Now before you go thinking I'm the most arrogant person you know, hear me out. My secret isn't that I'm the luckiest person I know. The secret is that I believe it to be true, and therefore it is. Anyone who has heard of the book The Secret inevitably finds the familiarity in this statement.
I read about this type of belief system not in that world-renowned book, but on a blog that I follow. The author admitted that she hadn't always felt herself to be this way, but one day someone told her this truth about themselves and how impactful it had been. You see, I never felt that I was terribly fortunate. I've had some crappy, crummy, downright awful things happen to myself and the people I care about in my life. But somewhere along the line, I stopped seeing those things are these terrible things happening to me, and began to see them in a new light. The light that I'm talking to you about now.
When you see yourself as lucky, the bad things in your life no longer seem so dire. The things that happen aren't an end-all. They become lessons. They become opportunities. Even things that would appear to be devastating somehow become a part of The Plan, and less like a punishment for something you don't remember doing. And for some reason they begin to space further and further from one another.
Life, in my opinion, has nothing to do with what happens to you. It has everything to do with what you do in response to what happens to you. I stand firm in that belief THAT is the person you are- not a summation of the situations you find yourself thrown into.
There are months where my life seems tough. This month, for example, had been one of those. But in the middle of my feeling pretty down about it, a series of events began to take place- reminding me once again that I am the luckiest person I know. People began to weave into my life, some new and some old, and remind me that people are GOOD. New opportunities presented themselves to me- ones that would never have been given were the "tough parts" of my life no longer on the agenda. The bad things in my life have always, always, always given way to some of the greatest opportunities I've had the fortune of meeting.
Is this because I am truly as lucky as I claim to be? Is it karma? I don't know. Maybe. It might also be the rose-colored glasses I've acquired in my quest to see my life as a fortunate one. All I know is that once I began to see the good, the good has been all I've seen. Maybe THAT'S all that good fortune is, after all. Focusing on the good in the first place.
Photo/quote Cred: NOT me, haha. But can't remember where I stole this from :(
When I was a kid, I went to church with my family. And we would have these projects where we had to institute a theme from a set of values into it. I think there were eight to choose from, one of which was Integrity. And I remember that I avoided it like the plague. I can vividly remember, at the time, feeling like I was NOT the person to preach about Integrity because I felt that it would make me a liar. I went to church with my family but was not fully invested in it, and therefore felt that I had no integrity of my own and shouldn't preach to other people about it because that was hypocritical. So I avoided using that theme at all costs.
It wasn't until years later that I realized that my decision not to discuss integrity WAS, in fact, evidence of my own. I didn't want to lie to people; I didn't want to pretend that I was one thing and secretly be another. And honestly- I think that was pretty rad that my 16 year-old self was that firm in the concept.
I'm an honest person, almost to a fault. And I don't try to wrack myself with too much guilt when I mess up, but I try very hard to live with a sense of being the person I know I ought to be. I know this whole entry is going to sound very preachy, but this is something important to me, and I think it should be addressed.
I'm a big believer in doing what you say you'll do. Anyone who knows me is aware that I rarely say I will do something, only to not even attempt it. If I know I'm going to shortchange it, I generally admit that it's not in my plans. I used to do this when people would make plans that I didn't have any intention of following through, but realized that saying I'm going to go and not showing up is more unfair than just saying, "I can't make it."
I am not a perfect person, obviously. But I also try to live the sort of life that I don't need to apologize for. I mess up, and sometimes feelings get hurt, but never intentionally. I just can't fathom a mindset where you would do something JUST to spite someone else. It makes no sense to me. I don't know... I guess you have to be in a pretty bad place to feel comfortable with that kind of attitude.
I read through some of my online journal yesterday (what, you thought I told you everything?) and was amazed at the pattern of my thoughts. I would go into the world with this very "screw you" attitude whenever I was upset, and almost immediately stop in my tracks and remember that I'm not that person. I don't want my behavior to be based around someone else, or what they may have done to wrong me. Because what kind of person would that make ME? I don't want to be that guy. I want to live a life where my behaviors are intentional and purposeful. It just makes more sense to me to be the one in control of myself- and not someone else controlling how I approach my life.
And I guess that, to me, that's what Integrity is. It's being in charge of yourself and being who you are for YOU, and nobody else. It's being confident in your decisions and doing what you say you'll do; it's being who you say you are. And that, friends, is the person I want to be.
Don’t ask yourself what the world needs; ask yourself what makes you come alive. And then go and do that. Because what the world needs is people who have come alive.”
– Howard Thurman
I had an interesting conversation with a friend of mine last night about success. As a background: here is a man who works more than anyone I've ever met. He does quite well for himself, financially, but I have also talked to him about certain social sacrifices he's made in order to maintain his work ethic. And for no reason other than that I am way too curious and nosy for my own good, I asked him a question. "Why do you work so hard?" I asked him if it was about the money, or something more than that. I knew it couldn't have been about the money, if only in theory. So it intrigued me to find out what it is about driven people that creates their force and drive.
