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Life IS the Obstacles

Last night, I was laying in my bathtub flipping through Humble the Poet’s book, “Unlearn: 101 Simple Truths for a Better Life”, as I often do when I feel the need for a reality check coming on, and once again I was hand delivered a large, chalky pill to choke down.

“Life doesn’t start after the obstacles; life is the obstacles.” 

Dang. How many times have I told myself that things will be different (or better) once I get my sh*t together? How many times have you told yourself that?

When I was in college, I worked more than 40 hours every week and at one point was taking 18 credit hours in one semester. That would have been tough anyway. Even just doing one of those things is tough, let alone simultaneously. But I had the value of a speck of dirt at my job and it was pretty obvious to me (although that’s a different story for a different time). For two years, I told myself that things would get better when I was done with school. When I was done with school, my life would begin. I graduated from school and my life didn’t begin. I worked the same crappy job for months after I graduated until I one day gathered up enough self respect to quit and do something else. I took an entry level position in a field completely unrelated to my degree and sat back and waited for my life to begin. Three years later, I still work there. The only difference is, I’m no longer waiting for my life to begin. I recognize that my life began a long time ago -like, 25 years ago.

I always find myself making excuses for why I am not doing something. “I’ll do this when my house is clean”, “I’ll do this when I lose weight”, “I’ll do this when I’m married”. No. I need to do whatever I need to do now.

Obstacles don’t go away. You get past one only to come up on another. Think about it. If you have to wait for life to start after the obstacles, you’ll be dead before you get a chance to live. Thank you, Humble, for once again slapping me in the face with something I really needed to hear (and you’re welcome for slapping you in the face with it too).

I Did What With Goats?! (Goat Yoga Review)

There’s this “new” trend I’ve discovered called goat yoga. It is exactly what it sounds like: yoga. With goats. Don’t believe me? HERE. I always wanted to try it but I didn’t quite know where I could possibly find such an out-there kind of class where I live. Well, until I recently connected with someone who owns a goat yoga business. Sure, the class is quite far from where I live BUT, it was a chance to try goat yoga and a chance to support a new friend so I gave it a shot (also, most importantly, a chance to love on some really adorable goats).

Let me say, I hate yoga. I have tried multiple times to enjoy yoga but I just can’t. However, there is something magical about doing yoga with tiny goats running around that makes me want to do yoga everyday, well provided its goat yoga that is.

Basically goat yoga is yoga with goats running around during the class. It’s fantastic. Who wouldn’t want to spend Saturday morning loving on tiny goats? If you don’t, there is honestly something wrong with you. The best thing about goat yoga is that it can essentially be about whatever you want it to be about. For me, it was more about the goats than the yoga. For you it may be more about the yoga, or the outdoors. Just like most other things in life, you get out of it exactly what you put into it. For me, I put in a lot of effort loving on adorable baby goats and left feeling refreshed and comforted.

I think animals are an incredible form of therapy and I am a huge supporter of animal therapy. I consider my cats to be the most therapeutic aspect of my life, actually. Being with the goats put me in a very peaceful and calm state of mind and melted all of my current stresses away for the duration of the class. I wasn’t even worried about how painful some of the poses were because I was so focused on the adorableness of the goats. I left feeling incredibly happy and eager to attend another class.

Whether or not you identify as a yogi, goat yoga is an experience not to pass up.

The goat yoga class I attended was through Happy Goat Lucky Yoga in Noblesville, IN. The class is held outdoors with relaxing scenery, has a great instructor (which has helped me tolerate painful poses) and adorable, friendly goats. Here are some of their links if you happen to live in the Indianapolis area and you’d like to check them out!

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Lessons I Learned Yesterday (literally, yesterday)

Yesterday life smacked me in the face with some enlightening lessons out of the blue. I’m normally more prepared when it comes to writing my blog posts but I felt the need to write and post about these right now (plus I was very ill prepared for today’s post but I was determined to keep my schedule).

I started the day yesterday thinking I knew exactly how my day would unfold. I like routine and change completely messes me up. I knew I had to work from 8:00am until around 6:30pm and then I was going to a concert. I started my day like I do everyday with a really cheesy pep talk with myself (seriously, it works. Try it.) I put on my red lipstick (red is my confidence color) and told myself over and over again that I’m going to conquer the day. Then I learned lesson 1: Just because you are having a good day, doesn’t mean that everyone else is having a good day and it’s not your responsibility to ensure that they are having a good day. Let me explain that. I am all about lifting people up when they are down and helping them out when you can but sometimes a situation is out of your control and you can only do so much. I struggle with this a lot, especially with one friend in particular (totally waiting on the text from her after this goes up). If I can’t fix her, I’m a failure and the hardest thing I’m trying to learn is that that statement is a lie. Sometimes my responsibility is just to give 160% if someone can only give 40% at the moment.

