My Friend Grace

I often get to the middle of the week and think “I have nothing to write about on my blog”. Then I get to Friday and often think “I still have nothing to write about this week. I need help asap.” So I will then often ask friends what I should write about.

I want to take a moment here and say to anyone thinking about starting a blog, you need to be committed. Not committed to a sanitarium, (well, maybe) but committed to creating content. It can be a struggle to come up with just a few hundred words that complete a coherent thought every week. I know that daily bloggers and vloggers exist and I gotta say, I will never be one of them.

So I ask friends for topics. Sometimes I use those ideas and sometimes I go a completely different direction. Either way, I appreciate their advice. This week, on Friday, with Saturday approaching very quickly and no more work-free days in sight, I asked my friend Grace what I should write about and she said I should write about her. Haha, funny. That’s what everyone says when you ask for a topic because it’s just a good joke. But it made me think, “Why not?” This is my blog and I can do whatever I want.

Let me introduce you to my friend, Grace.

I borderline hated her when we first met. She came to English Club one week and I secretly hoped she would never return. I had only been attending English Club for a short time myself, so I was really in no position to judge new arrivals.

Why didn’t I like her? I don’t have anything specific. She was relatively quiet. She made jokes that no one got (very dry sense of humor). On her second meeting she brought books to contribute to our silent auction. So it wasn’t as though she wasn’t trying to be helpful and polite to a group she barely knew. But I didn’t like her. I didn’t like her stupid jokes. I didn’t like that she knew so many literary references. I wanted her gone as soon as possible.

BUT SHE KEPT COMING TO THE CLUB MEETINGS.

Which really irked me. I didn’t want her there even though, at the time, I had no real reason to dislike her.

We’re friends now, though, so what exactly happened? I realized I had no way out of seeing her and decided to give her a really good chance. I had to for my own sanity. It was either learn to be okay with her presence or drop out of the club (and I really did enjoy club. I was getting very into it). So the choice was clear.

That’s all I really set out to do: tolerate her. I had already decided I didn’t want to be friends but I had to be polite and I had to deal with her on a regular basis. I was consciously being as adult as I could be.

I made an effort to get to know her and she’s really awesome. She’s super funny (her humor can be out there but her style is so unique and relateable **Sorry I’m bad at describing humor! She’s really funny!**). She’s really smart and literary. She has a blog that’s more interesting and thought-provoking than mine. She’s a great person to hang out with and I admire her honesty and integrity. She’s very opinionated (we don’t always agree) but also open to meaningful discussions.

I feel like all of that isn’t enough to describe her. She’s one of the few real friends I made in college and of those few, she’s one of the only ones who has kept real, close contact with me. (I certainly talk to many people from college and I still consider some of them close friends, despite distance and time spent apart, when we talk it feels like no time has passed between us.) We chat on a weekly basis which says a lot because there aren’t a lot of people who make that effort.

I’m really glad that Grace is in my life and that we can chat and hang out when possible! I look forward to many more years of laughter and good times!

Definitely check out her blog though, seriously. I really liked her most recent post about dystopian utopia, very interesting and well thought out!

https://adequategrace.wordpress.com/

Advertisements

Two Years!

This weekend is the 2 year anniversary of this blog and it doesn’t feel real! It’s been a long time since the very first “Snapshot of My Life“. My very first post was written not long after I graduated from college and that feels like it was about ten million years ago. In that post I talked about what I was doing and what my plans were about life and moving out of my parents’ house etc. Good stuff.

It’s weird because that first post shows how much I was DOING. I was trying much harder to get published and make money off my writing than I am now. I was working on my ebook, which is published and not making me any money, and I had sent out a poem and a story to try for publication. So that’s cool. I was still looking for writing jobs then and I’m not really looking for those anymore.

Something that really strikes me is that when I first started this blog I talked a lot about writing and getting published and self-publishing and making money off micro-jobs and all these little things. I’ve changed a lot in the last two years. My goals, especially, are different these days. But maybe I need to recapture that a little bit. I feel like my first post was optimistic. I felt like I could really make it on my own with my writing. Not sure if I became more realistic or just less optimistic. I did sign up for Wattpad and have been posting (not regularly, but I’ve been working on it).

