Here it is

It’s Thanksgiving in America this weekend, and while I am not American, nor do I live in America (North of the border YO!) I think it’s an important time of my life to take a deep breath and think about what is important and to say THANKYOU Universe and Science and World for letting me take my little gulps of air and to have blood thrumming all over my body in this thing we called life.

Because someone I know kind of died yesterday.

I didn’t know this person so well, he was a friend of my Mum’s and I met him and did a play with him when I was 14 years old. I knew him as a backdrop to my adolescent self-obssession, and later as an adult, as that guy who always posted a word of the day on Facebook (dang Facebook wall cloggers!)

And though I am saddened for my Mum who is sad, and I quietly mourn the loss of anyone who passes away at a time when they are too young (47), I am not a Sympathy Vampire, intent on packaging this loss to gain attention for myself, or make a statement about how this affects ME ME ME. I just note his death as a time to reflect and to take stock in a busy world.

Thank you…

Sometimes I think I’m not normal. Does everyone spend as many hours in their own head obsessing about things like I do? Do people beat themselves up as much as I do, for the passing of time and the apparent non-achievements they think should have come more easily by now?

Does everyone have this restless demon rolling around inside their ribcage, and a voice in the back of their brain that constantly cries “run away! What’s over there?! Look at all those people doing more fun stuff than you! Flee, jump, swim, out out OUT! What would Tina Fey do??”

Or is it just me?

I think it’s safe to say that most of the time I put on a very confident exterior. I just seem to get on with things. I move countries. No big. I settle in wherever. Whatevs. People have used the word brave to describe me before..

But the ugly truth of the matter is that I am a roiling rack of insecurities, fear and uncertainty. I second guess every single move I make, and it is exhausting. There is no harsher critic than yourself. And I have begun to realize that perhaps that level of  self-criticism is too hard to deal with on a day-to-day basis. Maybe it’s my oldest child syndrome forcing me to be an overachiever, or the small child in me that was bullied badly in those early years who made a vow one evening in the bathtub (I’ll show you, I’ll show all of you! I’ll get so famous and then I’ll pretend I forgot your name!), but enough is never enough. Up until this point I have never been working hard “enough” I have never made “enough” money, it’s never quiet as bright and sparkly “enough” I’m not thin “enough”.

I’ve come to realize that people don’t often talk about painful things, or things they think will put them in a lesser light. The population is afraid to look weak, or maybe we’re all just Keeping up with the Kardashians. And as a result, everybody secretly thinks they’re sucking way worse than everybody else.

That they aren’t “Good Enough.”

And that’s how I feel sometimes.

Like when my visa was screwed up, I felt like I hadn’t been prepared, and when I couldn’t get it fixed and felt like a goldfish lost in the ocean, I felt like I was failing at life. As the dollars in my bank account dwindled, and my stress levels rose, I wondered how all the other 24-year-old wannabe’s out there were doing it.

Because no one ever said to me “You know what Paris, this week I feel like I’m really fucked and sucking at all this reality.” And so I thought, “oh, it’s just me that sucks then.”

The truth is, I’m less financially secure than I have ever been in my life. I’m finally getting some TV experience and I love it, but after applying for hundreds of jobs, there is still nothing paying coming my way. I have two degree’s behind me, and I’m starting to think I should have taken four years of work experience over the higher-learning. I wonder all the time about whether I should pack in this North American adventure and head for the hills (aka either of my parents houses). I’m trying to decide if I’m making any progress, or if I’m a seagull trapped behind a glass door, continuously bashing its head against a barrier it can’t see and the thing it craves.

I’m thankful for:
My Family, who are far away, but who I love and who I miss. The older I get, the more clearly their cracks and lumps and bumps become apparent to me, but the same goes for me, and they seem to still like me anyway.

My boyfriend and my friends-wherever they may be in the world.

My ability to read and write, two of my greatest loves in this world.

Being healthy. That’s a big one, one that I know you are supposed to be thankful for, but which I never truly appreciate.

