Metamorphosis

We all have core values…whether we define them more not. One of my core values is that I will always welcome challenges and change.

Recently, I was given an opportunity to host a podcast. About the entertainment industry.

Me.

Someone who honestly…is not a student of entertainment.

Business? Makes sense.

Mindset? For beginners and those who find it challenging. Definitely.

Football? Baseball? Yup.

Fashion? ๐Ÿ™„

Acting? Well…I feel like I deserve an Academy Award for pretending to be an extrovert daily…but I’m more of a “makes the posters for the play” kinda gal.

Music? I appreciate it but I’m still emotionally scarred from being kick out of choir in 8th grade.

But…you see…when I went to college, I studied English because it was harder to me than science and math.

Who am I to say no to a challenge? For an opportunity I’ve been asking to be given for 2 years?

With this challenge comes not only responsibility but change.

You see…it’s time for me to start looking the part. That never occurred to me.

I can’t walk around with messy hair, bags under my eyes and tell people that I represent this company.

Just like you can’t have someone with jacked up teeth working the front desk of a dental office.

When it was subtly suggested to me that I up my “put together” game…I had two choices.

I could be super sensitive and take it personally.

OR

I could understand that, if this is what I truly want, I have to look, dress and act the part.

I love getting my hair done. That’s no secret. But the makeup, clothes and shoes part? That part gives me hives.

And I’m absolutely certain that in a year, I’ll look back on this blog and laugh.

But today…I have to own who I am. Not who I want to be…because I already have everything inside of me that I need to be who I desire to be.

I am that woman already. I just have to step into her. She is me and I am her.

So…now…I just need to find a makeup artist to teach me how to do the things I never really learned.

And a personal stylist who will get me permanently banned from Old Navy ๐Ÿ˜ญ๐Ÿ˜ญ and teach me how to shop in nice stores without sweating.

I have to own who I am.

On tonight’s podcast, my guest talked about how acting kept bumping into her when she was running away.

What keeps bumping into me while I try hiding in a dental office is that I am an influencer of influencers. And to do that, I need to not only change my mindset…but I need to change the way I see myself and present myself.

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Time is invaluable

So…today is my Oma’s birthday.

I miss her…her voice, her soft skin, her stories…

I wish that I would’ve taken the time to appreciate her more…and to *know* her better.

She was a beautiful woman. Everyone who was blessed to know her would tell you how kind, how giving, how funny she was.

You know what else she was?

She was brave.

She left Germany when she met a handsome GI who swept her off her feet…and moved to the US. Around the time of WWII.

A German.

Moved the the US.

In the shadow of WWII.

Let that sink in for a second.

She was strong.

Her husband was in the military and moved. A lot. She had 4 kids.

I can barely take care of my plant…which I need to water today ๐Ÿคช๐Ÿ˜œ

She was so bloody smart. I honestly didn’t see that until later. She was a cook…and she could do calculations like a boss. She could figure out in her head things I can’t with a calculator.

I know we loved each other, and I was the oldest grandchild…but distance…and my flippant youth…

I have few regrets in life. I truly believe that every thing I’ve experienced has made me the woman I am today.

My sole regret is not driving up the Northeast extension more frequently to see my Oma and my Opa.

Today, as I reflect on how much I miss my Oma on her birthday, I want you to glean one thing.

Time is your most valuable resource. Don’t waste it on people who take you for granted. Spend it generously on people that you love.

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Life is funny.

Ok…maybe more like a psychotic roller coaster.

One day, years ago, a friend convinced me that I should overcome my fear of roller coasters, and proceeded to convince me to get on Nitro at Six Flags.

Y’all…I’m still emotionally scarred.

The ascent was really cool…a good 30 seconds of my life.

The next 2 hours (in my mind) were so terrifying that I literally cried. For the rest of the day.

Needless to say…that’s an irrational fear I’m willing to live with.

Why am I talking about roller coasters?

Well…I find life is that way.

As a matter of fact, the last 36 hours have been like that roller coaster ride.

I have agreed to do a podcast. I get to interview people in the entertainment industry. There is so much to learn…and the more I learn, the more intrigued I become. Last night was the first official show. I was petrified…but after a few minutes I kind of found my groove. Our show time was very late…and after an early morning, I was knackered but high on adrenaline and couldn’t sleep.

Then this morning I took my dad for a minor procedure.

But…my emotions were outta control.

My dad’s been my guy for 42.75 years. (Yeah…I’m that nerd.) Seeing him vulnerable…yeah

He made out well…his doctor is great…has a similar personality to me…so I knew he was in great hands.

