Are You Trapped???

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This idea of being trapped has been lingering around me for some time now.  I hear it mentioned more than I’d like.  Thing is, I don’t feel it.  Or at least not in the way it’s intended.

I’ve found myself in situations I’ve wanted to get out of.  Some more difficult than others but I will say that I never felt trapped by the situation.  I have felt trapped by myself.  Knowing the trapped feeling is transitional.

When I decided to study fashion arts and had to work full-time concurrently to pay for it, I made a promise to myself.

I promised myself that I would suck everything I could out of the program.  Go 200, all day, everyday, no matter the cost.  I barely slept.  I ate poorly, if at all.  I didn’t train.  But I finished with a 4.0 GPA and more importantly I was overflowing with skills and perspectives I could have only dreamed of obtaining otherwise.  And the cost?  Well the cost was 40 lbs of extra weight.  Forty pounds and I knew exactly where they came from.  Not sleeping.  Not eating.  Not training.  As my previous identity was all wrapped up in being a competitive cheerleader and training 5-6 days a week, this was hard for me to reconcile.  But I didn’t feel trapped.  No chance because nothing can hold me boss, promise.

I knew exactly what needed to be done but I also knew they were not changes I could make quickly while maintaining their longevity.  I needed to make them slowly.  I did and continue to do so.  The only reason why I’m able to do this is because I know that I am the determining factor.  I’m the only one that can allow myself to feel trapped.

This is in my bones.  I believe it in all aspects of my life; above all.

I am not trapped.  I am only caged if I allow myself to be.  The difference between where I am now and where I want to be is defined by…

How much sweat I’m willing to give.

How many tears I’m willing to shed.

How much pain I’m willing to stand.

How much work I’m willing to put out.

How much shit I’m willing to eat.

How much patience I can squeeze out of me.

I am not trapped unless I allow myself to be trapped.

And I don’t allow it.

 

How to: Patience AF

but patience is HARD

I’ve been quiet for the last little while but quiet doesn’t mean stagnant.  I’m working.  My head is down, my eyes are open, my mind is processing.

Werk.  Werk.  Werk.  Werk.  Werk.  Werk.  Every once in a while I poke my head up to take a look around.  Take a look back.  A quick check to what I’ve left behind (won’t miss you) and glance forward to make sure I’m still in line for what’s just ahead (and further still).

Promising myself that I will be patient as fuck and failing every once in a while with a volcanic eruption of anxiety prompting me to check & correct myself.  Reminding myself that…

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I’ve realized that while I’m the one in my circle that people come to when they want a raw, uncut opinion, I don’t often take my own advice.  Tried a little experiment the other day when I was feeling especially anxious and worked up about something.  I wrote down what I would say to one of my friends if they came to me in the same mental state and then made a voice recording of myself saying it.

Listening to my little rant two nights in a row was enough to kick those negative vibes.

I realized that the reason why I communicate in this blunt, tough love kind of way is because that’s the type of communication I respond to.  While it doesn’t work for everyone, a lot of people respond to it as well.  If you’re one of these people, try it.  It couldn’t hurt – just saying.

There’s something to this recording and listening to myself talk to myself as crazy as it sounds.  I’m sure I’m onto something.  In the meantime:

Werk.  Werk.  Werk.  Werk.  Werk.  Werk.

Patience.  Patience.  Patience.

Why apologize for being authentically you?

The miseducation about 30 something women

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As I’ve got a fresh new piercing and on the brink of completing my half sleeve, I recalled a comment made to me along the lines of women in their thirties having a late 1/4 life crisis scenario and rebelling against, well whatever it is they feel they need to rebel against.  Desperately attempting to feel young again.  I’m guilty of this judgement too just a few years ago and now I feel like a royal bitch (and not in that boss ass bitch kind of way) for thinking it.

I remember being at the hair salon many times in my early and mid-twenties, getting every kind of funky colour you could imagine put into my hair.  The ladies a bit older than I was at the time stank eyeing me heavy.  Mind your business boss!!!

