Anxieties are [not] my friends

It’s my birthday today. While I should be out celebrating, I am stuck inside working in the library. It’s fair though. I just came back from my vacation in Portland & Seattle so I’m working right away; however I am revisited by anxieties again. I’m pretty confident it is the idea of me being extra single with no defining accomplishments yet. I’m talking about working a dream job, traveling year round, and owning a home in some exotic place.

I think I am always quick to rush through this slow process of life. The minute I panic with life, I quicken my decisions. How success will happen will not be in a year or two. Maybe in five years, but I’m dreading the feeling of growing older with no romantic partner to support me. At the same time I feel unworthy of being with anyone. I am not substantial today nor will I be for a while.

These feelings of anxieties come and go. They drop hints about who I am, but I am so slow to pick them up. They are like water slipping through my hands leaving me scrambling for balance. My skin is also slightly flushed with warm sensations and odd tingles. It is not the same thrilling sensation when a person feels empowered. It isn’t painful, but more annoying. I am solving an incomplete puzzle about myself for the last 27 years revolving around these questions:

  • Who do you want to be?
  • What is my calling/passion/career?

It’s not about the money anymore. It’s not about having a white-picket fence home. I just want to create, have ownership, and connect with people from all over the world. But I can’t. All I want to do is scream back at my anxieties and ask: “WHAT THE FUCK DO YOU WANT FROM ME?!”

This is what my anxieties do to me. It forces an aggressive and inner conversation with myself whilst I am cold to my surroundings. I am so sorry about that. I cannot help anyone while I am quietly suffering.

By the end of the day, I end up hurting myself because I am so frustrated of this repetitive phase. Yes, I have my moments of relapsing into a bitter state but I am CONVINCED I will find the answers to my anxieties. They are not here without reasons, and I will not let it ruin my birthday.

Losing Friends to Relationships

Why is it that most couples I know stop coming around once they become serious? I understand you want to spend time with each other, but they cut all communications. I’ve heard plenty of friends declaring promises of never ditching their friends for a relationship, but they always leave. I haven’t heard from some of them in years. I’m glad their relationship is going strong, but if I dare send a “How are you doing?” message – I won’t make it to finish anymore posts. Just exaggerating, but I know I’m not alone on this unfair phase of life.

A friend once said, “Because I’m loyal as f***.” Let it be known, I do not have an ounce of interest in this person. I know my boundaries, and I’m confident enough to not jeopardize anyone’s feelings. Heck, I’ll even ask/invite their partners to join us, but I won’t prolong my stay. I know when to take my leave, and no, I am not into polyamorous relationships. I just believe close friendships help you live longer, but a lot of people think it’s best to be with their partners 24/7. I get it. People change, fall in love, but to cut me off because they’re dating? Is it because of their own insecurity? Their own partners insecurities?

All I’m saying is: I’m not demanding for joint custody; I am asking to not be left behind. 

Library Myths

I’ve been working at two different academic library for the past 4 years. Let me tell you the typical comments I get:

1. “So what? You just shelve books?”

A librarian’s job differs in different settings. I am not a librarian yet, but I don’t shelve books. We have student workers who are hired to help for that task. Behind closed doors, some librarians research and publish articles, teach information literacy courses to students, maintain the library budget, weed/select a library collection, outreach to the community, create story time for children, and so much more.

2. “Oooooo! You’re a sexy librarian with glasses?”

Absolutely not. The library is always cold, and even though the majority of the library workplace is female, there is quite a bit of male workers too.

3. “Why do you need a masters degree to become a librarian?”

There’s a lot of soft and hard skills to become a librarian. As I mentioned before, it takes skills to teach an information literacy skill. Do you have the confidence to speak to the public? Can you handle aggressive patrons? Homeless patrons? Are you good with technology? There are some academic libraries requiring librarian’s to get a second master’s degree to help researching for specific subjects. It helps if you start with a good undergraduate major.

 

4.”OMG! Do we need to be quiet?”

The library is a neutral place that is reserved for social AND quiet areas. Just read the signs to make sure you’re in a quiet area.

5. “You must read a lot.”

