Archive for the ‘be fearless.’ Tag
The following post was written for the blog, Peace & Penguins,and tackles the topic of Love & Anxiety- which are two things that I know little and a lot about, respectively.
When Alisha asked me to write a guest blog post on Love & Anxiety for Peace & Penguins, I thought that it would be an easy hour therapy session of rehashing my life stories of insecurity, doubts, and regrets. But unfortunately, for the past week, I’ve struggled to get anything down on paper. So here I am, over a week after telling her that she’d have my piece in no time, trying to figure out exactly what I can say about love & anxiety…which are ultimately the two words that have haunted me during my 28-year old life.
While I’ve questioned how to begin this post, I feel that it is important to start off with the following statement: I’m twenty-eight years old and I’ve never been in a serious relationship. However, and it’s an incredibly big HOWEVER, I’m actually (finally) on the verge of entering one…but more on that later.
Today I came across the following lines in the novel, 50 Shades of Grey, which really struck a chord with me. Here are the lines, and I’ll explain later:
Katherine often teases me that I’m missing the need-a-boyfriend gene, but the truth is I just haven’t met anyone who… well, whom I’m attracted to, even though part of me longs for the fabled trembling knees, heart-in-my-mouth, butterflies-in-my-belly moments.
Sometimes I wonder if there’s something wrong with me. Perhaps, I’ve spent too long in the company of my literary romantic heroes, and consequently my ideals and expectations are far too high. But in reality, nobody’s ever made me feel like that.
Anastasia Steele (50 Shades of Grey)
For the majority of my young adult life, I have relied on excuses and sarcasm to answer the question, “Why don’t you have a boyfriend?” And when stating my boyfriend-free background and getting stuck responding to the inevitable question, “What do you mean you’ve never been in a relationship? How is that possible?”, I find the anxiety tingles kicking in as I do my best to change the subject. But here and now, I’ll put those insecurities aside and tell you that Anxiety is the answer to both of those questions.
Unfortunately I’ve been plagued by anxiety for a while now, and it’s held me back from many things over the years. But above all, it’s prevented me from experiencing the love that I always dreamed of; from finding the love I always deserved. For years I’ve thought that there was something wrong with me. I thought I wasn’t good enough to be loved. I thought I wasn’t pretty enough to attract the attention of a man. I thought I would always be alone, because frankly being single is all I’ve really ever known.
Sure, there were those “boyfriends” during my early teen years that typically lasted a few weeks, and then a few guys in my twenties that stayed around for a couple uncommitted hook-ups. However, for the most part, I’ve been that girl who finds herself attending weddings without a plus-one and heading home after last call alone in a cab while the other girls leave on the arm of their significant others.
Now, every once in a while, maybe on the night of a full moon or during a road trip back to Ohio, I’d find myself flirting with a seemingly eligible bachelor and hoping that something more than a one-night stand would come out of it. But unfortunately, my anxiety almost got the best of me as daylight hit and my internal enemy asserted, “Are you crazy? He’s doesn’t really like you. He’s going to leave just like all of the other ones.”
But something changed this past year; something that I really can’t quite explain myself. In essence, I’ve lived this year under the motto: I don’t care anymore. See, instead of letting anxiety hold me back, I’ve fought off the doubts and insecurities and strived to live fearlessly. (Note: A little liquid courage usually helped too.) I took some chances…including using a few daring moves and brave one-liners every once in a while. And with each one of those incidences, I noticed my anxiety towards potential love decreasing.
So that leads me to “The Now”. As I mentioned in the beginning of this post, I am on the verge of a relationship. Actually… I’m in one. Yes, the girl who thought she’d always be single is in a relationship. (With a wonderful guy, might I add.) I’m pretty much living in disbelief, as are my friends and family who have heard my “No, I don’t have a boyfriend.” and “I’ll always be a single” lines, but it really is the truth. Even though it hasn’t yet been discussed, I am practically someone’s girlfriend… which means that I kinda-sorta have a boyfriend. Me? Really? Wow.
