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Tis The Season

Tuesday, December 22, 2020

Christmas is my favorite holiday. What I love the most about Christmas is that it is just so festive. The decorations, the music, family coming together, gifts, and let's not forget about the food. There's just something about Christmas that makes me feel all warm and fuzzy inside. 

As I mentioned in my Thanksgiving post, holidays won't be the same this year due to the impacts of COVID. 

Unfortunately, some family members won't be able to spend time with their loved ones or don't have the means to celebrate the holidays due to job loss or work closures. It can really put a damper on the holidays, but I want to make the most of the holidays despite what's happening in our world around us. 

Taking family photos this year was a pretty big deal. 

I knew that I wanted to be that cliche family taking pictures in our holiday pajamas, in front of our Christmas tree, smiling, and looking as though life is grand. And we did it!

I got our matching pajamas from Children's Place. Let me say that finding pajamas in the sizes we all needed was like finding a needle in a haystack. It's possible that I hoped on the matching PJs a little late in the game, but damn. 

I am so in love with the way these photos turned out. To say that I used my phone, my tripod, and natural sunlight I think these photos came out exceptionally well. It was a little difficult at first getting Liam to cooperate initially. But, what can you expect with an active four-year-old? 

Taking these photos is just a reminder to me that our family has been quite blessed this year. It shows me to be thankful for all that we have and to never take any moment we have together for granted. 

I know it's hard to find a piece of happiness in the midst of chaos, but I'm here to show you guys that even the small blessings count. 

Here's to having a Merry Christmas!!!

December Journal Challege: Week Three

Sunday, December 20, 2020

Last week's journal challenge was quite emotional for me. Remembering the saddest memory/event of this year was a challenge, and to be honest it still is. And although 2020 hasn't been filled with the greatest of memories I would be lying to you all if I didn't acknowledge that my family had some great moments this year despite the chaos.

Week Three: Things You Are Proud Of In 2020

2020 forced my family to consider doing things outside of our normal. We took leaps in directions we never thought were possible, and we pursued things we surely thought we weren't ready for. 2020 wasn't the best, but there were definitely moments I am proud of. 

  1. Leo started his trucking business, Positive Spin Trucking
  2. I got my first paid article published in Introvert, Dear
  3. I began a side business of creating voice-over work on Fiverr
  4. I quit my job that I hated and started working part-time at a job I enjoy more than any job I've had
  5. I re-launched and rebranded my blog site after not posting here for months
  6. I was offered two sponsored post opportunities on my Instagram feed
It may not sound like much, but these were big for our family. Looking back, it seems so long ago that these opportunities happened for us. But truthfully, these were no more than a couple of months ago. 

I know it can be hard to see the greatness in the midst of chaos, but I promise you it's there. Count your blessings...even the small ones!

December Journal Challenge: Week Two

Friday, December 11, 2020

This week's challenge is definitely a challenge. I struggled with writing this one because it brought up a lot of emotions I thought I finally accepted and got over. But the truth is, I never got over it and it's likely it will be a while before I am over it. 

Week Two: What is the saddest event/memory of 2020?

2020 was for sure filled with a ton of sad and depressing ass memories. I could go on and on about the several losses we've had this year. And although I could choose from several events that occurred in 2020, this one is most personal for me.

In February, a friend of mine from college, Jalissa, passed away. It's still unclear to me the exact reason for why, but I heard it was due to complications from surgery. I knew she struggled with some health issues, but she never gave the impression that it was life threatening. I can still remember exactly what I was doing and exactly what was happening when I found out.

It was early morning. I had just arrived at that God awful job I posted about in my previous week's challenge. Because I hated that job so much I would sit in my car for an extra 10-15 minutes before walking into the building. Typically, I would talk to my mom to pass time, but this morning I was scrolling through Facebook.

As soon as I opened the app, a classmate shared an old picture of herself with Jalissa and captioned "May you rest in peace."

My heart dropped.

I screamed to myself, "Oh hell no!"

I began digging through Jalissa's Facebook profile and the captions were continuous. Everyone was saying rest in peace. Everyone was sharing old pictures they had of her, and remembering such good times they shared.

All I could do was cry out because I didn't know what happened.

I sat in my car crying outside of my job. I couldn't move and I didn't know what to do. The shock of it all completely numbed me. 

Eventually, I mustered the energy to message my supervisor to let her know what had happened and I came home for the rest of the day. 

