24, Dear Lolly

A Ponder On Purpose

October 25, 2015
M_Singer Afraid of living_camifletcher.com

I’m exhausted from learning 24/7. Where’s the art? Where’s the stuff that’s soul purpose is to be beautiful and inspire? Why is it that we only communicate and voice our emotions in safe spaces, if we do it at all. Only when we know for a fact that someone will listen to understand us, instead of judge us, will we free ourselves from the pain in our hearts.

Dear Lolly,

I feel like I’ve lost my voice. Words don’t move me the way they used to. There’s no passion. Which is why I haven’t been writing publicly lately. Although I’ve probably journaled enough for three autobiographies in the last month.

 

I’ve lost my why. And it seems like the more I search for it, the farther away it gets. I’ve been in a serious funk lately. I’ve been losing at life. At least, people have been telling me I’m losing at life, which feels like a punch in the stomach because in the areas that truly matter to me I’m #winning.

 

For the first time, I have a healthy relationship with my real dad. I’ve stopped searching for ways to blame my step-dad for my own issues. My mom and I are beginning to understand and work through our co-dependency — together. I’ve opened my eyes to how much my 15-year-old brother has to teach me, and how precious it is to have an older sister who always seems to have the perfect advice because she went through it first.

 

I’m in a relationship that takes my breath away, with a man who lets me be me — no matter how ridiculous Cami may be that day (and let me tell you… even I have a hard time wrapping my head around the words that come out of my mouth sometimes). Still, he never tries to force me into some expectation of what a girlfriend is supposed to be.

 

For the first time in my life, I feel unconditional love. The kind that just comes to you for being you. The kind that you don’t have to sacrifice pieces of yourself for. It’s a funny feeling when you realize that that kind of love can only come from you.  From loving yourself. If I don’t have compassion and love for myself how can I give it to another?

 

I can’t. 

 

I’m beginning to realize something, Lolly. You, me, and every woman on Earth are all a unique combination of life. We’re each beautifully complex. Built from an architecture of emotions, experiences, and characters. Aligning the life you live on the outside with who you are, truly madly deeply on the inside, is the only way you will ever feel fulfilled. At least I know this to be true in my experiences growing as a woman. Do men feel this way? I have no idea because I’m not one. And that’s okay. Men are beautiful and complex in ways that are true to them, too.

 

Once we let go of all of the masks and unnecessary expectations we put on ourselves, when we no longer seek approval and validation from anyone other than ourselves, to be ourselves, we start to radiate. Simply by being who we were put on this earth to be.

 

You were put on Earth to be someone, Lolly. You are here for some mysterious and profound purpose that you will never really understand — and I feel like on some level that’s the point. The purpose of your life is to live it.

M_SingerLifePurpose

How deeply unsettling is that?

 

We’re all trying to discover what it is we’re here to do. But we get so caught up in trying to become something, that we forget to enjoy the most important part of it all. The journey of becoming it.

 

Maybe the journey of life… IS the purpose of it.

 

Here’s something for you to ponder… Is our life purpose the result of our journey?
Or, is it all of the experiences in-between it took to get there?

 

After trying to figure out my purpose for the last 5 years, my advice to you is this:

Ignore people that claim to know how you will find your purpose. Only you can do that by getting off of your computer and living your life.

24, Dear Lolly

Bad Bosses, Bitches, and Bullies: Lessons on Forgiveness

September 16, 2015
dear lolly - camifletcher.com

Dear Lolly,

Originally, my plan was to start this post with..

“Let’s talk about shitty people.”

 

But, as usual it’s evolved into something a lot more than just a rant about an old boss. I’ve been wanting to write about this for almost 2 years now. It’s been festering inside of me for that long, and I haven’t been able to find the right words. Up until now, they’ve been angry words. Vengeful words.

 

And if there’s one thing I’ve learned it’s that wherever I have feelings of anger toward anyone lies something a lot deeper that needs my attention.

 

And away we we go…

 

 

About a week or so ago, an old friend messaged me on Facebook asking a question about my old job and why I really Ieft. As in my personal reasons for resigning — not professional. It’s kind of sad how personal feelings get shunned when we enter the real world, because everything has to be professional. But let’s stay focused on the topic at hand.

Needless to say, that message resurrected some un-dealt with feelings that have been gnawing at my insides. It’s funny how the past creeps up on us when we least expect it. Especially when we try and sweep old emotions under the rug — and then lie to ourselves about how it’s just water under the bridge.

Until one day, it’s not.

I find myself really giving the whole forgiveness thing a solid go these days. After all, according to my Numerology (I’m an 11 life path) it’s one of my major life lessons. I’ve never understood what that really means and I don’t think I ever will… maybe that’s the beauty of forgiveness.

One thing I have come to terms with regarding forgiveness is that it doesn’t mean we have to be BFF’s with people who’ve treated us like shit. However, it does mean that we’re free to let go of any attachment to them at any time. Forgiveness is more like cutting ourselves loose from the chains of anger and resentment. It’s acknowledging what happened and then, instead of looking for someone to blame — looking at yourself.

joseph brodsky quote CAMIFLETCHER.COM

Why does it keep happening to me?

Why this person?

