Hopes & Dreams of a “normal, narcisstic” Millennial

I am sure most of us growing up as a Millennial have experienced the coming and going of desires, goals, and expectations from others and ourselves. As a mid-twenties female Millennial, I recognize these ideas about my generation are foreboding and full of uncertainty by other generations. Many individuals I speak to believe that Millennials think we have everything figured out.

As for myself- I am still trying to find my own way through life, as I am sure everyone else is. I have always been told by professors, classmates, and friends that I am a natural writer (not to brag). But in 2017, there is so much conversation about EVERYTHING, which makes it difficult for a writer like myself to be able to put ideas into something that is concrete and available to my peers and the world. The word “author” does not seem realistic anymore due to the title only belonging to the prominent J.K. Rowling and Stephenie Meyer. As a reader, this sadens me, but I must come to the realization of the world we live in.

So you are reading my new platform: a blog, I know, so Millennial of me. I might crash and burn but if 12 year old children can market themselves using the internet and social media, there is no reason why I cannot.

“Normal, narcissitic” are in quotes because my favorite college professor of all time always would say that most people are just “normal narcissits”. As much as a valued the alliteration, I grew to believe this to be true. As I grow more into the woman I want to be, I want to share my thoughts, opinions, ideas, agreements and disagreements with the world, as I think that I am a voice of an individual that should be heard.

I promise to discuss issues that matter honestly, provocatively, and without judgement.

 

-V

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My first therapist session- as an adult

Photo by Jeremy Perkins on Unsplash

People that know me, know that if you are going to bring up therapy or counseling, I go on a rampage. The kind of rampage that makes people uncomfortable because they can hear and feel the passion coming out of me.

Well, I took some of my own medicine. I went to see a therapist. When calling to get a referral, I had to explain why I wanted to see a therapist to some stranger’s voice on the other side of the phone. Upon my silence, she started to list off things that could be “wrong” with me: depression, relational issues, substance abuse, grief, phase of life. During this list, I was thinking to myself, “dealt with that, dealt with that, dealt with that- sorta”. But because when I was calling, I was not sure what was wrong and I couldn’t just word vomit on the stranger (she wasn’t licensed). So I put a  blanket label on my issues, phase of life.

But when are we, as humans, not in some sort of phase of life? And no phase is pure joy 100% of the time, right? And as soon as I had labeled my pain and confusion that was within me, I felt some sort of guilt. For me, this was strange because I am OBSESSED with mental health and preach to everyone I know that mental health is possibly the most important human part, however, I felt guilt. I felt guilt for having some sort of “thing” inside me that was informing me that everything wasn’t okay.  I was able to label this guilt as irrational and set it aside, I know for others, it is not that easy.

So I went after having the number to call in my phone for 3 weeks. ANXIETY overwhelmed me the day before I had my scheduled appointment, and to be honest, I am still not sure why. However, after my 45 minute session (for us mental health professionals know, you never get a full hour), and after I had word vomited all over my poor in- training therapist, I felt normal.

Freeing? I think so.

Choosing education

Why does “I’m thinking about going back to school” give my mother a bolt of fear?

I promised myself I would take a year off. I have always worked full-time while taking full time classes and that shit still took me five years. Well, it has been a year and some months and I can already feel the pressure. What am I doing? Where am I going? These questions constantly swirling in my head. I have an adult job that pays fairly well for being just out of college. This job has amazing hours. Why do I need more? Why can’t I be happy with my stable life?

So say I decide to go get my MSW, does my life get put on hold? It feels like it. My mother acts as if I have put an end to her future Grandmother status. Can’t I achieve my academic goals while still nursing the possibility of a near-ish future family?

People have told me that pregnancy is hard, newborns are hard, balancing a fulltime job and school is hard. But isn’t all of life hard? What part is easy? If you have found it, please let me and others know.

This unspoken pressure from my mother, my boyfriend, my friends, from social construct has given me many doubts. Does my decision have to be one or the other?
I am not sure.

Self pampering

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Photo by Alexandra Gorn on Unsplash

Think about the word “pamper” and all the connotations that it carries. For some it could be a selfish word, or a word for newborns, or for some a word missing from their lives. Ironically, I was thinking about my self-care when I came upon today’s daily prompt, and basically the lack thereof. 

It is simple to go through every single day: buy your Starbucks, go to your morning meeting, eat lunch with coworkers, eat dinner in front of the television, be in bed by 9pm ready to do the same thing the next day. You may not even think that there is anything wrong with this routine until you realize that something is missing.

