Writing: Your Cure to Happiness

I’ve always thought of myself as a better writer than a speaker. Don’t get me wrong, I’m pretty darn good at sharing my own thoughts, building relationships and what-not. However, there’s something about writing that is so much easier. So therapeutic.

I’ve always fancied the idea that I was always careful with words before initiating in conversation. While that concept alone may be debatable by -ahem- my mother, for instance, I have to admit that I find it much easier to blurt out words on paper than in person.

Maybe it has to do with the fact that I’m a better listener. Writing has always soothed my nerves on a bad day. I find comfort in typing away at my thoughts, feelings, dreams and ambitions because I can do so at my own pace. On my own terms. It helps me organize my mind a bit more.

Perhaps it has a lot to do with the fast-paced lifestyle of us Los Angelenos, who, for the most part, prefer getting straight-to-the-point. With creative writing, you don’t always have to care what others think of you. There’s already a lot of freedom in that.

You have so much more space and time to get your mind out there. At the end of the day, writing is another outlet to share our daily struggles.

Even if no one reads your writing, at least you can write about your problems and then delete it whenever you’d like. If you choose to publish content, it might just save someone else’s life.

Spinning Out of Control: When The World Comes Crashing Down

My head keeps spinning and I’m starting to lose track of time. As of the past few weeks, I’ve been facing the reality of losing my one and only job as a cashier. I now spend the majority of my time applying for jobs left and right. If not that, then I network with people on LinkedIn or the ones I meet through work.

As soon as I get home from my evening and night shifts, I’m as good as a vegetable. These past three days have only presented themselves as a litmus test as I barely manage to get home by 9 p.m. at the very least. Somehow, I manage to find time to work with my editor-in-chief from my new magazine internship.

I’ve only joined within the past week-and-a-half and already, she seems pretty understanding of it all. Today, however, stressed me out in so many ways. As soon as I woke up, I submitted my 11th job application this past month, took their 10-minute assessment, and started working on an assignment for my internship.

But every step I took backfired and I made mistakes that cost me an hour or two of productivity. Time flew by before I even realized that my deadline was tomorrow, not in two days.

I’m trying to do as much as I can with my current situation. As I began to type the first paragraph of this blog post, my boyfriend called back to talk some sense into me. While all of the above is important, I have to drop one thing off of my schedule— applying for another job on my own.

I have to agree, I’ve submitted as many as I could already. Except for the applications I’m about to submit with the help of a friend I’ll call “S,” who I thank from the bottom of my heart.

Aside from that, I’ll just have to figure out how to balance everything else. It’s amazing how crying and talking over the phone can change your day. I’m going to make mistakes, but I’m not going to give up!

How An Emergency Hospital Visit Improved My Relationship With Mom

It’s 1:04 a.m. and I just got home from a near-by hospital about 10 minutes ago. Mom woke up feeling dizzy, which happens occasionally, but today, however, proved to be an exceptional case. She continued to lie down on her bed throughout the day, hoping the feeling would go away.

She called off work, canceled a prior engagement and debated whether or not she should head straight to the hospital. It took about eight hours later before we actually did.

By then, mom’s hands began to stiffen and shrivel up. Her breathing became labored and her eyes were sinking in. So I left the apartment around 9 p.m. and started driving toward the hospital as fast as I could, thinking of the worst that could happen.

I arrive at the Emergency Care parking lot and rush over to the entrance, leaving mom in the car. I meet a security guard to inform him that my mom is having a hard time breathing and that she needs a wheelchair because she can’t walk.

He tells me to drive up into the drop-off zone, where he meets us along with a nurse before wheeling mom off into the facility. I re-park my car and rush again to the entrance, where same the security guard hands out a few documents attached to a clipboard.

I enter the waiting room to inform the receptionist about everything that had just happened up until now. He points me to the where the other visitors are sitting. I settle into an empty seat, where I begin to fill out the papers to the best of my abilities. I turn them in promptly. In less than 10 minutes later, my mom’s sitting on the other side of the waiting room looking much worse than earlier.

