Live According to You

I’ve hit many standstills on my path to finding myself. Many of them came from me comparing my life to others and thinking that the things that worked for other people would work for me. It took this past year for me to realize how illogical that was.

There is something that I have had on my heart to address not only for myself but for those who look at  my life

Many who know me know the hesitations I had with moving out on my own and it had nothing to do with fear: it had to do with the belief that had been instilled in me that you should not live with someone who is not your husband. I hit so many walls because, in my heart, I did not feel marriage was my next step however, moving was. After all, I was just newly a girlfriend and the thought of instantly skipping that and transitioning to wife did not seem logical especially considering I did not even know who I was yet. I had people tell me that that did not matter; all that mattered to God was that I was married and all those other things would sort themselves out.

So I prayed to God nonstop, asking Him to help me sort out my confusion; after all, He made me. I had pictured in my mind having a rushed wedding so that I was favored and every time I thought it, it did not feel right. This was weird to me considering clearly I love my boyfriend with all my heart but my gut would not let me accept the thought.

I have learned now that what was happening in that moment was my true self fighting against who I was taught I had to be. My true self is an explorer that takes chances all the while seeking growth and change. I gravitate towards the things that give me the opportunity to learn and help others and moving out was that opportunity for me. Yet here I was being told that before I explore, I had to do something that went against my current nature and that bothered me.

Who I am being is not denouncing God’s words or saying that I do not believe in them. In fact, my relationship with him now is stronger than ever. But what I do know is that there are just certain situations that present themselves in a person’s life where you have to prove your faith in God by just leaving, even if all the roads are not paved. You just have to take the leap and know that they will be and that is what I did because that is life.

And we will get married. I do not know when but I know that that is in God’s plans for us. And at our wedding, our families will come together and celebrate with us our triumphs and revelations in our journey through life and we will reflect on these times as necessary for leading us where we are. I am confident of that.

So my words of advice are this: there is nothing wrong with following in someone else’s footprints as long as at some point you stop and start some footprints of your own. I am not advising anyone who may have this same dilemma to go ahead and move in with their boyfriend/girlfriend because my path is not everyone’s path and we are not all meant to be prototypes of one another. Our footprints should be as unique as our fingerprints: no one’s should be the same. We are all individuals. Many of the things that work for other people will not work for you and if you have people telling you otherwise, they are wrong because that is how how humanity was designed to exist.

So in conclusion, in this past year I’ve found that the key to finding yourself oftentimes includes being alone with yourself. Who would you be if the very people who helped shape you as a person were not around? What if no one was guiding you towards the life they felt you should live? Who would you be? We live in a society where there are thousands of singers, writers, musicians, doctors, lawyers, etc and in the midst of it all, we are plagued with the task of not only choosing from those professions but also to make ourselves stand out within and it is daunting. However, you HAVE to find yourself within it all, even if it means going against the mold and forming your own. You owe that to yourself.

 

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Operation: Texas!

Ok, so an explanation (and a blog entry!) is long overdue! So let’s get right to it: I am moving to Texas next week! Contrary to what I may have led some people to believe with my abrupt Facebook post, this was not at all a rushed decision. Towards the beginning of this year, my boyfriend and I realized we share a common issue: here we are, young adults with degrees, who have been unable to find jobs that make us feel like our expenses in higher education were worth it. So we began to look for a place that had 1) a lower unemployment rate (because the ones in New York and New Jersey are disheartening) 2) a place that had a lower cost of living and 3) a place that had a creative atmosphere. Texas came up as being a place that offered all those things.  So we began to apply for jobs just to test the odds. Within a month and a half, we began to hear back from jobs. So the prospects already seem a bit more promising. Enough for both of us to want to see where it leads. And that’s basically it.

It seems so strange that the explanation is so simple yet I have taken so long to write this entry. To be honest, I had a few different drafts of what it would sound like. It wasn’t until one of my drafts hit the three-page mark that I realized I was no longer just telling my story, I was trying to get the people that may think I am insane to understand me; to somehow tell me what I was doing was right. I was trying to plead with those who think I am “living in sin” for living with my boyfriend outside of marriage; I was trying to get people who know nothing about me aside from my relatives to not think I was setting myself up for failure; I was writing as if I was on trial. My writing was less of an oration and more of a plea for approval. A lot of things are not set in stone but I can’t shake this feeling that though that may be the case, I NEED to do this.

For too long I have sat back and tried to plan every detail of things and never have any of those plans held up with the test of time. So I am just doing it. I said goodbye to fear a while ago and I will continue to do whatever it is in my power to make sure it stays buried. For the first time in my life, I am embracing not knowing. I am letting go of trying to get people to understand me and putting into practice the faith I was taught to have for all these years.

So my final words are this: I am walking by faith and not by sight. I do not have to see my home yet to know that I will have one. I do not need to see my great paying job to know I will have one because the Lord promised me that if I delight myself in him, he will give me the desires of my heart and this move is my proof of my love and trust in him. And even if I have to struggle for a bit then I fully embrace it because it is a part of my journey and my growth. If you want something, you have to be willing to go out and seek it even if the end is not in sight. So stay tuned!

