If You're Reading This, I'm Still Here
This week was tough. Mentally, emotionally and physically. There were moments where I flung up my arms because I just didn't care any more. There were moments where inside I wanted to cry but I kept it together and kept it moving. There were moments where I had to drag my limbs to take that next step and to keep it going. This week was tough. But I made it. I'm here. If you're reading this, I'm still here. Hopefully still kicking butt and taking names, but if not, you can bet your bottom dollar that I'm giving it my all and I'll eventually get there.
Let me rewind. The last time I wrote, it had been just over a week since I returned from my trip to Greece and met some of my biggest supporters and followers, my friend Jamie's sixth grade classes. That was nearly a month ago. Over the course of that month, I had started writing blog posts and updates in my head but they never quite made the transition from my mind to browser and keyboard. (And there are still a few more posts about my trip to Greece that I want to write about. Specifically around ego, where the funds I raised went, and what to consider as you consider making a similar trip yourself.) Like I say every time that I go a little while without writing, so much has happened since then. I'll summarize it for you in a few sentences: I "moved" to Northern California (there are quotes because all of my stuff is still in Portland and I'll probably go back and forth). F-unemployment is over and fun-employment has begun. I'm in a 6 week training program to become a flight attendant with Virgin America. (For the record, flight attendants do more than just smile and serve you drinks and food--way, way, WAY more than that. Be nicer to them.) It's been exhausting and intense and busy, but I've been loving every minute.
I just wrapped up week 3 of training, which was the most intense week ever. It was all about emergencies. Emergency equipment. Emergency procedures. Emergency evacuations. While, hopefully, none of us will ever have to use the skills that we learned this week, as a crew, our guests' safety is our responsibility so we needed to know this stuff inside and out. The week consisted of two oral tests, jumping off a slide (yes, the slide that deploys in an emergency, so we would know what it's like), a written test and another oral test that involved a lot of yelling and pointing and operation of equipment at the same time. If it sounds intense (and I know I've used that word way too many times already in this post), it's because it is. Incredibly intense. You're memorizing and learning what different pieces of equipment are, how they're used, where they're stored, when you use them, why you use them. It's a lot to learn in a short period of time but you're not learning it for a test. You're learning it in case life decides to test you on it, but in that case, it's not a passing grade that's at risk, it's someone's life. This was part of the reason why this week was so mentally tough.
But that's not the only reason. You know they tell you on airplanes that your life vest is under your seat in case of a water evacuation? And that the crew will give out infant life vests? Last week we learned about those. Part of the learning part was learning, practicing and demonstrating how to put an infant life vest on a baby. In theory it sounds simple enough, and I'm sure it is for the average person. But I just came back from a volunteer trip to Greece where I was trying to help with the refugee crisis. A crisis where hundreds of people have died while crossing the Aegean Sea. Where people have drowned. Drowned because their boat capsized.Or because the smugglers who were helping with their passage sending them off into the sea only gave them a limited supply of gas, so they never made it across. Or they didn't have adequate life jackets. Or worse, they had fake life jackets. And there I was, learning how to put a life vest on a doll just in case I ever have to do it in real life. It reminded me of the tragic truths that I witnessed. It was definitely a moment where I had to summon strength from somewhere inside to keep it moving. Add in the updates coming from that part of the world--I woke up one morning to find out that Pakistanis are no longer being registered, the next day there were reports of chaos that was erupting in Calais (camp in Northern France), and then the regular day-to-day changes in policies, and you can't help but feel your heart breaking. That's emotionally exhausting.
Physically, it's been rough. I haven't had a consistent schedule in...well, since I started funemployment! When you haven't had a schedule for a while, it can be tough getting adjusted to one. Now I'm waking up at 5:45am to drive through traffic and get to work on time (well, early because if you're on time you're late, if you're early, you're on time--thank you Drumline for the life lesson), in training for 8 hours, driving through traffic to get home, then studying, eating, showering and going to bed at a decent hour to rest up for the next day. To be honest, I'm loving the structure. I needed it. I've been craving it. So far, I've never hit the snooze button once that first alarm goes off. (I even have a second and third alarm just in case, but they're starting to serve more as checkpoints than alarms to wake me up.) A friend asked me how I do it. The answer is simple: purpose. I have a purpose every day, and this is a purpose that I wanted, that I worked hard for, that I earned. This is where I want to be. Purpose is what gets me up in the morning. And then it's throwback jams that keep that energy going.
I also haven't worn 'real clothes' for almost two years. Sure, I've worn real clothes from time to time but my typical daily uniform had become yoga pants or leggings with ribbed tank tops or an oversized shirt. Partially because of comfort, partially because of ease, and partially because none of my jeans fit me. Travel has left me with memories and extra pounds that weren't there before. Now, I'm wearing business casual every day, I have makeup on and my hair is pulled back. While the past 22 months have brought out a different level of confidence in me teamed with the change of attitude that's come with my solo galavanting, my body is not what it used to be. Don't get me wrong, I'm not beating myself up about it, but I'm also not okay with it. So I'm working on it. From making healthier eating choices, to getting myself in the gym (still working my way up to more intense workouts, but getting there is the first step), to sleeping regularly, my physical fitness is a priority that I'm determined to keep in a top spot, especially when I actually start flying and throw an irregular schedule into the mix as well.
So that's where I'm at. I'm being mentally, emotionally and physically tested but I'm welcoming the challenge with open arms. Bring it.