Joining a Cult and Other Uncomfortable Fall Activities

Sometimes I surprise myself.

Blindly saying “yes” is a very Lacey thing to do. It is something that has served me and manifested really wild and interesting opportunities throughout my life (ie. helping run an amazing local craft fair with two women I adore). I also really get off on saying “no” to anything and anyone. I love it. I find it cathartic, empowering, and necessary. You know what doesn’t hit for me? Being uncomfortable. Change. Forced or otherwise. Even if it’s good change, I tend to have a meltdown.

Going to college? Meltdown. Moving out of my parents house? Meltdown. Getting engaged? Possibly the most ridiculous meltdown of my life. Finding out I was pregnant? Meltdown. Not getting fired, just changing jobs to a different department? Meltdown.

All good things. All chosen change. So you can imagine what happens when changed is forced on me. Yooooo. Meltdown city. It’s an internal tug of war. I recognize it. I see it. I’m working through the nuttiness of this semi unchosen loony toon lifestyle. It’s time to stop perpetuating the crazy and embrace change with my big girl britches on.

You could ask, “How are you doing that, Lacey? How are you releasing this crazy spin cycle?”

Honestly. I don’t know. Living? Recognizing my deer in headlights tendencies when I see change barreling at me like a Jeep Wrangler. And adding sprinkles of positive discomfort into my life.

I can answer what positive discomfort looks like for me. It’s a direct sales business, a tattoo, a life coach, teaching myself a new skill set at work, and a Mother’s Day Out program. All of these things I have harbored super judgey feelings for in the past. I’m talking hard pass eyerolls kind of judgment.

WHY I JOINED A PYRAMID SCHEME CULT

SIDE NOTE: If you’re a piss pants and just don’t want to hear it feel free to skip to the next section.

pyramid scheme

Great. Me too. I have more jobs than I can count on one hand and IT’S A DIRECT SALES BUSINESS.

Harsh. Let’s be clear. Cults don’t hit (unless you are talking like a cult classic film) and pyramids schemes are illegal. Also, if you polled my friends I guarantee you 99.9% of them would say I don’t need a career in the service industry or sales. I will wholeheartedly agree. I’m ornery. Ironically enough my first jobs were in both those fields respectively and I have never hated or sucked so hard at anything in my life.

Among the things that are shocking about me are that this is not my first go around hustling products and once upon a time I was in a sorority. The thing that those two shared in common? Parties. No shade to companies that require parties or sororities. They just weren’t for me. Forced social events spike my anxiety like Everclear spikes prom punch. Hard.

So I avoided joining Rodan and Fields like one who would avoid a mouth breather with the plague. I had a family member and a close friend slinging it. My Facebook feed is saturated with products. Skincare, essential oils, tupperware, leggings, jewelry, embroidered lunch bags- it seems like everyone I know sells something. The only reason I ever bought any product was to get people to leave me alone and to see if something, ANYTHING would clear up my busted pregnancy skin. I’ve never had the perfect complexion but nothing rocked my skin like pregnancy did. I had breakouts of every variety across my entire body. Blackheads, rashes, backne, cystic acne. You name it I had it going on. My attitude was, “it can’t possibly get worse”.

Eventually I had buddies asking what I was using on my skin and I would refer them to people I knew that sold the products. I was selling without selling. Dumb. I would literally have friends (multiple friends) asking me who I knew that sold Rodan and Fields and saying, “If you sold it, I would buy from you.” It took me a year and a half of using the products before I even considered selling. I would stop any conversation that suggested I become a consultant in its tracks. Honestly. I thought I was too cool for selling skincare, that no one would take me seriously, and that I didn’t have anything to offer. Why me when you can ask just about anyone about this business? I thought I was above multilevel marketing and I would lose respect or some edge if I added it to my boss babe tool belt. I forgot who I was for a second.

