Someone Like You – The One With Dj

It’s Friday, which means another episode of Someone Like You is ready for download. This week is The One With Dj and we meet a young man who has been to hell and back, back again and got back on the wagon.

I’m glad you’re here, especially those who have stuck with me these last three months and have fared my nervous laughter and questionable audio. I appreciate you all SO much. And for those of you who might be new, my name is Shannon and I’m the voice who narrates this show. Someone Like You is about putting a face to the homeless and answering these three questions: Who are the homeless? How did they become homeless? How do we end homelessness?

For the last few months we have been able to meet a new voice who shares their story of survival ever other Friday, and today is a little bittersweet because my guest today is the last interview I have to share for the year. But don’t worry! I’ll be working on getting more interviews next year so I will be back for season 2. Follow me on Instagram @sjrandol to know the second season two airs.

Dj grew up in Highland Park, spent some time in Hollywood and now lives in a sweet apartment next to Staples Center.

He’s working at Trader Joe’s and Bed, Bath & Beyond, AND has prime physical custody of his 18-month old son. He spends his free time getting his little guy familiar with sports and prepping him for pre-school/daycare.

There are nearly 6,000 homeless youth searching for a safe place to sleep each night in the city of Los Angeles and 4.2 million young people will experience a form of homelessness within the next year.

Meet Dj.


Come be my friend on Instagram, I’m on Facebook but I think I play better on IG, lol. I also just launched a podcast centered around getting to know our homeless youth in hopes to better understand how to stop it by getting to know the young people who survived it. Listen to the very first episode, here.  

Glee, Cyndi Lauper, Tears & Why

I found my Glee soundtrack CDs again and had my own little mini concert this morning that took me down memory lane. Just as I was really getting into Cyndi Lauper’s True Colors something clicked and I started to cry, which is really fucking annoying when you’re trying to win a Grammy for best new Karaoke Artist before work.

This whole ‘learn to be vulnerable’ and ‘feel shit’ is cramping my IDGAF attitude. Why did I start therapy again? For a long while, I was able to control my emotions and only show anger or happiness with the notion it would be a cold day in hell before I’d let anyone see me cry.

Well, it’s winter and I’m crying to True Colors at 8 a.m. and now blogging about it for the 1,000 of you to read about. So this must be Hell.

Instead of ignoring the tears, telling myself to suck it the fack up, and beating myself up for getting emotional… I did what Daring Greatly, Braving The Wilderness, and Girl Wash Your Face asks you to ask yourself: why am I getting emotional. Can you identify the why?

So while I continued to belt out the lyrics, and cry, I tried to string together what was running through my head and how it could be related to my now puffy eyes and running nose. And realized I was thinking about my upcoming trip to Florida and how it was going to be strange to possibly see people that know me, who have a history with me and have seen some of my worst days, and how familiar it would all feel.

And how uncomfortable that familiarity felt.

My thoughts also wandered to a family that welcomed me as their own. We had Wednesday night dinners and a no cell phone rule during dinners. They took me in as one of their own and I started to imagine what it would be like to see them all again.

It made me happy and warm to imagine walking into her home again…cue tears.

I chewed on the uncomfortableness with familiarity and why happy and warm would make me weepy…and came to the conclusion this is one of the parts of me I killed off a long time ago in order to protect myself from getting emotionally hurt. Let’s break it down.

Uncomfortableness with familiarity: it’s no secret I spent a lot of time saying goodbye because of the excessive moving from state to state, deployments, and then regular goodbyes of life regarding friendships, and family relationships. I coped and overcompensated by learning to never get attached to one place, person or thing.

Happy and warm: something inside of me enjoyed the idea that I’d be around people who knew me and have known me for a while. It’s been such a long time since I’ve been around familiar faces and places. Florida and this home are nostalgic.

Conclusion: Never getting attached to a place, person or thing made it easier to leave (because undoubtfully I’d be leaving again so why get dependant on a relationship or home that I know won’t last?) with the least amount of emotional turmoil. It let me feel independent from those emotions. Does that make sense?

