Becoming a Writer: A Journey Through Fear

“Fears are educated into us, and can, if we wish, be educated out.” -Karl Augustus Menninger

For a long time, I didn’t consider myself a “real writer.” I always made myself believe that I was just a wannabe.

To be the “real deal” you had to publish your work in many journals or magazines, have at least one book, be well-known in some sort of fashion, and/or have some kind of fancy academic credential and be actively engaged in a writing or artistic community.

Right?

Not quite, I’ve realized.

When people have asked me what I hope to do with my life, I have said, “I want to be a writer.” After being reminded of my goal, I would devise some kind of crazy writing schedule that I could never keep up with and then I would end up not writing, dreaming about writing instead.

I feared writing, in reality. I was afraid of putting words onto paper because of what others might think of them, what I might think of them if they didn’t live up to my silly, perfectionistic standards. The critics were alive and well in my head, and they were suffocating the creativity out of me, quip by quip.

It wasn’t until very recently that I realized that I am a writer. A real writer, despite what these critics have told me for years.

I have published, but not extensively. I’ve edited a book, but not yet written my own. I’m well-known among my friends, family, and colleagues, and now my Instagram travel community, but that’s the extent of my “fame” at the moment.

However, for me right now, all of this is enough. And it’s this, and more, that makes me a writer.

What I’ve learned is that I don’t need outside validation to “be a writer” (or to be anything else, for that matter). I can simply be one–even if that means journaling in one of my notebooks or thinking up some fun children’s book idea in my head and jotting it down. A book is a book is a book but not having one yet doesn’t mean I’m not a writer.

As I’ve learned, being a writer is more than a book, a publication credit, or an advanced degree. It’s a mode of operating, which includes the act of writing itself. It’s also a way of observing the world around you, seeing stories come alive in front of your eyes. It’s a way of tuning in to life, rather than turning away.

Being a writer is the act of embracing a creative force–one that requires observation, research, reading, and writing, itself. It also requires some time prioritization (so that you can actually write your great thoughts and ideas down!) and a firm F YOU to anything inside and outside of you (i.e. the critics) that tells you otherwise.

As a good friend recently blogged, you’re the expert of your own life. So, for me, if I want to embrace my inner writer, then I need to write my own story, whether that is though fiction, poetry, nonfiction, or blog posts.

What I’ve also discovered through this learning process is that in order to write my own story, I need to push through a mountain of ugly fear and allow myself to be vulnerable in front of others. Sure, I might get some push-back, but I’ll also be living an authentic life.

By allowing myself to really be myself, I’ve found boundless opportunities to express my creativity and write and engage with the world around me like never before. And it’s just the beginning.

With hopefully many years ahead of me, I look forward to living the creative life I once denied myself. And all it took was filtering out inner and outer criticism, fear, self-loathing, and turning instead toward my real values and joys.

Not an easy feat by any means. And the fight is never over, but it does get easier over time.

To creativity and beyond,

KP

Feature photo credit: A Visit in Germany / KP

 

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#MeToo: A Story of Holding Back, Self-Blame, and Opening Up

Please note: Adult language & triggering information about personal experiences follows.

I’ve been struggling to figure out what to say, how to say it, and when to say it.

I stand in solidarity with the strong and amazing women who have spoken out against sexual harassment and assault and have shared their own stories via #MeToo and through other means. And I stand taller now, thanks to all of these courageous women, feeling more confident than ever to speak up if I see an injustice or abuse occurring, or if I experience it myself.

While there is plenty that still needs changing in our government and society at large, I am invigorated by the momentum that women’s stories have been gaining over the past few months in the media and in normal conversation.

These are important conversations we are having together–one-on-one and in the broader social space. It gives me hope for a better world. And I certainly hope it’s a world where we will be inviting and accepting of all voices–from women and non-binary individuals to LGBTQ+ individuals and people of color, among others.

It also brings me back to all the times that I’ve experienced harassment and gendered exploitation in my personal and professional life.