As a Millennial that is interested, almost obsessed, with mental health, I am over-aware of the term “self-care”. It was beaten into my mind by every Professor. So at a young age, I started self-care which at the time included giving myself permission to spend money on my nails or clothing I didn’t need. As I grew and became an adult, new self-care tasks emerged, but always with a weird pressure. My self-care started to stress me out, I became obsessed completing my self-care. I didn’t even realize that this had happened to me. I was doing my “self-care” so I was doing great!

Then someone told me that self-care is more about the intention not the activity. This was a revelation. This truth made self-care less stressful because ANYTHING could be seen as self pamper if your intention was that. Taking a shower? Be intentional about your thoughts or soaps you use during your shower. Bam, self-care. Driving to work? Be intentional about what music you have on and reflect on your current attitude. Bam, self-care. I could go on and on.

This truly helped me in my life and to this day I try to be intentional about my self pampering. Of course, you must weave self pampering into your life, and it can become a tricky balance. It is like happiness, you must choose it every day; it is intentional.

And just like happiness, you are going to have days that are the opposite, and that is okay. Self-care is also letting yourself have bad days, but it is self-care that creates resilience to bounce back from any bad day.

Today, I choose to be intentional.

via Daily Prompt: Pamper

First time home buyer

Photo by The Enlight Project on Unsplash

6 months ago I signed the closing paperwork to buy my first home.

Now that I am settled, I can truly enjoy this blessing. However, the process was a nightmare. The first hurdle I had to jump was to find a lender that did think I was joking. I am sure that lenders get younger people looking to “want to buy a home” but then never really are serious, which is why it was so difficult for me. But, I WAS serious. I had two lenders (both from huge corporations) give me the run around and kept me waiting for weeks. With strangers, I am passive aggressive, so you can imagine how I dealt with the run around, until eventually I told them off and fired them.

It was amazing to me that this lender had based their customer service off of my voice and the forms I had filled out. It wasn’t like I had gone into their office and the lender could see that I look like I’m 19. How do I know that they had treated me differently? Well, the lender continuously made condescending comments like, “Are you sure you have filled in your income correctly?”,  or “Will your parents be helping you with this purchase?” One, I am not an idiot, I do understand how to fill out a form. And two, just because I am young does not mean that my parents are involved with my financial stability.

After moving on from that asshole, I decided to look for lenders that my friends knew. I was introduced to Nova Home Loans. My best friend had recommended them because she had gone to highschool with the main lender there. I called her and found that she was DOUBLE the amount of help to me than the previous individual. Long story short, I was able to buy my first home.

Yes, without assistance from my parents. Yes, without using the Federal grants. And yes, I can still live comfortably. I might sound defensive (which I might be), but the process was exhausting and then to be met with suspicion and/or disbelief, was very frustrating. Even now, 6 months later, people who have authority over me, like in my job or family or purely because of age, will boast about this great triumph that I have accomplished. Don’t get me wrong, it was a damn triumph, and I am extremely proud of myself. But, I don’t need someone to boast about me as if they were some part of it. 

Now that I have gotten that off my chest, I am very happy to give some items that I had to figure out the hard way in my first home buying experience, so that other Millennials might  be able to navigate the system better than I was able to.

NOTE: Denver is having a MAJOR housing crisis, so if you are in Denver, nothing I say will help you.
1. Find a lender that is more worried about you, not the money. Seems obvious, but with my “small” $130,000 loan, my lender could not have made much money, but she still did everything she could to help me out.

2. Try to hire a real estate agent that understands the lending process. My real estate agent was a lender for many years, so she could foresee the hoops I would have to jump through.

3. Don’t be afraid to ask questions. My entire first house buying experience from start to finish took about 6 months to complete. When I started to put in offers, I asked questions daily. Luckily for me, my agent and lender were open to my over thought questions.

4. Student loan debt SUCKS. For all loans, they look at debt to income ratios, but student loan debt is included in that (no one tells you that when you are going to college for the first time). For most loans, they count 10% of your loan as a monthly payment. If you are like me and are on a repayment plan, some lenders are able to use some mystical hole to use that actual payment. So ask about that.

5. Be ready for random loop holes that you might need to jump through. 4 days before my closing date, I was informed that I had to prove my amount of money in my bank account. At that point, I was so fixated on moving that the reasons behind this never took hold in my memory, so I can’t tell you why.

6. Down payment assistance might not be the best way to go about it. It seems cool because it’s “free money”, but there are hidden rules around it and in the end could make your interest rate much higher.
It was worth all the tears, anxiety, and happiness in the end.

