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.

The Crippling Pursuit of Perfection

What is perfection really?  It is a stubborn mistress that we court, but are never quite found good enough for the Ball.  Perfectionism is different from striving to be better, because that is a competition with ourselves.  Perfectionism is more about proving/convincing to yourself and others that you are good enough. It’s a stifling and oppressive way to live life.  It is often much safer to not go for it, and say I am not going to even bother because it won’t be good enough for insert here (usually yourself when you really dissect the reason).  The threat of rejection and disappointment are far greater than the reward of showing the progress of discovery.  This is some of the most self-destructive things people can do to themselves, not including bodily harm.  The void of rejection catapulted my self-esteems issues even further because I didn’t think I was even worthy of presenting my skills if it wasn’t perfect.

barriers-to-love

Self-Pressure
Perfectionism is like having to pee in the middle of the night.  Stay with me here, I agree it’s an odd analogy.  You are slightly uncomfortable with the pressure, but you are so warm and cozy in your bed you hate to get up.  You’d much rather stay under the safety of the blanket until it becomes too much and you give in.  Except there is no safety blanket, and eventually you choose to show yourself and your talents to the terrifying world.  Or you pee in the bed, and shrink into self-loathing.

Take this entry for example, I had so many good ideas and lines when I started the concept, but I can’t think of a single one.  And they were good. You know what happened to those ideas I had five minutes before writing this?  I said to myself, “ooo, I like where this is going.  Let me get downstairs and get settled into writing mode before starting to write this entry.” POOF, gone.  I could have written them down where I was, but I didn’t.  I am going to publish this anyway to prove a point because this is an important topic for me.

Judgment
Perfectionism isn’t really about presenting your perfect work.  It is using it to hide behind your excuses, self-doubt, and flaws so people don’t know your vulnerabilities and insecurities.  To have your “best” self always on display, scared of being judged of not being good enough is a crippling mindset that weighs heavily on every decision one makes.  Every decision leads back to “am I good enough to reveal this?”  It’s much easier to show something that you believe is your best effect and have them bring judgment, than it is to show a work in progress and have it ripped to shreds (e.g. first draft of a paper).  It’s the same with my Arbonne business, photography, writing, paddling, and now art.   I used to get ashamed if I swam (it’s where you fall out of your boat in a rapid) while paddling, but it has a become a source of pride because it means I tried something and pushed myself.  Fail your way forward.

Roy and I hitting a rock - hard - in the rapid. Good times. Photograph taken by Ohiopyle Adventure Photography. We kept going.

Roy and I hitting a rock – hard – in the Cucumber Rapid on Yough River.  Photograph taken by Ohiopyle Adventure Photography. We kept going.

Self-Validation
The projects don’t have to be physical in nature; they can be emotional as well.  Or the most vulnerable of all, when it is the combination of both.  The vulnerability of art for the world to see, which is always an express of an emotion of some kind, oftentimes gives me the most pause in sharing it.  And being completely vulnerable with all of you, my latest self-discovery is how much I like to doodle.  I like drawing the lines, the shapes, and all of it coming together to make something kind of beautiful in its own unique way.  Art is terrifying to me, so this is a huge discovery.

doodle

One of the hardest things I have worked on in the last 4.5 years is to make an effort to kick my self-judgment to the curb.  It means you have to confront yourself, which is another entry altogether and discover some of your inner demons.   Be real with those closest to you, and I was surprised by the outcome of this.  In my experience, I discovered those who truly love me for who I am becoming and embracing my true self.  I also discovered those who will always see the old me, and who have a hard time accepting the self-confident version of myself.  It can be a brutal wake up call. Give perfectionism an eviction notice from your mind and soul, and be a vigilante when it comes to visit.

Be the Catalyst

Get Dirty with Change
People say that is change is hard, and it can be. It is also inevitable, and it can be beautiful. It is important to embrace the changes happening in your life because they are coming either way so you might as well embrace it. If the change is unpleasant, the sooner you deal with it, the sooner it will change into something tolerable. If the change is good or long-term beneficial, then embrace the journey to get to the beautiful place on the other side. While paddling I came up with an expression, “on the other side of the mud is often a beauty hidden by the effort to get there.” It is the same with change.

courage-fear-do-it-anyway

The Push
Quite honestly, the catalyst in my growth in the stages of my business has come from outside sources. I do much better historically when helping other people. I am more focused, more determined, and it’s because I genuinely enjoy being a part of helping other people achieving their dream. It’s the part I play, and I play it well. However, it is time to grow out of that. I have written how that is really not enough, but for me it is how I have measured my worth by adding to a cause. As if I am not enough just being me. It’s not true. There are things I am privately passionate about and very important to me that deserves to be heard, known, and acknowledged. These are the ones that only a select few know about, and that scare me for people to know.beat-her

