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Archive for the tag “fear”

Job Hunting On a Deadline Is Emotionally Draining

Hey folks.

Not long ago, I found myself trying to coach and encourage my cousin visiting from the south about jumping in, getting a job and grinding like hell to achieve his goals.

I told him to be prepared for obstacles: some of which he had no control, and some of which may have been created by old choices or lack of planning and preparation.

As I enter my last month of employment in a few days, and still have bills to pay, so far, I’ve had one promising interview, and I’ve been putting in several applications all over the place.

I do believe that things are going to work out, and it’s never based on my sense of timing. And God hasn’t let me down before, even if things appeared to be down to the wire.

But my anxiety is ramping up. Especially after doing an electronic application for a job I know I was qualified for, but got a lightning quick rejection. Like immediate. LOL.

Me thinks my salary requirement got me bounced immediately. Which, probably is a good thing. There’s no point in even having a great interview if the salary they are offering is too low.

But see, everything is making me feel edgy and uncertain and in a kind of ho-hum mood.

I’ve been virtually silent at work, really just trying to get through the day and my tasks.

It’s nearly impossible for me to concentrate on the statistics class I’ve been “supposed” to be working so diligently on over the summer so I can return to my grad school program in good standing. Progress is at a standstill on that front. I get lumps in my throat thinking about it. It’s hard to move forward on a self-paced course. How sad is that?

So, per the usual, I’ve been not even looking for the silver lining, I’ve been looking for the golden lesson. The what is this preparing me for? What am I supposed to gain from feeling how I feel, and willing myself to put out just one more application?

Am I applying blindly out of fear? Or wisely out of purpose and true interest in the job?

Fear and uncertainty makes us scramble. It sounds a lot like our current presidential election.

We have a serious problem with discomfort. Fear makes us rationalize behaviors or ideas, that when we are otherwise calm and confident, we’d never consider.

It’s not limited to our votes, it extends to the partners we choose to stick with for fear of being alone, it extends to not expressing how we feel for fear of backlash or being unaccepted, it extends to every type of fear that holds us back.

So now, I have to speak myself out of the fear.

I am dwelling in the unknown. But I have family, I have friends, I have love, I have skills and talents. These are things that I know. I’ve lived in places I never thought I would and I’ve survived.

I had people tell me that I wasn’t good enough and I knew it was a lie, and I survived.

I thought the end of a relationship was the end of me ever being happy again, and six years later, I know it to be a lie.

The old church folks love to say “The Devil is a Lie.” And it’s very tempting to try to correct their grammar, and say isn’t it “The Devil is a liar?”

It’s both. Everything about the devil and all that comes with him is a lie. He works through very real things and very specific details in our lives to thwart us from our divine purpose he uses lies to get in our heads. He uses lies as agents of fear, because fear makes us move, it drives us to action.

I’m not a biblical scholar by any means, but now I get why there are so many scriptures that say things like “Fear not.” Or, “God hasn’t given us a spirit of fear, but of power, love and a sound mind.”

Other verses mention love casting out fear. I gravitate to the idea of the power of a sound mind the most. The challenge is to maintain a sound mind when our natural impulse would be to fear. Our bodies react to all kinds of situations: we sweat, we want to run and hide, we get weak stomachs, we pass out, we fight.

But how do we calm ourselves in the face of fear? How do we accept what is and what will be?

Having fear is a natural human flaw that attempts to protect us from pain and threats.

However pushing beyond our fears draws us closer to our supernatural, interior selves.

Even self-help folks, and motivational speakers talk over and over again about conquering fear, about drowning out voices of self-doubt.

It’s very easy to be fearful in the world we live in, and some days, staying under the covers is the solution. But there comes a time when we must act. When we must do our part, do our best in the face of fear and trust our Creator will do the rest.

 

 

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One of the Toughest Questions

The toughest question people have asked me, that will shut me up or make me stumble is when they look me square in the eye and ask me, “What do you want?”