The safety I enjoy by being an Australian Citizen, for the ability to live in countries of my choice, and live in peace.

It’s not a long list, and it’s not detailed. But for richer or poorer, those are the things that matter to me. I could specify, and I have private lists that go on and on. But those are the main things, and even when I am staring down the barrel of a potentially stressful few months, or stuck inside my own head over analysing the little things and driving myself crazy, I remember (somewhere in the recesses of that other part of me that is actually pretty practical and on top of things) that I will be okay. And that my life is a tiny blip compared to the age of the earth and the stars.

End Rant.

What I have learned from working in Retail for 1 Week

 

At the age of almost-but-not-quite-24-so-lets-still-call-me-23 I have just gotten my first retail job. Working in retail was something I was always vaguely curious about (because I had never worked in it, it held a sort of mysticism) but as to the way things worked out when I first started working during the end of high school/University, my jobs always seemed to revolve around desk work or teaching.

I started doing an internship at a TV company here in Toronto 3 weeks ago. And as much as I would like to say that I could afford to do that, and sit around on my fleshy little bum the rest of the time, I can’t so boo. Off I went to find a part-time job.

Minimum wage here in Canada is $10.25 an hour, and most places that you look for a customer service job, that is the going rate.

“But Whatever,” I told myself. I just need enough money to sustain me for 3 months while I intern, and then I will find a creative job that pays the big bucks, and I will spend all my free time writing blogs and screenplays, and watching movies, and trying to figure out the scientific code to becoming a famous, fatter version of Tina Fey, and conquering the world by writing, and WINNING ACADEMY AWARDS. This is going to be so great.

So retail:

What have I learned there in the first week?

1. Working in retail gets you sweet discounts on clothes from that company. I’m talking 50% off. If I had known that the continuous sale on clothes was a perk of working in retail, then I would have started doing this a long time ago! I would have worked one day a week just to get my hands on some delicious items. Don’t pay me, just give me stuff! In fact, I’m not sure that I actually MADE any money this week. There was one day where I bought lunch at the food court AND a tight, hot little red “sweater” and because I worked a three-hour shift (why is that a thing?!) I actually broke even….

Note to self: Compulsive shopper working in retail store = bad

2. Customer Service is really easy, and REALLY noticeable when not there. I feel like I need a special retail badge now to communicate with other people working in shops that I understand them. I get you bro, wink, flash them my badge, “It’s okay, I’m one of us now.” This is going to seem really bad, and expose how naive of a desk jockey I have been, but when people greet you in a store and help you find things, that really encourages you to get something and not just be like…meh! and leave! This week I was positioned all over, Cash, Dressing rooms, Front, and always (I was being instructed) be helpful, ask if you can find sizes, greet them, ask how they are… it really makes a difference! I went into a mall yesterday and was browsing around, and when no one greeted me, I left in under five minutes. subconscious. Retail = mind control… or something

3. People in Retail walk around a lot. I want to get a step counter because I swear to god I am burning off some excellent calories from walking around the store finding things, tidying things. It is a lot of walking around and standing. There is no sitting involved, and when you are on your feet for a seven hour shift (uhhhh so depressing that that equals $70…I must stop doing that) you really start to feel that ache in your feet and legs. Good. Add, lose tonnes of weight and get super sexy and offered a magazine colour to that list from above.

4. People in general, don’t suck as much as I thought they would. I’ve seen the movies, I was prepared for the worst. Customers screaming at me, unhappy, me, flustered with my accent which the Canadians this is wildly hilarious. But maybe that’s all south of the border in America land, because Canadian customers (thus far) have been really nice. They always compliment me on helping them find just what they were looking for, they always say goodbye and thanks when they leave. I’ve even overheard one or two of the regulars telling my manager that they think I’m great! It restores your faith in humanity to hear things like that, and to not work somewhere where people are angry or pissed off, or rude.

And those are just some of the loose observations I have made after 1 week in retail. I am the expert now, so come to me with your questions and let me solution them.

Paris