Regret…

I’ve been living with regrets for a long time. All the things I wish I had done differently, they kind of rule my thoughts at times. I play the game of “I wish…” far too often, but haven’t changed much about the regrets overall.

Granted, there are a few regrets that I cannot change. Like the moment in college where I wanted to tell a guy I really liked him or when I wanted to rush/pledge a sorority or when I left Hope College and the PoliSci program to pursue a business degree. I wonder (all the time) how my life would be different now. I wonder what could be. Where I’d be living. What I’d be doing. If I were working for someone great… or doing something that could change the world.

Start Experience

But there are regrets that I can change in my life now. Like moving. Or losing weight. Or seeing the world. Or paying off my debt. And maybe even, when I find the right one, telling a guy that I really like him. ;)

How do you deal with living a life full of regrets? That’s the question I’ve been asking myself for a few YEARS now. Far too long to be asking the questions… and not changing much in return. A friend of mine told me about a book {that I bought this morning for my kindle} called Chazown.

Between reading the first handful of pages of this book, along with the things that I’ve been doing to pursue my dream/risk with the Start Experiment, I have hope for the first time in ages that things ARE going to change for me – and I actually BELIEVE those words.

I don’t yet know what all these things are that I’m going to change. But I’m hoping that in this START experience, at least one of the biggest questions – can I find my dream? – will be answered. And in order to do all of the things I hope to, I have to make changes in my life. I have to not be the trepidatious person that I’ve been the last… oh… 35 (or so) years.

So that’s why I’m starting. I’ve already been getting up at 5 am most days {yawn!} and writing in a journal more often than I have in months. I have plans to change habits in the coming days. I want to be a better me. Not for that guy I might someday really like… but rather for me, so I can live out my dreams.

What are you doing to better yourself today?

Not a voice of the year…

A few months ago a conversation happened on twitter. Actually multiple conversations about this same topic. And I wish I hadn’t ever said anything to begin with there.

The topic? Whether it was ok for bloggers to submit their own work to BlogHer’s “Voice of the Year”.

While I understand the reasoning why the BlogHer founders and staff all promoted for all bloggers to get out there to “submit your work” and “share your stories”… I should never have done it. I never should have opened myself up for the “what if’s” that surround such a thing.

Because when I found out yesterday that the “Voices of the Year” were chosen, I collapsed. I wasn’t on the list. I wasn’t good enough. My words didn’t reach the hearts of those judging. My words didn’t reach the hearts of many (if any) other bloggers out there… as there were a combined 7 total pageviews (5 on “Shame”, 2 on “If You Believe In Something”) of the 2 posts since I entered them on that April day.

That’s right… I wasn’t nominated. Instead *I* submitted my own work after reading that I “shouldn’t drink the VOTY kool-aid”. I laid it out there with what I thought were 2 of my best posts from the past year.

And I got crushed. I laid in bed last night sobbing like my best friend had died. Like the world was ending. I couldn’t handle the rejection. I couldn’t handle the disappointment that my pieces weren’t even remotely noteworthy enough to be considered good writing.

I will contend now that the “kool-aid” isn’t actually about submitting your own work, but rather being given the hope that you – the little blogger with only a few dozen page views a day – might actually get chosen… when in reality many of the same, much more popular, bloggers are chosen year after year after year (and honestly, some of them rightfully so!)

I wonder what would change if BlogHer changed this to be an anonymous contest… where the judges couldn’t see the names of the bloggers or blogs. Where the judges and staff couldn’t be amongst the contestants… to open the field up for new, less heard voices to be found.

Out of somewhere near (or in excess of) 2600 posts that were submitted, only 100 were chosen.

I am among the 99%…

  • the people that write for themselves and aren’t popular enough to get the votes to be the “People’s Choice”.
  • the people who are not able to find the right words to be judged an endeared inspirational blogger
  • the people who are not witty enough to be judged a rising humor blogger.
  • the people who do not have enough soul to be judged a loved heart blogger.
  • the people who, above all else, do not always share the right opinions to be judged and recognized as an outstanding OpEd blogger.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m so glad that some of my close blogging friends were chosen (including a post I submitted on behalf of my friend Alexandra.) Each of them deserves the award for their humor, inspiration, heart and OpEd pieces.

