Monthly Archives: May 2014

The Struggle is Real

And that struggle is…drum roll please…finding a job in your field after college.

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If you didn’t choose the Journalism path like I did then…congratulations! You’re probably employed with a job relevant to your degree.

I graduated on May 19, 2013 from Columbia College Chicago and although I didn’t start applying until August of that year, I can honestly say I’ve applied for 40+ jobs and…nothing.

But, I do have a job. A job that spoils me. I’m a bank teller, therefore I have bankers hours. I have major holidays off and don’t work later than 7:00pm. Any human being that has worked in retail can understand why this job is a Godsend.

I’ve been an usher, dealing with morons who can’t tell row 15 from row 56 and I’ve been a cosmetic clerk at Walgreens, which wasn’t just about helping little old ladies find a lipstick that suits them. In fact one night before closing some geeky guy came in looking very shy and embarrassed. He had brown hair that was balding and he was husky, that being the nice word. I asked, “How may I help you?” Just for him to respond that he needed condoms, but he couldn’t find any that were small enough to fit him. Yes, I said small. Imagine a 17-year-old girl whose stomach is cramping because she’s doing everything in her power to not spit out a laugh in this middle-aged mans face. He never got his condoms by the way…he told me he had to order them online. Thanks for the TMI sir!

Last but not least, I’ve been a deli-clerk. Before I go off on a tangent, I will state that I CANNOT STAND PEOPLE AND THEIR FUSSINESS WITH FOOD! One time I was slicing salami for a lady and when I held the meat in front of her face she began to complain, “This is too thick, could you slice it thinner?” Sure lady. I walked over to the slicer and PRETENDED to turn the dial. I then sliced another piece, waved it in front of her face for a second time and she was pleased. Little did she know.

As a working girl I’ve realized people are painstakingly particular about anything and everything, regardless the industry. Now I constantly get post-it notes with denominations of how people want their cash from their $1352.67 withdrawal and let me tell you, they break it down to a “T.”

It really is true what country music star Billy Currington says, “God is great, beer is good and people are crazy.”

 

As I Lay Me Down to Sleep…

My mind decides to write a blog. So instead of jumping up at 3:30 in the morning to write in my journal I saved my thoughts for this particular post.

Have you ever had such a busy or stressful day that the feeling doesn’t hit you until your head hits the pillow? Well that happened to me last night. As I sunk into my mattress and began to breathe my way into REM sleep, my chest ached with every breath. I recalled the events that occurred earlier in the day and they weren’t worth thinking twice about.

It was Memorial Day. In honor of those who fought for our country I put in my eight hours at work. After work I went to the grocery store and picked up some extra burgers, potato salad and some chips. Then I went home and did some arm lifts that involved lifting the beer to my face. I ate dinner, topped the evening off with some Oberweis ice cream, painted my nails and called it a night. Stressful right…? No.

Being the curious person I am I looked into what that sinking feeling means. The answer is as obvious as it seems. You’re releasing anxiety and tension that you held during the day that your body probably didn’t even realize was there. This doesn’t happen every night, but when it does, relax. Light a candle. Put on some music that soothes you, sniff some eucalyptus or do a downward dog in the middle of your bedroom.

I once read, “The greatest weapon against stress is the ability to choose one thought over another.”

Sean

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This is Sean. Sean is 18 but with that toothy grin of his he can pass as 14. Sean is three years younger than Jason and six years younger than me.

Jason and Sean have two totally different personalities.

Sean’s day consists of being carried out of bed by my mother or father and once he gets downstairs he’ll roll on the floor for a few minutes playing with balloons before he is picked up once again and placed in his chair for breakfast.

Once he’s done eating, he gets bathed and changed into his outfit of the day or his (ootd) for internet sake. Then he goes into his dungeon aka our basement. Now before anyone thinks that we put this kid in a basement so we don’t have to deal with him for the day let me just tell you that his dungeon is also a disco.

Sean can’t learn like Jason can. He can’t read and can’t be taught anything logical. Sean’s nickname might as well be Sensory Seany, because his favorite toy is a flashlight. His man cave consists of Christmas lights, strobe lights, lasers and anything else you would find in the rave light section at Spencer’s.

To continue with the alliteration theme, we can also called him Sweet Tooth Seany, because there is no pastry this child won’t eat. I fed him half a pan of brownies once at a family party and he still wanted more. I had to cut the kid off before he went into a sugar coma.