To me, it seems like such a huge, massive question. I mean, maybe I’m not used to people asking me that, and now folks are asking me this all the time.

I’m being asked this when it comes to my career, what I want to do after grad school and in my love life and I often find myself completely thrown off guard and tongue-tied.

The craziest part about that is, I used to know. I was a person who knew early on what I wanted to do and who I wanted to be.

When I was a little girl, I had no problem telling people I wanted to be the “first black woman president of the United States.”

I found out that when I’d be old enough to go to college, in order to be president, I’d of course have to study political science. So boom, I had a major set up by the third grade.

Things changed. In 8th grade I was working on the school newspaper and fell in love. I was going to be a journalist. And that’s what I had set out to do, and I went to college for it, I had my internships with magazines and newspapers and boom, I was working as a journalist. I’ve covered a lot of very cool things and met amazing people. And when people would ask me about my future, it was get to the big newspapers and eventually become a beloved columnist, writing until the day I died.

Well, the industry changed.
And that change, changed what I wanted and changed what was going to make me happy. Mainstream journalism wasn’t making me happy, not living in DC anymore wasn’t making me happy.

So I got another job, and I moved back. I knew I loved health and medical reporting so great, I got a gig doing that, I also loved learning about websites and incorporating technology to tell stories in creative ways, so I worked my way up, until I got bored. I told folks what I wanted, a new title and to lead the junior editors and I needed more money. And those things happened, but once I taught the junior editors all I could, I wondered what else was there for me to learn. So I went into government consulting.

What I wanted changed again. What once made me happy, got old.

So I decided to go to grad school to work on my Masters in Public Health.

I love how the random pieces of my life really do set the tone for the things I eventually realize I want, but there are these moments where I truly don’t know. Where I need to explore.

I’m supposed to meet with someone a friend recommended I speak with, but I’m really afraid of that person asking me the inevitable and not having what I think is a “good” answer.

This same friend asked me if I’d ever be interested in launching my own business. I had told her that I love being creative and if I did, I’d need a business manager who would gladly take care of the details that I hate when it comes to running a business.

I admire business owners, I love their guts and their confidence and their ability to win people over, and in turn, give other people opportunities. It’s so cool to me, but sometimes, I wonder if I have enough in me to pull it off. I get very impatient. Sometimes, I have to just quit temporarily because I get overwhelmed. I’m a worry wort. I appreciate stability. I have a serious fear problem.

And these same fears carry over into my love life. Right now, there’s nothing going on. Nothing. No signs of life. And if a really great man looked me in the eyes and asked me what do I want, well, I might do a better job of listing what it is that I need and want than career wise.

I’ve been so used to knowing, then mapping out a plan to get there. That’s another reason why grad school has been so fulfilling. I knew I wanted my MPH, but two years would be enough time to figure out how to Frankenstein together my perfect career that still allowed me to bring my experience and skills as a reporter, writer and editor, while also giving a nod to this growing techy side as a content consultant. I’m certain that I want to work in health communications, but the questions my friends raise about me stepping out on my own has me wondering.

I have a combination of unique skills. How do I build a business out of that? I know great people over the years who I’d love to work with and who I’d love to give opportunities to and just let them do their thing, but how would I make that happen? But I wouldn’t want to drag people into something and let them down.

Sometimes I wonder if I’m lying to myself and deep down I do know what I want.
I’m just terrified of it.

Fear Makes Us Ridiculous and Unreasonable: The Real Estate Edition

I don’t want to pay anymore in rent to live in my place.

I just don’t.

There is a part of me that feels like I’m going to suck it up and take it, for “one more year.”

But unlike last year, and the year before when I was just super angry and just took it, I’m doing research. I’m even looking into renting a town home or condo. I’ve looked online and sent out a few inquiries. Maybe I will be inspired.

Oh, I hate moving.

Oh, and as I look around, I’m finding what I’m about to pay in rent this next lease agreement, still isn’t horrible in comparison, but it’s bad enough to me.

