Jacktress of all trades.

My mom has only had two jobs her entire life and she’s retiring in April at the young age of 40 (we accidentally forgot to keep counting after 40).  Seriously though, I’m 32 and I’ve had 31 jobs.  At one point I was actually juggling four jobs while attending college full-time.  That is one less job than my actual age, but let’s face it there is the likelihood that I had the exact number of jobs as my age as I’m sure I’ve displaced one somewhere along the insanity.  Here is a list of the ones I remember:

1. Babysitter (Antlers, OK)

2. Joe’s Handy Stop (video clerk, cashier, stocking/cleaning slave @ $4.25 an hour – age 14 in Antlers, OK)

3. Mike’s Grocery (cashier and an extraordinary bagger in Antlers, OK)

4. United States Army Reservist (aka ‘Weekend Warrior’ with the advanced individual training of 75Charlie – Personnel Management Specialist – bootcamp at Ft. Jackson, SC)

5. Pizza Hut dishwasher (Stillwater, OK)

6. Pizza Hut delivery girl (I got promoted in Stillwater, OK)

7. Concert Promoter (Dropped out of college and headed to Buffalo, NY during the winter – I WAS REAL DUMB)

8. Camelot Music (Plano, TX)

9. CD Warehouse (Plano, TX)

10. USA Storage Unit (Plano, TX – most boring job in the world but at least I rode a golf cart around and peeked into storage units)

11. CD Corner (cool indie record store girl in Stillwater, OK – yes, went back to college)

12. KSPI Radio (alter ego DJ Jane Does – the gateway into management)

13. Artist Management (Jenny Labow)

14. Payne County Health Dept. (Thanks for getting me this job mom)

15. Artist Management (The All-American Rejects)

16. Bartender (Willie’s Saloon)

17. Tour Manager (The All-American Rejects)

18. Front desk of Truckee Hotel (Truckee, CA – good times)

19. Substitute teacher (Moyers and Antlers, OK after the first time in my life I ever got fired but in my defense AAR fired me for Green Day’s manager)

20. Continuity girl (NYC – The Breakup Artist – low-budget and I worked for peanuts…no really I volunteered but quit after ).

21. Telephone Operator for Doctor’s call service (Midtown East)

22. Temp (various record labels)

23. Sales Assistant (Elektra – finally got a break)

24. Director of A&R for Hautlab Records (finally, a pick me up)

25. Artist Management (The Effects)

26. Sales Coordinator at SOME Records (freelance sucks)

27. AOL Music (introduction into Corporate + Digital)

28. Artist Management (The Ropes)

29. MTV Networks (I had arrived – but now I realize arriving is only half the battle that you won’t win)

30. Artist Management (BETTY)

31. Writer (where I should have been instead of 30 other things).

I do suppose had I not had the 30+ jobs above I wouldn’t have much to write about now would I?  Besides, the 31st time is a charm.

How many and what fascinating types of jobs have you had?

The Bullshit of Growth, grab your boots.

Part of me thought the term ‘growing pains’ was bullshit – good TV show though.  Part of being an adult is being able to suspend your thinking and change your mind, and I have changed mine.

It all started around the age of eight or nine when my calf muscles ached something fierce at nighttime, and my Granny Ben would rub Absorbine Jr. on it.  I was in the 40% of children that physically felt their growing pains.  In my bodily defense, I took full advantage of my physical superiority probably more so than most little girls that played with Barbies all day.  Not me, I climbed trees with my boy cousins, ran faster than them, and rode my bike faster than the wind.  Too bad my parents bought me a girlie bike with a banana seat because what I really wanted was a rugged BMX with pegs.

Circa 1988ish – the pinnacle of divorce –  I was struck with the emotional growing pains of…you guessed it…divorce.  I sure wish they made an Absorbine Jr. for that!  Those growing pains were brutal.

When the nineties hit it yet another type of growing pain – physiological ones.  It was an awkward time that I prefer not to delve into again because it fits in like a pair of MC Hammer pants.

College was a time for experimenting of all genres and with this expanded my pant size.  The ego expanded and deflated as appropriate.  Often times reckless abandon for organized anything was merely a gateway to debauchery, and throwing caution to the wind defied everything we learned from our parents.  Didn’t you want them to be so dead wrong (your parents)?  I know I did and this rebellion was a growing pain that was the hardest to realize, but thankfully I eventually did, fixed my credit, and had enough failures to write a book.

Career growth, what can I say about that?  Sometimes you work for ten years to get what the intern that ‘knows’ the president of the company gets in less than a year going from intern to Director, but she hasn’t yet learned what you did in college (not to fall victim to compromising positions).  I’m just saying…she didn’t get there from paying her dues… like you, but then again maybe you’ll wise up and realize you’re now in debt with your soul.  Sometimes you soar, but most of the times what you dream of doing isn’t what pays the bills and growing to be okay with that is a big miserable lesson to learn.  This usually makes you fall victim to lottery tickets and a reintroduction to your college friend, alcohol. I’d take the muscle aches of growing pains any day over this because at least you’re inflicted and unaffected.  If you’re not a pessimist by this point of growth in life you will be, and if you aren’t we’ll who the hell do you think you are (steer clear of the rest of us)?!

I struggled greatly to break away from what was hammered into my head called religion in spirituality’s clothing, and I formed my own private spirituality to which contributes to my happiness.  I’ve learned not to talk about it with my mother, and since she’s my superfan on this  I will skip this too (along with the political section).  Love you mom.

Learning to not argue at impasses was a hard growing pain to get through, but it sure does make life less acrimonious.

Growing pains happen at every beat until your very last one, so you might as well grab the boots and wade through the bullshit.

