A Year With Myself, Everything Miz Meliz

Writing is My Thing

A Year with Myself 8:   Discovering My Thing and My True Passion

I have been pretty happy lately.  An amazing, out of this world feeling of self-confidence has centered itself in my being.  The main reason I am so happy is because I have turned a corner in my life.  I am doing something that I am truly passionate about.  I know it is the right thing for me, right now.  I am not just writing, I am considering myself a writer.  This is huge for me!  As I embark on this new adventure, I feel excitement and joy.  I am overjoyed by the possibilities and endless adventures that this road may lead.  I feel a sense of accomplishment and a new belief in myself and my abilities.  I am exhilarated, energized and ready to take on the world.  I am open to new experiences and I am making the most of the journey as it unfolds.

When I was a young girl of 11 or 12, I read a book by Elizabeth Forsythe Hailey called A Woman of Independent Means. I loved that book. I couldn’t tell you the details of the story now, but it’s coming back to me little by little. When I thought about what excited me and interested me most back then, for some reason reading that book came to mind.

I remember holding that book in my hands and turning the pages while rolling around and shifting my position on my bed. I remember the bedspread I had on my bed, it was chenille. It was so soft. I had pillow shams with yellow gingham ruffles. I had matching yellow gingham curtains. I can remember the smell of dust in my room, from the window sill above the head of my bed. 

I loved having my bed under the window. I could sit on my bed and look outside as I daydreamed of how my life would be. (I don’t ever remember having serious complications or allergies from the cool air or the dust from the window above my head, but my mother must have warned me about this because I have never allowed my children to have their bed under the window.) Our house was north facing and my bedroom windows faced north. Where I lived we had a robust north wind we called the Santa Ana’s that would hit the front of our house like a slap in the face. It caused lots of dust and leaves to blow on our front porch and at our windows. It made a whistling noise through the windows at night that sounded like howling or crying. (My mother told me never buy a house that faces north, and I didn’t.)

My mom gave me the book A Woman of Independent Means to read, and I loved it. I had no idea then that it was my mother who truly inspired me to be such a woman. Or, that my mother herself was such a woman. I thought to myself back then, “I want a life worth writing about.”

My mother told me lots of things. She gave lots of advice. She told me I could do or be whatever I wanted. She never put restrictions on me. She believed I would learn on my own about the bed being under the windows, as she did about most things. Some things were absolutely not allowed when I was growing up, such as drinking, smoking, and sex. My mom warned me that if I did those things I would get caught and that the truth always comes out . I needed to learn on my own, I guess.  She was right, she did find out!  I caused so much hurt and pain for my mother, because she wanted the best for me. She wanted me to not experience the hurt and pain. But, I learned on my own.

Elizabeth Forsythe Hailey wrote her novel as a series of letters, correspondence and announcements. Reading that book had a big impact on me in many ways. I knew I wanted to keep a journal. I knew written correspondence was important to me. Remembering details was also important and I fine tuned that ability at a young age. I am not good at remembering specific historical dates or even names of famous people, but I have a recall about who, what, where and when as it applies to my own experience. After all, I remembered the title and author of a book I loved over thirty years ago!

I knew I wanted to have experiences in life that would help me to write my own story, or to write a novel like Elizabeth Forsythe Hailey did, that was based on the experiences of her grandmother’s life.

I committed myself to writing about ten years ago when I turned to it as a solace. I was going through depression and dealing with stress from so many things at a time when I was not working outside the home and was caring for my three small children. I always said I would write a novel, or a screen play, or a book of poetry. I was not ready to go forward with it at the time. I did more research than anything else. I poured my heart and soul out in my journals. But I could not think of sharing them with anyone, unless I read the entries aloud so I could see an immediate reaction.

The desire to be a writer has always been there, as it has popped up and tested the waters many times in my life. At no time has it ever felt as real as it does to me right now. The desire is so strong I feel it burning inside me. It’s taking off on its own. It has a life of its own. I keep doing things that propel me in this direction and they aren’t taking any effort at all. What is different from the many attempts of the past? I can say simply this, “Now, I am ready.”

I downloaded the book that I read as a girl by Elizabeth Forsythe Hailey on my Kindle ap. I did not realize that the book had been republished in 1998. I read it in 1979 or 1980 just after it was originally published in 1978. While searching for it on Amazon, I was reminded that it was made into a television mini series starring Sally Field, one of my favorite actresses. I don’t recall seeing the mini series when it was televised.

A Novel by Elizabeth Forsythe Hailey

The coolest thing about rediscovering this book now is that there is an updated preface in the book that Elizabeth Forsythe Hailey wrote in 1998. She was close to my age when her work was first published and she wrote it while raising her two small daughters. She says that “the traditional advice to writers is to ‘write what you know.’ I always amend that to ‘write what you can imagine knowing’.” I feel as though she is speaking directly to me and it is at this moment in my life that I needed to hear these words from the woman who first inspired me to write so long ago.

I never would have said at ten years old that I wanted to be a writer when I grew up. I am sure I said I wanted to be a mother, that I wanted to travel, be famous, have a big house and a convertible! I wanted lots of things. Looking back, I realize that I did always want to be a writer like Elizabeth Forsythe Hailey.

Writing is my thing!

A Year With Myself, Everything Miz Meliz

Super Powers and Super Stardom

My Super Powers:

Mega Cheer leader (enthusiastic)

Smarty Pants (knowledgeable)

Fortune Teller (intuitive)

Event Coordinator (party planner/dictator)

Red Hot Lover (romantic)

Defender of Truth, Justice and the American Way (integrity)

Love Guru (counselor, friend)

Adventurer (traveler/trooper)

Communicator (speaker and listener)

Spiritual Guide (faith)

Super Mom (I try!)

Craft Junkie (hoarder of junk that creatively gets made into cute stuff)

Poet/Writer (I’m working on it!)

