Sunday, March 10, 2013

HUGE news

So once again my life manages to take a complete turn in the few weeks since I have written a blog. I have something really big happening right now and I have somehow managed to find some really great friends in the deal as well.

It's no secret that I have been wanting to move out for a long time. I love my family and my parents are great for allowing me to live at home rent free, but I have been hoping to get out on my own for over a year now. Until recently, I had pretty much resigned myself to the fact that this was not going to happen. So when an old friend and coworker came back to Zupas a few months back and we talked and decided that we could maybe end up living together I still thought it was a long shot.

I never would have believed it if you had told me that I would be signing a lease on an apartment by the time March came around.

So yes. I am moving in with two of the coolest girls on the planet. It helps that I have known Hailee for over and decade and Amanda and I are becoming very fast friends. We are all excited to be out on our own. I'm still having a hard time believing that it's true.

We aren't moving in for over a month, though. So for now I just have to go through all of my old things and determine whether or not they are worth keeping. Expect pictures once we actually begin moving things and for sure by the time we get the apartment put together.

Seriously, though. This is the most exciting thing that has ever happened to me.

Saturday, February 9, 2013

The One With Many Names

I have been writing this blog over a period of about six years. I have changed the layout many times. However, I have used two titles for it. The first, Purple Orange Chocolate, was a silly inside joke between two fifteen year old girls who used to spend way to much time hanging out at their school (that story involves pocket dictionaries and the word 'chowder-head' and I really don't think anyone other than mL and I would have ever found it interesting.) The Aspiring Writer was my second title and was supposed to create a transition between the junior high girl who started this blog as a class project and the high schooler who continued it because she wanted an archive of her life.

It seems fitting that I would change the title of this blog once more now, as I'm beginning to figure out my place in this crazy adult world. I'm stumbling around trying to figure out what I want to be doing and who I want to be doing it. Unlike in high school, the various roles that I play in my life no longer seem to define me. Instead, I feel that I am finally comfortable with being seen as I really am in every situation I am put in to. I no longer have the need or the desire to put on an act for my family, friends, or coworkers. If the people in my life do not like the way that I am they will have to learn to tolerate it because I will not allow others to mold my personality anymore.

It's strange that this new confidence should surface within me while I'm going through the biggest transition of my life up to this point. With my move into my increasingly independent adult life, I have been transitioning into being a new person. Just like this blog, I have given myself a new title as well (or decided to go by a different one, at least.) While I continue to be referred to by my old name at home and with old friends. Catherine, shortened to Cat by my friends and coworkers, is the name that most people will know me by as I meet new people for the rest of my life. My family and oldest friends, though, will always know me as Madison or Madi or Mac or any other variation they have come up with over the years.

What the last year or so has taught me, however, is that my title, my name, does not define me in any way. Whether I am being called by Cat or Madi or Shasta (more inside jokes that have probably been long forgotten by everyone else,) I am still the same person.

So the new title of this blog is The One with Many Names.

And after all,

"A rose by any other name would smell as sweet."

Sunday, January 20, 2013

This week has been a long and introspective week. Mom, Bill, Abby and Linzie were in Hawaii and Carley, Emily and I were left with the house to ourselves. This trip had been in the works for nearly a year. The whole time, Carley and I had planned on having a party and enjoying the chance to have people over when we wanted without having to worry about other people's schedules. I don't think that we expected to be nearly as busy as we both currently are in our own lives.

All of that basically means that I spent a lot of time alone this week. I had a lot of time to think. That thinking led to some thoughts that put in a not so great mood. I was left feeling incredibly lonely and purposeless. It was not really a great week for me.

But as with everything else in my life, I talked to my mom about it and she gave me some really great thoughts to add to my pile. I may feel purposeless, but I'm not. Everything I'm doing right now is preparing me for my future. I'm gaining experiences that will help me in my career. One day, when I have a client who is struggling to find some purpose or meaning in their lives, I will know how they feel because I will be able to draw on my own experiences.

