April 13, 2011

What's Your Favorite Scary Movie?

Remember that line? It's from my favorite scary movie. Yup, Scream. Scream 1 to be specific. The not so scary movie is my favorite scary movie because it's the last scary movie I watched.

1997 was a fun and memorable summer, it was the summer between Junior High and High School. Most of that summer I spent it at my best friend's house listening to CD's and watching movies. One day we decided to watch Scream. I was a little apprehensive to watch it but we sat down on opposite sides of the couch and let the show begin. By the end we were almost sitting on top of each other.

Then...her phone rang.

Right as the credits were rolling and the eerie music played, her freaking phone rings?? "Answer it!" said Doreen. "You answer it", I said,  "It's your house!" She picked up the phone and said hello. It was my mother calling to let us know she was picking me up...we were able to breath again. The movie really is not that scary, it's actually more of a thriller/suspense type of movie and even a little funny. Plus you are left trying to figure out who the killer is, I like a good mystery. Also, I say it's educational. I now know that in order to survive in a slasher movie setting I need to follow these 3 rules:
  1. You can never have sex, Sex = Death!
  2. You can't drink or do drugs; they are sins like number #1, duh!
  3. Never, ever, say "I'll be right back."
 Maybe that's why I call it my favorite scary movie, because it really isn't a scary movie. I hate scary movies. I despise horror films. I always say I'm a chicken and I've admitted freely with no shame. I hate the feeling they give me, movies are to entertain me not scare me or leave me feeling disturbed!

But it's deeper than that; it's not just a genre dislike. My dislike/hate/despise comes from a sad place. Back to when I was 6 years old. Being the child of immigrants that had no real friends and family living nearby, I was left with a baby sitter while my parents worked all day. I guess they felt somewhat comfortable that they were leaving me with a friend of a friend that was a mother of 5 and had experience in baby-sitting. I don't really have many memories of that time, or even of that lady. Mostly because I was so young and because I completely believe that I have blocked most of them out. I have three very distinct memories of those days. One involves the movie Freddy Krueger. This lady had 5 kids (from a 7 year-old to a teenager.) They loved scary movies. They asked if I wanted to watch it and taunted that I was too big of a baby to watch it...I of course said I was not a baby and could handle a scary movie. I had never seen one before. My parents didn't watch that stuff. But it was just a movie so how bad could it be?

Well, it was bad. Very bad, I was scared and didn't want to see it anymore. Only the other kids didn't let me go. They forced me to watch it. Literally, they held me down on the couch and covered my mouth so I wouldn't scream. I cried the entire time while they made fun on me. The torment did not end there. The threaten to all beat me up if I told on them. So the terror continued. After Freddy came Jason. Then more tears and nightmares. They finally got bored and stopped forcing me to watch those movies. I never told my parents. To this day, they don't know. It would just make them feel bad. Good thing my Mom got pregnant and became a stay at home mom :)

Buzz kill, huh? Sorry to drag you down. But that's why I don't like scary movies. So my friends, the next time a scary movie rolls around, don't ask me to go. I won't. Maybe I should grow up and face my fears? It's not about that! I know Freddy's not coming for me. It's not about confronting my bullies, or even forgiving them. Watching a scary movie is not going to make me feel any better. It's just going to make me feel crappy, leave me unsettled and feeling something dark in my heart. Those memories don't hurt me anymore, I'm fine now but the trauma they inflicted definitely made me not like scary movies. It's my choice to watch what I want to watch and I choose to NOT watch scary movies. I choose to laugh, to cry, to think, to learn, to dream, to feel like a kid sometimes and specially to see books I've read come to life.

What prompted this sad little story? Seeing the commercials for Scream 4.  I can't help but laugh a little. Seriously...SCREAM 4! Poor Sydney Prescott. How much more can a girl take?

I have decided that this is one "scary" movie I can handle watching, at least for old times' sake with my BFF.  Although I'll still be scared and will need her lap to sit on. Gotta go my phone is ringing. But don't worry I'll be right back.


April 5, 2011

Are you there God? It's Me, Unemployed

So... I debated about writing about this. Then I debated about posting this. I guess it won. This story is mine. What I went through and how I felt. It's not super tragic, I don't have hungry kids to feed or a mortgage to pay, but it is very personal. The most personal post I have ever written.

