I Got Hired!

All my life I've wondered what it was like to be Tess McGill. I would just be a brown version of her with a huskier voice. I would be like my mother in a hosiery club for office decency. I expected to be in a corner office and wave to passerbys. Maybe I could be Mary Jane Paul when she's writing. I too could have a desk drawer with a fifth of vodka. There would be some snarling old man of a boss growling about my presence. I'd be so well-dressed and articulate. I'd be chosen for teams and put on big projects. I'd be able to lean in at the boardroom meeting.  


I work in an office with three other girls. The only guests we have are people from IT. 
I am the girl caged by a cherry wood desk.
I am that girl.

It doesn't matter where I went to school because we all did. It doesn't matter who is proficient in Office because we all have foggy moments in Excel. It is fucking freezing. The water cooler is always broken. Someone uses the conference room for working out. There is a plethora of mean girls who dress like B movie actresses. I take my work home with me every single day. I dream in spreadsheets. My boss is drop dead gorgeous and is the epitome of pure evil. She doesn't deny it either. The evil that is. 

I applied to make coffee. I now specialize in severed limbs. On a good day I'll do my hair and put on heels. Most days I am rolling out of bed. If I didn't have time to make a salad I'll scavenge the complimentary snack basket or order Chinese with the masses. No one uses Square because cash is more trustworthy. I can listen to Pandora with one ear bud. I get yelled at 2.3 times a week for things completely out of my control. Email is a more public form of accountability. I caught someone looking at porn in a cubicle my first week. Yes, office life is everything I thought it would be.



Feeling Good

FYI I wasn't on the verge of anything. I was just thinking of ways to re-route my life. I had been out of work for nearly two months. There was only $46 left of a combined severance and late commission check in my bank account. The kindness of friends and strangers alike kept the lights on and I was beginning to think this was the end. My Etsy account never took off. While I'm pleased that people favorite everything, I can't eat off virtual hearts and Pinterest shares. I had begun to apply for up to fifteen jobs a day. I wasn't using auto-fill and at times I was forced to reformat my resume; it was a chore. The unemployment process was confusing and ultimately denied my denial and asked that I apply again in a month. I had a decent interview cancel on me. I had another offer me a different role that I had already settled for. I interviewed and basically begged for the job and an hour later I was hired. I got a job! However, I got it on two hours of sleep. On tears of desperation. With an i and n missing in the word "maintaining" on my spell-checked, proofread and professionally printed resume. I got it in $15 tax week pants and humidity soaked hair. I also got it halfsies for it is basically temp work under the guise of a career move. So all the while I dreamed of backup plans - of winning the lottery or switching majors to fine arts. I watched videos of installation projects as thesis and I prayed that the government wouldn't shut down when I won. Now I work in an office bustling with people. I use a Windows computer and I actually like 10. I sit in the hallways on my lunch reminiscent of high school and I wonder if they like me. However, all of this is evidence that I and I alone control my own destiny. No one has won the Powerball and the deadline for Maine's intensive is in February. I still have unemployment. I still have North Carolina. I still have an Etsy. I now have a cat. I have several new and free coffee mugs. I pick new hairstyles to wear off YouTube every night. I have friends in low and high and far places. I also have a hundred people to talk to about this or that. And I'm getting paid for it. I even upgraded myself with a SunPass. Things are looking up I guess. I'm feeling good.


Comparison is the Thief of Joy

I will make this brief. I am on the brink. 


I Got Fired

I was fired a week and two days ago. I have never been fired or let go from a job before. I don't know exactly how to process everything. I was also not given a reason for my firing so I cannot hold myself responsible. I have grappled with the reasons why I may have been fired which makes me wonder about my purpose. I thought that I would be consumed by this and the opposite has happened. I feel free. I have come to several conclusions on my own but I am still waiting for a response. I hope that someone will validate my feelings or tell me where to go. Today I figured I really don't have to wait anymore.


