Have you ever noticed how just one conversation with one person can change your view on something? In either a big way or a small way.
I was talking to my husband the other day about one on one conversations. Do they matter? Can they have an impact? If I was to sit down over coffee with someone and tell them an opinion of mine that differs from theres, does it matter? Will they hear me?
I find that sometimes when I think, oh, it doesn’t matter. I don’t need to state my opinion on this, they won’t hear me anyway, I find that it’s normally just me being lazy and avoiding confrontation.
Why is it so hard for us to state our opinion? I think that women struggle with this the most. We are taught to be good girls. We are raised to not ruffle any feathers, not get dirty, and play nice. So somewhere in our brains we relate that to staying quiet when we disagree with someone.
I have a friend who is insane smart and has a ton of wisdom for someone her age.
When I asked her why she often doesn’t speak up and state her opinion when we are in conversations about certain things, she told me that “everyone thinks what they think and I’m not going to change them. What’s the point of saying what I think? I’m not going to change anyone’s thoughts.”
While I understand this mindset, we HAVE to believe that our thoughts matter. Even if someone doesn’t change their stance on what they believe, questioning, hearing other people’s opinions and listening to people who have different thoughts than you is HEALTHY. It’s good for me to hear a different side of the story. Even if I don’t agree. It’s good for you to know that there are people to see the world differently, in large ways and small.
If we stayed quiet, kept all of our opinions to ourselves, the world would be a much less colorful place.
Let’s speak up ladies. Let’s not be afraid to say what we think. Do it respectfully, do it kindly, and do it in front of people, not behind their backs.
I find often when we don’t say something in front of someone, it will come out in one way or another. You’ll talk about that person behind their backs, you’re actions will show how you feel, or you’ll want to distance yourself.
It’s a beautiful world when we can come to each other with differing opinions, knowing that our voices matter, and love each other despite what we believe.
Now, it’s important to state your opinions in love. It’s important to keep the kindness game going strong when stating opinions.
It’s all about respect.
But please, whatever you do, never believe the lie that your voice doesn’t matter.
Don’t stop speaking up because you’re avoiding confrontation.
Don’t stop speaking up, don’t underestimate the power of a one-on-one conversation. And don’t you ever think that your opinion is meaningless. It’s not and you matter.
So in your coffee dates with your friends, if they are talking about something you disagree with, kindly say that. You don’t have to debate about anything, just know that it’s good to hear words that are different than your own.
Your voice matters.
You can create change in someones life.
You can help bring more beauty and love to the world.
I love the internet.
I know there are a ton of bad things that come with being involved in this internet world, but there are so many good things as well.
I was STOKED.
I went, not really knowing anyone, was intimidated out of my mind, and had a GREAT time.
Here’s the small crew from the first Designer Vaca (how about that Instagram filter, eh?):
Now, in just about an hour I’m headed to Palm Springs for the 4th annual Designer Vaca. And I can’t wait to see these girls again!
I wasn’t able to make it last year, but I was there every year before that, and can I just say how COOL it is to see these women grow in their lives and in their careers over the years?
It’s almost like an annual summer camp we all go to, where we get to know each other away from our normal lives, talk about work, talk about life and family, and everything that comes with being a designer and creative ladyboss.
I have a few groups of friends like this.
We all met over the internet, and we instantly click when we meet in person.
It’s like the internet allows you to find your people.
And although we don’t live in the same places and aren’t necessarily doing everyday life together, we get to watch each other grow, and it’s SO cool to see.
Take Kathleen Shannon for example.
When I first met her at the first DV, she had no kids, rad dreadlocks, a budding career, and a warm, spunky personality. Take Kathleen today (who I’m so excited to see!) She’s now a mom, has a sweet haircut, a thriving career (working with people like Brene Brown), and still with that warm, spunky personality. To watch these creative powerhouses grow up as women and grow up in their careers through the years is super fun.
