The New Taylor

I have spent the last few months looking for what myself and my friends referred to as, a grownup job. This is obviously not a very nice thing to say around my coworkers as they are all much older than me and are in their preferred grownup job. But in my eyes, my current career of waiting tables and serving food is not my ideal professional path. I was so focused on finding a professional job that I had my morning routine down to a science:

  1. Wake up & make coffee.
  2. Fix myself a cup of coffee and proceed to the couch.
  3. Open laptop and open various career finding engine websites that are extremely overwhelming.
  4. Drink coffee while filtering through terrible jobs and redundant internships.
  5. Send out first resume to a reasonable* job posting.
  6. Continue to sift through the trash that you are now convinced is Indeed.com.
  7. Take a bathroom break.
  8. Drink glass of wine
  9. Apply to a reach** job.
  10. Continue to search through the filtered results of job postings until you are convinced maybe it would just be easier to get another internship.
  11. Apply to a shit*** job.
  12. Give up and collect the various pieces of you dignity that have scattered onto your laptop keyboard.

*What makes a reasonable job:

  1. It is NOT an Internship
  2. The commute to said job is less than 40 minutes.
  3. The pay is less than what you currently make but you're willing to make the sacrifice for professionalism.
  4. You have the skill set required for this job.

**What makes a reach job:

  1. It is NOT an Internship.
  2. You have the required skill set for this job.
  3. It is for a company that you know will not hire you because they have their own set of internships that are following the internal corporate ladder. You apply anyway.
  4. The commute is so close that it is the Los Angeles equivalent of  next door.

***What makes a shit job:

  1. It MAY or MAY NOT be an Internship.
  2. This is most likely the last submitted resume sent for the day.
  3. You have the required skill set for this job.
  4. This job may or may not pay depending on the internship status.
  5. The commute is 40+ minutes away.
  6. You've only applied to this job because you want to hit your submitted resume quota for the day.

You then spend the rest of your day going on about your business but constantly checking your email for a response to your five (maybe more) submitted resumes. You rarely hear back from any of them.

I had in fact heard from about four companies that I had applied to. Two reasonable jobs and two shit jobs, because of course. I brushed off my interview blazer, opened Google Maps and went on the subsequent job interviews, all of them. After my last interview hadn't contacted me for over a week, I resigned to the fact that I would die in my waitress uniform. This feeling continued even as I started every morning with the same resume submitting ritual; until, I began playing phone tag with one of the women I had interviewed with for a trade magazine.

My noticeably lacking confidence seeped into the good news that this game of phone tag was indicating.So Eric, forever my support system gave this advice, "There is no way she keeps trying to reach you if you didn't get the job." He was right, and I had been offered a position at a reasonable job and I finally felt worthy of it. I could finally, if not in my mind alone tell Indeed.com to go fuck itself.

After going out to purchase "professional" clothes, because apparently yoga pants are not considered "professional" I started my first day my new job.

It is a publication that is part of a larger parent company with hallways full of small windowless offices for both editorial and production of various publications. I was walked down a hallway and politely told that I would be taking over Taylor's old office. I could barely hide my excitement that I was receiving an office at all. To sit in front of a computer editing and writing copy all day was a thing my dreams were made of. I DID NOT want to serve food anymore.

On my first day I left my office door open. Throughout the day various friendly faces from throughout the office popped in my doorway to introduce themselves and say hello. I honestly remember about four of them, but they were all very nice.

So here I am, about two months in. (And if I can just say this whole bi-weekly paycheck thing is something that I am going to have to get use to. It gives me anxiety as obviously this changes my bill pay schedule but I guess this is all part of the "grownup job"). And I have just started to make this little, windowless office my own. I've taken to throwing out most of things, I mean I know it is sacrilegious to throw away old Vogues but do I need every issue from 2013? Probably not. But what I really need, is a new desk.