I wasn't raised in a family where "drive" was instilled in us. I know my parents work really hard at what they do- but I can't say I remember ever feeling like I was encouraged to make sacrifices for work or school. Which... I guess is sort of sad. The strange thing is that as I sit here and think about what I would sacrifice for- what I guess I have a drive for- it would be my relationships. My friend (sorry to spill this story, buddy) had told me about a time when he had the chance to see this girl, and he passed on it in order to stay in that weekend and work. I guess that's how I am, but the exact opposite scenario. I would pass on opportunities in order to sustain my valued relationships. It makes sense to me, now, to hear these stories of people giving up on something for what they value more. Like in a scenario where you're working on a work project and people are like, "Come on... just quit for the day already!" I can't tell you how many times I've felt that same way about friends and boyfriends where someone has, in so many words, told me to come on and quit already. It's funny to realize that now.
I digress. My friend's answer to my question was that what drove him was making a difference in the world. Which I'd never really considered and found fascinating. He felt that his latest project was one where the world would be a different place as a result of his talents. Pretty awesome, when you see it in that light. And it got me thinking about my own life and contributions. I do some, but not as much as I probably ought to. I used to be really involved in charity work, and environmental care. And I try to make sure I'm not a wasteful person. But wouldn't it be an incredible thing to feel that you were making a bigger difference in the world? I'm never going to be a scientist or a doctor. But words are powerful, and I consider them to be my gift- however small it may be. I don't know how many people read or actually absorb anything I say here, but I'd like to start making a plan to have my writing make more of a difference.
My writing projects have recently started to take off, and it's been exciting. And scary. My little corner of the blogoshpere has been getting some attention that I never thought it would. And it's been humbling and amazing (and scary). I expose myself quite a bit with my writing. But I feel like it's my best chance at letting people in, in order to assure them that they're okay in their OWN vulnerabilities. I'd like to think that some of these posts make a difference in five minutes of someone's day. I'd love to make some grand declaration that I am going to start pushing life-changing posts at you, but I wont. Like a New Year's Resolution that fails by February, I don't want to make grandiose claims to change your life in 5 weeks.
I changed the manner of my entries a few years ago, pretty much around the time of my surgery and then moreso after my sister's accident. My life changed, and the blog matured. I'd like to continue working toward that maturation. I'm not CNN. I'm not a life tactics adviser. I'm a girl who thinks too much, and has been through more than she lets on to people at first glance. I write my feelings more than I say them, and rarely tell people how I really feel in my heart. I've experienced some interesting things and I hope to experience even more. I'm hoping that my old readers will continue to follow my random ramblings on this crazy life, and my new ones will join in on the adventure with me. I'll grow and learn and, in turn, I promise to share that knowledge with you. Hopefully my (mis)adventures will inspire you, or at least make you laugh at my ridiculousness. I'm really looking forward to adding more drive to the next chapter of this Sweet Life.
So does anyone else have those moments when you're about 90% positive that there are hidden cameras capturing your life? Lately I have been 92% sure that Thought Catalog is watching my life and sending me links to articles that apply. It's crazy. Or, you know, maybe I'm the crazy one... which is semi-likely.
photo credit: unknown
Stephanie Georgopulos posted a piece HERE, and it was trended this morning so obviously I read it. It's like she's in my head. See the following:
I do not want to fix someone. I’m too busy working on myself. I wouldn’t want to date someone who isn’t doing the same, who doesn’t see the value in growth. I’m not here to hold someone’s hand while they learn how to grow up. I’m not a pre-school teacher; I’m not a therapist. A man is not an art project to be cut up into little pieces and glued back together. You’re your own fixer-upper, honey; do with that what you will.
I want to be with someone who respects me, someone who I can respect. I do not want to tote around some unruly asshole, a discount handbag that looks impressive on the outside but is really falling apart at the seams. This would be a reflection of my own bad taste and insecurity, dating some mess of a person who doesn’t use the words, ‘Please’ and ‘Thank You,’ someone who has no consideration for other people. I don’t want to introduce that person to my friends, or to my family – who all happen to be Good People who have a low tolerance for assholes.
I don’t want to date someone indifferent to themselves or to me. Is it an oddity that I don’t want to be treated like crap? I do not have time to hopelessly await someone’s phone call; I do not have time to place heaps of unwarranted blame on myself when someone or something seemingly ‘disappears.’ I don’t have the time to jump through hoops to prove that I am worthy of someone’s affections, and even if I did have the time? That’s not how I would spend it.
No, I want a Good Guy – someone who is a good person before I date him, while I date him, and after I date him. Someone who is capable of letting go of whatever Grave Injustices were done to him, who doesn’t blame the world for his misfortunes. Someone who respects himself, who wants to be with someone who will treat him the way he deserves to be treated. Someone who is nice but not a doormat, someone who is confident but not an asshole. Someone who gets to date a Good Person by being one, not by appealing to a girl’s desire to ‘fix’ their self-perpetuated damage.
This is exactly how I feel. And honestly- how I think all women should feel. As I've said before: no one is your responsibility to "fix." I say this not only about boyfriends/partners, but about friends, co-workers, and family as well. I have no interest in taking on someone else's problems and trying to correct them. I struggle with this concept, because I DO want a better life for the people I care about. But I also realize that it's not my job to make that happen. I just really, really loved this article today. I wanted to share it with any ladies out there who may have needed to read this.
