It seems like FOREVER since I last wrote a blog post that wasn’t required of me by a brand but I’m back (and hopefully won’t be taking another 30+ day break for a while).
If you follow me on social media then you already know why I’ve been MIA but if not don’t worry, I’ll fill you in soon enough. Besides the major reason I took a mini-hiatus, sometimes you just need a break. You feel me?
This world that we live in thrives on instant, 24/7 access to anything and everything we want. We don’t have to wait for stores to open, we can shop online. We don’t all have set work schedules, we’re often working into the wee hours of the morning or around the clock. Every idle moment that used to be reserved for silent meditation or relaxation has been replaced with mindless scrolling on social media or with our eyes glued to some device. If you are not intentional about it, you will find that you’ve failed to give yourself a break from the world. Mentally, emotionally and physically, we need periodic breaks to stay healthy.
So that’s what I did. I took a break…and I don’t feel bad for it. Continue Reading
I’ll never forget talking with my pastor in his office one afternoon after we’d discussed the logistics of me designing a website for him. I’d asked him about his conversations with God and how to know as and when God is speaking to you. He left me with a very simple statement that I often refer back to and will remember for the rest of my life. He said:
“If God tells you once, he will tell you again.”
The way God responds is so amazing and one of the reasons why having a personal relationship with Him will supersede anything anyone could ever tell you to do. God’s way of speaking directly to us is also why I’m very cautious of people who always tell others what God told them about someone other than their own self. But that’s another conversation for another day. Continue Reading
Peace of mind…what does having it feel like for you?
For me having mental peace is usually associated with making my own decisions and feeling good about them, filling my days with what (or who) makes me happy and being able to rest and just soak in the moment without any interruptions. I like to have time to think about things and truly process them without being rushed or pressured to go in a certain direction.
By definition, peace of mind is a state of mental and emotional calmness void of any worries, stress or fears. When you’re able to have mental peace you’re automatically happier and you feel more free.
Is it just me or does having mental peace seem like something we’re always after, an endpoint…as if it’s not readily available to us right now? I think we feel that way because we don’t always choose peace. One of my best friends taught me a long time ago about making choices and what I learned from our conversations is that everything – literally everything – is a choice. Until we make mental peace a priority by choosing it above other things, we’ll always be on the search for it.
Lately I’ve been the opposite of mentally peaceful – I’ve been mentally fatigued.
Being an entrepreneur is loads of fun and the lifestyle can be very glamorous and appealing as and when you’re on the outside looking in. Believe it or not, there is a lot that goes on behind the scenes that makes being your own boss really stressful. People not paying you on time (or at all), being constantly asked to do things for free when you have bills just like the next person, having a shitload of work to do every waking hour of the day and the list goes on. Add those things to the daily responsibilities and stresses of life, people constantly sharing their opinions about your every move, the overwhelming amount of negative news being shared in various forms and your own personal challenges and situations and you have yourself a recipe for mental angst.
The weekends are golden for me because I get an opportunity to check out of everything that’s going on in the world for my coveted “me time.” This is when I write, create and block out time to just be alone. This past weekend I focused on creating peace of mind and figuring out how to keep it.
Here are a few ways you can create peace:
Clean up who you’re following on social media
Write down what’s weighing you down mentally and then figure out how to let those things go and/or accept the things you can’t change
Create art – it can be a song, poem, drawing, etc.
Clean up your home
Create a list of all your blessings and what you’re appreciative of
Read a book
Have fun with someone you love
Do something nice for someone just because
I’m looking forward to how making more of an effort to create peace is going to affect my life in the coming days. I’m not sure if I’ll be sharing them on my website or not but I’ll try to keep you all posted on my Facebook page. Let me know if you’re going to choose peace with me!
What is your favorite way to create peace? Share in the comments section below.
First of all, yes. I did take a million selfies. Why? Because I couldn’t resist the sunshine and I felt pretty.
