Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Here's to YOU!

“Here’s to the crazy ones. The misfits. The rebels. The trouble-makers. The round pegs in the square holes. The ones who see things differently…they change things. They push the human race forward. And while some may see them as the crazy ones, we see genius.” – Steve Jobs

I recently saw “Jobs” the movie starring Ashton Kutcher outlining Steve Jobs’ rise in the technology industry. I had this strange PULL to see it, but because of the reviews and ratings, not very many people wanted to see it with me. I actually ended up with the ticket because Alamo Drafthouse was sold out of The Butler (another movie that I want to see!). I was strangely excited that it worked out the way it did, so that I could see this movie. 

Throughout the entire film, I was having trouble keeping it together. From the beginning, where they show Steve Jobs unveiling the IPod in 2001, to the time he gets funding for his “garage company,” to the time when he is forced out of apple, to the famous quote above. Each milestone, obstacle and failure spoke to me on a level that I am still reeling to understand. It should be noted, that Steve Jobs did not go about everything perfectly. He isn’t a God. He had human struggles, made human mistakes (sometimes HUGE ones), and was an “asshole” by many accounts. He did things in a way he saw right and sometimes, often lost perspective on other things. He was a human, just like the rest of us.

But I couldn’t help but think, even through the trials and tribulations, his life turned out in a way that it was supposed to. Not perfect, but GREAT. He was alive during the time and made opportunities for himself in the age of the development of information technology. He saw things that others didn’t. He built things that we continue to use now. 

While I am no engineer, and it’s hard to see the correlate I’m about to make, I FEEL that there is that in me. I can be GREAT. I don’t come up with innovative technology, but I see things differently in my own part of the world. I have had interests that are beyond my next paycheck. I’ve struggled working in a structured corporate environment. I want to focus on my random whims and ideas sometimes. I’m using myself as an example, but I feel that many of us can be GREAT. We can make an impact. We just have to figure out what it is meant to be and how to get there. 
The quote above refers to MANY people. Who among us isn’t crazy? Who among us has never felt like a mistfit? Have you ever rebelled or caused SOME sort of trouble? When have you not felt like you fit in? I think harnessing that different perspective that YOU have can make YOU great. People see me as crazy all the time. The phrase I hear over and over is “Oh, Belinda” no matter what I’m talking about or doing. Not always, but sometimes, I hit a stroke of genius that surprises even me. Typically that’s because I focused on something that someone else thought was dumb or crazy.

 I’m challenging myself to find out what exactly I can do to “make a dent in the universe” and I challenge y’all to do the same. It doesn’t have to be on the level of Steve Jobs, it doesn’t have to make you famous, it just has to have an impact.
“Things don’t have to change the world to be important.”

Friday, August 9, 2013

Find Your Person

So I haven’t made an entry in a while, mostly because I really like to keep these positive and life isn’t going very positively for me right now. I like to offer advice on how to get through things, so I was waiting to see the light at the end of the tunnel, but so far, no dice. I know it’s cliché, but for me, when it rains, it seriously pours, like DELUGE style. I felt that even in light of this being kind of a heavy/downer post, I thought that maybe some of you can relate to some of the issues or are just feeling overwhelmed in life in general.

That is how I’ve been feeling in general: OVERWHELMED. Overwhelmed with change, overwhelmed with relationships, overwhelmed in tasks and overwhelmed with emotions, etc. And even though I’m feeling like I’m in over my head in almost every aspect of my life, I keep trying to push through it and remain the stalwart, strong person that I aspire to be. Most of the time, looking for what’s next, keeping a positive attitude and pushing through the tough stuff works just fine for me. Not this time though. It doesn’t seem to matter how much I try to make my situation better or keep a good outlook, I still have that same feeling of drowning. 

And I know we’ve all be there. At that point, where another transgression results in a meltdown; a large transgression or a small one. It doesn’t matter. It’s just one more thing to deal with and that causes the break. I had that happen recently, where one thing was just the last straw of months and months of carrying more than I could lift on my shoulders, of having to deal with massive changes that I had no control over and questioning everything and everyone In my life.
I’m not writing this entry for sympathy, pity or even advice. I’m writing this entry because I think it’s important that people know what I figured out mid-meltdown. Even though I felt VERY alone and even though I was mortified that I couldn’t maintain my strength any longer, I knew I wasn’t alone. Unfortunately, I had a few witnesses to my succumbing to pressure as I made my exit to deal with this alone. I mean, they are my problems, right? No one needs to know about them, much less actually care or help me. That’s how I felt. Everyone has problems and mine have no more weight than theirs.