In addition to reading the many stories shared by women all over the world about their experiences with sexual harassment, assault, and abuse, I’ve been doing a lot of reading about vulnerability by shame and vulnerability researcher, Brene Brown. Both of these elements have converged and have compelled me to share my own stories.

It’s time.

—-

I’ve been cat-called and honked at since I was in middle school as I walked to the local strip mall with my friends and it continues to this day as I walk with the same friends to get ice cream at the local Dairy Queen.

We are not walking for you to look at us and give us attention. We’re walking for ice cream, not for you. Roll your window back up, shut up, and go away.

I’ve received unwelcome shoulder rubs from men in superior positions as young as high school.

It’s my body. Not yours. Stop it.

I’ve listened to countless sexual “jokes” from so many men, even in what was supposed to be a “professional” environment.

These are not jokes. They’re lewd and disgusting. And I think you are too.

And I’ve experienced what happens when these sexual “jokes” open up to more sexual harassment.

A former adult student I taught told these “jokes.” They were all part of his game (I later realized) to get me out of the classroom for some coffee and practice English outside in a social context, so innocent and reasonable, it seemed. Oh, how I wish I knew then what I know now…but I won’t beat myself up about it because he was the one who violated and abused our relationship for his own personal gain.

That coffee turned into him trying to get me alone, and then turned into him standing behind me and putting his hands in my coat pockets. I pulled away. Then he tried to feed me a chocolate bar. I pushed his hand away, immediately. I was completely shocked, speechless, and so very uncomfortable.

After this incident, I dreaded every lesson with him.

I never reported it. I wish I did, but I felt that it wouldn’t have made any bit of difference because “that’s just how he is,” as someone told me in reference to his “jokes.” But I still wish I told everyone around me–even if our supervisor wouldn’t have listened.

I later learned that I wasn’t the only one. His inappropriate and abusive behavior was known at his place of work, and yet his superiors did nothing.

I’ve been contacted on social media by men seeking to “start a conversation” with me, which I now know is cue for: I would like to send you sexually explicit messages and images.

You have NO RIGHT to contact me or anyone in such a manner. Who the fuck do you think you are?

I’ve gotten the check-out and been told I looked “sexy” by a supervisor.

It doesn’t matter what I was wearing. That is inappropriate in any context from a supervisor. And it made me feel extremely uncomfortable.

I’ve been discouraged from speaking up, sharing my ideas, and reaching my full potential in past professional contexts because of both male and female superiors/colleagues who preferred to listen to male voices over a female’s.

Plus, I’ve been paid shit time and time again yet expected to produce excellent work in high volumes while being treated so poorly.

I’m not a perfect employee by any means, but I never deserved your bullshit conditions (which also happened to be promoted by those seeking to “do good in the world” with their organizations — well, you better start in your own damn backyard. #TimesUpAR (= times up animal rights) and #TimesUpEC (= times up environmental community).

It has taken me until just a month ago to realize that these people are bullies. They bully you with slights that you barely even notice but 100% register and internalize until you have no desire to speak up because it won’t really matter anyways, right? Because they’ve made it clear that you don’t matter. But you do.

And it has taken me until just a month ago to stop allowing these “superiors” to have power over me and my story and to stop them from living on in my head.

I’m going to shine and it’s not going to be because of you. It will be in spite of you. And it will be thanks to all the other wonderful mentors I’ve found when you’ve failed me.

Shame on you for your lack of attention to and regard of many talented professionals that you’ve lost because you’ve refused to change and expand your view to include other voices. You may have the experience and skills to be in a leadership position, but you ARE NOT A LEADER.

I realized that when many of the above circumstances have occurred that I wouldn’t have been so forthcoming about the harassment or exploitation. I would have preferred to tell someone that I was uncomfortable, that something felt wrong–but that would be all.

If I encountered these situations today, I would more likely label them sexual harassment and gendered exploitation because that’s what they are, at their core.

I think my reluctance to label them as such in the past is that I almost immediately looked at myself to see what I was doing wrong.

Was I being too friendly to this person that they thought I would want this type of attention? Should I not have worn my tall winter boots over my jeans with a blouse from The Limited on casual Friday?

