Full Time Jobs: NOT WHAT I EXPECTED

College didn’t prepare me for how a full time job would be; honestly, “The Office” has been more handy in figuring out workplace situations than my “Please submit a PAPER portfolio because we’re all in denial that the Internet is a thing” internship seminar class in college.

And don’t get me wrong–I’m extremely, abundantly fortune to actually be working at a job I LOVE. I know a lot of people don’t have that same feeling about their job.

My fellow job people (employees?), I’m sure you feel me on this:…waking up on Mondays is hard, y’all. Due to my early/reasonable bedtime, I’m constantly called a grandma by my grad school friends (with the emoji and all, as if words alone weren’t painful enough). Dealing with people in the workplace isn’t always all waffles & instant friendship like “Parks & Rec” (although I would love to get an office dog/dog in general and name him Lil’ Sebastian). Having a daily organizational system of choosing your clothes on labeled daily hangers & being made fun of because of it (although it’s a VERY GOOD SYSTEM, okay!?!) is truly a burden I have to carry.  And to be perfectly honest, this whole “Do I pack a lunch? Do I not?” situation is still a daily conundrum.

I’m not sure what I expected…in college, everyone I knew who was 24 and working seemed so effortlessly cool and put together, with apartments full of beautiful candles and luxurious rugs. I have one candle and one rug and live in my parents’ house (where, arguably, they have more of each, but it’s just not the same.) Maybe I equate candles with success, but really, WHO DOESN’T?

I think I’m maybe speaking for everyone here, but we’re all just trying to figure it all out, even with the “security” of a full time, grown up job. And I don’t have answers and nobody really does.I feel way more like Taylor Swift’s “happy, free, confused, and lonely at the same time” than I ever did when I was actually 22.

The only thing I know for sure is this: seriously, a daily organized system of your clothes really IS awesome. Haters will hate.

What “Serial” Taught Me About Break Ups

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Warning: I kind of talk about the end of “Serial”? So… don’t read this if you haven’t listened? 

So…the first season of podcast phenomenon “Serial” concluded yesterday. And it just…ended. There was no big twist or surprise “gotcha” moment. No shock factor. The ending was as much of a proverbial question mark as the beginning episode.

And this really, really bothered me (and many other listeners I’ve commiserated with!) People felt like they were strung along, only to be disappointed by the lack of finality. However, doesn’t it just come down to an entertainment factor?

We’re used to 22 minute moralisms. For foibles cleaned up and turned into fables with “made for TV” endings. Messy, unanswered, or open-ended questions are scary because…well…anything could be lurking in the unknown. Interacting with insecurities, ugly truths, answers we don’t really want to hear–in the silence, “there be the dragons.”

Real life answers are NOT entertaining, because for the most part, they’re anticlimactic, unsettling, or just sad.

Why do we crave closure so much?

Recently (also, hey, this is my first post in like 6 months, so recently refers to like anything from July onward, okay? Okay.), I went through a terribly un-fun breakup. The circumstances were sad, I was sad, everything was sad. However, I wanted more closure. I wanted a “bow ending.” A perfect, coherent speech that summed up my feelings and was pithy and smart–the ultimate Cool Girl finale speech. Of course, this didn’t happen, because I’m not living in a 2003 Reese Witherspoon movie. But I wanted that closure more than anything else.

Through that (and I guess “Serial” haha), I’ve realized though that sometimes answers come from lack. I’m learning to be okay with the mystery and dealing with the fact that finality doesn’t show up in ways we like sometimes.

The ending of “Serial” was just…real. We don’t get to have nice answers most of the times and really, bow endings are not real closure, but platitudes.

(And who knows, maybe Mail Chimp had something to do with it. My job is starting to use them now actually.)

Christians, I Judged You.

When you rallied behind syllogisms rather than Scripture, I judged you.

When I saw the hurtful things you wrote about depression & suicide, I judged you.