Taylor's old desk has two broken drawers, which I would like to use as Taylor's file cabinet is also broken. So I mention this to my new boss and when I come in the next morning, there is a new desk. Not Taylor's desk but Dina's desk. After this new desk's arrival more and more things started to fall into "office space." I am starting to find my own voice when writing for the magazine, I am people that I can eat lunch with and have enjoyable conversation, some of them even like Drags Queens, so it is the ultimate win.

And it is a little weird sitting here thinking about how long, or maybe not that long at all, it took me to get here. And I take that back, it took a long time. And a lot of studying, and crying and taking the bus to class and taking the bus to work. And as I sit at my new big desk, in an office with no windows, where I am not an intern anymore but an actual employee with a byline (A BYLINE!), and I am so busy that I can only relish in what I've done once I get home because there isn't enough hours in the work day. I decide that I do not want to be the new Taylor. I would instead like to think that I am the new Dina.

Happy Anniversary to You, Los Angeles, with Hard Earned Love, Me

Recently October 1st to be exact, was my anniversary of moving to Los Angeles. 8 years, all of the 8 years found within my twenties. In which case you could call these “formidable” years. I grew up in a small town and then grew up again in a huge metropolitan city. Ironically I spent my anniversary with Los Angeles in my hometown of Niagara Falls; and while I reflected on the days leading up to moving,(in all thanks to that friendly Facebook Memories feature) and what has happened since I moved for good, I began to figure out whom I’ve become from memory, circling back to where it began.

I was 20 years old when I moved to Los Angeles from Niagara Falls, New York. In hindsight it was an impulsive move. Not very enthused to attend the local junior college, when my two years were up at Niagara County Community College I jumped at the chance to escape and to be somewhere, anywhere, other than there. This rush impulsion was the first step into me trying to be someone I am not. I applied to The Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising in Downtown Los Angeles and wanted to do my very best Lauren Conrad impression of life. I mean fashion school,really? I literally wore sweatpants and a ponytail everywhere I went and suddenly I found myself surrounded by rich blonde girls who wore 4 inch heels to pump gas. I was way out of my league, I was way out of myself. But I was determined to finish and figure it out, I was determined to make it work. I graduated from FIDM with a school made friend, a boyfriend and an internship at Nordstrom so maybe I could make it work.

I began working at Nordstrom and felt very comfortable there, I was a sales girl working off commission and with years upon eons of retail experience fit directly into the flow. Of course there were many things that I had to get used too, like moms spending thousands of dollars for their preschooler to go back to school. But these were just examples of the differences between where I grew up and where I was.

After a year or so working at Nordstrom I was promoted to Assistant Dept. Manager, I also moved into an apartment with the friend I had made at school and my boyfriend. I would like to label this the “dramatic years”, and lets be honest I was 22 and everything was dramatic, but really I was perfectly placed within my role as a 22 year old. I was recently graduated and trying to figure out exactly what I wanted to do while being stubborn enough to continue on. I struggled with the fact that my roommate was younger than I was and still wanted to party while I had to wake up at 7 am to get to work for an 8 hour shift. My boyfriend and I were continuously learning about each other while simultaneously learning about ourselves. But within that year while I was trying so hard to continue this facade of being someone I wasn’t, I finally started to see myself as who I was.

A little after I had been promoted Eric and I moved into our own apartment. It was our first apartment. We had nothing but a saucepan and $20, that we had to pay back. We spent our first Christmas in that apartment with a tree and lights to compensate for the lack of furniture and food, but we continued working and continued to build our little home with each other. It was around this time, while I was an Assistant at Nordstrom that my depression started to seep into every aspect of my life. My managers at work were constantly reminding me that I was and never would fit into the fashion world here in Los Angeles, and my lack of funds constantly reminded me what living paycheck to paycheck felt like. I no longer felt strong, I no longer felt empowered or ambitious. I felt like I was on autopilot going through the motions with no emotion attached to anything. I tried latching on to Eric for support but there was only so much support he could give me. I had gotten lost in this dream that was my life in Los Angeles and I had forgotten who I wanted to become. I look back on my years at Norstrom now and tell myself that if I was who I am now it never would have gotten that far, it never would have affected me that much. But then again don’t we all say that? Aren’t we all stronger retrospectively?

