Sunday, August 4, 2019

#WriterRevelations: Life Lessons I've Learned In My 28 Years by Chelsea DeVries

As I head into 28, I've come to the realization that I've learned a lot thus far and since I am always looking for ways to help someone else through a hard day or a hard time in their life, here are 28 life lessons I've learned.

Whatever life throws at you is absolutely nothing compared to who is for you and what you have within you. Don't quit. Don't give up!

With the popularity of social media, it's become such a common thing in our culture to brag on ourselves and the things that happen to us. Why I believe that some good testimony does the soul good, an excess of bragging on yourself or on the things we have only serves to weaken the soul of a person. Stay Humble at all costs. It will make you the wealthiest person in the room.

Work Hard and don't apologize for it. So what you have three jobs and no time for friends? Chances are, if they are truly your friend, they will support whatever endeavors you pursue and be their for you when things slow down.

Show mercy even when it doesn't seem right. God sees all and will right the wrong no matter what.
Forgiveness will allow you to live in peace.

Life is way too short to not celebrate. Celebrate the fact that you still are breathing, that you still have a heart beat, that you got up and went for that run, that you chose not to eat that for favor of something more healthy and nutritious, celebrate your progress, your growth moments, celebrate that you chose to speak up for yourself. 

Honestly, so far in my life I've loved and lost two furry friends and it felt like someone shot me in the leg and expected me to walk five miles right after without stopping. It was a pain I never felt and an uneasiness in my gut that had me not wanting to eat for days. Dogs love with all they have so losing them from this earth when they cross the rainbow bridge just absolutely stings.
I've lost people in my life too and nothing compares to losing a dog.

Take that cruise. Buy that bus ticket. Visit that landmark. Get tickets to that game show. Shake hands with a legend. One of the most eye opening experiences I've had so far in my life is when I decided I wasn't going to keep waiting to visit California but instead go on a cruise and now Grand Turk became one of those places that ended up making my heart smile from the inside out.
Grand Turk also broke an eight month writer's block for me so for that, I will be forever grateful that God provided the means and the perfect time for me to visit that beautiful country.

Sometimes life gets hard and you don't have the monetary means to take that trip you've dreamed of. That's where books come into play. They take you to places you've never been even while you sit in the here and now. You even may end up with a few new friends from books. Some fictional; some real life friends. Either way, books open so many doors and offer an escape like nothing else I've ever experienced. Reading has always taken me far in life. It is now the premise behind the passion of my very own company, The Smart Cookie Philes. Being smart is cool and reading is rad.

Fear will actually hold you back from living a full life if you let it. I've still not fully allowed my fear of driving to get lost but I did say fuck off to my fear of roller coasters and ended up having a really fun time at Disney two years ago this September. Have faith and let the adrenaline rush through you. It will give new meaning to being alive.

 I've always fallen in love without a thought. Right now, I've fallen in love with a guy who may never know how I feel about him and who may never feel the same. And that may make normal people run away. But for me, it signals that my heart (which was badly broken and believed it may never fall in love again) has found a reason to beat rapidly again, to smile again, to sing a song, to hum a new tune, to dance like no one is watching. Falling in love is something in life you don't get a choice in and it's something I've never apologized for. The fact that I've got such a giant heart who longs to love someone and be loved back. As long as that longing still yearns within me, I will keep on believing in love and accepting all forms of love in my life, even if they aren't romantic or fairy tale like.

Someone went to bed thinking of you last night. They smiled because of something you said. They believe in themselves a little more because of how you looked at them. Stop focusing on the poison and instead focus on the remedies that this life provides. Sure, the good moments come and go but during the hard times, the joy experienced during the good moments will help you get through the hard times.

Sometimes life gets complicated and if you put away a little bit every week, eventually it multiplies and can help you through a rough patch.

My last blog post truly expanded on this lesson but love people. Accept them for all they are. People are never going to be perfect because we were created as works in progress and just like a writer's literary work, growth and exploration play a role in  the human being's journey toward greatness.
Respect what makes someone who they are, and chances are higher they will do the same for you.

With that being said, you should care less what people think of you because at the end of the day, you have to do what is right for you and your life's journey and not follow blindly down someone else's path. Dare to be unapologetically yourself. If people get offended, they aren't meant to be in your life.

Prayer works. Don't believe me? I prayed every single day for my coworkers at my last job and I've been praying every single day for my coworkers at my current job and I've watched the entire atmosphere of the place change for the better. Everyone has become more polite, communicates a lot better, works as a team, and respects that you can't always agree on everything. God works for the good of those who love him. Cast the care. Pray about it today!

