Mama Always Said…

A 12-year-old identified one of my greatest flaws Saturday in one question: Why does your face turn red when you don’t know something? Ironically, I was deemed a “veteran” staff member by some of my colleagues that same day. I had a sassy, head-bobbing moment in the office where I informed incoming staff that one particular client could not do anything fun until a writing assignment was completed. I don’t even remember if the consequence was for disrespect or for failing to follow directions. That’s okay because it got worse on Monday.

I found out that one of my “triggers” is clients inciting others who are struggling. It was my first freakout and my first car ride home spent crying hysterically. There was honestly no time to process and validate my emotions at all during my eight hour shift Monday so once I was exhausted and finished with an incredibly emotional shift, I was emotional. So currently, I’m wondering whether that type of breakdown is normal or mandatory in this type of work. If I didn’t emotionally respond to a child laughing at another child who wanted to die, would I be right for this type of work? The key in the future will be stopping that process at the emotional level rather than acting upon what I feel so strongly.

Fortunately, my week turned around today. I came in early for a meeting with Liz Ferro of Girls with Sole. My mom always tells me that “no education is ever wasted” and that “everything happens for a reason.” Lately, I’ve been doubting my master’s degree. I’ve been feeling as if it’s only gotten me full spinning classes during daytime hours (which I guess filling a 10AM spinning class is an accomplishment, even if “filling” means 11 patrons). Now I have the opportunity to do something about which I’ve been passionate about from the commencement of my master’s degree: advocating for the physical wellness and, in turn, affecting all aspects of wellness of a population that may otherwise never have experienced the satisfaction that follows a bout of exercise. Even more exciting to me are the long-term benefits, the possibilities, that these girls will have from simply participating: self esteem increases, reduced or eliminated dependence on drugs, alcohol, and self-harm, and prolonged lives.

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I Work for a Living!

I have been a functional working member of society for nearly two weeks now. It may be the best feeling in the world, which I attribute solely to the nature of the work. The first day I shadowed, I was cussed out, confused, and completely lost. My building is an H-shape that houses three different units (I think) and classrooms and group therapy rooms and visiting rooms for each of the units (I think). Maybe there aren’t classrooms for the critical care unit.

Either way, I am in the middle of a four-day break in my schedule, which I will not have again for a very long time until I take time off. After the way my first couple of days went, I am shocked that I miss the clients, not kids, already. The last day I worked I had the opportunity to sit with a client who had been upset and had recently been self-harming. After ten minutes with the client, she gave me the instrument with which she was self-harming and her disposition was completely changed. One of the most difficult things I have encountered at work so far has been convincing some of the clients that I genuinely do see good in them. Many of them are intelligent beyond belief and creative to the extent that I feel more cultured from listening to the explanations of their art and expression. And it takes so much work to get them to believe that’s what I see even just for a minute!

I expressed my first real moral dilemma about the job with a client. He simply wanted a question answered regarding his status and privileges that he was applying to earn. However, the supervisor was involved with averting a crisis at the time, so the client waited and waited and waited and began getting impatient. My issue with residential treatment is that crises need to be managed often and those clients who are experiencing growth cannot be acknowledged as much as they ought to be. There just isn’t the manpower. However, I did manage to play a few games of Uno with the client and talk Harry Potter with him, so I feel I did what I could to be positively reinforcing.

Anyway, long story short, I love it.

In other news, I’m subbing in a spinning class tomorrow. I’m thinking it will be pretty full – it’ll be right after Thanksgiving and I do believe I have some friends coming to the class. So now I’m a little anxious; I have yet to teach people I know personally. They have the means to tease me for my cheesiness and sport psychology background. But I know they won’t because they’re wonderful!

Once Upon a Time

I’m watching “Once Upon a Time.” This has become a Sunday thing followed by viewing “The Walking Dead.” Typically I have to do something else while watching TV – stretch, read, write, whatever. I haven’t written in a while because I have felt completely and wonderfully insane. All my time not spent at work is spent planning, pining, and being excited about my new job and my new life. To be fair, I do a lot of this at work too. (I only have four more half days at the daycare!) My friend Kim yelled at me on our long run yesterday for all this planning business. She makes a valiant point: what’s wrong with just going with the flow, starting a job, and figuring things out whenever they naturally arise?

I love me some structure. It’s easy for me to structure my mornings and afternoons and since I’ll be working second shift, I’ll be running, spinning, lifting, or volunteering in the mornings, working, and then going to bed. I told Kim that I already know I want to go back to school in 2015. I’m not sure what program or even whether it will be to pursue another master’s degree or a PhD…or a PsyD. So there is a lot to consider. However, I have never spent a year and a half researching and experiencing to make a decision, so I don’t understand why this would be any different.

On another note, I went out on Friday with some people from my summer job. To sum up my experience there, here is an Eleanor Roosevelt quote that I just found appropriate for the situation:

We gain strength, and courage, and confidence by each experience in which we really stop to look fear in the face…we must do that which we think we cannot.

For approximately six years, being unemployed or unsatisfied with my employment situation has been my biggest fear. Perhaps this is a characteristic of people who plan as much as I do. I saw no purpose in attending college and graduate school if it would not lead to full-time fulfillment. Simply being offered something that I perceive as fulfilling has changed everything.

In social situations, I’m an observer, I’m quiet, and I don’t particularly like meeting brand new people. I’ll happily meet friends of friends when I’m out, but strangers are a different story. Regardless, I met a stranger with prompting from the people I was with. I communicated well with many people Friday night and apparently portrayed myself well. In short, I genuinely believe that confidence makes all the difference. After disappointment and uncertainty, no matter how small it seems in retrospect, I achieved something I wanted and got an offer. That alone led to me carrying myself differently.

