When the Loser Moves Out of Crown Town

Post Grad Frolicking

From the moment I graduated, and quite honestly before then too, I had no tangible plans for how to handle post grad life. For the first 6 months I stayed at my college job and, without too much worry, decided to enjoy life beyond the restrictions of school schedules and assignments. My friends and I went on camping trips, went out on Saturday nights, went to Vegas and enjoyed the freedom of making travel plans without having to worry about class.

Yet when those first six months were up, I began to feel uneasy. What was I going to do from there? I had no internship experience and every job I wanted needed experience. Feelings of being utterly lost began to creep up. It was exactly at that six month mark that I created this blog, started my internship at the magazine I now freelance for and tried to really start a plan for myself.

There’s a whole lot of pressure to jump from that graduation stage and stick the perfect landing on a full time job. Reality is, it’s pretty damn hard to do even if you plan ahead. Post graduation is going to look extremely different for everyone. “That’s what they all say, Kiara.” Well yah, because it’s true!

I can only think of two people in my circle who didn’t move back in to their parents’ home. One went to grad school and the other was already living out of state. Post grad will most definitely have you hide in a cave, while everyone around you seems to be accomplishing the things you want for yourself.

Let’s be real, a lot of us are frontin’.

And that’s not to say people are faking their accomplishments, but they aren’t always going to highlight the struggle of getting there.

I graduated June of 2016. Only now in January of 2018, two and a half years later, have I landed a full time job and been able to move out and afford rent on my own (barely may I add). I have been handed a unique situation in which I have the ability to afford cost of living and bills when my yearly salary still isn’t very ideal.

I guess my point for this post is to reflect. I had major insecurities for the last two and a half years that all centered around not finding that full time job. I had setbacks so overwhelming, they further hindered my ability to find the independence I so desperately wanted. And then, truly as if it fell from the sky and placed itself in my lap, a new job appeared that shifted my life into one I had been praying for.

It by no means is my dream job, but it is the perfect opportunity and just the thing I needed to shake my life up.

I say all of this with a big breath of relief. I was worried I wouldn’t get here to be honest. 25 is around the corner and to be at that age with a dead end, part time is pretty scary when you don’t see the finish. Having to wait through these two and a half years was near torture, so I won’t dare say to you that things happen in their own time and that you just need to be patient (because that’s bullshit advice).

Instead I will say to you that I know the wait and the unknown are excruciating.  I can’t give you much help to make it any easier. I could tell you to be nice to yourself, but I know that it won’t work. I wasn’t nice to myself. You want to be mean to yourself in hopes it will push you out of the situation you’re in. I guess all I can tell you is that sometimes you do have to suffer and keep working through your days until one day the suffering is over. Because eventually, it will end.

I can finally say that because I am officially moved out, I am no longer a resident or a Loser of Crown Town. That’s pretty amazing. Maybe now I can be the loser of something else until I overcome that barrier next. But as it stands, the rocky waters of my life have finally evened out to a peaceful flow and I’ll happily rest here for now.

If You Don’t Know What Love Is, Read This

He told me he didn’t know what love was. I responded with, “Love is when you put that person before yourself.” This is in the simplest terms and with no other way for me to state it.

Although I have no knowledge of what it feels like to be in love. I have felt the most potent forms of love in the moments my dad slipped away from me. I was blindsided with how much emotion consumed my body. It manifested itself physically in my gut, in my chest and in my eyes. I would have traded places with him if only for a moment just for him to have a break away from his failing body. For him not to feel thirsty and to have a sip of water as he begged to do before his final surgery. For him to be able to look into the eyes of my family around him to say “I love you” one last time.

I’m certain I know what love is. It’s the only thing that can cripple your body without physically touching you. It can make you explode from the inside out with how powerful it can be. And there is no other way to verbally express it and for the words to hold as much power as the feeling itself.

Love goes beyond yourself. It goes beyond your own self-interests and indulgences. It often can go beyond your logic. When you truly love someone, you will grip on as tight as you can as if you can stop even death from taking them away.

You don’t risk losing love with decisions you know will ultimately pain your love. You always have them in mind, in practically everything you do. You would hate to do anything that would disappoint them, because making your love proud is of highest priority.

