Comfort Zone: Contentment vs. Complacency

I recently shared on Instagram that I’ve been going through an ongoing season where the lesson has been to “go through the process in order to grow through the process.” As of lately I’ve been receiving several signs telling me it’s time to step out of my comfort zone in addition to growing through the process.

I read something that said “Your comfort zone is a beautiful place, but nothing ever grows from it.” I immediately said “yasssss” and took a screenshot. But when I thought about it more, I had a different outlook on that statement. I believe that our comfort zone can be both positive or negative. It can either be a place of contentment or complacency. For example, if one has a career as a singer and doesn’t want to pursue an acting career as well, I consider that being content. If you have found your niche and know what works for you, being in your comfort zone is a positive thing. Where I find the negative is when you remain in your comfort zone out of fear or you lack ambition to move forward. You desire a change, but you’re complacent because you’re stuck in a place of fear, or refuse to leave your place of normalcy. You make excuses as to why you can’t move forward, and keep putting things off to a later date. My biggest fear was rejection. I wouldn’t apply for certain jobs, share ideas, heck I didn’t blog for years out of fear.

I’m taking time to think about how I got to that place, and here’s what I’ve come up with so far:

– I allowed my place of contentment to evolve into complacency.

– I let motherhood be an excuse for me to not go after what I wanted.

– I compared myself and my journey to other people.

– I let my own insecurities and lack of confidence darken my thoughts on how I would be received by others.

And the list goes on…

What I’ve found important on this journey is fueling my soul with books, podcasts, music, women, etc. that will continue to motivate and push me in the right direction. So often we believe that those things have little value, but they can nourish your soul when used correctly. I’ve connected with many womenpreneurs/mompreneurs through Instagram alone. I can only imagine what my network will look like once I step out of my comfort zone and shake hands with other successful women and men. I’ve signed up for webinars, conferences and attended personal events in order to get myself moving and to keep myself moving. Surrounding myself with people and tools that will support me on my journey to living in my purpose is vital. Over the years,  my circle has become small, but I have learned that I have to expand that circle in order to meet like-minded individuals that will nurture my road to true growth. I want to be around people I will learn from, people who inspire me to level up. Making those changes have already yielded positive results.

As I stated earlier, I used motherhood as an excuse to not go after my dreams. Instead of using it as my fuel and motivation, I used it as a scapegoat. I didn’t want to face the fact that I really didn’t know what direction to go in anymore. After quitting my job, being a wife and mother were the only things I knew how to do. Many of my close friends are not mothers, so I found myself solely talking motherhood with my mother, mother-in-law and other older women. It’s beautiful to hear from wise women who are experienced, but I needed to be with other moms my age. Other wives my age. I became proactive and joined a few ministries at church in addition to all that I’m doing for my career. My family will always be my first priority so I want to make sure I have support from women who are juggling being a wife, mother, and  keeper’s of their homes successfully.

I don’t expect my journey to be smooth the entire time. After all, it is a process and I have to grow through it right? I wouldn’t say this is a how-to blog per se, but I hope this helps at least one person. We can’t allow our comfort zone to cripple us when it comes to going after our desires. Whether it be a weight loss goal, moving to a new area, career goals, family goals and more, you have to make the choice to truly go after it. What I will never do is rush. I am a firm believer of never moving forward unless you have God’s peace. I had all confidence in what God wanted to use me for, but still didn’t move because I was frozen by fear. I had to push through it.

I’ve found myself battling with balancing getting sleep and doing the work needed to grow my brand(s). I’m still breastfeeding my six-month-old on demand, and sleeping through the night doesn’t seem like it will be happening any time soon. Finding that balance has been key for me; when I actually get it right. There are some days when I haven’t slept at all, but I got some work done. Others, I’ve finally taken naps and caught up on sleep, but I didn’t get as much work completed. What I’m proud of is that I no longer bash myself when I don’t get it right. I acknowledge my growth and effort, but take note on the actions that need improvement.

 

My first blog post was about being lazy versus procrastinating. Internally I feel like I’ve been lazy, but I’m famous for mom-shaming myself. I’m confident I’ve been procrastinating. Putting off reading, working out, starting a business, going out having fun, etc. I feel like I’ve been delaying my life for the past year. I’m challenging myself to make some changes. I am my daughters first example of a woman, and I don’t want them to witness their mother afraid to live life.  My oldest daughter is already watching my every move.

Time to step out of my comfort zone so that I may blossom!  Cheers to dropping the lame excuses and getting sh*t done!