I don’t read as much as my peers. Some people hoard at least 10+ books in one day, but I like to check out 1-2 books that’ll last me for 3 months. There are some librarians that has no interest in reading, and they still work in the library.

6. “We don’t need the library – we have the internet!”

Ah, the controversial topic that most younger people are sure about. Plenty of patrons come to the library to use a computer. Public librarians teach adult information literacy classes such as creating an email or how to create a resume. A lot of people come to the library when they’re looking for a job too, and there’s research done on the correlation of a recession and public library use.

According to Pew Research, library use is still stable, and more millennials are reading compared to other generations. While I can go more in depth about this topic, I won’t. Libraries won’t be going anywhere for a while. Just know they’re always free to use, and will be available as long as you have your library card.

References:

http://www.pewresearch.org/fact-tank/2017/06/21/millennials-are-the-most-likely-generation-of-americans-to-use-public-libraries/ft_17-06-21_librariesinperson/

http://www.pewresearch.org/fact-tank/2017/06/21/millennials-are-the-most-likely-generation-of-americans-to-use-public-libraries/ft_17-06-21_librariesinperson/

Travel Travel Travel

There is something about the cool wind blowing through my window that makes me yearn to travel again. I think it calls for me, tugging at my hair, endlessly flirting with my skin to taste adventure.

How I wish to travel for longer than a week or a month. I would not be able to live with myself if I don’t travel for a year. I think I knew since I was 20 that there’s gotta be more to it than life instead of me wasting my time at home. I wanted more for myself, and after finishing technical college I attended a university to finish a bachelors and a masters.

I didn’t travel right away, of course. It took the end of my junior year of college to study abroad in Ireland, and then I made a solo trip afterwards to Paris. The romantic city. The fashion city, and the never-ending tourists lining up at art museums. For such a romantic city, I was quite lonely. That was my first time really being by myself, thousands of miles away from home. I lacked the traveling and socializing skills I now have today. I didn’t venture out that much except for the shopping scenes, and checking out the thrift stores.

Oh! My debit card was cancelled, because my bank was suspicious of my shopping habits in Europe. It was maddening, but on my last day in Paris, my card was functioning again. So I wasted a couple of days in Paris, but it wasn’t all bad. I met a nice American male who shared a dorm hostel room with me, and a brave fellow from Amsterdam. He took some pictures of me next to the Eiffel Tower, but never added me on Facebook to send me those pictures. Ah well, nobody will really believe me I saw the Eiffel Tower in person.

The highlight of my trip is finding the love lock bridge. That was just magical, but Paris did tear down the bridge in 2015. I must say the French’s fashion is superior! Really, the locals are well-dressed making me look, erm, dirty-like. Even though it was around 80 degrees, the men are in blazers and oxford shoes. The women are in flowing skirts, and strutting down the sidewalks in high heels. They all look so professional and adult-like.

Thinking back, I would’ve done things differently. I won’t use debit cards to make purchases anymore except for taking out cash. I know better than to stay in the hostel, when there are bars opened down a few blocks.

There’s a list of reasons why I want to travel tho. I want to be found while being lost in a new country. I would like to volunteer for international organizations. I want to create everlasting friendships from all over the globe just like how I met my hilarious friend Nate in Koi Phi Phi. I intend to visit him in the next two years again or maybe sooner. I want to climb mountains overlooking beautiful cliffs. I would like to run through temples or with the local children living in the remote areas of Laos.

Of course, I can’t forget trying out new dishes, learn a new language, redeem myself while scuba diving, meditate in Bali, and so so so much more. Do you want to try travel? What purposes are driving you to travel? My reasons are kind of lame but I once read from a solo traveler who wrote that the mysterious vastness of the earth outweighs her loneliness or sickness she caught throughout her trips. I feel that. I feel it deep inside my soul, and I would like to travel to fulfill that curiosity ever since I turned 20.

