Category Archives: Uncategorized

On Words and Meaningful Things…

My trips home for the holidays usually end with my parents sending me home with personal belongings that have been taking up room in their house since I moved out five years ago. This past Thanksgiving and Christmas were no different when I brought home my beloved scrapbook that my mother made of the first 18 years of my life, and my senior yearbook.

I had my sights set on the yearbook since this past summer when I needed to recruit as many former field hockey players from my high school’s 2006 varsity team to attend a ceremony at last year’s homecoming game. Considering there were over 20 of us, and I certainly didn’t want to leave anyone out, this was a tall order. My senior yearbook would have been the perfect resource, but alas, it was at my parents’ house.

For some reason, even after I figured out all the players on the team from that year, I couldn’t wait to skim through the yearbook again, revisiting old memories through photos and trying to decipher all the inside jokes in my friends written messages. I finally got the chance to do it over Thanksgiving, and I couldn’t help but laugh at my 18-year-old self and everyone else in my class.

It wasn’t over my clothing choices, which were questionable at best throughout most of high school, or any stupid faces we made in our photos, or anything else like that. It was because of our senior quotes.

Let’s just focus on mine: “Life is notes underneath our fingers. We just have to figure out which ones make music.” – Jamie Foxx

For starters, I’m not even sure I got the quote right when I submitted it to the yearbook staff. I had hastily written the quote down when my Mass Media teacher had us watch Jamie Foxx’s episode of Inside the Actor’s Studio, and I thought I had finally found an original quote that truly embodied my thoughts on the future. The Pisces in me has long been an idealist, and I had been raised to believe that I could achieve anything for which I worked hard. This was it. My quote. I was not going to have to resort to “In This Diary” by The Ataris (and thank god for that, because being an adult is exponentially more fun than growing up and I didn’t peak in high school).

I was so proud of this quote even beyond high school, and as I re-read it at my parents’ house, I couldn’t help but laugh at myself and my ambitions. I wonder if others feel the same way about their quotes. Do they look back and think, “who the hell did I think I was?” Or perhaps they were one of the students that didn’t take it seriously, and wish they had? Did we truly think that we would look back on high school and think it was the “best days of our lives?”

Once I stopped laughing at myself, I actually began to look a little deeper at the situation. As someone who loves to write, I carefully choose my own words to convey my thoughts, feelings, hopes, dreams, and more. As recently as last month, I have turned to others’ words and artistry to convey something for me when my own words failed. This isn’t all that easy – others’ words can be just as easily misinterpreted as our own. Perhaps another writer was willing to bare their soul more than we were, and in choosing their words over our own we are allowing them to show our vulnerability. It can be just as nerve-wracking to express ourselves in this manner, particularly when it’s plastered next to our picture, forever memorialized in a yearbook.

When I look back at our senior quotes through this lens, I don’t laugh at our naivety. I admire our ability, and even our courage, to use someone else’s words when ours were not enough (all of us except that one kid that quoted himself. I’m still laughing at him).

While I don’t think a senior quote is meant to set the tone for your future or be any sort of prediction for it, I’m starting to feel proud of mine again. In regards to my own life, the notes I initially chose didn’t create the song I’m currently living, but that’s okay. I still found a way to make music and I’m happy with where my life has taken me. The beauty of our world is that we’re able to try out different notes for different outcomes, until something feels right. It’s not always easy or fun, and it might not always make ends meet, but if it’s worth doing we should find a way to make work.

Even if I chose not to completely overanalyze this moment in my past, I now feel a little bad at laughing at my little ambitious past self. She thought she knew everything and that all she had to do to guarantee a job after college graduation was work two unpaid internships at the same time. It’s good to revisit that person through this quote to balance out how jaded adult life can make us feel. Over time I have learned to balance my idealist thoughts with the real-ness of the actual world around me, and I’m happy to have 18 year-old Brianne, with her Jamie Foxx quote, heavy side-parted bangs, and head-to-toe Delia’s looks to remind me to stay positive when the world gets a little too real.

