File this under…

I’ve been meaning to purchase a filing cabinet, but because my room is small, I really wasn’t sure where to put it. I pictured different scenarios as to how I could rearrange the furniture, but after exhausting all options, I’d scrap the idea altogether. As a result, months of receipts, earnings statements and random junk accumulate in my desk drawer and inbox, haunting me to get them organized. For a while I’d toughen my reserve, that is, I’d just ignore the fact that I’ve basically been hoarding important paperwork. But now that I have my weekends free (yes, I’ve quit my professional Gap-card shilling career; I’ll make a separate post about it sometime), I figured now would be a perfect chance for a clean slate.

filingpostgradjobsearchIn filing all the paperwork and receipts I’ve been collecting over the past couple of months, I stumbled upon a particular folder that sort of became my best friend during a rougher period of my life–my “Post Grad Job Hunt” file. In retrospect it’s easy to look back at this folder now with a light heart, but the months following my college graduation were pretty difficult. Sure, I spent a couple of weeks just relishing in the liberation of summer, but the mounting pressure, particularly from myself, to find a job just got worse as the months passed by.

After years at Gap and a stint as an intern for a real estate magazine last summer, it’s nice to see tangible proof of where I started, in addition to my published work thus far, of course. The scribbled notes I took on the companies, the printed interview appointments and the countless cover and thank you letters bundled in this folder will forever remind me of how I started, and I look forward to other versions of this folder as I continue to grow as a writer and in my career.

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Four Months and a New Orleans Trip Later…

It’s been months since I’ve last written, the last post being a blog about my coming out to my cousin.

Obviously a lot has happened within that short 4-month span; a lot to gripe about, but moreso to be thankful for. It’s definitely felt like a blur. Summer is already winding down, and while I didn’t get a chance to live out what I had planned for this summer, I was afforded other opportunities for me to grow and experience new things.

Thankful.

Say What You Need to Say

Eight years ago, when I was a sophomore in high school, I came out to my best friend as bisexual.

It was kind of anticlimactic, really. There I was, waiting at her locker door trying to muster up the correct sequence of words to say. I thought I had the words down on the bus ride to school, but faced with just minutes until the big reveal, I was rendered somewhat speechless. I mean, I knew it wouldn’t be that big of a deal. Freshman year she came out as bisexual, so having first-hand…experience (for lack of better words) herself on the matter wouldn’t be that foreign to her, I figured. The moment she arrived, I was at this mental state where I knew I was ready to say what I needed to say, but also had this false confidence that I have this imaginary rewind button to press once the words spilled. With nothing but awkward silence between us, I just blurted out:

“Ali*, I’m bi.” (*Name changed to protect anonymity)

“…I know,” she said.

Rewind button.

I really didn’t know what kind of response I was expecting from her. I mean she was cool with it all, but a part of me was hoping she’d have this epiphany, like she didn’t realize it before I admitted the fact. But considering how she knew of my fondness for the Spice Girls–and particularly how Mel C. was my favorite–in elementary school, it was safe to rule that possibility out. A part of me was also hoping that I’d meet this admission with some sort of celebratory response. “Congrats, I’m proud of you!” But being met with just an “I know,” was kind of disheartening. But now that it was out in the open, it allowed us to be more open with each other. Throughout the rest of my high school years, as I came to know more and more about who I am, I eventually figured out that I was gay, and having her, as well as my other friends, be there as support was just what I needed. It all boiled down to realizing that I lucked out, knowing that it’s not as easy for some other people to come out of the closet, especially when they don’t know if they’re friends or family members would accept it.

When I entered college, I kind of let my sexuality take a back seat. I knew I was entering a whole new environment, and was now faced with the process of coming out all over again. Perhaps my biggest apprehension about fully coming out during college was the fact that I attended a Catholic university. I told myself that I wouldn’t let that fact get in the way of anything, and for the most part, in hindsight, I never really did. And even though it was a Catholic university, I was surprised at how tolerant they were of the LGBT community. What surprised me most was during my sophomore year, I discovered that there was a gay-straight alliance at school. I eventually joined midway through the fall semester, but kind of felt like my membership was shrouded by the fact that I still wasn’t out to anyone in my family. I eventually worked my way up to editor-in-chief at my college’s newspaper and graduated with high honors, but while I was making great strides in coming into my own, and coming out to my friends at school, I barely budged when it came to coming out to family members.

