In My Skin For a Day


(This is what it feels like to be me for a day.) *written to this song, in my DQ outfit.

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While Working Night Shift at Dairy Queen.

Sticky. Covered in sprays and sprays of ice cream up and down the arms and all over the apron. Streaks of chocolate on forearms, red dye staining across fingers like my nails bled. Sweaty in the black uniform, hoping the deodorant holds out. Bruised in the oddest places; upper hip, mid calf. Sneakers catching on the floor, co-worker playfully poking me in the side, me ignoring how badly I want to sit down. Hands cold. Head hot. The strain in my muscles carrying heavy loads from the back to the front, then swelling with pride when coworkers cheer and call me a beast. Sometimes straight up sleepy, and sometimes frustrated by rude or difficult people–sometimes wanting to snap at someone but always biting my tongue at the last minute.

Usually, I’m happy, surrounded by coworkers who seem to all appreciate me so much. Inside jokes that warm me, the laughing fits where I’m almost in tears, the banter, the smirks traded between us all as cars roll by the drive-thru window forever. That smile or supportive word from someone which  gives me that next shot of energy to keep going. Ears overwhelmed by machines whirling and voices echoing and car engines rumbling. Keep standing. Keep smiling. Trying not to make it harder for anyone else by becoming frustrated. Trying to diffuse tension in the atmosphere when the night becomes overwhelming. 20 minutes feeling like 60. The heart thumping when I have to learn something new. Listening to everyone complain to me about each other. Trying so hard to empathize with them all. Wanting to hug them all because they’re all trying so hard in their own ways.

How amazing it is to hear: “We gucci, homie?!” “I want you on all my shifts!” “I missed you, Jamie.” “My shifts with you are so much better!” “Who else would I work with if you weren’t here.” “You’re an amazing person, Jamie.” Like wow. 

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Fingertips counting dollar bills, fumbling with coins, slamming the window too hard. Hearing my customer service voice that somehow flows like honey, even when things are at its most chaotic. The surge of relief in my chest when backup arrives and I can breathe again. Throat so dry from being stuck in the drive-thru for two hours: “what size?” “need a lid on that?” “anything else?” “That’ll be four-forty four.”; a couple gulps of water in the back before the next wave hits. The happiness of the next paycheck in my pocket.

Being drop-dead tired after seven-day work weeks or the days with surprise double shifts because the homie is sick and can’t come in; crying outside by myself from being so tired between those shifts. The boyfriend’s phone call comforting me as I crouch on an empty ice cream crate before returning for another six hours. The cold air of the freezer doors. The crunch of paper bags in my arms. The happiness when co-workers become more like friends you’re paid to hang out with. And the soaring happiness when a select few become more like family than friends. Knowing you have each other’s backs in and out of work. ❤ That’s honestly the best. ❤

When I’m At Home.

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Tired. Yet wired after usual night shifts, left sitting up till early hours of the morning trying to unwind enough to sleep. The computer’s glow tiring my eyes. The happiness of finding a goodnight message from my boyfriend every single night while kicking off my shoes. Music pounding in my eardrums. Scrubbing ice cream off my arms and face. Trudging around the yard looking for scorpions, toeing the dirt, the scent of poison. Getting lost in the music for an hour and a half while pacing back and forth under the moon–time feels frozen. Processing emotions of the day, imagining novel scenes, breathing sweet fresh air, self-therapy.

Soft bed covers. The glow of Netflix across the room keeping monsters away.  The shock of it being 2 AM. Snuggling something soft in my arms and getting hit by how much I miss him. Mostly drifting off to happy fantasies of snuggles and warm hugs, on rarer times feeling my heart shatter when I almost remember the scent of his hair. Feeling the tears fall, feeling those 2000 miles between us, devastated to be so far away. Flipping the pillow over to the dry side right before sleep hits me like a truck.