A December to Remember

The month of December was perhaps one of the busiest months I have ever had, hence this delayed blog entry. I was working two jobs while trying to make time for those I love and to say it was difficult would be an understatement. In December, I got a taste of what it was like to be on my feet for 13-15 hours a day only to come home and use the remaining time I had to prep to do it all again the next day. Sounds fun, right? :P

Working all day is something I have never done before. Some days were really hard; so hard that I debated quitting my second job about one week in (even though it was seasonal) simply because I was exhausted! I’d drive 30 minutes to my first job job (which is about 8 hours), leave, drive 30 minutes to my second job (which ranged between 5-7 hours), leave, and then proceed to drive 30 minutes back home while fighting to beat exhaustion. Thankfully, those days did not happen every day but when they did, I felt like I barely had any time to recover. I remember on day in particular that started at 6:30am and did not end until close to 12:30am the next day! I remember that day because I didn’t know that your feet could suddenly forget you needed them to walk!

Though I tried not to allow myself to complain about it, there were days I was just so tired that I could just not picture standing on my feet for 6 or 7 more hours. I fought with myself for a while debating what was the right thing to do. Working all day was giving me very little time for myself and was taking a toll on me physically. Not to mention that I worried about driving that far while trying to stay awake. I ended up reasoning with myself that I would complete my seasonal job since the work experience would be worth it despite the fact that the pay was not great. I rarely turn down an opportunities to learn so I decided I had to stick it out. I just had to manage my time better. Sn the days I had to work both jobs, I would get to my second job 45 minutes early and sleep in the parking lot until my shift started so I would not be as tired afterwards. Those naps saved my life!

I braved my chaotic schedule for six weeks until shortly before Christmas. By that point, my gift to myself was a job well done. I left my job with not only a new level of experience but also a new respect for people particularly the people who don’t have the option to leave a job because they need the money whether it be for their families, education or simply survival.

So what are my plans for the new year? Well first, let me start by saying, I am not the greatest at setting goals particularly not long term. I never want to be so focused on the future that I forsake how important the time I have now is. Buuuuttttttt I will say that I am determined to continue pursuing my writing this year moreso than ever. I do not want to neglect my gift for in it is my calling and I know that God would not give me an ability that he had no intention for me to use.

So in summary, I ended 2013 with a whole new outlook on life. This time last year, I was nowhere near where I am mentally. I was afraid to do certain things and I definitely did not see myself taking any major steps in life. I am excited for this year and all it has to offer. If I experience even half the growth that I experienced last year, there is no telling what I can achieve! I lived isolated from society for 2 months, made friends from all over the world, met my wonderful boyfriend, went to Boston for the first time, quit a job and gained an even better one, started a blog and made the decision to not let fear run my life! All in all, I had an AMAZING year!

So to everyone reading, have a wonderful 2014 and embrace all that is life this year! Take chances and never hesitate to learn new things! I know I won’t :)

Help Opportunity Knock

A year ago, I had a job I loved working as a one-on-one in a pre-school disabled classroom. Here, I not only worked with a group of people who made coming to work worthwhile but the 4-year-old girl I was assigned to made every day more amusing than the last. The children in Room 31 helped teach me the importance of not only patience but time. I remember acknowledging how much of a blessing this job was.

For six months, I looked forward to working and watching the children in the classroom develop. However, when it came time to apply to return the next year, I was told that I could not return because the school board had passed a rule that relatives could no longer work in the same building. My father worked in maintenance there and because he had been there longer than I had, he was granted seniority.

I was devastated. All the advice I received from my colleagues and friends told me to fight the decision. There was a little girl who needed me and now was not the time to have another person taken out of her life.

But I ignored the advice. My faith told me that there was a reason for it all, even if I could not see it. Perhaps her new aide could offer her something that I couldn’t or, better yet, maybe there was something better out there for me.

The week I was told I could not return, I got a call from a job I had applied for earlier that year asking me if I was still interested. I took that as confirmation that God knew what he was doing.

A year later, I was unhappy with where my life was. I thought that at 22, I should have more to show for myself. Instead, here I was with no car, no money to buy the things I wanted and I was not progressing in any aspect of my life. The job that had rescued me from unemployment was now one that had become more of a ritual than a growth experience and I began to feel stuck.

I started feeling like less and less of an adult and more and more like the girl I was before I went off to college. I mean, aside from having a job, many aspects of my life were still the same as they were in high school; I was still living at home with my mom, I still had no car and no money to buy the things I wanted. I still looked for my parents approval before I made decisions and, despite the fact that I now had a degree, I still had no idea what I wanted to do in life.

So I searched for an escape. I was looking for any and every way out of my situation. I thought of ways to just up and leave where I was, no matter if I had the finances or not. I started looking into the cost of cheap plane or bus tickets to anywhere. I didn’t care about the destination. I just wanted to take a chance; I wanted to find myself and I could not for the life of me see it happening where I was.