I know I haven't written for awhile, and I feel like I should say something. It's been one of those weeks. Well- one of those months, really. In the best kind of way. I've been busy and the time that I have had to myself has been so precious that I have kept it all to myself. In an effort to not let people think I might have fallen off the face of the planet, here are a few pictures of life lately. I promise to write an entry soon.
Pictures from the photo booth at Coachella Music Festival in Indio
Poliça Show for work
Alt-J show for work
Artsy shot from Alt-J
Car show with a buddy of mine
Art from Brokechella Festival in LA
Felifresh at Brokechella
Fun little project I am working on. I'll show the finished product when it's done!!
I hear a lot of people throw around the term No Regrets. I think that to them, it means that you shouldn't regret the things you might have done wrong. I say No Regrets, too. But for me it means: Don't do things you'll regret in the first place. Live with such a sense of integrity that you have nothing to look back on and wish you'd differently.
“Now and then it is good to pause in our pursuit
of happiness and just be happy.”
I was a kid, I had a beautiful antique dresser. During one of our moves, the
movers had placed another piece of furniture on top of it and it had crushed a small
circle in the top- showing through to inside one of the top drawers. But, being
the financial scrappers that we were, we kept it.
sister and I would hide things in the “secret cubby” of our dresser- almost as
if it were a place for buried treasure. Mom eventually patched the hole,
but you can still see where my secret hiding spot once was. I don’t remember
the dresser any other way.
in life, there are going to be broken things. Things that no matter how much
you patch them up- are going to remain unfixable. Now, for me, I’m a fixer. “A
woman of action,” according to one of my friends. I have a difficult time
understanding why things can’t just be
better. I forget that some things are not mine to fix.
there is beauty in the broken.
things are labeled as imperfect, but they are no less stunning than something
whole. My cubby in the dresser became a secret treasure trove… without that, it
was just another dresser.
are much the same. We are all broken in some way, and that is what makes us
beautiful. We are all unique in our scratches and cracked bones. And other
people, of all things, are not ours to fix. And we are not another’s to fix.
known so many fixer-uppers in my life. I guess that, as a fixer, I tend to
gravitate toward them. I far too often find myself trying to change people, not
understanding why they can’t just be better. Especially as a writer, I tend to
overanalyze and overcompensate with conversation. “I’ve got the answer!” I
scream, pen in hand.
it’s a bit selfish, really. What makes me think that I know everything? That my
answers are the right ones?
recently spoke to a friend of mine one who knows me better than anyone else. I
was seeking counsel on a particular problem of mine, trying to make a judgment
call on what my next step should be. Initially, he laughed at my solutions
(most of them being kneejerk reactions) and told me that he found them
admirable and ballsy. But once the joking was done, he came to a truth. “Just
because someone else is being a jerk- doesn’t mean that you have to lower the standard
of the person that YOU are.”
was trying so hard to figure out ways to “fix” the problem- that I wasn’t
allowing it to settle, embracing the imperfection and the beauty in the broken-ness
that it was.
once dated someone who, for 2 years, was an alcoholic. He still is. He won’t
read this, but I would say these things to his face because we have that type
of friendship now. I spent YEARS trying to fix him. I would drive him places
and take him to meetings. I’d cave when he messed up on his sobriety and
forgive him, figuring that together we could “fix it.”
there’s one thing that dating an alcoholic will teach you- it’s how little
control you have over other people. They can’t even control themselves, so how
will you? Even after the split, I continued to try to fix him. I cared about
him, and still do to this day. Even though the dynamic of our relationship has
changed completely- I’d still love nothing more than for him to stop drinking
and get his life together.
the longest time, everyone I knew would say the same thing. “Man, if he could
get it together, he would be THE GREATEST. Everyone loves him; he just needs to
stop drinking.” And for a long time, I chimed in and agreed. Especially as a
fixer, it’s almost an impulse to hear that and brainstorm solutions.
I just nod my head in agreement. “Definitely. But if I had a dime for every
time someone said that to me…” It’s not that I have no faith in him. I’ve seen
him through confrontations and rehabilitation and bouts of genuinely trying to
be better. I’ve done everything I can, and after that I just have to love him
and allow him to be broken until he can fix himself.
things are not yours to fix.
a fixer is an admirable quality… when people ask for help. I find that I am
often the person my friends call for advice. I am the one in my house who others
come to for home repair solutions. At work, I am the in-between for everyone
who wants problems resolved. And it gets heavy, when I’m not in the mood. But I
also feel a sense of responsibility toward answering a cry for help. It gives
me a sense of purpose.
unless you’re asked, leave the fixing be.
is one thing in this life that you can control. And that is yourself. The way
other people treat you is evidence of THEIR character. It has little to do with
you. The way you react, or choose not to react, speaks of YOUR character. Let
the broken be broken. Find the beauty in the flaws, and love them just the
has never been about perfection. It has only, always, been about love.