TILT: Constantly In Transit

It’s Thursday, and I have been on my feet and on the move pretty consistently for the past six days. Moving back to California, starting the fall semester, trying to sort through my things for what I find most beautiful and useful, and attending a (really kick-ass) concert…all since Sunday afternoon!

So more than anything this evening, I’m so grateful that it’s my weekend (and a long one at that!). Now that the state of my life has gained some steam and everything is constantly on the move, I don’t plan on being complacent and lazy over this holiday weekend, oh no – but I am sincerely looking forward to a sort of mindful activity, including yoga, beautifying my new home, and clearing out stagnant energy to prepare for the new.

Whew.

Here’s what else I’m loving this week:

Big sexy salads like a symphony of colorful plants – sweet cherry tomatoes doused in balsamic dressing, multitextured greens, the sulfuric crunch of cruciferous broccoli, creamy chickpeas….my lunch today was sexier than your lunch today. Sorry! ♥ Seeing GARY NUMAN live with my favourite concert buddy. ♥ MEETING GARY NUMAN. What a guy! ♥  White wine in teacups ♥ Rediscovering how amazing my local friends are. I’ve missed them so much. ♥ My best friend in Portland, who calls me on my bullshit, keeps me on my toes with the threat of rubber bands, and buys me aprons. ♥ The outdoor cat we’ve inherited at our new house. ♥ Being a two minute walk away from the historic district of my home town! ♥ Finding amazingly cute dresses by chance ♥ Talking about Punk Rock Zen and the soul-driven career ♥ My first In N Out burger (and Animal fries) in seven months. Now that that’s out of my system, I’m gonna try to go as vegetarian as possible! ♥

And can I be honest here? Since returning to California, I feel more free to engage with and connected to other people. It has also been observed that I smile more, and am somehow becoming a morning person. What? I think it’s pretty awesome, but I might lose what Goth Cred I’ve managed to scrape together! ;P

More posts to come soon, as I settle in and find time to write and reflect. As always, thank you for reading, and until next we meet!

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Things I Love Thursday: Catching Up

Been a while since we’ve had one of these, eh? In the interim between TILT posts, I’ve finished up my internship, moved out of my apartment, went on vacation, and succumbed to a nasty chest cold. And, wouldn’t you know it, by the time the next TILT post rolls around, I’ll have moved back to California and into a new house, started up the fall semester at school, and generally

I really dig this new Arctic Monkeys song and this description of their new album: “like a Dr Dre beat, but we’ve given it an Ike Turner bowl-cut and sent it galloping across the desert on a Stratocaster.” Love it! ♥ Puppies. Oh my gosh you guys. Puppies. ♥ Watch this Stephen Colbert video. You’ll thank me for it later. ♥ Welcome To Night Vale. I just. Words are not adequate to describe how I feel about this podcast. ♥ My idol Gala Darling co-hosting the Spirit Junkie Hay House radio show. Give it a listen! ♥ Coming to the conclusion that yeah, I’m a badass. I say this with absolutely no ego involved! Don’t let anyone tell you that you can’t own your power. It feels great. ♥ Our vacation rental on Tybee Island…love love love! ♥ The ocean takes care of me. Thank you, ocean. ♥ ODing on knitting patterns ♥ Friendly fat cats ♥ The Breakfast Club on Tybee Island and their Solidarity scramble (and grits!). It’s normal to be this emotionally invested in your breakfast! ♥ Autumn is right around the corner. Are you as excited for it as I am? ♥ Herbal cocktails, infused with basil and cucumber. Mmm. ♥ Getting smacked upside the head with inspiration ♥ Massages where you can literally feel the tension draining out of you ♥ Supporting local, independent stores ♥ Amazing thrift store finds. ♥  Nature – the Perseid meteor showers, island sunsets, summer storms… ♥ This month’s full moon, which feels supercharged. I always feel so energetic around the full moon! ♥ Making plans, daydreaming, and getting unabashedly, insanely excited about the future. ♥

There’s so much going on, aside from moving all over the place and being constantly in transit. I hope to remain (relatively) busy as we shift from summer to autumn…there’s still so much I would like to do, including accomplishing my list of goals that I started out the year with! With luck, I’ll be blogging about those too. Until next we meet!

