In the past few weeks, I have hardcore learned that I need to spend some time cultivating my confidence. I need to go at it with a little tenacity, and I need to do it on a daily basis.
Let me explain:
Every single time I move cities, I have an adjustment period that honestly usually ends in some amount of depression. Even in the best of circumstances, starting a new life throws me for a loop, and maybe because I have grown up in a tight knit punk rock scene, a lot of my identity and happiness can be dictated by the people that I am around and what we’re all doing together. Adjustment from a place isn’t exactly my strong suit as it is, but when you add in the social aspect of moving, it becomes a whole ‘nother beast.
I had grown very confident in Oakland because I had an ironclad routine that supported the feeling of being seen and appreciated in my daily life. In the bay, I got up early and went to Grassroots Crossfit to work out with the four to five women that I saw every Monday, Wednesday and Friday without fail. When I was done I grabbed an iced coffee from Subrosa, spoke with clients, did a little work at PlantFit, pulled a second coffee shop shift to write at Timeless, then went to the Whole Foods a mile from my house. I ate at the same sushi place after hitting up the same farmer’s market every single Saturday. On Tuesdays I ran Lake Merritt. On Sundays I prepped my food for the week while listening to This American Life .
I love routine and I often support my clients in figuring out what routines might enrich their lives. But I am also aware that my emotional reliance on seeing the same people and doing the same shit day in and day out felt like a supportive blessing right up until the moment when I realized that I had no confidence without the safety of the habit. I used these routines to keep me feeling focused, stoked, on-track, and appreciated. The people I saw day in and day out learned to rely on my presence, and somehow, that made me feel like a good and productive person.
Feeling like I was reliable gave me a purpose, which, I think, gave me confidence.
But then I moved, and- dun dun dunnnn- I didn’t have a schedule.
Now what? I asked myself. Who am I when I am not doing my routine?
This was a great question, one that I didn’t have an answer for immediately. I found that arriving in Portland, I was shy. I wore pants for the first time in eight months, I didn’t drink my coffee iced, and I was kind of terrified of the many social events and cool people that I knew awaited for me. I was just getting my footing and somehow, I felt embarrassed not to have it all completely figured out the day I arrived.
I have a thing about being a regular. A regular gym goer, a regular coffee shop patron, a regular in someone’s grocery line. Of course, I wanted to find Portland versions of those activities, but more than anything I realized I needed to find ways to be confidant without those crutches.
So here’s what I did instead:
1) I fucking meditated.
If there’s one thing that kills me, it’s how mediation is kind of always the answer and never the thing that I want to do. One thing I know about confidence is that it is about deeply knowing yourself. Not deeply knowing what you DO, but deeply knowing who you ARE. I tend to pile on as much work as possible for myself. I used to think this was about scarcity issues having to do with growing up without huge amounts of cash and being self employed in uncertain times. The more I sit still, though, the more I realize that a big part of why I take on so much and go so fast is that I feel pretty uncomfortable simply sitting in silence and space. What is there to run away from? I’ve been asking as I sit. Why not spend a little time with myself?
2) I lovingly detached from the chaotic hellhole that is the Internet.
Okay. I love the Internet, and I bet you probably do too, or you wouldn’t be reading a blog. The Internet has helped me to meet a ridiculous amount of wonderful people, research all kinds of cool topics, and connect some of my ideas to action. ALL HAIL QUEEN INTERNET. That is, until queen Internet makes you feel like everything from your business to your breakfast is straight up, 100% not good enough.
With the uncertainty of a new environment, I begin to attach a lot of meaning to the fact that I identified as a writer and a blogger, and OHMYGOD I HAVEN’T BEEN BLOGGING. Holy shit did that take the creativity out of the process for me. Instead of watching what other people on social media were doing well, I decided to focus on what I thought I was crushing it at. Just a few years ago, negative body image, compulsive exercise, and fear of food was destroying my ability to have fun. Travel was out of the question, I was too exhausted to be creative, my relationships were strained and I hated myself. In the past few months I have been able to get married, enjoy myself at a ton of parties and events with food in the foreground, travel to kauai for two whole weeks without micromanaging every bite, and enjoy time in my body in a multitude of ways that didn’t have shit to do with how it looked. Being on the Internet less helped my confidence, and taking a good old fashioned selfie break helped me to value experiences I was having more than how I looked while having them.
3) I used a daily gratitude list to learn to focus on what I’m actually really stoked on.
Cultivating gratitude is like the parent to cultivating confidence. I found it very difficult to waste time feeling insecure about my lack of routine in Portland when I was really noticing the leaves start to change, how good the air felt on my runs, how awesome the meal I made tasted. Gratitude leads to all sorts of awesome new feelings popping up in my life and although I easily forget to focus on it, I love that the old habit always waits in the wings when I remember to pick it up.
4) I took some risks
Let’s be real, at this point I have been supporting myself with Super Strength Health and Rise and Resist long enough that although it IS still risky, I am quite comfortable doing it. The real risks I take in my life are honestly way more related to socializing.
Despite being somewhat extroverted I get extremely nervous in group situations and a lot of the time in Oakland that lead to me just not going out. Here in Portland I have challenged myself to very regularly go out and meet new people and holy crap has it paid off. So many vegans! So many lifters! So many feminists! (SO MANY VEGAN LIFTING FEMINISTS!!!) Forcing myself to leave my humble abode really did do wonders for my confidence, and upped the amount of people to get inspired by ten-fold. This was perhaps the hardest step I took to cultivate a little Pacific Northwestern confidence, and was also the one that was the most immediately beneficial.
