Why You Should Try Again (and Again) Romantically

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October is shaping up to be a pretty intense month for me. On top of a lot of travel and hard work coming my way, my boyfriend Frank is moving in with me. I’ve told a handful of people so far, and if the person doesn’t know me well they say “Oh wow! What a big step!” and “Good for you!” If they know me really well they say, “Oh wow are you ready?” And then there are the few that know me better than myself that say, “I’m really proud of you.”

Why all the different responses and why my need to write a blog about it? Well. Here’s a not so secret: I lived with someone before. And not just for a little bit. For four years. At 29 that’s kind of a big chunk of time. A BFD, if you will. It didn’t work out between us, clearly, and I’ve been living alone (and loving it) since.

Having someone move in with me, again, is scary and it took me some time to work through my fears and concerns with it. And if I am going to be real with you all, as I usually am on here, the biggest number one fear I had? What if it doesn’t work out again? I mean, how could it not be given my history? Don’t we ever learn from our pasts? Am I crazy?

Maybe, but not in this context. We cannot let the fear of something in the past (that happened when my partner was different, when the world was different, when I was very different) to negatively affect the now. If I lived in fear of another relationship failing, I’d never find love or support again in my life. Progress comes from confronting and getting over fear.

I was afraid people would judge me pretty harshly for throwing all my eggs into another basket, for truly going for it in another relationship, for dedicating my life to another again. Even when I was comfortable with my choice, I was nervous to share it because I was sure people were discussing it behind my back (“Is that really a good idea?” They’d say.) I was certain they would see the same fears I had early on and amplify them. Not only did I have to work through my own fear, but I had to tune out the opinions of others. Only we know what is right for ourselves. We need to learn to turn to our own hearts for advice, and trust it.

In this case my heart told me, “Trying again is worth it.”

Just like with a career, a novel, a fitness routine… trying again after a failure is part of the process. You get stronger. You know yourself better. You start to find the people you need to succeed. Relationships are no different. You get back what you put into them. Drafting and revising your romantic life is part of building your life story. Ignoring the amount of work and re-dos you’ll have to do to get it right is only hurting your growth. Try again. Try again. Revise. Try again.

Also, don’t forget that love is a weird thing that no one can really explain. They can try. They can get close. But your individual story and feelings are singular to you. Know the difference between trying again and beating yourself over the head with something that’s not working. Be brave, meditate to get closer to your heart, and when you do, listen to it. Ignore the sounds of the naysayers and go for what you want.

Maybe this move in will fail. And I am not afraid to write that anymore. I trust that it will work but I know that if it doesn’t, we’re going to be ok. The great thing about trying again is knowing you can survive it. Take care of yourself, dare a little, and get out there and make yourself happy. I know that’s what I am out here trying to do.

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I Know My Brand is Indistinct… And I’m OK With It

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Photo by Benjamin Voros on Unsplash

Very few of you probably don’t know how I spend my time off the blog and off the page. I work a regular “9-5” job in an office in Midtown Manhattan. My official title? Marketing and Brand Innovation Manager at a hotel company. Which means I spend my days creating and honing hotel brands and then determining how we market those brands to the wider public.

So why does my personal brand seem a little…wacky and unfocused?

Well, cause I am wacky and unfocused.

My brand is me.

I once spent a lot of time trying to cram myself into different, single boxes, to make a brand work. I was going to be Fitness Amanda or Writer Amanda or Book Reviewer Amanda or Foodie Amanda. And then I tried to be all of those things at once, trying to be an expert in every single one of my hobbies. It took years for me to realize that the most authentic true brand I could create for myself, was just to let my freak flag fly and see who came running.

That means I talk openly and honestly about how tough all of this is. I sometimes cook on my Instagram stories but rarely share photos of the food I prepare on my feed because I am terrible food photographer. I workout all the time, but only post the occasional photo of what that looks like. I share poetry more often. And I share photos of my day-to-day life, of the beauty in a life that sometimes either feels too fast or too boring. I share the balance between all those aspects of who I am and I encourage my followers to do the same.

