03 November 2014

The first 30 days

By: Jessica B.
Tagged: Random

It’s been one month since this happened.

It’s still a mix of emotions. So in recognition of this, I thought I’d share what the first 30 days has been like.

It starts out simple. You sleep in, stay up late, or maybe you get up at your normal time because that was your routine. You wake up, make breakfast, watch some TODAY Show, but the act of not going to work feels weird. Because THAT was your routine. But you don’t have a job to go to anymore.

You file for unemployment and start job searching but it all feels like a weird dream. Did this really happen? Yes, it did. You imagine where you could work next, but it’s tough because you didn’t see yourself NOT working to begin with.

News gets out around your former office, you hear from a few people saying sorry and offering to help. Those gestures mean something because your confidence has been destroyed, so maybe that can start building it back up.

People ask, what’s next? And, what’s your plan? Sometimes you know, and other times the idea of something else feels so overwhelming that you just clam up. They mean well, but you don’t know how to answer.

So when some ask, “are you totally signed up for fun-unemployment,” you lie and say, “yep,” because you don’t want to open the floodgates and say, “look I’m a total fucking mess, no, nothing about this has been fun yet.” That’s not what they want to hear.

You have good days where you’re all FUCK YEAH, I’M FINE! And then, something happens and you want to give up. Because being unable to do something that should be so easy, feels like a mountain to climb.

You talk to work friends (who are also your IRL friends) but it’s weird because the thing that brought you together, isn’t there anymore. And it’s weird the first time you see them too. It won’t always be that way, but you’re falling apart (at times) and they’re not. And it’s obvious. Especially when they look at you like you are a kicked puppy, which you are…kind of.

So, you go through the motions of the day and just try to figure it out.

You settle finances and the stress, anxiety and emotion gets to be too much so you get the fuck out of town to clear your head and get away from the signs of your former employed life.

And then you come back, and keep plugging along. You still have good and bad days, and try not to get upset with people who volunteer to help and then don’t follow through. And it makes you more grateful for those who do.

Then, the end of the month comes and you say bye bye health insurance, bye bye corporate gym membership, and it feels like another loss. And it’s bittersweet. Now, you have to fully let go.

But no matter what, you keep moving forward.

I don’t know where we go from here, but forward motion is something.

16 October 2014

Irrational fears

By: Jessica B.
Tagged: Random

Hey! It’s a non password protected post! And this one is at least 75% more upbeat than the last two posts.

At PT one night, my therapist and I got to talking about our irrational fears. Soon, we had a large group discussion about it and honestly, some of them were pretty funny.

I don’t count spiders, rats, heights or confined spaces as irrational fears, it’s more the…uncommon ones.

At first, I was all, “heck no I don’t have those!” and then, while doing my second round of “monster walks,” I remembered mine. I have two. I’ve told a few friends about them, but they’re so hilarious that I wanted to lighten the mood here with them.

Fear One: Getting stuck in clothing

Here’s the thing, I’m a shapely woman. Wide shoulders, an ample chest and “birthing” hips. That means clothes fit weird because they gap in parts and then are too tight in others. It’s a blessing and a curse.

But, I am very afraid of getting stuck in clothing while trying them on at the store. Specifically, the dresses for women that you have to slide over your head and zipper along your side. Not zipper up the back. Those dresses can create a great shape but given my shapeliness, I either can’t get them over my head or chest and that’s when the panic settles in.

The panic that I cannot get this dress off of my body. This immediately leads to a state of panic, followed by sweating and then the urge to just HULK MY WAY OUT OF THAT FUCKING DRESS. HULK RAGE.

Full disclosure, I have never had to do that, but it’s been close.

Yes, I’m an adult woman and I’m scared of getting stuck in clothing.

Fear Two: Subway grates

If you don’t live in an urban area, this isn’t as big of a deal, but in Chicago, I do anything I can do avoid walking over subway grates. Why? Because they bow down and usually below them is a huge pit. Pit of dirt, rats (I’m guessing) and hard ground.