But…my emotions, yo…

I got him home and came home and CRASHED. HARD.

Last night was like the ascent on that roller coaster…and today…well…was like the other part.

Being a woman, being an adult child, being an empath…I’m quite susceptible to acute highs and lows.

What I’m learning, on the daily, is that I have to control what I can. And I have to allow myself to lean into my emotions…the good, the bad and the ugly.

Last night I leaned into the high of doing something that scared me. And today I leaned into emotions I’m not quite sure how to quantify.

So…now I prepare for another day…time to get some good sleep, wake up tomorrow and make the day fantastic.

Because…THAT is my choice.

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Faith and trust

There are seasons in which it’s easy to share, and then there are seasons wherein I go into turtle mode.

Today, I know I need to share. As a matter of fact, I know I need to share more. Even though it seems like I wear my heart on my sleeve, I really don’t.

Shocking, I know.

Because, when I write consistently, I seem like an over-sharer.

The past few weeks have been rough. Family stuff. Heart stuff. Life stuff.

The main theme that I’ve been facing is faith and trust in God.

You see…He gave me a vision for my life a long time ago. And I haven’t been living that purpose. For well over a decade, nearly every decision I’ve made has been out of fear.

A few weeks ago, I got a a few gut punches that left me speechless and broken.

One of the punches would have made others shout, “I knew it. Fuck YOU!”

I didn’t.

Why not?

Because whenever I start packing my emotional bags, God asks me, “But Deneen, do you trust me?”

Every time He asks me that, I know that there is going to be a struggle involved.

Now, do not misconstrue what I’m saying about God. I know that God is good. I know that God has my best intentions at heart.

The scripture upon which I’ve been anchored as of late is Ecclesiastes 3:11: God makes everything beautiful in His time.

The way that God has always worked in my life, when He asks if I trust Him, is an event, a season that is hard…a season in which strength is forged in me, despite me feeling like I can’t breathe or step another step.

So, tonight, as I heard God ask me if I trust Him, every cell in my body wants to scream HELL NO I DON’T! PLEASE STOP! I’M NOT AS STRONG AS YOU THINK I AM. I AM A DELICATE FLOWER DAMMIT.

But…that’s not me. I am a strong fucker who refuses to cry uncle.

I can’t tell Him no, because deep inside of me, I know that there are people who need to hear the story that will come from this season.

I know that there is evil that will be called to account if I stay the course.

I know that by being faithful, people will be inspired.

I have to be honest…and take responsibility for all of this. I am responsible for my reaction to everything that I’ve gone through.

It has been my choice to implode instead of sharing my way through it. Pride is an ugly, isolating thing.

It has been my choice to allow my happiness to be attached to circumstances instead of standing on the knowledge that the joy of the Lord is my strength.

It was my choice to stew in my yucky emotions instead of journaling it out, looking at my soul and working through things.

It was my choice to eat and drink to numb myself instead of leaning into the emotions and seeing them for what they are.

It was my choice to play the role of victim (in my own mind) when I knew what my situation truly was.

It is my choice to stay the course even though it may be painful at times.

When you take responsibility for your life, for your decisions, for what you allow in your life, then you are in control. Can it stop the storms from brewing around you? Nope. But it IS the difference between dancing in the rain and jumping in puddles and being wet and miserable.

So…how have YOU been?

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I canโ€™t run from myself…

There’s nowhere to hide.

For years, I was convinced that if I kept it moving, eventually things would be different.

Better.

As if miraculously, all of the baggage I was carrying around would be lost by the airline, and I’d be…happy.

When I realized my baggage was attached to me, I tried to numb the ache.

Alcohol.

Food.

Sex.

Netflix binge watching.

One day I woke up hungover, tired, at my heaviest, feeling physically terrible.

And the baggage was still by my side.

Finally, I started going through the baggage.

Deep hurts.

Insecurities.

False beliefs.

Family stories.

As I unpack the baggage, I don’t feel the compulsion to run anymore.

I know who I am. And I like who I am. I’m finally at a point in my life where I have nothing to hide.

I walk in integrity. I do what’s right by everyone who crossed my path.

I am exactly who I’m meant to be. I embrace my wacky laugh, my personality that goes from silly to intense to cerebral on a dime.

I freely tell people what God shows me about them…because I can’t hold it in any longer.

You see…all of me is what God has for me to give the world. And I’m not ashamed of that.