Towards the end of my college career, I fell into a deep depression. It was all because I finally realized this guy I was chasing after didn't even care about me at all. So I had to go back to basics and those basics included realizing that Jesus loved me with a love so great he can't love me anymore in this moment than he did yesterday. Now that I've matured, I've realized that being single doesn't have to be a season in which I spend in self-pity because it looks like no one will ever love me back in the same way I love them or I can let Jesus's love for me be the foundation for my identity as a person and let my season of singleness count for something great. God will reveal the guy in his perfect time. And even if he doesn't, I am forever loved by a guy who thought I was to die for. Nothing else written in romance novels and in movies compares to that and never will. Sure, society will say that's absurd and unheard of. Your uterus doesn't agree. You may never have kids. Blah Blah Blah. To all of that I say loud and proud, "Jesus is the answer."

Life is meant to be lived loudly. So dye your hair, wear that outfit, wear those shoes. Blast that song. Sing along. Scream at the top of your lungs. Have a beer. Sip a glass of Pinot. Be loud and proud of how you live. So what that you live differently from someone else. At the end of the day, we all feel the same things and just want to be loved for who we are. Everything else is white noise. Take the chance today!

Do you wear glasses? Do you like wearing crocs?
Do you like reading the end of books and reading them backward?
Do you drink your coffee black?
Do you eat ramen with a fork?

Whatever your weird is, own the fuck out of it.

I learned at a young age that I wasn't born to be normal or to fit in any box that people wanted to put me in. Now, at 28, I wear purple in my hair and let the colors that make me ME bleed loud and proud for the world to see, be inspired by, and to fall in love with.

This world will give you a million reasons why whatever you want to happen can't happen:
You are African American and from a poor area of the country. You can't afford to go to college they will tell you. 
Don't let them tell you who they think you will be.
Show them all you are.
Prove them wrong.
And do so with a big bold smile on your face.

 Don't chase money; chase goals. 
The money will eventually line up with the passions and projects that bring those passions to life.
Keep at it.
Even when you aren't sure how you will keep your lights on or how you will eat tonight.
Hard work and perseverance always shine bright and pay off in the end.

 There are some things in life that I will never understand:
Kids who get cancer
Kids born with disabilities
Homeless people
Homeless veterans
How animals can be abused
that teachers have to pay for the supplies for their classroom and get paid so little
how librarians are no longer valued and may never have been
why actors make so much and servers and manual labor jobs end up with people who struggle from paycheck to paycheck

Support the causes you care about. Some that I support include:
anything animal related
anything veteran related
anything to help those who can't help themselves
anything education related
anything to help further the arts

It really takes next to nothing to make someone's day. Tell a funny joke. Make fun of yourself before others do. Compliment someone. Build them up. Make them see their own potential. Buy someone lunch. Bring a coworker coffee. Pray for someone. Hold the door for a stranger. Smile more.

Once you believe in yourself, you cannot fail. There will be forces and days when this world will actually make you believe the doubts and the fears. Those are the days you will have to dig down deep into the reservoirs of what strength you have, and remember who you are.

You won't regret it. Take that chance. Tell that person how you feel. Send that manuscript out for publication. Audition for that show. Write that story. A life lived on the edge is never a life you should feel sorry for.

Throw out the to-do lists. Go for drinks with that guy who you've been talking to. Get coffee with that girl from your church group. Turn off your phone and look someone in the eyes. Connect. Be present. Live in the moment. Life is too short to not notice the small but steady blessings all around us.

Dare to just do whatever sets your heart on fire.
And stop apologizing for it.
If they can't handle it, let them eat cake.

Be yourself 100%.

I'm a bookworm.
Heart full of love 
Heart of gold
Purple hair
Vote for Pedro
Jesus Lover
Child of the one 

In Christ Like Love and Confidence, 

Wednesday, July 10, 2019

#WriterRevelations: Come As You Are (What I Learned So Far Working in an Office)

Well, how you doing?

I bet you thought I was never going to post another real blog post again.

Sorry if I made you feel alone and unloved for even one moment.

I had all intentions of posting my usual content but then it got harder with my full time job and all the things I've been up to this year...

I've been working. I've been doing Smart Cookie content. I even took a month or so off social media to focus on my writing career.

Basically, I've been just living day to day but I've been meaning to come back to share something special with all of you.

No, unfortunately, I am still single and not really looking to mingle.

I mean, if I met a guy who made me forget what day it is, then maybe...

I'm back because something I've learned working at my new job has really proved to be weighing on my heart.

I have witnessed what it is like to work in an office. I have witnessed what it is like to work for a small company. And I have witnessed how lonely it can be being a full-time employee.

There have been some months since I began this job where I did not know how I was going to face another day because my anxiety and depression got so bad, I couldn't see the light anymore.