And after placing blame on myself, I would go on the defensive, prepared for the next time a particular person would come back with “sexy” comments or “jokes” or try to touch me. I would say, “I have a boyfriend.”

But these responses–this, “I am not single so leave me alone,” and this, “it is my fault somehow”–are both woefully inadequate and showcase how much we–us, the victims–have internalized the ever-prevalent social norm of victim-blaming.

These types of responses reinforce damaging gendered narratives and place the burden on the victim to rectify something (the situation, or themselves), rather than placing responsibility on the perpetrators, who should be the ones held accountable for their inappropriate, exploitative, and abusive behavior.

This feels good, to be writing all of this. But it also makes me angry. And it makes me sad. And it makes me feel so vulnerable that I wonder if this is a good idea. But I know we need to share our stories because stories are powerful.

Stories can inspire someone else to share theirs–that’s how we got the #MeToo movement. And that’s how we’ll get many others started.

As we’ve seen from so many stories before and many more still to come, harassment and abuse happens to so many of us. It takes a lot of courage to share such stories–and it’s a very vulnerable and painful experience as well.

I want to encourage you–if you have a story you’ve been holding inside–to share it when you’re ready.

The time is now. The time is always.

With deep admiration & gratitude for all of you,

KP

Feature photo credit: Color-changing camping fire / KP

The Art of Beginning Again

You know how people say something (career field, skill, craft, etc.) is both a science and an art? Well starting fresh, beginning again, starting new, or whatever you call it is more of the latter than the former.

There is no manual, no special sauce formula, no foolproof “ten steps to a better fresh start” (although the internet may beg to differ). You just kinda go, maybe make a plan, and then hope for the best all the while cowering with fear inside, your palms constantly slippery with the sweat of anxiety.

But let me back up a bit.

It has been over a month since I’ve written. There are so many things I want to write but don’t yet know how. During this gap, I left my job, a field of work I enjoy, and a strong support system, then moved across the state to enter a completely new field via graduate school.

To say the least I’ve been busy and tired and decided somewhere along this busy-tried highway that writing was again just something that could wait. And so I shelved it, like I often end up doing. It got put back on one of those dusty, dark places you might find in a garage, stuffed among the useless cords, old paint, and ratty shoes.

Being Afraid and Stuck

I give the cold shoulder to writing when I am busy, sure, but more so when I am afraid. And I still am. 100 f’ing percent.

In addition to being afraid I’ve been a cocktail of other emotions. Happy. Sad. Happy. Sad. Really sad. Really nervous. Happyish. Maybe excited? Relaxed. Frantic. Almost hysterical. Calm. Confused. And of course, afraid, afraid, afraid. (Not the “dark thing under your bed” afraid, but the “holy f, what am I doing?” afraid.)

Packing up your last successful life chapter and waiting at the station until you pull into the next one just, well, sucks. Plain and simple. Let’s just call it what it is.

Things are eerily calm yet unsettling at the same time. You feel like you’re on a wobbly dock trying to stay balanced so you don’t fall into the water below where it’s so gray and murky that you can’t even see your own reflection.

And you can’t see that darn reflection because your new chapter self hasn’t quite manifested yet. It’s partly there — since you’ve got all your past chapter selves hanging around like friendly, old ghosts  but none of these feel quite right to take on your next steps.

So you’re just kinda stuck for the time being and more vulnerable than usual. Which is where I’m at right now. (I also want to cry uncontrollably. Comes with the territory.)

Things I Know and Things I Don’t

I desperately want to get un-stuck but I know it’s not quite the time yet — it will happen though.

What I also know is that I wanted this change (i.e. leaving my job, moving away, going back to school); I planned for it in all humanly possible ways — lists, sound financial management, early packing.

Few details can escape my masterful planning (ask anyone who knows me, surely there will be nods as they read this), yet the planning didn’t make me feel any better. It reassured me that I can plan well and that I’m insanely organized. But I didn’t need this reassurance.

