Finances Happen

If you’re a normal person, then you have to work to provide for yourself. And if you’re like me, living paycheck to paycheck, you’ve had some unfortunate moments with money.

It happened to me this past month.

I forgot a bill and when it came out of my account, BOOM, I was hit with a -98 balance in my bank account.

The pain…

Of course, I’m upset about it. Meanwhile, I have Mother telling me ‘it happens’. I KNOW IT HAPPENS, I’M STILL UPSET.

So what do you do in this situation?

Your best.

I just had to hang on until payday when things can even out again, and I’ll be good.

Seriously, guys. Negative balances happen. Sometimes more than you want. Just keep honest, keep working, do your best, and try your hardest not to let it get you too far down. (I would’ve said ‘don’t let it get you down’, but we all know that’s just a dirty fucking lie). Be upset, but don’t let it overtake you. Shed a tear, then do your best.

It’s okay. It’s happens.

Hugs

Alexandra

Having Colored Hair in the Workplace

I recently had a meeting at work where someone who was hired with me asked what the dress code for the place was. Turns out we didn’t have one, as long as it wasn’t outlandish and remember what impression you want to leave with potential advertisers, etc. I asked about hair color. No rule! However, I may get looks because it’s a pretty conservative office. So, now I have thoughts about what I want to do with my hair.

Part of my relationship with my hair was heavily influenced by what color I was allowed to have. My undergrad university was a conservative school with dress codes, including not being allowed to have non-traditional colored hair. Right before I left for Glasgow, to a liberal arts foreign university, I dyed my hair blue. img_7862I wanted to do something new and something I was never able to do before, and that is have a ‘shocking’, non-traditional color. And I LOVED my blue hair. Did not regret it for a moment.

After I graduated, I entered a workplace where I could not have colored hair. Back to a natural color, and I went with my own natural strawberry blonde. There were moments I was bummed and just wanted to change my hair color, but alas.

Why is it such a big deal having colored hair in the workplace?

I don’t get it.

It’s self-expression and it doesn’t hinder from performances. It’s like tattoos (which some workplaces also banned). But how is it unprofessional?

So, I Googled it.

Some people say it’s a distraction. That’s not my fault. It’s the fault of the person who feels the need to judge silently. It doesn’t distract me from my job, and I’m still the same person I was when I had natural hair.

Some people say it’s a sign of rebellion. The only thing I’m rebelling against is my own self-doubt that I can’t look cute. I’m not fighting the patriarchy through my hair color. I’m rebelling against nothing except self-loathing.

Some people say it’s a form of immaturity. To this I say: whatever. I have met far more immature natural people than immature ‘unnatural’ people. The most immature adult I have met was a natural person (and she gave people shit about having colored hair). One of the most mature people I’ve ever met had tattoos (she loves colored hair on others but not herself). Immaturity has no correlation with colored hair.

Now, there was an argument I saw that stood out because it gave some good arguments. It’s considered unprofessional in a job with high human interaction and “they might be unappeasing to the customer/client you’re dealing with, and you wanna retain your customers/clients.” (Link) Okay, fair. Not enough to ban it, in my opinion, but thanks for actually coming up with an argument.

Anyway, I don’t get it.

If you have to abide to natural hair in the workplace, do it. I’m sorry you have to, but you shouldn’t threaten your position for it. Self-express in other ways. I’m fortunate that I was given a go-ahead, so hopefully I’ll have some colored hair to show you guys soon.

Hugs

Alexandra

Changing Wardrobe

Told you I’d be back with a post about the change in wardrobe.

Part of my yearly goals was to completely update my wardrobe. 2019 was the year I finally want my closet to have pieces I will truly wear in a style that fully reflects me. So what is that style?

Black.

Straight up, all black.