And whose to say I don't have a purpose? Sometimes I forget that Zupas is not Boondocks. At Zupas I am respected and my ideas are actually considered when making decisions. I have the ability to make a difference there. I can help the people that I am in charge of because they actually listen to me. It's actually surprising how many of them come to me for advice. I'm nobody. I have had three jobs in my life. All of which have been in the food industry. I'm only 20. There are people I work with who have far more experience than me. Yet, they come to me. And that must mean that I'm doing something right. That right there is a purpose. Plus, it's even more experience that will help me in the future.

So I managed to upset myself this week with unproductive thoughts... And then I pulled myself out of it with a little help from awesome people who put up with me when I'm being ridiculous. :)

Sunday, January 6, 2013


As 2012 came to an end and we moved into the new year, I found myself thinking a lot about what I would start off my year blogging about. I've written a couple of drafts that discuss all of the things that the year taught me and all of the ways that my life changed. Those things are important and they're true... But I feel like I have already said so much about all of that. Those are the things that I write about all of the time. I am a person who is perpetually looking behind her and into the past. Why is that?

All I know is that sometime during the last year I have found myself struggling to move into a future that is really, really undefined. I have given myself the idea that what I am doing is progressing, but I'm not really. I have hopes, dreams, and ideas that create the illusion of progress... But am I really doing anything differently?

I go to school. I go to work. I sometimes clean my bedroom. Every once in a while a friend will reveal themselves from the woodwork and I'll spend a couple of days socializing. There is absolutely no difference between my actions now and my actions in high school. My mind is different. My outlook on life is different. My actions are the same. How is that progress?

I feel like I'm so stuck in this pattern. I think I may have reached a limit as far as progress is concerned with my life as it is now. I need to put myself in a new situation somehow. I need to remove myself from the old patterns that I have found myself in and find some room to grow. I just... Have no idea where to start.

So my New Year's Resolution this year is less about changing myself and more about putting myself out into the world more. I want to move out of my house and reach the independence that doing so will allow me. I want to pay off my car so that I can put even more money away for my future. I want to meet new people and forge new relationships. I feel like 2012 was all about changing the way I saw myself and the rest of the world. 2013 is going to be the next phase. I'll get there eventually, right?

Thursday, December 13, 2012

7 Years

A wise friend sent me a message today containing all of the profound things that she knows now that she has been twenty and not a teenager for almost a week. The message read:

I am comfortable with being myself. Every interaction can be meaningful. Bad things happen to good people, so be the person that can bounce back. You can be smart and happy or stupid and miserable. If you don't want to do something, say no. If you do want to do something, work to make it happen. Chance is risky. Karma is inescapable. Tell the people you love that you love them. Prove it.

As I was reading this, I could not help but think to myself that this was incredible. To see all of these seemingly simple ideas that I have struggled with for such a long time and am just now beginning to figure out expressed by someone who had a huge impact on who I am now... It's kind of indescribable.

I mean, this girl and I went through so much together. We struggled with finding out who we really were and who we wanted to be. We shared our biggest thoughts and inspirations with each other. When we just needed someone to share our incredibly conflicting ideas about the universe with we went to each other. We experienced loss and triumph. We learned that even the best of friends can not help but disagree sometimes. From our friendship, I eventually learned that if someone is really important to you they will always be a part of your life. No matter the distance or the time spread between you.

I just find it incredibly crazy to see how far we have both come in the seven years since we met. Seven. Years. And we somehow made it out of those years being confident in ourselves and in our lives. There were times when we both struggled with different things and there were times when I, at least, tried to make myself believe things that I just did not feel were true. While we may be such incredibly different people now that our paths only cross once a month or so, I am so proud of how things have turned out for us and I would not change a thing.

Because that is important. Not to regret the experiences that made you who you are. Even the biggest mistakes can be learned from. And those lessons are incredibly valuable. The friendships that we lose or set aside, the chances we miss out on, the damage we inevitably cause, can all be worth it if we learn from them and if we realize the value that they have within our lives.