Why now?

and most importantly…

What can I do to remove this shit from my life?

When we take full responsibility for ourselves — the only thing we have total control over in life — we begin to not only recognize what’s happening, we understand why. And that, my dear, holds the solution to a lot of life’s problems. The bad things that happen to us aren’t meant to break us down, they’re more like little love notes from the Universe saying:

“Dear Cami,

You missed something important here and it needs your attention ASAP!

Love,
God, Goddesses, The Universe, (insert belief that fits for you here)

P.S. It’s going to keep happening until you decide to put on your big girl panties and deal with it.”

 

You see, Lolly, when we let ourselves get so hung up on being seen as the victim.. we’re only hurting ourselves by letting whatever shitty thing that happened in the past echo into the future… over and over again. As much as I want this letter to be about all of the ways an old boss belittled and took advantage of me, I refuse to be my own victim anymore. The only way that shitty people can have such a hold on your life is if you let them. If you don’t set boundaries on how others treat you, then they’ll take it upon themselves to do it for you. And it will be a constant cycle until you either stand up for yourself and remove them from your life, or they suck you dry.

 

I’ve been sucked dry. Many times. And it’s a very painful experience to go through — emotionally and physically. But what I’ve learned is that I let it all happen. Every f*cking time. I’ve been allowing people to come into my life and take charge because I’ve been too who knows what to do it for myself.

 

To be completely honest, I let it get to the point where I felt completely inadequate— incapable of doing my job, which rippled out into my personal life and my entire self-esteem plummeted. I desperately wanted to find a new job but didn’t think anyone would ever want to hire a terrible employee like me.

 

Which I now see is absolute bull shit. I gave each and every day of that job everything I had. I did my absolute best, and I still do. And really that’s all you can ever do. But when you’re in this kind of emotional state — feeling absolutely worthless, it’s easy to fall for the next vampire waiting in the wings. After two or three times you begin to see the pattern; things get a lot better… and then before you know it you’re right back where you started.

 

I think the real lesson I’ve learned after 24 years on this planet is this: If you won’t make yourself and your dreams a priority? No one else will, either.

 

And you will constantly run into these types of people. That just clicked for me as I’m writing this. I went from having one unhealthy relationship to the next thinking each person was my ticket out. Instead of trusting and listening to myself, I looked to other people to tell me what to do. I actually listened to things like…

 

“You’re supposed to hate your internships and first couple of jobs out of college.”

 

“You’re supposed to let work consume your life and be treated like shit because you’re entry-level and your degree doesn’t actually do anything for you other than get you in the door.”

 

And what’s it all for? A paycheck.

 

Ew.

 

A lot of women growing up in my generation end up working for people who feel entitled to take over our time because they’re paying us. It’s like we have something to prove in order to be taken seriously. It scares the shit out of me to think people exist on this planet who actually believe that as your boss, they OWN you. UHM HELLO, didn’t we abolish slavery EONS ago?

Lolly, your TIME is the most precious currency of your life.

 

Back to this whole forgiveness thing…

 

By now I’m sure you’ve run into your fair share of bosses, bitches, and bullies. And as beautiful as it is to be able to forgive them, first we have to accept that they are who they are.  And it has nothing to do with you. But you have to be able recognize these people in order to avoid them… So here are my experiences and I hope you can learn from them without having to go through it on your own.

 

How to spot Bad Bosses, Bitches, and Bullies:

 

They have passive aggressive ways of handling conflict.

It got to the point where I’d cringe and break down into tears whenever I opened my inbox or got a text message. After a while, I felt like I couldn’t do anything right. It seemed like every conversation took place just to blame me for a mistake — whether it was mine or not.

 

They have no respect for personal boundaries.

On top of being in the office from 8 am – 5 pm, I got texts after 10 pm that could wait until regular office hours, and I was expected to be available 24/7 at a whim. If I left my phone at home on the weekend I almost always came back to 3 or 4 text messages, and when I responded saying I didn’t have my phone with me I was extremely irresponsible.

 

No respect for people in general.

It felt like I was constantly being belittled. I was the scapegoat, or used to set an example for other employees. It was all very confusing— one minute I was getting praised for doing fantastic work, and the next I was in the dog house. Looking back now with more experience working for other companies I see that it wasn’t a healthy environment and can’t believe I put up with it for so long. Things like not getting paid on time are never acceptable. Unfortunately I didn’t learn this lesson until I was down to $10 in my bank account and 4 days late being paid. I realized     I could either be broke and employed by a job that made me cry every morning on my way to work, or I could be broke and unemployed working toward doing something I loved.

I quit that day and never looked back.

 

Why do people act this way? It’s one of life’s great mysteries.

 

Maybe they feel powerless. And in an attempt to mask their own insecurities and feelings of inadequacy, they take it out on you.

Maybe they shut you down because they’re scared.

Maybe they put down your idea because it makes them feel uncomfortable. Let me say that again…
YOUR idea makes THEM uncomfortable.

Maybe they feel like they haven’t done anything significant in their lives, and because they didn’t you shouldn’t, either.

Maybe they state their own personal opinions as facts, and choose to only surround themselves with people who wouldn’t ever think to question them.