What I needed was someone to spill the beans, to tell me that fancy schmancy secret formula to coping with a new start — the “science.” But no one did because no one really knows.

The Terrifying Beauty of New Beginnings

Each new beginning is our own precious little terrifying experience. We can shape it however the hell we want it.

Even if someone is taking the same steps as you or has taken the same steps before you they are still not experiencing exactly what you are. 

Sure, you can gather some intel from Past New Beginners and seek advice from your dear family and friends but ultimately it’s your choice in how you proceed down the promising yet poorly lit New Beginning Road.

Whether it’s dancing like hell or running around bat-shit crazy, do your thing.

And I know, I know — you can’t see the entire path in front of you but that’s half the fun! And half the fear. (I know that too).

For me personally, I worked very, very hard professionally to get where I was in my last life chapter and so starting a new one makes me feel a bit like a splattered bug on a car windshield — dead on arrival.

I’ve felt disoriented and uncertain and questioned my own abilities, talent and experiences. In sum, I didn’t feel like much of anything and my head and heart were totally out of sync.

But these frightening feelings and thoughts pass as they now are for me.

I had to take some time to remember where I was and who I was and who I am today, reminding myself that I’m one badass mother f’er. (Self confidence is the shit, isn’t it? Makes you feel like you can fly — and you can, metaphorically speaking.)

It also helped to begin establishing a routine, meet new people and explore what the area has to offer to cultivate that feeling of excitement about the future.

Perhaps this is the “science” part of the Beginning Again Equation — but we are all different and maybe this is not how you would handle a new start (and that’s fine).

So go ahead and take whatever new beginning that you have chosen or that you’re thrown into and make it fully your own, fear and all. 

Begin again as the person you’ve always admired (your true BA self) and I’ll be right there beside you, doing it too.

Cheers!

XOXO,

KP

P.S. My newsletter is currently under construction — stay tuned for more updates! Thanks for reading!

Feature photo credit: Light between trees / KP

Confessions from a Recovering Perfectionist

“[You] don’t have to change your goal. Change your path, be willing to, and don’t see that as a failure. That’s just life.” -Diane Hendricks

“Have no fear of perfection. You’ll never reach it.” – Salvador Dali

It was not long ago that I was and very much considered myself a perfectionist. I wore this label proudly though my younger years and into adulthood as a badge of honor. Who wouldn’t want to be a perfectionist? I thought, without ever realizing what endless heartbreak it can bring into your life.

Childhood: A Budding Perfectionist

I grew up, like many of us, with the world around me continually telling me that if I wasn’t 100% all the time — 100% perfect in every way from head to heart to body — that I was simply not good enough, that I always needed to be something more than I already was.

For so long I believed this lie. I lived my life seeking perfection and pretending that I could really and truly be perfect.

I remember growing up thinking that even little things had to be perfect around me.

If a folder wasn’t quite positioned right among a stack of other folders, I felt compelled to immediately rectify this wrong and make it structurally perfect.

If I was painting and I didn’t recreate the colors just right from the photo I was going off of I would take many, many hours (often into the night) to painstakingly mix the right color combos.

The worst offender to my perfectionist self was always writing — it never wanted to behave but I always tried to bend it to my perfectionist will, nitpicking every word, sentence, paragraph, and grammatical error.

I became hampered by my quest for perfection — I slowed myself down and often stunted my own progress and growth. I would start something and then never pick it up again because I had already decided that it wasn’t good enough even before I really began.

If I continued on with a hobby or task, however, I would practice ad nauseum to try to push myself to the next level. But in reality, since I was always spinning in my own self-created perfectionist cycle, I never got much of anywhere — I was doing the same thing over and over again and hoping for different results.

Adulthood: The Perfectionist Saga Continues

As I entered my working life with my perfectionist ways still intact, I would sometimes struggle along quietly with projects and assignments — not letting go of an article, report, proposal, etc. until it was in tip-top shape. I didn’t understand what good meant and so good to me always felt wrong. It couldn’t just be good, it had to be perfect.

