The other day at work I said something along the lines of “I can’t figure this out, I’m so stupid” and my friend looked at me and said “Don’t talk about my friend like that”.
I started thinking about how often I hear people in my life say negative things about themselves.
“I’m so fat”
“I hate my body”
“I drink too much and I hate myself in the morning”
“I have a shitty personality”
“I’m losing my hair”
“I hate that I'm dependent”
“I hate the sound of my voice”
“I hate that I care so much about what other people think of me”
“I hate that I take things so personally”
I could keep going but I won’t, I'll just leave you with this; I don’t know who needs to hear this right now, but if other people can love us for the same things that we hate about ourselves, I think that we can try to learn to love ourselves too.
I haven't written anything in awhile and it's not really because I haven't done anything that’s worth writing about, it's because I don't feel like I have the time to take the time that it takes to write. I think this is because of the way society conditions us to think; Society tells me that I have to go to work every day and then I have to come home and work out, get things done around the house, run errands, etc. So I go to work, I drive home in rush hour traffic, I come home and I exercise and by the time that is all finished I am ready to take a shower and get in bed.
I read all the time that you need to take an hour for yourself each day and i think about this often. What do I do for myself each day? I forced myself to exercise because I've been told to think that that is what I need to do. But if I don’t necessarily enjoy exercise, then is that really taking time for myself? I don’t really think so.
Little bits and pieces of my blog have been popping up here and there; at a graduation party one of my quotes from I Don't Mean to Brag But I Be Like...Doing It Anyway was displayed as a centerpiece on the table, and that’s a nice reminder that this blog, my very own little escape, still exists and maybe I should make time to write more often.
A few days ago my super talented friend took time out of her life to paint me and asked if she could post it on her design Instagram. She said that she usually posts the photo with a quote said by that person and asked for my favorite. Because I haven't written in so long, the only quote I could think of was the one from the graduation party, so that is the one I provided her with. It reads “When you’re happy with what you’re doing and where you’re going, it doesn’t matter how many bad days or how many rough moments you have, because the good always outweighs the bad”.
She said it took her awhile to finish the paintings of me because she hasn’t been home a lot. But the point of it all is that she still started them and finished them because she made time to do it. She said she didn't mind that it took her awhile because she had fun doing it and she loves to draw and create. Despite being busy with whatever life would throw at her, she still took the time to do the thing that she enjoys doing.
She inspired me to take at least some time out of my life to write. Because even though it is so easy to fall into the routine that is almost robotic of going to work, coming home, working out, doing things around the house, running errands, etc., I still need to do something for me, something that makes me happy. Even if I can't have a full hour out of every day, I'm still taking the time.
You can check out the drawings below and check out more from @designsbycaitb by clicking the link!
I’m really happy, it’s not because of a man and it’s not because I won the lottery, and I just want to brag about it a little.
In the past month I’ve saved so much money on Starbucks because I don’t feel the need to “treat myself” every other day of the week just for surviving one day. I used to literally bribe myself with coffee.
In the past month I’ve spent so little time scrolling through social media. In fact, I hardly have time to touch my phone throughout the day. Sometimes I’ll hop on Instagram just to see what my favorite celebrity is up to or to see if there’s a new giveaway I want to enter or I’ll get on Twitter just for a quick laugh. But over this past month I haven’t sat and scrolled through social media longing to have someone else’s life because I have been so caught up and so busy with my own life.
In late February, about a month ago, I started a new job and the next chapter of my career. It has been a major adjustment. The hours are different and the job is demanding. Every day is a challenge, every day I struggle and I make mistakes, and every day I get stronger personally and professionally. I don’t find myself bitching and moaning constantly, I don’t find myself complaining. I literally find myself laughing and smiling and thinking to myself “I love my team and I love this place”.
Never in my life have I thought I would be that person who says “I love my team” and I certainly never thought I would be that person that wants to purchase for myself a company sweatshirt, and yet, here I am. I think it’s because for the first time in a while I’m genuinely happy and proud of where I’m at.