I even considered quitting BUT God and his grace absolutely saved me from all that.

It all started when I lost sight of how much Jesus already loves me and how my identity is solely found in how he sees me.

Before this, like some high school freshman looking to become popular among the upperclassmen, I was eager to get these people to like me.

But from the first day, I literally felt like a fish out of water, struggling to breath and drying out from within. The only saltwater I could muster were tears that would sting at the corners of my eyes.

Yet, I didn't want to go back after that first day, but something said: Just Keep Swimming.

So I sat in the shallow puddle prepared to face a prolonged death sentence upon the shore wading in and out of the water, not sure what fate await me, I showed up that second day and a guy I met for like two seconds the day of my interview spotted my confusion and mustered not a word as he came to my rescue and that small but sincere act of kindness has stuck with me.

This guy, I am sure, has no idea that it was him who saved me from quitting and was the hero who showed me that this job was worth one last try. I've considered quitting a few times following his small kind deed but whenever I think of just leaving this job, I am reminded of him and how he literally didn't put me down in front of those customers, he never pointed out that I was an idiot and should be fired, but he just offered me help when he barely knew me.

And just like that, i witnessed a miracle within society and in a place where the cold tense air of poor communication could quite literally cut glass, and I have started to see why God put me there.

I am a writer with a heart for people. I know what it is like to feel unfit, unqualified, rejected, betrayed, talked about, used, abused, and hurt by the words and judgement of others. God put me here because he wants me to be a light for these people. To teach them how to communicate effectively but with a sense of empathy for the other person. To teach them how to encourage each other and work as a team. To smile, to inspire, and to pray for them. 

Of course, no matter where I go in life, I always want to leave it better than when I arrived but it seems like I walked into a rosebush if you will, the thorns and weeds were quite thickly ingrained in the way these people went about their day, that I almost felt that no matter what I did to brighten their day, it would and could not make a difference, hence why I've returned to the notion that quitting was the answer.

It honestly felt as though I may never have a friend here or someone I could trust but the craziest thing happened. Since I've been nothing but kind to these people, I've witnessed how powerful love given freely is to soften the hardest hearts.

And that guy who saved me from just going back to part-time employment and a life of being a literal starving artist, he is now someone I consider a friend. 

God asked me to pray specifically for him, build him up, and make him see his own infinite potential. 

And in the process of all that, I gained a friend.

I am someone who is open to just about anyone being my friend. I can honestly say that I don't judge people with the same standards that other people usually do. Like I don't care what you look like, what you believe in, or even who you love, if you accept me for the very strange bird that I am, I offer the same acceptance to you, no matter what.

Strange birds should always flock together.

Ultimately, I don't know how long God wants me here but for now, he does. And I will stay until the mission has been served here. Until he sends me to my next station of serving others.

If you happened upon this post, and you have no idea how to deal with someone who is just completely different from you. For example, they are materialistic, self-absorbed, entitled, and undermines and questions everything you do, I am reminded of Jesus when he said to turn the other cheek. 

Sometimes you would love to tell that irate co-worker: Get ready to clock out for the knock out.

Yet, that wouldn't solve anything. Anger leads to broken hearts and relationships.

If I've learned anything these last seven or so months it's this:

1. People aren't perfect and they will disappoint you.
2. Judging people unfairly makes you a weak human.
3. Respect people for who they are, not who you want them to be. (Any type of shaming toward someone is out of a critical spirit and actually stems from an inadequacy being sensed within yourself.)
4. Communicate with people honestly. And be the first to apologize even if you weren't directly at fault. And be the first to show mercy and forgiveness. Free yourself of all that negative bullshit.
5. When dealing with others, use your heart. Show compassion, always be kind, and empathize with people.
6. Stay true to yourself no matter who judges you. If they honestly are that hot and bothered by the way you live or do things, then you don't need them in your life. Be polite if you have to continue working with them but remember not everyone you meet is meant to be a friend. Some people choose misery as their default setting. Such a pity really.
7. Love yourself. Accept yourself. Believe in yourself. After all, A GREAT GOD made you in his image so there is GREATNESS in you.
8. Go the extra mile.
9. Stop allowing fear to keep you from opening up to people.
10. A warm smile looks attractive on most anyone.

Other notes about being a good employee include to show up, don't be late, speak up, don't argue, do what your asked, and don't steal. Also, the adult world is plagued with people who will ask you to do something and then take credit for your hard work, smile and let them. God's got bigger and better plans for you on the horizon.

Keep me in your prayers and if you need a specific prayer, please comment below or message me.

Until next time, remember:

PS: Will try to not be a stranger here. Thank you for welcoming me back with open arms.