If You Can’t Beat Fear, Do It Scared

Change.

It’s inevitable. It’s what happens to every single one of us, at one point or another. It’s something that we all experience, at one point or another.

We strive for greatness. We doubt. We fear. We love. We learn. We fail. We succeed.

We change.

When you take a glance at where you are today compared to where you were five years ago, what’s different? What event(s) took place that brought such drastic changes into your life — for the good, the bad, and everything in between?

For some, it’s a career. For others, it’s love. For most, it’s loss.

The significant changes that impact our lives, don’t necessarily come from a specific experience in itself. It comes from how we react.

Who you are today might not be who you were five years ago. Who you are today might not be who you’ll be five years from now.

Change; it’s a blessing in disguise. 

I am one of many who has experienced the most change and growth in my life through loss and heartbreak. When I write about each, I try to be sensitive to the emotions and experiences that others are going through, because I have 100% been there. When I write about each, I am eager to share my words through my own experiences, for those who are unable to comprehend where they go from theirs.

But this time, I’m going to share something different from what you’re used to reading, and what I’m used to writing. Something I haven’t shared with the world until now.

The way that I know how to go about expressing my own emotions, opinions, and words of advice is uplifting, honest, and encouraging. This time, it’s a bit different. This time, it’s real and raw.

When I think about the times where I suffer the most loss and greatest heartbreak — although I go through your standard, typical, normal grieving process just as everyone else in this world, there is one thing that stands out above anything else.

I retaliate. 

Everything that I was or am told that I couldn’t, shouldn’t, won’t, or can’t do — I do. Everything that was or is ignored and didn’t/doesn’t matter — I make matter. Everything that was or is pushed to the back burner by someone else  — I bring to the forefront of my life.

I retaliate because it forces me to find passion and direction when I’m feeling lost. It reignites a fire that loses its flame.

That’s not how my life was before, but it is now. And I love it that way.

Change. 

It forces me to be uncomfortable. It forces me to take risks. It forces me to take action. It forces me to love being afraid.

I’ve somehow managed to find a passion for literally and figuratively staring my biggest fears in the face and accepting their challenges, head on. I stopped fitting into this mold in someone else’s life. Instead, I started creating a new one — one for myself. One I could be proud of because it wasn’t his, or theirs. It was mine.

It’s the way I know how to live my life. That’s not how my life was before, but it is now.

And I love it that way.

I retaliate.

Tell me no? I show you, yes. Say I can’t? I prove I can. Want to scare me? Alright, I double dare you. Shut me down? I get back up again, and then some.

My way of living my best life is to essentially do everything that, at one point or another, I was told wasn’t possible. My journey through self-discovery has been realizing that everything is possible — everything. My way of living my best life is taking blind leaps of faith and embracing the world around me, along with the undiscovered endless possibilities. 

I retaliate — because it’s what forces me to live my best life.

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I’m Happy Because I’m Single By Choice, Not By Chance.

I used to dread the thought of being single and alone.

I used to fear that emotions, actions, and vulnerability wouldn’t be reciprocated.

I used to fear an unknown world or place that lacked comfort and familiarity.

Correction: I used to.

I entered into official single life status much later than the majority of people my age — in my early twenties — so of course, the concept and experience seemed completely foreign to me. It was like starting over from scratch, not having any clue how to navigate through life actually being single.

It was like learning a new language. Learning to be comfortable in my own skin. Learning to be confident in facing challenges alone. Learning to put myself first in every situation. Learning to take risks. Learning to say yes to opportunity. Learning to embrace hidden, yet extraordinary passions. 

Learning to live and love a new, fearless life — completely and unashamedly single.  

Now, it’s what I love. It’s what makes me happy. It’s what makes me passionate about pursuing the things that I’m afraid of; the things that challenge me. It’s what makes me, me.

I embrace being single in every way, shape, and form. Being single doesn’t mean being alone, and it surely isn’t something one should fear. If I’m being honest, being single is the best first chapter in your real-life, real-time novel — where you can write and/or edit any part, at any point in time.

I’m happy because I’m single by choice — I’m happy because being single by choice has taught me everything I admire about this life.

You allow yourself to test & push your limits. You will hit your low points, but you will always find the will to rise above.

You learn to trust yourself, trust your gut, & follow your heart. 

You get a high from facing & overcoming battles — on your own.