Now here I am four months in with a solid coffee fund every month. I’m trying to make this business work for me. I’m still resistant to some things that are in my best interest because I haven’t been able to figure out how put my flavor on it. I’m also just contrary by nature. Honestly? I’m not great at this business so far. It doesn’t come naturally to me and approaching people about it and putting myself out there to be rejected by people I like and care about makes me super uncomfortable and borderline embarrassed. Nothing makes me panic quite like rejection, and I get tenderhearted and take it personally even though it’s business. It’s work. If I don’t work it. I don’t make any money. Even if people under me are busting their chops. I’m also kind of lazy when it comes to things I don’t absolutely have to do. Thankfully, I can work this biz by washing my face, coffee dates, self care and my phone. It’s millennial bliss. I don’t have to keep product (like my OCD or lack of self control would allow that) and I don’t have to host parties for strangers. Despite my reservations, it’s been good for my growth and my bank account. I refuse to sell in a pushy way. I refuse to offer a product I don’t believe in or think works. I am not naive enough to think I can dupe anyone into anything. I don’t have time for bullshit and I know my friends and family don’t have time for it either.

SHAMELESS R+F WEBSITE PAGE PLUG HERE

On to the next out of character thing I’ve roped myself into. Yay growth?

THIS IS UNNECESSARY

I’ve always loved being the girl you thought might have a tattoo who doesn’t have a tattoo. It’s a silly thing to like about myself especially since I’ve wanted a tattoo since I was probably sixteen. I’ve made it to 30 without one. You would think I had moved on by now. Nope. Hard no. I actually damn near pitched a fit when my husband told me he wanted one. It was a real buzzard like way to react to something. But, truth be told, I’ve always been afraid of the commitment that tattoos bring. I’m not willing to get one removed. It will become part of me just like a freckle. Once it’s there, it’s there.

tattoo

I was listening to a podcast (I’m pretty positive it was The Minimalists) and they said something to the effect of, “if it scares you, that’s what you should be doing.” When I first heard this I was with my husband on a road trip and I immediately related it to a business plan I was concocting, which is a fairly regular occurrence in the Strike household. I’m full of awesome ideas that I am afraid to commit to reality. But, I started applying that quote to all areas of my life. Am I afraid of this? Why? What would the possibilities be like if I weren’t afraid? Being afraid of a tattoo is a dumb thing to be afraid of, but it’s not the tattoo. It’s the commitment. So tattoo…I’m coming for you in a few months. Why? As silly as it sounds, to conquer the fear of commitment. Because having a mark on my body doesn’t matter. So, it shouldn’t effect me the way that it does right now. Maybe it will open a window for committing to things that do matter. And of course, like most things I do I plan to go all out. For those who will inevitably ask or wonder. It will be an homage to my motherland, South Knoxville. No more needs to be said.

LIFE COACHES AREN’T REAL LIFE

I thought life coaches were just for people like Paris Gellar. OCD, neurotic, pain in the ass people. People like me. Only I’m like Lorelai and Paris spawned some other awful creation. I’m definitely more charismatic and chill than Paris but neurotic and restless like Lorelai. I never realized life coaches came in the form of lovely blonde goddesses who empower you to be an organized boss bitch and like basically all the things that you like. And make you feel, dare I say, Well Supported.

Working from home fulltime threw my organization skills into a whirlwind. It’s not that I don’t have a system. I love a system. But when I shifted from constantly planning and having to have my Monday tasks and Tuesday tasks to a more request based work system my chronic list making went out the window. I’m not sure why that happened, but it happened, and it left me trying to do all of the things, all of the time, all of the days. I never caught a break. I never had a moment to think. It’s as if the freedom to choose my schedule, and having singular due dates and set my own pace resulted in me throwing all agendas out the window. I am a wearer of many hats and I like it that way. Wife, mom, artist, worker, creative director, dreamer but I am none of those things if I can’t focus or find the time to work it.

Having an objective third party perspective on how to work your life can bring about so much clarity. Whether it is coming from an acquaintance, spiritual guidance counselor, therapist, or life coach having someone look from the outside in and offer their two cents in a kind way sometimes blows my mind. It’s as if someone is looking into my soul and says, “Yeah, I see that in you too and here’s what you can do to work with it.” Is it comfortable being vulnerable and letting basically a stranger see those parts of you? Hell no. Is it comfortable letting someone know that you feel like you aren’t doing a good job at getting things done? Hard no. Has it been helpful and necessary for me? Absolutely. So far my biggest takeaway is that my dreams and personal goals matter. Just because they aren’t monetized (YET) doesn’t mean they aren’t as equally or more important as my day job. If you have dreams and goals that keep coming to you there is a reason for that, but no one is going to do that for you. Nothing will come of your dreams if you don’t make them a priority. I’ve learned that I have to do my passion projects, dreaming, or writing early in the day or I simply won’t do it; something with immediate pay off will take precedence. Give yourself a second to think about how flipping your schedule would afford you time to dream or take care of yourself better. What does that look like for you? Are you so stuck in your ways that the idea of changing your rhythm makes you uncomfortable? You should probably do it then. Don’t shoot the messenger.

