It’s been like that for the past few days now. All work, no play makes Jen a dull girl. I haven’t even had the time (or wakefulness) to write any letters. 5:30am shifts are killer, and really just create a drab, hibernation sort of evening for when I get home. Awake for a couple of hours, then back to sleep. Rinse. Repeat. I worked at my own store today, which I was looking forward to at the beginning. I got to catch up with my SM that I love, and got to share my experiences at the other store with him. Then the rush began at 6am and never stopped. We ran out of milk, espresso (twice), had a broken bar, and then the only good bar had to be cleaned, so I couldn’t make any hot drinks for 10 minutes. One of the new girls that was working register miss-marked a lot of cups, which really isn’t her fault since she’s still a baby barista, but it made a lot of people unhappy, and today was not a day of forgiveness for customers. Anything that could go wrong seemed to happen, and we were all hitting our last nerves. Today would have been a nice day for some love, but no one was willing to give any away. Whether they were saving it all for church or their families, it was not easily received by the baristas. Sad.
While the no-love thing bummed me out a little, I realized how much of a powerhouse my mood is in the workplace. I am THE barista at my store (and now other stores) that usually keeps morale up, and constantly encourages my coworkers. Since I wasn’t particularly feeling my best today, I wasn’t able to give my best to my coworkers, either. No one was to blame because it was a really rough day, but I wish I could have given 200% instead of just 100% today. You can’t take care of others without taking care of yourself, though, and the same goes for loving yourself before others. I learned many years back that if I have no love for myself, then there won’t be any love to give away. Tomorrow is another day, and I will strive to be the powerhouse once again.
I sent some letters to friends a while ago, as well as “anyone who wants to send me an address,” and they have been getting them in the mail the past few days. It’s been nice to get a random text or message from those friends that I haven’t talked to in years, but sent me their address anyway. I feel like letters can really mend the tattered threads of distance and turmoil. When you read a letter that really touches your heart, the day’s toughest tasks seem doable. I can’t wait to get letters back. Keeping a penpal is the one of the most mutually satisfying ways to promote mental health and wellbeing in a relationship that doesn’t necessarily need physical interaction, or even face-to-face conversation. Texts get lost in the shuffle, and letters have become king of attentive communication once again. I’m glad for it.
The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy.- Martin Luther King, Jr.
On a side note, I’m really surprised I haven’t included any pictures of my cat yet. He’s currently laying on one arm, and constantly tapping my other hand with his paw. He’s a dear, but he always needs to be the center of attention when it’s just he and I, even if I’m typing or doing something else.
This is Blitz. He has a mustache, which is precisely why I adopted him, but he really is the best cat ever.
Anywho, I have a Skype meeting with Hannah on Tuesday to discuss more about More Love Letters. On Friday, we had a quick conversation about utilizing the resources on college campuses for the organization. The one-year birthday of More Love Letters is coming up, and I think this next year has the potential to reach a TON more people. I’m really excited about everything that can be done. I need to finish my extra special request letters on Tuesday and mail them out, and then work on some more little notes to drop around. I’ve given three different Starbucks locations love letters, and I plan to hit many more, as well as some local fire/police stations when I drop some coffee off (the local police get all of my free coffee from Starbucks since I’m not much of a coffee person, let alone a brew-at-home-coffee person).
How do you define yourself in controversy and “tough days?”
With love and love letters,
I feel famous.
Not only am I asked “Do you know that you look like Drew Barrymore?” at least once daily (more so now that I have a lighter hair color), but I have regulars that recognize the slightest things that I change about myself, and will come up to talk to me on the streets outside of work. I was at another store today, about 20 minutes away from my home store, and one of my regulars pulled through my drive thru. “Hey, why aren’t you at your store?” I was picking up a shift at this store; they needed help. “Did you change your hair? I like your new lipstick color. See you tomorrow!” It’s nice being recognized, and having people feel like they can talk to me. I don’t know how many people/baristas I have met that, while they are fine at what they do, I would not like to have a personal conversation with them. I’m flattered that I 1. Have regulars, 2. Have regulars that like me, 3. Am recognized as a friendly person.
Adventures at the other store went well. I walked in on a quiet, unwelcoming environment and came out laughing, dancing, and singing through the drive thru headsets. Whoever says that food industry workers don’t have dignity have never experienced the joys of in-store headsets. They are adult walkie talkies, and all of your friends have them. I made myself at home early on and fell into my regular routine of singing songs that popped into my head, dancing while waiting for drinks or the register to ring, and having small conversations (we call it “connecting”) with the customer. It’s good to know that I can turn a situation around if I need to, and that it will end up for the better. They were all just nice people in a bad situation of neglect and bad management with their spirits worn down and a new hatred for the job. I hope that my working there added a little spark of goodness… and if not quite yet, I’ll be seeing them on Saturday. 🙂
As far as MoreLoveLetters goes, I wrote three more letters to some folks that needed it by special request. I love what I do, and I really hope that whoever reads the letters really loves them. I dip my pen in the ink that is my heartsong, and I’m alright with sharing it with others. Music always goes on, reinventing itself. I don’t think I’ll be changing my tune for a while though; I rather like how catchy I feel.
A good day, filled with love.
There’s just something about today that screams “opportunity!” Maybe it’s the nice weather, or the fact that I’m working in a different store today because I was pegged as someone “that could inspire and uplift” the team there. Maybe it’s because I had all of my pressing issues completed this morning, or that I got some lovely emails from my new MoreLoveLetters team. I don’t know if I told you, but this summer has been filled with trials. I made the decision to take a year off of school when I realized that my health was finally impacting my ability to perform well in class. It was a very difficult decision that spurred a lot of sudden changes in my life. I had to move off of campus, quit my job as a Resident Advisor for the university, find a new apartment, and secure a job to stay afloat; all in the matter of about a week. At the same time, I had to battle with myself to stay above the lurking thoughts “Maybe I’m just not good enough” and “Maybe I should just quit. This is it.” About two months later, I’m happy with my decisions, and I feel that the universe has been sending positive energy in my direction. For once, I feel okay.
The World Needs More Love Letters came about in that transition for me. I always offer to write letters to friends, no matter how far they are, how busy, or how little I know them. “If you send me your address, you will receive letters.” I always hold myself to that promise. A friend and fellow Resident Advisor sent me the link to moreloveletters.com and told me to check it out. As soon as I read the mission, I knew that I had to be a part of it. I then applied for a position as a Letter Writer, which puts me on a team of lovely people that are charged with the mission of writing letters fit to specific requests each month, plus other things. I was fortunate enough to be accepted into the team, and it seems that perhaps another door with the organization is now opening for me. I couldn’t be happier. By chance that a friend noticed my love for writing and inspiring, I found an organization that I love, and want to wholeheartedly dedicate myself to. It came at a time where I really needed to feel like I was enough, that I wasn’t giving up on myself or others. It’s perfect. “A Cinderella fit” as Hannah, the creator of MLL, often says. It’s a Cinderella fit for me.
Since I’ll be in a store that sees more irregular traffic, I’ll be bringing my pens and papers to work to pen some love letters to drop around the town. It’s around a lot of student alcoves, and it just happens to be Midterms for many students in the area, so hopefully some people will find some much needed encouragement. I’m excited to meet the other baristas and see what I can do to make their experience with each other and the company much more pleasant.
I’m so ready for today.