Why You Should Try Again (and Again) Romantically

teddy-kelley-67977

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.

Advertisements

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

benjamin-voros-260869
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… 

Blog2

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

 

Part of Writing Non-Fiction is Not Writing

averie-woodard-122274Spring has flung me across the country multiple times already and it’s only mid-April. I knew my work life and social life were both going to ramp up at the same time (showers, events, travel) but I didn’t realize just how much it was going to put my ever beloved writing life on hold. You don’t really know how much you love to stare at a blank screen, willing yourself to write something brilliant, until it’s ripped away from you for a couple of weeks. A couple of weeks can feel like a lifetime.

It was in a particularly bad moment, when I was spiralling about not writing enough, not writing ever, potentially never again (?!), that my boyfriend pointed out that part of being a writer is also living. And that is even more important for someone like me, who writes non-fiction. My stories are the stories that I have lived. My stories exist because I was not alone in front of a computer screen at every chance I had. They exist because I went on dates, and traveled with my friends, and broke some bones, and almost lost my brother. They exist because I was off living, not worrying about getting a certain essay completed.

When the travel calmed a bit, and I was able to see two beautiful weeks ahead of me with time to write, I came across a Self Care Challenge. 7 days worth of Self Care. A challenge to love ourselves and give ourselves the time we need. How freakin’ radical. It came at the perfect time because I was so frantic last week to get back to work on my essays and my poetry that I was willing to forego a much needed haircut, to lock myself up and get the work done. I was desperate to be left alone and work. I put every other single need– work, side gigs, writing, family, friends, dog– ahead of my own. I was willing to put myself at the very bottom of the list because that’s what I’ve always done. Seeing that so many people struggled with Self Care last week helped me to at least try and take care of myself too.

Outside of taking care of myself I have to remind myself that I am so very lucky to find myself traveling, visiting friends, having things to celebrate. Yes, it does take me away from my writing but in the end it is enriching my life with memories and lessons and inspirations that will ultimately help me when I do finally find those glorious couple of hours to sit and pen something. Why is it so hard for us to see what’s full in our lives? Why are we trained to always see lack? Almost every bucket of our lives could be full to the brim, but it is the one that is empty that we worry about. I am so guilty of this and it’s embarrassing to admit to the greater public.

But I am hoping there are others out there, that feel overwhelmed as well. Overwhelmed with not just life’s annoyances, but overwhelmed with goodness too. And maybe together we can find some tactics to stay grateful for a little bit longer. Live in our present a little bit more. And accept that we cannot be all things at all times and let each part of us (sister, girlfriend, employee, writer, friend, daughter, SELF) have their moments to shine, and let the others take a step back. The others are still awake, still learning lessons that can be applied in any situation.

It’s a painful cliche–but I have found that the older I get the more I understand these cliches–but life is meant to be lived. And even though figuring out how to do that with success is killing me (I will figure this out one day!) it still feels worth it. Remarkable.

Now tell me, how often do you forgive yourself for having a little fun? How often do you avoid something fun because of your work, your “dreams”, your diet? How do you find balance between all the yous there are, and when do you find time for self care? FILL ME IN!

#BeBoldForChange on International Women’s Day– TODAY

InternationalWomensDay-portrait

Today is International Women’s Day. A day I have always considered, but never taken any real action to get involved–not because I felt particularly safe or beyond the glass ceiling, but because I relied on other women to fight my battles for me. It seemed easier to let “them” do it, so I could focus on my regular day-to-day life. My blinders were ripped off with this last election. Now it is impossible to avoid how so many of my fellow Americans truly feel about the causes I so deeply care about–racial equality, gender parity, and poverty.

But because I am awake now, more so than I have been in years, I can use my tiny platform (hey Blogosphere) to share what IWD is all about and how you can get involved even in the simplest of ways.

1. This year’s theme is #BeBoldForChange
Which I find extremely apropos to my current situation and I am sure how many women are feeling. For years I didn’t feel the need to “be bold”, to march, to donate, to actively say in conversations at work, at play, on dates, that I am a Feminist. Now I find myself saying it daily, and for me, that’s bold.

This year’s theme is all about being active, not passive. IWD is asking YOU to take a pledge to do one of the following:

Challenge bias and inequality
Campaign against violence
Forge women’s advancement
Celebrate women’s achievement
Champion women’s education

It’s easy to say: “I want to do it all” but selecting one category ensures that you make a real impact, not a scattered attempt. Select your category and then be bold enough to share what steps you’ll take to stay true to your pledge. You can do all that here: https://www.internationalwomensday.com/BeBold

2. My #BeBoldForChange is challenging bias and inequality.
This is something I already do often BUT I could be more consistent and specific. I will actively become a champion for equality in the workplace and will point out bias, gendered language, and challenge stereotypes. I will encourage my female co-workers to do the same and coach them through it (it’s this piece that I tend not to follow through on).

3. Spread the Word
It’s really that easy. Use the hashtag on social media. Bring up IWD in a conversation today. Explain to male coworker why IWD is so important and encourage him to be bold in his choices. Celebrate the achievements of women you admire from RBG to your best friend. What women do you know that are making strides? Tell the world!

4. Give
Donate to a charity that backs a cause you care about. IWD donations are going to WAGGGS again. What is WAGGGS? Click here. Or pick another amazing charity that fighting for equality, educating women and girls, or working to end violence against women.

It’s really that easy to be involved and makes me wonder why in the past I let this day slip by without even so much as re-tweeting a post from IWD. This year will be different. Follow me on my various social media channels for posts about great organizations, articles, and facts regarding gender parity in the workplace and violence against women.

Twitter: @akaymayday
FB: Cheap Courage
IG: @CheapCourage