Category Archives: challenges

courage over comfort: coming back home

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Growing up I felt that I was truly a rebel. I marched to the beat of my own drum and I felt that I did things by my own rules. I defied the wishes of my parents, and hung out with some kids they didn’t think were a good influence; knowing that I was changing the world by showing love to those that I didn’t feel were getting it from their own homes. I dressed however I wanted, and I drove over the speed limit. In my heart, I was truly a rebel who was also going to make the world a better place.

As I moved through my high school years and into my 20’s, I was always the child/grandchild/sister/niece/friend that everyone always wondered “what will she do next?” For other self-identifying rebels, I was about a 1.5 on a 1-10 scale of rebellion. In my family I was at least a 9.7! Everyone in my family were great at following the order of things and the rules.

You went to high school, you went to college, you got married and you had kids.

I wore my uniqueness and my desire to forge my own path as a badge of honor. I was always acting true to my spirit and to the calling of my heart; even if it made others uncomfortable. In my eyes I was living on my own terms and the rebel spirit was at the wheel! So I went to high school, went to Junior College, went to Cosmetology school, moved to New York to be a Nanny…and the journey went on for a while and was full of great adventures and countless stories I hold dear to my heart.

I was also learning that when you live this way, it can make others uncomfortable and worry about you. They will also judge you. Even if they think their judgements are for your own good, they are still judgements. I have also always been someone who does care what others think, so these judgements had a way of seeping into my subconscious thought.

Back then it was more in a way of taking in what they are saying, but still making the decision I thought was best for me; even if it went against what judgement or opinion someone had shared.

It served me quite well, and it gave me a life full of adventures, failures, sheer joy, and great challenges. You know, Living Life!

Over the next couple of decades my rebel spirit became tame. Society has a way of doing that. You’re told you need to “grow up” and do things a certain way. You need to have health insurance and a 401K or retirement plan. You need to “plant roots” and “settle down”. Slowly you start to see everyone else around you doing this. Getting the stable job with all of the trappings, starting families, buying a house and possibly a mini-van. Although some of these things appealed to me, these things didn’t seem to be showing up at my doorstep. I was getting restless for something that looked like stability, as that was what I was seeing all around me. I was open to whatever it was.

It showed up as a moment in my living room, watching Oprah. The Universe was telling me loud and clear that I needed to go back to school to become a teacher. I heeded the call and took the steps I needed to get started. Although it didn’t seem rebellious to go to college, for me it brought back those same feelings. Fear, excitement, bravery, change; and the desire to make a difference in the world.

I went back to school. I worked hard and earned 2 degrees. I started a career that met all of the criteria that had the big safety net. It has served me well, and I wouldn’t have done it any other way, but as of late, some questions and curious thoughts have entered my mind. Am I truly living my life, or have I chosen to just be comfortable? Where is my rebel spirit? Where is my need to explore new places and to try new things? Have I chosen comfort over courage?

About 2 years ago I began the task of cleaning out my attic space. I ran across some old photos, notes, books, and memorabilia that transported me back to my rebel-self. This also happened during a time of great turmoil in my job and a time of deep self-reflection; as I was feeling lost, battling depression, and just feeling very disconnected with myself and the world around me. I ended up putting the items back into the attic and closing the box on those memories until I knew I was ready to dig deeper. Not into the attic [which will easily be a 3 day project when I get the courage to tackle it, again], but dig deeper into myself.

It is now over 2 years from the time I found those items in the attic. The attic is STILL not organized and I haven’t revisited those photos yet; but now I am excited to see what other treasures I have buried in there. I won’t approach the job with trepidation about what I may discover, but I am excited to relive some of the amazing things I have done in my past.

At the same time, I am finally ready, and have actually begun to find my rebellious spirit again! To be able to find it, I had to really understand what it actually was for me back then.

Upon further inspection I saw that the scope of my true rebel spirit didn’t meet the Merriam-Webster definition. It was more subtle than that. Much more subtle. I didn’t skip school or party. I didn’t sneak out of the house or steal. I actually followed most of the rules, had a high respect for authority and the great desire to not disappoint anyone. But what I felt was the SPIRIT of rebellion. I was the only person in my family who didn’t fit the “mold”. I didn’t follow the same path or the beaten path. My path was forged by me and me alone.

I could see that I felt I could do anything and I KNEW I was brave enough to do it.

I took risks, but didn’t seek out danger.