I could hear you now: “Alexandra, are you going through an emo phase in your late 20s?” No, I still have color. Let me explain:

img_7846I wanted my actual clothing pieces to be black. No design, no words, nothing. Literally just black. But I want my shoes and accessories to be colorful. Bright blue shoes, pink hat, jewelry with stones of all colors. So, why did I want this as my style, and how does it reflect me?

Plain black makes me feel sensible. professional, clean, and confident. Black makes me feel slimmer, even if I’m wearing something hella baggy. It’s easy to put outfits together. I can dress it up or down, and be appropriate for any occasion. Now, I’m not trying to convert you to a black wardrobe, I’m just describing why.

img_7847But, I’m still very much a nerdy, colorful, fun person. And I want to showcase that  through accessories. It’s what people tend to notice first, and it pops a bit more on a black canvas.

One of the biggest things, guys: don’t go out and immediately buy a bunch of new clothing pieces. Add to the wardrobe a little at a time so you appreciate your style and wardrobe. And usually what I’ll do is, if I get a new piece, I’ll donate something else until I have a wardrobe I’m happy with.

I am so happy changing my wardrobe and I genuinely think I’ll be able to show my true self a lot more than I previously did.

If you want to change yours, remember these steps: know what your style is/what you want it to look like, ask yourself how you see yourself in this style, go through your full wardrobe and donate things that don’t make you happy and/or don’t go with your style, keep comfort clothes and everyday clothes separate, and buy one thing at a time. This is only if you want a specifically styled wardrobe. If you don’t care, then don’t care. If you prefer your hodge podge, then prefer it with pride. I wanted to stylize, and I wanted to give advice.

What you wear should make you happy, whether or not it fits with today’s fashions.

Hugs

Alexandra

How I Stay Awake at Work

I have a desk job. Sometimes staring at a computer screen in one spot doing something monotonous can make you drowsy, especially since I can’t listen to music or podcasts or anything. But I’ve come up with a few things that keep me awake on the days I get too weary.

img_7809First things first, something to drink. I don’t drink coffee or energy drinks or anything like that, and honestly I don’t recommend them. What I keep at my desk isa bottle of ice and water. Freezing cold water is both hydrating and it wakes me up a little. I also opt for a reusable bottle so there’s no waste and a bottle that lets me know how many ounces I’m drinking throughout the day.

I also always have gum and mints on the standby. Giving my mouth something to do (giggity) makes me a little more alive. Moving something keeps me from dozing. As well, it helps stop my appetite from mindless snacking via boredom. And who doesn’t like nice, minty fresh breathe.

img_7810To go along with moving something/getting the mind occupied, I have a stress ball on my desk to play with. It doesn’t make noise, so it doesn’t bother my coworkers. And it gives my hands something to do when I’m reading stuff on the screen or if I’m on the phone (especially if I’m on the phone, as you may know my fear of them). If I had the ability, I’d rather draw or write as I work, but I can’t.

On another healthy side of moving, I recommend getting up and stretching every hour or two. Every two hours I take a little walk around the office. It also clears my mind on long days.

img_7807And lastly, something I definitely recommend is peppermint essential oil. What I do is make a little inhaler from it. When I feel like I’m about to pass out from exhaustion, I take a nice whiff of peppermint and it shocks me awake. If you don’t have little inhalers, just put a drop in your palm, rub your palms together, put your hands in front of your nose gas mask-style, and take a hard sniff. A good wake up call if ever I had one.

Anyway, these definitely help me out when I’m tired at work. But remember, the real medicine to exhaustion is sleep. Take naps before or after work, and make sure you get plenty of sleep.

Good luck.

Hugs

Alexandra

Why Phone Calls Terrify Me (and Some Research About It)

It seems to be a stereotype amongst the Millennials and Gen Z to be afraid of phone calls and making calls. And it seems to be true, in terms of my own self.