It makes me excited to see how we will all be working together and collaborating 10 years from now. What will our careers look like? What will our family lives look like? Whatever it is- I hope we are still meeting atleast once a year, encouraging and supporting one another along this crazy creative life ladyboss journey.
So yes, the internet can be a scary place. But it can also be SO GOOD.
These ladies I have in my life, I never would of had the opportunity to know if it wasn’t for this internet land. And I can say that about so many of my closest friends.
Let the internet help you find your people. It’s no longer creepy to go meet up with a bunch of people you’ve never met before (in real life, of course). You may just find a new best friend.
Before I started Yellow Conference, I had never worked in events. I didn’t know the first thing about organizing one, and I had zero experience.
I’ve learned a lot of things along the way, and thought that I would share some of them with you, incase any of you are interested in putting on your own events or conferences.
1- WHAT IS THIS GOING TO COST?
The first thing to do when planning your event is to put together your expenses. I know it’s boring crunching numbers, but in order to have a successful event, you want to make sure you aren’t going in to overdraft!
2- WHAT WILL YOU FILE AS?
If this is something that you are planning to do on a consistent basis, something that you want to make an actual business out of, you have to think about what kind of business you want to be. There’s an LLC, Non-Profit, sole proprietorship, partnership, corporation or S corp (there are more but these are the most popular). Each of these types of businesses have different legal rules and file for taxes differently. Yellow is currently an LLC. Which essentially means the owner is not held responsible for company debts, and that they can’t come after the owner’s personal assets if the business goes under.
I would do some research in this area, and figure out what works best for the type of business you are looking to create. Legal Zoom has some really great options and information for filing and researching.
This step is important especially if you are going to be bringing in a good amount of money for your event. You don’t want to have to deal with that going into your personal checking account, and then taxes are going to be a nightmare. Which brings me to my next point…
3- OPEN UP A BUSINESS ACCOUNT
When you open a business checking account, you can get a business debit / credit card and it allows you to keep track of your expenses. This is very important when tax season comes! It’s important to keep your business expenses income and outgoing separate from your personal. Which is why a business account is so important! If you do end up paying yourself, you can set up a reacquiring payment that comes out of the business checking, and into the personal. Just as you would pay an employee.
4- FIGURE OUT YOUR TICKET COST
Now that you have your finances all in order and you know how much this event is going to cost, you need to figure out how you are going to cover those costs and how many people you are going to have come to your event. If the total cost of your event is going to be $10,000, and you want to have 100 people come to your event, then you need to be charging at least $100 to cover your costs. If you want to charge less, then you need to figure out how to get sponsorship or how to make the rest of the money in order to make sure your costs are covered.
It’s always good to overestimate how much things are going to cost, as there are always expenses that come up that you wouldn’t have been able to predict!
5- CREATE YOUR MISSION STATEMENT
It’s important to have a 3-4 sentence paragraph explaining the mission of what your doing. Your WHY is more important now than ever. Your WHY is what makes you different. This part may be one of the most important steps. You need to make sure this is clear and concise. Stay away from broad, airy words. The more specific and clear you can be with your mission statement, the easier every step after this will be. This mission statement will determine so much about your event.
8- GET A WEBSITE UP
I put this before the “gather your speakers” step, because one thing I really believe helped me land awesome speakers my first year, was I had a killer mission statement, and I had a good looking website to direct people to. It helps with credibility and trust when you have something for people to go back and look at online. What do you do when you first hear about something? You look them up online and judge them by their visuals. Just me? 😉 But having a good visual presence is SOOO important.
Keep it simple, keep it clean, and make sure your WHY is prevalent.
Squarespace has some great templates that are easy to use and make look good without being a designer.
7- GATHER YOUR SPEAKERS
A conference is nothing without it’s speakers. The way I found my speakers the first year was through emailing the Yellow mission statement + website to people I wanted to have speak. I was very open and honest about it being my first year, I didn’t pretend Yellow was anything more than it was, and I got a great response. I think only one speaker I asked initially said no. Not bad for a first year!
