Tuesday, January 7, 2014

10 Things I Love and Hate About Myself

New Year’s biggest goal?  LETTING GO OF FEAR! (You’ve heard that before, right?)  That being said... I’ve been thinking (scary, huh?) a lot lately about just WHO my audience is here.  And then, with my actual business... I’m asking myself WHO am I marketing to?

In marketing, they say that in order to really provide value, you need to create an ideal “avatar” of the “person” to whom you would like to reach... a target market, so to speak.

This process has been SO hard for me. Because first of all, I have such a vast list of interests and groups that I’m involved with, and choosing one main area of interest is REALLY hard... but also... in this business... you’re supposed to market to people you understand... people with whom you can connect.

THAT’S where it gets hard. All my life I’ve REALLY wanted to be popular. You know... that hot looking chick who's always perfectly put together and seems to know just what to say, has tons of friends and can fling her hair to get out of just about anything? <insert really big laugh here> 

If you know me... have known me... or knew me... you know just how funny that concept really is.

So... what FEAR am I letting go of today? Well... (and this is big) it’s the fear of letting people know who I REALLY am!!! (GASP!!!)

And who is that??? Well... wait for it... WAIT FOR IT... I’M NOT COOOOOOOOL! Or popular... or put together... or a really hot chick.  :P

What hit me this morning is that I’ve been reaching out to people that I WANT to be like... instead of reaching out to those that I AM like.  Mostly because of my fear of being disliked or considered...

Well... before I finish THAT sentence I’ll tell you a few things that have left me confused on this whole 'target market' thing.

Here are the 10 things that I love and hate about myself.  Some I love.  Some I hate.  Either way... I’m learning to EMBRACE them.  After all... they are 100% ME. 

1. I am WEIRD.

Until I was about 13, I grew up in the family section of a religious community (or as some would put... Commune). By community, I mean a place called “Prayer Town” that was run by a group of nuns, with several families inhabiting a separate section of the property.

Because of this, I grew up not really knowing how to connect with kids my own age. I was pretty socially behind and FELT really weird... especially when we moved to a small neighboring town. We didn’t do mainstream things like watch football, basketball or listen to regular music, so I didn’t know any of the popular culture like who the main sports teams or bands like the Beatles were.

That being said... BECAUSE of this, I had the opportunity to grow up in the country. To know what it’s like to gallop wildly across the plains bareback on a horse. To know how freezing cold it is on a winter morning when you have to break the ice for the animals and give them fresh water. To understand the value of hard work. To use my imagination, because I wasn’t constantly in front of a television.

When we DID watch television, it was usually an old musical, or one of my fav actors... Fred Astaire, Ginger Rogers, Cary Grant, Doris Day, etc... Now, I still enjoy these old movies and musicals. I will watch them over and over again. I will sing with them and relate to them.

And yes... that was me on a cold winter morning, not too long ago, belting out a song from Seven Brides for Seven Brothers while shoveling the snowy driveway. “Ooo-ooo-ooo-oh, ooo-ooo-ooo-ooo-ooo-ooo-ooo-ooo-ooo-ooo-ooo-ooo-oooh... can’t make no vows to a herd of cows.” 

Um yeah... WEEEEIRD! LOL


Yup! Homeschooled through the 7th grade... public school in 8th, because we moved and mom needed a break... then back to school in the 10th grade when mom thought we were ready to face the peer pressure and become young adults.

Going to public school after homeschool was TOUGH. There weren’t homeschool coalitions back then. There weren’t any extracurricular activities in which we could participate. We were on our own. No real friends or people we could connect with. 

 When I went to public school, I remember not knowing what basic terminology like “gay” and “on the rag” meant. I was REALLY embarrassed to find out their real meaning while in mixed groups of students that found it funny how sheltered I had been.

When I went to high school, I felt like a dork. Didn’t know how to dress... didn’t know how to connect with kids my own age. The popular kids in school weren’t necessarily mean... but we lived in a small town... so it was very obvious when I was excluded from events that I knew the other more “normal” kids were invited to.  To be honest... looking back... I can't really blame them either.  We were kids, and I was... well... weird :P

So... I threw myself into my studies. Maybe I couldn’t be popular or fully accepted. BUT, I did go to State twice in competitions. I got best actress senior year for the high school play, and... I graduated Valedictorian of my high school class.

In the end... the couple of teachers that understood me, my one really good friend... Jackie, and my small list of accomplishments helped me to get over all those other ’not so great' high school memories.

When I eventually went off to college, I swore I was leaving that girl behind... FOREVER (she says dramatically...).   And trust me... I worked hard at it for years. 