To be honest, I’m still processing all of this. I’m trying to convince myself that this is really, while also trying to understand why it’s taken me so long to let myself be in a relationship. Why did I let my anxiety hinder my happiness? Why did I let my insecurities get in the way of being someone’s girlfriend? Why did I let my fears prohibit some amazing guy from being mine? While I can ask these questions again and again, I’ll never fully be able to uncover the answers. But I will remember the anxiety I’ve lived with that held me back from being happy all of those years.
Unfortunately my anxiety is something that I continue to live with. It’s something that I think I’ll always live with. But when it comes to love, I’m learning more and more how important it is for me to combat all of my fears and doubts. For starters, I don’t want to miss out on a chance with a good guy like the one I have right now. I’ve held myself back many times before and simply, I don’t want to live with regrets anymore. Sure it’s scary to let yourself be vulnerable and open your heart up, but the risk is worth it. And honestly, I’m at the point in my life where I’d rather know that I took a chance than regret not taking one.
Let me stress that I’m no expert when it comes to love, and in some ways I’m still not convinced that I’ll ever fully understand it. But between you and me, I’m much more open to learning more about it. And that being said, I think I’ll have to start with exploring the whole relationship thing, and maybe officially being someone’s girlfriend.
Sure, it’s not easy and frankly I’m a bit scared, but I’m going to take these chances…starting with this great guy who has seen past my anxieties and boyfriendless past and see what life has in store for me. And hopefully, one day, I’ll be writing a post about love without a mention of anxiety. But for the meantime, I’m just going to take it day-by-day and see what this whole relationship thing is all about.
Birthday girl, Dina, ironically gave me a gift yesterday in the form of serenity and clarity as she shared this quote: “Be ready for love when it does come. Prepare the field and be ready to nourish love. Be loving, and you will be lovable. Be open and receptive to love.”
First let me say that while my previous post was quite honest with how I was feeling at the time, I’m not sure if it was entirely fair to two people: Cute boy in the green shirt (whose name I’m choosing not to share) and myself. While I’m hesitant to admit it and fall victim again to “The Jinx”, I had a good time on Saturday and glad I took the ballsy route and, dare I say, picked him up. So even though my last post made it sound like my mind is still set on another, it’s not. My heart is as open as it’s ever been, and I say that because I’ve come a long way.
Without rambling much here, I’ll acknowledge that besides battling a broken heart for a few years, my spirit has been broken for some time too. I’m not here to dwell on that but rather state the facts. I closed my heart a long time ago and I think it’s time to (slowly) open it again. Afterall, be loving, and you will be lovable.
So I guess this can be construed as an apology to many people- including all the friends who I failed to trust and those boys who I wouldn’t allow to love me. I also owe myself an apology for holding myself back so many times before. And lastly, to the cute boy in the green shirt who I kissed on the rooftop overlooking Wrigley Field, I promise I won’t play my games with you.
To me, FEARLESS is not the absence of fear. It’s not being completely unafraid. To me, FEARLESS is having fears. FEARLESS is having doubts. Lots of them. To me, FEARLESS is living in spite of those things that scare you to death. FEARLESS is falling madly in love again, even though you’ve been hurt before. FEARLESS is walking into your freshmen year of high school at fifteen. FEARLESS is getting back up and fighting for what you want over and over again… even though every time you’ve tried before, you’ve lost. It’s FEARLESS to have faith that someday things will change. **************************************************************
After reading the fabulous blog post, The Girl in the Taxi, written by my Little Sis/ Pen Pal/ Friend, Alisha, yesterday morning I spend the day lost in thought. Many thoughts. Even somewhat-secret thoughts. (Thanks again, Alisha & Kristin!)
Anyways, with another full day of work and volunteering, I found myself walking from Navy Pier to Michigan Ave…because I lost my CTA pass AGAIN…and taking in the city. Exhaustion and Stress accompanied me on that walk, as well as dozens of other pedestrians, but in essence I felt alone. (Long story that you’re not going to hear.) Although I eventually found comfort and company as I recalled Alisha’s post. Soon I was reflecting back on the last 2.5 years in Chicago and consciously reminding myself how much has happened since then… including all of the fears and doubts that arose as I embarked on this journey shortly after my 25th birthday. Goodbye Columbus, Hello Chicago?!
