FOMO, growing up, and moving on

FOMO

| fōmō |

noun
• A form of social anxiety – a compulsive concern that one might miss an opportunity or satisfying event, often aroused by posts seen on social media websites.

 

I am very familiar with FOMO.

That step into adulthood that most people take was actually a drop. I was 20, living at home, going to school. I had a job that was making me a substantial amount of money for someone my age and an internship that was starting my professional culinary career. Suddenly i was faced with a very adult decision. My parents were moving to Texas and i could move with them or stay in Miami and create a life on my own.

I decided to stay.

Staying meant a lot of things had to change so i could become a stable independent adult. At this time i was interning monday through thursday 6 am – 1 pm, going to school from 2 -6 pm and working weekend serving at your favorite late night spot working 10-12 hour shifts.

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I was the unofficial pastry sous chef for Sra. Martinez and Crumb on Parchment owned by local Miami chef Michelle Bernstein. I say unofficial because it was just me and her head chef doing all the work and I wasn’t getting paid. I was learning and creating and growing and i needed more. They wanted more of me too. They wanted me on the weekends. They wanted me to work in the Sra. Martinez kitchen plating and serving desserts, but they didn’t want to pay me. They wanted to keep me on as an intern and i just couldn’t afford that. I needed to make money to pay my minimal bills and afford my growing shoe collection but i wanted to be a chef. I had a choice to make.

I had to give up baking.

My parents were moving and I needed to support myself. Working for free and getting paid in croissants wasn’t going to cut it. I quit professional baking and started full-time at the bar. I used my small savings that was going to be used on a car for an apartment and then used my friends and family to get around. Oh, and school? I was done, technically. I just needed to turn in my hours for the internship and then i was on my way to my AA. Then i found out that none of my hours counted. They weren’t within the time i was supposed to be officially doing an internship for school. I was devastated. All my hard work was for nothing. Even though i had all the knowledge and experience, i couldn’t get that piece of paper that said “I did it”.

Back to work I went.

There was nothing else I could do but go to work. I was barely making enough for rent let alone saving money for a car. I was baking for friends on the side; cupcakes and cakes for parties and pies for holidays. It wasn’t enough. I was watching the culinary scene from the sidelines. The place i wanted to be but couldn’t get to. Watching food trends pop up saying to myself “I can do that better”. I had all the drive and nowhere to go.

Meanwhile I was just becoming a bartender and being offered staff training and management positions at other stores. I didn’t take them. I stayed in the same spot afraid of change. My lease ended and i moved in with my sister and her family. I stayed there for 3 years. I gave up baking entirely, stopped cooking all together and started going out more. I was staying out after work and drinking until the sun came up. Sometimes well into the next day when i would take a nap before my next shift where i would do it all over again. I was spending all my money on Orlando vacations with toxic friends who were stuck in the same cycle i was.

There lies the problem with being “in the biz”.

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This summer marks nine years at Flanigans. The place that was supposed to be a summer job and a weekend part-time gig became my career. My family says that i “got stuck” here. I don’t agree with that. I’ve been able to do as much as i wanted working here. I take the time off i need, I work the hours i want, i make cash every day. Working here I’ve been able to support myself completely. I finally bought a brand new car, i travel out of state a couple of times a year, and last year we bought a house. Its been a great job where I’ve met and worked with some of the best people. I’ve also learned how to be a good human while testing my patience to the max. Working at a restaurant should be a class you take in high school to prepare you on how to be a respectful adult. Pro tip guys: If you’re not nice to your server, you’re not a nice person.

The problem you face being in the biz is never wanting to leave. Leaving means giving up the people, the small family you’ve created through your bond over hating regulars and sharing a basket of fries because you’re so busy that’s all you have time to eat. Most importantly it means giving up the cold hard cash you take home with you every night. The money you had to smile and flirt for, run drinks and food for, have very very strange conversations for. It’s an experience to physically see what you can earn in a day. It’s also comforting to know that if I’m short on cash I can pick up a shift and get it easily.

This is what makes you stay.

The knowledge that you can sustain yourself on this constant flow of cash and that there’s always going to be someone at work that feel the same way that you do. Someone you can vent to that will help you along the way. People who will stay after work for a drink or a slice of chocolate cake. Something we affectionately call “parking lot pimpin'”. Unfortunately I’ve discovered that none of these things help you grow. You’re in the same cycle of money and drinks and people and you’re never able to grow as a person.

There was a party this weekend that I was invited to but ultimately make the decision not to go to. Normally i would have sat at home, glued to my phone, watching the snaps of the party, beating myself up because i didn’t go. That didn’t happen this time. I did watch the snaps but i didn’t feel the anxiety of missing out on yet another group event. It was the same people doing the same things and I didn’t miss any of it.

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That was my moment of growth.

That was when i realized that this era of my life was coming to an end. I didn’t want to be out drinking until i fell over and i definitely didn’t want it documented on Instagram. I don’t want to be spending my money on 4$ shots at Tootsies because that’s where everyone hangs out. I don’t want to have to pick up an extra shift this week because i spent it all partying. Yes, I’m young and i should be enjoying my life, but i don’t want to be doing it like this.

This epiphany is something my husband has been arguing with me about and I’m sorry to say that he’s been right this whole time. (Love you baby!) I’ve finally come to a place in my life where i can breathe. I can go in a different direction with my life and not be worried about money. I don’t have to kill myself to make an extra dollar. I don’t have to deal with the idiots that think being a Hialeah chico will get them a free drink. I can finally do what drives me and not be so scared of change. Being scared of failure is another thing, but being afraid of change is stupid. Its something that’s been stopping me for a long time from doing the thing i want to do. As far back as i can think of i can remember saying no to change. Things that would have benefited me for the future that i was absolutely against because it would change my life as i knew it. (Ex: braces at 25 instead of 13). Its time for me to adapt a new way of life and step into a new era of being.

