The other day I was talking to someone on the phone. She was bemoaning a situation that had recently occurred. “I’m a good person,” she said. “And I believe I deserve better than this!” She was right. She was probably one of the best of them. In my eyes anyway. And she didn’t deserve the way she had been treated. And to be fair I think we have all probably felt that at one time or another but here is the thing- we don’t always get what we deserve. It’s true. It goes back to that whole “life is not always fair” thing that we hear all the time. Honestly not getting what we deserve is sometimes a good thing. Just imagine if the pendulum swung in the opposite direction everytime we did something that we didn’t feel so good about? I believe in good vibes and karma, but I don’t think it’s doled out tit for tat. With that being said, I think that we all can agree that 2020 is not the year we deserved, but it is the year we were given. And I hope that for you it has not been all bad.
I wrote a post about some of the things I learned about myself during the quarantine. You can read that here. It was all pretty positive as that’s where my focus was, but when I wrote it all hell hadn’t quite broken out. And while the pandemic was and still is devastating and heartbreaking, it isn’t the only thing that 2020 has brought us. With tragic displays of injustice, civil uprising, wildfires, hurricanes, and more… 2020 has brought many of us to our knees. But for some of us it has been an opportunity to examine what is really worth our attention and what we are willing to risk for what we believe in. A conscious collective reasoning has taken over and personal acts of bravery are on the rise too.
Which leads me to what taking chances has meant for me:
I quit my day job– to be fair this was not a decision I made in 2020. I had decided the year before that I would take some time off from my school counseling career to focus on my business and budding Influencer career. But when the bottom fell out I wondered about my timing. Travel was a big part of the reason I didn’t feel that I could balance both. I had speaking engagements and Influencer trips that often left me feeling guilty about leaving my school counseling role, but were too exciting and/or important to me to pass up. With the pandemic, travel was out so that was no longer an issue. Also, I kept thinking that maybe my kids would need me more. They were going through tough times just like the rest of us and then my staff reached out… this was hard. They asked that I give it just one more year. I was concerned about the timing too and I do have a bit of a savior complex, so when someone says they need me I am almost always willing to swoop in. But this time I dug deep. If there was anything I learned in 2020 it was that life really is short and we only have this one to lead. It was important for me to honor my decision and lean into what I really wanted my life to look like so I chose me. Writing that sounds so selfish but I can’t sit around encouraging others to follow their dreams with one foot outside of my own.
I spoke up on social media- I believe that we all have a social platform if we are active on any form of social media, big or small, but I also believe that the desire to speak up is a personal one. I am always more concerned with what I am doing in real life socially and politically than what I am hashtagging, but I had to speak up when it came to the tragedy of George Floyd. I had gone to visit my daughter and her family and seeing those sweet little grandbaby faces made my heart ache for what the future looked like for them. I looked around and I knew that the pain was heavy not just within me, but I didn’t really see anyone in my circles on Instagram posting yet. I know there is a desire for many of us to balance our business and personal feelings but I share so much of my life that I felt that I had to say something in a way that was true and authentic to me. I am so glad I did too. The post I wrote about my grandsons resonated with so many people and I shared a document on courageous conversations that quite a few people told me helped them. But to be honest I didn’t initially share just to help others, although that is always in the back of my mind but I spoke up because I knew it was the right personal decision for me.
Speaking of personal decisions, I made some decisions about my personal relationships too- this was probably the toughest thing to do. I am only accepting supportive and loving relationships in my life. I know not everyone understands what I do and how I do it. My own mother asks me to explain it again and again so that she can articulate it to her friends. And while Influencing and blogging are not new, they’re not your traditional career paths either. It can seem ostentatious if people don’t get that you’re not saying look at me but rather providing a service that shares and promotes products, events and ideas that you believe in. It’s really more have you considered this but since it’s often very visual and because in my case I am most often sharing fashion and beauty and therefore almost always in the photo, I know it can come off as a little self absorbed. It’s a bold path to take especially from someone who likes to let other people take the stage the way that I do. While I love to chat, I have always been more of a listener. Tell me about you is still my go-to. But I have been an influencer for three years now and I’m all in. So for anyone waiting for me to take a seat they will have to keep waiting. If you truly know me then you know I don’t solicit any kind of attention, but I am a pretty confident person so it is a good fit for me. I don’t get too caught up in the praise or the criticism, but I have decided that I will only accept supportive loving relationships both online and IRL. So, if seeing photos of me makes my friends uncomfortable then so be it. There are plenty of lifelong and fairly new friends who are supportive and that is where my focus lies. If my friends aren’t loving and supportive then they won’t have unlimited access to me. Again, I am choosing to be true to me.
Those are the three biggest not so easy chances (or changes) that I have taken this year. I’d love to hear about something new and possibly a little scary that you have done for you too.
Until Next Post,
Xo Tonya Parker
P.S. As usual you can see my look above here.