I got weepy because I let myself feel it.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Girl, Routine Can Make Me Neurotic If I’m Not Careful

I’m not kidding girl, routine can make me neurotic if I’m not careful and I’ll tell you why in a minute. But first, can I get a high five for realizing this about myself? It’s like a huge exhale. Who knew it was so important to be curious, especially when it comes to yourself.

Over the last few weeks, I have been participating in Rachel Hollis’ #Last90Days challenge which is all about taking ownership in your own life and because the last 90 days of the year can be the most challenging, with holidays and extra family functions, it’s a great reminder that you get to choose what happens inside your own life.

The success in owning your last 90 days is completing Hollis’ 5 To Thrive each day.

  1. Get up an hour earlier than you normally do and use the time for yourself.
  2. Workout for at least thirty minutes.
  3. Drink half of your body weight in ounces of water each day.
  4. Give up one food category you know you shouldn’t be eating.
  5. Write down ten things you’re grateful for every single day.

Simple or overwhelming, depends on the person. Know what I’m saying? This is where I begin to explain the title of this blog and first, I must note Hollis makes a point to stress these five are to motivate you not strangle you i.e. you’re not going to be on your A-game every day, so when you do slip up, don’t waste anytime crying over spilt milk.

A few months ago I wouldn’t have been able to HEAR the reminder because I don’t accept anything less than perfection when attacking a challenge or professional goal.

Case and point. For two years I had a strict exercise routine which included a morning mile and a half run every morning, legs every Tuesday, ClassPass once a week, swimming (during the summer) in the afternoons (my ‘fun’ exercise for the summer but not a replacement for cardio), arms and abs every other day and sometimes I’d double up.

I didn’t believe in rest days or legs that didn’t hurt for three days after Tuesday. If I skipped a run or just didn’t feel like doing the sit-ups, I’d feel like a failure and spin into an awful negative self-talk about how awful I was for not being able to complete one simple task, how could I be so lazy?

The over-exercising led to other issues. I ate whatever I wanted because I was exercising so much it didn’t matter. So when the wheels to my train eventually flew off, it took an additional year to figure out where I went so wrong.

BALANCE. I lacked balance. I’m an intense person, mediocre isn’t in my vocabulary. So I go balls to the wall with everything and have a hard time accepting I’m human, who can’t do all. the. things.

Let me say it again for those who might be sitting in the back row. If I’m human, you sure as shit are, too. BALANCE. BALANCE. BALANCE. BALANCE! There’s no reason to choke yourself, writing this because I need the reminder for myself!

And that is what I’ve brought to my Last 90 Days challenge. My Five To Thrive is tailored to what I need, not what I should be doing.

For example, I don’t get up an hour earlier than normal because my normal is already an hour early so I can run my pups. Instead of giving up a food group I’ve given up my fourth meal because it’s a bad habit I’ve been ready to give up. My thirty-minute exercise doesn’t have to be balls to the wall (like, can’t walk for three days) in order to ‘count.’ If I take the dogs for a walk for thirty minutes–that’s good, it’s about getting out and moving.

The best gift I’ve given myself these last 90 days is grace. I’ve missed a few gratitude journals and I give myself rest days from exercise. The world is still turning, and I’m not beating myself up about it.

“We tend to forget that baby steps still move us forward.”


play better on Instagram than Facebook but regardless, be my friend online. RamblinRandol is my quest for true belonging. I also just launched a podcast centered around understanding the homeless youth epidemic, subscribe and join me on this brand new journey! 

 

 

 

Judge, Jury, and Executioner – Guilty As Charged

This past weekend was interesting. I had a few conversations with different people about vastly varying topics that all came together (somehow) on one of the drives home. Ya know, during the debrief conversation with the Hubs after an all-day social outing. Everyone does that, right?

These conversations can be either enlightening or argument inducing, thankfully it wasn’t the latter and left me with a new little gem about myself I can carry into interactions moving forward.