What exactly consists of a "great job"? Well, that answer is different for everyone, but for me, it means doing something that I know I can do well and still feel challenged. Preferably with some travel involved, the type of industry is not that important to me but it definitely has to be something that can be international, I would prefer a small firm to a large one but happy with either, health benefits, decent pay, room for growth and finally and most importantly something that will make me happy. Ultimately the goal is to find this great job and make it a career. OK, Marisol why don't you float on back down from the clouds and tell us, what do you want to do? .... crickets... crickets.... crickets. (Does anybody know a good exterminator, this is not the fist time crickets show up on my blog!)

That question has always been difficult for me to answer. Sometimes I wish I had been more direct in my education and chosen a career that had a more defined purpose like school teacher, lawyer, architect...so on. Instead I chose International Business and Finance. Those two things are a little broad. Broad can be good, you can do anything, right?? Sure but not when the economy is at a standstill, specially in the finance world. In reality I did not care exactly what it was I had to actually "do" you know as long as it's ethical and won't conflict with any moral standards I have. It's a lot to ask for I think but at the same time, it's like getting married. You don't want to settle. It's the rest of my life we are talking about.

Once I finished school in 2007 (finally!) I  floated out of graduation in a naive bubble where I believed that "great job" was just around the corner for me. Employers would be flocking to find me. Well, I quickly learned that it doesn't quite just happen like that. My first job came about 6 months late, it started as a temp and moved on to full-time and unfortunately 5 months later the economy pretty much collapsed and I was calling up an old boss for my old job (the one I left to finish school). Unfortunately, after two months at that place we were both looking for jobs again. Getting laid off is awful. Specially when you don't see it coming. After that I floated about for about 2.5 years. At first it wasn't so bad. Waking up super late, watching TV, watching TV online. Watching talk shows...Ellen is hilarious! I had the unemployment checks coming in. Those were not too shabby but I was only eligible for 6 moths of that. Still, I decided to take my time looking for that "great job". I was selective in where I applied. My thinking was why waste my time at a lame job when I can take my time looking for something better. Unfortunately most of those "better" places were now hiring people with lots more experience for an entry level job. The next 2.5  years brought me a myriad of emotions! I was disappointed and depressed a lot. I was hearing this over and over:
"Your resume was impressive but unfortunately you were not selected to continue with the hiring process. We will keep you in our files, should something come up......"(Then what the hell was so impressive?)

"Thank you for your interest in our company, unfortunately......."(We didn't take the time to even consider you?)

"We wanted to hire you but we have suddenly lost some money and will not be needing this position anymore."(this one came after 4, yes FOUR, interviews with them and while waiting one week for their decision!!!)

"Thank you for submitting you resume, you will hear from us in the following weeks if you were selected." (Multiply this by like 500 times and no responses)

"We are emailing to let you know that while your interview went well, a decision has been made and you have not been selected." (it's like a stab to the heart this one) 
"We like you but we went with someone with more experience." (Well could you tell me where I can find some experience then?)

But at least those people let me know something. For every 100 applications, emails and resumes I sent, I only got a response to maybe like 3 or 4. The follow-up emails, the waiting game and of course the final rejection. Even the placement agency couldn't find me a job. A permanent one that is. They found me lots of one day or one month type of jobs though. So while my search continued I took these other jobs because, well, the bills did have to get paid!
It makes you feel like you are no good. Not smart enough. It really bursts every single one of the hope bubbles that you create. I cried and felt useless, I didn't have the energy to wake up sometimes, what for? I was tired of being tired and not doing anything. I prayed, I questioned myself and my abilities. I even questioned God a little, was I being punished or something? I tend to get a bit dramatic when I'm feeling blue. After the 200th rewrite of my resume and after every single personalized cover letter I wrote, I was exhausted. I was starting to get desperate too so I began applying for jobs that I knew I was overqualified for. I don't want to sound like I'm full of myself, when I say I'm over qualified, I don't mean I think I'm too good for those jobs. No, what I mean is based on my work experience and education, working as a receptionist for min wage is not exactly the dream job I was talking about. But I thought what the heck, maybe they will see my potential and I can move up.
Ironically, those jobs had the same rejection written on them that I was getting from the jobs I was applying for before. In this scenario they were rejecting me because in their eyes I was too qualified for the position. It was a catch-22.  Being in desperate mode, however, I kept at it. Plus the resume gap of "Unemployed" was getting long. I even took an internship. THE INTERNSHIP FROM HELLl!! I figured doing an internship would be better than sitting at home getting rejected. This way I could feel productive while being rejected. Not that watching 4 season of Lost back to back, or the entire Charmed series is not productive.

