Why Be Happy?

Originally Published February 18, 2018

Hey guys, I found a draft from a post I was working on during winter break. It’s got a tiny story moment so I figure why not post it. I’m doing better in regards to the happy issue, but that’s today. Here’s that old blog:

Y’all deserve a happy blog. But, I am not happy. I feel like I should be. Not for myself. That seems like a nice perk though. I feel the need to be happy for those around me. After all, who wants to hang out with someone who is sulking in the corner? In public, such as when I am walking around campus (background info, I’m a senior in university), I used to feel pressured to hold a light smile. Why? People in high school would periodically approach me with a concerned look on their faces and ask if I was okay. It’d baffle me every single time. First, that someone was talking to me as that was rare in those days. Second, by the question itself. “Yeah, I’m fine. Why do you ask?” was my common response. The answer? Infallibly, it would either be “You looked really sad.” or “You looked really angry.”.

This didn’t end in high school. Once, maybe a year or two ago, I was on campus looking for the electrical engineering building. There was a meeting for the software development club that afternoon. Now, I’m not an engineer or a programmer, so I gave myself ample time to find the building. By the time I did, I still had at least fifteen minutes to spare. So, I did what any sensible socially awkward person would do. I sat outside a side entrance and waited in blissful solitude. It began getting dark when a young woman exited the building and approached me with that same concerned look I’d forgotten about. She asked me if I was okay. Baffled as always, I replied I was fine. She looked at me a second longer and explained that I looked very sad. Just as quickly, she gave me a kind smile and walked away. I sat there dumbfounded under the setting sun before deciding to head inside despite the likelihood of social interaction.  (I never went to another one of those meetings.)

Why do I feel the need to be happy around co-workers, subordinates, friends, and family?

***

I don’t want to be a burden. I don’t want to be the weakest link. The last resort. I want people to want to hang out with me. I want to promote friendships. I don’t want people to equate me with a boring or sad time. In high school I dedicated myself to my studies and only my studies. I was quiet and sullen. No one talked to me unless I had cupcakes, it seemed. (A strong factor in why I learned to bake, I’m sure.) 

Being positive and happy around co-workers makes people want to work with you. It makes work more fun and easier. Around subordinates, it helps to get work done because people are generally more receptive to orders given with a smile than a furrowed brow. With friends, positivity makes you a good option to have fun together. Same with family, and all the other categories.

It all comes down to this: Looking happy (even if you don’t feel it) builds relationships. It lets others know that you are receptive to fun or positive experiences and thus, encourages people to invite you to have a fun, positive time with them. Happiness is a social beacon. 

I don’t know about you guys, but I want to attract happy, positive people. Even if they are people like me who may not feel like that all the time. That’s okay. I want to be able to put aside any pain or pessimism in my life and be able to have fun and be happy despite it all. And I want to find people who can do that too. 

So, I’ll continue to smile, even as I cry, because I want people around me to know that those two things are not mutually exclusive. I hope you reading this can find a smile within you today and all your days to come (no matter how small or fleeting that smile may be). Take care, friends. 🙂

Grocery Store Homage

It is 2am currently. I still count it as Tuesday. Fine, I’m a bit late. One thing you will find out about me is that if it’s professional or academic, I’ll be on time, early even, but if you show me even a hint of friendliness, I’m always late. ~Sorry I think there’s some friendliness between us!~ Okay, here we go.

If I do not mention you, odds are I simply didn’t know you well enough, or I didn’t have many good things to say. Also, I only wrote about people who I worked with this summer (2018). If I do mention you, everyone except Bella has a pseudo name that begins with the same letter as your actual name and I’ve included personal hints to help you identify yourselves.

Co-workers:

Joyce,

Thank you for being my friend. We started this journey around the same time and though we part every few months for school and other life adventures I am always glad to see your familiar, friendly face. I hope to keep in touch or at the very least, come back to see you off once you graduate.