I was devastated. I still am. The last time I spoke with Jalissa was over Instagram as she commented on a video I shared of Liam. It was three days prior to finding out about her death. 

Jalissa was one of my first friends at Claflin. I don't make friends easily and she was someone that I found easy to be around. She was wild but fun. She was quiet but loud at the same time. She pulled something out of me that I didn't know was there, and for that reason alone I valued the friendship we had. 

My biggest regret is not keeping in touch more often after we graduated from college. She lived in Spartanburg and I am here in Charleston. We kept saying that one day we'll come to visit one another, but for some reason we never did. 

We still kept in touch frequently over social media. To this day, whenever I scroll through Facebook memories there's most likely a post in which she commented on or shared with me. Although she and I didn't have the friendship most people would consider close, she played a huge part in my life that I didn't acknowledge was dear to me until after she passed away. 

The best memories I can think about during college, she was a part of it. I'm angry with myself for not letting her know just how much she meant to me.

We often think we have so much time, but life is short. I believe she and I thought we had so much time to see each other again that we didn't push ourselves hard enough to just do it. 

This is still a very sad reality for me. 

What I learned from her death is to value the relationships you have with people. Tell them how much they mean to you and don't delay spending time with them. 

It makes my heart smile to know that she touched so many people in her life and that so many people have such great things to remember about her. She really was a great person! 

RIP Jalissa.

December Journal Challenge: Week One

Friday, December 4, 2020

Around this time last year, I started journaling. Writing in a journal became extremely therapeutic for me and helped me during what was likely one of the most stressful times in my life. It helped me to slow down time and organize my thoughts. It helped me to find answers to questions I struggled with for so long. It helped me to cope with some of the things that were troublesome for me.

Journaling is what helped me to the space I am in today.

I've been wanting to do a journal challenge for a while, but each month that rolls by I fail to commit to the prompts. So I figured as we're inching towards the end of the year...why not?

I'm a few days late in joining in on this challenge, but better late than never. I'm excited to begin and I hope you all follow along on my journey.

Week One: What were your goals at the beginning of the year and now?

Lord! Let me just start off by saying that what I thought I wanted at the beginning of the year is not even close to what I want now.

At the beginning of this year, I was working with a very notable software company in the Charleston area. This was supposed to be my dream job. This job was supposed to be a step up for me in my career. It offered more pay, better benefits, and a few perks. However, I was miserable in this position.

I never quite went into details as to what happened during my time in this position, but let's just keep it short by saying I only lasted in this role for six months.

It was that bad y'all. Each day I would walk into that building, I felt I was walking through mud. The position wasn't at all how I thought it would be, and what made it worse was that the communication between myself and supervisor was beyond unsettling. I don't know what it was, but speaking with her was like pulling teeth. Each time I had to speak with her, I felt like the dumbest person ever. But aside from this, there was just so much more that wasn't a good fit for me with this company.

I jumped over obstacles that made it nearly impossible for me to do the job I was hired to do. I tolerated it for as long as I could until I couldn't anymore.

I endured being in that position for six months because I figured, who quits a new job after only a few short months? 

My goal at the beginning of this year was to settle into this dream job, save up the extra money, and become the working woman I always wanted to be. But that didn't happen. 

I coincidentally quit my job around the same time COVID became a thing, and businesses were transitioning to working remotely. I didn't have a back up plan other than to apply to some staffing agencies in hopes that it would get my foot in the door somewhere until I could figure some things out. 

By April, I got hired working at a bank through a staffing agency. I'm still working there.

So what are my goals now? 

The goals that I have for myself now are quite simple: Balance. 

I'm no longer chasing a dream job. I'm no longer living up to this image that I once carried in my head. I'm no longer trying to portray myself as what society deems as a superwoman juggling career and home. I am doing whatever will bring me peace and balance. 

Getting hired through this staffing agency turned my focus all the way around. I went from wanting to be this big time working woman, to wanting more time home with my family. I was no longer working a full-time job, I asked to be part-time.

Being part-time allowed me space to still be a working woman and still be home to tend to the needs of my family. It has been the perfect balance I didn't know I needed.

That is my goal now as we reach the end of 2020. 

That God awful job showed me that I had my focus on the wrong things. It showed me what was really important to me. Sure! More money is always awesome. But it doesn't mean crap to me if I'm going to be miserable each day. 

Balance is the key. Balance is the goal. Balance is what I'm striving even if it doesn't entirely make sense. The beginning of the year seems so long ago, but I'm glad to say look how far I've come.