I also took some savings and decided to go to Costa Rica. Best 10 days ever. I needed that vacation from not working. Doesn't make sense right? Vacationing while not working. But, being rejected can take a toll on your self-esteem. Good thing I can save money like you wouldn't believe! So I felt good with the decision to spend some f my savings a trip. I knew I could afford it. I know I might be sounding a bit like the chick that wrote Eat, Pray, Love here (in fact I think I read that book around this time) but even in the comforts of my parents home, I felt pathetic and not...grown up. Like my life was on hold while people my age were growing up, buying homes, getting married, having babies, getting promoted.... I was still a kid. So like a kid, I ran away. To Costa Rica. Only, once there I knew I wasn't running away. I was just taking care of my self. I was laughing and relaxing and having fun. I was grateful for the friends that accompanied me, for the family that cared for me. For the faith that I have in God and that maybe I'm just a late bloomer.

Thankfully, a few weeks after getting back I was finally able to get a job. A small tutoring company hired me as the Admin Assistant. It was an easy job and the environment was very laid back. Some of the people I worked with were great but I knew all along that this was not a long-term place for me. I knew there was no room for growth and so my search for that great job continued. Still the rejections kept coming in. For a little while I felt better because at least I had a job to fall back on, but it was still really only something that was getting me by and not the career I wanted, so the depressing rejection feelings began to creep up and take over. Those suckers are ruthless I tell ya!

I got that admin job in December of 2009. A few months in I decided maybe I should go back to school. Change careers! Technically not change, since I hadn't really gotten started yet, so more like start working on a new path to a new career! School Counselor. Not sure how I came up with that, but that was what I would become. I started by taking a class at a community college that following Spring to see if I liked it. I took an early childhood development class. I did like it and was excited that I would start something new. However, something inside me still felt off. I'm a planner, I need to know what I'm gonna be doing, where and what time. It's not like I can't just be spontaneous at times, I just like to have a plan. One night, while not sleeping (side effect of how I was feeling) I decided to take the summer and dedicate my efforts to really trying to land a job. A good one. I would kick my efforts into overdrive. I didn't know what I could possibly do more but I did all I could. If I still did not get something by the end of summer, I would go back to school. I said a small short prayer and felt at peace for the first time in a long time. I started to go on some interviews or "doctors appointments, dentist appointments, family events" as far as my current employee was concerned. I had to get the time off at my current job to be able to find a new one. It was starting to get a little ridiculous so I finally told one of my co-workers what I was doing. Only because I knew she would understand and back me up.

I came close a few times. But still, I wasn't hired. One day I got an email from a company I had interviewed with spring of 2009. They were the ones that gave me the "We like you but we went with someone with more experience" line. They were a small cosmetics company and the position was for an associate brand manager. They must have really liked me though and I must have left a really great impression on them because they asked me to come and interview with them again. I was very nervous and excited. Everyone around me was very positive and wishing me luck and sending prayers and good vibes in my direction. Everyone was telling me this was it! You got this! This is for you. If only I could be so certain. After 2.5 years I did not want to get my hopes up. One interview and 3 days later they called and said I had the job. I went into shock. Seriously, I went into shock. So much that I told the guy I would think about it! Yup, the girl that wanted a job so bad says she has to think about it! To be fair since I just sat there quietly after they said I got the job and gave them a blank stare, they said "would you like to think about it?" so I said, "Yes." I called like two hours later to accept their offer. Two weeks after that I started. 

This is a great job. It fits what I was looking for. Eight months in, I'm liking what I do and I hope they are liking how I do it. It challenges me and I work hard and love every minute of it. Great people, great office, great pay, great growth potential, great benefits. I think I'm pretty good at it so far too, seeing as how my boss nick named me Turbo. I will take only the good that can be associated with a nick name like that. It fits my criteria for a "great job" and I'm happy. Most of all I'm grateful. I guess God was looking out for me after all. I definitely learned to be patient and just trust that things sometimes take time and do work out when they are supposed to not when we want them to. I know this is not the case always and my situation was not that tear jerking as some others, but it's what I went through and writing about it felt like a great way to look back at how I handled it and to let go of  those sad times and learn for the future. Thanks for reading this incredibly loooong entry. Thanks for being my friend/family member. I would like to specially thank My Aunt Myra for giving me the most beautiful words of inspiration. Gracias Tia!

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