I spent a lot of my early twenties trying to figure out how to make things better. How to make my business better, how to make my clients happier, how to look better, feel better, etc. This past year I really made it a point to look around and inward before looking for more. Even though I know things like ‘comparison is the thief of joy’ and other great quotes I’ve posted, I still found myself feeling like I wasn’t doing enough. Like I myself wasn’t enough. Self-reflecting, meditation and being real with myself really pushed me towards realizing that I am already equipped with everything that I need to slay this very moment. I am enough. I have enough. And although growth is important, there’s no need for me to grow at 300 mph. I can grow at the pace my situation calls for and I’ll be just fine because I’m still growing.
This one was huge for me. I noticed that I like stuff. I attach sentiment to things, and it makes it hard to give them up. I still have letters my pen pals sent me in third grade. I do the same thing with people, projects, and life in general. Last summer I was throwing away a bunch of stuff that I didn’t need and I donated SO. MUCH. CLOTHING. that I loved but didn’t fit me anymore. There was this one pair of Calvin Jeans that were my first ‘skinny’ jeans after I lost a ton of weight. I paid like $120 for them and only got to wear them a couple of times because I grew out of them just as quickly as I shrunk into them. I realized that unless I was gaining 30 pounds they were not fitting ever. So I put them in the giveaway pile after like 2 years.
I felt awful. So bummed that this major investment was just being tossed away. I wanted a reason to keep them, but I couldn’t find one. This Calvin story came to mind when I lost a few people who I was close with this past year. I felt like I had invested so much time and effort into these relationships and I just kept certain people around strictly because of my investment in them. I was making excuses for shitty people or making room for people who no longer served a purpose in my life. That’s until I decided to toss them or to allow myself to detach from them and love them from a distance. I don’t have those jeans anymore, but what I do have is space for a new pair. My circle got smaller and so did my waist. These are all good things.
I know that every year I say that I’m going to make it a habit to get my texts down to ‘0’ every day, but that has yet to happen and I still possess zero desire to make it so. I don’t have to answer though. Especially if I don’t want to. Of course, this doesn’t count for professional conversations. I still have to adult and deal with the BS even if I don’t care to. But I don’t have to engage with anyone I don’t want to. I don’t owe anyone a conversation or explanation. I don’t have to hang out with people I don’t want to hang out with and I certainly don’t have to entertain people I don’t want to associate with. I’ve always known this to be true but this year I learned to do so unapologetically. I still have over 150 unread texts. Sorry, not sorry.
I have a really hard time telling people things. I have close friends and whatever but even then I always feel the “I don’t want to bother them” and the “no one will care anyway” feeling. Which is absolute bullshit when you think about it, because what are friends and partners for? This past year I did my best to talk things out with the people close to me. It was a really hard year for me and having other people to confide in other than the person I pay to listen to me is really great. It has also deepened my relationships with my friends and my partner. It helped me realize that I have this unrealistic picture of what people expect from me as a friend which made me believe I was always a shitty friend. When in fact people just want you to show up and be you.
I remember when I first met Chase and months later I asked him what his first impression of me was. He said, “this girl is all business.” We met at Starbucks and I had just finished a meeting with my friend Mimi for Lady Hustle (join if you haven’t). So I was already in business mode. But I do vividly remember telling myself “Denisse, you meet clients every single week and you are so good at selling yourself. This is just like any other client. Except it’s a date but same difference.” I knew that if I showed the parts of me that really shined I totally had it in the bag. This year I realized that I tend to do that a lot. I treat a lot of my relationships like business relationships even if I don’t mean to. So I stopped doing that and I’m learning how to be a better friend and a better human. This has been one of my favorite lessons.
So far you’ve read these lessons and you’ve noticed that some of them are heavy. Some of them have inevitably caused me to change as a person. For the better, you know? I’ve changed a lot. I no longer spend time doing what I don’t want to do. I don’t pretend to read books anymore. Jk, I still do that. I changed my personal branding from thugnanny to chasing Denisse, and I changed the way I do business.
Not everyone has been happy with the change, but my life has been so much better for every change I’ve made. I’m happier. I feel free and unbothered. And I don’t have to concern myself with how the changes I make for my higher good affect others. These changes aren’t for others, they are for me. At the end of the day, I come home to me. I walk around all day with me. I show up for me, with me. If these changes are taking care of me, then they must be made. Period.
This one has been really hard for me. I say has because it still is, but I’m working on it. My business is run online so I’m usually always on my phone. I’m not a good multi-tasker so I can’t text and listen to you speak to me at the same time. I can’t be fully present and answer an e-mail. It’s just not happening. This year I tried doing things like not pulling my phone out at dinner or asking others to put their phones away and speak to me. This has brought a sense of self-awareness to myself and others and it’s also bugged me out. Mostly because if you try taking a phone away from a conversation these days, you may find that you don’t really know how to interact or have nothing to talk about.
Our lives revolve around our devices. Don’t get me wrong, God bless Apple and Steve Jobs. Praise teen Britney Spears for Gmail, but it isn’t the end all be all. Sometimes I go days without posting and it’s alright. The world will not crumble because I’m not online. And I’m not going to die from having an intentional conversation with someone. People and things deserve the attention that I feel I deserve. Because of this, I got me a bomb ass assistant! I’m a very “I’ll do it!” kind of person, but this has changed the game for me. Asking for help was the best thing that I did and now I get to unplug. It’s the most beautiful thing.
This one has been the trickiest of them all. I am really happy. Like over the moon, found the sun, moon, and stars happy. I found a person whom I love and loves me in return. Because I share so much of my life on the internet, this was a facet of my life I shared on there too. People began to make me feel bad for being happy. They would say things that made me feel like maybe this love is only in my head and it doesn’t really exist. But this year I realized that a) I can share whatever the fuck I want and you don’t have to look at it if you don’t want to, and b) people will hate something that is brilliant and beautiful just because they don’t have the same thing. Call it jealousy, call it whatever you want. I just know the I don’t let others’ insecurities stop me from inspiring others and sharing things like my relationship, my accomplishments and my happy moments. You get it all or you get nothing at all.
27 was hard. Both emotionally and mentally. But I know 28 is going to be so good because I have grown and I have learned. I am receptive to all of the good and bad this new birth year has for me. I am open to learning new things and experiencing new feelings. I love being a student of life and I can’t imagine anyone being a better teacher. There are lessons I learned that were heartbreaking, and others that were lessons just for me. I hope the few that I have shared have inspired you to live your best life. Because that’s all I’m doing for 28 and beyond.