I hate making phone calls/answering phone calls. It gives me real anxiety and it truly scares me. So I wondered, where did the stereotype come from? Or why are people my age so scared of answering/making phone calls? I decided to look at a couple of articles, and here’s what I found:

According to a survey done by BankMyCell, who talked to more than 1,200 Millennials, the main reasons we avoid calls are as follows: time consumption, work responsibilities, being heard on the phone in personal surroundings, and the ‘person’ factor. The ‘person’ factor, as I call it, are the neediness, annoying, whiny, confrontation-y part of the phone calls. Someone else made a good point, saying, “It’s simple: if you text or email someone, they can respond on their time. But if you call someone, they need to respond right now on your time. It’s just inconsiderate.” (Andy Meek).

Another article had an example panic monologue that went something like this:

“Wait, what if she asks me a question I don’t have the answer to? What if I try to explain things using my hands and nothing makes any sense without my excellent hand gestures? What if the connection dies mid-sentence and my incomplete thought makes me sound like I hate HR? Oh no, what if I have to leave a voicemail?” (Peter Du)

The fear of embarrassment seems to be heightened amongst the Millennials as well, which may contribute. (And when I tried to look up some articles about that, all I got were articles written by people that said they were embarrassed to be a Millennial, so that didn’t help). This I understand. Phone calls are in the moment, and the last thing you want to do is say something wrong.

I did look into other articles, but the problem became the hostility toward Millennials being glued to their phones yet are cowards enough not to answer it. They’re precious little babies that whine about everything. (Obviously, I don’t agree, but that’s what the articles summarized). Rude.

So, to conclude the first half, Millennials tend to be fearful of phone calls because it’s time consuming (which is inconsiderate), they can get confrontational, and embarrassment may happen.

Now, what about me? When I say I’m scared to make phone calls, I mean I could get a panic attack from it (great, considering making phone calls is 65% of my current job). It gives me so much anxiety! Why? Well…

It hearkens back to my undergrad college when I had a job at a call center. I was already an anxious bean, but phone calls weren’t the worst thing ever so I thought I could handle it. Until I actually worked there. Two reasons: the callees and the coworkers. The callees were a special kind of rude because, while we were not selling anything, we were doing political surveys about candidates and hot-button issues like gun laws. I’ll allow you to use your imagination, but I was in a constant state of fear or sorrow.

My coworkers were something else. You had no choice in your hours, bathroom breaks were ordained (and you only got one a shift), you couldn’t take a break from calling because your computer would automatically call for you and you couldn’t stop it, and the supervisors were ruthless. They always listened in on your calls and would tell you everything you did wrong during your call. If you didn’t reach a quota (because that’s totally your fault), your pay was docked. You couldn’t socialize with anyone around you, as proven by getting bad marks for saying hi to a castmates son who worked there too. And here’s where it became very obvious that they didn’t care: I got very sick and lost my voice, which means I couldn’t talk on the phone. When I let them know, they just rolled their eyes and said I can take a day but that’s my only day off I’m allowed (because one of the rules was that we were only allowed one day off in nine months).

TLDR; I’m terrified of phones because I was traumatized. I’m scared people will yell at me, I’m scared people will treat me like garbage, I’m scared I’ll do something wrong, I’m scared that I’m not allowed to do anything else while on the phone because it’ll royally mess me up.

Anyway, I’m screwed over when it comes to calls.

And yet I have to do it every day because income is more important than anything else.

Dammit.

(DISCLAIMER: I have a good job, and being on the phone at work is getting easier because I just use a character, ‘White Collar Alexandra’. I was very aware when I was offered my job that I would be very involved with phone calls)

Commissions-Ish

I’m in a precarious position of needing some money. However, I HATE asking for it. So I tried something I never planned on doing, but I am not opposed to:

Commissions.

img_7554

If you didn’t know, I draw. Not terribly often, but more lately than usual. I have those little comics every Friday, sure, but my colored pencil work is what I advertised. I put it on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Tumblr, everything that I was doing commissions. I had quite a few people on all platforms enjoy my art, so I thought I’d do well.

I got two commissions.