When you refused to love people different than you, preferring stereotypes to relationships, I judged you.

When you made ignorant political comments under the name of Jesus, I judged you.

When you said really thoughtless comments about other people’s appearance choices, I judged you.

When you ignored, alienated, and judged the gay community, I judged you.

When you made fear-mongering movies based on false stereotypes, I judged you.

When you put down women in favor of patriarchy, I judged you.

And…I should have loved you. And remembered that none of us are perfect.

Loving those who don’t know God, that’s easy. Loving those who do know God but who I disagree with politically, doctrinally, and spiritually? That’s SO difficult.

How can I say that I love others & want to err on the side of loving others too much when I’m judging those who I deem are judgmental? This is hypocrisy, pure and simple.

Honestly, it comes down to pride–believing I’m more in tuned spiritually to how Jesus would act. HA–what’s that verse about removing the log from my own eye, again?

May I err on the side of loving too much–for EVERYONE. I need to take off my superiority blinders & give more grace. (Thank you to everyone who gave ME lots of grace during this time.)

Living Mindfully (versus Monastically)

So, three weeks or so ago, I read the book “7: An Experimental Mutiny Against Excess” and felt compelled to reduce my own major area of excess, my closet, by around 25%. I ended up giving away 58 items of clothes and shoes, which was an awesome start.

I was explaining all this to someone I work with and I realized that it sounded a little crazy and extreme–so I’m going to explain my motives a little more. This isn’t about punishing myself for the privilege that I have received by living in a first world country. I mean, since the experiment last month, I’ve purchased three more pairs of shoes (which I needed for work, as I got a full time job in the time in between.)

I’m not trying to live monastically, but mindfully.

Mindful of the true cost of that cheap item I’m buying–of the child labor, the trafficking, the injustice that just isn’t worth the money.  Mindful of the fact I don’t need most of the things I buy. Mindful of the responsibility that I have as someone whose voice has not been silenced by oppression or because of desperation.

I can speak with my money and my purchases.

That’s a great thing about money–you can use it to better your own life, sure, but when you have the ability to help others, wouldn’t you?

Check out Kiva, a non-profit loan organization that does SO much good around the world. For $25 (aka one shirt at Target), you can sponsor a loan to a budding entrepreneur around the world. You are empowering them and helping them create sustainability in their lives & communities. Plus, you get repaid, so it’s really the easiest way to help someone ever.

My words are nothing compared to all the injustice happening in the world. I just hope to be on the side of justice rather than convenience and ease.

You Know You’re a Christian Blogger When:

Ironically the first image found when one googles "Christian Blogger"

Ironically the first image found when one googles “Christian Blogger”

CLEARLY, this post is self-referential, as I am both of these things. I’m making fun of myself, of blogging in general, and the trends I see out there. If you can handle a little tongue-in-cheek sarcasm, please indulge me.

 

You know you’re a Christian blogger when:

1) You use the occasional four letter swear word to show that you’re just as edgy and cool as your “secular” writer friends, while also implying that you mean serious business. (Clearly, if you say “shit” in your blog, you’re letting your readers know that you’re a world-weary Christian, tiptoeing that blurred line of “in the world & not of it” with the grace and poise of a blogging ballerina. You’ve been around the block and just have to prove it, damn it.) Although, you would never, ever say “the f word,” just variations when you get really heated on an issue. Hey, if the King James version of the Bible says a word, it’s okay to say it, right?

2) You are the voice of a generation. Who else can accurately describe the plight of the millennial better than you? No one? That’s what I thought. Nobody else can write about purity or church culture better than you–nobody else read “I Kissed Dating Goodbye” or had a purity ring, of this you’re 97% certain.

3) Your blog topics are mostly about: Harry Potter, sex, purity culture, dating, abstinence, sex, churches, sex, modesty, the Church versus the church, homosexuality, sex, pop culture, dating in the church, and the occasional current political/social event to spice things up. And then when you run out of topics, you just write more about sex again. Because of…reasons.