In The Case of Dating An Alien: A Tale of Caution and Frustration

When I got out of my situation in late 2014 I promised myself to be happy. For me happiness involves being invested in good people, being loved, sharing insights and living life as intended versus whatever everyone else thinks. I put down my laptop for just shy of a month and I insisted upon meeting someone who could reward me for all my sacrifices. I looked for this said individual under every rock. I also told my mother and family friends that when I found him I would dedicate myself to settling down. I even threatened to marry the first man I met and have a child within one year of meeting him. The day I got back I met someone. In fact, the exact moment. While I was vague with him about my life, he was rather forthcoming with me. He explained that he had been on his own since age 14, estranged from his parents, had come to this country chasing a girl and now worked ungodly hours to make up for lost time. I understood everything. Or so I thought. Within weeks we were dating or "fake dating" as I called it. His European senses made everything so damn formal. I just wanted to get to know him and immediately it had to be dinner over a tablecloth. While it was unusual in my dating experience to be wined & dined, I'm not going to say I didn't like it. I loved it. He showered me in affection, we talked on the phone for hours and I felt I had met if not "the one" but a proper candidate as planned. 

And then the lights dimmed out.

Too Little, Too Late

I've been gone for a while and in this time things have gotten heavy in the travel editorial/advice/trend world. There are a zillion new publications in the online blog and travel zine realm. There are also all sorts of new innovations and destinations - Cuba, Ecotourism, Missionary Trips etc. With all these "developments" comes a whole new wave of interest, criticism, thought, planning etc. In my opinion, it's like going to Mars or setting out to find the "brave new world". Someone has to do it, there has to be a pioneer and then everyone follows suit. There will be growth and changes, but for now there is zero perspective in how it all turns out. That is where people like me fall in. We provide some experience - not all, but just enough to encourage those who are on the brink of discovery. While I myself have not stepped on a plane since 2013, I advocate for travel on a daily basis. No matter where I am or who I meet I am asking if they have a passport and what are their plans. I am also delving into all these hot topics hoping to be of use when the things become a thing.


The Case of Traveling with Affluenza

In the past weeks I've found myself in the midst of people who travel but in a different way. These are the people of extreme wealth who have others make the arrangements. They simply have a destination in mind and someone else makes it happen. They strongly believe there are people paid to do this. Why should they ever have to deal with the stress of planning their own vacation? It doesn't stop there. They don't want to check in. They don't want to claim bags. They don't even want to see their accommodations upon arrival. They have it just so that all checks and balances are already in place. All they have to do is "vacay" but I don't know what that has to do with the art of traveling. What title do you claim if you are barely a tourist and you don't even want to stay a while? I guess you are the affluent pseudo traveler, eh?

Imagine telling someone you spent the summer of 2013 abroad. It wasn't for school. It wasn't for work. My grandmother didn't pay for it. I wasn't with a rich boyfriend. No. I quit my job, took the majority of my own hard earned cash and went for no good damn reason. Just think about the luxury of being able to own that despite everything that happened. It all rolls off the tongue because you are proud and full of a memories. You then go into detail of how you were someplace new every 3.5 days and you arranged it all. There was no agent or tour guide. There was no chapter or group. There was only a few planes and a lot of trains. There were no rental cars and you only took a handful of taxis. You feel like you can conquer the world. 

"Well when I went to Rome it was with my travel group and everything was taken care of. We arrived at the airport and took a bus to the city. Then we simply pulled up right in the city center and we were allowed to wonder. We then found a bite to eat and came back to our hotel when we felt like it. Our bags were already in our rooms and everything was arranged going forth!"  - Blind Date/Alpha Male

Well must be friggin nice!? 

I'm sorry I couldn't even begin to challenge the notion that his time was nicer than mines. Logistically, he had an amazing trip! He didn't touch anything - not even his own bags! He didn't sign anything. He barely even walked anywhere. What a way to travel in style! However, after that two hours of freedom you were slave to a tour guide and the fifteen other weirdos in the caravan. You went everywhere they did and if you tried to wonder off you'd be left behind. Not like you could figure it out on your own when that happened because all your shit was left at the hotel you yourself didn't check into. In all honesty, you are brave. You allowed someone and many others to hold your life in their hands all the while in a strange country you've never sat foot in before. 

Is my wonderful story being challenged because I pulled my own 360 carry on? Really?