I would like to get back into that writing optimism. I think I’ll start sifting through my writing folders and try to figure out if I could self-publish again. The last website I used to self-publish is now out of business so if you know any good ebook site I would really appreciate your suggestions!

I want to thank you, my reader, for being here. It’s been an interesting two years and I’m looking forward to many more! It boggles my mind to think that this blog is continuing to grow in readership (twice as many followers as last year)! I appreciate each of you and am glad you’ve chosen to make me part of your life in this small way!

What more is there to say now? Two years of sharing life, advice, friendship, grief, and joy. Buckle up because I’m not planning on slowing down just yet. Welcome to year three of The Honest Millennial. It’s gonna be a wild ride.

Old Friends, New Friends

Through elementary and most of middle school I had one friend I called my “best friend” and that was pretty much it. She had other friends but I essentially had only her for many years. At the time, I didn’t know she was toxic. We argued so much that we couldn’t spend more than 2 fulls days together before getting too mad to hang out any longer. That should have been a red flag. I kept going back to her until one day she just stopped talking to me. She sent me a typed letter a week or so later that was a single paragraph telling me that I was a bad influence on her and she didn’t want to be friends anymore. We were 13.

And just like that I was friendless. I had a few acquaintances from church but I wasn’t close to anyone. I didn’t have a close friend again until mid-highschool. By that point I had realized how bad my previous friendship had been and I had grown as a person. I had actually really grown into being alone a lot, or at least not having a close confidant my own age.

I think that time alone was important in a few ways.

One: it gave me time to reflect on that bad friendship. At first, I blamed myself. I MUST have done something wrong. But I didn’t and I had to work through that.

Two: it taught me how to choose friends wisely. Experiencing a toxic friendship showed me all the little red flags. Now I can avoid these types of relationships by simply not entering into them. I could have easily reached out in early high school and made friends. But too often I would see that the person I thought might be nice was actually a bad match. Usually, it was that I would hear them talking about others behind their backs. I was polite to everyone but I had no interest in growing close to a person I couldn’t trust.

Three: it gave me realistic expectations for friendship and relationships in general. I’m fine by myself so if my friends are busy then I understand. I don’t get hurt easily in relationships because I don’t give too much at the start. I spend a lot of time gauging people and watching them before I decide I want to be friends. I want to know what to expect and I want to be realistic about the whole thing. No one likes wasting time on something that will inevitably go no where.

Four: it taught me self-respect. My time, energy, and affection are mine. I am not obligated to give myself to anyone, regardless of how much they give (or think they give) me. No one is entitled to someone else’s friendship.

These things helped me grow. I had a much better understanding of good friendships before I had very many. I look back and am glad that God took away that toxic friend but I’m also grateful for the lessons I learned by havig her in my life. Now, I choose my friends, and I choose them carefully. I have no problem building a wall to keep someone out.

My friends now are crazy, fun, smart, incredible people who I am blessed to have in my life. God puts many people in our lives and I thank Him for the people He has given me.

 

Don’t Be the Creepy Customer

Don’t Be the Creepy Customer

If you’ve never worked retail then you’re missing out on understanding just how weird humanity really is. If you have worked retail, well, I AM SO SORRY. I mean, I love my job but it can be pretty crazy at times, specifically because of our customers.

We don’t get a ton of insane people coming through but we do still have them. Here are some things to NOT DO so you won’t be the crazy customer that everyone tries to avoid at all costs.

PLEASE DON’T

1. Talk to just one employee for a really long time. If you like a certain employee and enjoy their conversation then that’s fine, most of us don’t mind. But DON’T wear out your welcome. If you come in a few times a month then please limit your conversations with specific employees to a few minutes, especially at the checkout. We may also really enjoy chatting with you but we are WORKING. We don’t have the luxury to sit around and talk for 30+ minutes. Even if we don’t look super busy we do have things to do. Plus, focusing all your attention on one employee, even if it’s very innocent, makes you seem obsessive.

