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Monday, August 18, 2008

sleepy the dwarf

I'm. Exhausted.

I did twelve hours this weekend at LUSH. Fun but very very tiring. I did five hours on Saturday, my first non-training shift. I was on the floor and it was very nervewracking. We hadn't gone over hair and skin products yet so I was mostly sticking around to the other stuff and deferring to people who I knew were more informed. Sunday was fun, even though it started at 8am with training. We had a 'beat the heat' party so we all got to wear ice blue and glitter and there was glitter and balloons all over the store. We were very busy, which made the day pass by fast but was still very tiring.
I really enjoy my job there. I love meeting people and learning about them and helping them find what they need. Almost every customer that I spend time with usually tracks me down before they leave to thank me for my help and let me know what they bought, it's so sweet. Now that I'm getting more comfortable with all of our products and knowing what to offer when someone comes in and says "I have oily roots but dry hair" I'm enjoying myself more. Plus I work with really fun people.
I went home and got some much needed things done like grocery shopping and oh oh oh, guess what???
I bought my first piece of furniture. It's a little green sofa that has a fold out bed and I have been so happy. It was only 35 bucks from this used furniture place. It had a huge stain on one of the cushions which I was able to get out with some $5 stuff rom K-mart (although the foam left other stains, booh). It has charm. It's not perfect but I love it soooo much. I get so excited to come home now and sit on my SOFA rather than just plopping down on my air mattress. I'm so thankful for everything I have, but this sofa has made me so very happy.

Work today has been busy. Now that our summer directors are gone, Shawn and I are doing a lot more client service. Now we're learning to juggle our clients goals as well as our own goals for the week. One of the guys I was working with this morning got an interview for a job, so excited am I. I than got a call from a woman from a local church. She had a woman there who was left with a one month old baby and she couldn't afford diapers. I let her know I would try to locate some resources and get back to her. I called around to a few places, WIC and such and then remembered my contact from Congreso. Daniel had e-mailed me earlier this week about hosting some teen mothers to teach them about job-readiness. I called him to see if the organization had some information programs and he let me know she could stop by because there was probably something they could do. Yeah for contacts and awesome service providers.

Shawn and I had our weekly meeting which was productive. I'm so bummed because I missed the application deadline for a table at TempleFest but hopefully we can jump on some other opportunities.

Now that I'm working more directly with clients and on client needs it adds the other half or at least another piece to my experience. The contrast between what I help people find at LUSH and what I help people find here at work is quite interesting. The difference is not just the needs of our clients but their states of existence as well are at times unsettling. It'll be an interesting balance throughout the year.

I'm really excited about the opportunity I have here in the North Philly community. The opportunity to work with these people to help them find what they need and give them some chance of hope. I'm also learning about the focus on the student volunteers experience. I believe it's important also. It's important to frame this experience and move them through it so that they can recieve the most benefits from it. It doesn't overshadow our service to community members but taking responsibility of their experience and development has value.

I'm reading this really funny and interesting book called Generation Me: Why todays young American's are more confident, assertive, entitled and more miserable than ever before. It's like the opposite of the other book I've been reading "On my Own" but helps me understand why I'm probably so into that book. It talks about how my generation has grown up with such a focus on self-esteem and how important we are that we have developed these egotistical almost narcisstic personalities. We also have overly-inflated ideas of what we can do and are more indvidiualistic than group orientated. We think more about ourselves, loving our selves, doing what's best for ourselves, than we do about community or other people. Coincedentally our generation has higher divorce rates, less political participation (unless we can see how it benefits us) and just plain people looking out for number one. At first I was really disheartened by it but I can see how the arguments have validity. Especially in context to why our generation has a hard time understanding the issues that are the foundation to the social inequalities inherent in our society. The book argues that our generation has been raised with this mentality that if you believe in yourself anything is possible. The issue is that we not only believe this for ourselves but as just a general truth of life.
Some problems with that are that it doesn't take into account that there are unforseeable and unchangable things in people's life that will keep them down regardless of how much they believe in themselves. The author writes "Learning to believe in yourself doesn't help much when your mom is addicted to crack and you're afraid to walk home from school." It's been an interesting and revealing read. I think its one of the reason so many people believe that homeless or poor people just don't work hard enough. When you're so priveleged with so many opportunities you can't see how you have extra levels of support which pushed you forward and how people without them are like one-legged people trying to run in a marathon.

Yeah, so busy and tired. indeed.

Quote: (Hugh Downs)"Could it be that self-esteem, real self-esteem, comes from esteeming other people and not thinking so much about yourself, to begin with?" (Barbara Walters) "Oh, Hugh! First of all, you have to like yourself before you can like others."
Marinate on that one folks.

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