Just when I thought that would be the last of that. I just assumed he would be the one in a million. I started collecting my bosses trashed "Destinations" magazines which not only advertises but highlights luxury tour trips. There are a zillion of them and they are all over the place. I saw ones from the South of France all the way to the Phillipines. Now if I could go to Asia I'm not sticking with a group of pasty retirees from Florida. I want my own experience of eating whole fish and oyster omlettes. I want to ride a bike. I want to surf. I'm not going to have someone teach me to make a Singapore Sling in an hour long course or visit "shoppes" for one hour. The audacity of taking all my money - all that money and making me stick to times!? No way, Jose!

It made me wonder what is most important to the wealthy and independent. Is it the idea that you can say you've been there or is it the opportunity to immerse yourself? I'm beginning to think it is all about what little I had to do versus all the things I could do. There's so much more to it and that is another or several blog entries. But why would you pay for a cruise experience while being on dry ground? Frankly, there is no one to ask these questions to. They are all too busy tromping my lil hillbilly excursion to Europe and throwing away really pretty travel mags. 

Must be nice….


Wunderlust and All of the Things

I told myself I would never get caught in the rigmarole of life again. Then I come back here and I allow it to happen just at a slow pace. And now. Well now it is as before. Not as heavy but just as thick. I can say taking a break from life as it was and as it is happens a lot. There isn't a day I don't stop to pinch myself. There isn't an hour where I don't look out into nothing. There isn't a weekend where I go inside myself and disappear. I fantasize about a life where this is not fretted upon. I want to go and never look for approval … not even of myself. Wherever my mind and heart takes me I will just go.


I work about 30 hours a week for and with a friend. It is a small slow paced environment full of rolling change. I am accommodated. I am asked if I'd like to come in later or take a day. I drink coffee. I sometimes have a highball of whiskey. I am left to my own devices. Most of it is beyond me and I've settled with that. Not above me. Beyond me. So I do as I am told and I sometimes dabble in wins. However, most days I am keying away at things I may never understand. This is the work I have longed for. I can sometimes get there in two minutes if I catch all the lights. I am home at the hour when no one else is. I never fight traffic. I sometimes catch the bus. I have grossed just over $1000 after taxes working for almost two months. I have never called my mother in the night. When I made $1200 every two weeks I called my mother often. I was always worried about the wrong things. Now I have learned that trash bags are all the same no matter where you get them from. I have Obamacare and I did keep all of the same doctors I have not seen in over two years. If I get a roommate or side hustle I will be rich. I will be the richest girl alive.


I live in 500 square feet. This is not the smallest place I've lived in. However, this is the most shit I've had in the least amount of space. I have learned to build things to organize it best. I have parted with my most daunting decorative burdens. I have a tiny kitchen with mediocre appliances. I have cooked meals of wonder in this kitchen. Kofte. Tuna Casserole. Pho. A few weeks ago I baked 36 cupcakes and 12 muffins in a night. I seldom vacuum. There just isn't much to it to notice a need. I DIY'd a hamper and spray painted it teal in the courtyard. I don't get much mail because I've been off the grid. I burn incense. I have a bowl of limes and blood oranges. I have people over almost every other day. I lived in 1600 square feet for a year and I never had a single person over. I brought a case of wine from the Carolinas and I feel the need to share. The overall theme to this place is to keep all the doors and windows open like Cleopatra and have parties every night. The air blows in. The glasses clink. The conversation flows. 


I've met who I thought was the one. I've been a Shiksa for a night. I took a call with someone who had pet raccoons. I've been offered to travel with a poly couple for a year. Someone told me this is dating. I haven't done it in long time but something feels off. I don't care for it but I do it because I am bored. On this dating site I've been in 1547 search results just tonight and apparently, allegedly 301 people "like" me. The guy down the street that drives the green truck hits on me 2.3 times a week. Maybe something is in the air. The one texted me till my eyes bled. The other invited me over for Chinese and has since messaged me odd tidbits like "today is the Ides of March, stay away from steak knives". At this rate the idea that I may come back, meet the love of my life and be married and with child in a year … well it has been postponed. I give myself until age 38 when Debi Mazar did it. I really don't love anyone but myself right now. And it shows.


