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Post-Grad

Wow, okay so it’s been a hot minute seven months since I’ve written my last post. And I can give you many-a-excuses as to why I haven’t been writing, but I will only give you one: I thought I lost all creative sense for writing. I still briefly feel that way, but with my one small stroke of inspiration, I’ll attempt. There may or may not be some (Houston) liquid courage involved…**

I’m writing about how I feel about Houston, Texas. The 713, 281, HOU, HTX, Clutch City, etc. The city has many (debatable) names. I’m writing about how I miss it.

YERP. I miss it for a multitude of reasons even though I’m in the city I’ve wanted to be in for nearly two years. The reasons that kept me from moving are the reasons I miss it (of course):

  • The people
  • Supper club
  • The [diverse] food
  • The Vietnamese grocery stores
  • The Heights and its esplanades
  • Some dude I have my blinders on for, whatever

This seems like a short list, but you’d be surprised of its impact. I mean, the whole lack of Vietnamese grocery stores (yes, I know about MT) could be a whole blog post itself. Yes, I’ve only been here a month and I know it takes time (ugh). I’m keeping an open mind, I promise. However, if you ask me, ask anyone, don’t you find Austin different than what you remember when you visited last? You can’t deny its growth. I mean, look at the new medical school on Red River…or the multiple complexes that have popped up on the east side (where it was once scary AF).

All in all, I’m saying something my thoughts will probably change again…because it happens. Change happens. (Gosh, Thu, what a revelation you had…) Houston will change, Austin will change. Heck, Dallas is probably changing (but who cares as long as the State Fair is still there?). This post is my appreciation and apology to Houston, its people and its food. How did you wedge yourself into my heart?

Recently, while driving in the rain I thought about Houston like this:
You’re like dry socks on a rainy day. (Caveat: I’m not very good at analogies, but go with it.) My friend, Eric, always told me to have a pair of extra dry socks, especially in Houston weather. There’s nothing like putting on dry socks after running from a flooding parking lot to your dry location. It’s kind of amazing. I guess what I’m saying, Houston, is that you’re amazing. When I have those “rainy days,” I’m glad I can look back and put on those dry socks and think of 8th Wonder Brewery, Coltivare, supper club and Viet Hoa (among many, many other things you have to offer).

Cheers to you Houston, but not to your traffic. I will see you again soon. Thanks for being those dry socks.

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Thank you for my reminder, JT.

**Drinking a 11th Below ‘Oso Bueno’ beer

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Missing. What a wonderful feeling. Or, horrible feeling.
It’s all about context.

It’s wonderful because you miss something/someone so much that it hurts, but at the same time wonderful. It’s a sign of true missing. It’s not filler. It’s not unauthentic. It’s real, and it’s visceral. It’s an aching feeling that can only be fulfilled when it/they come back. I say “it/they” because it can be your favorite tv show, your favorite YouTube channel, your favorite jeans or person.

It’s horrible…because it’s an aching feeling that can only be fulfilled when whatever you miss comes back. It’s even more horrible when you know that it/they can’t come back. When that show you love so much has ended, that YouTuber has decided to stop making videos, that company stops making jeans or person is no longer here.

What a juxtaposition. It’s confusing. How can you miss something or someone and feel so wonderful and so terrible, simultaneously?

I bring this up, because I feel this way currently. A simultaneous feeling of happiness and sadness, wrapped so closely that I can’t sort it out. What do people say? “How lucky I am to have something that makes saying goodbye so hard?” Winnie the Pooh said that…or his maker, A. A. Milne.

It’s true, isn’t it? How lucky are we to have something that makes saying goodbye? Even if it’s heart-wrenching…for a couple of days, weeks or even years. What I’ve realized and preached, is with some time, the feeling dissipates. Sounds insensitive, but that’s how we process and move forward. Breakups, loss of life, loss of tv show (not to trivialize the former two).

This was mostly a process, stream-of-consciousness-type post. To get through how I’m feeling and to…eventually move forward. I do feel lucky. You should feel lucky if you ever come across this feeling, too.

Remember: It’s about context. And it takes some time.

It’s 5:30 AM, and this…could be a terrible blog post.

I’m really not a person to wake up in the middle of the night. Nor am I the person who wakes up every hour, on the hour. Nor am I the person who decides that 5 AM is as good time as any to wake up for a full day of work…and write a personal blog post.

But that’s what you do sometimes. When you know your brain is rattling, and if you don’t get thoughts out, that it might actually be bad for your health. This doesn’t happen often, it’s not a stroke of genius, by any means — but you can’t ignore it. At least, I feel like I can’t.

