Be Ambitious

So as most of you know by now (I’m not sure how any of you wouldn’t know–I’ve only posted about it a gazillion times already on Facebook) I just cut my hair. DRASTICALLY cut my hair. To be specific, I went from probably close to three feet of hair to a pixie cut without rocking a mid-length ‘do in between. And honestly? I FEEL GREAT.

Without contest, this has been one of the best decisions I’ve ever made in relation to my appearance and I don’t regret it one bit. But then again, I had been thinking about making the change for well over a year, and had begun mentally preparing myself a long time ago. Still, before cutting my hair, there was no way I could fully prepare myself for the person I would be looking at in the mirror afterwards. I had gotten so used to my reflection with long hair, I hadn’t realized that the person I was looking at wasn’t really me.

Now when I see myself in the mirror, it’s not that I’m like, “Ahh, here I am, finally.” This ain’t no Mulan, Who-is-that-girl-I-see moment (That’s going to be stuck in my head forever, thanks self), though I do love this hairstyle and the fact that I can style it with my simpleton hair skills gives me great confidence. No, in fact, this isn’t really about having long hair vs. short hair at all. This is really about change.

So many of us (women in particular, though men do it, too!) get attached to the way we look. We get attached to our clothes, the length of our hair, the certain brands of beauty and cleaning products we use, etc. We get so attached that we grow uncomfortable with change. Our hair, or sense of style, or piece of clothing, or whatever starts to become sentimental; it turns into something that we invest emotion in. We do this because we grow comfortable with the way we look and the certain way things are, and then we find it difficult to change.

We find it difficult to change our looks or our hair once we’ve grown attached to it because we’re uncertain. We don’t know if we will still look good with the change–we aren’t sure that we’ll be comfortable with it. And this sentiment expands beyond our looks. We find routine and become afraid of change. That’s why graduating college and entering the real world is such a point of anxiety; that’s why so many of us feel the pressure to find a stable job and start our lifetime-long careers at 22 years old. That’s why many of us get married, settle down, and start a family before we even hit 30 (which, in coastal culture, aka NYC and LA, is outrageously young).

We’re scared to take a risk, take a chance, make a change (thank you Kelly Clarkson, that’s still one of my favorite songs) because we can’t see the future in that decision. We ignore our “wilder” fantasies because we view them as that: wild, uncontrollable. We crave routine and comfort, but do we really find satisfaction in that?

I loved my long hair; it was a point of pride to have such long locks, and (despite what it might of looked like in pictures) my hair was really healthy. I loved pulling it up into long sideways french braids like I was Katniss Everdeen about to go kick some ass. But when I really thought about it, I was just tired. I was tired of my hair, bored with it, and ready for a change. Braiding it was the only way I knew how to style it. It was heavy, a hassle, and always got in the way. And almost immediately after I cut it, I realized that it really wasn’t me. I’m the type of person who loves to take leaps, who loves to bound into new adventures, even though they might be terrifying. And short hair was a new adventure for me. It’s not that I am inherently a pixie-cut type of person (though I do think I look better in short hair than I did in long hair) but it’s the significant change that really expresses who I am. I like to dance to the beat of my own drum, and I think my hair represents that now.

So I guess my long-winded point is this: be ambitious. Let yourself dream, and go for those dreams. No one ever got any where good without taking some risks. And even if you fail, you’re not really failing, because you’re learning something about yourself and the world around you along the way. You know what I said to myself right before I cut my hair?

It’s just hair. It’ll grow back.

So take a chance on yourself. Get out of your routine and comfort zone and figure out how to do what you love–figure out what it is that you love doing!! You will have so much more confidence in yourself, and ultimately find yourself in a happier place if you do.

-tlc

Everything Is Going To Be Okay

Earlier this morning a friend sent me this graphic about several of my favorite success stories and where they were at 23 years old. Even though others’ failure shouldn’t be a comfort to me, knowing how far all of these people went to change the world (in their own respective ways) is reassuring. So many of us leave college feeling as though we have to have a life plan; as if our time to discover ourselves and build our career is extremely limited, and if we haven’t found ourselves and laid the foundation for our futures by the time we’re 24 or 25 we’ll never find success.

