now i get it {summer 2018}

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Emily P. Freeman’s quarterly habit of recording what she learns during the season is something that I strongly recommend every one, especially one who is seeking to lead a life well-lived, should do. Writing my lessons down (you can record it in some other way) cements them into my consciousness and sharing it with you keeps me cognizant of those lessons.

This summer has provided one major thing that I get now.

To live the life I’ve imagined, I have to do the scary thing, the uncomfortable thing.

I don’t know who said it first but I heard it attributed to a fitness trainer who was responsible for getting Brad Pitt in shape for his portrayal of the Greek hero, Achilles, in the 2004 epic, Troy. He told Pitt, “To get to where you want to be, you are going to have to put yourself in a place of discomfort every single day!”

There’s a wide range to this level of discomfort. Some is absolutely terrifying.  Others are just slightly disconcerting. This summer, I intentionally made myself uncomfortable, furthering a lesson learned from last spring.

Here’s a rundown of a precious few of my experiences, from the mild to the “OMG! I’d never thought I’d do that!”

  • I ate at some interesting spots while on vacay.
  • I interviewed a ceramic artist in another state. I traveled to her home, sat in her kitchen, played with clay in her studio, and recorded over two hours of footage, transcribed that footage (listening to myself is like nails on a chalkboard) and began to write up the story of her journey to awesomeness. It’s coming to the blog soon.
  • I joined a writing group. At my first meeting in July, I knew no one. And then, after about three hours of writing, we had to pass our words to someone else for them to read out loud to EVERYONE! Gulp. But, I’m glad I did it. And I went back and did it again in August.
  • I wrote a piece and submitted it for publication on a very popular web site. Pushing the send button of that email elicited a bit of throw-up in my mouth. I was so on-edge, I promptly went outside for a run to relieve the angst. The run did help.
  • My Hubby has a new hobby – photography. And while on vacay in Miami, we had photo shoots in various locations, including the hotel room. I have never really liked taking pics.  When I was a teenager, I practiced for hours to get my smile to something that I could live with and now I can smile on-cue.  Only people who know me can tell the difference between my “fake” smile and my genuine smile.  Let’s just say, the hotel room shoot involved more than my smile.  It was scary, but incredibly freeing and empowering.  And no, those will NOT be coming to the blog any time soon.

What about you? Have you done anything that scared you a little recently?  I’ve learned it’s the only way you’ll be able to fully…

enjoy life

an enjoy life interview: shenna “lashay b” townsend

I enjoyed doing my first Enjoy Life Interview with Jennifer Belthoff so much that I began looking around for more inspiring people to ask questions about their projects, overcoming fear, and how they enjoy life. I am so excited that Shenna “LaShay B” Townsend consented to be interviewed.

Photo. Shenna TownsendShenna  or “LaShay B” is a radio personality on Huntsville, Alabama’s community connected home for Hip-Hop and R&B. “LaShay B” is her personality handle. She received a softball scholarship to Alabama A&M University, where she graduated with a degree in Communications. I met her while helping with Team ML6 for the Annual Liz Hurley Ribbon Run, three years ago. I heard she was working on a project of her own, LaShay B’s Beauties, and got curious. She currently is in the middle of her 2nd Prom Dress Drive.

Check it out!

Tell me the story behind LaShay B’s Beauties Prom Dress Drive? I know there’s a story.

Photo. LaShay B's BeautiesYes, there is a story; there always is a story, isn’t it? It was about 4 or 5 years ago, I coached Butler High School Softball and while coaching, there were a lot of girls that were growing up differently than I did. I consider it a blessing that I never went hungry, my parents always supported me, and I had a great upbringing. I was enlightened when I saw some of these kids who were struggling with things I never struggled with. After coaching them, I was like, “Something needs to be done.” I thought, “You are in the community; you have a platform. Why not do it?” And that’s how LaShay B’s Beauties came about; I wanted to help teenage girls in our community and use my platform for something good outside of playing Hip Hop and R&B. I started three years ago.

 How has it grown?

The first year was 2013. Girls had to qualify with a certain GPA and had to be in need of a prom dress; I really wanted to reach girls who really needed help.

Last year, I was on Twitter and another radio personality out of DC was talking about doing a prom dress drive and I thought, “We could reach more kids that way.” She had major sponsors donating and I said that while DC is not Huntsville, we have listeners and so I got on the air and told them that if they had a new or gently used prom dress, “we need ‘em.” The goal last year was 26 dresses. And we got 100!

This year, the Prom Dress Drive will be open to any high school senior that is need of a dress. The drive will end on March 25th and our event will be at the Homewood Suites by Hilton in Providence on March 26th from 2 – 4 PM. Seniors can come out and select a dress and be entered to win hair, make-up, shoes, etc. from local vendors.

So, you are doing Prom Dress Drive right now. What are the other facets of LaShay B’s Beauties?