I remember a pretty thirty something woman once.  She was getting her blonde touched up but steady creeping the pink in my hair.  Do it!!!  She hemmed and hawed for a bit and eventually went for it.  I thought to myself then,

“This poor girl.  So afraid to try something new.  Something she clearly wants.  So worried that what?  It will make her seem undesirable?”

But to whom?  And why should that matter if it feels good to you?  Yet also thinking, how lucky to feel so liberated by a single decision.  “She wants to feel young again” and now feel guilty for those thoughts.

Thirty something ladies making moves aren’t having a late 1/4 life crisis or any other fucked up label you want to put on it to make yourself feel better for your own fears and complacency.  They are coming into their own.  Accepting who the are.  Making decisions on the grounds of that zero fucks given platform necessary to create what ever happiness means to them.

They aren’t trying to be something they’re not.  They’re doing the polar opposite.  Being exactly, truly, authentically who they are.

Maybe even for the first time in their life.  Rejecting projections that were forced upon them.  Embracing that they are their own women.  Acting not without consideration to what others think but with conviction for what they think.

Unapologetically. Exactly.  Who.  They.  Are.

 

Why embrace those negative vibes???

Should it always be good vibes only though…

I had one of those moments this week.  You know the one.  Where everything seems like it’s crashing down around you and there’s no end in site.  Where everything else is forging forward and you’re left behind.

No attainable goal in sight, or there is, it’s just so far away in your eyes that it may as well not be there at all.

I was tempted to push these negative feelings away.  To pretend this wasn’t happening, to convince myself this wasn’t really what I was feeling right now.  To say, ‘calm the fuck down J; let this shit go’.  This is what I usually do because maybe if I pretend it’s not happening, then its not real.

And then I checked myself.  Nawwww.  Let’s feel this.  Let’s feel all the anxiety, pressure, frustration that is this moment.  Let’s fucking soak in it (but not drown) and feel every last sorry, uncomfortable, impossible, unbearable second of it.  Absorb it all until there’s nothing left

And use it.  As fuel.

Why YOU don’t always have to be IG worthy

StockSnap_2HLCI51VQ8Just in case you haven’t read some of my other posts, I’ll give you a quick run down.  I have “untraditional” views when it comes to dating and relationships.  I don’t feel that innate need to have kids and I have no desire to get married.  Click here if you’re interested in more about this.  This doesn’t mean that I’m not open to love or a long-term partnership.  It does make me less susceptible to pressure by family, society, media to ‘settle down’.  Man, fuck that shit!  The only person who has to live my life is me, so you better believe I’m going to make damn sure my choices ensure my happiness.

I will not be a proxy for someone else’s dreams, aspirations or shortcomings.

Alright, rant over.  Single life is allowing me to explore myself and people in ways I never imagined.  The learning is fascinating, exhilarating and terrifying all at the same time.

What you see is what you get with me.  I will say what I want and don’t want plainly (without being hurtful).  Plus my face and my body language read like an open book.  If I’m upset, I couldn’t hide it if I tried.  This stems from confidence and decisiveness.  None of these traits can be helped.  I mean that I couldn’t pretend to be unconfident, indecisive or fake happiness when I’m mad.  I cannot believably pretend to be someone who I’m not because not only can I not imagine ever wanting to do that but I’m just physically incapable and always have been.  And this is where the problem comes in.

If you present as something, the expectation is that is who you are and you mean what you say.  Why?  Well because that’s what I would do, duh!  I have no energy to waste on acting like someone I’m not or saying something I don’t mean.  There is no real and long-term return on that investment so why the fuck would anyone do that?  Here’s what I’ve discovered:

ONE:  They’re playing a short, disconnected game.

Yeah man.  Of course.  Instant gratification.  Who doesn’t want to get what they want right when they want it???  To be present, be in the moment and all that good shit.  But your life is not a series of disconnected snaps.  It’s fucking Game of Thrones.  It’s a series of connected events where every decision you make affects another, whether it’s now or years from now.  I’m playing a long game and while five minute shorts can be intense and exciting eventually you have to ask, how does this serve me?  I’ll stick with the holistic approach.

