Why I don’t drink much alcohol but I’m mostly ok of you do

Raised as a Southern Baptist Christian, I always thought any drinking was wrong. It’s not necessarily my parents that taught me that, just the culture that existed in the Baptist church in the 80s and 90s.

So when I became an adult I still believed drinking alcohol was wrong, or even a sin. Naturally, I didn’t drink because of that. As the years have gone by my opinion on drinking has changed and I think that’s a good thing. Instead of just blindly believing one thing or another, I’m learning why I am the way I am in this area.

It mostly started when I moved to Nashville and began making friends, and some of those friends (who were/are Christians) would drink a beer at a party, or drink a glass of wine at dinner or a special event. I wondered if they were just rebelling, or was this issue less black and white than I’d grown up believing?

Long story short, I rarely drink except at special events like a wedding and I’m mostly OK if you drink, too.

For the longest time I was uncomfortable when anyone asked why I don’t drink or if it’s OK if they drink while I’m around. I didn’t want to come across judgy or “holier than thou.” The truth is I can’t stand the taste of any alcohol I’ve ever tried. White wine? Red wine? Shots? Whiskey? Beer? They’re all gross to me! no offense 🙂

So do I have a problem with you drinking? Probably not. But the other day it occurred to me that there is a scenario where I would have a problem with you or me drinking… and here it is:

Why are you drinking? If it’s because you like the taste or it helps you relax, fine. But if it’s covering up or helping you escape real life… well then yes that’s something I wouldn’t support, for you or for me. Because what you drink isn’t as much of an issue as what it’s masking (if anything).

I remember when this ‘aha’ moment came to me, and I’m glad it did because to know the reason behind someone downing a glass of wine or chugging a beer, I have to know that person better than an acquaintance. It’s a challenge for me to be more social, and to be a better friend.

I remember traveling with a crew from CMT where we’d have a remote shoot in Arizona, or California, or some tiny town in Kentucky. I loved spending time with them because they were all genuinely good people. In fact, lots of times one of them would buy a round of shots for the group and we’d have some sort of moment where we all raised a glass for a toast (usually before the shoot because afterwards we were exhausted and just wanted a long sleepy date with the hotel bed!). These moments were instrumental in my thoughts on drinking, as well, because each time I had a choice. Would I join the crew in the toast, and take a shot of the throat-burning, mouth-tingling drink of choice, or be so rigid that I can’t bond with them in this way? I sincerely believe sitting out would do more damage to my relationships with these men and women than joining in and creating memories from these memorable trips.

What are your thoughts on alcohol? Have you experienced anything you’re willing to share about why you drink, or why you don’t drink? I look forward to hearing from you in the comments below!

-Out of the Wilderness

 

The Reawakening: Part 11

It’s not see you later, it’s goodbye.

You know how when you are leaving your friends from high school, or college, or moving to a new town, some friends say, “It’s not goodbye, it’s see you later”? I don’t feel that way at all about the job I was laid off of just a few months ago. The friends I made there? Yes, I will miss them and I know I’ll see some of them around town or in future work.

But I’ve got this comfortable feeling of rest and relief, maybe it’s called peace, about leaving that particular job in the past. It’s a part of my history that I’ll remember with a smile. Lots of good things can be directly related to it:
the first girl I ever loved
great downtown parking
amazing live music performances
an introduction to Roy D. Mercer
helping to produce nationally televised shows
great friendships
trips to places like Las Vegas, the gulf coast, Miami, Los Angeles, Phoenix, New York, and many more

The people that told me how fast time goes after you get laid off were not wrong. Hard to believe it’s already been over 5 months. But I haven’t missed the job for a second! I’ve had a great summer that I will look back on and thank CMT for making it happen. Soon I will have another job or two, I’ll be back in the “real world” of making paychecks and scraping by, but for a few months, I lived how I imagine my dogs feel every day. Wake up, have some fun, bark at things, eat, sleep.

-Out of the Wilderness

The Reawakening: Part 10

I’m a few months into being laid off and a lot of people have been asking…

“What are you gonna do? Have you found work yet?”

The truth is, I have been idling. Don’t get me wrong, the engine is running, but it’s kind of like I’m at the starting line waiting to take off. Other people that were laid off or left CMT around the same time I did have found work, and that’s awesome. In the back of my mind, I think to myself, “Should I have jumped right back into the workforce as fast as possible?” But then I remember the plan. The plan was to actually enjoy the time off with a kind severance from CMT because it’s so rare to be in your mid-30s with time and freedom to pursue other interests… and travel.

