The Year I Came, Saw & Conquered

I’ve been back in California for nearly a year now. As I’ve written before, the last year has been one of personal growth and introspection. I’ve lost and gained friendships and lost a noticeable amount of weight (26 pounds for almost 26 years alive LOL). I’ve seriously doubted my self-worth and struggled with some depression….and came out feeling stronger and more defiant than before. But most importantly: I’ve come to enjoy life without the sense of near-absolute certainty and security I had come to embrace for years.

Back when I moved to DC for the internship at The American Prospect, I expected to land some sort of job in the journalism world. But towards the end of my time with The Prospect, I realized that journalism wasn’t the career for me – it’s unreliable (especially in the digital age) and doesn’t pay well for the amount of work that has to go into it. I was feeling homesick and nostalgic for the Golden State and wanted to jump start a career as a political staffer in the LA area. After making several connections and applying for several dozen jobs, nothing really panned out. In the meantime I worked side jobs to keep just enough money coming in to make monthly payments on my (thankfully) small student loan and a couple credit cards.

My next step was to apply for jobs in DC, too. Washington is both the political and non-profit heart of the country – there are countless opportunities for a job-seeking millennial with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Communications. So I started applying for political and PR/communications jobs in DC a few months after moving back home. I scored a few interviews and made some great connections that have since helped me tremendously. But the biggest obstacle to being a young politico in DC again has been the fact that I’m no longer in DC…yet.

This past January, I had to go back to work at my old Starbucks store. Did I want to? Not really. But my source of income was small and unstable. My old employer would at least pay me a steady wage. My manager has also been incredibly understanding and kind by bringing me back onto the team. One never really forgets how to make a Caramel Macchiato or a pitcher of coffee once you’ve spent years making them so my transition back to Baristaland was pretty smooth.

Had I known that I’d be back at my old Starbucks store a year ago, I would have obviously made some different decisions. For one, I would not have quit Starbucks in the first place. Say what you will about the two-tailed, green siren – she provides a good work environment and exceptional benefits for a food service company…and she allows her minions to transfer to different stores across the country. I probably would’ve stayed at the DC Starbucks I was at until I landed a permanent job.

But I didn’t. And that’s okay.

I’ve been forced to accept the fact that life – no matter how well you think it’s being managed and/or controlled – does not always go as planned. I planned on having a career in my field by now. I planned on living and working in the City of Angels. I planned on living and working in Washington, DC. I did everything I knew to do and have accepted all the constructive input I’ve sought out. And yet here I am.

Don’t confuse my acceptance of life’s uncertainty and unpredictability as defeat. To the contrary – I feel more ambitious than ever. My drive to succeed and make my own life has never been stronger.

As a matter of fact, I’ve applied for nearly 30 internships and fellowships since the beginning of May – DC internships and fellowships. My new plan is to once again be an intern in the District while working at (preferably) the same Starbucks store I was at before. I learned my lesson from last year and won’t quit “the Bux” until I land a permanent and full-time communications/PR or Capitol Hill job. The goal: Get to DC, continue to network, and stay. I’ve already had an interview and have another coming up. If all goes according to plan, I’ll be back in DC by early June.

Of course this plan could easily change or be upended by another one. But building my resume with a third internship or fellowship – one I am definitely qualified for – is an excellent way to launch a successful career. Just being back in DC will only expedite the process, too. Life threw me some important, lesson-learning curve balls. I’ve taken notes and redoubled my efforts. It’s not in my nature to settle for mediocrity or collapse in defeat if things haven’t gone according to plan. I’ve only got one life to live and I want to look back on it someday knowing that I did everything in my power to make it successful and fulfilled.

As always, stay tuned. 🙂

just me

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My 2015 Resolutions (Do people still do these?)

Regardless of whether people take resolutions seriously or not, I like to start each year with a fresh set of goals. I’ve done pretty well in the past and am on track to fulfill my “Where I want to be by age 30” plan (hint: well settled in a career and living a happy, fulfilled life in either LA or DC).

As I wrote about a couple weeks ago, the past year was a monumental one for me. From my internship in Washington, D.C. to growing on an interpersonal level, I’m happy with where I’ve ended up. Even though I didn’t land a job after my internship, I still feel accomplished and eager for the new year.

Here are my resolutions for the 15th (or 16th, depending on who you ask) year of the 21st century (order doesn’t necessarily denote importance):

First, I obviously want to start my career within the first couple months of the upcoming year. Congressional staffer, communications associate at a firm or non-profit, some other yet-unspecified job in the communications/writing arena…I’m both picky and open for anything. I’m working hard on making this a reality very soon, so stay tuned.