Image result for retail worker talking to a customer2. Give us your number. I think there are exceptions to this but ONLY A FEW. If you have been talking to one employee over the course of a few months and you really feel like you have some kind of repertoire with them and you have already asked them about their single/not single status and they were comfortable with that, then by all means, go out on that limb and do it. BUT if you don’t have that and you give us your number then it just comes off as creepy. You’re making a lot of assumptions and, I don’t know about other workers, but I really don’t know how to react to that. Plus, if you just hand us your number and walk away then what are we supposed to do? Reject you via text? Then you have our number and we probably don’t want that. Also, now we’re going to be paranoid about you coming into our workplace again because we will have to question your motives and wonder if you’re going to bring up that we never texted you. It’s just a sticky situation that makes you come off as pushy and us feel awkward and rude. I know it takes a lot of guts to give a stranger your number and maybe it’s worked out before but it is disconcerting for us workers so be considerate of that.

Image result for creepy customer meme

(They’ll hit on you anyway)

3. Use our name in casual conversation. I know that we wear name badges but it is CREEPY to be called by name by a complete stranger. I’ve heard the opposite of this advice given before and the reasoning is always that it makes you seem more personable and friendly, but I’ve never met anyone working retail who thinks that. Most of us feel uncomfortable. We don’t know you, you don’t know us. We like to think we have some level of anonymity so using our names can put us on edge. We’re not going to remember your name (sorry) so please feel free to forget ours.

Related image

4. Look female employees up and down when buying pornographic material. I work at a place that sells some… questionable magazines. I try not to act too uncomfortable when guys come up with them (it is ALWAYS older guys). I don’t pressure them about anything or make faces even though I AM uncomfortable. But every once in a while I get the guy who looks at me and his eyes flit up and down. Like, NO. That is rude and a bit threatening. Keep your nasty eyes OFF OF ME. I don’t have this issue with literally any other guys who come in the store (okay, maybe once in a while) but when they’re buying porn they suddenly think no one is gonna notice their wandering glances. WELL I NOTICE. This one is, admittedly, a bit more specific. Perhaps it’s more of a personal grievance. But hey, if you’re one of these people, then try to make your cashier’s life a tiny bit less awkward next time by NOT looking at her like she’s a piece of meat.

Image result for retail worker creepy customer meme

5. Touch me or make me touch your stuff or try to stand inside my skin. There is NO REASON for us to ever make physical contact in the regular, non-emergency, employee/customer relationship. Don’t position yourself in a way that I HAVE to touch your hand to give you change. Don’t hand me your entire wallet when all I needed was some ID. Don’t toss an entire ring of rewards cards at me, expecting me to find your card for you. DON’T ASK ME TO GO THROUGH EMAILS ON YOUR PHONE TO FIND COUPONS (I don’t care if you’re the most innocent person in the world, I WILL see something I didn’t need to see). In the same though, stand back from me, I don’t want to breathe the same air as you. If you’re hard of hearing, I can speak louder. We are two strangers who will have maybe three interactions in the whole of our lives, let’s not make it too personal, okay?

Image result for personal space meme

That’s my list. Let me know if you agree with all of these or if you would add some. Obviously these are general. I tried to mention some exceptions but I’m not perfect.

Have a nice day!

Writing a Story vs. Writing My Blog

I’ve been writing more prose recently. I got a writing prompt notebook and a writing craft book for my birthday so I’ve been doing short prompts a lot (honestly I haven’t really looked at the craft book yet, though I should). It’s been really refreshing. I forget how much fun it is to write.

A few weeks ago I got my own Wattpad account. If you don’t know what it is, Wattpad is a writer’s/reader website. It’s pretty cool so far. I’d heard of it a few years ago but hadn’t bothered to get on until now. They also have an app, which is handy (I’m not very good at using it yet but I have a really good friend who is helping me learn).

I wanted to share this with you because I keep thinking about how I went to school and learned how to write but just a couple years after graduating the only writing I’m doing is this blog. I really like doing this and I’m going to continue but at the same time I want to get my writing, my prose and poetry, out there to more eyes. Wattpad is supposed to be good for that so we will see how this works out.

What I want to do is set up a posting schedule for myself. I’ll keep up on this blog Saturdays and was thinking of posting on Wattpad on Mondays. It’s a little close together but since I don’t work Sundays I should be pretty much guaranteed at least an hour or two for writing on Sundays. So that should cover any last second things I need to do before posting on Wattpad.

