Welcome to This Is Me Thursdays! To read other posts in this series, click here. If you want to be involved, please email me for more details! Today, learn more about Tiffany White, someone I’ve been in touch with over the past few years because of blogging!
I can’t remember how we were first introduced, but I know it was at least a handful of years ago. We became blogging friends, and it’s been fun to see her grow and change and experience different things through her social media and blog, which is called Endless Bliss. She’s such a cool, positive and fun person, and I know you’ll love her as much as I do! Also, she’s a Harry Potter fan, so #winning. Visit her blog, YouTube channel, Instagram, Twitter, Facebook and Pinterest page, and let her know you saw her post here!
This Is Me: Tiffany White
Share a little about yourself and what you’re up to these days.
I’m Tiffany, and I always like to start my introductions with mentioning that I’m a military brat. I feel like having a parent in the Air Force defined so many parts of my life growing up. It made me fall in love with traveling. It made me curious about other cultures, countries, and people. It made me value equality. So much of what I am today has to do with the fact that I grew up all over the world, and I’m so grateful for that.
I’m also currently the girlfriend of someone in the military, and I will say that growing up as a child of someone in the military and being a military significant other (MILSO) are completely different ballgames. But ultimately, I mention that because the reason I am where I am right now is because of my boyfriend and path that he chose to follow for his career in the military. He is currently attending grad school in Dayton, Ohio, which is where we’ve been living for the past year and a half. If we didn’t move here, I probably wouldn’t have discovered my passion for teaching. I worked in hotel sales and marketing for five years, using my business degree that I got in 2012. I had a tough time finding a job when we moved, so I decided to take a temporary job in childcare while I figured it out, since I did have quite a bit of childcare experience. This led me to falling in love with teaching and all the creativity that goes into it.
Now I’m going to school online at Western Governors University to get my post-baccalaureate in elementary education. This will basically be a teaching certification that I tack onto my bachelor’s degree, and even though it isn’t quite a master’s, it kind of hangs in limbo between a bachelor’s and a master’s. In the mean time, I’ve been doing odd jobs working at a different childcare facility, working at a doggy daycare, and baby-sitting some of the kids I used to take care of. I’m on the path to graduating in December 2020, and I’m so excited!
What does life purpose mean to you? Does it really exist for you/all of us, or is it just some pipe dream?
Life absolutely has a purpose; otherwise, why would any of us be here? For me, my life purpose has always started and ended with happiness. If I’m unhappy, then what’s the point? There’s been two points in my life when I genuinely felt my lack of life purpose, and I thought about ending my life. Even though those were the darkest parts of my life, it’s so important for me to talk about and remember them because without those extremely dark times, I wouldn’t be able to recognize elation or the pure joy that certain moments have brought to me. I don’t recommend going to those dark places at all, but I do believe that when you feel something, you should allow yourself to feel it and get through it. Don’t box it away. Don’t hide from it. Feel it and get through it. Those hard times will help you appreciate the good ones.
What motivates and inspires you in your life?
I’m a type 2w3 enneagram, so for those that know what that means, it’s probably no surprise that my motivation lies in helping others. I love bringing people together and playing host, but more than that, I like to be the person that people go to when they need someone to talk to. I want people to always feel like they’re welcome in my home. I was people to feel like I always have time for them, because I do. I think the most exciting part about becoming a teacher is getting to literally change the lives of the students I teach everywhere. Yes, I will teach them how to write proper sentences and how to add fractions, but more importantly, I get to help them choose to be kinder and more accepting and so many incredible things that the world needs right now. Ever since I was young, I always put the needs of others ahead of my own, but now that I’m older, I can find of balance of meeting my needs while also helping the people I love. I’m so excited to put that into practice as a teacher, as well as in the next city that my boyfriend and I will call home this spring.
Is what you do now what you always imagined doing? Why or why not, and what have you learned because of that?
When I was younger, I wanted to do a lot of things, but I was always told that I need to be practical with my college major because I need to make sure I got a job that made money. I got a business degree even though I found the classes incredibly boring, and I wasn’t sure what I was going to do with my degree. I went through many jobs after college, and even though one did feel like a career, I wasn’t making the amount of money that I thought I would be making with my degree. I’m not saying that my degree was a waste of time, because it wasn’t. Even though I didn’t get a life-long career out of what I went to college for, I gained forever friends, incredible memories, and I grew so much as a person.
