Life and Love

I figured out what love is.  It’s taken me 36 years to figure it out, and I’m not letting it go.  It is loving yourself enough to own your identity, and it is the scariest thing I have ever done.  The handful who know me really well and who I’ve confided in know what I am talking about.

personal style

I’ve hidden myself in one form of another since I was around 10.  It was first because being weird in middle and high school is quite honestly just plain brutal, as some people know.  It was much easier to be quiet and meek than smart and bold.  In college, I found myself and surrounded myself with like-minded weird people of the best variety.  It was rare when I was unapologetically me, though.

white party pic

These are some of my favorite people on the planet.  Who helped show me that I was enough.

I reached a point last year where I was on top of the world, so to speak.  There was something missing that I couldn’t quite identify.  I finally figured it out and told my best friend.  She said literally, “thank God.”  It’s the final piece of accepting me.  The final piece of accepting who I am, and loving myself for everything that is me.  It is scary and amazing.  I am ready to do this.  To own myself, and more importantly to love myself on an entirely new level of acceptance.  This is not the forum to announce such things.  If you’ve read through the lines, great.   Just know that I am ready, I am coming, and most importantly, I AM ME.  If you don’t like it, I honestly pity you.  Acceptance is a human trait, and also the cause of the worst travesties of human history have occurred when not allowed.

Invisibility, Choice, and Discovery

I have written about my entire life being spent trying to be invisible, and it worked. Then I started to be become noticed and recognized for what I was. A caring, compassionate human being who longed to serve others before myself. This is not meant to aggrandize, this is actually who I am. Those who know me can attest to that.

I think I have finally figured out why the past six to eight months have been so odd for me. People started to recognize me and outside my immediate circle. For a person who until a year ago, at most two, wanted to blend in the with the crowd this took some time to adjust to. I didn’t recognize it. I thought it had something to do with my move into my place, which was a factor but not the ultimate reason of my weirdness. It might have been the reason why I was like, “shit this is real.”

white party pic

Out of Integrity
I am going to be totally vulnerable here. Which I really despise doing, by the way.  Writing is the place where I become most vulnerable because I can take the time to express it. Up until the point where I actually did get a place on my own, I felt almost like a fraud. I confided this to a dear friend of mine and asked for her advice. She said, “because you are living out of integrity with your true self.” If there is one thing in my life I really have a profound and utterly disdain for is dishonesty and not being integrity. If I tell someone I am going to do something, I damn well am going to do it. It may take awhile, sometimes much longer than I anticipated. But it gets done.

So I got to work. It was a slow process, but I eventually got my life together and moved on my own. This was a month after the phenomenal Arbonne area manager retreat, and for whatever reason things became very real and very scary in terms of accountability and recognition. I froze. I was in activity, but without intention. I did all of this without realizing WHY. I truly didn’t realize it until now.

I never wanted to be an inspirational figure, leader, or role model but I became that in the past two and half years. I have written about it before, and truly thought I had come to terms with it. Except I clearly hadn’t. For all of you who have stuck with you and supported me, it means more than you know. For those that wondered wtf happened to her (with good reason)?  HERE I AM.

Standard cargo pants and fleece at Island Beach State park in New Jersey. Photo taken by Looie Voorhees

Slayer My Smaller Self

I am ready the slay the dragon. The dragon is myself. It is my own crippling fear in something bigger, and becoming something bigger and very public. It is the belief that I AM the leader that so many in Arbonne think I am. I AM COMING. It is one of the most terrifying and inspiring moments in my life.   I am finally seeing myself as so many of you do. I am the badass leader who has transformed from a treehugging hippie and into a shimmery water ninja.

This is not about what I want. It is about what I deserve, and how many other people deserve to be inspired by my story. I have grown into my creative self who actually loves to doodle, and perhaps even draw.  I have always loved photography, and this year will be the year to blossom into that.  I am becoming my true self.  It is amazing, terrifying, and realizing it is one of the most understated but determined moments in my life.

