Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Honored and beyond flattered.

I don't like disappointing people I look up to, admire, respect, etc. Even worse, I don't like wondering whether or not a person I view in this light likes me or finds me annoying.

It's been awhile since I've been in an environment where I've had mentors, so I've been enjoying that aspect while being back in school for sure. There are about 4 or 5 people that I deeply respect and hope that I can continue looking to for mentorship long after I've graduated from Cal.

I received one of the biggest compliments from a mentor the other day and it completely made my day, really my week. I can't recall ever having a mentor or someone I looked up to and admired in the military, tell me personally what they thought of me. It usually came from another person they told, so I'd find out second hand.

In class, we had a guest speaker come and talk to us about leadership. The guest speaker is someone I fortunately had the opportunity of meeting fall semester because he spoke at the deCal I assisted my friend with. There was a moment where he played a video of a dog greeting its owner who was returning from a long deployment. It's a fun, heart warming video and it's always sweet to see reunions like that, but with reality setting in that it was something I'd be experiencing again with Dan going back to the flightline, it caught me off guard and I couldn't help by cry silently to myself. He asked the class what we thought of the video and instead of my internal voice speaking in my head, I blurted out that I hated the video because it was about to be my reality.

It brought the mood down in the class. I could feel my classmates feeling sorry for me or maybe being shocked to hear that someone they are in school with would be experiencing this first hand. The mood shifted back and he carried on with his presentation. It bugged me the rest of the day that I did that, I couldn't help but feel bad for being rude, disrespectful, and possibly taking away from his talk. I emailed both the guest speaker and my mentor, the professor of the class.

My mentor responded and said he'd hoped I didn't feel to strongly, followed by a huge compliment. I was shocked, flattered, relieved, and honored. Last semester, I often worried that he didn't like me, that he probably thought I was annoying since he often had to tell me to stop talking in class! It got to me because I respect and admire him so much. Reading his words and of course talking it over with my husband afterwards was like a sigh of relief. I no longer had to worry whether or not the professor I'd hoped would be my mentor beyond graduation. It was a strange, yet amazing feeling to know how he viewed me.

I'm going to save that email for the rest of my life.

Thursday, February 9, 2017

Ready for the End.

My last and final semester at Cal is underway. This week is the fourth week, and I'm still looking forward to the last day of school.

It's an interesting topic of discussion for me at school. When I ask a fellow senior their feelings about our last semester, there is such a mix of emotions and there is only one that I cannot relate to.

"I don't want it to end."

As the old saying goes, 'all good things must come to an end', right? I am definitely trying to enjoy my last semester, but I do want it to come to an end because I can't wait to see what's in store after this part of my life is over.  I'm sure because I worked for most of my adult life before getting my degree plays a huge part, and the fact that I already have a family, I'm over school, but I think because it's more because I want to go back to helping with supporting my family.

I'm looking forward to being able to leave work and not have to study for something every night of the week, not feeling guilty about binge watching a show over the weekend, or having a consistent sleep/work schedule.

My feelings may change as the semester progresses, but for now, I'm looking forward to graduation.

Thursday, December 1, 2016


Yesterday was the official last day of my Improv Leadership class. This class was one of my favorites this semester and I am so glad that I signed up to take it. Even though it's been a tough semester mentally and emotionally, I looked forward to this class every week and left feeling so much better, even if it had been a good day for me.

We spent the day doing exercises that were fun (as always), wrapping up emotional intelligence, and writing a few anonymous letters. The time flew by because before we knew it, Cort was calling to end the class. We all sat on the floor in a circle, and Cort opened up the floor to talk about what we'll take away from the class, a favorite moment, or we could give a shout out to someone.

A lot of people talked about a specific exercise they enjoyed, or how they always loved coming to class. I shared what I disliked about the class; the fact that we only met once a week and that I had wished there was more time to make deeper connections with everyone in class. Only two people received shout outs. I was shocked when one of my small group mates called me out.