After 3 years of trying to fit into the world of Fashion I had had enough. I was done, I was over it and I was ready to figure it all out again. I was ready to be different, I was ready to figure out who the fuck I actually wanted to be. To do that though, I needed some time and because time isn’t cheap I needed money. I got a job at a restaurant and applied to the local community college. If my time in Los Angeles had a theme song it would be irony playing constantly in the background of every decision I made. It was however during this time working at a restaurant that I started to actually like the people around me. I found my coworkers to be relatable and as genuine as a bunch of non working actors in Los Angeles could be. And for once since moving to L.A. I was not only good at my job, but recognized as such. I could be myself while paying my bills and show my personality.

School on the other hand was a totally different experience, and I wanted it to be. I had such a rushed and negative perception of my first go at college that I really wanted to be involved during this second chance. Although I was excited about this new start, the universe still wanted to remind me that nothing I ever did was easy. At the end of my first semester at Santa Monica College I learned that none of the classes I had taken back at Niagara County would transfer and that my new college experience would be a full four years. When I learned this I sat in the counselor’s office and cried. Why exactly was I doing this to myself all over again? What the fuck was I thinking that this would be a good idea? Or that it would be different for that matter? That everything would just work because I had a shitty college experience as well as a shitty post college experience so the universe owed me a better one. The universe owed me nothing. Mostly because I expected it to owe me something and I wasn’t willing to change my attitude/energy. So I made the decision that if I wanted a better outcome from the universe I had to change my relationship with my own energy. I also had to figure out how to defeat my depression. I started going to yoga to figure out exactly what I needed to change. Yoga transitioned into a constant practice through the changing of jobs, seasons, and transferring to a major university. My first major, four year university; and just like my headstand pose, my energy slowing started to change and take shape.

Once I began my first semester at Cal State Northridge the desire to become immersed in the full college experience was back in full force. I wanted to join clubs, get straight As, sit in the front. There was nothing stopping me now. Not everything was an obstacle it seemed, or if I did meet an obstacle I was just better at adapting and adjusting; and that in itself was an accomplishment. My school spirit however last about two weeks. Although I did get straight As and sit in the front, I did not join any clubs. I did however privately worry about the future of America. College kids annoyed me to no end. If anything watching various younger versions of myself and my friends walk around campus wearing slippers, not doing basic homework tasks and complaining that life is too hard made me only want to figure out my own life even more. Even though I was only 26 while attending CSUN I felt old as hell, I now know what my parents feel like when they say “back when I was kid” and that is sad. As my two years at CSUN came to a close I wanted to be over but to never end. I found a great love for school, and maybe it was that I was finally engaged in a subject matter that never felt like school work or maybe it was because during this time I had finally embraced my introverted, nerdy self. I wasn’t constantly worrying about fitting in with the blondes and their high heels, I wasn’t worried about making friends or going to clubs on the weekends. I was happy to be at home writing papers. And while everyone around me thought that I was a little weird for liking a 10 page term paper on Friday night, I for the first time was fine with the fact that I didn’t care what they thought. I was finally becoming who I wanted to be, I was finally comfortable with what I was doing. And I really enjoyed not giving a shit.

And now here I am, post college grad and still waiting tables. But that is okay, because I am okay with where I am and what I’ve done so far. I’m not trying to be anything other than what I want and what I want takes time, it takes energy. Headstand is a level three pose and I am okay with working through level two. Eric and I still live in our apartment that we both grew up in, and maybe it’s because we are not done growing up.

Coming back to my hometown is always a great break from life in La La Land, but La La Land has made me who I am just as much as Niagara Falls has and who knows I may not stay with Los Angeles forever and that’s okay but after everything that Los Angeles has taught me, I can’t wait to see where else I have in store for myself.