On Breaking Bad Habits…

I’ve heard varying theories on how long it takes to form a new habit, and after trying things out for myself, I’ve found that it varies. I’ve had certain bad habits all my life that I’ve tried to break with these streaks and some have worked while others haven’t. I’m still looking for a way to break the nail-biting that has plagued me for as long as I can remember.

With many failed attempts in the past, I decided to try something new that the dude introduced to me: HabitRPG. This is an app/website that not only helps you build new, productive habits, it also helps you break the bad ones by turning everyday into a video game. You create an avatar, then set up habits (good and bad), dailies, to-dos, and rewards. I started with my bad habits: nail-biting and messing with the skin on my face (I’ve had various forms of acne since I was a teenager and have been incredibly unsuccessful not only in combating it, but also keeping myself from making it worse). I just click on these habits whenever I do them, and it takes “life” away from my character. It definitely takes some discipline to rat on yourself, but if you’re really determined to break the habits, I think it’s easy to stay true. As I was chatting with the dude about all the things I had set up, I found myself biting my nail and had to take a 3pt. hit to my health.

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image via kickstarter – not my actual habits and goals!

I’ve also set up some good habits that I want to form such as bringing my lunch to work (we have a cafeteria downstairs that’s inexpensive and very easy to default to) and reading for an hour a day (I love to read but always claim to not have time for it).

The dailies don’t necessarily have to be everyday activities, but are more regular ones you would like to adopt. I set up a once per week task of putting money into my savings account or setting it aside for wedding gifts for friends this year (because we have five weddings to go to. FIVE.). I really like this customized feature – it’s important not to overload yourself with so many daily things, and it helps keep you on track if some new things are less frequent than others. My exercise and blog posts fell under the dailies column as well, but these are set up for four times a week, while making sure the apartment is clean has been set as an actual daily task.

Even better than the dailies are the to-dos – one-off tasks that you can set up each day to be completed, and that can also have a set due date. With today being my day off, I set up to-dos for doing laundry and running the dishwasher. I was able to make a checklist for them to help get through each part of the tasks (running dishwasher, putting dishes away, reloading it, etc.), and if you don’t finish the entire task, having it partially completed allows you to lose less “life.” I made a “clean out my closet” task that’s due Friday, so we’ll see how well I stick to that one!

Lastly, by far the best part of the app, you’re able to set up rewards. With each daily/to-do completed, and good habit reinforced, you earn gold and experience. You can create rewards with varying costs for which you cash in your gold. For example, for 15 gold, I’m treating myself to beer or wine. For 40, I’m going to the movies (not just watching one on Netflix). And for 75, I’m buying myself something I don’t need. The app/website also allows you to buy equipment with your gold like in an actual RPG, and it can help you fight/recover the bad habits and unfinished tasks that happen from time to time. I’ve yet to really explore this part of it, but can’t wait to get my 75 gold to buy something fun.

Like I said before, it takes discipline to really stick to it, but that’s the case when you’re trying to do these things on your own as well. I definitely recommend this to those that need to make chores and breaking bad habits more fun – I know I certainly could use it. I’ll keep you up to date on my progress probably on a monthly basis. And I’m gaining experience right now just by writing this post – huzzah!

On New Offices and Nerdy Figures…

About a week ago, the dude and I were at the mall. We went to fye to flip through some vinyl and check out what other deals they had. Walking around, I came across a stand of Pop! Vinyl figures. “Would it be stupid if I got one of these for my new desk?” I asked him. He assured me it wasn’t. At this point I wasn’t sure if my new job would provide me with an office or just a desk, and I didn’t have my expectations too high since it was considered an entry-level position.

Without much hesitation, I went for the Pop! Vinyl figure of Daenerys Targaryen – known to most as Mother of Dragons or Khaleesi on Game of Thrones. I didn’t put much thought into it. She’s my favorite character on the show and I’ve been known to say things like, “I’ll take what’s mine with fire and blood,” or “I AM THE BLOOD OF THE DRAGON,” after a few drinks.

