Filling in the Blanks

be who you needed

Is this thing on?

Hey Internet, long time no speak.

One of the quotes that has made a big impact on me in the last few years is “Be who you needed when you were younger.”

There were times when I was younger that I needed someone to stand up for me.

There were times when I needed someone to say “No, Katie, you should not accept this treatment”

There were times when I needed someone to kick my ass across the street and back because I was a brat sometimes.

There were times when I needed someone to say “You’re hard to love right now, but I’m going to do it anyway.”

Different situations call for different support-styles — and now that I’m an adult,  it’s up to me to decide what sort of support I need in any given moment and I have the power to be that support.

Learning how to be my own support system in times of need has helped me filter out some of the toxic people in my life who I held to such high standards based on very low quality treatment. Since I treated myself so badly, it was really easy for me to accept any behavior from someone else — even abusive — and mistake it for love and respect.

Learning how to properly love and support myself emotionally was a hard road — but as my self-love and respect increased, so did the quality of my relationships.

No longer do I allow words to speak louder than actions.

No longer do I allow someone to dictate what I should be, think, feel, or believe.

The bar has been raised.

My tolerance for bullshit is drastically lower — almost non existent.

Life got real different.

I’m proud of this. But the real test comes when you have to practice your skills in a moment like I had today.

—–

Today someone told me that I wasn’t doing “good enough” and that they “wait for me to disappoint them on a regular basis”.

Truth be told, those weren’t their exact words – but that’s what I heard. That’s what younger Katie heard.

In reality, their phrasing was:

“You don’t _________. I wait for you to _________ all the time,  and you never do.”

Filling the blanks isn’t important right now.

What is important is that he was right. Every word he said was right. I really don’t “______”… and he probably does wait for me to “________”, and I never do.

I didn’t disagree with his statement.

I had no defense.

I had no excuse.

He. Was. Right.

My response to him, in short,  was “I will try harder.”

If you are someone who knows me, or cares for me, then I suspect that you are pretty ticked at whomever said this to me. You might be wondering why I didn’t stand up for myself. I just spoke this big game about being the support that I needed – so why the eff didn’t I rip this guy a new one for saying this shit to me?

Let me assure you that before I replied, I went into defensive mode and thought about saying things like “SCREW YOU ASSHOLE” or “GTFO” or”#BYEFELICIA”.

While I have gotten really in tune with my intuition and I trust my gut feelings – I also recognize that my initial reaction isn’t always thee best one and could quite possibly be very emotionally driven.

In this case — hearing from someone that I care for that:

“You don’t _________. I wait for you to _________ all the time,  and you never do”

first made me want to freak the eff out.

But in all honestly, it’s not the first time someone has said that I’m not doing well enough. I’m no stranger to hearing negative feedback. Constructive criticism stings a little, but I always try to find the opportunity to grow from it — after I pout and vent and curse and cry with my person(s) a little.

And if we’re being totally honest. I am the recipient of these types of negative comments on the regular. I mean like every. single day. Several times a day. I hear complaints, criticisms, and comparisons…

…From myself.

Negative self talk is something I’m wildly good at. I’ll tell myself I’m awesome in one breath, and that I could be doing better in the next. I’m the queen of negative juxtaposition.

“Katie you rock at ______, but why do you have to be so __________.”

“Katie it’s cool that you ___________, but I wish that you could just _____________”

“Wow, that _________ looks amazing, but what happened here to the ___________?”

 

So today, when I was told that:

“You don’t _________. I wait for you to _________ all the time,  and you never do.”

…instead of freaking out – I acknowledged that he was right — but I didn’t say that because… uh, DUH. I’m only human.  Plus I didn’t want to give the message that this was going to be something that I would change overnight.

This “________” was going to happen again. I knew it would.

So I said “I will try harder”.

And while I did take a moment and feel bad for myself for having had this hurtful thing said to her — I moreso felt bad for him. I don’t support how he spoke to me – I absolutely think it could have been presented better — but I understood his struggle.

I have been in his shoes.  I know what it’s like to want to much more out of someone. I know what it’s like to be so frustrated that someone can be so awesome at some things, but really struggle in other areas. I know what it’s like to just think “Damnit, couldn’t she just do better? How hard is it?”

