Why I can’t get enough of the Disney Kool-Aid

Being born in California, it was only natural that there was some Disney mixed into my mind, body and soul. And what luck that I also happened to be born on the same day as Walt himself! (It’s still a “fun fact” I like to throw out there every so often.)

Now, as I’m in my second half of my 20s, the admiration and loyalty I felt as a child to my favorite Disney characters is back with even more passion. It’s shocked some of my co-workers, and even my family to see me giddy over the thought of going to Disney.

So, why does a grown woman have such a love for ‘the happiest place on earth’ when she should be concentrating on adulting? 

If you are a reader of Disney travel blogs then you’ll know that the best time to visit a Disney park is as a childless adult. You get to be a kid again without the temper tantrums (hopefully), plus Disney does adults right…drinking around the world at EPCOT, anyone?

While there really is magic for everyone at Disney who is open to it, I think the reason for my Disney fever is due to my desire to remain child-like in a world full of chaos.

Kids are quite aware of the world around them. More than we give them credit for. Life to a child is full of possibilities, wonders, newness, surprises, adventures…why do we lose that mentality as adults? Because we feel that we have to sacrifice that mentality to survive? But tell me, wouldn’t it better to live than to survive? Are children living while the adults are just surviving?

This post isn’t about me trying to convince you to take a Disney vacation with your savings. This post isn’t about me trying to force the magic on you. This post is about showing the surviving adults to find the place in the world that makes you feel alive! And not just once every few years. A place that can inspire you on a daily basis. A place that can make you feel like a kid again. And for me, that’s Disney. Because how can you not smile when you’ve got Mickey & the gang on your side?

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How can I care about personal goals?

It’s the Friday of Labor Day weekend, and I am writing an overdue blog post.

Overdue because my goal is to write at least one post a week, but lately, my timing has been awful.

For some reason I am unable to keep my own personal goals to the same standards as my professional ones. From a strategic standpoint I know this post isn’t going to get many “hits.” The timing is almost a horrible as if I was publishing this on Christmas. But you know what, if I don’t write this now then it’ll be another week with no blog post.

I’m a control freak. Therefore, I hate flying. I love telling my boyfriend when he’s wrong. I love knowing about a news story before my mom or dad. I love, love, LOVE control. Maybe that’s why when it comes to my own personal goals and aspirations, I dilly and I dally. Instead of taking the bull by the horns and writing every day like I should be, I just THINK about writing every day. I keep the ideas inside my head and hope that they’ll still be there when I FEEL like writing them out.

I’m a planner. I’ve always had multiple planners for my various areas of life – personal, professional, and educational. Two out of the three are covered in check marks & crossed off lists, plus a neon rainbow of Post-Its. The other has cute little plans, but no actions. The other looks pristine next to the well worn & (sometimes aggressively) handled two.

Am I just now realizing that I’m a fraud? I go through the motions, make the plans, but the follow through is no where to be found…and why? Because it’s easier to say, “well I tried and the timing wasn’t right” versus ACTUALLY challenging myself and trying with my whole heart and soul and still failing, or even perhaps not be good enough?

Or, have I just not found something that’s good enough for me? Do I hold myself to such high standards that I will only pursue an avenue that I believe 100% in, so much so that it eats me alive?

This isn’t a question I can yet answer today, because it’s a long weekend and I gotta go do a whole lot of nothing versus a whole lot of something.

 

Sometimes you’ve got to give in to win

 

I must confess the truth.

Leaving Chicago has been the best decision I’ve ever made in my life.

I tried. I really did try to make it work. I gave myself completely to the demands of the city. I worked overnights, double shifts, all for minimum wage. Tried to mold myself to fit in to the different social groups – the comic, the newsmaker, the socialite, the designer, the athlete. I couldn’t find my niche, my people. I was never good enough to be first rank, always second at best.

I have never felt lower about myself and my worth than when I lived in Chicago. I worked for some pretty talentless, rude, and idiotic people. It still amazes me how some of the people I answered to were in their positions of power.

I told myself the struggle was normal, that it would pass. But you know what? That’s bullshit. Young professionals should NOT be killing themselves over their jobs. It is not fair, nor okay, for their bosses to say that their over-the-top sacrifices are necessary for the good of the company or the good of the team. Never should a person feel so low as I have felt and be okay with that. It is NOT okay. It is NOT okay to work for a company, a boss, or a department that allows you to feel empty, alone, exhausted, frustrated, un-appreciated, under paid, and damaging your personal life.

Young professionals are NOT brats, selfish, or lazy for standing up for what is right & deserved: good mental health, a challenging yet balanced work environment, and respect from their peers & bosses.