This is not to say that I wasn’t happy before the job change. But I do think before I was just going through the motions of life. Waking up, going to work, coming home from work, going to sleep and doing it again the next day. I was spending a lot of time with my head down either just getting the day’s tasks done or looking at my phone and not enough time enjoying my life and being present in the moment, even if in that moment I am in an office working.
In the past month I’ve had a lot of good days and a few bad, and a lot of rough moments and a few great ones. But what I’ve realized is when you’re happy with what you’re doing and where you’re going, it doesn’t matter how many bad days or how many rough moments you have because the good always outweighs the bad.
SO- I’m sorry if I don’t snapchat you back, if I don’t like your Instagram post, if I take 3-5 business days to text you back. I’m just really busy focusing on my clients, my career, and probably making snarky comments and laughing with my coworkers. And most importantly I’m just really busy being happy.
I have literally been trapped in my house for 2 days because of this snow storm that I was convinced would not come. I have done a lot of moving from my bed to my couch and from my couch to my bed. I've scrolled through social media, cooked, cleaned, and did laundry out of boredom. I decorated my room and rearranged my closet more than once. I finished a series on Netflix and I've watched a few too many romantic movies to the point where my personality is now a little bit Rachel Chu (Crazy Rich Asians) and Tami Oldham (Adrift).
If you've seen either movie you'd know that these characters are opposites, and in the most extreme ways. Rachel is from New York City and is dating the Prince Harry of Singapore while Tami Odham's wanderlust leaves here trapped on a sail boat and forced to survive for 41 straight days. While these two leading ladies are living out opposite situations, they have a few things in common and these similarities are just a few of the most unrealistic ways women are portrayed in movies.
1. Women are confident 100% of the time.
Love stories always seem to portray women as confident and having it together all of the time. They move so gracefully, they never stumble over what to say, and they always know what they want to eat, where they want to go and how to dance.
When in reality, women [and being in love] are not always that graceful. We stumble over our words and say they wrong things, or write the wrong things. And sometimes we don't know what we want to eat!! And sometimes we don't know how to dance. Sometimes we need a little help from our friends or vodka in order to get us out on that dance floor.
2. Women know exactly who they are.
Sometimes we just don't, okay? Sometimes we are still figuring our shit out. And I'd love to see a movie about this. A realistic movie, not a comedy. Most story lines involving figuring your shit out turn into comedies, when in reality it isn't always funny.
3. Women don't have neck rolls when they're laying down.
Out of all three points I have and will mention, the way women are shown laying down or sleeping, is by far the most unrealistic. I've never seen a person lay their head down on a pillow in real life and not have their cheeks get all squishy or their neck get all rolly. Come on Hollywood, do better. We are all laying down and looking like egg-heads or potatoes. Show it on the big screen.
aaannnd that's really all I have to say about that. Try not to think about this too hard because it's really meant in a lighthearted way.
The job wasn’t perfect, management wasn’t perfect, and I wasn’t perfect either. I was reaching my breaking point, but I had never quit a job, or really anything in my life so I didn’t want to give this up either. But I was pushed to my limits for so long, I was exhausted, and I made a mistake. I will fully admit to making a mistake regarding a guest’s experience. I know this was my fault.
The guest was visibly upset and raising their voice at me, but I had not yet realized the mistake I made. All I could see in the moment was this guest leaning over the counter to get closer to my face and yelling at me. Instead of remaining calm and trying to understand what he was trying to tell me, I raised my voice back. Strike 4.
I raised my voice at a guest. I raise my voice at a guest at the Happiest Place on Earth. This is coming from a girl who worked at a Call Center. Yeah, I was the person who calls people at dinner time and begs them for money. People would yell at me and tell me I’m worthless and won’t go anywhere in life and I would just hang up the phone and laugh at them unbothered. Because I knew my worth.