#QUEEN

 

Mommy I Can’t See, It’s Black

When I was younger, the thought of having a child used to make me nauseous. I couldn’t fathom the pain that women endured in the process of giving birth, and I couldn’t imagine having something squirming inside my stomach. It would honestly make my stomach turn, and I was fearful of the moment it would happen to me. Nevertheless, I knew that at some point when I was an adult wanted to have at least two children, preferably one boy and one girl. At the time I didn’t think about the health of my unborn children. All I thought about was the fun and adorable times that we would experience. Soon I would learn the gender of the child doesn’t matter one bit. Your ultimate desire is a healthy baby.

I was a young college student away from home and always worrying if I had done something to harm my daughter when I was pregnant the first time. As I grew further along in my pregnancy, it became engrossed with negativity and talks of high risk, so my prayers began to turn into begging God to bless my baby to be healthy. Well God did just that. Blessed me with an 8-pound beautiful, strong and healthy little girl. I wouldn’t have loved my baby any less, but no mother prays for a child that will need visits with specialists or more emergency visits. I thought my child was perfect, although I knew no one was truly perfect.

It was when my daughter was a little over the age of one when I noticed that she still struggled to gain focus with her eyes. During her well-child visits, her pediatrician stated that children are still learning how to use their eyes when they are that young, but if it persisted that I should take to her to an eye doctor. I took her advice, but ultimately knew I would do what I felt was best as her mother. At the time, I wasn’t too bothered. I chalked it up to her having a lazy eye. Then as time went on I grew a little concerned. If you ask any mother about her child, she’ll tell you she knows when something isn’t right with her baby. When I covered my baby’s left eye, she said “Mommy I can’t see, it’s black.” My heart dropped into my stomach.  I responded, “Are you sure baby? Is it black, or is it just fuzzy?” Her response, “No mommy I can’t see, it’s dark.” I called my husband and we scheduled her eye appointment immediately.

The doctor concluded that the optic nerve in her right eye didn’t fully develop, limiting her to only 5% vision in that eye, while her left eye was pretty much perfect. He said that the vision in her right eye would never improve, but it wouldn’t get worse either. We were given a prescription for some glasses that only had little medicine in order to give her a little balance, but for the most part they were vital in order to protect her left eye. At the time we were told that if anything happened to her left eye she would only “feel” like she was blind.

Years passed, and everything remained the same, but me. My daughter was thriving and refused to be viewed as one who was handicapped, but I grew more insecure. I worried about how she would succeed in the classroom, if she would be able to play safely with others, if children would bully her, if she would think she was ugly, and how she would be able to deal with it all. When I looked at my child I saw perfection, but it was tainted with MY insecurity. I suffered for years with my own insecurities and low self-esteem, so I knew I had to get my life together. I didn’t want to pass my negativity onto her, nor did I want her to think that I viewed her as less than.  I began practicing affirmations with her. It started off vocal, and the more she improved her reading and writing skills, I made her write them out. I am beautiful. I am strong. I am smart. I am loved. I am confident. I am enough. I am Taniya Beautiful Gurley.

Between the ages of 5 and 6, she began to take notice of her eye not remaining straight. I would catch her in the mirror trying to force it to look in the same direction as her healthy eye. I would reassure her that her eye was fine, but deep down, it hurt my feelings because I know that she has matured and cares more about her physical appearance. I remain strong and fight the urge to stress and grow insecure again. I did however schedule another visit with her ophthalmologist- pediatric specialist.

The results came back the same, but final. Taniya is legally blind in her right eye. So now if she damages her left eye, she will not feel blind. She will be blind until it heals. The only surgery that can be done is to correct the appearance of the eye. He said if it doesn’t bother her, leave it. But if she wants to change it, he’s available. He also reassured me that she’ll be able to drive, fly an airplane, dance, cheer, swim, gymnastics and more. She will simply struggle with athletics that use a smaller object, such as tennis, hockey and softball.

There was nothing I could do differently throughout my pregnancy to change this outcome. The optic nerve was either going to develop or not. For a while I battled with that. I believed that I was the cause of her blindness. I told myself that I was too inconsistent with my prenatal vitamins. If only I had breastfed her longer, maybe the milk could have fixed it. I am so relieved that it was not my fault, but just the birth mark that God has given my daughter. Today, I am reminded that my daughter is in fact perfect and healthy. My child is blind in one eye but is a first grader who reads on a third-grade level. She reassures me every day that she is okay. I reassure her every day that she is a queen in training. She is smart. She is confident. She is enough. She is Taniya Beautiful Gurley.