Such a Clever Grown-Up Miss: Things I Learned from my Disney College Program

Now that my Disney College Program is over (and because I am quite possibly insane) I am considering doing the whole process over again. However! For the second time around, I would definitely make some changes. The first Program was a learning-on-my-feet experience, and now that I know what to do – and perhaps even more importantly, what not to do. Here’s some basic advice that I’d like to offer to anyone who is considering or preparing for their own College Program:

Invest in some easily-reheatable basics to always have on hand for meals – hot dogs, a big bag of frozen veggies, canned soups, and so on. Depending on how long your program is, you’ll get sick of mac & cheese and ramen really fast. I’m a fan of Michelina’s frozen meals, which I can get for less than a dollar each at Wal-Mart’s grocery section.
Always bring your lunch. The staff cafeterias are pricey! I paid $2.50 for an aforementioned frozen meal (which, again, costs around a dollar if you buy it and bring it in) on one day that I forgot to bring in my lunch.

If you can, get a crockpot. Not having to worry about making dinner after an eight-hour (or longer!) shift will take a lot of stress off of you.

One of the major drawing points of the Disney College Program is the lure of “You’ll be able to go to the parks for free on your days off!” What people neglect to mention is black-out dates. Some parks have more black-out dates than others – Magic Kingdom is particularly notorious for being filled to capacity on certain occasions like Spring Break. This year on the 4th of July, MK hit capacity around 10 in the morning! Utter insanity. Others, like Animal Kingdom, have less black-out dates.

Use your common sense and courtesy: If you’re under 21, follow the rules regarding alcohol. Regardless of your age, follow the rules regarding drugs. Don’t be that person who is up banging and stomping around at 3 in the morning when your neighbors or roommates have to get up at five for work. If you have to come home drunk in the small hours of the morning, don’t shout or scream as you’re walking between the apartment buildings because people can hear you and they probably won’t react kindly. Clean up after yourself. Don’t eat food that belongs to your roommates, seriously, that’s just rude. And, for the love of god, don’t call in sick and then go to the parks or sell your main gates. You will get termed. 

Don’t be afraid to pester Maintenance. This is especially applicable if you live in the older apartment complex, Vista Way. My apartment’s garbage disposal and dishwasher were completely busted, and it took several requests, each less patient and kind than the last, for them to come by and fix it.

Due to the mild winters and subtropical climate, Florida is the land of giant bugs. If you start seeing bugs in your apartment, let the front desk of your complex know immediately so they can schedule pest control to stop by ASAP. You do not want to let a bug problem get out of control.

Generally, it’s a good idea to keep your place tidy so you’re not scrambling to clean up the entire apartment the night before inspection. If your roommates are unhelpful, keep your own personal space tidy at the very least. This doesn’t mean you should be a doormat and clean up after everyone – a little negotiation goes a long way.

Stay hydrated. Again, this should fall under ‘common sense’ but I can understand the appeal of knocking back energy drinks before your shift after a long night out. Keep a water bottle with you. Florida is hot and humid and you’ll dehydrate faster than you think.

Be wise where you shop. A certain superstore on the bus route is arranged to cater specifically to both tourists and college program participants, so the ‘savings’ aren’t that great for the quality. If you have a car, or know someone who does, there are several grocery stores in the area which, while also catering to tourists, have rewards card programs that you can sign up for. Even if you don’t end up saving a lot of money at these grocery stores, I find the difference in the quality of food to be worth the price.

Depending on your job, your pay might not be as stellar as you thought it would be. I notice that Cast Members working in more retail-oriented roles (such as Merchandise, Food Service, etc) tend to have more work days or longer shifts, and subsequently, higher paychecks. Working in costuming, I learned this the hard way after several three- and four-day weeks and less-than-awesome paychecks. Talk to your coworkers and see if there is a facebook page for your department so you can set up shift exchanges or pickups.

Generally, it’s very useful to keep a little bit of cash with you (at home) at all times. It doesn’t have to be a lot, just about $15, in fives or tens. You never know when you’ll have to refill your laundry card or tip the pizza delivery guy.

Make a point to visit the Cast Connection store. It’s great for finding deals on gifts, apparel for yourself, and has great prices on basic groceries that you’ll definitely want to take advantage of.

Get an umbrella or a waterproof poncho ASAP, if you didn’t bring one with you. Depending on when your program is, a pair of dependable rainboots is also a great idea. During the summer months there are pretty dependable thunderstorms and torrential downpours if not daily, then at least once every few days. You will get tired of getting wet.

Utilize the Disney Learning Centers at the parks and at Vista Way. The selection of books (for resource, self-development, and recreational reading!) and movies is amazingly vast.

Pick up a PAC shift at least once. Then be grateful that you never have to do it again if you don’t want to.