A little later lesson two came along. Last October, my friend and I bought tickets to see the one and only Harry Styles in concert (and you best believe I screamed “DADDY” the entire time last night…). The concert was last night. My friend was unable to make the concert for reasons I am not going to write about without her permission. I understood the situation but I was disappointed about the possibility of having to go alone (there’s no way I’d miss seeing Harry). My friend offered the ticket to me to take another friend of mine even though she was the one who paid for the tickets to begin with. She wasn’t trying to sell her ticket she just wanted someone else to join me if possible since she couldn’t be there. Lesson 2: selflessness. It amazed me how selfless she was being. I think if the situation was reversed, my first instinct would have been to sell my ticket. Because of her selflessness, another good friend of mine had one of the best nights of her life.

Lesson 3: What Harry Styles has taught me about hard work. We all know Harry from One Direction but his journey to being a part of One Direction required a lot of hard work. Harry is now touring solo and last night he made the comment “I only have one album. I’m aware of this.” He was talking about how grateful he was for this opportunity. Not only is he so sweet and humble, but to only have one solo album and sell out arenas? Damn. That requires a lot of hard work. This also taught me that it is possible to make your dreams come true with hard work, as cheesy as that sounds. I didn’t know what my dreams were until recently but I walked away last night with a new sense of hope.

Yesterday was a good day. A very good day.

Knowing Your Worth Does Not Make You Conceited

I think there is a lot of confusion between knowing your worth and being conceited. Complimenting yourself doesn’t make you arrogant. And self deprecation is not humility. 

As soon as I receive a compliment, it find it impossible to simply say “thank you”. My conversations tend to go something like this:

“Hey Phoebe! Your eye makeup looks really good today!”

“Oh. Thanks..but  I suck at makeup”

When they should really go more like this:

“Hey Phoebe! Your eye makeup looks really good today!”

“Thanks! I think it came out pretty well today too!”

In the above conversation, in no way did I 1. insult anyone else 2. claim to be better than anyone else 3. do anything besides exude a small amount of confidence. So why on earth is it so hard to have conversation #2 instead of conversation #1?

Because THIS is how confidence is viewed:

And honestly, if conversation #2 is still too hard there’s a third option.

“Hey Phoebe! Your eye makeup looks really good today!”

“Thanks! I’m no Jaclyn Hill but I think it came out alright today!”

 

What got me really thinking about this was actually a chapter in Lilly Singh’s book “How To Be A Bawse”. .. Of course it was because I read this book like it’s the Bible. ..In this chapter, Lilly talked about her experience meeting Selena Gomez and how Selena absolutely schooled her in self confidence. She gave many examples of how Selena displayed confidence but one example stuck out to me and made a lasting impression. Lilly explained that when talking to Selena about her album cover, Selena described it as “raw and beautiful”. I was very taken aback hearing this because I don’t think I could ever refer to myself as beautiful out loud to someone else whether or not I felt it was true. But Selena was confident enough to do so. I was impressed and inspired.

I hate the fact that in hearing someone compliment herself, I was shocked. Selena feels that she is beautiful and was not afraid to say it. No where in this story did Selena claim to be more beautiful than anybody else, she simply said she thought she was beautiful. There is absolutely nothing wrong with that.

I know personally I am constantly insulting myself and praying that someone will disagree with me and boost my confidence even if I know damn well exactly what I want them to reaffirm for me because recognizing my own accomplishments feels unnatural and wrong. It’s so much easier to try and relate to others using our flaws rather than our strengths. One of my worst examples of this is probably when I talk about my college degree in the following way; “I studied Kinesiology in school but now I’m an overweight bank teller so clearly that worked out well for me” when I could simply choose to recognize that even though I may not be using my degree, I still worked hard for it and that shouldn’t be discounted.

Recognizing your accomplishments is not conceited. Complimenting yourself isn’t insulting others. Confidence is not feeling like you are better than others, it is feeling like the best version of yourself.