I love a beautiful brand. I love curated photos. I love color schemes and different tones of voices and I adore creating logos. (Truly!) And these are all aspects of powerful important brands and we should learn from them for our businesses. But for me, a lack of focus and a lack of breadth are just who I am. I am a little wacky. I am overwhelmed a lot. I become obsessed with something and then abandon it weeks later for something new. I am a creative nutcase and I share it. And I’m ok with that.

So tell me, what’s something you’re doing that you KNOW isn’t the “right way” but you’re doing it your way anyway? Why do you do it this way? Why is it important to you? Tell me in the comments or make an IG post and use the hashtag #cheapcourage.

What I Don’t Want to Tell You

I recently read somewhere (Forgive me I completely forget because I read anywhere from 5-20 articles a day, plus countless social pages. So if this was you or you know what article I am talking about, shoot me a note and I’ll link to that sucker right here!) that whatever it is I don’t want to share or write about, is exactly what I should be sharing or writing about.

And I don’t mean boring topics like “All the Times I Forgot What Day it Was” but the things that scare me a little. The topics and thoughts that put a little pit in my stomach when I think of telling someone about them. They’re the things I think I’ll be judged for and they’re the things I should be sharing… According to this article or quote I can’t even link to.

I really took this to heart, and since this is Cheap Courage after all, from it I am going to start a series of blog posts all about the shit I don’t want to share. The hope being that: a) You find out you’re not alone b) I find out I’m not alone c) We all get closer d) I help someone. And I hope by me sharing the tough stuff will give you the courage to do the same. We’re all human and we’re so beautifully imperfect I really think it’s high-time we start embracing that.

First off I’m tackling FAILURE… dun dun dun… 

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Ok so, there’s this huge misunderstanding out there that anyone who is “successful” is “gifted” or “lucky”. Sure, some small percentage of the time this is true but really, a successful person is someone who didn’t give up after their first 55 failed projects. Success is resilience. It’s almost as frustrating to me as when someone tells me I am lucky to have great “genes” to keep me fit and I have to correct them and say “I have great workouts 6 times a week”. Success takes work and time and patience.

I have been out of school for 7 years. I have been writing “regularly” for about 4 or 5 of those 7 years. I am JUST NOW doing the following: a) Submitting work to be published regularly b) Asking for critiques c) Sharing my work on social media d) Figuring out this blog. I have had some really minor successes and I hope to have more and more and maybe some major ones… but what’s nuts is the following list.

Here’s everything I’ve failed before getting to where I am now (that I could remember):

  • Creating workouts and recipes consistently for this blog
  • 2-3 blogs of my own before this one
  • Writing for a food blog, a neighborhood blog, 2 pop culture sites, a woman’s site, a comic book site, a recipe site, a cheating (really) website, a travel site (all of them went under)
  • Trying to start a VLOG
  • Attempting to become a food writer, columnist, editor, freelance grammar checker, fact checker, research, blogger for hire, a movie reviewer
  • Finishing a spec script for various shows
  • Writing stand-up, doing Improv, writing sketches, writing a humor blog

And here’s everything that’s either still in the works, has come back recently, or I am not ready to give up on yet:

  • A book of essays
  • A book of poetry
  • A podcast or two
  • A travel video series
  • Some sort of fitness certification
  • Becoming fluent in French
  • Creating collage art

So you see… this stuff is HARD. There’s a million things out there to try, to attempt, to research, to learn, to forget, to pick back up… some of it sticks and some of it doesn’t. Some of it sucks, some of it is fun, most of it is a huge “waste of time”.

Turns out I have some resilience but finding focus has been difficult for me. I love the shiny new object, always. This year has been a great exercise in discipline and focus and it has paid off with a few good hits and some fantastic work.

You see, creative work is like an iceberg. The rest of the world sees this one small glowing accomplishment when really below it is a bunch of scary and weird failures we’d rather hide. Well, not today my friends, not today.

Are you ready to share a failure with me? Leave a comment! WANT TO SHARE IT WITH THE WORLD?! Post on Twitter or Instagram with your failure and hashtag it #cheapcourage. Let’s get it out there and move on my friends.

xoxo

 

Find a Partner that Supports Ambition

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For a very, very long time I thought that I needed a partner that was equally ambitious. If they weren’t, I’d panic that we wouldn’t be able to build a meaningful life together and then I’d spiral. I thought that equal ambition meant a good match.