For sure no one knows how much you want this when your spouse passes away:

Waking up mid-morning groggy and grumpy. The happiness of his good morning waiting for me, making me smile and roll over, the first thing I see every morning. A keyboard at my fingertips. Tip tap. Tip tap. Tip tap. Music in my ears. Smiling at the funny things he and I message each other throughout the day. Sadly watching the clock slowly countdown my return to work for another evening. Searching my part of the fridge for food. Getting to Skype for a couple of hours. The joy in my chest when I see his smile, the sweetness from hearing his voice in my ear again. Laughing and laughing, talking and talking. Knowing love and how it pains and how it means more than anything. Sometimes sadly lying on my bed being quiet together, because we’re just so tired. The relief when he prays with me to have a good shift. Happiness. Feeling loved.

Then leaving for work again, ready to do it all over again. Soon to be sticky again.

Image by Elisabeth.Niyaha

~Jamie

 

Currently: On My Day-Off


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Currently listening: a lot of new pop songs, just for the taste of them! 

Currently sitting: in the loveseat in the living room, laptop on my lap. 😄

Currently liking: my one day off for the week tonight. I got some shopping done, cashed in a lottery ticket, skyped with my boyfriend to play Path of Exile, and grilled burgers for dinner.A nice day!

Currently drinking: Powerade is my latest drink of choice, strawberry lemonade or citrus passionfruit.

Currently reading: I’m in the middle of several stories rn, and it’s hard to find time to get to them. But, I’m about 87 chapters into I Am A Hero, a zombie manga, and about two pages into the first Game of Thrones book. I’m also reading Bone Gap.

Currently writing: alternate endings to one of my old novels. I don’t know why, it just keeps happening. 😄

Currently watching: at this exact moment, The Great British Baking Show. Other things I’m currently watching include final episodes of the current season’s anime shows. And I literally just finished watching Breaking Bad.

Currently obsessed with: “Something Just Like This” by The Chainsmokers & Coldplay. I’ve not heard much by either of these groups, but I do adore this song!!

Currently tired: from my last six full days of work. I’ve been resting today on my one day off today; but I’m tired quite a lot lately. Besides that, my body clock is off since I work mostly night shifts; I’m not out of bed till about ten in the morning, but I don’t head to bed till about two or three in the morning too.

Currently excited: that I get to work with my favorite people tomorrow night! Eileen has basically adopted me as her second daughter and I love working with her. And even on busy hectic nights like Saturday, when I work with Trent and Matt, I know I’ll be laughing and talking about the silliest funnest things!

Currently failing: at getting my bedroom floor picked up. I keep saying I will…but it still hasn’t happened yet. >__>

Currently scaring myself with: the thought of using most of my money I’ve saved and sinking it into a car…and then having the new expenses of insurance, ect. I need to get a vehicle soon though.

Currently stuck in my head: well, see that song up there? It’s really stuck. 😄

Currently wishing: that I get a better work schedule next week, with all my friends and homies. 😄 I love my work family so much!

Currently praying: for family and friends alike, for varying reasons too private to share. But, you know. ❤

~Jamie

6 Fun Interactive Books for Adults


I’ve slowly picked these different books up over the past year and I’ve had so much fun with them that I wanted to write about them! Have you tried any of these out? What are some of your favorite interactive books?

  • Music Listography. This is easily the one I’ve written in most, and my favorite of the Listography books (I’ll be featuring three in this post.) I found it barely used at a thrift shop and it tickled my music-addicted soul pink. There are so many lists to fill out; I’ve loved documenting my favorite songs by decade (90s list is the longest!) I’m taking my time with it, enjoying the questions and pondering which 20 albums WOULD I take to space with me? 😛

  • Me, You, Us. This was designed to do with either a significant other OR with different friends and pals, with a place at the top for the names and date of who you’re talking about. I bought this as something fun to do with my boyfriend as a silly conversation starter and something to bond over or make us think about “us” and it’s terribly fun! I need to have a pack of crayons with me for the next round, because one could easily add on pictures and drawings on each page. I love it!