Thanks for getting my brain moving, Kara. It's been a while.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Someone to Listen

If I were to say that I have a lot going on in my life in this moment and that a lot of things are changing for me... Well that might just be an understatement. Changing might not be the right word for it, though. It's more that my life is progressing. Every day I learn more and more about the person I ideally want to be, the person I am now, and the person I will eventually become.

My day today went something like this: I woke up early, I stayed in bed convincing myself that I could put off getting ready for another hour, I went to school where I discussed the very real possibilities for my future career, I came home to an empty house and made myself lunch, got ready for work, and then spent the next seven hours at Zupas, serving customers and training for my new position.

All in all, this day does not sound that much different from the days I had a year ago. If you look simply at the routine, it might be considered exactly the same as last year, the same as Boondocks. A day full of classes and work and coworkers. The reality of it all, though, is so different. I don't really know if I have really made my situation better for myself, or if I have really just changed myself and my perspective on life. Either way, I am really glad to be where I am right now.

Still, I came home from work tonight, my first official night training to be a shift lead at work, to find that every car was in the driveway. That alone was awesome because it meant that every person in my family was home. The idea is really exciting because my family does not get to spend much time together these days. We are all moving into our own lives and we have crazy schedules. So coming home to see that every car was in the driveway was good. Tuesday nights usually mean coming home and spending some time with my parents, talking to my sisters as they trickle home from work and other activities. Usually Tuesday nights are one of the best parts of my week. Tonight I came in to the house to find the everybody was home, but everyone was already in bed.

I am left feeling like so much has happened today and I just want to talk to someone about it. I mean, there is so much happening in my life. I have discovered what I want to do and I am talking to people about how to make that happen. Three years from now I could be mere weeks away from completing my masters degree. I could be nearly into a career doing counseling and I am so excited for that. Closer than that, though, is my promotion that I began training for tonight.

My boss showed me so many different things that I have to be able to remember tonight. I already feel like everything is just pouring out of my brain by the moment. I went into this really confidently. I thought my experience from the last seven months was enough to make this training really easy for me. There is just so much to remember, though. There are so many different buttons to push and things to count. I can handle the actual leading of the shift. I know how to work with employees. Working with money and orders and drawers is different, though. That has nothing to do with people. Nothing to do with the things that I am good at. I will understand it all eventually... But tonight... There was just so much to learn.

Tonight I just wanted to tell all of that to someone. I just wanted to share my excitement for my future and my anxieties about my job. I just wanted to tell someone about it.

So instead I am writing it on my blog. Because over the past five years, when there has not been anyone to listen to me when I wanted to talk this blog has been where I go.

Today was awesome. I am so excited for my future. I actually enjoy my job. I have some of the best friends on the planet and my relationships with my family have never been stronger. That's a lot, isn't it? Can you blame me for wanting someone to talk to about all of that?

I so love my life.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Falling into Place

Last November I was a very confused person. While I cannot really say that my first semester of college was unkind to me, it certainly was not easy. I did not know how to fit in to my new adult world and I really was not trying that hard to figure it out. I spent a lot of time focusing on everything that I did not like and blaming other people and things instead of trying to fix anything. I was unhappy. I did not really talk to anyone. I had no idea what I wanted in the future.

It is truly odd how much difference a year can make. I am suddenly watching all of the pieces of my life fall into place and I know what I want. I have a job that I am happy in and I am doing well in school. Next semester I will be applying  to the Social Work program at Weber State. Two years after that I will have finished my Bachelors degree. It will only take a year after that for me to become a Licensed Clinical Social Worker. I will move out at some point between now and then. I will get a job doing something that I love and my life will actually begin to take shape. 

I know for certain that the path I have recently started down is right for me. I find myself getting excited about being out on my own and in a career. I can see where my uncertainty in the past has slowed me down... And yet I am still where I need to be. 

At 5 this morning, I registered for classes for next semester. I am taking four classes. Two online and two at night in order to accommodate my crazy schedule at work (because I am being promoted to manager.) For the first time since 7th grade, I have to take an art class. It is the last of my gen ed requirements. I have purposefully put it off for the past year and a half. I also have to take Human Biology. That class is probably going to really be a struggle for me. Especially since I am taking it online. However, hopefully Kara will be able to help me out. It is a requirement for the Social Work program, so I will definitely need to do well. My other two classes are the first that I will take within the Social Work program. The first is a statistics class that I have absolutely no clue about. The second is a Human Behavior class that I am excited about because one of my favorite professors is teaching it. All in all, next semester really is going to be really great. 

