26 October 2010

Inspiration: it's weird and cool

I find inspiration in the most unexpected places so I shouldn't be surprised that yesterday and today I was told by two different people that I had inspired them.

I've worked in the health foods store for just shy of three months. A lot of food gets damaged so it's either left in the back for employees or given as free samples to customers. The food is perfectly edible, think dented soup cans and fruit that is ripe or bruised, so it drives me nuts that a lot of this ends up in the garbage; not too terribly much, but an average of two boxes of food a week. I talked to the Outreach Coordinator about it a few times and yesterday Tim said, "You inspired me. I've already been in contact with organizations who are going to come and pick up food; a church who feeds homeless people is coming later today to get three bins of peppers and some other stuff."


Six weeks ago I received an email from a guy I grew up with, also named Tim, who recently moved to China to teach English and American culture. He wrote me a short message about sight-seeing, getting to know his surroundings and that he had been assigning English (American) names to his students. I was taken aback by the idea of renaming kids he didn't even know and it took me weeks to wrap my mind around this thought. After talking to a variety of people I realized my feeling was a cultural thing that his students likely did not share.

A couple of nights ago I finally responded to his email and explained that this caused such a delay, and for whatever reason, I followed that statement up with, "Can you show them a picture or two of me and ask them to assign me a name? I did a self-portrait project and I literally have hundreds from which to choose. Let me know what you think!" I attached five pictures, asked a few questions and then sent the email.

Weirdo. Seriously, what is wrong with me? What kind of person does that? A boundaryless weirdo, that's who.

Tonight Tim responded to say that I had inspired him. "Now...I have developed a whole lesson on giving you a Chinese name. I'll show them the pictures, break them up into groups, and have them give you a Chinese name then give a small presentation on why. I have a small camcorder. I'll film the presentations and send them to you."

Seriously, how effing cool is that!? I am so stoked to get the videos - I can't wait!

And hooray for no more wasted food!

Jeannette, Hunnert Car Pileup
One of the photos these kids will have when they decide on a name for me.

Listening to: Unsane - Against the Grain

02 October 2010

The Lowest Wage Legally Possible

I love blogging; not only writing my own, but also reading the writing's of others. It's allowed me some great opportunities and introduced me to some amazing people. However, lately I've neglected my blogging community. I'm spending a lot of time strengthening the footing in my every day life. I'm finally working, again, after a second unemployed stint in a tough economy. I'm actually working a job that I thoroughly enjoy, but I also know this isn't a future for me.

When I entered the corporate world of Banker's Hours and incredible benefits back in 1998, I never envisioned myself retracting toward a minimum wage position with zero benefits. The money was good. The benefits were incredible. But being in an office is not for me. 8-5 Monday through Friday is not for me. A sanitized environment with both limiting and limitless possibilities is not for me. I'm always struggling with what I should be when I grow up, and whatever it is, spending the majority of my time sitting at a desk is not for me. I entered Corporate America to escape minimum wage, but now I would rather make the lowest wage legally possible and do something meaningful and full of human interaction. I would rather struggle financially than be trapped in an office behind a desk.

I had a great conversation with my manager on Friday where he reminded me that identifying what I don't want is easy. Finding what I want will be more challenging, but if I don't figure it out I'll never realize my full potential. And I have to be more specific than "help people, be creative, make enough to make ends meet and have money left over to build savings and travel." That's a nice flowery statement, but too general.

A day or two before that I had a conversation with a friend who explained that I have to do, not think, and not think about doing; I have to identify and eliminate obstacles, move forward and accomplish what my mind imagines. But the only thing I imagine is making enough money to pay my bills, save, and save for travel. This thought is stifling my creativity and I need to be more imaginative than I am currently being. At the same time, it's my only thought. I have to stop thinking about money, focus on identifying my goals, and find my direction.

Imagining myself moving the obstacles I've created in my own mind.

Listening to: Modest Mouse - Doin' the Cockroach


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