28 November 2017

Qutting

This post was written in October of 2015. I stumbled across it today, over two years later, in the year I chose to designate as my year to stretch. Tonight I wanted to write something about feeling very Average. About feeling Overwhelmed. About needing to find a way to make my life Easier. I think, instead, 2015 Jeanette reminded me that Easy isn't Better.

I hope someday this can help someone else make that same realization.

--

In the summer of 2012, I was working three part-time jobs. I also decided to take an evening class for my major. Two weeks into the course, I had a small meltdown after class. Being on campus from 8:00 am to 7:30 pm three times a week, and 8:00 am - 5:00 pm the other two days, then working almost every Saturday for my internship felt like too much to bear, even just for two short months. I was so overwhelmed and didn't think I could do it. The next day on my lunch break between jobs I went to the administration building and officially withdrew from the class. I felt like a weight had been lifted from my shoulders.

No real consequence came from that decision - I was devastated when I found out I wouldn't be able to do an internship for credit the following summer because I hadn't completed all the prerequisites that I would have been through if I'd stayed in the class... but I didn't end up getting an internship that summer anyway.

Instead, I got an internship in January of 2014. As well-chronicled in this blog, I moved out to LA with two maxed out credit cards, a student loan, and literally almost nothing in my bank account. I came home to an apartment with no furnishings other than the two suitcases I brought with me that acted as a dresser, and a camping pad on the floor. This in and of itself wasn't too bad, and I appreciated it as my long overdue "starving college student" phase.

About a week into my internship, I had a particularly trying day at work. I missed the first bus, and after waiting 30 minutes at the bus stop in the cold for the next, boarded a packed bus, fighting my way to a handrail and holding on for dear life. 30 minutes later, I got off the bus to the sight of my second bus driving away. I waited, again in the cold for twenty more minutes, only to realize I didn't have a dollar on me for the bus. I went into the convenience store, got some change, waited twenty more minutes, then again boarded for a packed, loud, sweltering ride home.

Around 8:00 pm, I finally got off the bus and began the two block walk back to my apartment. It was dark. I'd left the office at 5:00 pm, just as the sun was beginning to set.  When I got into my apartment and flipped the light switch in my room- and no lights came on. I remember feeling my shoulders slump and myself completely deflate as I fell on to my makeshift bed and just started to cry. I felt so dejected - I was only in the first week. Combined with an internship that was not what I'd expected, I could see the months of this routine stretching forth miserably before me... catching the bus at 8:10 am, eating my peanut butter sandwich out of a brown bag while sitting at my desk trying to seem busy until 5:00 pm, and then taking the bus home again through rush hour traffic only to repeat the next day. I had no prospects of an actual job at the end of the internship and the months were looming before me, with a giant, dark question mark at the end of the tunnel. I missed my boyfriend, my family, and my friends. I was so overwhelmed and didn't think I could do it.

But there I was... in Los Angeles, enrolled in my last class to graduate, with a one-year lease. It wasn't as easy as walking into a building and choosing to withdraw from my choices.

So I decided to take it one day at a time. Maybe I couldn't handle this life for four months, but I just proved I could do it for one day. I let the days come as they would. Some were fine, some were even good, and some were awful. But one by one, I made it through each of them, and every step of the way, I got closer to what I wanted. Full-time employment in a job that I love, making a livable wage. My diploma. My boyfriend by my side once again. A car to call my own. In 2012, I couldn't handle being on campus for 11 hours a day twice a week. Now, eleven hour days are my norm. Sometimes it feel like a bit much, but I can handle it. I can handle so much more than I could three years ago.

I've quit a lot of things in life. I try not to live in the past too much, but sometimes I want to. I wonder what would have been different if I'd stuck with the clarinet, or with the soccer team in high school, or with my first job doing phone surveys. What if I'd worked harder studying for the ACT, or made the time for the Ad Lab, or gone to more activities in college? These all seem like inconsequential choices now, looking back, but imagine if I'd decided to quit and come back from LA. Would I look back at that as an inconsequential choice, too? Or would I realize how much I'd given up? How long would it have taken me to get to this same level of satisfaction in my life?

In the almost two years since I left Provo, most of this blog has been about my life in LA. I'm sure it's kind of boring and gets repetitive. But to be honest, choosing to come here and strike out on my own to follow my dreams and passions is probably the first thing I've truly done to stretch myself to my limits, and then continued to stretch even beyond that point. I am proud of myself. And I don't want to stop stretching. What I want now may not always be what I want, and when that changes, I hope I'm ready to push on immediately. I don't want to be overwhelmed. I think I can do it.