The only thing that bothers and scares me if I move is, I’m used to a certain amount of noise, or pseudo ghetto behavior that takes place in my complex.

I’d be livid to move and be someplace worse and be paying more money. It’s just so hard. The places that would be better neighborhoods, would be out of my price range.

This real estate situation pisses me off to no end. It’s just not fair.

I’ve also decided if I’m going to spend more, I’m going to get more bedrooms and square footage. It’s only right. Besides, when people visit, I would like them to have their own space and then I’d have a real office space when I work from home.

I’m scared as crap to buy a townhouse or condo. I’m scared of paying the taxes, I’m scared of stuff breaking down and having to pay loads of money to have it fixed. I haven’t saved enough for a down payment. I’m just scared of it all.

I’m more scared of taking on a house alone, than paying more rent. I just am. That’s real.

Don’t know if this feeds into my general problem with commitment, but that’s probably part of the issue. 30 years??? I. Can’t. Breathe.

There’s a part of me who wants to be with a stable man and get married within a year or two so I can move in with him and get a break on my rent and when stuff breaks down, I’ve got some damn help.

There’s a part of me that feels like that stable man can’t be too far away and if I up and buy a condo, I got to figure out how to sell or rent it, and then I’ll be like these crazy folks who I hate right now, trying to make people pay $2000 a month for a two bedroom.

I’m not lying.

Some of you are saying, why go through all of that? Get a roommate.

I don’t want one.

I am 31 years old, and I’m just not going to do it unless I’m helping a friend in transition who wants to move to this area. And even they have a year to get it together and get the hell out.

I want to get married someday, I almost got married, and yet, I’m realizing I have a tough time sharing my space for long periods of time. I clean when I want to, I cook when I want to. If an occupant of my living space has a problem with how I do things, I don’t want to hear it.

My father says you have to “pay the cost to be the boss.”

Being the boss of my damn life and home is expensive as hell.

I need a break.

When stuff runs out, that’s on me. It wasn’t because someone else ate, drank or used the last of it. Stuff doesn’t run out as fast. I like that.

When I have one roll of toilet paper left, I know how long it’s going to take for me to use it and I can delay going to the store.

That’s out the window when you have another occupant. You think you have one more day of tp, you sit down, relax and NOTHING! Now you either have to air dry or hope you’ve got some napkins or paper towel somewhere.

My cousin recently told me I think waaay too much.

She’s probably right.

She joked about going on a Christian dating site, to which I gave her a list of why I think it’s a bad idea, and how I don’t feel like having someone judge me for how much Jesus I have or don’t have at the moment or compare lifestyles. It’s happened with men I’ve met in general who have been Christian. Someone may look cross-eyed if you have a glass of wine, or slip a curse word. I’m judging too. So it won’t work. No gracias. But see, I had already given a dissertation on why I’d hate being on such a site without even trying it.

I pick apart dating.

I pick apart about the men I’ve dated and lost, or threw away, I keep playing over and over again why I should leave my apartment, and why I should stay.

This time, unlike the Christian dating site, I will go out and see some of these properties that are within the price ranges I’m comfortable to pay and then I’ll go on from there.

Take that fear. I’m doing something.

I will not be ridiculous. I will not be unreasonable. I will not marry some man to catch a financial break on my rent in the next three months. That will make me no better than the women of Love and Hip Hop. Someone stop me. Paying a little bit more in rent yet again is not worth my self-respect. Whoo hoo. Pep talk.

 

You’re Too…Local

I am a serial long distance dater.

So much so, I told a friend/pseudo suitor, he was in fact, “too local.”

I haven’t had a same city relationship probably since 2003.

I haven’t had a same state/timezone relationship since 2006.

Even the men I’ve decided to date casually or spend time with, they have always lived far away.

The local men never last.

I think I’ve figured out why.

Being a long distance lover, you live for those weekend getaways. There’s an excitement attached to hopping on a plane and leaving your mundane world behind for the arms of your lover/love.

You get gorgeous, you shave where you are supposed to.