Maybe they aren’t actually looking for solutions, and really just want to make their issues someone else’s. It’s okay to say no. To not jump in and save the day and just let them figure it out for themselves.

Maybe they’re just The Gatekeepers who feel like you have to live your life the same way they did. Which means if they had to put up with a miserable job at 24, then you should, too. Except you don’t — It’s funny how often that part gets left out of the conversation.

Maybe, they’re here to make us better people.

 

Don’t let them pull you in with impossible expectations of perfection. They’ll never give you their approval because perfection doesn’t exist. Not to mention it’s boring, exhausting, and, in my non-medical opinion, the root cause of neurosis. Instead of wasting energy worrying and preparing for every possible worst case scenario, it’s so much easier to expect it, accept it, and move on to things that actually matter. Another persons delusional need to be the center of the universe doesn’t have to happen at the sake of your own happiness. Don’t let what you want to be, do, or say get shut down before you even have a chance. Degrees, producers, publishers, editors, certifications, aren’t necessary anymore. We’re living in a different world now with more work-arounds than ever before. Gatekeepers don’t have the influence they used to anymore. F*ck them and go for your dreams anyway.

 

 

And with that I leave you with this…. For every one of those shitty people in life, there’s a hundred others who actually LIKE you. Who love you and want to see you succeed. They even exist outside of your immediate family.

 

You can’t please everyone, you’ll never be liked by everyone, and you’ll never be able to help everyone. But you can always please yourself, you can always like yourself, and you can always help yourself.
Which is ironically the best thing you can do for everyone else.

Here is my own personal Open Letter of Forgiveness to all of the people who’ve treated me poorly, along with a couple of articles that inspired me. I’m hoping that finally publishing this post will be the catalyst for some necessary change in my life. I’ll keep you updated on whether that happens or not…

http://www.brainpickings.org/2013/12/18/joseph-brodsky-speech-at-the-stadium-commencement/

http://www.jamesaltucher.com/2011/06/how-to-deal-with-crappy-people/

Letter of Forgiveness_hoponoho

 

 

 

 

 

24, Dear Lolly

Heartbreak Can Transform You or Consume You. Choose Wisely.

August 6, 2015
MarianneWilliamson_Himility Quote

Dear Lolly,

There really is nothing more painful in life than heartbreak. We all go through it at one point or another. I went through it a year and a half ago, someone I love dearly is going through it right now.

 

The thing is, we all go through it — each in our own very personal, very painful, way. These are our dark moments. We could never appreciate the moments of love and happiness if we didn’t have the dark ones.

 

These moments are the most powerful. They force you to make a decision… to either stand up and fight, or, spend your life as a victim of circumstance.

 

These moments have the power to transform us. Whether it’s a sudden break-up or losing your job unexpectedly, they happen for reasons we’ll never know. And they will keep happening over, and over, and over, again until we have the balls to stand up for ourselves and make a change.

 

It’s beautiful when you think about it.

 

That we all have a story inside haunting us from our past. One that’s so painful, so critical, in how we became who we are today. When we chose to fight.

 

The beauty happens when we look at these dark moments from our past and can finally see them as moments of strength and inspiration, not pain and regret. When we change our role from “Damsel in Distress” to “The Heroine.”  The woman who said, “EFF YOU ASS HOLE I’M BETTER THAN THAT. I DON’T NEED YOU TO CHOOSE ME — I F*CKING CHOOSE ME.”

 

That’s when we change our story.

 

I feel that any opportunity we have to speak our truth is worth the risk. I believe that words, stories, and the Internet, are all very powerful things. When we’re vulnerable enough to tell our story to the world, the Internet has a way of helping our words find the ones who need them the most. We heal ourselves and others when we share our stories from darkness.

 

I’ve been avoiding getting into the nitty gritty of this past year for reasons I’m not sure about. I’ve been struggling moving forward despite my enthusiasm and new found clarity on who I want to be, and I think I’ve figured out why.

 

Fear. Maybe shame. I’m afraid, and honestly a little ashamed of resurrecting the girl I “used” to be. But she’s still there, I can still feel her weighing down my heart.

 

So throwing all caution to the wind, here’s my story. From one of the darkest, most defining, years of my life to date, in all it’s glory.

 

Lolly, I want you to know this story because it’s about a time when I decided to fight. 2014 is the year I took back my life and I hope it inspires you to somehow turn the hardest experiences into opportunities to create the life you’ve always dreamed of.

And away we go…

ZoraNeale Quote

My Transformation Story – Part 2: The Heartbreak

(Because a lot of f*cking transformation has happened over the last two years…  there’s no order in the timeline of my story because it’s all relevant at any time. There are things that happened before this that I hope to find the courage to share with you when I’m ready, and when it feels right.)

 

It was New Years Eve of 2014. I had lived in Charleston for 6 months and still didn’t know a soul. It’s sad, looking back and realizing how much I had let my relationship keep me away from the rest of the world. I was scared to do things on my own. I had lost all confidence in myself.

I had forgotten how to be my own person. My now ex would leave for weeks at a time and go back to Florida to work, and I literally did nothing besides go to work, come home, watch Hulu — and drink ungodly amounts of wine. And I even thought, “man, was I living the good life.”