I left Chicago because it was a do or die situation. I made excuses for my misery. Luckily for me, I was challenged by someone I love to either do or die. I chose do. And while it’s been challenging on my pocket book, I wouldn’t have it any other way. I am finally standing up for what I deserve. I am finally doing what I’m passionate about, even if it means cutting my livelihood in half. It’s amazing how much more you enjoy life when you aren’t dreading about doing something uninspired for 8+ hours of your day.

If anyone ever needs to talk to someone about hating their job, hating their path, being depressed, lost, confused, alone, frustrated. I’m your girl. Even though I’m free from my big city demons, I’m still challenged each day to continue discovering who I am and what path I’m on. So, I’m not completely put together & all knowing. But, I can empathize. I can listen. I can try to help others feel that they do have options, albeit different than what they may be comfortable with at first, but worthwhile in the longterm.

And hey, maybe one day I’ll lay out all my grievances about particular individuals & employers, because wouldn’t that be juicy & funny? But for now, I’m going to keep giving in to my wants and desires and ya know, just keep on winning.

Post inspiration brought to you by the song “Sunshine” by Atmosphere:

Allowing myself to wallow

Each week I experience, at least once, what many call “the blues.”

Yes, I live in the “greatest country on earth.” Yes, I experience white privilege on a daily basis. No, I’m not carrying around tens of thousands of student loan debt. I am healthy. I am loved. I am free.

But, that doesn’t mean I don’t feel sadness. Disappointment. Frustration. There’s always more, isn’t there?

Depression, alcoholism, and bipolar disorder have been diagnosed on both sides of my family tree. Knowing this causes me to be more aware of how I express and deal with my feelings. Some days, the stigma of mental illness creeps in and I worry that “something is wrong with me,” and that I am “feeling too much.” I used to get frustrated with myself for feeling this way, I felt that I was in the wrong. But, that only made me more unstable. I would bottle the disappointments, frustrations and sadness away, until they popped open, usually unexpectedly, and made a mess everywhere.

“Just keep swimming” is motivational for me 85% of the time. It pumps me up! Keep me going! Gives me that drive to take on the day! I could look on the bright side of things. I could keep getting knocked down and get up again, cuz’ you’re never going to keep me down. Most of the time.

It is important to allow that one day to wallow a week. Why? Because it helps me to maintain a healthy, and mostly happy, relationship with myself and with others around me. 

No, I don’t hold in all of my sadness, disappointments, or frustrations until this ONE day. The day of wallow is when those emotions overcome the happy, the joyful, the excitement of the day. I acknowledge them. I acknowledge that I want more out of life. I acknowledge that there is more to life. I throw a last minute pity party for myself. I blame others for my shortcomings. I cry that I don’t have a better “plan.” I question my path, my passions. I wonder if I’ll ever be good enough. Simply said: I feel all the feels.

So, why am I sharing this? Because, I want readers to know that it is okay to wallow. It is okay to be sad, disappointed, frustrated. It is okay to feel. Find a healthy way, that works for you, to express yourself. Don’t let anyone else tell you how to cope with what’s happening inside. You gotta do you.

So, if you need a Wallow Wednesday each week, take it! But then, when it’s over, wake up and make it a Tremendous Thursday!

National Suicide Prevention Lifeline – 1‑800‑273‑TALK (8255) or Live Online Chat

If you or someone you know is suicidal or in emotional distress, contact the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline. Trained crisis workers are available to talk 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

Why I succeed at failing

I have been letting myself down a lot this past year. I’ve been making excuses for why I’m treading water. I’ve been blaming the universe for giving me difficult circumstances, that prevent me from moving forward. I then decide that the solution to get away from all this negative juju invading my headspace is to well, move. Queue positive vibes & blissful living!

Nope. Maybe it was blissful living for the first two weeks, but then the frustration with life came roaring back.

You see, ever since I graduated from college almost 4 years ago, I haven’t felt fulfilled. Or, if I did feel fulfilled it was fleeting. My dreams were cut down by reality, so I adapted. But for me, adapting isn’t good enough. I tried the whole full-time job thing. Fine at first, and then life hit me again and again with dilemmas.

Caitlin, your family needs you.

But Caitlin, you have rent to pay.

Caitlin, live each day like it’s yours and their last.

Caitlin, how are you going to excel in your career, adulthood if you keep going off to follow your heart? 

I am a rational person. I would like to think I’m smart, even. Maybe even overly cautious sometimes when it comes to taking a risk. A square.

But when it comes to a career, I fly by the seat of my pants. My heart bleeds down my sleeve as I continue to search for that soulmate,  that fulfillment. I can’t force to do the easy thing and “just find a full time job until you figure it out.” That seems so wrong for me. Soul-sucking. Uninspired.

So, in the eyes of many, I continue to succeed at failing. Failing to conform to what generations before me did because “they had to,” but really did they? Failing to be comfortable with a steady income at a job that is just a job. Failing to do something “useful” and “productive” with my $50K+ college education, therefore disappointing my parents. Failing to be normal.

