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!

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Daily Prompt 2/4/2016 | Alone In A Crowded Room

The Daily Post’s Daily Prompt 2/4/2016 | Naked with Black Socks

“Are you comfortable in front of people, or does the idea of public speaking make you want to hide in the bathroom? Why?”

My brain is complicated when it comes to my anxieties over people, and how I perform under pressure. Public speaking terrifies me. Speaking in a small group terrifies me. Speaking to someone one-on-one in a professional setting terrifies me, for example, if I am at an interview. Don’t even get me started on parties. I am a freaking turtle in her shell at parties. Despite my anxieties, I’m a pretty decent performer under pressure, especially when it comes to school. As long as I have something to focus on that is important to me, I’m usually able to able to conquer my anxieties, and come out on top… there is usually some sort of mini breakdown afterwards, but that is besides the point.

A good example of this is when I was a freshman in college. I was in an Environmental Sciences class, with mostly juniors and seniors, who were looking for easy science credits. I didn’t know anyone in the class, except for my then-boyfriend’s cousin, who really didn’t want anything to do with me. We were told to get into groups of four for group projects, and I just sat in the back, waiting for everyone to group up, so that I could join whoever was left.

The last 3 remaining were a group of girls, who I could tell right away felt that they had better things to do than be in the class. We introduced ourselves, and listened to the professor explain the project. Each group would pick a country out of a bowl, and we would have make a presentation on that country, including details about the economy, climate, religions, landmarks, etc. Each person in the group had to speak on a specific topic pertaining to the country, for 4-5 minutes, making the average group presentation about 16-20 minutes long. We would be presenting over the course of several days.

The entire time he spoke, I was sweating. I had never had to speak for more than 30-60 seconds in front of a group, and even then, it was usually a group of friends, or at least people I had known for a little while. My group seemed very disinterested, and I had a hard time getting their contact info so that we could work on our project together. They were all juniors and seniors, and none of them lived on campus, and when I suggested meeting in the library, they might as well have laughed in my face. Eventually, I convinced them that that was best, as I had no transportation off campus, and the library had a ton of resources for us to use.

In the following weeks, I realized that I was the only one in my group taking the project seriously. I was also the only one showing up to meetings. I would sit in the library, usually alone, unless my boyfriend came down to help me, working on my portion of the project, which was about the environment. Specifically, I was talking about the pollution of the Ganges River, and the endangered Ganges River Dolphin (oh, we got India, in case I didn’t mention that). My boyfriend even helped me sew a beautiful sari, which I spoke briefly about in the introduction of my part. I reached out to the other girls several times, asking them if they needed help, or if they wanted to meet to rehearse our projects, but they blew me off.

Twice, I worked with one of the girls from the group, who was doing her report on Mother Theresa. Each time, she brought her young toddler son, and spent more time playing/chasing him around, than working. I ended up doing a chunk of the research, and writing half of her speech, for her. I was so frustrated, because this was a GROUP project, meaning we all would share a grade, and I was the only one doing anything.

The day of my group’s presentation arrived, and I was surprised that the other girls even showed up. The first one to present spoke about India’s economy, and her bit lasted just over 3 minutes. She had no visuals, or anything else to go along with it. We were the last group of the day to present, and no one was paying attention at all. The second girl spoke very briefly about pollution, as well as the environment, which irritated me, because that was not her topic. It was mine. The other girls even gave me a look as if to say, “Um, did you know about this?” Her bit lasted just a few minutes, and just like the first girl, she had no visuals to go along with her presentation.

Then came the girl doing Mother Theresa. About 5 seconds into her presentation, she turned to the teacher, said that she didn’t feel well, and quickly ran from the room. That got everyone’s attention, and all eyes turned to me. I now had to make up a ridiculous amount of time, thanks to the slack of the first 3 in my group. Luckily, I was pretty prepared. I introduced myself, and spoke about the sari that I wore, my voice trembling slightly. More people started paying attention, interested in the garb. Even though their eyes were on me, I was elsewhere, somewhere inside my head. I needed to do well, because I was not about to fail this after working so hard. I also had a slideshow presentation, which went along with my note cards, and a trifold display board with pictures and facts. I was prepared, and it felt good.

I ended up speaking for a total of 7 minutes. After the first minute or so, I felt completely in control, and everything else faded away. My presentation could have been even longer, but class ended. Afterwards, my group left without a word, and the professor asked to see me for his office hours later in the day. When I went to see him, he told me that he would be grading me separately from my group, as he could see that I was the only one who put in any effort. I nearly cried. I candidly told him how it had been so difficult to get any of them to work with me, and he completely understood.

I received an overall score of 93/100 for my project, and ended the school year with an A- in the class. I never spoke to the other girls again after that class ended. Honestly, that was probably my proudest moment that whole year.

Thank you for reading, friends.

Jan

Dream Journal 1/29/16

Present day.

I was at a large, indoor arena, located inside a massive university. I was there with a group of people from my high school, who were now my age, to watch some kind of competition going on between MIT and Stanford, some kind of championship game for an unknown sport. The arena was located in the center of the university, and it was surrounded by windows, which were multiple stories tall. There were also several types of staircases, going in a bunch of different directions.

The lowest level of the building was where the bathrooms were located. I went down to the women’s room with a few other girls from the group, but the room was packed with people. The large, wrap-around wall of the bathroom was a large window, which looked out into the arena, and people were staring in. None of the stalls had doors, and there were no sinks. Where the sinks should have been, there were small toilets built into the counters, which you needed to jump up onto in order to use. One of the girls from the group jumped up and proceeded to use one of the sink toilets. She urged me to use the one next to her, as I had to pee badly, but the bathroom was littered with garbage and filth, and I opted to hold it.

I decided to leave, and ascended one of the large, spiral staircases outside of the bathroom hallway. At the top of the staircase was a large, open area, where a Yu-Gi-Oh tournament was happening. There was a tall, obese man yelling and waving his arms around, apparently because he was losing, and a skinny kid across from him, looking terrified. I stood there watching for a few minutes, when suddenly, a group of little kids walked into the room, probably first or second graders, and stood in a straight line. Everyone in the room stood up and lined up as well. The group of children began singing a Christmas song that I had never heard, and I tried to stand as still as everyone else. My heels were over the edge of the floor, and I was teetering, dangerously close to falling several floors down. A woman who was standing next to me started laughing and said that I had big feet, and I turned red.

When the kids finished singing, I went back down the stairs and met up with the girl from the bathroom. We walked back into to the arena together, which was now empty, aside for two guys running laps inumanly fast. One of the men was wearing a Speedo, the other in a black, wrestling leotard. we watched them run for a while, when the children before marched into the arena. They began marching in a line around the arena, singing the same song from before. People started flooding back into the arena.

And then I woke up.