"I wanna give a shout out to Janina. I appreciate the energy she always brought to class and for always being open and honest. They way she treated us and acted, she was really like the big sister and made it feel like a family."

I was completely caught off guard and incredibly moved and honored. I honestly wanted to cry because I was so touched by his words. I wished he didn't have to leave early (he had a CS test he had to leave for) because I just wanted to give him a huge hug.

It's been awhile since I've interacted with so many people and enjoyed it, wanted to get to know people. The last time for me was back when I was in Fayetteville, NC. I often talk about the herc/130 community and I've met some of my best friends while I was apart of that community. Not just stationed with me at Pope, but also at Dyess, Yokota, and Ramstein, since we were all deployed to the same location in the desert. I miss being in an atmosphere like that that, and 191 was the closest I've gotten to something like that.

I loved 191I and every person in there has left a mark, no matter how little or how much I interacted with them. This class left quite the impact on me, and I'm so appreciative for what Cort, Ori, and Andrew have done for all of us. 

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Protecting My Heart


It's one of the most basic human needs. On Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs, it comes right after psychological needs, making it one of the largest sections of the pyramid. It's said that once a level has been fulfilled or that the need has been met, you can move on to the next level. The safety stage of the model includes protection from elements, security, order, law, stability, freedom from fear.

In order to feel safe, one must feel protected. At least that is how I interpret the feeling of safety in this case. I feel safe from outside harm when my husband is around because I know that he'll protect me. I feel safe from the elements of nature because my home, clothing, etc., protect me from them.

My heart does not feel safe. I don't think my heart has ever fully had "the safety need" met. Or I should say it only pertains to a couple of people. What makes the situation suck even more is that it's family. Safety for my heart means protecting it from being broken.

What do you do when you have someone in your life who you looked up to, admired, and love but they continually beat you down emotionally? What can you do when you want someone to be able to admit when they're wrong and actually say the words "I'm sorry" or even "I apologize"? Nothing. It's all on them.

It took me starting school at Cal to finally have the strength to say that I have to focus on me and my family and not worry about what certain people have to say or what they're doing. It was just adding stress and an unbearable weight on my shoulders and on my heart. The worst part was that it broke my heart to even think about what was happening. Actually, it still breaks a bit to this very day because everything is just so heavy.

I don't even think I can get into it on this blog, a place where I'm supposed to be able to let go and be able to get my thoughts and emotions out, without becoming a mess. No one should ever be in a situation with someone in their family where they feel unloved or not good enough, or that it's always their own fault and not the other person. It's all too much....

"I'm not rejecting you or kicking you out of my life. It's my heart that I'm protecting."

Monday, September 26, 2016

4 Prompts

I really, really love the electives I'm taking this semester. Being a business major at Cal, we're required to have 8 credits of business electives to complete our degree requirements. I'm taking UGBA 152 - Negotiations and Conflict Resolution and UGBA 191I - Improvisational Leadership. Both classes teach very valuable skills that can be used in everyday life and with any and every relationship.

The Improv Leadership course is essentially a personal development course disguised as a Leadership course. We learn improv techniques, but we do a lot of sharing and are often put in vulnerable scenarios.

I had somewhat of an idea that it was when I signed up. Two friends I was fortunate to make in my Business Communications class during my first semester (Ryan and Idris) took the other class that Professor Worthington teaches in the spring. They never shared what was said, but always talked about how good they felt after the class. How they actually liked the self reflection and sharing they did in that class.

For the past two lessons, we've been focusing on listening and awareness. We're learning techniques to become better listeners in situations as well as responses we can use to show and demonstrate that we are attentively listening instead of just hearing what was said.

Last week, we did a listening exercise that required you to be more vulnerable with each prompt. One person would go first and have one whole minute to answer the prompt up on the slide. The other person could not interject or speak for the entire time. Once that minute was up, the roles would reverse. At the end, we'd talk about how that felt. There were four different prompts and we had to switch partners for each prompt. As you might've guess, they became a bit more reflective as we went along and we had to dig deeper with each answer. I don't remember the exact wording, but the four prompts were:

1. What do you appreciate about being alive?
2. Name a place that was wonderful or important for you as a child.
3. Someone who believes in you.
4. Name one thing that you appreciate about yourself.