Shaun,

You made some of my worst days into my best. You have this easy going way about you that I connect with. I love the cynicism in you and your own commitment to better your life. Stay focused and best of luck as you transfer to university. You’ll do great!

Jaden,

You make work so much fun. Going to the movies with you was nice too. For the record, it’s not just me who thinks you are a wonderful social butterfly. Others at work say the same thing. You are open and accepting which is halfway there for most people. I wish you great success as you pursue your music career. Have fun and come back with stories to tell.

Alison,

Thank you for the inspiration for my first post about the grocery store. You were the person to come to with work frustrations. I hope you find a job that makes you happy and that you finally move out of Texas. Personally, I love the lone star state, but you have dreams and I hope you achieve them. Thanks for all of the support those nights we closed together and thanks for going to the mall with me as a little send off before I move.

Mark,

I still remember teaching you how to input codes on the register. I remember how shy you were to ask for me help. You didn’t want to bother me. When I got back from school I was actually surprised and proud to see you all by yourself on a register. I know I’m younger than you, but that was a proud mama moment for me. You’ll go far, kid. 🙂

Bella,

I really do hope you work on your own blog or channel. I will be waiting to do that collab we talked about as I cleaned registers! I love your kind personality. You always have something to talk about. If only you could have taught me your ways before I left the store. Oh well. Keep being you, because the person you are is even prettier than your name.

Gavin,

I’ll remember your kind, open demeanor more than your fun facts. Share that with others too. I wish you happiness and good, kind customers. You have so much enthusiasm. Thank you for always trying to make other’s days better. You deserve great things.

Paul,

I shared some of my best morning shifts with you. I haven’t been a morning person in years, but you brought back glimpses of when I was. Thank you. You are such a kind man. I enjoyed our conversations. I’m going to have to watch more horror movies and get back to you with my thoughts on them. Best of luck at the grocery store. You are an excellent worker and an equally amazing co-worker.

Chrisy,

I remember when you had just started. You were kind and treated me with respect and friendliness from the start. As I left and came back from school, you continued to smile every time you saw me. Every time I returned from school I had less and less of an urge to smile at the grocery store, but I could never help myself when I saw your encouraging smile. Thank you.

Felicity,

Thank you for being that friendly face I was always happy to see. You are easy to talk to. Best of luck on your move coming up. I wish you and your family the very best.

Time for the managers:

Anna,

I remember your kindness and caring from day one. Thanks for always looking out for me. You are many people’s favorite manager. I’ve never heard a negative word about you. I’m glad you moved departments. I hope you continue to take opportunities as they come and that you don’t lose that great empathy you have for others.

Eve,

You are kind and gracious. I found a kindred spirit in you from day one. Compassion radiates from you. You checked on me and reassured me even when I didn’t need it. Thank you for treating me and others, I’m sure, as more than subordinates. I remember when I was having a spike in anxiety and I told you I’d meditated a bit upstairs and I was okay then. You related and told me your sister mediates. You could have just sent me back to my register without a word, but you didn’t. Thank you. Please, continue showing as much compassion to others.

Liam,

Thanks for sticking up for me and talking to me like a human being and not just another employee. Two instances stick in my mind. The time you took me aside and coached me on how to sell those promotional products we keep by the registers. I was shocked you took the time to talk with me one on one. Though I don’t think I sold a single item that day, please know, I was an anxious mess with every customer the rest of that day. I did not win against my anxiety that day, but I was fighting to ask every customer about the item.

The second instance was when I was at my wit’s end and I asked you what the process for quitting was. You told me, but you also encouraged me to stay. You told me I was good at my job. I’m not sure I completely believe that even now, but I know you did when you said it. You saw potential in me and were the reason I pushed through. I still have anxiety, but I am not a quitter. Thank you. Please, show others this kindness. Believe in others when they can’t see it.