“I’m having a stroke!,” she says. Her lips were beginning to appear distorted and were stiffening up like her hands. As someone without any medical experience, that idea seemed rather convincing.

I began massaging the stiffer parts of her face around the lips, which were slanting to the right. I rubbed both of her hands as if I was making a fire to keep them warm. Like all mothers, however, she kept worrying about everything that was going on around her and of course, she was always thinking about me.

Despite the current circumstances regarding her health, mom still had enough energy to nag. I tried blocking out some of the stuff I heard while telling her “Mom, please calm down! Stop thinking so much!” My voice quivered as I tried to hold back the tears.

We wait a little longer before mom’s name is called. The nurses do a brief check-up before she meets the doctor, who diagnoses her with an anxiety attack.

She then goes through four different tests to determine the state of her health, which turned out great! While waiting for the nurses to assist us, I kept trying to talk her into calming down.

“Our relationship is pretty difficult, but it’s always times like this that we work better together,” I say.

“Why do you have to wait until the situation becomes like this?,” she asks.

“If I were too close to you, I would be too emotional. I actually prefer it this way. That’s where you and I are different.” I say.

She pauses before looking to the opposite direction because clearly, white-painted walls are interesting to look at. 

Our conversation takes a turn toward more positive topic like how well I do at my current job. We share a moment smiling together, which rarely ever happens.

As we leave the hospital, we make an exit while holding hands. We are grateful for the news that mom is healthy. She is definitely less stressed. I think I’ll sleep well tonight.

UPDATE: 9/29/18 9:38 a.m.

Mom’s still asleep. Her breathing is normal. She threw up a lot before going to bed at 2 a.m.

 

What to expect when getting laid off

I never expected to lose my job this way. Sure, you hear about it happening on the news, but you never really think it could happen to you. I found out less than 24 hours ago, just as I was about to end my shift and leave for the day.

“I really don’t know how to do this any better,” my boss said before announcing to our entire team that we’ll be laid-off within the next couple of months. I turn to a younger woman sitting to my right, who appears to be in shock. “It’s going to be okay,” I tell her as I pat her shoulder and give her a hug.

To my right is a gentleman who seems to he taking the news a little harder. He has to go home and try to explain this to his family. The rest of the group never looked so lifeless. There were a couple of people, on the other hand, who tried to add bits of humor here and there as this meeting came to an end.

I waited for the group to disperse before walking up to my boss. “You did good,” I told him. “Thank you for telling us in person and not over the phone. Before you process all of this, just remember that it didn’t have anything to do with you. People are going to be upset at the situation, so don’t take it personally. You have to be strong when you announce this tomorrow. Don’t show it.”

“We’re both young. We have our whole lives ahead of us,” he says before giving me a hug. With me being half his height, you couldn’t tell who was being consoled.

I head over to the time clock to finally log myself out for the day. On my way toward the exit, I ask the assistant manager how she’s doing. For someone who’s spent nearly half of her life in this occupation it must be a blow. Of course she’s having a hard time processing it!

As I drive over to my boyfriend’s house, I couldn’t help but wonder about how this could impact some of my coworkers. One is trying to support her family, the other appears to be living alone and so-and-so’s got an elderly mother to care for.

I turn into the driveway as I approach the house. As I hug my boyfriend, tears begin to stream down my face. “Thank you for sharing this with me. This is the best news I could’ve gotten! You didn’t get fired or leave, but you got laid off. It won’t negatively impact you the next time you apply for another job. If anything, the past several months should’ve boosted your confidence.”

“You’re right!” I think to myself. So here I am writing this blog after re-vamping my résumé. For the past five months, I’ve boosted my confidence and acquired new skills that will help me in any field that I pursue. I’ve met so many amazing people along the way and I know that there will be many more that I’ll meet in the future. I’m already looking forward to my next adventure!

Chicken noodle soup for the tired soul

The first time I ever felt depressed was when I was 11 years old back in 2004. I was staring down at my bathtub surrounded by dark and cool white walls that resembled what I’d imagine to be like an asylum. Not much air flowed through the room in addition to it being lifeless and dull that one’s voice could echo across the room.