I’m learning very quickly that success isn’t necessarily a number on a paycheck. Success is living a life and lifestyle that makes your happy. Success is putting things out into the world that you are proud of. This doesn’t have to be physical objects, but can be actions, lessons, or the way you treat other people. All of these things have the ability to impact those around you.

So, to keep this post brief, here’s something I’ve learned just from contemplating this graphic:

1) Success means taking risks. If you don’t put yourself out there, if you don’t take a chance on your dreams, you’ll never achieve your goals. As the saying goes, you miss 100% of the shots you don’t take. I know it’s scary to go out on a limb away from any sort of familial or financial safety net, but if you don’t do it, you’ll never get where you want to go.

2) Failure isn’t the end. If this graphic isn’t the perfect example of that, just go read up on all the statistics about Donald Trump filing for bankruptcy. (Not that Trump is a great example of success by any means, but he’s still stinking rich.) The world keeps turning, even after it feels like it should stop. In your darkest moments, this may be a terrible reality, but time does indeed heal all wounds, and someday you will be grateful that life allows us to reinvent ourselves over, and over, and over again.

3) Change is necessary. All of these people made changes in their lives to get where they are today. You can’t expect to have different results if you try the same things over and over again. Sometimes this is really hard to hear, and even harder to put into practice. Especially as a writer, I understand the pain of spending so much time on one project, only to realize afterwards that I’m not getting the results I want with it. Starting over is difficult. Throwing out things you’re attached to so that you can make room for a fresh perspective is challenging. But nobody ever said life was easy.

So there you have it. Everything I gleaned from a simple internet graphic. Too bad most internet graphics spread stereotypes, not positive reinforcement. But that’s another post entirely.

Yours truly,

tlc

A Wandering Thought

So I’ve been out on the West Coast long enough now to warrant a visit home. Granted, it was a short weekend trip, but well worth it to spend time with my family, my adorkably chubby baby nephew, and the freeing spaciousness that is Kansas City. Nothing gets you homesick quite like the stark contrast between the peace and quiet of a spacious suburban home and the never-ending cluster(ahem) that is LA.

Before now, I’d never really considered the qualities that make Kansas City such an awesome place to live: Quiet, plenty of parking, low city traffic (rush hour there is like off-hours here), good neighborhoods, beautiful fall weather, and plenty of space. All this Royals pride with the team headed to the World Series (who0ddah thunk?) is great, too–apparently they’ve dyed the water blue in every fountain in the city; a daunting task for America’s city of fountains.

It made returning to LA–despite the sun and the beach and the mountains–that much harder. It’s difficult to leave everyone you love (and who loves you) and everything you’ve known growing up and find comfort in a place where you know so few people. I’ve been lucky enough to meet very kind and generous people and make a handful of friends very quickly, but when–as they say–old friends are good friends, and old friends take time, it’s difficult to feel that I have a place in LA.

In a way, I am a sort of vagabond–My housing situation is short term, and I don’t have a steady, paying job–this contributes to the lack of home feeling. But, this seems to be the way with most people in LA–hardly anyone is actually from here. As I once heard someone say, LA is a city made up of orphans. Perhaps that’s why we’re here, in the city of Angels. We’re all seeking our own to guide us.

Now obviously I’m not actually an orphan, but sometimes it can feel this way when you’ve traveled far from home and are living on your own. What’s nice is that since most of us are orphans, it’s a bit of a point of bonding. People band together when they know they are alone in the same ways. I went to a church service last night and felt surprisingly at home–the service was filled with many young people working in some respect in the entertainment industry, and without speaking to anyone, I could just feel that we were all seeking the same thing.

No, not glamour or money (though a little bit of the latter would be nice). We’re all seeking a community. A safe space to call home and validate our place in this city.

LA is like the Regina George of cities: she’ll invite you in and include you if she thinks you’ll benefit her in some way, or she’ll compliment you on your ugly skirt that no one actually likes.

Or maybe LA only seems like Regina George. Because I seem to think she’s much nicer once you get to know her. I’ll have to give it time, though, because I can’t confirm either way at the moment.