TWO:  They’re in recovery.

Everyone has baggage.  Everyone.  Myself included.  This doesn’t need to be discussed on a first date or anything but don’t pretend that it doesn’t exist.  We make decisions based on our past experiences.  We compare partners and relationships to past partners and relationships.  It’s impossible not to do; we do it to comprehend this new data (person).  To organize and understand how it fits with us.  So fucking accept it people!  Accepting that we do this is the first step towards not using it to condemn the new person.

THREE:  They don’t really know what they want.

I’m learning about motivations.  That the drive behind what people say they want is more important than what they are saying.  My drive behind saying that I’m not looking for a traditional relationship is that I’ve realized I need to be free.  I’m my best, most creative, happy self when I’m not in a relationship.  While I desire sex, I don’t desire companionship in the way others do.

Now while some say they feel the same way I do, it doesn’t mean their drive is the same.  Their drive to be single may be that they’re still in recovery.  Deep down they actually don’t want to be alone.  So why is it so fucking hard to say that you’re confused, conflicted, lost?  Why does that have to be a sign of weakness?  We say something and then change our mind, that’s cool; own it.

My drive allows me to not be afraid to fall for someone.  If it happens, it happens.  If it doesn’t work out, sure I’ll be sad for a bit, but I will get over it.  It won’t define me.  Now if someone’s drive to be single is that they’re in recovery but they really don’t want to be alone, well I’m thinking they’re going to be terrified of falling for someone.  Terrified of failure.

I’m terrified of failure too.  But, no matter how terrified I am, I refuse to let it cripple me.  Every aspect of my life doesn’t have to be Instagram, showreel worthy and it isn’t.  I promise you, yours doesn’t either.  The long-term benefits come from authenticity and I’m not concerned about how this will turn out.

Do you self care?

Why self-care is truly self-less

IMG_3548I’m very much THAT person.  The one who does everything she needs to do before what she wants to do, or at least I have been.  I’m in recovery.  I used to belive this was the best way to be productive, to get the to-do list done, to take care of the people I care about.  I’m learning that this might work in the short-term but it’s a shit plan for the long-term.

When you don’t prioritize self-care people get what’s left of you instead of the best of you.

Not my quote, but I’ve read it in a number of places.  It’s truth.  There have been a few times in my life where I’ve held on to so much stress and been so overwhelmed but keeping it 100 on the outside that it eventually manifested into physical sickness.  I mean that I was incapacitated with migraines and throwing up violently because of the pain and nausea.  My body’s way of telling me to slow the fuck down by literally taking me out.

I had this to-do of self-care Saturday festivities and woke up with a splitting headache Saturday morning.  WTF body!  Thanks so much for fucking up my plans.  So I Peppermint Halo’d it up and laid in bed for a bit thinking.  I realized my body was trying to tell me something and forcing me to listen.  I didn’t need to do this whole pamper day thing in order to qualify my day as a ‘self-care’ day.  Self care is what ever it is that makes my self feel cared for when ever it is that I can.  I realized that what I needed was to be present.

Yah yah.  I try to be present every day but true story my mind is always going a million miles per hour.  It’s very difficult to be present but I work on it anyway.  That’s what I’ll do then.  I’ll do those everyday things that I always do to get to the next thing on the list, but do them JUST to do them.  Focus on being present in those little moments.

So here’s my five quick self-care rituals:

One.  Make a cup of coffee (or tea).  Every other time I’m drinking my coffee, I’m typing or reading or answering an email.  This coffee, is just coffee.  Sit in your most comfortable chair in silence.  Smell, sip slowly.  Think of nothing else except how heavenly this moment is.

Two.  Do a hair or face mask.  Guys, you can do this too; don’t knock it til you’ve tried it.  I prefer this one over giving myself a mani or pedi because there’s less work involved.  I can just put the mask on and then sit, doing nothing else.

