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Effective Advocacy in the Modern World: Starts With You

Before we begin, understand two things:

  1. As I write this, it’s 2:23am my time. An unexpected marriage of insomnia and inspiration are the catalyst for tonight’s ramblings.
  2. I am by no means an expert on advocacy. If you’re here to learn from an expert, I would advise you to search elsewhere. I am a human being, whose core values include social justice and advocacy for the world around us.

Now that we’ve gotten that out of the way…

Hi! It’s nice to feel inspired to write again. My ‘blogging’ has greatly ebbed and flowed over the years depending on what’s been taking place in my life and career at the moment but it’s always been something I wish I did more of from time to time. Today’s post will not be anything super mind-blowing or Earth shattering but, rather, a brief reflection that I felt like sharing.

I’ve been thinking a lot about various forms of advocacy lately. As I’ve explored the subject in my own head and attempted to define it for myself, I’ve unearthed something that’s likely not news to any of you…Effective advocacy in our modern world starts with YOU.

I don’t mean that in the traditional sense…Obviously in order to have impactful change we must EACH play a role in it. That’s not what I’m getting at…

What I mean is that I believe in order to effectively advocate for OTHERS, you must first learn and master the art of advocating for YOURSELF.

Such a simple concept, right? But how often do we overlook it?

My guess is, if you’re anything like me…quite a bit. But it falls into one of my all time favorite subjects: Self Care. If you’ve followed me AT ALL over the years, you probably know where I stand on this…You cannot fill from an empty cup. Self care means making healthy choices for the mind and body. Self care also means advocating for yourself, right?

So what does it mean to advocate for yourself? Well, here’s what I’ve come up with (so far) for what I, personally, think it means…

  • Understanding your position and being able to choose whether or not you want to respectfully articulate it to others.
  • Setting appropriate and healthy boundaries for your interactions in life.
  • Recognizing the areas in your life that aren’t consistent with your core values and being willing to adjust the course to be in better alignment.
  • Having the courage to speak up and ask for your needs to be met.

I plan to explore this topic more over the next few months/weeks. What does self-advocacy mean to you? How do you begin the journey towards self-advocacy with the intent of advocating for others as well?

I’m looking forward to diving into this topic a little bit more and seeing where it leads me. Feel free to join in.

XoXo

H

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Life Lesson: The Only Love You Are Entitled to Is the Love You Give Yourself

I wrote a post on New Year’s about life lessons that I’d come to discover over the past year. I promised to expand on them so…here goes.

Lesson #1: The Only Love You Are Entitled to is the Love You Give Yourself

As much as I would like to pretend like this first lesson is one that I’ve mastered already…it’s not. It’s one that I struggle with nearly every single day of my life.

Like you, I’m sure, over the years I’ve had relationships come and go beginning and ending for different reasons. Each relationship I’ve had throughout life, from childhood friendships to those that I’ve had the honor of participating in as an adult, has impacted who I am as a person.

I recently read a blog post highlighting the emotional devastation felt from lost friendships where the original author described her experience in meeting a coworker, feeling that there was potential for great friendship, and then realizing that the other person did not feel the same. My reaction to the original post is below:

After posting, I thought more about the topic as it relates to all of the relationships in my life. I’ll be honest with you, feeling that you care about someone that doesn’t feel the same about you hurts…a lot. I think that’s why they make songs and movies about unrequited love, right?

But at the end of the day, here’s the thing…

You’re not entitled to someone else’s love. And neither am I.

It’s nice to be loved by other people…but we’re not entitled to it, in any way.

I believe a lot of hurt, devastation, and emotional trauma are a result of feeling entitled to love that you don’t receive.

Understanding that you aren’t owed someone else’s love is super hard. It’s something that I struggle with nearly every single day of my life because as much as I acknowledge this hard truth, deep down inside I still seek validation and love from other people (because I am, after all, a human being).

This year, I plan to work on trying to overcome feeling entitled to receive love from others and recognize that the love that I do receive is a bonus to the love that I give to myself.

Until next time,

H

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Life Lessons: 2019 Edition

Oh, New Year’s. What a time to celebrate.

Sleep eludes me once again. This is not an uncommon thing for me lately, it tends to happen when my brain is busy navigating through the realities of life. Only tonight is a little different because the rest of the world (or my corner of it) is awake with me ushering in a new decade.

I thought I’d put my thoughts to paper, erm, keyboard and share some of the lessons I’ve come to realize over this past year. Some of these things that I’ve come to understand as true are good, some are bad, and some are ugly…but all of them, I believe, are lessons that are imperative to my growth as a human being and I hope that in sharing them you’ll find some growth, too.

