New Horizons

I have done a lot of thinking and planning since my last post. I have been dealing with some highly emotional issues over the past week or so, which I have been dialoguing in my original blog: Insane Roots.

For those of you who do not follow that blog, basically my biological mother (the subject of my book) has popped back in to my life along with several other strangers who were confused by my last name and believed that I may be their relations. As it turns out I am not related to them, which is actually a good thing because it would have shattered the small amount of truth about my biological father that I have been relying on all these years. Needless to say, it has been a bit of a whirlwind!

I can not tell you how many times I have been in the same situation that I was last week. Several years will pass without any word from my mother (mostly due to her time in prison) and then all of a sudden she will reappear to do a number on my psyche. However this time, I found myself in a much better place mentally to be able to handle the situation. I don’t know if it is because I made the decision years ago to cut ties with her or if it was the realization of how pleasant my time without her has been or maybe it was a combination of both. Either way, I am so thankful to have such a strong grasp on the situation that I was able to do what needed to be done without much indecision. As the years roll on and I become more and more in tune with who I am and what I want, I can see my confidence level begin to rise.

For many years, I have struggled with my self-worth and continued to sell myself short in regards to my abilities. I have always been my worst critic. I would cut myself down regularly and became mentally and physically broken. Getting ready in the mornings, I would remind myself of all the ways I had failed in regards to my physical appearance. I would tell myself I was fat and disgusting pretty much every time I looked in the mirror. It was a very sad existence and I realize now that in addition to the fact that none of this was true, I was setting myself up for failure.

Upon moving to Denver, I promised myself that I would do everything in my power to make a new start. I would no longer set limitations on myself or fill my mind with self-doubt and ridicule. I also decided to begin working through all the painful moments in my past instead of pretending that everything was okay and go on continuing to struggle to keep it all inside.

Over the past few months I have kept my promise and I truly feel like a completely different person. My morning routine is now filled with uplifting mantras rather than insults and I find myself reaching for dreams I didn’t even know I had. I tell myself I am beautiful, powerful and wise. I don’t obsess over the scale or the occasional blemish on my face. I am learning to embrace my true essence.

For so long I have let fear rule my life. I worried constantly about my appearance and the opinion of others. I was afraid to be confident and self-assured, because I didn’t want to appear as though I was arrogant and narcissistic. I understand now that being courageous, hopeful and bold does not mean that you are full of yourself or that you believe you are better than everyone else. It simply means that you are content with your own beliefs and that you believe in yourself against all odds.

Setting goals for yourself that seem to be unreachable does not make you presumptuous or over-confident. Instead, it makes you fearless and daring enough to reach for the stars!

The biggest push for me to gain control over these self-defeating emotions was when I sent in the final manuscript of my book. I knew I needed to get over my worry of coming across vain and over-confident if I was ever going to be successful in promoting it. Self-promotion was not something I was particularly looking forward to, but it is a necessary evil in the publishing world, so I knew I needed to do my best to embrace it.

I have a  conference call with my publisher that is rapidly approaching and I am sure they will be inquiring as to what steps I have taken in regards to marketing. One of the items on the list for me to have completed was to create a fan page on Facebook (for the book). I have been putting this off for months, because of the above mentioned concerns. However, I knew that the procrastination needed to stop if I was ever going to create a successful marketing platform.

After going back and forth with myself several times, I finally mustered up the courage to create the page: Insane.Roots.A.Memoir. In two days time, I had more than 60 likes! I sent requests to everyone in my friends list and I am up to almost 80 likes as of today. The first few days, I had some mixed feelings about who responded to the request and who didn’t. I started to take it as a personal dis from anyone who didn’t respond, but then I reminded myself that it is not about that. We all have people in our lives that are more of an acquaintance than a close friend and many of them exist on our friends list, but we rarely ever interact with them. Is it really feasible to expect them to support you in everything you do? No and it should not be taken personally.

