Overcoming Fear

Fear is such a fun thing. You’ve heard that saying, right? Wait, no. Nobody says that. There’s the kind of fear that is fun. Well, I think it’s fun. The fear you get when you’re about to go on a new ride that you’ve never been on before. The good, excited, nervous kind of fear. I actually love that feeling, it pushes me to keep going, to try the new thing, to jump on whatever and go for it.

On the other hand, there is the fear that makes you not do what you’re supposed to be doing, your calling, your passion. The thing that sings to your soul and makes your heart happy. The fear of failing that isn’t always easy to place. The fear that makes you question if you are even doing what you’re supposed to be doing. The fear that makes you compare to others in the same field. That kind of fear is the worst. It is full of constant disappointment and confusion. It’s also full of lies. That kind of fear, that makes you just sit on your couch is lying to you. Whatever thoughts that pop into your head about why you shouldn’t do the things you wish and want to do, are lies. 

For me, I think a part of me always wanted to write. I just didn’t know I COULD write. I loved writing but I didn’t know anything about making a career or developing my passion for it. As I’ve gotten older and started pursuing writing, I’ve developed plans and dreams. I’ve seen a calling come into picture. I have a vision. It’s a big dream and a big vision. Something I know only God can help me do. Even though I know that God will guide me and give me strength, I’m terrified. Fear will poke at my heart and say things that make me doubt everything. I doubt my writing ability. I doubt my calling. I just doubt.

However, fear isn’t something that is going go away. In fact, there is some fear that will push you forward. I think the fear that turns into doubt is what I need to work on combating better. Maybe you do too. Fear can be a good motivator, in a healthy way. Like the fear I feel before going on a new roller coaster. That fear that gets me excited. The fear that makes me step over the safety line and get into the ride. I would consider that a healthy fears, but a doctor might just tell me that my adrenaline is pumping that it isn’t really fear. Whatever it is, it makes me take that next step. When fear and doubt start to dance, absolutely nothing gets done. So how do you overcome it?

First, add whatever it is to your schedule. If it is writing, write. If you love to draw, draw. If you want to create cute little bows for boys and girls, do that. Just do it for fun. Do it for you. Don’t do it because it is supposed to be something big. If you take the world out of the equation, it doesn’t matter what the result is, you cannot fail. If my goal is to write four times a week, and I am writing what I want to write about, I cannot fail myself. I just have to do it. There is no room for doubt when I’m just doing something I want to do as long as I don’t add other people and their thoughts to the equation. 

Second, find someone who does what you want to do and ask them how they do it. You don’t need to copy them but the advice they have might help you implement something new into your schedule. I met a speaker once who started out doing Spoken Word, which is something I’ve always wanted to try to write. She gave me questions that she used to write her spoken word and it was huge inspiration for me. An author I met explained that he has a writing time every single morning, and he and his wife got to a coffee shop and write for their scheduled amount of time. (At least, I believe it was a coffee shop). Sometimes, it’s hard to write at home because there are so many distractions and things you could start doing and would need to get done. For example, I’ll go to write, notice the carpet needs to be vacuumed and next thing I know, it’s an hour later and I’ve cleaned half the house, cleaned out a closet and reorganized my bedroom. I cannot do this at the library or a coffee shop. It’s not my job to clean there. Plus, as an extrovert, being around people gives me energy. 

Last, call fear and doubt like it is. If you notice the negative, doubtful thoughts creeping in, tell it to go away. Say no thanks, I don’t need that in my life and keep trying. Move forward instead of allowing the doubt to define you. Fear and doubt don’t define you. Tell it to go away. Get into a practice of calling out the negative thoughts, just as they are, and combating them with something positive. For example: I’ll think, I’m an awful writer. What am I even doing?  Instead of allowing that thought to be a thing and allowing it to define me, I can choose to combat it with something truthful. I’ve had the third professor in as many terms tell me that my paper was the best paper they got for an assignment. Clearly, I have writing skills. (I know writing for essays and fiction are different, but basic skills are basic skills.) 