Sparking Your Catalyst
All of it is coming to a climax. Tony Robbins says “change happens when the pain of staying the same is bigger than the pain of change.”  Everyone has demons, and every person has at least one that likes to linger. A lingering whisper is the fear of not being worthy of the amazing friendships I have built in the last 4 and half years. Which is completely ridiculous, and thankfully doesn’t surface often anymore. It’s the old me popping up like a prairie dog, and the part of myself I deserve to beat whac-a-mole style. Its presence has lessened since I am coming out of a transition period that seems to be inevitably messy. The result is a new level of leadership being born. One that I am ready to take on because staying hidden behind some type of misplaced pride is becoming too uncomfortable to stay idle. It’s like a bug molting into a new shell because it’s outgrown its old one. It’s painful, it’s uncomfortable, and as it happens you are incredibly vulnerable while growing into a new stage of development and waiting for it to harden.   It is time to be the catalyst for change and become the adult we are all destined to be.

2016 Year in Review-it was interesting

2016 was a rollercoaster of the highest highs, and the one of the oddest periods of my adult life. I experienced the amazing achievement of Area Manager in my Arbonne business, and it is a day that I will never, ever forget. The reason for that is because of the sheer inspiration it created in other people. There will be people who become nation before I do because of my journey, and I’m completely okay with that.   I also experienced one of the most profound and amazing experiences I have ever had at the area manager retreat. My face hurt from smiling so much, and I was inspired but also aimless. I understand it doesn’t make sense. It didn’t to me, either.

reflect-and-learn-fave

The Transition
August saw me move into my own place, and that’s where the weirdness started. I was inspired, in activity, but going nowhere. I didn’t believe it. I finally was growing to be an adult, and the comfy backup living plan I had was gone. I fought in my head to figure out why I was struggling so much with this. This should be the pinnacle of my year. The catalyst to growing into my greatness, but it wasn’t. I am growing into that role on a daily basis, but it took some time.

The codependency relationship I had, which I have written about a few times was the culprit. When you are in a codependent relationship of any kind and you get out of it, you start to realize how fucked up your life was. If not, then at least unhealthy.

It is only within the last couple of weeks where I have started to feel like myself again. I am in activity, but it is not only inspired but intentional. Everything in my life has come down to self-worth. I honestly think most people’s issues come down to that issue if you really break it down.

not-what-i-happened

The Break

The codependency break quite frankly sucks, especially when you don’t see it coming. I had no warning; I just expected to keep rocking it. The universe had other plans. The punch you in the face truth from two sides that came to a glaring forefront of change and challenge. It made me face the reality of myself and of my family dynamic. It forced me to realize that I’ve got to get growing to not only be the leaders I know myself to be, but also to lead my family in ways I never wanted to but became necessary.

The Future

The future is always messy. You just have to choose which mess to wade through. Regret or awesomeness are your main choices. Either way, you are going to have to go through your own shit, so it might as well be as short as possible. It will suck. It will be painful. But the pain is short-term, in comparison to the life long pain of what ifs.

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.

Type of Decisions

Life is not a series of moments; it’s a series of decisions. I have come to the conclusion that there are three types of decisions. One is deliberate where you choose to go after something in your life. Two is passive, where you let the decision come to you. Three is where the situation determines your decision. The third option may seem like passive, but I beg to differ.

Passive is where you are ambling through life, but situations arise and you ride that flow without participating in it much. Situational decisions are where you make an active decision driven by circumstances where you decide to drive your own your circumstances. If you don’t see the difference, please continue to read.

done-to-me-human

I have always enjoyed puzzles, and life is no different. I have always been good at dealing  with problems and obstacles, regardless if they were mine or someone else’s. I have never been one to panic when faced with an obstacle because it’s an objective problem I can fix. When my car bumper was literally hang by a few pieces of metal, I fixed it with cable ties. When power has gone out, I grabbed my head lamp so we could search hands free. The pragmatic and solution oriented approach to problems have always come easy and natural to me.  It is a situational decision brought on by fear.

Everyone goes through things in their life that are presented as obstacles. Last November life presented me with a series of the biggest obstacles I have ever faced, and I used it to propel me forward. I responded to the situational decision, and I used it to fuel me. I grew more than ever, both in life and personally.  This post is not to brag about that level of growth, for which I am proud of accomplishing and grateful for.  The growth I experienced was driven primarily and instinctively by fear.  It is a small way to grow, however.  I would like to show you a better way to grow without external stimuli.  Fear will push you into greatness only so far.

two-options

This post is what happens when there is no crisis or obstacle, and you still have an all-consuming desire to grow.  When there is no life event that makes you realize that you have been playing small, and you better step up.  It is what happens when you turn from an amateur (in anything) to a professional.  Because your decision and action is not propelled by fear, but it is propelled by love and faith in something bigger than you.