3. I am a GEEK.

Okay... I have to admit... this part I really LOVE about myself.  Fresh out of college I got a job doing Linux technical support for a web hosting company that hosted web hosting companies.

Just THINKING about this job, gets me all excited and starts my blood boiling. It was my all-time FAVORITE job. My brain just naturally speaks computer. Working full time, I learned fast and was quickly moving up the levels of support.

I remember getting completely and utterly LOST in a Linux terminal. Hopping from server to server. Fixing problems. On a good day with some really challenging support requests, I would get so lost in this world that the time would fly. Supposed to be leaving at 5, I’d get a phone call at 6:30 from the hubs asking where I was... and I wouldn’t even realize how late it was.

It’s no accident that my favorite hockey team is the Pittsburgh Penguins (Linux avatar is a Penguin). Beyond that, I’ve designed websites and done some basic script programming. To put it simply... I just LOVE geek-talk... Yeah... total and complete GEEK. 

4. Girl from the BIG FAMILY

I have NINE sisters. No brothers. (GO ahead and say it... everybody does... “YOU’RE POOR FATHER!!!”)  I share the middle with my older sister, and grew up often feeling misunderstood, lost in the crowd and unimportant.  I was constantly comparing myself to my older sisters.  Did I measure up?  Did I sing as well?   Were my grades as good?

Yes, we fought, and life wasn’t always roses.   BUT... On the flip side... we had some of the MOST fun coming up with games and imaginary worlds, and best of all... SINGING.

We all sing. We would sing while cleaning the kitchen. We would sing while driving in the car. Gosh darn it! We would even fight over who got to sing which harmony!  LOL

Living in a big family, had a LOT of perks.  I learned how to put others first.  How to know when someone needs comfort or if they need tough love.  How to know when it’s best to remain silent instead of giving unwarranted advice. 

With that many people around, you learn how to be generous and how to share. You learn that things are really not that important... it’s the people and relationships that matter.

5. Girl who SINGS TOO MUCH

And no... not the cool rock star type of singing (although... I HAVE been in a rock band...)

Nope!  I’m the girl... that one you saw on campus freshman year... walking around singing “Any Man of Mine” by Shania Twain, without a care in the world as if I was living my own musical.

YES! I sing... a LOT. If it’s raining, you bet I’ll be out there in the rain, dancing around a light pole and bellowing “I’m SI-I-I-I-I-NGING in the RAAAAAAIN!” 

If we’re having a conversation and you say something like... “I can’t say no to....” Before you have a second to finish your sentence, I’ll be chasing squirrels singing... “I’m just a girl who can’t say no...” from the musical Oklahoma.

Heck... for my Beachbody challenges, I’ll be cleaning the house and all of the sudden be hit with new words to a popular or well-known song.  I’ll stop what I”m doing... chase that squirrel... write down the words... record it... and upload it to my YouTUBE channel. 

Yeah... sings too much. :P 


Yes... in my life there have been a few times where I have literally been through hell. Times that were so dark, that as I was driving down the road, I would imagine turning the wheel, driving off the road and hitting a tree. 

Times where I hated myself and checked everything I knew at the door. Times where there was real suffering.

When I think about that person. I have had to work hard at not hating her.   I’ve wanted to use an eraser and completely wipe her out of my life. A real do-over would be nice... right? 

Although there is a lot to “hate” about that part of my life... there is a lot to love too. 

Because of those times, I have become a more compassionate person. I have learned to leave judgement at the door.  That there is a story behind everyone... a viable reason why people act the way they do.

I’ve learned how hard life can be, and the importance of helping others.  We often get so caught up in our own lives that we just can’t see the suffering of those around us.  Through my suffering, I learned the need to step out of my own little world to reach out and to be there for others, and to GIVE where I can.


You heard me right! With five kiddos and a job, I just can’t keep the house in order and everything organized to save my LIFE. The laundry is always overflowing. Dinner is always last minute and late. I’m constantly playing catchup. I see these moms who do everything so PERFECTLY, and I desperately want to be them. 

Essentially... I’d love to be like Mrs. Cleaver from Leave it to Beaver. Always a smile on my face. Never yelling at my kiddos. Clean house. Yummy dinner each night.   RIGHT? Bahahahaha! Right! 