Oh, bonus! Talk to someone about them. Doubt feeds off isolation and darkness. Fear lives in that same boat. When I struggle with doubt and fear, I’ll go talk to my husband or my best friend and they’ll encourage me. They’ll remind me what I do what I do. They’ll both tell me truths that I need to hear. Sharing takes that fear out of the dark and the light makes it so much smaller. 

Currently- June Edition

General- we are getting a small reprieve from the desert heat. We’ll apparently stay in the 90’s this weekend. Am I going to talk about the weather every single time I do one of these? Probably- it is too hot to function and someone needs to know. 

Outside of that things have been pretty chaotic around here. Hubby just got back from army training and while you might think having him home would just mean things would go back to normal when he got home, you’d be wrong. It’s like rediscovering our groove. This training about about 4 weeks so I had 4 weeks of making my own decisions without input or feedback, my own schedule and my own things. Now, I’m back at work, hubby is back at work, our schedules are wack and why does the army need to do training anyway? Hahaha. It probably didn’t help that he was home for about five seconds before we packed the car and headed to California for another Universal Studios trip. Basically my life is a mess this week and I’m just rolling with it. 

That being said, I will be taking a week off from the blog. Next week there will be no blog posts because I am going to sit down, focus on a set schedule and start things on a new project. Plus it is the last week of term so it will be nice to be able to be able to put all my writing energy into my final papers.   

Reading– I finally finished Girl, Wash Your Face! Also, in the past month I have read the Sweet Evil trilogy by Wendy Higgins. P.S. I Still Love You by Jenny Han, and I feel like I am forgetting one. Maybe I’m not. I’ve been picking up my reading game! I’m almost back to where I used to be a few years ago when I used to inhale books. It was good times. I’ve also been really into audiobooks lately. So I’m going to do a listening section.

Listening– I finished the Dark Elements series I was listening to back in May. I also listened to the Moon and More by Sarah Dessen (P.S. she is my FAV author). Currently I’m listening to Listen to Your Heart by Kasie West. (I inhaled every single book she had available at my library last year in three weeks. Love her!) I also have started to listen to podcasts more often! Currently I’m really into Rise by Rachel Hollis and Live Free Creative by Miranda Anderson. I’ve been following Miranda on Instagram for a year or so now, she is super inspiring and is very good at giving practical steps to problems. Rachel Hollis is awesome and I loved her book so listening to her podcasts just gives me the same motivation and feelings her book did, so it’s all good stuff. 

Watching– Descendants & Descendants 2! Hubby and I ran across the first one right before the second one was released a few years ago (maybe last year?) and fell in love with the movies. Disney movies just have a way of sucking you in. We had some of the songs on a playlist we made last year. I pulled up this playlist to listen to in the car one day, one of the songs from the soundtrack came on and my son has been asking for the “chill song” (Chillin’ like a Villain) ever since. So, we bought the movies and have been keeping it on repeat while we are home. In my heart lives a 5 year old. I’m okay with it.

I’m still hooked on Designated Survivor and am almost done with the first season. I’m also watching the West Wing. Basically, I love dialogue driven political shows. Oh, and technically I watch Friends every night sooooo that is what I am watching.

Writing– A lot of drafts of my papers for my classes this term! Gosh, I am writing more for those than I am writing for myself. Last month I mentioned I was pulling out a project I set aside 6 years ago. Well, I put that project back on the shelf and now I am working on another project I started, this one was about 4 years ago, and stopped for whatever reason. It is sort of a memoir project, but I know that is what I need to be writing right now so I dusted off that project and now I’m working on it from the beginning. Instead of editing the almost 20,000 words I had, I’m just started from the beginning and using the first draft, I guess you could call it, as a bouncing point. I’m working from a different angle this time so I am really excited to see where it goes. 