I realize that my book is not everyone’s cup of tea and that is completely fine. I am just so proud of myself for having the courage to stick my neck out and ‘go public’ as I like to say. This in itself is a very big step for me and I am not sure I would have been brave enough to take this step a few months ago. I am blessed to have the support that I do and I am beyond thankful for all of the wonderful people in my life.

Times sure are changing and I look forward to the road ahead as treacherous as it may be!

I know I have said it before, but it is just so fitting, so I will say it again…

Believe in yourself and the rest will follow 🙂

Thanks for reading!

Re-assessing Motivation

This weekend there were several moments when I could feel the funkiness approaching and I had to do my best to avoid the fumes of self ridicule that were seeping in to my happy little world. I had great expectations for this weekend and I barely put a dent in the mounting creativity that I have had to put on the shelf throughout my busy week. I could hear it calling to me each evening and early Saturday morning, but sadly all motivation was lost. I tried giving myself a kick-start by formulating a weekend ‘to do’ list (In case you didn’t know, I love lists!). No joy. Instead, the list had the opposite effect. It served as more of a reminder of all the projects that had escaped me throughout the week and I began to feel overwhelmed.

On Sunday, I tried to push through the dark clouds of laziness and forced myself to work on my photo organizing project. I figured that it was a good place to start, since it didn’t require much brain power to edit and organize my ever-growing collection of photography. I am planning to launch a line of greeting cards displaying my photo images on Esty in the next month or so and all I basically needed to do was organize my portfolio in to various sets (i.e. locations, dates, etc.). Once this is done, I will need to put in a bulk order and work on the listings.  My hope was to have this all completed by the end of the weekend. After about an hour, I stepped away from the computer and decided to take a break and get some reading done.

I am reading the 2nd book in the Day by Day Armageddon series; Beyond Exhile by J.L. Bourne. It’s great!  So, I curled up with my cat and escaped in to the fantasy world of Bourne’s modern-day apocalypse for a few hours until I began to daydream as I read the pages and realized that I was no longer following the story, but further procrastinating the completion of my photo task. I put my book down and went back to editing and organizing.

I managed to finish editing all of the photos from my trip to Guatemala and Belize. To give you an idea of how long I have been putting this off, this trip was in December of 2012. As I was working on organizing my portfolio in to categories, I came up with an idea of starting a feature on this blog to showcase my photos and gather input from my readers. As I mentioned earlier, I am interested in launching a line of greeting cards, but I am not sure which photos will be the most popular. Without this information, I would hate to put a printing order in for photos that are not of interest to anyone and/or end up selling out of the popular photos too soon. I am thinking of making it a weekly post and I have not yet decided as to whether I should have it on a set day or just ensure that it is done weekly. I am not a fan of limitation, so I will most likely just stick with any day of the week as long as it is done weekly. I look forward to getting your input, before delving too far in to the launch!

Having said that, I have been doing some thinking this morning about what fueled my very unmotivated weekend. I am beginning to fall back in to the uneventful 9-5 and I find myself coming home without the motivation to do anything, which means I put it all off until the weekend. Hence, feeling overwhelmed and exhausted by all the tasks I have before me. Looking back, I can see that I am again on the same path as before when I began to drift away from my dreams and float further in the direction of non-fulfillment. I cannot let this happen again!

When I first moved to Denver, I took several months off from working to reconnect with myself and finish my manuscript. I thought long and hard about what I would do when the time came for me to start working again and decided that the best thing for me to do would be to work with a staffing agency to fill my schedule with temp jobs, rather than full-time employment. I am a very hard worker, I am dedicated and loyal. These are great qualities, but partnered with my inability to put my needs before those of my employer, this usually results in my life becoming my work. This would be wonderful, if I was doing what I really wanted to do, but I am currently at the cross-roads on my career path and unfortunately I am not yet “qualified” to do what I love yet. My dream (as I have mentioned many times before) would be to make a living writing, editing, or selling antiques and photography. I received my cloak of legitimacy from the University of Washington, but unfortunately there are not many opportunities in these fields for someone with a Bachelor’s degree in Psychology and very little experience otherwise.