I went to Missouri to volunteer at a Christian sports camp where I worked when I was a wee little college student. I’ve been to Florida a few times for time at the beach, time with my family, and this.  I also went with my parents and 2 oldest nieces to the Bahamas. That never would have happened if I was still working at CMT.

I’ve been kayaking, hiking, dog-sitting, rewatching A Different World, so many things that have reminded me how much fun life can be. I needed a reminder. I was in a routine, and I love routines so that wasn’t necessarily a bad thing, but I was living the cliche of “going through the motions.” Now it’s impossible to go through those same motions.

So what’s next? I’m excited about the idea of pursuing a couple different opportunities. I know I prefer to stay away from the traditional form of making money: going to a job, clocking in, clocking out, wearing a uniform. In the next few weeks I’ll be brainstorming and writing down a plan to make the rest of this year as good and exciting as the summer has been.

Thanks for following along on the journey!

-Out of the Wilderness

The Reawakening: Part 4

me as 4th grader 2December in St. Petersburg, Florida. I was excited because not only was it Christmastime, my birthday was coming up, too. Some people say it’s possible to have too much of a good thing, but tell that to any 4th grader who has 2 rounds of presents coming in the same month and you’ll be laughed out of the building. Impossible. To understand the significance of what I’m about to tell you, you may have to use your imagination. It was the mid-80s so there were no smartphones. There were no GoPros. No Internet, no HD televisions. No tablets, no digital photo cameras. No Dash Cams. We didn’t have Wikipedia, we had actual encyclopedias. There were huge boxy televisions… with maybe 50 channels, maybe. Phones were plugged into the wall and were attached by a cord. Computers were not very common and definitely not essential to everyday living. It was a world very unlike the one we live in now. Most families had one video camera, if any. And it was a giant VHS camcorder that was so big the back half rested on your shoulder while your hand propped up the front. Parents used it to record Christmases, birthday parties, maybe a child’s sporting event, or having fun in the back yard. Or hilarious sledding accidents. Yes, what you’re about to see is my brother crashing, then sounding like a girl.

Footage on those VHS tapes was precious, special, and regarded as delicate because it only existed in one spot, on that tape.

So on this memorable birthday, I received a gift that would change my world forever. In fact, I can probably dedicate my entire professional existence to the present my grandparents Mom-Mom and Pop gave me that day. My very own PXL2000.

picture from eBay user indorin

picture from eBay user indorin

I know what you’re thinking: he was the baddest 4th grader in all of the states. I felt it.

So it shouldn’t be a surprise that since then, I’ve been making videos. Some of which are on the Internet… like this, this, or this. Also not surprising that I would seek work in a related field. That’s how I ended up at Country Music Television and volunteering as a camera operator at my church.

Because of the persistent notion that there’s more out there for me (what this reawakening is all about), I found it curious that I recently got an email about a job opening at church. It was exactly lined up with my skill set and seemed to be dropped in my lap. Could this be the next step I’m supposed to take? The next chapter of my life? I couldn’t dismiss the timing of this job possibility. So I was open to exploring it as an option, even responding with the intentions of later sending in my reel and resume for consideration. Full disclosure, though, I had one hesitation: I’ve never wanted to work for a church, and more clearly, I’ve wanted to never work for a church. The reason for such a decision is simple, and I suppose it’s become a sort of mantra for me: I will go to church because I want to, not because I have to. For me, my own life and my own journey, I don’t like the idea of getting paid to be at church. I envision it stealing the joy from my life. Turning it into a sense of duty instead of an act of worship and a recharging of my soul. I wholeheartedly support those that do work in churches, and I love that they can work in a place where they can also worship and serve.

So the more I think about this particular offer, I’m realizing that it’s pretty much the same thing I do now at CMT, just a different location. It might ultimately lead to some sort of dissatisfaction, although I would feel a stronger sense of fulfillment there. Evenso, I won’t pursue the job any further. I love volunteering at my church, and perhaps that’s exactly how I’m supposed to be connected there. Either way, there’s a take-away from this whole post… if you only remember one thing:

I was the baddest 4th grader in all the states.
me as 4th grader-Out of the Wilderness

On having jury duty and getting laid off in the same week

Well, jury duty was very interesting. Maybe I’d have a different opinion if it was more than getting a chance to observe in real-life something I only typically see on TV. And now I’d like to thank my parents for raising me well enough that court is something I only typically see on TV. As a potential juror, I experienced a lot in the two days required of me. It was fascinating, even if the actual case sounded somewhat trivial. One person wants money, the other doesn’t want to give them money. Which means it was a civil case, as opposed to criminal.