But at Disney it was different. I had been talked down to for so long and looked down upon that I put myself on that same level and yelled back at a guest. Because at that point I didn’t know who I was, let alone know my worth.
After that shift I was terrified the guest would go to management and I would get a reprimand. But nothing happened, no one ever found out and I never got in trouble. So, I started breaking more rules because I knew that nothing was going to happen to me. I snuck into resort pools and stayed there all day, I called in and went to the parks, I took days off just because. I could see these changes in myself and I knew something wasn’t right, because I never break rules over fear of getting in trouble.
I continued work as usual just because I didn’t want to be weak and quit. Then, I came in for a 2p.m. – 11:45 p.m. shift as greeter. Greeter is essentially hostess, you’re the person who greets the guests, takes their orders, and then report them back to the kitchen. Greeter will stand there for their entire shift because it is the one position that does not have someone who can be their back up, unless a manager or supervisor is free and can take over for a short minute.
[This is a warning: if you get grossed out by that thing that happens to a woman once a month, stop reading]. Greeter was my favorite position because it was outside of the kitchen and I actually got to talk and interact with the guests. However, I was not feeling well that day, even before I had arrived at work, I had a headache that just wouldn’t go away. I kid you not, not even a half hour into this shift, I could feel it; I got my period. While standing in a position with no back up person, a line out the door, and wearing Khaki pants. Yep, khaki.
So, I’m standing there trying to take orders without moving or even breathing really, silently panicking because you just don’t know what could happen to those khaki pants. I finally got a break between guest orders but there was still nothing I could do because maybe I’m not taking orders but the kitchen is still filling orders and of course management was nowhere to be found. There’s a shock.
Finally, one of my female coworkers came in for her kitchen shift and I leaned over the counter to explain what happened, she generously took over for me for a minute or two. This was not enough time to run down all the way to the end of the building to get what I actually needed to deal with the problem in my pants, but it was enough time to do a band aid fix.
My shift continues. It is now 10 p.m. and I am still taking orders and trying not to move too much and only stand certain ways because I haven’t been sent to break yet even though I’ve been there since 2p.m. Not going on break would not have been an issue for me since my shift was short and I didn’t have to close, but I was still concerned about the problem in my pants. So, at 10:45p.m. when my shift ended at 11:45p.m., I finally got my break. Strike 5.
Even after this, I continued to go to work. Until one day, I called my mom like I had done many times before, but this time was different. She said “I’m sending you plane ticket options, you can pick the time, but you’re packing your things and you’re coming home”. I of course, tried to argue with her, but I even talked myself out of my own argument. This place had destroyed me and she was right, it was time to leave it behind.
Telling my roommates was the hardest thing I had to do, but they were more than supportive. I called into work for the next few days so I could spend as much time with them as possible. They even went out of their way to schedule character breakfasts with me, time to play at the parks, and we even did our first and last beach trip together. Those last few July days were the first time I had felt like myself and purely, genuinely happy, since moving there in March.
SOMETIMES, at my new job, I’m still dealing with the impact that Disney had on me. I struggle with my confidence. I can’t even send an email without reading it 13 times to make sure everything is correct. When I do finally complete the task, or send the email, I sit there anxiously waiting for someone to tell me that I did it wrong because that is how it was for so long.
Disney made me believe that I wasn’t good enough, I was worthless. No one should ever have to go through that by an employer and if you do, know that you have to put yourself first and get out. Working for Disney was truly an experience that I will never forget, no matter how much I want to. So, there you have it. I came clean and gave you the truth about Disney.
***To my friends who are currently working there and loving it, I am so happy for you. Please try to remember that this is my truth and no one else’s.
You asked, multiple times, so I figured it’s time to answer. I’m coming clean: the truth about Disney.
Note: I worked for Disney two times. This piece is written based on ONLY the second time I worked there, summer of 2017.