  • Spirit Listography. I bought this with an amazon gift card; I haven’t looked at it closely, but it’s a mix of intrapersonal reflecting and proactive “make the world a better place” type mix of prompts to list.I’d much prefer more intrapersonal questions to reflect on, but it seems a decent mix. Plus the cover is gorgeously beautiful. I’m happy with it! And in usual Listography fashion, it has the most quaint little illustrations with each list that I enjoy rediscovering as I flip the page.

  • Wreck This Journal. My sister in another state Rebecca bought me this during my first visit to Georgia when we went bookstore prowling together. It was the first time I’d seen it in person and I couldn’t leave it behind. This is as interactive as you can get with a book. It wants you to throw it, tear it, do everything it says on each page and its stupid therapeutic amazing fun! This would be the best thing to take with you on a camping trip even where you can throw it as hard as you like without it sailing into the neighbor’s yard. 😄

  • My Future Listography. I’m pretty sure I found this with the music book. Basically, you fill in the different lists about what you hope to do, visit, see, or read, ect. I filled in bits and pieces of it, and have already looked back through and been to checkmark some as done! I like seeing how my wishes or wants change as time goes by too; a perfect little time capsule to remind you what the past you wanted to do, or to see how far you’ve come!

  • The Amazing Story Generator. I love this book; it creates some of the most creative and silly and challenging story prompts ever! I bought it off Amazon with birthday money it’s really fun to keep around for a laugh or challenge! If you’re a by-the-seat-of-your-pants fiction writer, I’d highly recommend for kicking writer’s block in the butt or for a fun random challenge! See picture below for an example of how this book works!

Do you have any favorite interactive books?

~Jamie

My Want-Not-Need Shopping List


juliana rabelo | illustration: ilustrasunday:

  • New cute stationary and cards.
  • Strawberry Lemonade Powerade.
  • Gel pens.
  • A pretty food journal.
  • A Darker Shade of Magic Trilogy.
  • Too many tapestries to count.
  • Pretty yarn skein combinations for a new blanket project.
  • Hot fudge, for ice cream nights.
  • Dream catchers.
  • Rescue books, from thrift stores.
  • Michiko to Hatchin DVD set.
  • Foaming soap.
  • A bigger writing desk.
  • Yearly zoo or aquarium pass.

You know there’s always a difference between the shopping lists of things we NEED versus the things we WANT. That’s my current WANT list, it was satisfying to write. What’s on your want-not-need list?

~Jamie

Highlights from My 2016


I did a lot of growing up this year. I experienced different reality checks, forced to grow, to change habits. However, I accomplished a lot in 2016 personally, when I look back because of them. I’ve been in a stand still for a long time (when trauma happens, “fight or flight” is not the only survival instinct. There is also “freeze”. That’s where I’ve been after the last few emotionally traumatic years.) But I’m unfreezing, and I can see that with each passing year; especially in 2016.

I moved forward. These are some of those highlights. ❤

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Self Public Transportation For A Semester.

I wasn’t driving when I took a math course at my community college; so I used the bus and my bike for transportation. It was a first big step I took to leave the house alone and get myself somewhere like that! It wasn’t a huge commute (would generally take a good half hour if the bus wasn’t late and I pedaled steadily) but it still meant a lot to me. I was not used to biking or the bus, so in that first week, it felt like the most difficult trip in the world. But each week it got easier. I got physically stronger from biking and mentally empowered. My MP3 player was a life saver. I even lost some weight riding that bike. The worst thing that happened? I almost got flipping RUN OVER at a big intersection (legit; in the cross walk, I got knocked to my knees in the street and the car was bearing down on top of me) and that was slightly traumatic. I won’t forget some of the most peculiar people I met waiting for my bus after class (a talkative ex-con, a friendly teenager with a Batman shirt, a drunk woman who was so proud of her daughter, a bus driver who told me I had beautiful eyes.) People told me their life stories in moments at that bus stop. It was a crazy experience for me but I’m happy I persevered through it. And with an A in math too.

