Interview: A Tale of Two Jans

Ladies and gentlemen, I have the pleasure of interviewing someone very special to me today, and I am so pleased to introduce you to Janise, who is currently joining me from the year 2009. How are you today, Janise?
Continue reading “Interview: A Tale of Two Jans”

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Dream Journal 8/30/16

The school’s layout was really weird…

I was looking at a large apartment to rent with my friends Adara and Callie, who I hadn’t seen since high school. We decided to move out to California together to go back to school, though I’m not sure what for. Continue reading “Dream Journal 8/30/16”

Daily Prompt 6/19/2016 | Wandering Aimlessly

Is this all there is for us?

[In response to The Daily Post’s Daily Prompt 6/19/2016 | Aimless]

Ten years ago, if you would have asked me where I saw myself in ten years, I would have given you a detailed rundown of my 26-year-old self. Married, with my Master’s in Psychology, working as a counselor in a high school, living in a four bedroom house, with a big back yard, a desk and a pool, two kids, a dog or two… you get the idea. When I was in high school, I had dreams. I had ambitions. I had drive.

Not so much these days.

After I graduated high school, moved out of my mom’s house, and moved to Canada to go to a university with my then boyfriend, I realized that the world was a much different place than the one I had been taught about, and I was woefully unprepared. The world didn’t care about my dreams, or my struggles to achieve them. The world just didn’t care. It still doesn’t.

I left the university after just one year, several thousand dollars in debt, and unable to find work to pay it off. I had to move back to the US, and struggled to find work. After months of searching, and living on my friends’ couch because I could not afford my own place, I found a job at McDonald’s. My first job. I was 19 years old, working with kids still in high school, and I was miserable. Despite working 40 hours a week, my entire paycheck went towards my share of the rent and bills, and literally nothing else.

Cut to over 7 years later, and this is still the case. I’ve spent my entire adult life, moving from dead end job to dead end job, always making minimum wage, and always struggling to make ends meet. I’ve never been able to save up money, I’ve never been able to go back to school, and I’ve moved around so many times that I have no stable group of friends or support group.

The dream that I had for my future self died as soon as I graduated, and the world just kept kicking me when I was down, and made sure that I never made dreams for myself again. So here I am, wandering aimlessly through life, feeling like I am going nowhere fast. Wondering if my little family and I will ever catch a break, and get the chance to do something to better our future.

Is this all there is for us?

Thanks for reading, friends.

Jan

Happy Father’s Day to all the dads out there!

Daily Prompt 5/24/2016 | Quarter-Life Crisis

I am closer to 30 than I am to 20, and while I have been for over a year, technically, it is really just starting to hit me now.

In response to The Daily Post’s Daily Prompt | Phase

I am 26 years 0 months 27 days old.
I am 312 months 27 days old.
I am 1360 weeks 4 days old.
I am 9,524 days old.
I am 228,576 hours old.
I am 13,714,560 minutes old.
I am 822,873,600 seconds old… well, roughly.

I am closer to 30 than I am to 20, and while I have been for over a year, technically, it is really just starting to hit me now. I’m at the age now where, not only have many of my friends graduated with a 4-year degree from college, but some now also have Master’s degrees. Many of my friends have reached their goals as graduates, and go to their dream jobs (or something close to it, at least), and make money, and then go home to their house, that they own, and drink wine, while watching Netflix… or whatever it is functioning adults do. Even if they didn’t go to, or graduate from, college… everyone seems to be doing better than me in life. Everyone. Because of this, I’ve become withdrawn, bitter, and angry. I’m sure people are tired of my whining and complaining, since the advice and tough love that I used to receive from friends and loved ones has been replaced by absolute silence. But just for fun, let’s reach into my mind for a moment.

I have no degree, but still owe my old college money, 7 years later.
I have no job (granted, that’s because I stay home with my son, but before that, it was endless, dead end jobs).
I have no house, and constantly get stuck renting horrible places, because that is all I can afford, because of the previous two things.
I have no car, I don’t even have a license. This makes remedying ANY of the precious three things much more difficult.

I am going nowhere. I am getting older, and my life is going absolutely nowhere. I had such high hopes for myself when I was younger, and everything went wrong. For a long time, I blamed everything falling apart on other people/things. I was in such a hurry to grow up, and prove that I was an adult, that I forgot that I was just a stupid, broke kid. I refused to accept help, or listen to reason, because I wanted people to think I had it all under control. But I didn’t.

I had to drop out of college after one (terrible) year because I could no longer afford it. I thought I had my student loan situation handled, but I didn’t, and it all fell through. My mom gave me a loan to cover my first semester so that I would be able to finish the year, but then I couldn’t pay for my second semester. I still owe both my mom, and the school, money. As I said… it has been 7 years, and thanks to my track record of moving every year, and landing nothing but minimum wage jobs, I haven’t been able to make a dent in that debt. I hadn’t gone to school out of the country, to go to school with my then boyfriend, and get away from my family, I could have gone to the local community college, and probably have graduated. I could have gotten my degree, and maybe saved some money by staying at home, and gotten my own place.

