Growing a Pair

com·fort zone

noun

  1. a place or situation where one feels safe or at ease and without stress.

    "times when we must act beyond our comfort zones"

Comfort zones: a love hate relationship with anxiety with walls put up by fear, stress and risk. And these walls are guarded by mental security. The best security system out there and it's free!

I wouldn't consider myself a badass, well maybe more of a naive badass if those two things are allowed to clash. This naive badassness has led me to work some pretty interesting jobs. A little poor judgement mixed with the fuck it mentality isn't the strongest force when you're going up the strongest security system out there. Bare with me friends, this will be long, but I hope I can share some lessons and stories with you. 

 Do it they said. It will be fun they said.


Stupid Job #1: Snakes and stick shift

I was home for the summer from my second year of college. I had a boyfriend at the time that lived 3 hours from me. I wanted something that gave me freedom to see him as much as possible...and I really needed a job. So, I saw this job; Cascade County Weed and Mosquito Management, $10 an hour, ability to drive stick shift, oh and it's four 10's. And that's all I saw, four 10's. It gave me a 3 day weekend. No, I didn't know how to drive stick shift and had no idear what else the job entailed of and I didn't care. I got an interview and showed up in my normal boho outfit; hair not done, short shorts, flippy floppies and some bright ass colored tank. While all the other people there for the interview, which were all boys, were dressed to the nines. Pretty sure I only got hired because I had tits and a vagina. 

After the first 2 days, I knew it would be one hell of a summer. Driving a stick shift is one thing, but driving a truck that is a gillion years old with a 500 gallon tank on the back full of chemicals is another. You would think they would take you to some back roads to learn, it is Montana and there are a lot of places that are BFE. I had to learn in town, on busy streets, with lights and people and other scary things. But I learned. I was forced to learn and not at a pace I was comfortable with. 

Second day in and I got to go into the field. We had to wear a full jump suit, with tall rubber boots, gloves and goggles, 100 degrees or not, for 10 hours a day in a hot truck with no AC and then when you had to work, you had to pull hundreds of feet of hose behind you, uphill, downhill, snake covered hills. 

It was almost lunch time. We were spraying on a side of a rock cliff for whitetop. Step by step, pulling hose and BAM. I stepped into my first snake den. Rattlesnake den to be clear. And I guess it's a thing to kill them when they are in the spraying areas. Thank god I had a partner who knew what the hell she was doing. She did her thing. Talk about being on edge for the rest of the summer. Snakes and stick shift is definitely not my thing, but I learned a hell of a lot. 

Lesson from Stupid Job #1: All in the attitude

Sometimes there are lessons in your life that you roll your eyes at because they are so redundant. The ones that your parents, your coaches, teachers and mentors constantly remind you of and put in your head, but you have to experience them for yourself. 

For me, this lesson is attitude. This is when I was really starting to learn about the Law of Attraction and how much a positive mindset will affect what you do. That job sucked, like really sucked. And I could have made it suck more if that's all I thought about day in and day out. Instead I looked forward to getting to see country that I never would have before. I got to get lost in the back roads in beautiful Montana. I got to make a difference for something that is a big problem. I got to learn new skills that I probably would have never learned otherwise. I got to see lots of snakes that I probably would have never gotten to see otherwise. It was a rush mixed with the subtleties of finding joy in what was around me. And somehow they balanced each other out enough that I made it through the summer. Life is all about the right mindset. Find the good in the bad, and the good will be attracted into your life more and more, and eventually, you will forget about the bad. 

"The universe never asked you to struggle. It is simply answering your mood." 


Stupid Job #2: Newspaper delivery girl

Shitty pay. Shitty job. This job is the definition of stupid. But I can be stupid at times too. I was on my route. It was 3:45 in the morning. No one was ever out or awake, so I would leave my car in the middle of the street, run and do a strip of houses, then get back in and drive to another block. I had 126 houses to do before 6:30 every morning, and for every house I missed, I was charged $1. Not to mention, I had to roll each paper up every morning and rubber band them together. Anyways, when I came back to my car, that one time at 3:45 in the morning, my car had locked me out....while it was running....with my phone in it. Fuck. 