I also tried to show the speakers I was emailing that I was a real person. Be it an event of theirs I had gone to, a connection we had, or a mutual friend. It helps to make yourself human when you’re sending out emails.
8- SPREAD THE WORD!
Get on social media! If you’re on Instagram, think about the brands who have like minded audiences. Go look at the people who are following them, and start stalking! One thing we would do with Yellow Instagram is head to brands like Sevenly, TOMS, Giving Keys, etc. and look at their followers. We would follow them, like their images, comment on their photos to get them to notice Yellow. I figure if they like what those brands are doing, they would like what we’re doing too! It helped us build a following and get the word out about our conference.
Using your speakers who already have audiences is a great way to get the word out as well. Get creative with it! Do a ticket giveaway, have an Instagram contest, have your speakers post about what their speaking on at the conference.
There are plenty of ways to get the word out if you stay consistent and get creative.
This is just the beginning of what it takes to put on a large event or conference. There’s SO much more I could talk about. If you’re interested in this topic, I can talk about it more! I’m learning so much with Yellow and would love to share my knowledge.
Have a happy Tuesday y’all!
I’ve been told you can only lead as far as you’ve been.
Do you think this is true?
I think we as people often forget that there is no “app” for learning. Learning and growing is a slow, steady process. We aren’t robots, and the kind of things that truly shape us into better people take a long time to make happen.
I often feel like we hear a lot about “overnight successes”. We hear about these companies who had this brilliant idea, and BAM. Success! Or at least that’s what we think. I’ve often heard it said that it takes 10 years to create an overnight success. But it’s not until those 10 years are up that the world hears about what these people have been putting in a ton of time and effort into.
This can be a difficult thing to grasp as we live in a culture of instant gratification. We want everything now, fast, overnight, shipped right to our door.
10 years of hard, long work to make something work? What?
Most people would say no thanks.
Here’s where I would challenge you to think about your why.
If you believe in the why of what you are doing, you’ll spend a lifetime working towards making it happen.
Your vision may morph. It may change, it may stop completely for awhile. But if you keep going, keep learning, continue to show up and put in the time, good things happen.
We have to remember to be patient.
With ourselves, and with our work.
When we are able to be patient, when we can look towards the long term future, it changes how we live our day to day.
We are more ok with putting in the dirty work.
Doing the time.
Doing the things that aren’t so fun.
Because we’re in it for the long haul.
I find many times I stop on an idea because I think about how long it will take me to do, or how much work it will take.
But then I remember something my dad always told me when he went back to school in his 50s to get his Doctorate in music composition.
He said, “In five years from now, I can either have my degree, or not. In five years will I want that?” The answer was yes. He knew the time would pass anyway. And even though he would be putting in a lot of time to make this thing happen, he could either do it and have it in five years, or not do it and come five years and he doesn’t have it.
The time will pass anyway.
One year from now, what do you want your life to look like? Would you like it to look the same as it does now? Then keep doing the same things.
If you’d like to have your own creative project completed in a year, start now. Want a promotion in the next year? Start now.
Good things take time, start now. The time will pass anyway.
So get out there! Say yes to the opportunities in front of you. And be in it for the long haul. It’s not a race to the finish line, it’s about doing what makes us come alive. Because the world needs people who have come alive. (One of my favorite Howard Thurman quotes).
What makes you come alive? What will you have wanted to accomplish in five years? What about one year?
It starts with one small step. One item crossed off that to-do list. One event put on the calendar.
Get out there and start.
They were literally talking about me right in front of me.
I was a freshman on the high school cheerleading squad. I was one of only three freshman on the JV squad. The other girls were all juniors and sophomores, older, more “experienced” and much more popular than me.