Time to Level Up: My Experience With Baby #2

To God be the glory, my husband and I have not struggled with the process of conceiving a child. In fact, it only took one try for our second daughter. Well, we weren’t actively trying lol, but we definitely got lazy on my first day of ovulation *smacks forehead*. Needless to say, we have yet to experience pregnancy the conventional/traditional way. Our original plan was for me to continue to lose weight and to start trying in August of 2017, on our wedding anniversary. That mission was a complete fail. I became pregnant in January and gave birth in October. Unlike my first pregnancy, I knew right away. I remember being at the gym, barely able to keep my eyes open, and I could not for the life of me make it through my workout without having to pee every 7-10 minutes. I decided to purchase a digital pregnancy test from CVS afterwards on my way home, while James was still at work.

Of course I had to use the bathroom as soon as I made it in the house, so I couldn’t take the test right away; it’s a pain getting the test out of the wrapper when you’re in a rush to pee.  When I took the test, I was 80% sure that I was pregnant, but the other 20% was convinced I was experiencing PMS since I was expecting my cycle that week. As I waited for the results, I went back and forth between “I know I’m not pregnant” and “girl you know the very moment it happened!” Within minutes the test read “pregnant.”

At the time James, Taniya and I were back home living with my mother. I almost walked in her room to spill the beans, but I walked straight to my room and threw the test in my trash can instead. I tried so hard to wait until James got home, but he was taking so long to drive back up from Virginia.  I couldn’t hold it in anymore so I called and told him at the truck stop he was parked at for his break. To my surprise he was excited, shouted it to the other drivers around him, and kept saying “I knew it!”

I found out on a Saturday, so I scheduled my appointment with George Washington Midwifery Services on the upcoming Monday. The funny thing is, because of my lack of preparation and experience from my first pregnancy, I had already completed all of my research for this pregnancy in 2016. Maybe I jinxed myself? At the beginning of 2016 I started the search for a good midwife. When searching for a midwife, that then led me to a search for a doula. James and I had already gone to a “meet and greet” with the midwives at GW Hospital, so I already knew who to call once I was pregnant.

As soon as you know you’re pregnant, that’s when the all the symptoms start to come through. I immediately began to experience morning sickness. My struggle wasn’t vomiting, it was the terrible feeling of being nauseous nonstop and not having the ability to vomit. For those of you who haven’t experienced pregnancy, but have been miserably drunk before, it’s the painful feeling of closing your eyes and then feeling the room spin around, but only resulting to dry heaving.  I could smell the food restaurants were cooking while driving with the windows up, I could smell someone’s breath from across the room, I slept like a bear in hibernation and the constant urination persisted.

Since I knew I was pregnant so early (4 weeks to be exact), I had to wait a few more weeks before confirming the pregnancy with the hospital. My midwifery team preferred that you be at least 7 weeks along so that they can have a more successful ultrasound. I say team because that’s exactly what I had. I had a lead midwife by the name of Whitney, that’s who most of my visits were with, but I also had an appointment with several others because you never knew who would be on call the day/night you would be in labor and delivery. I loved that Whitney went with the size of the baby to estimate my due date, and used my last menstrual cycle as a reference. The baby’s size really gave us the best estimation. When she said that, it reminded me of my pregnancy with Taniya. My due date was based on my last menstrual cycle, but when I went to the hospital to be induced a week later, I was in early labor. That was the due date that I was actually given by a sonographer because of the baby’s measurements.

My first appointment changed my life and was one for the books. Since we were new to our home set up with James being the sole provider and me being a SAHM, we decided that it was best for him to go to work. It wasn’t our first rodeo, and we figured that he would be able to make all the others to come. Instead, my mother-in-law came as my support. Whitney came into the room with the brightest energy that filled the entire place. After introducing ourselves and getting through the verbal assessment, it was time to do the physical examination. She used the speculum (I like to call them duck lips) to open my vagina, and then handed me a mirror. I thought she needed it in order to see better, but she said “Ok take a look.” I responded “Oh my goodness, sure!” I could see the inside of my vagina walls, my cervix and the cervical mucus. That may sound gross to some, but it was an amazing experience. We are always taught about our bodies, but never get the experience to explore our anatomy in the way our doctors do. I’m so glad that I’ve known my mother-in-law since I was 14 and that she had already seen my naked body from being present for my first delivery. Homegirl was all up in the mirror LOL. But she too had a job to fulfill! Whitney handed my mother-in-law a tube to open and close once she placed the big q-tip used to take a culture of my cervix. I knew from that very moment that I was in for an out-of-this world experience with this pregnancy. Natural and involved is what I wanted, and that’s what I was getting.

To be continued…