Prom Dress DriveWe did LaShay B’s Beauties Christmas of 2014 and we helped 10 DHR (kids that are in the system) girls. We did makeovers (hair, nails, and make-up) and we followed that up with the Prom Dress Drive.

I am inspired by people who have ideas and carry them out and one of the reasons that good ideas never happen is because people are too afraid to move forward. What has been your experiences dealing with fear, not just with LaShay’s B’s Beauties, but with fear in general? How do you deal with it?

I try to approach things with a confident attitude. I believe that “I can do things through Christ who strengthens me”. It is either a yes or a no. You are going to succeed or you are not going to succeed. You are going to learn from it or you are going to be stubborn. That’s how I try to approach everything.

This year, I had a fear of the Prom Dress Drive not working, only because our listeners last year gave everything that they had to give that could work for these kids. So I said that this year, “They don’t have anything else in their closets.” Then one night I prayed and I got up and said, ‘Nah, it’s going to work.” And I believe this year we will get to our goal of 100 dresses and we are going to do it. We have about 20 (at the time of this interview).

So when you started were there any particular challenges that you had to overcome. Were you ever like “woah! I didn’t think about that!”

Yes there were challenges. And there are still challenges. One was I was getting in my own way.

OK, interesting! Explain that a little bit.

Because this project is my baby, I wanted to have my hand in everything and the project had grown bigger than me. Which is awesome but I became overwhelmed! I think last year, we could have done more if I had just let someone help and not tried to have my hand in everything. That is a challenge!

Another challenge is that people think that their donation isn’t needed – that something is too small. Being in radio, I know a lot of other women in media who told me that they didn’t post about it because they felt like I had all the backing that I needed with my platform. I was like, “No! Everything helps!”

I have started earlier this year and I have more help.

At this part of the interview, Shenna said that I didn’t know that she talked so much, which, to be honest I didn’t. I told her that that was OK though. The “more the better; I’ll  just be editing!” We had a good laugh!

What’s your favorite quote and why?

I loved the Bible verse that I quoted earlier (Philippians 4:30) but this is going to be far out there. It’s a in a rap song, I can’t remember which, by Tupac Shakur and I don’t know why it stuck with me:

“Ain’t no killer, but don’t push me.”

Ok! Explain how you apply THAT in your life?

It’s just, don’t tell me no because I am going to figure out a way to do it. Don’t push me in a direction that says I don’t know how to do it or I won’t be successful because I am just going to try to prove you wrong.

My blog is called Shannan Enjoys Life. How do you enjoy life? I love getting ideas from other people.

Humm, I love to travel. I love my friends. I have friends from all over the country and we travel. We are about the same age and into the same things and we meet up every 5 to 6 months. I also like to spend time with my family. Cliché, I know.

A little. LOL. How can individuals get involved with your project?
If you do have a donation of a gently used or new prom dress and are outside of the Huntsville area, you can mail your donation to:

            WEUP, 2609 Jordan Lane, Huntsville, AL 35816

If in the Huntsville area, drop them off at the above address Monday thru Friday, 8 AM – 5 PM or contact me on Facebook and I will come to you. We will be accepting donations right up to Friday, March 25th.

 Thanks you so much, Shenna!

 Shenna can be found on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Tumblr.

an un-“enjoy life” riff

I know it’s Friday but no “secret” today. Just a riff on something that’s been irking me lately.

 enjoy life…

It’s no secret to anyone who knows me well that I try to do everything as close to perfect as I possibly can. I am a planner by nature; I take pride in my ability to think through scenarios, to anticipate problems before they happen and stop them from happening. This is what I do!!! My sense of value comes from being reliable and dependable. My basic fear is not being supported, valued, loved, appreciated by others (Enneagram type six, anyone?), ergo, I try to do EVERYTHING that I can do without fault so that others will like me, love me, value me, appreciate me. I don’t want to be a disappointment!

For that reason, I have lived a large part of my life in fear; fear that will I not measure up and then no one will support me. I haven’t done things in life because I feared I wouldn’t be able to do them well. I have played it safe. A lot.

Well, my world was turned upside down. I had a baby, something I knew I would struggle to do well-aka my biggest fear. And even though I knew this before Buddy Man arrived, it has been made plain to me since his arrival. I have absolutely positively zero control anymore; my planning nature doesn’t serve me as well as it use to because all of my plans can go out the window in a matter of minutes. While this may have always been the case, it’s really becoming a thing and has been very discouraging and very sad for me. I am not meeting the expectations that I have always held for myself. I now have to cancel the appointment, to not be able to meet an obligation because my child is sick, I’m so sorry. And “Mommy brain” is REAL! I forget things I use to not forget – to send the thank-you cards, to call or text back, to remember the birthdays, Where is my phone?

I am not this person!

Or am I? Now? Is this the new me? Is this how it’s going to be?

More importantly, will people still approve of me?