Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Starting Over

Hello again! This blog has had a long enough time of absence. When you're going through a lot of life changes (thank the gods I've already been through puberty and haven't hit menopause), it's easy to get distracted. I apologize for my absence.

Starting Over

This is a background post about the author.

My life is driven by ambition and thus I pride myself on my accomplishments within school and work. Since graduating college in 2012, my work had become my life. I went around to various jobs, all of which I enjoyed, when I gained a new position assisting military veterans with finding housing.

Though the job was hectic, the rewards of helping a person in need were more than enough to compensate for the stress. Five weeks into my job, of which I had no prior experience, the company fired my immediate supervisor. Needless to say, it was a shock. Now, here I was with a little over of a month of experience, no immediate supervisor, and a shitload of work to do. I went a little crazy. I was smoking a pack of cigarettes a day, drinking (to the point of being drunk) every night, and not taking care of myself.

At one point, I began to wonder why I was working for an organization that was grinding me to the bone. They solved that for me by letting me and another co-worker go two months later. They didn't give a reason, and frankly I didn't want one. I was just glad to be gone. I missed my clients, but I felt a huge sense of first.

Then, I felt broken.

Without being successful at my job, what was the point? What was I? How did I have any worth? How could I overcome a failure this large? I immediately booked  a trip to go visit my best friend and platonic other half on the East Coast (image above taken from her window). During that trip, my life shifted from hazy and aimless to sharp and in focus.

I graduated in 2012 with a degree in Psychology. I had been accepted to several doctorate programmes in England, but I wanted to come home, where it was safe and where I felt I could rebuild myself (that's a story for another time). I applied to a few graduate programmes every year, but I never went. So, I worked. I went into a cycle of working, coming home, doing nothing, rinse and repeat.

I was happy, but I was also lost. The future seemed indistinct. I was torn by indecision and uncertainty. I've made huge life changes in the past (going to school in England, leaving behind people  I loved, etc), but for some reason, I felt stalled. Please forgive me for the following sentence: Being let go allowed me to truly "let go" (so cheesy, couldn't help it). I gave up my insecurities about the future and found a new path that was carved in the East Coast.

Following the disaster, I put myself together. I  came back and joined my family real estate company. I applied, and was accepted (!) to my future graduate school to study Forensic Psychology on the East Coast. My dog was healthy (have to be grateful for the little things). I quit smoking cigarettes and stopped drinking as much (a glass or two of wine a week).

I'm still working on other aspects of self-care, but little by little I'm building myself not on a foundation of accomplishments, but on discovering the self-respect that I had lost in my previous job. The notion that it is okay to care about myself and my well-being The thought that perfection is impossible, but being content is possible. And to truly take it one day at a time, minuscule little step by minuscule little step by learning, reading, laughing, and finding out what I truly enjoy. Also, I cut off my hair.

So, here's to starting over!

Let me know your thoughts, and if you would like to see certain topics covered on this blog.
Thanks for reading

-Alfie Marie

Saturday, October 4, 2014

An Introduction

*See footer

This photo is affixed to a drug rehabilitation clinic in Canada. I saw it while mindlessly scrolling through Instagram one day, and the power of this simple statement woke me up. Life, as most of you will know, is not a static routine filled with predictability. It is a chaotic mess that often takes our nicely laid-out plans, crumples them into a ball, and then throws them in the trash. Life can be rather rude sometimes.

However, as we are weeping in the corner with a bucket of cookie dough over the loss of our plans, something beautiful happens within us: we change. As animals, especially intelligent animals, we are able to adapt to almost any situation. 

My friends are aware of my mild (a.k.a. intense and possibly creepy) obsession with Viktor Frankl, a psychologist who survived a concentration camp during WWII. He stated that when everything is stripped away, taken from us, or just simply lost, we still can control one specific thing: our attitude to the situation. If you've ever seen V for Vendetta (yes, the book was much better and very different, but I love the movie anyways), one of the characters write about that "last little inch" that no one can take away from us. 

That willpower and conviction goes by many different names: human nature, a soul, a spark, a fire, or a defiance towards suppression of one's free will. Whatever you may call it, that "humanness" allows us to change, allows to us to be free, even when burdened with unplanned situations.

Thus, this blog is born. I have recently faced a series of events that has led me to not only explore my attitude and willpower towards things beyond my control, but to expand even further by developing myself physically, mentally, spiritually, and fiscally. Hey, girl's gotta eat. 

Throughout our time on this blog, I hope to see change. I hope to see that I have made the above image true for me and for the people that read this. While this sounds like a rather serious task, I believe in above all else a quote from "The Tao of Pooh" which states; "When you discard arrogance, complexity, and a few other things that get in the way, sooner or later you will discover that simple, childlike, and mysterious secret known to those of the Uncarved Block: Life is Fun." Oh yeah, there's going to be Taoism up in this bitch! 

Little disclaimer on that: any religious ideologies I explore are not meant to be demeaning or harmful to any other religious ideology; they are simply my thoughts while trying to find my own path.

To make a long post, short: Life is a mess, life is fun, life is change, and there are lessons to be learned from our mistakes and our triumphs. I just hope that some of mine can help someone else.

Until next time,

Alfie Marie

*For the life of me, I cannot remember who posted this picture on Instagram. I do not take credit for it, and if you are aware of who did post it, please let me know!