I had never been on a cheerleading squad before. I was a basketball player who was persuaded by my cheerleader friends to try out for the high school squad. Long story short- I made the squad, none of them did. So here I was alone on a squad with older, cooler cheerleader girls who I had nothing in common with.
I was a super innocent, in-experienced tomboy who wore my brother’s clothes to school. I had no idea how to do my makeup and my mom still made my lunch every day. Needless to say, I was not at all like the other girls.
As the year went on, I got more aquatinted with the high school life, learned how to (kinda) do my makeup and I decided it wasn’t a good idea for me to be borrowing my little brothers clothes everyday. Then I started hanging out with this boy.
Not just any boy- he was a catch. He was cute, artsy, and known as the “hero” at our high school because he literally tackled to the ground a kid with a gun who pulled out a gun and threatened to kill people in his English class… that’s real.
Anyways, the older girls on my cheer squad did not like me hanging out with this guy. So they did what most girls do when they don’t like the actions of another girl. They talked crap. Literally, right in front of me.
They were rude, they were mean, they would tease me and put me on the spot. I would literally hear them saying “why would a guy like him like a girl like her? I just don’t get it.” And I was right there.
Why you guys, do we gossip? It’s so hurtful. It’s evil and it’s mean.
Yet, I know the temptation.
I find so many times when I’m tempted to gossip, it’s either because I’ve been hurt by that person and I want to feel better about myself, or it’s because I’m jealous of that person and want to feel better about myself.
Most of the time, it’s so I can feel better about myself.
When does gossip become gossip? What if we’re just telling someone something that happened? We’re just stating the facts? I hear a lot of girls ask this.
I think the difference comes with our intentions.
As always, it comes back to the heart of the matter.
Are these facts really needed to be said in this situation? Or is it because these facts will in fact, make someone else look bad, and you look cool because you’re the one who knows these facts?
I find gossip is a fake way to feel close to someone. When we gossip with our girlfriends, it’s like some secret we can all relate to. It allows us to feel close to each other because it’s kind of this thing that we wouldn’t talk about in front of everyone else, let alone the person we’re talking about.
But at what expense?
It’s great to feel close to other women, but at the expense of another person is just not the way.
Gossip is like a wall we put up.
It allows us to feel close, without really opening up to someone about our own lives. What about our own problems? What about the things we’re struggling with, the things we’re passionate about, the new ideas we’ve been having?
Those are the scary things to talk about.
But those are the things that truly bond us. Gossip is like a processed brownie. It tastes good while eating it but you always regret it later. Keep eating it and it will ruin you.
Let’s cut the gossip and be nice both in front and behind backs.
Today I jumped on Facebook and saw a photo pop up that said “5 years ago today” with a photo I posted from my old Tumblr blog I had back in 2010!
I immediately started scrolling through these old posts, cringing at the ugly images I posted, the horrible photo filters I used, and what fonts I was using.
It’s so interesting to me how I created this poster. I would NEVER think to do something like this now. I rarely sketch. Now-a-days when I’m taking pen to paper, it’s normally formulating business ideas, sorting through thoughts in my brain and writing down words. Rarely ever do I create work with a pen and paper.
Yet this is what I did 5 years ago. I took a sketch I did, scanned it into the computer, messed with it and colorized it in Photoshop, then added in the images, font and other elements after.
Again, I would never do this now.
This is interesting to me for a few reasons.
5 years goes by so fast in my head. Yet, when I look at these images, it feels like this was created an eternity ago. Almost like I forgot about the girl who made that poster because she has been so far removed from me. It makes me wonder about my work 5 years from now. How will it evolve? What will I be working on? How will I be creating art then? What will be my medium?
I used to create art through things like this. Posters, 2-D stuff. Sketching and painting. I still do graphic design, but rarely do I do it for the pure purpose of creating art. Mostly it’s for clients. Which is so much fun to work on, but at the same time it’s work. It’s function is mostly to market and brand a company, not to convey a message.
