To Hell with It All

That’s my attitude. To hell with it all. Let me explain.

Three very life-changing things have happened/come into my life in the last month. I want to detail them in this post, and I hope you will find encouragement in them as well.

The first: The Subtle Art of Not Giving a Fuck by Mark Manson

Incredible book. Incredible title. Incredible change in my mindset. This book is not about becoming a nihilist or flipping everyone you meet the bird. It’s about choosing what you give a fuck to. See, you’re given so many fucks (or cares, sorry Mom and Dad) in your life. It’s up to you to decide what you give a care to. For example, that bossy team member at work that seems to critique your every move? Don’t give that your fuck. Someone thinks ill (and probably wrong) of you? Don’t give that your fuck. Your fucks should go to you and yours, not them and theirs. Get your priorities straight. That’s my shift lately. I give all my cares and effort to my husband and child, myself, my God, my family, and my students. Not to an offhanded comment, not to someone else’s perception of me, and certainly not to anything that has the potential to bring me down. This book is so rich, and is about way more than bad words and cool attitudes. It’s about an outlook on life that will get you through life, sane and whole.

2. homecoming queen? by Kelsea Ballerini

I’ll link the video below because it’s that important to me that you give this song a listen. For the record, I was not homecoming queen of my high school. That went to a junior my senior year (conspiracy theory) but I digress. This song resonates with all the good girls, the try-hards, the yes men, the people pleasers. We hide behind a smile, say “fine” when things are not, and spend every ounce of energy on other people’s emotions and validations. My favorite line: “what if I told you the sky wouldn’t fall if you lost your composure, said to hell with it all.” Abso-freaking-lutely. To hell with it all. To hell with social media and doing everything for everyone else and fitting into a box I’ve outgrown. That’s not what I’m here for. I’m here for truth and honesty even if that’s ugly and can’t be influenced. I’m sacrificing my composure to be true to myself. Taking off the metaphorical crown and replacing it with the ball cap of authenticity. To hell with it all.

https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=PC0nSbgwAqw

3. Teachers, Write! in Houston, TX

Somehow, I conned some people into letting me take two days off work to go to a writing conference. At said conference, we were encouraged to take off our teacher hats and think of ourselves solely as writers for two days. Easy enough. But it challenged me in the best ways. I wrote pieces about my sweet husband that brought tears to his eyes. I wrote about my own disorder, read it to a group of forty strangers (while convulsing), and also made my mom cry. I cried too. It was an emotional experience. It made me grow as a writer and as a teacher. It truly changed me.

The most noteworthy occurrence of the whole conference happened on day two. Day one was spent writing fictional works, which isn’t my strong suite but was fun. Day two was spent writing nonfiction narratives. My cup, nay, my kettle of tea. However, the instructor made it quite clear through her text selection and response to my writing that she is less than fond of white women. Probably white people in general, but I got the feeling that she wasn’t impressed with the story I had to tell. After I vulnerably shared my piece on my growth as a wife, she responded with a simple “okay” and moved on. However, when the outspoken, young, black female shared her story of being a Southern Baptist who wore jeans to church, she gave a response worthy of Maya Angelou herself. “The shift in your perspective was phenomenal. I don’t know if that was on purpose but wow incredible job.” Okurrrr.

I understand that as a white person I have no room to talk about oppression or being a minority or being under or misrepresented. But in a society (or from a person) that preaches inclusion and acceptance, it would have been nice to have felt heard in this space. It felt the opposite of safe. It felt hostile and judgmental. I’m assuming she thought that because I am a young white woman I have no true burden to bear, no hidden scars, no story to tell. But boy is she wrong. My story is hidden in the depths of my heart. Not everyone gets to hear it yet. But it’s a story worthy of recognition and acceptance. It needs to be told and it damn sure matters. Not just to other white women but to humanity in general. She could even learn a thing or two from my story.

I exited the conference leaving only one comment on my evaluation form: “Represent ALL stories. Hear ALL stories. Acknowledge ALL stories. They matter.”

I am charged now more than ever to write and tell my story. I’m pretty sure the piece I shared with the large group today will become part of my memoir. My story.

These blessings and this mental shift have lead me to a new direction. Last week, I felt like the world’s worst mother, wife, teacher, you name it. I considered not teaching anymore to pursue an online boutique for boys clothing. (I know, right?)

But after I shared today, one of my group members said these words: “I could see you writing a whole book on that story.”

Whoa. Hey, God.

That was a God move.

I am right where I need to be, doing what I need to be, and making a difference. I need to stop worrying about what people think or expect of me and start being true to myself. I am a writer, a damn good one, and I have a story that needs to be told.

I hope you’ll look into the things I’ve mentioned, maybe spend a few of your fucks on them, and do something for yourself. You matter. Your story matters. And despite what anyone else says or thinks, you’re doing an incredible job.

Lose your composure and say to hell with it all.

XX

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Be Spiritually Rich

What does it mean to be spiritually rich? To understand being rich, we need to know what it means to be poor. And chances are we’ve all been poor in one way or another.

Being spiritually poor means being depleted. It means having no source of hope and guidance, no love to look to, and no helping hand. It is being emotionally and mentally exhausted. It is your mind wandering to places it shouldn’t. Your feet going down a path not meant for you. It is searching for yourself in things that can never fill the void. It is feeling washed up, used, empty. I’m sure you can think of a time you’ve been in this pit. Maybe you’re there now. Being spiritually poor means living in nothingness.

In contrast, being spiritually rich is an ocean of prosperity and love. It is knowing who you are and what you’re worth. It is trust and honesty. It is meaningful, mutually-beneficial relationships. It is enjoyment in the simple things, the things that make you happy. It is being a source of light and a guiding beacon of hope for others. It is a fountain of good. It is having a foundation that cannot be shaken.