Other– I’m getting ready for our 4th of July BBQ. Independence Day is my favorite holiday and I light all the sparklers. This year is my first year having a backyard and a grill and all the adult things that makes having parties easier. (Apartments and parties are a tad rough. At least my old apartment was.) So I’ll be writing about that one soon, after my birthday party & book launch party I still need to write about. I just like parties, okay. I went to event planning school for a reason. 🙂 

Tell me what is going on in your life! I love writing posts like this, seeing all the details of my life in the current state. It’s pretty cool. 

Currently- May Edition

General- Last time I wrote this post I had said it was officially summer in Vegas. Vegas wanted to make me a liar because I don’t think we’ve seen 90 degrees in weeks. There has been a lot of wind and a lot of rain and low temps for this time of year. I am the last one to complain, I’ll take whatever that holds the heat off for a little bit longer. 

My son and I just got back from a trip to California to see family and go to Universal Studios. It was Little Man’s first trip there. We had so, so, so much fun. Take trips with your kids, even when they are little. Will he remember this trip? No idea. I will though and this memory makes my heart fill up to the top with joy. I will be writing a post all about our trip in the next week or so. We came home Sunday and spent Memorial Day getting ready for the week and hanging out with each other. Plus spending time with our animals. (They missed us while we were gone.) 

I recently got a Cricut and this device has changed my whole crafting world. I’ve always wanted one and I finally just bit the bullet and got the Explore One. I’ve been making things like crazy ever since. I made the shirts my son and I wore to Universal. I made my mother-in-law her mother’s day gifts. Plus I’m working on how to make my own journals because that has been a dream of mine for years. I’m super excited to see all the things I can make with it. (Shoutout to my friend who has been helping me navigate this sucker too!) 

Reading- I’ve put Windwitch on hold while I focus on reading Girl Wash Your Face. I was reading these books last month but I still haven’t finished. I’m working on re-working reading into my schedule. Now that I’m all caught up on Gray’s Anatomy I don’t need to binge watch as much. On my trip I listened to audiobooks. So I just finished “White Hot Kiss” by Jennifer L Armentrout. It’s a series about a girl who is part warden / part demon. Very interesting, slightly steamy (if you are into that sort of thing.), and overall a great story. I’m halfway through the second book, Stone Cold Touch right now. I’ll probably keep listening while I drive to work and things. It isn’t as easy for me to listen to audiobooks at home.

Watching- I literally just finished watching the Captain Underpants movie with Little Man. He’s been asking a lot lately to watch things with me so I try to say yes when I can. Tonight after dinner we watched the movie before getting ready for bed. I’m also watching Designated Survivor on Netflix. This is the show I am binging now. Season three will drop on Netflix soon so I’ll be busy with this show for a minute. It is very intense and every time you think you know what to expect or you think you finally get what is happening, another twist gets thrown in and makes my heart race. It is SO GOOD. 

Other– I am officially on week four of this term which means I am almost halfway to the end of term! This term is rocky for me. I have one class that makes me want to rip my eyeballs out when I work on the coursework. The other class I am taking is Mythology and that has my interest like nobody’s business. I’ve always been interested in mythology, mainly greek mythology. We’re going over greek mythology along with other cultures. I just did some reading about the Hindu goddess of death and she is quite interesting. It is also sparking ideas for me for one of my writing projects so that is super helpful. 

Writing- Speaking of writing, my book is officially published and I am now having to ask myself what is next. I am brainstorming some journaling plan ideas. I’ve also decided to go back to a writing project that I’ve technically been working on for six years. I currently have 20,000-ish words. I’m about to start editing it and maybe even doing an outline and I am solely focused on this writing project outside of journaling things. When I started this project six years ago I had big plot plans and just never found the time to write. Now that I’m in a better habit of writing, I want to finish this project and do all the plot things. The main characters won’t leave me alone and now feels like the time for this project. It’s a YA novel, if you are wondering what type of project it is. It will be completely different than the journaling devotional I just published. However, I don’t know if I will be publishing this project. I am writing it for me, because the characters are stuck in my head and I want to finish it. The cool thing about writing is that you don’t have to publish everything you write. 

