When You Run Out of Gas, You Need a Person

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This is me and my friend Bethany. Bethany is an amazing photographer and beloved friend. We went to the Yellow Conference in Cali earlier this year. The road-tripping was just as fun as the conference.

That is until we started running out of gas on our way home.  *see picture*

Apparently when two women get chatting while listening to the lovely Sam Hunt sing to us on the radio, they can sometimes forget that cars need gas. A simple blip in memory that could happen to anybody, really!

We found ourselves in between Baker, California and Primm, Nevada. If anybody has driven this route, you know it’s desolate desert of over 50 miles between both spots.  We noticed the lack of gas half way in between each town. 25 miles one way, 25 miles the other way. Bethany’s car is fancy with a gas gauge that tells you how far you have on your tank of gas and what gas milage you’re getting.

We had about 30 miles of gas left to go.

Either way, we’d cut it close. So we decided to move forward! We had 30 miles of gas and only 25 miles to drive? We’d be FINE, I kept reminding my sweet driver friend. (It’s possible I reminded her SO much it sounded more like personal reassurance than a statement of truth. *see picture*)

A few minutes in, we realized the gas tank’s “miles to go before you die in the desert” gauge was plummeting MORE QUICKLY than the miles we had actually driven. Before we knew it, we had the SAME number of miles to drive as miles of available gas.

We freaked out, ok. Just picture two 20-something girls in this situation. That, my friends, is exactly what it looked like. We may have been slightly dramatic. *see picture* I was trying to figure out the exact MPH that made us the most gas efficient according to the gauge, so I was screaming, “Go slower!” “No wait! TOO SLOW! Speed up!” “No, slower, we need it slower!” We turned off the music and A/C and saved our water bottle for our inevitable demise.

Then, miraculously, as if God himself decided we both should live long and prosper for another day, we saw an old gas station out in the far distance. If we had decided to turn back instead, we would have never made it. But we were saved. Saved by the rickety old gas station not found on a GPS.

We laughed about it later like, “yeah, we totally knew we’d be fine the whole time.”

You see, sometimes in our lives, we run out of gas. Not car gas, but emotional stamina.  These are the moments brought on by hardship when our energy and willpower are totally depleted. We’re stuck smack dab in the middle of a desert and we don’t know whether to turn back or keep moving forward.

All we know is we’re hot and dry and screwed.

But let me tell you this: when you run out of gas, you need a person.

If I had been driving home alone that day, the fear and irrational thoughts would have been out of control. I probably would have turned back and gotten stuck in the desert heat with little water. I needed my friend to get through it together.

When we run out of gas in our lives, we need a person in the car with us. We cannot face our own demons, make hard decisions, survive heartbreak, or even make it back to safety completely on our own.   When we are at the end of ourselves, we need somebody to pick us back up. We need somebody shouting crazily “Go faster! Now slower!! FASTER!”

We need a person.  Or a few.

A good friend we can trust and be vulnerable with.  

Don’t try to do it alone.  

Be brave and reach out to people.  

Make car-driving friendships that can stand the test of running out of gas.  

The kind of friendships that encourage you to keep moving forward.

Invest in your friendships, search out the good ones.

It’s not that we are weak; we just become so much stronger when two or more strong people join forces.

Eventually, you will make your way to your own blessed “gas station,” because life is full of highs and lows, goods and bads. Then you will realize you’re going to be just fine (which you will be!).

You and your person can look at each other, laugh, and say –

“Yeah, we totally knew we’d be fine the whole time.”

Blogging: I’m Coming Back to the Heart of It

Blogging: I’m Coming Back to the Heart of It

I started blogging because I had something to say, and I liked to write. Somewhere between then and now I lost the IT.  The WHY THE HELL am I doing this.  I’m taking it back.

If you’re not in the blogosphere, you may not know that there are literally THOUSANDS of articles out there on how to create the perfect blog/post to receive views.  Tips to go viral, build readership, etc. The more views you get, the more followers you get and opportunities to write PAID sponsored posts and advertisement.

That’s all great.  There is nothing wrong with this; everybody should learn about their craft AND pay the bills.  Nobody wants to do a lot of work to get only 5 hits on your new blog post.  But I had slowly felt inundated with feelings of inadequacy when reading about these algorithms to get high views and followers.

