I have an actual, honest-to-goodness post almost finished and ready for Friday. It was supposed to be my post for tomorrow, but, life.
All I have to do for this post is add pictures, links, and do some fact checking- all the shit that really sucks when you’re getting a post ready to *publish*.
Am I right?
Also, I’ve been wondering why I feel it necessary to “have to have a post done by *insert day of the week here*” like my life depends on it.
This isn’t a job. No one is supervising me. I won’t be receiving an evaluation for my work (or lack thereof).
I’m sure my loyal followers will be around whenever I decide to grace them with my presence. Or they won’t.
I keep seeing people all around me with incredible side hustles, and here I am just doing my regular full time job and blogging whenever the mood strikes me.
Sometimes, I feel insanely stupid for spending so much of my time doing something that yields absolutely zero income. I’m aware enough to know that money doesn’t always buy happiness, but it does pay off debt and allows for luxurious travel and isn’t that the same thing?
I have been really needing a side job, but I know that if I do, my writing and blog will suffer.
(Or, I just need to write a book, but how will that ever happen when I can barely get a new post out every week?)
Whenever I realize this, I feel utter panic. This blog, my writing, my incredible followers mean a lot to me. They mean everything.
Unfortunately, these beautiful, wonderful, necessary-for-my-sanity things aren’t helping me pay off my debt or save for my upcoming trip to the U.K.
Well, that was depressing.
Let’s move on to another topic.
Along with the supremely deep pondering I’ve obviously been doing, I’ve decided I have an unhealthy relationship with popcorn.
I’m not even joking.
I legit eat three mini bags a night. It used to be two bags, but that didn’t bloat my stomach quite enough, so we’re on to three effing bags now.
Also, I feel I need to be totally transparent-I don’t just eat the popped kernels…
I…I eat the un-popped kernels.
They are probably growing a massive popcorn tree in my bowels as I type this. I might as well draft up a will.
But, seriously? Is eating kernels hazardous to one’s health?
Another awesome thing going on right now is that I’ve mysteriously hurt my ankle.
It’s swollen and puffy and sore.
Almost two weeks ago, I engaged in a 5k for the program Girls on the Run. I say “engaged”, because I sure as hell didn’t run and “walked” sounds even more lame.
Looking pretty decent, but this was 100% because this was taken before the race started.
So, somehow, while merely walking I hurt myself.
As if that’s not enough, my eczema is flaring up. I have itchy splotches of diseased-looking rashes all over my already-gorgeous body.
There ain’t anything sexier to a man then, “Babe, can you come put some cream on the eczema I can’t reach?”
You might as well just take me and my popcorn-growing eczema guts out back, because what in the actual fuck?
I’m the biggest procrastinator. I put things off until the bitter end- blog posts, car registration renewals, diets. You name a task and I’ve done literally everything else there is to do before starting on said task.
At the same time, I overthink things to the point of obsession. When it comes to my writing, even though I don’t have numerous posts written ahead of time, scheduled and ready for publishing, I have ideas, phrases, and themes constantly swirling and developing in my head.
Getting my thoughts into a blog post is always my biggest challenge. It’s not that I don’t like to write, in fact, it’s the direct opposite (obviously). I fear that if I’m not in the perfect frame of mind or mood, my writing won’t come out the way I hear it in my head and feel it in my heart.
Thus, the endless ideas swimming around, stuck inside my obsessive, yet lazy mind, never seeing the light of day.
So, all of this rambling to say my post I was working on for today is not ready. I didn’t devote the time needed and now it’s nearly 10 PM. I can’t half-ass it just to have something to post on my usual post day.
I’m better than that and you all deserve better than that.
So, instead of a *real* post, I want to hear from you. What does the creative writing process mean to you? Do you struggle with producing? What about any writer insecurities? What do you do to ignite inspiration?
Blog comments-I live and breathe by them. I mean, my life would obviously go on, and I’d figure out how to get oxygen the good, old fashioned way if I suddenly didn’t have WordPress. But, no shit, my day is made exponentially better when I see a slew of love waiting for me to read in my WordPress app.
That is, unless it’s an unnecessarily rude/bitchy/salty/passive aggressive comment.
Those aren’t my favorite.
Way back when I first started putting my ridiculous thoughts out *there* for God and everybody to read and critique, I was scared out of my ever-loving-mind.
What if my humor doesn’t translate well to others?
What if my use of the word “fuck” offends the majority of those who attempt to relate to me?
What if the only person who thinks I’m funny is me?
What if what I write about is too TMI, and the people in my life start regarding me as a loud, unfunny, crass imbecile?
These were very real concerns.
The response over the years, however, has been incredible.
Somedays, I don’t even believe that I’m able to put together some words and those words mean something to others.
Somedays, I have to check to make sure it’s me who’s getting the laughs about unfortunate yoga flatulence and insane vacation fails.
The love has been real, immense, and supportive.
Except, when it hasn’t.
