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Hanging Up The Tutu

If you follow my blog regularly, you know I don’t get serious too often. Ever, really. A lot of bloggers are naturals at this stuff, but it is actually a real challenge for me to write about something serious, especially when it is about me. Humor is safe for me, while anything outside of that realm makes me feel extremely vulnerable. But, with everything going on during the week of a Becca on Fire, I not only have a little extra confidence in my fingertips, but I also feel that it is the perfect opportunity to open up a bit to my readers. So, here goes my attempt to inspire.

Before I began writing this post, I sat with a blinking cursor on the left side of my screen and the “about me” page of my blog on the right side of the screen.

I’m only good at funny. That’s what I do. It is easy to be funny. For me. Shit, this is going to be more of a challenge than I thought. I can’t even inspire Jack to poop inside the litter box, so what can I possibly have to write about inspiration? Oh well, just write.

After all of that staring, I noticed something about how I describe myself. Take a look at my “about me” page. I begin by proudly acknowledging a very important part of what makes me Becca. I was a dancer.

becca cord in a tutu

Before I was writing I was a confectionery delight in pointe shoes.

For seventeen years, I was first and foremost, a dancer. Make that a great dancer. A passion that consumes you for such a long period of time is hard to shake and even harder to accept that you must shake, which was apparent by the blurb I’d written. So, I guess I should more accurately say that what I was looking at was a statement about what used to make me Becca.

Before anyone ever put the notion in my head that making a profession of performing arts was “impractical,” I never thought twice about any other course for my life. I entered college as a dance major, was an important member of the college dance team, and had every intention of performing until my age got the best of me (at which point I planned to teach). Everyone knew me as the dancer even if they didn’t know me at all. That is how integral it was to my identity.

After about a year in college, I began to realize that the performing arts program I was in was not up to par with my experience level. This is not a case of my comedic ego either, the program was simply a joke. A cop-out for lazy freshmen who would rather mock an art form than write an essay. On top of that, my parents continually dropped not-so-subtle hints that I may want to consider a different calling. Something more lucrative.

It infuriated me that they didn’t get it. Get me. It infuriated me even more that I pretty much had no other option but to drop the program because of its lack in advancement. It was holding me back as a dancer. It infuriated me, because everyone would think I gave up on my passion to become an office drone (at the thought of which nauseated me).

snoopy in business

Street art doesn’t lie.

Before I knew it, I was a performing arts drop-out and a month from being another indifferent graduate of the school of business. What happened? I over analyzed every incoming external influence telling me to cash out before I lost big, that’s what happened. That, stirred together with my own doubts and insecurities as a dancer. I didn’t want to start over at a new university, but I also couldn’t stay enrolled in the Ballet 101 classes that I took when I was three years old.

I had  become the one thing that I had almost forgotten I’d sworn not to be, Miss play-it-safe.  Sure, I’d find a job. That job would pay well enough for me to live as comfortably as I always have. People would see me as “successful”, but I wouldn’t stop thinking, “Is this it?”. I would eventually become that forty-year-old woman still bragging about how many pirouettes she could do twenty years ago while shamefully dodging conversation about her soul draining day job.

So, back to my “about me” page. Obviously, even five years since I have laced a pointe shoe, I am still coming to terms with “dancer” no longer being my main identifier. While I still have strong emotions associated with that time in my life, l do not regret the way everything panned out. I’ll tell you why. Then you can forget that I ever wrote anything so comically disappointing and go back to envisioning me in my underwear.

You see, had I not experienced this loss, I wouldn’t be here writing this. That’s right, I am tying this into writing, because that wasn’t predictable at all. The fact of it all, is that I could have made a career out of dance, but then I would have never known the dispassionate alternative that I experienced for several years after stepping out of that studio for the last time.

It is my strong belief that I would have eventually become complacent and dropped my dancing career out of pure inability to truly appreciate my love for it. I have been writing again for almost a year now, and because of this, I have the appreciation for writing that I never knew how to have for dance. And now I know what it is like to lose it.

So, while I no longer see dance in my future, what I do see in my future is a passion that is equally as important to me in a different way. Think of it in terms of relationships. You love and you lose. Those losses teach you to appreciate love for what it is. You then find love again in places that you never expected. You become enthralled again when you thought you never would. This time, you know to hold on to it. You know not to abandon it or take it for granted. And you won’t.

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First World Work Problems

money vs. happines

I admittedly chose this photo solely based on the attractive male in a suit… in a pool.

Parts of this post are hypothetical. Maybe.

