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. XD 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

How Knowing My Strengths Helped Me Find My Life’s Purpose and Career Path


Last fall semester I took a single college class called Career Exploration for Creative Minds and it completely changed my mindset about myself and my future. Beforehand, I wasn’t sure what career truly called my name or if I even had the potential to pursue one. I was coming out of a dark time in my life and I was feeling so many insecurities.

While I learned SO MUCH that semester, today I want to talk about how I learned my purpose for life; specifically through understanding my natural strengths and how knowing them raised my self-confidence and discovered what I wanted to do with my life

You still have time.:

My professor had the entire class take StrengthsQuest, a very comprehensive online test, which in the end, out of 34 official strengths, would tell you your top five strengths with paragraphs of information about how these natural abilities helped you see the world. I’m going to go over my five now and share about each one so you can follow my final career conclusion!


1 Empathy.
“People strong in the Empathy theme can sense the feelings of other people by imagining themselves in others’ lives or others’ situations.”

Dr. Brené Brown #empathy:

My biggest strength is empathy. The crazy thing is, while I knew I was a very empathetic person…I’d never considered it a strength before.

Empathy is different than sympathy: feeling sympathy is feeling sorry or pity. Feeling empathy is understanding someone else’s perspective, from their shoes, from their eyes. It means being open to hear someone else’s voice. It doesn’t mean I always agree with them or condone their actions, but I do understand. I can sense their unvoiced concerns; often I can help them put their feelings into words when they previously couldn’t find the right way to express themselves. Empathy is helping people feel valued because they feel heard and understood.

Being empathetic makes me want to help others understand themselves better. I want to help people feel like they can take on their life’s difficulties. I have a way of making utter strangers feel safe enough to talk about their lives to me. I’ve met multiple, talkative people on bus routes who I could just tell: they just need someone to smile at them and be interested in them without any judgment. They just want to be heard. So that’s what I did, and I was always left feeling better afterward.

I knew I was empathetic. But it hit me hard when it came out of as the FIRST result in my test. It is a strength. That blew my mind when I realized that. It means I understand when others might not. I can really help by listening and encouraging when others might lecture and not really hear what a person is trying to say. It strengthens me because it brings me joy to help others feel valued.

2 Adaptability.

“People strong in the Adaptability theme prefer to “go with the flow.” They tend to be “now” people who take things as they come and discover the future one day at a time.”

just go with the flow:

I’m a very in-the-moment person but I didn’t use to have a word for this. I knew my adaptability is how I survived my parents’ divorce, by quickly being able to adapt to the major life changes that happened. However, I also understood that this strength, living in the moment, means I find joy in so many small things that a lot of people miss because they’re so busy looking at the future. I just live naturally in the present. I can also communicate and adjust to other people easily because I can adapt to the needs in the room. Being adaptable means that I naturally understand that life is ever changing; I might not like change sometimes, but I can respond to it without falling to pieces, generally.

It was very comforting to learn this is an actual strength of mine. I’ve lived with “planners” and “futuristic” people forever, and despite their good intentions, I’ve often felt completely misunderstood by them for being myself; for living and reacting as life happens IN THE NOW. It’s who I am. Both sides have their positives of course, but learning this about myself has made me more confident in how I was made to be.

3 Maximizer.

“People strong in the Maximizer theme focus on strengths as a way to stimulate personal and group excellence. They seek to transform something strong into something superb.”

via @mijnhuisje_ on Instagram http://ift.tt/1Gvy6UO:

Ok, I didn’t understand this one right away. But when I did, I felt like I suddenly understood another side of myself that I didn’t even realize was there before. Ultimately, it means I’m very good at pinpointing the good in anything (people, projects, etc) and then drawing out that good to make it great. Once I understood what this was, I saw this pattern all over my life. It’s my third biggest strength. Ultimately, it is often how I view others too.

Being a Maximizer means I can accept other people just as they are and work with them in that place. I can find what’s special about them that’s different from anyone else. I like to help people feel inspired about those things that make them special. It often helps me find the good in projects too, or how to make decent situations become great situations with a little tweaking. It’s a unique strength, maximizing what’s already good. When I recognized this within myself, on top of Empathy and Adaptability, it really began to show me what I wanted to do with my life.

4 Ideation.

“People strong in the Ideation theme are fascinated by ideas.They are able to find connections between seemingly disparate phenomena.”

#quotes #intelligence #imagination The true sign of intelligence is not knowledge but imagination.:

Oh yes, I knew this about myself, but I’d always seen it as a flaw rather than strength. I love ideas; just sometimes I’m much better at coming up with them then I am with carrying them out. But I’m trying to learn to accept this about myself and that if I work with the right people, others can benefit from my ideas and help me execute them.