Conversation One: my sister-in-law came to visit this weekend with her brand new baby boy. We got away one afternoon and walked around Fashion Island so she could get some of her favorite treats to bring home to Reno and during one conversation we discussed her new role as a mother.

She had a difficult time conceiving, suffered from PCOS, went to numerous doctors, tracked her ovulation and did rounds of scientific intervention via a pill I can’t remember. All she wanted was a baby. The stress was unbearable and she began to question her worth.

If she couldn’t have a baby, what kind of woman was she? (her words not mine) This statement led to ‘conversation one.’ She sat on one end of the spectrum regarding womanhood and I realized that I sit very far on the other.

Conversation Two: this actually had multiple conversations intertwined but I want to stick to the largest point because it led to convo three. And yes you guessed it, this convo involved my arch nemesis, love.

I don’t even like writing the word love, just seeing it makes me feel uncomfortable and vulnerable and blehhhhhhhh. But if I’m being honest, I feel like the word love is another one of those words that get overused and holds no value anymore. People just say it all willy-nilly and it doesn’t seem right (to me).

So with the above mentioned in mind, conversation two was with someone who loves a whole lotta people, would literally do anything for their large group of friends and family, who also includes me in this circle.

The thing is I have a hard time believing any words of admiration thrown my way because, well, they say it to a lot of people so how do I know it’s not bullshit?

Conversation Three a.k.a. The Debrief with Hubs: I like to hear how my Hubs percieves topics regarding relationships because usually, we have two different understandings or presumption. So I brought up convo two to hear his take…

Apparently (according to the Hubs & does seem to be true) if it were between believing someone and not believing someone, I would err towards not believing someone. “If there’s no smoking gun or proof, you don’t take it to be true,” said the Hubs, “and sometimes it makes talking to you more difficult than it needs to be.”

To stay truthful I did ask him to give me an example, and it’s because I don’t like guessing. I don’t want to assume it might be one thing when it could be another. I like to stay ahead of the ball, so why bother fucking around with assumptions when I can get a straight answer by asking the question head-on.

And without missing a beat, he provided one. And to stick with being truthful, his example is an argument we’ve had a few times and because I’ve yet to see it in action, I don’t believe it. 

His other one-liner for the car ride home to be noted is, “you make it my job to prove it beyond a reasonable doubt.” I gather he means it’s not everyone’s job to put on a trial for the judge and jury which just so happens to be me.

Okay, but how do all three of these relate to one another? Well, the conversation regarding motherhood is the base for this trifecta. I don’t operate based on opinions of others or what ‘everyone else does,’ because it comes back to my mom’s good ‘ol saying, “if they jumped off a bridge, would you?”

If you aren’t giving me ass, grass, or cash, you outta keep your yipper closed.

Society has been putting pressure on women for a zillion-bajillion years for no other reason than, ‘they said so.” Literally, the weakest fucking argument known to mankind. You’re not a good woman unless you get married, have babies, and be this well-rounded individual who can manage the household and ALL THE ERRANDS.

My response to the societal norm? “Oh HELL no!”

Just because I’m a woman I’m expected to get married and have children, and I don’t buy it. Just because people say they care for you, doesn’t mean they do because actions speak louder than words and I gotta say, a lot of people will say it but not act like it.

The moral?

And just because I know this about myself, now I can pay attention to when I’m starting to get a little judge and jury. This is a good quality to have, but not in all instances. Some things don’t provide proof and I have to learn how to trust.

#balance

Now to keep up with my promise to practice gratitude to fight my tendency to forbode joy: Currently feeling gratitude towards the strength I possess that helps me have those hard conversations. Growth is hard, but my ears are finally open. What are you feeling gratitude towards? Let me know in the comment section, below. 

Cultivate it.

play better on Instagram than Facebook but regardless, be my friend online. RamblinRandol is my quest for true belonging.

