Why I Quit My Job

There’s a long answer and a short answer to this. Short answer: I wanted to. Long answer, see below.

If you know anything about A Levels and how they work, you might think it’s a stupid idea to get a job in May of Year 12. Frankly, you’d be correct, though my mother would disagree with you. In a misguided quest to teach me responsibility and workplace skills, she badgered me into doing some job-seeking. I applied for a few and failed to get any interviews, so I assumed she’d let me off because I’d tried and hey, I could do voluntary coaching and build up a career there!

Ultimately I was wrong. Mum and I had gone for an ice cream after a good walk, and woe betide, they were hiring. I agreed to go and ask for a form – I could always “forget” to fill it in on time after all – but within five minutes, someone had fetched the owner and suddenly I was being interviewed. In the middle of the parlour. In complete surprise. In my post-walk sweaty state. Boding well, of course. The interview was a catastrophe (school is not kidding when they insist you rehearse for interviews, being caught unprepared is torturous), but somehow I was accepted for a trial period.

Spoiler alert: I lasted five five-hour shifts. That’s literally it. They were spread over about a month, but that still doesn’t amount to a great deal.

Was it an awful job? No. Was it overly complicated? Not really (I was just a bit rubbish at it). My work consisted of serving ice cream, occasionally blundering over the till, clearing the tables and unloading the dishwasher – only ever unloading, I never got the hang of arranging all the stuff so it would close. I know what you’re thinking: clearly I’m the problem. And honestly? Yeah, you’re right. It wasn’t a horrible job, and it wasn’t impossible work. My anxiety wasn’t even too troublesome initially, to my shock. Nevertheless, it wasn’t right for me.

My first three shifts were quite quiet, and they were decent fun. I liked most of my co-workers, none of my bosses were mean, the shop wasn’t big enough for me to get lost in. It gave me a good opportunity to learn the ropes and the basics. However, this pleasantry did not last. The Isle of Man (where I live, obviously) hosts an annual festival called the TT – it’s a motorcycle event lasting two weeks, and it floods the island with excitement, noise and most importantly, tourists. Fantastic for our economy; atrocious if you work in any kind of retail.

As the influx of TT-goers began to pack the parlour, I quite rapidly understood what the actual job was: dashing around like a mad thing, weaving around the shop, and doing a million things at once correctly. Absolute admiration to anybody who can work in that environment successfully, because golly gosh I cannot. I knew I had to quit when I found myself hyperventilating by the storage freezers, trying to meditate myself away from a panic attack. I finished the shift, had a little cry at home, then quit the next day.

So is the moral of the story to just give up when you struggle? Of course not. Although, it’s not to never give up either. Truthfully, the aesop of this tale is that if you need to quit, it’s okay to do so. Maybe not for good, but just until you’re in a place to handle it.

My mental health has been in shambles this last few weeks. My next poem will give an insight into why, but as always, mental health is unpredictable; I’ve had a lot of unhelpful factors, and it’s culminated in a serious decline. I’m managing, but not completely. I needed to make room in my life and my brain, so I removed the job I knew I could. Like trimming a plant, pruning away the unnecessary leaves to help it grow. Sorry, I’m so tired, it’s been a long week and it still isn’t over.

To return to the point, I understand fully that for some people, axing your job isn’t an option for whatever reason. I don’t have to pay my own bills, and I have other avenues I can venture down that I’ll prefer. Not everybody is that lucky. However, I’m almost certain that there is something in your life you can afford to take a break from at least. It might only be a week or two, or it might be longer. The crucial thing to remember is that your mental state is more important than anything else, and you need to take that time to look after yourself and get back to your spirits. Also, it’s okay to do that. Cut yourself some slack 🙂

Wise words I once heard were “talk to yourself as you would a friend”. If you told a struggling friend off for attempting some self-care, you would not have that friend for long. In my case, I would never force a friend to keep a job that was adding stress they could opt out of, especially during an already-turbulent period. So make friends with yourself, because it’ll change your life in the long run. That’s something I’ve been working on this month.

I’ve done my infamous tangent-ing again, I apologise. But yes, I quit my job because it was the best decision I could make for myself and my mental health at that time, and that’s okay.

It’s always okay to look after yourself, as long as you’re not actively hurting anyone else.

“The World’s Greatest Cake”

Take a quarter pound of sunshine
Add half a cup of love
Pour in all the laughter you can fit
Until it’s full enough.

Now three tablespoons of heartbreak
And a sprinkle of life’s trials
With a fresh pint of salty tears
But twice as many smiles.

I’m baking a cake for me
And I’m using a new recipe.
It’ll taste so nice
And I won’t think twice
Because it’s all calorie-free.