Picture Taker (iPhone expert)

Computer Savvy Multi Tasker (I have skills)

Appreciates Beauty & Doesn’t Sweat the Small Stuff (I stop and smell the roses)

Coach, Counselor, Therapist, Dr. Mom (The Doctor is always in)

Social Butterfly (I am everyone’s friend)

 

I took Marcus Buckingham’s  The Strong Life Test for Women.

I learned that I am good at taking these tests and that they are pretty accurate.

Tell me what do you think?  Here are the results. . .

My Leading Role: The Caretaker:  I am acutely aware of everyone else’s emotional state, particularly if I sense they are feeling hurt or slighted. I am instinctively inclusive, always looking for ways to draw others into the circle and make them feel wanted, heard, and appreciated.

I can be heard asking . . .  “Is everyone okay?”

My best leading role quality: My open heart

My Supporting Role: Weaver:  I see the world as a web of relationships, and I am always excited by the prospect of connecting two new people within my web.

I am always thinking. . . “Who can I connect?”

My best supporting role quality: My genuine curiosity.

Yeah! I am a SuperStar!
A Year With Myself, Everything Miz Meliz

Part 2: Extremely Long and Dangerously Accurate

Part 2:  Extremely Long and Dangerously Accurate  – the Detailed Description of my Personality Type

(mostly cut and pasted directly from humanmetrics and keirsey)

 It is Rather Ideal!

Idealists are passionately concerned with personal growth and development. Stop!  That’s me!  I buy in to self help books, magazines, Oprah!   Idealists strive to discover who they are and how they can become their best possible self — always this quest for self-knowledge and self-improvement drives their imagination. So true! And they want to help others make the journey. I really do!  Idealists are naturally drawn to working with people, and whether in education or counseling, in social services or personnel work, in journalism or the ministry, they are gifted at helping others find their way in life, often inspiring them to grow as individuals and to fulfill their potentials. Wow! I did not read this until after I wrote Amazing Grace.  Very cool!

According to Keirsey, These are my “core” characteristics:

  • I am enthusiastic, I trust my intuition, yearn for romance, seek my true self, prize meaningful relationships, and dream of attaining wisdom.
  • I pride myself on being loving, kindhearted, and authentic.
  • I tend to be giving, trusting, spiritual, and I focus on my personal journey and human potential.
  • I apparently make an intense mate, a nurturing parent, and an inspirational leader. I must say I am proud myself right now – I love all of these qualities!

Idealists are sure that friendly cooperation is the best way for people to achieve their goals. Umm, Can’t we all just get along?  Conflict and confrontation upset them because they seem to put up angry barriers between people. Idealists dream of creating harmonious, even caring personal relations, and they have a unique talent for helping people get along with each other and work together for the good of all. Such interpersonal harmony might be a romantic ideal, but then Idealists are incurable romantics who prefer to focus on what might be, rather than what is. The real, practical world is only a starting place for Idealists; they believe that life is filled with possibilities waiting to be realized, rich with meanings calling out to be understood. Life is full of possibilities!  I honestly believe there is a silver lining to every situation! This idea of a mystical or spiritual dimension to life, the “not visible” or the “not yet” that can only be known through intuition or by a leap of faith, is far more important to Idealists than the world of material things.

Highly ethical in their actions, Idealists hold themselves to a strict standard of personal integrity. This reminds me of my favorite book on self improvement:  The Four Agreements.  I’ll re-post the four agreements on my blog again soon.  They must be true to themselves and to others, and they can be quite hard on themselves when they are dishonest, or when they are false or insincere. More often, however, Idealists are the very soul of kindness. This came up recently at work when I was absolutely devastated when I was told that someone had complained about me being rude to them.  I was shocked!!  It truly pained me to think that someone would feel that way about me.  Particularly in their personal relationships, Idealists are without question filled with love and good will. They believe in giving of themselves to help others; they cherish a few warm, sensitive friendships; they strive for a special rapport with their children; and in marriage they wish to find a “soulmate,” someone with whom they can bond emotionally and spiritually, sharing their deepest feelings and their complex inner worlds. This is all very true about me.  My family and friends are so important to me.

Idealists are relatively rare, making up no more than 15 to 20 percent of the population. But their ability to inspire people with their enthusiasm and their idealism has given them influence far beyond their numbers.  Idealists need to be esteemed for their ability to help others, particularly emotional help. I have been called “the glue that holds the family together” – – this was the most empowering realization to me.

Even more than the other Idealists, Teachers have a natural talent for leading students or trainees toward learning, or as Idealists like to think of it, they are capable of calling forth each learner’s potentials. Okay, did you read the story of the boy and the flag?  It is in me – part of my personality, my inner core beliefs – to help in this way.  Teachers (around two percent of the population) are able – effortlessly, it seems, and almost endlessly-to dream up fascinating learning activities for their students to engage in. In some Teachers, this ability to fire the imagination can amount to a kind of genius which other types find hard to emulate. But perhaps their greatest strength lies in their belief in their students. Teachers look for the best in their students, and communicate clearly that each one has untold potential, and this confidence can inspire their students to grow and develop more than they ever thought possible. Maybe I should think about teaching again!  Wait, I really should go back to teaching!

In whatever field they choose, Teachers consider people their highest priority, and they instinctively communicate personal concern and a willingness to become involved. Warmly outgoing, and perhaps the most expressive of all the types, Teachers are remarkably good with language, especially when communicating in speech, face to face. And they do not hesitate to speak out and let their feelings be known. Bubbling with enthusiasm, Yes, that’s me! Teachers will voice their passions with dramatic flourish, and can, with practice, become charismatic public speakers. This verbal ability gives Teachers a good deal of influence in groups, and they are often asked to take a leadership role. Since high school, I have been told I was a leader. . . I wasn’t quite sure that I fit the bill.  I do!