 

 

 

Grey Street & The End Of The World

My emotional IQ is low when it comes to my own self-awareness. It’s so easy for me to see what’s truly bothering others, but when it comes to myself I’m clueless.

Anger and okayness are the only two, that’s it. A few years ago I noticed most of my anger came from feeling sad and because I wasn’t okay with feeling weak (sad) I easily shifted the vulnerability to anger and violence.

This felt like a massive breakthrough, except I wasn’t necessarily doing anything to correct my bad habit with creating a ruckus. It was just easier to recognize I was actually feeling sad and trying to bury it by creating the ruckus (creating my own chaos).

One medium I’ve always felt able to express myself with is music. And whaddya know, the songs that spoke to me the most were the ones that could do the Emotional IQ talk for me. Did that make any sense? haha.

For example, Grey Street by Dave Matthews has been one of my favorite songs from the band for over a decade. I never thought much about why only focused on how it made me feel.

And for a better part of that decade, I was unconsciously belting out the lyrics that described me perfectly.

Oh, look at how she listens
She says nothing of what she thinks
She just goes stumbling through her memories
Staring out onto Grey Street
She thinks, “Hey, how did I come to this?
I dream myself a thousand times around the world
But I can’t get out of this place”

[Chorus]
There’s an emptiness inside her
And she’d do anything to fill it in
But all the colors mix together – to grey
And it breaks her heart

[Verse 2]
How she wishes it was different
She prays to God most every night
And though she swears it doesn’t listen
There’s still a hope in her it might
She says, “I pray
But they fall on deaf ears
Am I supposed to take it on myself?
To get out of this place?”

[Chorus]
There’s a loneliness inside her
And she’d do anything to fill it in
And though it’s red blood bleeding from her now
It feels like cold blue ice in her heart
When all the colors mix together – to grey
And it breaks her heart

[Verse 3]
There’s a stranger speaks outside her door
Says, “Take what you can from your dreams
Make them as real as anything
It’d take the work out of the courage”
But she says, “Please
There’s a crazy man that’s creeping outside my door
I live on the corner of Grey Street
And the end of the world”

[Chorus]
There’s an emptiness inside her
And she’d do anything to fill it in
And though it’s red blood bleeding from her now
It’s more like cold blue ice in her heart
She feels like kicking out all the windows
And setting fire to this life
She could change everything about her
Using colors bold and bright
But all the colors mix together – to grey
And it breaks her heart
It breaks her heart
To grey

So, I guess what I’m trying to say is pay attention. You’re smarter than you think.

Now to keep up with my promise to practice gratitude to fight my tendency to forbode joy: Currently feeling gratitude towards this protein bar tasting like a maple glazed donut, haha. What are you feeling gratitude towards? Let me know in the comment section, below. 

Cultivate it.

play better on Instagram than Facebook but regardless, be my friend online. RamblinRandol is my quest for true belonging. 

 

Give Yourself A Break – Strive For Imperfection, Instead

This morning on my drive to work I was catching up on one of my favorite podcasts, Jen Gotch Is Okay…Sometimes. It’s described as a podcast that “is weird and original and funny and honest—just like me.  Each week I’m going to get in your ear, tell you about my fears, my pain, my triumphs and hopefully in the process help you become more self-aware, build your own emotional intelligence, and more than anything else, FEEL LESS ALONE.”

It drops every Tuesday and has become one of my favorite listens on the drive to work. I missed this Tuesday’s episode so I caught up this morning and wow, did it hit home and put into perspective what I was blogging about yesterday that I didn’t know at the time I was blogging about. Does that make sense? 

If you missed it, yesterday’s blog Cutting Loose Ends talked about how I’ve been struggling with carrying the thoughts and opinions of others while trying to fight the urge to self-isolate and block out. Let’s not get it twisted, it’s still annoying how much people dump on unsuspecting souls. The trick is to not let it stick and define you.

Yesterday I think was I was blogging about (but didn’t know it at the time) struggling with perfectionism and after this morning’s episode about striving for IMPERFECTION, it gave me some perspective on what I wrote about yesterday, weird right?