Second, I want to do more than simply donate to advocacy organizations and charities. I love donating to causes and organizations I strongly believe in. Sure, I can pay them lip service by advocating their goals and blogging about it. But because of their intrinsic non-profit quality, they rely on supporters going above and beyond word of mouth. It’s very fulfilling to be able to look back and know that I had a little hand in their success. It’s also incredibly fulfilling to donate one’s time to charity and advocacy by actively supporting an organization’s goals. Planting trees, serving at a homeless shelter, marching in a demonstration – whatever it may be, I want to do it in 2015.

Third, I want to keep up the great progress I’ve made in improving my physical health. From July to the end of the year, I lost 25 pounds. I feel better. I look better. I’m more confident and, most importantly, down a couple pant sizes! 😉 For the first time in my life, I’m starting to see the beginnings of “abs,” too (no, I’m not going to prove it – this isn’t Grindr, you guys). All these body improvements have got me excited and motivated for another year of improvements.

Fourth, I want to take the time to read more novels. Arthur C. Clarke, the greatest sci-fi author of all time (in my opinion) produced some incredible works of speculative and philosophical fiction. I’ve read several of his novels and I want to read many more. I’d also like to read more from other sci-fi greats – I hear Stephen Baxter is good, too. Why am I writing about this? Because a steady diet of non-fiction and current events – while vital to what I want to do for a living – can become incredibly depressing if not balanced by light-yet-complex fiction. The best thing about sci-fi: It frees the mind to consider what humanity’s future may be like. In a time when progress can seem slow, imagining where we’re headed as a species is a favorite pastime of mine.

Fifth, I want to blog more! For those of you who have followed me for at least a year or so, you’ll notice that I’ve blogged more recently. What can I say? I feel inspired and don’t want to repress it? It’s self-promotion? Well, both: blogging is therapeutic and my writing is appearing on  other sites now, too. Thanks to the people at Bilerico and Gay Fresno! I even did a Q&A during my internship at The American Prospect earlier this year. I’ll work on expanding this list.

Lastly, I don’t want to hold back from letting those I love and care about know how much I love and care about them. My understanding of relationships deepened in this year, something I have continued to explore. The friends I’ve gained and lost have given me an intimate understanding of the human heart. Life is too short to act invincible and discard people. I’m a relatively affectionate person, something I’m not shy of or ashamed about. But I don’t want to feel like I have to hold back from letting those I care about know how I feel about them. Every day, I am so incredibly grateful for the amazing people in my life – they have all helped mold and shape who I have become. My parents, cousins, friends, extended family…if you want to know who Micah Escobedo is, talk to them (after asking me of course 😉 ).

Bring on 2015 and endless cover versions of “Auld Lang Syne”!

My dad and me at the Capitol building in DC - May 2014

My dad and me at the Capitol building in DC – May 2014

I became pretty familiar with DC's (infamous) metro system during my internship at The Prospect

I became pretty familiar with DC’s (infamous) metro system during my internship at The Prospect

The Spring 2014 interns were The Prospect's best, if I say so myself...

The Spring 2014 interns were The Prospect’s best, if I say so myself…

My parents liked DC and it was great exploring it with them at the end of May

My parents liked DC and it was great exploring it with them at the end of May

I wish you all a happy, successful, and fulfilled New Year!

I wish you all a happy, successful, and fulfilled New Year!

This year’s journey

This year’s journey

This has been one of, if not the, biggest year of my life. Granted, I’m only 25, the age considered “old” to annoying teens and “kiddie” to people collecting Social Security. But it’s still been a significant year. I lived in DC for several months while working as an editorial intern with The American Prospect. I connected with some incredible people. I improved my skills. Hell, I even endured my first snow storm (I now hate snow) and lost 25 pounds (hello again, pant size I haven’t seen in 5 years).

But perhaps the biggest impact of the year has been more self discovery and a deeper understanding of the connections that bind friends and family. I can truly say that I’m a different person than I was during December 2013. Then, I was about to finish college with a BA in Communication and was eagerly awaiting my internship with The Prospect. I was sure that I would move to DC and end up staying there – I just knew that I’d somehow get a job by the end of my internship. I was so sure that I packed up my room before leaving, that way my parents wouldn’t have to pack my room for me when I inevitably got a job (it’s still mostly packed, by the way).

I was confident that I’d land a job – I had met plenty of “important” people and connected with DC natives. Through a then-friendship, I had been able to score an incredibly low monthly rent rate. Everything was falling into place. I had worked hard to make sure it would all happen…and it was about to.