Everything that I have done in my adult life, I’ve done for the wrong reasons. For love, for a guy, for convenience… I never thought of the consequences of any of my actions, and now I am stuck dealing with all of them at once, at a stage in my life when I should have my shit at least somewhat together. I wanted to grow up too fast, and now I’m stuck feeling like a helpless child, unable to move forward with my life because I don’t have any of the means to do so.

I am tired of it. Despite my thirst for even a shred of independence, I am always stuck relying on other people just to survive. To help bring me to work, to help bring me to the store, to help me with money when shit goes wrong, to share my space and help me pay the bills because minimum wage just doesn’t cover it, even in a slum. I’ve had to rely on other people throughout my entire adult life, up to this point, and I am ashamed. I have a son now, and while he depends on me 100%, I still depend on everyone around me. I don’t want him growing up knowing that his mother was useless. That she never finished college, and never had a decent job, and never did anything important with her life. And I want so much more for him, so he does not turn out like me, but how do you instill those values in your child, when you are hardly an example yourself?

I try to live without regrets, but when it comes down to it, I feel like I regret everything. I am torn between wishing I could have done everything differently, and wishing I had done nothing differently, because it would have changed my present 110%. Would my life be better? Would it be worse? Would I even be alive?

I don’t sleep anymore. When I do sleep, I hardly dream. I am always tired, despite doing nothing with my life, and I am always sad. I am sad, and angry, and tired. Sometimes, I wonder why I even bother getting out of bed. Everything feels pointless. And I don’t know what to do about any of it. I am stuck.

Is this what they call a quarter-life crisis? Or is this an existential crisis? Either way, it sucks.

Thanks for reading, friends.

Jan

Dream Journal 4/17/16 | Locker Room

I was attending some kind of lecture at a college campus. I was all the way in the back of a huge auditorium, with horrible acoustics, and I could not hear the speaker at all. Everyone around me was falling asleep. I stood up and clapped when everyone else did, even though I had no idea what was going on, and we all left. In the hall, a woman instructed the men to head to the men’s locker rooms and shower, and for the women to do the same. I went with the crowd of women to the locker room, where everyone started taking out gym bags filled with clothes, towels, shampoo, etc. I started to panic, as I did not have any of these things.

I went to the door to leave, but the woman was blocking the way, and told me that I HAD to shower. I asked her why, because it made no sense, and she pushed me backwards into the room. I started walking around frantically, trying to find someone who could help me, but I realized that I did not know a single woman there. After some frantic running around, I found my friend, Lindsey, and begged her to let me borrow her shampoo. She looked at me, and started laughing, telling me no. I started crying, and tried to run from the room again, but the woman guarding the door stopped me and started shouting. I shoved her, and she hit the wall behind her, and started shouting at someone to grab me before I started running.

And then I woke up.

Lindsey, I love you, but damn!

Dream Journal 3/23/16

[Since I’ve been so busy being glued to the couch with my sick, clingy toddler for nearly two weeks, I haven’t had any time to type out the dreams from my dream journal. I finally have a few minutes today, so here is dream 1 of 3.]

I was at a graduation party with my high school best friend, Adara, and a few other people. Her younger brother was graduating from college, and we were in a beautifully decorated mansion, filled with nicely dressed people. Adara and I, along with a random dream created girl, were upstairs drinking, and Adara was getting crazy. The more she drank, which was quite a lot, the smaller she shrunk, until she was about the size of an American Girl doll, less than 2 feet tall. The other girl and I went to find her brother, but couldn’t, and when we found Adara in the bathroom a few moments later, she was in the process of falling off of the toilet, and hitting her head on the sink.

Dream girl and I picked her up, which looked incredibly awkward, as she was still very tiny, and we were holding her as though she were normal sized. We carried her downstairs, and two guys came up to us and tried to pull her away, saying that no one was allowed to leave. I punched one of them in the face, and we loaded Adara into the back of her brother’s car, where he was waiting for us. He told us that he needed to stop at Walmart for something, and that he would be quick, but instead, he pulled into the driveway of another mansion, and got out, leaving us there for a long time.

It started to rain, and the other girl and I grabbed Adara, carrying her in the same awkward position and started running with her toward the hospital in the distance. There were sports cars speeding by us, and people drunkenly hollering to us.

At the hospital, her mom was in the waiting room, and she started hitting us with her purse and telling us it was our fault that Adara ended up like this, because she is allergic to alcohol. The other girl started crying, and a doctor came and put Adara on a tiny stretcher and carried her away. Adara’s mom took a place of cookies out of her purse and started eating them, but told us that we couldn’t have any because we were both bitches.

That’s the last thing I remember before.

5 Pictures, 5 Stories | Part 2

Hello, friends! I recently posted a blog entitled 5 Pictures, 5 Stories, which people really seemed to enjoy! I really like going through old pictures, and reliving memories of the past, so I thought that I would do it again. So here we go, 5 Pictures, 5 Stories | Part 2.