Teachers like things settled and organized, and will schedule their work hours and social engagements well ahead of time — and they are absolutely trustworthy in honoring these commitments. Valuing as they do interpersonal cooperation and harmonious relations, Teachers are extraordinarily tolerant of others, are easy to get along with, and are usually popular wherever they are.  Hmm . . . interesting. I do have a problem with flaking out.  I don’t like to do it, but as things get crazy with the kids’ schedules I tend not to make any commitments if there is a chance I can’t come through.

Teachers are highly sensitive to others, which is to say their intuition tends to be well developed. Certainly their insight into themselves and others is unparalleled. Without a doubt, they know what is going on inside themselves, and they can read other people with uncanny accuracy. People always tell me they can talk to me about anything and I am the person people come to when they are in trouble.  I often find myself giving advice.  I am careful about this these days, because I don’t want to sound like a know it all. But I will always be open and honest if you ask me for my opinion.  Teachers also identify with others quite easily, and will actually find themselves picking up the characteristics, emotions, and beliefs of those around them. Because they slip almost unconsciously into other people’s skin in this way, Teachers feel closely connected with those around them, and thus show a sincere interest in the joys and problems of their employees, colleagues, students, clients, and loved ones. This explains why I feel like I am from New Mexico!  I say it is in my blood.  Actually I spent so much time around family from Albuquerque when I was a kid, that I “absorbed” the feeling of growing up there!

Since Idealists tend to work for a better future for all, if things keep going badly and they lose hope they become stressed. When Idealists experience great stress, they can have muscle or sensory problems. Yes.  This really happens!

The Teacher is likely to become stressed if they experience an absence of trust and too much pressure to conform. They also dislike interpersonal conflict. If this happens, they may become excessively critical, which is antithetical to their normal positive self. One of the signs that the Teacher is in high stress is muscle tics, restless legs or cramps. To recover, this normally social type must be left alone. Solitude and journal writing can help them get back to normal. Also getting out of the current arena of conflict and taking on a new project can restore their sense of self. This is incredibly accurate and it is exactly what I do to handle it.

Idealist women tend to be very romantic. They love to give and receive tokens of affection, such as an original poem, a hand carved box, or an item which reminds them of some shared experience. Men often appreciate their compassion and empathy along with their belief in others. When dating, they hope they’ll get to know each other through deep conversation. Now I am weirded out!  How does answering some questions about my habits reveal this about me?  I am feeling less unique and more predictable.  It’s all so true!

This is how I want to be shown love:

  • Listen to me without trying to solve my problems. Periodically summarize, synthesize, and restate so it is clear you are listening intelligently
  • Express your belief that I can come up with good answers to problems but be prepared to provide shelter when the fallout gets unbearable
  • Praise me for my insights into people and my ability to help people
  • Protect me from emotional devastation
  • Recognize that I have an irresistibly beautiful soul

Idealist women love to receive personalized gifts which hold great symbolism for both parties. These items can be as small as a four leafed clover found in the yard to symbolize a wishing of luck. The more specific the items are to the unique relationship of the couple, the happier she will be. Idealist women love the idea that their partner was thinking about them. Other things which heighten a sense of intimacy are sharing a laugh in public over a private joke and communicating in a private language.  Hey, Honey, remember keychains and the sticky frog?  Grape ape?

Idealists give a lot to romantic relationships but they are also high maintenance. I always say I don’t know how my husband knows everything about me and still wants to be with me!  He deserves an award for putting up with me! If you have an Idealist partner, you can expect to spend a fair amount of time talking and even more listening. Idealists are very sensitive to what other people think, especially their loved ones. Providing support and a belief in them is far more important than giving them the “right” answer, which may not even be the best thing for them to do. Luckily Lito has gotten very good at taking care of me!

The one thing that can destroy a relationship with an Idealist is a values conflict. Idealists value relationships, but they also have certain uncompromising values. If a partner seems to be violating those values, the Idealist will stretch and stretch to try to accommodate the partner. However, if an acceptable solution is not reached, the Idealist will eventually snap. At this point, the relationship is usually beyond any possible repair. Keep an open line of communication with your Idealist partner to avoid this kind of outcome.  Whoa!  Our biggest conflicts are always a matter of principle.

The thing Idealists most long for is intimacy. Couples can have intimacy in body, mind, and soul. Idealists want all three but are most attracted by intimacy of souls. They love to share their future plans or dreams with their partner, and they love to listen to their partner’s desires. It’s usually just fine if these dreams are not at all the same as long as they don’t contradict each other in any important way. Sharing secrets about the innermost you is a great way to encourage intimacy of all three varieties. Ain’t love grand?

If you are having problems, do not keep that information from your partner. You may think you don’t want to burden them, but they will know that something is upsetting you. Idealists feel very hurt if a loved one doesn’t trust them enough to let them know what is going on. I’m repeating that sentence. . . Idealists feel very hurt if a loved one doesn’t trust them enough to let them know what is going on. Although Idealists can often seem very fragile and likely to break at the slightest touch, but when true adversity hits, they generally rise to the occasion and become a stout oak of support.  I can stay cool in times of trouble, earthquakes, accidents, injuries. . . I’m your rock!

The bottom line with an Idealist is to give them emotional support. Nurture your mate and you will probably get an intensely loyal and totally devoted partner.  Oh yeah!

If your valentine is an Idealist, you are likely to need to do a lot of work. Most Idealists are very romantic and enjoy the romantic feel of Valentine’s Day. While traditional gifts can keep you out of the dog house, you will need to be a bit more creative to really capture their loving feelings. Idealists often like things specially made for them, such as a hand made card, decorated clothing (children’s handprints.) Another thing that is often a big hit is a coupon book. The coupons can be for things like a back rub, doing the dishes, movie night, and so on. The cornier the coupons are, the better (“One coupon for a 15 minute back (and maybe lower ;-)) rub from your devoted slave”). Ha, ha!  I hate to admit this is true.  I still wouldn’t mind chocolates and roses, but as long as you do something for me, I will be happy!