25 May 2017

Shouldn't email anxiety go away when you're unemployed?

This morning at around 11:00 am, I sent an email to a group of exactly 10 people. 10 people who I know well enough to know each has their email up literally all day. I knew these people would see my email within a matter of minutes, so I braced myself for the responses to come pouring in.

I checked my phone two minutes later and was surprised to find no response.

But that's okay, it's unrealistic to expect an email back within two minutes. Outrageous, in fact. Although this particular group is known for massive group emails piling on top of each other, making the email you're typing now outdated before you can send it because someone else wrote your joke faster.

I did my hair and checked my email again, nothing.

I walked a mile to my boyfriend's house where I had accidentally left my lunch. Checked my email again. Nothing.

It has now been 14 hours since I sent the email. I'm lying in bed awake, wondering. Did my email somehow end up in a spam filter? What on earth could I have done to offend and make these 10 people ignore me?! We were so close!

In reality I'm sure they are very busy, and who knows, I might get a response or two tomorrow. Or I might not. Which is fine. But it's not stopping my mind from racing a mile a minute every moment I get a chance to think.

Don't even get me started on the response rates of recruiters.

20 March 2017

Happy International Day of Happiness!

After the Grinch stole Christmas, and realized no in fact he hadn't stopped Christmas at all, his heart immediately grew three sizes. Instantaneously.

And the minute his heart didn't feel quite so tight,
He whizzed with his load through the bright morning light,
And he brought back the toys! And the food for the feast!
And he, HE HIMSELF! The Grinch carved the roast beast!

After a lifetime of surviving a heart (or shoes) two sizes too small, just like that his heart stretched and grew and he gained the generosity and selflessness he'd been missing his whole life. 

--

I think my heart is experiencing a stretch right now, but for some reason, it's taking more than a day, and I have to say, it isn't the most comfortable situation.

The past couple months have been a whirlwind. I knew I was facing an uphill battle in reaching my goals and improving myself, but that battle has come in such different forms than I had expected.

I find myself in a constant back and forth between such overwhelming happiness and love for the people in my life, and dark, deep anxiety that affects me on a physical level, leading to dark, deep self-doubt and occasionally self-loathing. In the past month since returning from my travels at times I've felt like I'm slogging through mud toward my goals - progressing, in a way, but so slowly, and in such a winding path that sometimes I find myself quite literally moving backwards, and others I'm running in place.

This month has seen me try and fail grandly. It has seen opportunities so close I could taste them, dreams so close to being achieved, that slipped through my fingers. It has seen the death of a loved one, a death that was expected and as peaceful as death can be, but painful all the same. It has seen traveling for a funeral, doing my best to work through the complex emotions of loss, and being so ready to return to my home and work myself back into a routine of progress and productivity... only to receive the news of the unexpected, heartbreaking loss of another loved one within hours of unpacking my suitcase.

I washed my new black funeral dress, worn only once, folded it up, placed it back in my suitcase, and was on the next flight back to Utah and away from my routine. I put on that new dress for the second time.

I hope you never have to wear your funeral dress twice in ten days.

My feelings about all of this are so complex. I feel like my heart has been kneaded hard, flattened, rolled out, shaped and risen, only to somehow be flattened once more and the process begun again. 

I don't remember ever feeling so simultaneously such joy at living my life so authentically, and having the opportunity to fully explore myself, my beliefs, my desires, and my goals, while experiencing such turmoil from the outside world and my own inner demons.

It's a confusing time. I'm a confusing, conflicting beautiful mess.

I am so broken.

I am so happy.

I am rolling myself out over and over, working the dough of my heart until it's fully proofed. 

I'm putting those pieces together and breaking them apart until I find that perfect fit.

13 January 2017

Happy Anniversary, La La Land.

As I was basking in unemployment yesterday, I thought to myself, “what have I always wanted to do in LA but couldn’t because of work?”

In what felt like destiny, there were general admission tickets available for a morning taping of The Price is Right for TODAY. I spent the rest of the afternoon reading strategies, and the evening perfecting my t-shirt.

-----

Conventional wisdom (and my quick Google Image search) dictates that a successful The Price is Right custom t-shirt should be neon green, pink or yellow, but in the dead of Los Angeles winter, H&M doesn’t carry neon basic tees. So, I picked a tasteful grey one, banking on my slogan to make the statement the color of my shirt lacked.