I always had said growing up that I would HATE working in an office if it wasn’t work I loved doing. “I’ll never take a job just for the money.” Well, I’ve done that in the past…slightly unavoidable Younger and Unknowing Caitlin.

But now, I’ve decided to embrace my failures. Things didn’t work out for a reason, because if they had would I really be my best self? My happiest? My most fulfilled? Maybe my failures are leading me up to a road of successes that just so happen to occur later in life, because I’ll handle it better then and not become a drug addict or fame whore.

I want to keep failing. If I keep failing then I’ll keep growing. If I keep growing then I’ll become a more evolved individual. If I become a more evolved individual then I will be fulfilled.

Simple enough, right?

Good for You, Not for Me

For some reason, we as humans, feel like we need to have an opinion on any topic that we hear.

I’ve realized recently that I really hate getting advice from people.

To the point where I regret telling them anything that’s happening in my life. For some reason, we as humans, feel like we need to have an opinion on any topic that we hear. It’s very rare that I have encountered a person that has asked me “what’s new with you?” and I tell them. And they nod their head, and smile. No two cents. No trying to talk me in or out of anything. They just take in the words.

I don’t mind having debates. I don’t mind having “what if” scenarios thrown at me. But honestly, when I tell you about my choices, don’t try to change them. If I want help, I will ask for it. 

I used to be that person. I used to always tell my friends what I thought they should do, even when they hadn’t asked for it. Why? Because, again, like a majority of people, I thought that because I liked how I was living my life, and my decisions, that I could tell someone else to do the same and they would be happy. But that ISN’T the case. I went 20+ years reacting to peoples’ stories, life updates, gossip that way…until I crossed a boundary with a good friend in college.

“Caitlin, I’m not asking for your opinion, I’m not asking for you to tell me what to do, I’m telling you because I just want you to listen. If I want your help on making a decision, a choice, I’ll ASK.” 

I get it now. I understand her frustration. I no longer try to tell others how to be, well, me. I listen. But damn it, why can’t anyone else!? So, I challenge you reader, to see what kind of person you are with your friends, your co-workers, your family: are you a listener, or are you a pusher?

Ask yourself: is the advice that you’re giving, what would be best for you or, the person asking for it?

The best takeaway I got from Amy Poehler’s autobiography, is now how I deal with super-helpful friends: “good for her, not for me.”

Why Moving to California Is Everyone’s Business

Why sharing life news is the worst idea you could possibly have, ever.

So, I recently announced via Facebook, of course, that my boyfriend and I will be moving to West to Northern California. As a lot of people know, I was born there. My family relocated to the Chicago area for my dad’s job, but we always made an effort to go back to California at least twice a year. As a lot of my friends know, I’ve always wanted to go back.

And yet, what a “surprise” it was when our announcement was made. Some frequently asked questions have included:

  • What’s wrong with Chicago? You don’t like it here? Is this a rhetorical question or should I pull out my reporter’s notebook full of explanations + stats?
  • Are you moving because you got a new job? No, I’m moving because my CURRENT job allows me to live wherever the fuck I want. So, why wouldn’t I move to the place I’ve wanted to go back to the last 20 years?
  • Isn’t it incredibly expensive to live there? How will you survive just freelancing? First of all, I’ve survived living in Chicago working 75+ hour weeks at TWO jobs paying me minimum wage. Second of all, it’s like every other place in the world: there are some areas that are crazy mucho doll-hairs, while there are more affordable areas. Third of all, read this article and make your own judgments on what freelancing means for the “typical” work industry.
  • Where are you going to get your water? I’m moving to Northern California w/ trees & greenery vs. Southern California w/ desert & hot hot sun. Of course, the North is beating the South in the war of precipitation.
  • They have medical marijuana there…can you get me weed?! No. Clearly, you haven’t visited a dispensary in Colorado or other pot friendly state…or county jail.
  • Are you and your boyfriend going to get married since you’re moving across the country!? No. N-O! What in the hell does moving have to do with marriage? THERE IS NO DIRECT CONNECTION. We’ve already been living together for 2 years, have had a beloved pet die, family member die, & shared ONE BATHROOM IN A STUDIO APARTMENT. Moving across the country will not turn on the marriage lightbulb in our heads. It’s still burnt out.

I may update this list as more ridiculous questions occur. But hopefully this post prevents any further stupidity from happening. Thanks, Friends!

What Does It Take To Be Considered a “Bite Me” Chronicle?

You’ve stumbled upon the “Bite Me” Chronicles, for whatever reason.

Now you’re trying to determine what the hell it means.

Well, its simplest intention is to be a blog. It’s more adventurous intention is to be a blog that recounts the many stupid and rude human beings and their ridiculous actions, in a manner that brings a smile to you, the reader’s, face.

Comprendez? 

