy but his voice was NUTS!! Wow he was good.

Favorites- Mystery man, Janelle, and Casey.

So, did watching Idol blindfolded change my life? No, but it did make me really allowed me to take a step back and not get caught up in all the production and just listen to the voices. I didn't judge based on appearance, I didn't see crazy costumes. I just heard some good singing...which is what this show is about.

My goal for the rest of this year is to try and stop myself from judging based on what I see. I think doing this little experiment tonight was a good first step. I will try and blog about my progress, or things I notice. Who's with me? Let's make 2011 judgement free :)

Have a great rest of the week friends.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

A New Perspective

I have a friend who is blind. Because she lives in Texas, I really only communicate with her through e-mail, facebook, twitter, etc. She is one of the most descriptive writers I know, so it easily slips my mind that she is blind. But lately it has been a focus of mine. I have no idea why, since I’ve known her for a few years, but recently I’ve just really been reflecting on what her daily life is like. For example, the other day I was watching music videos. Adele’s video for “Rolling In the Deep” came on, which made me think of Jena because we have a mutual love for Adele’s music. Then I started wondering if Jena ever wonders what music videos are like. If she would love them, or if she prefers not to see them so she can create the own story in her head. I assumed people have explained them to her before, but I sent her an e-mail anyways with my questions. She was happy to answer.

Jena explained that when she was younger, she was interested. She then said...

Now that I'm older, I no longer have any use for music videos, and in fact, I've come to think of them in opposite terms than I used to. I think they detract from the song. If you're WATCHING, I think it takes away from listening, and sometimes people just need to listen. Sound, instrumentation, harmony, lyrics, just the "feeling" in the music, there's a lot to a song, and I'm afraid it gets overlooked these days.
I expected this answer; Jena is a very creative person.

But this isn’t all about music videos.

I guess what I’m trying to say is Jena is able to create her own view of the world. She is also one of the most accepting, compassionate people that I have ever met. I wonder what all of us would be like, if we did not…COULD not judge based on appearance? This has really been on my heart lately., I know I’m as guilty as others of doing just the opposite of that- no matter how hard I try. But because this has been actively on my mind lately, I’ve noticed I have been better about it. I stop myself from making judgments.

A great example of this-and something I know most of my “readers” can relate too-American Idol. I actually wrote a paper on this in college, how reality shows “type cast”. But think about it. You’re watching the auditions, you see someone, and before they even tell their story, you say “they are going to be awful” or “they’re gonna be good”. We need that to stop. I am seriously considering watching Idol blindfolded tomorrow night only to discover if my opinion changes, based solely on hearing their intro package and singing. EDIT: I asked Jena about this, she is all on board. So I AM going to be doing this and blogging about my experience. Anyone with me?

But, non Idol related everyday life. Let go of judgment- Try it. Try and make yourself aware next time you go out- the grocery store, church, mall…if you start to criticize someone based on their appearance, take a step back and ask yourself why. What, exactly, does your opinion matter? It doesn’t. You don’t know that person or their story. You don’t know what they have been through that day. Smile instead.

Know your worth, and know that everyone deserves a chance.