I wasn't in an area of town where there was a lot going on at that time in the morning. I knew main street was a mile or so up the road. So I ran. At least I got a good workout in because nothing was open. Fuck.

My car still running, in the middle of the street, my next and only option was to go and knock on some randos door. So I became that creeper that walked outside the windows to see who's lights were on. And one guy was super nice, super creeped out and probably wanted to call the cops, but he let me in, let me use his phone and get on with my day. Sometimes in life, you just gotta do what you gotta do. Fuck. 

3 weeks of this job, every day at 3 in the morning, felt like eternity. I had enough of getting chased by dogs, chased by deer, having hangovers and puking in a church parking lots, and getting locked out of my car while it was running. Fuck that.

Lesson from Stupid Job #2: Pay it forward

I'm not sure I learned a lot of lessons here because I feel like I was half asleep most of the time and then was always in a rush so there wasn't much time for reflection. There was one day that stood out to me in particular. I had just got done with a route and it was a Sunday morning. There was a football game the day before so I was a little partied out and stressed out with school and money. I had company in town so I figured I would pick up donuts from the famous Granny's Donuts. It's local and seriously the best donuts ever, but that's not even the good part. I show up and ordered a dozen and I go to pay and I didn't realize that they only accepted cash. I only had a card. The owner, a bubbly old fella with a snow white beard, could see my disappointment. He looked at me and said, 'Bring me the money whenever you can, enjoy those donuts today.' 

It almost brought me to tears. I know they were just some donuts, not a new car, or a million dollars, but those donuts meant everything to me. In a world where everyone is moving at mock speed, people get so wrapped up in themselves that they forget about others around them. We all have good days, bad days and sad days. But for some reason, myself included, we always think that our story, our hardships or our joys are always worse or better than the next persons. We live in a world of comparing. We should live in a world of understanding, of giving and loving and emphasizing with all the stories, hardships and joys. It might be donuts or a kind smile, the power of paying it forward is real. Always be nice. Don't be a dick. You never know what people are going through. And you never know what something small can do for someone's day. 

"Be somebody who makes everybody feel like a somebody." 


Stupid Job #3: Fake it 'til you make it

I found myself in one of those situations where I needed a job and I needed it fast kinda thing. I had a friend who was a head waiter at a new restaurant in town. He told me he could help me out. I'm not sure I even filled out an application for this place. I figured I would get a job being a host or cleaning or something along the lines of rookie status because I have never worked in the service industry before. Na, I'll just get hired as a waitress. My friend told me to tell everyone that I had previous experience. HA! I'm a really bad liar, but thankfully I'm a better actor. 

One side of the restaurant was a hibachi grill where the chefs do the knife show and light shit up to look like flaming volcanoes and cook on a grill right in front of your table. 20 people could sit at one table.The side other there was a sushi restaurant along with a full bar. And in the back there was a kitchen where you could order regular items off the menu (a shit show if you ask me.) The cooks barely spoke English and all of the waiters and waitresses didn't speak whatever they spoke. Let's also add that this was new to small town Bozeman, Mt so everyone wanted to go.

It was rough and it was stressful with my lack of experience. But I bet only a few people could see through that. Smile, show people you care and maybe know how to serve wine to the uppity's and you might just get by. I think it was my third day on the job and I was carrying a tray of 16 soups and 16 salads and I nicked the side of my arm on the hot grill and it all went tumbling down to the floor, on me and on the cook next to me. The place was packed and everyone was clapping and laughing. I got scolded by the cook and my manager. No one helped. But by golly, WE ARE ALL HUMAN. Zero fucks were given. 