Second of all, yes. I had to put them all in one photo because I couldn’t decide which one I liked the most. #FemaleProblems
Now that that’s out of the way, I can get to what this week’s “note” is about…and it’s a long one. You’ve been warned!
Remember last week as and whenI shared that I sometimes feel like a fraud? Well, I got lots of positive and encouraging feedback from you all and I figured I should tell you where all of this “fearlessly living my truth and enjoying the person I’ve become and I’m becoming” stuff started.
Last year on my 28th birthday, I was in a weird place. It wasn’t necessarily a bad place, it was just extremely uncomfortable. I had just moved back home and was living at my mom’s house (embarrassing), I had very little income, I’d just “broken up” with someone I wasn’t even in an official relationship with who was also one of my close friends (so I suffered a loss twice) and I felt like a complete and total failure at life.
To this day, I don’t know how I was able to hide it so well. I hosted a natural hair event the day before my birthday and I’m sure no one guessed that I was feeling like the Mr. Krab meme in my head. But that’s the thing. You never know what a person is going through, even the people who you think have it all together. Hence, my post about being a fraud.
I was so sick and damn tired of the cycle my life was replaying and there comes a times when you say “enough is enough.”
It’s pretty normal to feel unworthy of praise or bashful about your accomplishments from time to time so the fraud feeling wasn’t the issue. The issue for me around that time was the same old challenges, struggles, ups and then downs and disappointments that seemed to lurk around every corner.
It was so bad that I was afraid to feel happy about things because I knew that they’d come to an end. What a sad way to live!
I remember telling myself that things had to change and I felt the best place to start was internally. I had to change for me.I had to be motivated by my own need and desire for happiness. Most importantly, I had to define happiness for myself instead of trying to obtain someone else’s definition of it.
Right off the bat I knew that I had to stop worrying about how people felt about decisions that I made formy life. The pressure from trying to please my parents, trying to be the perfect Christian woman and taking the advice from folks who don’t have their own life together was wearing me out. It’s mostly my fault because I let too many people in and I asked for opinions when I should’ve figured things out on my own, so I’ll take the blame. But that was my starting point.
Defining happiness for myself and having the confidence to make my own decisions without worrying how another person felt about them completely freed me. Like Rihanna said in one of her songs, “Life’s too short to be sitting ’round miserable and people gone talk whether you’re doing bad or good.” That’s 100% true. I finally got it when I was desperate for a change and doing those things I mentioned above immediately paved the way for the happiness that I have now.
I can’t leave God out of this.
I was praying and journaling my prayers and paying attention to how He was speaking to me. I kept coming back to personal relationship, forgiveness, new opportunities to start over, faith in Him and being secure in my personal relationship with my Creator.
It’s great to have people in your life who mentor you and give you advice or lend their ear to your problems but you have to be careful because they’re still human with very human, flawed characteristics. If you’re not careful you can, like me, put too much precedence on their word and start trying to please them. God is the only being that you should concern yourself with pleasing. And unlike those people, God will not mistreat you or trash talk about you for getting it wrong. He loves you, shows you grace and mercy and will be there as you try again.
He just wants you to do your best and allow Him to do the rest.
After I realized that I know God well enough to consult with Him and make my own decisions after consulting with Him, the flood gates opened.
I stopped trying to find a job because I was “almost 30” and my blog and consulting business weren’t bringing in the money that I needed. I dedicated myself to them both and my consulting business won a contract with a local college AND my blog started making regular income with hosting and event gigs coming my way nonstop. I even moved out of my mom’s house when I thought I’d be stuck there. BOOM!
I stopped listening to people tell me what kind of man I needed and why I should change what I’m attracted to (as if that’s even possible) and I met the most amazing guy ever. He loves me for me and I love him for who he is. I knew I loved him when he brought out all the parts of me that I’d tried to hide. I can be myself with him at all times and it is everything to me! Are we perfect? Nope. Do we still have things we need to figure out? Absolutely, no doubt about it. Will we be together for ever? Who knows? What I do know is that what we share is personal. It’s genuine. He has become one of my best friends and has never abandoned me (that was a common trait in previous relationships). I can’t ask for more than that right now. WIN!