I will be a regional vice president and a national vice president with Arbonne THIS YEAR. It’s all revolved around this fraking moment of discovery. In this journey there have been so many moments, but to this point this is the biggest. I am growing into myself and being a whole person, an adult. A woman who up until quite recently didn’t believe I had any artistic talent or even a desire to be an artistic in the traditional term. I am growing into me, and I am a powerful freaking being. Watch me roar, because I am coming like never before. BOOM.

Be the Dragon

The Moment

There comes a time in every milestone, progressive moment, and breakthrough where your fear of staying the same outweighs your fear of the unknown. In addition, there is also the moment when you realize that you have to get out of your own way, your own head, and just freaking do it already.  You reach the tipping point of your mediocrity.

I just had the moment that has been building for a while. The catalyst was unexpected. A friend posted a picture of her mom walking six weeks after a stroke. This woman defied odds and doctors by walking, and one of my relatives is an amazing survivor of three strokes in a two month period. In my head I thought, “and what limitation are you suffering from to limit my potential?” Nothing except the most important one of all: my old story that I am not good enough.

Photograph taken by Pete Kreiger. A moment of quiet reflection.

Photograph taken by Pete Kreiger. A moment of quiet reflection in Florida.

Reflection

Last year at this time I was pushed to my brink by forces outside my control, and it got my ass in gear big time. Crisis equals problem to solve, which for me is something I can and do tackle with gusto. I sit here with tears in my eyes, and reflecting on the year that was 2016. Amazing, powerful, emotionally one of the hardest of my life in very different ways than last year.

I am changing and growing. I am getting past the obstacles of the past few months. I am moving towards OWNING my breakthroughs and break them down brick by brick with a sledgehammer. Fear the dragon or be the dragon.

The Demon and Choice

The little things I have been ignoring in my life are like a pile of brush near an ember  on the edge of a forest waiting to be lit. Those little things that I KNEW deep down I had to and deserved change in order to be my best self rose up to become big fiery ball to slay me. The choice becomes yours. Let it slay you, and cower in the fear of your own demons forever in its shadow. Or you rise up and slay your fear with a fury you didn’t know you had. Fear does not like to be challenged, and it will wither like a brushfire with no fuel. It is just waiting on you to grow a set, and slug it like Muhammad Ali on fight night. To take no prisoners. To be the dragon that slays the crouching demon within.

Codependency and Responsibilities

The two biggest lies about adulthood is that your life is now your own, and that you should live your life to be “comfortable”.

The other thing that people don’t tell you about adulthood is that it is Fraking Hard. You essentially have two choices once you reach the pinnacle moment in adulthood: to stay or create a the cloud of comfort known as mediocrity or change into something bigger. The something bigger is almost always painful, and often times brings you into positions that you’d never thought you would have to fulfill or want to fulfill.

two-options

Responsibilities

This is what being an adult comes down to responsibilities. This is why I love certain aspects of my life, because I have none in one of my jobs. I still do them because I have a strong work ethic, but it’s not expected. And if you don’t, there really aren’t consequences that are noticeable at first. Depending on where you are in your life, those consequences may not surface for a very long time (raises hand).

This is what has separated my apparent adulthood from actual adulthood, codependency. I paid most of my own way for most of my life, except college, which will be forever grateful for, except living space. It was easy and comfortable, and I settled into a cloud of mediocrity. I am sure that my parents thought they were doing me a favor and I am grateful for them, but they didn’t realize they were doing me a disservice.

My life was not ultimately up to me. If I didn’t make “rent”, it’s not like they were going to kick me out. So I stayed, and I stayed far longer than I should have because of the cloud of codependency and comfort of mediocrity allowed me to.

As I am making epiphanies as I write this, it is evolving as I write it. Here is what I have learned about being comfortable in a fog of mediocrity: it is comfortable, but truly unfulfilling. You begin to question your own self-worth, as well as so many other things about your life.