It was a force within me that only allowed ME to define myself. I was strong, brave, bold, and I knew that life was for living and I was going to squeeze everything out of it that it was offering up to me…even if it made those around me a little uncomfortable.

That was my definition of my rebel spirit.

Now at 46 years old, I see that being a rebel only takes BELIEVING that you are one! It’s being BOLD and BRAVE. Faking it until you make it. Saying it out loud in the mirror to yourself. Saying it over and over again in your head as you’re walking down the hall at work.

Saying it until you BELIEVE it!

Because in the not too distant future, it will become your truth; as it is becoming mine again. The rebel spirit can return. Your bold, brave spirit will emerge from its long hibernation, ready to stretch its legs…and kick some ass!

Rebellion may be loud and messy, but it can also be soft and subtle. Your bold, brave self is defined by YOU. It is defined by choosing Courage over Comfort. Thank you Brené Brown for your quote “You can choose courage or you can choose comfort, but you can’t have both”.

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I have chosen courage over comfort recently, and it is serving me well. It doesn’t come without its own set of challenges. That is where the learning takes place. That is where the rebel spirit resides.

When rediscovering your rebellious, bold, brave self,  it also requires having grace with yourself.  It looks different on all of us and it manifests itself differently based on a myriad of things. It may be that soft, quiet voice or it may roar like a lion. It’s unapologetically yours and can look however you choose.

I invite you to explore your own rebellious spirit. To answer the call of your heart and to see where it takes you. It will be a grand adventure, and I know it will be well worth it.

Allow it to be what it organically is….YOU. POWERFUL. REBELLIOUS. BOLD. BRAVE.

YOU.

 

~e

i will do it now

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I will not wait until I am thinner, richer, have my closets cleaned out or my drawers organized.

I will do it now.

I will not wait for this weekend, or Monday or March or 2016.

I will do it now.

I will not wait for the weather to cool off or warm up, for the stars to align, or the seasons to change.

I will do it now.

Whatever it is that I have put off for the “right time”.

I will do it now.

I have figured out that waiting for this to happen or be completed before I move forward on what I need to do to live a better life, is just procrastination based on fear. It means I am hedging my bets on my life. I have created truly non-existent barriers, huge walls to climb before I get to the “good stuff”.  It means that I have created an excuse long before attempting whatever it is I want to do… because of fear of failure. Today the walls come down, I lay my chips on the table and the excuses and fear stops.

It stops now.

I will no longer waste valuable time.

What starts now are all the things I’ve postponed.

Life it way too short.

It really is.

It’s time to start living.

I will do it now.

~e

in my mind

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This video was posted on my blog before. It’s by Amanda Palmer; an amazingly creative, courageous and authentic artist. She lives her life for her, but in doing so gives back to so many. It’s an interesting way that works. She is also not afraid of profanity, so if you are…you have been warned.

I will also include the song lyrics below. It’s one of those songs that to me, is a reminder of the never-ending evolution we go through as human beings. The dreams we have for ourselves that we sometimes don’t chase, the challenges we allow ourselves to face so that we are grow as people, and the little things we try to change about ourselves on the quest for becoming what we think we should become for whatever reason we think it. And the realization that this is who we are and that’s just how it should be.

Since I took a long hiatus from blogging, I was going back through some of my earlier posts and rediscovered this video. Upon reading that post again I see that I was searching for the same things then as I am now. The difference is that I am not just searching for them passively at this point. I have thrown caution to the wind and have theoretically walked off the precipice and am seeing what awaits below. It’s such a freeing feeling.

Where will I be 5 years from now?
Who knows.
 Do I have a 5 year plan?
That would be a negative, Ghost Rider.
 Am I OK with that?
Absolutely.

love,
~e

Here are the lyrics to”In My Mind” by Amanda Palmer:

                                       