Something that I feel I need to address with you, my amazing readers, is how I write here vs. how I write stories. Here, I am myself. I write basically how I speak in my everyday life (maybe a little different but I do try to keep it real). So, very specifically, I don’t swear or use offensive language. I also don’t really discuss particularly dark subjects since I don’t encounter serial killers or werewolves in my daily life and I haven’t been through anything considered very traumatic.

In writing a story I don’t write as myself. I am writing a character. Sometimes that character has a dark past or is doing things of questionable morality. Sometimes they use language that some may find offensive (there are still language lines I won’t cross, character or not). Sometimes characters die in horrible scenarios. Sometimes there is no happy ending.

I don’t say this because it embarasses me, or because I think anyone is prudish or weak. I say this because it is a different. Because you may come here to read real life experiences from a Christian girl in rural America and that is NOT the kind of fiction I write. I’m not into false advertising. I want you to know what you’re getting into.

I write a lot of fantasy, some sci-fi, and very little realistic fiction (it usually becomes magical realism at some point honestly). If that interests you, please check out my Wattpad! I would love for you to see my work! Anything with strong language or dark themes will be labeled/tagged. I write plenty that is safe and family friendly as well (I just don’t want you blindsided by what is not)!

I don’t have a lot up right now but I will be posting a new chapter, story, or poem every Monday from now on!

What Do You Want?

What Do You Want?

I’ve been thinking about this blog and what I want to do with it and I realized that I don’t really know. I know I want to keep writing it and I want everyone who reads it to enjoy it and get something useful out of it. I’d like to think sometimes that I have my life together and know what people expect from me and how to deliver that but, alas, I am imperfect.

I don’t get a lot of feedback from my readers in general. I get some from my friends and family who I see in real life but, I’m really terrible at receiving that feedback. Something about bringing this online life into my daily interactions is just odd to me. Don’t get me wrong, I still very much appreciate it. But if you give me feedback face to face, please don’t be put off by my vacant smile and nervous laughter: I’m still getting used to listening.

According to my stats on here, I get an average of less than one comment on each post. Which is… fine. I guess. I don’t know. I made a sort of internal goal of growing every year. Whether that’s by one more follower or 100 more followers, I don’t mind either one.

Next month is the two year anniversary of this blog. I’ve written many posts about what I hope is a variety of topics. I can see which posts have gotten the most views, which is helpful. In 2016, my most viewed post was about not belittiling millenials by telling them they’ll change their minds about everything later in life. In 2017, it was the one about marriage not being the all important thing many like to make it. Then so far this year it’s my Status Report post.

What makes these posts most popular? Is it that they resonate with a wide range of people? The first two certainly fit my blog name. They’re mainly about societal expectations and subverting those because they don’t fit what you want to do with your life. But is that all?

I want to grow here but I don’t want to resort to clickbait or a limited range of topics to do that.

So I would like to ask you, my lovely readers: What do you want?

help

If you’ve been with me for a while, what makes you come back? If you’ve only just found this, what made you come to this post and what would make you stay?

Basically, I’m looking for what YOU most want to read more this year. What topics/posts do you want more of or less? Please tell me! I am all ears!

I want to share, improve, and grow! I can’t do that without you, my amazing readers! Leave me a comment with your thoughts, even if those thoughts are harsh, even if those thoughts are critical, even if those thoughts are to just keep doing what I’m doing! I want to hear from you!

I Am Not Good (Most People Aren’t)

I Am Not Good (Most People Aren’t)

There’s a song on the radio that plays way too often called “Most People Are Good” by Luke Bryan. I hate this song.

This whole post might be a bit of a downer so if you really like this song or are a more positive person than me (which is essentially everyone, haha) then I won’t blame you if you skip this post. I’m not going to go through the whole song, pretty much just the first verse, the beginning and end of the chorus, and a line or two later on. This is completely a personal problem with the song so no disrespect to the writer, singer, or those who like this song!