Things like:

the exact way to phrase a title to make it totally Pin-able

the exact way to create images for Facebook/Twitter/Pinterest

the exact group to join to boost your comments

the fonts and hashtags to use and not use

the phrases and topics to use and avoid

the way to format your paragraphs just right for optimal reading

the need for writing 6 posts a week that are all the “correct” word count

the exact way to become a social media master

I couldn’t keep up.  I had SO MUCH anxiety.  Instead of enjoying writing about topics I’m passionate about, I was freaking out and spending SO MUCH TIME putting out these “perfect” posts that followed x, y, and z.  Some did go mildly viral.  My following even grew some.  But I lost the IT of why I wanted to blog.  I wasn’t always being fully true to myself.

All this info on blogging is valuable and may be the exact way I should be doing things to make money, grow, and extend my reach.  If you’re a blogger, it may be some of the most solid advice you can take.  But I’ve come to my own personal conclusion since I can’t keep up anymore:

To put it eloquently, F*CK IT!

I’m tired of trying to force my words and ideas into a certain box that’s considered the “way to do it” even though it truly may be the way to do it.  I’m doing it MY way. I want my \ blog to be so incredibly…me.

I sat in bed this morning and looked at some of the blogs I adore that got me into blogging.  These are all HUGELY popular.  I noticed something.  They aren’t all the same or following the same “rules.”  Not by a long shot.  And they don’t always have perfectly cropped and edited images.  Each of these blogging women simply have interesting lives and ideas, and they share them with their readers. 

On one of her “Big Magic” podcasts, Elizabeth Gilbert (my idol and author of Eat, Pray, Love) said that in order to be interesting you have to be interested.  I want my blog to be interesting.  Instead of spending all my time studying how to make a Pin on Pinterest bring in thousands of views, I want to soak up all the things I’m interested in.  That interest I have will seep through and make my blog interesting.

And you guys – My life IS interesting.  For example:

I woke up this morning (Sunday) in my studio in Tamarindo, Costa Rica, not knowing what I was going to do today.  Hours later I was belly down on the net of a catamaran and three dolphins swimming RIGHT underneath me!!!!  I could almost touch them!!!  They would jump in and out of the water as if they were putting on a dance.  It was rad.

Maybe a better blogger would have had a camera right there to capture the moment to share it with their readers.  But GUYS!!!!!   I was too busy seeing the dolphins to think about getting the perfect shot.  And you already know what a dolphin looks like!  If not, here is a stock photo:

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BUT WAIT!  THERE’S MORE!

Then, with snorkeling gear in hand, I went down the catamaran’s slide and into the Pacific.  I saw schools of yellow and blue fish.  AND THEN I HELD A REAL LIFE OCTOPUS!!!!!!  Or rather, it held me.  It suctioned right on to my arm.  AND THEN I HELD A REAL LIFE PUFFER FISH!!!!!!!   I also didn’t get a picture of any of these instances.  Holding an octopus makes you forget to pull out your iPhone and decide on the perfect VSCO filter for your blog.  Here’s a stock photo (not me, obviously):

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I want to share that stuff with you guys.  To me, that’s what’s interesting.  I don’t have the time or the emotional strength to follow all the rules that are supposed to make your blog the latest and greatest.  I’m too busy being interested in other things.  But I promise to share those interesting things with you!

Here’s what to expect: I’ll be writing two or three posts each week that will probably be on travel, womanhood, faith/spirituality, creativity, love, and whatever crazy things/opinions I have up my sleeve.  We can talk about how not to just survive life, but to really THRIVE!  We can talk about the hard and controversial things.  It won’t always be pretty because my life isn’t always pretty.  I may cuss.  I’m not shying away from topics that would traditionally be considered bad for keeping followers.  I will attack the real oooey-goooey parts of life.

I have plenty of freelance clients who can use my knowledge of algorithms and creating viral content.  Here, this is just me.  All my opinions, ideas, and interesting parts of my life.  Without the fear of how many people will click to read.

 

P.S. If you’re a blogger choosing to do your blog a different way, I TOTALLY SUPPORT YOU.

P.S.S. Here is a pic we actually did take today.  Onward, fellow travelers of life!

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An Interview on “Life Is…”

I had the utter privilege of being interviewed for the sweet Katie Visconti’s blog “Life Is...” She asked me hard questions about life as I see it – like “What does the world need more of?” Everything I believe is somewhere in the recesses of my mind, but having to articulate your beliefs into words makes you think long and hard about precisely what it is you think.  I love this.  I love having to put my sporadic thoughts into concrete words.

Click here to read the interview.  While you’re there check out Katie’s blog – it truly is a beautiful space with beautiful thoughts and words.

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P.S. The photo used in the interview is by the terrific Bethany Paige Photography