I read a post today by Lament’s and Lullalbies that I thought was brilliantly human, which is odd, because I know internet people aren’t people at all, they are aliens. Cool aliens, but aliens nonetheless. Don’t worry, I am not phoning the MIB… yet.

Her post addresses the human condition of struggling between making ends meet and making your dreams come true. She writes in a way that is synonymous with the mosh pit of a thought process that I assume begins in most people’s minds when thinking about these issues. Everyone has an ideal career, or two, or three, or is at least on the search to finding one. Everyone also faces the ongoing obligation to provide for themselves at the same time. It is all a huge balancing act and we don’t have the proper equilibrium. In my case, I am just drunk. Read the rest of this entry

Forgive Me Friday

puss n boots

Something tells me that if my face could do this I wouldn’t have gotten all of those speeding tickets.

When there are times that I am wrong (rarely ever), I say I am wrong. This is one of those times. I’ll start by extending an apology to the late Mary Kay. I don’t assume it is good for one’s karma to insinuate that the deceased mogul resembles a cross dressing Dustin Hoffman. In my defense, I wasn’t aware she wasn’t still around until last night at the “party”. Obviously, I am not a Mary Kay historian.

I have to give the company the credit it truly deserves. My apology is for judging the mascara by its applicator so to speak. Don’t worry, I wasn’t talked into joining the cult. I am not quitting my day job nor my dream of becoming a writer to paint pouts and strut around in mink stoles (knowledge courtesy of  Ms. Carolina). However, my perception of Mary Kay as changed for the better. Prior to last night, those perceptions were frozen in time. The last impression I have of the brand dates back to ’02 when I couldn’t escape the sight of my best friend’s high-resolution eye shadow every day in math class. She always bragged that it was Mary Kay and that her mother was a beauty consultant… so of course she knew what she was doing.

The truth is that I actually ended up buying about seventy dollars worth of the stuff and my purchases weren’t even influenced by friend-guilt. Well played Mary Kay, well played.

My second apology is to those of you who read this blog and is in regards to my post about not telling your friends if you plan to quit smoking. I am a lying hypocrite. Why? Because I did tell my friends. I told all of you. I consider anyone a friend who takes the time to read my junk (that’s what she said?). So, I apologize for not taking my own advice, and I sincerely thank all my blogging friends for being such dashing human beings. Unless you don’t think we are friends, in which case I hope you choke on a mink stole.

becca cord signature

Make-Up Mockery

Mary Kay

Not to dis the ultra successful, almighty Mary Kay, but this is exactly what I imagine I willl look like if I wear her products on my face… an old lady.

I must have misunderstood my friend half pint when she suggested that I attend a Mary Kay party hosted by our bartender one of our mutual friends. Maybe I thought she said, “Be at my house Thursday for a night full of bloody marys, kay?”. That would explain things a little better.

Firstly, I wasn’t really aware that Mary Kay is still around let alone that make-up is still being sold door to door disguised as a “party”. Sorry, but the only items I want someone selling to me in the comfort of my own home are pizzas and sex toys. Secondly, do people actually make money doing this? If so, is it even worth it? I’ll admit I am a bit bias being that the color pink makes me want to punch a baby (calm down, it’s called a hyperbole). Plus, I can’t say that I see the career appeal of driving a pastel colored vehicle of any shade. Nonetheless, I never falter in my friendship duties, so I will be atending this charade promptly at 7:30 pm tomorrow. I’ll even bring dessert.

mary kay products

Why can’t I hold all this make-up? LOL!

Even if Mary Kay is there herself, looking like she came straight off of the set of Tootsie as Dustin Hoffman’s stunt double, I will stand proud by my chums. I only hope that they will forgive me when I disappear after making an obligatory I-feel-guilt-tripped-into-buying-from-you-because-you’re-my-friend purchase. They will find me out back pretending my new lipstick is a smoke, finishing off a bottle of wine and hoarding the bread pudding.

Seriously though, apparently Mary Kay is still an extremely prevalent business, and I am not one to judge how others attempt to stash their cash … as long as I don’t have to participate. But, I will endorse the hell out of my own blog without trying to put blush on you. Click here and simply copy and paste this in to the post box: Becca at 25toFly likes to high-five herself.

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Fake It ‘Till You Make It Via Vistaprint

free business card

Get it? F-O-L-L-O-W-ing up. Sometimes I am so cheesy clever it hurts.