And if you don’t know if you love them, you already have your answer. For love is so striking it’s impossible to not recognize it.

 

Blocking Your Blessings

Sometimes the biggest road block in the way of our ultimate success is ourselves.

Why is it that our own brains like to make our lives more complicated by making us believe we can’t do something? That we aren’t worthy of the things we want? That somehow whatever we desire is just too scary for us to even try to achieve?

It really be your own sometimes.

Our brains love to freak us out when the things we want in life are big and great. And because of that, we block our blessings. We psych ourselves out and back away. When the truth is the dreams and goals that scare us the most are usually the ones we should run straight after (cliche, I know).

When I was a kid it was my mom who forced me to do the things that seemed too scary. From trying out for the competition team at my dance studio to enrolling in honors courses for the first time. I was always mortified and she was always the one to shove me right in and say, “You can do this!” Right before those scary moments I would really dislike her. Yet somehow every time she pushed me, I succeeded in whatever it was that was so big and scary.

Now that we’re adults, we have to push ourselves past the fear. Fighting our own negative thoughts. Moving past our own self doubt. The battle with yourself is one of the toughest you’ll face. I have to tell my brain to shut the hell up all the time. Some days she beats me too. And yet, any time I’ve beaten her I have never regretted doing the big scary thing.

Finding Happiness Again

Our lives won’t ever be devoid of sad moments, trying times or depression. When the difficult moments enter our lives it feels like they will last forever. It feels like happiness won’t come again and that we’re just stuck in an endless cycle of emptiness.

“Find the things that used to make you happy.” Well that’s a little difficult if you no longer have the desire to do the things that used to make you happy. If we knew exactly the steps to take to make us happy, wouldn’t we already be doing it?

Sometimes it takes a push. Sometimes I think we almost become comfortable with being miserable. For me at least, the idea of happiness feels so foreign it’s almost scary to imagine being happy again. Any happy moment I think I’m experiencing I almost always say to myself, “It probably won’t last long. This is just a fleeting moment you think is actual happiness, it will go away.” Without a doubt I’m preparing myself to feel empty again, without being disappointed that this good feeling I had didn’t last.

I don’t know the exact steps to take to feel true joy within myself again. I tell myself I have to wait for A, B and C events in my life before I’m happy. However, that’s more than likely false. I think I could find a way to be happy again and stop distracting myself with temporary fixes. It will take conscious effort everyday and I’ll have to shake up my routine. Starting with writing again. Maybe I’ll discover new ways to feel fulfilled and content with myself along the way.

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Running Away From Life

My best friend just moved to England this summer and I have a few friends living on the east coast. This seemed like the perfect excuse to escape my life of monotony for a while. I was running away from my boredom, my depression, my grief and the stagnancy of my life in general.

Two weeks away in London, Boston, New Haven and New York sounded like the perfect two weeks where nothing could go wrong. I was honestly afraid that once I came back home I would feel even worse by being reminded how my life at home was no where near as exciting.

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Skywalk Observatory, Boston, MA
So what actually happened?

I flew back to California happy to be home and not just because a beautiful, sunny 80 degree day welcomed me back.

I expected my trip to be perfect, but it wasn’t. There were several hiccups throughout my trip. They were both minor inconveniences and emotional upheavals. I realized that no matter where you are, life isn’t going to be perfect. Problems will follow everywhere and everyone. And depression certainly didn’t decide to take a two week vacation while I travelled. None of this should have been a surprise to me, but it was. I was afraid being in beautiful, bustling cities would fill me with a new sorrow. I was nervous at the idea of returning to my quiet suburban city feeling more stuck than ever. Luckily that wasn’t the case. There’s no place like home after all.

What’s better, I was relieved to discover this because it meant I didn’t have to be envious of my friends who have moved away. They’re all doing amazing things right now. And rather than being envious or jealous, it inspired me to get back on track with myself, my healing and my progress. I’ve returned with an appreciation for my life and more of a drive to grab ahold of the things I want most for myself.

The idea of running away can have a negative connotation attached to it sometimes. However, there are moments when running away for a while might be just the thing that’s needed. It can light a spark in you, just as it did for me.

