Perception is a Bitch

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The way people perceive you will always be just that…the way that they perceive you. As I get older, I like to think that I’m becoming wiser, that the opinions others have formed about me don’t hold value, and that I am able to do it all. If only that were the case. When someone sees you, they view you from the outside looking in, they have no idea what it takes to be you on a daily basis. They see a glossy picture that they begin to create in their head of who you are, and at times we have a tendency to mirror that image–for various reasons. We want people to see us as having it all together, as being able to pull it off, and as picture perfect. The fact is that in that moment we’re given several options. We can continue to allow others to think that our life is as they see it, or we can begin to allow people to see us for who we really are.

Nowadays people are slowly becoming more authentic. Not that it wasn’t always there, but it’s something I think people struggle with; the truth. For both themselves and others. We all struggle with something, whether or not we choose to admit it. A few years ago people viewed my life as picture perfect, it was far from that, but yet I was trying my hardest to make it feel picture perfect. I had so much pressure coming from (none other than myself) to be in this magical relationship, to live a life others would dream of living, to smile at every possible thing I could, and yet, inside I was dying. My soul was unnourished, my heart was broken, and my story that I was portraying was no longer mine, it no longer belonged to me. It belonged to everyone else because they created it, and I allowed it to be my reality. It wasn’t until a few years ago that I realized I had a voice. That I was just as guilty as everyone else for allowing them to paint a picture of me, that in fact, didn’t resemble me at all. I realized that although my voice may have been muted for awhile, it still existed. It may not have been the loudest in the room, but it was mine. It didn’t always make sense, and it wasn’t always pretty, but it was still mine. Learning I had a voice, was me also learning that at any given moment, I had the ability to rewrite my own story, and thats when I began to be authentic. I didn’t care if people were listening, but it was something I needed to speak into life on my own.

For as long as I can remember I always held my feelings in, I didn’t know how to express them. I always kept quiet about the things that really bothered me, but that changed. It wasn’t until my world got turned upside down that I realized it was OK to discuss my feelings, both positive and negative.

At first it’s scary. You believe that you’re  supposed to be someone that has their shit together. For me, as a fitness professional, I felt I had to always be on, and I thought that allowing people to see that I wasn’t showed vulnerability, and that was something I didn’t like. It was a feeling that I wasn’t fully comfortable with. Hell, I still struggle with it. I thought about how sharing my weaknesses would discredit me, how opening up would leave room for someone, or something else to hurt me. I thought that people wouldn’t take me seriously, and would allow me to be less than. Yet I knew that I couldn’t live a lie forever.

People aren’t dumb. They know (at some point) when you’re faking it. When you’re pretending, when you’re no longer being your true self. I was the one to call myself out on my own bullshit, and I thank God I did. Authenticity is something you can’t fake, and as it turns out- people don’t want to connect to someone that they don’t view as real. We put so much pressure on ourselves to be one way or the other, when in reality we have to learn how to just be – whatever that may mean, and begin to not allow others to define us, because at the end of the day what will really happen if we don’t meet those preset expectations? Nothing.

Disclaimer; This is something that I must work on consistently, and be reminded of on a daily basis. This is not easy.

By being you and being the authentic you, you begin to create a better relationship with others, but more importantly yourself.

Less perfection, more authenticity.

Seven Pounds

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The past few days I’ve been struggling with an emotion I often have a hard time associating with. One that surfaces with little to no explanation and hits hard when it appears.

Thursday afternoon I got the news that a dear friend of mine was killed. His life taken way too soon because of a drunk driver. She was in her car, and he was crossing the street. I met Andrew a few years back when I was living in Germany. We met at the gym (where I tend to meet a lot of future friends) and we instantly had a connection. We were both right brained individuals that would often discuss “what’s next” in our master plan. He was finishing up a book he had been working on about relationships, wanted to move back to the states to open up his own gym, and was slowly preparing his body to compete in physique competitions.

We got each other. You see, in Germany friends became family. Most people were in the same boat; having little to no family with them overseas, hence creating one. The friendships over there were honest, open, and would quickly progress, despite where life would take us, or the military would place us, it was a silent vow that we would all somehow stay connected…and we did.

I left Germany before Andrew did, he then got deployed to Kuwait…we kept in touch and we would chat about his daughter who was about to turn one, t-shirts that he wanted to order for his fitness company, and his plans for returning home.

When my old client from Germany sent me a message asking me if I had heard to news about Andrew, my eyes quickly began to swell with tears. Unfortunately, part of being associated, or having been associated with the military is accepting the fact that people near and dear to you heart risk their lives to protect others. I assumed that Andrew had been killed at war, I was wrong.

He had come back to the states, opened up his own gym, competed in his competition and was walking across the street when he was struck by a 28 year old female. He wasn’t killed instantly, but rather several days later.

This was all too much for me to process. How could someone who had been deployed several times come back to the states to only have their life taken from them? I had so many questions, so many emotions, I wasn’t able to process it all. I spent the majority of the day crying, I canceled clients as I wasn’t in the right state of mind. I went to the gym and ran my fastest mile in a year, not because I was motivated but because I was angry. I was angry that someone could be so selfish to not think twice before getting in their car intoxicated. I was angry knowing that Andrew had two little girls that looked up to him and called him “Daddy” I was angry that he had accomplished everything we’ve discussed, but yet there was so much more life left for him to live.