Idealist parents are generally the best of all parents at finding and encouraging their children’s unique abilities. While many parents are good at encouraging their children, Idealists are especially gifted in figuring out what to nurture and encourage. They are also the most likely to be able to ‘read’ their children’s minds and have a good idea of what is going on inside each of their children. This can lead to trouble since they will at times ‘read’ incorrectly and then react based on what they think is happening. I am sure my kids have experienced this more than once! This can be avoided by talking to the child to confirm or modify an intuition before acting on it. A person fortunate enough to be brought up in a mature Idealist’s home generally has a strong sense of who they really are, a validation of themselves and their dreams, and an emotional sensitivity to others. Boo-ya!!

Pay attention boys! Here are some tips on how to communicate effectively with your Idealist parent. Avoid values conflicts. Try to fit what you are wanting or needing in terms of your parent’s values. If you fight with them on their values, you’ll lose the battle and the war. Remember, they have had a lot more time than you have to develop their beliefs. They have good reasons for their values (maybe some bad ones too). Find and respect those reasons. Thank you. J

The thing that makes an Idealist parent the happiest is when their children open up and talk to them about their most important beliefs, ideas, dreams, values, etc. Sharing intimately with your parent is the easiest way to communicate effectively with them. You can then ask for almost anything and get it, especially if you can show how what you are asking for will cause you to develop as a person.  Oh, there you go!!  You had me at hello!

 

Well, there you have it.  Now you know everything about me!  Now, try taking the test yourself.  Let me know what your personality type is and what you think of the descriptions.  I hope you enjoy the experience as much as I did!

http://www.humanmetrics.com/cgi-win/JTypes2.asp

http://keirsey.com/4temps/teacher.aspx

Experience!

A Year With Myself, Everything Miz Meliz

She Has a Great Personality!

Part 1:  The Truth About Me: Discovering my Personality Type

I enjoyed taking the free Jung Typology Test to discover my Myers-Briggs personality type. The test was fast and easy. The questions were short and sweet. I loved reading the description relating to my personality profile and found it amazingly accurate. I was curious if the result would be the same if I took the test another time. I waited four days and took it again. As I answered the questions, I thought I might have changed my answer on some of them. I was sure it would have a different result. Nope! It came out exactly the same! Impressive. Especially since, according to the description, only 15-20% of the population falls into the same category that I do.

I learned that my type is ENFJ: Extraverted, Intuitive, Feeling, Judging. This combination of types is called a Teacher and is categorized as an Idealist. I can say that I knew this about myself. If I had been asked to describe myself in four words prior to taking the test, I might have said “I am outgoing, insightful, emotional, and accepting.”  Out of all the categories, I think Idealist describes me best.

It’s All About Love and Hate

Once I discovered my personality type, I thought about my past work experiences. I have always loved helping people. I loved leading retreats in high school and as a young adult. I have always been good at leading group discussions. I have always enjoyed working in general. I like the sense of accomplishment and of making a difference.

Some of the jobs that I have had over the years never felt like “work” to me. After high school I worked in retail sales. That was fun! I liked meeting and helping nice people and I loved making displays and decorating the store window. After I got married I did data entry at a manufacturing firm in the Contracts Department. I enjoyed my job there quite a bit – I liked working with the Sales Department, following the orders from sales to shipping, typing and manipulating data, making reports, and transferring information. I found it to be easy and I felt important.

It was during that time that I began volunteering. I worked with Youth Ministry and taught Confirmation classes at my church. One of the things I enjoyed was creating newsletters that went out to the kids and parents. Eventually I did this at other jobs and as technology improved I began to email newsletters and create websites. I love the creativity and the technical ability I use in making web sites and newsletters. It makes me happy that others will read it to get information and be entertained. I especially loved working with teenagers and young people. I enjoyed high school myself and I like to be connected with high school age kids. They remind me of the best times in my life and give me energy.

Something else I got into during my volunteer work at St. John Eudes church and school was planning events – my most favorite thing! I absolutely love hosting parties, planning trips, coordinating meetings, planning group outings, reunions, conferences, training, anything! I became very good at this when I was an executive assistant at a regional bank office. It was part of my job to plan events of all kinds. That part of my job never felt like work!

I realized that I felt energized when I was organizing meetings and events, coordinating big events and fundraisers. I love engaging others and team building. I find coordinating annual events the most fulfilling because I have been blessed with volunteers who come back year after year.  They tell me, “Melissa, if you are in charge, I will help out.”  That makes me feel so good!

Some of my absolutely favorite jobs have been in a professional environment.  I loved working in Downtown Los Angeles in a high rise office building! I also loved working onWestwood Blvd.in a retail store. I love cities. I love being around people. I love the feeling of motion and excitement. I love dressing up in power suits and business dress attire. I love meeting new people and greeting guests. I loved helping the managers and district managers and doing projects for the executives when I worked in banking. I loved the little things about working downtown like riding the commuter train or a public bus to work.  I was always thrilled while passing well known or historical landmarks on my way into the city.  I was grateful seeing the diverse cultures that live inL.A.and the feeling of being part of something big.  I liked going to restaurants and trying the unique foods. It was an amazing experience to “feel the pulse of the city.”  It felt natural and comfortable to me.  I was in my element.  It was a little scary at first for a Valley Girl like me!  But it empowered me and gave me an incredible sense of purpose.

Thinking back, I remember some not so great experiences.  I hated working the cash register at Giuliano’s Delicatessen, my very first job. Even though I was introduced to some amazing Italian food that I love to this day, I really hated working there and wearing that goofy floral print dress with the poofy sleeves and apron!.  I do wish that place was still around though.  My mouth waters just thinking about the cheese stuffed spinach tortellini!  Mmmm!