So I’ll put myself on a time constraint because after this, I actually have to get ready for work.

Work.

It’s been my life lately (sort of). Transitioning back to full time work hasn’t been difficult in the sense that I feel like I’m drowning…it’s just been difficult. When you’ve become used to a certain lifestyle (or developed a habit), other things fall to the wayside. For me, it’s been my creative hobbies…such as your writing. It’s been difficult in the sense that I don’t feel compelled, or even inspired to write anything. Because the majority of my work is writing, I feel burnt out by the time I get home (and that’s on a good day). I feel the same way about social media. You guys know that I have my reservations, but I love social media. It’s also been part of my professional work for…forever. Lately, it’s also fallen to the wayside. I’ll get on here and there, but it’s no longer this priority? (I’ve even turned off Notifications because I feel so indifferent about it.) And while that may sound like a good thing to you… it’s been ingrained in me for so long. When I feel like it’s leaving my person/habits, I FEEL LIKE IT’S NOT ME. I’m asking myself, “WHO AM I?” Does that make sense? It sounds so silly… I promise this has a[n] good ending.

So, then we watched this video (below) at my work’s weekly team meeting. Andrew Stanton, for those of you who do not know, worked on films such as John Carter, Finding Nemo…Wall-E…Toy Story — ever heard of those?

I took notes that reside on my desk now:

“Make me care. Life is NOT static. Stories are inevitable, not predictable. WONDER. Send jokes to Andy.”

— the last bit was a reminder for myself.

Sometimes, I forget about TED talks. Most times, it’s because I’m watching dumb YouTube content like “You Suck At Cooking,” which isn’t actually dumb…it’s actually very creative. ANYHOW, this video struck me like a chord.

  1. b/c it’s Andrew Stanton. Anyone from Pixar, really. You know it’s going to be good
  2. “Make me care” is what anyone aspires to do when they’re telling a story, right? It sounds so obvious…but not until someone else points it out is when you feel like they’ve told you some sort of secret
  3. Life is not static. Are you kidding me, I literally have that written in my About Me section
  4. WONDER. Everyone seeks that (conscious or not). I remember feeling that way when I first watched UP. Or when my brother tells me what he did at work. Or when my roommate tells the shit out of a work story. Or when my best friend tells me…anything.
  5. The moments that he remembers, bringing him to where he stands today
  6. Woof, he knows how to tell a good story. Amirite *sob*

All’s to say is that TED talk was what I needed (for now). A cup of refreshment. Something to lift my spirit, a break in the monotony, a note that says, “Keep going. Make me care.” We all strive for greatness, and as long as it finds you working — it will come.

I think, don’t quote me on that.

 

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Too dramatic? 

So I sit here again, at my computer with a cup of coffee. This is usually how it goes, we both know this by now.

What’s on my mind today? A lot of things. A lot of moving parts, a lot of flux – but again, we both should know this by now.

Here on Thu’s News, this just in: she has a new job. And typing this out gets me teary-eyed. (DID NOT SEE THAT ONE COMING.) Yes, I accepted a new job. Yes, I left what is “the dream job.” Yes, it was absolutely my choice. Why am I sad? Because I’m an emotion investor.

What does that f*cking mean? I made it up. It was “emotional investor” until about 2 seconds ago when I decided to delete that last bit. I invest in emotions, mostly my own (because I’m the proprietor of those said emotions). Or maybe I’m a broker. If I explain it, can someone tell me if I’m an investor or a broker?

In every job that I’ve ever had, I’ve invested quite a bit of emotion into it. Good and bad. Sadness and happiness. Everything in between. Whether it was in my actual day-to-day duties, clients or my teammates- emotion was poured into it. How much did I invest? Depends on the return, OBVIOUSLY. Teammates are probably the largest invested group. You see them (or communicate) with them for a large part of your day. If you’re lucky, your teammates are the ones that are in the trenches with you and can pick up slack. And if you’re super lucky, they’ll accept the GIFs you send them, play pranks and they’ll have a beer (or 5) with you…even if you’ve left that place of work.

WHICH IS WHEN THEY’VE BECOME YOUR FRIENDS, and that’s a whole ‘nother chunk of investment. Am I actually replacing the word ‘commitment’ with ‘investment’? idk

…Where am I going with this? I “had promise of high return,” and thus I invested a lot. Unlike a financial investment, these emotion investments came with strings (i.e. the feels), not just dollars. But like an investor, if something (logistically, and otherwise) comes your way- it’s advisable to invest (right?). It’s extremely conflicting, personally. I had a lot of emotion equity in my last job. Have you felt this way? Am I being too emotionally invested in a job? Probably. But maybe you get it.

