Tuesday, November 15, 2016

My Addiction to Online Shopping

I might be a bit over-dramatic because it could be a lot worse than it is. Some people out there have a real problem and need actual help. Still, this is a big problem for me right now, and I am telling myself that it is okay because I am fighting this depression in the most unhealthy ways with booze and shopping.

I would like to say, I am addicted to online shopping. The booze can be for another day.

I had never had this problem before. Sure, I am a member of Amazon Prime and have purchased stuff online from time to time in the past. Since moving to Los Angeles and this depression has hit me full force, I cannot keep myself from buying crap online. All. The. Time. 

Don't get me wrong, I am a consumer. I always have been, but not to this extent.  

I spent the better part of my early 20s buying crap that I really didn't need. I was that girl who would go to Target every week - you never know if you need something from Target. Good lord. I know I am not the only one out there visiting Target weekly. There has got to be something in the air at Target - they pump it in, and we need to come back weekly for it. But still, what are we thinking? How much crap from Target does a girl need? 

I don't know if all this consumption was a need to feel like an adult after college, but buying stuff sure did help you feel like one. Purchasing all that stupid kitchen gadget crap helped fill that adult hole, along with all that weird outdoorsy/backyard equipment that we just might need, someday. I still have a cooler that I truly thought we needed because adults have coolers. We have only used it once.

I also spent a bunch of time trying out hobbies - and buying all the hobby supplies to go along with it, all new of course. I thought I would totally be into a hobby. Yeah, right. Again, I think it's some weird void that we need to fill. To have some sort of purpose to life. To keep us busy so we don't realize how much life truly sucks. So, before people start having kids and having these little humans occupying their time, they pick out some hobbies to busy themselves with in the meantime. 

I, myself, tried sewing, kitting, crafting small pillow animals, painting, collageing and baking/cooking. Basically if it looked like it was something a Midwestern white girl would do from Pinterest, I was going to try it out. 

Soon, I began to accept that fact that I am not a crafter/hobbier. I do not have a room in my home devoted to crafting, nor will I ever. When I thought I was going to be a crafter, I would go to Michael's or Hobby Lobby or JoAnn Fabrics and stock up on my supplies for my newest crafting venture. Then that shit would just sit in some random corner of our apartment, mocking me and my lazy ass. 

It wasn't until I was in my 30s when I began to embrace my TV and movie watching, book reading, and drinking type of indoor-girl lifestyle. I don't need to craft. I don't need an entire room dedicated to my failed hobby attempts. And really, does anyone need a crafting room? When I look back at my crafting wannabe days, I think of just how shitty all that stuff looked. I get that crafts are things to occupy one's time, but I guess I prefer books and movies.

But I digress and I will some more.

In our 30s, the husband and I began to purge, slowly. I got rid of a lot of my shit, the husband on the other-hand is a bit of a horder so it was a tad harder on his end. Along the way I stopped shopping. I didn't need to go to Target once a week. And when we realized that we were going to make this move to Los Angeles, we knew that our living situation was going to change. We knew we were going to start out in a studio apartment. Thus, we began the big purge. 

We got rid of pretty much everything. And it felt good. We didn't need to hold on to some old floppy disks. Hell, I don't know how we could look at what is on the old floppy disks. We had shit like that and it all needed to go.

But now I cannot stop shopping. Amazon has been my best friend. I feel like every week I need to buy something from them. I can't stop clothes shopping too. I do not need more clothes. We do not have the room or money for this lifestyle. Hell, I don't even have a job that requires me to wear nice clothes. I don't know if it is a void I am trying to fill but I feel like it is. Knowing that I have something waiting for me at my doorstep every night can get me through the day. I need to stop. 

All I can think about now is how I want to buy a little radio. A radio! We do not need a radio. When we are in the car we don't even listen to the radio. But all I can think about is how I want one. I think, wouldn't it be nice to listen to the radio sometime. Good lord. Someone help me. Even as I sit here writing this, I pop onto Amazon and look at little radios. Why?

I know I am trying to fill a void that is inside of me. I just wish I could find something else to fill it with. Something a bit more healthy. Maybe like a hobby.


P.S. - I'll never stop using Amazon Prime, ever.

Monday, October 17, 2016

What's My Story?

I do not know what I am doing.

I do not have a plan for life.

I am confused. Sad. Scared. Unlike the fun inspirational saying, this wanderer is fucking lost. 

I was looking through my Instagram feed when I noticed a slight change. Sitting there staring at me up in the left-hand corner is my avatar waiting for me to upload my story. My story! I sat there staring at the picture of myself stuffing my face with a Stroopwaffle when I began to have a minor panic attack. What is my story?