I hated working in an office with no windows doing meaningless busy work like when I worked for my Dad the summer between junior and senior year of high school. I hated working in the document control room, where I filled orders to make copies of blue prints, drawings, and other documents.

Some jobs I have hated had some advantages or perks that made it worth it.  I hated working in the phone room as a recruiter and doing surveys by phone for a marketing research firm while I was in college. However, I have a lot of great memories of working there in my college years, and I had many valuable experiences.  I made lifelong friends at that job.  I especially liked being the phone room supervisor.

I hated working the cash register at Bruce’s Deli, but I loved doing the accounting and managing the store. I had a lot of responsibility there.   I loved attending and hosting Chamber of Commerce mixers and doing catering jobs for film sets.

I liked being a contract clerk in the sales department at my Dad’s company when I went back after I got married.  I had a wonderful boss who was into team leading.  He once told me that he thought I should consider law school.  He thought I would be good at mitigation.  He is the first person who gave me the confidence to have a high goal like that.  I hated when I first became an administrative assistant to a regional bank manager because there was so much drama with him, but I loved the work that I did. I loved doing awards events for the managers. That was fun!

I loved being the administrative assistant for a senior vice president in business banking because he trusted me to go to the many offices and attend meetings at the different locations where I supported the regional managers that reported to him. I loved coordinating outings and events for them.  That boss was instrumental in my biggest career advancement to date.  When he left to work at another bank, he opened the door for me to work at the executive office there.  He always looked out for me.

I hate the pressure of working for other people unless they appreciate the value I bring to making their job easier.  I am always happy to do things for others.  Either for their enjoyment or to make things better for them.

Sometimes work makes me sick!  The worst was being the middle manager at a retail store – being the one who does all the work, has all the responsibility, but makes no decisions and gets no credit. I hated that! I used to bust my butt working late into the night to make the store look perfect, balance my cash registers, make my deposits, create quotas and schedule employees, and the manager would walk in looking pretty carrying a big cup of coffee and get all the credit.  I felt the same way when I was a phone room supervisor. I used to get sick to my stomach in the elevator on the way to my office.  I despised the treatment I got there.  Being bossed, not managed, and pressured by the project manager to get the work done on time and within budget. I couldn’t stomach having to be responsible for getting the work done by my employees and not getting any appreciation for it. I didn’t fare well having to be the middle person between the workers and the bosses. I liked being the assistant to the boss – the “right hand.” I would prefer that to being the boss or being “bossed.”  One thing that I learned over the years is there is a big difference between being the boss and being a manager.

Honestly, it was a relief when they demoted me from that position and I quit. That was the only time I ever had that experience. Most times I changed jobs it was because of another opportunity that came along. There are some jobs I didn’t mind leaving, but I left because I wanted a change, either more money or better conditions.

I was sad leaving my executive assistant position at the bank. Sometimes I regret it. I completely loved that job and I miss it. There was a great deal of responsibility. I was managed to my strengths and valued as a person. I loved the things that I did well. I have always been a quick learner and I was grateful for the opportunity to train in the various areas of banking even though banking wasn’t my thing. I enjoyed the “go-to person” being knowledgeable while continuing to learn and increasing my value and expertise. Being a point person enabled me to help the managers and bankers, the other employees and the customers. I loved the sense of accomplishment I felt and I loved being appreciated. My boss took the time to get to know me and enjoyed knowing me. I always knew that he liked me and trusted me. It was very important to him that he could trust me. He was a good judge of character and an honorable man. I would get there early and stay late so I could get everything done and because I enjoyed being there so much. I think my boss reminded me of my Dad. He was so kind and thoughtful. He went out of his way to make sure I felt important and appreciated. If he had a success, or got a bonus, he shared it with me in some way. He was cognizant of how my input made things easier for him.

I never liked working in food service or in production. I don’t like doing the same thing all the time, over and over. I don’t like feeling subservient. I like serving others, but I don’t want to feel “less than”. Sales for commission always disturbed me. I don’t want to make a sale that charges someone more money so I can make my living. I don’t want to take advantage of others or scam them in any way.

Amazing Grace

Now I work at my son’s middle school as the administrative assistant to the principal.  Working at a school has its advantages. This happens to be the school I attended myself.  It is a Catholic school.  I love that what we are producing is an education for children and helping them to shape their future. I love that our customers are the students, their parents and families. I love working with educated people who are passionate about teaching. I love working in a Catholic environment where spirituality is expected and valued. I love the feeling of sharing my experiences that I have had with my kids and helping other parents and their kids. Once in awhile I get the satisfaction of doing some little thing that makes me so very happy and feeds my soul.

One example of this is the time that I taught a student how to fold the American flag and explained why it is important to treat the flag with respect. He was trying to help with the daily task of taking the flag down from the flag pole.  He obviously had never done it before and didn’t get the usual training from Student Council.  I saw him carrying the flag in a bunch and part of it about to be dragged along the floor of my office.  I stopped him and he thought he was getting in trouble.  I said, “Please let me show you how to do that.  There is a special way to fold the flag.  Do you know why?”  As we folded the flag together I told him that as Americans it is our duty to honor the flag.  Soldiers are taught to treat the flag as if it is a living thing.  It represents all the souls who have died for our country.  I explained that we never let it touch the ground and that it is folded into a triangle with the stars showing when complete.

That was a good day.  The student seemed happy enough to get some attention and learn something new.  I had no idea how much he had taken it to heart until that same boy came back a few months later and asked me to help him show someone else the right way to do it. What an amazing honor! I was truly touched. That boy will always remember me for taking the time to teach him that. He has demonstrated a new found respect for something patriotic, symbolic and lasting. I made a difference in his life because I took the time to show him and share why it is important. Once in awhile I get to make an impact in this way.