For the past few months I have told myself over and over this blog is dead. I have said just because I am standing still doesn't mean I don't have the potential to go anywhere. I continually meet people who travel for business or work. I continue to talk up the importance of obtaining a passport. The other day I helped a woman on a motorcycle at Walmart put three bags of stuff into a mini backpack. There will soon be ferries to Cuba. JetBlue has $200 flights to Malaga. My boss throws away his monthly issue of Departures and I snag it. My French is getting so good. But so is my Russian, Politics, Catalan, Boolean, Portuguese and Farsi. I am not putting all my eggs in one basket. Ever. Again.

So I am loosely bound to my new identity and I can take it with me. I can also leave it behind in the right hands. I can come and go. In a book. At a gallery. Through a gaze. On his sofa. In the passenger seat. By the lake. Anytime. Whenever I want. Forever.


But Where O' Where Can We Be Safe?

I want to say it is simply a sign of the times. Where is it safe for me to wonder?  I am caught between where I do belong and equally as threatened when I cave into wanderlust? For the longest I'd been working on something to reflect the climate of racism and violence in America. That focus has blurred into so many other topics stemming from the origin of police violence to just human interaction anywhere on this planet. I hate to be the bearer of bad news - but I personally do not feel safe anywhere anymore. To make things worse - this is not an instinctual or intentional choice. My fear is involuntary. I have never been the type to be afraid. However, now I am made to be afraid of going anywhere, be it overseas or down the street.



It has been about a month since I've posted and I've been itching to say something. However, I thought it was best to meld into life as it was and see if I could juggle this and that and everything in between. I have been doing everything different. Christmas was … intimate. New Years was … casual. I kept the tree up until the second week of January. I started working just a few weeks ago. I take the bus versus drive the car. I invite people over for drinks. I let people see me without makeup. I spend my off days organizing my place and trying new restaurants. It is so different being normal again. I've been dating. I've been doing laundry. I've been baking. All through this, in the back of my mind …

I am still hurt.

Now I don't do resolutions. I come up with a word for the year and let it center me. These past few years my word choices have been too spot on. Last year I just let go of the concept because I feared what would come of it. Like I mentioned this holiday season was strange. It was so informal. It was long. It was too perfect. I simply forgot. But when someone reminded me of this hurt that I've suppressed, they gave me my word for 2015. It is "forgiveness". This is a word I do not believe in. I do not practice. Yet I have dwelled on pain, resentment, regret and mistakes for almost two years now. They phrased it like this - I don't need to forgive her. I need to forgive myself for what I did and for what I am still doing. 

I am doing way too much.

So what exactly does this mean? For me? For the blog?

Well, I see a bright future ahead when I release myself from these feelings. When I let go of this failure and disappointment. When I can move past the violation and the distrust. I strongly believe everything I learned will show itself. I left here a girl and came back a woman. Who can I hold responsible for this transformation? That bitch I made a mistake in traveling with. I forgive myself for making that mistake. I am letting go of the emotions that came with making that mistake. I no longer feel guilty about my choices. I can see the reward. Not only am I better person but she will learn too.  Someday what she learned will show itself as well. If I forgive myself, my vision will be clear, so I can see when that happens. 

forgive |fərˈgiv|verb ( past forgave past participle forgiven with obj. ]stop feeling angry or resentful toward (someone) for an offense, flaw, or mistake: I don't think I'll ever forgive David for the way he treated her.• (usu. be forgivenstop feeling angry or resentful toward someone for (an offense, flaw, or mistake): they are not going to pat my head and say all isforgiven | [ no obj. ] he was not a man who found it easy to forgive and forget.• cancel (a debt): he proposed that their debts should be forgiven.• used in polite expressions as a request to excuse or regard indulgently one's foibles, ignorance, or impoliteness: you will have to forgive my suspicious mind.PHRASESone could (or may ) be forgiven it would be understandable (if one mistakenly did a particular thing): the arrangements are so complex that you could be forgiven for feeling confused.DERIVATIVESforgiver nounORIGIN Old English forgiefan, of Germanic origin, related to Dutch vergevenand German vergeben, and ultimately to for- and give.

I am spending 2015 learning how to forgive. Happy New Year. Let's move on.