You learn to believe in yourself & what you’re capable of achieving. 

You become completely invested in your life — in making the most of every moment. 

You learn to say yes. 

You allow yourself to open your mind, heart, & spirit to the world & your surroundings.

Your passions become the heart & soul of who you are. 

Your zest for life will reach an ultimate high. 

You learn to be your own main source of happiness.

You learn to understand the true meaning of feeling alive & free. 

You realize that being single is simply another way of life reminding you to be yourself again. 

You find patience in God’s plan. 

You allow your spirit to connect with the world around you. 

You learn to really, truly love yourself. The greatest love in its purest, most honest form.

I’ve shared my story. Now it’s your turn. 

You’re the author. You’re the anchor. You’re the QB. You determine what happens next.

I am happy because I’m single by choice, not by chance. Are you?

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Trusting Me, Myself, & Him

“Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.”

— Joshua 1:9

I’m not going to lie — I’m not the most religious person in the world. I don’t pray every day and/or night. I struggle with always believing there’s a specific reason things happen because I have too many questions that go unanswered.  I get stressed out over little things, like the chaotic and ever-changing world of digital media. Not that stressing out over digital media is necessary by any means, because it’s totally not. It just comes with the territory of having a career in the media industry. But still…while these times and circumstances may seem stressful beyond measure, it’s no Meredith Grey/Derek Shepherd clinical trial.

My point is, we all have a lot going on in our lives. We have doubts; we have questions; we have fears. We get stressed, annoyed, excited, emotional, everything — from point A to point B. We live out our young and reckless twenty and thirty-somethings so focused on being where the crowd is because of FOMO or fear of being alone. We spend countless hours overanalyzing conversations and/or blue iMessages instead of calling people out. We spend too much time stressing out about the little things that, when looking at the bigger picture, these little things really don’t seem to matter.

I’ve started realizing these “little things” that so many of us nag about and stress out over are exactly that — they’re little things. I’ve started learning to tune out the white noise of life’s little things, and focus on the bigger picture.

Everyone’s bigger picture is different — mine is my faith; my ability to completely trust in Him without letting the white noise of the universe interfere. For me, my bigger picture has been a journey in progress. I’m the type of person who likes to visualize the end result, to have a game plan for essentially everything in my life (which of course only works out about 20% of the time). But, faith has been a tricky one for me. I’ve been knocked around my driver’s seat throughout this crazy, unexpected life’s journey countless times; knowing I believe in something greater through navigating the course of each obstacle, but not knowing how to comprehend it.

For me, it’s hard to believe in someone, something I cannot see. It’s hard to trust in someone, something I cannot hear. I know it’s there, but it’s not something I can visualize. It’s where my defense mechanism kicks in to high gear and forms this grey line that I don’t even know if I’m able to cross.

For me, believing in and putting my whole heart & trust in Him has been a journey in itself — wanting to devote yourself to something, someone, somewhere that you just can’t find the words to explain what, or how. I struggled with knowing how I’m supposed to trust in Him when His plan hasn’t always seemed clear; hasn’t always seemed tangible.

It wasn’t until recently that I’ve started experiencing my heart getting closer to Him. I still struggle at times because it’s just one of those things that you can’t put into words for anyone else; it’s not something that just starts making sense once you put it on paper. It wasn’t until recently that I’ve started to genuinely feel that He is watching over me, guiding me through the confusing and dark times; guiding me towards the light to find strength and courage.

It wasn’t until recently that I’ve been able to feel and understand my trust in Him; knowing that it’s okay to open my whole heart to and for Him. It wasn’t until recently that I’ve realized, or even accepted, that He will never abandon or betray me; that He will never abandon or betray you.

I’m not going to lie — I’m not the most religious person in the world; but today, tomorrow, and all of the days following, I choose to trust the road ahead as a promise of endless possibilities. I’m going to trust that road — wherever it may lead.

I don’t particularly enjoy not knowing things. I’m a planner, it’s what I do; I plan for the known and I plan for the “anticipated” unexpected. But, I’m learning to open up my mind, my heart, and my life to what His plan is for me. To let go of the reigns and take in what this life’s journey will bring, where I’ll go, who I’ll meet, who I’ll become. To trust there is a promised land ahead of hope & endless possibilities. 

I will trust this road, wherever it may lead.