 

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Lesson from Stupid Job #3: Peace out like a trout

It served its purpose for what it needed to be, but when something becomes too overwhelming, know when to let go. You can push past the limits of your comfort zone too far. Know your boundaries. Know your balance. If something feels good, let it feel good. If something doesn't sit right in your gut, there's this thing called intuition and it's a pretty good thing to follow. Inner guidance knows best. When finding your balance, the three things that I live by are let it go, let it be and let it stay. Don't live in past hurt or stresses, let that shit go. Literally. Don't become a tug boat that has to pull garbage behind you day in and day out. Sometimes it might suck or it might sting but then that's when letting it be comes into play. Live in the moment. BE what you can be in the present day second, minute, hour that you are in. You can still feel and reflect, but don't try to control or make things happen that are out of your reach if it doesn't serve you. And when you're 'being' feels good and things start to make sense, let it stay. Make the things that light your fire consume you everyday. You will feel that burn and fire pump through your veins and that's the truest pleasure of life...Feeling alive. 

"You can't reach what's in front of you until you let go of what's behind you." 


Stupid Job #4: Bike and trailer

I have had previous outdoor landscaping, mowing and planting jobs before. I love being outside and I figure if I have to work, I mine as well do it in the sunshine. This one was a tad different. I took up a summer job with my college for the Grounds Crew. I was one of the only girls and I was one of the lucky winners that got to drive a bicycle with a cart behind it as my way of transportation. 

I definitely got my workouts in, but it was still pretty shitty because when I was working my ass off, there was a Water Crew of boys who got to drive around in utility vehicles and did jack shit. They used little hand tools to make sure the in ground sprinkler systems would spray in the right direction. Part of my job was keeping an area of campus watered because they didn't have in ground sprinklers. So everyday for weeks, I had to manually set up hose at 36 spots. By the time I was done setting up, I had to go move them, and then by the time I was done moving them, I had to go shut them off and roll them all up. And don't forget, I did this all with my handy dandy bike and trailer. Oo, oo and I also had to maintain my area by picking weeds, mowing and trimming, and picking up garbage. It was a hell of a lot of work. 


Lesson from Stupid Job #4: Girl power

Not knowing how to do something or not having the essential means to do something, doesn't mean you can't outwork the people that have it all. Elbow grease goes a long way. Sometimes things might not always seem fair, but maybe they aren't fair for a reason. I got shit done. I did work. Like a boss. And outworking the boys. That's girl fucking power. Hard work doesn't go unnoticed either. Not even with others, but self gratification is the most powerful. Knowing that you rocked what you were doing is probably the best feeling ever. Someone else doesn't get to walk in your shoes, you do. When you walk those shoes tired, you know what steps you had to make. Light weight baby! 

"I learned the value of hard work by working hard." -Margaret Mead 


Stupid Job #5: Designers can be teachers

I have a dog. A puppy; the closest thing to a kid of any kind. Moving to Portland, finding a job in design has been a challenge. So why not become a special education assistant? And not just at any special education school, but the hardest of the hard. We work with the 1% of the population of special needs children with low cognition and extreme behaviors. Fun shit let me tell ya! 

I was 5 days in and the honeymoon stage was over. The school has a 1:1 teacher/student ratio. So I had been working mainly with T-Dawg, who has down's syndrome, the only kid with down's. It's a misconception that most special needs kids are down's, when in reality 80% of them have some form of autism. T-Dawg puts on a good show. Does the cute smile thing, holds your hand, gives you fist bumps. Every day when we are walking down the halls, he always puts his hand to mine and I say 'mine are still bigger, you have a ways to go.' Cute heartwarming jazz but if you don't pay attention for two seconds, that boy will slam any door left open and swipe anything in sight. I'm sure that doesn't sound that bad, and in comparison to others, it isn'.! I always have to be 5 steps ahead of him. He keeps you on your toes. So that's the honeymoon stage. 

This place has safe rooms, harnesses and helmets that the kids wear, dividers throughout the school to put up as walls when they are having meltdowns, walkie talkies; it goes on. 

