I think of the way it feels when someone I’m really attracted to shows me a little flirtatious attention. I think of how happy I’ll be when I’m at home where I can zone out in my mind and focus on the things that I love doing. I think of my youth and how much I miss it and how I would have done things differently.
But it doesn’t always work. Yes, I am a thinker. I’m an overthinker, in fact, but that doesn’t work every time.
The truth is that it’s not always what I think of that makes me smile when I’m having a bad day. It’s a feeling. An outside influence that makes me feel something that opposes the negative. Sometimes it’s something so simple. I turn on my 90’s pop station by Amazon Music and I start searching for something that says how I’m feeling. Usually, before I can even find something to emulate my emotion, a song will come on that I remember being obsessed over back in the day and I just can’t help but giggle and squeal at those first few notes.
When I do find a song that says exactly how I’m feeling, it’s the beat, the lyrics, the inflections in the singer’s voice. Sometimes it’s all so perfect and I must turn it up and let that music wash over me like an ocean wave and feel it fully. I don’t care what anyone else says. Fangirling always makes me feel better.
Sometimes it’s seeing that an anime that I love is coming out with a new season. Sometimes it’s seeing behind the scenes footage of one of my favorite films or tv shows.
Sometimes it’s finding out that one of my favorite celebrities is the voice of a character in a movie that I like.
Other times it is that spark of inspiration that stems from something I love and flings me headlong into wanting to create something new. Like, a song lyric that reminds me of something and makes me want to write something or draw something or paint something or blog about something.
It can be an emotion that steals away my anger, my hurt, my stress, my agitation, and makes me fly. Like when attractive guy with confidence and swagger walks by and winks and smiles at me or when they stop by my desk and ask how my day is going and then they actually stay listen to the answer.
At times it is a cat curling up in my lap while I’m at home and other times it is a text from one of my amazing intellectual friends telling me about something or showing me something I hadn’t seen before. They often spark inspiration in my mind and I love them dearly for it.
Pain and anger and frustration…a bad day. All of it can be solved by inspiration. Depression is only cured by inspiration. That feeling that makes you want to do something, to feel, to create, to live.
No matter what it is that my mind clings to, once I feel inspired, the aggravation is gone, the pain is gone, and the energy becomes renewed. It causes a new momentum to build because once one idea sparks, so does another and another until I’m nearly bursting with ideas and I can’t write fast enough to get them all down.
That’s how I do it. Not a doctor. Not a therapy. Sometimes, not even family or friends but my own interests that pull me from the fire of my mind and return to me that which I had momentarily turned my back on. It’s pure positive energy. It’s imagination and mine has saved me more times than I can count.
I think that’s why I put so much stock into doing what it is that you really love to do. It’s that thing that inspires you and let’s your mind wander while you focus. More ideas come as you focus until you don’t care about work or bills or relationships or taxes or anything else. You just want all the time in the world to experience these ideas and to delve into them and explore what it was your mind gave to you to create.
I love rainy days. I love that you can sit and listen to the rain falling while you’re warm and safe indoors. You just let your mind wander and think about anything you want to.
I love my black cat. I have many other pets and I love them all very much but from the time I was a child, I always wanted a black cat and every opportunity there was too have one, I took it. It makes me feel like a which. Silly, right? But it does. It makes me feel like this reality isn’t really all that there is. There is magic and there are good witches and there are beautiful black cats as companions. My black cat follows me everywhere around the house. He’ll come if I call him, and we can communicate on a quiet level and one in which I speak to him and he’ll either reply or comply. He’s getting older now and I know that he won’t love forever. But I do know that when he’s gone, when I am ready, I will get a new black cat. I plan to continue to have one in my life always. They’re like little panthers. Silent, mysterious, gorgeous, smart, and very good friends.
I’m not a very tidy person. I know that I love being in neat and clean places but my places tend to be a bit on the messy side. I clean them but they get messy again. I’m a creative sort. My mind is always thinking and dreaming and when something pops into my head, I jump into it leaving my last project right where I left it. I know there everything is but everything is not in it’s place. Some call it organized chaos. I really don’t care what it’s called. I’ve stopped apologizing to myself and anyone else for it. I’ll clean when I’m inspired to and until then, leave well enough alone.
It took me a long time to love myself this much and to embrace the things that make up who I am. I can look in the mirror and love my reflection even if I notice things that can be improved but I’m still very happy with what I see staring back. I believe my husband now when he tells me I’m pretty. I stopped questioning why anyone would be attracted to me. I know now that I’m a pretty great person and make mistakes and I’m not perfect but I don’t have to be.