I can’t be afraid anymore. I have to let myself grow. Its time for a change.

 

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Past life and laughter

Happy post Valentine’s Day!

Last night I saw Wicked the musical with my best friend Grizzy instead of going on a date with my man. (He was working and we had plans for the weekend anyway.)

It was her first time, my third. It was as amazing as the first time I saw it almost 10 years ago.

It reminded me of my high school days on the stage and how much I miss performing. I always get emotional seeing live shows because I know the feeling of hot lights in your face and getting a laugh from the audience at just the right moment. It’s this crazy adrenaline rush that gives you a high for the rest of the night.

Stepping into a character and becoming another person takes a lot out of you and reveals a lot about you as well. Sometimes it’s uncomfortable, you have to push yourself past your comfort zone and open up to strangers who may or may not like what you have to say.

I miss the laughter the most. When you say the funniest line in the script and you have to suppress your own laugh because the audience won’t stop laughing. That’s the best feeling in the world, making people laugh.

Maybe I’ll get back into it some day. I could audition to be Blanche Dubois in the Hialeah rendition of A Street Car Named Desire. Or maybe I’ll become a stage mom like mine was and make all the costumes for the shows and bring all the snacks. Either one of those options would make me happy.

Stay laughing my friends.

10 Things to accomplish in 2018

New year, new me!

Actually, not really.

It’s more like new year, same me spending too much money on things I shouldn’t and being a procrastinator and letting the laundry sit in a basket for two weeks before it gets put away. Can anyone else relate?

This year is going to be busy. We’ve already planned most of our travels (we are going to A LOT of places), there’s a short list of home improvement goals sitting on the refrigerator door, and there may or may not be a baby in the works towards the end of the year.

Yes, yes, I know, everyone wants a little baby Cookiss.

This is the year I get my grown-up shit together. I can hold down a job, pay my bills, feed and clothe myself and the cat; but what about the other things that come from growing up? Accountability? Reliability? Punctuality (hardy har har, me? Yeah right)?

Here are some things I’d like to accomplish this year

1. Learn to be on time
Edward HATES being late. Many an argument has spawned because I always seem to be blow-drying my hair when we really should be leaving to see a concert (or catch a plane, or see a movie). Not to mention I’m always late for work. In my defense I do live veeeeeeeey close to the heart of Hialeah and there is always crazy traffic on 49th street. This being said, I know there’s going to be traffic, I know I should leave 20 minutes early instead of 10 but I do it anyway. I need to start being more aware of things and GET OUT THE DOOR.

2. Stay focused
In November of 2016 I took the course to get my realtor license. I can sell ice to an Eskimo, so selling houses shouldn’t be any harder. I keep putting off taking the state exam because I haven’t been studying and I haven’t studied because Netflix keeps suggesting shows to binge watch. I need to do this if I ever want to get out of bartending.

3. Stop procrastinating
Don’t let the dishes pile up for days. Don’t let the laundry sit in the basket and only pick out clean underwear. Don’t let the dust balls accumulate under the dining room table. Clean the house, clean the car, wash your hair, take nap. DONE! Don’t make cleaning a 3 day ordeal.

4. Call my mother
Because everyone should call their mother more

Isn’t she adorable?

5. Read more books (cookbooks don’t count)
I have a goal of 30 by the end of the year. Last year I averaged about 5. Audio books count too.

6. Get outside
I seem to be allergic to the sun and that needs to change.

7. Get more active
This doesn’t mean “go to the gym” because that’s not for everyone and that’s not a solution to the problem. This means do some backyard yoga, chase some Pokémon in the park, do something else other than binge watch The X-Files and clean the house. Obviously cleaning the house is important but please see number 3 if you’re confused as to why cleaning the house would be a problem.

8. Stop spending unnecessary money on food.
If this sounds weird to you then you’ve never bought a $10 bag of goji berries because you read somewhere that they were good for you. They are, they taste gross, they’re sitting in my pantry practically untouched. As a chef I’m always willing to try new things. I need to try this new spice, the weird vegetable, the crazy new chicken sausage from Whole Foods. Well there goes what I made all week on chicken sausage. I need to sit back and plan my meals and have a reason to purchase things. Meal plans do actually work people. They keep you healthy and keep money in your pocket.

9. Stop spending money on unnecessary clothes
I love a good deal. I love when old navy has buy one get one for a dollar sandals, I love when ModCloth has 30% off dresses, I love when I buy sunglasses at Macy’s and get Plenti points. Do I need those things? Probably not. I, like most women, have a closet and TWO dressers full of clothing that I don’t wear. I need to make better decisions when buying clothes and actually wear what I already have and donate what I don’t want.

10. De clutter
Speaking of donations, I have a problem with keeping little things. I like matchbooks from bars we’ve gone to, stickers from artists in Wynwood, a million pins from Disney that are just sitting in a drawer somewhere. Making better purchasing decisions also goes out to other things too. Bring less home, have less waste, save the whales! Or something like that.

Look at all my cute stuff! Hopefully they’ll help me stay on track.

I have a couple of unofficial goals like write more blog posts, plan to save for baby, and wash my hair more than twice a week; but those aren’t as inspirational as the others ones. What are some of your goals for the new year?