Posts tagged News
Who are we to share our stories?

"Who am I to teach? I'm not perfect."

"Why would anyone want to listen to me?"

"Doesn't wanting to teach and help others make me a huge hypocrite?"

I used to think admitting struggles or setbacks in my creative life would somehow make me look less credible, but most of the time, I've found that it’s usually the complete opposite.

According to Carl Jung, all this means is that I’m a "wounded healer". We all are.

And that's not a bad thing.

Jung believed that the main reason people feel compelled to teach is when they've been through an experience themselves and want to help others through it too, because they don't want anyone else to suffer the way they did.

They try to heal others, because they themselves know what it's like to be wounded, and that's a beautiful thing. Wouldn't you agree?

Who wants to learn from someone who acts like they've always been perfect? Who would even trust a person who is teaching about something they've never been through?

Using your experiences to help other people shouldn't be something to be ashamed of - it's actually something to be proud of, and to embrace. Because no one can deny your credibility when you're speaking from personal experience, your own journey of overcoming.

So if you're ever worried that you're not ready, or you're thinking: "Who am I to write this?" You're a wounded healer, which makes you the perfect person.

You don't have to be flawless or have completely "defeated" something in order to share your life lessons on the topic. Even if you fall from grace sometimes or don't always practice what you preach, it doesn't make you any less of a teacher. 

Your wounds don't all have to be neatly healed before you can heal others.

So please stop doubting yourself, and think about all the people you will help with your stories.

Then get out there and heal some wounds.

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Throw it out the window and see how it feels.

Sometimes I get super guilty about not doing things "the industry" has said I should be doing in order to "succeed". 

I feel like I should be doing webinars. And facebook advertising. No, twitter. Instagram? And bigger, more exciting launches and guest posts and interviews and newsletters and and and...

I can inherently see the value in these things and know that they might actually be beneficial, but there's just one problem.

I don't actually want to do them.

Every time I even think about doing them, my whole body tenses up. I'll stare at papers and plans for hours and my soul just can't bring yourself to make it work. Or to even start. The thought of doing the things bores the HELL out of me. 

Do you ever feel like this? That feeling that even if you tell yourself you'll do it eventually, and have even made plans to do it but still haven't? There's a reason for that. And it's not because we're lazy. It's simply because we don't want to.

It isn't a strength of ours.

It isn't an interest.

It isn't a priority.

So we can only do one of two things in this situation: we can either make it a priority and stop dicking around...Or we can: 

@@Throw it out the window and see how it feels.@@

Because having this huge thing on your mind without doing anything about it has a larger effect on your mindset and neurological health than you actually realise.

It's called the Zeigarnik effect, and it basically means that you cannot move forward or even perform effectively when you still have "that thing" at the back of your mind, plaguing you with guilt because you haven't done it yet.

It's time to move forward.

I'm doing this at the moment. I wanted to do guest posting at least once a week because it's obviously the thing to do in order to promote myself. I love connecting with people, I love writing, what could go wrong, right? On paper it seemed fine, but when it came down to it, the thought of force-writing another post each and every week, plus pitching just suddenly felt too much on top of everything else I do weekly. It took me a while to admit it to myself and I kept putting it off in the form of excuses and complaints. For example:

"Ugh, I don't like the idea of being forced to do stuff."

"I hate when I have to do things on a schedule."

"Pitching to so many different people each week is going to be time consuming and confusing."

"I don't have a good system to keep track of pitches."

"I'll have to hold back articles that I'll just want to share on my own blog."

"I don't even know where to start." << this is a big one. I can guarantee you do, you just don't want to.

I also recently threw an idea to create an audio course shop out of the window which had held me back for weeks (because I was forcing monetisation when my soul just wanted to give it away for free.)

@@When your body, mind and soul say "ugh", listen.@@

Now, let me tell you the best thing about this. When you throw shit out of the window, it honestly gives so much room to your strengths. Because you know what happened immediately after I let go of these issues? My mind went:

"Ahhh, great! Now we can focus on what I REALLY want to do."

For me, that's focusing on the people I already have and empowering them to share the message. I want to invite people into my world in my own way. I'm a flaky transgressive artist, I don't like to be on any schedules. Sure it may take longer for me to get awareness for my movement, but it will feel one hundred times better to do it the way I want to.

Does that mean I will never guest post? Not at all. But at this specific time, that specific idea is out the window - because subconsciously it was in the way of how I really wanted to do things.

So here is my lesson to you: Listen to your own intuition, and remember that just because something may be the best method, if you don't want to do it then it obviously isn't the best method for you. (And if that's the case, chances are it won't work for you anyway.)

You don't actually have to do all the things you COULD possibly do. I promise you that.

You always have permission to let go of the things you don't love.

So throw it out the window.

See how you feel.

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You have your own thing, go do it.

I've never in the history of my life, ever, wanted to climb a mountain.

That is, until I saw a bold, brave, beautiful woman rockin' it in a fitness magazine the other day. I stared mouth agape at the picture of her, completely confident and smiling into my soul, and suddenly I heard a voice inside myself whisper: "I need to climb a mountain."