I love sleeping in on weekends. I do it a little during the week too but I often become late for work so it’s not a good idea. Oh but on a Saturday or Sunday morning…I love it. Once the animals have been fed and taken care of, it’s right back to bed and under those warm blankets. On days when it’s cold in the house, my black cat will opt to slip under the covers with me. My other cat won’t. She doesn’t like it under the blankets but my black cat will sleep there for hours with me. Those quiet mornings in the comfort and the warmth… That’s the best! After a while I’m no longer sleeping. I’m usually on my phone seeing what’s going on everywhere from Instagram to Twitter, Tumblr, Pinterest, and Weheartit. But I don’t have to be sleeping to enjoy being in bed a while longer.
Sometimes I use my weekends to get stuff done. Shopping or cleaning up a little around the house…
I like to let the entire weekend be about nothing at all.
They say that Beauty is in the eye of the beholder.
I think beauty is in the eyes of the reflection.
When you can look in the mirror and love the person staring back at you, you see yourself through the eyes of the person who should love you more than anyone else. You.
Ampersand is a reflection of all of the things that make you unique. The things that you love and the things that get you excited or inspired. The Ampersand Squared represents the power you discover by all of those things you love because it is within these things that we find our true selves.
Discover the Power of And.
The ampersand & me:
Everyone has their own version of self-discovery. When we were little, our teachers and parents asked us what we wanted to be when we grew up and we shouted out the one thing that fascinated us the most at the time. But then we grow, right? We change, and we gain new life experiences. A lot of us never wind up where we thought we would by the time we’re adults. I don’t even remember what I said that I wanted to be because even at a young age, I probably had no idea.
Back then, my sister and I weren’t allowed to watch much tv. Mom had a rule: Use Your Own Imagination. We had Barbie dolls, Play-doh, Crayola crayons and colored pencils galore, countless books, bicycles, stuffed animal toys, and so many more. Sure, we didn’t know it at the time, but these things were the tools we’d use to chisel out our personalities. In fact, I was quite a creative little tyke who spelled my name using an ampersand because I thought it was a capitalized cursive “S” until I was taught otherwise.
Thinking back on it, I realize that the reason I had no idea what I wanted to be when I grew up was because I was perfectly content the way I was. There were so many things to do and the time to do them seemed limitless. Whenever I wanted, I could pick up something I loved, like a doll or a crayon, and let my creativity run free. It was glorious, but it is that exact element of freedom that we seem to lose as we grow. I thought for sure I had.
Still, life goes on and soon we’re in high school, then college, and hopefully into our chosen careers. But I never made it that far. I felt like a rock in a steady stream watching everyone around me pass me by. They all seemed to know what direction they wanted to take. That had goals they were reaching while I was floundering in what few classes I had picked at random because I didn’t know what I wanted at all.
The answer to the question of what I wanted to be was still alluding me in my early twenties. So, I quit. I dropped out of college after one year of so called study. I just wasn’t there for the right reasons. I wasn’t interested in going to class and I had more fun socializing than anything else.
For the next ten years I bounced around from job to job essentially trying to figure out who I was. In the meantime, I strained the small extroverted part of my personality trying to be something that I wasn’t. I knew I didn’t want to be in customer service, but I didn’t know what I did want to do except escape and that wasn’t an option.
I spent each day waiting for the moment when I could clock out, go home, and immerse myself into anything that made me happy. Books, movies, music, writing, shopping, makeup, cooking. Anything that would erase the strain of the day and allow my mind that blissful feeling of freedom like when I was a kid. That was my escape.
It was all well and good, but it still didn’t solve my problem. I still hated my job and whenever I left one job to find another, the questions arose: What do I really want to do? What am I good at that I can turn into a career? What is my one thing?
I can only speak for myself when I say this, but that question is so heavy. It weighs my head down like an anvil. It’s too heavy to push out of the way or forget about which explains why I’ve been struggling with it my entire life.
I was always picking away at my personality trying to figure out which of my talents I could utilize on a daily obligated basis. I couldn’t draw well enough to be useful to anyone and even if I could, I couldn’t imagine being told what to draw and how to do it to please someone else. The very thought of being forced to do something that is supposed to be a fun hobby made me gag. I knew it would become something I hated if I used it like that. So, drawing was out and so were all of my other ideas. Makeup tutorials, arts and crafts, marketing, consulting, I said no to all of it for the same reason. If I was forced to do one thing for the rest of my life to make a living, it would stop being a hobby and start being a chore.
Thus, the anvil remained in my mind. I couldn’t shake it lose, I couldn’t lift it, and it weighed me down day in and day out. I found solace in new ways. I tried to research my options and find out if there were jobs that I could do where I didn’t have to deal with the public. Maybe then I’d feel some of the freedom I was seeking.
I started connecting more with my friends who shared my interests like reading, writing, movies, and k-pop. These were like little escapes. I wasn’t worried about the anvil when I was swapping stories with my friends or learning about upcoming films, games, or books. Sometimes it was nice to talk to people who understood me, not only for my interests and hobbies, but for what I was going through as well. In fact, it was during one of these little escapes that everything changed.