So, I share my successes, my failures, my insecurities and my sweaty selfies…not because I’m a narcissist but because I have felt alone in those things…and I know that there is someone out there who needs to know she’s not alone.

I make it my mission to build women up. I know what it’s like to want someone by your side, to *see* you, yet hear crickets.

Right now…my life is in a really interesting place. I’ve been on a trust journey for a few years. I see the light at the end of what has been a very tumultuous journey.

I think.

No matter what transpires, I rest in knowing that all will be as it is meant to be.

The purpose of this journey…it’s been for me to unpack the bags.

It’s been for me to go from being a caterpillar, to being trapped in a cocoon, to transforming into a butterfly.

I’ve earned these wings…and I refuse to be ashamed of them.

I am not too much.

I am not too loud.

I am not too smart.

I am not too fucking much of anything.

I am exactly who God meant me to be at this very moment.

You know what? So. Are. You.

If you do nothing else I tell you for the rest of your life…if you only get one takeaway from all of my blogs, please get this.

Stop running from yourself. There’s nowhere to hide. Embrace who you are and be that person.

I love you.

No go and have a great day!

Listen to this. Hear the words. Own it.

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Strength, insecurity, dignity, grace, fear, faith…all the bloody things

There’s something in the air the week. It feels like a week of rapid transformation. Or deterioration. Or both.

If I were to lay it all out, you wouldn’t believe the shit I’ve been facing. And it’s only Thursday.

In general, I feel that I am a pretty selfless person.

But man…this week…it’s been all about me.

Me trying to keep my head above water.

Me striving for things I want…I desire…I need…yet also being caught in a state of stasis.

Me feeling trapped…by choices, by fear, by shit that’s out of my control…instead of me serving those around me.

Me putting a cloak of strength on for all to see…while selfishly mourning what is to come, not even what is present.

Me telling my guy that I’ll be his strength while reveling in my insecurity…that I’m not enough for him, for us.

Why am I sharing all of this?

Well…there is a fine line when doing Mindset work between bringing healing to broken bits of you and being so self-absorbed that you cannot perceive that the world does not in fact revolve on the axis of self and soul.

There are other people in the world.

Shocking. I know.

I know the value of working in my broken parts. The Bible talks the importance of the transformation of the mind.

But the overarching theme of the Bible is that we are here to serve others, to love others selflessly.

If I repair my mind, but forget Love and serving others, were the repairs worth the energy?

From the time I was a child, there were a few things of which I have been sure.

I am here to serve others.

I am here to be an influencer of influencers.

I don’t care if my name is known.

I want to impact people positively whenever I encounter them.

So…back to the drawing board I shall go.

Will I stop working in Mindset? Hell no. It is making me overall a stronger, more self-aware person.

What I will do is stop being so inward focused, though.

I will look for opportunities to serve.

I will make sure to impact the lives of those around me.

I will just breathe.

So…here’s to yet another new beginning.

It’s a good thing God’s mercies are new every morning…because I need a clean slate on the daily.

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Emotions happen, yโ€™all

Over the years, I’ve been taught, encouraged, almost coached to suppress my emotions. Ok, let me be more specific. Happy was good. Anger was understandable. Fear was normal…but we pretended it wasn’t always sitting on our shoulder, holding onto our throats. Sadness was present quite often…but it was fed. Tears…that was the no-go danger zone. Never let them see you cry. Stop crying or I’ll give you something to cry for. (For the record…my parents only hit me or my sister one time each…but the wooden spoon was ever present)Today…I found myself in a situation that brought my soul deep grief. The kind of grief that hit me like a fucking tsunami. One second I was okay. The next…๐Ÿ˜ญ๐Ÿ˜ญOnce it started, IT WOULD NOT STOP. God bless my friend…she’s a trooper. I got home from our day, put my groceries away, and I bawled. I sobbed. I cried so hard that I couldn’t breathe. Then I cried some more. I’m facing some realities that everyone eventually has to face. And that shit is hard. I know that I’ll have friends to support me through…but they’ll go home and I’ll be here. Alone. Part of me is embarrassed of the emotions I displayed today. I cried in the grocery store. I cried in the car. I fell to my knees and bawled in my bedroom. And now I’m sitting here, watching these HGTV shows…why the hell are all of these assholes buying their parents’ homes? ๐Ÿ˜ญ๐Ÿ˜ญThe truth is that God made us emotional beings. Jesus got angry and overturned tables in the temple. Jesus wept when his friend died…even though He raised him from the dead. I’m sure Jesus and the disciples laughed. I’m sure that Jesus felt indescribable joy when he was with people. So why do I feel embarrassed because I cried in front of one of my best friends when reality set in? I dried my eyes. And I sat down and I journaled. I wrote out my angst. My fear. My everything. When I got it all out, I turned it around. I wrote the promises of God. I wrote the truth. I wrote affirmations. I released the thing that I want most in the world. I gave it all to God. And suddenly, though I still *feel* sad, scared, alone…I know that I will survive. I know that God is always with me. I know that He will gather all of my tears, and one day give them to me to throw at the Father’s feet. (His feet are gonna SPARKLE, y’all!!!)I know that God is not surprised. I know that I have a 100% survival rate through hard things. I know that God knows my most intimate needs, and I trust that He and I will get through whatever comes my way. Emotions happen. There is no reason to be ashamed of them. It is healthy to feel them and to experience them. Process them. But…don’t stay there. It’s a choice. You can feel sad, but it’s a choice to stay sad. You can feel angry, but it’s a choice to remain angry or act on that anger. You CHOOSE your story. From Friday to today, I felt ALL THE FEELS. Tonight, I choose peace. I can only control the controllable. I’m awesome…but I’m not God. So…if you are reading this, and you’re going through a dark night of the soul…feel the feels, get the emotions out…but make a choice for peace. The Bible says that God gives you, yes YOU, the peace that surpasses all understanding. Walk in THAT.