A couple mishaps with the fabric paint left me with what I like to think of as a "distressed" look. And I loved it.

-----

Morning came swiftly after the shirt was finally completed. I rolled out of bed, and then on to the road. I hit some minor traffic but was unconcerned.

That is, until I arrived at the CBS lot. I was shocked that, in spite of the rain, the line of enthusiastic mid-westerners sporting their bright green, pink and yellow professionally-printed custom shirts stretched as far as the eye could see.

I shoved my ticket into my pocket as I walked down the line, filled with shame as I slowly began to realize that there was literally no way I would get into this taping.

I walked with purpose, right past the end of the line, pretending that I had a much better place to be than in this outrageous line. A block or so after the studio, I dejectedly sat down on the road barrier. “At least I'm up, and dressed, and ready before 8:00 am, in Hollywood,” I thought. “There must be something I can do to make this worthwhile.”

Runyon Canyon.

-----

I've wanted to go to Runyon the whole time I’ve lived in LA, but never had the dedication to drive over at the crack of dawn before work. Finally, here was my chance to experience it... but I was dressed in jeans, rain boots... and my handmade t-shirt designed to get me on The Price is Right. With glitter.

I made my way back to my car, racking my brain for an activity for which I was dressed appropriately. Finally, feeling frustrated at my morning and knowing I needed something to show for it, I threw the car in reverse and drove toward the Hollywood sign.

-----

I got a few weird looks from the ladies in their lululemon leggings and brand new Nikes as I started up the mountain in my heavy red rain boots, but I just kept my eyes on the ground and ignored their judgy smirks. This was a walking trail, not hot yoga, after all.

Before long the sun was streaming through the clouds and my rain jacket was sticking to my skin. I begrudgingly peeled it off.

I could feel people’s eyes on me, checking out my boots and reading my shirt as my eyes were glued the trail. But on I walked... until finally something bubbled up within me and I WASN’T WILLING TO KEEP LOOKING AT THE DIRT, DANG IT. I QUIT MY JOB FOR THIS AND I WAS GOING TO ENJOY IT. I lifted my head and threw back my shoulders, sharing my t-shirt with the world.

“I QUIT MY JOB FOR THIS!”, yelled the t-shirt.



Two girls approached me, meandering down the mountain in their lululemon leggings and Nikes as I continued up. I heard quiet giggles and murmuring, then one of the girls raised her voice. "Hey, I love your shirt!"

I did one of those goofy turn-to-see-if-there’s-someone-behind-me moves. Nope, just me.

As they passed, the girl said to her friend, "You seriously need to get that shirt!"

“I know, right.”

I looked back down at the dirt and smiled.

-----

Three years ago today was my first day in Los Angeles, and I think I’ve finally figured out what makes this city tick.

And I guess I have a t-shirt business now too.

07 January 2017

Pancakes on the brain

Maybe it's taboo to admit this on the internet, but from the day I got a brand new MacBook Pro at work, my personal laptop (a 75 pound Dell from 2010) was put in a cupboard and not taken out until I'd quit my job and turned in the MacBook.

I'be been meaning to get my own MacBook for personal use since I graduated, but once I was given one for work the purchase took a backseat. Now that I'm back on the ol' (and I mean that literally as old) PC, I'm regretting not making a purchase while I was in a more stable financial situation. It stresses me out to consider expending such a big chunk of my savings, and essentially giving myself a month less security to continue my life in LA, for a new computer.

So, for now, ol' Dell and i are back together. But I've been working on other solutions for some tasks, since Dell isn't quite as spry and fast as she once was. One idea I had was to get a keyboard for my iPad for writing. So I found one well-rated for $13 on EBay and ordered it.

The case arrived today, and I excitedly set it up immediately. It has a fun red cover and good strong magnets that hold the iPad in place and allow it to stand.

The only issue is I have an iPad mini - which is fairly small. Thus the keyboard that attaches to it is also small, and thus the keys had to be rearranged to fit. It's taken some getting used to.

So I decided to spend some time tonight doing just that - getting used to it. I started by opening a new note on the iPad and starting a list of things I want to write about. Here's the list as it came into my mind:

-Busty Girl Probs (I'be seen a hundred articles and memes about this, but I feel uniquely qualified to add my own perspective as I haven't seen anyone truly nail it, from my perspective)
-Start a book (not really something to write about, but I was having trouble coming up with ideas and I hear that just the act of writing something down is good for brainstorming)
-Pancake

No, I didn't have the idea to write about pancakes.