My book will be out soon, but I don’t expect it’s release to secure my financial future. Although, it may help to get my foot in the door in the writing field (fingers crossed). However, in the meantime I will still need to remind myself of the financial and emotional struggles I may face if I do not continue to endure the punching of the clock. It is important to not lose sight of this and it is equally important to remain motivated during the limited free time that I have. My current temporary stint has ended up being twice as long as planned and although the money is nice, I can feel it taking an emotional toll on my psyche. I guess the positive to all of this is that I am now able to recognize what is happening and therefore have a better chance of over coming the obstacles that lie ahead. I just need to keep moving. I know there is a light at the end of the tunnel, I just need to keep my head up and my eyes peeled forward.

I believe in a higher power and I know there is so much more in store for me, I just have to be patient and have faith. This is sometimes easier said than done, but it is a challenge I am anxious to overcome. Patience is not one of my strongest qualities and I strongly believe it is worth the time required to embrace it. I just need to stay focused!

I welcome anyone’s advice and as always thank you for reading!!

Expanding my Horizons

When I originally started this blog I was beginning my journey in reconnecting with myself and finding my true path to happiness. I ended my first post (Finding myself) with this: “I am optimistic and confident that I am on the road to success. Maybe not success in the way that everyone views it, but success for me is knowing who I am and what I want. Only then can I know how to pursue my true happiness!”

That was almost two months ago and a lot has happened since then, so I decided it was time for a flash back to ensure I am still doing what I set out to do. When I left Madison, I was feeling pretty defeated and overwhelmed. My self esteem had taken a major hit and I knew I needed to work on my confidence level or I would end up becoming a hermit who spends her days sitting at home with her cats writing instead of stepping outside to experience life. I was determined to NOT let this happen.

In the posts that followed, I explored the realm of possibilities for my future and began narrowing down the steps needed in order to better my life. I made a list of the joys in my life and have spent the days following focusing on them intently. I have made drastic changes in my diet, which I will post about at a later day (It’s going well) and I have picked up many of the activities and creative outlets that have escaped me for so many years. I have made attempts to changing my self perception and boost my self-esteem, which has resulted in the ability to slowly creep out of my shell. It’s all rather liberating!

I am not afraid to say that I am very proud of myself! Looking back on the person I was just a few months ago, I can honestly tell you that I have come a long way. I realize that one of the major reasons for my low emotional state stemmed from my fear of rejection and all of the pent up anger and hurt I was keeping bottled up inside.

In my last post to Random Thoughts from Insane Roots (one of my other blogs), I talked about forgiveness and how freeing it is to forgive those who have wronged you regardless of whether they are willing to give you the closure you are craving them to. In the end we are the most powerful force behind our own happiness. There is no question that everyone experiences trying times in life, some more than others. However, it is up to you to turn these struggles in to strength and rise above tragedy. Dwelling in anger and pain is not healthy and it will not lead you down the right path. It can actually keep you from moving in any direction at all.

One of the blogs I love to read is BodyMindHeartHealing, the author is extremely talented and her posts are always inspiring. She reminds you that the healing power is within all of us, we just need to find a way to tune our self into it. I highly recommend checking it out.

We are all on different paths and we can not let the fear of the unknown keep us from pursuing our true happiness. More over, we must rid ourselves of self-defeating thoughts and learn to love the very essence of what makes each one of us special in our own way.

Be your biggest fan, it’s okay, really 🙂

Blogging 101 (Day 9) – Be Inspired!

Yesterday, during our Blogging 101 assignment to continue connecting to the neighbors, I found several wonderful new blogs to follow and connected with some very inspiring people! The post by Words in Bulk, Inspire Hope, gave me goosebumps. It was like he took the words write out of my mouth and posted them for me to see. The author and I seem to be living somewhat parallel lives and struggling with where to go next, how to identify our true passion and determine what we may offer to the world.

In his post, he discusses the difference between ‘doing something with your life’ versus ‘doing something in your life’.