In my mind
In a future five years from now
I’m a hundred and twenty pounds
And I never get hung over
Because I
Will be the picture of discipline
Never minding what state I’m in
And I will be someone I admire
And it’s funny how I imagined
That I would be that person now
But it does not seem to have happened
Maybe I’ve just forgotten how
To see
That I’m not exactly the person that I thought I’d be
And in my mind
In the far-away here-and-now
I’ve become in-control somehow
And I never lose my wallet
Because I
Will be the picture of discipline
Never fucking-up anything
And I’ll be a good defensive driver
And it’s funny how I imagined
That I would be that person now
But it does not seem to have happened
Maybe I’ve just forgotten how
To see
That I’ll never be the person that I thought I’d be
And in my mind
When I’m old I am beautiful
Planting tulips and vegetables
Which I will mindfully watch over
Not like me now
I’m so busy with everything
That I don’t look at anything
But I’m sure I’ll look when I am older
And it’s funny how I imagined
That I could be that person now
That that’s not what I want
But that’s what I wanted
That I’d be giving up somehow
How strange to see
That I don’t want to be the person that I want to be
And in my mind
I imagine so many things
Things that aren’t really happening
And when they put me in the ground
I’ll start pounding the lid
Saying, “I haven’t finished yet,
I still have a tattoo to get,
It says, ‘I’m living in the moment'”
And it’s funny how I imagined
That I could win this win-less fight
Maybe it isn’t all that funny
That I’ve been fighting all my life
But maybe I have to think it’s funny
If I want to live before I die
And maybe it’s funniest of all
To think I’ll die before I actually see
That I am exactly the person that I want to be
Fuck yes
I am exactly the person that I want to be
 

 

next….

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image from: http://24.media.tumblr.com/tumblr_lxnr0vjSOi1qbygswo1_250.jpg

As phases go some are abandoned forever, some are started and finished and some are put on the shelf for a while until I am drawn to them again. Blogging falls into category 3. It has been a while since I have posted… and what is interesting is that my life has been extraordinarily busy, disappointing, exciting, sad, scary, joyous, and most of all… challenging…sometimes these feelings happen from day to day and sometimes there is a melting pot of many of these emotions flooding in at the very same time.  From my acceptance into graduate school to the death of my grandmother, life has been moving along at a very fast pace with some of the highest highs and lowest lows.

 I have sat down many times to write, but have felt it wasn’t time. Emotions were too raw or the sadness too heavy. On the joyous days I would want to share but didn’t want to remove myself from the joy to write it down.

Some days I wish that the days would fly by even faster than they already are…wishing bad days away so that I can move onto what is next. Of late, there seem to be more bad days than I am accustom to, as I have lived a pretty blessed life. Through the bad I have learned a lot about myself as well as others. I have seen the magic and power of friendship, the importance of letting people be there for me, being willing to say “I can’t do this anymore” and knowing that it takes strength and courage to walk away from something that isn’t right for me. I’ve also being reminded that I have one of the best families anyone could ask for.

I have refused to harden my heart as the challenges presented themselves. Sure, I’ve learned to better protect myself but I am not going to change the person I am because some people are miserable and want everyone else to be miserable too.

 On other days I ask the Universe to slow down so I can take it all in. The days filled with laughter, friends, family and happiness. Because these days have been less frequent of late, I work to enjoy every second so that I can save up some of the happy moments and sprinkle them into those days where I have climbed in bed at 7:30pm just to be able to say I made it through another day.
My wishes have been granted in both cases, allowing me to move through the difficult parts knowing that the less difficult parts are waiting in the wings.

This has been a year of me having to be selfish at times so that I could hold it all together. I haven’t felt like I have been able to be there for those who have been there for me.  I guess that is what makes the strong friendships I am so lucky to have. I am allowed to let it be about me for a while. What’s even more awesome is that when it shouldn’t be about me, my friends let me know that…and I am a better person because of it. They have kept me sane.

I never ask to not experience the difficult…I just ask for the tools I need to get through it so that I come out on the other side…maybe a little scarred but also a little better. Scars tell stories. A life without stories would be a pretty boring life.

 This has been a very challenging year for me, but with most challenges there are amazing lessons to be learned. I’m trying to find the lessons in the chaos and the calm in my heart to take advantage of the lessons. It is about creating a life that is well lived. It is about trying to find the “awesomeness”.

There is always awesomeness around. Sometimes it is just a little harder to find.

As the light becomes quite bright at the end of this dark tunnel, I am excited about all of the amazing possibilities on the horizon. I will be able to look back on the challenges I have encountered and I will know that they have made what is next that much sweeter.

~e

p.s.
as I was proofreading this post, it almost reads like I ended a bad relationship. In some ways I have but not in the realm of a romantic relationship. This isn’t a post about a lost love but about finding myself and holding my ground when adversity is part of my daily work life. The bright light at the end is only a few weeks away and I owe a big “thanks” to those who have listened, advised, allowed me space, shook me back into reality when needed, made me laugh when it didn’t seem possible, and most of all for showing steadfast love and support. xoxoxoxo