Stir it up until it’s doughy,
And sing yourself a tune.
Then into the oven, it goes top shelf.
Feel free to lick the spoon.

I’m baking a cake for me
And I’m using a new recipe.
It’ll taste so nice
And I won’t think twice
Because it’s all calorie-free.

Take it out when it’s golden brown.
Set it on the cooling tray.
Decorate with all the joy you please.
And remember, you’re okay.

You’re baking a cake, you see
With this brand new recipe.
Don’t think twice
Just enjoy life
Because it’s calorie-free.

We’re all baking this cake, you see
But each using our own recipe.
They all taste nice
So don’t think twice
Because this cake’s calorie-free.

Is this a poem or lyrics? Your guess is as good as mine, but it’s going under both for now :’) If any of you know Dodie Clark, she’s why my poems are starting to sound like songs.

Also, I’m aware this is delayed; I’ve had a lot more than three tablespoons of heartbreak in my life recently,  but we’re moving forward so it’s okay 🙂 Should be back on schedule now.

Nothing to Lose

Fellow non-conforming, fandom-driven, nearly-socially-inept general mavericks should relate to this, I think.

So this month, I started Sixth Form to do my A-Levels (whole other post coming about that, watch this space). My four relatively local (i.e on this island) friends, however, did not; they literally all ditched me to go up to the college on the other end of the island. Which was okay, because they’re doing their own thing and carving their own paths and yadda yadda yadda, yay for them. But see, they’re all on the same campus; I am alone on mine.

Bar one new ish-friend and a few acquaintances-I’m-too-shy-to-trouble-with-my-company, I’m basically left to my own devices. Leaving me with tons of time to study, which is awesome and really useful, actually. So why am I complaining?

Because I’m still worried about seeming “weird” for my personality.

Which is completely ridiculous. I sit by myself at lunch, I sit alone in the library and I basically refuse to speak in class to anyone who’s not a teacher, but woe betide that someone should think my Fluttershy badge is stupid. Reading fanfiction is perfectly fine and entertaining, but if anyone even glances over my shoulder, I’m locking my phone down ASAP and throwing it into my bag as if it has burned me with the shame.

Only, I’m not ashamed. My only regret in terms of fanfiction is how freaking weird some of my darker experimental pieces (A Second Chance, Things You Can’t Be Taught, etc) ended up, but even then I wouldn’t want to delete them. Just, y’know, put some cautionary notes before them. At the end of the day, they’re part of me, and now I can tackle darker and more mature themes with less weirdness 🙂

So my basic point? There’s no reason at all for me to feel bad about my interests or my traits. I’m completely okay with them and they’re not harming anyone. Which is why my crippling fear of people finding out about them and thinking I’m weird entirely stupid.

But I didn’t write this post to just leave it unresolved. No, I wrote this because I have had a fraction of an epiphany.

Here are the facts:

• I am okay with myself and my interests

• My close friends and boyfriend are okay with me and my interests

• There’s nobody else I’m close enough to be deeply affected by the opinion of if they aren’t okay with me and my interests

In short: I have nothing to lose.

I might as well just sew all my cool fandom patches onto my new leather jacket (it’s fake, don’t worry) and parade them, because why the eff not. I might as well read my fanfiction and fangirl over new episodes, because why the eff not. I might as well write my coursework from a pansexual POV like my own, because why. The eff. Not.

What’s the worst that could happen? My acquaintances don’t awkwardly sit on the other side of the lunch table and ignore me? Nothing to lose.

Now, I do appreciate that other people with this issue may be of a better social standing than I am, so maybe you have a little more to lose than I do. But honestly, if those people are going to reject who you really are and what you really like, then they probably weren’t worth keeping in the first place. Trust me, I learned that the hard way; remember Carly because we’ll be coming back to her in the future.

At the end of the day, you’re you. You can’t change who you are or what you like; those kind of things change and develop on their own, but you can’t force them. As long as nobody’s getting hurt (and you’re not breaking the law or anything), then there’s nothing wrong with you and you shouldn’t feel the need to hide yourself.

My Book of Life

Something you should be aware of: I have a lot of mental issues. While none are officially diagnosed disorders, I consider them as such (I have a whole other post about that, don’t get me started on self-diagnosis).

I have struggled a lot with these issues, but this post is not for pity. It is to explain one of the ways I am dealing with them, as well as figuring out some ideas for my future.

A notebook.

It may seem stupid, but I have a Life notebook. It contains a mish-mash of things; from tattoos I want to get, to skills I want to learn, to traits I want to have. All the stuff I want to have in my life. While it may seem like a silly idea in theory – and yes, I know I sound like every useless school listening service ever by suggesting it – I can honestly say that it really helps. Thinking about things I want to do/see gets me through my depressive bursts, while writing it down satisfies my anxiety’s desire to have a plan. Plus, it fills time productively and is actually pretty fun.

