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Are you living with your Representative or your Reality? 

I’ve been asking myself this question a lot lately since I started my blogging journey over the last few months but I couldn’t quite put it into words. Then I heard this expression in a sermon recently and it just kept repeating over and over in my mind and heart. I see it every day when it comes to the number of likes or comments I get on a picture.  The pictures I post that are more polished with fun captions tend to do better than the ones that have a more raw, longer caption and share a bit more of the reality. We go through our days and weeks saying we yearn for community, for a place to be vulnerable, to share our “true” and “authentic” selves. Yet more often than not we are drawn to photos or stories that look more put together and pretty.

But a question that popped into my head recently was this; Are we really drawn to the pretty things or does the thought of truly being vulnerable make us want to run away from the things that might mean something because of what we might have to share or encounter? Is it because if we encounter the reality of things and share that vulnerability it may require us to change our thinking or is it easier to feel that changing our shirt or lipstick will make us happier and that the internal work doesn’t need to be done. We can just push it into a corner saying it was a “passing feeling”, a “bad day”, and then move on only to feel that same emptiness creep in a few hours, days, or weeks later? 

Don't’ get me wrong! I love all things fashion and beauty. I love putting together looks and sharing that with those around me; it’s truly a passion of mine. But when does that passion go from just that to become a mask we can wear to hide the things that really bring us to a place where we feel purpose? A place that's scary and we feel revealed in our truest forms? 

When I lost my mom what was 8 years ago it was hard not just because I lost my mom but because she was so weaved into my identity. I didn’t really know who I was in my life if I didn’t have her in it physically? It forced me to take stock of what mattered to me and I mean what REALLY mattered to me as well as those I chose to surround myself with.

How did I want to live?

Who did I want to be? 

How did I want to make the most of the minutes, seconds, and even years that we feel entitled too but are never promised?

I can tell you one thing and that is what I kept coming back to is that life is built of tiny macro minutes that all add up to a life. I realized that without guarantees that this gift we have called life is far too short to not be myself and it’s really short to do it alone feeling like I have to “be on” to be a certain version of myself to appease others.

So why do I share all this?

Is it to criticize shopping habits or browbeat you into feeling bad about the fact you don’t feel like you can be vulnerable? Hell no! It’s to share that you are never promised anything in life; EVER. That you are too important, special, unique, valued, and treasured to live one more minute behind a mask that does anything but celebrates exactly who you are.

I'm learning that a passion of mine is to encourage others to begin to be themselves. I don't mean becoming the most successful boss babe,  the trendiest fashion diva, or the most amazing Pinterest mom, which are all awesome things by the way. What I am talking about is at the most basic level being yourself. Whether that's laughing too loud, admitting you hate park dates or snorting when you laugh (BTW guilty!). Because After Hours is here for you! I am here for you and I am excited to see you stepping into that purpose.

You’re wonderful and stepping into that identity will slowly and most surely begin to set you free! So do it! Try that class, meet a new friend, start that blog, wear that lipstick or pair of shoes you don’t think you can rock because I promise you most likely it's not going to kill anyone. On the flipside of that admit to something that's making you sad, call someone when you feel depressed, or admit you're lonely and need help. You can have a life filled with community, relationships that matter, and dreams you get to create. Don’t waste another second because just so you know; you can’t pay your bills with other peoples opinions and this is your life. Life is all about taking chances and in the famous words of Dr. Suess “ Those who mind don’t matter, and those who matter don’t mind”.

2 Comments

  1. Linda Owen
    June 26, 2019 / 9:04 pm

    Beautiful Amanda, I love how you put this … you have a gift for writing and one your mother would be proud of!

    • afterhourswithamanda
      Author
      July 9, 2019 / 3:28 am

      Aww, thank you so much, Linda! That means the world.

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