Chris,

I’m still mad at you. Yet, I can’t be. Same as always. I know you care about people, but sometimes you focus more on the job than the people doing it. You scolded me about a policy once, which I deserved. What you may or may not have known is that I’d had my hand crushed by a watermelon minutes before you corrected me. Not a good time for more negativity. Yet. I’m can’t be mad. You are just doing your job and you do it well. Thank you for always explaining why you sent me where you did or asked me to do what. Either you just think out loud or you understand that one of my motivators is helping out the group.

Whatever the case is, I’ve worked with you for years and you are the manager who I (and from what I’ve heard, many others too) trust is on top of everything at the grocery store. You have an eye for organization. When you are having a good day and that leadership combines with your caring personality, you are one of the best managers I’ve had. Give my old fellow cashiers more good days like that.

Marcus,

I remember when you started as a cashier. You were just another one of us. You told me you’d come from another store, but you were cool and nice. We got along well. Then one day I came back from school leave and you were one of the managers. You still remained laid back and nice though. It was fun working with you. I think you are the only manager that ever sat with me during my lunch break. Show that relatable, funny personality to others. It made it fun to work with you.

Micah,

So open and friendly! I wish I’d gotten that pair of cheesecakes to share like we’d commented once. You are so sweet and it’s obvious you care about the cashiers as people. Your orders and assignments are conscious and you care enough to try to take people’s personalities and preferences into account. Keep up the good work! I wish I’d gotten to know you better.

Crystal,

We didn’t talk much except when you comforted me as I had a panic attack. Thank you for allowing me to take my time and calm down before you let anyone send me off to work. Every time you asked “how are you?” from then on I felt as if I could respond honestly. That’s kind of huge when literally hundreds of people would ask me that per day. Thank you.

Lexi,

You do the people thing too well. I was taken aback by it at first, but then I studied a bit of business. You do it well and you taught me a lot. You run the department well. I hope to visit after my adventures in Puerto Rico and, hopefully, make you proud with my progress. I remember that performance review and how you said you believed I could do better with people and innovation. I am an innovative person, but not an outspoken one. With a little coaxing I would have exceeded all expectations regarding that subject. People however, I continue to work at. Thank you for believing in me.

Customers:

That’s going to have to be another post. I have so many customer stories. Good, bad, funny, sad, and any combination of the above.

Thank you,

to everyone who I had the opportunity to work with at the grocery store. I remember a time when I only saw three benefits to my job there: the money, the people, and this cool uniform pullover I owned. You guys got me through three years working there and I am grateful. Best of luck whether you continue working there or you have moved on. Have fun where ever life takes you and if I don’t see you at the grocery store one day, feel free to see what I’m up to through this blog or any of my social media. Thanks, again.

Week of June 25th 2018- Piecing Together the Week

I did nothing this past week. Well, nothing on this blog at least. I was preoccupied… Yes, let’s say that. Since I didn’t write everyday, I only remember big moments from my week. I remember being in a funk. Which is code for depressed, in my case. My therapist last year said my symptoms are consistent with persistent depression; which just means I’m always in a state of low grade depression, but I also get episodes of strong depression mixed in. Does that make sense? Well, this was another one of those. I was feeling crappy as I tend to do, but it was a worse type of crappy than usual. That’s the simplified explanation. Now that we are, hopefully, on the same page, let’s try to piece together the week, shall we?

Monday, June 25th- Let Family Spoil You

Work 7:30am- 3:30pm

My dad drove me to work. He picks me up 8.5 hours after I clock in for full shifts, but this day I had a weird 7.5 hour shift (half hour for lunch implied). I called home and then waited in the cafe area for him to arrive. Why do I have my dad drive me when I have a car that I could drive myself? My favorite book. It’s called Cut and it’s by Patricia McCormick. There’s this scene towards the end of the book that encourages the main character to let her dad go that extra mile to take care of her. “let him” So, I let my dad trouble himself. It makes him feel useful, I hope, and even if I’m grumpy in the mornings before my shift and tired after them, it’s still another 30 minutes or so a day I spend with him that I probably wouldn’t otherwise.

