One is Silver and the Other Gold…

Admitting defeat... Rami Malek plays Elliot, a lonely hacker on USA's "Mr. Robot"

Admitting defeat… Rami Malek plays Elliot, a lonely hacker on USA’s “Mr. Robot”

Have you seen “Mr. Robot?” It’s my favorite new show of 2015. Not only does it dive into hacker culture in a very real way, it also explores loneliness and social anxiety. I deeply identify with the lead character, Elliot, a lonely hacker. Despite being a fictional character, I’ve never identified with anyone- real or make believe- as much as I do with Elliot.

It takes a lot to admit that you’re lonely… which I am. Over the weekend, I sat in my boyfriend’s car and broke down to him, explaining to him how my circle had shrank over the past year and I constantly wonder why it’s harder to make and keep friends the older I get. I understand that people change- I’ve changed a lot over the last couple of months. With that change, friendships fade. There’s too much distance, too much time apart… I understand that people have complex lives, filled with careers and relationships and kids and family and bills. I have some of that, too, but I still have trouble finding someone to lean on who isn’t my partner nor my mother. (And let’s not forget the physical form that loneliness can take.)

I think about the last friend I did make. It was an easy task but mind you, this was three years ago. She just moved into town from California and we were volunteering together at a fun run. I asked her if she wanted to hang out after the race and she said, “yes.” Bam- friend date! YES! When I was a nanny in NYC, my charge would walk up to other little ones out on the playground and they would become instant buddies, if only for an hour. I wish it was still that simple… just walk up to someone and say “hey” (or like this).

Back in my early days of college, I thought making friends was pretty easy. I joined a couple of clubs and met some great people. We weren’t the smartest kids in the room, nor the prettiest or most popular. Perhaps that’s why we all got along. We all had that in common. We were similar in age, in similar points in our lives, just trying to get through school. I was an extrovert then- an X on the MyersBrigg- and still am one today. Now in school and a kiss away from 30, I’m the oldest student in my class. I know what the working world is like. I’ve made adult decisions. I’ve had serious talks about marriage and buying a house. A small part of me still enjoys partying hopping and drinking on a school night but that isn’t the connection I’m looking for in a friend. The same at my job. I’m the youngest employee at most of the jobs I’ve had recently. I’ve worked with a lot of moms who aren’t too keen to grab a quick after-work cocktail or go for a run around the lake near my home. As much as I love babies, I can’t find that connect with mothers either. I’ve tried Meet Up groups, which are great but the more I attend, the more I notice already established cliques that are difficult to break into. Being with established groups flares up my social anxiety, which does keep me at home most nights. Friends on social media don’t count either- you can’t hug them or share a special look.

So, my question for you, dear reader, is how do you make friends? I know that forming quality friendships take time and I’m trying not to be discouraged by the process (even though I’m admittedly extremely jealous of my boyfriend and all his invites to hang out). A new BFF is on the horizon. Until she/he comes, you can find me watching “Mr. Robot” at home with a hard cider in tow. Hopefully, it’s not another cat.

I think it’s really important to have a have a group of strong friends; that are always supportive and always there for you; that love you no matter what…” –Serena Williams (Amen, sister. Can we hang?)

When Something’s Wrong

I hate the word, “snitch.” To me, it sounds so vile and mean. When I was a little girl, I refused to be one. When I saw something bad happen, I kept my mouth shut. I refused to stand up for what was right. No one likes a tattle tell. No one wants a fight. So, what do you do when you see something wrong? My current employer hasn’t paid his employees for the last three weeks. We come to work every week day, hoping we can cash our checks. But there isn’t money coming in and we don’t know when it’s going to be in.

My co-workers are frustrated and have walked out. My employer complained that if their projects don’t get completed, he won’t get the money to pay them. It’s a shady way to practice business but I’m trying my best to stay positive. I was hired to advertise the business- I created the company’s website, got the business higher placements on search engines, built our online store and continue to connect with future customers. I was soon asked to do our billing and finances- something I don’t know much about. However, I am eager to learn just about anything and dove into the world of business tax and audits. Some of my co-workers have been with the company for years (two women have been with the company on and off for the ten years). They produce beautiful pieces and like the work that that do. Reno is still slowly bouncing back from the recession and construction jobs are hard to come by. My co-workers are trying the best they can in a tough career environment.

