Becoming Lifeless: Chasing the Quick Love Fix

Becoming Lifeless Chasing the Quick Love Fix

It really is a game. I learned that the hard way, surrounding myself with people, parties and everything in between. I needed it. Or at least I thought I did.

The reality was I was lonely and confused. I had just moved to NYC from college with the dream of being a TV Producer and the reality of being an actress/model/ part-time waitress that happen to land TV production gigs very rare and far between.

All of this was unacceptable to me, I was not trying to struggle after struggling four years in college with limited resources and support. Nope, did there done that…what’s next?

To cope with my disappointment and stress, I partied. Everynight. And I felt GOOD. I felt loved and happy and connected.

Not connected to myself or my purpose, girl no. I was connected to the promoter, bartender, and bouncer who kept my fix going all night long, day after day until this became my purpose.

The priority was the dress and shoes I was wearing to that night’s event. Working to get into TV became a last minute thought as I stumbled into the house the next morning.

SO the more I partied the more blurry my vision became and the worse I felt, and then, the more I partied.

Until I was so tired, I literally could not get out of the bed for a few days. I was sick, sad and sullen. I began to beg God to give me energy and focus to change my lifestyle. I was done.

But then there were boys.

Now, I didn’t party as much but I began dating a WHOLE lot. It was like I needed a replacement fix from the high of the night life. I started working more steadily, some in TV, and some in acting, and some as a teaching artist. But I felt more grounded and ready to play again.

This time, the party was in my bedroom. I had a few of those a week. I loved dating, I loved flirting and I loved sex. These, of course, were all quick doses of love that I still lost for myself, but thought I found in these random men who had nothing to offer me but a fun night. And I had no standards, none.

I dated anyone who asked. Not all came home with me of course (I had some standards left), but most of the dinners I ate in my twenties were paid for by men I can’t even remember.

The low point in this phase was when I went on this date with “white Ryan” (I called him that cuz I had an ex named Ryan already but he was black). He was cute and funny and wanted to wine and dine me. We went to this “authentic” italian restaurant where all the servers spoke only italian and so were the menus. I was vegetarian at the time, so I wasn’t sure what I could order. Long story short, I ended up ordering a mushroom pasta dish that I scarfed down out of hunger and tipsyness, just to find out that it had pork all in it. I was so sick after that and told myself I had to stop pimping myself out for free food and attention. Once again, I was done.

I calmed down on dating for a while. I prayed for God’s help in getting myself in a better place.

God helped me. I was good again. I decided to put my energy into church instead. I wanted to be grounded, disciplined, healthy. And I was. I got my priorities straight, started working for a non-profit managing arts programs that I loved, I made more money, moved into my own place, got a boyfriend…all of these things began to happen for me. I felt good. I felt happy.

I started serving at church. I was there as much as I could be. I met new friends at my church, I made business partnerships at church, everything seemed to start to fall into place for me and once again, I felt loved.

Then something strange began to happen, I started to feel closed in. Like, there was nothing else I could do. I felt stuck. I started to feel cautious and like I wanted people to like me. I felt judged all the time and like I couldn’t be honest with myself or others. I found myself not truly being happy with who I was and that I always needed to say things a certain way, think a certain way and, act a certain way in order to be in the “church elite” circles. I was in too deep and I didn’t like who I was becoming.

A few events led to me leaving this church. One when church people stop being “my friend” when my “church boyfriend” and I broke up and I started dating someone new. Two, is when the pastor start calling feminism a “movement from the pits of hell”. Three, is when I was introduced to meditation and realized that God had more to say to me in the quiet of my spirit than anyone can say to me in the pulpit.


Self-Discipline

If you can conquer your physical and mental being…you can conquer anything in the world.

To have the type of power over yourself to stay focused, to control your emotions and to do whatever it takes to keep yourself healthy is difficult in an instant world with so many distractions.

Here are some simple ways you can practice self-discipline to eventually kick habits that hold you back so you can move forward.