Please understand that I’m still very much learning and expanding on each of these takeaways myself. I am not a perfect person and I don’t claim to have all of the answers. What I do know is that I’m trying every single day to gain a better understanding of myself and the world around me so that I can appreciate and enjoy this experience as much as possible.

I plan to go through and elaborate on each of these lessons in subsequent posts. For tonight, I wanted to simply get them out there. You can watch for more later. Without further adieu, I present to you…

Life Lessons: 2019 Edition

Lesson #1– The Only Love That You are Entitled to Is the Love You Give Yourself.

Lesson #2– The Only Attention That You’re Entitled to is the Attention You Pay Yourself.

Lesson #3– Just Because You Think It, Doesn’t Make it Truth.

Lesson #4– You Aren’t Owed an Answer or Explanation.

Lesson #5– Some People Don’t Actually Care About a Solution, They Just Want the Problem.

Lesson #6– Just Because You Care About Something, Doesn’t Mean that Other People Do.

Lesson #7– You Are Not Owed Affection.

Lesson #8– It’s Okay to Not Have the Answers.

Lesson #9– Life Is Not Complicated, People Are.

Lesson #10– It’s Okay to Still Be Learning How to Navigate Your Way Through Emotions.

Lesson #11– You Are Responsible for the Way You Impact Other People.

Lesson #12– You Are Also Responsible for Your Reactions.

Lesson #13– Life is Short. Even When It Seems Long, It’s Short.

Lesson #14– Sometimes People Change. Understand that.

Lesson #15- Sometimes People Don’t Change. Understand that, too.

Lesson #16- Changing Your Mind Doesn’t Make You a Failure.

Lesson #17- There’s So Much Beauty to Be Seen in the World. Just Open Your Eyes.

Lesson #18- There’s So Much Beauty Within YOU. Don’t Be Afraid to Show It.

Lesson #19– At the End of The Day, All That Matters is Love.

Lesson #20– Someone Else’s Opinion of You Doesn’t Define You.

That’s all for tonight.

Happy New Year.

-H

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“Don’t Quit Your Day Job,” they said. Whoops.

Gosh it’s been a minute. Welcome back, you! (and also me).

What’s new? Oh…I quit my job.

Whew. I said that. Like, out loud, and now everyone knows it. Scary.

I didn’t quit my job because of any one singular thing, in particular. Rather, I quit my job because it was time to quit my job. I knew it long before I did it, but I stayed because I felt bad leaving. How ridiculous, in hindsight. How utterly ridiculous. I’ve been working for the same media outlet for nearly eight years. And it’s been an amazing ride.

I’ve learned so much, I’ve met some amazing human beings and have had some really great experiences. But still, despite all of that, it was simply time to move on. So I did. In mid-November I sent my boss an email and told her that after the close of the year, I felt it was time for me to move on and close this chapter of my life.

After I sent it…I couldn’t believe what I’d actually done. I didn’t feel sad. I didn’t feel happy. I just felt at peace and that’s when I knew I had 100% made the right decision for me. I’ve kept this news to myself, for the most part, over the last few weeks because I wasn’t prepared for the inevitable “WHAT ARE YOU GOING TO DO?!” questions.

Here’s what I’m going to do…

I’m going to follow my passions.

I’m going to earn my keep doing creative work that I’m good at. I am going to do more intentional travel. I’m going to spend more time volunteering. I’m going to invest more time in my most important job, as a mom. I’m going to do what I can, with what I have, to make my corner of the world a better place. I am going to get back to writing (hence this post). I’m going to spend some time doing something for ME. Why? Because I can. And I want to. And now is the time to do it.

That’s what I am going to do.

I’m going to be the best version of me I can be.

Somewhere along the road over the last 7+ years, I stopped doing some of the things I love. That is not anyone’s fault but my own. I am an adult who makes my own choices, as we all do. But…you know what?! That makes me pretty sad. So I’m going to get back to doing those things….like writing, sharing, spending time doing good. Being.

And I can’t wait to bring you along in that journey with me.

Welcome back, you (and me), I’ve missed you.

-H

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Teenagers These Days…

I’m sitting in a local Starbucks (also known as my second home) while Charlotte is at dance and I decided to take a moment to appreciate the other people that are here with me in this space…right now in this very moment.

There is a couple, I assume, sitting in the comfortable leather chairs in the corner of the room. They’re so engaged in conversation with one another, each leaning into the other, fully immersed in the moment.