 I actually felt an immense amount of guilt even being that upset about my issues. I mean, I could have worse issues like living in hunger or feeling unsafe. Why am I so upset about a few changes and that feeling of being overwhelmed if other people can deal with much, much more horrible things?

Mid-meltdown, I realized that I should have reached out sooner for help. But the problem was and is, is that I never know how much I really need help until I try to reach out or a meltdown occurs. I felt that even though I’m in this “funk,” that it will pass, no one needs to bother with me or lend an ear or a shoulder. I can handle it, until I couldn’t. I had so much showing of support from so many people that I felt I could never ask in a million years to hug me while I cried, to talk me through everything that had been going awry, sit with me at my favorite restaurant so that I didn’t have to be alone, or even just send encouraging thoughts and words or even just checking on me via text message. THAT made all the difference. 

Even though my problems and issues are still there, I don’t feel like I’m drowning any more. The feeling of pressure is still there,  but it does
n’t seem nearly as insurmountable. So even though this post isn’t my typical positive style, I wanted to offer those who are in similar situations a challenge. FIND someone to confide in. FIND someone who will be your person. I have more than one person, but there is that go to person I NEED to talk things through and it always results in better things to come. And as they say “this too shall pass.”

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

How Would Your Life be Different?

I have been sitting on this entry for quite a while thinking on what the best way to present my thoughts would be. I have to thank Netflix and Dustin Hoffman for giving me the springboard I needed to tackle this issue. Though life can be MUCH worse, I think that people underestimate the difference life is if you are born as a minority in any way. While I think MAJOR obstacles and deliberate pushes in the right direction have been taken, it is difficult and it is difficult to understand if you are in the majority. 

I’m in the minority of being a woman (and that isn’t even by numbers, probably, but in terms of historical power, etc.), but I’m in a racial majority in the United States as a white woman. I think that puts me and others like me in a unique position. I’ve found that I enhance the parts that I experience as a minority a little more than those I don’t experience. I think that’s simply the reason, is that I DON’T experience them. In the words of Dustin Hoffman in the video below, I do NOT know or understand how my life would be different if I was a racial or sexual orientation minority. I don’t know if I would be in the same place. I’d like to think so, but after experiencing some of the most ridiculous things for simply being a woman, I would assume that other types of minorities experience them too.  And Hoffman’s realization is what I would probably come to given being actually put in that position. 

Netflix helped me come to this topic as I was SO excited to see the older Disney animated movies starting to make an appearance. Though my favorite is Little Mermaid, my second favorite, Mulan has been added to instant streaming. I settled in for a nice lazy afternoon watching, but I ended up becoming more emotional than I expected and it was kind of surprising. At the end of the movie, when Mulan is trying to warn the city and its occupants of an impending attack, she says to her former friends and militia group (not sure of the correct term), You said you’d trust Ping (her male, warrior alter ego) with your life, why is Mulan any different?” That bothered the HECK out of me! That one line explains how I feel in a lot of different situations at work, out and about, over the phone, etc. Why is it that I get asked to get things off copiers or my other female counterparts asked if they are administrative assistants and the male employees don’t experience that? Why is it that I have to drag my boyfriend, male boss or a male friend to an automotive shop so that I won’t get taken advantage of? Why do I have to change the way I act and dress because I’d be inviting violent behavior from men (this is based upon SEVERAL news stories of rape and sexual assault that erupted in victim blaming)? Yeah, WHY?

I think if we all asked what Dustin Hoffman asked in this video, we’d be WAY more understanding of others’ plights. I think we’d be able to see issues that may not be as obvious and make issues that EVERYONE experiences more obvious.  I think sometimes it’s easy to blame something out of your control, i.e. being a woman, on failures or shortcomings that are within your control. Having other individuals who can see a different perspective and who are trying to see yours is SUPREMELY helpful. I’ve found myself in that position often, and sometimes, the best advice comes from people who aren’t living it, but who very much have thought about and attempted to understand the situations that I find myself in. I challenge y’all and myself to do that as often as you can! How would your life be different if you were born a different race, sex, sexual orientation, national origin, socioeconomic status, etc.?  