The highly unusual and unexpected ways that I am able to help someone are the most rewarding. The most fulfilling is passing forward a kindness. Kids are amazed if I give them a few coins when they ask for change and say they don’t need to pay me back. Or when I give them a book and ask for nothing in return. It makes me happiest when I can help a family.   A simple gesture like a hug or a smile means so much to a mother when her child has been injured at school. All I ever say when someone asks how they can repay me is, “Just pay it forward. Help someone else someday.”

It’s Not the End of The World – It’s Just Politics!

I hate office politics. “Why can’t we all just get along?” is a phrase that I use much  too often. I enjoy working for and with others. But I like to be left alone to do my work. I need some outward signs of appreciation to know that I am valued, but I like very little direction. I need attention, especially when I am given a project to do and when it is completed, but the rest of the time I need to be trusted. If I ask, “Can help you with that?” it is because I want to help you, I want to be helpful.

I wrote in another post that if I could do anything I wanted without risk and without repercussions, I would not work. I know that I would need to stay busy and I would want to do some kind of work. I like to work on projects. I enjoy doing projects or things that will have an end. I need to have that sense of accomplishment. When I have taken long periods of time off work or when I have taken stay at home vacations I have repainted the living room, re-decorated the bedrooms, made Christmas presents by hand, cleaned closets, and had garage sales.  In fact, when I was a stay at home parent with my three kids, I soldAvon!

I have never had the experience of getting paid more money than I thought my work was worth. I have never had the experience of getting paid for doing work that I would do for free. I have worked for free and loved it. I have also done work for free and hated it.  Someday, I hope to be able to say, “Wow, this is great!  I am doing exactly what I love, and they pay me, too!”

Roses & Sunsets:  Why I Love What I Love

I see how a lot of this has to do with my personality type. Why have I made the choices I have made? Why do I like what I like? What makes me truly happy?  I learned a long time ago that doing what you are passionate about is the best thing. But I also know that loving what you have is important. In this economy, I am grateful for the job I have and the opportunities it brings for my children and my family. It may not be the perfect job for me, but I know I can do it well and I can make the best of it. That is confirmed by knowing my personality type! After all, I am a teacher!

I enjoyed thinking about my journey through the different jobs I have had and all that I have experienced.  It’s amazing to read the descriptions of my personality and evaluate the reasons I love what I love!  It wasn’t all roses and sunsets, that is for sure!  That is why I appreciate roses and sunsets all the more!

Read Part 2 of this post to learn more about my personality.  (If you dare!)

A Year With Myself, Everything Miz Meliz

Truth is Essential

Ronna Detrick says, “Self-love is something we hear about all the time. And we feel pressure to do it—all the time, perfectly, proficiently. But pressure is not consistent with self-love, whether self- or other-imposed. Rather, it comes through grace—and permission, time and patience.”

“Love is patient, love is kind… It keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails.” (from 1 Corinthians 13).

As Ronna puts it, “These are the nourishment and sustenance of ever-growing self-acceptance and self-love; of telling and living your truth.”

These unedited, uncensored words and feelings are my truth:

I will take time to practice grace. I give myself the permission to live my truth. I give myself the time. I have all the time in the world. I will be patient with myself.

If I extended myself endless patience and kindness, I would feel calm and totally free.  I could do no wrong!  There would be no clock timing me. No deadlines. No worries or concerns.

I would never ask myself, “Am I doing the right thing?”  or “Do I even know what I am talking about?”  I would never be hard on myself or feel badly about what I am doing or not doing.

It wouldn’t bother me that the dishes and laundry pile up.  I wouldn’t stress about how the bills are going to get paid.  Or, if I need to exercise more or watch my diet.

I don’t know if I could handle just gliding through life that way!  Would it seem like I had no cares at all? No, because I do care.  Caring about these things makes me me!

Endless patience.  That means no limits and no constraints.  Just time.  All the time in the world.  All the “eventuallys” would slip away and become “whens” rather than “if I evers”.

Endless patience.  That means having faith that it will be.  Just knowing it will be.  Trusting myself that it will be.

And Kindness.  Instead of putting restrictions on myself and feeling bad and guilty, I would just be kind, understanding and loving to myself.

It really boils down having faith in myself and trusting that I am responsible and I will be what I need to be and do what I need to do when it counts.

If I were to let go of my internal record-keeping, the laundry list of all that I’ve done wrong, and all the places in which I feel inferior, sub-par, or less-than, I would feel happy with the way I am.

I like myself.  I honestly do like myself and I think I am great!  I am great!

If I could let go of the feeling that I need everyone to agree with me, I would breathe easier and be happy.  If I could stop harping on past mistakes and just keep on keeping on, rise above the misperceptions and not take things personally, learn from the errors and make adjustments and absorb the rest, I could breathe freely and rest peacefully.

If I were to be ever-so still and listen for my own internal voice, the one that existed before the irritating ones took over, I would hear these words:

You are who you are Melissa.  You are beautiful and kind.  You care about others.  You love your family.  You are smart and talented.  You make things happen.  You are special and sweet.  All that matters is that you remain true to yourself.  Take care of yourself.  Enrich your spirit and feed your soul.  Live all the moments of your life.  Be.  Do.  Love.  Lift yourself up.  Stay strong in the knowing.

If I were to do whatever I wanted, whatever I felt—no ramifications or risks —I would stop working.  I would make my home beautiful.  I would walk.  I would write.  I would travel.  I would be with my loved ones.  I would have parties.  I would shop.  I would have fun.  I would laugh more.  I would drive.  I would eat out.  I would wear comfortable clothes.  I would sleep in.  I would stay up late.  I would drink and smoke.  I would get better at Scrabble.  I would go to the beach.

If I could say anything I wanted, whatever I felt – no ramifications or risks – I do not know if I would say anything.  I don’t feel the need to explain or justify.  I just want to be free to express myself and hope that I am understood.  I want the world to know that I have good intentions.  I want to be happy.  I want others to be happy.  I want to help them.  I love the people around me.

I would say . . .I accept you.  Please accept me the way I am.  Please just ask me if you don’t understand me.  Am I really that hard to understand?  Am I hard to like?

