Friday, January 13, 2012

'you look ridiculous'

This is NOT my normal brand of bitchy, gay, off-handed meth reference blog post. This is real. This is the hardest post I've ever had to write. And this is where I am and where I'm going nowadays.

This is me and my mom.

I was adopted, and this is one of our first pictures together.

Look at that picture. Look at that face. That, my friends, is completely unadulterated, pure joy. This was a special day, but ask anyone who knew her, this type of joy emanated from her almost always. Today I realized, this is what I deserve. It is what everyone deserves.

Honestly, I don't like talking about my mom. She passed away over two years ago, and they were the hardest moments of my life. But today I was able to realize one of the best lessons she ever taught me.

My mom worked her @#$&^#%&* off. She had one of the hardest jobs I could ever imagine having: a hospice nurse. She guided patients and their families with poise, empathy, and grace through some of the hardest moments in their lives. I can't imagine how hard it would be. But she not only did it well, she got so much joy from her work.

For the last three years, I have been depriving myself of joy. Out of fear and what I perceived as society's expectations of what a normal life/career should be, I let myself continually do something that brought me ZERO joy.

Note: Although this job brought me no joy, it did bring me close to people I never would have met had I not worked for the company I worked for. I met the best, most reliable friend I will EVER have at this job. He is basically the gay brother I never had. I also met my 'work wife' who will never hesitate to slap me when I'm being an inappropriate child and call me out on my crap. I also had the pleasure for having the best managers ever who put up with me on a regular basis. Do I regret working there? No. My life would have never been the same without this job.

Anyway, I learned I DESERVE to live a life that brings me joy. Although I have amazing friends and family, I can no longer accept working Monday through Friday 8 AM to 5 PM doing something I hate.

Most people close to me know this, but I'm officially announcing it here. I quit my financial industry, cubicle, collared shirt job. I am now enrolled in cosmetology school at the Aveda Institute.

Do I think I am changing people's lives with an over-priced hair cut is the equivalent of being a hospice nurse? Absolutely not. But, no matter what I do, like my mother, I will (hopefully) get real joy from it.

I am absolutely terrified of what lies before me. But I am LESS terrified of the idea of living a joyless life.

The last big moment in my life was when I graduated college early and left all my friends for my move to Dallas. Out of nowhere, my iPod (on complete, random shuffle) played Kelly Clarkson's 'Breakaway'. I immediately had to pull my heavily packed down Jeep Cherokee over because my eyes were swollen with tears.

That day of my moving, I happened to have picked my mother up from a doctor's visit where she was discussing her cancer. Here I am bawling my eyes out about moving a whopping 5 hours away, and she's facing a life-threatening disease. How small is my world! Now, this is the woman who would throw herself on the ground in a fake temper tantrum in the middle of a Walmart to show an 8-year-old John how ridiculous he looked. At this moment, I probably had never looked more ridiculous. But instead of pointing it out, she held me and said 'oh, you're moving. We are NOT unpacking your stuff.'

As I drove away from my office to my farewell happy hour last night, the iPod once again randomly played 'Breakaway.' I immediately started crying. It reminded me of that moment leaving Texas Tech University, and it also set in the reality of how much my life was about to change. For the next year, I'm goodbye to vacations, expendable income, and my 401k and, hello to 60 hour work weeks, 10 hour days at hair school, and a start to a whole new life.

Do I know 100% that this new path will bring me joy? Absolutely not. But I am sure that walking around my offices with an unhappy scowl 8 hours a day makes me look extremely ridiculous. Am I scared? Completely.  Change is terrifying. But, it's now or never.

I've worked myself into respectable panic tears MANY times over the past few months in deciding this change. But, I'm seeking my joy. I'm trying to think of some fitting philosopher's words, a poignant message from the Bible, or even a Carrie Bradshaw pun to end this, but unfortunately, I'm at a loss.

So, for all my readers, the five of you, like I learned from my mother, learn from me: if you are not doing something that brings you joy, you look ridiculous and should STOP DOING IT! Also, listen to 'Breakaway.' That song is legit.


Jessica said...

I frequent your blog because you are hilarious and a nice break to my day. Today, you made me think about my own life and how I sold my soul to the oil and gas industry for a cushy paycheck. That sucked. Im now looking into things that I can do outside of work that bring me joy and fulfillment in my life, so thanks...

Also, whatever you do, you are going to rock it. You dont strike me as the half assed attempt kind of person. Good luck!!

Also, your mom reminded me of my mom and that I should appreciate her while she's still here.

Anonymous said...

It seems that 2012 is the year of change for most of the amazing bloggers that I follow.

Good luck with everything you do this year. This is a fantastic post.

Gerald said...

This post made me glad to call you my son. I've always been thankful you came into our lives those years ago. You've caused me to laugh and cry, bite my tongue, and burst with pride. I watched you grow up and bring much joy to many people. I've worried about you, prayed for you, and loved you more than you can ever imagine. But this post today makes me particularly proud of you!
Much love to you - Dad

Leslie said...

Do you know how excited we all are for you?! I read what you are going to do and I screamed. Demand a course on natural black hair care! Your mom seemed like a nice down to earth classy woman. I want to send you red neck green bean casserole, and cheer you on!

Chelsea said...

Hi! I've been a reader for awhile. I am actually a hairstylist in San Francisco and I am so excited for you. Beauty school is an amazing and hilarious experience. It will give you so many funny things to blog about. Your future will bring you so many great relationships within the industry and with your clients. I love my job and know you will too.

Best of luck! I can't wait to hear updates.

The Chaser said...

In 2007, after spending 13 years in the military, only 7 years till full retirement, I sent a text message to my brother. It said, "should I stay or should I go?" He texted back, "If you don't go, you don't grow."
With those words I left the military. People said...OH MY GOD, you waisted those 13 years of your life. I said, no I dind't, I saved 7!

PJ said...

Congratulations on your new path. I was looking at the pic of your mom and before I read what was below, I thought, "She is so happy to be holding that baby. That's real joy right there." I'm glad you knew how much joy you brought to her life!!!!

PJ said...

Congratulations on your new path. I was looking at the pic of your mom and before I read what was below, I thought, "She is so happy to be holding that baby. That's real joy right there." I'm glad you knew how much joy you brought to her life!!!!

Caroline M. said...

This is a great read! I was turned to your blog by your roommates best friend (Clay) :) Indeed you have brought me many laughs when I've needed them sitting here at a desk contemplating my next big move.

This article was definitely inspiring.