Publishing for Yourself

publish for yourself

After I went political on Facebook, I dove deep into a Gilmore Girls binge. I hid under the covers of provocative books [provactive here meaning books that take your breath away with the cruelty of man, causing your brain to process multiple emotions at once – anger, shock, sadness, relief – and filter through thoughts such as “This happens in real life.”] and surrounded myself with happy throw pillows.

Most of my thoughts lately have been released into safer spheres like my journal and my husband, friends who agree, friends with different perspectives and a Jesus who listens, even on those days where praying is sometimes an afterthought.

Introspection:searching for God in you

Bravery is confronting yourself before you put yourself out there. It’s a year of new adventures and I’ve lazily been avoiding the art of introspection. I’m learning that introspection is not about me. Introspection is about finding who God made me to be.

You can’t be authentic online when you’re not authentically you

The important things my heart needs to say are trapped between lists and DIY projects. In my creative writing class in college, my professor critiqued my submissions saying, “Make this sound less bloggy.” I’ve been bloggy for almost 5 years and that puts my writing style in a box.

The search continues

Every so often you have to go back and find your voice. The last time I tried to post 5 days ago my words just trailed off and I found myself too deep in thought and too frustrated with the writer’s block.

I write about it often – the curse of the blinker and the white screen. I’ve found that blogging comes easier when I write it down on paper first.

A lot of bloggers talk about writing for your audience. KNOW YOUR AUDIENCE. And I agree half heartedly.

I would say first:

Know yourself.
Know your worth.

And it’s ok to publish for yourself. The people who want to see more of you will show up.

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I Started a War. . .

check your passion before you post

Check your passion before you post.

Something I am definitely guilty of not doing enough. I don’t really consider myself a political person, but in light of recent events, I guess I am. I consider myself a passionate person. And that’s where I can get myself into trouble.

I genuinely want a healthy conversation, and I learned Facebook is not the place to have those. I posted out of confusion yesterday. I wasn’t angry, I wasn’t passionate. Just baffled. I genuinely wanted an honest, healthy conversation with people with whom I don’t see eye to eye.

My heart is hurting along with many people both in our country and in countries around the world. We live in a place where we prize Facebook wars, our comfortable lives and our opinions. We fear the unknown. We reject those who disagree.

We live in a broken world. But there are beautiful people around us. And I have to choose to find the gold.

The beauty of speaking out is that you learn.

You learn about your own heart, and where lies the heart of others.

You learn about how you could have/would have/should have said something differently.

You learn that your opinion is not always right.

Some people agree with you, and some people will light you on fire with their dissent.

But in all – you learn to see the beautiful privilege of speech – even the words furiously pounded onto a quiet keyboard.

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If You Don’t Have Anything Nice to Say. . .

women's march

Not Alone – Alyssa Kibiloski

I’ve been scrolling through Facebook for the past week watching the drama unfold. It annoys me, but I still do it. Why? Because it fuels my poetry I guess. Growing up in a rural area, I have a lot of people on my news feed who support the President and call those of us who don’t agree with all of his policies and have protested his candidacy “babies.” Going to a liberal arts school, I have a lot of people on my news feed who support women’s rights and human rights and marched on Saturday either in D.C. or their respective counties. There is quite a diversity on my feed, and not many people are nice about it.

I’m still trying to figure it all out.

I am a feminist, but maybe a bad feminist. To the liberals, I’m conservative. And to the conservatives, they would definitely think I’m liberal. It’s a time in my life where I am figuring out my place in the world. I loved reading this article by Sarah Bessey about what it looks like to be a Christian Feminist and not exactly knowing your place.

That may be how I would describe myself. I squirm under the title of evangelical Christian when I realized there is so much pain attached to the name – when I realized that so many of “my people” put a man in office who contradicts the value system that my Jesus taught me.

I start to sweat when people in my family start to speak out against feminism solely because of pro-life issues. Pro-life is a huge thing in conservative cultures. And of course I would never advocate for the death of a child or a fetus. But what about women who have been raped? What about women who live in poverty and cannot raise their children? What about sex traffickers? I’m not saying these are reasons for abortion. I’m just externally processing which is a dangerous thing to do on the internet.