Writing is wasted on the young.

Plenty of things are going on even if I fail to update my blog.  A co-worker and I were in the elevator and our entire seven-floor ride consisted of connections through social networks.  I knew he DJ’ed through another co-worker’s blog and we poked fun at an update of his that ‘I liked’ before he mentioned reading that (and I’m paraphrasing) people have a hard time blogging in more than 140 characters nowadays.  Wow!  Truth be told, he is absolutely correct, and I fall victim to this. 

I was thinking, just this morning before I ran into him, that I’m not really sure I remember what my penmanship looked like.  Naturally, I wrote out a list and it occurred to me that saying about ‘use it or lose it’ is so true; my penmanship had somehow morphed into some sort of shorthand.  I’ve made it my New Year’s resolution to write a letter once a month so that at the end of the year (and potentially the end of a handwritten era) I could remember how I used to communicate with people.  How exciting.  It’s kind of like learning to write all over again and this time for the novelty of it and not because I have to.  I suppose it’s the same mind set, but of course on a smaller scale, of going back to college in your thirties; harder work but man it feels like you’re actually accomplishing something this time around rather than goofing off. 

That whole adage of ‘youth is wasted on the young’ really stands true except truly, writing is wasted on the young.  I no longer write without outlines and it’s becoming increasingly hard to hear myself think with popular music (yeah, strange I used to just write from stream of consciousness to Jeff Buckley and consider it genius–of course I was probably also writing stoned) playing in the background like I used to. 

You know, it’s all about going back to the basics but this time with more experience and knowledge that you got from doing it all wrong in the first place.  Radiohead – The Bends, come to me so I can write Chapter 4 in Book #2.   Don’t worry, tomorrow is Madonna’s Celebration album (Imma let myself finish but Madonna’s got 36 mo’fo hits on this thing) and that typically puts me in a conquer-the-world mood to write my query letters for book 1.

Alright, time is short and I ain’t that young.

The Look

There are certain looks you can’t miss, anywhere.  The look of someone that had never experienced Jazz before, for instance.  They clap only after someone else initiates it, and they nod their head even to the worst Jazz form.  The high school dork that discovered alcohol and beer pong in a university where no one knows his name, score;  dizzy laughter and claps in surround sound, smiling while he high-fives.  That look upon a stranger’s face that exposes inner despair;  earbuds dictating heartbreak, misty eyes that avoid making eye contact, and heavy shoulders that tell too much.  All this you can tell from just a look.

I can tell from the corners of my mother’s mouth if she’s angry or not.  The tenderness in my wife’s eyes, at times, gleames with moons of light that are all too inviting, and I know that’s when she’s giving the look of love.  Pointed ears, curved into a listen, my dog tells me that there’s something happening in another scene besides our own that I should pay attention to.  Yoda incarnate tells me my pug, Henry, is tired.  All this from looks.

Eyes tell too much, which is why the best liars use this sense organ to let you see them only before your eyes are fully adapt.  They use their tongue, the good word you can’t adjust.  They shine that spoken flashlight in your eyes so that while you can’t see they can guide you into their own imagery. 

There are looks you never wish to see, like the look of helpless grief in your mother’s eyes as she realizes her son is dead.  That look upon someone’s face when you made it through a round of layoffs, but they didn’t.  The fear in an animal’s eyes when they’ve been to the edge of evil by way of human touch.  A stoic man with a scared face when he knows his terminal illness cannot be beat and he will die.

On the ligher side, the universal look that we all can tell and will probably see over and over again; “Oh no you’re going to barf” or “I need a bathroom, NOW!”

The Look by Sara Teasdale

My Mirrored Soul

I knew everything about my changing body as a child.  Curiously, I watched change take form within me with every deepening of my eyes, plumpness of my lips, and the spirit beaming through my eyes.  There wasn’t a freckle I didn’t know about; no stone left unturned.  The one thing the mirror couldn’t answer for me was, who is Alisa?

As I grew from a child into a teenager, facial expressions were mirrored back to me in my bathroom.  Posing, I knew how to pout my lips just enough to where it didn’t look too contrived and I knew how to put on my eyeliner to make my hazel green eyes pop.  I watched myself like a character, but I was only an actress.

Once I graduated from a teenager into a young woman, I didn’t have a big mirror and I couldn’t afford to stand around looking into the measly makeup mirror I acquired along the way.  It wasn’t until life batted me around a bit and I returned home to the mirror of my childhood that I stood trying to answer the question—who am I?  I could no longer see the poses I had once thought so highly of, and my eyes looked sad and without wonder like they did when I was a child.

I started looking into other mirrors: writing, photography, and making collages.  People marveled at my words.  They gazed with appreciation at my photograph.  Some people smiled at the collages and kept them near and dear.  I didn’t see myself in any of it because it came so easily to me that I felt guilty for even taking credit.  Something so simple and people could see who I was, but I couldn’t.

I boozed, I schmoozed, and I moved up the ladder.  There were accolades and there were loved ones that left the world.  My heart had loved foolishly and was broken intelligently. People hurt me and I hurt people, but there were those people that stuck by me through all this as I had with them.  I had made poor decisions until I didn’t make them anymore.  My mind had been back and forth between the dark side of the moon and the brightest sky in the universe.  I’d needed help at times, and I’d helped sometimes.  I’d had a lot of money and lost it all.   Life happened all around, hard knocks, and I avoided that mirror.

Tonight, I looked in my mirror and I moved right through the expressions and welcomed my imperfections.  Life had written my face and it changes day-to-day, my old soul just smiles to say ‘age happens’ and I’ll wax those brows tomorrow.

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