As he puts it:

“What I do with my life isn’t really important or up to me.  What I do with my life is selfish and worldly.  Its materialistic, its simple, it’s unimaginative. What I want to do in my life is much more than that. I want to inspire. I want to give hope. I want to reassure everyone that will listen that everything is going to be ok.  I want to live in this life as an avatar of hope.”

And that is when the goosebumps arrived! I read this and thought…That is exactly what I want to do IN my life!! I want to be an avatar of hope! Looking back, I seem to be very easy to talk to and many of my friends and family reach out to me for support and at times just to hear me tell them that it will all be okay. Sometimes all anyone needs is a little reassurance and I am honored to remind them of just how wonderful they are!

The author goes on to discuss the struggle in pursuing this goal on the days when we ourselves are feeling uninspired. How do you tell someone else it will all be okay on the days when you don’t believe it yourself?

What does he do? He writes!

What do I do? I write!

My favorite quote from this post is “I write to beat the demon of doubt from myself” – I have never heard it described in this way and it is perfect! On the days when I am not feeling up to the challenge of life, I pour my thoughts on to the pages until I am able to work through what ever it is that is bothering me. Which is helpful, because sometimes I have no idea what it is that is bothering me until I start exploring my feelings. Once I have a handle on the source, I blog about it in some manner in the hope that my experience will inspire others in a positive way.  This is the whole reason behind writing my book.

I know there are others out there who have had similar struggles to mine and I want them to know that it will be okay. You can find a way to rise above your circumstance and it may not be easy, but if you are dedicated and determined, you will find your true path. Everyone is special in their own way and no one should ever feel as though they do not have a purpose in life. We all do, sometimes it is just hidden under all the pain and disappointment surrounding us.

Whatever the method is that you use to “beat the demon of doubt” from yourself, once you find it your path to healing will surely begin!

May you all be inspired today!

Blogging 101 (Day 4) – Identify your Audience

Today’s assignment for blogging 101 is to publish a post you’d like your ideal audience member to read. Today of all days, this could not be a harder assignment. I ended yesterday in a funk with the hopes that I would wake up today feeling better. Unfortunately, I feel worse. No particular reason per say, just not feeling like my normal upbeat self. On a day when I don’t much feel like having an audience, I spent most of day procrastinating. Then it occurred to me, that is my audience; anyone who may be feeling the way I am feeling, who needs a reminder that they are not alone and it will all be okay.

When it comes down to it,  The way I am feeling today is exactly the reason I started blogging in the first place. In the beginning it was just an outlet for me, but it has become an almost daily psychological ritual. In analyzing the root of the emotions that I have been experiencing, I think it all boils down to a feeling of loneliness. Staring over in a new city is lonely and as much as we try to rise above it, there will still be days when our emotions take over and we begin to throw ourselves a pity party.

As I fought back tears for the 3rd time this afternoon, I left my desk and went to the bathroom for a good cry, but by the time I made it there no tears would fall. Instead I decided to step outside for some fresh air and gave myself a subconscious pep talk! I reminded myself of all that I have to be thankful for and that these feelings of inadequacy and loneliness will pass. It is normal to feel down sometimes and it is okay to cry, but no good will come from wallowing in self-pity. As hard as it is you need to find a way to shake it off and move forward.

If my writing helps one person to do this, I will have reached my ideal audience member.

As Scarlet Ohara would say, “Tomorrow is another day!”

Thanks for stopping by 🙂

Blogging 101: Getting Involved!

Today’s assignment (#3) for Blogging 101 is to explore and connect with the blogging community. This is the perfect assignment for me!

Those who are near and dear to me know that I am a hard nut to crack! I tend to keep people at a distance until I am confident in their good intentions. Someone once referred to me as jaded. Although I wouldn’t go so far as to agree with that, but stand-offish yes I am! I am shy by nature, but ask any of my close friends and they will tell you that once I feel comfortable with you the shyness completely fades away and the kooky comes out!

