A Different Perspective

For the most part, I like going to work. Maybe not the actual “work” part of it (who does?) because it is tedious, but I like being around my co-workers and getting out of the house every once in a while. They’ve been slowly increasing my hours, and I think they did it well. They started me off with 10 hours a week. Then, they gradually increased it until it was 19 hours for a while. Now, I’ve been working over 20 hours per week as of late. Granted, in one case, that was due to being called in because another person called out and I accepted, but besides that, the hours have been scheduled for me.

However, there’s one particular thing at my job I really appreciate.

I’ve talked about my family plenty of times on this blog. Sometimes, it’s been positive, but most of the time, it hasn’t. Most of my family members are very judgmental people who make me feel like I live in an eternal high school. They criticize the tiniest things, and I don’t mean only myself. It goes without saying I’ve struggled with my self-esteem most, if not all, of my life. I don’t believe I had any esteem until my late teen years, and while that was partially due to over a decade of school bullying, my family was worse than any bully ever was.

At my job, it’s the total opposite. Not only is there no judgment, but much of the time, I’m discouraged from being hard on myself. I’m told to relax and go slowly. I feel guilty and incompetent when I make mistakes, but instead of being yelled at or criticized, I’m simply told it happens and to be a little more careful. If I need help, I get it without hesitation. I had a customer get angry with me because I didn’t know the answer to a question. One of my co-workers told me not to be bothered by it.

It’s not only the other cashiers who do this. The supervisors are the same. One supervisor outright told me to my face, “You’re human. You’ll make mistakes.” He then proceeded to tell me about much worse mistakes previous cashiers have made, that, in my opinion, sounded like there was no way they could’ve been mistakes. This same supervisor had previously told me about customers attempting to return items that belonged to other stores not of the company’s.

I love the lax attitude and it really does help me feel good about how I perform at my job. At the same time, it feels so strange. I’m so used to being criticized for something as small as the color of my headband, it feels odd to not be told off for mistakes I do make. The person at my job who kicks myself most for screwing up is me. Staying calm about it is easier said than done.

I do try to learn from my mistakes and figure out something that’ll prevent it next time. Most of my mistakes, ironically, are a result of me working too fast because I feel self-conscious and like the customer feels impatient when I work slowly. To be fully honest, I’m surprised I’m even capable of holding down this job. Being a cashier is by no means the most difficult job on Earth, but as someone who’d never held a job before, it was nerve-wracking to me. Of course, now, it’s another part of my weekly routine. I feel like I’m going to miss it when the seasonal period is over. Or, more specifically, I’ll miss my co-workers.

Never Good Enough

It’s funny how no matter how much goodness there is in the world, it still pales in comparison to the opposite, whether on a massive scale or a much smaller, more personal one.

I don’t consider myself a horrible person. I’ve never broken the law. I’ve willingly helped people and enjoyed doing so. I’ve helped out at community events, helped clean up a beach, volunteered my time at a food bank, and looked after others’ children. I’m kind to and have helped my best friend and my boyfriend. I’ve stayed up all night multiple times to be there for someone I cared about dealing with a rough night, online and offline. I don’t have any bigotries.

I don’t sound like an awful person and I would hope I’m not. Yet I deal with feelings of worthlessness all the time for one reason and one reason only: I’ve never had a job.

That fact alone makes me feel like I am little more than a plague on society who’d have been better off not existing. I don’t think about it when I’m around others, but when I’m alone, the thought often creeps in and I question if any of the above really matters. I fear losing the positive relationships I have due to losing the respect of those of I care about for being jobless. I question why, if I could make the action to end things painless, I choose to remain alive. I question why I can’t do this one thing it seems everyone has done multiple times by my age, no matter how hard I try. I question if I’m really worth anything, and if what I listed above are merely distractions or ways to make up for my lack of being a contributing member to society.

I’ve lost the ability to see myself in any position different from the one I’m in. This is the only way I can picture myself when I’m 30, 40, 50 years old, assuming I live that long. A small part of me doesn’t want to see any more future birthdays, not even 2017’s. I fear reaching yet another age.

Then, there’s a part of me that feels very selfish. I visited my best friend this past Friday and she briefly vented to me about her job. She has had her job for a full year, but she abhors it and wants a different one. Shortly after, she showed me the new phone she’d gotten. While I still felt sympathy for her troubles at work, a part of me still felt envious solely because she has a job. One she hates and could never live off of, but a job nonetheless. Of course, I kept my feelings to myself and didn’t tell her, but the truth is would it not leave her jobless instead of me, I’d switch places with her immediately if it were possible.

I don’t believe I will ever fit in as a functioning societal member and it’s not a thought that makes me happy. I want to work and I want to be a contributor, but so far, my efforts have resulted in nothing more than rejection and more questions of my own worth. Yes, I’m aware many people experience joblessness, but I believe most of those people had already worked a minimum of two jobs by my age whereas my work experience is absolutely blank.

I hate I have this feeling. I hate the feeling of everything I do meaning nothing because it doesn’t compare to me working and paying for myself to the extent a job would allow me to. I hate this feeling overshadows everything. I know a job is nowhere near fun and I’d likely feel the same as my best friend if I did find a job. I know the difference between imagined expectations and reality, as it’s led to changes in what were my long-term goals. In spite of that, my self-worth is still in question due to my lack of any employment within my lifetime. I feel I could save someone from certain death, and still see myself as having contributed nothing to society when I later returned home.

I remember being a child and believing adults had everything figured out. After all, that’s why adults were in charge of children instead of the other way around. At least, that’s essentially what I was told. I’ve already been looked down on for my age multiple times and I know I will always be sneered at for it by people older than me, no matter what age I’m at. I’ve seen adults whose maturity was outmatched by children look down their noses at me for being younger than them. Age means a lot beyond the laws in society. I’ve not yet found the age where I’m an adult who has everything figured out like the adults I met as a child did. Supposedly, that age does not exist, but I wonder if it really does and I’m one of those people who hasn’t caught up to it yet. I really don’t know what adulthood is supposed to be, but I know I’m doing every ounce of it wrongly.

Hair Isn’t Static!

There is something my family doesn’t understand about hair: it moves.

On one hand, maybe that’s not surprising since I have the longest hair out of everyone I live with. On the other hand, I would think that’s common sense. If your hair has grown out far from your scalp, it’s not staying 100% still and perfect unless you wear a hat that fits over all of it.

Today, my uncle couldn’t believe the mere act of walking– that is, constantly and consistently moving my body forward – would make my bangs move out of place. Let’s see. If I sit down, my bangs move. If I stand up, they move. If I bend over, they move. If I stretch, they move. Gee, who could imagine if I walk, they move?

For people so obsessive about my hair, they sure are ignorant about how it works.

That doesn’t mean I don’t like to keep my hair neat. I do. But unless I’m going to stand, sit, or lie absolutely still for an entire day (hint: I’m not), it’s going to mess up. My family would have me fixing my hair every single minute of the day if they could. And let’s face it. It’s not a crisis. My uncle complained about me not caring it messes up. He’s right. I don’t care. I don’t care about something extremely trivial that happens if I so much as jerk my body in some way. If I had some kind of fancy event to attend, sure, I’d pay more attention to it, but I’m going from my house to school and back. Not something that calls for extra dressing up.

The ironic thing is I probably would care more about my hair if they stopped nagging me about it. I have never seen anyone outside of my family so obsessive about something of another person’s body, nor do I feel that way about anyone else’s body. I’ve seen people with hairstyles and hair colors I think are strange, but I keep it to myself because it’s none of my business, and that very much includes family. Unfortunately, I’m not paid that same respect.

Sometimes, I suspect my family is willfully ignorant. This is something I could explain to a child with ease, yet these adults who have lived several years longer than me claim not to understand. If hair could be perfectly static, besides by tying it up (and even then, it’s not 100% still), nobody would use hair products or have their hair styled.

I remember as a child, my mother would force me to have hair extensions. I hated my own hair for the longest time because of that. When I reached 16, I started experimenting with hair extensions on my own choice and after my high school graduation, I never got them again. Now, I don’t have anything against hair extensions or people who like them, but over the 2 1/2 years since I left high school, I went from hating my hair to liking it, to the point I can look in the mirror and think I’m happy this hair is mine. I hated my hair for most of my life, yet it only takes me around two years to begin liking it because I stopped filling it with extensions. My mother allowed me to hate myself for nearly two decades because she considered vanity and beauty essential instead of me having a positive self-image of myself. She cared about what everyone thought of me except me. The opinion of the person who owns the body wasn’t important. And the relatives I live with now are no different.

If I sound angry, it’s because I am. At the same time, I’m also relieved. No, I’m not happy to have experienced most of the past I have, but I am happy I, if nothing else, know this is how not to treat people. I fully admit I’m still a judgmental person, but I try hard to keep my negative judgments to myself. It’s not an easy thing to unlearn things that have been ingrained into your mind, but it’s worth trying if you really don’t want it anymore. Since I already know this isn’t a good way to treat people and make an effort not to, I suppose I’m doing good. Probably not the best at the moment, but good.

A look through my archives tells me I’ve spoken about this before, back in 2012. So, not much has changed, but I can name one certain thing that has. I like myself more and I care about my family’s judgments less. They have no care for how I feel and I have no care for how they do. Of course, getting back the treatment you give isn’t a concept they’d understand either.

Mundane Monday: Self-Esteem Songs

I like a lot of songs, but my favorites tend to be ones about self-esteem, likely due to my own low-esteem. The first one I ever heard, I believe, was Who Says by Selena Gomez, who became one of my favorite singers due to that song (the video was a lovely touch too).

Since I’m getting this MM done so late (one hour before midnight), I’m going to share my favorite self-esteem songs. Not all of the artists became favorites, by the way. As sweet as the songs are, I have to like more than one song.

Who Says by Selena Gomez

Only You Can Be You by Cymphonique Miller

What Makes You Beautiful by One Direction

Just The Way You Are by Bruno Mars

You’re the One from the Winx In Concert album

Birthday Resolutions

Not counting today, my birthday is in eight days. As far as I’m not concerned, it’s not different than any other birthday, except it marks that I’ve officially been a legal adult for one full year. The only big thing happening this year is my high school graduation.

Pretty much all of my life has been dictated for me. However, I’m not a kid anymore and the whole “you’re a kid and don’t have any say” is old. The only way I’d better not have any say in something is if there’s some future benefit or there’s a damn good reason behind it.

I came up with some rules for my life beyond this point, not just in reference to controlling my own life, but also to developing my own self-esteem. Really, if I’m going to hate myself for as long as I live, I may as well die. Continue reading