Three. Massage.  Using a foam roller, one of those hand-held massagers, a massage bar in the shower.  Bonus, because your hands are occupied you physically cannot do anything else.  No checking your phone, no writing on any lists and the repetitive motion can help you zone out.

Four.  Take a walk.  I walk Gannicus everyday but the morning walks are rushed.  They’re part of the routine and also a step in the ‘get-ready’ schedule.  It’s much easier to be present with him, with nature when I’m not thinking about how bad traffic will be or getting my ass to work on time.

Five.  Take a nap.  Even if it’s just a 20 minute power nap.  It’s different from going to bed at night because you have to.  It’s giving your body a rest because you want to.

I’m definitely still all for full out pamper days but if you don’t have the time and energy, isn’t doing what you can better than doing nothing at all.  So how do you self-care???

The Waiting Game: 3 Ways to Improve Macro Patience

stocksnap_t8jb5n55mpI’ve never been a patient person.  Experiencing life before and then after the internet + social media, now holding the world in my iPhone has only made me more so impatient.  200% impatient.  Impatient with a shorter attention span, growing exponentially shorter with every passing millisecond because full disclosure I’m legit checking my social media platforms as I’m writing this.

That’s the problem though.  Because the speed with which we can get stuff done, gain access to information, communicate with each other, buy things, ‘meet’ people, has become so fast that we’ve subconsciously convinced ourselves there is only one speed.  Does anyone remember going to the library to research something?  Searching on the DOS computers that only connected with other library computers in that building?  Or better yet using the card catalogue filing system and then going to the location on the shelf to grab the book?  Some of you are like WTF are you even talking about because you just use GOOGLE.

The baseline expectation for everything is NOW.

Expectation = instant, but in reality while there are exceptions most things worth having take time.  Real life time, not internet time.  Seeing all the highlight reels on social media tricks you into thinking that it doesn’t, but accept that it does and thriving through real life time takes real life patience.

Something @GaryVee talks about puts it plainly and I’ve been feeling it at my core:

Macro patience.  Micro speed.

Meaning you need to look at the BIG picture with premium, five diamond, platinum level patience while approaching the everyday hustle, decisions, transactions with speed and intensity.  Much of the time he’s talking about business but it applies to your personal and professional life.  Your life is a long game.  You need to work on balancing the intense, fast paced hard work of the everyday grind with the intense, patience you apply to your overall view of your entire life until now and until your very last day.  Otherwise you will lose your shit.  Let’s be honest, I’m sharing this with you as I’m still losing my shit sometimes.

So patience.  I’m working on it and there’s a few things that have been helping me:

One. Remember how far you’ve come.  Guess what it’s taken to get you where you are today?  Time.  You’ve come such a long way from one year ago, five years ago, ten years ago and you will go such a long way in one, five, and ten more.  Accepting the progress I’ve made thus far in the time that I’ve made it makes it logical to accept how much more progress I can make with more time.

Two.  Celebrate the victories even the small ones.  Sometime you lose, but sometimes you win.  Enjoy that moment and give yourself that fucking cookie.  You worked hard for it, own it.  Don’t just blindly move on to the next thing.  Feel that pleasure and satisfaction and bring it along for the next ride.

Three.  Figure out how to find joy in the journey or do something else because otherwise you’re going to be one sad sack, miserable fuck.  When I was in the second of my three-year Fashion Design program, one piece of advice given to us was that we better make sure that we loved the theme we selected for our graduation collection.  Because if we didn’t love it, we would be pulling our hair out working on it for the next year.  This was the biggest fucking truth and that was just working on a collection for one year.  I cannot imagine spending my entire professional life working on something I didn’t love.  As hard as it is to stay motivated, why would you make it even harder on yourself by trying to be motivated to do something you’re not into?  So if you’re not into it, fuck that static.  Give yourself a fighting chance and find something you’re happy to work hard on and view with macro patience.