I’m not gonna lie, I was a bit disappointed. But I am also understanding. Not everyone has cash to spare and/or not everyone has a need for colored pencil art. I get it.

Still a bummer, though.

Sometimes things don’t work out like you hope. I was hoping to be able to put a little cash into going to grad school orientation, but it didn’t quite work out. I was still happy to draw for two people who were able to help me out.

I’m still gonna draw. If you’d like to, you can commission me at drawing.by.notcon@gmail.com but only if you’d like to.

And if I can give one more little inspirational message: don’t be afraid to put yourself out there. Art-wise, I have much more talented friends and I feel like commissions aren’t something I’d be good at. But I still did it. You never know, guys.

Hugs

Alexandra

Pride

June is Pride Month. And 2019 seemed to be the most open year for pride I’ve ever personally seen. Daniel Howell and Eugene Lee Yang, two prominent YouTubers I watch a lot and follow, came out. Taylor Swift made a fun song (again, in my opinion) supporting the LGBT+ community. I went to my very first Pride.

Oh, and I fully came out.

I’m Abrosexual, also known as sexually fluid.

I was very worried, considering it’s a sexuality not often heard of/often very misunderstood. No one at the Pride festival had heard of it. When I came out to my mom (who thought I was bi), she was fully accepting, but admitted she didn’t fully understand. But it’s okay. It gave me a chance to educate and enlighten and celebrate.

And that’s what Pride is about.

Happy Pride. To everyone, no matter who you are.

img_7614

Hugs

Alexandra

Celebrating Personal Moments

The 9th of June was a special day for me. It was the third anniversary of a big moment in my life.

As one on social media does, I shared this on Facebook. Some of my friends didn’t understand but were still supportive of my celebration. And that’s what I wanted to share with you here.

Firstly, celebrate those personal moments that mean a lot to you. Whether it’s when you adopted your dog, when you were diagnosed, when you started making jewelry, you deserve to celebrate it. No one can tell you what’s supposed to make you feel special, and if it’s a treasured moment, proudly celebrate.

Secondly, support the celebrations of other people. Even if you don’t understand or can’t understand because of lifestyles, respect another person’s special moment. They didn’t have to tell you, but they did. They trust/like you enough to include you in that celebration. Be happy for them, support them, respect them.

And if today is a special day for you, happy _____ day!

Hugs

Alexandra

The Production part 2

Shoot, if I work on more productions in the neighboring town, this can become a series…and it might.

The same company who did ‘The Producers’, from the first production blog post (found here) put on ‘The Pirates of Penzance’, an opera by Gilbert & Sullivan.

That’s right! Your girl was in an opera!

Apparently they thought my voice was adequate enough to cast me as one of the Major General’s wards. And I was only an actor. I didn’t have five different stressful roles for this one.

It went very well! According to the head honchos, the show was in the top 10 most successful shows the company has ever done. Like, wow. The audience loved the show, from the older audience members who saw the show when they were younger to the children who came with their parents that were dazzled by the Pirate King.

The only reason this show was a struggle was personal health. I got a severe flu, I had laryngitis, and I was (still am) in a mental funk. The other challenge turned out not to be a challenge at all. Let me explain:

I couldn’t find my place amongst the people in the show. I felt like such an outsider. I’m not a singer, I’m not a cutie ward-type, and I’m definitely not extroverted. Everyone seemed to know each other immediately and became fast friends. And then there was me, a potato sitting in the corner, debating as a Mezzo to go Alto or Soprano. There were also rough patches with individuals during rehearsal that were unprofessional. Background story: I’m a rehearsal snob, have been since undergrad when rehearsal professionalism was SHOVED down our throat. I was very close to quitting the production altogether.

Instead, I drew. When I had no one to talk to, I drew a comic about rehearsal. This turned into a daily thing, into an expected thing, into a ‘rehearsal is not complete without a comic about it’. And because I people-watched (for comic content), I learned more about them. The actors were actually great people; my panic/anxiety is just a bitch that doesn’t let me have fun. So, the people challenge turned into a non-challenge by the end of the show, and I ended up making more friends.

