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 when I 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 for my 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.