  1.       Meditation: you know I LOVE meditation and recommend it to everyone as a way to connect with self and calm the mind. If you can set aside 15mins a day to close your eyes and breathe. Let go of any thoughts and allow yourself to be still.
  2.       Exercise: Did you know that the best way to start a routine is through physical activity? Physical movement creates muscle memory, so exercise is an easy way to get your body acclimated
  3.       Wake up early (at the same time if possible): When you discipline yourself to start your day earlier giving yourself ample time to eat breakfast, read something positive or do your morning motivation…you create a routine that structures each day and gives you a sense of discipline. If you conquer your mornings, you can conquer your life.
  4.       Eat healthier: You are what you eat. Literally. If you start to think of what you put into your body as if you’re feeding a new born baby, you may make different choices. When you exhibit self-control by not eating the first free donut that work puts on your desk- then you’re already putting yourself ahead of the game of life.

If you practice these basic steps to self-discipline, you will feel better and start to create change in other aread of your life. Anyone can master a skill but it takes a super human to master one self.

Are you ready? Try this 30 day Morning Motivation challenge as a starting point towards self-discipline.


Alters

My grandma transitioned at the age of 94. I was 29 and going through my own life transition. I was about to leave my comfy job and life in NYC and start over by building my own company in LA. I was having anxiety around it all plus entering into a new decade made me feel confused.

My grandmother’s death sparked a disconnect for me. For so many years, she was my go to person. Always there to talk and listen, my cheerleader and friend. I always admired her strength and adored her dearly. She was old and ready to let go of life but I wasn’t quite ready to lose her.

As a way to honor her and connect with her, I built an altar. Ancestral altars are used as a way to remember your loved ones who passed away.  I learned how to build my ancestral alter from a priest in the Santeria tradition.  Many people thought this was voodoo or associated with darkness, but altars are prevalent in most religions, cultures and spoke about numerous times in the Bible as a tool to pray, connect with spirit and to talk with God.

Writer Susan Starr puts it best, “Building an ancestor altar in your home is a time-honoured way to connect with departed loved ones, both physical and karmic, known and unknown, and ask for their blessings. The altar is their home within yours; it is a place for them to stay and a place you’ll know where they are. You can give thanks here, while giving back ancestral influences that don’t serve you. It functions in a similar way to a cemetery tombstone, a locus for attention and remembrance, a place where you can talk with your ancestors and build or continue a connection from the comfort of your home”.

My alter for my Grandma Marie Hunter Suber, allowed me to mourn, celebrate and heal in the time I needed most. I would talk to her, feel her presence and bond even deeper than before. It was significant for my growth and desire to move forward in my own pursuits.

The power of the alter is an ancient mystery that’s still so strong.


Forgiveness

Forgiveness is the ultimate act of love- It’s the backbone of most religions and it can make or break your life experience.

As many have said, holding resentment or unforgiveness against someone is like drinking poison and hoping the other person dies, You only hurt yourself. So practicing forgiveness is a form of practicing self-love.

One of my favorite books is ‘Radical Forgiveness’ by Colin Tipping. In the book, Colin has developed a way of helping people resolve apparent problems or situations by encouraging them to look at the assumptions underlying their distress. In this guide he shows, in a practical way, how we can begin to work from the deepest part of ourselves and thus benefit ourselves as well as others.

This book taught me that forgiveness takes empthay and empathy comes with awareness. Being aware and understanding that we all have the same capacity to make mistakes, to kill, steal and destroy will help create this empathy needed to forgive.

Forgiveness frees us…and is the greatest love of all.


Resistance

I have an obsession with freedom…

For as long as I could remember, I’ve always made choices based on how free it will allow me to be. Never had a “clique”, mostly self-employed or worked from home and I love options! The more choices the better.

I look for freedom in my relationships, work, and even my social activities. I actually have had committal issues as a result.

It wasn’t until recently that I realized that my wanting to remain disconnected as a disguise for “freedom” was a form of resistance.

Resistance is the refusal to accept or comply with something; the attempt to prevent something by action. It’s like I wanted to live in my bubble, away from anything that may elevate me or change me. Of course there’s some things I should avoid, but my behavior was only perpetuating the 17 year old version of me who had no care in the world and no one to answer to. I didn’t want to accept responsibilities or be held accountable for

Resistance can show up in many ways: over sleeping; over eating, the need to escape (travel or relocating); partying, drugs & alcohol; watching too much TV or listening to too much music; people pleasing; attachment to your cell phone, etc.