This doesn’t mean that I’ve given up art though.
My art now is just poured through me in a different way.
It’s through Yellow. It’s through writing. It’s through a brand that I’ve created.
The message “I find peace in this war” is still relevant to me. It’s still something that hits at me and tugs at my heart strings. But the medium has changed. Now, instead of making a poster to convey this message, I use the Yellow platform. Yellow Conference is all about helping women find true, deep peace. Even when things around us are seemingly “warlike”.
That’s the message I wanted to convey in this poster. To find peace through the chaos. Specifically, in the lives of women.
Here’s an excerpt from that blog post I wrote in December 2010:
“I find that it is extremely hard, especially as women, not to worry and be anxious. We tend to stress out and get lost in our own emotions when there is a lot going on around us. It is a desire of ours to be in control of everything (and sometimes everyone) around us. But the truth is, we are not in control. And when we are able to let go of our controlling desires, and be at peace with the people and things around us, (even when they are not ideal) then we can find peace.”
I obviously had a heart to show women that they can find peace in this war called life. But I was doing it through a poster. Now, I do it through Yellow. Same heart, different medium.
It’s so interesting to me how our work in the past shapes and forms us for the future.
This is a not so well designed poster that I’m kind of embarrassed about. But at the same time, there’s something truly innocent and beautiful about it.
I had no idea what I was doing.
I wasn’t thinking about business or marketing or how the audience is going to respond to this. I was just creating.
I was playing.
No pressure of sales or money or time efficiency, productivity or emails. Just pure, innocent creation.
I want to get back to a place like this. Creating without the clouds of the everyday grind.
Finding that space gets harder and harder as we get older. The more the world sets in, the more hardships we face, the more sadness and loneliness we feel, it get’s harder.
It’s no longer a luxury of innocence. It’s a fight.
We must fight to stay pure in our creations. We have to work hard to not become jaded. We have to put so much time and effort into allowing us to have space to think, to reflect, to rest.
It’s not an easy fight.
Let’s not stop fighting.
Let’s fight to keep our creative innocence. Fight to continue to believe in good. Fight for wisdom, rest, and space.
It may not produce the most “successful” work, but there’s beauty in our humanity and imperfections.
I just arrived into Nashville today!
I have to admit, I was won over the second I looked at the weather report and saw that it was going to be in the 70s and rainy.
It’s been 90+ degrees everyday in LA, and when we hit October, not only does the heat suck, but it sucks that it’s officially Fall and it feels like the 4th of July. Oh the joys of living in Southern California! There are so many great things happening in LA, I can’t complain, but I do have to say that Nashville feeling like Fall is pretty nice.
I always make fun of myself, as I’m a typical spoiled Southern Californian. I complain when it’s lower than 55 degrees and I complain when it’s over 85 degrees. There’s this small window of perfection that I like to stay within.
It’s funny to me how many conversations revolve around the weather. It’s the thing we can all relate to, without any worry of judgement or vulnerability. Because it’s not about us personally, it’s about something we’re all experiencing. There are no politics, opinions or really anything substantial that we have to be afraid of when we talk about the weather.
There are other small talk topics, like “how was your flight?” or “how was the food?” things that we again, can all talk about without too much fear.
So how do we go from talking about the weather to some real, substantial conversation? Some convo with a bit of meat to it. Conversation that will bring out a bit of fear, but allow you to get to know someone a bit better?
I have a lot of coffee dates with strangers. Well, not technically strangers, but people who I have never met before. They want to meet to chat about an idea they have, get some advice, or just meet up for the fun of it! I always go into these coffee dates wondering how the conversation will go.
Will we have stuff to talk about? Will we get along? What if I don’t know what to say?
I’m sure you’ve been there too in one way or another.
One thing I have found to always be a good ice breaker for both me and the person I’m meeting with, is to try and get to know their background a bit. But not just professionally or where they grew up, things like how did they end up in LA? What brought them here? What was your major in college? Do you have siblings? What did your parents do growing up? What does life look like for you now compared to 3 years ago?