So what about you? What are you reading and watching and doing in general every day life?

Easter

I love the holidays. I even get excited over National Pet day. I make a big deal out of holidays, I have traditions for all of them. We always pull out Christmas decorations the day after Thanksgiving and spend the morning decorating the house. Since that day is also Black Friday, we wait till the afternoon to leave the house and brave the stores to pick out a new ornament for the tree. Each year it is someone’s turn to pick the ornament and they get to pick whatever they want. (It’s my turn this year- my first year, we got a French fry ornament.) For Halloween, I try very hard to come up with cute family costumes but my husband won’t go for the Fairly Oddparents. Halloween also sneaks up on me and I’ll be a week out without a costume for anybody. Maybe this year will be the first year I get ahead of that ballgame.

Easter is an odd holiday for me. I love Easter and I love everything Easter is about. Easter reminds me of the simplicity of my salvation and makes me grateful. The sacrifice wasn’t simple but it’s a simple fact because Jesus sacrificed himself, I’m saved. However, I never know what to do for the holiday. Every year has been different. We don’t really have traditions when it comes to Easter. I don’t even remember what traditions we had when I was a kid. I remember egg hunts in the backyard. I have also found photographic evidence of really tight ponytails, dresses and an Easter bunny in an old photo. That tells me that things happened as a kid, I just don’t remember a lot of pomp and circumstance around it.

I’m a traditions person. I like having traditions and knowing what to expect for each holiday. This year, for Easter I was going to plan a semi-big deal and have an Easter party and invite everybody and their mother over. It was a solid plan. It was also a plan I never started putting to paper. Now, I am writing a blog post that I planned a month ago for this weekend because I was supposed to have all the Easter plans.

Easter has sprung up on me. Instead of scrambling to try and make the most perfect Easter I have ever seen, I think I’m gonna wing it. I’m going to check out the Easter events happening around my city and see what one I think my son will have the most fun at. Maybe we won’t even leave the house on Easter. Anything is possible. The one thing I know I won’t be doing is stressing about the things I need to do. In fact, deciding to wing it just took a thing off my to-do list.

One thing we’ll for sure have is an easter egg hunt. Before we started the no spending challenge, I got some easter stuff, like plastic eggs so he could have an easter egg hunt in our backyard. I’m going to celebrate that we have a backyard to have egg hunts in.

Happy Easter everybody! Tell me about your plans! I’ll fill you in on what we decided to do later.

STOP!

Let’s just dive into this one, shall we? Last week I talked about being content and how I believe real happiness lies in being content. One of the ways you can learn to be content in your circumstances is to stop doing the things that make you miserable! I mentioned it a little bit in the last post but I am diving into this more today.

What do I mean by stop doing the things that make you miserable? Exactly that. I mean it verbatim, STOP doing the things that make you miserable. I already know some of you reading this might be thinking, “yeah, Ashleigh, it isn’t that simple.” You could already be rolling your eyes and think that I clearly live in a fantasy land where unicorns prance around if I can say something like that.

I don’t live with unicorns but I do believe it is that simple. Quit the things that make you miserable. Quit allowing the things that make you miserable enter your life. I think we are too busy getting caught up in expectations that don’t matter and that is what makes us feel like we cannot stop doing the things that make us miserable. What kind of expectations? Expectations we put on ourselves based on what we think others will think. Expectations placed on us by other people. For me, a lot of my expectations of myself come from my inner critic which ends up repeating the same lies that I heard as a kid. Let me repeat that, my expectations come from lies I heard as a kid. I kept saying yes to everything asked of me, even if I was drowning in my to-do list because I thought that people only loved me because of what I could do. I expected myself to do all the things possible. If I did all the things, all the people would love me. This idea the people only loved me because I was the yes girl, was a lie. A huge lie. A lie that I still struggle with today and I am fully aware it is a lie. A lie that was making me miserable. I was saying yes to things that I had no business doing. I was saying yes to things because a need was brought to my attention. It wasn’t even my need to address or a need I could fix but there I was, trying to meet it when I should have stayed in my lane. My saying yes to everything probably hurt other people too. The people those yeses were meant for. How is someone going to step up if I’m stepping up for them? I think quickly, I can make plans quickly, I might have been saying yes to a thing meant for someone else, that person just needed a minute to get to the yes and I was already saying yes before the complete problem was presented. Just because I think fast and I feel like silence is the enemy, doesn’t mean I should have opened my mouth. Silence can be a good thing. Silence is where people can grow. Silence is where I am learning to grow. I am learning to be okay with silence and allow silence to work on other people.