As I faced to look outside past the barred windows, everyday seemed pretty grey. Regardless of whether or not the weather was nice, I wasn’t really allowed to enjoy much of it. Hence why everyday was easily a very dismal day. But this day was different. For once, I felt a sense of melancholy which then turned into a void.

My soul felt exhausted as if I’d lived much longer than someone my age. No feelings, just emptiness like a barren wasteland. Yet, I couldn’t understand why for many years after that. These thoughts and feelings never really stopped. Like poison, they sunk back right in to rot my mind, body and soul.

I knew that I couldn’t afford medical attention. Even if I could, I was too shy to talk about my problems with anyone let alone a professional. Five years pass until I hit my final straw- or so I thought.

I was tired of peer pressure and other not-so-pleasing circumstances that come with being impoverished. So I stood yet again, hovering over my bathtub, but this time, I wasn’t alone. I came with a small kitchen knife, debating whether or not I should just plunge it into my gut.

At that moment in my life, I saw the faces of everyone I cared for flash before my eyes. I walked to the kitchen to return the knife. As each year passed, I slowly started to understand myself more. I was still depressed, but never diagnosed as such.

While I did face similar issues as I got older, I survived every one of those episodes with more experience. In a sense, it was all a work-in-progress to build resolve in fighting through the trials and tribulations that have yet to come my way.

Beer Glass Half Full

I’m nervous, no, anxious walking into this brewery 40 minutes south of Downtown LA. Like a lost puppy, I follow my friend who is equally as lost as I am. It makes no sense but it comforts me because for the first time, I’m living a social life that’s not work-related.

So here I sit, eating mini Macheen Birria tacos and downing my very first glass of beer since attending university. It’s only after eating that I down one-third of a small glass, reliving times when I was suffering through depression.

Back when I wanted to feel numb just to escape from all of the stress on top of the pressures of being in college. Today, I stare at a glass half full, feeling relieved that I’ve come such a long way since then. I’m in a much happier place in my life now.

I’m not as nervous as I once was about being an impoverished blue-collar worker and breadwinner of my household. I just show up to work everyday, challenging myself to learn more about my surroundings.

I can say I’m much more experienced in facing the real world all while preparing myself for future endeavors. At least the glass is no longer half-empty, but refillable.

What it’s like to live in the past, present & future all at once

For 25 years I’ve survived many days but none so bittersweet as the one I’m living through right now. I’m currently sitting at a food court at CSULB, where I find myself traveling through pivotal moments in time. 

It was at this very spot where I frequently stopped by as a college student. I remember cramming in as much material as I could process and studying late into the night with my best friend Steph. 

I remember living in the present as opposed to planning for the future, especially as far as career prospects went for that matter. I had never planned to live this long, yet here I was. 

I knew that ideally, I’d want to get my Journalism degree first, but I could never focus on what I wanted to do beyond that. I had just transferred in as a junior and I already wanted to drop out. After a brief discussion with one of my professors, he urged me to do otherwise, so I stayed. 

As my senior year approached, I took a broadcasting course, where I was assigned to read Anderson Cooper’s Dispatches from the Edge: A Memoir of Wars, Disaster and Survival. Albeit a well-written book, I knew it was just a glimpse into the life of war correspondence. 

A career path that I’ve been considering since then because honestly, that may be where the real news is. Behind-the-scenes footage galore with a fate that lies heavily on the Gods who run today’s pop culture and cable T.V. 

Do I choose between fulfilling my role as an only child or to pursue one of many dangerous career paths? Especially now that I’m beginning to want a family of my own? Is war correspondence my ONLY interest as far as journalism goes?

Yet, here I am at the food court, a little over a year since I had graduated from here, reading Ron Kovic’s Hurricane Street and eyeing Carolyn M. Edy’s The Woman Correspondent, the U.S. Military, and the Press.

I figured I should catch up on some reading before meeting a career counselor now that I’m on campus. I had received these books not too long ago by an acquaintance named Robe. Enclosed in the last book is a letter he wrote that ends with, “Hope to read your work someday.” Hence why today is so bittersweet.

Correction: I no longer have free access to career counceling.