The Waiting Period

For years, I have had a day job while running my business at the same time. Most of these jobs clearly did not fit with my values, heart, and desires. With this last job, I prayed about it so much, I think God Himself was sick of my voice. I was sick of my voice. Should I stay or should I go? I had so much fear and felt that I would always be in this trap. I couldn’t see any way out. I now had a house to worry about, with piling bills. My photography business finally had a few years where it could be my sole income. But what about next year? And the next? The expenses for this business surpassed anything I could ever imagine. Three types of insurance, advertising, multiple sites behind the scenes, and all the normal everyday expenses… Y’all, I have to pay for a fake address because I’m online and that’s the way it goes. All those little things add up, and my dream… is extremely expensive- without equipment even involved. As I prayed, I heard nothing. I couldn’t get an answer. I finally got so frustrated, that I found myself praying angrily. “Just PUSH me already. Whatever Your will, just PUSH me.”

My last day at the day job, frustrated with no clear direction or answer, I was sitting at my desk and just kept repeating in my head, “God is for me not against me”, over and over. When I am struggling with trust, that seems to force my mind into it. What happened next was Divine Intervention. The details do not matter here, but I had no choice other than to stand up for myself and leave. I definitely got the push. In one way, I felt such a relief- to finally have an answer. On the other hand, now came the fear. Instability. Full-time entrepreneur. Could I do this? Did I mention that I was supposed to buy a car the next day because mine was kaput?

On my way home, I saw two signs on the side of the road, in front of a house, on a residential street, that had no business being there. The first said “It won’t be long”, and a little way down the other said, “So don’t despair.”

The next day, I was greeted by a cardinal and a blue jay in my backyard, hanging out together. These have always been signs to my family. A blue jay reminds me of my brother. It’s a longer story, which I will probably write about someday. The cardinal, because my grandma had just passed and there’s a thing with cardinals… I felt like they were telling me I was going to be fine. It always feels like a pause. Like they’re telling me I’m on the right track and that they see me. They’re there for what I’m going through. I have never seen cardinals around my house before that day.

These last few years I have had to put so much trust in my faith. It has been a struggle. I’ve grown through some pretty difficult situations. Presently, though, there’s nothing like clearing out your desk, driving home for two hours, and then sitting in the lobby of a dealership with your dad looking at new(er) cars, knowing what that monthly payment is going to be, and you have no steady income coming in for the first time in your life. That is Trust.

ADD IN the class that I NEEDED to turn my business in another direction. I knew that if I didn’t invest in this, I would regret it. Because I did that last year when it was offered. ADD IN household appliances bailing on me, a leaky roof, etc. All of this in mind, my dad and I were laughing and cracking jokes in that lobby. What else can you do but laugh at it all? I’m so grateful for my family. The panic always ceases when I’m around them. After the dealer put in my information, because in his eyes, I was still employed at the day job, I got the car. While he was walking both of us to my new beautiful chariot, he asked me, “Why are you so nervous?” As I was thinking, ‘Because I don’t actually have that job,’ I replied, “Well, it’s just such a big decision!” Side-glance over at my dad.

I have seen amazing things since that time a few months back. Clients hired me with urgent timing, needing a wedding photographer that same month, willing to pay in full. Guys, that just does not happen for weddings and it happened twice that month. People ordered prints from me when they already had the digital images. That never happens, either. A friend of ours sold my old car without me even having to list it. Also, my new pivot in my business gained some hits and gave me hope to continue. I have not only met wonderful women entrepreneurs, I am helping them grow THEIR businesses. I have gained a close friend through this venture, who I believe my soul really needed. None of the things that have happened lately would have happened if I did not quit that horrid day job. I have been the busiest I have ever been in my entire life. Other avenues and side jobs that are in my passion wheelhouse have opened up. Who knows where this road may lead…

I found out that my heartstrings are tied to helping bossladies. Yes, photographing anything, really, but it’s about damn time I start listening to what I really want to do and have faith in myself, and even bigger faith in God. Even writing these little blogs… It feels so good to do this at 2pm by the water. I’ve worked in the lobby of a mechanic (which I would’ve had to take two vacation days for, at a corporate 9-5). I have realized that freedom means more to me than “stability”. “Stability” can be a prison. What if I can actually have the life I’ve always dreamed of? What if?