To my surprise this Monday, my first day at the new job, I was taken to my new office. Yes, an office! With a door! I’ve never had my own office. At my job in New York City, I had a corner desk with a window, which was wonderful, but all I wanted there was a door to close to deter visitors and additional work whenever there was too much on my plate. At my last job, I had a table masquerading as a desk that was just one of many in a dark, quiet, silent room. It didn’t seem bad at first since I followed suit and went into my own world in my headphones as everyone else did, but the nature of that job made any setting seem awful. Now I had an office with a door – which I’ve yet to close as I haven’t felt the need yet – and a space to make my own.

On Wednesday I brought in a few items to personalize the space. The dude bought me a Lil BUB calendar for whatever my new space was going to be, and I proudly put it above my computer so I could look up at BUB’s majestic face whenever I needed to. Side note here: I’m a HUGE animal lover and all BUB products donate proceeds to Lil BUB’s BIG fund for the ASPCA, which benefits special needs animals. Looking up at it from time to time reminds me that you can find small things to do everyday to help those in need.

Next I put my little Dany Targaryen figure on my desk, and then it hit me. This seemingly childish, nerdy, figure had much deeper symbolism than I had realized when I bought it. For those unfamiliar with Game of Thrones, the Targaryens’ house sigil has a three-headed dragon. Their family was known for their dragons and were said to have “the blood of the dragon,” and so on. In the first season, Dany is given three dragon eggs, which are beautiful and thought to be only decorative treasures. SPOILER ALERT: Dany walk into a funeral pyre holding the eggs, and as the fire dies down, she’s still standing there, unburnt, with three baby dragons that hatched.

Those that read the books know that in Dany’s long title is the term “the unburnt,” and it seems like an appropriate title for myself after what I went through at the end of 2014. I was let go from my first job in the Capital Region for reasons that, in my opinion, were BS. My job was numbers based, my co-workers and I were ranked against each other, and we had quotas that we were told to aim for, then told were not in place, and it always went back and forth with nothing in writing. My numbers went down for just one month, and despite the fact that others’ were consistently lower than mine, I was let go. I wasn’t sad about losing this job – I took it to move to this area and had hopes of moving up to a different department with this company as soon as a could, considering I had a good amount of marketing experience. More than anything I was furious that the CEO who told me this “clearly isn’t your cup of tea,” was able to wield any power over me. I left his office saying, “Thank you for the opportunity, I learned a lot while I was here,” and he didn’t even look up at me.

I wasn’t the only one let go in those times. Others that were doing even better than I was were also let go for no reason at all. It started to feel as if those that knew they were overqualified for the position were getting the axe despite being good employees. In that way, our being let go felt like something the CEO was doing to stroke his ego and add to his own sense of megalomania.

The only tears I shed after this event were for the fact that I was let go in early December and now wasn’t able to get gifts for my family for Christmas. My family is amazing and supportive and I try to show them how much I appreciate them, especially during Christmas. The day after I was let go, I applied for unemployment, started networking, and applied to any job for which I was qualified. Three weeks later, I was offered a job that was miles above the one I had lost.

So despite this man trying to make me feel like a worthless loser, trying to ruin my holidays, and ultimately trying to break me, I rose from the ashes unscathed and feeling more confident and powerful. My new job has been exciting and challenging, and whenever I feel like I’m having trouble understanding something or doing my work, I look over at my little Dany and am reminded that no one can ever bring me down.

The vindictive part of me has dreamed of driving past the old office while the CEO is on a smoke break, giving him the finger, and shouting, “YOU DIDN’T WIN,” but instead I have this little figure on my desk to remind me that he isn’t even worth it.

“He was no dragon. Fire cannot kill a dragon.”

On the New Year….