If you are unhappy with an aspect of your life (which everyone is, don’t lie), then a good way to work towards correcting it is to write it down. You don’t need to sketch out every detail to scale, but having a basic note will make you more likely to actually do it. Studies have actually shown that physically writing the idea down is more effective than typing it somewhere, but if you need to use the Notes app on your phone, do it. I mean, you might want to up the security on your phone afterwards if it gets personal, but still do it.

By taking the time to evaluate your hopes and dreams – or your “bucket list” – you can actually learn a lot about yourself. For example, I discovered very recently that I’m interested in a medical career, which I had previously written off long ago. I also discovered, by virtue of writing a “keep in touch” list, that there are some ‘friends’ in my life that I am perfectly content to lose touch with. And that’s okay.

I would like to go to university. I would like to foster a child. I would like to skydive. I would like to get my black belt (that may be a little harder though xD). Had you asked me a few months ago, I would have been adding a lot more “might”s to those sentences. Now I know some things I would really like to do.

If you’re not certain whether or not you want to do something, a good indicator is when it physically aches. You may not know the feeling, but if you get a physical tugging in your chest or butterflies in your stomach at the thought of it, then put it in the book. That feeling doesn’t always come though, so don’t live your life waiting for it; take some chances and it’ll come to you.

My personal Book of Life is decorated with quotes on what life means to me. Yours can be whatever you want. Whatever life means to you. Love, laughter, money, success; whatever is most important to you. Most of my quotes are about love and happiness, but that doesn’t mean that yours have to be. Life means different things to everybody.

… I wasn’t intending for this to become a meaning of life thing, but okay.

My original point was: having a physical record of the stuff that interests you is a great motivator in the darker times, and can also be a fun project in the lighter ones. The best of both worlds, if you will. I already hate myself for saying that, now the song is stuck in my head.

Didn’t I warn you guys in my first post that I go off on tangents? I think I did. I hope I did, anyway.

At the end of the day, your life is your own; you have to create it as you create yourself. However, when it all gets a little heavy, you might not see the light of the future in the tunnel, so having a solid reminder of what’s out in that light can help pull you through.

Whether you decide to make a Book of Life or not, I wish you all the best with your hopes, dreams and journeys through dark tunnels.

86 Years is a Long Time

Careers. Obviously pretty important things. I don’t know about you, but they’re all my school ever talks about.

My boyfriend and I were discussing them earlier today. He was telling me all about his structured, 12 year education plan, culminating in a doctorate. This plan involved a lot of back and forth between universities and earning money, which would mean a lot of travelling and not much stability for me. This was not what I would have chosen for my path.

So I mentioned that I was thinking of joining the army. I was very quickly – excuse the pun – shot down.

Not unkindly, but he was quick to remind me of the danger, and that there was a “big” commitment, as you often are required to serve a certain amount of years. Normally, it’s 3 or 4 years minimum before you can leave. The thing I fail to understand is how “that kind of time isn’t something you should just throw away lightly”.

According to recent data on http://www.socialsecurity.gov, a female born in the year 2000 – like myself – can expect to live to around 86 years old. So to that scale, how much is about 5 years in one job, really? Say I do my degree beforehand as planned; that’s starting my training at 21, so by 26, I could leave. One chapter closed, a new one opening. And I’d have 5 years of incredible experiences under my belt, along with some new qualifications and the knowledge that I changed someone’s life. To me, that feels like a decent chance to take. Even if I enjoyed it, the recommended age is 16 – 32, so it’s not a permanent commitment anyway. I would still have a good 50 years for something new.

Now, I’m not making this post to tell you to join the army. I’m also not making it to attack my boyfriend; his concerns were understandable and valid. The purpose of this post is to explain why you should just go for anything, even a pipe dream; they say life is short, but really, 86 years is a lot of time to make memories.

Yes, not everyone in your life is going to agree with your ideas. This doesn’t mean you have to cut them out, it just means that you need to explain why it matters to you. If they refuse to support you after that, then okay, maybe you need to address that and evaluate the situation. Don’t worry though, because if they are really meant to be in your life, they will try to support you.

So go out and make memories. Go to that country. Learn that skill. Try that extreme sport. Give that unthinkable career a go. Maybe you’ll find out that something wasn’t for you, even though you had your heart set on it all your life, but at least you know. Maybe you weren’t sure you would like it and find out you don’t, but you know. You won’t be sat there wondering what it would have been like. And who knows? You might find out that something you never dreamed of doing actually seems pretty interesting.

After all, you have about 80-something years to make a really cool autobiography.