When the Words are Full but Tangled

The last time I blogged, I forced myself to sit in this chair and write. 

"I need to just do it," I told Russ. He agreed, and then kissed me before shooing me into another room so I could focus. It was my birthday, and I had so many thoughts and stories and words floating in my head that I wanted to share, but when I tried to write, it came out forced. And while I'm all for getting out the mess so you can find the gold, I also understand that just because you have the words doesn't mean you're ready to write them.

I finally managed to write a post about my 32nd year, and hit publish resolutely because at least I wrote something. But I knew even though it was something, it wasn't the one thing. 

The words are not the issue this summer. I have them. I have plenty. What's blocking me is the how. 

You see, in June, my life took a characteristic sharp left into full time employment. Even though I was looking for this, I never expected it to quite turn out the way it did. For the past three years, I've worked my ass off as an entrepreneur. I've written thousands of words and published countless blog posts and pushed hundreds of emails into the ether. By the time I stepped foot into the training room, thoughts were already starting to twist themselves into formation. 

Thoughts like, why does going corporate mean you're selling out? and how in the world did I get so burnt out? 

Here's a spoiler: I don't think I've sold out in any way. In fact, so much of these past two months have felt Right and True in ways I struggled to find working for myself. But that doesn't change the fact that there's this inherent perception that unless you're chasing after the sun and living life solely on your terms, you're not living right.

And this is where my words have gotten tangled. 

Because what I feel when I'm at work is not my soul banging against my insides because I'm selling her out. What I feel is happiness and connection and gratitude.

Every day, I walk into work and build relationships with businesses across the US and Canada. Every day, I have countless conversations with people just like myself, people who are hustling to make it in their industry. I hear it in their voices and I recognize it in the way the words fall fast and hot from their lips. In another moment, on another day, these people could be me.

But what slows me down are the stories. How they found themselves making a living doing what they love. How anxious they are to get settled so they can start creating. If there's one thing I've learned with this job it's this: creative entrepreneurs are my people. The risks, the beauty, the hustle, the freedom — all of it lights me up like nothing else. And working with them daily? It's moments like this that have me whispering words like thank you and wow because out of seasons where I felt completely misaligned, I'm right in the middle of one that feels purposed. 

And slowly, a tangled piece of syntax comes undone.

Posted on September 1, 2015 and filed under The Memoirs.

because I'm into you, 32.

Squad goals activated.

Squad goals activated.

A year ago, I sat on my couch and snapped a picture of me with a coy smile. I remember thinking to myself, this is my year. 

I had no idea what was coming. Six weeks later, my life completely changed. A lot of it was my doing — I made a significant choice and the fallout was immediate and severe. I was just barely be over the shock of September when Russ lost his job. Our fall consisted of beans and rice, more than our fair share of tears, relying on our people, and lots and lots of prayer. 

It wasn't that 32 was horrible. It was, however, a crucible — the fever before the breakthrough.

Earlier this morning, I sat in my office and thought about what I wanted to feel this year. It's easy to chase goals, but I'm learning to chase experiences — to reach for those moments that take my breath away. As I was writing, I kept thinking back to things that happened this year, often right in the midst of the darkest days, and I would find myself smiling. 

It reminded me of something I wrote back in December, about how ready I am for a new beginning and that sometimes, it's not because the year was so difficult or horrible but because I lived it to its fullest: all of the pain, all of the beauty, all of the wonder. 

This was my 32. 

books read :: 

Yes, Please — I mean, it's Leslie Knope. But outside of me wanting to scream all of the things because of my love for her, I also so appreciate the reminder that it's the doing of the thing that counts. When I listened to this and heard those words I just about had a spiritual experience. Amy Poehler, I love you forever amen.

Conversion — Label anything as Prep meets The Crucible and I'm here for it. This book didn't disappoint. I read it in one sitting and then promptly had a moment of blind jealousy because WHY DIDN'T I THINK OF THIS IDEA?! Mad props, Katherine Howe. 

When the Heart Waits — I read this book in one sitting as well. There are few books in my life where I felt as if the author crawled into my brain and wrote about my life. This is one of them. I will be re-reading this every year at least once I'm sure.

I'll Give You the Sun — There are no words for this one. I read it back in March and I'm still trying to articulate what it did to me. Just get it. Trust me. 

books wrote :: 

I finished Somewhere Between Water and Sky last summer, publishing it September 20. 

In November, I started writing Secrets Don't Keep and I am so excited about it going live in a  couple weeks. I claimed this year as my #novelistwild and even though I haven't started on my second novel of this series, I did complete a 90 page eBook on indie publishing and started the memoir that's been in my gut for the past five years.

But that whole story is another blog post.

for the love of poetry ::

do not choose the lesser life.
do you hear me.
do you hear me. 
choose the life that is. yours. 
the life that is seducing your lungs.
that is dripping down your chin.