I was sensitive to criticism, much as I had been in my younger years. I took every comment personally, fretting over every little word I was told. I then took these words and weaved them into a thorny little negative self-talk quilt that I would revisit throughout the day and into the night, wrapping myself in self-hate until I finally fell asleep with a heavy, hurting heart.

I would wake up in the morning and look in the mirror, unhappy with what I saw.

  • This little part needed to be exercised away.
  • This little spot needed to be covered in creams until it disappeared.
  • This strand of hair was ugly.
  • My nose was ugly.
  • My arms were ugly.
  • My legs were ugly.

Everything was ugly and all sorts of bad and I didn’t know what to do with it all. I felt overwhelmed. And overwhelmed with a deep sadness that no matter how hard I tried, I would still look this way and be the way I was — imperfect.

What’s more, I thought others around me had to be perfect, too. I got agitated when someone didn’t write in the same style that I did or follow the same grammatical rules. I got a twitch when I watched someone clean the bathroom in a way that I wouldn’t.

I wanted to make everything around me perfect — or at least bring everyone into my little perfectionist bubble so that they too could see the light.

I continued on in this self-destructive manner until I decided: f this shit. Enough was enough.

Adulthood Part 2: Recovering from the Perfectionist Disease

Nowadays, I don’t consider myself a perfectionist. If anything, I am trying to distance myself as much as possible from this label because I found this state of being so extremely unhealthy. 

I was blindly barreling down a path that was actually significantly hindering my own self-growth and making me lose out on opportunities to live a fuller and more meaningful life.

Quite simply, I was driving myself (and others) crazy.

I now know there were never any benefits to perfectionism. And if anyone claims that there are, they are likely trapped in the same self-delusional perfectionist cycle that I was.

At a certain point in my life, as I’ve gone through various stages of growth and change, I dedicated myself to making a very concentrated effort to rid myself of my perfectionist ways.

Today, I am a recovering perfectionist. I try my best to let go and just be my imperfect (and perfectly fun) self. 

I may not be able to totally rid myself of all perfectionist tendencies, but so what? What matters is that I’m trying. I am trying to live my life just like you — I am trying to be free to be myself. This new focus in my life has brought great joy to my healing heart.

Now when I approach my tasks, hobbies, or work, I am open to failure, criticism and ultimately, growth. I have largely cleared the perfectionist disease from my system and can now have a more open heart and a clearer mind (and my body looks damn good too, if I do say so myself).

With writing especially I’ve seen much improvement. I just go and do it, even if I have nothing good or eloquent to say yet — I know that I will and that I just need to keep going. When I see a typo or some other kind of stylistic pothole now I think, “Great! I have a typo. I can fix it!”

There are some things in life we cannot fix and other things we shouldn’t try to fix. Yet we do have the power to revisit and revise parts of ourselves that are weighing us down and making us miss out on all the great, wonderful things life has to offer.

As they say, perfection is the enemy of the good — so why can’t we settle for good enough? Why must we keep striving for something more? Is that more really better and greater in the end? Or is it just driving us a little more insane and taking us away from something else that’s important?

Today, I am also more of an advocate against perfectionism. I’m not saying that you should let go of your search to be an expert or be very good at your field of work or hobby. All I’m saying to you is to let yourself off the f’ing hook. Because you’re not perfect.

You’re not going to be perfect. I’m not going to be perfect. We’re not f’ing perfect. And it’s okay.

We need to let other people off the hook too in addition to ourselves. We need to stop expecting utmost perfection from others because it’s just not going to happen. You’re just setting yourself and the other person up to fail. It is not constructive. It is destructive and demoralizing.

Growth is a positive thing. Change can also be a positive whether it’s for the better or the worst (since it is during the bad times that we build our character most). But we cannot grow and change in the ways we really want to until we let go of perfectionism.

There’s more to life than being perfect, and it is when we learn to live with our imperfections that we can start to become who we really are.

So let’s do that and be free to be our imperfect, wonderful selves.

Cheers,

KP

P.S. I’d love to hear your own personal story of overcoming perfectionism — email me anytime or comment below!

