Take the 'Re' Out of 'Reacting' and Get On With Your Bad Self

I felt like such an idiot this morning. After getting a terrible night’s sleep (brain was on energizer bunny mode after an 11-hour day and the bedroom was too bright and too cold), I woke up earlier than usual for my usual Thursday 8:30 call time. I drove all the way to work (a thirty-minute commute) and had almost parked my car before I realized I was the only one there.

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Goodbye, Fab Feminist and Hello, Untrendy!

I’ve embodied the Untrendy lifestyle since I was old enough to stick a finger up my nose during a dance recital while my mother sat shaking her head from the audience. It’s a choice I’ve made before I even had the word “untrendy” in my vocabulary.

When I realized that Fab Feminist was limiting the content I wanted to put out in the world, I started brainstorming a name that would be empowering but not trite. I thought of other brands that I really identified with (shoutout Ban.do and Manrepeller) and realized I wanted to give fewer f*cks.

Fab Feminist couldn’t BE the all-encompassing mecca of intersectional feminism that I wanted it to be. With a full-time day job and a couple side-hustles, I couldn’t put out the content that our brand name lent us to. I couldn’t do it fast enough and I couldn’t do it well enough. When Giuls came on board, we both started organically shifting our focus to mental health: navigating the process of caring for our sad brains and anxious hearts. Amidst that, we’d found our own niche within the broad umbrella of feminism.

After that, changing our brand became the obvious next step. But what to? What was more aligned with our purpose? Big Magic taught us that inspiration will hit you with a Big Idea without warning, and that’s exactly what happened.

“What about ‘Untrendy?’” I asked Giuls one day. We’d been going back and forth about a new name for our brand. I don’t still have the message thread, but I’m pretty sure “Hmmmm…..I like it,” is a reasonably accurate response. Discovering "Untrendy" was like slipping on a pair of cheap, pink sunnies and flipping the hibiscus flowers attached to the frame like windshield wipers, saying, "Ohhhh, yes! This is Untrendy and this is the way I LIKE IT." It felt natural and it felt like us.

We started noticing HOW MUCH OF OUR LIVES was influenced by the secret undercurrent of Untrendy. Like, wearing a midi dress to work without shaving your legs first. Or ordering a glass of Chardonnay. What about Jen Gotch’s dorky-thrift-store-kid-clothes style? Or Racial/Social/Gender Justice Disruptor, Ericka Hart’s photos of her mastectomy scars? Women and people all over the world are living their AUTHENTIC, purpose-filled lives that are decidedly *not* trendy. And that’s the kind of life we want to live, too.

We, the Untrendy, live life on our OWN terms. We set our OWN priorities and live by our OWN moral codes. We don clothes that we feel good in regardless of what the fashion industry tells us is trending. We ignore beauty conventions. We do not dress our bodies to please anyone but ourselves. We speak our beliefs especially when they go against popular opinion. We do not buy into consumerism’s mantra that in order to be happy, you must accomplish X and buy X and do X. We don’t wear Gucci leather belts or ‘smile!’ when men tell us to. We KNOW that to be human is to be sad sometimes or a lot of the time and we don’t hide it. We are UNTRENDY.

We are here to shake up personal development with honesty and humor, offering people the tools they need to live their most fulfilling lives on their own terms.

Elizabeth Gilbert made me a Relaxed Woman

A love for Elizabeth Gilbert is one of the many unifying bonds that Giuls and I share. Giuls introduced me to her after reading Big Magic and listening to the follow-up podcast, Magic Lessons, where Liz helps creative people push past their personal obstacles and Do The Thing. I loved the podcast, bought Big Magic on Audible, and then bought a used copy of Eat Pray Love. Then I made Giuls read Eat Pray Love. Then Giuls made her friend, Megan, read Eat Pray Love. I don’t even know where my copy of the book is, but it’s out there doing what it needs to.

We both follow Liz on Instagram and when Liz announced that she was leaving her husband to be with her dying best friend who she realized she loved, Giuls told me. And when I saw that Liz was coming to Maimi to speak, I (naturally) texted Giuls in all caps to say that we were going.