I can’t help but wonder what the story is behind THEM. Who are they? How did they meet? What’s the glue that holds them together? Is it the random Starbucks dates? The fact that they seem to hold each other in high regard, respectfully communicating with each other in a way that’s beautiful to witness. I wonder what they’re talking about.

A group of girls sits to my left, they’re working together to achieve a common goal: Homework. I think of Charlotte and her future. I can only hope that she has friends when she’s a teenager that she can meet at the coffee shop and bounce ideas off of one day. I wonder who her friends will be in seven years.

I can’t wait to meet them. Have I already met them?

The most striking set of people sharing this space with me right now isn’t the couple or the girls working together but, rather, the group of teenage boys sharing the table to my right. At first glance, they’re the very best of friends…congregating at a table together hanging out. But when you start to dig a little deeper you notice that they’re so much more than that.

These kids are having a discussion, a respectful and engaging discussion on philosophy and religion. It’s really beautiful.

That’s actually what I hope for my child.

I hope she finds something she believes in, something that excites her and makes her want to discuss it with other people in her life. We’ve introduced her to the concept of God and have explained to her that there are many religions in the world, each united with common ideas but divided on the details. We’ve told her that we will introduce her to all of these ideas as she grows and learns and finds her way in the the world…until, one day, she’s confident in what she believes and then we will support her in her choices and respect what she finds to be true.

I can’t help but be in awe of these kids. They’re amazing. I don’t remember being that amazing as a teenager. Their dedication to one another, to what they believe in, and to what they’re focused on inspires me and gives me hope for the future of this country.

Teenagers these days are incredible.

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What does Bravery Mean to YOU?

I made a spur of the moment decision while at Target the other day. An impulse buy that I don’t regret at all. I happened upon a book by author Annie Downs that takes you on a 100 day devotional journey towards “unlocking your most courageous self“.

I knew the second I saw it that it was meant for me. And that may come as a shock to most of you who know that I’m not typically a very religious person. But this, this is something that I’m very excited to embark on.

I, like many of you (I’m sure) struggle with a fear of the unknown. Sometimes when I can’t predict the outcome of a situation or things are more fluid than I would prefer, my anxiety takes over. I see this devotional book as a great way to help me overcome those fears.

Day one talked about what it means to be brave – that bravery isn’t the absence of fear but, rather, the courage to do it anyway because what’s waiting on the other side is beautiful and worthwhile. That speaks to me a lot.

How many times have I been scared to make a move in the game of life because I feared the reaction or the unknown? Sadly, pretty often. Not anymore. I’m not saying that I’m going to suddenly go out and jump off of bridges or make dumb decisions – I’m just saying that maybe I ought to not let the fear of the unknown drive my decisions anymore…because the only thing that comes from that is me not living to my fullest potential.

More later…

 

 

 

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I’m Shitty. Thanks for the grace.

I’m sitting here in Starbucks, crying.

I’m a hot mess. You guys, this is real life.

I’ve become that mom.

My life isn’t that hard, and it’s certainly not that complicated. And I only have one kid. So, truly, it shouldn’t be THAT hard to keep it all together, right?

Charlotte does competitive dance for a living (I’m sort of kidding, she’s a second grader, it’s not a job). She loves it, which is why we do it. She dances at the studio several nights a week and, lately, weekends as well. With our insanely busy schedules it’s sometimes impossible for me to stay at the studio while she dances, so I don’t. There is always, always, always somewhere else I also need to be.

I used to stay at the studio ready to record dance routines, there to check on my kid. But that’s not my life anymore. And I feel really, really crappy about it.

I’ve become the mom who relies on other parents to send me videos when my kid, ONCE AGAIN, forgets to bring her phone in to record. I’ve become the parent who doesn’t know exactly what’s going on unless I’m told (because communication is often shared through word of mouth). I’ve become that mom.

I often feel judged by the other moms, which is entirely in my head. I think it’s because I am judging myself.

I really wished I could be the mom who stores a secret cape in her closet. The mom who gets up every morning and makes her kids breakfast. The mom who shows up to every classroom party and who stays at dance, helps other moms, reads to her kid every night, showers on a regular basis. I’m not any of those things.

I’m the mom who struggles to keep it all together, who uses dry shampoo to get me through the week, whose house is a complete disaster, who *never* bothers to fold laundry. I’m the take out mom, the “let’s make bedtime quick” mom, the serve yourself cereal in the morning mom. I’m a shitty mom. I get that.

Maybe I’ll be less of a shitty mom tomorrow. We’ll see.