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Triggered into the future

Years ago, there was a man with whom I was very much in love. We were best friends. We were basically inseparable. There was one huge, glaring problem between us. My faith. We had hours and hours of discussions, debates, tirades for and against God. Finally, one day, he asked me a question. “Deneen, if someone held a gun to your head, would deny God?””No.””How can I marry someone who loves God more than her own children?”That statement shattered me. Since that moment, I’ve hidden a huge part of me under a basket. In that moment, I learned that I wasn’t enough…that my faith was something to hide, not something to embrace. If I wanted Love. If I wanted acceptance. Let me backtrack further. A few years before that incident, I was a part of a church. I helped to build the church. Literally and figuratively. Things were going okay…until I went on a mission trip and got a taste of what God was calling me to do. And acted on it. God used me to speak into the lives of many people. So much so that the idea was entertained of me staying in England to work with the youth in a church there. I talked to my pastor. Told him what God was speaking to me. And he scoffed at me. Then I went in another mission trip. Same thing happened. God used me in a mighty way. This time, instead of being scoffed at, I was ostracized. Basically shunned. In those moments I learned I was too much. Too much for the church. Too much to control. Not worth the energy of training. I mean, who the fuck would run the slides for the worship service if I were living out my fucking purpose?I started working with mindset coaches. Those bitches (and I mean that with ๐Ÿ’ฏ love) challenged me to open doors I sealed a long time ago…at times when I decided I just wanted to fit in, to blend…to be vanilla instead of a five scoop banana split with all the toppings. Why am I sharing all of this?You see, yesterday God kept asking me, “Do you trust Me? Trust the process.”Then I became fully triggered by a few things. I was a completely irrational hot mess, on a one way trip to self-sabotage, self-destructionville. My knee jerk reaction was to grab wine. But I’m fucking tired of being numb.By food. By alcohol. By social media. By games. So…I pulled out my journal and the work from my mindset course. And I journaled. And journaled. And journaled. For 15 pages. I released a lot of anger. I owned up to my purpose, my called on my life. And then I released it. Not to give up…not to be numb…but to do the work that God has called me to…not for you. Not for money. But simply because I feel like I’m fucking dying when I don’t. I committed to myself to fully show up as who I am…the whole fucking contradiction that I am. Someone who craves the spotlight, a platform to help people release their shit. And someone who is an influencer of influencers. And someone who is obscure…not well-known to the masses because I’m not a soft-drink. I’m a hard shot of aged, expensive bourbon, not meant for the masses. Only connoisseurs. People who actually desire change. And a Christian who regularly uses the word fuck. How is your day doing? I’m ready to tear up the world.

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Life exfoliation

I have come to a realization.

Bad times are good.

What?

Bad times are good if you use them to your advantage.

If you choose to learn from them.

If you choose to lean into the pain and find your strength.

If you choose to not be a victim.

See a theme? Your experiences are YOUR CHOICE.

A few weeks ago, something snapped in me. Not a good snap.

I stopped working out.

I stopped eating well.

I stopped meditating regularly.

I stopped doing my devotions regularly.

I stopped being me.

Why? Honestly, I hit a thick brick wall.