Decide to Thrive

The word Decide means to literally cut off. Who wants to cut off a portion of themselves? Nobody. If a person has gangrene, and it was up to them most people would let it fester and spread throughout their bodies. Why? It’s easier that way. The pain of surviving that pain is often worse than living in their current state.

Changing sucks. It just does. What I have learned about change in the last year is that it happens, and often at odd times in one’s life. It forces you to grow into a role that you didn’t expect to ever take on. Roles that you never wanted to take on, sometimes. Circumstances dictated you to be the rock., be the one to ask questions, and be the painful truth teller in your family.

It would have been so nice if your journey had stopped there. But it doesn’t.

The Choice

fear pass, regret not

Growth and change never stop in the world of responsibility and adulthood. When it does, a person starts sinking into the mediocrity of comfort. I was used to love being comfortable, until one day it wasn’t. I craved more. It was easy. I am OVER it being EASY. Nothing good happens there, bring on the pain.

Here’s the choice that we adults get to make every day: be comfortable or grow into something better. There is no judgment for being comfortable. I lived in comfort for about a decade, and I struggled sometimes in the mediocrity of comfort.

I spent the majority of my life being “comfortably” uncomfortable. It was easy, it was being meh, and it ended up not being enough. I have written before that most of my life was spent trying to be invisible. One day someone saw something in me, and suddenly that was not enough. It shouldn’t be enough.

The pain and growth I experienced in the last 4.5 years was worth all of it to experience the journey of self-discovery.

The regret? It will suck worse than any of the intensely person growth I have experienced in the last 4.5 years. It is about being an inspiration to not only others, but more importantly yourself. Choose your inspiration.

Hiding and Discovery

The only thing I really wanted out of life was to be invisible. I was damned good at it, until I wasn’t. Over the course of the past couple of years I have become anything but invisible. Whether you realize it or not, people watch you. For me, it’s weird to not only be noticed, but also recognized for being myself. Most of the time, it’s amazing and I am always so grateful that I have created the life I have. There are times I still struggle with it, mostly during transitions and self-doubt. This has been a hell of a transition period for a number of reasons.

Realization Uncovered

The odd thing about being invisible and hidden is when it comes truly time to what you are looking for and want, you don’t know what it is. And even if you know what it is, it scares you beyond just about anything you’ve ever done before.

Why? Because it’s finally the real you. It’s not the goofy pretend extrovert; it’s not the aloof woman made of steel, and it’s not even the meek, self-conscious introvert. It Is You. And people knowing you, the real you, is the most daunting thing you’ve ever done. The most daunting, exposing, scariest thing I have ever done.

It is so much easier to hide; to be the person that everyone expects you to be, or to be the go to person for whatever than be truly you.

me training 2-1-16

Expectation

I have not been truly myself since I was a kid. I was always trying to live up (unknowingly) to the expectation, the image, and later try to cover up the vulnerability of what is me. I buried by myself for so long that the real me was incredibly painful and difficult to unearth.   It is like an archaeology dig. Where the past is buried so deep and so painstakingly preserved, it is difficult to unearth without destroying the very being you are trying to make whole.

The End

It’s a misnomer. There is never an end to discovering yourself and your own potential. There is only the willingness to dive into the personal change, gratitude, and submission that there are those who know how to achieve greatness and you must accept and “bow” to their knowledge and expertise. Only then will you truly grow, learn, and become yourself. Regardless of how scary and terrifying that is.

Being vulnerable sucks. It just does. It is also necessary in order to grow to your greatness. Find a mentor. Grow. Be. Do.

New Reality

This poem reflects about my current evolution of moving into my own place for the first time.  Enjoy 🙂

 

New Reality

sometimes
Revisiting
your

Previous
life

Causes

Reflection
Emotion
Pain

like tonight.

I came
back for
an evening.

the
Range
of

Emotions
are

Staggering
and

Perplexing.