So to wrap up, I do have a question. Why is it that every time a girl meets a guy in a bar, one of three things must happen? 1) He completely forgets who you are and nothing happens. 2) You become a booty call later. 3) He wants to start dating. Maybe I’m strange (I’m definitely strange), but why can’t you meet someone in a bar and begin a friendship?

Expect the Worst and Hope for the Best!

I was going to write about anger, but I suppose I’ll wait because… I had a job interview today! And better yet, it was a job interview at a place I loved. Believe it or not, the last place I thought I would love rejected me for these reasons: 1) I was overqualified 2) I expressed interest in continuing my education, and 3) someone who had resigned decided they wanted to stick around…

…Needless to say, I was more than a little devastated. So here’s why I’m so in love with the place I interviewed today: 1) I was specifically asked about my master’s degree and whether I was certain I wanted to apply for a position that is a bachelor’s level position, 2) continuing education is encouraged, and 3) they were recently one of the NorthCoast 99, which I interpret to mean that they treat their employees pretty well, or at least they did a couple years ago.

Overall, I know the prolonged nature of this job hunting business has made me a stronger person and I’ll appreciate a full-time position so much more when I’ve earned it. But it has also made me afraid to be hopeful in this type of situation. I can’t help but fear being invested in the uncertain. If I’m invested, I have a week to wait until I’m elated or devastated. Regardless of whether or not I want to be invested in the outcome, I definitely am. So here’s hoping that “a week” is actually a real life week rather than an application process week. And, of course, here’s hoping that I get the job!

In other news, I taught my first spinning class on Thursday! I had planned the perfect inaugural workout the weekend before, added music, did some mental rehearsing… And then I couldn’t do it. I got so sick on Monday night that it’s taken me until tomorrow to eat a real meal and not regret it. My perfect first workout was going to be a strength ride, but I was too sick for that so it ended up being a more flexible endurance/interval ride. I received positive feedback for it, but I’m excited for Tuesday to see how my favorite workout plays out.

I’ll be headed back to NickReboot.com now to watch some Legends of the Hidden Temple and end this boring post. Writing about anger next time will be infinitely more entertaining for me.

I’m Spinning Certified!

I expected that becoming certified to teach spinning was not going to be an easy journey – I had to travel all the way down to Oxford to do it. Fortunately, I was able to leave work early. I typically hate leaving work early because it means my itty bitty part-time paycheck gets itty bittier. But as someone who stinks at driving after dark because she gets sleepy, I was happy to leave at 4:30 instead of 6:00.

The drive down was hardly enjoyable. First, I have this theory: Google Maps and the Ohio Turnpike are business partners. Every time I use my GPS to drive somewhere in Ohio, Google Maps tells me to use the freaking turnpike. My other option was to drive 20 miles east so that I could go southwest, so that was never going to happen.

So I reluctantly get on the turnpike. My next goal was to locate Panera, as it was nearing dinnertime and I wanted something that was not your run-of-the-mill fast food restaurant. So then I heard a rhythmic tick tick tick tick tick tick as I drove my $3.50 route and glanced around the car for the source of the annoyance. My antenna was hanging down onto my back windshield and that was the end of functional radio for the duration of my drive.

I couldn’t find a Panera until 8:00 and then I realized I forgot my toothbrush. So I’m grateful for the wonderful concierge who provided me a toothbrush and toothpaste.

The certification was better. It was almost like a conference – part of attending is knowing that you’ll gain knowledge and inspiration in the area. When I went, I thought that I had a decent grasp on this instructor thing, but after the course, I know infinitely more that will help me in…four days when I teach my first class. I was able to talk to a friend afterward about odd jobs and life after a master’s degree in KNH. So now I know that there are at least a couple people out there that understand the notion that if you don’t advocate for yourself, no one else will.

Inspiration

I know I’m not alone in this state of twenty-something “funemployment.” There are some other people out there, aren’t there? I’ve read my fair share of blog posts about what the responsible thing to do is, what twenty-somethings must have/know, and what comprises the perfect girl. Sometimes, I am educated by them, those valuable perspectives of men and women my age or one to six years elder. Other times, I read those posts and decide against selling out, I realize that I’m figuring things out as I go along, and I work on being myself. When I’m frustrated, confused, lost, and lonely, I like to ramble in writing, so here I am.

I came off a Google blog that started for a class on motivation in physical activity settings. I basically logged my exercise on it, but lately it has been awkwardly transitioning into more (awkward – story of my life). So I came here to write something more relatable, maybe I’ll even have the courage to share it with friends. The last straw was this girl: Hannah Brencher, 25.

I have this thing where my immediate reaction is something between outrage and jealousy. Why can’t I have this?! A freaking TED TALK! Maybe it’s just because I’m 24; I still have a year to go and a lot can happen in a year. Maybe I don’t have the presentation.

I like to think we’re all original people with unique thoughts. But what is it that determines who readers find amusing or reputable? I’ve been reading The Tipping Point by Malcolm Gladwell. It was suggested by a friend of mine and is the first book I’m reading in a series of what I’ll refer to as “self-help” books. I’ve got the basics of living down (debatably, as I’m relying on my parents for the food and shelter part) and now I’m seeking those things that make life exceptional.

Here’s where I am: I work part-time at a child care center about 45 minutes from my house and I recently accepted a position as a spinning instructor for a local rec center. I live with my mom and dad. I run, I’m occasionally social, I’m single, and I should eat healthier. I lead a social skills group for some wonderful kids at the Cleveland Clinic. These are the simple facts that matter to me now. Let’s see how they develop!