Let’s get NAKED!
I’ve been introducing myself in a myriad of different ways since high school oral communications class. Each time, sharing less, sprucing it up, and sharing more. Being brief, shy, and long-winded when I gained confidence, leaving myself with the desire to share all my accolades, while trying to remain humble in other moments. Nonetheless, the introduction has never been satisfactory. So allow me to RE-introduce myself.
I am Linmary Green, born as Linmary Bernabe.
I’m a proud afro-Latina.
I’m the daughter to two traditional Dominican parents, and the offspring to one Puerto Rican sponsor.
I’m one of 7 children of an eclectic and complicated mixed family.
I’m a 39 year old mother of a 19, soon to be 20, year old son.
I’m a wife.
I’m a Public Administration professional.
I’m an advocate; a crisis interventionist of sorts.
I’m a non-profit program creator and collaborator.
I’m a mentor.
I’m a unifier. The community cousin, as I’ve been so eloquently described by one of my cousins. Staying in touch with as many of the 41 cousins as possible. Always looking for ways to keep the family united.
I’m a former franchise owner.
I’m a spiritual peace seeker.
I’m a nature lover.
I’m a traveler.
I’m an introvert.
I’m a self-care “guru” (I use this term loosely).
I’m a recovered, but still a work in progress, perfectionist.
I am a, learning as I go, Fashionista and somehow I KILL IT every time (or so I’m told).
I’m a foodie.
I’m a reader.
I’m a writer.
I’m a fighter.
I’m a child molestation survivor.
I’m the self-proclaimed black sheep of my immediate family.
I am full of life and wonderfully complex.
I am ME.
All these things describe me in so many ways. Each having an unraveling of mixed emotions, strengths, and distinctions. All which shaped me in to the person I am today.
Over the years, I’ve been told countless times how my writing has inspired others, how it reaches their soul, how my words are ever so eloquent both in writing as in person, emotional at best and genuine. I’ve been encouraged to write Hallmark Cards, to start a Blog, to finally get that book published.
Behind the scenes, I’m the go to person for everyone looking for sound advice, an unbiased opinion, for guidance and motivation. The ultimate non-judgmental sounding board.
Since 2007 I’ve been cracking this door open, attending local writers groups, writing notes, building, and tucking it all away. Life gets in the way, our dreams are put on pause and well… here we are. It’s the first scary step to that adventure. Vowing to be as transparent as possible in a safe outlet.
As I embark on this journey to get NAKED and encourage you to do the same through this blog… I hope to provide a space where we can be inspired. A space where we can share incite, encouragement, empowerment, release, and an overall satisfaction that YOU ARE HEARD, and your voice matters.
Let’s get started (heart pounding)!
Your Popeye to my Olive Oyl
Welp! Now that we’re all acclimated! (Wipes sweat off forehead) Or should I say, now that I bore my soul (ugly cry)… but seriously. I’ll admit that was a very freeing thing to do. Once I got over the overwhelming fear and my knees stopped buckling… everything that followed was a cake walk.
That was important for me to do for a number of reasons. I felt it was only right you know what you were getting into (just kidding). I think it’s important, to be transparent when you have others looking to you for understanding/inspiration. After all, you would never blindly follow someone would you? In all reality, when speaking of one’s truth, it’s important for others to know the real you. Having read my “NAKED” blog, would you say you know me better now? I mean, at least know who I am and where I come from right?
You know what those things also say about me? It says, that I’ve been tested. It doesn’t tell you whether I’ve passed the test. But if you put two and two together one could surmise that I may have made it through it correct? YES! I did. But for the Grace of God. Finding a spiritual place. And that meant just getting in tune with who I really was. Acknowledging that many of those things broke me. Some built me up, but many of them even had me questioning my very existence at times. It was through trial and error that I found my way back. I took steps forward in my spiritual walk, I remained stagnant at times, and I’ve even opened myself up to other goodness in the Universe. Knowing that there are so many similarities in our faith as in the faith of those who practice Buddhism has been very empowering. (Cue dramatic music here for all my Christian followers). Stay with me. It was meeting these two faiths that helped me overcome many of the trials. It gave me the mental strength to keep on pushing. What sealed the deal for me was reading “The Book of Joy,” by His Holiness the Dalai Lama and the Archbishop Desmond Tutu. Whoa! Can you say TRANSFORMATIVE?! They made things all the simpler for me.
I recognized that we complicate things far too much in life. Life is meant to be so much simpler. Our emotions, our setbacks, our “beliefs”, our prejudices, and even our biases hold us back from living a rich life. And so, I’m okay displaying my weaknesses. Because it is in that very place that I discovered strength. With the right mindset, you can turn your weaknesses into strengths. This can not only be applied to life, but let’s think about that in the aspect of our lifestyles. I’ve found that most people who have the hardest time getting “fit” struggle mostly due to mental blockage. Once they get over that force-field holding back their best selves, they are amazed at what they can accomplish. I know, I’ve seen it in the flesh! As Erin Andrews once said, “Admitting our weaknesses does not diminish our strengths: IT SHOWS YOUR COURAGE.