Our culture seems to put being financially rich over being spiritually rich. I, too, am guilty of placing my focus on worldly things rather than my spiritual life and wellbeing. With the start of school approaching and things like the Nordstrom sale happening all over social media, it is easy to say “I will be happy if I have these things.” These “things” cost money, and sometimes more. Being so caught up in owning certain things or looking a certain way can be detrimental to our spiritual health. How quickly we forget that God looks at our inward appearances over outward beauty. How quickly we forget that it is more important to be kind than to be trendy.

I am so guilty of this, and I let social media consume me. I think “I need a new Tory Burch bag to start the school year right, and I have to have the cutest classroom.” In reality, those kids don’t care if I use my backpack from last year and don’t have a brand new accent chair in the corner. They want someone who shows up every day ready to love on them and teach them and be an example for them. Same goes for the adults in our lives. They couldn’t care less what you wear, only how you treat them.

I want to be spiritually rich. I want to be a women so on fire for God that it shines outward. I want to be that beacon for hope and love. I want to be interesting and inspiring. I want riches, but of the eternal kind.

Let’s focus on our spiritual well-being over our closets and bank accounts. Those things are also fine to be aware of and interested in, but not at the expense of your faith or stability. I still love shopping and love reading fashion blogs, but I also need to love quiet time with God and love reading my bible. It’s all about balance and priorities.

Be spiritually rich.

XX

How much room can there be for me?

Starting a blog is a daunting task. It requires an immense amount of time and creativity, both of which come in limited supply for me. Not to mention the saturated market. There are thousands of bloggers of all varieties. So how much room can there be for me? I’m trying to create a unique, authentic brand of myself for the world, but what if there’s no room? What if every topic has been covered? What if every word has been written? What if every idea is a mere replica of something I’ve seen or read before?

Don’t we often feel that way in life? Is there room for me? For my thoughts and my opinions and my personality and my spirit? Everyone else is so good at their thing, who needs me? Would anyone miss my presence if I didn’t exist? Do I fit in? Am I valued? Is there room for me?

Here’s what I know: we are hardest on ourselves. We have to live inside our own heads, and that makes us our own worst critics. We constantly think we are failing or making a mistake, when in reality others are admiring us for our bravery and tenacity.

The truth: there’s always room for you. The world needs you. The real you. The messy hair, says the wrong thing, can’t find her keys you. And also the got a promotion, ate kale for dinner, changes her own oil you. We all fail and we all win. Others need both to inspire and motivate them. When we fail, we can show others how to be brave. When we win, we can show others how to be gracious.

There will always be room for you. For all of us. In your job, in your relationships, in your family. We make up a whole that cannot be complete without any one piece. And you have something extraordinary to give.

XX

You Should Go and Love Yourself

What’s all this talk about self care? Like do I use a face mask and call it a day? No. Allow me to explain. (Self-proclaimed “expert” here…)

Self care is about more than cosmetics and bubble baths. It’s about adding yourself to your priority list, near the top. We so often work and hustle and give that we forget that we need rest and care too.

Self care is about doing something for you. Whether that be working out or shopping or reading a book, it’s something that brings you joy, feeds your soul, and allows you to refresh. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, you can’t pour from and empty cup. You can’t give when you have nothing left. You need to refuel, and you need to do so in a way that makes you happy.

Why is this so important? Because we freaking deserve it. Like I said, so many of us work or parent or run a side hustle or care for a loved one or volunteer and that is so important. It’s also important to refuel and remember. Refuel so that you’re able to continue changing the world. And remember that you matter too.

Today was spent as a self care day. For me, that meant taking a nap, watching Friends, showering and moisturizing my whole body. After three weeks of travel, my skin was so thirsty and needing some TLC. And of course I took a hot bath. Because you know how I do. I’m sharing some of my favorite skin care products of the moment below. This is what I used today and my skin feels revived and youthful.

Don’t forget to rest and recharge. God even added a self care day to the week when he created the world. You gonna argue with God?

XX

Kopari Coconut Rose Toner

Lancôme Eye Cream

Lancôme Beauty Sleep Perfector

No-Needle Eye Fix

Lip Scrub

Life Lately #5

Life lately has been hectic. I taught summer school and then left town for a conference. Chad has been working like crazy and picking up where I’m slacking. Cook has had doctor’s appointments and viruses and saw the ocean for the first time. We are all just taking one day at a time and soaking up these days where I’m at home all day to dote on my boys. Life is hectic, but sweet.

Most recently, we took a beach trip as a family. It was so wonderful to see Cook react to the water and the seagulls. We got to see family that we only get to see every now and then, and I think that made the trip. It made Chad and I realize how blessed we are. We ate pizza poolside, drank too many beers, and have sand all over our house now but it was so worth it. Salt water cures everything. And now we are so glad to be home.

Speaking of home, we are in the middle of moving (yes, still) and I’ve got a bad case of the don’t-wannas. Don’t wanna pack. Don’t wanna clean. Don’t wanna unpack. Just don’t wanna. We did show the house today, but the agent complained that it was dark and said they had to fumble around to find the light switches. Our realtor and I had a good laugh about that. We have 20’ windows and the light switches are placed where you think they’d be. On the wall.

Which brings up another point. I am at a low-tolerance level for BS lately. People’s emotions, people’s opinions, people’s negativity. I am too busy working on myself to let your problems interfere with my progress. And you should be too. Tuning out all negative vibrations. *insert peace sign emoji here*

All in all, life is great right now. Busy and weird, but great. We are pushing through change and adjusting to new normals and enjoying every minute of it. So many blog post ideas in the notes on my phone so stay tuned.

XX