But feminism is beyond pro-choice, rights for the LGBTQIA community. Feminism is about having a choice and standing up for the oppressed. Maybe not all white upper middle class women feel oppressed, but minority women do and they are. Muslim women do and they are – especially in countries around the world (thanks to healthy discussions with close friends to remind me of this!). And yes, there are white women who are oppressed. To those who say feminism is irrelevant in 2017, look beyond yourself. Take off those privilege glasses and choose to get in the trenches. Like I said with the BLM movement, talk to someone outside your circle. And preferably, do it in real life, not on Facebook. That way you can see their face. You can see their humanity. You can see their expressions when you say something that hurts them. Stop cowering behind your keyboard.

But if you don’t have access to that, then read blogs. Those are generally well constructed and more thought out than a Facebook status.

For someone who says it better than me, read this post at The New Wifestyle.

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3 Tips for Changing Your Name

3 Tips for Changing Your Name

Good morning.

I am officially no longer a citizen under my maiden name. I’m a new person, according to the government. When people read my name, they’re going to be very surprised to see a tiny, little white girl showing up behind a long, Zimbabwean name.

So I go to the DMV this morning; last week I saw Zooptopia twice. These are related because in Zootopia there are sloths. There is a DMV. At the DMV (in Zootopia), the workers are SLOTHS. This was my favorite part of the movie. Now, I love living in a semi-small town in the South because the DMV is a piece of cake. The longest I’ve ever had to wait was when I was 16 and needed to take my driving test. Since then, it’s only been like a 10-20 minute wait, so I’m grateful.

I know that many a lady has complained about the name-changing process being a hassle. Compared to getting our marriage certificate, this has been a walk in the park. Here’s a funny story about getting our marriage certificate.

One day my handsome fiance and I stroll into the DMV to get our marriage certificate. We are so anxious for the Chickfila that is awaiting us afterwards (we may have a problem) that we rush through the thing. We give our info. We give our “proof of counseling” notarized card (btw, highly suggest; it discounted the cost almost 50% for us.) We smile as we sign, holding hands and making googly eyes at each other because OMG in 3 weeks we are about to be husband and wife and go to the beach and get it on. By get it on, I mean getting our beach life on. Obviously. I love the beach.

A couple days later, I need Pai’s social security number to add him as a beneficiary on my retirement plan. He sends me his SSN with the cool invisible ink feature on our phones and I notice Hey. . . this is not the same number on our marriage certificate.

So at lunch that day we go BACK to the DMV so Pai can write down his proper SSN.

We get in the car. New, fresh license in hand and Pai looks at our marriage certificate and says, “Wait. . . this doesn’t look right.” WHAT. WHO HAVE I BEEN MARRIED TO TWICE ALREADY?!

A few days later, Pai brings his social security card with him to the DMV. We do the walk of shame in. To get a marriage certificate. For the third time. The lady laughed. We laughed. We’re officially married to each other. I also have his SSN memorized for myself in case he ever needs it again.

All that to say – getting my driver’s license was easy-peasy lemon squeezy.

When I got there 2 minutes after the DMV opened, there were already 5 people in front of me. Evidently it’s everyone’s idea to get in and get it done first thing in the morning. Where are the procrastinators?!

And then the automated voice that calls the ticket numbers SOUNDS like the sloth from Zootopia. “Now calling A. . . . . 0. . . . .0. . . .4”

I go up to my counter and guess what. THERE’S A SLOTH ON THE COUNTER. “Oh my gosh, is that from Zootopia?!” Don’t even ask. The lady tells me.

sloths at DMV

For all my pale, Caucasian ladies, here’s a little tip for you newbies getting married in the winter time.

DMV Name Changing Tip # 1

Wait until the summer to change your license picture. Winter time Christina – looks like a vampire. Summer time Christina – isn’t tan, but isn’t suuuuper white. She just looks like a normal human being. But winter time driver’s license photo? I could give Edward Cullen a run for his money. Can we just all agree that driver’s license pictures should a) be selfies with the XX Pro filter on it or b) your favorite picture from Facebook or c) a wedding photo? Let’s be real, the wedding day is going to be the only day of your life where you feel the prettiest you’ve ever felt.

