branding and design and strategy

(oh my!)

And so it begins…

Well, I did it. I caved and here I sit, writing my first blog post for Quixotic Chimera. In truth, it was a logical step. I’ve long been a lover of words and I’m known to write as a form of communication, particularly in response to those situations that are intensely emotional or exceedingly private. Writing helps me download my thoughts, organize them, process them, and share them if I so choose.

So now here I am, pulling the trigger on my first real blog. I have no idea what I’ll write about, how often I’ll write, or even if anyone will read my posts. I know, I know…I’m just chalked full of blog preparedness and assurance. Try not to be jealous.

What I do know, and have known for a couple weeks, is what my first post would be about. Me. Raw, real, and authentic me. If you know me, you already know how passionate I am about authenticity. And if you don’t know me, you’ll figure that out real quick. Without giving away the entire farm in my first post, I wanted to start by sharing a glimpse of why it’s so important to me, and where this calling on my heart for everyone to be wholly loved and accepted for exactly who they are, not who they think they should be.

A little over a month ago, I was invited to a “Heroes of Hope” luncheon by a dear friend and mentor where I met an incredible woman. Rachel McCants, who heads up R. Lindsay Unlimited, is on a mission to “empower, uplift, and encourage ladies to accept their worth/value in Christ.” After chatting with her through the luncheon, she asked if I’d be willing to share my story as a part of her weekly post/shares. I was honored by the request, and insanely humbled by the responses and comments of encouragement, understanding, and simple yet powerful “thank yous.”

I’ve only had a few what I would call “intense callings” laid on my heart. Those convictions that constantly stir your heart and don’t just inspire a call-to-action, they almost demand it. The first of those is rooted in my love for animals and my dream to have an animal sanctuary. Let me be clear, I don’t just love animals. Lots of people “love animals.” I’m on a whole other level. But that’s another post (or twelve) entirely. A second calling, one I’ve just recently been able to realize and verbalize is what I mentioned above. And that comes from the knowledge, not a feeling, that we were all created exactly as we were for a purpose, and to that end, we deserve to be loved and accepted as we were created. If only one person is encouraged or comforted by what I can share, then everything leading up to now has been more than worth it.

Here is a small glimpse into my heart and my story and what I shared with Rachel and R. Lindsay Unlimited:

“You’re too much.’ ‘You’re not enough.”

It’s an interesting feeling to believe you are both “too much” and “not enough” at the same time. And by “interesting,” I mean it’s awful. For most of my adult life, this is the message I consistently allowed myself to receive and accept. I was too independent, too loud, too outspoken, too opinionated, too real/raw, and so on and so forth. I was also not important or worthy enough to become and remain a priority in people’s lives. Or at least, that’s what I believed. For a very long time.

If we’re being honest, which I always am, even to a fault…I didn’t even realize how deep these lies had ran and how much they had infiltrated my soul. Not until the end of my marriage and the beginning of my divorce. I’m really not sure if my divorce was the catalyst for me being sick and tired of feeling like who I was and how I was created was “wrong,” or if me feeling “wrong” was the catalyst to my divorce. But here’s what I do know: the days preceding and following my divorce were the darkest I’ve had thus far in my life. I wanted so much to believe I was created for a purpose and with purpose, but I spent more nights than I can remember on my knees, in tears, begging for God to make me someone else. Because I had come to almost hate who I was and how I felt in my own skin and spirit. If you’re reading this right now and feel that familiar ache, I have a message for you…

Dear ones, do not, for one single second, doubt that God created you exactly as you are for a reason. He doesn’t make mistakes, and He doesn’t create junk. He is the author of all that is and ever was and ever will be. He knew you and formed you with more care, love, and concern than we can even fathom. And the world needs you. Not a watered-down version of you or the cliff’s notes version. But whole, complete, and unapologetic you. It’s not about who you are, it’s about whose you are. Still not convinced? Ok, how about this: When we criticize and hate on our self, we are saying to God “this thing you created? It’s not good enough. Your work, Father, is not good enough.” Oof. That one stings a bit, doesn’t it?

After my divorce and before I found the one who was created just for me, I re-entered the dating scene (gross). I was growing ever more frustrated with feeling like no one could “handle” me. Then, a treasured friend said this, and it changed my entire world. She said, “look, I love you. But…you keep tempering yourself down for people and hiding who you really are. So can you really blame them when you take off their rose-colored glasses and they can’t deal? Knock that stuff off and just be you.” World = rocked. She was 10000% right. So you know what I did? I stopped hiding behind who I thought I was supposed to be, and started being who I was created to be.

Now, let’s be clear. I’m not everyone’s brand of whiskey. Which I can now happily say I am more than ok with. I’m not supposed to be. But here’s what I AM: compassionate, fiercely loyal, insanely passionate, funny, driven, hard working, authentic, and loved and sought after by Christ. Once I began embracing who I am, I found myself attracting those friends and loved ones who embraced me as well. Crazy, huh? I also found a new and intense calling on my heart: everyone deserves to be loved for exactly who they are. Period. And whatever I can do to encourage and enable that end result, I’m game.

I’ll leave you with a charge, a challenge, and a credo: Be you, always, and don’t you pay no nevermind to anyone who thinks you should be otherwise. While you’re being you, remember to love and wholeheartedly accept others for being them. And know this: the world does not benefit from you hiding your bad-assery.

“There is a vitality, a life force, an energy, a quickening that is translated through you into action, and because there is only one of you in all of time, this expression is unique. And if you block it, it will never exist through any other medium and it will be lost. The world will not have it.” Martha Graham

Oh, and the picture? Trust your dopeness. Yes, you. And if you don’t believe that, believe the wisdom of Glinda in The Wizard of Oz. “You had the power all along my dear.”

Over and out, friends. Until next time.