Being strong in Ideation means that I’m a creatively minded person who can solve problems, be original, bring fresh ideas to the table; all things which I didn’t realize can often be valued in certain work settings. It means I enjoy discussions with rich vocabularies or complex thoughts. It means I’m a little quirky, but in the right places, it is something sometimes desperately needed. I love coming up with ideas, thinking about ideas, getting the ball rolling in an abstract way; those “what ifs.” I can see and connect things others can’t.

I love embracing that I love ideas, connecting things, creating things, exploring my own smarts. I love owning that part of myself now.

Last but not least: this final strength specifically changed how I saw myself:

5 Positivity.

“People strong in the Positivity theme have an enthusiasm that is contagious. They are upbeat and can get others excited about what they are gong to do.”

While I’ve seen my positivity and enthusiasm as something that has helped me survive the last several dark years, I’d NEVER. NEVER. NEVER actually considered it to be a strength. Isn’t that sad? I felt SO VALIDATED when I read about how my positivity is one of my greatest strengths in life. A part of myself that seemed taken for granted was suddenly acknowledged as something special; as something I overflow with naturally.

I aspire to be a giver. A giver of love, a giver of good vibes and a giver of strength.:

To be positive is to be enthusiastic about life. It means I find so much joy and goodness in life. It means when people ask me to share my views on things I get very excited to share my enthusiasm. It means I like to make situations more fun. I like to share that I love life: even when life REALLY SUCKS, I know there are still things to enjoy and be happy about. I like bringing that perspective to others who might be too weighed down to be excited about life.

I remember when I saw my test results for the first time. I received the list of 34 strengths with their definitions along with my top five. When I saw that Positivity was amongst those top five, I felt so…. understood. Suddenly, being positive wasn’t just something I happened to be. It happened to be SOMETHING I WAS GOOD AT. That blew me away.

Especially after having gone through such DARK times the past five years: Loosing communities, losing good friendships; my parents’ ugly separation, having to cut my own dad out of my life for being so narcissistic and controlling; feeling frightened, scarred and vulnerable; feeling betrayed by the Church; realizing I lacked a proper education and attending school for a year for my GED to fix it….And yet, I can say through ALL OF THAT I have honestly never stopped enjoying life. Sometimes it was really really hard but somehow, I still found joy in the little things. I was still able to be positive for my mother and sister and brother. I was still able to smile and laugh with my best friend. I was still able to feel and bring joy to others. It was just what I did.

But it took a test for me to realize that that was actually something very special; it wasn’t just a way to survive the dark times. Being positive when others might not be is a God-given strength. Learning that helped me feel so validated.

you learn a lot:

These strengths–being positive, full of ideas, strengthening what’s already good, being adaptable, and being empathetic–have been my weapons without me even realizing it. But now they will continue to be my weapons, sharpened, for the rest of my life.

So, from knowing my strengths, I realized what I want to be.

I want to be life coach. To be a life coach is to be someone’s cheerleader. It is adapting to the different people who come to you, helping them feel understood, helping them identify their own strengths with a unique perspective, equipping them with ideas to improve themselves, and then positively encouraging them on in their journey through life. Being a life coach is being available to help people find their purpose and then encouraging and celebrating with them as they accomplish their dreams and goals for themselves. That is what I want to do with the rest of my life.

It will be a long journey to be a real life coach; I want to get a degree in Communication, become a licensed counselor, and gain life experience that I can then bring to the job of being many different individuals’ life coach. It will take a lot of living, personal development of myself, while strengthening my natural communication and humanitarian skills. It means that right now, I can keep being the friend who encourages and is excited for you. It means I keep growing and educating myself while learning what makes people tick. It means I must become a stable person myself so that I can turn around and be a stable person for others.

That is my life’s calling, and I KNOW IT deep down in my heartt. But I only realized it when i discovered what my biggest strengths are and how they made me see the world around me. But having that understanding, that idea of a path to follow, having that confidence in who I am, is now the best feeling in the world. That was the best thing I learned during that fall semester.

"I want to inspire people. I want someone to look at me and say 'because of you, I didn't give up.'":

My final thought for you is this: LEARN WHO YOU ARE. Recognize your weaknesses but FOCUS on your strengths: learn about them, water them, grow confident in your skin and how you tick. These strengths were given to you for a purpose. So when you know who you are and what you’re strongest at, you’ll find you know your life’s purpose too. ❤

~Jamie

2016 Bucket List Check-In


On January 1st I don’t make resolutions; resolving to change a behavior is fine but usually, that’s ineffective to me personally. However: I do make a bucket list: I figure that listing actions for myself might give me better luck in improving throughout the new year. But I don’t follow it strictly, as life tends to change and I want my goals to be able to adapt or change with it. “They’re more guidelines than rules” sorta thing here. XD

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It’s nearly my 22nd birthday, and half the year is over. As I become contemplative over another kind of year gone, this would be a great time to revisit the  year’s list and see how I’ve done so far!

Investigate more video game and anime soundtracks for writing. Have done this, want to keep doing this! Favorite anime track (below) and favorite game track discovered so far.