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Surviving Loneliness

 

I’ve been purposefully avoiding my blog for these last three months. I knew that if I came here again after my last post, it would be an emotional process to write the next. These four months of grief have dealt me a card I still don’t know how to handle. Leaving aside the fact that I’m grieving and all the messy things that come along with that, I have been left feeling completely alone. Which of course, is a consequence of grief.

I am 100% an extrovert. I love being around other people, I thrive off of it, get my energy from it. My extroverted nature is the reason why I never had a problem with all the roommates I had during my four years at college. So when I woke up one day this summer and realized how isolated I felt, it was a hard pill to swallow. I feel physical isolation as a result of being away from all of most of friends. I feel an emotional isolation because I still have difficulty feeling connected with others in my life after the death of my dad. Despite trying to be open with everyone how hard this process has been for me, I still find myself in a place where I feel as though no one gets it and no one can help me.

The day I realized how bad this loneliness had become was the night I had made plans to go to a birthday dinner in LA. I was really looking forward to doing something normal and with people I hadn’t seen in a while. But as the time approached to go, I got a massive wave of anxiety and it was so overwhelming that I didn’t show up. As a girl who love, love, loves going out, I realized that my isolation had created a fear of being around groups of people. So even though I don’t want to feel lonely, I’m too hesitant to make major plans with anyone, for fear of something going wrong.

Truly defeating loneliness is a hard thing to conquer. You have to make sure you’re not depending on other people as distractions to do it. I notice my good days are always the ones where I see and interact with people, never the ones where I spend it alone.

My loneliness sharpens when I see and compare others’ lives on social media, which we all understand as a big “no no” to do. Yet, it’s practically irresistible. If you’re going to be extremely susceptible to snapchat stories and Instagram posts, it might be best to put those things away for a while. Even if you delete those apps for a short time, you’ll feel a weight lifted off your shoulders and hopefully you’ll remember how unimportant it is to see what everyone is doing every second of the day.

Getting comfortable with yourself and being alone is huge. Being alone and loneliness are two different things. If you can find comfort in your “me time,” maybe the loneliness will fade away. Right now I’m doing my best to enjoy the days alone I have. However, if  I have multiple days in a row when I’m alone I start having difficulties so it still is a hurdle I need to jump over.

When you’re in your loneliness you might find yourself looking for distractions. They may be either productive or destructive and somehow the destructive ones always seem more appealing. As I work through this myself, I try to think through all my actions and decisions. People tell me to do things that used make me happy, the hobbies and pastimes I love. Distracting yourself with the things that bring you those kinds of inner joys is no doubt a great thing to do.

I want to suggest talking to a close friend or family member on a regular basis, but the truth is if you’re trying to get over loneliness like me, maybe it’s best to try and figure it out on your own instead of with other people. In my case anyway, I know that I’ll just begin to depend on people and I’d rather depend on myself. When it comes to family and friends though, the best thing I can say is to not push them away when they reach out to you. Be honest with them when they ask how you’re feeling. Tell them why you feel lonely, maybe they can help.

When the minor inconveniences of post grad life take a backseat to Death

We all love to joke about how “horribly” messy our lives are and the constant obstacles we face when we transition into adulthood. That’s basically all I write about.

Today is different. Today, with a heavy heart I come without complaints.

As I mentioned in my post about gratitude, it is easy to complain about all the small issues in life if, despite those minor inconveniences, life is okay. It is also just as easy to forget all the good in your life if you only focus on the bad things. But once the real challenges step into the game, complaining about the small things seems inappropriate. In that post I reminded myself to be grateful. In particular I expressed gratitude for my old, crappy Honda and my dad.

About three weeks after I wrote that, my car was stolen from outside my house. It was taken a week before my birthday at that. Despite what some might consider as a major inconvenience, I wasn’t phased. I had other things on my mind.

Twelve days after that incident my dad passed away. It was four days after my birthday and three days before father’s day. Needless to say, June was a rough month.

Today I received news of a fatal car accident that happened last night. Two young men I went to college with, aged 23 and 24, were pronounced dead at the scene. Kasean Williams-Herrera and Jeremy Shankling. They were bright, hard-working and dearly loved. They were just beginning life after college. As their families and the UC Irvine community grieve, I am left with a wake up call.