Basically, resistance is a state of mind that distracts you from reaching your fullest potential. The resistance mentality causes you to look for ways to derail yourself by participating in activities that prevent you from thriving.

How is resistance showing up in your life? Do some self-discovery and take note! Then you can abandon resistance and move into acceptance 🙂


No Doubt (not the band)

Doubt is the thief of dreams, the cousin of fear and the killer of self-worth. It always seems to come out when you’re embarking  new journey, a new destiny or have a purpose to pursue. It keeps you immobile when you need to make a move and it keeps you distracted when its time to change courses. Doubt will leave you neither here nor there.

To battle doubt is very tricky. Your mind will give you reasons why you can’t, won’t and never will. Meanwhile your heart + soul is pulling you and urging you to make a move. THE ONLY WAY TO OVERCOME DOUBT IS TO DO THE VERY THING YOUR MIND IS TELLING YOU NOT TO.

It’s not easy, not fun…but as I’m typing these words, I am overcoming my doubt of being able to blog, produce content, connect to an audience…and the more I move forward the less I doubt.

It’s almost like the expression I love “Feel the Fear and Do It Anyway”. I got one for you “Do What You Doubt You Can Do”…and do it over and over and over again. One day you’ll realize that the doubt disappeared.


The Self-Lover…

The Self-Lover is someone who spends time, energy, intention and effort connecting with themselves in a loving, genuine and careful way. The level of love for self shows in their thoughts, words, actions, choices and how they use their time.

A Self-Lover respects oneself by honoring their desires, dreams, goals and curiosities as valid, purposeful and sacred gifts from God.

The Self-Lover respects others as equal to self and honors the inner wisdom of each being as a mirror – mindful of the power that each person holds, understanding that everyone is going through their own journey, path and growth just like him or herself.

A Self-Lover is a giver, but also gives back to self with the knowledge that you can only give from your overflow, anything less is self-depleting.

The Self-Lover is a receiver allowing love, prosperity, and opportunities to flow in as blessings in their life, using those blessings to continue to evolve into a higher version of themselves so they can further elevate others.

A Self-Lover is honest with themselves and others, establishing clear boundaries and being unafraid to make those boundaries known. Understanding their inner truth and only participating in activities or connecting with people that reflect that truth.

The Self-Lover, above all, knows how to love – knows that the level of love for self is the level of love for others so the Self-Lover practices forgiveness, patience, empathy, kind words, good intentions, peace of mind, wisdom and sensitivity knowing that as they practice these qualities with themselves, they can practice this with anyone else.


Compare + Despair

Have you ever been in traffic and you look at the lane next to you and see that its moving faster than yours? Then you change lanes so you can get ahead, but as soon as you switch, the lane you were just in starts to move faster. And so you switch back and then the traffic stops again. Urrgghh!!

This is what it’s like to measure your life with others. You look around, see people with a “better” job or a “better” lifestyle – cuter clothes, longer hair, flashier things- and you begin to feel like you’re stuck in the wrong lane.

When you compare yourself with others, you’re sending a “I’m not good enough” message to yourself that devalues who you are and what you’re working on. It discredits the level of trust you have with yourself and toils with your self-esteem. That’s why I like to remind myself “compare and despair”- when I compare myself to others, because I don’t feel like I’m where I want to be in life, I begin to despair- feeling hopeless and confused. It’s like I’m the driver that switches lanes every 2 seconds trying to get ahead and each lane is worse off than the last.

But guess what?? Your lane is exactly where you’re supposed to be. And until you start to make the best of it, you will never be satisfied and exhaust yourself, wasting time and gas.

So how can you embrace your lane – your unique self and the experience that makes you who you are? Celebrate it! Be grateful for what you have and if you don’t like something, CHANGE IT! But only on your own terms, because YOU want to and not as a result of what he or she has.

When you’re true to yourself and honor your lane, you can move much faster, smoother and with greater happiness! and THAT’S what a MORE life is about.

What’s your experience? SHARE! And be a light for someone else’s shadow.