So, I offer him this advice – which is what I tell myself when I get so frustrated about my weaknesses, where I am, what I’m doing, how far away I am from where I want to be, missing a deadline, not being enough, and ‘Damnit, couldn’t I just do better? How hard is it?”.

Remember that I am trying my best.

Remember that I will mess up, and I will always try to make it right again.

Remember that I am not perfect — and I will always try to be better than I was yesterday. 

Remember that I do not forget an argument, and I will forgive someone and give them a second chance  (even a third) if they are deserving and truly sorry.

I am stubborn and very self-reliant, and I am soft and sensitive to the people that I trust.

I will make mistakes — lots of them — I will have a hard time admitting them. And I will learn from them.

I will be defensive and argumentative – and I will fight for who and what I believe in. 

I may cancel plans last minute, and I will also cancel all of my plans if someone says they need me.

I am not the most financially secure person (duh. target!), and I will spend my last dollar on something to make someone else smile — seriously, the $1 section at Target is OMGamazing.

Some days I’ll be more sensitive and feel a little needy — and I’ll swallow my feelings and be the rock to someone who needs me.

I am inappropriately crudely  humored at times – and I will do anything to make my people laugh.

Remember that I may not be easy to love today, and I am still worth loving through my weaknesses. And I will love people in spite of their flaws, mistakes, and bad decisions. 

 

There were a lot of blanks in this post, and I want to fill in the ones that started this:

“You don’t _________. I wait for you to _________ all the time,  and you never do.”

But I won’t fill them in with what was said to me  today – rather what younger me needs to hear from herself right now:

“You don’t give up. I  wait for you to give up all the time,  but you never do”

self solution

Lifeaversary | 6

It’s my Lifeaversary today.  Actually, it’s my Lifeaversary in 6 days, but you know me being on top of things. (Wink)

For the past 6 years, I’ve celebrated my Life-a-versary — the day that I decided to choose life over…well, not life, and started on what would be the most difficult journey to self-discovery and acceptance ever. I spent such a long time carrying such a massive burden on my shoulders. I really think that my disdain for mornings was due to the fact that moving, walking, just getting up was physically and emotionally painful from dragging along all of the crap…. the baggage – the expectations – the belief that I had to pretend to be someone I wasn’t in order to be liked. Letting all of that go was the most powerful thing I’ve ever done.

When someone asks me how I am, or how I’m doing — the only thing I can think to say is “lighter”, “free-er”, “calm-er” — but even that doesn’t begin to describe the amount of relief that I feel.  I wake up every single morning and am grateful for everything.

Okay, that’s a bit of a lie. For the first 10 minutes of being awake, I hate the world. But after that, I’m grateful. For everything. For YOU.

This year — particularly the last 6 months — I’ve taken a huge step back from just about everything and asked the question “Does this bring me joy?” and “Would I want my daughter to be in this situation?” – If the answer to either of these was no, I walked away.

I ditched friendships. I ditched relationships. I ditched clients. Most of all, I ditched apologizing for being who I am. I’m not afraid to tell someone “hey, this isn’t working”, “i don’t have time for negativity”, or my personal favorite, #byefelicia.

I know I’m not perfect — God, I’m my own number one critic. If you were to ask me right now what my flaws are, I would name 50. But what’s changed for me, especially this year, is that I can also tell you what makes me a kickass person who deserves happiness and doesn’t deserve to be treated with disrespect or carelessness — especially by my own self.  I can honestly say that despite my flaws, despite my mistakes, despite my little quirks and imperfections, I’m pretty dang awesome in my on right. Or as I like to say, “I’m charming as f*ck”.  And that doesn’t require an apology.

One of the things that I wholeheartedly believe is that we accept the love that we think we deserve. I accepted relationships because I thought I couldn’t get any better. I accepted friendships because I thought that merely talking to me deserved recognition. I said “yes” in situations where I clearly meant “no”.  Wanna fail really fast? Try to please every-damn-one. I wish I would have known that a few years ago.

I know my worth now and I don’t accept anything less. I say no. I ask for help. I stand firm in the beliefs that I know to be true. I’m ridiculously resilient. I fall down sometimes — I fail — I let things fall through cracks — but I always get back up again and start fresh. I apologize where it’s due, and I mean absolutely everything that I say.