There’s always gotta be that person. You know who I mean:
The guy who has to ruin the good time with their overly concerned beliefs or their inability to get a joke, even when it slaps them in their dopey face.
Only very recently have I had run-ins with some haters making their presence known on my blog.
I’ve always heard or read stories about relentless haters from other blogs and bloggers. To be honest, I only half believed that someone was being harassed by strangers over their content, language, or grammar usage.
Really? Does that *really* happen? (There’d always be an eye roll, too, for good measure.)
Well, I’m just a little late to the game, ya’ll.
Yes, people actually take time out of their day to comment on minor grammatical errors.
Yes, people actually miss the entire main idea of a post and then make their disdain of a tiny kernel of an idea known in your comment section.
Yes, people actually make it a point to sound as bitchy and passive aggressive as possible when commenting on a harmless subject, like book suggestions.
I can’t even.
Now, don’t get me wrong, I’m always first in line to spread some bitter all over the comment section of dumb articles or videos on social media. I have too big of a mouth to not.
And, I’d be lying if I said I was never tempted to comment on terrible grammar or topic choices when reading blog posts.
But, here’s the difference between myself and your average Comment Creep:
I understand that blog posts are off limits in regards to unhelpful, just plain salty opinions.
A Facebook post took seconds, and likely, very little thought. Yet, a blog post, almost certainly, took hours/days/weeks, tons of creative energy, and a shit ton of guts to post.
I feel pretty confident that fellow bloggers understand this code of conduct, but the “others” obviously don’t.
I know excuses for constructive criticism might come up. My opinion on “helpful” suggestions is that they aren’t welcome unless specifically asked for by the author/blogger.
Also, respectful dialogue and discourse on a topic that is controversial is fine. There’s nothing better than having a lively discussion with someone who believes differently than you do.
I’m strictly speaking of rude-ass comments that make you feel stabby, yet, instantly self-conscious.
So, here’s where I need your help.
What do you do when you come across a rude comment? Do you delete it? Do you ignore it/not approve it? Do you comment back? Do you dust off your voodoo doll?
How do you deal with Debbie Downers? Let me know in the comments!
Whenever summer starts to loosen its death grip on the weather, and crisper mornings start to require a little more clothing, I feel my heart become lighter, brighter.
Surely, we all know, since I’m Fatty McCupcakes, that part of why I love autumn so much is because it means no more exposed chub. Hands down, autumn and winter fashion is my favorite, not only because more of my body is covered, but because I love what I get to cover my body in-cardigans galore, plaid scarves, and every type of boot imaginable.
Pumpkin-flavored-everything starts to be available, and my inner, wannabe-baker starts to stockpile sprinkles, sugar skull cupcake liners, and bags of baking sugar. And, sometimes, I actually get around to baking something delicious.
Warm, rich stews appear in the dinner rotation, and suddenly, homemade hot apple cider sounds like a good idea.
I start to purchase huge bags of candy for trick or treaters (no, these never get busted into before Halloween), and I start creating my next, too-involved Halloween costume for school.
So, essentially, I’m just like every other basic, white bitch, dusting off her Uggs.
If it’s basic to love a season so much that you go hog wild on doing positively everything that makes said season fun as shit, then label me Basic AF, with a capital Chambray and Chevron.
I don’t even care.
But, if you love autumn and all that comes with it with every fiber of your being like I do, it’s likely due to something deeper than PSLs and artsy wet leaf Instagram shots.
You probably had loving, involved parents who pointed out the changing leaves and talked to you about why the seasons change.
You likely had a family who took you to pumpkin patches to pick the *perfect* pumpkin to carve. And then you went home to make hot apple cider.
Maybe your mom took you on Sunday drives in the rain, so that you could witness, first hand, the changing season in all its resplendent glory.
So, it’s settled. I’m a basic, but Canva-graphic-deep, autumn-obsessed bitch.
I’ve said in earlier posts that when the seasons change, I think of Elko. I don’t know what it is about that place. Especially since I positively hated living there the better part of the first year.
Still, after so many years, when autumn arrives, it reminds me of the beauty that is Elko.
Ready for the deep, artsy wet-leaf-Canva-graphic part?
Here’s what really sings in my heart when autumn rolls in with the dry leaves and fireplace smell:
Muddy roads and slanted rain on dusty windows.
The smell of rich earth, wet leaves. An old heater. Burning wood.
Heavy, low-lying clouds, blanketing brown sagebrushed hills. Wet, dark, slate.
The blue-tinged sunshine. Crisp blue skies. Orange, brown, red.
The taste of cinnamon and cloves. Pumpkin. Yeast.
Enveloping darkness and lighted windows projecting warmth and a story.
I’ve been feeling like I should be in England lately. I didn’t realize until just the other day that it’s been almost a year since I was offered a teaching position in England, and, after a really difficult decision-making process, declined the offer.
I know, who decides against living abroad after being offered gainful employment? I know, right?
I really struggled for some time after having made my final decision (I’m still struggling). I wondered how much of my choice was driven by my inate second-guessing, worry-wart, scared-to-jump mentality or legit financial concerns.