I’m really awful at making New Year’s resolutions. Usually they turn out to be some half-assed commitments that I don’t care about that much, or I just resolve to lose weight or something else clichĂ©. I didn’t even try this year, and I don’t think that’s a bad thing. After looking back on 2014, I was able to achieve some big goals and I think for 2015 I would be better off focusing on making small, everyday improvements in my life that would make me a better person overall. Before I get into that, I’d like to go over the best things that happened to me in 2014:

I left a job when I got too comfortable

Leaving my job in New York was hard. I had over two years of experience in the position, everyone was familiar with my work ethic and the type of results I could produce, and really, the marketing department in which I worked had become a second family. However, I knew that staying there any longer wouldn’t result in a raise or promotion and it was time to move on to something new that help me move up. I’m pretty proud of myself for recognizing that it was time to leave rather than stay in my comfort zone. I took a pretty huge leap of faith and it leads me to my next thing…

I moved to the Capital Region

This one was a long time coming. I accepted a job in the area and was finally (after over four years of doing the long-distance thing) able to move in with my dude. I couldn’t be happier about this. We now live in a great apartment that’s affordable and feels more like a home than just a place we’re renting. After eight months we still haven’t figured out how to get our cats to love each other, but I haven’t given up on that yet.

I lost my job

I know this probably doesn’t seem like an amazing thing to happen, and when it happened I was shocked. I’ve always been a star student and a valued employee and when I was let go it didn’t seem real. I wasn’t upset about losing the job I had – truth be told, I was overqualified for it and it made my brain feel like mush by the end of the week – but I had wanted to leave on my own and I was incredibly pissed that I wasn’t able to. That being said, having all the time in the world to do networking in the area and go to interviews was so helpful. After three weeks of being unemployed, I found a job in a new industry that would allow me to use my writing skills (and maybe a little social media as well!), that pays more and is closer to my house. Losing my job was really a blessing in disguise. Plus, as a family member pointed out to me, I now have some perspective on jobs. I thought my job in the city was too demanding for what it paid, but I was ignoring the positive things about it, like being able to help people everyday, having the feeling of constantly being busy and contributing to the department, and being surrounded by helpful people who cared about me. My first job here will forever teach me that things can always be worse.

There are many other great things that happened in 2014 – my new nephew was born, my sister-in-love and my best friend got engaged – but these were the biggest teaching moments for me.

As for 2015, I’d like to focus on helping others more. Two-thousand fourteen was the year to focus on myself and get to a place both physically and mentally where I could be the best version of me. I’m pretty sure that I came pretty close to accomplishing that. This year I want to make sure I can help others do the same. I don’t have a specific thing in mind to help me do so, but I think if I constantly keep that goal in the back of my mind, I’ll be able to recognize the opportunities.

I hope everyone else had a great 2014 and has big plans in store for 2015! Maybe I’ll make a point to update my blog more as well with this new year 🙂

On Making Some Changes…

Well looky here. The blog has moved! I’ve been a loyal Blogger user since 2009, and decided it was time to move the blog considering a lot has changed in my life since the last time it was updated.

For example, I moved to the Capital Region of New York and got a new job and now live with my dude and our two cats.

It’s hard to believe that just five months ago I thought I would never get out of New York and never push my career further.

It started in April when I came up here for a wedding and happened to schedule an interview the following Monday. A week later I was offered the job. A week after that I was in LA, working at my last ASCAP EXPO. And a week after that I moved everything I had to the capital of New York.

It was a whirlwind to say the least. But I’ve never been happier. Gone are the days of soul-crushing anxiety, not knowing what to do next or how to make my goals a reality. No more saying good bye on Sundays and feeling like the worst cat owner ever for leaving the little guy alone for a weekend. Good riddance to taking the train to work and having strangers invade my personal space on a regular basis. And to running through Central Park and weaving in and out of clueless pedestrians and dangerous cyclists.

My life involves a lot more smiling and laughing and nights of good sleep. It involves seeing my family and friends more often despite the physical distance between us. Oh, and I have money again!

It’s strange to think of how I so wanted to live in New York City throughout high school and college. And then I actually did it…and two and a half years later I was ready to run from it and never look back. But I suppose your wants and needs change as you get older. Back then I wanted to live a life that made others jealous. A life that said, “Look at what I’m doing. I bet you could make a movie out of this.” And now, I want a life that feels comfortable and stable with more room for adventure. I can honestly say that I have that too. I don’t need a glamorous city or apartment or job to be happy. I just need to be around people that I love and be able to take care of myself without struggle, and still be able to go after what I want. Some might see it as settling, but I don’t.