I already filed a claim with the Nevada Labor Commission last month about a bounced paycheck (it was the third time it bounced with the company). Although I haven’t heard back from the state, I plan to file another one about my missing paychecks. A part of me wants to tell my employer that I’m filing a claim, but my inner snitch is telling me to be quiet. Let him suffer the consequences. Do I tell my employer he’s wrong and is about to be in trouble? Do I tell him that I’ve been applying for jobs and will leave as soon as I possibly can? (If you, dear reader, know of any open advertising/marketing positions in the Reno area, please send the information my way.) Should I fight? Do I stand in solidarity with my co-workers and not to return to work until I know the money is there (I do have access to our bank accounts, which I check daily)? Is the walking away from the situation the best thing to do? Do I explain my problem to an attorney?

I’m grateful that my boyfriend has my back and a job that pays him well. He could pay our bills if need be. I worry about my coworkers the most. Two of my co-workers have families with young children. They have bills and mouths to feed. One of my co-workers told me that her power was about to be turned off. It’s in the teens at the night in Reno. No one should go without heat. My heart goes out to her and her family.

What do you do when something’s wrong, dear reader?

What is Making Me Happy This Week

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I am that person everyone hates this time of year… I am that person who starts listening to Christmas carols the day after Halloween; that person who dances with excitement when I see the Christmas displays in the store. I am that person who still cries at “Love Actually” despite watching at least two times every year since 2003. I am that person who bought their holidays cards back in September (there was a sale!). I am that person who spends hours researching the perfect cookie recipe for dessert exchanges and friends’ dinner parties…

What can I say? I love Christmas but I love getting ready for the holiday even more.

Each week, my favorite NPR podcast, Pop Culture Happy Hour ends their program with the question, “What is making me happy this week?” The podcast’s commentators then share the best parts of their lives from Sunday ’til Saturday. As I’m trying to live a more positive life and focus more on my own happiness, I started asking myself this question, with hopes that I can happiness everywhere in my world.

What is Making Me Happy This Week

Halloween cocktails with my dear friend, Saffeya, at Hollow Nickel in Brooklyn

Halloween cocktails with my dear friend, Saffeya, at Hollow Nickel in Brooklyn

The last couple of weeks have been busy ones- I traveled to the East Coast, job hunted and interviewed and started prepping for the holidays. I’m grateful to have these exceptional moments of happiness in my life to reflect on when things weren’t easy…

Last week, I walked out my university’s bookstore with the biggest smile on my face and my graduation cap and gown in hand (I can’t wait to decorate!). 29 days until graduation!

STAR WARS! STAR WARS! STAR WARS! Let’s just declare December 18th a global holiday already. I’m excited to dress up in my Rey costume and line up for the midnight showing.

Despite my Nana’s death, I got to spend a few days with my mom, some extended family members and old friends, eating some classic Jersey fare (PIZZA!) and Puerto Rican staples, cheering on the Mets and walking around my beloved Brooklyn. 

Reno had a short autumn and we’re waiting patiently (or impatiently depending who you’re talking to) for the snow this El Nino season is supposed to dump on us. Although I’m not a fan of winter and the snow, I’m slowly getting pumped about the holidays. I already started purchasing gifts and planning dinner menus for Thanksgiving- I can’t wait for the cookies! I just bought these cookie cutters (grr)…

How have you been, dear reader? Happy, I hope.

Each week, my favorite NPR podcast, Pop Culture Happy Hour ends their program with the question, “What is making me happy this week?” The podcast’s commentators then share the best parts of their lives from Sunday ’til Saturday. As I’m trying to live a more positive life and focus more on my own happiness, I started asking myself this question, with hopes that I can happiness everywhere in my world.

December 18th can't come soon enough!

December 18th can’t come soon enough!