4) You have a severe case of whiplash: sometimes you love everything about the church (note: little c, because knowing that difference is also a sign you’re a Christian blogger) and other days you are to the point of extreme frustration with every aspect. Being jaded is pretty normal.

5) Sometimes it’s hard to discern the difference between actually having valuable something to say and adding to the cacophony of meaningless rants.

I’m NOT joining a Nudist Colony (UPDATE on yesterday’s post)

Okay guys, I did it. 

Surprisingly, it wasn’t too difficult! Yesterday, I pledged to get rid of the excess in my life. I was supposed to pick out 48 pieces of clothes and shoes to give up to make my own 25% reduction quota–I found 58! Like I said, I go big or go home.

So, now instead of a closet of 195 shoes and clothes, I’m at 137…which is still an embarrassingly large number for one person to possess, but hey, it’s a start. And plus, I’m not doing all this so I can join a nudist colony–I still love clothes. 

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And some of those things were only worn like once…yikes.

These piles of clothes represent easily hundreds & hundreds of dollars put to poor use, but even more than that, they represent insecurity (needing to use clothes to make me feel pretty/fashionable/wanted/etc), an overwhelming need for accumulation, avarice, and worst of all, proof that I’ve been a terribly irresponsible steward of the time & money I’ve been given by frittering that away on expanding my wardrobe & not expanding Something more permanent & meaningful.  

I desire simplicity–of a life not defined by the things I own or what I wear but of the words I say and the experiences I have. I want to live with my palms open & facing up, not clenched into a possessive grip. A life of yes rather than no. 

And I just can’t do that when I own a lot of things (even things I love, like clothes.)

Maybe you might think this is crazy (and it kind of is), which is totally okay. I get that. I’m only responsible for my choices–I can’t tell you to stop spending money or buying clothes (those sales racks at H&M beckon me like a siren’s call).  But if you want to join me–we might have less, but I think it will mean so much more to give rather than hoard. 

Out of (my) Closet

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I own 173 items of clothing. One hundred and seventy three dresses, skirts, pants, shirts, blazers–and that’s not even counting winter clothes. Oh, and twenty two pairs of shoes.

….What.

(If you’re curious, the average American woman apparently has 90 items in her closet, but apparently, I go big or go home.)

Over the weekend, I read “7: An Experimental Mutiny Against Excess” by Jen Hatmaker, which I seriously recommend. The author outlines seven areas of excess & eliminates each for one month. The book absolutely wrecked my thinking on excess and waste. I complain about the lack of money in my life, but honestly, I think it’s just because I’ve been wasting it!

I mean, clearly, I just have to take a look at my closet at my 173 items of clothes and 22 pairs of shoes to know that’s true. I love thrift shopping and the thrill of the cheap purchase, but who am I kidding, usually the novelty of the price lasts longer than my actual interest in the item. I’ve always enjoyed fashion and style (throwback to when I was a fashion columnist for my university’s newspaper) but this is ridiculous. I could clothe 5 women plus me with all the things I own and never wear.

So many people go without proper clothing or shoes–how can I be so greedy? When I was in Mexico this past June, I learned that those who are homebound and cannot work sell whatever clothing they can find as their sole income–something I seriously take for granted as I peruse my closet and have “nothing to wear.” My “trash” could be someone else’s lifeline.

As Jen Hatmaker wrote, “I’m tired of calling the suffering “brothers and sisters” when I’d never allow my biological siblings to suffer likewise. That’s just hypocrisy veiled in altruism. I won’t defile my blessings by imagining I deserve them.” 

I don’t need or deserve to have a huge wardrobe. So, I’m reducing my wardrobe by 25%–that means giving away nearly 50 items of clothing or shoes. I’m not sure if I’ll hold a block party garage sale & donate the money, clothing swap, or just donate them to a ministry, but I’m doing something!

Stay tuned! (I need the public accountability!) Anyone want to join in?