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5 Tips For The Hopeless Romantic Trying To Survive Modern Dating

I am a hopeless romantic — I’ve always been a hopeless romantic, and I will probably always be a hopeless romantic.

Ever since I first saw Cinderella, Beauty and the Beast, Aladin, and the rest of the classic Disney fairytale films, the phrase “hopeless romantic” was basically engraved on my forehead. It’s your standard fairytale story — your typical boy with the perfect smile and perfect hair meets girl (princess, rather) with an equally perfect smile and perfect hair. Boy jumps over every and any animated obstacle to win over the girl’s heart with his courage, manliness, and charm. Boy and girl fall madly in love — after knowing each other for, like, a week — and live happily ever after. And, given their track record of being flawless and in love, they probably texted each other back within 10 minutes and/or didn’t play any mind games with one another. Boom, end of story.

But it’s never really like that, is it?

It’s not a bad thing to be a hopeless romantic — it just means that to a certain extent, you’ve set standards for yourself based on what you’ve grown up with through fairytales or real-world heartbreak and experience. It means that to a certain extent, you haven’t given up on chivalry and the gentlemen’s 411 handbooks. But even so, through time and trial & error you learn to grow up and grow out of your fairytale world fantasy because life forces you to. You learn to differentiate expectations vs. reality — in featured films, the man has always been the hero in the story by either saving the day or winning over a woman’s heart. Once either of those two scenarios came into play, everything seemed to be in alignment.

Fast forward to the 21st century, and having a man as your backbone doesn’t seem as glamorous, or even necessary, as it did back then. You learn that being independent and seeking out your individual passions are what matter most. Relying on yourself, your own ambitions, and your own desires are what matter most. Being completely invested in your life through experiences rather than materialistic things are what matter most. Loving yourself first before allowing someone else’s heart and mind into your world, that is what matters most.

Everything we learn to help us move forward in life comes from each unique experience — the good, bad, and ugly heartbreak.

I’m sure you remember your first heartbreak — it’s something that you’ll never forget. Whether you really hurt someone or someone really hurt you, the pain leaves a permanent scar on your heart and is engraved in your memory. It changes you forever, but for the good in every way possible. I used to have this mental battle with myself and the teeter-totter feelings of regret, guilt, anger, contentment, and forgiveness. It’s like the cliche phrase goes, “Everything happens for a reason” — you may not know it as you’re living in that one particular moment, but if something doesn’t work out, it’s because it wasn’t the right time, place, or person. God has a much bigger plan for you ahead, He will always have a much bigger plan for you waiting.

You just have to be brave enough to accept that and act upon each and every opportunity as the opportunity comes knocking on your door. Allow yourself to gain the confidence and courage to seek out your greater journey — your greater story. Take your time in figuring out how you approach opportunity, desire, love, and lust. Can you find the similarities between them?

After the past few years of living my life completely and unashamedly single, here is how I have learned to view and approach love differently in my mid twenty-somethings, and how I navigate mixed emotions through modern dating:  

1.) Friendship first; romance second.

Something I have firmly believed in since day one is that friendship should always come first. Trust is a huge thing for me, as I’m sure it is for everyone else in this world. It can be difficult to open up and allow someone into your life, your mind, and most importantly your heart — especially when you’ve been guarded for so long. Allow yourself the opportunity to explore new people, get to know who they are as their own person — are they a family person? Do they like being active? Sports? Good jokes and a sense of humor? Little hints can give you a pretty good sense of who someone really is, so trust yourself and trust your gut. Don’t worry so much about the romance so early on in the process of getting to know someone — when it is real, it will be more than worth the wait when you can know and feel confident in the fact that it actually is real, that it actually is genuine.

2.) Focus on finding a someone who compliments you and your passions, not one who completes them.

It drives me bananas when I hear my girlfriends talking about doing x, y, and z with their SO seven days out of the week, every week — let the man breathe! Real talk, right now I could maybe handle seeing someone two to three days a week tops, because spoiler alert, I would like to continue to have a life outside of a SO, as should you. It is so important to have your own life, your own space, and your own passions outside of each other. The beauty of relationships and marriage is that the two of you get to share your individual passions, adventures, obstacles, and triumphs together. You get to learn new things about each other, experience the world and more through the likes and dislikes of what makes the two of you both different and similar. Don’t spend your prime 20’s and 30’s waiting for the man who completes everything that you are — wait for the man who compliments everything you are, and everything you hope to become. Inspire one another, challenge one another, and just then you might see your worlds align.