Don’t get me wrong, I am thrilled about my new job. It’s overwhelming, it’s just the beginning and there are so many things for me to learn. But consider this is an ode to my old job, and the ones that preceded it. Because leaving a job is never easy. Even the ones I didn’t like, it was hard. Why? Let’s all recap: I’m an emotion investor, and I’ve been lucky enough to get the opportunity to invest my emotions so deeply. DAMN YOU ALL. You know who you are. Why can’t we all work in the same place, doing what we want, forever?

Oh yeah, because that’s not how Life likes to work.

We’re actually all emotion investors at our work, whether we see it or not. Think about it. Why would you stay? JUST ‘CAUSE THE DOLLA BILLS? No. Or maybe. I don’t know your life. BYE.

This topic has been on my mind for awhile. I can list a handful of people who have heard an earful of this already. (Thank you, handful of lovely people who I love.)

“Your job is stupid” isn’t something you hear…to your face. But you feel it with a person’s looks, her nonverbal response and if you’re lucky, a sugar-coated version of it. It usually sounds something like this, “Oh…that’s…cool….*awkwardly*”

When I was a kid, I went through life thinking that I had a few options for a career. Everything else beyond these choices amounted to nothing. I had to choose.

  • Doctor
  • Nurse
  • Engineer
  • Teacher
  • Nun

That was it. Everything else didn’t count; it wasn’t realistic or sustainable. These five options.

Then I got to college, I got to spread my wings a little bit more and doors that I didn’t know existed started to open. But then I got tunnel vision, again. Because my school, my peers and my parents brainwashed me into thinking that I’m supposed to get a full-time, well-paying  job after college. Something sustainable. Something “respectable.” That’s the next step. And I internalized it. I became that kid again, and I thought to myself, “I have to get a full-time job after college …or I’m a lazy piece of shit.” It’s sounds a little harsh, but we were all probably thinking it. Especially if you go to a competitive school. Especially if your peers who are getting jobs before they graduate.

I felt pretty shitty. I was one of those grads that didn’t have a job immediately after college. It wasn’t that I wasn’t applying. It wasn’t that I wasn’t getting interviews. I wasn’t getting hired – and that feels pretty shitty. It doesn’t soften the blow when a recruiter says “You’re impressive…but we decided to go with another candidate.”

So, I kept applying, worked for my parents and traveled in between. Then I took a job that I didn’t love because I felt the pressure of not having one. Then I quit that job, and then I took a job that I liked more but might sound less “respectable.” It was a barista job. I made coffee and I served coffee. I cleaned dishes and I counted the till. I collected tips, and did the occasional hair flip for more tips. And I learned so much at this job. Beyond coffee history, the science of espresso, and Square troubleshooting- I learned about people. The people behind the bar, the people in front of the bar, the people outside of the coffee bar. Arguably, I learned more about the art of communicating, service and team work than any of my other internships, combined.

Most importantly, I learned that no one’s job is stupid. Leaving my job, I have so much respect for everyone in the service industry (and any industry). Where we are in life – as long as you’re moving forward, and you kind of like what you do – what else is there? Maybe [health] benefits…I hear those are cool. But people have a sense of entitlement. That we are supposed to have great jobs because we have a 4 year degree, or we put in our time with multiple internships, or we know someone who knows someone.

We’re not guaranteed anything in this life, and that includes a furthering education and a job. Those are privileges and by-products of continuing hard work…and possible trial-and-error.

If you’re at a job that you love, congratulations. Continue to learn and grow, put in the work, remember to be thankful and don’t forget to  share.

If you’re at a job you hate, make moves. I don’t regret for a second for leaving my job as a fresh grad, 4 months into it. Trust your gut, it’s usually right. Remember to move forward, fight for what you want and that it’s okay to try new jobs (whether or not it’s “respectable,” because re: no one’s job is stupid).

 

 

I’m glad to be home…in Houston.

Who else is shocked by that statement? Since the day I moved back to Houston (sometime last May, then February in The Loop), I’ve always had my eyes set on Austin.

People would never hear the end of my love for that city. Where did I get my favorite beer? Austin. Where did I get that Texas necklace? Austin. Where was I going next weekend? Austin. Where do I want to settle? Austin.

Always Austin, always. (?)

But for a couple of months now, I feel like I’ve been disillusioned by the feeling that Austin is my end goal. In actuality, I feel pretty far removed for the place I used to seek solace. The city changes every time I see it. And while my job and my career have led me back, I feel all sorts of feels.

Confusion. A little betrayed. Reconsideration. Like an adult looking at their childhood home. Nostalgia, but feeling replaced.