I was angry, and still am. I consider myself a problem solver but this problem had no solution. There’s some things that have no explanation, that you’ll fight with yourself to understand but truthfully you’ll never be able to comprehend.

I spent the majority of my weekend curled up on the couch with a movie, and a bottle of red wine. I canceled plans with friends and allowed myself to feel my emotions, and let me tell you-there was quite a mix. I found myself watching Seven Pounds, a movie starring Will Smith. He played a character named Ben Thomas, who discovered he had the power the change the circumstances of seven strangers who deserved a second chance. He would meet these people, put them through tests to make sure they were deserving, while ultimately sacrificing his own life to save theirs.

Andrew was charismatic, uplifting, encouraging, and truly wanted to help others succeed, and find their life’s passion. It was evident in his personality, his work, and through the people he chose to surround himself with. I can’t make sense of it all, and I realize I may never be able to, but as I watched the movie the line “I’m Ben Thomas and  I have the ability to drastically change your life” continued to echo in my mind.

Although Andrew is no longer physically with us, he was able to give five complete strangers another chance at life through organ donation. The fact that Andrew was an organ donor doesn’t surprise me, the fact that he touched so many lives doesn’t surprise me, and the fact that his legacy will live on through others touches me.

I have to accept that he is gone, that what happened isn’t fair and in order for the healing to begin I have to feel the pain.

Each day is not guaranteed, each moment is not promised, let us remember that life is to be lived, that love is to be given and that we only have one chance to truly live a life worth living.

Andrew, thank you for impacting the lives of so many, thank you for living each day to the fullest, and thank you for showing us what living truly means, you’ve left your footprint here on earth, and you will continue to shine down on so many…you will be missed. 

Jayel_Sig
 

 

“I Have a Dream…” & so does everybody else

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It’s when the world seems to shut down, the hustle and bustle has come to a halt for the day and everything is quiet. That’s when I think…before the sun comes up and when the sun goes down. It’s during those times that I find an inner peace. One that can often keep me up well beyond my bed time but really allows my brain to be, to just be. No outside influences, no text messages to respond to immediately, and no other real form of communication. Just me, and my thoughts…


As I watch the rain hit the pavement from my window I begin to ask myself a series of questions, followed by a series of answers that I didn’t necessarily anticipate. 


We always hear people talking about living out their dreams, whatever they may be. Each person has a different mindset, different goals, and envision what their dreams coming to reality may actually look like. 


Upon college graduation my dreams were quite basic in my opinion; get a job, fall in love, be happy. What was so hard about all of that? As time went on, all of those things came to fruition. I got a job, fell in love, moved away, and appeared happy. This lasted for quite some time. I then got married, moved to a new country, got a job, and fell out of love..then moved back to America, got a new job, and a divorce. 


As I type this at the ripe age of 29 I’m beginning to realize what life is about. It’s about chasing your dreams…right? The way I see it, or view how it was for me quite some years ago is that I was chasing the wrong dreams, the dreams that were made up for me in fairy tales, in movies, based off of others opinions. I was chasing something that although may indeed be realistic wasn’t for me at that time.

Too often (in my opinion) we’re chasing someone or something that we’ll never actually obtain because it was never ours to chase. There’s so much pressure from all aspects to be this or be that…but why can’t we just be?


Despite wanting all of those things I didn’t necessarily need and/or want them at that point. And it took all of those harsh realities that I’ve faced to this day to realize this. 


My dreams were to;

Get a job; where I could grow.

Fall in love; with someone that would never betray me. 

Be happy; …yup, still working on a condensed definition of what that actually means.


The point I’m trying to make is that we really need to think about what we want out of life, how we plan to get there, and if our dreams are valid. If they are in fact our dreams and our dreams alone.
I now have a different outlook. Some of the same dreams but a very realistic mindset of what they actually mean. For so long I was wanting a dream of someone else, a made up fallacy, but then reality set in. 


Whatever you want out of life be honest with yourself, show compassion towards yourself like you would towards others and live your life for you, not your friends, not your family, and certainly not for the fairy tales that realistically never have a happy ending.
Chase YOUR dreams, and your dreams alone, because those are the real ones that truly hold the power.

Jayel_Sig

Living with Intent

People often think that things happen by chance, incorrect. They happen by change.

I was having a conversation with a friend today about knowing; knowing the answer (s) you’re searching for. The answer to the question(s) we often lose sleep over are well within reach, we are just so fearful that we burry the true emotions and replace them with what we think may happen, or hope may happen.

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I’m sure most females can attest to the power of intuition. It in fact, will tell you everything you need to know. We’ve been taught to not let our guards down too much, to be strong, and to live a life that others have lived. As a result, that often sets us up for failure. Don’t live the life that is easy, that others have done, live a life that is bold and courageous, one that will have others talking about, and questioning how she did it…

Living life with purpose means living your life with intent.

If something isn’t going your way…change it.

If someone isn’t adding value to your life…replace them.

If deep down inside you know that you’re going down the wrong path…create a new road. 

We’re not afraid of flying, we’re afraid of falling. We’re not afraid of living, we’re afraid of failing. 

Wake up each morning and remind yourself of the roads less traveled…then travel them. It doesn’t matter the obstacle ahead or the goal that may seem out of reach…just be sure to keep on reaching.

Jayel_Sig