It
feels

Foreign.

it’s now
Just a

place.

not a

home.

but
familiar.

What I
think it
may be
like for
amnesia
Victims.

Lost,
Open,
Vulnerable,
Afraid

also

Free.

I am no
longer

Shackled

by
my
Surroundings

I
Embrace

Love

Immerse

myself in
Them.

Blank

Slate
has a

completely
Different

Meaning
to me.

Another
Life,

Chapter,

Being,

Self.

 

Exercise, Music, and Pushing limits

I will admit that I am totally, 100% addicted to exercise in a way I never thought possible.  If I go a two days without it, I’m like Jonesing for a fix.  It’s weird, but it’s a good weird.  Every time I go to Sphericality, I reminded that I made a good choice.  I finally had the chance to take a class with the owner of said gym, Dorian, and she did not disappoint.  Like most of the other classes I have taken there, there was a focus on form.  Dorian seemed to take it a step further, and went around the class and tweaked our movements if need be.  Kelly also did this.  This is one of the reasons I am coming to love this gym.  It’s almost perfect for me.

I love music.  I don’t play it, or sing it, I just thoroughly enjoy it.  It is apart of my soul.  Yesterday, my friend Jenny had her first open mic at her place in Bath, PA.  There were a couple of firsts for me.  I read poetry (okay, I had done it once before), and I played music for a genuine first.  I played the cymbals.  Yes, I know that’s not much.  For me though?  It was HUGE.  I have always thought I didn’t know how to keep a beat, at all.  Yesterday I proved myself wrong, because I was according to Jenny able to keep a beat.  I also felt like I could before I asked her.  It was a night of firsts, bonding, and just celebration of a new, eclectic space.

I pushed through a few boundaries, reading my poetry in public and playing music.  For me, there are very few things more vulnerable than those two things.  Reading my inner-most thoughts out loud to the public is something that I am working on overcoming this year.  This was a first step.  Was it uncomfortable?  Hell to the Yes.  Was it worth that feeling?  Hell to the yes.  Happiness and freedom lay outside your comfort zone, and that is where I am pushing this year.

I am a different person than I was last year, and I’m pushing myself to be even more different next year.  When I say different, I don’t mean a caricature  of yourself.  I mean that you are becoming the best version of yourself, and finding your true calling in life.  Which may be so different than you ever thought it could be (like mine).  Be in love with who you are, or at the least be working on loving yourself.  I know it sounds weird (guilty) and new-agey, but trust me when I tell you when you feel peace with yourself and your mission, there is a peace inside of you that rivals no other.

Day 12, Gym 11 Walking with Dad

After so many of years, months, etc of trying to figure out things.  I have figured it out.

There is such a thing as fear based versus caution.  Fear based is based on limited information, fear, and an overall scared mentality.  Caution is based on informed decision making, facts, and pros and cons list.

Having lived this life on fear based thinking and mentality, I get it.  Trust me, I get it ALL of it.   Fear is easier to handle, it’s easier to push away, it’s easier in general.  I’m scared of heights, boom, done.  I’m scared to talk to that person because I’ve been devastated before in the past when opening up to someone BOOM, done.  I’m afraid to do this thing so outside my comfort zone, what if I get ridiculed, embarrassed, and want to hide in a corner?  BOOM, activity over.  People coddle you when you make excuses, hide yourself, and hide under a rock.  They do not coddle you when you make a decision to change your life.

People commiserate over sadness, and make excuses for you.  My friend Keri, said when she broke her foot, that people would say to her, “oh it’s ok you’ve gained such and such weight, you broke your foot.  Let me help you.”  All of that is okay.  But it is so much easier to commiserate than it is to move past your own obstacles, own them, figure out a way to fix the problem, and move on.  This is why people stay where they are for years.