Friday, May 10, 2013

Missing Pieces

I know Friday’s aren’t t the best days for blogs, but hey, I can’t control when I’m inspired to do one! I was on my way to work this dreary morning in Dallas and I was listening to my favorite album (as of late) on my phone. It is definitely the Rock of Ages soundtrack. If you like classic rockmusic, I would highly recommend it! It has some really cool mixes of a couple of songs too, but I digress. Rock music always does something to me internally, where I feel as if it is flowing through me. Not sure if anyone else has experienced this visceral reaction to music, but I’m pretty sure I’m not the only one to have this feeling. It puts me in a great mood, which we all need when entering the office, haha!

While in this state and thoroughly enjoying the music, I was coming up with some really cool ideas for dancing, performing, etc. If you don’t know me, dancing is my artistic passion. It just gives a release of all of these big things that I feel or experience and just cannot be expressed in a different medium. I’ve often lamented on the fact that I am not an amazing singer, because I feel as if they can express some big things that I just cannot. Now that I’ve returned to dancing regularly, I have a constant way to express whatever I’m going through. It does a few things: 

1.  It makes dealing with bad things easier and it makes me really experience and cherish happy things.

2. It helps me to remember feelings about various events long term. While I was in grad school with my nose at the grindstone, I find that I have trouble remembering a lot of those 3 years. I think it was because I did not allow myself the time to really reflect on what was going on.

3. It makes me strive to find the perfect place in this world for me. 

I wanted to specifically talk about #3 a bit more. We all have goals that we want to reach within life. I think that because of the way that we are all moved through the American education system that there is a strict focus on our careers. That isn’t necessarily a bad thing, as being financially stable helps us to achieve other goals such as starting a family, becoming a homeowner, etc. The only thing that I would caution is that it really limits an individual in achieving their FULLEST potential. If I wouldn’t have went back and tried to make dance teams at age 25 (older in the dance world, haha) I would have never gotten to this level of contentment. I also would have been feeling pretty stagnant within my life as after school is over and you’re working, you’re just working. After being involved in so much for so long, I felt like something was missing. Or I was missing some key to happiness.
I was missing the rest of myself. I don’t think dance completely fulfills that missing piece, but it is a big part of it for me. My relationships and continuing cultivation of them was a piece. Being creative in general is a piece. The point I want to make is that I didn’t and still do not know all of the pieces of myself. I could be an awesome guitarist/rock god or I could be a talented painter. I won't know unless I visit those interests. As adults, I think we sometimes feel that we don’t have time to discover new things about ourselves; that time has passed. THAT IS A MYTH. Don’t ever settle; you don’t know what you may be missing!

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

I'm A Helper, How About YOU?!

I haven’t made an entry in a while, as I felt that I needed to have a strong willingness to write another blog entry. I didn’t want my thoughts to become just a weekly diary entry; I wanted them to be real, raw and relevant. (That alliteration was pretty good, and unplanned, haha). As I’m sure everyone knows, the #BostonMarathon bombings are currently rocking the media and the American people. I instantly felt the typical responses of “things like this should never happen, what is this world coming to, and who in their right mind would do this?”. This gives way to many negative thoughts in general about this world and the people in it, but I refuse to be that way and I challenge y’all not to give in to those pessimistic feelings, perspectives and overall outlooks. 

A quote that I keep seeing is from my favorite childhood TV character, Mr. Rogers from Mr. Roger’s Neighborhood: “When I was a boy and saw scary things in the news, my mother would say to me ‘Look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping.” I’m sure many people have seen this shared all over every social media page and every post about this tragedy. Seeing images of people running towards the mayhem and helping injured away, hearing stories of marathon runners continuing to run to the hospitals to donate blood, seeing Google’s set up for finding people and providing information and hearing stories of the residents of #Boston opening their homes to those who needed shelter, food and a place to decompress. Those stories hit my heart more than the explosions did to begin with.

When I see these great examples of humanity, it helps to take away some of the pain of the tragedy. It helps me to see the good in the world and the good in MOST people. It also inspires me to be one of those “helpers.” Mr. Rogers started his show to put a little good in the world. While it is a small offering in the “grand scheme of the world” it was his and it touched many more lives than I think even he could have dreamed. 

That is what I hope to do as a good person, good citizen and overall good human being. Even if I can’t invent something life changing or discover something that will help millions of people, I do have control over who I DO choose to help out of those that I can. Even though everything in this world isn’t wonderful, a lot of it IS wonderful and CAN BE if people choose to make it that way. Choose to make the world wonderful. Do that in your everyday decisions, actions and words. I certainly will!!