Since that defining day, I have dealt with more wrenches. I am confronted with more responsibilities, that I have taken on willingly, which I realize means more monthly bills. I am calm. I still have to fight the fear some days. I fight downright panic on some days. But I am reminded that I have overcome obstacles before and I will keep doing it. “Do not fear” is written in the Bible 365 times. One reminder for every day of the year. “I have not given you fear.” I was listening to the radio when they were talking about how worry is actually a sin. That hit home. I never thought of it that way. I come from a long line of worriers. Of all the miracles that I have seen in my life, and there are a ton, that COULD ONLY BE Divine Intervention, why does my trust still waiver? It might be because I trust God but not in my ability to hear Him correctly. I analyze endlessly, scared to trust myself, to make the wrong decision. I love that quote, “God’s Will will happen in spite of you, not because of you.” It just may take a different route to get there. But there will always be essential events and people, whatever route you take, that are necessary for your growth and meaningful to your life.

During that time that this all went down, I entered this piece into ArtPrize. It is called “Politics Erasing / Erasing Politics.” I started it when the politics of our nation turned tumultuous, and at the same time, I was resistant to the corporate world, its confines and limitations. What was happening in my little day to day environment was a sampling of what was happening in society as a whole. When I started, it came from a place of turmoil, anger, and defiance. When I had finally made the decision to fight the fear, go forth as my own boss, and to help other women entrepreneurs, it shifted into an expression of strength and beauty.

Isn’t that always the case? Out of a time of turmoil and chaos comes strength and beauty.

And in the waiting period, is God.

charcoal drawing lisa shaw


Wishing you all a happy holiday season.
Be grateful.
Let your heart be light.
XO,

Lisa

"Boss Lady Brain"

Over sushi with a friend, I was recalling all the stupid shit I've done because I have so much going on in my head. It's like having five hundred and fifty tabs open on your computer at all times. That's what it feels like, in the head. So, instead of "pregnancy brain", this would be the correct term for entrepreneurs--and moms-- alike. My friend is both. I don't know how she does it.

"Boss Lady Brain". Because life is chaotic and that's how the remote control ends up in the freezer.

Being a boss lady, you are making decisions all day long. While you're working on one project, five hundred To Do's pop up in your head for other projects. Your day planner is full. No white space. Post it's are on top of post-it's, which are on top of your actual To Do list, because you have no more space to write. I have NINE organizational tools/planners (digital and old-school),  just for To Do's, in different areas of my business/life/artistic endeavors.  It's messy. 

Ambition is not a bad thing. Having a lot on your plate because of ambition is a good problem. Be grateful for this problem. It means you have passion(s), which is good, even if they all come with their own amount of stress.  But, "boss lady brain" is a signal. 

This is when you know you need to slow down: 

I have bought gas, got in my car, and drove for about a half hour before I realized that I never put the gas IN the car. 

I forget to eat.

I have gone to a meeting, locked my car with my keypad on my key-chain, then lost my keys somewhere in that building. This lead to hiring someone to make a key for my car on the spot, realizing everything on that key-chain that pointed to my address-- with my house key included!, changing locks, getting new business keys, and oh yea- my key to my fire-safe is now missing. I had to get my passport for my photography business on a quick deadline, and my birth certificate was in that fire safe. Not a relaxing week for me. 

Years ago, I was watching a movie with an ex-boyfriend. Because of the five hundred tabs open in my head, I had asked him to rewind the movie because I missed something. I was scolded. (Let me just say that I feel that most of the time I can be fully present when I am with loved ones because we all need that quality time. It is essential. I have things that I do to "turn off" and be fully present.) But sometimes, you open your email when you shouldn't. Sometimes, it takes just five more minutes to "turn off".  He called me flaky, ditsy, etc. Boss ladies aren't any of those things. They are warriors. They are Boss Ladies! It is an amazing superpower to be master of all the balls in the air. Boss ladies have three million more things on the brain at any given time than the average human. If we give way to "pregnancy brain" as understandable, we can have some compassionate understanding for these warriors too.

It is assumed that everyone knows how much it takes to run the back-end of a business, to being creative, or even being a mom. They don't. They don't know the million things that are on your plate to run your business life, your creative life, your social life, your spiritual life, your healthy life, your family life, your love life. No one truly knows but you. It can be frustrating and lonely when people just don't get it. 

(Just while writing this post, I had to write down three things to learn on newsletters and site design/marketing, and four To-Do's for my business.)