We ran some errands after this. Went to pick up food from my favorite Chinese restaurant, went to my doctor’s office to pick up my shot records that my internship is asking for, and (finally!) went to exchange my old phone’s sim card for the proper size for my new phone. Not sure what happened after.

Tuesday, June 26th- Who knows.

No work. Was supposed to translate a couple of old posts into Spanish, which I clearly didn’t do, because as I mentioned I did not do a single thing for this blog all week. Let’s keep investigating and come back. Really blank on this day. Don’t think I went or did anything actually. No, I didn’t. I had plans on Wednesday, so I didn’t even do laundry this day. I guess I just sulked all day.

Wednesday, June 27th- Drinking, Bowling,  Movies with Joyce and Inspiring Bloggers

I went out with Joyce today! Joyce started working at the grocery store I work at around the same time I did three years ago, but this is the first time we ever hung out outside of work. Naturally, we decided to go get drinks. Problem was the bar we met at was closed for a private event. So we roamed around the surrounding shopping area, stepped in a fancy bowling ally only to be eyed funnily by a posh guy in a suit. It was a fancy bowling ally. So, we stepped right out and decided to just catch a movie. We watched The Incredibles 2. I was very impressed with the movie. I know it’s tailored as more of a kid’s movie, but the themes hit home. Yes, technology dependence is out of control nowadays and yes, sometimes you need to be a hypocrite to improve the world. Just a couple of examples.

The best part of the outing, for me, was after the movie. I’d had my dad drive me to the bar since I preferred to have a ride back after drinking than driving myself, so Joyce and I ended up chatting in the parking lot of our workplace until my dad arrived. We talked about the usual, boys. Then moved on to our dreams and hopes for the future. Included in this, was the topic of my blog. We talked about social media and other online methods like video blogging to share our stories and I think I may have inspired the creation of another blog. Yay! One of my friends (Mariah) has already started her own blog* after hearing me babble about mine. Hee hee hee, soon I will have my own legion of bloggers to collab with!!

Thursday, June 28th- Shattering a Jar of Bay Leaves and Cathartic Singing

Work 7:30am to 4pm. Meeting at work at 7pm

The most memorable thing about this day was the cathartic episode between work and the meeting. Like I mentioned above, I was in a low grade, but worsening, funk all week. What finally broke me was me breaking a little glass jar of bay leaves. It was easy to deny my sluggishness as part of my usual low grade depression, until I broke that little jar. Sure, I always have the lingering low grade depression, but I’m the person with a small scar on her left index finger because I once, instinctively, tried to catch a carton of foil as it fell. I caught it by the jagged metal teeth. Yet, I didn’t even try to reach for the jar of bay leaves. I didn’t even register them falling until I heard the shattering glass. Slow movement sounds like a dumb, fake symptom of depression. At least, it did to me until this occurrence.

I couldn’t deny it anymore. I was not okay. There’s the usual that I was upset about (low self-esteem and body image are favorites), but what pushed it over the edge was a falling out with a friend the night before. It happened late at night (or early morning, if you prefer) around 1 or 2am. By the end of it, I was furious. I felt played. Betrayed. And I do not wish to speak to this person again. I was angry. I fumed. Told them off. But I did not cry. I didn’t yell. I sent angry texts, but otherwise did not physically react. After the bay leaf incident, I felt the belated tears. I was so angry. So devastated. I locked myself in my room as the tears streamed down my face. I told myself to get the emotions out. I tried to sing, but I probably couldn’t have spoken if I’d wanted to. My throat was so tight.

But, I pushed through that hideous knot in my throat and sang/whispered tentatively. Slowly, my voice got stronger. I picked belting songs so I could scream. One song, I couldn’t even finish. It’s an amazingly emotional song. Kitchen Sink by Twenty One Pilots. I’d never sung that line “Leave me alone. Don’t leave me alone.” with as much truth and pain. (minute 4 in the link) I surprised myself. I couldn’t get through the end vocals. They just turned into racking sobs. Something out of a movie. I couldn’t recreate it if I tried. Over an hour later, I was back to my mediocre wannabe singing voice and began to get ready for the meeting at work.

