Amy Poehler

Brave

Have you ever heard the advice, or the rather judgement deflecting phrase “You do you”?

I have a friend who says it often when she doesn’t exactly understand another’s choices, or on the opposite side of the spectrum when she is encouraging me to stand in my truth and be brave enough to live my own life.

Example: Wearing a dress that is too short for my taste but happens to look fabulous on my friend.  “You do you.”

or

Example: I love seeing my parents twice a week even though I’m a grown woman.  “You do you.”

The concept is similar to Amy Poehler’s phrase, “Good for her, not for me.” Constantly pulled in a thousand directions, it can be challenging to remember that all we can do on this planet is capture “you.” You being me… you are following this right?

But what happens when “you do you” results in the fear of isolation and loneliness? I know that at times I don’t like to make decisions that are going to benefit myself for fear of disappointing others. Personal growth and embracing new opportunities gets thwarted because I much too often let others define how I am going to “do me”. Oh heavens, you don’t want to tag that phrase in a blog post. But do you know what I mean?

Let me try to explain. I’m starting a new job in a couple of weeks and am excited about the opportunity to go in a new direction with new prospects and responsibility. I had stomach aches giving notice at my current position when I knew that my leaving would disrupt the flow of things in my current situation. When I gave my news I was met with the most gracious response a boss could provide and support and good luck for my next step.

I am scared about what leaving behind a group of people I have grown to know over the last year will mean. Relationships are hard enough for me to maintain; what happens when I am the one changing course?

And yet, this is something that if I’m being honest with myself, I want. Me being authentically true means learning to live in the wake of the discomfort I am causing others and saying ‘we are all going to be ok’. I think women all over the country struggle with this. The idea of taking care of ourselves goes beyond getting a manicure or taking a nap. I’m learning it is also being beautifully brave in taking the next steps that are going to help me continue to grow. To “Lean In” as Sheryl Sandberg would say, or to embrace all that God has given us so we can develop into who we are meant to be.

In a recent post on Brene Brown’s Facebook page she was encouraging individuals to set healthy boundaries around the holiday season and her quote, “Be willing to choose discomfort over resentment” struck a serious chord in me. How often do we stay quiet, go with the flow, remain comfortable for fear of what others with think, or say, or do and then get angry. Angry at ourselves, angry at our situation, angry at others.

I’m noticing this pattern in myself and I’m wanting to put an end to it. No more anger for allowing myself to put me on the back burner while others glow boldly in the front. Instead, here is what I hope for in the year ahead as I continue to be me.

  • Growth – being ok with being uncomfortable
  • Keeping up this blog. Will you continue to read along? I’m going to write anyway.
  • Camp – the mountains are calling and I must go
  • Find a small group – I’m craving community and want a group of people to walk through life with. I don’t care your religion – let’s find a chance to connect and discuss all that is life over chicken noodle soup.
  • Start a retirement account – financial goals are becoming a reality
  • Continue to read. This year I think I’ve reached 43 books. Next year maybe more.

Being beautifully brave is a conscious choice that requires energy and discipline and self- care. I’m not feeling incredibly brave tonight, so write this as an ode to myself knowing I’ve got what it takes within me to continue to boldly step into the next stages, paying attention to what I need.

What helps you feel beautifully brave as “You do you”?

Essie Nail Polish: Jump in my Jumpsuit

Biscotti: None – but heavens have I eaten enough Christmas Cookies to last me until next year. I did make my dad this Shortbread Recipe

 

“Yes Please”

I’m reading a book right now, not surprising I know. “Bluebird: Women and the New Psychology of Happiness”, by Ariel Gore. It is about happiness. Perhaps a sociological examination into the way women experience happiness, are expected to exude it, and some of the things that hinder the concept’s accessibility. A critical look into a newer phenomenon of positive psychology.

I find it interesting really, that this book caught my eye at this time of the year. I suppose I haven’t found as much time as I’d like to read this year with a wedding to plan, and a full time job, and family and friends. The library, though, has always been one of my safe places. Rows upon rows of that wonderfully beautiful book scent. The tactile experience of flipping pages with a thumb nail in an almost silent space. I love how the carpet absorbs all of our noises, gently reminding us that this place of learning is sacred.  For whatever reason, digging around in the sociology section of our local library, I was drawn to this one.

blue birdI’ve been reading it in small doses, and this week have almost reached the end. In one segment, Gore asks colleagues and friends if they are happier now than they were at this time last year. I read the question, and was blown into a tornado of pondering space. After my brain calmed down a little bit, I was able to say yes. First a whisper, then perhaps a little louder to myself. Then a yes with a resounding fist pump. I am in such a better place than I was last year at this time, and right now I am going to sink into that feeling with immense gratitude.

No, things are not perfect, and I know situations change. Fear calls us into the what ifs and the over protective planning mode all the time. But overall, 2014 has been a year of joyful anticipation, and details and family and love and for that I am so wonderfully grateful.  Time progressing is beautiful, and looking back and being able to say, “look how far we have come” is an immense privilege. There is beauty in asking reflective questions, and taking time to be proud of progress.

Sunday, I spent all day reading and writing in my journal. What a lazy one I was, especially in light of the hovering reminder that Christmas is just a few days away. Still shopping to be done, certainly, but that is what days off like today are for. (Did I just admit that I still have shopping to do 2 days before Christmas? This is so unlike me!) I love a good book, like I mentioned before, and I adore the opportunity to indulge a full afternoon dedicated to one page turner. This week’s was, “Yes Please” by Amy Poehler. I did not really know what to expect when I got her book at the library. The neon lights caught my attention, sure, and the title. Sometimes, though, books by comedians are challenging to me – the humor lost in my too quickly read pace. If I slow down to read things out loud I do better, but I read so quickly I sometimes miss the joke.

yes please

Let me tell you, Amy does not disappoint. Her reflections on her career and life mixed in with immensely funny segments brought such comfort to me this weekend. I cried a little. You aren’t supposed to admit that you cry when reading a comedian’s book. Really though, she touched on so many things that I can relate to right now – about standing up for yourself, about looking for opportunities, about not tying your identity to any one part of your life. As we all know, things change (dammit) and she encouraged me to continue to surf the waves.

I was strongly reminded that there are perfectly acceptable times to say no – for self preservation, for boundaries, for protection in a world that does not quite look out for you in all the ways you would hope. Gently encouraged, though, too, that there are more opportunities to stand up for what you need, to seek new adventures and trust the universe with a polite, “Yes Please”.  These are some things I would like to say “Yes Please” to for the coming year ahead:

  • Time with my husband – continuing to figure out this thing called being married………………………. Yes Please
  • A little bit of fun adventure …………………….. Yes Please
  • Not worrying about money …………………. Yes Please
  • Opportunities to continue to develop in work ……………. Yes Please
  • Chances to have fun…………………… Yes Please
  • Vanilla lattes……………. Yes Please
  • Books …………. Yes Please
  • Chances for gratitude ………….. Yes Please
  • The trust that happiness abounds ………… Yes Please

Are you happier now than you were at this time last year? What do you want to say “Yes Please” for?