No matter where I end up after December, I know I want to be a writer, and I have found a home in my pursuit of that career. So in a way, no matter where I am, I can always take comfort in that. And I’m trying to measure my success less on the accomplishments, jobs, and responsibilities I’m gaining (or not gaining) right now, and focusing more on the journey. This is some advice that I’m trying to follow right now, and maybe it’ll be good for you, too: Don’t compare yourself to others when measuring your success. Have goals for yourself and the ambition to go for them, and plan far enough into the future to help you achieve those goals, but don’t think too much about the future. Enjoy everyday, enjoy the moment, and glean everything you can from your experiences right now. Hope for opportunities, but know that if you’re open to it, life will steer you in the direction you’re meant to roam, be that what you had in mind or not at all.

I’m learning that success is not how much money you have, or where you live, or who you are–success is being surrounded by the ones you love and who love you. Right now I’m feeling pretty unsuccessful, but I know that the ones I love are excited for me and supporting and so, even though I’m not physically surrounded by them, I feel their love. And I hope, no matter where I end up, that I can grow and share that loves with others.

Maybe someday I’ll be successful. Maybe you will be, too.

Until next Thursday,

Yours truly,

tlc

Tina Fey: A Response to “5 Reasons Why Amy Poehler Should be Everyone’s Role Model”

Yesterday I happened to read a great post by Thought Catalog’s Jessie Garber on why Amy Poehler should be everyone’s role model (if that wasn’t clear in the title).  I think it’s great, I really do.  Being a funny (well, hey, I try) girl myself, I love that people love strong women with strong senses humor and big hearts and minds.  The simple fact that a woman like Amy Poehler can have a huge fan base, mad respect and success in her craft–which, as far as success in comedy goes, is still largely a male-dominated talent–is incredible. High-five humanity.

However, being an avid Tina Fey fan, I think this opens up the perfect opportunity to point out why TINA should be everyone’s role model, because, let’s face it, she is the type of awesome that everyone NEEDS to strive for. So with that, I give you:

5 Reasons Why Tina Fey Should be Everyone’s Role Model

BOOM.  Let’s start this off right with #1:

Amy Poehler may be hilarious, but Tina Fey is HYSTERICAL. Also a fellow Saturday Night Live alum, Tina Fey wrote AND starred in Mean Girls and also starred in Baby Mama, but more importantly, has starred in films like Date Night along such comedy greats like Steve Carell. She wrote and starred in her hit show, 30 Rock, in which she played the strong, though relate-ably awkward, female head writer for a semi-successful comedy show.  The characters Tina plays, like Liz Lemon, are strong, successful women who are down-to-earth and keep a strong head on their shoulders.  Tina shows us all that you can–and should–laugh through all the ups and downs, and you should never stop working hard, and never stop pushing for your goals.

“I want to go to there” -Liz Lemon, aka Tina Fey

#2: Tina is a jack-of-all-trades, and her humor is transparent. She’s also three steps ahead. In 2011, she published her super-hilarious autobiography, Bossypants, a book which details a incredibly inspirational and uplifting story about a woman navigating her way through a male-dominated business, learning and loving along the way, dealing with her body and her body image, and balancing work, marriage, and motherhood in only a way Tina Fey could achieve.  Not to mention, she then did the recorded version for the audiobook edition herself, and it was even more hilarious.

#3: This awards speech: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6vLFYs2n9Go

Need I say more?

#4: She is an inspiration for all young women. A self-proclaimed “supernerd,” Fey fearlessly admits to spending her adolescence indoors, enjoying game nights with her friends, instead of falling into the endless drama and woe that is teenage dating, or getting caught up at parties or in drug use. She realizes that most teenagers are self-conscious about their social lives, and to that she says, hey, it’s okay.  Be safe, have fun, be happy. You don’t have to party to have fun or friends.

#5: Along with several charities and causes that she supports, as well as her endless resume of comedy, acting, theater, show-hosting, and writing, Tina Fey is also a wife and mother to two daughters.  Like Amy Poehler, Tina is outspoken about body image and women’s rights.  Her talent, success, and ability to navigate the waters of business and home life should be an inspiration and role model to us all.  Move over, Amy, your best friend would like to share the spotlight.

And that’s my two-cents.

-tlc