Friday, June 29th- More Blogging Buddies?

Work 12:30pm to 9pm.

At the meeting on Thursday, I announced that I have a blog, so I began giving out my business cards and trying to get people to commit to hanging out on Monday or Tuesday before I leave for Puerto Rico. Can’t remember anything eventful today except talking to Bella. I was cleaning registers and she was heading home for the day. I found out that she either has a budding blog or is thinking of starting one. What is with everyone embracing this online autonomy? It’s awesome! We both got super excited with the thought of doing a collab in the future. I don’t think anything else memorable happened.

Saturday, June 30th- Breakfast with Lyza

Work 4pm to 10pm.

I didn’t sleep well. I woke up sometime after noon. I know because my childhood friend Lyza wanted to go for breakfast or lunch this day, but I wasn’t awake until after she texted me. We ended up going to IHOP or should I say IHOB. Yes, this is when IHOP did their promotional name change stunt. Smart actually. Gutsy, but smart. They did get a ton of attention for it. Anyway!! I (finally) added her and my brother on SnapChat after eating some biscuits and gravy. Yum! I’m going to miss that and sweet tea. *sigh* Goodbye southern foods! Afterwards I went to work. It was a decent day. It was like I was wearing rose colored glasses. I was so aware I may or may not see some of my co-workers or customers again. So, I played nice.

Sunday, July 1st- Last Day Working at the Grocery Store

Finally! Today I was super aware of many lasts. My last dash upstairs to put my lunchbox in the fridge before clocking in. The last time I got mad at a manager for putting me on a register. The last time I got petty comments from customers. The last time I’d say “Hello, how are you? Did you find everything you needed?” The last time I had to call a manager for a price check. I told one of the guys who work for a grocery delivery company it was my last day. I saw him often enough and it was his last order of the day. He saluted me. X) That was sweet. I also got a few hugs and a danish from my co-workers.

I stopped myself from crying a couple of times. The last time was when I ran into an old cashiering buddy (she switched departments, so I found her next to the vitamins as I went to pick up that danish a co-worker bought me). I broke off the conversation to go get my danish because saying goodbye was getting to me. To make things worse, I ran into my ex. I met him when he worked in the same department as me two years ago. Now, I ran into him in the dairy department, which is adjacent to the bakery. It wasn’t the first time I passed him in the hall as I dashed over for a danish. I told him this would be the last time we met under these circumstances. He said I looked happy to leave. I said I had to, or else I’d cry. My eyes started to water as I turned around to find that darn danish. He knows how much I hate goodbyes, so he didn’t say anything. Just let me go.

I’m glad to be done with the phase in my life where I had to work a job due to necessity. Not skill or interest. But I am heartbroken to leave so many wonderful people behind. I can say whatever I want about the company (actually a great company to work for), but they sure know how to hire good people. Okay. I need to stop. Not about to cry now!

 

Notes:

*I will ask Mariah if she wishes me to include a link to her blog. It would break her anonymity, so I have to make sure she is okay with that.

  1. I’m rather impressed I remembered as much as I did. I really did write all of this in the last three hours Sunday night (or Monday morning, if your prefer!). It’s almost 4am Monday right now.
  2. I hope to have gained some readers with all the shameless business card shoving at work. I was a restaurant management major for a semester. I should know what I’m doing, right? :p If you are an old co-worker, welcome! Thanks for stopping by!
  3. Either way, thank you for sticking by this weird piecing together of last week. I have social plans for the next three days up until I fly out to Puerto Rico and start dealing with apartment hunting and other internship preparations (internship doesn’t officially begin until August). Wish me luck! As of yet, I have a one way plane ticket and not much else. Not even a hotel… eep!