The schedule.

Posted in life, work on 30 July, 2008 by Katie Carroll

I have been working like crazy lately. I feel like all I do is work–which is I guess a preview for the rest of my life, but this time I’m working three jobs. Hopefully in the future I’ll manage to make it work with just one….and preferably not one in retail. I think I have a difficult time being pleasant for such a long time. On one hand, work gives me the confidence to step out of myself and be more outgoing for the sake of making sales; on the other hand, it shows me just how much of an introvert I usually am.

I would love to be one of those people who could just talk to anyone, but I’m not. I’m proud of my progress at work, because I do a good job and get along quite well with everyone….but it took me a while. Some of the other girls sort of formed a clique right from the off, and I felt like the odd one out–but it really did even out in the end. And I feel like eventually I’ll make more of a lasting impression than some of these other girls, because I make up for my quietness with sincerity. Not to mention I’m a hit with middle-aged women. 😉

Did I mention I’m working three jobs right now? I’m at Anthropologie, obviously, and I’ve also returned to my old coffee shop company (but a different store). And now I also work for an internet social networking company, in which I build Facebook pages for small businesses. I’m also possibly going to start writing blog posts for some of these businesses, and may be doing freelance blog maintenance for another company. While I like some of this work, I’m being driven slightly insane by surrounding circumstances.

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The job.

Posted in fashion, work on 5 July, 2008 by Katie Carroll

My favorite outfit from Anthropologie\'s new catalogue.

So I work at Anthropologie. In case you haven’t heard of it, it’s a great store that sells clothes, home wares, and accessories that combine classical and whimsical designs and elements. I wanted this job so badly–and I was on pins and needles every time I went in the store because I wanted to really look the part. Everyone in there is very stylish and put-together, with perfect hair and perfect make-up and all that. And while I’m not usually that polished, I really do love clothes.

Well, I got the job, and I’m working on the rest of it. I had a hard time starting, because I felt like I didn’t really fit in with the girls my age; I mean, I love fashion, but it’s not my life. I’m not a fashion journalism major, like one of the girls (although honestly that sounds really fun); I’m not a retail sales person extraordinaire; I don’t own a pair of Level 99 jeans; and my career path probably involves stuffy suits in hues ranging from slate to charcoal. But things are improving steadily, and I actually feel like I fit there now. Plus, it always smells really good in there.

The faux friendship.

Posted in friends, life, school on 5 July, 2008 by Katie Carroll

I don’t know whether I’m frustrated with myself or with other people. It’s obviously both–but I guess I’m thinking a lot about going back to school and it has become exceedingly clear that I didn’t make the type of connections last year that I hoped I would. I have a few friends that I’ve kept in touch with, but most of the people I talked to last year were really just glorified acquaintances. What hurts the most is that my closest friend hasn’t spoken to me at all. And she didn’t even tell me when she left.

I feel so weird about our friendship, because in some ways we’re so alike, and in other ways we’re just too different. There are huge parts of her life I just can’t relate to, and vice versa. I feel like that was the unspoken rift between the two of us for a very long time, and it manifested itself in my own insecurities. I constantly questioned the relationship; I’m a very intuitive person, and I would constantly get the sense that she was irritated or upset with me, and she would always deny it. Was it me? Am I just too self-conscious to have a stable friendship? I don’t really think so. I have great friends here at home.

I really want this to change. I have to keep telling myself that it took several years for my high school group (The Tablemates, we call ourselves) to solidify. I just hope that a new year brings new people and possibilities. Otherwise I don’t think I’ll ever feel settled at Berkeley.

The obstacle, and the goal.

Posted in life, music on 4 July, 2008 by Katie Carroll

The last time I thought I was cute was in third grade. I remember because it was the last year I actually liked my school picture: I had a sweet red and blue dress with puffed sleeves, reasonably tame hair, and clear skin with a dusting of freckles. It was undeniably adorable. But besides the fact that this is the last school picture I let remain atop the piano, it also, in my mind, marks the end of an era. It is probably one of the last times I ever felt good about my body.

This serenity was shattered later that year. It was the first time someone ever called me fat, and I still cringe when I relive that moment. As a nineteen-year-old, I can’t remember what life was like before my nine-year-old person entered the world of self-hatred and self-criticism. I’ve lived with it so long and have felt so helpless that I have made myself that way. Apparently I didn’t really start to gain weight until my dad got sick in seventh grade, but to me it always stems back to third.

I know many people who are very content with their bodies, and very confident–and I envy them. Regardless of shape or size, they accept themselves and move forward, which is something I’ve yet to do. I know my weight has stopped me from accomplishing the things I’d like to accomplish, especially because I’m a singer. Too many times I’ve been told “it’s entertainment”, and have lost solos and parts to ‘sexy’ girls, or ‘confident’ girls, or ‘theatrical’ ones. Just as many times I’ve been asked why I don’t “let it all out”, or “open up” on stage. A recent comment sticks in my head the most: “Sell that shit!”, she said. “You sound great, so just sell it to me!”. Maybe if I’d listened, I would have gotten the part.