I was chatting online with two friends who understand me inside and out. They don’t just appreciate my love of anime, writing, reading, chatting in a well-designed café, and doodling, they also reciprocate. I learn so much from them and our collective ideas are so intriguing and inspiring.
On this occasion, we were discussing finding new jobs. It seemed to be a common theme since none of us were happy with our current professions. The more we discussed our current situations and what we’d rather be doing, the more ideas began to form. With each new idea, an inspired spark filled me, and I’d think of another new and exciting inkling that I just had to share.
I kept coming up with new and exciting things we could do as a group or individually so long as we were doing something with the amazing creations our minds were cooking up. Before long, one of my friends said “I think you might be a scanner.”
I paused for a moment before sending a question mark of a response. I had no idea what she was trying to tell me until she went on to explain that it was a term used by Author Barbara Sher in her book “Refuse to Choose”. So, now I had an answer, but what did it mean?
When I asked, the answer came in the form of a hyperlink. It was a direct link to a web page where I could read an excerpt from Barbara’s book.
Within the first two sentences, I was hooked and unable to do anything else but read further. I was at work so it was dangerous to get sucked into something that wasn’t work-related but I couldn’t help it. The author was speaking of things that rang so true to me that I had little choice. I bought the book immediately. I had to know more!
It would take time for the book to arrive so, I decided to print out the except and highlight the parts that really stood out to me. I cherish one part in particular:
“Scanners love to read and write, to fix and invent things, to design projects and businesses, to cook and sing, and to create the perfect dinner party. (You’ll notice I didn’t use the word “or,” because Scanners don’t love to do one thing or the other; they love them all.)”
Such true words! And it was those very words that I was reflecting upon when the full power of what I had been missing all this time finally hit me some months later.
There I was, still hating my customer service job but simultaneously taking classes online to become a Virtual Assistant. I was on the right track. I knew that I wanted to work from home and I thought being a Virtual Assistant would give me that freedom.
But as I studied more and even tried taking on small jobs here and there to test my skills as a remote assistant, I realized that I still wasn’t all too happy. I didn’t feel fulfilled or excited anymore. I just felt like I had more work to do for someone else which was exactly what I was trying to get away from.
One night while studying, the program asked me, the student, to reflect on why I wanted to be a virtual assistant. I found myself unable to answer the question. Why? Because the truth was screaming at me.
I don’t want to be a Virtual Assistant.
The reality is that I’d like to wake up each morning knowing that I can sip my coffee, tidy up the house, read a few interesting things online, check out new deals on Amazon, and, when inspiration strikes, sit down and actually be able to do something about it. I want the freedom of knowing that when something interests me, I don’t have to stop and put it down because it’s too late at night and I’ve got work the next day. No. I want to fully explore my new idea and the idea that forms from that. I want to chase my fascinations and see where they take me.
But you don’t find jobs like that. You have to create them. I tried to think about how I would even begin to create a job like that when my mind shifted into it’s tired old habit and asked ‘What’s my one thing? How can I use it to make a living at home?’
Ah! Yet, this time was different. This time, that seed that had been planted in my head when I read Barbara’s words grew and bloomed within me. The answer seemed so simple now.
I don’t have one thing. I have many things!
Yes, I am a scanner. Yes, I love to do so many different things that I can’t keep up with them all. From that moment, realizations began hitting me like hail from the sky. I love to reach out with a desire and explore an idea so long as I see fit to and then move on to another interesting thing just like I did when I was a kid.
my passion in life is to explore what fascinates me, to obsess about something until I wear it out and then find a new obsession. To create at will and find new and exciting ways to do so.
That was it! That was the key! What I had been looking for all this time had been me! For all those years, everytime I went home from work to nerd out with something that I enjoyed, I was living the very dream that I said I wanted. Each time I got excited about an idea but set it down because I had to go to work or because I didn’t think there was much point, I was ignoring that which would set me free.
Well no more!
This blog is a direct representation of all of the things I’ve been ignoring or casting aside as simple hobbies. It is my chance to dabble in anything that I desire and to share it with the world.
I love music and movies and writing and cooking and singing and electronics and makeup and fashion and video games and plenty others. There are so many “and’s” in my life that I can’t believe that I didn’t think of using all of them sooner.
To me, the word “and” may seem simple but it is very powerful. It is just like Barbara was saying, it is not this or that. No, I love this and that.
To know oneself is a glorious thing but to know oneself and to use what comes naturally to your advantage is even more so.
When all these realizations came to me and I starting trying to shape my blog and the website I built around it, the name came to me in shockwave of inspiration.
I had discovered the power of And! Now, I get to share that power everyone and I hope it inspires them to showcase their talents, their arts and crafts, their little hobbies that they think could never amount to anything. Use them. Share them. Embrace your individuality and your passions.
What is your "And"?