That is, until a couple of days ago. I just turned 25, and while I don’t believe in timelines when it comes to the coming out process, I do believe in not resting on laurels. I’m out at my job, with co-workers and friends, and I can take stock of how much I’ve been able to accomplish since I came out. My sexuality didn’t stop me from making friends, graduating college and getting to where I am right now professionally, so why should it hold me back when it comes to telling my family about it? Considering this, I decided to come out to my best cousin, whom I consider not only as my unofficial sister, but my best friend, as well. All these years of not telling her I felt like I was cheating her out, and I knew that I owed it to her to tell her about this one part of my life I’ve been keeping a secret from her.

We grabbed lunch by her job, and I was actually planning on telling her face-to-face when we were seated across from each other. Instead, I felt like a rewind button was hit and that I was back in high school, ready to come out for the very first time. I thought that I had developed an immunity to the whole process. I’d consider myself a pro at coming out to friends and co-workers, knowing when to nonchalantly drop the bomb. “Yeah, that’s what I love about retail–you get to meet women easily,” a co-worker once told me during my tenure shilling credit cards at Gap. “Well you won’t have to worry about me getting in the way, I’m not into women,” I replied. There, it was that easy. But knowing that this was the first person from my family to know, it felt completely different.

As we walked towards State Street so I could drop her off to a Red Line stop, I once again felt the pressure. My chance to come out to her was dwindling to mere minutes, or rather, blocks away, and to not take advantage of the confidence I had built up would result in another stalemate. We finally rounded the corner onto State and that was where I took the plunge:

“So there’s something I’ve been wanting to talk to you about […] and it’s something that I’ve actually been wanting to talk about with you for a long time now,” I said. 

I wanted to swallow up the word vomit I just spewed.

We sat down on a bench in front of some hotel and that was where the words just started coming out–the fact that I was gay, how long I’ve been keeping it a secret from her and how I’m too afraid to come out right now to family considering how religious everyone is. I was met with another “I know…”, but this time it felt relieving, more so because of the fact that for the first time someone in my family now knows, and more importantly, accepts the simple fact. We walked on for several more blocks and finally stopped at a Barnes & Noble to hash out everything I’ve been wanting to say for the past eight years, as well as moments that were dead giveaways for her, which, in hindsight, and to save myself the embarrassment, I think I’d rather keep to myself.

I know my coming out story is still being written, and that this was just one turning point in the many chapters that will unfold. And though I know I still have many important people in my life to come out to, I can take solace in the fact that one of those people loves me for who I am, and for that I will be forever thankful.

The Real vs. The Shady

I’ve always told myself that I wouldn’t get carried away with Twitter, and I feel like I’ve lived up to that. While some people use it to promote their “brand,” most of the stuff that I tweet about are my pointless ramblings about work, retail, the things I encounter on a daily basis on the CTA or my thoughts on who really should have lip-synced for their life on Rupaul’s Drag Race.

Considering how lightly I take the site, you could imagine my quick change of heart when I saw this little ditty:

Screen Shot 2013-03-19 at 7.02.47 PM

Some scrub trying to pass as me.

Those that really know who I am should instantly recognize that that’s not me in the picture, and as far I’m concerned, I don’t have, what appears to be, a dog…or an oversized rat with rabies.

I came upon the profile when a friend told me that there was another Carlo Calma roaming around the Twitterverse. Now, usually I think nothing of other people who have the same name as I do. It’s kind of cool seeing other Carlo Calma’s (the majority usually from the Philippines) and seeing what their life is like. But when I clicked on this particular profile and noticed that text in the bio was taken directly from mine, verbatim, I had to do a rewind. Had it just been my name, I would have let it pass. But the fact that the handle claims that they’re a “Journalism graduate from Lewis University” and live in Romeoville like I do is pretty disconcerting.

Needless to say I’ve filed a report and hopefully the account gets suspended. Will update once I hear something…

 

 

Blowing Smoke…At My Face

Ever since I started working in Chicago last May as an intern in Lincoln Park, and now in my current job in the West Loop, I’ve come to appreciate the little nuances that working in the city brings–both good and bad.

Amongst all things that I’ve learned since, mastering the art of riding public transportation has got to be one of them. I no longer am one of those people fussing with my fare card trying to figure out exactly which side is the proper side to swipe; I now know which bus lines to take to get me exactly where I want to be in the loop; and I’ve developed an immunity to the sometimes pungent smell of B.O. and piss that are forever scrubbed into the fibers on those blue seats.