Now as I’m working on getting my teaching degree, everything just feels right. I remember as a child, when teachers would get rid of old textbooks, I would always bring them home old textbooks and “teach” my stuffed animals. I would feel like a rebel writing in the textbook, and I loved doing all the math worksheets. I wish that I had hung onto the dream of that little girl. Instead, I spent years doing a few different jobs, and feeling complacency in the one that was the most financially comfortable (but still a low hourly wage job).
I don’t think any of the jobs I had were a waste of my time. I learned so much from every experience I had, and I think having those experiences will help me so much as a teacher. It will also help me appreciate the opportunity to be a teacher and to finally get to do something that I’m passionate about. Just like in life, your path to finding your career isn’t a straight line, but all the bumps and bruises you get along the way will serve as important lessons and opportunities for growth.
What’s something you desperately want other people to know or realize that may help them in their lives?
I think it’s important that people know that asking for help is never a sign of weakness. Whether it’s asking someone to connect with another person for a career opportunity, having someone coach you through an interview, having a professional create your resume, or even seeking a therapist, there is no shame in that. We weren’t put on this earth to be all-knowing and and do everything on our own. There’s a reason people come into our lives when they do, and sometimes it means that, down the line, they’ll be able to help you with something that may change your life; and you’ll hopefully have the opportunity to do the same for them.
I used to be super prideful and believed that I could do everything on my own. I would use the internet as the huge resource that it is and research how to do something properly for hours, when in reality, I probably could have asked a close friend, colleague, or coworker for assistance, and it would have saved me so much time. I also when to therapy for the first time last year, and HOLY LIFESAVER! I will forever be thankful for my therapist for shedding light on why I think the way do, why I feel certain ways in different scenarios, my relationships with others, and, of course, stuff from my childhood.
Never be too prideful to ask for help. People want to help. You just have to be brave enough to admit you need it.
How do you define belonging and connection, and how have your definitions changed over time?
When I was younger, it was so important to me to feel popular. I wanted to have a bunch of friends, but also one best friend that I could talk to about everything. As I’ve gotten older, I’ve realized the importance of true friendship. Once I moved away from the comfort of a place I lived for 12 years, I realized that the people who want you in their lives will make sure you’re a part of them. To me, belonging and connection feels kind of like getting butterflies. It’s defined by those moments when someone does something so kind for you that you can hardly fathom it. It gives you a funny feeling in your stomach and chills down your spine.
As someone who has anxiety, I’ve sometimes found it difficult to believe that people want to hang out with me. I have this feeling that no one actually wants to be my friend, and when they hang out with me, they don’t actually want to be there. (I put in a lot of hours on these negative thoughts with my therapist.) When I make new friends, I have to work through these feelings and remind myself of what I said in the beginning of this – the people who want you in their lives will put you there.
What’s something you make sure to do every day/week/month that helps you practice self-care and self-love?
For me, self-care is basically giving myself the opportunity to turn my brain off. Between work, school, blogging, and YouTube, I put pressure on myself to make sure I’m always doing something productive. Everything I do should be working toward crossing something else off of my list. When I have a day that I don’t get “enough” done, I feel like I’m failing. Both my boyfriend and my therapist have helped me work through that. I’m not my best self when I’m burnt out. I don’t do my best work when I don’t give myself time to rest. I’ve been so much better about practicing self-care than I ever have been.
Self-care to me looks like binge-watching a TV show or watching a romantic comedy. It could also be reading a fun book that doesn’t stress me out. Journaling, painting, or doing something creative are good self-care practices for me. Also, taking a bath, taking my dog to the dog park, or painting my nails can be self-care. My absolute favorite form of self-care is traveling. Basically, my form of self-care is when I’m doing something unproductive, and I get to take my mind off of the things that have deadlines, and I try to do it as often as I can.
How do you define success in your life and/or business?
I think this kind of goes back to what I shared about life purpose. For me, success means that I’m happy and excited about life. I’m excited about waking up working on the things I get to work on. I remember when I was getting my first degree, I dreaded going to class. Now that I’m working toward my teaching degree, I love opening my degree plan and pouring myself into the content. I get excited about my homework and every stepping stone I reach that will help bring me closer to my goal of becoming a teacher.
If I’m unhappy, then what’s the point? If I’m not excited about the work I’m doing, then why do it? Success has always equaled happiness for me, and I can’t wait to see what doors open after I walk across that stage at the end of this year.
Photo courtesy of Tiffany White