If I could say anything, I would ask these questions.  I would say, “Excuse me – but what is it about me that you don’t like?”  “What don’t you get?”

“Because, I am just doing my thing here.  I am just happy to be alive and I want to be a good person and survive another day.  Is that okay with you?”

I would tell my boss and co-workers, “Put me to work.  Use my talents.  If I don’t do things right, tell me.  If I need to get better, give me a chance.”

I would tell my friends,  “If I hurt you in some way, please know it was unintentional and I honestly do not want to hurt you.  I want to make you happy.  I want to make you feel secure.  You can trust me.  You should know that I love you.  I have nothing against you.  I think you are amazing!  I appreciate you and your talents and abilities.  I wish I could know you better.  I wish you would take time to get to know me. I wish you wanted to know me better.  Because, I am great!

If you want to read more about Investing My Faith in Myself, Click Here:

https://mizmeliz.com/2012/09/16/investing-my-faith-in-myself/

To see the poem, “I am Great” Click Here: https://mizmeliz.com/2012/02/16/i-am-great/

This is my truth.  Considering my truth, I was reminded of a poem given to me by a friend years ago.  He told me his mother gave it to him when he came out. 
 
In Latin, Desiderata means, “Things desired that are essential”. . .
 
Desiderata— written by Max Ehrmann in the 1920s —
Go placidly amid the noise and the haste,
and remember what peace there may be in silence.As far as possible, without surrender,
be on good terms with all persons.
Speak your truth quietly and clearly;
and listen to others,
even to the dull and the ignorant;
they too have their story.
Avoid loud and aggressive persons;
they are vexatious to the spirit.

If you compare yourself with others,
you may become vain or bitter,
for always there will be greater and lesser persons than yourself.
Enjoy your achievements as well as your plans.
Keep interested in your own career, however humble;
it is a real possession in the changing fortunes of time.

Exercise caution in your business affairs,
for the world is full of trickery.
But let this not blind you to what virtue there is;
many persons strive for high ideals,
and everywhere life is full of heroism.
Be yourself. Especially do not feign affection.
Neither be cynical about love,
for in the face of all aridity and disenchantment,
it is as perennial as the grass.

Take kindly the counsel of the years,
gracefully surrendering the things of youth.
Nurture strength of spirit to shield you in sudden misfortune.
But do not distress yourself with dark imaginings.
Many fears are born of fatigue and loneliness.

Beyond a wholesome discipline,
be gentle with yourself.
You are a child of the universe
no less than the trees and the stars;
you have a right to be here.
And whether or not it is clear to you,
no doubt the universe is unfolding as it should.

Therefore be at peace with God,
whatever you conceive Him to be.
And whatever your labors and aspirations,
in the noisy confusion of life,
keep peace in your soul.

With all it’s sham, drudgery, and broken dreams,
it is still a beautiful world.
Be cheerful. Strive to be happy.

“Keep Peace in Your Soul”

There is more to me than meets the eye.
 
 http://www.ronnadetrick.com/
http://ayearwithmyself.com/about-the-program/
http://mibizevents.com
 
 
A Year With Myself, Everything Miz Meliz

A Nice Complexion

Sara Blackthorne says: “Who are the women in your story, the ancestors, who have walked the path of their own true stories? How do you find your beautiful reflection in the world? How do you tend and nurture your core story, as you would tend a tree in the forest?”

Have I “found the answers to my seeking heart?  Have I learned that witnessing—the silent watching of our actions and adventures” adds value to my life?

When I was young, I was told that I had a beautiful complexion.  That was usually followed by the words, “if you only lost some weight, you would be very pretty!”  It took a long time to discover that I was pretty the way I am, just not perfect in the eyes of others.  And it took a little longer to realize that in the eyes of some, I was quite beautiful just the way I was.  And to one person in particular, I am the most beautiful person he has ever seen, because of the way that I am – inside and out.  He and the children that we made together out of love, are the only ones that count.  Their love feeds my soul.  Their love is pure and unconditional. 

I learned at an early age the importance of loving oneself.  I attended Catholic schools since 5th grade and I believed what they told me, “You are loved!”  “God doesn’t make junk!”  “You are unique and special.”  I knew my talents were gifts and that my existence on this Earth had purpose and value.

My mother had me later in life.  Not too late by today’s standards.  She and my Dad had two children within the first few years of marriage.  13 years later, I came along.  They called me “their surprise baby.”  They always corrected people if someone said that I was an accident.  My Mom told me that I was a blessing and that I came at a time in her life when she needed me most.  She said I kept her young.  She also said on occassion, that I would be the one to take care of her when she got old.  And I did.

Being the youngest in my family and also in my generation on both sides, I wasn’t sure where I fit in all the time.  I typically stayed in the shadows.  I watched and listened to what my brother and sister did, how they acted, and how my parents reacted to what they did.  People said I was shy.  I just kept quiet most of the time, taking it all in.  I observed everything.  My family was fun, loud, boisterous, outgoing, friendly and loving.  I didn’t have a voice to match all the adults and their personalities!  But I was just like them.  It wasn’t until after I was married and had children of my own that I felt that I completely fit in. 

When my brother got married in Washington D.C. years ago, my husband and I attended with our small children.  It was your typical exciting family wedding, festivities coupled with sightseeing and meeting the new in-laws.  My parents were there and we all stayed with my brother and sister-in-law to be in an old three-story brownstone in the city.  They got married on Thanksgiving weekend, so it took a lot to coordinate a two-family Thanksgiving, the rehearsal dinner, and the wedding.  Jennifer’s family lived in Alexandria, VA and we came from California, so everyone was out of their “element.”

On the day of the wedding, I helped by making sure everyone was in the right place at the right time.  Jennifer’s father made an observation and statement that has stayed with me from that very moment on.  He said, “Melissa, you are the glue that hold’s this family together.”