With the first one being so general, it was easy to start going off on tangents and talking about random things that make you appreciate being alive everyday as well as what makes you happy in life. When it came time for my partner and I to talk about how it felt, it was pretty straight forward--it was nice hearing what other people appreciate in life, especially if they were things you don't always think about.
The second prompt was nice since it brought some nostalgia to the game. I naturally talked about Disneyland and what it meant to my childhood and how I try to do the same for my children. My partner for this prompt shared an unexpected place that you wouldn't expect someone to share as their important place. It was interesting and cool at the same time. :p

The third prompt and the person I was partnered up with brought the water works.

I was paired up with someone I'm finally able to get to know this semester. He's one of the beautiful souls I've encountered since I've been at Cal and I'm so glad that I have classes with him and to actually have conversations with him (last semester was all just hi and bye when seeing each other with mutual friends around).  He sat down in front of me and wanted to hold Malachi (I had my sons with me this day). Professor Worthington introduced the prompt after we all settled down, and as soon as we saw what it was, we know that shit was about to get deep really quick. 

We shared, we cried, we held hands... we were just there for each other. When we talked about it afterwards, we both mentioned how we felt safe with each other. It was almost like "right place, right time" for that prompt. He was the perfect partner for me for that particular prompt, and vice versa. I'm so thankful for him and the start of what I believe will be an amazing friendship.

The last prompt wasn't as intense, but did call for humility and self reflection. I did find myself struggling because I don't really like talking about myself, but thankfully my partner's body language helped make me feel at ease sharing with him.

I learned that I really dislike being caught off guard or being thrown into situations where I have no choice but to let my guard down and bare part of my soul without preparation. However, in situations like those when you just happen to be with the right company, I appreciate how freeing and therapeutic it can be.

Sunday, September 18, 2016

Tears of... Confusion?

The past week and a half have been very emotional. I am still trying to evaluate the handful of events that have driven me to tears, sifting through the emotions that overwhelmed me and trying to reflect and uncover why I became so emotional in those moments. Until I have an answer, I won't be able to figure out how I feel about everything.

Like the majority of people I know, I cry during moments of sadness. Unlike most, I cry when I'm extremely frustrated. Recently, a couple situations completely slapped me in the face out of nowhere, throwing me out into an unfamiliar place without any protection. I discovered in those moments when I'm completely caught off guard, I'm forced into being vulnerable without being able to prepare myself. I found myself exposed and didn't know how to react to what I was hearing. Most of all, because it was something I consider unfamiliar to me, situations that I don't encounter nor have I had someone point these things out to me in the past, I was confused about what I was hearing. These recent events that brought on the tears were associated with feelings that I don't or have never experienced and were completely unexpected. I found myself crying because I was confused.

While they were uncomfortable in the fact that I didn't know how to react and I was so focused on trying to keep my emotions in check, I'm appreciative of the individuals that caught me off guard. They both caused me to do some serious reflection.

As I tried to dissect the situation and break down what caused me to be so emotionally charged in those moments, I knew that I needed guidance and assistance. Not people who would relate or have experienced it themselves necessarily, but people who I know would be able to understand why I was so confused with what had transpired.

Wednesday, the 9th of September: the first in the series of events that put me on an emotional roller coaster. I was having a meeting with a professor who taught the Business Communications course I took in my first semester at Cal (I'm currently a senior). My objectives were simple and straight-forward; I am helping a friend facilitate a deCal course and we knew that this professor would be the perfect guest speaker for one of the topics that we'd be covering in the course. The professor was honored we'd ask/think of him and agreed albeit with hesitation. Turned out his teaching schedule prevented him from being able to commit than he'd like, but he would help us with content for the rest of the class time. Just when I thought our meeting was over, he decides to sucker punch me with something after asking me a couple questions. I remember trying to hold myself together inside as I stared at him blankly with some stupid smile on my face.  