Now, that's ridiculous, isn't it? Climbing a mountain wouldn't make me any happier, more beautiful, or confident (at least, I don't think it would). It certainly wouldn't allow be to BE that beautiful confident woman within the pages of this glossy magazine. So why? What was this compulsion to be someone I'm not and where did it come from?

If you're a Type-A person like I am, you will know this feeling.

You're chugging along nicely with your own ideas and goals, when suddenly a wild new concept appears that completely shakes your world upside down. And now all you can think about is that new concept, your ideas be damned. 

Sometimes it's because the new idea seems so much better than you feel yours could ever be. 

Sometimes it's because the new idea ignites your insecurities and makes you want to take the easy way out of the guilt you feel for not yet completing your own ideas and goals. 

Other times, it's because the person seems so confident and sure of themselves and the new idea, that you start to think it would be the coolest, most impressive and easiest thing for you to do, too.

But when this happens, you need to take a good hard look at what exactly it is you're jealous of. 99.9% of the time, it's not the actual "thing". It's the confidence surrounding the person and their thing. 

You don't necessarily want to do the "thing", but you want to feel the feeling. 

You admire the traits that have lead them into their destinies and into their highest selves and you know that if you can find that yourself, you know all the amazing things it could do for you. All the amazing ways finding it within yourself as well could transform your life.

Another example of this is when I see professional dancers.

I get instantly jealous and start thinking I want to become a professional dancer. When in reality, I’d have no passion to do that full time, I'd probably suck at it, and it isn't my calling. But I'm jealous because what they do looks so fun, I can see how hard they’ve worked at it, and I can see their best selves shining through their moves. I’ve got to stop that, and so have you.

Don’t worry about what other people are doing and focus on cultivating YOUR thing to provide the happiness you want. That kind of happiness won't come from you putting your own destiny off by looking for an alternative or easier option that totally isn't suited to you. Alright?

You have your own thing. Go do it.

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Your creative work has value.

When I started writing my spoken word poetry collection earlier this year, I had this constant nagging feeling that due to everything going on it wasn’t the right time to finish it, because it didn’t seem important enough.

It was about heartbreak which, compared to everything else that was going on in the world then and now...like, doesn’t even seem like it should be in the top #10 of things we should be worrying about in our society and lives right now. Poverty. War. Modern slavery. Racism. Ridiculous laws being brought into our world by greed every single day. How would a spoken word album about heartbreak help anyone?

Why create a spoken word album when all of this was happening and was so much more important?

Why create a spoken word album when speaking on political subjects instead might help someone more?

I tried to Google my pain to see if anyone else could relate, or to see if Google would have some kind of magical measuring stick or perfect timeline for when I would finally feel okay about creating fictional works again without feeling guilty about it. 

I typed in, “Is my work important enough?” which, as smart as Google is, it had no answer for.

I guess what I was looking for was permission to complete it.

As a black, female, and member of the LGBT community there’s almost always something that seems more important than fictional works. Something to protest, something I can be angry about if I want to be. There are countless injustices happening; and so many people, voiceless, dis-empowered and suffering. But there comes a time where you realise that you can’t always carry all of this pain on our shoulders all the time, because frankly it is exhausting. 

Creating art that is serious and political all the time would put me and my art into a box that I don’t particularly want to be in; contributing to a stereotype of an “angry black woman” in a way that most people tune out unless it’s presented to them differently these days. 

So what I realised was that yes, there were more important things I could be protest about or champion or fight for in that moment - but to even have the energy to take on those battles, you sometimes have to create for yourself first; create things that light your soul up, that make you happy, or you’ll burn out from all the stress (and that helps no one).

It’s okay to create something even if the only reason you have to do it is because your heart tells you to. This is how you will open up your greatest revelations. 

You don’t know how “important” your work might become until you do it. 

Heartbreak might not seem all that important to write about in relation to other issues that were going on at the time in the world. Not even in the top #10. But to someone who is going through it right now - it is #1 the most important issue in the world. And that’s okay. I would never go up to someone and minimise their pain, or compare it to other issues I believed were more important...so I have vowed not to do that to myself, or my art. 

I recognise now that importance is a subjective concept, and there is room for it all. I also recognised that:

“Not important enough” is simply another translation of the fear of actually creating something - the fear of wasting time and failing. 

Who knows where it could take you though if just this one time you ignored the fears that prevent you from trying and actually completed it?

Your work only has the potential to be worth anything if you actually make it

Everything you love today was once nothing but a doubtful idea in the mind of a neurotic creator. And it is often the things artists throw together in passion or frustration that turn out to become their most popular pieces, treasured and loved by their fans. 

It’s not your duty to analyse the thing you’re being told to create by the Universe. Ridiculous or serious, fiction or non, art is a bold statement in the world about your personal freedom, about the way you are choosing to express yourself, and your power to speak out.

So, this is me, giving you permission to create the art you want.

Your latest work might be the single piece of work that changes your life.

You literally, simply don’t know...but this is your permission to try.

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