You smell good, you can’t wait to see them, they can’t wait to see you. You’ve planned your best outfits.

You normally have great dates planned, fabulous dinners, taking in the sites of a city that’s not your own.

Then you part ways, until the next time.

Usually because of the expense of flying, even the most spontaneous of visits are planned at least three days out. Which is enough time to get oneself together, do any cleaning, etc.

Even though I’m trying to have better habits when it comes to cleaning or getting rid of clutter in my house, I’m not as prepared for unexpected company as I’d like to be and it makes me a bit ashamed and uncomfortable. Even when I’ve cleaned from top to bottom I have some kind of disorder/insecurity that makes me think my visitors still won’t think it’s clean enough, even though I know it’s clean.

I never want any man I’m interested in to think I can’t keep home, but because I don’t have a lot of company very often, sometimes I’m not as vigilant on keeping everything perfect.  So I have to be in control of visits if I’m dealing with a local man. He can’t come over unannounced and not unless I think my house is right.

Meanwhile, there’s a part of me that’s like, I don’t live in filth and anyone who likes me should understand I work everyday and drive a total of nearly two hours each day for my commute. I’m not Suzie Homemaker. Take me and my home as I am.

I’m eclectic, I have lots of books and magazines, most of which are in shelves but can end up in various parts of my house. I sometimes have inspiration boards and tee-shirt stuff everywhere in my living room.

So am I scared of commitment? No, just scared of someone being all up in my space and face and suddenly realizing I’m not really as wonderful and put together as they thought (and as I advertised). Keeping up appearances is tiring and I need someone to see through all of that and think I’m the best thing since sliced bread.

That was my biggest fear when I was engaged. I was scared, he’d eventually declare false advertisement. Bear in mind, I think I was the most real I had ever been in a relationship with him. He saw me sick, he saw me in grief, he knows I can eat like a linebacker and blow up a bathroom.

But according to married folks, everyone is going to declare false advertisement at some point anyway. Everyone is going to say what they signed up for isn’t what they thought they signed up for.

I guess we’ll have to wait and see.

Local fellas….eh, I still don’t know about yall. You’re just too close… Can’t let yall catch me slippin.

The Toilet Is My First Stop On My Way to Greatness

Seeing your dreams or an idea actually take shape in a real way can be an amazing feeling.

It can also be very, very scary.

When I was a hard-core reporter, before any major interview, I always had to wake up that morning and take a dump. (Maybe I have a very mild case of irritable bowel syndrome.) Only then would I feel better. Even if it was a phone interview.

The very strange thing is, once I took the “nerves dump” I knew it was showtime and there was no turning back. It’s time to work.

Take the dump.

Take the deep breath.

Do it.

Done.

There is such a thing as healthy fear, so anytime we endeavor to do something that has the potential to be amazing, like speaking in public, performing, presenting ideas, accepting an award, participating in a sport or competition, there is something that makes us nervous and excited. At least this is the case for me.

Healthy fear reminds us there is potential to fail, but it’s well worth the risk.

Healthy fear tests us and actually prepares us for when we take things to an even higher level. With practice, we can hone healthy fear and use the familiar feeling to remind us we’ve been in this spot before, we’ve succeeded and will do it again.

In this piece from Forbes.com, Barbara Stanny breaks it down most eloquently (and honestly wrote the post I’m trying to write and did a much better job) and declares, “Fear Is Good!

Her most stand out lines in her commentary that I intend to apply to my life IMMEDIATELY:

“Fear has a new purpose—to warn us of approaching Greatness.”

Fear is the clearest signal we will get that we’re on the precipice of greater success, greater happiness, greater impact.”

“Imagine if more of us finally realized that Fear is nothing to fear.  Quite the contrary. Fear is Good. Imagine if every time we got scared, instead of freaking out, we gave each other a big high-five and exclaimed: ‘YES! We’re on our way to Greatness.’ ”

Preparation, Opportunity and A Reintroduction to Me

I want something badly.