Here’s why letting go of perfectionism will help me let go of other people’s actions:

Trying to ‘live up’ to other people’s expectations is a waste of damn time. I want to be successful both personally and professionally. This need to excel at excellence means trying to do everything to the best of my ability, a.k.a. as close to perfect and efficient as possible and I don’t want to let anyone down so I put a lot of value in what others think and say about me (which pains me to write because ew, I wish this wasn’t true) and forget I do this, hence yesterday’s frustration.

This does nothing but distracts me from my own inner voice. I know me, so I should listen to her more often because when I’m constantly filling my head with what others have put on me, it stifles my inner thoughts and feelings. So fuck that shit, I need to be more self-aware so I can internally combat this.

She continues on to say:

“What if we just decided to be imperfect?”

Being comfortable with being imperfect actually helps us achieve more since we’re not overwhelming ourselves with undue pressure. “Let’s not worry so much,” Jen says. “Let’s not try and strive for something that actually isn’t achievable because you just end up feeling awful all the time.”

“We still need to have aspirations, but what if what we aspired to was to be better than great and less than perfect? I think we could manage that.”

She lists three sweet spots to focus on while striving for imperfection, here they are:

  1. Say no to the ‘having it all’ culture – this doesn’t help you focus on the now. When you focus on the ‘having it now’ aspect of life, it forces you to dismiss the achievements of today and yesterday and leaves you feeling never enough or satisfied. Let’s collectively agree to knock this behavior off!
  2. It’s okay to fail – all I have to say about this one is if you never fail how are you supposed to learn? Growth comes from standing up after falling and learning from your mistakes. Let’s all agree to fail a little harder!
  3. Done is better than perfect mentality – I suck at this one, it was even hard to write, but I can acknowledge what it’s trying to convey. If you get tied up in all the little details nothing will ever move forward. This isn’t promoting laziness, it’s promoting to take a breath in the middle of that big project and acknowledge the fact it’s not going to be perfect no matter how hard you strive for it (project, relationship, the dream) to be. Focus on completing it, not all the little tiny ways it’s going to be a shitshow.

Hopefully, this helps you in the same way it helped me peel back the foggy layer that was suffocating my brain yesterday. Gotch ended the episode by asking her listeners to ditch perfectionism and do ‘all of the things you’re waiting to be perfect, to do.” Challenge accepted, and I hope you join me.

Now to keep up with my promise to practice gratitude to fight my tendency to forbode joy: Currently feeling gratitude about seeing my brother-in-law tonight and having a cookout! What are you feeling gratitude towards? Let me know in the comment section, below. 

Cultivate it.

play better on Instagram than Facebook but regardless, be my friend online. RamblinRandol is my quest for true belonging. 

 

Cutting Loose Ends

I don’t want you to know me. This makes the relationship burden on my end simple and I’ll do whatever possible to keep this narrative simple. Mess bothers me, I like to cut my ends in one easy snip.

The second people think they know you, is the second they try to invade your personal space. For example, the second I got married was the second it became appropriate to ask me about when we’d be having children.

It’s an intrusive question about an intimate act done in private and basically asks my husband when is he planning to ejaculate his sperm with no restrictive materials so they can meet my eggs and have a party.

Believe it or not, there is a large group of people who appreciate privacy and boundaries and I’ll dare great to say I’m happily leading the pack. Yes, there is a part of me that yerns to be known and I’m having trouble finding the balance  because I value both privacy and connection.

I don’t enjoy letting anyone ‘get to know’ me because then unsolicited advice and ridiculousness gets thrown my way which I should be able to take with a grain of salt but don’t because I take it personal.

Words matter, and if yours sound condesending or judgmental, I’m going to take it personal that you decided you had little respect for my life smarts and felt obligated to tell me how it should be. I’ve lived alotta life you don’t know about, what’s that phrase about assuming?