5th day; new room, new kids. I got clocked for my first time, didn't even see it coming and wasn't even my kid. Holy wake up call! 8th day, I had a chronic screamer and got my hair pulled out 5 times. My arms got pinched and scratched, even through the sleeves that they advise you to wear. He even cut my face. I could go on. 

Like I said, I have a dog. I've babysat a few times growing up. I'm pretty soft. I'm still an immature kid that laughs at the naughty stuff. I'm not sure how good of a job I'm doing, but I'm there. I show up. And maybe that's all that matters is that someone shows up in these kids' lives. 

Lesson from Stupid Job #5: Add love to it. Show up to it

Just like my puppy who can't speak, I learn her body language. Most of these kids are non verbal, so I learn their body language. Learn to listen. Learn to be patient. I've learned to act not through words, but energies. It's all about energies. The higher that you vibrate, the more you emit to others. It is the strongest healing force that there is. And everyone needs the healing force of love. These kids do not hurt me, I hurt myself through my own confusions. They are, that they are, and I am, that I am. 

Like I said earlier, show up. If you're going to do something, do it. Don't half ass it. Don't go through the motions. Push your limits. Don't shut down your sensitivity, dive into it. When your perspective shifts, so does your heart. And heart goes a long ways. Don't live halfly. 

"To live is one of the rarest things in the world. Most people just exist." -Oscar Wilde 


Lesson of all lessons: Nothing is stupid

These lessons and stories would have never been told without getting out of my comfort zone. This wasn't supposed to be about me complaining. It's about learning. 

I am still shy person if I don't know you at first. I still turn red when I have to speak in front of people. I still don't have the answers to everything. But I know who I am that much more. For every experience that I have stepped out of my comfort zone, I have gained new perspectives, experiences and outlooks to life that I would have maybe never gotten to gain otherwise. Take things in stride. Take action. Think big and believe big.  A zone is called a zone for a reason; you can leave the area anytime you want. You just have to break free. 

"If you are not willing to look stupid, nothing great is ever going to happen to you." 

 You can call me 'Jessie of all Trades.' Kick ass, rip tits my friends! Much love.  

My Design

I love the mornings when I wake up and get to stare at the beautiful sunshine on the walls. I take a deep breath and realize that I have been given another day as a gift to mean or express something. When I think about what I want to do, or what I can do, it becomes an array of possibilities due to my eclectic design of being. 

Bring me to the country, give me some boots and a hat and you can watch me ride into the burning sunset. My heart will always be wild for the open range and the pounding of wild feet under a Montana sky. This place hits so hard with nostalgia that you are left with the hunger of never having enough but somehow feeding your belly full every time you go back. When I think of this paradise, I know that I can hold it in moments. These moments make up little pieces of my design that I get to carry with me. 

Now, the city has a very animated quality that sculpts my character into another depth. There's something about the hustle of a crowd of people trying to frantically go from one place to another that gets my blood rushing. And if you have never felt small before, go walk the streets where the buildings grow. It's a different kind of level. Unfamiliar, yet motivating. A recipe for pure magic. This magic makes up a piece of me that pushes me out of my comforts of being and let's my insecurities run free in a place where everyone is hiding behind a mask...And if I cross my eyes long enough at the sparkling lights, I sometimes find that I'm shining my light back on that foreign world. 

Let's throw in a pinch of ocean, a dash of desert, and just a smidgen of Pandora and you have my wonderland. With my traveler heart and 20th century hippie soul, I am still torn at the roots on where or what I want to be. I am and always will be an artist, in all areas of my life. Not knowing is art. Making mistakes and learning from them is art. Letting go of the unfinished pieces and knowing when to keep the good is art. It is a process. A process of becoming. In my journey, I continually become more and more different forms of art. I love everything; not one specific of anything. Sometimes I feel like this is curse, but my better half knows that it's not always about fitting that puzzle piece into the perfect spot. 

Anyone can wake up and do the same thing everyday. We can be very programmed beings. It all comes down to when the sun falls and the speed of the day slows. Make sure you're waking up doing something that makes up your design. Design is art. Art is life. Life is balance. Find your balance.