When I tell people I’m trying to lose weight (I’m currently on Weight Watchers; third time’s the charm?), they always feel the need to tell me that “losing the weight won’t fix everything”. But I’m actually pretty sure it would. Most of my truly disabling flaws stem from being absolutely terrified of asserting myself, and being incredibly shy and body-conscious. And while I don’t think being thin will make me rich, or give me my dream boyfriend, or write my essays, I’m pretty sure I’d feel better about myself.

So here’s my challenge. The girl who told me to “sell that shit” is part of an a cappella group on campus that I have wanted to be in since before I even started college. I tried out, made it to the top five, and didn’t make the slot (they picked the other four girls) because of confidence. I know, because several girls told me. The girl I’ve already mentioned actually called me. So: if I want to be confident, I need to earn it. I need to feel like I’ve done something to improve myself, and I’m on my way. Slowly.

But to me, at least, this all begs the question: why is physicality the measure of worth? It is certainly mine, and judging by a lifetime of experience, seems to be the way of the world. The damaging emotional patterns of a nine-year-old girl were only exacerbated by adolescence, and continue to be strengthened by a harsh world. I know I’m smart, I know I’m a good person, I know I have a lot to offer–but in the end, none of that seems to matter.

The Fourth of July.

Posted in life, politics on 4 July, 2008 by Katie Carroll

I’m celebrating the anniversary of this country the only way I know how: with watermelon, blogging, and TLC’s What Not To Wear marathon. In my mind, this actually presents a very American tableau, even though I’m not exactly channeling the founding fathers.

I’ve never been one of those people who has placed an enormous amount of emphasis on today’s holiday. I feel like the Fourth of July is just another tool for judging patriotism, and another weapon in the Republican arsenal for turning liberals into the bad guys. I mean, the 4th of July is old-hat for the conservative machinery that has coined such terms as ‘Freedom Fries’ (good) and ‘San Francisco values’ (very very bad). And for someone who is actually a big fan of whatever San Francisco values actually are, it can be hard to love a country that accepts John Hagee more than homosexuality, and doesn’t put a lot of faith in the separation between church and state. For a nation that has positioned itself as the voice of freedom, we’re very limited in terms of the forms freedom takes. What do conservatives say about Barack Obama, for instance? Sure, he lacks experience–but even worse, he’s different. And may be Muslim.

I love what this country is supposed to be, and what it’s supposed to stand for. I don’t love everything about what it actually is. But before anyone says otherwise, I am patriotic; I just choose to celebrate the fact that I don’t have to like with everything the government tells me to.

The parade.

Posted in life, politics on 29 June, 2008 by Katie Carroll

Today was the 30th anniversary of San Francisco’s LGBT Pride Parade, and I was in it. To set the record straight (no pun intended), I am straight. And let me tell you, heterosexuality has yet to do me any big favors. But the cool thing about the pride parade is that it doesn’t matter. When we were walking to the parade from our hotel, I figured what I would like the most would be the outlandish costumes, crazy floats and decorated cars, and the much-rumored general chaos. And while the parade was probably one of the most orderly events I’ve ever seen, it definitely provided the ‘typical’ (clearly a relative term) fare, replete with fairies, rainbows, and Cyndi Lauper. My favorite part, though, was something that couldn’t be captured on camera, or dusted in glitter: pride itself. The general vibe of the whole event was one of abundant, effervescent happiness and acceptance. It didn’t matter that the guy next to me in the tutu and I both like guys. Above all, I loved seeing all the average people walking around holding hands, or carrying signs saying things like “Justly Married”, “Engaged for 23 Years”, or “We’re Here, We’re Queer, We’re Registered at Macy’s”. People were hugging each other, complimenting each other’s clothes, dogs, purses. Everyone was just happy.

We marched in the parade for Mark Leno, a State Assemblyman who is currently running for State Senate. He’s known my mom since about third grade, and I’m pretty sure I’ve been hearing about Mark for about as long. I was excited to meet him, and excited to represent him in the parade. When we were walking with the other Leno supporters, people were cheering and shouting “thank you” from the sidewalks–it was unbelievable being a part of it all. And it was really cool seeing Mark embrace my mom, and talk about high school and things like that; I can’t even really describe why it touched me so much, but it did.

To top it all off, he offered me an internship. 🙂

The beginning.

Posted in life on 25 June, 2008 by Katie Carroll

It’s not New Year’s. It’s not my birthday. It’s not any day worth noting, and yet I’ve decided to start a blog. I can’t even really say why, of all times in my life, today is the proper time to begin recording my thoughts, events, and musings, but I think it has something to do with this being a crossroads in my life. I’m going to start my sophomore year of college in August, with no clue as to what I’m going to do from that point on, and I feel like this vulnerable era has planted me solidly in my own head. I need to get all of my jumbled ideas, fears, and feelings down on–well, if not paper, at least the 21st century equivalent. 

So I’m starting a blog. It’s not really a beginning, I think–it’s just a different incarnation of what has been buzzing around in my brain since birth. I hope that this provides an outlet for my musings, and perhaps even becomes my own muse, so I can rediscover my long-quenched creativity. 

Here goes nothing.