Remembering 9/11

Photo by Gerrie van der Walt on Unsplash

Where were you when 9/11 happened?

I remember being asked this question all throughout by teen years and into my college career. I did not like this question because for me September 11, 2001 was a traumatic event, as it was also for millions of others. I was only eight years old and my little brother was five. He does not remember much of the day, and what I can recall must be a mixture of memories.

As I am sure we can all recall images or emotions or even our location, it is important to look back, now 16 years, and learn from our mistakes, especially for the Millennial generation that will eventually be the leaders in the US Government.

But I would like to talk about how 9/11 has shaped my perspective of the world and extend an olive branch that might have similar emotions.

As a child, you believe that the world is safe. At eight years old, I believed this and even after 9/11 occured, I still believed this. September 11th is still a difficult day for me, but mainly because the images that are scattered on social media of the distruction it brought (which is why I chose an image of a memorial). I don’t believe it is healthy to be seeing traumatic, horrific images while browsing social media. There is a time and place for these images, but it is not during our normal routine. I am happy to say that I did not see much of those images today while my browsing.

The word “terrorist” also was given a meaning for me after 9/11. I understand that the US has been fighting terrorist for long before this. See article 10 things you may have forgotten about 9/11 from Colorado’s local 9 News channel. But the word did not mean anything to me before, and it started to mean a certain type of person. Unconscious of this at a young age, it started to mean that terrorist meant anyone that named themselves or “looked” Muslim. Not only until I was a senior at Metropolitian State University of Denver looking at mental health of oppressed populations, did I understand that 9/11 did create an unsureness in me of the Muslim population. I started to look into what American Muslims had experienced during and after 9/11, and I had a mental breakdown. I went home to my mother and wept, not only for the many lives lost but for the pain and suffering American Muslims and others had to endure afterward. It was and still is heart breaking. You can read more here.

This was a sad epiphany: I had fit a whole entire population into one word, and I did not even know it. It gave me a new sense of empathy towards others. I like to this that this moment in my life created a seed in me that would eventually bloom to become a passion for helping underserved popuations. 

As a country, I do not think that we do an acceptable job at looking at the word “terrorist” and explaining it. I think people attach groups to the word and then unconsciously push that onto others that might look/sound/appear like their perspective. I try hard to be aware of my unconcsious and how events shape it.

How did 9/11 shape your view of the world? How can we become better individuals in light of a horrifing event?

Note: I do not believe any type of terrorism is acceptable. But I do believe before terrorists take on that name, they were human beings with a story, just like everyone else. 

A week in Chicago

I have never been east of Colorado, only west. I do have roots in Chicago, grandfather’s family, none of which I know. I have always heard the tourist opinions of Chicago, the deep dish pizza, Chicago dogs, Wrigley Field, the bean (Cloud Gate). So as someone that has never been before, these are the things I am looking out for. 

While shopping around, we asked the locals working at shops where we should go, where should we eat. Some of the recommendations: Blue Door Kitchen, Cindys, Milk Room, Fire Cakes, Gino’ East. With a limited ammount of money, we went to Milk Room and  Gino’s East. Milk Room had a real Colorado speakeasy feel. You had to put down a $50 deposit, which you think okay I will just get the money I don’t spend back after our meal- nope. We were the only people there, as it can only sit eight individuals, and the drinks were incredibily expensive. Granted, it’s Chicago, but those few drinks we had were amazing. If you are a person that enjoys an expensive cocktail, next time in Chicago, try it out. The bartender was conversational and we even scored a “free” carrot cake before we left. (I say “free” because we still spent $164 on our five drinks-note that the first two were also “on the house”) 

On to the food- man was I disappointed. I was expecting to be swept away each time I ate, but unfortunately, I was left with a bloated stomach and a crushed dream. Gino’s East, known for their deep dish, had a great aura in the builing, with graffiti EVERYWHERE. But the pizza was not as expected. Perhaps I just did not eat at the right places. 

Another thing about Chicago, the driving is a bit insane. Here in Colorado, if someone honks, it is usually a small noise in attempts to get attention at a light etc. But in Chicago, there was a constant noise of car horns. And now sweet little “excuse me, the light turned green ten seconds ago,” it was more of a “WTF, TURN YOU MOTHERFUCKER, THE LIGHT JUST TURNED GREEN!” As a Coloradoan, it was very distracting.

If you are from Chicago or have been there and had a different experience, please let me know.