We often try to make sense of death. We do this as a coping mechanism. My dad had 50 years on this earth. I found peace knowing that although he lived with an incurable infection, he somehow managed to come back from over five brain surgeries over a 17 year timeline. I take comfort in knowing that God allowed my dad to recover time and again from those surgeries. I could have lost my dad when I was 6, when I was 12 or when I was 18, but I didn’t. I’m grateful I had him as long as I did. That is how I have made sense of his passing.

But when death comes at you without warning, it steals your breath from your lungs. It leaves you stunned and confused. The pain in your chest is so real that you feel your heart break. And in those moments, death does not seem to have a purpose. You can’t make sense of it. Why do people who have barely begun to live get taken from us? Why can’t we have them back? Why them? Why? Why? Why?

Death seems so distant, until it happens to the people you know. It feels like an insult. A personal attack. When life is disrupted by death, it is an uncomfortable reminder that nothing is promised to us. Nothing is guaranteed to us.

Leave nothing left unsaid to those in your life. If someone crosses your mind, it can be easy to brush it off. Don’t. In those instances reach out to them, just because. Appreciate and enjoy every season in your life, even the ones that are hard to get through. Express love to the people in your life and take a moment to reflect. Never be too prideful to apologize or say how you really feel. Remain open and humble. Don’t be afraid to be vulnerable with one another; I promise that you won’t have regrets once it’s too late. And despite all the bullshit that may be in your life, I promise you that there are still some pretty amazing things in it that are still worth your gratitude.

Breathe In. Exhale. And Smile.

Try your best to find the joy despite all the pain.

“For People Who Feel Behind In Life”

Trying something different today, friends. I’ve been coming across a lot of really helpful and often, entertaining, videos on Youtube about a variety of topics. I feel that a good amount of them would also be fitting for my blog. Thus I introduce the video highlight genre, for some added fun. Less reading, less work, more laughs.

Youtuber, Evelyn From The Internets, is quite the humorist and her most recent upload, “For People Who Feel Behind In Life,” is the perfect cocktail mix of comedy, reflection, confusion and encouragement. She gives the metaphor “life is a race” a fresh perspective that will no doubt earn a chuckle. And if you can’t run just like Evelyn and me, you’ll definitely feel a sense of community by watching this.

Quit Your Crying And Be Grateful For 2 Seconds

In the midst of my very negative energy, as of two mintues ago, I decided to focus on all the things that are right in my life. And yeah, I was actually low key crying in bed two minutes ago. I’m highly emotional right now, okay?! It’s easy to focus on the things you’re not happy with if you’ve become used to all the priveleges in your life that seem like a given. But those things aren’t given, they can easily be taken away. So I made a list in my head of everything I’m grateful for. Once I finished, I jumped out of bed to type it all out.

So here it goes

  1. My health
  2. I have both parents with me on this earth
  3. My dad, even though he is sick, he makes baby steps every day towards being better
  4. My mom, who surprisingly hasn’t pressed me too much on what it is exactly I’m doing with my life
  5. The bonus parent I have
  6. The health of my entire family
  7. The amazing group of friends I have who are all supportive
  8. I have a best friend I can be completely candid with about absolutely anything and everything
  9. I have a bachelor’s degree and I had the means to get to college, even if it meant debt
  10. Calling sunny California my home
  11. My car, while hella old, has not failed me
  12. The park across the street that I can jog at if I ever finally decide to get my physical health in check
  13. My internship, while unpaid, provides me with experience and is complete with a team that is both welcoming and encouraging
  14. My job, because better to have one than none at all
  15. All the positive and ridiculously friendly people at my job
  16. My clear skin! lmao
  17. Access to internet and my unlimited data plan
  18. While I’m practically broke, I do still have savings dedicated to paying my loans (thank da lord).
  19. My dog who I direct all my out loud thoughts to
  20. My bed
  21. The free housing my parentals provide me
  22. My bilingual capabilities that let me enjoy melodramatic telenovelas
  23. In addition, Netflix

Twenty-three things I’m grateful for in my twenty-third year. Totally didn’t do that on purpose, but it fits so I roll with it.

I feel a little better so I suggest you give it a go as well.

And if that doesn’t work I guess you can go back to crying. It’s cathartic anyway.

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