I was wrong.

Of course I was wrong! Even though I hate getting older (I know I am supposed to be cool with this because that’s the new hip thing, but I hate it and want to lie about my age forever), what I’ve learned in the past decade is helping me build a better life now. One of those lessons was learning the difference between being strictly ambitious and supporting ambition. Ambition is great, as long as it is respected and recognized in others outside of oneself. It’s important to not only be the type of person who supports ambition in others, but to also find a partner who does too.

Why? Simply because dating someone who is strictly ambitious isn’t as wonderfully joyful as being with a partner who supports ambition. Just writing it out seems so obvious but since I walked around completely unaware of this for a decade, I am sharing it here. So who is this person? They are someone who…

Makes Personal Sacrifices to Support Your Dream – Someone who is just ambitious will have tunnel vision to their own goals and dreams. They’ll skip opening night of your play to meet with the owner of a start-up or they’ll expect you to hold down the 9-5 so they can travel.

Someone who supports ambition will honor your goals right alongside their own. They can be equally or less ambitious than you, but what matters is that they recognize its importance in you AND in them. They’ll help you fix an issue with your flight at the last minute or call you before your first pitch to calm your nerves. They aren’t catering to you but they are serving and respecting your ambition.

Listens to 10 Versions of the Same Idea- They’ll never tire of trying to solve a problem. They’ll offer feedback and advice so you can get back to work. Someone who is only ambitious will not want to detract from their own work for more than a moment. They do not see the value in collaboration with their partner and want to separate their love from their goals.

Is Always Thinking About the Vision- Someone who supports ambition will continue to think about your goals alongside theirs. They’ll meet a potential client who isn’t great for them, but will pass along your information. They’re a buddy in the battle of the hustle, not competition. They’re thinking of ways to build up your dreams alongside theirs, not instead of or over, yours.

Asks for Opinions- Just as they are supportive of your goals, they’ll reach out to you for advice and opinions on their projects. They’re not operating on their own plain, forgetting that you are a part of their journey too. And if there’s really nothing you can provide them (which I highly doubt) they fill you in on what they’re doing and share any tricks and tips for your own projects.

Whew!

There is room for everyone in a relationship to have goals and to help each other achieve those goals. This isn’t a solo job. Knowing this now I am so much more willing to not only receive constructive criticism from my partner but I am also more willing to give an incredible amount of support and sacrifice right back. Ugh, why didn’t I realize this like 10 years ago? #youths

Check Your Privilege, Check it Often

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Photo by Volkan Olmez on Unsplash

It was really hard for me to write something this week. Given Charlottesville and the comments made by the president last week. It felt like anything I had to say was void.  I tried writing about it, but everything I wrote reeked of privilege. So I gave up on trying to process and feel. And instead I have leaned into getting white people educated on privilege and how it directly affects everything going on. At least there is action tied to it.

The best I could do for this week’s blog specifically, was decide to share a syllabus called “Syllabus for White People to Educate Themselves” (CLICK IT) put together by several black activists that has been circulating the internet. (Shout out to my friend Hannah for sharing this with me.) If you are feeling lost or under educated on key racial issues, I implore you to peruse this list, find something of interest, and read it. 

I have been lucky enough to attend schools that put me in mixed classrooms of students from around the world and have given me friends who check my privilege and who allow me to learn (albeit in a messy way) about what it is and what it means. I understand that not everyone has a diverse friend group. Not everyone is supported enough to explore. Not everyone can attend good schools. And yes, not everyone can read at a college level.

But you can all try.

You can all make a CONSCIOUS effort to do better and be better by reaching out, reading, and learning. Being uncomfortable is part of understanding your privilege, and avoiding that process makes you compliant to how this country is run. It says “I’m okay with the way America is and has been.” We cannot change America without changing ourselves. Read. Expand your mind. Ask questions.

I am but a novice at understanding my privilege (and I’ve been doing it consciously for probably 10 years or more) but I am always here to discuss. Shoot me a note! And similarly, send me links to more articles like these. Show me where to donate my money. Send me to places to volunteer. Let’s actually try today.