Living With Grace and Grit

I’m still coming down from all of the creative and inspirational energy I took in from my last trip to NYC. Wow! From the moment I saw the skyline to the feeling I had while driving out of the city, the weekend was nothing but magic.

One of my favorite moments from my trip back to New York was when I arrived at Queensboro Plaza and noticed all the synchronicity around me.

From the number “7” (which had been following me around all weekend) to the purple color of the train line, it seemed like everything was a sign.

A sign I’m on the right path. A sign for my next steps. A sign telling me I am fine as I am.

After my trip, my perception changed; not just about the city, but about my own life. It occurred to me that I wasn’t living up to my own potential because outside voices have been holding me back. As a result, my dreamer (and sometimes grandiose) nature has second guessed herself, creating her own negative voices inside her head.

So, I stopped listening.

My path has been anything but traditional, and although I’ve attempted to go the “traditional route,” something has always blocked me from fitting in. It used to be my own self sabotage and issues with self esteem, alcohol, and emotions- however, as of the past year, it’s been because I have been standing up for what I believe in.

I came to Boston to fearlessly look in the mirror and step into the person I am meant to be- without distractions- so the last thing I will allow in my life is someone or an institution to cause me to step backwards.

Most recently, my passion for helping people and inspiring others to see life through a new lens has caused quite a bit of discontentment with the “3D world.” Our society as a whole isn’t quite ready to see life through a new light, but I know there is a place and purpose for me to share my story and strength.

Some people just want to sit in their own misery, though.

This brings me to the whole theory of the “imposter syndrome.” It makes me wonder how many people wake up in the morning, put on their suit or shiny heels, and honestly can go in thinking they’re a “professional.” As if putting on a show and acting for the sake of a paycheck is any way to live. To think living for the weekend or retirement is the only way to live.

Sorry to say, boys and girls, but that’s how our society is programmed. It’s pathetic.

Personally, I would rather live a short life that is full of, well, life. A life of purpose, not routine.

How many of those people feel restricted? How many of those people know they have better ways to spend their day? How many have talents to give but never will, all because society is telling them their dreams are silly?

I have no idea, but I’m done pretending.

I was told to “tone down” my personality and to leave personal talk at home. That’s fair. However, that’s not the environment God wants for me. I wasn’t given talents to shuffle papers and follow some man’s rules to make him feel superior.

I wasn’t given the gift of a grit-filled past with a touch of grace to simply keep quiet.

My story is meant to be shared.

What’s my next step? I’m not sure. However, I am confident my work will be of use to many people- so I am done holding back.

I am ready for my answer, and my next big adventure.

Free to Be: Going On Your Own Path

There comes a day when you stop letting the outside world trick you into thinking there is only one way to life, security, happiness, and success.

~

A lovely friend of mine, a neurologist in Cambridge, described the city perfectly to me once:

“Cambridge: where everyone thinks they’re a ‘renegade.'”

I had only been in Boston for a few months, so I hadn’t yet gotten an impression of the people or the culture.  However, I liked this idea, and I certainly loved Cambridge.

Although I used to wish I had taken a traditional path (or at least a “laid out” one) I realize now through listening to others that it wouldn’t have been right for me.  I have spent the past 11 years trying to “fit” the mold; city to city, job to job, relationship to relationship.  It was a struggle trying to fit this square peg in a round hole.

I had simply assumed by speaking with her, the grounded and successful woman she is, that she must have had an easier path than mine. That things came naturally to her.  That she followed her heart when making her career choice.  However, upon knowing her better, I learned that it wasn’t her choice to become a doctor; it was her father’s.

I met this woman April of 2017, and she played an instrumental role helping me learn I am enough.  She said to me, over and over, that I am fine just as I am.

I didn’t realize what she meant until now.

As my life came together, fell apart, and came back together time and time again back in the summer of 2017, my friend Nicoline (who I just visited in NYC) also reminded me of how strong I am.  Although I felt hopeless at times, she saw the light in me.  She recognized my strengths.  She helped me see my own light; and in turn, I have been able to do the same for her.