I’M NOT CUT OUT FOR THIS

If I could afford to do it I would be an eternal scholar. I would audit all the college classes and just learn things all day everyday, at my own pace, and not worry whether I was making the grade or not (not that I ever particularly cared about that anyway). As a child I was a chronic keeper of hobbies. The common thread? If I was bad at it I was immediately uninterested.

ballet

Perfect example: I am 30 years old. I cannot do a cartwheel. Why? Because in ballet class they tried to teach us how and it didn’t hit for me. I thought I was going to break my neck. So I told my mother ballet was exercise class and I wasn’t going to do it. I was four. I played soccer for 12 years after that. Exercise was not the issue. The issue was me being bad and afraid of cartwheels.

Modern day example: In college I was the last class ever to learn tape to tape video editing. I was not good at it. And by not good I mean terrible. It requires a certain patience for the process and the equipment that infuriates me. This also applies to digital editing and editing of any sort. Once I realized this didn’t come naturally to me I immediately gave it a hard pass.

I am neither tech stupid nor tech savvy. My skills lie somewhere in between, especially if you add in an artist element. Now I edit photos and video for a living. The irony isn’t lost on me. But, when I was asked to learn how to do video editing in the most minimal of ways I a) blindly said yes and b) panicked. I already wasn’t super confident in my skills and now you’re wanting me to do something I feel like I can’t do, get paid for it, let other people see it and critique it, and then put it out into the world? Why does the universe hate me? Did it turn out better than okay? Absolutely.

I hopped on to some Lynda learning tutorials (get it fo free if you have a library card–hits) and taught myself skills that people pay money, lots of money and time, to learn how to do and ended up receiving really unexpected and very much appreciated praise for it. It was hard. I cried. Uncomfortable is an understatement. And I didn’t do it for praise but a simple, “thank you it made a difference” was worth it.

IS THIS OKAY?

Did you know you can pay people to watch your kid for the day? You can drive through a drop off line, drop your kid off with a packed lunch, and come pick them up a few hours later after you’ve accomplished things or just taken time to nap and shower and fed yourself the first full meal you’ve had in 48 hours. It’s a thing you can do.

Also, did you know most Mother’s Day Out programs are run in churches? I didn’t. And when I took a tour of the facility and program that my son attends I broke out into a cold sweat. I haven’t willingly walked into a church in more than a decade other than for a wedding here or there. Welcome to the bible belt where 1 out of every 4 people has emotional or spiritual trauma from a religious experience gone wrong.

daycare drop off

Leaving my son at what we call “school” and in a church full of very kind strangers is one of the hardest, most uncomfortable things I have done since giving birth. I was legitimately petrified. But, I did it for several reasons. My childcare situation changed quickly and unexpectedly so I was in desperate need of childcare a couple of days a week and I felt like I was doing my son, who is incredibly social and curious, a disservice by not providing him with a regular social experience with his peers. The first few weeks were excruciating. He scream cried when I dropped him off. I cried the whole way to the coffee shop and drowned my sorrows in quad lattes. Then he contracted a cold, HFM, and an ear infection. I legitimately questioned if it was worth it and if I should pull him from the program. But, after learning the tiny devil only cries until he makes it through the front door I’m feeling a lot better about things. Also, after spending Fall Break working nights and being constantly touched by a dog or child and seeing how happy he was to go back this morning (absolutely no tears shed by anyone), this is definitely one thing I know for certain is in the best interest of me and my family.

You may be asking why I’ve written the equivalent of a college term paper on things that make me uncomfortable (I checked the word count: it’s a lot). Because I have spent so much time the last 30 years spending too much time in my comfort zone. I’ve created a social media bubble for myself. I work from home in a comfortable nest. I keep friends that share a lot of similar interests. We are constantly doing things to make ourselves more comfortable, and I’ve realized that anytime I am committing, it’s because I feel almost certain I will succeed. These seemingly small things are pushing me. And I need it to grow. Now I’m craving a challenge. It’s making me a better woman, friend, wife, and mother.

Tell me below what are you doing that makes you uncomfortable? Are you choosing it or is it choosing you?

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