Then, add creativity on top of it! The artist's mind is moving even faster. I can be watching a movie, and hear something that would make a great drawing, or a great article, etc. It never stops. In conversations, in just taking a walk... It rudely interrupts, like a disrupting toddler pulling on your shirt, screaming "Mom! Mom! Mom! Mom! Mom!", that you simply cannot ignore. "Interrupting Toddler" is what I name my artistic inspirations. I am so grateful for them at the same time and I love that toddler. However, sometimes, it's such a gentle whisper and won't even finish the idea before it runs away. Those ones can't be re-called for the life of you, so you better have one of your nine tools with you to write it down before it vanishes into the black abyss. So, sometimes I have to hit rewind on the movie. But, that one minute that I took to write down an idea- that art piece was in two different art galleries this year- so I'm ok with that.

The key to "boss lady brain" is your own awareness. When you need to "turn off"-- to avoid burnout, including mental, emotional, and physical exhaustion. When you find yourself with "boss lady brain," it is a signal that you haven't taken time for yourself. This is not a luxury. It is essential. You can't give to others when you are depleted. The aim is to take time for yourself regularly, even schedule it, BEFORE the burnout hits. (So, when I  drive onto expressways by habit instead of where I'm actually headed, adding more time to my already crazy schedule, I know that I am already off and I'm headed into the danger zone of burnout.) "Mindfulness"- practice everyday. Find quiet time. Get in nature. Take a bath with calming music. Exercise. Yoga. Play with children. Meditate. Say a favorite quote to shush everything to healthy perspective. Bring yourself back to the present. SLOW DOWN

I never intended to mix my business with these blogs, but this case is different. I will be sending out ways to "Overcome the Overwhelm" in my photography newsletter. I find that it helps brides and grooms, mothers, and even seniors in high school. I will be sending out many helpful tools on this topic throughout the year. Even if you only have five minutes, there are things you can do to reset your "boss lady brain".  Even if you don't have five minutes- I will give you my favorite quotes to repeat to yourself. You are welcome to subscribe here.

What silly things have you done because you had "boss lady brain"? You are not alone. I get it.
What's the #1 thing that you do to slow down and "turn off"? 
Tell us in the comments below. 

Do you know an amazing boss lady? Please share this! 
Don't forget to subscribe below to this newsletter, to receive Monday Sillies in your inbox twice a month.

Have a Silly Monday,

Lisa 

Treadmill Troubles

Happy New Year! As we are getting back to reality after the holidays, back to adulting and responsibilities, most of us are getting back to the gym as well. Resolutions are so big in January, right?! I caught my reflection in the mirror at Zumba and was thinking, "That can't be right. How did that happen on Christmas break?" Oh my. Damn Christmas cookies. Lasagna. All things Italian and gooey with cheese. 

I started thinking back to each year's resolution- the typical standard resolution that I'm sure we all have. While pondering, a flashback popped into my head. I can hear my sister laughing, as this is one of her favorites.

I was at the gym at my old apartment building, on the treadmill. Everything is going smoothly and steady, and then, all of a sudden, I must have hit the wrong button, I don't really remember. The speed changed when I wasn't mentally aware that it was about to, and instead of spreading my feet off to the sides, which are stable, my first instinct was to try to catch my feet up to the track. It was a knobbly-kneed mess. I was going down. I tried to catch up, and was making a go of it for a while like a brand new deer and then the track abruptly flung me to the back of the machine, where I promptly fell. It was loud and obnoxious. Picture someone's face while falling. Yeah. I think that's why my sis likes this story so much. She loves when people fall. You have to admit, their faces are hysterical. This was not just an instant jolt, either. It took a while to actually execute. So my face had to go through a series of contortions. 

So, I sat on the ground for a minute and started laughing. The guy next to me was trying to keep his laughter a secret and had to eventually stop his machine and leave. He left the gym. This is what got me- the Barbie chick in front of me- she turned around and gave me stink-eye! Stink-eye! Really? So sorry for YOUR inconvenience. Nice empathy skills at old Ramblewood Apartments. 

The gym for grownups is still the same as gym class, when you think about it. We're all vulnerable and probably going to do something wrong or stupid at some point in front of all the kids. More flashbacks coming at me from grade school... Eeshk. And we all had that chick that was perfect at everything and did 50 timed pull-ups when you couldn't even do one. (I just hung there, dangling, in front of Mr. Miller and all the kids.)

You gotta laugh.

And, also, use the elliptical. It's safer.

Happy New Year,
Lisa





 

RED-LIGHT DISTRICT FOR CHRISTMAS

Christmas is a huge deal in my family. Growing up, I would help my mom decorate the house, which was not as dangerous, or as funny, as helping my dad put up the lights. 