On January 4, 2014 I was sitting in the living room of my one-bedroom apartment and saw a Facebook message I wasn’t supposed to see, saying something no one should say about the person they care about, to someone they shouldn’t be sending messages to in the first place.

 

My heart shattered instantly.

 

(REAL TALK: no person who truly cares about you would ever do anything to make you feel this way.. if only I had known that then.)

 

Then it all began… I’ll never forget bringing it up to him, desperate for any sort of reassurance that he loved me and didn’t mean what he said. Instead, he looked me in the eye and said, “well it (the message) is true.”

 

My stomach dropped. All I could do was grab my keys, get in my car, and drive to the ocean. I parked at a beach access on Folly Beach and walked down to the bottom of the stairs, sitting in silence, too numb for tears. I think a part of me was hoping for my fairytale movie scene. You know, the one where the guy magically tracks me down and tells me how much he loves me and never wants to lose me, and then we go on living happily ever after.

 

That definitely didn’t happen. 

 

When I finally got myself together enough to drive back to my apartment, he was almost finished packing up his truck. Words can’t even begin to describe the feeling when your heart shatters and the realization hits that you’re going to be left all alone in a city where you don’t know anyone, by the person who’s supposed to love you for the rest of your life.

 

My emotions came in waves. There was silence, followed by sobbing, yelling, and sadly begging. I literally fell to my knees and begged for him to stay. I was so angry. So broken.

 

And then, it was all over. I was left standing there watching him drive away, paralyzed with disbelief. I’ll never forget calling my mom curled up in the fetal position sobbing in my living room feeling absolutely numb.

How could he do this?

How will I get through this??

Are you kidding me?!?

You don’t get it MOM I will never be able to get through this!

MY LIFE IS OVER.

 

I don’t think I had ever heard my mom sound so scared, thinking about what I might do to myself 8 hours away from home with no one to turn to for support. And that’s when it happened. That’s when I realized I had a choice.

 

It was in that moment that I vowed never to feel that way again. I texted an old sorority sister I hadn’t reached out to since I had moved there and, thankfully, she took pity on me and invited me out with her friends. I didn’t stay out very long, but dammit I did it. That tiny step was the biggest step in the right direction I’d taken for myself, besides moving to Charleston in the first place.

 

In that moment I reclaimed my life. I refused to let some asshole ruin me. I made a choice. I could have admitted defeat and run home with my tail between my legs, but I chose to fight for myself. For the girl who had dreams of living in Charleston since she was 18 — since before some boy had even come into her life.

 

I used to be fearless. Confident. I marched to the beat of my own drum and didn’t give a shit about what people thought. I was so caught up in my relationship with another person that I forgot about the most important relationship of all – the one with myself.

 

I had neglected me for so long that I didn’t even realize it until one day I looked in the mirror and couldn’t recognize the timid, depressed, ghostly pale girl looking back at me. I made it even worse by making the terrible mistake of stepping on the scale, seeing a number 20 lbs heavier than I had ever weighed in my life. I remember thinking, “Who the f*ck was this sad, lonely, 150-pound stranger?”

 

And then, the magic happened.. and it kept happening. And as I sit here on the other side, having made it through the unknown, nothing makes me more proud than to be able to say that I f*cking fought.

 

It wasn’t easy. I was lonely and taking anti-depressants for a little while. But then I met my friend Jordyn and one day I decided that I didn’t need to take them anymore. Going home to an empty apartment was lonely, so I started working out after work. Then I started making friends at the gym, which made me workout even more because I enjoyed being around people more than I hated working out. Then the more I worked out, the more working out started sucking less and less.

 

I moved out of my apartment and into a house on Spring Street with people I had never met. It ended up being the best decision of my life. The more I put myself out there and did the things I was scared to do, the more my confidence grew. The more vulnerable I was with myself and the people around me, the friendlier life got.

 

By the end of 2014 I can truthfully say that at 24 I am not the same person I was when I was 22. Not just physically, but emotionally, mentally and spiritually.

Transformation_Charleston

Left: 2013 Right: 2014

 

 

Your heart will be broken. It will be so broken that for the first time there won’t be words that can possibly describe the pain — the ache in your soul. But, trust me when I say that it’s going to be the best thing that’s ever happened to you. Stay in there, you’re so strong and you will rise from the brokenness, radiating more beautiful, more YOU, than ever before.

 

It’s a crazy feeling when your world starts to fall apart. When the person you care about more than anything cuts you so deep. Deep enough that you would give anything to avoid feeling the unspeakable sadness you know is coming your way.

 

Heartbreak is one thing that is so unbelievably powerful in dictating the direction of our lives.

 

David Whyte Quote

 

 

It’s sad to see how many of us avoid it at all costs, even if it means staying with someone who’s slowly breaking you from the inside out. There are so many reasons that flood our minds as to why we should stay with people who don’t deserve us. Especially when we’re this close to walking away.

 

Please, please, please. Find the strength to walk away. Don’t be afraid of starting over. If a relationship with your boyfriend/husband/best friend is no longer lifting you up, then LET. THAT. SHIT. GO. If you don’t you’ll be putting up with it for the rest of your life.