So, I am hitting day fourteen of my new life up North and feeling markedly better than day 2. I would love to hear how you’ve cultivated confidence in times of transition, and how you get yourself to disconnect from the internet, meditate, leave the damn house, and go meet a friend. Love to you all!
So. Sometimes you intend to take a little break, and it ends up being an actually kind of large one.
I never meant to take so many weeks off of blogging, but life happened, and it was really big, and I kind of just had to participate. I have so many things to tell you about (I love my readers intensely, and truly missed writing here) but the abridged version is this:
I got married.
I went to Kauai for a glorious two week vacation.
I got my first book deal, a little something you will see on the shelves in the Summer of 2017.
I left my beloved Oakland. I am now an official, for-real Portland resident. There is a ton to say about ALL of these things, but first, I want to tell you about my wedding. I have some AMAZING pictures, from what truly was the best day of my life, and I am beyond stoked just thinking about the time we had. This post is long and picture heavy, but I promise, we will hop right back into fitness, feminism, vegan food, and all the other good stuff you have come to expect from my little corner of the blog-o-sphere really soon. I just had to share this first.
So first, let’s talk about getting ready. I am not a makeup girl. Like, at all. My face is generally bare, and half the time I sort of think I wanna be all fancy in the face and then I try to go about imagining how that would fit into my life and I feel a tremendous wave of overwhelm. For this reason I was STOKED to have a little help from my very talented friend, Lauren. I’m gonna be real, I felt really pretty on my wedding day, which is not a thing I have in my life a whole lot. (I usually feel more cute-goofy-tough-funny) It was nice to feel like the belle of the ball while people were celebrating my partnership around me. Although makeup can’t be an all-the-time thing for me, it is a definitely wonderful sometimes-accent. This is my friend Meg. She was my very first friend in college, and one of the first people to truly see the depths of my personality through very thick and very thin and still come out loving me. This is my crying my eyes out and saying “I am just so glad you’re here!”. I love my friends so much. If there are any wedding-day regrets I have, it is not getting a chance to talk to more of them more.
This is basically just a gratuitous calf picture. I work hard for my gunz and it shows mostly in the lower half of my legs. I’ll take it!
So, have you ever tried to put a dress on with a beehive and a full face of makeup? That shit is HARD. This is my mom and my sister helping me try to weasel my way into my wedding dress, and it very much not working. Laughs were had all around and finally I just kneeled down like a pauper being knighted while they lowered the dress down to the ground. Very classy.Like I said, more than ever in my life, on this day I felt really fucking pretty. It’s a good feeling!
Now, onto the wedding site!Kett and I were told we were supposed to do a “first look” to officially reveal ourselves in all of our wedding finery. Both him and I had a hard time wrapping our minds around having to conjure up emotions for the camera so early in the day, and decided that the only right way to do such a thing would be to have it take place in the matrimonial bounce house. I rolled up to the wedding site, waited a bit, and when I was given the okay, climbed my way into the bounciest carousel in all of Oakland. Where a very fly dude awaited my arrival. In case you couldn’t tell by the carousel, our wedding was super duper fun/carnival/block party themed. We had a bounce off, croquet, cornhole, a strongman high striker, bocce ball, horseshoes, and a potato sack race. Custom trophies were made. Table favors were red sun glasses, a button with our emblem (a flag with three hearts containing a barbell and a kale leaf, a cup of coffee, and a pencil and a paintbrush), old McDonald’s toys from the early 90’s, and a comic. Instead of flowers we had hollowed out dinosaurs with succulents.I immediately ripped my dress, of course, and strategically used my button to remedy the situation. You can paint a lady’s face and put her in a fancy dress, but that’s no guarantee that she’ll keep it clean and rip free!Costumes were very encouraged , and thus we had such esteemed guests as Boba Fett….Kamala Khan….…And a fantastically revealed Superman.Everyone basically looked amazing nailing the high striker.The bounce-off was so intense it was kind of hard to watch.
But nothing beats the potato sack race. NOTHING.This dude managed a double somersault and STILL came out victorious.Have I mentioned how amazing my friends are?Okay, so here’s the deal.
Kett and I didn’t know the exact moment we were to be wed. We entrusted our best friend with a wedding horn and asked her to give it a long and loud toot when she felt it was time for some sweet words and legally binding contracts. An hour or two into the ceremony, Monica blew the horn and Kett and I darted to the vista where we were to be officially wed.While Kett and I got a head start, our MC, Nishat, waved the flag and assembled the troops.A parade was lead up a little hill….where we waited, trying not to cry. Then, maybe the best part of the whole day, I got to talk about Kett.I love this man.
I love that he is patient, and has integrity and makes me laugh. I love that he supports me, and calls me on my shit, and let’s me cry when I need to. I love that we make art together. I love that I plan to become an old ass lady by his side, and that we can seal the deal with a tremendous high five.And a smooch, of course.HUZZAHHHH!Neither Kett nor I drinks or really likes cake, so the whole dessert thing was kind of a conundrum. After trying multiple non-cake dessert ideas, we came to what seemed like an obvious answer: coffee and donuts. Nothing says “love” more than donuts, especially when they are vegan and gluten-free.
Thank you so much for sticking with me through the long break, and the immediate schmoopy love fest. I am very much ready to be back in action around these parts, and can’t wait to write all the things that have been swimming around in my head for the past 8+ weeks.
Until next time!
(All photos by Holly Feral )