Here’s a visual if you don’t get my description, does anyone remember that commercial about bullying and the kid has all the nasty things being said to him written on his body with marker? This is how I feel about people and their damn opinions. It is so much easier to keep everyone else out so they’re words won’t mark me.

Lately it feels like a whole-lotta people are trying to force me to be this person I’m not and it’s pushing me way in the opposite direction. I feel like I’m being squeezed and being set up for failure. So my walls go up and instinctually put up a fight.

This is a personal problem, I’m aware, and it boils down to control. I can’t control how others act, but I can control how I act when I feel emotionally violated, intruded upon and/or stomped over no matter how hard I try to communicate.

For example, one of my coworkers hates it when the toliet roll isn’t put in the canister with the paper facing up. She claims its harder to use so she fixes it each time it randomly happens to be facing the wrong way.

If it didn’t bother her this anaolgy wouldn’t work, but it does bother her when the paper gets turned around and she has to fix it. Instead of realizing this is a personal preferance and she chooses to turn it a certain way, she decides someone is doing this on purpose because, “how does one not know which way to correctly load a toliet canister,” and is purposfully incoveincing her by making her switch the roll and complains about it from time to time.

In this case, I need to swap the toliet paper roll with opinions (possible literally speaking, too) and figure out a way to understand I don’t have to react in anger each time I feel like I’m being sqeezed into a box or purposefully being forced into swapping out the roll.

I don’t want people to know me because when people know you that’s when you’re vulnerable to pain, because when they do and say things to hurt you the natural defensive response will always be “they didn’t mean it” or “they mean well,” which completley dimishes the pain felt upon the inflicted.

The solution? Believing I am enough. Wholeheartidly knowing who I am despite what others categorize me as, that those small descriptions don’t define me. It doesn’t matter what people say or do because I’m comfortable in my own skin. The trick is to figure out how to believe it. 

Now, If I could just practice it quicker so I could master this idea of being enough. I’m saying this with a smirk because nothing worth it ever comes easy 😉 

The problem with constantly trimming your ends is never letting the ends grow to their full potential. I get it a little better than I did a year ago, but I’m nowhere near better at practicing the belief that I am enough.

Now to keep up with my promise to practice gratitude to fight my tendency to forbode joy: Currently feeling gratitude for my patient husband. What are you feeling gratitude towards? Let me know in the comment section, below. 

Cultivate it.

play better on Instagram than Facebook but regardless, be my friend online. RamblinRandol is my quest for true belonging. 

 

 

 

 

My Skin Feels Too Heavy To Carry

Have you ever felt so depleted of energy that even your skin feels too heavy to carry? Thank Zeus it’s Friday. I need the next two days to get my shit together even though I feel like even if I had two weeks time, it still wouldn’t be enough because I’m so damn far behind.

Most of my anxiety has come from two silent weeks of no prospects in interviews for my (wannabe) podcast with a looming September deadline. I’m starting to feel failure set in even though there is ample time to problem solve and the anticipation of failure is enough to drown me and wash the entire dream dry.

 

What about these books I keep claiming to have in the chamber? I thought of another good idea for a book this morning while driving to work, listening to another audiobook (Bad Feminist by Roxanne Gay), so if you’ve lost count that’s a potential three books I’m probably not going to write.

Each time I start to imagine writing said books my brain freaks out. How do I even submit a book? I don’t want to get an agent, but hardly any publishing companies accept unsolicited work. What’s best practice, how do you start, what’s MY writing process? I spin and spin until the only way to end it is to ignore.

The next phase is usually obsessing over everything I’m not doing, could be doing better, and/or simmering over shit I can’t change, which turns into wondering what the fuck I’ll be doing in twenty years and if I’ve accomplished anything I set out to do when I first began to dream.

I’m spirling.

It goes on for a couple days and then I snap my ass back into reality and get shit done. Usually, I chalk up this series of berating and self-loathing to my nasty shame gremlins being hard at work but I think I’ve figured out the trigger.