I have been teetering on life crisis for a while now. Realizing that the job I have been doing for the past decade - a job that many people go to a specialized school and take out a fortune in loans for - is not what I want to do. Luckily I never did take out the loans to go to one of these schools because this industry also loves to teach on the job - why oh why so many waste the money I'll never understand - but I digress. This isn't about the state of post-high-school vocational education. This is about me. I feel stuck, and I am beginning to resent the industry, which is making it even harder for me to respect my place of employment and my co workers. I hate everything about what I do. 

I knew that my employment choice this past decade wasn't a high-paying one, but when we lived in Austin, it was easy to live on a lower wage. Now living in one of the most expensive cities in the US, this field of work isn't worth it. It isn't worth the stress, the hours, how physically demanding it is or its low wage.  

My depression doesn't help either. I want to get up. I want to be an active member of society, but I cannot move. I am frozen in self pity and am utterly terrified. I am just an average girl who is an underachiever and who has perhaps hitched her wagon to her husband's dream. 

So, what is my story?

I have tried a number of things in the past. I have tried and have failed at them all. At the time when I was thinking about doing something/trying this new thing, I would tell myself that I should try it. That failing is better than not trying. But is it really? I know that I can be easily influenced. Was I just a silly puppy dog following someone else who had a dream because I didn't have any of my own?

I am embarrassed with myself. I don't want to be that privileged white girl who has the luxury of a mid-life crisis, but this is where I am. I don't have children, so I don't have the distraction of trying to raise a human being to be productive member of society. Or that I just need to put my head down and work because I need a paycheck because I have someone at home who is counting on me to feed them. I am barely doing this for myself.

I want to cry.

I had always imagined that being an adult would be different. When I was in high school, I couldn't wait until I was an adult because everything would be better. I would have it all figured out and that people would act like adults. But it has all been a lie. I don't have it figured out and work is just an extension of high school where we still have cliques and bullies. Everyone just seems as miserable as adutls. Like we all have failed at life. That reality has set in and this is it. Working crappy jobs while we all get fat.

Sometimes I wonder if I just have the problem where I always want something else. That I am not happy with what I have now. I imagined that when I left high school, college would be better. Or that when we left Minneapolis, Austin would be better. Why can't I be happy with where I am at? 

I think I'll just make some box brownies, eat my weight in said brownie batter and drink a beer while I try and convince myself that I should shower today.


Monday, October 10, 2016

That One Time I Nearly Lost My Mind

So I don't know if y'all have realize that the husband and I had made this big move last year. You surely had to have noticed, right?

Ha! I kid. 

It's all I've been talking about on this blog since we moved last year. Broken record right here. Get ready for some more scratching. 

It goes a little something like this.  

We saved up a shit ton of money. We quit our very decent paying jobs. We sold everything we owned. We packed up what little we had left and moved to California. We had nothing lined up for us once we arrived in Los Angeles except an AirBnB and a Public Storage unit. 

Prior to moving, when we told people of our plans, everyone was excited for us. We were doing something that most people would never do in a million years. Maybe the odd recent college or high school graduates who have very specific dreams of becoming something take the leap, but mid-to-late thirtysomethings doing this are rare. I don't have any studies to back me up here. Who knows, maybe a crap load of middle-aged adults do this every day. I'm guessing not. Anyways, I was very prideful of that - that the husband and I could just drop everything and follow a dream. Most sensible people, especially ones for the Midwest, would never do this. And I loved telling people of our plans and watching their reactions.

I was excited for the move. We were done with Austin, Texas. She gave us everything that she could, but we wanted more. 

Ideas were had. Plans were made. 

We were going to make this move, even if it was going to kill us. I was dead-set on it. I was doing some positive thinking. This was going to be easy. We had done a move like this once before and for the most part, it was relatively easy - from what I remember. The husband likes to remind me that when we did our move to Austin from Minneapolis it wasn't as easy as I like to remember. But I have a selective memory, so to me everything was rainbows and unicorns.

We made the move.

After the dust settled and the reality of what we did sank in, I started to lose it. When you have a small amount of money in savings with nothing else coming in, watching it slowly shrink is hard to swallow - it was for me. After weeks of applying for jobs with very little response back, it was beginning to take a toll on me. I was really hoping to change my career path, and I knew it wasn't going to be easy. I was expecting that. I was willing to start from the bottom again, but nothing was coming in. It was beginning to look like I was going to have to start from the beginning in the career that I had been doing for the past ten years. It fucks with you. It fucked with me. 