I have this weird thing (not really for as long as I can remember, but I cant really remember when it started... probably sometime in college??) where whenever I am trying to think of something, all I can think is pancake.

This comes in handy when I am trying to think, for example, what I want to eat.

Pancake! Done! Easy!

Or, perhaps, when playing Scattergories and the letter is P with a category "breakfast foods".

But, when playing Scattergories, it's not so helpful if the letter is not P.

If I cant remember someone's name, or a date, or if there's a word I can't seem to place, one of the first words that comes to mind as I start blanking is, 100% of the time, pancake.

If I'm doing a word search, or even a crossword puzzle (did anyone else have trouble mixing those up when they were a kid?) the moment I'm a little stumped, there it is... pancake.

It's a weird coping mechanism my brain has come up with. What is my brain coping with? Feeling stumped? It seems to be playing a numbers game... with how often Jeanette gets stumped, guessing pancake it must be right at least some of the time.

And I guess I do like pancakes enough that, yeah, it's probaby the safest word to pick.

And now, here I sit, much more practiced in the ways of this new keyboard. Mission accomplished! I hope you've enjoyed this tale about brains and pancakes, and please excuse the typos, It's a new tiny keyboard, okay.

03 January 2017

Stretch

When I was six years old, I took dance lessons. One day there was a challenge set out - the girl who could touch her toes the furthest down her face while laying on her stomach and bending backward would win a birthstone ring. I wanted that ring! So I lay on my stomach, arched my back, and curled my legs up and back, managing to touch my nose with my toes.

I won the ring.

I used to be flexible. But over the years, I quit dance and stopped stretching. I became inflexible.

There’s a class at BYU that everyone jokes about taking, but I don’t know anyone who has actually taken it. It’s called “Flexibility” and the rumor is that a large part of the class entails taking naps.

Although the nap was a big draw, I wanted to take the class because I was embarrassed at how inflexible I’d become. But Flexibility got lost in the shuffle of my collegiate priorities and I never signed up.

Last year I saw many of my friends and acquaintances blog about their “word” for the new year - but as described in a belated blog post, I never got around to making a real New Year’s blog post of my own.

In the past, I’ve tended to do more reflecting and goal setting around my birthday (as seen here, here, here and here) but last year I found myself making some serious plans. For weeks I had every intention of sitting down to put them on paper, or in a blog post, but I never got around to it beyond complaining that I never got around to it.

This sort of behavior is what I’m working on in 2017. I’ve chosen to deem this the year I learn to stretch.

I landed on stretch after taking some time over the holidays to write down all the different things I want to improve in myself, and the action items I need to make those changes a reality.
I gave myself permission to write down everything. I do not expect to grow exponentially in all these areas in one year. But I also don’t want to spend another year in my comfort zone, barely eeking out improvement in one or two areas. (I briefly considered uncomfortable as my word… but that just didn’t feel quite right hahaha)

I don’t expect to grow overnight by leaps and bounds in all these areas, but I do expect to stretch myself. To become more flexible. To try things I have wanted to but have been too busy, or scared, or prideful to attempt in the past. To go beyond anything I’ve done before.

Last year I started thinking about 2016 in early December… this year I started setting myself up to succeed in the early fall. And a couple weeks ago, I took the giant leap of quitting my safe, comfortable job to focus full-time on the new direction I want to take myself, personally and in my career. That was definitely the first big stretch I took leading in to 2017 - and I am banking on it being the first of many, bigger stretches in the months to come.

And if all this stretching can help me touch my nose with my toes once more, well that’s just the icing on the cake.

12 September 2016

In Which Jeanette's Dental Hygiene and Adulthood Are Called Into Question

Last week, I was putting toothpaste on my toothbrush when I noticed a little black fleck in the bristles. At first I freaked out thinking it was mold, but eventually I realized it seemed to be a speck of pepper or something similar, and tried to pick it out. Try as I might, I couldn’t get it out. It was stuck. Again grossed out, I licked the toothpaste off the brush then threw it in the trash before going to retrieve a new toothbrush from the cupboard.

Growing up, my mom always had certain items on hand at all times - peanut butter, chocolate chips, and toothbrushes all immediately come to mind. I tend to keep those items on hand myself, as they’re all critical necessities you’re really in a pickle if you run out of. But somehow, on this fateful day, I found myself without a toothbrush… after having already put my old one in the trashcan. 