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Feature photo credit: Bathroom graffiti / KP

On Writing about Being Tired and on Coming Home to Writing

On Tuesday, I wrote rather successfully about being tired. I didn’t think I could do it. And I almost didn’t. You know why? Because there was that little voice — my voice inside my own head (I know you have one too!) — that told me, “No, no, it won’t be good. It is pointless. Don’t waste your time with that.”

I’m glad I didn’t listen. I wish I would listen less often. And I like to think that I do listen less frequently now than I did before. Once upon a time ago, it seemed that I only listened to that tiny but powerful ever-present inner voice day in and day out (eek!).

I’m glad I didn’t listen to this voice yesterday because (1) I am trying to get in the habit of not listening to it and (2) I am trying to also get in the habit of writing, even if that means writing about being tired because I don’t have the energy to write about anything else (hey — it’s still writing!).

I have missed writing desperately. Sure, I have written emails, written notes in greeting cards, written reports and proposals for work, and written in all forms of regular everyday communications. But that is not enough — and it has not been enough.

I have felt such a void for the past couple years or so because I haven’t been writing very purposely in a creative manner. A part of my soul has not been complete — to be completely melodramatic. (The only way to live and breathe like a writer — ah, sweet melodramatic air!)

And for this longish while I sat around wondering: what on Earth is wrong? Why do I feel strange, down, trampled on and not quite so easily able to bounce back? What is this freakish void?

Likely I felt this way for different reasons, but a big reason seemed to be that I simply wasn’t attending to an important part of me that had previously always made me alert, alive, and present — my creative side.

It’s this creative side that many of us office folk let slide away like the mysterious crumbs and paperclips that cozy their way into our keyboard cracks, collecting where we don’t see them until that fateful day when we shake it out and admire with awe at what has been camping out right before our eyes each and every day.

While this is a part of us that we often push out of sight in favor of things like…work, family, work, friends, work, and all other manners of productivity and social normalcy, creativity is just as essential as any of these other parts of our lives, and arguably should be re-prioritized to have a lucky top-tier spot.

If we don’t make our own creative life a priority, no one else will.

Creativity is so individual, so personal that it is hard for one person or the next to really know what it means to you. Because of this, it can be difficult for those around you to understand why you must prioritize creativity as a part of your daily life and ergo difficult for you to see value in prioritizing it if no one else you care about sees the purpose in it. 

But we must prioritize it. Or at least, I must prioritize it if I want to feel my most alive and fulfilled. Without it I am fine, but with it I am great.

As Elizabeth Gilbert put it through a story in her newest book, Big Magic:

“Three mornings a week, Susan awoke before dawn and, in that groggy hour before her demanding day job began, she skated. And she skated and skated and skated . . . It was a revolution . . . Please note that my friend did not quit her job, did not sell her home, did not sever all her relationships and move to Toronto to study seventy hours a week with an exacting Olympic-level skating coach. And no, this story does not end with her winning any championship medals. It doesn’t have to. In fact, this story does not end of all, because Susan is still figure skating several mornings a week–simply because skating is still the best way for her to unfold a certain beauty and transcendence within her life that she cannot seem to access in any other manner.”

Creative writing is this beauty and transcendence for me. It allows to me not only to express myself more adequately, but also to be the brave person I imagine myself to be and to feel at peace, at home in some strange and beautiful serenity garden, which I imagine to be filled with golden sunflowers turning with the sun’s skypath and with lavender perfuming the feather-light breeze.

It’s a lovely place — this creative space.

And I hope if you are searching for yours, or trying to reclaim a space for it in your life, that you find it.

May you have happy travels on your path to creative living.

Cheers,

KP

P.S. I highly recommend Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert for some inspiring, refreshing and invigorating reading. It is her book, in part, that inspired me to re-start my creative writing and begin it again in a more exciting, fun and less fearful fashion.

P.P.S. Sign up for monthly InspirationInspiration for Good‘s newsletter! Join the inspiration journey!