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Flew the Country Twice Alone

At the end of that semester, I flew to Georgia to meet James for the first time! And just wow, flying is just an incredible experience! It was empowering to get myself through those airports on my own some, especially after all my biking practice. I flew the first time in May, the second time in December, and both were overall very smooth! I remember everyone I sat next to on each plane well, at least for both flights to GA, as they were so sweet and kind. I’ll never forget the butterflies in the pit of my stomach when I first saw all the green trees around the landing strip from the plane window and realized “I’m here. He’s here.” But now the sight of Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport runway is one of my favorite sights! Outside of a few common silly fears, I actually really enjoy flying and I look forward to all the future flights ahead of me.

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I Got Myself a Job

I began paying rent this year to stay home, but my savings were very limited at the start, so a job I needed. A job I got, one that worked best for me due to location. Boy, it has been a mad adventure since getting that job: racing in when others didn’t show, learning curves one after the other, adjusting to a boss’s needs, staying out of coworker drama while still being the ear everyone wants to talk to about it, haha. But now I have my very own source of income and I’m saving up for my car. I have grown a lot as a person by learning to persevere throughout the unforeseen trials of that job. I have learned so much about life in general there. I have also built some incredible friendships with several coworkers there, and I go on late night adventures with a couple of them even! I also enjoy my repeat costumers who get so excited when they see me. I’m thankful for the consistent pay and am happy to work with so many nice people.

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I Learned to Drive

I’ve been very scared of driving for a long time. Partly because I didn’t have a longing for it like many kids. But I was also seriously terrified of the being in control of such a powerful vehicle while being among thousands of other drivers more stupid and incompetent than myself. I live in Phoenix, it’s a big city with lots of crappy drivers ok? But I studied the rules hard and took a lot of time to really practice throughout late summer and fall. Now I can say I’m fairly comfortable with driving! I’ve driven to a lot of different places in my state for practice and all of those trips were great fun! I’m a more cautious driver, but I do enjoy flying at high speeds on the freeway. The only thing I still struggle with is parking, but I’m getting better. 😄 It was a big deal for me to learn how to drive, but I’m glad that I’ve learned!

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I Successfully Began Long-Distance Dating My Best Friend

This took the most time, the most energy, most of the year to do, but it is one of the most rewarding things I’ve ever done! I couldn’t be more grateful for where we are now compared to a year ago. I remember seeing him for the first time, running to hug him and not wanting to let go the entire trip. I’m glad I choose to take my time before committing to “boyfriend/girlfriend” titles until later in the year; we were just “us” and we are still “us” even now because of it! I’m happy that I decided to be honest about myself with him, about what I felt and needed. It was amazing that at the end of the year, we could announce we were happily dating long distance, fully secure in each other and our feelings. He is my first real love, my first date, my first kiss, and I hope my first for many, many, many more things! He enriches and blesses my life so abundantly; I’m so happy that God has brought us into the security we have now, in His plan, our friendship and love for each other. ❤

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2016:

was the year I painted big parts of the house and reorganized the attic by myself. The year I really dug temporary tattoos. The year I started a music blog. The year I started Breaking Bad but didn’t get around to finishing it. The year I flew 2000 miles for my first date. The year I learned new crochet patterns (and crocheted my biggest blanket ever.) The year I got to eat Captain D’s again. The year I biked through the park at night to breathe music better. The year my kitty disappeared and never came home. 😦 The year I stopped walking the dogs. The year I choose to have my first kiss. ❤ The year I worked double-shifts. The year I bought 5 anime posters at comic-con. The year I found Home far away, then had to leave him behind twice drenched in my tears. The year Chris Pratt tweeted emojis at me for loving “Passengers”. The year I finally found Father Goose at the thrift store. The year I lost 25 pounds. The year I watched 73 anime shows beginning to end. The year I started buying dream catchers.  The year I said, “I love you”.

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2016 was a good year for me, despite all the election drama and the different trials I did experience. I learned I could overcome obstacles if I tried, that I was loved for exactly who I was, and that God was bigger than my fears. It was a good year. ❤

~Jamie