I used to be on top of things... once upon a time.  But I’ve come to realize that with a big family and a ton on my plate, it is just IMPOSSIBLE to be that perfect housewife. There are more important things in life then a clean house and perfect order (At least that's what I keep telling myself)

Thankfully I have a hubby who helps and kiddos who do a pretty good job when it comes down to it, so all things considered... I figure we’re pretty blessed :)


Yes. I have to admit... I’ve been afraid to talk about my love of God at times... specifically due to fear of offending others.   I’ll be the first to admit.  I’m not perfect.   I’m not the best Christian.  I screw up like pretty much everyone else.  BUT... I really do TRY to be someone who lives a Christian lifestyle.

I pray every day that God grants me the grace to be a better person. I LOVE my Catholic faith. I LOVE the traditions of our church, and the Mass.   I feel at home and SAFE in front of the Eucharist in a Catholic church, and absolutely LOVE a good praise and worship session.

Do I think being Catholic is the only way to heaven? Absolutely NOT. But I DO believe that it’s the way for me. I LOVE it, and I am constantly trying to improve on the many imperfections that I see in my own life.

9. The FOOD ADDICT Fitness Coach

Now THAT’S an oxymoron if you ever heard one. LOL

SO... I REALLY love good food.  Heck! If I didn’t, what would I name this blog?  I’d be lying if I said that I wanted to sit around and eat celery and carrots all day and only drink water.  Oh BOY!   How FUN would THAT be??? (She says sarcastically.) 

I have to admit... there have been plenty of times that I have WISHED I could be that person... a vegan... or a perfectly clean eater... but the fact is... I’m NOT.

So here I am... now a full-blown Team Beachbody fitness coach... and I think I STILL have to try just as hard as my challengers to stay on track.  For me... considering my background in eating... it will most likely never be something easy. I WILL say however... that when I put my mind to it, I CAN eat clean, and I AM really liking it more over time.

Now, retraining my brain that a good salad trumps cheesecake and wine, well... that’s taking a bit more time then I’d like. Ahhh... Baby steps :)

10. The Ultimate Country Girl

I was raised in a trailer house in the country on the plains of Texas. Yeah... you heard that right. A trailer house. 

I had a girl throw that at me once as an insult... calling me "trailer-trash"... but to be honest... there was really nothing to be insulted over. I’m PROUD of my humble upbringing. My parents worked hard to take care of us and to make a difference. Nothing to be ashamed of there.

I CAN hold my own in elegant and sophisticated company, but REALLY???   When it comes down to it... it's TOTALLY not me.  YES, I can play that part... but... seriously... I will always have that little bit of Texas redneck in me.  In fact... on a hot summer day after hard work and sweat, you BET I’ll be reaching for the beer!  And who knows... I just might shock you now and then with words that escape my lips before my brain has a chance to catch up.

I’ve lived in Naples, Florida, and I honestly don’t think any sunset (not even on the beach) can really compare to a painted sky over the wheat and corn fields in the Northwest Texas desert... add a stormy sky in the East, reflecting the sunset from the west... and you feel as if you been transported to heaven. The entire skyline (like the ocean) is splashed with an array of colored radiance!

And music? Yes... as I mentioned earlier... I’ve been in a rock band.  But darn it if this girl isn’t country all the way. I enjoy listening to most kinds of music, but give me some good country, and I FEEL it.  Not mainstream... I get that... but get into my car, and chances are, if it’s not the Christian hits playing on the radio... it will definitely be country music... and... YUP! The super-singer in me will be bellowing out a harmony right along with my fav country girl, Miranda Lambert.

Now back to that sentence at the beginning of this article: 

"What hit me this morning is that I’ve been reaching out to people that I WANT to be like... instead of reaching out to those I AM like. Mostly because of my fear of being disliked or considered... “ 

To finish the sentence... considered geeky... dorky... weird.  

But I get it now.   And I LOVE that I’ve had to go through this process, because, besides the fact that you need to figure all this out for 'branding and marketing,' I think a good look at WHO we are... and accepting that... is imperative to our overall outlook on life, and essentially... to our overall happiness.

That being said... I've FINALLY come to the point where I really don't care if someone knows I was weird... homeschooled... not perfect... because I'm FINALLY at a place where I can accept it.
I embrace my past, and I embrace who I am now.  It's formed me.  It IS Me.  So... take it or leave it... but I ain't changing' ;)  (In my best Texas drawl.)
So back to the the REAL question..  Just WHO is my Avatar? 

Hmmm... I’m thinking that it has to be something like... 

A terrible housewife who lives in a trailer house in the country with lots of kiddos, has an insane life, has gone through hell, loves to sing, and is a weird geek.   LOL 

So... if you know anybody like this out there, please let me know, because I’m really starting to wonder if my target market is so targeted that the arrow points in only one direction. :)

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