Learning to Love

Things I Learned (To Love) About Myself During My First Year As a Freelancer

They say that it’s great pressure that removes impurities and creates diamonds. If not for the hard times, we wouldn’t be able to expose the dark parts of ourselves to the light. Well, thanks to the past 12 months of my freelance career, my skeletons are out of the closet and doing a tap dance routine in my living room. From the constant solitude, to the pressure to perform, the glorious rejections, and mind altering approvals, my dirt has been put on display day in and day out for one year and the experience has changed me for good.

Of all the shifts, the ability to recognize my real self, the good, the bad, and the ugly, and I love me anyway has been the greatest take away. I’ve been shown my strengths and my weaknesses, faced the dragon, slayed it, and received a well-deserved aha moment to cap off the adventure. Each victory refined me into a new person, but at the same time made me more me than I was before.

The mark of a great relationship is the ability to see the other person as they are and love them anyway. I think now I am in a fantastic relationship with me and it is getting serious.

Here are a few of my hard earned pearls. I share in hopes that they resonate in others and set them on their journey….

You are good, you are enough.
One of the hardest lessons to learn and even harder to walk out each day – YES, I can tell a great story and people will want to listen to it.

I am an expert in my world, and I should never discount my knowledge.
In the beginning, I defaulted to others too often thinking they knew best. My insecurities were suffocating my ability to do my best work.

I am hilarious, and I don’t need to hide that to be taken seriously.
I like to add humor to things and I should never think that makes me a clown or makes others perceive me as less than.

I can be in the company of other talented people and not disappear.
Shrinking violet syndrome was running rampant and it wasn’t until I stopped positioning myself in the fringes did I find a place at the table.

No, it is an honor to work with me.
I’m done with taking what I can get because I’m just happy to be here. I have earned my place and deserve to be valued.

I am not afraid of pushing towards excellence and I shouldn’t be scared to require that of others.
If they leave because I set standards, then so be it.

If it doesn’t create a positive platform for something or someone, I don’t want to do it.
I only have so much time on this Earth and I want to spend it doing something worthwhile. I am not building a career, I’m planning my legacy.

Be brave enough to say no.
I like to give 100 percent, so I must watch what I dedicate myself to.

My instincts are always right when it comes to me.
No one knows what is best for me better than me. Period. Trust myself.

Accept the seasons, nothing is meant to last forever, even your blessings.
Let go when it time to let go. It is not that it wasn’t good, it is just that something better is on the horizon.

 

cherise Cherise Luter is a freelance writer with Bustle.com and Houston Press. To learn more about her or connect with her, visit about.me.

In Love.

lia      How did SHE fall in love with herself? I was always driven. From a young age I knew I was going to be the best lawyer that ever was. I am proud to be the first generation to graduate with a high school diploma, Bachelor’s Degree and now Masters from my household. During parent/teacher nights in elementary school, my teachers would be surprised to find my short 4’9 mother shaking their hand. She has always been refined in presentation yet modest at heart. They were expecting to find an educated professional but instead of a little stern woman. “Digame la verdad, como se porta mi hija” translation “tell me the truth teacher, how has my daughter acted in school.” She never worried about my grades because I always brought home A’s. The important factor for her was my conduct. I went on to High School, was honored with the Gates Millennium Scholarship to go to college and moved into Law School in the cold state of South Dakota. The first summer I lived there I was gracious enough to live with a recent graduate. It was the most economic option for me, he was married and had one child. That family had no clue I was Latino, maybe, but one day I was saddened by the words that came out of their mouth after a news report.

“All those Hispanics are coming over, they are crossing the Rio Grande and just coming over. They ought to stay where they are.”

As an adult, I was now worried about my conduct. Was I acting in a way that would honor my family’s legacy? I had choices, yes, and one of those was to be quite and excuse myself. I left to the Mexican restaurant in town and had a wine-rita (because they weren’t able to sell the real stuff) and I reflected. Was it racism? Was it buying into the media? Did they really have a problem with my culture? It was at that pivotal moment I decided the next time my mother called and I was in a common area, I would answer the phone. They had yet to see an educated Hispanic person and I would subtly introduce that part of me. She called the following Sunday, I picked up the phone and started talking. It then prompted the question, “what is your background” to which I responded. The look of surprise will never leave my memory bank.

It was in that moment, I couldn’t be prouder of my heritage, of my values and of the extreme form of discipline I had undergone. I didn’t make a big deal of it, instead I found a way to educate them and maybe change their perception. At that moment, I fell in deep love with the passionate, empathetic, tactful, proud Latina, ME.

 

–Laura Isabel Alvarez

Laura earned her degree in Political Science from the University of Houston and currently serves on the Board of the National Society of Hispanic MBAs as the Vice-President. She was inducted as a Master’s of Science of Organizational Leadership from Quinnipiac University in May 2014. She joined Guadalupe Centers, Inc. in April 2013 with several years experience in Human Resources employee related issues and education. As a manager of HR, she is responsible for all Human Resources and Talent Management programs at Guadalupe Centers. You can connect with her on twitter or LinkedIn for the latest happenings in Kansas City, MO.

The Fear…of Success?

We are excited to continue the series SHE with today’s contribution…

 

 
 

“You don’t seem that excited,” said my loving husband.

“No, I am,” I responded.

“You don’t seem that excited,” he repeated in his knowing tone.

“Ok, I’m freaked out,” I admitted.

Earlier that morning I received my first job as a professional writer. I sent in a pitch, it was accepted, and I had my freelancer contract in hand. I should have been over the moon excited, but I actually felt sick to my stomach. I told my husband the good news and, to spite my putting on, he could see I was in panic mode. For the life of me I could not understand why I was on the verge of tears, until I thought about the last time I felt this wonderful. It was the week before my father passed away. 