It’s interesting how we can get down on ourselves so easily, yet we are much stronger than we give ourselves credit for.

Now, let’s go back to the idea of a “renegade.”

This made me laugh.

However, much of our society blindly follows the unwritten rules the “patriarchy” laid out years ago, without question.

I can’t imagine living an existence where I don’t question these rules.

As I began to step into my authentic self, I stood up to “the man.” I have ignored their sexist comments. I have ignored people telling me I can’t do things. I have been independent.

Perhaps this does make me a “renegade.”

Over the years I thought about what society wanted me to do; or at least, what those around me expected.  I thought that if I got an advanced degree, a certain job, or had impressive credentials, I would please others.

But why did I care about pleasing the patriarchy?

I wasn’t pleasing myself.

As I have let the ideas of what other people “expect” from me, I realize that I wasn’t doing anyone any good.  I wasn’t happy in relationships or jobs where I couldn’t be myself.  I wasn’t succeeding in roles that didn’t align with my talents.  I felt anxiety in environments I forced myself to be in.

As my spiritual practice and confidence grows, the more I realize that manmade rules are simply tricks to give others power.

We have all the power we need within ourselves.

The more fearlessly honest I am, the more gifts have appeared in my life.  I’ve been published in places I never dreamed to see my work, I’ve received heartfelt letters from readers who didn’t know who else to turn to, and I’ve gotten the opportunity (and blessing) to find inner peace, joy, and empowerment through my authenticity.

I used to water down my personality to “fit in.”  That didn’t serve anyone.  Today, I refuse to play a role in society; I will live my truth.

I came to this earth for a reason; and that reason wasn’t to follow the patriarchy, let someone scare me into doing things their way, or let others take my power.

My reason was to help others realize they, too, can fearlessly spread their wings and fly.

So, that is what I will continue to do. ✨

Own Your Story

“May the Forth” Be With You!

This probably isn’t the first time you read that today, and it probably won’t be the last.  However, as someone who has never even seen one Star Wars movie, this phrase doesn’t mean a whole lot to me- until Brené Brown posted an article on LinkedIn:

The most difficult part of our stories is often what we bring to them—what we make up about who we are and how we are perceived by others. Yes, maybe we failed or screwed up a project, but what makes that story so painful is what we tell ourselves about our own self-worth and value.

Owning our stories means acknowledging our feelings and wrestling with the hard emotions—our fear, anger, aggression, shame, and blame. This isn’t easy, but the alternative—denying our stories and disengaging from emotion—means choosing to live our entire lives in the dark. It means no accountability, no learning, no growth.

To harness the Force, we must own our stories and live our truth. In we must go.

Adapted from the amazing book Rising Strong, Brené related “the force” to shame, vulnerability, and fear.  As a role model, Brené has taught me there is beauty in my story- even when it doesn’t seem so pretty.  Our society teaches us to “be” a certain way, when in reality, we’re doing ourselves (and others) a disservice by holding back what’s truly in our soul.  Why would we want people to love us for what we are not?  Why would we ever want to be accepted under false pretenses?

It’s amazing when I look back on how I used to live- I used to be crippled by what the outside world thought.  I used to hold back my talents in fear of people criticizing me, I used to quit things in fear of failing, and I questioned my talents because of a few naysayers.  I used to be on defense, 24/7, wondering what little remark or mean comment would come next.

The people who always seem to have an opinion may never change, but you can.  

I used to have an internal battle with my own brain, second guessing every move I made:

“Don’t say that!”

“You shouldn’t wear this!”

“Someone might laugh at you!”

“What will people think?”

Thank goodness my mindset has changed.

Today, I own my flaws.  I embrace my mistakes.  I share my story, and I can laugh at the pain; but most of all, I feel grateful to help others not feel so alone.

I hope you will gladly accept your power, give yourself a break from doubt or shame, and own the uniqueness that is you.  You are worth it.