1. New York, New York
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Back row: April, me, Danielle. Front row: Barbara, Kat, Theoni.
The summer after my junior year in high school, I had the amazing experience of going to NYC with several of my soon-to-be senior friends in the Upward Bound program. This also happened to be the weekend that the final Harry Potter book in the series was being released, marking the end of our collective childhoods, and we all bought it, and basically all finished reading it that weekend. It was amazing. I struggled so hard, because I was the first person to finish the book, and I wanted to talk about it SO badly, but I had to wait. This picture was taken in Central Park, the day after the release. I still in contact with all of these wonderful ladies, and I miss them all so much.

2. Manduca Sexta
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The summer before the summer that I went to NYC, I had an internship in the Biology department at the University of Southern Maine (I was part of the UB program for 4 years total). My boss was a very tall, very nerdy man, who was obsessed with Harry Potter, and we got along amazingly. I also worked with a young woman named Muna, and another guy… whose name I can’t remember. My main job, every day, was to take care of the Manduca sexta caterpillars, in all of their various life cycles. Every day, I would:

a) Scrape the eggs off of tobacco plant leaves leaves from the moth cage, and put them into little containers with slices of wheat germ loaf (which I also made).
b) Take out the hatched eggs from the days before, and transfer them into bigger containers with more food.
c) Take the even BIGGER caterpillars from the days before that from their containers, and put them in even bigger containers with food.
d) Take the biggest caterpillars, which were ready to begin their chrysalis stage, and put them in wooden blocks with holes drilled in them, and store them away.
e) And finally, take the oldest blocks, with the already formed chrysalis, and put them in a giant moth cage. However, I was not allowed to open the moth cage myself, because the dust on their wings was dangerous to inhale, and at my height, they would fly directly into my face. My very tall boss handled that part.

The best part was that all of this was for cancer and tumor research. Something about how the caterpillars go from having multiple eyes within an eye (sort of like a fly), to two eyes as a moth… or something… I never fully understood it, but it was an amazing experience, and I loved it so much. I enjoyed the work, and keeping meticulous records on all my little bug friends. I wanted to be a forensic entomologist for the longest time, and being able to work closely with scientists and these insects was an amazing experience.

3. Dancing Kings
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These are my friends, Julien and George. When I was accepted into the Upward Bound program as a freshman, which is pretty uncommon, I had a hard time making friends. As an upcoming sophomore, I was a whole year or two younger than everyone, and my awkwardness and shyness didn’t help me connect to anyone. Until I met Julien and George, who were two years older than me, and best friends. They were both genius level intelligent, and I still have no idea why they chose to befriend me, but I’m not complaining.

We had very similar interests in music (Julien introduced me to the Foo Fighters, George introduced me to Pink Floyd), books, and video games… including DDR. I had been playing DDR (Dance Dance Revolution) for only a year, mostly in the privacy of my own living room, when I met them. We started a DDR group in the lounge, and spent all of our free time playing. They were both incredible, and pushed me so hard to be good at it. This picture was taken at the Friends and Family Night Talent Show, which I was too afraid to enter. They KILLED it. That was the last summer I spent with them, as they went to  different school, but they helped me become more confident in myself, and also helped me get on a healthy track with my weight loss. I lost 45 pounds between my junior and senior years, and I owe it all to them.

4. Little Sister
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This is a picture of the last time I ever saw my little sister, Desiree. The picture was taken at her 4th birthday party, the summer that I left for college. Desiree had been taken from my father and his girlfriend, along with her other two girls, and had been adopted by a woman named Amy, and her husband. I was not able to visit them often, and was fed a lot of bullshit reasons as to why. In 2012, I flew to Maine as a surprise for my mom, and had planned to visit them, but my grandmother, who had known of my plans all along, told me that I could not. According to her, despite my sister knowing she was adopted, she would not understand who I was, or how we were related… yet she understood who our grandmother was, and she was allowed to visit frequently. I was so angry. This beautiful girl is 11 years old now. Maybe I’ll get to see her again at her wedding. Who knows? I also now have a 4 year old sister, who was also taken from my father, who I may never see again as well. Family

5. Relay For Life
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I had the honor and privilege to participate in our local Relay for Life event for 3 summers in a row. Kyle’s grandmother and mother both have teams, and Kyle had been doing it since he was young. His grandmother is a breast cancer survivor, as is mine, and my uncle died of a brain tumor, and I wanted to be a part of this so badly. This picture was taken in the summer of 2014, when I was 3 months pregnant, at the last Relay event that I attended. That is our stand in the background, which was boxing themed, to match the Relay theme of “Finish the Fight“.

We had our snow cone machine set up, which Kyle and I manned every year, as well as trinkets for sale, and a boxing ring and props for pictures. This was the first year that the event had to be held indoors, due to weather, and we had to fit our tent inside the hallways of the high school. The turnout was still great, and we ended up raising the second largest amount of money out of the two dozen teams there. Kyle’s mom joined a nursing program that same year, and we had to say goodbye to our Relay team. Hopefully we can do it again in the future, especially after this incredibly emotional year, where we have already lost so many to this disease. Fuck cancer!

Thank you for reading, friends!

Jan