Everything in our lives are choices we make. There is nothing in our lives that we HAVE to do or say yes to. Wait, we have to sleep, breathe, eat and drink water. Those are the ONLY things you absolutely have to do. Mainly because these things are proven to keep you alive. Outside of that, you don’t have to do anything. You don’t have to keep the friend who is constantly putting you down. You don’t even have to stay in contact with the family that only has negative things to say about you. The key to this is your “why.” Why do you hang out with this person that only can say negative things about you and everything else in life? Is that person bringing joy to your life? Is this person there for you when you need? Or have you been friends with this person for so long that you don’t think you could stop? Is this an obligation? If you have an obligation that is sucking your soul dry and you constantly wish you could get out of it, stop saying yes to it.

This also goes for your job. If your job makes you miserable, stresses you out to unhealthy levels, the people are awful, whatever it is that makes you hate your job- get out! Why are you staying there? It is 2019, and money is a valid reason but I don’t believe it is a good reason to work a job that you are miserable at. There are other jobs that you can do to make money. You can probably start your own business out of something you are passionate about. There is no job that is easy, you will have to work hard, it just depends on who is benefiting from your work.

The problem with being miserable is that you are not only affecting you. Everybody and everything around you is feeling your misery in some way. If you are working in customer service and you hate your job, every customer will be able to tell by your body language, your attitude and how you speak about your job. I went to a furniture store once to get dining room chairs, the salesman helping us didn’t say a single nice thing about the company he worked for. He messed up our order multiple times and was constantly saying bad things about this place. He had an awful attitude. I wanted to say forget the chairs and leave because it wasn’t worth the environment we were in at that time, plus we were at the store until after closing because of the mistakes that were made. He clearly hated his job and didn’t care about it. His lack of caring wasn’t affecting him, it was affecting me and my family as we tried to buy something. By the time I said we should just forget the chairs, the order was already placed and “we were almost done” (we weren’t). I decided to tough it out and I toughed it out for an hour after that. Now, we are never going back to that store again because of the awful experience we had with that salesman. In a lot of cases, when you are at your job and you are dealing with the public or people in general, you will be the face for your company, your department or your job. Everything about your job, department or company will be judged by you. Are you the face that should be that sort of representation? If you hate your job, probably not. Just think, if you are at a job that makes you miserable, you probably don’t stop being miserable the second you are off. You most likely carry that misery with you to whatever is next.

It took me a long time to realize this but it is okay to say no. It is okay to decide something else is more important to you than whatever might be being asked by someone else. Saying yes to something is a no to something else. If you are always wondering why you can’t seem to do the things you enjoy, take a look at where all your yeses are and where the yes to yourself lies. If you put yourself last, others will too. We worry about the habits we might be showing our kids and that is important. We also need to be looking at how we treat ourselves. Your treatment of yourself will be the standard others will see in how to treat you. If you are constantly tearing yourself down, what tells others that it isn’t okay to do it too?

This is getting to be really long and I probably need to get off of my soapbox. I just wanted to share some thoughts on this. Life is about balance, not everything is going to make us happy or as Marie Kondo puts it- spark joy. However, we have the choice and the power to say no to things that make us absolutely miserable. Life is too short to be miserable all the time. The kids who are seeking to live their best life might be onto something.