Sometimes it’ll work, sometimes not.

Mais, c’est la vie.

You can up your chances of reader satisfaction by having experience in the following:

1.) Working in the service industry

2.) Being a millennial, or wish you were one (come on, you know you wanna be)

3.) Being a female, who has experienced “Aunt Flo” at least once. Bonus points for multiple occasions.

4.) Gotten road rage not only while driving a vehicle, but also walking on a sidewalk. Popularly known as “walker’s wrath.” (Don’t steal that, I just made it up. Gonna ™ that bitch!)

5.) Been a kid, then became an adult and realized it sucks.

But, let’s get real. This is going to be a lot of shit talking about some shitty humans and you’re going to eat it up!

Bon appetit! 

 

The “Bite Me” Chronicles Return

For the past two months I have been helping my mom clear out my grandpa’s house and now our own home, my childhood home, as she readies herself for her new adventures out West.

I’ve found pretty hysterical pieces of artwork, toys from all stages of various obsession, and dozens upon dozens of journals.

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After spending hours reading dozens upon dozens of Jelly-ink filled pages dated as far back as 1996, I realized how far I’ve fallen from my writing roots.

Granted, I’ve learned how to spell better since my last school-assigned journal, but other than that I’ve failed miserably at expressing myself post-elementary school years. Writing became an assignment, a chore. It wasn’t something I did for me, it was something I did because I had to.

“When I grow up, I want to write.”
“I want to go to UNC, and learn how to become an author from Sarah Dessen.”
“When I graduate from college, I want to visit Tokyo and teach English there.”

Nothing is more stunning than realizing you’ve forgotten all of your childhood and teenage dreams – the dreams that made you happiest, and true – and are worse off for it.   

I would like to think that my downfall started with the start of puberty. Once I left elementary school, my priorities shifted. Creativity was put on the back burner for tests, gossip, and make-up. I became resentful of writing for “fun” as I was told what to write about and how to write about it for the next 12 years of academia. So, I stopped.

My artistic expression, my self-improvement goals, my “hitting-it-big-as-a-published-author” sized dreams, stopped.

I stopped. My best “me” stopped.

Six-year-old Caitlin could give a fuck what people thought of her stories, of her horrendous spelling and awkward grammar. She felt all of her feelings, and poured them out onto the page. She documented current events. She described struggles and tragedies. She took the time to re-live her day through her words and pictures, because it was important to her. It made her, be.

Once adulthood hits, we all want to become a kid again. It’s easier, right? More fun, carefree. But, is part of the reason why we want to become a kid again because we realize how brilliant and wise we were? How nonjudgmental we were of ourselves and each other? How we could balance being selfless, yet also be selfish for the sake of what made us the most happy? Being a kid, you do you 24/7.

Screw it. I’m going back to being six.

I can’t please everyone. I can’t be afraid of not getting hired at some job because my blog is too this or that. I gotta do me. I gotta make six-year-old Caitlin proud. I gotta lot to release onto these pages.

So, bite me! I’m going to use my First Amendment rights! If Donald Trump can, well, shit, anyone can!

P.S…

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Content with No Control

One day, something clicked. I felt a weight leave my shoulders, my soul. And now, I can honestly say that I am fully content with having absolutely no control in this crazy chaos of life.

This year has been a fast one.

I don’t remember what I did in January.

I don’t remember what I did in May.

I don’t remember what I did August 31st.

But, I do remember moments. I remember trying times. I remember wanting to give up. I remember wanting to quit. I remember wanting to walk out. I remember wanting to shut myself away from the world.

It’s the end of September now. There’s less than 100 days until Christmas. And soon, 2016 will be here.

But for me, my “new year” has already begun before the drop of that oversized disco ball in Times Square.

One day, something clicked. I felt a weight leave my shoulders, my soul. And now, I can honestly say that I am fully content with having absolutely no control in this crazy chaos of life.

I realized that I have spent too many days this year trying to control other people, blaming outside forces for my unhappiness, distracted from the reality that I choose my outlook on life, how I’m going to view each day.

Finally realizing that released so much anger, so much frustration that I was letting cloud my true self. I am no longer beating myself up for “not using my college degrees.” I am no longer feeling trapped to provide for 3 other lives in addition to my own. I’m taking control, not giving others the control. I am making the best of how my life has turned out.

I declared September to be a month of gratitude. October will be a month of giving my undivided self to the people and relationships that matter most.

November and December are probably the most hectic times of year for people, even more so if you work in retail (like me), but I am determined to make those months ones filled with positive intent, quiet moments, and full of laughter and smiles.

A quote I have always told myself in stressful times, is to “let go and let God.” And I think I am finally doing just that… it just be a little bit more of “let go and let Grandpa.”

One small positive though in the morning, can change the entire outcome of your day!
One small positive though in the morning, can change the entire outcome of your day!