I didn’t debate writing this but I did debate posting it out of fear for what people will think or say. Or maybe no one will even read it. But, as a writer I have to write my truth and live my truth. So here it is, the unedited (there will be things in here that may be, as they say, TMI) truth about what happened to me in Disney:
The other day a friend texted me out of the blue and said “Are you a lot happier now that you don’t work for Disney?” She is currently working for the company so I thought for a while about how to respond because I would never want to ruin something that someone else loves based on my own bad experience.
That being said, I finally decided on “Not to sound like a jackass, but yeah. Leaving the company was the best decision I’ve ever made, I’m thriving without it.”
This lit some sort of fire under my ass and inspired me to write my story.
I do mean to sound like a jackass, actually. I do mean to flaunt how much better I’m doing since leaving that toxic environment. That place did things that destroyed parts of me and I’m still affected by it today.
When I got to Florida, I knew things weren’t right. I was constantly anxious, irritated, and had no appetite. I knew in my heart and in the back of my mind that I wasn’t sure if I had made the right decision. I refused to admit it though, to my mom who traveled with me to move me down, and even to myself.
Then, I went through Traditions, which is a training class that all employees have to go through, and I stepped into Magic Kingdom for the first time after so long. The place that my parents dragged me out of kicking and screaming at the end of my first program two years ago. I had longed to be back there and I finally was. I finally felt a sense of relief that maybe I am in the right place.
Then I got my work schedule, six a.m. shifts all across the board. But I had no car, and the buses don’t start running until 6:36 a.m. So, I made a phone call to the bus station. They have a bus that picks up all Cast who have to work the early shift at any location, as long as I am at the bus stop by 4 a.m. This was obviously not the ideal situation, but I was determined to make it work.
Okay, so, strap yourselves in because this is where the fun begins.
There was an entire 2 paragraphs in here about my boyfriend at the time. I decided to remove it for the privacy of the person and the fact that it is not entirely relevant in order for you to understand and feel the full story. Basically there was a phone call after I had a 14 hour shift that started with “Mel, I’m breaking up with you”, I can still hear the words ringing in my head, and ended with me on the floor crying in my room.
At this point in time, a girl needs her friends. But, because my hours were so unbelievably awful, I never really saw my roommates. They weren’t even sure if I lived there most of the time. So, alone, on the floor in my gross, lived-in apartment, I struggled to hold myself together because one of the things that was consistent in my life for a while was just taken away from me. Strike 1.
I struggled to get out of bed, I struggled to keep myself distracted. I was actually thankful for my shitty job at this point because it was something to do that would keep me busy and wouldn’t allow me to check my phone.
Days were always hectic working in Quick Service Food and Beverage at a resort. You do at least a million different jobs in one day. I was on fryers this particular day, and anyone who knows me knows that I hate fryers. I’m already weak in the arms, and the fryer baskets get pretty heavy when you are lifting them out of the grease. Not to mention the arm motion to dump out the contents into the transport bin is extremely awkward. So, sometimes I drop things, or contents fall out of the basket onto the floor. Or, in this case, one fell back into the grease and the grease splashed right up into my eye. Which resulted in me standing there in the hot kitchen with a line of angry, hungry guests, trying to blink the hot grease out of my contact and my burning eye. This would be a great time to use the eye wash station about a hundred feet to my left, but I was “needed” and had to deal with it. Strike 2.
I tried to find happiness in the Happiest Place on Earth. I went to the parks every time I could. But, I remember texting my roommate, one of my closest friends, “Magic Kingdom just isn’t fun anymore and I don’t know why”.
Not long after I texted her I was headed towards the exit and spotted Chip and Dale at the front of Magic Kingdom. I had not met Chip and Dale since probably the first time that I was ever in Disney World so, I got in line. I was greeted with hugs and the munks fighting over who would get to hold my hand. They made sure to get a picture with me in the middle, it was nice to smile.
This is where I found some strength. I never realized the power of hugs, mostly because I really just don’t like to be touched. Disney characters are actually trained on how to hug guests. They are trained not to let go until the guest does, because you never know how much a person needs one. And I needed all of the hugs I could get.