Tangles, nails, ladders, non-working bulbs, freezing your ass off... It was all good fun. It was all a part of it. I even acquired his sound effects while working. We both make that airplane sound with our lips when concentrating on some chore. I don't know why. "I learned it from watching you, Dad!" We both had a lot of laughs, mostly at things that were thrown at us. Laughing at small frustrations is good practice for keeping your humor for the big frustrations in life. 

One year, I was exchanging the porch light and the garage lights for Christmassy ones. I put in the red light on the porch and my dad looks over and says, "I live with three women-- we cannot have a red light on the porch! Uh uh. Use the green ones!"  Good point. Our neighbors heard that. I think that’s why they all liked us. We always gave them a good chuckle.

No red-light district in Livonia, Michigan...

Another year, I don't remember what we were doing but something was terribly wrong with the lights/cords/etc, and I suggested an alternative that was probably a half-ass solution due to lack of motivation, and he joked very quietly, "We don't want everyone knowing we're stupid..." ;) (You can see that I got the ability to laugh at myself and this abnormal sense of confidence from my dad.) 

Things are a bit different now that I am older and I have a house of my own. I am solo on the lighting detail. I have one of those projectors that shine red and green dots all over my house. Done. Lovely. Time for a cocktail. Seriously, a brilliant invention for lazy ones who still want to be festive, and also for single gals who still don’t own a ladder...  BUT!! It took me a while to figure out that my house has no outside outlets. I gave it a couple laps around the house. My neighbors were watching. Then, the extension cord was, of course, a big fat mess. De-tangling is not in my wheelhouse of patience. It is my dad's. He loves that shit. Says it's "calming". Crazy. My neighbors got a bunch of expletives during their dinner. It would have been funny had my dad been with me. He’s two hours away, so we are both on our own now for the holiday fuss. Now... this shit sucks. Imagine a toddler shaking something up and down and then throwing it down in frustration. That was me. 

This morning, in the light of day, I saw the jumble that I left the extension cord in, and also noticed the mail lady's footsteps in the snow from days before... right through that mess. This is the first day it's been there. I hope she's looking where she's walking today- might I add, through my lawn instead of using the sidewalks and steps that I have to keep clear and salted for her... I really do have to fix it, though. Hope it's not too late. Ahh, she hates me anyway.  (If you need a reminder, this is just one reason:    https://www.hangingonbysillystring.com/blog/not-today-sucka )

Enjoy the chaos. There is always beauty in the chaos.

Have a Silly Monday and MERRY CHRISTMAS!!

May the magic of the season bring out the little kid in you.

Lisa

 

 

 

Man, I'm Old

....Speaking of getting older, I pulled a muscle in my neck yawning.

My face afterward was probably pretty funny. "Did that actually just happen?"

I've been having a hard time with the acceptance of getting older. 
It comes in bits.
When you look in the mirror and say, "That can't be right..."

Also, when you are invited to a Halloween party and the theme is pop culture... I have no idea what pop culture is in 2017. So old. All I got was "Look What You Made Me Do", Taylor Swift. That idea is the top one on The Google for Halloween ideas, so that's out. I got nothin'. 

I realized in volleyball this past week that I truly am the oldest I have ever been. I am just going to get older, too! I know. Crazy, right? I thought I was invincible- like it just wouldn't happen to me... until I was about fifty or sixty. Not so. I have never felt that I aged a decade between volleyball seasons, except for this time. While I used to dive for digs and at least get to the ball, the movement of the ball didn't even register in my mind until it hit the floor. Now, if it's too far and I deem it to be unattainable, I just say, "That's a good serve", while I stay in the exact same spot. We had a laugh about our hearing this time. Someone heard "appendix" out of no where, so now that's what we yell when we can't hear or when anyone gets confused. Also, "side effects" was mistaken for something, meaning we are all on medications already, pretty much.

At least laughing about it will always help. Aging is inevitable, difficult- more so when you see it in your family members... but it is also pretty funny. Humbling. 

 I'm so damn tired. It's Monday morning and I already want to take a nap. Remember the "student nap pose"- resting your head on your hand, to make it look like you were reading? Yeah, that was my favorite. I may pull that off today at work. However, with this trick, you really need to be mindful of the vicious head bob that gives you away. And it also scares the shit out of you.

When has the awareness of your own aging hit you? Leave it in the comments below!
Have a Silly Monday,
Lisa