Which brings us to our Popeye & Olive Oyl reference, did you know there’s a message there? As a lover of classic cartoons I am intrigued by the meaning behind the development of these comic strips. There’s ALWAYS a message. These two characters represent Strength & Weakness. Popeye, always vowing to show his strength to woo Olive Oyl; saving her and impressing her every chance he got with this mighty. Olive Oyl, showing timidity and allowing her prowess to shine even through her weakness. She was painted as “absent-minded, short-tempered, foolish, shallow, inattentive, fickle, demanding, and selfish.” She was the damsel in distress character and often blamed others for her own mistakes= WEAKNESS.
What could change in your life if you shattered the wall of weakness? Once you get past the emotional barrier, what can you accomplish?
So I think we can totally be best friends now, don’t you think? (insert cheesy smile here) I think there’s been so much revelation in the last few days that I’m overwhelmed with emotion, but in a good way.
Now that we’ve come to terms with our strengths and weaknesses, we’re ready to take over the world right? NOT! I know it’s not that simple. It looks easy… (Ha-ha), but I know it’s not. I know this because I, myself, have backslid. I know this because I’ve done things that I said I would never again do, and yet… I still did them. Yup. I did! And I don’t regret it one bit, because I know that’s exactly what was supposed to happen. And who am I to interrupt the natural ebb and flow of this world?
I was supposed to stumble. I was supposed to fall. I was supposed to sprain my ankle, and scrape my knee. I was supposed to get stitches. All while people were watching in awe, some sneakily laughing. I was supposed to reopen that wound only for it to be stitched back up and heal again… only this time with a more elaborate and secure stitching. They even tied a bow! Can you imagine? A nice pretty, shiny, turquoise bow just for me.
What are you getting at Lin?! Well, simply that… once you come to terms with understanding that everything you ever wanted is one step outside of that comfy, plush oasis you live your life in, something crazy starts to happen. You become more in tune with your thoughts. You start to acknowledge that although it’s the most difficult thing to do, to leave your comfort zone, it is critical to the development of your-SELF to let go of the life you’re familiar with and take necessary risks to live the life you’ve always dreamed about.
So, you got all those injuries, the scrapes, the stitches, the blow to the ego while everyone watched you fall… but guess what you’re about to be asked to do? Yup, jump that hurdle once more. But you did this already you say. You know how this is going to end. You’re not as limber as you once were. Guess what, not only are you going to jump that hurdle again… but you’re also going to be asked to teach others to do the same. What?!? Look at God! This is where they say God has a sense of humor. And boy oh boy… have I laughed a time or two… albeit after I cried…but the laughter felt so much better after that good cry.
So, do as the great Eleanor Roosevelt once said, “Do one thing every day that scares you.” Then, do it AGAIN! The latter was all me.
What does stepping outside your comfort zone look like for you? Have you stepped outside your comfort zone before and regretted it? Did it scar you?
Stick like crazy glue!
If you know me, you know I AM NOT A CONFRONTATIONAL PERSON. I repeat, I AM NOT a confrontational person. Where does that come from? There’s likely a complex and deep-rooted reason I’m sure. If you recall my “Naked” blog post, you can maybe, somehow, possibly have concluded where that stems from. But, when I say I’m excited about this topic… I say that with every ounce of my being.
See, maybe it’s because I’m turning the big 4-0 soon. Or maybe it’s because life experiences have molded me into this kick-ass, know my worth, confident warrior. The kind that is not afraid to stand up for herself. Now… let’s not get ahead of ourselves. I do still struggle with the need to avoid confrontation some days. But would I really call it a “struggle?” Nah, it’s more like a choice. I avoid confrontation now, BY CHOICE. I’ve learned that my energy is far too valuable to let others get the best of me. I NEED the best of me, why would I give it to someone else?
So, with that said… sticking to my guns has been easier to do over the years. I got tired of giving up. Tired of turning the other cheek. Tired of being taken advantage of. Tired of being treated less than, because guess what, I AM WORTHY. Now, flexibility is also important even while you’re standing your ground. Knowing when you’re no longer the expert in the subject matter, and when to recognize it’s your emotions talking and not your reason… that is essential to effective communication.
I’ll tell you one thing I struggled with some years back. Saying NO. Am I alone here? It was the need to be all things to everybody even at the expense of myself. Even though my cup runneth over, I still said, “Yes, I can do that for you!” “Sure, I can swing by after work.” “Absolutely, I can help with that!” Meanwhile, I was exhausted. I was overextended. I was putting myself last. Until, during a session with my handy dandy consultant (also code for therapist) she gave me these magical words to recite:
“Oh, sorry (frown), I wish I could. But I can’t.”
Simple as that! Those 9 words, changed-my-life-FOREVER. It became a running joke to my husband at home. But it was he who drove the point home that I had piled way too much on my plate. You know what happens when you do that? All other things get the least of you. The drained, emotional distraught version of you. You deserve better!
I’ll leave you with this powerful statement, “I am forever more than just surviving. This is my life and this life is my DIAMOND.” Repeat that day in and day out. I promise you you’ll start to feel different and before you know it, you’ll have your life back.