So this year, I’m short on words, but not on gratitude for everyone who has seen me through the past few years. Instead of a huge celebration this year, I’m going to therapy, and the Incubus concert… because that’s what I want to do, and both of those things bring me joy. But if you offered me a pancake breakfast or brunch date, I wouldn’t turn you guys down. I also would accept a cardboard cutout of Edward Cullen or Dexter. Take notes.

As I enter year 7, I can proudly say that I’ll stop banking on the phrase “It gets better” and move on to “It got better”.  And I’ll even throw in a “I love this life, now.” Because really. I love it. I don’t love it everyday. And some days I want to bitch slap every one I come into contact with, but they’re just days, and they always pass.

I don’t know whether it’s the fact that my best friend had a baby that I’m so in love with. Or that I almost lost someone so incredibly important to me, but he survived. Or that I had a spiritual awakening knowing that my Grandmother has a firm hand in helping guide my way — or a combination of all of these things. All I know is that I am filled with so much gratitude for everyone, everything, and every moment in my life.

In the coming months, I will be very busy being awesome, all in preparation for my now yearly trip to Florida with my family and to see my dad. I could have gone anywhere for my birthday vacation, but honestly, there’s nowhere I’d rather be.

Except maybe at IHOP. Or your house holding hands watching Dexter while I longingly picture myself stroking Michael C. Hall’s beautiful face.

Some things never change, Internet.

 

Wanna read about Life-a-versaries Past? 

 Lifeaversary 5
Lifeaversary 4
Lifeaversary 3
Lifeaversary 2 

 

Choosing My Words, Perfecting My Theme, Releasing my 2014, + Retiring From Stratejoy

Happy 2015, Internet.

I spent the last few weeks of the year spending much needed time with my family and closest friends.

But of course I make time for my newfound YouTube obsession, and my older-than-time obsession with all of you.

I have been binge reading all of your new 2015 posts where you announce what your themes for 2015 are going to be. I’m loving all of your brilliance and dedication. It gives me all those damn feels.

I got turned onto creating a theme for your year rather than resolutions via Molly Mahar and her Holiday Council. Many other people take this approach too. The basic idea is instead of creating specific goals, like “Lose weight” you choose a word that resonates with you… like… “Clean”. And that could go from clean eating to thinking with less clutter to even being physically with less clutter. You make the rules, cowboy.

One of my favorite local bloggers, Jessica Lawlor has chosen her three words for 2015. (Read more about ’em here)

The very well know Chris Brogan has been choosing his three words for many years now, and this year is no different. (Read Chris’ rockstar words here).

What About Me?

I’m currently sitting on my couch, drinking my favorite coffee and coloring – my new favorite way of de-stressing and brainstorming.

My goal of the day is to choose my three words as well as doing my yearly releasing ceremony, which in itself causes me a lot of anxiety each year. Because I take the releasing ceremony so seriously, I sometimes have a difficult time admitting that I need to make a break away from a habit / relationship, and then making that promise to myself to actually do it. I’m a girl of excuses of why I don’t need to stop something, or how it could be healthy.

It was much easier to do this year since I realized my own trend of being a relationship hoarder. I tend to hold onto people and relationships until the very last minute just in case they can teach me something else need me. I’m an ISFJ, after all. The queen of being needed.

But with a lot of soul searching I was able to get super clear on what I wanted out of relationships and if I wasn’t getting what I wanted, I’d ask for it And if I still didn’t get it, then I chose to redirect the energy of wondering WHY I wasn’t getting what I wanted, to finding new relationships or strengthening old ones.

One big change I did already make this year was retiring from my 5 year Community Management role with Stratejoy. You can read about my decision to do that that right here.

For once in my life, the people who are in my daily orbit are the people I want there. They remind me that I’m of value, and they continue to help me show my best side. They accept me for who I am, and continue to help me grow in my best possible light. And the support is incredible.

I’ve lost a few people this year, both in death as well as realizing they’re just not on the same page as I am. It’s a tragic loss that makes me sad, but at the same time, and in each case, there was someone new there (an old friend, a new friend) to remind me that people change, and life does go on.

