Tag Archives: Houston Press

Learning to Love

Things I Learned (To Love) About Myself During My First Year As a Freelancer

They say that it’s great pressure that removes impurities and creates diamonds. If not for the hard times, we wouldn’t be able to expose the dark parts of ourselves to the light. Well, thanks to the past 12 months of my freelance career, my skeletons are out of the closet and doing a tap dance routine in my living room. From the constant solitude, to the pressure to perform, the glorious rejections, and mind altering approvals, my dirt has been put on display day in and day out for one year and the experience has changed me for good.

Of all the shifts, the ability to recognize my real self, the good, the bad, and the ugly, and I love me anyway has been the greatest take away. I’ve been shown my strengths and my weaknesses, faced the dragon, slayed it, and received a well-deserved aha moment to cap off the adventure. Each victory refined me into a new person, but at the same time made me more me than I was before.

The mark of a great relationship is the ability to see the other person as they are and love them anyway. I think now I am in a fantastic relationship with me and it is getting serious.

Here are a few of my hard earned pearls. I share in hopes that they resonate in others and set them on their journey….

You are good, you are enough.
One of the hardest lessons to learn and even harder to walk out each day – YES, I can tell a great story and people will want to listen to it.

I am an expert in my world, and I should never discount my knowledge.
In the beginning, I defaulted to others too often thinking they knew best. My insecurities were suffocating my ability to do my best work.

I am hilarious, and I don’t need to hide that to be taken seriously.
I like to add humor to things and I should never think that makes me a clown or makes others perceive me as less than.

I can be in the company of other talented people and not disappear.
Shrinking violet syndrome was running rampant and it wasn’t until I stopped positioning myself in the fringes did I find a place at the table.

No, it is an honor to work with me.
I’m done with taking what I can get because I’m just happy to be here. I have earned my place and deserve to be valued.

I am not afraid of pushing towards excellence and I shouldn’t be scared to require that of others.
If they leave because I set standards, then so be it.

If it doesn’t create a positive platform for something or someone, I don’t want to do it.
I only have so much time on this Earth and I want to spend it doing something worthwhile. I am not building a career, I’m planning my legacy.

Be brave enough to say no.
I like to give 100 percent, so I must watch what I dedicate myself to.

My instincts are always right when it comes to me.
No one knows what is best for me better than me. Period. Trust myself.

Accept the seasons, nothing is meant to last forever, even your blessings.
Let go when it time to let go. It is not that it wasn’t good, it is just that something better is on the horizon.

 

cherise Cherise Luter is a freelance writer with Bustle.com and Houston Press. To learn more about her or connect with her, visit about.me.

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The Fear…of Success?

We are excited to continue the series SHE with today’s contribution…

 

 
 

“You don’t seem that excited,” said my loving husband.

“No, I am,” I responded.

“You don’t seem that excited,” he repeated in his knowing tone.

“Ok, I’m freaked out,” I admitted.

Earlier that morning I received my first job as a professional writer. I sent in a pitch, it was accepted, and I had my freelancer contract in hand. I should have been over the moon excited, but I actually felt sick to my stomach. I told my husband the good news and, to spite my putting on, he could see I was in panic mode. For the life of me I could not understand why I was on the verge of tears, until I thought about the last time I felt this wonderful. It was the week before my father passed away. 

It was also the week I gave my two weeks’ notice. I was taking my leap into entrepreneurship and going for my dreams and the person I was most excited to share the news with was my dad – also known as, my biggest cheerleader. We talked for an hour about my plans and he gave me the encouraging words I knew I needed to hear.

Three days later, he was gone.

I knew to expect the pain, the loneliness, the fear of going on without him, and the deep sadness, but what I didn’t realize was that I had unconsciously fused joy with pain. One of the saddest days I ever experienced came not one week after one of my happiest. Because of that juxtaposition, I internalized the belief that the other shoe will eventually drop and great happiness is only the prologue to great sadness, so don’t get too happy.

Receiving that acceptance email from my editor set off a countdown to tragedy in my brain. It was only a matter of time until the rug would get pulled out from underneath me. I wasn’t freaked out by what was, I was freaked out about what could be around the corner. 

I have since unlearned that lesson, but I think we all, for one reason or another, are afraid of being too happy. So, we pass on opportunities that could be the gateway to our joy, not because we are worried our dreams won’t come true, but because we are afraid they will. 

We need to release the fear of failure, but, more importantly, release the fear of success.

If you can survive in suffering, imagine how high you can soar in the midst of joy.

 

cherise Cherise Luter is a freelance writer with Bustle.com and Houston Press. To learn more about her or connect with her, visit about.me.

Unlocking Purpose

The 9 Questions That Unlocked My Purpose and My Gift

I make my living by communicating. My voice is my hammer and ideas are the nails.

They say the thing you were meant to bring to this world is the exact thing people try to beat out of you, and my life followed that adage to the letter. One of the first compliments and one of the first insults I ever received revolved around my voice.

“You speak with such power for a young person, what an amazing gift.”

“The way you talk intimidates people. You are too bossy. You make people feel bad.”

I’ll give you one guess which statement I internalized until adulthood.

For 30 years, I hid my mind for problem solving, my knack for turning a phrase, my ability to bring people together through sharing, and my love for questions under a rock hoping no one would happen upon them. I allowed the idea that my God given talent would eventually chase people away burrow a whole in my heart so deep the excavation took three years. I spent thirty years pretending to love the acceptable life I had created for myself, then the floor fell out from underneath me and I was forced to admit I didn’t recognize the person in the mirror.

The only way I could figure out who I was, was to ask myself the big questions and allow only my inner voice to give the answer. After all, I would have to live out the findings of this expedition, so it only made sense that I have sole input. So I began…

What makes me special?

What talents do I bring to this world?

What could I do for the rest of my life and be satisfied?

What fills me with joy?

What steals my joy?

What does love look like to me?

How do I define success?

Where do I place my faith?

Who do I trust?

I followed each with the universal and all important question…why?, which, in most cases, is the tiny word holding back the floodgates.

Each question was a stronghold I needed to pull down, a lie I needed to dismantle, or a curse needing to broken. For three years, I felt my feelings and thought my thoughts completely removed from the fears, hopes, dreams, emotions, and intent of others.. I dared to reawaken my voice. Then, I set about learning to use it.

 

 

 

 

cherise Cherise Luter is a freelance writer with Bustle.com and Houston Press. Learn more about her at about.me.