I became moody, angry, and extremely scared. My fucking emotions were all over the place. My highs were high, and my lows were insanely low. I cried all the time. I had never felt this way before in my life. (I'm sure I did when I was in high school because I was an emotional mess back then too, but I don't really remember. I have a terrible memory.) I was sad. I didn't want to do anything or be around anyone. I ate poorly and drank too much. I was tired all the time. Trying to find a job in this state is one of the worst experiences of my life. I had no confidence whatsoever. I was fucked. 

I tried to stay positive. Mainly because that is how I have learned to deal with my depression. I have never been diagnosed, and I think that has a lot to do with my parents. Back in High School during one of my summer physicals, my doctor noticed something off about me and asked my mother if he could give me some antidepressants. They were just samples pills, basically he wanted to try and see how they worked for me, but my mother said no and that I was fine. I remember her telling me in the car ride home that I shouldn't be taking pills like that or get the label of being depressed because everyone will treat you differently. 

I have learned how to deal with my depression. Back in my youth my main source of dealing with it all was journaling and a lot of positive thinking. I know that at times I probably need more but I don't go to the doctor. I usually figure it out. Talking it out helps too, usually with my husband or a few coworkers in the past - I think this is where my bad habit of gossiping comes in to play. I have leaned to cope, probably unhealthily, but it's what I've done.

Last fall was extremely hard. 

After trying to find a job for weeks, I found one that seemed promising, for the time being. But with my emotions all out of whack, it was hard to fit in especially with a couple of the employees. I felt like I was in middle school again, and the mean girls were ganging up on me. I truly felt like I was thirteen, and it fucks with you. I was paranoid, and I hated every thing. I just wanted to quit, but we needed the money and the health insurance. It has been one of the hardest things I have ever done. 

Every morning I dreaded going into work. I could break down in tears at any second while riding the Metro Train to work. I remember thinking to myself "I wonder what people saw when they looked at me?" I must've looked miserable. When I look back, I don't know how I survived it. Truly, I don't. I did a lot of emailing to myself, saying that I could make it through the day. And again, my unhealthy self-medication with a drink at the end of the day was what I would look forward to. 

am beginning to slip back into my depression. I am tired all the time. I am angry. I just don't want to do anything. I think a lot of the problem is my hatred for my job and that I just don't know what I want any more. I am floating aimlessly, and I cannot grab a hold of anything.

Like everything in life, this all shall pass. It reminds me of that ad campaign: It gets better. Eventually it does, but when you are in the thick of it, it feels like it will never end. Slowly, I will get my shit together. I have to have a little faith in myself. Writing helps. I did it when I was in high school, and I hope it will help now. I am still at that job. It is manageable now, but I am ready to leave whenever the time is right.        

I am just glad that last fall hasn't left a sour taste in my mouth for this city. I am still happy we made this move. It has been hard, and it will continue to be hard for awhile, but I feel it is worth it. What doesn't kill us only makes us stronger, right?


Monday, August 22, 2016

What to Expect When You're Expecting to Live in Los Angeles. Part 1.

Since the husband and I have one year of living in Los Angeles under our belt, I thought it would be nice to compose a post - or actually a few posts - about what it's like living here for us, so far. This is specific to us and what we've taken from this city, but I think it might be of some use to someone out there. Since this will be a series, it will be ever-changing and updated. As long as I am here and writing, you'll get the lowdown on living in Los Angeles. The pressure is on.

Before our move, I did a ton research, A TON. I knew we would be moving here, so I thought it would be a good idea to have some sort of an idea on what to expect. There are a fair amount of blogs out there that address moving to this great city, which I think is kind of funny, but I greatly appreciated them. I realize that we aren't the only people who made this move, and if you aren't from a big city, I can see how this all can be overwhelming. I sometimes forget that a lot of people make this move. That some kid out in Middle America is dreaming of the day that they can pack up their shit and move to the West Coast. After all dreams are made here.

Well, welcome. 

I am enjoying Los Angeles immensely. It has so much to offer and so much for you to take advantage of. You should understand that this city will give back to you what you put in. If you put in the hustle, I think this city can be rewarding.

We moved here from Austin, Texas. Austin is a growing city, but at the end of the day it still felt like a small town with small-town prices. Up until the end of our residence in Austin, it was an inexpensive city to live in. Beer was cheap. Eating out was cheap. Going out was cheap. I know that things are slowly changing for Austin - something that I could write a whole post about - but since I am already a year removed I don't think it would be fair to Austin. Regardless, Austin prices are nothing like Los Angeles prices.

That brings me to the first thing on my list of "What to Expect When You're Expecting to Live in Los Angeles."

It's expensive. 
Well, duh! It is like the second-largest city in the U.S. So yes, it is expensive. We knew that coming out here but didn't really realize that until we started going out in LA. Beer is expensive. Eating out is expensive. Living is expensive. Apartments are expensive.  I've definitely had some sticker shock moments, but after you get past the fact that you aren't in Middle America anymore, your mindset begins to change. 

Learning to really budget helps. We did come out here with a sizable savings, and we pretty much burned through that in one year. It didn't help that we took an impromptu road trip before settling down, and we did take a bunch of weekend holidays in our first six months of living here. I wouldn't trade in those moments ever. I am a big advocate for travel, and I'm not afraid to charge that experience. Again, I digress. We were used to living a certain way, and we really didn't change our spending when we first moved out here. We have bills, oh so many bills. Student loans, credit cards, car loans, and then the typical living bills of cell phones, internet, electricity, and rent. Now we need to rebuild our savings, so we have something to fall back on because we have a ton of debt and the husband is working in an unreliable industry. But again, that is what we expected with his job. 

My suggestion would be to have a bunch of money saved up before you move out here. If you already have a job lined up, that is another story. But I would still have some money squirreled away. Again, we came out here with a ton of money saved up. I just didn't want to be one of those people who had to return back to Austin with our tail between our legs within one year of our move because we ran out of money - and that happens A LOT with people from Austin, they leave for the big city because they are a big fish in a small pond and they can't make a go of it in the "real world" and they return within six months. Nobody can make anything happen in six months or even twelve. I truly believe you need at least five years to get something out of this city. We plan to give it at least ten. 

So save. 

If you do come out here without a job lined up, it will take awhile. Of course their are lucky people out there who find work right away, I actually did. The job I found wasn't what I wanted to do. I was looking to change career paths, but I thought I should just get a job in my old profession first to have some money coming in, and then I could look for other work. Here I am a year later, still working that job. I had no luck finding another job. I spent months sending out resumes, and I've heard nothing back from anyone - actually I did get a response from a scam job, lucky me. I work with one person who it took them six months to find their job after they moved to LA. Another person I worked with had to quit and move back home because they didn't find their job soon enough and they ran out of money. 

So save. Have I mentioned that yet? Having money in savings never hurt anyone. 

Holy fuck, that was a lot. 

Be prepared, apartment hunting sucks.
I think I kind of knew this when were moved here, but I didn't really realize how much is sucked until we got here - I also think we had a few factors that hindered our apartment search.

Prior to moving, my research suggested that it's almost best to move here with nothing lined up and to just stay in an AirBnB until we find something. So that is what we did. And actually, I believe that is the best advice. If you have a friend or family member who is willing to put up with you for a few weeks while you find a place to live, that's even better. Basically, you can't find anything until you are out here - that is if you are renting. They don't really have apartment search firms - that's what we had to deal with in Austin. You are on your own.

Finding an apartment is all about the hustle. Something we just didn't have when we first moved here. We were tired. Overwhelmed. Not quite sure what we had gotten ourselves into so we shut down emotionally, just a bit. We paid the stupid fee to access the Westside Rentals listings, but because I was half out of it I accidentally paid for the six month package instead of the three month package - one of our first of many money mistakes when we first got out here.

Would I use the Westside Rentals again? I'm not sure. Right now I would say that it would be a worst-case scenario. Friends of ours use Craigslist, you just have to be careful - like always when you use Craigslist. Personally, I am not a Craigslist fan. I just cannot sit and sift through all the postings. But some people can, and if you are one of those people, give it a try. 

If we were to do it all over again, I would just figure out what neighborhood I wanted be in and just drive around taking numbers of apartment buildings and calling. But that takes time. It all takes so much time.

We got our current place off of Westside Rentals. It was a desperate decision at the time, it was the only place we really looked at - we saw one other place and the building manager of that other place was really weird, and he was doing this whole applicant discrimination thing even thought I don't think he realized that he was discriminating. We, however, just wanted something locked down. We needed a place to stay.  Our place is okay enough that we did renew our least for another year. Mainly because we don't want to find another place right now. We just can't afford to move. So we are stuck in the world's smallest apartment. But it works for us right now.

We can't forget, it's expensive renting in Los Angeles, and it's all about the neighborhood. Hell, we live adjacent to the desired Los Feliz neighborhood, and we still pay a fortune for our apartment. But we like the area. It's fairly centrally located and close to the Metro Subway - centrally located for "industry" jobs for the husband and taking the subway for me. We only have one car, gasp! That is what we are paying for. If we wanted to save money, we would be in The Valley somewhere or out in Pasadena. We didn't want that. The best bet is to figure out what you are will to put up with when moving out to LA. Do you want to be centrally located (and even that's all relative because are you Westside or Eastside)? Or do you want to have to drive in from far away? You also have to remember traffic kind of sucks in LA.       

Holy cow. That is a lot, again. 

*All this information is specific to us and what we want/need from Los Angeles. Some people come out here and fall right into the perfect job and perfect place to live, but I'm thinking that is far and few between. The husband and I came out here with prior work in the service industry. We did not have desk jobs so our job search is different from someone who is a professional. It's all relative.* 

I hope this helps whoever is out there and is ready for the big move to Los Angeles. Good luck.

Monday, August 8, 2016

It is official. One year down.

So, we made it. One year down.

Actually, it has been just over a year, if we are nitpicking. I don't count our lost month as living in Los Angeles. I just count that as a glorious month of living my absolute dream. At the time I was freaking the fuck out. How could I not? We had no plans for our return to Los Angeles, and we were dipping into our savings that should have been used to help us stay afloat in LA. But I digress. Oh, how I wish I could go back to that road trip and relive it and enjoy it for what it was; the dream, our dream. More on that to come, if I ever get around to it. I promise, I totally will.

In all actuality, I cannot believe we made it a year. 

Prior to moving to Los Angeles, I knew we could do it. Our last year in Austin was all about California dreaming. It was all about saving, saving, and some more saving complemented by selling, selling, and some more selling of our shit. During this time I was talking myself into believing that this move to Los Angeles was going to be as easy as pie. We were just going to slip into this large-ass city quietly. We were going to find an apartment with ease. We were going to find jobs with no problem. We are two able-bodied adults from the Midwest, and it's easy for Midwesterners to find jobs anywhere. Ugh, I fall for that old line every time. So naive, I am. 

I did the same thing when we moved to Austin - this thinking that it will be so easy adjusting to a new city and finding work with ease. Usually, when a family member hears of our plans to move they always reassure us that it will be so easy for us to find work because we are from the Midwest and who doesn't want to hire someone from the Midwest? NO ONE CARES THAT WE ARE FROM THE MIDWEST!

However, the husband and I have been quite lucky. We did find work fairly early on. When I look back, I realize that I found my job within a month and a half of settling in. And the husband was able to use a friend of a friend to find work soon after. A lot of people we meet who are new to this city seem to have a harder time finding work. We had some luck on our side. 

At the time, last year, it felt like we were never going to find jobs. The month and a half that I wasn't working was actually longer because we were also dealing with our lost month of July. It did feel like forever to the two of us. It felt strange not to be working, especially since I've always worked - like the rest of human population - and I kind of liked not working. Except for the part of not having money coming in. We did have savings, but this city isn't cheap. We aren't dealing with Austin prices anymore. 

Here we are. One year later. 

We are both back at the beginning, overeducated and underemployed. Starting out at the bottom again. But that's par for the course with Gen X-ers - or whatever the fuck we are, because I can never figure that out and all I know is that we are in that sweet spot where none of this really matters - with our degrees in English.

I am back in a kitchen, which isn't my dream, but it pays the bills and that's all that matters right now because we suck at budgeting. And the husband is doing odd PA jobs around town. Again, it isn't the dream, but it pays the bills. And that is where we are at right now. 

I am proud to say that we haven't had to pack up and mosey on back to Austin, which had been a fear of mine. As great of a town as Austin is, it's a town that is really hard to get anything done - again, just for us. Many of people have accomplished plenty in that great city of Austin, but we just could not. I have heard of Austin being compared to Never-Never Land before, and I agree totally. It's easy to live a life of underemployment comfortably there. So, we left and the struggle is now real. But isn't the struggle supposed to help with the creativity? 

Isn't there that saying, what doesn't kill us will only make us stronger? At this point, I hope so. Otherwise why the fuck are we doing this? 

We have pretty much run out of savings. So that is freaking me out. But hopefully we can pull in some more money with promotions or just better jobs in general. Always on the lookout for something better, A.K.A. something that pays more. With the minimum wage going up in this city, things should pan out for better paying jobs. We'll see. We really need to become better hustlers. Everyone here who is doing something is hustling, and we need to tap into that mindset. I still think our Midwestern way of thinking that things will come to us because we are hard workers is getting in the way. We need to make our own way. We need to hustle.   

One year. Holy fuck, one year. 

I don't feel like a Californian, yet. I do absolutely love this state and cannot wait until I feel like I totally belong.