The first verse is fine, doesn’t say anything I would really disagree with:

“I believe kids oughta stay kids as long as they can
Turn off the screen, go climb a tree, get dirt on their hands
I believe we gotta forgive and make amends
‘Cause nobody gets a second chance to make new old friends
I believe in working hard for what you’ve got
Even if it don’t add up to a h* of a lot”

Good, solid. I like it. Nothing wrong with these things at all. I think kids should get to be kids and of course we do need to forgive each other, as Jesus told us to. The chorus is really where I get annoyed and I realized as I started writing this post that I have never listened to the whole song before. I’ve read all the lyrics and heard the first 1/4th of it but I have been so annoyed by this tune that I have basically always shut it off as soon as it starts. But back to the chorus:

“I believe most people are good

I believe this world ain’t half as bad as it looks
I believe most people are good”

Right off the bat, NO. I mean, it’s an “I believe” statement so it’s clearly his opinion but that doesn’t make it any less irritating to me. I HATE when people pretend that ‘most people are good’ because first of all, it’s not true. Most people are not good. If most people were good then the world would look A LOT better than it does. Most people are bad. That’s just the way it is. The world is a sinful place and we’re all born with a sin nature, which means that we will always lean toward sin. We will always lean toward evil. “Good” people do not exist because we are, all of us, evil. People can appear good but deep down, none of us are good.

Something else that gets me is that this song is REALLY popular and I think it’s a lot because it’s a pat on the back. It’s self-serving. It’s a song that is essentially just Luke Bryan yelling, “I AM A GOOD PERSON AND SO ARE YOU!! MOST EVERYONE IS GOOD!! YOU CAN IDENTIFY WITH THIS SONG BECAUSE I’M FEEDING YOUR EGO AND MAKING YOU FEEL GREAT ABOUT YOURSELF!!” Stop it. It’s nice to feel good about yourself but this song is trying to make people feel good when they don’t deserve it. It’s forcing comparisons, which make everyone look good. Because of course you’re saying “most people” are good which means everyone gets to pick and choose who they compare themselves with.

I’m an insanely great person compared to Stalin or Hitler. You don’t even have to take an extreme example to feel good about yourself. I can compare myself to my siblings or parents or friends and I can build myself up in my own eyes to appear better than them. But would we all feel so good about ourselves if we took a moment to compare ourselves to Jesus? Would we be so quick to pat ourselves on the back if we looked at God’s law? Probably not. But that’s the actual standard.

We all fall short of that standard. That’s why God gave us Jesus, His perfect son, to pay for all the garbage sin in the world. Which brings me to the last line I’m going to talk about in the song, “I believe them streets of gold are worth the work” which comes at the beginning of the second verse.

I am really glad I never got this far listening to this song because this line actually makes me mad. Everything before this is an annoyance, a mild rant I can go on about the accuracy of his opinionated statements. When I started this post I didn’t know for sure I could write enough but I got to this line and I got mad.

“I believe them streets of gold are worth the work”

I struggle with controlling my internal language sometimes and I really want to go off with some very unsavory terms on this, but I will spare the both of us. First of all, Luke Bryan, you’ve just gone off on how basically everyone is good so you’ve destroyed any real standards there might be for even getting into heaven. Second of all, what work? Most people are good, so what kind of work is there to do? By your standards, most people are gonna skate by the pearly gates on pretty much nothing. Thirdly, shut up! This is dangerous! You don’t get to heaven by working for it. As I have established in this post, people are bad. Everyone falls short of God’s law, no one is righteous enough to get into heaven on their own merits. I hear this lie way too much and you need to STOP SPREADING IT.

Salvation, heaven, eternity in paradise with God, is a FREE gift that God has put in place for us. All we have to do is accept Jesus Christ as our savior. It’s really that simple. There’s no “work” involved in this process.

Honestly, I could go off on the rest of this song too. For the most part, I don’t dwell on random songs on the radio. It’s not a great pass-time to make myself angry. This song just hit me with a lot of things all at once (with not even the whole song) and I’ve been thinking about it for a while (hard not to with how much they play it). I just wanted this off my chest.

Let me know your thoughts on this as well! I begrudge no one their music choices/opinions. If you like the song, that’s fine. I have nothing personal against you or Luke Bryan.

Here is the song in its entirety if you want to listen: