A Homeschool Alumni’s Hope

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Every parent wants what’s best for their child(ren). They invest countless aspects of themselves and their freedoms in order to raise their offspring. It is a natural feeling to want to protect them and wish them the best, and have a grand idea of how you hope your precious children will turn out. I get it. I was raised in the homeschool movement were we were taught that we were going to be the movers and shakers once we became adults. Our parents hoped we’d be positive impacts for our future employers, in our community, and in the world. I personally was homeschooled all the way through my senior year. I am proud of being a homeschool alumni.

There comes a time, however, when we come adults. Our parents have little to no say on the person we choose to be, or how we choose to live our lives. They hope we follow the line they’ve drawn in the sand. When we don’t – we hope they understand, many times it’s not because we don’t love them anymore, it’s because we’re all individuals. We’ve found our own path. I was not the most obedient daughter, my infant nick-name “Birdie” proved to be quite apt as I was a bird – and I frequently flew off – not always in the direction my parents wished. My mom wrote this a few years back about me: “We would tell her to stick with us and she would for a while, but then would venture off again.” No, I know I’m not the person they originally hoped I would be. However, they are proud of the person I am. They’ve grown and changed just as I have. They were the ones who helped me be who I am. They had “given me the tools” for life as my parents often remarked.

The reason I’m writing this is homeschool alumni (particularly Homeschoolers Anonymous) have been raising their voice. There have been abuses that have gone on in our lives, and we do have a right to blog or post or tweet about them. I get that it’s easy to try and dismiss us – we moved out of your house a few years ago, we were children then and weren’t allowed to talk-back. It’s not, however, being disrespectful if it’s telling our story. It’s not being rebellious when we find a scandal and try to have it addressed by those who were involved. Sweeping allegations under the rug, avoiding the tough questions, or ignoring us is not how you taught us to be. You are the ones who raised us. We are adults and we have a voice. We ask you listen to us. If we express that you have harmed us in someway – apologize. Take responsibility. We want reconciliation, we want those relationships restored.

Trust me, we want to share the joys, the sunny days, the happinesses in our lives more than the storms. But we all should face those storms irregardless of whether we want to or not. Do you have the courage to help us make this a better world?

Photo credit: me

Focusing Forward

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About this time five years ago, I started a blog. It wasn’t meant for the public, however some posts were not hidden. I went through some major life changes and that blog captured snapshots of what I was thinking, reading, and doing. I am not a very consistent writer, but I do generally (eventually) get back to it. I genuinely enjoy being able to go back and read what I’ve written, what I was experiencing at that point, what I was pondering. That blog captured some very painful and sensitive moments, memories that even yesterday I wasn’t able to read out-loud to my partner because I started crying. But the one thing that I realized as I went back over a few years of scattered, random blog posts is that I was focusing forward. Like a “this sucks, but I am going to do x,y,z and tackle it”.

Reading those old posts made me proud of myself for being the person that I am. I don’t think I was realizing what I was doing while I was doing it. I think honestly I was in a survival mode: “I have to do this for myself, my sanity, and so I can put food on my table and pay my rent.” It wasn’t easy. There were definitely days I wanted to hide under my covers and not have to show my face at work that day, wanting to dwell on the past, drink hot chocolate, and binge-watch Netflix. There were days where I second-guessed my job choices, my friend choices, or whether I really should have spent those precious $4 on a Starbucks coffee.

But now looking back, focusing forward is what got me through those times. I was telling myself “Next time I’ll do it this way”, “Now I know…”, or “I have (event) coming up next week”.  It’s fine to make the next hurdle you are facing the one you put your heart and soul into, as it’s a stepping point to where you need to eventually go. Yes, my blog talked about the boyfriends I should never have dated, and the company I should have left two years sooner, but all of it got me to where I am now, and that’s good. All the positives and negatives came together as learning experiences. I’m proud of the forward looking, forward focusing “me” that I was 5 years ago that has ended up making me the person I am now. My take-away is as follows:

Sometimes you will need to weave a little bit on the forest path to come out to the waterfall, or spring, vast panorama, or sometimes just the simple unique forest flower that is just a little bit further down the trail. It’s okay, just keep focusing forward.

Photo credit: Me. 🙂 Taken in Makawao Forest Reserve, Maui, Hawaii on October 5, 2014.

The dust is settling

IMG_1354Three (almost four) months since we made the epic adventurous move to beautiful Maui and the dust is finally settling and things are getting into place. We’re moved in to a beautiful condo, my man and I finally, for the first time since we started dating have the same days off together! I can’t even begin to describe how nice that is for us to have 2 whole days together. Half of our workdays, I can even come home to him having lunch made for me before I take him to work – so it’s like we get extra bonus time together. We’ve explored some of the island, but there is a ton more to see and take hundreds of pictures of (don’t worry mother dearest, there will always be plenty of pictures). I’ve done snorkeling, surfing, and hiking. I’ve been able to hang out with old friends who just happened to be visiting the island on holiday, as well as extended family who I haven’t seen since I was 8 years old. My work is chill and relaxed, and I didn’t have to take a pay-cut – which is great. My man is greatly enjoying his work, even with the bumps and dips that come with being a  manager. I’ve met a few friends – which is great. I thought people in Portland were friendly – well, Maui-ans put Portlanders to shame. “Talking story” is big here, and I’ll frequently have customers who will stand at my counter and chit-chat for 20 minutes or more, just because. I love that – it’s just so nice to be a part of a culture that values people and relationships and communication. Doesn’t have to be anything important, but those relationships are growing into how this island runs. More and more, I find out that it really is who you know and what you ask to figure things out. People are more accepting here – it’s such a small island that everyone knows everyone – or at least can figure out a relationship on how they know that person. A person at a bank is the sister-in-law of your next-door neighbor sort of thing. 5 months ago, I had no idea I’d be living in Maui within 2 months, but now that I am and things are calmer, I have no complaints, and am relishing every moment I have in paradise.