I enjoyed myself, and am planning to audition for more shows with this company. However, it won’t be for a hot second. Probably not until next year. I’ll explain why later…

Last note about this production, I got an award for ‘Capturing the Spirit’ of the show. My words and comics captured the spirit, and the director called me a woman of many talents. Thanks, Jared, for making me cry!

Long story short (not short at all), it was a success.

Hugs

Alexandra

Introducing our Rescues

We are a rescue household. Every cat and every dog (minus one) was a rescue to some capacity. We firmly believe in ‘Adopt, Don’t Shop’. Rescues need so much love and can be some of the best animals you can ever share a home with.

Anyway, we’ve got quite a few rescues, a couple of which you know about since they work for me. So, I wanted to introduce them to you:

IMG_1570Edgar

My personal assistant. He was the offspring of two rescues, and I decided to bring him home to Idaho from his birthplace Virginia when the owner (my brother) couldn’t keep him.

He’s a grey and white fluff ball with a squeak of a voice. He wasn’t able to meow until about three months ago when he was able to squeak some sort of sound out. He’s headstrong and rebellious at times.

willowWillow

My caretaker. His mother was a feral kitty who would occasionally hang out on our porch when we fed the outdoor kitties. She gave birth in our basement, and kept her inside since. She and her other babies have since found new homes. I kept Willow as a birthday gift because he was born on my birthday. He’s a super purrer and loving.

img_6251Toothless

Our resident head black kitty. He was found under a highway overpass as a new kitten. Mother and my brother were the ones who found them. They were able to get all of the kittens, but the mama ran. Toothless was the only one not able to be adopted out because he’s a black cat, so he stayed with us.

He’s the head honcho of the family and puts all of the younger cats in line. He also loves sleeping on his back for some reason.

img_6659Twister

The baby. She was found outside of Vladimir’s work. Since we were known for cat rescue, his coworker brought her to us. We speculate she was abandoned because her head was a full 180 degrees from her body. She was a serious mess and had to have 24 hour care. She survived, is thriving, but she can’t be outside or she’ll get sick. We couldn’t find her an adequate home, so she’s with us still.

img_7292Bram

He was a barn cat found by one of Mother’s students, given to us again because we were known for cat rescue. He was healthy, just scared shitless. And again, we couldn’t find a home for him because he’s a black cat. Trust me, he’s scared of his own shadow; there’s no reason to be afraid of this poor baby.

img_5959Marie

Vladimir’s cat. She was found in a tractor tire in California with, I think, one or two other kittens. My roommate at my undergrad couldn’t find a home for her, so we took her when I graduated. She’s pure white with a yellow eye and a blue eye. She’s also pretty prissy. But she’s so cute!

img_7426Tiger

Now onto our seniors. We call him the weighted blanket. As you know, I have a decently bad anxiety disorder. I don’t have a weighted blanket (shit’s expensive), but Tiger loves to sit on my chest and stomach as a warm, purry weighted blanket.

He was an abandoned cat in our old neighborhood who was tortured by punk youth and stuff. We took him with us when we moved so he could have a loving home.

img_7328Chester

And our newest addition. We found him around the time we received shitty news, hiding in the corner of a cage at the vets office. He’s an 11 year old whose owner passed away and the family couldn’t care for him. He was at the vets for months because no one wants to adopt a senior kitty. We took him. He’s a sweet and playful thing once he realized he wasn’t going back to living in a cage.

And those are our rescues! Yes, I’m aware we have quite a few. Though, I blame circumstances for that. We still work with rescue organizations and the local shelter to help the animals abandoned, forgotten, or feral. Everyone deserves a good home.

If you are looking for a friend in your life, check out your local rescue organizations and shelters. They have tons of loving animals to connect with.

Hugs (and kitty hugs)

Alexandra