[Vistaprint is a sweet site where you can design and order 250 free business cards. All you pay for is shipping. The free cards have a somewhat limited variety of designs to choose from, but hey, it’s free and if you are as clever as me (sarcasm alert) then you don’t need fancy graphics or anything over the top to get someone’s attention. And that makes for a good first impression. If you can’t think of your own shameless cute puns and want to go for the fancy stuff, you can get out your wallet too. Just don’t forget to try these coupons. You’re welcome.]

We have all heard the phrase. What does it really mean to “fake it ’till you make it”?

Let me begin by explaining that when I initially graduated from college, I had absolutely no notion of what I was looking for career wise. I only knew that I needed money. I didn’t care where it came from as long as I no longer had to serve chips and salsa and the job title didn’t include the prefix “tele”. Although, I would imagine becoming a teleport-er might be a pretty fun position if it existed.

Luckily, it didn’t take me long to realize exactly what I wanted my career path to involve. My passion (wild right?). That passion being for writing/blogging, through which I also became fascinated with social media marketing. Boom. Success here I come, right? Well, there was just one problem. I had less faith in myself as a writer than I had in becoming the next Celine Dion.

First, I had to muster up some hope. Adding in a little determination and perseverance, I eventually emerged at a different mindset. That is where the whole fake it ’till you make it idea came in. The inspiration behind this adage is that it helps to manifest confidence. Confidence, in turn, produces positive results towards achieving goals. I got to thinking about some of the things that help people exude confidence. One of those things is credentials. I can tell everyone I meet that I am a writer, but the truth is that people like tangible stuff.

hoard keep a lot of business cards. You never know who you might want or need to contact in the future. I keep them all safely jammed in my wallet so that I can access them at anytime. If only there were some sort of technology that could store all of these contacts for me. Anyway, upon opening my wallet one day in search of cash that is never there, I noticed my bulge of cards. I thought, “that’s exactly what I need to give myself some confidence” – aside from a fake Journalism or English diploma. While I do have a degree and experience in Marketing, I certainly do not have a specialized piece of paper that says I am a certified writing machine. That would be too convenient.

I remember when I was a sales and marketing intern for a start-up web company a few years back. During sales pitches, the flash and/or exchange of the business card meant you were the real deal and always helped me act a little smoother. So, who says that I can’t have a 3.5″x2″ piece of stock paper that includes the title of writer? After all, I do write, and this blog is proof of that. So, I began my mission to create my own business card. Funny the power such a small piece of paper can hold. The moment I gave out that first card, it all seemed possible.

Do you think faking it ’till you make it is legitimate advice worth taking? Why or why not?

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10 Things You Should Know About Your First “Real” Job

letter opener

Not just some strange office supply guillotine

1. Go ahead and come to terms with the fact that after the initial month or so of getting used to your new schedule, you may never sleep past 8:00 again.  Also, your hang-overs just automatically went from a 3 to a 10 on the I’m-never-drinking-again scale, so be prepared.

2. You can be twenty minutes early every day to work, and no one will notice, but the one day you are late will live in infamy.

3. The picture up there? That is a letter opener. The only one I saw before looked like a dagger out of a scene from The Princess Bride.

princess bride dagger

4. Do not, under any circumstances, disclose information regarding your personal life unless you are one hundred percent ok with the entire office knowing about it. Your “work wife/husband” will betray you and  you won’t get half of his/her paycheck in the divorce. My advice is: be so vague that you are borderline vogue.

5. You are young, so if you have a significant other, you are facing two options. At some point, someone will inquire about your relationship status. If you claim single, people will either perpetually ask you how your weekend was with that insinuating eyebrow lift, or they will try to set you up with anyone with a pulse. This is usually accompanied by the same look one gives an orphan puppy. In the case that you do admit to a taken status, everyone will want to know your significant other’s entire pedigree. Cue advice you didn’t ask for.

6. No one is going to remind to take your vacation days. No one will nag you to join in on the company insurance plan. No one will automatically sign you up for that 401K plan promised to you. You have to keep up with making sure these things get put in to action.

7. The phrase “just kidding,” or “you know not to take it seriously,” or any such equivalent is simply a cop-out for people to feel like they aren’t really actually sexually harassing you.

8. You can’t just sit anywhere at the Christmas party brunch. If you are the newest member to ABC Inc., you sit last. Same goes with parking. On any day.

9. Never pay for coffee. My love affair with Starbucks is strong too, but for $4 a day, you mind as well be a pack a day smoker. Minus the whole cancer thing.