Scars + All

 

It’s hard for me to accept imperfection, especially in myself. But here’s my attempt…

There are 5 things I really do hate about myself, but am choosing to love anyway:

1. My tummy scar. Every time I see my stomach, I’m annoyed. I was in a car accident when I was 14. I was wearing a lap seat belt (because that’s all my grandmother’s 1975 Oldsmobile had in the backseat) and as my Grandma ran through the red light- we were hit by an oncoming car. I never blamed her, she was driving in her 70s and didn’t notice the newly installed streetlight on the same street she’s been traveling on for over 20 years. I was rushed to the hospital to find that the lap belt ruptured my small intestines, leaving scar tissue that needed to be removed. So I had the surgery and spent the next 20 years hiding my scar.

About 2 years ago, I started wearing a bikini again. I decided that I wasn’t going to let this scar steal my joy and my freedom. Yes, it’s still hard because I’m still self-conscious but I’m proud that I’m working on it and learning to love myself “scars and all”.

2. My hair. My father’s side of the family has long, thick, curly hair and my mother’s side has short course and kinky hair. I have my mother’s hair genes, meaning my hair can be a little difficult to maintain. For years I hated my natural hair, putting weaves, braids and hot combs in it to “fix” it. Finally, I told myself that this was the hair I was born with and I better love it and find ways to be happy with it. Seems like as soon as I embraced my hair, I fell in love with it and found looks that make me love my hair even more.

3. My overanalyzing mind- I am constantly thinking, dreaming, judging, doubting and all of these things are non-stop happening at once. I really think this could be hereditary because I know my mom’s mind works similarly. The only time I can find a little peace is when I’m in active yoga or meditation, other than that, I’m in multiple thoughts that trigger with every person, place or thing I see. I decided that instead of being frustrated with myself I am going to be mindful of it, embrace it and help myself to let go of thoughts that don’t serve me by bringing myself into the present moment with breath and body connecting.

4. My pigmented tongue- I used to think I burnt it because of my greedy need to steaming hot eat food before it cools off, but now I think it just became pigmented over time. I was shy to stick out my tongue or tongue kiss. I just thought it looked gross. I also would modify my speech so that people couldn’t see my tongue when I spoke. All these measures just to hide my flaw. I’m still trying to embrace this but the more I accept it as mine- beautiful as is – the more comfy I am with sticking my tongue out J

5. My “Perfectionist” tendencies- I never thought I was a perfectionist until I heard of how it shows up in life. Perfectionism is when you are super self-critical, wanting everything you do to be perfect and unless its “perfect” you do nothing. For many many years, I never fully started my business because it wasn’t “ready” and I wasn’t “smart enough or experienced enough or wealthy enough”. This is an effect of perfectionism and after I realized what it was I was able to recognize it when it was happening and push through anyway. I learned to love my flaws, my mistakes and my in perfectionist ways. That’s what this blog is all about J

I love the song “Flaws and All” because it’s about a deep love that accepts fully – a love of self.
“You see potential in all my flaws. And that’s exactly what I need”


Vulnerability

I hate being open- Meeting new people and having to share just enough of myself to have a decent conversation but not enough to feel like I had a genuine connection.

I hate showing my scars (literally) and I hate showing my sensitivities.

But the sooner I learned to enjoy the process of being vulnerable, the sooner I became a self-lover.

Being vulnerable isn’t about sharing all your secrets, regrets and sob stories to everyone who asks how are you. It’s about taking the heart risks of doing the little things that may be out of your comfort zone like writing a personal blog or expressing your love for someone new or leaving a comfy job to pursue your nomadic dream life.

One of my favorite teachers Dr. Brene Brown says “In our culture, we associate vulnerability with emotions we want to avoid such as fear, shame, and uncertainty. Yet we too often lose sight of the fact that vulnerability is also the birthplace of joy, belonging, creativity, authenticity, and love.”

In the quest of allowing vulnerability into my life, I’ve made the most amazing friends, took on some of my greatest challenges and felt more free than ever before.

I released judgements, fear and self-doubt just by taking the risk of being my whole self- the polished and unfinished of me- and showing the world that I love me like that 🙂