Every chance I got I was going to the parks by myself just to meet the characters. [I really enjoyed going alone. Everyone calls you princess, waves, smiles, and I got a ton of free stuff and experienced so many magical moments.] I was using Fast Passes on meet and greets when most people just used them on rides. I loved talking to the characters and getting hugs because I never really had anyone else to talk to based on my work schedule.
I tried and hoped for things to get better, in my personal life and at work, I tried to stay positive, but things didn’t get better and I couldn’t stay positive any longer. I wasn’t the only one having issues at work, a lot of people were and a lot of people were also making bets on how long most of us would last. A few went to HR, but we were literally told that the head manager at our location had a ton of connections and if we went to HR she would find out and we would be screwed. Threatened to keep our mouths shut? Strike 3.
I have personally never been the type of person who wanted to go to therapy. But at this point, I had nowhere else to turn. I looked up the number for help and called and made myself an appointment. This was a company who had a contract with Disney but were not Disney employees, so nothing I said could go back to the company. It was a safe place to talk.
Not even five minutes into the first session I already started to feel better. My counselor was able to identify my struggles right away and gave me insight on things that I would have never even thought about. She gave me a perspective on things that no one had been able to give me. We continued our sessions focusing on healthy relationships, which I apparently have never been in, and work related issues.
Things did not exactly get better. I was still working shitty hours and constantly being force extended without being told. I would work 12 days in a row with no day off, sleep was limited, and the work was exhausting. There were multiple shifts with a manager who did not like me, would move me from my assigned position and leave me to restock the coolers ALL. DAMN. DAY. The coolers are quite literally of freezing temperature and the boxes of beer, bottles of wine, bottles of drinks, which needed to be constantly stocked were way too heavy for my weak arms to handle. This is a job that had to be done and it just sucked that I’m the one who had to do it.
I think that the older we get the harder the holidays get. Or the more meaningful they become, in turn making them harder, especially when it comes to gifts. For me, it’s twice as difficult because my birthday is exactly a week before Christmas. So I have people asking me “what do you want for your birthday? What do you want for Christmas?” And year after year it gets harder and harder for me to answer that question. Because what I really want is not something you can buy in a store and wrap in a bow.
My birthday falls in this really awkward time period. Back in grade school, while most students got to celebrate their birthday at school with their friends and hand out treats to their classmates and teachers, I never got to do that because my birthday always fell during Christmas break. The same thing happened when I went to college, I never really celebrated my birthday with my friends because we were all on break and in different places.
So finally, not in school, when someone asks me what I want for my birthday I always think to myself “people to spend it with”. Of course my family. And I do have some amazing friends who will go out of their way to make that happen for me. It is hard not to be around the people I love who love me back but I have my best friends who live hours and states away who may not be around but will think about me and do whatever they can to make that day special to me.
Sure, unwrapping presents is fun. I think that parents, no matter how old their kids are, still get a thrill watching them walk down the stairs Christmas morning, or walk in the house, towards the tree and unwrap a gift. But all I really want for Christmas is to not be afraid to walk outside after dark, I want the wars to be over, I want there to be a cure for cancer, I want friends to stop dying young, and to stop seeing people I care about heartbroken, I want unconditional love and commitment, I want people to stop tearing each other apart and see them come together again, I want women to stop hating men and to somehow stop feeling victimized, I want more experiences, and I want to find that place in my life where I can be truly happy.
So if you’re like me, on Christmas [or your birthday] you’ll probably unwrap the material gift that you wanted the most and you’ll feel so grateful for it and you’ll be happy. But part of you will still feel empty inside because that material thing can’t take the place of some of the things that you want the most.
Something I’m really quite sick of is when people make assumptions about what I do or don’t eat. I really don’t get offended easily but MY BODY IS NOT YOUR BUSINESS. For every time I say “oh, I have a headache” or “I don’t feel so great” the automatic response to that is “well, it’s probably because you haven’t eaten today”.
