Monday Motivation: What I Really Learned From Swim Lessons

Moments With Millie

This summer I decided to take the plunge and finally learn how to swim. I had a traumatizing experience as a child that lead to my fear of large bodies of water. To make a long story short- two schoolmates threw me into a pool even though I repeatedly told them I couldn’t swim. Talk about scary! You cannot imagine my panic when I could not call for help as I sank towards the bottom of the pool. I was finally rescued when they realized I was telling the truth all along.

Fast forward to this summer when I got a once in a lifetime opportunity to take lessons.  I was a little hesitant at first however I knew the only way to conquer my fear was to dive in head first. While I knew that I would learn how to swim, I didn’t expect to also gain a few life lessons. Here is what I really learned from swim lessons:

  1. You can’t swim with your feet on the ground. My instructor said this to me after several attempts at getting me to actually swim. I had mastered some of the basics and was ready to take off. However I was fearful of not being grounded. At every attempt to swim, my sub-conscious reverted to the time that I was sinking and couldn’t get upright. I was fine as long as I was either standing up or holding on to the side of the pool.  But the reality is a fish does not swim standing up just like a bird does not fly on the ground. You must learn to let go and trust that you will be fine.
  2. Remember to breathe. We all know how essential breathing is to swimming (i.e. living). Well it turns out that breathing is also essential to calming fears. Breathing underwater is the very first task I mastered during my lessons. I even got to the point that I could hold my breath for several seconds. However everything went out of the window when it came time to swim. I was so focused on trying not to drown that I forgot to breathe. I ran out of steam quickly which lead me to becoming frustrated. I learned that if I focused on my breathing than I will stay afloat. And being fixated on possible negative outcomes did not help me. In life you may feel that are drowning however it is important to remember to breathe. If necessary, take several breaths. After all it is important to your survival.
  3. Courage does not mean you are successful. It means that you’ve persisted despite your fears. I must admit that I was a little unhappy at the end of the lessons.  A part of me felt the lessons were a waste of time because I was not a skilled swimmer. I thought I wasted a lot of time being afraid to let go. After some self reflection I realized that I was courageous. And at this point, I would much rather be courageous than a lifeguard. No offense but it was courage that lead me to conquer my fear. And building courage is always time well spent.

Motivational Monday: Going Through Tunnels

As far back as I can remember, I’ve always had a vivid imagination. I gravitated to the arts and was really into things such as music, dance, poetry, etc. Flash forward to two years ago, I decided to create this blog as a creative outlet. I had so many ideas floating in my mind and needed a way to get them out. Starting a beauty, fashion and lifestyle blog seemed like a natural fit. Except for one thing- I hate taking pictures. Like many people, I am overly critical of myself. It doesn’t help that I am a Virgo (perfectionist) and a little bit of a control freak.

I started using Polyvore as a tool for creating outfit inspiration. While it has been a great tool, it is not as effective as I would like. Sure, the site is a virtual dream closet with a large array of clothing/accessory pieces however it does not allow viewers to see the outfits on an actual person. The collages are very aesthetically pleasing however they lack the ability to make a personal connection. Over time,  looming in the back of my mind was the realization that in order to take my blog to the next step, I had to model the outfits for my posts. In other words, I had to go through the tunnel.

Going through tunnels can be a little scary. They are dark and confining. Many people speed through them which add to the anxiety factor. The kicker is however scary they are, you have to go through them to get to where you are going.

Last Sunday, I casually mentioned to my husband that I would like to start taking pictures for my blog. I said I could go to Sephora to get my makeup done (for free) and head over to a nearby location to take pictures. He said, “that’s a great idea!”. I didn’t expect him to say he was off the next day and would be more than happy to take the pictures. I instantly panicked because I knew  I would have to go through with it. You see, hubby tends to be one of the few people that can actually hold my feet to the fire.

I woke up Monday morning half excited and half scared. I decided to take my time to get dressed and put on makeup. As a result, we arrived to our destination a little later than I hoped but we quickly proceeded to take pictures. While taking pictures all I could think about was how uncomfortable with taking pictures. What’s worse is I forgot my belt and accessories.  Needless to say, I was feeling a little defeated by the time we had wrapped. As we started to make our way back to the car, my photographer (aka hubby) started to goof off by snapping a few pictures as if he was a paparazzi. After looking at those set of pictures I realized that I didn’t look as bad as I thought I did. No, my outfit wasn’t perfect but I got through the tunnel. And it wasn’t until I let go of my fears that we captured my favorite picture from the shoot:

Going Through Tunnels | Moments with Millie

Someone once told me that the greatest reward in life come from doing things that scare you the most. I couldn’t agree with that more. Change is uncomfortable but the only way to get passed your fears/insecurities is to go through the tunnel. Thank you for reading this unusually long post. Your reward is more pictures of me from the shoot.  🙂

Going Through Tunnels | Moments with Millie

Going Through Tunnels | Moments with Millie

Going Through Tunnels| Moments with Millie

Going Through Tunnels | Moments with Millie

Going Through Tunnels | MomentswithMillie




Motivational Moments: Staying Positive


In the past, I have struggled with being positive. While I would consider myself a good person, I wasn’t always the most positive. As I matured, I realized that my negativity was making me miserable. So I decided to do some soul searching. In doing this I realized that I needed to become more positive in order to become a more happy and productive person.

For me, becoming a positive person is a process. I learned that I had to change the way I think and live. Positivity is a muscle that has to be exercised daily. And while I am not completely there yet, each day I become more positive. Here are some of the things that I do to stay positive:

1. I surround myself with positive people. We all have a negative friend or family member. And while they do not mean to, they often times infect us with their negativity. Something as small as a negative remark can have a huge effect on your mood. I realized that I have to be careful of the company that I keep. Since I do not want to completely cut ties with some of my loved ones, I decided to create boundaries for myself. This allowed me to continue to have relationships with my loved ones without sacrificing my happiness. By far, this has been the most difficult yet rewarding step of the process.

2. I pray. Prayer changes things. Prayer not only changes my circumstance but also my mindset. It is kind of hard to be negative while praying.

3. I make a conscious effort to engage in activities that make me happy. I really enjoy music, fashion, decorating, organizing, and learning new things. Each day, I try to partake in an activity that makes me happy. Whenever I am having a bad day, I listen to music and my mood improves instantly. It works almost every time.

4. I cancel all negative thoughts and emotions. The opposite of negative is positive. Therefore each time a negative thought enters my mind, I replace it with a positive one. For example, each time I subconsciously tell myself that I cannot do something, I simply say: I can definitely can do that. It seems so simple however it is so effective. I learned that I needed to change the way that I speak, think, present and treat myself.

5. I give. I experience so much positivity from giving. The person on the receiving end usually benefits and I benefit by knowing that I had a positive effect on someone else’s life. Each time I give (time, money, clothing, etc.), I walk away feeling better about myself.