I found a church that I feel free and welcome at. I don’t know anyone’s dirt, I don’t feel pressured or forced to praise God a certain way, I don’t feel intimidated by the members…it’s perfect for where I’m at right now and I feel that God led me there because He wants me to experience Him in a new way. AMAZING!
As you can tell from my selfies above, I am genuinely happy.
I encourage you to define happiness for yourself as well and don’t be afraid to pursue it. Your happiness is just that – yours. Don’t let another person or society tell you how to obtain it. Connect with your spirit and let God work out all the kinks.
I’ll go ahead and admit one of my major flaws before you read any further.
I have this terrible, terrible tendency to let people f*ck with my head. (Sorry for the language but that’s how I’d say it in real life. The Lord ain’t through with me yet.)
But seriously though, I do. I guess I don’t know how to turn my PR mind off as and when I’m not working but I’m always thinking about my image and how others perceive me. I’m being a little dramatic right now because I don’t care half as much as I used to…but still…I have my moments and they make me feel like I’m a fraud, even though I know I’m not.
That doesn’t make any sense does it? I’ll explain.
Since I moved back to my hometown people have been receiving and interacting with me in a weird way. I’m not saying that they’re weird…the feeling that they leave me with is weird. And the weirdest thing about it is that everyone (literally) treats me the same. *blank stare* I don’t know what happened in the year that I was gone, but it’s like people look at me like I’m a local celebrity (I cringed when I typed that) and like I’ve got it all together. They all say the same things…
“You inspire me. You’re where I want to be in the next five years.”
“Everyone in the State of Mississippi has heard of you. You’re doing big things.”
“Ya’ll make the perfect couple.”
“You’re killing the blogging game!!!”
I should be flattered (and I am) but at the same time, I don’t always see myself the way others do. And when they give me these amazing compliments, I get really awkward and I always tell them to chill out LOL. I love that people view me in a such a way and that’s how I want them to view me…but it’s hard to feel comfortable when you don’t view yourself the same. You feel like you don’t deserve the compliments because they only see a small part of you – the part that is a product of great PR.
Knowing something and feeling it are two different things.
Let me give you an example. I earned both a bachelor’s and master’s degree in six years and was accepted into a PhD program on the first try after submitting my application the day of the deadline. Clearly I know that I’m smart. But when I make dumb ass decisions about men and fail to learn from my past mistakes, I don’t feel smart at all. I actually feel embarrassingly dumb. And exposed. And like there must be some deep seated childhood issue I haven’t dealt with to cause me to make such bad decisions.
I hosted a free blogging webinar last week and had over 40 bloggers to sign up. As I was writing my outline I kept thinking about how early I am in my own journey and whether or not I had the authority or expertise to advise someone on how to go through theirs.
Recently I was recruited to be part of the launch team for a new church here in Jackson. The pastors think very highly of me (clearly…they want me to be part of their church family) and it freaks me out more than anything. I feel like the biggest fraud and like I don’t even deserve their admiration or consideration. Me? I still curse! I have premarital bad word! I still struggle with fear and trusting God. There’s no way that I, Jessica LaShay Simien, am ready to be a leader in a church. No way. Not only that, I’m terrified of so many expectations and responsibilities that comes with that.
I shared my feelings and fears with one of the pastors and she talked to me about grace. She helped me realize that not only should I give others grace, I need to give myself grace as well.
I didn’t think that at 28-years-old I’d be still figuring myself out but I am and I understand more and more that learning yourself is a never-ending process that we should all embrace. I’ve met some pretty dope people in the last year and they’ve all helped me get more in tune with myself. One person in particular brought out all the parts of me that I was afraid to show. He helped me take my mask off and maybe that’s what my deal is.
I’m afraid that people forget I’m human, imperfect and struggling in similar areas as they are or that I have to live up to expectations that don’t fit who I am. I don’t want to be boxed in.
I just want to be me, unapologetically. Imperfections and all.