Back to Alisha’s post, The Girl in the Taxi, which is what inspired me today in the writing of my own. Besides the fact that we are Soul * Sisters, I really do see a lot of myself in Alisha. And if anything, this last post of hers confirmed that. As Alisha and I began corresponding last year, I found myself reflecting back on my own college days quite frequently, and even effortlessly. Those days were filled with doubts, fears, insecurities, anxiety, and tons of questions: What happens after graduation? What am I going to do with my life? Where am I going to go? What do I want to be? Who am I…really? There are so many days where I wish I could Time Travel like Henry (in The Time Traveler’s Wife) and tell my younger self that, “It’s all going to be okay.”
But since I cannot change the past for myself, I’ve realized that I could help guide the future for others (of that age and/or situations), like Alisha. While there are so many stories and life lessons that I could share, only one all-encompassing message comes to mind: Believe in Yourself. When an individual is graced with confidence, then Anything and Everything is Possible. Live Life. Take Chance. Follow Your Heart. Make Your Dreams Come True. Trust me, I know that Life is Scary and Change is even Scarier. New Experiences bring about Doubts and Fears, some that you didn’t even know you were capable of feeling. But you need to feel those feelings.
Let Yourself Be Vulnerable.
Let Yourself Get to Know Yourself.
Let Yourself Face Your Fears & Doubts.
Let Yourself Strive to Become Fearless.
Let Yourself Live.
If I had this blog at this time last year then I probably wouldn’t have written a post entitled, Do the Things You’d Regret Not Doing. The date may have been January 15, 2010 or not…maybe a day or two after… because last year, on this date, I was traveling on the Megabus to Cleveland to spend the weekend with Julie at the bridal show. But no matter what day it was written, the post would have been about January 15, 2010…or rather what happened that day and what it meant to me.
I remember that day fairly well. Mostly I remember the nerves that sat in my stomach as I waited for the right moment to carry out my plan: Something I knew I had to do. And you know what…that moment of Okay, I’m ready did actually happen; and I’m so glad it did. And now, a year later, all I can say is, “What a difference a year makes!” On that last note I could indulge you with many details about the impact that last January 15th had on me; all of the things that have happened this past year are because of what I did (for myself) last January 15th. January 15, 2010: The day I became Fearless. While I’d love to inspire others with my story; encourage others to take action to face their anxieties to become fearless… that’s not what this post is about. Rather I want to do the following. A few months ago, as my heart was breaking, yet again. The ever-so-wise, Adriana, instructed me to deal with this (whatever this really is) by writing him a letter. A letter with no intention of being sent but as honest as willing in case it was. But even though appropriate on this date, today isn’t the day to write a letter. But I feel the need to say something and perhaps this is what I want to say:
Happy Birthday! Hope you’re doing well. Let me know if you ever find yourself visiting Chicago. And if I was truly feeling Fearless in that moment, I’d like to add: I know about you & her. I’m happy for you two. I really am.
I’m not going to text him a Happy Birthday! I hope you’re doing well. tonight. If he knows me, he knows I remembered his birthday and that I’m thinking of him today. Sending him well wishes and honestly hoping that he’s really happy. (I really do.) See when you really care about someone, whether or not they return the feelings, you just want them to be happy. Even if you’re not the one that makes them happy.
Song of the Moment: Back to December by Taylor Swift
Reality leaves a lot to the imagination. If this John Lennon quote has any accuracy to it then (for the most part) reality TV is definitely not reality. I know, what an earth-shattering remark for me to make this morning. I’m halfway through my coffee so the neurons are firing away up here in Skokie, IL. Who knows what other proclamations I’ll make today. Don’t worry. I’m sure my caffeine buzz with fade here soon as the Tuesday air sucks the life out of me. I hate even joking about that because 4 years ago, in college of course, Tuesday’s used to be my favorite day of the week. Yes, OU bars and alcohol were present, but it was more about the social, friendly atmosphere on Court Street rather than tequila shots, beer bongs, and one-night stands. Tuesday nights were about spending time with my A.MAY.ZING. friends. I miss those nights.