I have to tell you, this is very uncharacteristic of me. I always have spare toothbrushes squirreled away. Ralph’s has them on sale 10/$10 pretty much monthly, and I usually grab one or two. Just days before, I’d been at the store and remembered my last deodorant was almost out, so I’d gotten a two pack because I like to be prepared so much. That’s just how I was raised.

Frustrated, and running late for work, I went to dig through my purse, where I usually have a travel toothbrush for when I forget or am running late and leave without brushing my teeth (gross, I know). I found the pouch, but it was empty… must have left it in Utah in July.

I thought about trying to just brush my teeth with my finger, because at this point the toothpaste in my mouth was kind of melting and I just needed to get to work, but somehow that seemed worse than spitting it out and waiting to get to work and brushing my teeth with the travel toothbrush I keep in my drawer (a fine plan, but somehow when I plan on that I tend to forget or get busy, and end up not brushing my teeth at all). 

In a last ditch effort, I dragged out my luggage, hoping to find a travel toothbrush in there. I didn’t have high hopes because the toothbrush that should have been in my purse was purchased expressly because I didn’t have a toothbrush at Lake Powell. But I was desperate. After unzipping the bag I was dismayed. Not because of a lack of toothbrush, but because in this travel bag I found not one, not two, not even three.. I found FOUR almost brand new sticks of deodorant. For those counting at home, including the two I’d purchased in the past two days, that is a total of SIX brand new deodorant sticks in my home. And not a solitary toothbrush.


Okay that’s not true, because in the corner of the duffle I found a cheap toothbrush wrapped in a plastic bag that I finally used to brush my teeth that fateful day… and today, I at last remembered to buy fresh, new clean toothbrushes to replenish my stock. But this whole experience has really shown me how far I am from being a full-fledged adult. I was sure I had my stuff together, but all I have is a whole lot of deodorant and not much else. 

22 June 2016

Pizza + Garlic Naan

For a wide variety of reasons, I have gotten back on Twitter after six months of my social-media-detox New Years Resolution. Never fear, I'm still doing my best to stay away from Facebook at all costs.

After logging in again and updating my profile, I scrolled back through my old tweets to find inspiration for a new Twitter bio. This is what I came up with... and see below for a smattering of the supporting documentation.

Jeanette Howes (@jeanettehowes)
"Trying to be an industry thought-leader but mostly I tweet a lot about pizza and garlic naan."



05 April 2016

Just roll with it.

Do you ever have a moment where the most random memory hits you at a completely unexpected time?

I was just reading an email, and the senior producer I’m assisting said that we’ll “just have to roll with it”. Instantly I was transported back ten or fifteen years to playing charades in my grandma’s basement. One of my younger cousins got up, read his clue, and immediately dropped to the floor and curled into a ball. 

Everyone was yelling their guesses - “dead!” “fetal position!” “compact!”

He just kept sitting there. People were begging him to give more clues, try a different tactic. But there he sat.

Eventually the timer went off and he stood up. “WHAT WAS THE ANSWER?!” we all implored. He was so exasperated when he told us - his clue was “roll”.

Rather than rolling around on the floor, or miming rolling out dough, or any of the other options, he chose to pretend to be a roll, a small piece of bread, and was shocked, shocked that none of the fools could figure out such a simple word.


He came up with his strategy, and I guess you could say he “just rolled with it”.

02 April 2016

Maybe It's PMS?

Sometime between graduating college and now, I have become a basket case. Crying in any sort of movie or media was rare for me, and almost always associated with death. But now, all of a sudden, I find myself HAPPY crying, on a regular basis. This is very new to me.

Here’s a list of things that have made me tear up in recent memory:

-The curtain opening at The Rockettes
-The orchestra starting at The Rockettes
-Seeing The Rockettes (they’re living out their dream! They did it! They’re Rockettes!)
-Watching a guy win hoverboards on The Price Is Right (WAT??)
-Watching the athletes walk in at The Special Olympics
-Watching the Christmas light show at Saks 5th Ave
-This commercial
-Seeing the BYU football team take the field at UCLA
-Watching my BFF Carly take her wedding vows
-Standing in the infinity room at the Broad

-Deadpool
-Seeing the fog roll in from above on the hike to Inspiration Point


This is a new thing, this crying-about-everything phase of my life, that's been kicking in only over the past year or so. I can't quite pinpoint what has started it - but I guess it's here to stay! If you see me sometime in the next few months, chances are I might start tearing up. You can just ignore me. I'm weird.