I think our hopes in high school and college – pre-real-world, if you will – are like a slab of marble. They’re huge, they’re not defined, and they seem impossible to deal with or achieve. You go out into the real world with this slab and it’s difficult as hell to get around with it, so you start whittling it down and really forming it into something that fits for you. I think I’m at the point now where I’m ready to show this sculpture off.

My life may not seem perfect or ideal to others, but it suits me just fine. I really would not have it any other way. Let’s see where these new changes take this blog…

On Killing the Job…

During the summers before my sophomore and junior years of college, I had the best job ever. I worked for my high school’s tech department, working on computers, uploading software and prepping new laptops for teachers. Sounds boring, right? No. There was a lot of waiting involved, so I played DJ with Pandora radio stations, colored pictures and did crossword puzzles. And I was paid for this.

But it didn’t start out this easy. The first few days I was there I finished every single assignment given to me – in record time – and then had nothing to do. Or I would be given a terrible job that no one wanted to do. So one of the guys I worked with told me I was doing great, but I was killing the job. And if I kept this up they wouldn’t have anything for me to do all summer.

I’ve been killing jobs since I became an overachiever in pre-school and could read before anyone else in my class. It’s just kind of what I do. It probably has something to do with the fact that my mind is always on the future and the tasks in front of me are just obstacles preventing me from getting there. Or maybe it’s because the jobs I kill are things I don’t want to do and want out of the way ASAP.

For example, I killed two of my runs last week. Granted, they were fueled by frustration and stress, but I managed to run four and five miles well under a 9 minute pace. What?

I really just wanted those runs to be over so that I could go home and veg and not think about anything. But in killing those runs, my legs were dead for the rest of the week, and then I could barely finish out my required training miles. Lame.

Binge watching has also allowed me to kill many a job. Like when I finished House of Cards in less than a week. Then followed that up by finishing Orange is the New Black in less than a week. And then I had nothing to watch (everyone keeps telling me to try Breaking Bad again, but we’ll see).

[via thatscarolyn.tumblr.com]

And then I killed the job when I finished the last quarter of Bioshock Infinite in one night, and then cried because I was overwhelmed with the ending, the game being over and suddenly having free nights to socialize.

[image via forbes.com]

Guys, I was born to kill a job. Pretty much the only jobs I can’t kill involve writing, because if I did that they would turn out terribly.

The result are weekends like this past one where I do pretty much nothing. Where I want to do something (preferably that doesn’t involve money) but I can’t think of what I want to do.

So now it’s time to start a new project. I’ve got about seven books waiting to be read. I’ve started learning HTML. I’m still training for a half marathon (and some weeks are better than others). I’ve been given other games to play. Oh yeah, and I have a vacation to sort of plan 🙂

Which job am I gonna kill first?

On Train Rides and Social Media…

I’m being a terrible person right now.

I’m on a train back to New York City with one perfectly empty seat next to mine, and I’ve filled it with my bags and coat and scarf. And as people come walking down the aisle looking for a seat, I don’t stop looking at my computer. Oh, and my headphones are in, listening to Grouplove’s “Itchin’ on a Photograph,” pretending to be a really important person whose stuff is worthy of its own seat. How bad do you want that seat next to mine? Enough to speak to me? Enough to tap my shoulder as Christian Zucconi screams into my ears? I dare you. Be warned, the icy stare you receive at interrupting my jam sesh may turn you to stone.

C’mon people, I live in New York City! My personal space is invaded on a daily basis without so much as an “excuse me.” PLEASE let me have these two and a half hours to sprawl in a space that doesn’t cost me over $1000 a month in rent.

The funny part of all this? Most people won’t bother to interrupt me. Ooooh that girl has headphones in…so I would like, have to talk to her? Do you know her number so I could text her? Send her an email? Anything aside from uttering a few words?

Why are we all so scared of interacting? I’ll admit in a work setting I’ll send an email to someone before giving them a call, but that’s because I assume they’re hard at work and would hate to be interrupted by a phone call. But if I see a space on a subway train that could be occupied by me, I say things like, “Excuse me, can I please go through here?”