And every single time I see them, I’m terrified they will bust open at that exact moment and I will fall to the ground and be covered in dirt and rats.

So when I see them, I avoid walking over them at all costs. That sometimes includes cutting people off to get on the non-grate part of the sidewalk, or temporarily cutting in to the street.

But if I HAVE to walk over them, I walk REALLY fast, with my little legs moving like the wind.

I just don’t like them.

What are your irrational fears?


12 October 2014

Protected: Facing loss

By: Jessica B.
Tagged: Random

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06 October 2014

See you at the crossroads

By: Jessica B.
Tagged: Random

In my early 20s, I knew what I wanted to achieve professionally. That goal drove me forward for a very long time. I only wanted that goal met and I wouldn’t let it go. Even when there were signs that maybe I should.

Growing up, work is what fed you, literally. It would provide for you, and having one wasn’t for “fun,” it was to let you be independent and self-sufficient. I have been working non-stop since I was 15 years old for that reason.

Thus, work has defined me as a person for a very long time. It was the fuel I needed to go forward, the comfort when I had personal issues with friends and family, and the direction when I sometimes felt lost. The sacrifices made for work felt worth it because the goal I had in mind was still my prize, and once I got there, I would be set.

Then, I met that goal. And then things got more complicated.

It’s a weird thing, getting what you want, because I know so many affirmations of how to get there, but not so much what to do once you arrive.

When I was 25, I was laid off. I remember feeling like it was a crushing defeat that would bury me in a black hole. And then, a little after that, I got the opportunity to move to Chicago. I was at a point in my life then where I needed a huge change.

I’m back in a very similar position now. And, after a long tenure of being employed, now I’m not.

The subject brings up a trail mix of emotions: scared, excited, nervous, angry and sad.

And I can’t help but laugh at the comparison to 25 year old Jess and that version 10 years later.

I’m back at the same crossroads I was before. But I know of two options ahead of me to explore, I just don’t know which path to take.

Both are scary, both are unknowns, but when I was 25, I felt that I needed to be 100% work-focused, and that Jess isn’t the same me now. Yes, employment is necessary (unless I hit that lotto!) but part of me thinks, maybe I need a break. To quote a wise friend who went through this too, she said, “this could be an opportunity to make positive change.”

But change is scary, and now, I have to embrace it.

Today marks the start of something new, but also the end of an emotional 1.5 months. This has not been an easy road, but at least there is some resolution.

So, I leave this post with advice a friend gave me, when I was having a low moment. “Your job is only one part of who you are. You’re a sister, aunt, daughter and friend first.”

Let’s see what the next chapter brings.



02 September 2014

TV shows I missed the boat on

By: Jessica B.
Tagged: Random

I like TV. I like to watch TV, record it, check out new shows, etc.

But there are a few shows I’ve finally had time to check out a few shows I never watching initially, and, yeah I didn’t like some of them.

The West Wing

I love The Newsroom and have seen other Sorkin dramas so I get his “style” but I don’t get it. I’ve watched 6 episodes and it is not clicking for me. Snore.

How I Met Your Mother

Yes, I know how it ends. And I’ve heard some of the great lines coming out of the show (hello, “woo girls.”) But any time I’ve sat down to watch, I just can’t force myself to finish a whole episode. Maybe I am just meant to enjoy the highlights.

Game of Thrones

I just can’t get in to this. I have so many friends that love this show but I watch and I just cannot get in to it. Maybe it’s the dragons. But, yeah I’ll try this another time.

Pretty Little Liars

I’ve watched Gossip Girl and other teen or tween-focused shows that were adapted from books but any time I watch this, I just see the flawlessly curled hair that lays just perfectly like no real normal person has and I cannot take it remotely seriously (like not even a little bit). I am missing something apparently.

What about you? What shows does almost everyone love but you don’t care for?




  • Early holiday decorations (not before Thanksgiving!)
  • Muffin tops (not the bakery-kind)
  • Bar Louie restaurant
  • Laundry machine hogs
  • County sales tax (10.25 percent - come on!)
  • Michael Scott
  • Harry & David
  • Chicago meteorologists