It is all such a change from where I was at a year ago and I just really cannot wait to see what the future has in store for me.

Sunday, October 21, 2012

November = NaNoWriMo

November is Nation Novel Writing Month (also known as NaNoWriMo.) I've been participating for years now, ever since my older sister, Wendy, told me about it. The goal is to write a 50k word novel in 30 days. I have never managed to write more than 20k. However, I always have so much fun. Last year, NaNo was the only time where I actually sat down to write. I had a lot more time for these things in high school. I was working a lot less. I didn't really hang out with friends as much. I was taking classes that required me to write. These days I don't really do any creative writing.

There are a couple problems with this year's NaNo, though. First of all, I have a paper due five days into November. A fairly large paper. Second of all, the semester wraps up not that long after the end of the month. That means that I will have a lot of assignments due toward the end. I also have no idea what I'm going to be writing about. I've had a few more ideas, but nothing definite yet.

So I've adjusted my goal. Do I think I'll be able to write 50k words this month? Probably not. Do I think that I can start a project that will be 50k words by the end of December? Well, it's much more likely.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Introduction to Social Work: a Window into a Possible Future

My Introduction to Social Work class is by far one of the most interesting classes I have taken in my short college career. I registered for this class with the idea that it might help me decide if Social Work is a field that I may want to go into (hardly knowing much about it at all from the get-go.) I'm three weeks into the semester and I can already tell you that I absolutely love the class. I love the material and I love the discussions. There is such a wide variety of students of all ages, with all kinds of history, experiences, and backgrounds. It seems as if there is somebody who has personal experience with every issue that has come up so far. Everything from trouble with parents to drug and alcohol abuse to disease to poverty has been covered and expanded upon by someone who has faced it head on in their life. The class has been such an interesting look at people and the struggles they face. It's exactly the kind of thing that has always interested me most.

Still, the big question that I am trying to answer this semester remains. Is this something that I could see as a career? I learned in class, recently, that it is possible to become a therapist with a Master's degree in Social Work. That is something that I have always thought would be incredibly interesting. The problem I've had with it in the past is that I had been led to believe that you had to have a PhD in Psychology to be able to go into that career field and I really just do not want to be in school for that long. A Master's degree, though? I think I can handle the five total years of schooling required to earn an MSW. I'm already a year down. To think that four years from now I could be going out into the field doing something that I have always imagined myself doing is kind of incredible to me. Three years from now I could have a BSW and be working in a place where I could be truly helping people. The idea is such a dream to me.

Does the fact that this inspires me so much mean that it will be a better fit for me than teaching would? I can seriously imagine myself living in an apartment, working in the social work field wherever I can with my BSW while working on my MSW with the ultimate goal of becoming a therapist somewhere down the line. It seems like a life that I would really, really love and something that I could really want. I've always had reservations about going into teaching. Would I really like it? Do I only really think teaching would be a good fit for me because school is really all I've ever known? Can I seriously teach English with the amount of time I've spent avoiding reading in school? My biggest concerns with Social Work so far have been whether or not I can find a job where I'll actually make money and if I'll become as burned out with it as the people that I have read about online are.

I've had this conversation with my mom a lot lately. She keeps saying to my sisters and I that we can't let our futures become focused on how much money we're going to make. I've been all over the place lately with things that I could possibly end up going into as a career. Conversations at work and with my friends always end up on the subject of how we're going to get out of our current jobs and into careers where we'll really start making money. If I go into the medical field or even accounting, I could definitely end up making more money than I ever would if I go into either teaching or social work. In fact, living in Utah means that I will probably always make less as a teacher and a social worker than I would in other areas of the US. Should that matter? If I take my mom's advice than the answer is certainly that it shouldn't matter if either of those things are something that I would truly enjoy doing. Plus, it's not like I would be out on the streets in either career. The average salary for them both is enough and certainly more than I would make if I were to leave school completely (which isn't even a thought, I'm just putting it out there as perspective.)