Wow. I definitely went off on a tangent there. Sorry! Let me get back on track with this post. Gosh, you’d think it was Monday. So John Lennon… reality TV… no reality… okay. Got it.
Let me first say that I’m really not a reality TV junkie. I don’t watch American Idol nor Celebrity Apprentice, and I am proud to say that I have never watched Jersey Shore. In fact, I escaped to my room on New Year’s when everyone else was watching it. I will admit that I’m a loyal viewer of Dancing with the Stars and So You Think You Can Dance, and watch The Biggest Loser, Losing It with Jillian Michaels, and Extreme Home Makeover whenever I can. Okay, okay. I also watch The Hills- although I don’t even bother trying to figure out what’s scripted and what’s not. Seriously, how did we ever believe that it wasn’t? And, I must come clean about my guilty pleasure: The Bachelor and The Bachelorette. (More on the latter show later.) Months ago I wrote this post on called, Bachelor Boycott Begins, sharing that I agreed to never again watch The Bachelor if Jake chose Vienna, and the whole world knows how that story goes. So since they are now broken up (shocking!) does that mean my guilt will subside if I give in and watch the next season of The Bachelor? We’ll see who it is first.
Now I’m certain I’m not alone on this, but last night I spent almost 2 hours of my evening watching The Bachelorette. I like Ali and each week I find that we’re quite similar, especially in our approach to relationships and love. I believe we fall into the category of romantic at heard but skeptical in the head. Although I have to say that I cringe every time she says, “I came on this show to find my husband.” In my opinion the producers are either making her say that or editing her to say it. Although a really smart cookie wouldn’t go on a reality show to find love, Ali was presented an opportunity that she couldn’t pass up: a hopeful chance to find love. Even though I’m not a big believer in finding-love-on-a-reality-show, I think she made the right choice to see this opportunity through. Good luck, Ali!
Note: If you’re strictly determined to ‘find a husband’ then you have it all wrong. Isn’t it about love…as in a feeling? “Husband” makes it seem like you’re trying to find a material good to possess. Maybe I’m looking into this too much, but last time I checked the divorce rate was pretty high. Just saying. But maybe I’m the one that has it all wrong. Afterall, I’m the single girl here with not-so-hot dating track record.
In last night’s episode of The Bachelorette, more drama unfolded. One asshole had two girlfriends, apparently. (One just happening to be friends with a former Bachelor contestant.) While the drama can be classified under the same ‘reality’ as The Hills, I think that Ali is the one who brings reality to the show. Now I could be wrong and I’ll man-up if I am, but Ali (like Jillian) seems to be able to stay true to who she is even amidst all of the drama and fantasy that the show brings. Generally speaking I imagine it’s fairly easy to get caught up in it all and abandon reality during the taping of the show. And then add attractive men, gorgeous gowns, and exotic trips across the world…what girl wouldn’t get lost in that Cinderella world? While this whole game is fun to play during the 6-8 weeks of shooting, it seems like a lot of contestants forget to pinch themselves when the ride is over…forgetting that the world isn’t all Lights, Cameras, Action afterall.
And that, my friends, is why you’ll (fortunately) never see me on a reality show- especially The Bachelor and/or The Bachelorette. First, I’d be a horrible contestant on The Bachelor strictly because I don’t do well with competitive, bitchy girls and I’m too nice. The Bachelorette is more my thing, but there’s no chance that I’ll ever submit my application for that show. What do you even put on that application? Additionally, I tend to live in my own little fantasy world at times so there’s no reason to add fuel to the fire and complicate my mind even more.
Can people fall in love on a reality show? Abso-f’in-lutely! It’s happened before and it will continue to happen. However, people can also fall in love in actual reality- ie. school, grocery store, set-up by mutual friends, and even at a bar. That’s the beauty of love…it can happen anywhere, at any time.