I should make it clear that I did accomplish a lot and have achieved most of what I wanted to during this year. And I really am close to landing a job in DC or LA – I’ve applied to several dozen different positions with a plethora of organizations and elected officials and met and connected with great people who have helped me along the way. But after living on my own in a completely different environment, coming right back to California afterwards, working side jobs here and there to keep some cash coming in, being (essentially) unemployed for half the year, and losing some friendships, I’m in a different place. Life threw me a bit of a curve ball. And that’s okay.

My perspective and understanding of who I am and who my friends and  are has changed. Aside from a sense of impatience (a result of job searching for several months) I feel more at peace with myself and life. I challenged myself by living on my own in DC. I improved my writing and research skills. I’ve learned more about the world around me and been exposed to different, vibrant experiences. Being without a full-time job has given me plenty of (if not too much) time to critique my priorities. I’ve realized that some people in my life were only passing attractions on my journey. Without the pain from being blown off, ignored, or rejected, I wouldn’t be who I am today. I know, now more than ever, that I am enough and that I have the talent and skill to make my future. Plus, I still have some incredible, amazing and lovely people in my life that are there for good. Their presence leaves me ever-grateful.

I feel stronger and more confident. Even my politics have changed, though just a little bit (yes, I’m still a “lefty”). I’m going out of my way to be challenged in my thinking and it’s made me a better citizen. I guess you could call me a center-left liberal who enjoys reading The American Prospect and Mother Jones…as well as The American Conservative and Reason magazine (I’ve also come to find the liberal websites Mic and Salon to be insufferable, pretentious messes – yeah, I said it). I don’t want to be a robot and I don’t want to worry about censoring myself within my own political camp or in other areas of my life.

The uncertainty of the future doesn’t terrify me like it did. After all, life is about learning, growing and making your own meaning, pursuing your own happiness. Will I be living in DC or LA by next month? Maybe…and maybe not. Am I rambling? Maybe. 😉 All I can do is keep living my life and loving who I am. There’s no other way to live as I make this journey.

 

 

I Am *Not* Legend, Just Micah

Forgive me, Father WordPress, for I have sinned. It has been a few months since my last blog post…and so much has happened!

The Supreme Court overturned the linchpin of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) and marriage equality finally returned to the Golden State. California itself has been on the uptick as both unemployment and the deficit have fallen dramatically. The national unemployment rate is slowly falling and the national debt is rapidly decreasing, as it has been for years now (no, really, it is). I’ll get to Russia and its f*cked up human rights violations in a future blog post…

As the world has continued to spin and ever change, I’ve also been undergoing a bit of a change in my thinking as well. Aside from trying to get back into shape and lose a few pounds, I have become more confident in myself and my identity. I recently turned 24 and have steadily come to the conclusion that while life is complicated and messy and often paradoxical, living a “good” life really comes down to a handful of goals (in my opinion): Love, be loved, and proudly be yourself.

They all sound so simple and yet they can be the most challenging things to achieve in life. As Nat King Cole crooned in “Nature Boy,” “the greatest thing you’ll ever learn is just to love and be loved in return.” We all need it and crave as much of it as we can get. We find it in all the right and wrong places. We kill for it. We start wars and family feuds over it. Love is all we need even though we frequently claim immunity to it. It is one of the greatest things to experience as a human being.

I have yet to fall in love with another person as I’m a little busy with finishing school and working. But I wouldn’t trade the love I feel for family and friends for anything. It’s intense, warm, pulsating and strikes me at my core. It’s hard to describe and yet something we all intimately understand. That natural, organic, chemical, electrifying phenomenon known as “love” is something I look forward to experiencing more of as I journey through my life.

Of course this love must also be protected and not freely given out like cheap tickets to a has-been musical group’s concert in a casino. I’ve come to realize that love has to be cherished, nurtured and carefully expanded. Most people you meet will only end up becoming (or staying) strangers and acquaintances. Again, this sounds so painfully simple – of course most people aren’t going to end up being your life-long friends! But if you are like me and tend to hastily put emotional and relational stock in the wrong people, this is breaking news. Mental note: just because you have great discussions with Person ABC and share laughs with him or her does not automatically make Person ABC a friend. I need to stop learning this lesson over and over.

Another lesson I am continually learning is to realize that there is only one of me. Since I’m stuck with being who I am, I might as well have a ball and enjoy myself. I cannot be someone else’s persona of me or live my life according to another’s standards. I can’t change who I am no matter how hard I try, a fact I realized only three and-a-half years ago. I am me. It may cause some people to laugh or mock me and that’s okay. After all, if who I am offends others or doesn’t meet their standards, that’s their own problem and none of my concern.