In an ideal world, someone would come up to me and say "You need to be this. Here's how you do it. Now go." As it is, I'm stuck trying to figure out for myself where I will fit in the world. Sometimes I feel like I hardly know myself at all. It's like looking at a complete stranger an trying to tell them what to do and where to live and how to feel. Maybe what I truly need to do is just stop over thinking everything. I love my Social Work class. I love psychology and meeting new people and helping them in whatever ways that I can. I have always thought that I would be able to truly help people as a therapist. Why should all of these other thoughts come in and jumble everything up?

BSW? BA? MSW? Too Many Possibilities.

Five years ago, I began this blog because it was a requirement for my ninth grade Honors English class. I had tried to blog in the past, but nothing had ever come of it. After that year, though, blogging became a habit for me. It was a chore at first. I never could come up with anything to write about and often wrote about that until I rambled myself into a topic. As time has passed, though, I've found that this blog has been more of a tool to help me regroup and focus my thoughts. My topics tend to be very similar and I tend to only write once or twice a month. Still, I have accumulated five whole years worth of thoughts and growth onto this blog.

I turn here whenever I have something big on my mind. Sometimes I end up writing about that something and sometimes I don't. Usually I don't. Still, my purpose is to regroup. Focus. Writing helps me do that. As I was once taught, "writing is thinking."

So lately I've been stuck on quite the dilemma. What do I want to do with my life? I am a Sophomore at WSU and I have almost completed my generals. Soon I will need to start working on my degree. But what is it that will truly make me happy? There are two major options weighing on my mind. I think I would enjoy both of them with relative success, I believe. Which would I be happier with, though? That is the true question.

Since about the same time that I started writing this blog, I became convinced that teaching English was something that I might want to do with my life. I love grammar and writing. An afternoon spent reading with a warm blanket on the sofa is my favorite way to relax. Would I be a decent teacher, though? Would I be happy trying to teach a subject as difficult as English to students who probably don't care to learn it? Or would I be better off working with a different set of interests? Say psychology?

When I was a junior at Layton High School, I passed my AP Psychology exam with a 5, the best scored I received in three years. I've always been a person intensely interested in people and their relationships with each other. I am an avid people-watcher. All of that combined with the fact that I just learned that it is not necessary to have a PhD in order to go into therapy creates a whole new level of questions for me. Would I like being a therapist? Are there jobs out there for it? Would I prefer it to teaching?

Really, I have a lot of things to consider here. I keep going back and forth between the two and their pros and cons. I still have absolutely no idea what I want to move forward with. Hopefully I'll be able to figure it out soon, though.

Thursday, August 23, 2012

An Unforgettable Night

But there will come a time, you'll see, with no more tears.
And love will not break your heart, but dismiss your fears.
Get over your hill and see what you find there,
With Grace in your heart and flowers in your hair.

- "After the Storm" by Mumford & Sons

I'm sharing these lyrics tonight largely because I just got back from seeing M&S in concert. However, I have loved these lyrics since I first heard them (less than six months ago.) They mean a lot to me because I have had some moments in my life where I just felt like there was no way and no reason for me to get through all the rough patches. These lyrics are hope. They are the light at the end of the tunnel. These lyrics are what I wish I could tell my fourteen and fifteen and sixteen year old self because I think they hold a powerful lesson. Not that I would have listened, but still.

I plan to write a very lengthy and detailed post about my first concert at some point tomorrow. It is an experience that I need on paper or online for the rest of my life. It is almost 2 AM, though, and I just got home. So for tonight, I am going to bed.

I leave you with a few lines from my favorite song (which I screamed the entirety of at the top of my lungs:)

It seems that all my bridges have been burned,
But you say that's exactly how this Grace thing works.
It's not the long walk home that will change this heart,
But the welcome I receive with the restart.

- "Roll Away Your Stone" by Mumford & Sons