If you’re ever unsure about something, ask. The staff both at the apartment help/learning centers and your coordinators/managers at work are knowledgable and, more often than not, want to help set you up for success. You will always get some conflicting answers, but it’s better to suss out how things work than remain in the dark. Your College Program success will, overall, depend largely on your ingenuity and determination. Don’t be afraid to ask for a helping hand.

And finally, each and every college program is different. Do the best that you can with what you have, work hard, and don’t forget to have fun along the way!

When You Wish Upon a Star…(originally written 8/2/2013)

As I write this a child screeches a few rows ahead of me and frigid, recycled plane air is slowly dehydrating myself and my fellow passengers. Luckily, this flight’s short. If you wrung me out like a sponge right now, you’d get nothing, not even a single drop of the coffee I drank without tasting this morning with one foot already in the shower.

(I am an adult, just not a very good or efficient one.)

The state of transit is a funny one. Rather preferring a state of introspection than deal with the prospect of talking to the poor couple next to me (‘Hello, sorry I smell, this is only for an hour anyway and I am a nervous flyer, care for an almond?’), I instead turn my mind to the past eight months and what they held, as well as the future and what lies, undiscovered, just beyond the horizon.

Though my program itself was only six months long, it took up a major portion of my time and energy and anxieity since I got my acceptance email all the way back in November. Back then, I didn’t know what I was getting into.

All I knew is that I wanted an adventure. I fancied myself taking after Belle from Beauty and the Beast – I want adventure in the great wide somewhere/I want it more than I can tell…

And adventure I got. In spades, even.
So, in the early chill of February, I packed my bags and set off into the wild blue something. I didn’t know what to expect, other than an adventure. And when I got to Florida…oh, where do I even begin?

I was so blessed to be placed with the best group of roommates a girl could ask for. Communal living has its ups and downs – more,I think, than the Tower of Terror, and the lows are just as horrifying and jarring to boot. I would like to thank you for, well, everything – your generosity, the support when I needed it, the fun. I am so lucky to have gotten to know and live with such strong, funny, hardworking young ladies.

Work for Disney is never just work, especially in the entertainment family. There were torrential downpours, working till 3 in the morning, screaming matches, breaks where I laughed so hard I wanted to cry…and of course, working alongside and getting to know so many different people. Working with all of you, too many to name in this blog post, was such an amazing experience. Even when the work itself got tedious and frustrating and I was two steps away from quitting on the spot, working with such fun and passionate people kept me going.

Finally, my ohana. I’d like to go on the record as believing that family is more than blood, and for that I’d like to let my friends as well as my kin know how much I love them and how special they are to me. Thank you so much for supporting me – financially, emotionally, spiritually – for the past six months. For being the best cheerleaders when my spirits were low. For tough love and making me see past my own bullshit. For pushing me to go out and do more when I was afraid and unsure. For your wisdom, and for your love.
To those members of my family I haven’t seen in half a year or more, I miss you more than I can say. I can’t wait to see you again.

I can’t say for certain what the post-DCP future holds. After this taste of adventure, I’m ready to return home with my new perspective and make the most of everything that I’ve learned in Orlando. But first….I think I need to get off this plane and eat some real food.

A Very Personal Post: The Tabula Rasa

My situation has changed forever and while it makes me sad, I’m going to view this as the right time for me to begin anew. While my slate isn’t completely wiped clean I do have a fresh start, of sorts, for when I move back to California.

And what do I want to do with it? I am thrilled at all of the possibility. The list-maker in me is wringing her hands and sharpening her pencils with glee.

I want comfort and creativity and enough space for both. Bowls of flowers. Ornate picture frames, knit quilts, loaded bookshelves, flower fairy lights on my headboard.
I want to study with reckless abandon and know exactly where I’m going with my education.
I want to wake up with excitement and energy. Each morning I want my toes to hit the floor and my spirit to fill the room with excitement and gleeful anticipation at the possibility that a brand new day will bring.

I always feel so run down and weary, and I can’t get out of bed in the morning. Maybe if I change my mind – I have energy! I wake up with vibrancy! – I’ll get it. Because that’s what I want my life to be. Energy and excitement. Everyday life filled with productivity, love, learning, and happiness.  I want energy. I want to know my life is going places.

I want to dress after the fashion of my soul. I want to walk around campus like I mean business. When people see me in passing they need to think, “Damn, I better either get out of her way or join her!” I want to kick ass at maths. I want to meet like minded people and form great connections while having great conversations, founded in truth and knowledge and similar values.