I’m not the best writer out there but I am good. I frequently have trouble staying in the gym consistently but I do go. My eyesight without the aid of glasses or contacts is horrible but I can still see. I am continually fighting my inner demons and never-ending anxiety stemming from Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder and mild bouts of depression but I am still living my life the best I can and to the fullest. I’m not the son of wealthy parents nor did I attended an Ivy League school with a 4.0 GPA but I am about to finish schooling at a school in the California State University system with good grades (and the large dents in my bank account and small amount of student loan debt to prove it). I love my life and take comfort in the fact that at the end of the day I can look back and say I’ve done the best I can do.

I am me and I am loving every minute of it.

Cheers.

 

Here’s to 2013

Suck it, Mayans. Not only was 2012 not the end of humanity, it was packed with major milestones and records. Every blog on the Internet and every columnist known to Man have written some sort of commemorative post or column to look back over the previous year and welcome in 2013 – nothing special here…and since the year is over, I figured I’d write SOMETHING to look back.

There’s so much that I’ve written about over the past year: more states legalized marriage equality and brought national equality closer to being a reality; President Barack Obama beat human cyborg Mitt “Cayman Islands” Romney and won re-election to the presidency; The one and only Queen of Pop (hint: her career is over 30 years old) performed at the Super Bowl halftime to a record-breaking number of viewers and topped the charts with her 12th studio album, MDNA, all over the world.

And…

All previous heat and extreme weather records were broken this year than in all the years that scientists have been studying global climate and planet’s oceans continue to become more acidic…because humans have absolutely no effect on climate change because it is totally fake, or something. The number of mass shootings in the United States continued to skyrocket with tragic results, and still America has grossly inadequate gun control policies – the National Rifle Association’s lobbyists have blood on their hands.

We must make 2013 a better, more responsible and unified year.

Throughout this chaotic and interesting year, my own life saw some changes and milestones. I’m still working and going to school and by 2014, I’ll have a Bachelor’s Degree in Communication with a minor in Mass Communication and Journalism from Fresno State. I may decide to go on for a Master’s Degree in Mass Communication and Journalism. I turned 23 in August, danced to “Gangnam Style” and realized I’m annoyed with the teens and children of today….and I’d just like to say that One Direction can go back the direction they came.

Having said/written that, here are a few highlights from my year:

 

I became a father………….to a beautiful kitten…

I am the proud father of the most beautiful, funny, adorable cat ever – FACT. I got little miss Lucy, named after Lucille Ball, when she was only a six-week-old bundle of fur. I fell in love instantly. For almost seven months, she’s brought be joy and a few headaches. Lucy has abnormally long legs and can literally jump over half-way up a door if she’s following a mysterious laser and she loves to chit-chat with me. I love Lucy. She’s purrrfect.

my little girl

my little girl

 

I saw Madonna LIVE in LA

It was a surreal experience, seeing my favorite artist and the legendary Queen of Pop (I wrote about it for my university newspaper – read it here). I purchased the tickets for a pretty penny, but it was definitely worth it. In fact, for the next tour, I’m paying even more to sit in front of the stage AND I’ll be going to more than one show. Madonna puts on a concert like no other by channelling her pioneering, independent spirit and chart topping hits into one two-hour extravaganza. Seeing a Madonna concert in one’s lifetime should be on everyone’s bucket list. Sadly, my phone died before the concert began and I wasn’t able to take any pictures. So, here’s an iconic screenshot from the highest-grossing tour of 2012…

Madonna wearing a Gaultier corset (homage to her 1990 Blonde Ambition Tour) and vogue-ing

Madonna wearing a Gaultier corset (homage to her 1990 Blonde Ambition Tour) and vogue-ing

 

I *proudly* helped re-elect President Obama.

President Barack Obama is not perfect. For example, I wish he would be more aggressive on fighting climate change via policy, Wall Street reform and gun control. But when one of the parties in a two-party system literally does all it can to fight, tooth and nail, everything the President and his party do, it’s hard to enact meaningful legislation or accomplish anything aside from Congress-wide pay raises. Since the corporate backed Conservative Movement, Religious Right, and the Tea Party took over the Republican Party, Washington has been a nightmare. I agree with most of the President’s agenda and over-all goals and when it came down to him and Mitt “binders full of women” Romney, it was really a no-brainer. Historians will look back in amazement at how politics regressed in this time. The 2014 congressional elections cannot come fast enough…

President Obama - two-term, 44th President of the United States.

President Obama – two-term, 44th President of the United States.

Here’s to a kick-ass 2013.

 

It’s Almost Here!

It’s already here: I’ll be leaving to Sacramento this Friday.

Time has gone by so fast. I still cannot believe that two years ago, I was a freshman at the local community college. Now, on Friday, I’ll be transferring to California State University Sacramento for a degree in Government Journalism.

I’ve already made some great friends and I am eager to make more. This new experience, this new chapter in my life…I’m ready and anxious for it.

Here’s to new beginnings and new friends.