These are all questions that I love to ask people that I feel really gets me a solid feel for who this person is. Not just what they do or what their ideas are, but who they are as a person. Because understanding where these people have come from helps me to know how to direct the conversation and how to give them advice.
I’m in the middle of reading the book “Essentialism” by Greg McKeown, and one of the things he talks about in his book that I think is so profound, is reading in between the lines. Looking not just at what’s in front of you, but looking at the entire, big picture, then making decisions based off that. I think that’s important to think about in our conversations with people, especially when giving advice.
Asking about and hearing people’s stories has been key in directing conversation and in facilitating real, meaningful conversations with people I barely knew before going into our meeting.
As I go into another conference this week (I’m becoming a junkie) I think about these things a lot. How can I move past the weather conversation and onto something meaningful? Now there is a time and a place for talking about the weather. I’m not just going to bust out asking someone about their childhood when I know I only have 2 minutes to chat with someone. But when I do get that extra time, I like to hear their stories.
Do you have friends who you haven’t heard their story? Grab coffee and listen! It’s amazing how much closer you’ll feel to someone when you know what they have gone through.
Let’s move past the weather convo and onto the real life storytelling.
Also, the conference I’m attending this week is called STORY. That didn’t click in my head until just now. ha!
Nolan and I talk about moving to Nashville.
We talk about getting a big piece of property where we can host people, build guest houses and create an event venue. We want a dirt bike track and a creative studio, at our property in Nashville, the possibilities are endless. In our minds, it’s the best place in the world.
The thing is though, neither of us have been to Nashville, ever.
It’s like we have a dream of this place we’ve heard about from afar, and we want to be there. There’s beauty in the mystery of it all. Because there, life is better. There, we will be in nature, away from the troubles of the city and the materialism of Southern California. There, everything will be different, right?
I’m sure as you were reading that you laughed because we all know there is no perfect place here on earth.
But I can tell you one thing. This hope that we have for a better place, this dream that we have together, it fuels us. It makes us save money, it makes us work hard now, hoping that our hard work will one day pay off. It gives us something to look forward to in life, and I think that’s important whether or not it actually happens.
We obviously know that life no where is perfect, and the same troubles that we have here in LA can and probably will follow us anywhere we go. But we can dream can’t we? Isn’t it important to dream? To hope?
On a larger scale, this is what heaven is to me. It’s my hope for a better tomorrow. That one day, all of our suffering, anguish and hardships will be redeemed when we meet our maker. It’s a hope that allows me to be ok with the imperfections of this world, because I know this is my temporary home.
Heaven gives me something to work for. It’s the song in my heart. It’s the place I ache for. An ache deep down in myself that I’m not even aware of most of the time. It’s apart of me. It’s apart of you. We long for, we ache for perfection. We search for it high and low.
We look for it in money, relationships, power, status, physical appearance, we look for it in Nashville We will continue to search and search but never find it here.
This world never promised to fulfill us. Why do we think it should?
Time and time again we search. We work our entire lives searching, trying to get as close as we can to that perfection we long for.
Heaven is my hope. God is my hope. Jesus is my hope.
One day, we will meet perfection.
But until then, I’m going to keep dreaming of Nashville.
PS- I’m actually headed to Nashville tomorrow morning for Story Conference! Anyone out there want to meet up? Let me know!!
It’s interesting to me how physical spaces so closely have an effect on our internal being.
The internal and the external. They are so connected.
Tonight Nolan and I moved the last of my things out of my old office space in Burbank. As we were cleaning up and carrying the last things our of the office, I got sad.
It feels like just yesterday Nolan and I were painting the office white. When we first moved into that space, the walls were a dark green and red. It was dark and dreary. Not the best creative environment.
Nolan and I got in there, painted everything white and brightened up the space. Together, we turned it into a creative and happy place.