It was also the week I gave my two weeks’ notice. I was taking my leap into entrepreneurship and going for my dreams and the person I was most excited to share the news with was my dad – also known as, my biggest cheerleader. We talked for an hour about my plans and he gave me the encouraging words I knew I needed to hear.

Three days later, he was gone.

I knew to expect the pain, the loneliness, the fear of going on without him, and the deep sadness, but what I didn’t realize was that I had unconsciously fused joy with pain. One of the saddest days I ever experienced came not one week after one of my happiest. Because of that juxtaposition, I internalized the belief that the other shoe will eventually drop and great happiness is only the prologue to great sadness, so don’t get too happy.

Receiving that acceptance email from my editor set off a countdown to tragedy in my brain. It was only a matter of time until the rug would get pulled out from underneath me. I wasn’t freaked out by what was, I was freaked out about what could be around the corner. 

I have since unlearned that lesson, but I think we all, for one reason or another, are afraid of being too happy. So, we pass on opportunities that could be the gateway to our joy, not because we are worried our dreams won’t come true, but because we are afraid they will. 

We need to release the fear of failure, but, more importantly, release the fear of success.

If you can survive in suffering, imagine how high you can soar in the midst of joy.

 

cherise Cherise Luter is a freelance writer with Bustle.com and Houston Press. To learn more about her or connect with her, visit about.me.

My Highest Self

To be great is to be my highest self

To be me to my fullest capacity

Unapologetically. Honestly. Sincerely.

Loving myself completely

And loving the life I live

Putting love and positive energy into the Universe

With no expectation and all the faith in the world

I am great because I’ve claimed it.

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Christine M. Hamilton

Visual Artist, Wardrobe Stylist, Style Blogger, Style Enthusiast

Born and raised in Bton Rouge, La

Current New Orleans, La Resident

www.CMHstyle.com

The Discovery

The first time I “discovered” my love for writing was by sheer accident. Well, not so much writing as discovering the ease at which I could make up fictional stories and characters in my head. I was eight years old, extremely bored since my brothers were off playing and my mom was doing motherly duties. I didn’t have any paper but I improvised with one of our educational books and wrote my very first short story inside of the cover. It was a morbid little tale and after I finished, I read it excitedly to my brother who wasn’t quite as interested as I hoped. Since I couldn’t get anyone to believe my tale, I tucked my over active imagination and my knack for story telling away. Deeply. I went years without feeding this gift, never once realizing it was indeed a gift. As I got older, I found a love for my English & History classes, particularly the ones with a heavier writing curriculum. I kept journals and a diary throughout all of middle school, junior & high school. And by the time I entered undergrad, I was so good at crafting original work out of thin air, people actually paid me to write papers for them. Still I saw this as nothing more than a hobby, at times less than a hobby because I had robbed myself for so long of a passion that ignites my soul. I tried, unsuccessfully, to fill a void I wasn’t even aware existed with other oddities and hobbies but always had paper to scribble words down. You see, for me, the conception of my gift came later (much later) in life, although present at birth but conception came when I was ready to acknowledge it. I couldn’t acknowledge it without first learning the who, what, where and when of my calling. And that entailed getting to who I am because acknowledgement is only the first step. So, how does one go from conception to transformation into who you are created to be? Through a process we are taught in 5th grade science class: Metamorphosis.

As young children we learn the simplicity yet complex process of metamorphosis. What our little minds cannot grasp at that early age is ALL LIVING THINGS WILL GO THROUGH TRANSFORMATION. At different ages and stages in life. All must go through a process of metamorphosis, the shedding of a former skin for a renewed one. What we don’t learn in fifth grade is the degree of difficulty of the process, all we understand is being a caterpillar, hiding out in a cocoon for a short time and coming out a beautiful butterfly. Easy breezy. We tend to take that simplistic approach about life into adulthood. We wait for transformation to “magically” happen or wait for assistance from a higher power, never fully grasping the work it takes to actually transform into greater. We don’t really want to put in the work or our desire is for someone else to do for us. We fight it, gripe, whine about how unfair life is yet we unknowingly possess the keys to unlock the trunk of answers.

Ever wonder what the caterpillar feels? It happily strolls along life’s path, content with who it is and its function, never grasping that change is on the horizon. It then gets locked in a very uncomfortable position: the cocoon. It isn’t even aware of how long it will be inside of what appears to be not new life forming, but a dark damp grave. I imagine several thoughts swirl around it during this time. Will I survive this? What will become of me? What exactly is going on in here? And I wonder does it even desire to be a butterfly? Once the process begins, does it contemplate escaping its hellish prison? The truth is transformation (change) is supposed to be uncomfortable. The cocoon is where everything we know to be true is challenged. Weighed. Balanced. Renewed. It is where we learn, sometimes very painfully, to release the things that no longer serve us in exchange for a big ol’heap of uncertainty. It is where we learn to trust the very moment we are breathing in, not anxiously planning the future or living the past. I’ve learned we go through many cocoon phases in life, only seeing a better version of ourselves once we’ve emerged a different creature.

Coming Soon! Coming Soon!

Coming to The Provocative Eye: A new series:

SHE.

Who is She?

Infinite Kairos
Magnificently Magnetic
Powerfully Evolving
A force to be Reckoned with
Peaceful Agape
Defined Vulnerability
Spoken Agility
Gracious and Humble
the Heart of the Universe
The Evolution of Woman illustrated through the eyes of guest contributors.
Stay tuned.
11.17.2014