Own your life, your decisions, and be happy with it.  I had a talk with my dad about a few different things tonight as we were walking.  The universe conspires in weird and wonderful ways, and sometimes those ways suck hairy monkey balls.  The best thing that ever happened to me was being fired for forgetting to lock a door, literally.  I was working 60-70s a week between two jobs, and quite honestly, I didn’t see that changing.  I got a promotion at work, and literally two days later was fired.

I had to figure out what the hell I was going to do with myself.  I spent the first month vegging out on TV turning off my brain.  Then I took my first whitewater kayaking class, and started paddling.

However, for the next two out of the three jobs I had were fear based.  Fear that I would lose my job, that I wasn’t good enough, and I put in more hours than ever.  This is really no way to live life.  When my last environmental consulting job, which was the worst in terms of job security than any of the others, ended, I was actually relieved.

Fast forward to the present.  I am working retail at a job I’ve worked since  high school, which is as far from fear based as you could possible get; and I am passionately working my beloved Arbonne business.

I say that I found myself in Arbonne, and it’s true.  I have found so much more than that.  I have found my purpose for being on this planet.  If I can inspire one other tree-hugging hippie paddler, introvert, and outdoor junkie to understand that they can do whatever the hell they want in this life, than what better honor is there than that?

To inspire others to live their dreams, and make them realize that if I can do them, than why the hell not them?  Truly is there any better privilege than that?  No there isn’t.

Yet another big shift.   And I’ve only just begun.

It’s Time

There’s a moment in time when you come to realize that you are over all your bullshit, and you get over yourself.  Everyone has been where you’ve been, they’ve dealt with the same shit or worse, and some have triumphed to greatness.  Up until this point, I have used exterior circumstances, family stuff, and a series of piled up bullshit to fuel me.

I have come to the realization that it is not enough.  I am fueled, I am driven to change by outside circumstances, which works to a point.  Eventually, the circumstances, the situation resolves, or you just deal with the mess that is being left.  The adrenaline goes away, and you are left with you.  Your desire, your need, your why, and your passion.

This is the point where I am at right now.  I rode the wave of shock, grief, expectation, more shock, and now I’m figuring out where to go from here.

It all goes back to being worth it, and believing it.  The past couple of months have been life changing for so many different reasons, and it was fuel to my passion, desire, and stubborn pursuit of excellence.  Now I need something more.  And once again it is me.

IT IS TIME.  The world deserves to know what I am capable of because I will change thousands of lives in a multiple of different avenues.  It’s go time.

Little and Big Things

There is not much that makes me cry or even tear.  There are a few things that do:  highly emotional events, friends and family support, and nature connection.

I experienced a highly emotional family event in February-my Nana died at 96 years young.  I say young because she was the initial badass, and she remains an inspiration to me this day.  Those that know me, know that I will do anything for my family and friends.

I am going to fast forward to six months ago.  There have been a number of people on my personal growth journey that have been instrumental, and they know who they are.  When my Nana died, of course my blood family came together, but two other families gave me supported that I would not have thought fathomable about a year before.  My Arbonne family and my paddling family, and they were some of the first to reach out to me.  Reading my facebook entries and the condolescenes made this entry crystallize.  This entry has actually strayed far from my original inspiration, and it doesn’t matter.  This is why I write to let stuff out and process.

I lost my way.  I lost sight of the goal.  I even lost my belief that I could do it for a brief period of time.

My 96-year old Nana receiving a mud mask last summer. Thank you Arbonne for giving me the time with her.

My 96-year old Nana receiving a mud mask last summer. Thank you Arbonne for giving me the time with her.

Everyone gets in those periods.  And most people need a kick in the ass to get them out of it.

I had just such a kick, except it was mostly a kick from myself (yes, I had help).  I re-read a lot of my entries from February and March just now, and said “what the fuck are you doing right now!?  Get your ass in gear, and make Nana proud.”

Except unlike February and March, I realized it’s about making MYSELF proud.  She was already proud of me.  Now, it’s about changing and getting out of my own damn way.