Anyone who has read my blog, Insane Roots, probably has a pretty good idea as to why I have such a tough exterior. The uncertainty and abandonment I experience in my early childhood has made me leery of new relationships. This is not very beneficial when you have just moved to a new city and are trying to promote an upcoming book. I fear I will turn in to a hermit if I don’t get myself out there, so I am trying to change this with every passing day.

With that having been said, I am off to explore the blogging community!

Hello fellow bloggers! I look forward to learning about you and reading your posts!

Blogging 101: Reevaluating Who I am and Why I’m Here

As many of you know, this is not my first blog. I have been blogging on WordPress for about a year. The first blog I started was Insaneroots and it was more of a brainstorming technique in preparation for a memoir I was working on and an outlet of expression from the emotional turmoil in my life. My goal at that time was to take a step towards sharing my story and my writing to the world. I never in a million years thought that it would become the gateway to getting published, but here I am one year later with a manuscript in the works and a signed publishing contract! It has been my dream to publish my memoir and a goal I honestly never expected to achieve. Although it will be fantastic if I end up selling a ton of copies, I will be satisfied enough simply to see it on the shelves. It is amazing how one small achievement can change your entire perspective on life!

To give you an idea of how I began blogging, here is an excerpt from my original post to this blog:

“I had been living in Madison, Wisconsin, fairly content, but feeling there was something more out there for me. I didn’t know what that was, but I knew I needed to figure it out before it was too late. I was working for a family owned company, making good money. I was surrounded by friends and family that I hold very dear to my heart, but I still felt lost. Maybe not lost as much as disappointed. There were many nights when I would come home from work (or drinks after work) to my one bedroom apartment (and my cats) and think to myself…what now? I wasn’t satisfied. I tried picking up my various hobbies, such as painting, scrap-booking, and photography, but I never felt inspired to continue any of the projects I started. I had taken great joy in these outlets before, so why not now? What had changed?

I pulled out one of my many scrapbooks from years past and as I flipped through it, I realized what had changed…I did. As I looked through the collections of memories, I barely recognized this version of me and my life in the pages. I used to have such a love for life. I was determined, optimistic, creative, ambitious, healthy…all things I no longer attributed to myself. An overwhelming sadness came over me and for a moment, I just sat there staring off in to space, trying to figure out how all this had happened and what I could do to fix it. Something needed to change.

I went on this way for months; feeling defeated and overwhelmed by the notion of needing to reconnect with myself, but having no idea of how to do that. I resorted to a method of expression I had used in my early adulthood to cope with these emotional barriers; writing. Off and on through out my life, I had been working on a memoir recounting my life growing up with a con-artist for a mother and an unidentified father. Many had told me that my story was interesting and inspiring, so I decided to start trying to piece it all together.

I did not realize it then, but the sheer act of writing the blog was exactly what I needed to do to get the ball rolling in finding that “something more” I was looking for. Writing the blog forced me to revisit some of the most challenging struggles in my early childhood and most importantly to work through the emotions surrounding these events. I wrote several of the posts through tears, but after I was finished, I felt better. It was like a therapy session for me each time I logged in. I guess I did end up using that Psychology degree after all…on myself!”

And thus began my blogging ritual!

Now, with the book deal in the works, I had to find something else to blog about and I didn’t have much inspiration until I decided to make a drastic life change and move half way across the country. When I could no longer diminish the urge to write, I started this blog; Success in the City Blog!

Unfortunately, I have had trouble coming up with things to post about (Hence my current exploration in to Blogging 101)!

When I was posting to Insaneroots, it was easy because I was pulling stories from my childhood (which seemed to be endless), but now I had to make a drastic switch in my mental preparedness in order to begin each new post.

I didn’t want this to just be another online journal, but rather an expression of the struggles many of us experience when making a drastic change in their life. Whether it be a career change, a long distance move or in my case both, these types of changes in one’s life call for great reevaluation of oneself. My goals for this year are to reconnect with myself, learn to love myself and most importantly learn to stand up for myself! My hope is that I may give others strength to do the same through the expression of my own personal journey.

If I have learned anything over the past few years it is that if you believe in yourself, the rest will follow!

Happy Writing!