I have heard time and time again in my network marketing business it takes a decision. It takes a shift. Each time I promoted, it was because of an external event. It’s not enough. To be truly better, you deserve to strive to be better when there is no propelling reason to be. This is that moment for me. I have no external struggle happening in my life, but I have not felt this much internal determination to be better than yesterday in quite some time.

Situational decisions will only get you so far before you hit a wall of your belief. If you feel the pull to greatness, be aware that your mindset and soul deserve more than to be pawns in a situational game. Be an active participate in your greatness, and make that decision now to live in a life that is not fear based.

So it Begins

Where do
we Go
from

Here?

I don’t
Know.

This is what
I
Do
know.

Love
trumps hatred.

This is
an
Inflection
Point
for our
Country.

I never
Thought
it would
Come to this.

But it has.

It is
Our
Duty
to show up

Even
Bigger.

Be bigger
than
Hate
and
Repression.

be
Bigger than
Disappointment
and
Anger.

Be the
Light.

Show them
Why
We
Will
Not
Back
Down.

It’s in
our
Blood.

We are
not quitters.

We are
the
Beginning
of a
Revolution.

the
Revolution
of
Love
we
are

Echoing out
to the
World.

This
is
Our
Time.

to
Show
what can be
Done.

It is
our
Responsibility
to show
the world

We are
Better
than

This.

So
it

Begins.

Moving On

The worst part of moving on is realizing that you’ve been a jackass for way too long.  I had been clinging in some odd way to my previous life.  It was like I owed my previous life of co-dependence something.  I don’t, and I won’t any longer.

fear pass, regret not

Being vulnerable is a love-hate relationship with me.  This blog is definitely a part of that journey.  I express myself much better in writing than I do at any other form, so this blog is a major source of release and equal scariness.  I can connect with people on a way I rarely feel comfortable doing.  Real, vulnerable, scary, and it’s all me.  When I am with people in public, even most of my friends, they rarely see any of the above.  Unless my guard is down.

This entry is going to be a bunch of free-thought.   If you don’t follow it, that’s okay.  If you don’t like it, equally okay.  I haven’t been writing as much, which is always a red-flag for me. We are all in a battle for dominance in our own heads.  It is our will that determines whether the ego or our true self wins.

The Beginning

My life has been a series of transitions, as I think most people’s are.  For me, I found myself in college.  I didn’t have to be invisible anymore in college.  I agree this is often a theme on my blog, but it’s an important one.  I was actually for the first comfortable with myself and other people.  High school were not the best years of my life, it was full of years of hiding and pretending I was okay.  It was also were I had way better relationships with my teachers than with my peers.

Next transition was home from college.  I was back to being self-conscious and apologizing all the time when I got my first “professional” job.  There are many amazing things that came from that first job, but the best was being fired.  It led to a series of things that brought me to my friend Jenny.  Who introduced me to Arbonne, the best decision I have ever made in my entire life.

The Middle

The transition into entrepreneur was much longer than I thought it should have been.   The amazing thing about being in network marketing and entrepreneur enterprise in general is there is no time table.  I have finally taking control of most of my life, and it’s the best thing I could have ever hoped it to be.  There are more transitions to go, but this one was where I knew I could kick ass and change lives at the same time.

And yet, I still had not yet let go of my co-dependency.  I still lived under a roof that was both freeing and oppressive.  It was weird and it was not a home anymore.  I finally broke that cord in August.

personal style

Adulthood

I didn’t realize I hadn’t moved on from that until this week.  I have my apartment set up with the major things:  bed, kitchen table, kitchen stuff, and internet.  What I don’t have is a way to have people there.  Which would make it permanent.

I don’t think I truly realized what I big step that was until a few days ago.  This is truly my space.  It is no one else’s.  It is scary, amazing, and truly inspiring.  I will be free from the co-dependency when I realize that I am doing this.  That this space is mine.  I created it, decorated it, and am living in it like an adult.

Moving on is painful and necessary.  This is another step into a journey of greatness.  As usual, my head gets in the way of my progress.  It’s not even my head, it’s my ego playing to my insecurities.  We are all in a battle in our own minds for dominance.  It always depends who wins the war, not the battle.  I will win this war at any cost.  Because I deserve better and so does every one else in my life.  It starts and ends with you.

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.