We almost didn’t make it to her talk, though. I had obligations at work that I didn’t know if I could get out of until the day before. Giuls was having a Hard Time getting her life in order to leave Gainesville and drive down to West Palm Beach. We’re both broke. We’re both feeling uninspired to follow our art. We had to navigate rush hour traffic on a Friday night. We risked getting both of our cars towed in two completely different cities to see this woman speak, and for once, I wasn’t freaking out about being late to something. We crept in (probably 10 minutes after Liz started speaking) and were immediately transfixed by the soothing yoga voice coming out of Elizabeth Gilbert’s face hole telling us about the revolutionary idea of a Relaxed Woman existing. Specifically, a Relaxed Woman existing outside of the very temporary state that is a hot stone massage.

“I am a relaxed woman,” I said to myself (and everyone else) for the next 48 hours.

Liz also spoke about this idea of how Hustle Culture insists a woman must always be tired and stretching herself thin doing Too Many Things All Of The Time to be good. I don’t know about y’all, but I do not want to live my life that way anymore. My time is worth more than the hustle for a buck.

She spoke about Perfection and how it kills all joy and followed that up with my favorite quote of the day: “Perfectionism is Fear trying to disguise itself in pearls and mink.” WE HAVE NEVER HEARD A TRUER THING. Giuls and I have spoken a lot on the blog recently about our own experiences with perfectionism, and her words were a healthy reminder that perfection is not a quality to be lauded; it’s just Fear being Fear.

If you have the opportunity to hear Liz speak, Giuls and I both STRONGLY URGE YOU to make time to do it. You can check out her tour schedule here: https://www.elizabethgilbert.com/tour/and by God, if you have not read read a book by Liz Gilbert yet, go f*cking do it.

Stop Managing a Messy Life

I work a fast-paced day job as a metaphorical fruit ninja. It’s a ton of fun, but when a metaphorical fruitstorm comes flying my way, my entire life goes on hold. Time to shampoo? NO WAY! Throw that bedhead in a sock bun and run, don’t walk, out the front door. Just got home after a 10-hour day? Better leave those black leggings on the floor where ya took ‘em off, ‘cause you know they’re going back on again tomorrow with a different top! By the end of a week like this, my apartment looks like it’s been trampled by a cat 3 hurricane and I’m left spending precious free time picking up the pieces of my life. It’s ex.haust.ing.

A big part of this chaotic cycle comes from my perfectionist tendencies—if I can’t get the whole damn place clean, I don’t want to bother cleaning at all. The other issue here is the sheer magnitude of crap that I hold onto. If I had less of it, there’d be less of a mess to clean up each week, right? It’s not like we’re talking rocket science here.

So recently, with my twenty-mlehmleh-th birthday rapidly approaching, I made a radical decision to hurdle over my perfectionism paralysis…

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Paralyzing Perfectionism

 
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This perfectionist started her morning off with a satisfying Naked smoothie. Nothing tastes better than being able to finish off the bottle of your mango goodness in one pour!

I’m sure many of you can relate and might identify as perfectionists as well, at least in some aspect of your lives. Little moments like this are just oh, so magical.But I’ve also learned that a lot of my struggles with procrastination and motivation actually stem from a need for perfection. For me, the biggest one is writer’s block. I find myself spending all my energy procrastinating instead of actually writing and then the day goes by and I hate myself for it.

It took me too long to realize this isn’t because I’m lazy. I know when I sit down to write I can be there for hours fixating on each word to ensure my sentiment is received. Once I discovered that my habit of procrastinating wasn’t due to a lack of motivation but, was a result of my perfectionist tendencies, I became aware and was able to focus on that by trying not to put so much pressure on myself. Sometimes you just have to write and allow it not to be “perfect” (whatever that means) otherwise you risk resenting something that is crucial to your happiness. I was, in fact, less motivated the longer I put off writing what I wanted to.

So, relish in these satisfying moments of fulfilled perfectionism, don’t let it be another thing you’re hard on yourself for, but don’t allow it to stop you from being you. It’s not your identity.