 

Do you want to live everyday just putting up with life?

 

HELL NO.

 

Create space for someone better. Because you deserve the world and love that’s greater than all the stars in the skies.

 

I know someone who’s this close. And when you find yourself in this position, I hope you can find the strength to walk away. I hope you choose a love that captivates your heart and unravels your soul. I hope you refuse to give people the power to choose shitty love for you.

 

Love is already within you. When you choose love, love will damn sure choose you right back. If you’re looking for it in someone else you will never find it. No one can choose you, only you can choose you.

I hope that YOU choose YOU — right now.

 

The ending of a chapter is the most important. It’s the foundation for the next chapter. It’s what we leave behind — the people, the relationships — that leave the scars we carry from our past. Always remember that YOU decide how each chapter ends in the story of your life.

 

You also decide how each chapter begins.

 

You don’t have to let your past follow you into the next chapter. Even if when they come running back to you. Because believe me, they always do.

 

 

I stumbled onto this article from Brain Pickings about David Whyte and the journey of heartbreak and belonging, which is where a lot of my inspiration came from for writing this. It’s definitely worth the read.

 http://www.brainpickings.org/2015/04/06/david-whyte-the-journey-house-of-belonging/

 

 

24, Dear Lolly

What Makes You Itch?

July 31, 2015
sTAY yOUND STAY FOOLISH

Dear Lolly,

I’m really struggling with anxiety right now.

And I mean right now, as I’m writing this sentence. In fact, I’ve been battling with myself all day about what I should be working on in order to avoid getting in trouble. And I’ve just realized it’s 5 pm and I haven’t actually “finished” much of anything. I’ve STARTED lots of different things that people want me to do though… does that count for anything?

No, Cami. Unfortunately, it does not.

I’m mostly writing about this to you, Lolly, in case you ever feel this way — but a small piece of me is also writing this as a cry for help. In hope for a little understanding.

Does life have to be this f*cking complicated? Does anyone else feel like this? I don’t bother trying to explain what’s going on inside of my head very often because the blank stares I get in response are enough to make me feel like a crazy person.

Honestly, this is and always has been a huge inner struggle for me. I hate that I can’t trust myself to get the most menial things done. I hate that every day is filled with a mental tornado of unfinished to-do lists, guilty thoughts, and constantly feeling like I wasted another day NOT DOING the very things I woke up determined to make my biatch.

 

And as if it’s not enough that I’m beating my own self up about it, I get to hear it from the people outside of my head, asking “where’s A? I need that when you finish C. By the way, how’s B coming along?” And not just from the people who are standing in front of you. There’s also the people living inside the emails, text messages, and cell phones that need our instant attention.

 

I just can’t do it anymore.

 

Where did the boundaries go? The more I pull away and stick up for how I’m choosing to live my life, the more people try to control me or bog me down with their shit.

 

These days I find that my “ambition” to work is practically nonexistent. It used to be there, I swear. I wanted, and was well on my way to achieving, a successful career kicking ass every day making a name for myself. I got my dream job — twice!

 

But now? I don’t want that. I don’t want a life defined by what I do for a living. I’m sick of trying to conform to a lifestyle that’s outdated. I know there are other people feeling the same way out there, somewhere.

 

Life today is not the same as it was 20+ years ago. Why are we so stuck on doing things the way they’ve always been done? Why do we have to go to college and then take any entry-level job we can get just so we can work 60+ hour weeks for a salary that doesn’t even cover our cost of living. And don’t get me started on the student loan debt we acquire before we can even get to that point.

 

If I hadn’t been able to get my monthly payments lowered I would be paying almost $500/month. And that’s nothing compared to most of my generation. That’s almost an entire month’s rent! No wonder college grads are moving back in with their parents. (I just did, too, after getting a full-time job and still not being able to afford life… another story for another day.)

 

Is that what they mean when they say independence? Having a grown-up job and living on your own, but still having to depend on your parents to be able to afford it? Both the salary and the parental support comes with some sort of obligation. When did work and money start taking up 80% of our lives? When did it become more important than our personal time? Time for passions and relationships?

 

There’s a lot of negative talk today about how “those damn Millennials, they just want to be entrepreneurs because they don’t want to do the real work. When really — we just want the freedom to structure our own lives.

 

I can’t blame anyone else for where I am right now because I let myself be held captive by conformity. That being said, I also can’t allow myself to keep conforming.

 

I haven’t been able to make myself start blogging because I thought that if I was going to be a blogger, then I had to have a brand, and after obsessing about learning everything I needed to know to create my brand, I still couldn’t be a blogger because then I needed the credentials that say I’m allowed to write about the things I want to write about… because without them I have no right to think what I’m thinking.

 

How discouraging is that?

 

We grow up in a world where the odds are stacked against us before we even have a chance to think otherwise.

 

The reason I’m feeling so much anxiety lately is because, right now? I have a choice. I can either embrace the “not knowing” and trust myself enough to get through it, or go home running back to what’s already been laid out for me by other people.

 

I’ve decided I’m f*cking starting. I’m starting in black and white — and letting life color me from the inside out.

 

There are moments I get scared and think about getting back into social media just for the money, but then I ask myself: “will this really give me the inner peace I’m looking for?”