It was in that studio I planned and created the very first Yellow Conference. I got the idea for Yellow just a few weeks after moving in.
And now, I’m leaving that space.
We had movie nights in there and get togethers, Yellow team meetings and workshops. Such a defining place for the early stages of my career.
It’s interesting to me that a space like this could have such an impact on me. It’s just a physical space, but it holds so many memories.
I often think about my freshman dorm. What would it be like if I went back there? Would memories come flooding in when walking into the space? Do memories live in these spaces and aren’t activated until we physically run into them?
Spaces and memories have always fascinated me. Maybe it’s because I grew up moving so much. I lived in so many different houses and went through different phases of life in each of them. Each house holds memories that would not probably even be triggered unless I physically stepped inside these places. I’ve had the opportunity to visit a few of the houses I lived in growing up. Each time I’ve visited, nostalgia floods over me.
It makes me think about the people who have lived in the home I now live in. Do their memories exist here? Do they float through the air, non-existent to me, but existing to those who have lived here in the past?
Ok, this post took a bit of a weird turn, but my point is, spaces have a way of defining times in our lives. Good and bad. The physical space can be a marker of an emotion, a memory, a phase of life. The physical effects the emotional.
So now, as I move into my new Downtown office space, I’ll always look back with fond memories on the little Burbank studio. Who knows what new memories are waiting for me in the new space. The new opportunities, the new phases and the new emotions that will exist and be built there.
I’ll continue to remember. I’ll continue to look forward. Allowing the memories and the emotions to come and go as I walk through my life.
I was never the kind of girl who dreamed of her wedding day.
I didn’t have the colors picked out, I never thought about location or how many bridesmaids I wanted to have.
All I really ever wanted was to have a really awesome party.
Our wedding was just that. It was an epic dance party with lots of love, happy tears, prayers, celebration and beauty in all forms.
The funny thing is, both of us had no idea what we were getting into that day. People try and prepare you, we went through pre-marital counseling and had some great mentors in our lives telling us how marriage is not a walk in the park. We knew that going into it.
I think the main thing about marriage I didn’t realize going into it was just how much of an impact you have on each other. Nolan’s stress levels rub off on me and vise versa. If he’s stressed, I feel it. If I’m worried, he feels it.
You also have no idea how the person you jump into marriage is going to change over the next 10 years. You don’t even know what they’re going to be like in 1 year! You will change. Your spouse will change. It’s something you can’t control. And who they change into is not up to you. That’s a scary thought!
I’m thankful everyday Nolan has grown more and more into a man who loves me better, supports me and encourages me to be who I was created to be. I hope I’m doing the same for him.
But we can’t predict the future.
Circumstances happen, they have the ability to rock us and shake us to the core, changing the kind of people we once thought we were.
I have to admit, sometimes I fear the worst. I think, “what if we get into a car accident and Nolan is paralyzed from the waist down? He would become completely dependent on me and others. How would that effect him?” When I was in college I watched a family close to me experience a similar situation. The man who was paralyzed changed from being a fun, loving and encouraging man, to a very, very angry one. Angry towards God and the world around him. And I don’t blame him. I can’t even imagine the pain he was experiencing deep within himself. It was extremely hard on his family and equally hard on his marriage.
I pray and hope that doesn’t happen- but I know it could, and who knows how Nolan or I would change or act when placed a situation like that? I can hope that we would be able to find God and find good through those times, but I’ve seen enough good people change that I know I can’t even trust myself to do that, let alone my husband. I realize this probably sounds extreme, but I also know life is unpredictable, and my mind wanders to these places.
And honestly, I think it’s healthy to think about these things.
Far too often we romanticize marriage, finding a soul mate, or finding the “one” who completes you.
When in reality, that just doesn’t exist for anyone. Even if you found someone who “completes” you at that moment in time, who knows how you or that person will change to what circumstances will arise that will change the way you see the world and in turn, the way you see that person.