So. Keep those posts coming, guys. I’m digging the inspiration. I’ll be over here prepping for me releasing ceremony, narrowing down my three words, and creating my vision board, which is always one of my favorite parts of the new year.

Let’s kick ass, 2015.

 

 

 

What I Mean When I Say I Love You

 

Whenever I log into Facebook, it’s typically a crap shoot of whether I’ll see 20 consecutive selfies, a client embarrassingly ‘liking’ see through yoga pants, or a racially driven political rant. But today I logged in and hit the jackpot.

One of my dear friends shared this article, “Love Is Not Enough“. I recommend you go right now, ditch this blog post and make that one your read of the day.

But if you must stay, let me tell you that this article was probably one of the best things I’ve read this year. It got me to thinking about that little word LOVE, how much it means, and how much I use it.

If we’re friends, I tell you I love you. And if I haven’t recently, please know that I love you. (More on what that means soon.)

I’m a love whore. I love a lot of people. Granted, a lot of them are the wrong people that I shouldn’t love. I still love an ex boyfriend that is such a pain in my ass, but alas, I love him. But that love doesn’t rule my life, make it impossible for me to love other people, or more importantly, prohibit me from loving myself. It doesn’t take up enough space in my heart to be all consuming, but he has and always will have a little pesky place.

I feel like when we fall in love with someone, often times that relationship takes over our lives, and not always in a good way. We lose sight of the little things. Plans with your friends become fewer and farther between. You’re focused on spending every available moment with your new boo that you forget to go grocery shopping, mail out that bill, wish your friend a happy birthday. (Thank God for Facebook on that one!) We don’t realize this is even happening mostly because we’re so love drunk on the feelings of, well, love. It feels so good to be around him/her. Before you know it, when you’re not at work, you’re with them. And one day you realize you haven’t texted your BFF back in 6 weeks, all you have in your fridge is expired milk, and you’re paying some shitty interest on that credit card bill you forgot to mail out.

I don’t know about your credit card company, but they don’t buy it when I call and say “Oh, I’m just so in love, I forgot to mail it!” And my girlfriend would shit and entire brick if I said “Oh, I’ve been so in love I haven’t called you.”

I know this might make me sound like the girl who has been hurt by people who love this hard and forget their friends, but I’m honestly speaking as the person who historically loves someone else so hard and forgets to love herself first. My hair gets cut. My waxing gets done. I get a shower. But is that for ME? Or is that to ensure my dude isn’t like “Yo, you smell like a foot, and can you please move your leg hair braids? They’re in my frozen TV dinner.”

As the years have passed, I’ve become more aware of how I love, and making sure I keep myself in check, especially during that amazing obsession / honeymoon stage where everything that the other person does makes you feel like a million electric sparks are going through your body. Nothing else matters because DING DING DING, he just texted you and life is instantly better. About to get fired because of bad work performance. Who cares? Boo just sent me a selfie! Rent late? Life goes on, we’re going out for sushi tonight.

Love doesn’t solve anything. Love doesn’t fix broken lives. Attention and action  fix broken things. Some of my most healthy relationships have failed because I didn’t focus on the other part of my life – my life outside of the other person.

And that was a hard lesson for me to learn. But once I did, I realized that I truly do love the people in my life, no matter how miniscule their role is. If it wouldn’t make me look like a freak, I’d tell my barista I loved her every day.

Even if you’re not comfortable with saying “I love you”, or if you reserve the word for those really serious times, that’s okay too. I, myself am a writer and I feel like I can be more creative with “I love you” and make it more meaningful. For me, I use the term a lot. But it isn’t any less important. Nor does it mean that I want to intertwine my body with you forever and ever.

What I want you to know, internet, is that if I ever tell you I love you, here’s what I mean:

I love you. I love that I can love you and love myself at the same time and not feel guiltily pulled in either direction. Your mere existence makes my life better in either a big way, or a little way, but no matter, you’ve changed my life and are a part of my journey. I’ve learned something from you. I love you.

Even to the asshole ex that I still love, that entire statement still applies. I love that I don’t love him obsessively, nor does that love prevent me from loving myself or others. I love the lessons he taught me, and I love who I’ve become as a result of those lessons.

So, I love you and stuff. That’s all I’m trying to say.