 

Despite what people tell me about how fun working in social media should be, is it truly right for me? Absolutely not.

 

At least not right now. 

 

I want to write everyday. I want to dream and contemplate the mysteries of life with people I can learn from. I want to make pretty things. I want to sing and make music. I want to somehow make a bunch of money so I can give it away to as many people as possible.

 

Sure I could teach and coach people on how to do social media for themselves, but currently I don’t give two shits about social media like I used to. And me half-assing my contribution to the world for a paycheck doesn’t do any of us any good.

 

Marianne Williamson Quote

 

Do you know what I do give two shits about?

 

Empowering the women my age who feel the same way to talk about it. To take charge of your life! I’m passionate about taking the time to find yourself and figure out what lights your f*cking fire, right now. There’s nothing more powerful than a woman who knows exactly who she is and what she wants — and then fucking goes for it.

 

Realizing this in your twenties will change how you live your life. Lolly, if I’m ever not a living, breathing example of that then you have my permission to slap me. Consider this as my parental consent.

 

This Alan Watts video found me when I needed it most, and if you’ve graduated college recently like I have, I wish I could tied you down just to make sure you watch it. Trust me, it’s 3 minutes that will transform how you look at your life.

 

Tell me, what makes you itch from the inside out? What would you be doing right now if money were no object?

 

Your age should never put limits on what you believe you can contribute to the world.

Stay young. Stay foolish. Stay dreaming.

 

 

 

 

This post was a product of inspiration from an article written by one of my favorite writers, James Altucher,  and the Alan Watts video above that stopped me in my tracks. 

And maybe even the two painful knots in my upper left shoulder and lower left back, because now that I’m thinking about it, the pain is gone. 

 

 

24, Dear Lolly

Say Yes To Life

July 22, 2015
You are a miracle

Dear Lolly,

The word transition is the only way I can describe my life to date. Life is a constant transition. We’re constantly leaving behind the pieces of ourselves that no longer fit with the person we’re becoming. Whether we’re leaving middle school to take on high school, moving to a new city, or graduating college to begin a career in the real world.

 

If we don’t let go of the past, then there’s no room for us to grow into whom we’re becoming. Not to mention carrying around all of that baggage starts to get really f*cking heavy.

 

Periods of transition are times for us to rest fully in Faith, in God, in something. To stop and reflect on the past, be thankful for the memories, and then say adios to who we used to be. When we create space and open ourselves up to the future — this is when the magic happens.

 

When we get face-to-face with our fears of the unknown and put them to rest once and for all. When we finally let go and, quite literally, let God. There is no growth without goodbyes and the sooner we accept these unconventional moments of clarity for what they truly are, the sooner we find peace.

 

The only way to get to the other side of the unknown is to cross the bridge. By boldly and fearlessly embarking on the bridges of transition, we heal. Bridge by bridge we transform into the person we’re meant to be.

 

I’ve crossed a few bridges over the last 24 years and I know there are plenty more coming my way. And for the first time I’m at peace with that. I’m tired of fighting and trying to control everything in my life. The thing thats sparked my new-found inner peace is Faith. We don’t have to do it all by ourselves.

 

Steve Jobs said it best…
Steve Jobs Quote

You have to trust in something, something much bigger than yourself. Which is scary because it’s something that can’t be seen or quantified. Whatever that source of Faith may be to you, please Lolly, never lose it. For some reason our society today is stuck on quantifying EVERYTHING, which sadly makes this way of living really f*cking unconventional.

 

Not only does transition require us to be bold and fearless, it requires us to be extremely vulnerable.

 

I joined a bible study on a whim 5 weeks ago and it’s completely changed my life. For whatever reason religion has always been uncomfortable for me. It’s a foreign language. Growing up I didn’t go to church on Sundays. I haven’t been baptized. I don’t think I’ve ever really considered having a personal relationship with God. Whatever force it was that was strong enough to pull me completely out of my comfort zone and into a room filled with these women, most of whom I’d never met before, I’m so incredibly thankful.

 

I’ll admit it was hard to make myself go. I was scared they wouldn’t accept me because I know nothing about “textbook” religion. I even chickened out of going to the first one. But week after week it got easier, and Monday night bible study quickly became like therapy for me. It opened my eyes to how beautiful life can be if I just stop trying to control everything, and trust that there’s something working in my favor. Something I can’t see.

An interesting concept was brought up during one of our bible studies about how our relationship with our fathers often depicts our relationship with God. This made a lot of sense to me. My relationships with my dad and step-dad, up until recently, have been… honestly not much of anything. That doesn’t mean that I don’t love them both with all of my heart.

 

My parents divorced right after my 7th birthday. I was raised by my mom to be an independent woman and for that I am so incredibly thankful. I’m a perfectly capable human being and I don’t need a man (or anyone) to do jack shit for me.

 

But being independent only covers the surface of the hole inside of myself that I’ve been unknowingly trying to fill. You can’t step over the hole because you’ll fall through the thin layers you’ve built around it. Then as you’re falling, you realize that hole is deeper than the depths of the ocean that swallowed the Titanic.