“You can’t handle the truth!”

That line from A Few Good Men? Criminal case.

“Show me the money!”

That line from Jerry Maguire? Not a court case at all, but more likely to be said in a civil case unless you’re Cuba Gooding, Jr. Then you’re saying it all the time because hey, you’ve got the kwan.

One thing I learned is that in a civil case, the plaintiff has the burden of proof to show the accusations made are more likely true. In criminal, it’s the “beyond a reasonable doubt” we always here on TV (again, something I’ve never heard in real life, thanks Mom and Dad). I also learned about cases that involve someone stealing the spouse of someone else. Yeah, it has a name… Alienation of Affection. Crazy stuff.

“What’s love got to do with it?”

Evidently nothing. Alienation of Affection is a civil case because it’s about money. Unless O.J. Simpson’s involved. Then it would probably turn into criminal. But he’s innocent. I’m just speaking hypothetically.

On day 2 of the jury selection process, it was my turn to answer questions from the judge and the 2 attorneys. This is where they ask a laundry list of questions to find out if I’m fit to be a juror on this particular case. The thing is, I would’ve been a juror if they’d ask me all the questions before our lunch break.

Timing is everything.

After our 1-hour break for lunch, the judge began asking me his questions. The first, “What’s your employment?” My answer, “Actually, during lunch I was laid off.” What!? Laid off during lunch!? That never happens! I don’t know if it was compassion, or doubting I could make a clear judgement, but I was released from the jury. So the case was left up to 12 other people not named Ben. All of which had jobs. So I got broken up with twice on the same day! Ouchy. I returned to work to face the music.

“Gentlemen, this is the final rose of the night.”

Those words from the Bachelorette definitely apply to my last day at work. A lot of people were eliminated, and I was one of them. I found people throughout the building and said my goodbyes. Hugs. Laughter. Encouragement. I promised myself I wouldn’t cry in the limousine ride to the airport. Wait, what? No. I collected my things, got in my car, and drove away from the parking garage, knowing as I left this was the last time I’d be at CMT for a long time. Things will forever be different.

I got home to be greeted by the wagging tails of my dogs. We went to the dog park. I ate dinner. I watched another episode of Arrested Development.

“Just so you have it… because then at least you’ll have it.”

What I have is confidence that I did good work at CMT. I worked hard. People liked me. A few of my closest friends came from my time in that building. Some of them I even Snapchat with. I’m different now than I was when I started way back in 2006. I’ve got more confidence in what I can offer professionally. I’ve grown and blossomed more than just professionally. I have no regrets working for CMT, who’s most popular show right now features a lifestyle I only typically see on TV. Yes, I’m referring to Party Down South (thanks Mom and Dad!).

On to the next thing!
-Out of the Wilderness

My Trip to Vanderbilt for a Body Fat Analysis

Anything you’re willing to do on your lunch break is an addiction. Some people smoke. Some eat food. Me and my friend at work? No, we’re not that normal. We get in my car and drive to Vanderbilt Hospital for a silly annual competition that’s very annual, and actually anything but silly. It all started in 2010 when some medical people came to CMT for health screenings. They mostly just check the basics: heart rate, blood pressure, cholestoral levels, that sort of thing. They also measure body fat percentage. For 4 years this is the measurement my friend and I competed in. Two of those he was less fat, and two I was less, which lead us to 2014. A must-win situation because it’s the all-important tie-breaker. We arrived at work that day of the health assessment with excitement only to find out the Tanita Body Composition Analyzer was nowhere in sight! Are you kidding me? I’m just glad they took my blood pressure before I knew the machine wasn’t there. Will we have to wait another year for the tie-breaking numbers? Devastation ensued. That is, until Jill Brewster saved the day! She said to come by Vanderbilt later that day and she’ll break out Tanita for our annual battle.

Long story short, you’re reading the blog of the 2014 victor! Feel free to clap as long as you want. Although, I don’t know what’s more nerdy. That he and I have a body fat competition 5 years running, or that I’m excited enough to write about it. But it does give me an idea for another post. I’m thinking I’ll call it, “Valid reasons I’m still single.”

-Out of the Wilderness