I’m a huge fan of those girl-has-devastating-break-up-and-career-let-down-at-the-same-time-so-she-hops-on-a-plane-to-her-dream-get-away-locale-and-despite-having-eight-dollars-and-thirty-cents-and-no-change-of-underwear-she-somehow-lands-a-job-apartment-and-dreamy-new-man-chick-lit-books, because, duh.
Isn’t that every girl’s dream-to move abroad on a whim and it’s just like in the Lindsey Kelk books?
I’d like to hear of a real life situation where this scenario works out, because I had $800 in my pocket and I knew that would only get me as far as Toronto.
When I first started seriously considering working on obtaining a teaching position in England, I didn’t think it would be so easy. Or quick. I figured it’d take a few dozen tries, I’d have time to really mull over legit moving to another country, and that I’d have plenty of time to save and get my finances in order.
I was so mistaken. One minute I was dreamily planning how I’d decorate my make-believe tiny flat with decor from TK Maxx and the next I was using Skype for the first time, going over classroom management with a head teacher in Oxford (this was the first of two interviews I had. I didn’t end up getting the teaching position in Oxford).
Let me just break it all down for you in an easy-to-read timeline:
4/17/16: Applied for Qualified Teacher Status (QTS)
5/3/16: Application for QTS was approved, received login to view/print certificate
5/6/16: Emailed application to Stanwell Fields CE Primary School, among others
5/9/16: Received email response from Stanwell Fields Business Support requesting I fill out application
5/13/16: Received email from headteacher inquiring about availability for phone interview
5/19/16: Phone interview with assistant headteacher
5/23/16: Received voicemail from headteacher offering the job (I was too scared to pick up. What a noob)
So, in a little over a month, I had gained the necessary qualification to teach in England, interviewed at two schools, and was offered a position.
Just typing this now, I’m feeling the excited, heady warmth in my stomach one gets when exciting things are on the horizon.
It was all fun and games until shit got really real.
Just in case the headteacher at Stanwell Fields ever reads this (though it’s highly unlikely), I’d like to make it clear that I was genuinely serious about teaching abroad. That is, until I realized I was crazy to think I’d ever be able to afford it.
I had naively assumed that since England was in need of teachers, they would possibly offer a sign on bonus, much like many districts do in the U.S. when they have a teacher shortage. Or, they would assist with getting a visa.
Schools aren’t profit-driven, and the sad reality is that many are in desperate need of teachers, but have no extra funds to entice educators to move countries.
Not that I needed enticing. No, I just had no money and thought I could move my life abroad with $800 and my already-reaching-the-limit credit cards.
So, after researching the cost of a work visa (roughly $800, currently) and the cost to rent a one bedroom flat in the south of England (around $1000 a month), I realized I was in over my head.
Despite the fact that the school offered me an extremely nice pay raise, the cost of living in south England, coupled with my current bills, that would be traveling with me, made it so I simply could not afford to live.
Not only would I need enough money to live once settled, I’d need at least $800 for a one way ticket to London, money for a hotel or hostel once in England, a deposit for a flat, and funds for many other travel and moving expenses.
My mom and I estimated that I’d need at least $3000 to move and get settled (and it always ends up being more costly than you calculate beforehand).
Did I mention I had $800 in my savings? I’m amazing at adulting.
It was really depressing. Really, really dismaying, and not at all like my favorite chick lit books.
These were some of my biggest concerns:
The cost of living in the area was too high (I’d be paying triple what I was currently paying in rent)
Many available flats were unfurnished-I’d need to buy furniture (at minimum, a bed)
Despite the pay raise, due to certain taxes in the U.K., the pay would be roughly the same or less than my current pay, yet cost of living tripled
I’d be too strapped for cash to travel (travelling to other parts of Europe was a big reason I desired to live abroad)
It would have been necessary to drain my savings and rack up further debt for moving expenses (I was already in a significant amount of debt to begin with)
I would have needed to sell my car after having it less than a year (if I couldn’t sell it, it would have been another expense I couldn’t afford)
I’d barely make enough to save for a plane ticket back home, had that been necessary or desired
I’d have zero teaching supplies and shipping them over would have been too pricey
Regardless of the fact that I had very real financial concerns, I still feel like I let an amazing opportunity go. It didn’t help that I had so many people telling me that debt didn’t matter. YOLO and all that crap.
Big decisions and I have never been friends. Usually, when faced with a big, life-altering decision, I just bury my head in red sand and fail to make a decision, if at all possible.
I’m a master of the what-if discourse. I can go all day and go circles around anyone.
Yet, deep down, I know I made the right decision for me and my present financial situation.
I also know that I’ll never stop dreaming of England and doing what must be done to make it back.
For real though, how do most people move abroad? Are you in a better paying field than me or did your company pay for your move? Did you get a huge inheritance? Are you just in massive debt due to the move? Do you know some magic trick to making fast travel cash? If anyone who’s done it cares to spill the beans, I’m all ears!