 

 

That’s when the bridges miraculously appear. But you have to let them, Lolly, and then you have to actually use them. Stay with me…

 

This specific bible study made me think about how growing up, somewhere between 7 & 10 years old, there was a hesitation in both of my dads. My dad didn’t want to get in the way of my step-dad, and visa-versa. Neither one of them wanted to step on each others toes, and the result was a time of limbo. Neither one of them truly stepped up during those years. To love me, and to tell me that he loved me.

 

I’ve never had a man in my corner to help me when I need it. But then again, I’ve never been one to ask for help when I needed it. I’ve moved out of more apartments and dorms by myself or with my mom than I would like to admit. I’ve never had a father-figure I’ve trusted enough to let my guard down and be vulnerable. I’ve always felt abandoned on some level by men, and maybe up until now, I’ve always felt abandoned by God.

 

LIFE COULD HAVE BEEN SO MUCH EASIER IF I HAD JUST ASKED FOR HELP.

 

But that’s the thing: I’ve never given people the opportunity to help me. I’ve never fully trusted God, or faith, or karma, or anything you could possibly believe in, to intervene in my life.

 

Now I’ve realized that you can’t look to your dad, or to me like I’ve looked to my mom, or to a boy to fill the void of love. You have to love yourself, and know that there’s something out of this world that loves you unconditionally.

 

Lolly, let life love you. Open yourself up to opportunities you never thought possible, because there are so many beautiful things working behind-the-scenes to get you where you’re supposed to be going. Take each sign, no matter how tiny or in your face, and go with it. Cheer every single one on. Welcome each moment with open arms and a grateful heart, then send it on it’s way and get ready because the next one is right around the corner.
Say yes to life. 

 

You are a miracle. Live like it.

 

24, Dear Lolly

Dear Lolly, What Am I Doing? And A Piece of My Story

July 15, 2015
the moment you decide

Dear Lolly,

Isn’t it interesting to think that your name was decided on before you were even born?
I can’t help thinking how weird you probably think I am… writing letters to my daughter years before I would consider myself some-what ready to have offspring. I mean really, why am I doing this? Most of my friends would have a panic attack just thinking about having a kid, or, even more mind blowing… being a mom.

 

I’m not sure exactly why I’m feeling called to write to you at this point in my life or where it’s coming from, but I’m letting go of needing to know why and instead just trusting in whatever it is that God has planned for me.

 

There’s nothing more peaceful than letting go of the need to justify everything you do. I’m writing because it feels good. I’m writing to you because it feels right. I don’t need to explain myself to anyone else. There’s a bond between mother and daughter that’s just not meant to be understood, maybe that’s because it can’t be put into words. I’m very close with my mom and can tell her everything. She’s my rock. The one person I can count on to be there for me — even after my f*ck ups. And believe me, there have been plenty of f*ck ups.

 

She’s been the source of magical solutions to all of my problems. She’s been the only person I’ve trusted in my life. I’ve realized lately that I don’t let people in enough to even give them the opportunity to hurt me. Ironically, by closing myself off to avoid being hurt I’ve closed myself off to love… but we’ll save that conversation for another day.

 

Back to the reason behind Dear Lolly….

A weird thing happens to you in your twenties. You start to live a life where you’re allowed to have your own values. As if that’s not enough to get used to, once you figure out what those values are, you start to see that the things you value aren’t what your parents value — or what your parents expect you to value, too. You’re embarking on uncharted territory, where you’re suddenly allowed to call all the shots.

 

And it’s really f*cking scary.

 

The thing is, we lose so much of ourselves while we’re growing up. Suddenly you’re 22 sitting in a job interview and can’t find an answer to the one question you should know better than anyone else: “So, tell me about yourself.” Trust me… been there, done that.

 

I catch myself turning to my mom for answers to what I need to be doing with my life. When she doesn’t validate whatever it is I’m really seeking, I get frustrated and blame her because it’s a hell of a lot easier than blaming myself.

 

I’m not perfect, Lolly. My life is a hot mess (but really so is everyone else’s so it’s okay). These letters are written from a very vulnerable place for me  – my heart. This is the beginning of my personal rebellion.

 

What that means exactly I have no idea but saying it feels right.

 

There will be times when we don’t get along and I’m dubbed too old to understand. I hope that by showing you every piece of me, even the ones that are cracked and shattered, I can help show you that whatever it is you’re going through right now isn’t the end of the world. We all have our dark parts that we hope never see the light of day, and it’s in those moments that I hope these letters speak to you in the ways I can’t. I hope the words in these letters will love you in the moments you think you’re unlovable.

 

I started writing to you 4 years ago, when I had a hard time connecting with the whole college thing. College just wasn’t me. I didn’t even stick around to walk at my college graduation. Honestly, middle school, high school, and college were periods of my life spent conforming and not voicing what I really thought or how I felt about things. I remember checking myself out of school after being told the nation was lucky I couldn’t vote when I voiced my political preferences during lunch my senior year. Why some feel the need to hurt and alienate others who think differently than they do will forever be a mystery to me.