- nayyirah waheed

television :: 

If I had to choose one series from this past year that made me praise hands all day, it would be American Horror Story: Coven. 

But also, Broad City and Scandal and Pretty Little Liars and Parks and Rec, respectively.

music ::

How does one categorize a year into music? It's almost as impossible as choosing favorite books. But, LION BABE has been a favorite along with this playlist for Secrets Don't Keep. 

on beauty ::

I dyed my hair purple and fell in love.

I dyed my hair purple and fell in love.

32 was definitely the year I began to understand my own style. Purple hair and lace, bohemian with a touch of grit. 

everything else :: 

The night we painted our skin with #fff and our cars were towed. Only after we were in the impound lot limbo did one of us admit to wishing for adventure earlier in the night. 

The night we painted our skin with #fff and our cars were towed. Only after we were in the impound lot limbo did one of us admit to wishing for adventure earlier in the night. 

  • Flash mob dance parties to SHAKE IT OFF in my living room
  • Second chance proms 
  • Releasing toxicity 
  • Growing lavender
  • Harnessing my intuition 
  • Watching Barton Springs-turned-Rapids while tornados formed around us 
  • Investing (and taking the leap) with My Own Irresistible Brand 
  • Working with 90+ women in finishing their books
  • Deciding to go strictly indie with my books
  • Sharing #thekeyofus on Instagram 
  • EVERY SHATTERED THING in top 100 free books on Amazon (4500+ downloads in a week!)
  • Getting my WILD Giving Key with a lion engraved on the back
  • Watching Russ risk and dream and pursue his passion
  • Giving our first no in the adoption process 
  • Going back to work full time
Bringing home this guy in January. 

Bringing home this guy in January. 

I'm past the point where I feel as if I need to wonder what 33 will bring. Maybe that's maturity? In so many ways, my life doesn't look anything like I expected it to this time last year, but for the first time, this isn't disappointing. Even after everything that's happened, I know I'm right where I'm supposed to be in this moment. 

And this makes me more than ready for 33. 

Posted on July 26, 2015 and filed under The Memoirs.

The 9-5

I've been looking for a full time job. 

I've been searching since January, but only really now am I able to talk about it. As a creative entrepreneur,  it's a hard pill to swallow. I was working for myself. Now I need to work for someone else.

I've gone through the gamut of emotions. The failure, the fear, the anger, the relief, the excitement — they're all there, battling for my focus. It's a strange thing to know that when everyone else in your circle had a job, you left yours to pursue writing full time. And now, three years later, those same people are leaving their jobs to celebrate the successes of their own start-ups while you are returning to the 9-5.

This is not a failure.

Failure would be me hanging up the hope of ever gaining traction with Awake the Bones. Failure would be to close up shop and refuse any more clients. 

I would be lying if I said Fear never had me wondering if this is what I should do. That's usually when I battle Anger. Why me? Why now? Why this? 

And if I'm completely honest with myself, the answers to these questions set me straight all over again because it's not about giving up anything. It's not about taking steps back or rewiring or starting over. 

It's about doing it right. 

If these past few years taught me anything, it's this: I know my core. I know, because of starting a business and publishing two novels on my own, who I am — and most importantly, who I am not. I forgot for a moment. I let voices steer me in directions I wasn't ready or willing to go. I mentioned before a lot of this stemmed from needing to pay the rent. I got anxious, desperation sank in, and I reached for anything. I don't want to do this again. 

I want to be cohesive. 

Maybe this doesn't make sense. But I'm about the sharp lefts. My life has never been sequential. 

I got my teaching certificate after I started teaching. 
I signed with an agent after finding a publisher. 
I went indie after experiencing the traditional market.

And now, after developing a business and finding my core, I'm returning to full time work. Who knows? Maybe my office hours will be shorter lived than I expect. Maybe three months from now I'll be in a corporate position I never saw coming. Maybe clients will come out of nowhere and I will learn the fine art of balancing full time work and freelance. Maybe Secrets Don't Keep will climb the charts and I'll become a millionaire with one book (wry grin). 

I don't know. There's a lot of maybes, but one very sure thing: I want to build something I'm proud of, and to do that, I'm going to need time. I want to give my clients the focus and care they deserve without this added stress of OHMIGOSHCANIMAKERENTHOWDOIMAKEANOTHERBUCK. There's something to be said of the slow-burn of creativity and how it forces you to hone in on what makes you pulse with excitement. THIS is what I want for Awake the Bones. It's what I want for everything I write. I don't want to live my life in a frenetic motion. I want my wildness to be flavored with intention and soul. 

Every story has a plot twist, and this is one I never saw coming. But it feels right, and it feels true. This year is about me doing the opposite of what's expected. In a world that celebrates the walking away, it makes sense that I'm signing the dotted line. 

Posted on June 23, 2015 and filed under The Memoirs.