Stop being so fixated on comfort.

Let’s face it, nothing about being a woman is comfortable. From puberty to menopause and all the pms in between. Uncomfortable.

Bras, heels, stockings… Uncomfortable
Honestly for most of us being in our own skin… Uncomfortable.

It’s no wonder we seek comfort in our lives and daily routines. But does that daily routine make you happy, or do you go through the motions everyday just accepting that’s the way it is?

Let’s talk about a different kind of comfort, the one we call our “comfort zone”. The one we hold on to with all our might and then proceed to complain how we don’t have what we want in our lives. The comfort zone that keeps us in dead end jobs and relationships. Keeps us in our proverbial rut.

Well, sorry to say but if you want things to be different for yourself then you’re going to have to get intentional about growth. Your going to have to leave that comfort zone behind.

We may have to deal with pms and menapouse as a fact of life, but so much more in our lives is up to us.

Is there something you’ve always wanted to try, always wanted to accomplish? Those “wish I could” moments are usually the result of us staying “comfortable and not exploring what’s outside that comfort zone.

Until 3 years ago, the idea of painting in front of people was terrifying to me. Alone in my studio, my comfort zone, that was just fine, but you couldn’t even sit in there with me while I paint, no less me set up an easel to entertain you so you could watch, or climb a wall to do a mural so you could see me possibly fail miserably. I could actually hear your voices in my head saying, “She doesn’t know what she’s doing”, “She’s really not that talented”. And why in the world at the age of 45 would I start doing things differently when it came to my art? I had been accepted as an artist and was doing well showing in galleries and around town. Why would I risk “looking bad”, when I was finally doing “it”. Being an artist.

Because I wanted more, because I had dreamed since I was a little kid about setting up an easel outside while music pulsed my veins and creating something, anything. I dreamt since I was a teenager of making a difference and sharing my work.

So, I did it. I accepted an invitation to paint with three other artists, live. Yes, in front of people. I was a nervous wreck and I was convinced my painting would be horrible and everyone would see me as a fraud. Instead I had fun, and created a piece I was actually proud of. What I took from that experience wasn’t that I had made a nice painting but that I did something that terrified me and I was ok. There was no reason for me not to be ok. Even if my painting wasn’t good. I showed up, and I did it. I would decide if I was ok, not the opinions of the people watching.

Isn’t that what typically holds us back? What we think other people will think? I’m starting to realize I’m not all that important to other people. They may have a fleeting opinion about me, but those who judge are too busy looking for the next person to judge to be worried about me and what I’m doing. Those that care about me will admire I took a chance and encourage me. I choose those people. Yes, I get to. I get to choose to surround myself with those people. And I get to make the decisions in my life that point me towards growth and acceptance. Acceptance of myself. Maybe then that skin I was talking about earlier will feel a little more comfortable.

Now I look for opportunities to paint live in front of people all the time, and it’s shaped my career as an artist. It’s one of the most fulfilling, spiritual things I do in my life. To think I may have never discovered that had I not been willing to get out of my own way.
What in your comfort zone holds you back? Who do you surround yourself with, critics or cheerleaders?

Take off your bra and let yourself get uncomfortable in the ways that matter.
Happy Monday.

In her words…

Quetcy was 17 when I featured her as the Troy, NY Girl Noticed. Her bravery and resilience does not go unnoticed. She owns her story and continues to push through. She has allowed herself to be vulnerable in telling her story.

With her permission I share this with you in her words.

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“The Story of Me” by Quetcy Jacobs
Everyone has a story, some stories are good and some are bad but through all the stories there are meaningful messages to them all. I hope to share my story with you all and I hope to inspire all of you who read this.

It all began a little before birth, I was born premature to a mother who was addicted to all sorts of illegal substances and she did things that weren’t healthy for her or the babies that she was carrying; or even those around her. She was an unstable individual. Let’s just say my journey into this world wasn’t easy. If any of you were to look at me, physically I would appear average, if any of you were to look at me, mentally I would appear average. You wouldn’t be able to tell just by looking at someone what there life story was. This is why I am sharing mine with all of you. I don’t really remember much from birth so I am going to skip a few years…

My birth mother was unable to care for me in the proper way, and because of this I was given to my paternal aunt. From the moment that decision was made, I remained in the custody of my aunt for a few years. Those years weren’t the best years of my life.

There were some days that were good but there were some days that were bad. As a child, I was physically and mentally abused. As far as education went, my aunt and uncle, whom I called “mom and dad” rarely took me to school. I didn’t really have friends, I didn’t even know how to make friends. I lacked so many skills that are important to a child’s development. On the days that I didn’t go to school I remember being very sad. School was like an escape for me. An escape from the chaos and havoc in my life. I felt like I was living a different life while I was at school.
I was always kept inside, isolated from the outside world. Due to the instability of my environment, living with my paternal aunt and uncle, I was removed and put into foster care.
My years in foster care were from ages 7 till about the age of 10. I bounced around from foster home to foster home. I wasn’t an angel. I was at times a misbehaved little child. I was very rambunctious. I was afraid to let anyone in. Afraid, that someone would hurt me. My life didn’t really get better until I was about 10 years old. On my tenth birthday my then fabulous social worker, took me to the park where I was going to meet my foster parents that were soon going to be my adoptive parents. That visit to the park was one of the best visits. I remember playing scrabble with my soon to be foster parents and laughing. It was then that I knew my life would completely change…. for the better!

I am very happy with the life that I have now. Two moms and a family that I can call my own is the greatest thing that I could ever ask for. My parents are the light of my life, they are my whole world. They inspire me to reach for the stars and strive to be the best that I can be. Both of my parents believe that education is very important so I made it a point to make education a huge part of my life. I managed to graduate at the top of my class and I even received the only scholarship that there was from my principal as well as getting a music recipient award from my music teacher.

“Flash Forward”
Fast forward to the year 2016-17
I am 18 years old about to be 19. I am an active member in the LGBT community. I am happy to be in a community that accepts individuals for who they are, flaws and all. Back then being gay, wasn’t the easiest thing for anyone; but things have changed quite a bit, especially when the Supreme Court legalizing gay marriage. This was a huge positive turning point for many.

Knowing that you no longer have to hide is one of the greatest things in the whole wide world! I love life, even though life is hard I manage to find the good in every situation no matter how big or how small. When my skies are grey, I use the one gift that God gave me. My voice. I sing whenever I can. I sing in the car, in my room, and in public. I just recently sang at my parents wedding. I am still so happy that my parents were able to get married.

Over all, life is rough but with love and God on your side everything will be okay. I leave you with this: “ We may not have it all together, but together we have it all”

I just want to thank Lori Pratico for giving me the opportunity to write in her blog and share my life experiences with those around me. I hope that you all find my story inspiring and leave knowing that you are not alone!

If you would like to share your story, email girlnoticed@gmail.com