We are a fickle species, never satisfied and always changing. There’s no way one person could constantly make us feel whole. I sure know I can’t do that for anyone, and no one is going to do that for me.
This may sound harsh, but there’s no such thing as “the one” for you. Stop looking for it, because he or she will never come. Nolan and I all the time talk about how we could have married other people, and probably ended up having perfectly fine, happy lives with someone else. But we chose each other on that day we said our vows. We said, “hey, I love you so much that I want to do my life with you. I choose you to be my partner in crime and go through this life together. I’ll stick by you through think and thin, you do the same for me.” It’s a beautiful thing when two people can come together knowing that neither of them will ever satisfy each other, sometimes it’s the complete opposite, but despite that, we are choosing to do life together. It’s that simple.
So for me, remembering and reminding myself that we don’t know what the future holds and how it will effect us, helps me to let go a bit of the tight grip of control I want to have over my relationships with my husband.
One thing I tell my friends when they are getting married and ask me for advice (since I’ve been married 4 years I’m obviously an expert) is this: let them be themselves.
You can’t control them and you never will. You can encourage, you can be a support when they’re moving in a good direction, and a voice of reason when you think the opposite. But when it comes down to it, you can’t try and change who they are. It’s toxic.
Oftentimes, I find when I try and manipulate or control Nolan into being what I think he should be at that moment in time, it’s usually when I’m feeling very insecure in myself. Our insecurities come out in strange ways in a marriage. But I know, if I’m trying to tell Nolan what to do or putting him down for the person he is, it’s always because deep down I’m feeling those things about myself. If I’m saying to Nolan, “why don’t you ever stand up for yourself at work??” It’s usually because I’ve been feeling like I need to stand up for myself in my job.
I find the more secure I am in myself, the better my relationship with my husband is.
I’m more ok with his flaws because I’m ok with my own flaws. I can support and encourage him because I feel good about where I’m at in life, and vise versa.
Marriage is a vulnerable thing. It’s awesome, it’s hard, it rocks sometimes and sometimes feels like the worst thing ever. It can be the life of you or it can be the death of you.
So I’ll end with a few things.
If you’re not married and you have a desire to be one day: (Side note: I’m a huge believer that NOT everyone was made for marriage nor do they need to feel pressure to get married. Some people have the desire and some don’t! Both are ok!) Make sure you look at how a person makes decisions. How have they changed, grown and been shaped throughout their life. Listen to their life story and pay attention to their ethics, morality and character. Because when those are solid, or they are working at growing and changing into making them as solid as possible, chances are they will continue that behavior. People generally continue to go in the direction that they’ve been going in. Is that direction a place you’d like to go too? Is this someone you actually want to do life with?
If you are married: I’m no expert, but I do know the one thing that works best for me in my marriage is to work on my own passions and support my husband in his. Don’t lose yourself in any relationship. Have separate dreams, have dreams together, make sure you are working on yourself first. The more secure you are in yourself, the better spouse you will be. For me, working towards my own dreams helps keep me fulfilled and growing. It makes me feel empowered and strong. That rubs off on my husband and vise versa.
This year has been one where I’ve really taken my career under my own wing and had a vision for where I see myself headed. I honestly believe my marriage has been strengthened since I’ve done that. I love hanging out with Nolan. We laugh together, we love coming home and sharing what each other has been learning. We love talking about marketing together, new tech tools, branding, email drip campaigns and sales. We both are working towards something and it gives us something to talk about. Something to bond over.
Marriage is a huge and complicated beast. Everyone has their own struggles and their own story, which is why no advice fits all. But I can say, letting go of control, letting go of the “soul mate” illusion, and seeing your spouse as a person you’ve chosen to do life with is the best way to create a healthy marriage and relationship. And of course, stop sweating the small stuff, remember to laugh, and don’t take things so darn seriously.