Whenever I have a good hard week or two, etc. of productivity where I exert all of my creative energy both physically and mentally to finish a project on time and successfully knock it out of the park, it leads to me feeling empty. Idle hands as they say…

This emptiness makes me nervous. Will this project (or whatever it is) be the last best thing I do? Was that it, my last spark? How am I going to best myself once more? Tick, tick, tick, tick. Worry, worry, worry.

Not to mention, people drain me. The everyday interaction required to be social is one more activity to add to my anxiety. We all play a role at home, at work, and with friends. It always feels fine when the interaction is in play, but when I come home I’ll think back on my day and stress out over what I should’ve said or done.

Add that to a long yet productive week and it leaves me feeling like my skin is too heavy to carry; spirling.

A blue fish in a Disney Pixar movie once mentioned the idea, just keep swimming. Some days I think living by this phrase is easier when your memory is has a reset button every 60-seconds, and other days I remind myself success isn’t about the destination, it’s about enjoying the wild ride to the top.

In order to get to the next crazy hump, one must keep swimming. 

Now to keep up with my promise to practice gratitude to fight my tendency to forbode joy: Currently feeling gratitude for every breath I take. What are you feeling gratitude towards? Let me know in the comment section, below. Night friends. 

Cultivate it.I play better on Instagram than Facebook but regardless, be my friend online. RamblinRandol is my quest for true belonging. 

What Are Ten Wonderful Things About You? Gratitude Wants To Know.

Happy Monday fraands, hope everyone’s weekend was good, decent, and uneventful in the best way. This moring’s blog is going to be quick because I forgot to write it last night and I’ve got twenty minutes before I really need to get ready for work. This might be my best blog yet because I won’t (can’t) allow myself to overthink each sentence and thought.

It isn’t always easy to remember our strengths or the good things about ourselves. Personally, I find it a helluva lot easier to call out my negatives than praise myself when this question is asked: What do you love about yourself?

When asked my hands usually go dry, heart palpitations increase and my brain literally freezes. The world goes in slow motion and I begin to stutter. My mind repeating one phrase, “what do I like about myself? What do I like about myself? What do I like about myself?”

Nothing ever comes to mind.

But this morning my gratitude journal asked me to name 10 wonderful things about myself and something about using the word wonderful helped me consider what I do think is wonderful about myself.

The word love is confusing for me so it throws off my way of understanding the question. So for the first time ever, I tried to consider 10 whole things I thought was wonderful about myself.

We each have personality traits that are really awesome, so I challenge you to answer the same question. I’ll share mine but I double-dog dare you to share your own answers in the comments.

Let’s do this together!

Ten wonderful things about me:

  1. My laugh is loudly sincere and wholeheartedly expressive of the joy I’m feeling in the moment.
  2. I’m a seeker of knowledge. I want to truly understand the why, meaning and perspective of any and all given situations, a.k.a staying curious.
  3. My want to be the change I wish to see in the world, nothing excites me more than giving back and helping make this world a better place.
  4. I love to cook and trying new recipes. A gift passed down to me from my Pops.
  5. Despite being armored up on the outside, any kind of unnecessary suffering truly bothers me.
  6. I am brave.
  7. I’m creative.
  8. Book smart and street smart.
  9. Incredibly strong, especially in the face of adversity.
  10. Fearlessly authentic.

This did me more good than I thought it would. It felt ridiculous and absurd when I spent (what I felt) too much time contemplating my wonderful parts, and then physically having to write them down.

There’s something solidifying to writing them down. I actually believe what I wrote, so I encourage you to write yours down and share them with me in the comments. This might be the best way to start off your Monday.

Don’t worry, it’ll feel silly at first, but I promise you it’s more rewarding than not.

Now to keep up with my promise to practice gratitude to fight my tendency to forbode joy: Currently feeling gratitude for my spin class tonight. It’s going to kick my ass back into taking care of myself. 

Cultivate it.

I play better on Instagram than Facebook but regardless, be my friend online. RamblinRandol is my quest for true belonging. 