I am the glue.

That is an important job.

That is my purpose.

I didn’t realize it up until then.  I needed to hear it.  I hadn’t quite figured out my role yet.  I am grateful for Dave’s witness.  It was the first time I became aware of someone outside my immediate family “silently watching my actions and adventures.”  I love the analogy, too.

It is a blessing and a curse to be the “glue.”  You have to be fluid and pliable, while maintaining your strength.  In my family, and typically with my friends and at work, I am Switzerland.  I remain neutral.  Because of this I am the one everyone opens up to and comes to with their problems.  My ability to observe and keep my opinions safeguarded has made it possible for me to see all points of view.  People can count on me not to judge them and to provide honest, thoughtful advice when asked.

My gift has helped me with my parenting skills as well.  I am fair, yet strong with my three sons. I believe they are comfortable coming to me when they have questions or problems.  They value my opinion and respect me.  I had a similar relationship with my mother once I was in my twenties.

I turned to her for everything.  I called her many times a day.  I could tell her anything.  I shared all the best and worst moments of my life with her.  From childhood on she gave me wonderful advice and calmed me when I was worried.  She was the youngest in her family too.  She understood about age differences.  She guided me through life having had the same perspective that I do in so many aspects.  She warned me about boys and other dangers.  She counselled me about relationships.  She empowered me to explore and have adventures.  She showered me with love and acceptance.  She was bright, kind, proud and beautiful.  I hear myself saying things that she said.  I feel her presence constantly.  I do believe I am a reflection of my mother.  And I have been told often, “You have your mother’s complexion!”

Me

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A Year With Myself, Everything Miz Meliz, Poems

My Soul’s Compass

My Soul’s Compass

Point me in the right direction,

may I have the best intention.

It guides me,

it pulls me.

My soul’s compass is within,

it allows me to begin

(again. . . and again.)

Where do I want to go today?

About how long shall I stay?

Spin the dial,

take a chance.

My compass isn’t just a guide,

my soul is open for a ride.

My heart beats,

today I dance.

Don’t get lost deep down inside,

beware not to run and hide.

Sometimes it spins,

it always wins.

Do not fear in case you fall,

just pick up and walk tall.

Alive in spirit,

from high above.

Your soul’s compass will do it’s part,

you will find it in your heart.

Like a dove

you’re meant for love!

– – Melissa Reyes, 1-10-2012

A Year With Myself, Everything Miz Meliz

Transformation

I was looking through my journals because I am so excited that I have started writing again, that I wanted to take pen to paper.  (Remember paper?)  I flipped through some of the poetry that I wrote and I can’t believe it’s been ten years since I wrote regularly.  Ten years! So much has happened since then.  I have been inspired lately by some of my friends who blog, and the challenges and prompts are all about finding oneself and improving.  I am more about embracing, exploring and experiencing right now.  I realize that I have been through quite a transformation in my life in the past decade.  In 2002 I was struggling.  Writing helped.  Reading over what I wrote helps a lot.  One of the journals that I wrote back then I called “I Love My Life.”  I was just learning about acceptance and loving the moment.

If I imagine myself on a threshold of new possibilities, I consider that there is much more to learn and so much more to experience. I read Patti Digh’s article on Liminal Spaces and began to think of how I really enjoy the space that I am in at the moment.  A liminial space is that space in-between, “not the here or the there, but the not here and not there.” Digh calls this the transition zone.  It’s the moment of release before a trapeze artist would catch the new bar.  Like swinging on monkey bars, you must let go and swing to the next one.  It is the exhilarating moment that you are in the air.  And I feel as though I am weightless, flying through life right now.

Digh describes this space as the moment that there is nothing to hold on to.  It is the moment when we are flying that the real changes occur.  It is when we are “the most present, most alive, most vulnerable, most human.”  She suggests that we “cross the threshold, enjoy the space between and fly.”

I am ready for this!  After I turned forty and both my parents and, more recently, my sister passed away, I felt like I was at a point that I could express my thoughts and feelings openly.  I was not as concerned with what others thought of me anymore.  I was less likely to seek approval.  I am the mom now.  I developed into a person that I liked.  When some of my friends were going through divorce or major career and life changes, I was at a strong point in my marriage and in my life.  Healthy and active, financially stable (for the most part) and generally happy and satisfied.  I am grateful for this.  I am especially grateful after reading through my journals because it reminded me that it did not come easily.

The monkey bar that was so difficult to let go of was the feeling that I needed to make something of myself.  I wanted so desperately to be something. I felt as though I should have a degree, or advance in my career, or make a difference in some way.  I thought that I needed to honor my parents’ hopes and dreams for me and please them by becoming a successful professional of some type.  My family situation was somewhat unique in that my siblings were teenagers when I was born, so pleasing my brother and sister was also a goal I had.  My sister was (I can admit this now) like a mother to me.  She and my brother led the way for me, inspired me and watched over me like parents.  I only realized how much my parents loved me unconditionally when I had my own children.  I know the love that my brother and sister felt for me because I feel it towards my nieces and nephews. Once they started to grow up I began to exert expectations on them – out of love.  Putting expectations on myself was, as Digh puts it, “the illusion we put up to avoid where the real change occurs.”

This explains why I am so much happier now.  I am free.  I am flying!  I have released that bar and I am stretching forward to the next one.  I know in my heart that my parents are proud of me for the person I have become.  More importantly, I am proud of myself!

http://www.pattidigh.com/

To laugh often and love much;

to win respect of intelligent persons

and the affection of children,

to learn the appreciation of honest critics;

To appreciate beauty;

to give of oneself,

to leave the world a bit better,

whether by a healthy child,

a garden patch

or a redeemed social condition;

To have played and laughed

with enthusiasm

and sung with exultation;

To know even one life has breathed easier

because you have lived –

That is to have succeeded.

 

— Ralph Waldo Emerson