10. Be aware of the sneaky Bcc (blind carbon copy) in e-mails. If you are anything like me, you didn’t even know what the plain cc meant let alone one with sight issues. Bcc is a way of attaching multiple recipients to an e-mail without those recipients being able to see everyone attached. So, if Suzie isn’t getting her part of a project done, and I send her an e-mail addressing the problem with a Bcc to our supervisor, Suzie’s response could either doom or save her all while she has no idea boss woman is watching. Shady? Yes. Does anyone care? No.

becca cord signature

How Do We Stop Talking About Work?

While I often take pleasure in cooking and eating at home, I just as equally fancy dining out. Often I am alone, and therefore I belong to a certain club. The i’ll-just-have-a-seat-at-the-bar club. Not only is there a certain sense of empowerment from bypassing the wait (if there is one) or reign of the host, but it also feels there is a certain collective understanding between fellow bar bandits and lounge loiterers. I like to believe we are all there for the same reasons.

In my mind, those reasons include allowing our minds to wander and get lost in all the conversations around us without actually having to put forth the effort of input if there is no desire to do so. We can let the day’s labor fall behind and just be our person. Sure, it may sound lonely to eat solo at a restaurant full of families, couples, and friends, but for me it is one of the most relaxing ways to end a draining work day. Plus, you get drinks the fastest and especially if you are charming enough to chum up the bartender. Then you are really in, and there is nothing wrong with that.

I actually enjoy just listening, observing and often laughing silently to myself over the various exchanges I witness. On the other side, when the mood strikes, you can almost always find an interesting character to chat with. My problem as of late is that the vibe of this club and its participants seems to come off as: we are all here because we want to forget about the work day and have a nice meal, but we have nothing else to talk about but the work we want to forget. Basically, my fellow club members have been leaving me with a sour taste in mouth. And no, they weren’t buying me margaritas.

Just the other night I encountered a perfect example of this. There was a man in his late fifties from New York visiting Louisiana for what he elusively called “some training” and a woman I’d place in her mid-thirties sporting a mouth full of braces and decorative scrubs. I sat there for a solid two hours merely a few bar stools away listening (like I had any other choice). In the first five minutes, these two exchanged your typical where-ya-froms and what-do-ya-dos. The next hour and fifty-five minutes consisted of  nothing other than exhausting work chatter.

She very obviously worked at some sort of doctors office or hospital and was carrying a practically unfitting and ridiculously tiny sequined purse, I assumed to distract from the shine of her braces. She insisted on talking about the problems of people living pay-check to pay-check and issues with employer promises that are left unfulfilled. This, in turn, left the conversation open for the man to repeatedly and vaguely reference how he recently made a “life change”. Eventually, she gave in and took the bait.

He then proceeded to unravel the details behind his “life change” which was really only an occupational change. He had left an unnamed company that he had been with for something like twenty years to help his friend with a big business venture. Wait for it. She pressed further to get answers from him all the while unaware that he was orchestrating her responses and puppeteering her curiosity. Finally, he made his big reveal. His big life change would be opening a new Pop-a-Lock branch.

Now, I am by no means anti Pop-a-Lock. Hell, had it not been for the friends I made working at the campus police station while in undergrad, I probably would have been one of their most cherished customers. I’ll admit I was pretty disappointed in the anticlimactic end to his hyped up story. However, I was more unsettled, almost saddened, that the two couldn’t talk about one single topic other than work.

But it is not just strangers. Every conversation I have purposely over-heard in the past few weeks has revolved around work. Some of them were neutral chats about a particular industry, but more often than not, I witnessed heated rants by jaded employees who just couldn’t seem to stop spewing about the exhausting topic. It is natural to use venting as a coping mechanism, and believe me I have practiced my fair share of it, but where is the line drawn? Can’t we all just order a really big chocolate dessert, another drink, and talk about the fascinating concept of  hula hoops or something?

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Concocting Your Life Recipe

try something new picture

The world is now a hungry food critic and you are a chef whose knowledge, skills, work experiences, and the like are now ingredients for a meal. Go.

Everyone owns a very specific and unique set of ingredients to offer the world. The world, in turn, is a hungry place. It has plenty of Ramen Noodles already stock piling in its pantry, and it certainly won’t tolerate canned corn beef hash. The world constantly yearns for new recipes. It doesn’t mind if the recipe is a classic, say spaghetti, as long as it has just the right taste. The world, also a daring eater, is willing to try exotic dishes just as long as they aren’t potentially fatal (think blow fish).

I personally don’t believe in the ability to concoct brilliant meals using just one or two ingredients. Read the rest of this entry

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