The Difference Between True Belonging & Fitting In

School was out for the next couple days because a snowstorm blew through upstate New York and I was excited to have the day off to play in the snow. After getting bundled up and prepared to be in the frigid temperatures until exhausted from fun, I went outside to find my two siblings to play.

After searching the front and backyard, checking the neighbor’s yard and woods behind both our houses, I found them hiding behind a snowbank across the street. They were making snowballs and giggling.

When I went to jump into the ditch with them, they both scowled before letting me know I wasn’t invited. “Go away, you’ll tell on us. You’re no fun.”

“You’re no fun,” was a phrase I was familiar with, both my parents used it to fling it at me when I didn’t laugh at their jokes or understand what they thought was so funny. My siblings and parents shared this and no matter how hard I tried to fit in with the jokes and fun, it never worked.

I tried to be fun for years and then succumbed to believing I wasn’t fun and lived out their truth.

After reading through the first half of Braving The Wilderness by Brene Brown I finally felt like someone understood how I felt when it came to family.

She speaks about the moment she didn’t feel like she belonged in her family and how it affected her until she was in her mid-forties.

“Even in the context of suffering–poverty, violence, human rights violations–not belonging in our families is still one of the most dangerous hurts. That’s because it has the power to break our heart, our spirit, and our sense of self-worth. It broke all three for me”

– Braving The Wilderness, page 14

And when our heart, spirit, and sense of self-worth breaks, there are only three outcomes according to Brown’s research data…

  1. You live in constant pain and seek relief by numbing it/and or inflicting it on others;
  2. You deny your pain, and your denial ensures that you pass it on to those around you and down to your children; or
  3. You find the courage to own the pain and develop a level of empath and compassion for yourself and others that allow you to spot hurt in the world in a unique way.

The pain I feel is deep, so deep I don’t even know where the roots are to rip them out of my being. While I’m no expert, I will honestly tell you I’m extremely good at doing numbers one and two.

For years I tried to fit-in and for years got rejected, but I continually knocked on that door hoping it’d open and the outcome would change (not just with family).

Constantly setting myself up for disappointment made me the expert at numbers one and two. Anger has been my shield for MANY years and honestly, I’m still fucking angry.

I’m afraid of losing my anger armor. If I don’t have anger protecting me, then who am I and what will happen to me if I leave myself vulnerable and open to other emotions?

In Braving The Wilderness, Brene defines the difference between fitting-in and true belonging which sounds simple because on face value who doesn’t know the difference between fitting in and belonging? It’s in the word.

Her clarification between the two words was the flashlight I needed to start navigating my way out of the cave.

“Belonging is the innate human desire to be part of something larger than us. Because this yearning is so primal, we often try to acquire it by fitting in an by seeking approval, which are not only hollow substitues for belonging, but often barriers to it. Because true belonging only happens when we present our authentic, imperfect selves to the world, our sense of belonging can never be greater than our level of self-acceptance.”

She goes on to add true belonging also includes having the courage to stand alone when it’s needed, and feel comfortable with that decision. i.e. standing up for what you believe in wholeheartedly, even when you’re surrounded by different opinions.

I’ve been trying to fit into family and friend relationships for my entire life, basing my worth off what they’d give me in return. You get told throughout life that ‘family is everything’ and ‘all you have is your family,’ so it’s a confusing message when you don’t feel like you’ve ever belonged which makes it even more difficult to stop knocking at the door.

This new understanding of true belonging has lifted a burden off my shoulders I didn’t know was there. True belonging doesn’t require us to change who we are. It requires us to be who we are, therefore freeing me of the responsibility to feel like I need to fit in.

“You are only free when you realize you belong no place–you belong every place–no place at all. The price is high. The reward is great.” — Maya Angelou

Now to keep up with my promise to practice gratitude to fight my tendency to forbode joy: Currently feeling gratitude for the relationships I have at my office. 

Cultivate it.

I play better on Instagram than Facebook but regardless, come be my friend online. RamblinRandol is my quest for true belonging.