What? Why is he bringing this up? Don't blink, DON'T BLINK OR A TEAR WILL FALL!

I was saved minutes after he started this impromptu mentoring moment when the two friends I happened to be co-facilitating with spotted us and walked up to chat.

Later that same Wednesday, in my last class of the day, I was slapped in the face with comments that echoed what the professor had said to me hours earlier. This time, it was by two friends during an exercise in Improvisational Leadership. What the hell is going on today?! 

Being a commuter student, I knew I'd start thinking about it on the drive home. I had been in the car driving for maybe three minutes when I called my husband to talk about it. When I started telling him what the professor had said to me, the emotions that I felt so many hours ago came on like a flash flood and I started balling.

My dear husband, being the analytical person he is, didn't try to calm me down or comfort me over the phone. Of course not, that's not the type of person he is (I actually have to tell him that's what I want in my emotional situations). Instead, he just simply stated, "Well, he's right. Not everyone has that trait you have and you cut yourself short." He said more, but even as I type this, I still can't wrap my head around it, let alone figure out how to accept it.

Pretty sure the next few posts will be recounting the emotionally charged encounters in hopes that writing about it will help with figuring out the emotions behind it. Then the next step will be to figure out how to grow from it, deal with it, or accept it.

Thursday, September 15, 2016

High Blue

I am a Blue.

Even more than that, I'm a "high" Blue, as my husband likes to say.

If you've never taken Shipley's Four Lenses, then you have absolutely no idea what I'm talking about.  Everyone is familiar with the Myers-Briggs Personality Test (I'm an ESFJ), but not too many people know the Four Lenses.  Shipley's is based off of Myers-Briggs and is "a tool that accurately identifies an individual's personality profile. The tool describes four archetypal temperaments from which all personality styles are derived. To help people learn and remember these temperaments, each one has been named after a color: Blue, Gold, Green, and Orange."

The order of my temperaments is Blue, Gold, Orange, Green. My husband is a high Green.... If you are familiar with Four Lenses, you can imagine our communication at times can be very frustrating. 

A description of the Blue temperament so you can get a feel for how I work:
"I am a nurturing person, drawn to the helping professions where I can assist others as they learn to live more meaningful lives. I love to talk to people about their feelings. I am careful to consider how others are affected by my decisions. Sometimes, I'll even alter my plans to avoid a conflict or contention.

I am deeply romantic and believe that true love can make life "happy ever after." I use my heart and the way I feel about things in my decision-making process. People are the most important things in my life, so I find it very easy to make and keep friends. Sending and receiving flowers, candles, poetry, thoughtful notes, and the other symbols of love and friendships are very important.

I look for the true meaning of life. I thrive in an environment that encourages people to seek opportunities to help each other become successful and where cooperation replaces the need to declare winners and losers. I'm not highly competitive. I enjoy being with people more than worrying about what we do when we are together. 

I am a skilled motivator and consider myself an effective and gifted communicator. I am a friend to the end. Spiritual things have great significance in my life. Sincerity is a quality I seek in myself and others. 

Some words that describe me are: caring, humane, artistic, spiritual, subjective, sympathetic, insightful, compassionate, personal, peaceful, sincere, empathetic, romantic, poetic, sensitive, accepting, patient, giving, and true."

I could've put the whole thing in bold, but don't want it to be overkill. If you know me, you might have noticed that I *do* say "I feel...." way more, maybe 9.5/10 times more than "I think....". If you haven't caught it yet, wait until I talk about a decision I had to make or ask me about my thoughts on a situation. 

Now you have an idea of how I'll be using this blog with this understanding of why I'm such a Blue. It's been years since I blogged religiously about everything from how my day went to random thoughts. Recent events and reading a friend's blog inspired me to revisit blogging to help me deal with/get out some of the emotions I've been experiencing lately. Writing this slowly brought me back to my LiveJournal days. I can only hope that I can keep up with this.