3.) No expectations, no assumptions, and no timelines rule.

I used to be so bad at this, and I used to put the blame on our beloved Disney fairytales for this one. Stop putting expectations, assumptions, and/or timelines on anything to do with the person you’re “seeing” or “talking to”. This goes for men and women. If you take a step back and really think about it, why are you in such a hurry to put a label on what you are? What’s so wrong about just calling them a friend and continue to get to know each other as you have been?  This, I’ve come to realize — either through personal experience or as a third party observer, is a huge reason as to why people have resorted to “ghosting”. If you’ve read my latest blog post, you know that I am not a fan of ghosting, whatsoever. My honest take on ghosting is if you’re going to do it to someone, you clearly haven’t grown out of your little boy/girl underwear or matured nearly enough. To me, that type of person is not worth your time, mental energy, or emotional exhaustion. I promise you, it makes the “dating” process and journey so much easier if you just go into any interaction with no expectations, no assumptions, and no timelines attached. Real and genuine friendships and relationships take time to build upon — don’t feel like your journey with this new SO has to be rushed. Need I remind you, the best things in life are worth waiting for (again, cliche but relevant).

4.) Communicate with your SO.

Communication is key. I don’t know how many times I’ve said it, probably countless by now, but IDGAF because communication is essentially the foundation of everything — in relationships and simply a standard in getting through life in one piece. Women — we are in the 21st century, I can guarantee that if there is one thing in regards to men that has not changed over the hundreds of thousands of years, it is their inability to read our minds. Men and women should know by now that no one will know what you’re thinking unless the words come directly from you.

Unless you’re Edward Cullen or some shit, which you are most definitely not.

Moral of the story — talk to your SO. Share with them your thoughts, emotions, what you like and don’t like (emotionally and physically). Your relationship will grow so much more once you’re able to feel comfortable and confident in communicating with one another.

5.) Your “type”.

Stop going to the same places with the same people doing the same things if you want to find something or someone new. It’s like the old saying goes — stop fishing in the same sea of bad fish if you’re trying to find a good one. It’s extremely common to think you have a “type” — that definition of this mystery man or woman that you define to your friends when they attempt to set you up on a blind date. The truth of the matter is, no one truly has a type. In the initial phase of playing the dating game, you’ll search for people who fit within selective criteria, time and time again. But, the reality is when you’ve finally met your person, they may end up checking off just one of your boxes. The rest merely comes from natural, easy, genuine chemistry and compatibility.

As real and genuine love should.

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My Sanctuary

I will be the first person in this world to admit I have countless faults that in another lifetime I may not have had the strength to forgive, nor overcome. Some of the most difficult battles I’ve been faced with have been brought into this world by me, myself, and I — some of which I’ve overcome successfully, and some of which I’m still trying to navigate through.

I’ve been that person & athlete who has blamed others. I’ve been that person & athlete who has blamed myself — who has been my own worst critic. I’ve been that person & athlete who has asked Him, “What is my greater purpose?” I’ve been that person & athlete who has asked Him, “Why me?”.

I’ve been that person & athlete who has forgiven too easily. I’ve been that person & athlete who hasn’t forgiven enough. I’ve been that person & athlete who has doubted myself. I’ve been that person & athlete who has doubted life; who has doubted Him.

I was wrong to, and I’ve never been so happy to be so wrong.

I don’t know about the rest of the world but in my world, all of the terrifying and confusing curveballs have been thrown at me at the exact same time, forcing me to navigate through all of my options with no sense of direction as to what the right choice or path is; what the right choice or path will be. Forcing me to navigate through this new shade of grey, forcing me to defend myself, my actions, and my choices; to believe in myself, my actions, and my choices.

Funny how the world works, as if life continuously challenges us by throwing these unexpected curveballs, knowing that the next move it makes in our ongoing match will help us find our greater purpose — it will, and it does.

I’ve been that person & athlete who has suffered — but who has overcome. I’ve been that person & athlete who has lost — but who has found grace and passion. I’ve been that person & athlete who has doubted everything and anyone — but who has learned to trust in something more, something greater.

I’ve become the person & athlete who forgives and does not dwell. I’ve become the person & athlete who believes and does not doubt. I’ve become the person & athlete who lives for my greater purpose in this never-ending, game-set-match of life’s to-be-continued journey.

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