One night my boyfriend was eating chocolate chip cookies at the kitchen table and my dad was standing by the chair lift waiting for Sean to crawl there so he can whisk him up to bed. Instead, Sean crawled over to my boyfriend and started tugging on his arm trying to eat the cookie right out of his hand.

Sean is laid-back where as Jason is apprehensive. Sean always has a smile on his face except for when I’m smothering him with kisses. Then he rolls his eyes.

He is also very mischievous. One day my parents got a phone call from school saying that Sean pulled the fire-alarm. He was wheeling down the hallway, pulled it, and the whole parade came while the school was evacuated. My father,  being a 911 dispatcher for the Chicago Fire Department, got wind of this and when asked by his co-workers if he was upset that Sean did this, my father laughed his head off and said, “Hell no! I’m proud of him!” It was hilarious. I am also proud.

Sean got a PSP (Playstation Portable) because whenever Jason caught him playing his, he would yell at Sean and take it away. Sean is a lover not a fighter, so he would just give Jason a look like he was rude and crawl off to watch TV.

Sean doesn’t communicate as much as Jason but the improvement he’s show over the years has been phenomenal. He picked his nose once, (something he’s never done) and we all started applauding him. He’ll crawl to the fridge when he’s hungry or start tugging on your arm if you’re eating in front of him.  It’s the little things that make Sean who he is.

In December of 2013 both of my brothers were diagnosed after 21 years of being undiagnosed. 100,000 doctors later we discovered that they are the only ones in the United States that are missing the Genetic Mutation BCAP 31. Six Pairs of that gene are missing. There are six boys in France that have this, the oldest being 22 (Jason is 21) and Jason seems to not be as involved as him. It happens to be in the arm of a protein and carbohydrate gene. There is no treatment yet because it’s just been discovered but we’ve done the best we can for the both of them.

People ask me, “What’s it like having two disabled brothers?” I always respond, “What’s it like having two normal siblings?” It’s my life. I am who I am because of these two and I hate to see the kind of person I would be without them. If you stare at them I will stare right back at you. If you make fun of them, I will invade your personal space. I live to keep them happy and make them proud of me.

 

Jason

Jason

 

In the summer of 1993 my family and I went to Lake Geneva. While the four of us were eating dinner one night at a sit-down restaurant called Popeye’s, the waitress came over to refill my mom’s water and I declared to her that my brother was special.

We all have at least one person in our lives who we respect more than ourselves. I met mine at the age of three. Please allow me to introduce you to my little brother Jason.

Jason doesn’t walk out of bed every morning. He climbs out of bed and crawls down the stairs on his stomach. Whoever is the last one to watch TV at night habitually knows to set the channel to Nickelodeon because Jason always rises before every one else in the house.

It’ll be 7:30 in the morning on a Saturday and as I’m leaving for work this 20 year old kid is watching Spongebob instead of sleeping until noon.

If Jason needs to use the bathroom and neither one of my parents are up yet, he’ll scream “mom” loud enough to get her out of bed. She’ll carry him into the bathroom because he can’t use the toilet by himself. Afterwards, she’ll put him in his wheelchair for breakfast, because he can’t feed himself Cinnamon Toast Crunch with a spoon. After breakfast my mom gets him dressed with clothes that she let him pick out the night before. Then he’ll play racing games on his Portable Playstation (PSP) all day. Unless he has school, needs to go to therapy or decides to take a nap.

A lot of people bond with their siblings by going out to movies, out to dinner, or out to Starbucks for a cup of coffee and a chat. For me it’s not that easy. For every single night I go out with my friends I wish and I hope and I pray that I could take him with me. But I can’t. Because I have to worry about the bathroom situation and whether or not the place is handicap accessible. I’d also have to drive our fire-engine red magic-school bus of a van with a wheelchair ramp, which is a small sacrifice because it’s Jason’s favorite mode of transportation in the world, I just had to give everyone the visual of how big it is.

Jason can type, he can read, he can count and do math. He may not be able to have a wordy conversation like the rest of us, but he talks and doesn’t shut up. He has language of his own that my Grandpa calls Jason-ese. He says words like “yeah, no, mom, and I love you,” (when he feels like it) but a majority of what he says is just his own individual noise.

Jason is not physically or mentally disabled. He is simply a strong-minded ambitious boy who is trapped in a body that doesn’t work the way he’d like it to. I would give up my ability to walk, speak and write, if it meant Jason could live an able-bodied life. I’m afraid of the person I would be without him. Most importantly, if it wasn’t for him, my whole family would actually have to wait in line at Disney World.