Like me, Ali has flaws. She’s obviously been hurt before and those (painful) experiences from her past have led her to be protective of her heart. Like me, she’s not heartless nor a complete cynic. She still believes in love and hopeful of finding it. She’s voiced her doubts and fears, speaking for the rest of us who are afraid to care too much for someone in fear that the other won’t care for us at all.
Okay, I want to say so much more on this topic but then again I feel like my opinion and experiences are voiced all over my blog. Instead, I’ll pose these few questions:
Why do we fear the things we want the most? Why are we are own worst enemies? And why do we let our mistakes and failures hold us back instead of giving us more determination to succeed?_______________________________________________________________________________________________________________________
Fantasy love is much better than reality love. Never doing it is very exciting. The most exciting attractions are between two opposites that never meet. (Andy Warhol)
You can dream, create, design and build the most wonderful place in the world, but it requires people to make the dream a reality. (Walt Disney)
Reality means you live until you die. The real truth is nobody wants reality.
This quote from Grey’s Anatomy (Season 5) popped into my mind during my back-to-back spin classes tonight…
You never know the biggest day of your life is the biggest day. Not until it’s happening. You don’t recognize the biggest day of your life, not until you’re right in the middle of it. The day you commit to something or someone. The day you get your heart-broken. The day you meet your soul mate. The day you realize there’s not enough time, because you wanna live forever. Those are the biggest days. The perfect days.
Izzie Stevens, Grey’s Anatomy
Okay, I’ll explain. First off, doing 1.5 hours of spinning after a long day at work is both therapeutic and exhausting. The exhausting part is what causes the mind to wander, especially during that second class. (But trust me, it’s worth it.) Anyways, during class today I was just thinking about my trip to Columbus and being back in Chicago. Today was a little bit of a culture shock because the lifestyles I lead in these two cities are completely opposite. In my perfect city, I would combine components of both- ie. public transportation and convenience of Chicago with my friends and cost of living of Columbus. Let’s call it Chibus.
So being back in Chicago gives me a lot more time to think- which proves to be both a good and bad aspect. Too much thinking is never good (for me), but I’ve also learned that it’s important to take time for yourself and reflect. Since moving here about 16 months ago, I’ve taken a lot of time to improve myself. And in the past couple of months, I’ve really taken it upon myself to help others do the same. One thing to know about me is that I hate to see other people unhappy- especially my family and friends.
Anyways, back to the quote. Last week I declared that I was letting go/moving on, once and for all. While it was implied for one main aspect of my life, it really pertained to my new outlook on life: Live with no regrets. Take chances. Do not let doubt hold you back. Be fearless.
This quote (obviously) serves as a reminder to live freely. Before last week’s declaration, I allowed something to hold me back from having big days. That’s what happens when you experience heart break-because you’re afraid of getting hurt (again). It’s as though you live in a colorless world. Every day is some shade of grey; But those days are over now.
As Julie’s lovely (obviously mistranslated) fortune cookie said- Colors, colors, colors all around you. Enjoy them. We’re much more happy in a colorful world than with the gloomy shades of grey. That’s why Chicago winters are so depressing. We need colors to light us up and make our days brighter. We never know what tomorrow holds, and that’s the beauty of life. Tomorrow may be the biggest day of your life…but of course you don’t know that today. Maybe that’s the secret…hope that tomorrow will be the biggest day of your life. That thought alone will prevent you from holding back. I love this quote: I believe in love, but I don’t sit around waiting for it. (Renee Zellweger)
The reasons that I moved to Chicago in the first place were because 1) I didn’t want to regret not doing; and 2) I decided not to wait for life to happen- instead I wanted to make it happen. Seize the Day. Now you need to know that this was a HUGE risk for me and something far out of my comfortable zone. But guess what, I survived. And knowing that, I believe I can handle, well, anything.
There’s one thing I’ve yet to fully take on, but you know what, I think I’m ready for that. Be fearless, right? ♥ K