I have been exhausted. Thyroid exhausted. If you don’t know what that means, you are blessed.

But…I can’t blame my thyroid. For a while, I was working out for a group of people, not for me. I was hype focused on results, not the process.

So, when the pounds and inches didn’t melt off, I was disappointed. I gave into self-sabotage. I CHOSE self-sabotage.

Why?

I was out of alignment with my soul. You see, for me, working out is a mental thing. I work out to clear my brain. I work out to push my body further today than it was able to go yesterday. Working out is my therapy.

So, when I CHOSE to quit working out, everything else fell to the wayside.

Including my messaging.

You see…I love speaking. I love public speaking. I love adding value to the world through both the written and spoken word.

A few months ago, I did a Facebook like that was completely my voice. I said everything that was on my heart to share. I mean…it was GOOD STUFF.

But, I allowed (MY CHOICE) someone to tell me that what I said wasn’t right…that it shouldn’t have been said.

Since then, I’ve shied away from FB lives.

Even though I know I have a message to share with y’all.

So…through my choices, I’ve been the conductor of the hot mess express…destination Crazyville.

When you aren’t walking in your truth, nothing goes right for you. You’re tired. You’re cranky. You’re depressed. You eat crap. Your sleep isn’t deep.

Last night, I did a really raw live.

And this morning, I woke up different.

I felt comfortable in my skin. Fully alive, fully me.

I looked at myself in the mirror after my shower, and I felt hot, I felt sexy.

The past few weeks have been hard. Rough. Shitty.

But…I feel like the rough times were a life exfoliation. I feel like dead things were sloughed off so that new things can spring forth.

So…if you find yourself going through a hard time, know that something is being broken off of you so that something new can spring forth.

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Have you ever had a day that was so chock full of emotion that you are completely, emotionally hungover the next day?

Well…that is me today.

Yesterday my niece graduated from high school.

I may be weeping under those sunglasses…but you can’t prove it! ๐Ÿ˜๐Ÿ˜

To say that I am proud of her is the understatement of a lifetime.

My niece is one of the sweetest, strongest, most beautiful inside and out, hilarious teenagers you’ll ever meet.

Sitting through convocation and graduation, one word kept running through my mind.

The word STORY.

You see…we all have a story. When we’re children, our stories are largely out of our control. When we get to a certain age, though, we find the pen in our hand.

You can no longer blame your parents.

Or your teachers.

Or the bullies.

Or the mean girls.

The story is YOURS.

The valedictorian of the class talked about how she had to get out of her comfort zone to address the graduation crowd. She talked about how her grandparents had to leave the comfort of their country to afford her family the opportunity to hear her speak.

If you’re reading this, YOU are the author of your story.

Yes, I know that God is the ultimate Author, but He gave you free will, so get your religious panties out of their bunch and follow me.

YOU have a choice of how you will react to circumstances presented.

YOU have the choice to increase your talents of bury them.

YOU have the choice to continue lingering on me telling you to un-bunch your panties or to learn something.

Last night, after the high of seeing my niece and the WHS Class of 2018 graduate, I dealt with some really strong, STRONG challenges.

I had to be strong when my knees wanted to buckle.

I had to allow people I love write a chapter of their story that I wanted to carry as my own.

Even as I type this, tears sting my eyes and my head is pounding.

I can’t unsee the fear, the helplessness.

I can’t un-hear the guttural screams of deep disbelief and fear.

I can’t un-feel the agony I experienced as I was utterly helpless to help write this next chapter in the life of someone else.

You see…the highest of highs and the lowest of lows are what makes our stories our own.

Without darkness, you cannot truly appreciate the light.

Without deep sadness, you cannot fully appreciate utter bliss.

Until yesterday, I never understood just how proud God is of the things that make us proud.

Until last night, I never understood why God allows bad things to happen.

Until last night, I never understood the depth of grief God feels when one of His children suffers.

Until right now, I never truly understood the depths of God’s love.

Emotions are not meant to be controlled. Emotions are meant to show is the heart of the Father.

The outrage you feel at injustice…is how God feels about injustice…times infinity.

The love and pride you feel when someone you love succeeds…is how God feels…times infinity.

The helplessness you feel when you can’t pluck grief or fear from a loved one…is how God feels…times infinity.

Have a teachable spirit. Don’t run from your emotions. Don’t numb your emotions. Lean into them. Look them in the eye. Validate them. Hear what they’re saying.

As much as I hated the way I *felt* last night, I wouldn’t trade it for anything.

It’s part of my story.

What’s your story?

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