At times when my bus card only has a transfer left, I’m left to my own devices of either (a) taking a taxi cab–which has only happened once since I’ve started working here because of a passing thunderstorm–or (b) walking. More often than not, it’s the latter. I mean, I don’t mind walking; it gives me the exercise that I so desperately need, it allows me to take in the sights all around me and enables me to truly get myself familiarized with the city.

Other than the inconvenience of breaking out in a small sweat when I’m left to walking, there really isn’t that much to gripe out–except for one thing I’ve noticed recently: smokers. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not going to get all preachy about my politics on smoking. To each his own, and I’m all for designated spots and smokers respecting the fact that they can’t smoke within 15 feet of a building’s entrance.

smokingblog

Can we make this happen, please?

The one thing I’m against: smoking and walking at the same time. Nothing upsets me more than walking behind someone who has a stick burning slowly in their mouth, while I’m choking in the remnants of their tobacco fix. I joked on my Twitter that people who choose to smoke and walk at the same time, should, by law, be required to wear a blindfold. I mean picture it: a guy steps out to walk to work, lights up a cigarette and ties a black blindfold around his head. In his pathetic pursuit to commute to work, he’s unsure of whether he’s safely crossing a crosswalk, or let alone even going in the right direction. That same humility and inconvenience they’ll face pretty much sums up how I feel whenever I’m gasping for air behind them.

The Post Where I Get Saccharine

BluePictureFrame

This frame will house a photo of the love of my life–or a picture of a sub sandwich…they’re pretty much interchangeable.

I’m not really one to talk about my love life (or lack thereof) in conversations with friends, let alone online in a blog post. But with a closet of crap I’ve sort of been hoarding (neatly, of course), I felt it was the right time to talk about something that I’ve been keeping for a while.

I received this picture frame from my aunt last year as a graduation present. I loved it the moment I saw it, and was actually eyeing it for a while whenever I was shopping at Target. There it was–5 inches by 7 inches, royal blue with a chrome inner border. It would only make sense that I’d use it to house a special moment during graduation, but I decided to save it for something a little bit more special. The only problem: It hasn’t happened yet, or to phrase it better, I haven’t met him yet.

Now, I’ve seen my share of plenty rom-com flicks, and my movie collection span the likes of mainstream classics like Love, Actually, to lesser-known films like Love And Other Disasters, (which I highly recommend for rom-com enthusiasts). Each have their own sappy plot lines, but I’m pretty sure that my plan for this picture frame can hold a candle to some of them.

Like I’ve said, a part of me is over trying to find someone and just go with the flow, while the other part of me still lives in this overly romanticized world where I’ll meet the love of my life at the coffee order line at Starbucks. The latter part is making me save this frame for the sake of living up to that ideal. Another part of me is saying that it’s all just because I’m really sentimental–I mean I still have birthday cards from close friends back in high school.

To simplify this whole ordeal, I guess the reason why I’m really saving this photo for that special someone is because I really do want to have it exclusively for his photo and to proudly display it at my desk at work, or around the house.

Two posts back to back about love…I gotta stop.

Someone To Share With

The holidays are over and the honeymoon period of me settling into my new job has started to wane. The new year brings the (almost literal) cold reality that it’s back to business…and the freezing, cold weather that’s the norm during the winter months in Chicago.

Settling into my new job has been going well. I was able to successfully complete my first issue for their three magazines, and am currently working on a project and article for the February issues. Though I’m still warming up to everyone on staff and the overall production of the magazines, I still feel tense and a little out of the loop at times. I mean, I’m learning everyday, but I feel like I could be doing better. I just keep thinking back to my internship, and how I was able to pick things up rather quickly, and wonder why I’m not having the same experience at this new job. I really need to break this habit of comparing my current state to how things were–not every experience is going to be the same…I guess I’m just getting used to this change.

Being in a funk like this has left me feeling this need that, in all honesty, is one that I hate admitting to. I realized it more during the holidays, which kind of makes me feel even more pathetic, but…it’d be nice to have someone to come to/call whenever I want to rant about my bad day, or even share a really cool moment with. Long story short, I want a boyfriend. Typing it and even seeing it on screen makes me cringe a little, but flying solo for this long makes me feel like I’m missing out.

I used to have this mentality that I don’t need a guy to make me feel complete. That going to places like Ikea or seeing a movie by myself means that I’m not dragging someone to something they don’t want to go to, and that I could go about my business on my own time. I used to roll my eyes whenever I see people at the mall holding hands and acting all lovey-dovey. But, I’ve just been really wanting someone to share all this with lately. The good and the bad.