This came as a surprise to me because I didn’t realize how badly I wanted this particular thing until I realized how close I am to getting it.

They say success is where preparation and opportunity meet.

Opportunity, check.

Preparation, I’m all over it and it means so much more to me than ever before.

I’ve noticed something about myself just this week. Rewind to about six to eight months ago. I found myself saying to friends and loved ones that I wasn’t me anymore.

I was no longer that driven, over-achieving, kick down a door, make it happen,  just one more no away from a yes, girl.

It made me horribly sad, because I thought I lost that girl forever. I thought I was resigned to a life of accepting the bare minimum from myself because I felt I just didn’t have much more to give. At the time, I didn’t.

I can’t go into details about what I’m obsessing over right now but trust, when it goes down, a triumphant blog is to come. (If it doesn’t work out, an introspective one will probably appear.) And the thing for which I am so passionately gunning isn’t really the point of this blog, but the feeling that I’ve derived from this desire.

Being able to even feel what I’m feeling right now is almost as exciting as the prospect of attaining my goal.

But I will say this, upon recent events, my confidence in myself has been renewed and I’m feeling good about the future and the possible new directions it may take me in. Something was finally clicking in the universe, which in turn, propelled me to snap back into some of my old (positive) ways I assumed I lost forever.

Me going to the lengths I am going in preparation for the thing I want right now, would have been impossible months ago. I wouldn’t have had the strength mentally or physically. No way. Fear would have kept me in my bed with the covers over my head, I wouldn’t have dared to attempt this. I would have had a million reasons why it would never work and why it would be impossible.

Today, I see the possibilities. Even a few things associated with this dream that could be an inconvenience, I can see myself managing and eventually eliminating if I chose.

I’m paying greater attention to details, I’m refining. I’m even debating pulling an old school all-nighter fueled by Mountain Dew Code Red (getting conflicting information as to whether or not it is still sold or available) to study even more details of importance that can help me reach my goal.

All of this extra effort may or may not even be necessary, but I don’t want to look back and say I should have done more when I could have done more.

I’m a firm believer that when you are given an opportunity, you owe it to whomever gave it to you– God or human or both, to meet them half way by putting in the effort of honest, earnest preparation.

I’m not sure if I will get what it is that I want. I really hope so, but the fact I have regained the ability to feel this passionately about wanting something and to recognize this feeling and know this part of me hasn’t left for good, I’m relieved. I am emboldened.

It feels good. It feels right. It feels like me again.

Celebration Shoes and A Little Slip of Paper

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It was New Year’s Eve and I rang it in with my new year’s date I mentioned in another blog and another homegirl and it was fabulous.

My one friend suggested that we write down something we want to leave behind in 2011 and then rip it up. We didn’t have to tell one another what we wrote, just write it down, rip it up and toss it.

I had a previous blog about the power of writing things down, and it seemed like partaking in this simple exercise was a really great idea. Besides, I don’t like making resolutions anyway. Doing this was a natural fit and the ripping of the paper really makes it feel permanent and seals the deal.

I’ll let you in on a little secret. I didn’t hesitate not one bit, I knew exactly what I wanted to let go for the new year.

Fear.

Fear paralyzed me in 2011– fear of the future, fear of failure, fear that I wasn’t good enough, fear of not living up to my purpose, whatever it is.

Because I had a REALLY good time, my piece of paper kind of stayed in my glitzy clutch bag, so I didn’t rip it up and throw it out until now.

Now that I think about it, maybe I was already subconsciously kicking fear to the curb by finally taking the shoes I had planned to wear for my canceled wedding off of the shelf, wearing them and dancing the night away in them.

They were shoes intended for a celebration, and the time had come to transform them from a shrine to my failed relationship, into a statement of victory.

I made it through one of the toughest emotional years of my life.

The photos from last night reminded me of the girl I missed so much this past year. She was fun, she was funny, she was stylish and best of all, she was fearless (you have to be if you are wearing a yellow dress that requires boob tape).

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