Stephanie Kocer

Writer. Editor. Vagabond.

A Little Patience

I make my best decisions on impulse. Less thinking, more doing. If I have to think too long about something then it’s probably not worth it in the end. Not every impulsive decision I’ve ever made has turned out the best, though. Shocking, right?

Case in point; I recently moved apartments. I had been hoping for a while this past year to move into a new place. There was nothing wrong with my old apartment. It was in a good neighborhood with good neighbors. I had a nice big bedroom with lots of closet space and a kitchen that was functional. It wasn’t anything fancy and it kind of looked like it was straight out of 1964, but I was comfortable there. At the same time, though, I had this feeling of needing to move on. I had lived a lot of life in that apartment and it felt like I needed a new space to make home. A place that felt more like me.

One of my goals for 2017 was to be a better me. I know myself better than anyone and due to events in my life I felt like I was losing touch with the type of person I want to live my life as. So I started apartment hunting. I didn’t find anything at first that I really liked. I also had a budget I needed to stick to. Then my coworker showed me an opening at an apartment building close to downtown that I fell in love with immediately. It was in a good location and it was affordable. I called the property management and was able to tour the building right away. The place was old. Like, old. Probably built in the 20’s or 30’s, it was as gorgeous at it was dirty. It had original everything and that creepy yet satisfying old carpet smell. The entry way had marble floors and old-timey mailboxes that looked like something Carrie Bradshaw would definitely approve of. Sure, the place could have used some upkeep, like maybe sweeping the back steps once in a while and getting new windows in the hallways so Hector can’t easily get in and perch for his afternoon nap. But all in all the building was cool.  Continue reading

Record Year

I’ve been a liar my whole life.

You see, I have this secret that I’ve been trying to keep hidden since I was seven. A secret that, if exposed, would definitely hurt my street cred. But there gets to be a point when you have to let some things go. If there’s one thing this last year of heartbreak has taught me, it’s that you have to stop making excuses for the things and people you can’t change. So I’ve decided that it’s time to tell my secret.

It’s common for people to ask me what the first album I ever owned as a kid was. I pride myself on being a music savant and I feel like I get asked that a lot because people are trying to test me. Am I really who I say I am? My answer has always been standard: Bon Jovi’s “Crush” album. In hindsight, that answer is a little embarrassing for other reasons, but at least it fit with my brand. Too bad it’s not true.

I first fell in love with popular music when I was seven. But it wasn’t “It’s My Life” that did it for me, although it served as a close second. My mom wouldn’t allow me to listen to Britney Spears or NSYNC just in case it caused me to be a midriff bearing teen in later years. Her solution was to instead offer me her approved list of music, which included, but was not limited to things like: Aerosmith, Bad Company, Fleetwood Mac, Rolling Stones, Bob Seger, Allman Brothers Band, and Meet Loaf. Because if I was going to run around the house singing “Satisfaction” it was damn well going to be the original version remastered and not Britney’s re-imagining. Continue reading

(Just Like) Starting Over

My goal after graduating college was to be like everyone else; appear to have my life together. It wasn’t until after college that I realized nobody in their 20s has anything together.

I used to tell myself that if I got a cool job then everything else would fall into place. I have a cool job now. Or, at least a job that I enjoy on most days. And yet, the last year of my life has been a shambly mess. It seemed like the more I succeeded in my professional life the more my personal life fell apart.

Of course, those two pieces of me aren’t necessarily always related, nor do they have to be. And I suspect that I threw myself into my work life because I felt so hallow and empty in my personal life.

It’s funny. A year ago I would have shamed myself for the next thing I’m about to say, which just goes to show how much I’ve changed. All of this restlessness started with a boy.

Gross, right? I have never been the girl to let a guy get the best of her. I let my guard down for a minute and let one in. There’s absolutely nothing wrong with letting a guy in, either. Sometimes it comes with wonderful results. I just made the mistake of letting a bad one in. A really bad one. I knew from the moment I met him that I was going to get crushed. And I let myself fall anyway. And when he decided I couldn’t live in his world, well, I unraveled.

I stopped sleeping. I stopped eating. I started drinking too much. I lashed out at friends and family. And worst, I stopped writing.

It took me a long time to snap out of whatever spell I was under. And I’m strong enough now to admit that I still have bad days. Slowly, though, I’m making my way back. There’s so much to my story, but for now I’ll just say that asking for help is never a sign of weakness. And so, I found some help and tried to focus on how to be me again. Continue reading

New Season Brings Adventure

 

I’m very happy to say that since April I’ve been working for Special Olympics Iowa as their Marketing and Communications Manager. I get to edit the website, write articles and press releases, talk to media, and run social media. It’s a dream job for me, but one that I never saw coming.

Those who know me know I’m not always the most warm and cuddly person. I certainly don’t like organized group activities or even the idea of fundraising. And yet, here I am. Working for a nonprofit and somehow feeling a strange sense of determination and purpose.

This new role has brought new challenges and stresses to my life. It’s a 9 to 5 job, but not always in the traditional sense. Last weekend we held our annual state Summer Games. Since I’m the new kid in the office I had just over a month to prepare all of my small parts that make this very large, very important event function. I brought work home with me every night. I replied to important emails after 9 p.m. I even got a text from our CEO after midnight once because that’s just how hard everyone works. Continue reading

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