It’s strange for me to say all of this, to feel all of this. Austin changed my life (bold statement, I know). The city life, its people and school. I mean, even the damn coffee shaped me to be who I am today. There’s a reason why I have a triangle tattoo over the city, but now I ask myself, “Where is home now?”

…or am I in some weird transitional coping phase? Because I feel comfortable here in Houston. I know where I can dump my savings (aka the multiple local bakeries). If I need beer, Houston has plenty. Running has been a bit of a flop (Town Lake is #1), but I know Houston has some places…

Comfortability has never been something that I’m comfortable with admitting. Ironic, I know. But I think a little bit of all of us like that feeling. It’s familiar. It’s easy. Shit. It’s easy. Isn’t that supposed to be a BAD sign? Or am I so fixed on this idea that it’s a bad sign? You know what Sandy says, “Don’t fixate.”

Fucking forks in the road. Dad is wrong. Where is this straight path he speaks of? It’s nonexistent. Missed Exits, no feeder and no U-Turn’s. Only forward. But where forward?

I’m sorry if you’ve arrived at the end of my blog to find that there is no resolve. Welcome to my current world. I thought accepting my dream job was going to help me feel more stable and at peace with my future. Aside from the great opportunity, the end city was what got me. Instead, I find myself torn between a place I use to call my home, and a place I might see as home.

houston sky

I don’t get you, Houston.

[Sidebar: My boss is probably going to read this, and I have a feeling that he’s not surprised? I don’t know, we’ll talk about it at our next meeting…hi, Michael. *waves*]

 

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As I looked out my window… I thought, “Shit. Let’s not start a blog like this.

…yet here we are.

I started writing this in San Diego, but I’m making minor edits here at home. The last time I was in San Diego, I documented all of my days. This time, not so much. There was no project and no agenda. Earlier last week, Lamar asked me, “Do you have anything on your list that you want to do while you’re here?” I told him, “No, there was only one thing: to get out of Texas. And I’m out of Texas…that’s about it.

It was great. One that almost made me miss my flight on purpose…but I actually almost missed my flight. It always feels like I’m an extension to the family, but with bonuses. I couldn’t ask for more, and if I did – shame on me. I’m really #thublessed. If I had to speak about today one day: well, I was able to wake up whenever (but hella early because WHAT GIVES, Daylight Savings). I was able to work a little, research where we should go for lunch, pop in a boutique store, get cultured by Old Town San Diego and peruse. No agenda, no project, no rush. Everything kind of fell into place. There was no grand adventure. It was nice. We ate dinner together, watched a movie and then all went to bed early. That’s what vacation is, right?

I posted a status that said something about me never leaving. But alas, I woke up, got dressed and boarded my flight. After trips, I get introspective. Sometimes it’s surface level, and sometimes it’s abstract. So, without further ado, some thoughts. This is mostly for me to remember later down the road, and an ode to Camp Damata 2.0…here it goes.

Minor Observations [and Lessons] from Camp:

  • I texted my parent-friends the most on this trip. Ironically, not my [REAL] parents – but I missed them too.
  • Parents are rock stars, truly.
  • I can’t imagine if I had 3 other siblings. It’s too much work with just 1 sib RN, TBH.
  • High schoolers are weird. But this gen is kind of next level weird. I’m not saying I wasn’t weird in high school. I guess I’m saying that high school is a weird time…
  • Pigment is a cool ass store in North Park.
  • I really love Texas, but I don’t look I’m from there. Note to Self: get more Texas-flag-themed shirts.
  • California – San Diego – you’re very different than Texas. From sunshine tax to mountains & beaches in the backyard, you’re different. I don’t know if I’ll ever get over driving, seeing mountains in the distance and being in a constant state of awe.
  • ALSO, you don’t know how to deal with rain, but neither do we…
  • I look young, y’all. Even to Youths. *hair flip*
  • Halloween here is REAL. I mean, it’s real everywhere, but we made a photobooth backdrop. #2legit2quit
  • A Halloween-candy-eating-marathon is something that I succumbed to because of its accessibility. It was everywhere. I had M&M’s coming out of my jacket pocket. What’s self control?
  • Who knows how to unclog a toilet? Shae. Not me.
  • Apparently, the next Camp Damata is the Vegas edition…you can sign up with me, CAROLINE and HANNAH.
  • Hauling your ass to your airplane gate 7 minutes before it leaves is not as easy as Home Alone [sorta] makes it look. TSA is unforgiving, always.
  • OH. PS. EVERYONE. Never fly Spirit Airlines. It’s never worth it.

When you’re at Camp Damata, you better be in for the ride. And even if it’s brief, you feel everything.