Life Changes: See ya later PDX, Hello Hawai’i!

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I was getting antsy, I’ll be honest. I had spent three and a half years in a job where I wasn’t going anywhere, and the office morale was terrible. Then I found a great job, but I knew the upward mobility just wasn’t there, however it was a huge breath of fresh air for me to not be in such a toxic work environment. My immediate family moved 4 hours away from me a few years ago, and while my mother made frequent trips, it’s just not the same when I wasn’t able to visit my sibling’s basketball or volleyball games, or hear them in their school choirs. Portland is an amazing city, and it will always be “home-base”, but I feel that it’s always a jumping off spot for me. I left Portland as an infant, only to come back as a teen. Now I’m leaving in my twenties, I’m sure I’ll be back eventually.

My partner received an excellent job offer in Maui, and while it was definitely a tough decision, we decided to each pack two suitcases, sell and give away the rest of our belongings, and move to paradise! I’ve been here almost a month now, my car is here, we are moving into our beautiful beach-side condo tomorrow, and the hunt for a new job for me continues. I’m thinking I’m going to change my career path – where before it was obvious finance, I’m thinking hospitality is more in line with what I love to do. We’ll see. My finger’s are crossed, and I’ll make my own way here too. I’m optimistic and hopeful. So far the people have been extremely friendly and helpful, but as they say here: “Lucky live Hawai’i!” And I definitely feel lucky to be a part of this vibrant community.

Triggered by Religion

I know today’s a big day that means alot to many people. For most of my life, it was one of the most important holidays. Growing up fundamental Christian, my family wouldn’t hide candy in the eggs around the yard, they would put articles that related to Good Friday and the Resurrection (ie, 3 dimes for thirty pieces of silver, a nail, piece of cloth). Then after all the articles were found, the story was able to be reinforced in our minds. I haven’t set foot in a church in probably 4 years. I left my family’s house when I was 21, and I went to a couple of church services in the next two years, but I never felt comfortable or that I belonged. It used to be my history, my identity, how I viewed myself and the lens that I viewed the world. Not anymore. I was going to drop of a boy for his baptism, I walked into the chapel – not even a church, and it was on a college campus, no less. But I couldn’t do it. I got a creepy, oppressed feeling. The back of my neck was crawling, and I felt literally sick. Couldn’t do it. No way. It was a strange feeling. My life has moved on, religion is no longer a part of my life. I’m happy with my life, and the way it’s going. But I don’t think organized religion or even any religion will ever be a part of it. I had to tell the boy’s family that there was no way I could sit through it, that I felt way too triggered, and it just wasn’t for me. They were very sympathetic. No offense meant, I have no issues with those that love that, find a sense of wholeness, or think that that is the only way to live their life – kudos to you. Go for it. But I realized today, that I have some major issues with it, and it does not make me feel comfortable. 

Blue Skies and Happy Days in PDX

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Anyone who knows and loves Portland, Oregon knows that when we have a blue sky – it makes us instantly happy. All of a sudden, everyone is outdoors, enjoying the sun and the fact that the sky isn’t some sort of white or grey color.

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See? Proof! Everyone enjoying spring’s first blossoms, Portland Saturday Market, and the Waterfront!

My days personally have been looking up recently as well. I found a new job – was actually not expecting to find a job so fast since I wanted to be far pickier about accepting a job offer. I wanted to make sure that it was the right fit, not just monetarily, but personalities, job description and duties, company environment, etc. And I think I found it. My new job is night and day from from old one. I’m happy at work, smiling and laughing more during the work week. Even though it’s more demanding, I’m thriving in the environment. I feel empowered and able to suggest and make changes. I’m back working with several different departments and back talking to my customers. It’s been happy blue-sky days!

Optimistic

IMG_1055I’m feeling optimistic about my current job search. I’ve had acouple of interviews under my belt, a couple more scheduled. I have references ready, and am getting better at articulating what I’m looking for in a position, as well as explaining my previous job experiences and skills. Today I got the letter in the mail from the unemployment office advising me that I’m eligible to receive unemployment benefits, and the check has been cut and is on it’s way.  I also recently had an idea and went out and bought a spiral-bound notebook so I can jot down pertinent interview information. I’m going to try to keep in next to me this weekend, so when I have a question I want to ask a potential company during an interview, I’ll have all the questions handy, as well as the interviewer’s name  and contact info. I love my lists and writing important ideas and tasks down helps me keep focused and on track. 

I can’t say that I’m not enjoying being able to sleep in a bit every morning. I enjoy not having many time pressures, or work stresses. But currentlyI’m working on networking, building relationships, and finding new friends. I know my next job is out there. I know someone will be glad to hire me, and I’m excited to soon be able to put my skills and experience to use, and hopefully gain new ones. 2014 is going to be a great year!

Photo: Taken by me at Pittock Mansion Jan 2014