First of all, you have no right to assume if I have or have not eaten. And second, you can feel unwell for multiple different reasons and it does not always stem from your diet. Which, again, I remind you that you know nothing about.
If you feel the need to concern yourself so much with what I do or don’t do with food and my body then maybe you should take up another hobby.
While I have your attention, saying “you look so skinny” is NOT a compliment! Stop commenting on people’s body size.
Here is a recommendation - Any time you want to say “you look so thin!” or “your curves look great!” try changing the way you think and saying something like “Wow, those jeans look great on you!” or “that shirt is an incredible fit!” Expand your thoughts.
I’m literally so sick of feeling bad about myself and my body. I’m finished pretending that I enjoy a meal more than I do just to make other people feel comfortable. And you should be finished commenting on people's body size as if that doesn't make them feel UNcomfortable.
MY BODY IS NOT YOUR BUSINESS!!!!
Thanks for coming to my TED talk.
Anytime someone asks me what my hobbies are, I always give them the typical answer: I like to hike, travel, collect local art, I coach volleyball, Twitter, I write, and I keep a blog.
But lately, I've realized I have a new hobby. And I like to call it "hobby supporting". I spend a lot of time supporting my friends and their hobbies. You can literally do anything and be anything and as long as you aren’t harming yourself or anyone else and as long as you are happy, I will do whatever it takes and whatever you ask of me, to support you.
It can be a hobby as big as photography and wanting to turn that into a career. I will model for you whenever you need a model, I will recommend you to others, and I will even suggest places and things for you to take photos of.
It can be a hobby like reading. I will read the books you suggest, I will talk about the characters with you like they're my best friends, I'll connect with you on Good Reads, I'll buy you books and I'll follow your book blog. Maybe you don't like reading but you're a TV fanatic. You bet I will start watching that TV show you love just so you have someone to talk about it with.
Maybe your hobby is something small, like just loving Instagram. I will come up with captions for you, I will tell you when the best time to post is, and you know you will always have a like and a comment from me.
I’d like to thank all of my supporters for supporting this blog. Sometimes you keep it going better than I do. Life gets hectic and it’s so easy to ignore what I’ve already created, but when I receive encouraging messages from strangers, or people I don’t usually talk to, that kind of support is what keeps me going. It brings me back to reality and gives me a reminder that writing is my escape from this hectic life.
It is so important to support the people who make you happy when they do the things that make them happy. If you don't, you're probably just an asshole.
These photos were taken by my friend, Joe at Trilogy Photography. if you're ever looking for a photographer in the Cleveland area I would strongly suggest looking there. Not only because he is my friend but also because he has worked on everything from surprise engagements to first birthday parties. He knows how to make you feel comfortable in front of the camera and makes sure you're having fun the entire time.
For more information –
I haven’t written anything in a while but I constantly feel the pressure to since now I own this website. I haven’t even written about my recent trip to Spain yet, I could easily say that I’ve been uninspired or blame it on the jet lag, but the truth is, there are a million things I’d love to write about but I’m unable to. I even have to be careful about how I word this sentence because big brother is always watching (I don’t necessarily mean the government).
I’ve been listening to showtunes every morning. I find that nothing gets me going early in the morning quite like showtunes do. A song from Hamilton came on and one lyric stays ringing in my head “If you stand for nothing, Burr, what will you fall for?”
Current events have taught me a lot about myself. I know what I stand for and I know exactly what I would fall for. But those things are difficult to discuss on the internet, in writing, with my name all over it.
So, I’ll end this post on a lighter note. Speaking of needing inspiration, I had the once in a lifetime opportunity to visit Yayoi Kusama’s Infinity Mirror Exhibition at the Cleveland Museum of Art. She’s a real weirdo, that lady. But the 7 month wait for the exhibit to open and the countless hours I spent waiting in line to buy tickets were all worth it.
You can check out the photo gallery below: