5 Rules for Being Unemployed

unemployedSo I’m currently unemployed and I’ve found that going from a very structured day to one where I can go horse back riding at noon is difficult to adjust to. I’m aware I’m not alone in this current transition to bleeding money while waiting for something that will re-passionize me to come along (I don’t think that’s a word but I’m going with it.)

Since we’re on this journey together I decided to come with a few simple rules that we should all start following – myself included.

1. Make your bed every morning - it’s important to still have a sense of “this is the day I’m not going to go back to sleep after I’m done walking the dog.” So when you get up, get up for the day. Take a shower, make your bed, go about life as you normally would if you were employed.

2. Go outside at least twice a day - It’s easy to stay inside, wistfully wasting away while watching countless episodes of Criminal Minds. But, instead of lulling yourself to an oreo coma get up off your butt and head outside. Some study said even 20 minutes outside will boost your mood (maybe even strike you with some inspiration).

3. Have a schedule - It’s important to create routine when you have none. Try splitting up your day into segments. This is how I did mine (luckily I have a dog to help divide my time): Get up, make bed, walk the dog, apply to jobs, have lunch, walk the dog, write, walk alone, get dog, walk the dog (maybe even talk to people), eat dinner – the night is when I’m least routine, but by then it’s 7 and Big Bang Theory is on.)

4. If you feel sad or discourage talk about it - It’s not fun being on the other side of the tracks (well maybe the first week or two it is) and it’s okay to be sad – just remember you’re not alone. Talk to someone about it, join a discussion board if none of your friends have felt this way. Just remember that it takes a while to find a solid job that you will enjoy, and that it is okay.

5. Don’t settle - you’re unemployed because your last job didn’t work out (or for other reasons) so instead of rushing into the first thing that pays it’s okay to wait it out. Find something you can be passionate about, something that will challenge you, and let you grow. In my next job I’m looking for a place that has those three things. I want to be jazzed about the job just by reading the description – luckily I’ve found a few of those already!

Remember to not freak out, enjoy this time to figure out what you want to do next, and breathe. Chances are this free time will fly by, so take advantage of it while you have it.

A Sneak Peek of What I’ve Been up to

Sorry I’ve been on such a blogging hiatus. I promise I’m doing good things and not hiding under a rock with my dog. One of the three things I’ve been working on is pushing out a series about the pup and me (filled with stories about diarrhea and love…two things every dog has to offer).

Screen shot 2013-08-23 at 11.40.00 AM

The next one is a new blog

 http://singlechicksblog.com/. Started by Advice by Amanda and myself as a place to relive awful dates and give unadvice (basically undoing all of the awful advice our friends and your bff’s have given all of us through the years – one of our life goals is to do away with bad dating rules).

The last one is writing books

I’ve shared a chapter or two in the past of the hardest book I’ve ever started to write, while I’m still working on that I have started a new book – one that it a lot more fun to write, less crying and more laughing (that’s a good thing right?). So, since I’ve been distant I’ve decided to give you a glimpse into the book (mid chapter because that’s how I roll).

Any resemblance to people living or dead is purely coincidental…especially you, Jenny Beckman…. bitch

How to Survive Your First Year in the City

I shoved my keys into my front door, still enraged from Connor’s break up speech. I pushed my way past Brit and let the door slam behind me.

“What’s your problem” she scoffed, while I passed her room and headed down the hall to the kitchen. I switched on the light, throwing open the fridge door and reached into my bottom drawer of. Yes! I still had chocolate left, one bright thing in this very rotten day. I yanked out the chocolate and slammed the door shut.

“Hurricane Dee coming through” I heard Amy yell as I walked through the living room and down our black metal stairs to the basement “suite” Sara and I shared.

“ Funny Amy.” I hissed as I stomped down the shaky steps, turning sharply to my room. My room where days ago Connor and I had sat and planned our first weekend in the city together.

I threw my bag down and collapsed on my full size bed. I stared at my ceiling and put a piece of dark chocolate in my mouth.

Knock, knock.

“What!” I hollered.

“It’s just me, is everything okay” came Amy’s tiny voice from behind the door.

“Please, just leave me alone.” I saw the doorknob turning slowly and a waterfall of blonde hair fall out from behind the corner of my white knock off wood door. “I said leave me alone.”

“I realize that, but, and I’m just going out on a limb here, it seems like something might’ve happened…” she said encouragingly

I sighed, rolling over and faced the door “Connor dumped me.”

“Vodka or Wine?” she said without hesitation

“Chocolate and moping on my bed was actually what I was going for.”

“Wine it is. Put on something cute we’re going out.”

I glance down, “ I thought what I was wearing was cute.”

“Sweatpants  are not a sangria approved outfit.” She called while heading upstairs.

I rolled back over facing the wall and brought my knees to my chest. I could feel the hole growing bigger, and the anger subsiding. All that Connor had left me with was a gaping hole where my heart was, and god did it hurt. I closed my eyes tight hoping to wake up, giving anything to go back to this morning when we were still together.

I slowly peaked out of my right eye. Nope, still dumped.

“Dee, get dressed!” I heard Amy yell from the top of the stairs.

I put a pillow over my head pretending not to hear it. I was in not condition to be around people.

I followed the sound of loud footsteps from above my room and down the stairs.

“Get up whore, we’re going out” Brit said giddily.

I couldn’t tell if she was more excited to have a reason to drink, or that I was miserable.

“FINE! If I get up and have a drink with you will you all leave me alone?” I said into my pillow.

“Great!” She pushed herself further into my room. “Okay, put this on” she said picking up my jean daisy dukes “ and this” she held up my see-through plum tank. “Come on, get up. You have 5 minutes to get ready.”

“Get out of my room and I’ll get ready” I said lifting my head through a tight smile.

“No need to be snippy,” Brit said while letting herself out.

I slowly rolled off my bed and onto the floor, falling onto my knees. A sharp pain stabbed my chest again; I clutched my heart as if to help fill the hole. I crawled to where Brit had thrown my shorts, and pulled my sweats off, trading their comfort for tight itchy material. I opted for a red oversized sweater and nude shirt underneath. I threw on my white ballet flats and headed for the bathroom.

I switched on the light to see my face cover in a blotchy mess, not only did I feel miserable on the inside, but also looked it. I splashed cold water on my face, hoping to eliminate some of the redness,  with one last look I switched off the light and headed upstairs.

“Okay, lets get this over with.” I said with a general lack of enthusiasm.

“Don’t look so excited” said Sara.

We grabbed our bags and the four of us headed down the street to The Tavern. Where bacon is a normal topping for fries, and Sangria pitchers run deep.

There comes a time, after every broken heart, where you just need to laugh, this point in time was not it. This was the point in time where I needed to drink, a lot. I looked around at the sympathetic faces staring at me. Trying my best to give off the ever-cool Carrie Bradshaw air.

“I’m fine guys, really.” I threw on my best fake smile.

“It’s okay Dee, really, you don’t need to pretend with us.” Sara said while putting her hand on my arm “We’re here for you.”

Great, that’s just what I needed, a pathetic “we’re here for you Dee” speech from someone I had just met a week ago. What was my life coming to? A short pathetic lifetime movie where the actress drowns herself in night after night of bottomless pitchers of sangria?

Actually…bottomless pictures of sangria didn’t sound half bad.

“Really Sara” I said shaking off her arm, “I’m fine.”

Inappropriate Times to Wear a Tiara

mother-daughter

I’ve been writing/working on this memoir for three and a half years now (wow how time has flown). While I’ve had a few opportunities to share it, I’ve just been a tad on the insanely nervous side to really let anyone read it.

However, after going through the workshop process and not getting it ripped apart or running out in tears, I’ve decided it’s time to put on my big girl pants and share it with the semi world (I would say world but unfortunately the whole world does not read how to with Courtney…weird I know).

So here goes nothing:

Inappropriate Times to Wear a Tiara

 

Chapter 1/ Book Opening

My mom knew how to absorb all of the light in the room. She had an essence about her that just made you want to be near her. Something that made you think, “Hm, I want some of what she has.”

I grew up living in that shadow, the shadow of always being told what my mother would and would not approve of, or how my mother “would not have done it that way.” It was a constant battle between family members of what I should and shouldn’t do, luckily I won that battle by running away from it, far, far, away.

Slowly, while building a life on my own, I came to realize that if my mum was truly who everyone said she was, then she wouldn’t care what I did so long as I was happy.

So, I did what made me happy, and wore a lot of tiaras in the process of figuring that out.

Chapter 1:

When I was six my world changed.  After battling almost a year of ALS my mum passed away.

The night she died every aunt and uncle from her side crowded into our split-level pink home. One by one people went into her bedroom, which had been revamped into a make-shift hospital room, holding a portable hospital bed and a regular twin-sized bed, one that my father and I would take turns sleeping on. I took the opportunity of a crowded house to hide in my bedroom, I couldn’t stand to have another aunt or uncle tell me just how much they loved my mum or to have them look at me like some lost orphan.

I put my face in my pillow and breathed in. Still not fully aware of why everyone was there, though I realized it wasn’t a joyous reason. I lifted myself up onto my bed, and pushed back against my cool wall. My feet barely reaching the edge of my bed.

I heard a knock on my door, without looking up I heard the familiar squeak of it open and my sister shuffle her way into my dimly lit room. The only light in my room was the pink lamp seated on the white bookcase my mom bought for my nursery. The nursery of her beloved baby girl. 

“Are you okay?” She whispered, crouching under my Minnie mouse canopy.

I gave my best smile in reassurance.

“I think there are some people who want to see you.” She held out her hand and pulled me down from the safety of my bed. The bed where my mom once had tucked me in but no longer had the strength to.

I walked out and was greeted by a fresh round of grieving family; all letting their sympathetic eyes find me. I finally found my dad in the crowd, his face pained and eyes stained red. He hurried over to me, sweeping me in a hug and told me of the new plans to sleep at a friend’s house.

“Why don’t you go say bye to mum” he said quietly while putting me down and ushering me into the live wake.

I tip toed inside her dark room, shutting the door behind me; the only noise left in the dark pit being the beeping of the heart monitor, the steadying beep…. beep. I put my hand in hers and felt the lifelessness that her hand-held. She wasn’t there anymore, her personality and everything that made her, her, was gone. There was just a body left.

“Mommy” I whispered.

Nothing.

“I love you mommy”

I saw a tear start to form in her eye and slowly trickle down. Her eyes holding the only life left.

I nuzzled my head into her neck, being careful of the wires I had learned to avoid.  I breathed her in; she smelt of everything pink and the way mothers should smell. The smell of an alive, loving mother, not one who would be gone within the next two hours. I lay next to her for what seemed like a second, and then was interrupted by my father.

I felt his strong warm hands rub my back and slowly help me up.

“No, I’m not ready!” I whispered “Please” I said a little louder.

But my pleas were lost.

“It’s time to go.” He said.

“I don’t want to leave her. Why do I have to go?”  I cried.

I could see my father trying to fight back tears. “I’m sorry, your friend is here. Tell her goodbye,” he stopped “you’ll see her tomorrow,” I heard him choke.

I hugged my mother, not tight enough, and whispered that I loved her and goodbye.

That was the last time I saw her.

The next morning I woke up to a big breakfast, the kind my best friend’s mom was famous for. I had just managed to stop worrying about the other night when my dad and sister rang the doorbell. I saw their tear-stained eyes, but didn’t realize what was going to happen next. They each took a hand and led me up her dirt driveway. I could hear my best friend in the background yelling for me not to leave, her cries drowning out the leaves crunching beneath our shoes.

I looked from side to side and waited for them to stop.

“What’s wrong daddy?” I asked.

He stopped and crouched down in front of me, I looked into his blood-shot eyes and put one hand on either side of his face.

“What’s wrong?” I asked again.

He looked into my innocent green eyes, getting ready to deal me the hardest blow of my short life.

“Mommy was very sick last night, and had to go to the hospital.” He stopped as tears started to fill his now soft dark brown eyes “The doctors tried to do everything for her, but…Mum won’t be coming back.”

My sister crouched beside us and put her arm around me.

“But when is she going to come back? Is she just on vacation again?” Vacation was when she and my dad would go away for different treatments, leaving me with my sister.

“Sweetie, mum’s in heaven” my sister whispered, while trying her best not to cry.

I looked down at the dirt and felt warm water drip from my check to the ground. I watched as little puddles formed near my shoes.

I looked at both of them, not knowing what this all meant. I just wanted my mum.

We were all silent. Both of them leaned in for a hug but I didn’t react. I reverted back to the years where I wouldn’t let anyone touch me, where I would stand still to the touch of affection from those closest to me.  I pushed them away and ran as far as my little legs could take me into the field by my best friend’s house. By the time my dad and sister caught up to me I had collapsed on a pile of dead grass and just cried. The three of us sat there, me in the middle, and just cried.

I didn’t cry for years after that day.

Then we were in the limo. I don’t remember lowering her into the ground. I don’t remember who was there.

All I remember is the limo ride to the graveyard where my Aunt offered me an Altoid. We sat there, in the black limo, following the car that the woman who brought me into this world was laying in.

And then, she was gone.

Just a note: I realize this may not be how other family members remember it, please keep in mind this is my story, my memory, and how I feel it should be told.