No opportunities were opening up for me so I concocted this notion that the only way I was going to find it was to go searching for it. As much as I wanted to wait for opportunity to come knocking, I started to feel like maybe it didn’t have my address.

One day (after not having the courage to pack up and leave), I forced myself to sit down and assess what exactly I was feeling. After my emotions had settled, I started to think about what exactly I was doing. The answer I came up with made me immediately hit the brakes: I was running. I did not have the strength to face all my issues head on so the only other option I could think of was to run from them. If I did not have to look at my problems, I would not stress about solving them.

As much as I have faith that things will eventually work out, I kept getting the feeling that running was not the way to go. What would I be learning if I ran from my problems instead of finding ways to solve them? How would that be helping me progress?

Slowly but surely, my perspective started to change. I began talking to God more than ever praying he’d show me what He wanted me to do. I started reading every book and/or article that I could find that would encourage me to have strength; whether it was the Bible, an article online or some self-help book I checked out at the library (I will go in detail about what exactly I read later in a future entry).

After all my reading, praying and fasting, I began to see where I had gone wrong. I had seen the fact that I could not find any opportunities as meaning that I was not meant to be where I am. However, I have now come to see that that simply meant was not ready for them. I needed to feel the things that I felt in order to get in touch with myself and discover where I wanted to be. If I had gotten what I wanted when I wanted it, I would not have appreciated it.

I began to see how much my mindset was affecting my views. I soon realized that there are opportunities to do something great no matter where you are. They may not come in the form that you expect them to but they are there. Since I have acknowledged that, I have been presented with more opportunities than ever before! I can remember a time when I could not find one job, yet in the past month alone, I have been presented with four! I do not find that to be any sort of coincidence.

I found that if things are not going your way, there is a possibility that your view on your situation could be to blame. Negativity could be blocking you from not only seeing your opportunity but allowing your opportunity to find you. After all, opportunity finds you a lot faster when you help give it directions.

Step One: Start a Blog

I guess this marks the beginning: a check mark next to something that has been on my to do list for well over a year.

So as a reader, there are quite a few things you should know about me. First and foremost, my name is Mercedes Evans and I am a writer. I have always been. I can remember the first time I knew I wanted to be a writer. It was first grade and we were given the assignment to write a story. I don’t remember the story I wrote so much as the passion that fueled it. My story was inspired by the fall. There is something in the colors and beauty of the season that I have always loved and I wanted to show that in my story. But words were not enough. So I cut my story up and pasted it onto these cut outs of pumpkins and decorated it. I wanted whoever read it to look at it and instantly feel fall before they read it. I remember the joy I felt when my teacher found it great enough to post of the fall bulletin board for the month.

I have been writing ever since.

So I guess the question becomes: if I have been writing for so long and I am so passionate about it, why am I just now starting a blog? Well for starters, I have a fear of criticism. Though it is not nearly as intense as it was in, say, high school, it is still there. For many years, this fear has caused me to keep mostly to myself. I never wanted to face rejection or unacceptance because of the way I wrote or thought, so my best defense was to avoid it. I was a more impressionable person back then and would easily let people convince me that the way I was thinking was wrong or misguided if it didn’t line up with the majority. Because of this, I began to think being different was wrong and that I needed to assimilate in order to lead a happier, less stressful life.

However, I have come to realize that there is a reason I am the way that I am. My words, thoughts and ideas have a purpose and I now know that if I continue to hide them, I will never know what that purpose is. So for the first time, I am opening up my truest and deepest thoughts to the world and subsequently embracing all that that entails. I am denouncing the very fear that has governed over most of my life and taking the necessary steps to finding my purpose.

There are words in my head that need to be heard. Not because I seek any sort of recognition for them but because I know there are people out there who can relate to them; whether you are one of my closest friends, a family member, someone I went to school with, someone I encountered or a total stranger. I can relate to you. I know I am not the only person who has been dominated by fear but I do know I am among the few who has made the decision to face it head on and move forward from it.

So that brings me back to this blog.

“Inspirwriting” (pronounced in-spur-rahy-ting) spawned from me acknowledging what has always been the catalyst of my writing: inspiration. That day in first grade, the beauty of fall fueled my writing. It gave me the words and the drive to make the people read and feel why I loved fall. It gave me my calling. I have since been able to find inspiration in so many things that I can no longer say that one particular thing inspires me. Everything does. Everyday that I am alive, I find something that drives me to write because life within itself is my inspiration.

This blog will introduce you to everything that makes me me: my thoughts, my ideas, my philosophies, my passions, my relationships with people and even my vulnerabilities. I can assure you that any question you have ever had about me will be answered and if it hasn’t, ask it!

So I urge anyone reading this to stick around and share this movement. Sharing this blog is honestly more important to me than anything because there could be someone out there who needs to see this, regardless of whether or not you personally choose to follow this blog. The sooner people realize they are not alone is their journey, the better. Life is a much more trying journey when you travel it alone.

I think it’s about time we all started inspiring one another. Don’t you?