 

I’m Never Going To Be Ready

 

In the morning my alarm goes off at 6:11AM. I don’t have to be in work until around 10 or 11AM. So there are 5 hours. 5 glorious hours that many would kill for and that I could use to work, get active, make a breakfast that isn’t just a banana and 4 cups of coffee…  I could do all of these things instead of rolling over and saying “Meh, I’ll get up when I’m ready.”

Here’s something I learned and have accepted recently:

I’m never going to be ready to get up in the morning…

or to get into the shower.

or to take a jump into something unknown.

or to let go of someone or something.

or to  do my laundry.

or to  make that phone call.

or to  say what I’m feeling.

or to say no.

or to say yes.

I’m never ready for anything. Except, of course to make the excuse “I’ll do it when I’m ready.” For that, I’m always ready.

In my mind I’m always preparing for something bigger. Whether it’s putting that big idea out into the world. Or to book that plane ticket. Or to tell someone how I feel. Or to leave a client. Or to ask for more money. The desire to do big things is always cooking, but it’s never ready (or so I tell myself)  When asked, I’m always ‘working on it’. But I’ve found that I’m working toward a goal that I’m never going to get because it’s that last jump, that last action, that last corner to turn that I never take…

So, I’ve got a very hungry ‘wants-so-much-more’ soul inside of me. And if you know me, you know how hangry I get.

No wonder I’m so pissed that I feel like I’m doing all of the work, but nothing seems to be changing. I’m putting in all of the emotional preparations, taking the required steps, doing what’s needed,  but not doing any of the actual ballsy action work.

Everything is just kinda chilling on the launch pad, waiting to be ready. And of course everything I do or am working on reaches a point where all of the preparation work has been done and the next logical step is to take action… … and I stay in some kind of holding pattern.

For me, the preparation of everything is always the easy part. There’s a certain safety net in “I’m getting ready to…” or “I’m working on…” or “It’s my intent to…”  To everyone else, it sounds like I’m actively doing something, and hell, I may be. But usually in my case, I’m prolonging the hard part of whatever it is I’m working on. You know, I’m ‘waiting until I’m ready.”

BECAUSE ACTION IS SCARY, YOU GUYS.

So much can go wrong.

But I forget that so much can go right, and I’ll never know which way it’ll go until I do something.

So, self: do more stuff, okay?

I wish it were that damn easy.

How in the hell to I break this deep-set-almost 30-year old habit? I’m seriously pouting right now, because the answer is so clear, but I’m admittedly someone who really wishes shit would just happen and I didn’t have to make it happen. Like, can’t lasagna cook itself? Cant groceries buy themselves? Can’t tests grade themselves?

No?

GOD WHAT IS LIFE?

The more I think about it, the more I’ve been surrounding myself with people who don’t challenge me. Don’t get me wrong, I know I’m responsible for my own actions, but it’s always helpful to hang with people who inspire you and push you to the next level. Sometimes I need that accountability; someone to keep me and my goals in check. So many of my kick-ass friends are making shit happen. Why am I not doing co-working sessions with them?

I just got three emails from three different people asking me to edit their papers / articles / idea maps. So, it’s not like I don’t have places to bounce ideas off of. I’m just… waiting until I’m ready. Again.

I’m very introvert-y, and I like to talk to myself. So, I’ve found that sometimes I have to have an actual conversation between me and my inner-don’t-wanna-do-it-chick in order to get things done. It goes something like,

Katie, I know you don’t want to get up right now. Yes, you could sleep for another few hours. But you kind of need to be an adult, get up, do some housework, and take a walk. Do SOMEthing. Staying here just isn’t an option today.”

Or more simply: “Katie, you don’t have to like it, but you’re going to get up and do it.”

This shorter approach is something I use very often. Especially since if I don’t do whatever it is in the moment I’m thinking about it, there’s a good chance it will get put off until another day. (See also: until forever and never gets done) (See also: Until I’m ready.)

The truth is, if I wait until I’m ready, I’m never going to accomplish anything.

And I want to do stuff. And love people. And go places. And make money. And get out of bed at 6AM and go on a 2 mile run. I’m always going to want to sleep. Let’s be real.

So, Katie, I know you don’t like it, but stop writing this blog post now, and fold your laundry. And send that email. And make that phone call.

kbye.