 

High school and college were so incredibly beautiful and lonely at the same time. I always felt out of place on some level. Like I was on the outside looking in. Observing. Thinking. Contemplating. Waiting. I was waiting to be invited in. To be accepted. And I don’t think it ever really came. I’ve never had a group of girlfriends larger than 8 -10, and I honestly actually liked maybe 4 or 5 of them. I had a lot of guy friends and I freaking loved it. When other girls my age were getting boyfriends I was more interested in astrology and finding the perfect location for an epic slip and slide. (That search continues…)

 

Well, over the last year and a half I’ve realized that no one can accept me… only I can do that. And you know what? Finally, I do accept me — and IDGAF if anyone else does. I’ve never been the type to shove myself down people’s throats. Or put up with bullshit drama. (I’m perfectly okay with peeing by myself… you’ll understand the importance of this as you get older.)

 

Trust yourself to be bigger

 

 

I’ve learned that it’s the times I faced my fear of actually showing myself to people that brought a small, yet significant, number of friendships into my life. Real relationships. With people who support me and with whom I genuinely enjoy spending time with.

 

Growing up being a girl is hard. In my 24 years I’ve noticed that there are basically two types of girls. There are the girls who like to shout who they are at people, while simultaneously trying to convince themselves. And then there are the girls who stand confidently on their own. They have an unspoken understanding of themselves and each other, and have (thankfully) matured passed the petty bullshit. I’ve always deemed this rare breed of women, “the guys girls,” but I think they’re a lot more than that.

 

Anyways… I hope this space manages to find those girls. The girls who don’t need to be in a relationship to feel secure. The girls who show up in life with everything they have. The girls who walk into a room and people f*cking feel it. The girls who don’t shame or judge another woman’s opinion or beliefs into silence. No matter how different hers may be.

 

I hope this space finds women with the wisdom and desire to ask the questions that encourage the conversations their younger selves were unknowingly seeking. Who desire to move to the next level and then keep going.

 

I also hope this space finds the men who love and support these women. Who wish to grow and evolve along with the women they love. To commit whole heartedly to connecting, discovering, inspiring and loving the soul that speaks the same language as theirs. The soul that ignites something indescribable within themselves.

 

I finally accept who I am right now. I think deep down I’ve always known, but right now I’m at peace with this moment.

Until it’s time to transition to the next.

 

24, Dear Lolly

Moments F*cking Matter. Moments Are Your Life.

July 14, 2015
She played with life

Dear Lolly,

Here’s one of 24’s biggest AHA! moments to date…

Forgiveness is a concept that keeps popping in my life… no matter how many times I lie to myself about resolving the things I need to forgive. I get it.

It’s time to forgive. My sister. My family. Myself.

It’s time to give away all of my forgiveness so that I can make room for even more forgiveness. Because life is a whole lot easier when you let things go. There’s a mysterious and beautiful sense of freedom that comes from forgiving. Nothing can tie you down. No one can hurt you. It’s how you get yourself off the hamster wheel that holding grudges keeps you on.

Here we go….

“Cami,

I forgive you for feeling like you’re letting down your family. It’s time to forgive your sister and yourself for feeling so much anger toward her. I’m committed to letting go of negative thoughts and accepting people, my sister, father, mother, strangers, for whom they are.”

 

The thing is, people can’t take away your “things” unless you let them. We must accept that everyone is on their own journey. Some people aren’t where you are yet. You’ve just reached this moment, right now. All of your past moments got you here… to this very second.

 

You have to play with the moments.

You can’t skip the moments.

Moments f*cking matter. Moments are your life.

 

Feel the feelings.
Encourage your own ideas (even especially when others won’t).
Love your journey.
Be conscious of every step.
Why?

Because… it. all. matters.

 

One night while my sister was visiting, I was sitting next to her on the floor in the living room, literally competing for my moms attention at 24 years old. I finally realized that I don’t have to prove myself anymore. By sitting there trying to show that I’m better than my sister at things like breathing… I’m only dragging myself down.

 

All I can do is simply BE. Live my life from a place of love that’s deep within me, the real me, and hold space for others to do the same. I have faith in the direction of my life even though I have no idea where that direction is headed– because now I believe in the world and something much, much greater. For the first time in my life, I’ve accepted faith. (I have an amazing group of women to thank for that, but we’ll save that story for a later date.)

 

Honestly, I have no idea what I’m doing with my life. Even better… I have no idea what I want to be doing with my life. 

 

And right now, that’s ok — despite what everyone else is telling me.

 

The best thing I can do is show up each and every day with everything I’ve got. I can’t force anyone to see things they’re not ready to see. I can’t make others understand things they won’t open their minds to. I can only be me. I can only use my story to shine a light for you (and whomever stumbles upon this when in need) for when you’re ready to take your own leap of faith. The only way for me to do that is to walk my own path and give faith to a greater plan.

 

There will come a time when you reach this point too, Lolly, and I want you to know that IT’S OKAY. Because we all get here eventually. I want to thank the man I just met while working at the Inn for sparking something inside of me to actually write AND publish this. After I took it upon myself to apologize for not being a morning person, he told me it’s actually okay to not be a morning person, and instead of apologizing for it I should be enjoying my youth.

 

So cheers! To being 24, to early morning struggles, and to having no idea what the f*ck we’re doing with our lives.