DMV Name Changing Tip # 2

DON’T WEAR BROWN EYESHADOW. I am admittedly pretty boring in my color selection. I like the browns on my eyes and I like the greys and blacks for my clothes. Once my sister got me a purple scarf “because you just wear a lot of grey.” This morning I contemplated being adventurous and wearing my Urban Decay Smog pallette. It is a Friday, after all. But I thought “noooo. You don’t want your eyes to party TOO hard in your license picture.” Instead I put on some lipstick and lipgloss to make sure my lips were poppin. M.I.S.T.A.K.E. Not only do I look like a vampire, my eyes say “I can’t open them all the way because I’ve not finished my coffee and I look sick. I’m not sick, it’s just the choice of brown eyeshadow. It really helps my white skin to glow even more.”

DMV Name Changing Tip #3

Curl your hair. It adds volume, taking up the entire photo frame, making sure there is minimal blue space behind you.

It took me 4 tries to fit my new name on my license. It all just looks like little squiggles. I need a cup of coffee.

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my Guiding word

following your dreams requires not only creativity, but vulnerability

Last January when I was picking my word for the year, I picked a “be” verb. Rather than doing, I wanted to “be.” I wanted to embody a word that made me recognize how I lived my life. I wanted to “be” something that reflected how I carry myself. Last year I wanted to “be inspiring.” At the end of the year I asked myself – what did I do to inspire? I sought to be authentic in my speech – which sometimes resulted (and results) in saying things I wanted to swallow. Being inspiring was not about standing out, it was about encouraging people to know love and vulnerability.

I mentioned the other day that I was certain on “Be Creative” as my “be” word for this year. I wanted to get a bullet journal which I was sure would manufacture creativity (and distraught over my perfectionism.) I wanted to write every day. I wanted to craft. But as I was going to sleep one night before January 1, a different word popped in my head.

Be Brave

I’m going to be honest with you: I wrestled a lot with this word. Why bravery? Bravery requires a lot of things: more vulnerability, courage, choosing to do the scarier thing when you would just rather cozy up with a cappuccino and the Netflix . . . so I tried to get it out of my head. I don’t need to be brave, I need to be creative! I need to write! I need to try that new DIY wood pallet tree sign I saw on Pinterest. But I couldn’t shake it. Be Brave.

So then I freaked out.

What does this mean?!

And the first thing that came to my mind were all the terrible things that could happen to anyone. Don’t worry, this is a regular routine.

When my parents left my siblings and myself with a babysitter while they went out for a date night, anxiety ensued. My face would get hot, I would start to cry, because what if they didn’t come back and I was left forever with this baby sitter who doesn’t smell at all like my mom? Would I have to get a job and take care of my siblings? Would I never get to chase my dreams? Seven year old me probably needed some therapy.

Now I have adult freak outs. That’s why I went for the whole “prisoner of hope” goal last year. So I guess the good Lord just wanted to extend beyond that and encourage me to step out and be brave.

So after I pushed the 10 plauges, death, and pestilence out of my head, I sat down with my journal to figure out:

Why bravery?

I can’t decide if I am comfortable or complacent. On the relationship side of things, I am 100% out of my comfort zone since, you know, I live with a boy now. We’ve already covered that intentionally dating is like Vulnerability 100, engagement is like “Vulnerability and How to Communicate Through Stressful 200,” and then you just jump to a 500 level practicum called “MARRIAGE: The Vulnerability That Never, Ever Goes Away. Subtitle: Trying not to freak out when your husband picks up your creative writing notebook.

On the dream chasing side of things, I’m paralyzed. Maybe because I don’t want my husband to read my creative writing journal . . . So it got me thinking. Bravery doesn’t just mean standing strong during life’s challenges. Yes, we’ll face hardships. And am I prepared for those? Nope. But I believe God will give me the strength and courage when that time comes. For me, bravery means going into a deeper understanding of vulnerability. Blegk.

This is what I’ve decided: It’s time to punch my fears in the face. What if there is something amazing in store for my life and I am too weighed down by the “what if’s” (of failure, let’s be real here) to seek out the things I’m passionate about?

Since I graduated college, it feels like I’ve been on one of those rooftop decks that just spins around and I’m trying to find solid footing and the room just keeps on spinning. It’s hard to dream when you’re motion sick.

This year I’m going to be brave. And what is my first step to being brave?

Dreaming.

Being vulnerable.

Punching fear in the face.

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