Feature photo credit: My Journals / KP

Why This, Why Now

I have this hunger gnawing at me — but in a pleasant way. So gnawing is not the best word….nor is hunger, perhaps…

…let’s revise! One more go…

I have this deep, deep and ever-replenishing well of creative energy inside of me and it’s going to burst and explode all over like f’ing confetti at a kid’s birthday party if I don’t start this damn blog and write the shit outta it.

There. Much better. (BTW — I’m PG-13 rated.)

With that, I welcome you to my very first blog post of my second, third, fourth…(who’s counting anymore?)…blog.

(You can find one of my still active blogs from a few years here — from a time when I explored Croatia as an English language teacher post-undergrad. I also have a fun, new Tumblr of GIFs I started with a good friend that you can check out here.)

I am excited to be here, and writing and publishing once again — finally! (Hallelujah!)

But why this blog, and why now?

I’ll tell ya: because it’s time!

It’s time to fully embrace my creativity once again — that creativity I once had by the boat-fulls in high school art classes and overflowing in college creative writing workshops — and harness this crazy energy inside me that wants to jump for joy and scream at the same time.

(Creativity is such a marvel, isn’t it?)

And so, as all good writers and poets do, I will tell you a story:

Once upon a time, like many folk, I was self-conscious to the extreme, very shy, and very self-critical, always second guessing my words, my actions and ultimately, myself.

Why? I’m sure for a variety of nature and nurture reasons — but let’s not busy our pretty selves with that now. Because frankly my dear, I don’t quite give a damn any longer.

And so, not long ago I decided it was high-time to kick that silly self-critical bandwagon to the curb (because we’re all pretty frickin’ awesome BA people just walking each other home) and focus on what really matters — living your life the way you want it to feel.

Now, I live for myself — but also to help others.

I continually strive to be a strong, successful woman working to make the world a more sustainable, humane, compassionate and happy place, knowing that every little bit helps. (Personal mission here, folks — hello buzzwords!)

I also live continually inspired by the retrospective thoughts folks have later in life that whisper to their internal brainlobes, “Looking back on my life, I wish I could have experienced that or done this differently. I regret…yadda, yadda, yadda…”

I am inspired thinking of this often quoted generic scenario not because I aim to think such thoughts myself as I grow better with age (pinot grigio, anyone?), but because I aim to not have such thoughts, or at the very least to minimize this nostalgic and sad internal dialogue.

We only have one life anyway — so why cloud up our precious mental landscape with sad, worrisome and negative dialogue if we have the ability to change our thoughts and our ways?

Of course, we will all reach a day when FOMO* becomes a reality you can’t rewind — but I would prefer, as much as I possibly can, to embrace life with all its warts and bruises and all its soft spots and light, breezy skies — because this is it.

This big, beautiful, strange, at times horrible, and usually pretty okay thing we have going for us is life. Our life. One. Just one, folks.

Let’s just say I’m ready and willing now more than ever before to explore this life to the fullest and see how far it can take me until I can look back on all the wonderful and challenging experiences I’ve had by myself and with those I love and think — “Wow. That was a pretty damn good ride.”

Onward — and rock on.

Ciao for now,

KP

P.S. Here’s what you’ll discover on this site over time:

  • Musings about life growth and journeys.
  • Thoughts on all sorts of relationships (friendships, familial, romantic).
  • Travel posts that go beyond the “see this, do that!” formulatic article style.
  • Musings on the world of activism and movements.
  • Random injections of humor and lightheartedness.
  • Less click-bait, and more meaningful content.
  • Posts on writing, reading and books as my heart desires.
  • Random posts on my personal obsessions.
  • Occasional guest posts by some extra, special folk.

P.P.S. You can check out my writing on other online spaces here, here, here, here and here.

P.P.P.S. Sign up for monthly InspirationInspiration for Good‘s newsletter! You will have my heart forever. ❤

*FOMO = fear of missing out — a brief footnote for all the folks like me still stuck in the early 90s and beyond who have no f’ing clue what everyone around you has been talking about in this 21st century of ours…

Feature photo credit: Book and Relax / KP