On my own: halfway reflection

One of the most uncomfortable feelings I encounter living away in another state is loneliness. It has expanded into the course of a month now, and quite frankly, I’ve become an expert ignoring loneliness which resulted into a breakdown this morning. Nobody has prepared me for this because rarely anyone in my life has been alone. Most of my family members are married with kids. Some of my closest friends are married, in committed(?) relationships, and some are residing within traveling distance of their loved ones. I truly miss them. My situation is quite different from them. I am single with no kids, no pets, and I live in another state.

I was certain for a long time that I wanted to move away for my own good. I really believed I could love, maybe tolerate some people from a safe distance, because really, you cannot live with toxic people. It drains the light out of you. I never anticipated how much I needed friends and some families to be nearby. You may ask, why the hell did I move away? Well, I’m foolish and terribly stubborn.

It wasn’t all like this in the first few months. I was empowered to have a full-time job, and I was finally a full-time adult. I don’t necessarily count college as entering into adulthood, but rather, a small trial of adulthood. A safety net. Our families are nearby for emotional and financial support. If not that, there was financial aid where students get to spend the remaining of their funds on whatever they pleased.

The honeymoon stages of my adulthood quickly fizzled into a dull routine. It was nothing like how I could ever imagined. My job no longer felt stimulating, and I was devastated when I learned my position could not cross train in different departments. The worse part is coming home with no one to share my thoughts with in person.

I relish on human interactions. Speaking over the phone or through messaging feels…..rushed. I miss the honest conversations. I miss seeing the lines form on a person’s face, the way a person tucks their hair back, or even the way they walk seemed lovely. I may sound so lonely, but I have perpetually delighted on observing every person’s small stroke of being a human being. Besides, social media gives me digital fatigue.

So you know what I did? I blamed myself for leaving everyone, for incurring so much debt on a career that I’m unsure about. I just can’t deal with myself anymore, so I’ve been ignoring my feelings. I stopped meditating. I subconsciously tuned myself out, and that broke me. The breakdown I mentioned earlier? It was long overdue. I was sick of being sick and feeling guilty. It was like a cloud of shame following me everywhere. I knew I had to forgive myself. This feeling no longer serves me.

It’s easier said than done. I hate sitting in meditation and admitting my faults out loud, or the “what-if’s” scenarios – it takes a toll, but the waterworks always works. People call it crying, I call it cleansing of the soul. I had to force myself to sit through a meditation, and deliver an emotional freedom technique (EFT) tapping.

It is true, the first year living away is the hardest of all. I’m still learning through all of my struggles. I have learned that you need to be the hero of your own story before you can be with someone else. You need to mother yourself when no one is there to comfort you. You need to be the student that is willing to continue learning from young or old. You need to be the teacher that’ll set your own deadlines now, and you need to believe in yourself in the worse time of your life.

Today marks the end of my probationary period at work. I can now take off work for vacation which is somewhat exciting, but I’m still hungover from my guilt. I will continue my healing practices to overcome my choices. I will end with this quote that I frequently read every day at work:

“Don’t abuse yourself later for what you didn’t know now” – Elizabeth Gilbert

 

After College

Two days ago marked a year of graduating from college. The first year went by rather quickly. Too quick. On the same day, I received an email from UWM tech notifying me the deletion of my D2L account. Since I’m no longer an active student for 2 months, my D2L account is to be considered deleted. This makes me so sad. I spent 6 fucking years at UWM, endless hours working on projects, laughing with friends on stupid videos, and sipping on bitter coffee to stay awake.

College really shaped me into the person that I needed to be. Not only did it prepare me for a career, but I grew a thicker skin, I picked up social cues faster, I met a diverse of friends, I first traveled internationally, got my first credit card, bought a car, dealt with fuckboys, learned how to be a better cook, and so much more. It was extremely hard for me to grow up like that in college but I pushed through. I had nothing else to fall back on if I went back home. I made it a mission to complete college and I could not wait to graduate. Just like any other graduates, I am glad to be leaving school for good but I will never forget what college did to me.

So deleting D2L also meant erasing a part of how my life really began at 20. This is why this blog is much needed. I need to record all the things that I will continue to do in my life on here. My goals, desires, milestones, achievements, failures, transitions, success, open discussions, inspiration, and connection. Right now, I can only keep working forward and be grateful in the present.