I want time and energy to pursue what I love and make it look effortless.

I want to look good and feel awesome. Every day. Even on the weekends where all I’m doing is putting on sweatpants and walking the dog and putting something in the slow cooker for dinner.

As for the rest of the year…
I want an Indian summer of lazy sunsets and warm afternoons and minty iced tea. I want nights of chilled wine and salads and talking about everything. I want a summer vacation exploring a place I love, learning new things and finding the space to breathe.
I want an ethereal Halloween. A fall of comfort and being utterly in-tune with the shift in seasons. Eating seasonally and locally, touching my environment as it changes. I want to take walks in the rain and wear tartan and boots and have the smell of crushed fallen leaves and tea be my perfume.
I want holidays of chant and polyphony music. Ornate, jewel-bright baubles. Thoughtfulness. Joy. Writing letters and sending cards to everyone I’ve met here in Florida, as well as the far-flung friends I’ve made all over the world. I want brightness and baking, knitting, planning for 2014.

I get all of these wild hairs about “what I want my life to be like” and never act on them. They’re all ideas and they feel so close it breaks my heart, if only because I don’t know how to get from my current reality to what I want my life to be like. That’s dumb. I need to act! Every day, I need to make the choices that will push me toward this beautiful life. What is it – Abraham said something about using your emotions as a guide to attune yourself to what you want to be aligned with vibrationally.
And, well, I want to feel good all the time. Even when I’m not sure what I want…all I know is that I want to feel good. That’s what I want from my blank slate: Beauty, knowledge, and feeling good.

The Problem with Symmetry

I apologize now to any artist-type folks who are reading this: This may irritate you.

Forgive me, I am not an artist. I still get frustrated and perplexed trying to scrawl the simplest of things – a heart, for instance, always turns out to be some sort of lopsided, angular thing instead of the tiny, soft, rounded lobes of affection that pepper letters and postcards. I have never been able to draw a symmetrical heart. Nor a symmetrical eye. Nor a symmetrical…well, anything , for that matter. I simply cannot draw. (Which is why I am always so amazed by my more artistically-inclined friends. Keep on doing what you do – it astounds the clumsy or shaky-handed like myself!)

But back to the point I was trying to make about the heart. I cannot draw, even the tiniest of little hearts, and have always been annoyed at my inability to do so. Seeing people draw perfect hearts annoyed me until earlier this afternoon when, scrolling through instagram, it came to me….

What’s the big deal about symmetry, anyway?

Well, the answer might be obvious. People with more symmetrical faces are thought to be more attractive. There are things like ratios and evenness and the subtle mathematics of pleasing aesthetics. But I find that all too often, the word “symmetry” has connotations of “perfection.” The amount of “is my face symmetrical?” apps and websites seem to support this.

But perfect symmetry in real life kind of creeps me out. “Perfect” symmetry, though photoshopped, is something out of the Uncanny Valley. There is a world of difference between a photoshopped, perfectly symmetrical face and a drawn heart, but the strangeness of “perfection” translated into reality is, well…pretty blatant.

I’m not saying we all need to walk around looking like works of Picasso, although Picasso certainly made asymmetry work for him. What I do think, however, is that we need to stop thinking in terms of symmetry, perfection, and nice little identical mirrored hearts dotting our notes. No one is harder on us than we are on ourselves. It’s a difficult pill to swallow, but there it is – in reality, we need to unclench, ease up, and see the charm in our asymmetrical scribbles and our imperfect faces.

Perfection is a concept, not something that translates well into reality. Or as my favourite movie states: “…That’s the thing about perfection. It’s unknowable!”  No one can have the perfect face, nor the perfect body, nor mind, nor spirit. But when we make the choice to embrace our asymmetrical selves and forgive our flaws, and drop the constant search for “perfect,” we can see the truth as it is: There is always room for improvement through love and acceptance.
And doesn’t that feel better than railing against the lobe of a drawn heart for being too sharp, or larger than the other lobe?

Until next we meet, love and imperfect scribbles to you. ❤

A Brief Thought:

I’ve been so upset, depressed, and frustrated with myself and my College Program experience lately, and how it hasn’t been all pixie dust and roses. Comparatively, my experience has kind of sucked. But isn’t it exactly that – an experience? Isn’t it better to get out – to shake things up – and to learn new things (even new things about yourself!), to taste of the bitter as well as the sweet instead of the same-old same-old blandness?