Officially meet my best friend in person. Did it. Best ten days of the year (maybe my whole life) as of yet. Just ugh, the feels and fun we had. I miss you so much, James! (Am writing another post on this BECAUSE SO MUCH HAPPINESS!)

Learn the rules of the road. DID IT. I didn’t want to write “get drivers permit” for fear of jinxing myself (send me help) but it worked. I’ve also gotten about 25 minutes of practice in already. Please pray I learn smoothly and easily and that the right vehicle is provided just when I need it.

Take better care of myself emotionally and physically. Am learning to do this and will continue to learn and practice. Surrounding myself with supportive people has helped; there’s nothing quite like seeing yourself from someone else’s perspective and realizing you’re worth so much. ❤

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Finish reading and underlining my Creative Writing books. Haven’t attempted this yet. I have set books out in the open where I can see them, though. Just need to actually pick them up and read them. XD

Spend money consciously. Doing better at this, need to get even better quickly, especially as I begin job hunting.

Find unique ways to express my personal creative spirit and needs. I’m going to leave this open, as I want to do this much more. So far, I’ve invested into some excellent temporary tattoo sets; I absolutely love artistic temporary body art, especially on my feet. And I’m getting back into crocheting by learning new stitches. But I want to express myself even more!!! I’m hoping to Booktrack more this year, and would love to just find brand new ways to be me.

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Continue enjoying anime and anime blogging. I’m only just returning to aniblogging lately after a two-month break, so I’m leaving this open too. I’m hoping the new Summer Season will be more memorable than the last two seasons; so far its a promising one!

Make a YouTube playlist of empowering/humanizing songs to memorize. This is half done. I’ve made one, I just need to listen to it more often.

Play the piano more consistently again. Need to do this more too. I’ve recently found more music that I want to learn, however, so I’m hoping that will help. Specifically Summer (below) and Fire by Brian Crain (so I can expand my memorized collection of his songs: I can play Rain, Wind, and Song of Sienna by heart with my eyes closed.)

Continue maintaining online relationships and build new ones at college. This one I’m managing (I made one nice friend last semester!) but it is changing slightly since I’m taking a year off from college to start job hunting. But hopefully, I will be able to build some nice relationships where ever I work!

Write only for me. I actually feel like I’m doing pretty good on this one! This has interpreted as also being “write only when I wish” as well, and I’ve done that as well; I only blog when I feel like saying something and I’m continuing to work at saying what I truly think and feel.

Re-blog my updated 100 Favorite Movies series. Haven’t done this yet, mainly because I’M STILL TRYING TO RANK THEM ALL. So hard! But I’ll do it eventually!

And I'm passing it down to the next generation!:

Clean out my room of useless junk during my next furniture arrangement ritual. Haven’t rearranged my room this year yet, but I’ll remember to do this the next time I do.

Decide on a college major. This I’ve done, kinda. I know I’ll probably be getting an Associates of Arts Degree in Communication, whenever that happens. But that’s about all right now. XD I’ll work on that.

and

Listen more when others speak, but speak up more for the authentic me.

This one I’m going to leave open too because it’s something one should never stop doing. I do believe I’ve gotten better at this the past year and that makes me happy. ❤

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How’s your year fairing? Accomplishing anything you thought you would? Any goals change when you thought they wouldn’t? Did you do something that turned out to be easier/or harder than you anticipated?

~Jamie

Jamie’s 2016 Bucket List


So I’ve had a fairly interesting beginning to my new and shiny year, 2016, and for such reasons, I decided at the beginning of the month not to immediately throw together a bucket list for the year. Instead I’ve been riding January out as it’s progressed and compiled this as the ideas have come to me. I figured they’d be more genuine to what I actually want to do, and I believe they are!

While I came up with some unique things to do, my last item is something that just hit me today. So I’m really glad I waited to share this with you, because now you can read it too!
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Investigate more video game and anime soundtracks for writing.

Officially meet my best friend in person.

Learn the rules of the road.

Take better care of myself emotionally and physically.

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Finish reading and underlining my Creative Writing books.

Spend money consciously.

Find unique ways to express my personal creative spirit and needs.

Continue enjoying anime and anime blogging.

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Make a YouTube playlist of empowering/humanizing songs to memorize.

Play the piano more consistently again.

Continue maintaining online relationships and build new ones at college.

Write only for me.

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Re-blog my updated 100 Favorite Movies series.

Clean out my room of useless junk during my next furniture arrangement ritual.

Decide on a college major.

and

Listen more when others speak, but speak up more for the authentic me.

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How has your 2016 been treating you? Did you make resolutions or a bucket list for the year? What are some movies you want to see this year, or books or music? Making grand plans, or seemingly insignificant ones, or medium-fries-with-extra-ketchup-sized one?…does that even make sense. Ah, who cares. XD

I hope you’re having a good year already! ❤

~Jamie