My friends write incredible things… but I still wonder how things might be different if it weren’t up to only two judges on the panel to decide your fate. If some bloggers weren’t able to have their pieces honored because of their positions in the contest.

At the end of the night, as my tearful words were “heard”, it was friends in the twitterverse that pulled me out of my slump. That told me that I needed to believe in me (something as you might know comes very hard for this girl) and know that my words are amazing on their own. That I really didn’t suck, even though that’s what I was feeling.

Because I give myself enough judgement already… I won’t enter things like this again only to confirm the rejection. But I will keep writing… for me.

End It…

I’ve been watching CrossPoint Church online over the past few months on Sunday nights. Pete Wilson (whose book I’m currently reading) is the pastor there and this past week… moved me to tears. He and Natalie Grant talked about the End it Movement… and today is the day to bring awareness to modern day slavery.

What have I learned?

  • There are 27 million slaves around the world right now. Yes, even in the USA.
  • There are more slaves right now than at any other point in human history.
  • Roughly 200,000 of these slaves are in the USA. No state in the USA is immune.
  • 50% of all slaves are kids. 80% are female.

So today, I am wearing a red “X” on my hand to bring awareness to this. I’m writing this post. I’m sharing on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

End It Movement

But I can’t believe at this moment, with as blessed as I am, that this will be the end of my involvement.

SLAVERY HAS GOT TO END.

Watch this 2 minute video… I hope it changes your heart. I hope together we can make a difference.

Want to do more?

  • Wear a red X on your hand today.
  • Go read more at End It Movement.
  • Pray.
  • And – if you can – give.

Together we can shine a light on an issue that our country said was wrong in 1863. We knew it wasn’t right then. We know it’s not right now.

Will you help?

It’s just too late…

I’m writing this post on a Monday night long after I should be sleeping. Rejeuvenating this body that so desperately needs the rest so that I can accomplish all of the amazing things I have yet to figure out how to accomplish. Or something like that.

But that’s not what this is about…

I was able to meet Brene Brown @ Blissdom 2011

I was able to meet Brene Brown @ Blissdom 2011

I watched Oprah’s Super Soul Sunday episode from yesterday when I got home from work. Brene Brown was the guest… and being a woman I look to so much for her wisdom, I had to see it. If you haven’t seen her TED talks, you need to watch them. Maybe now… maybe later. Your choice. ;)

What I should have known before watching that there would be something in the episode that shook me to my core. But of course, I didn’t think of that. I only thought about what I could learn. Not expecting something to keep me awake at night.

At around 11:30pm, unable to sleep for some crazy reason, I found myself “hypothesizing” a scenario that will likely never happen. At least not with the “players” I imagine. The scene was me being left by someone I apparently loved, a friend… possibly could be boyfriend. But in my imagination, I see him leaving me. With me in tears.

Depending on the day, the scenario changes. But the outcome never does. Someone leaves me. Someone dies. Someone can’t forgive me. Someone just can’t look at me anymore.

I don’t know why I imagine these things. I don’t know how to stop thinking that negative things will happen. I don’t know what I can change to make this negativity go away.

Because nothing seems to work. No amount of faith. No amount of busyness. No amount of quiet. No amount of… anything.

I live an immensely blessed life. I have a family that loves me. I have more friends – both online and off – than I ever could have imagined being there for me just a few short years ago. People that make me smile and make me feel whole. I have a job. I have a home to live in. I have a great & understanding roommate. I have a car to drive.

No, not everything is perfect. I’m not married. I likely won’t have kids. I gained nearly all of the weight back that I had worked so hard to lose. My dream to move away might become a reality, but I just don’t know when or how… and how much I will hurt my family when I do. I worry about everything far more than what I should.

So this is me being vulnerable. I don’t want to be the person that imagines the worst case scenario. I don’t want to be the person fearing what might be coming next. I don’t want every scene in my imagination to be one where I end up in tears and being left… or hurt.

I wonder if I can start to imagine a happy scenario. I wonder what would happen if I do. I wonder if I will get my hopes up that one of my dreams might come true.

But I don’t want my heart to break when they don’t.

So ultimately… I wonder if it’s too late. Too late to change.