The best example of this that I saw was at the gym last week. I go to a women-only gym, not by choice, but because that’s where I got a free membership. I’m not intimidated to work out around guys. Yeah, the screaming and grunting while they get their swell on is obnoxious, but it’s also hilarious. And I love showing them that you CAN lift a heavy weight without turning into the Hulk. I’m also waiting for the day that they realize if you have to scream to lift it, then you’re not ready for it. Ya heard?

Anyway, all the lockers were filled by the time I got to the gym – there was a large class in session, it happens – so I got changed while waiting and watched for people coming back to take their stuff out. I was the only one who ventured to ask people if they were done with their lockers, and guess who got a locker before everyone else meandering around with bitch faces on? Yup, me. The others were ready to battle to the death the minute a locker became available (I know this because one girl just about pounced on the one I was about to take AFTER I ASKED THE WOMAN IF SHE WAS DONE and exchanged in some friendly banter), rather than asking one question. Are we really that impersonal now?

Even as an introvert, I find this weird. I’m able to hold off on texting someone until I’m done walking, but others have their faces buried SO deep in their phones that I’m pretty sure they’re attached. Plus, have you tried to have a full conversation via text? It’s the worst thing ever. Pick up the freaking phone and use it for its primary function.

This also has limits. Are you on a train with hundred of other people that are likely uninterested in your discussion? Then it’s probably not a great time to have it. Are both of your hands free and available while walking around a department store but you’ve decided to use speakerphone? I hope you love furrowed brows in your direction, and I really hope you’re not getting personal health information from your doctor right now. Sound far-fetched? Nope, I’ve lived this. We’re so impersonal when we need to have a one-on-one face-to-face conversation, but give us a few hundred miles space or the biggest public forum of all time – the Internet – and we’ll spill it ALL!

Let’s look at Facebook, shall we? Remember away messages? Those things you used to tell people why you weren’t currently there speaking with them via IM? Probably ok to give a run down of your day in case someone needs to ask you an important question and that’s the only way they can get in touch with you. But no one needs to see that on Facebook. Knowing that you’ve got to do laundry, homework, catch up on Breaking Bad, make dinner, then head to bed for an early day tomorrow does nothing for me or you. It’s not even witty. Please, if you’re going to tell me something unbelievably boring, throw in some wit! Facebook status also shouldn’t be used as pity parties. Don’t give me crap like, “Why can’t something go right just for once?” or – the worst – “Sigh…” I promise I will not say “ZOMG WHAT’S WRONG?!?!” But I will think you’re a huge tool.

Are you having a bad day? Don’t try to make me feel bad for you, and at the same time, don’t tell me something incredibly personal that you wouldn’t say in front of a group of people.

No one seems to remember that social networks are public and that unless you’ve spent a good amount of time twerkin’ your privacy settings, we’re all going to see everything. You know a good way to keep yourself in check? Become Facebook friends with your parents, aunts and uncles. Would you say that in front of them? No? You wouldn’t tell them that you got soooooo high last night and woke up in an unfamiliar place? You wouldn’t say f*** the police ima do what I want? Then don’t say it on Facebook!

Update: just made it through round two of new passengers. I’m a little too good at this…and for the record, if they asked if someone was sitting here, I would tell them no and move my stuff.

I know I preach to the choir when it comes to my rants on social interaction. Most people I’m close with believe these same things, and perhaps that’s why we’re so close, because we actually pick up the phone to say “Happy birthday” or we ask them to hang out if we need to work out a personal problem. Not that there’s anything wrong with a wall post here and there. I do enjoy those especially if it involves some somewhat-inside joke that others can get a good laugh from.

I just wish people would take a step outside themselves and realize how ridiculous they’re being. I have to do it from time to time. If I get stuck in a really horrible funk, I take a step back and think about the amazing people in my life, my fantastic job, the fact that I live in a city people are dying to even visit, and that puts it all in perspective for me. I also THINK about what I post on social networks before I actually hit that “Post” button…

Don’t worry, I just took a step back now and laughed at my raving self. Life is so much harder if you take yourself too seriously.

Also, I made it through this entire train ride without having to move my stuff. Bri: 1, World: 0.