You know when you first meet someone and it feels like you’re kindred spirits? They just get you. That’s how it is with Joy. But – here’s the twist – I’ve actually known her all my life. See, Joy is my cousin and our birthdays are only two months apart – we pretty much grew up together. We didn’t live in the same neighborhood and we didn’t see each other every day, or even every month, but we did spend a lot of time together. Whether it was because I was all in my head for most of my formative years or because my memory is getting spotty, it wasn’t until more recently that I actually got to know her as a person and not just as my cool cousin.
Joy has inspired me from afar for a long time (she’s lived in Arizona, NY, and London, and I’m in L.A.). She’s smart, free-spirited, and adventurous – she just came back from a three-month solo adventure traveling to countries she’d never been to. She makes having it all together look effortless. A photo of her at mile 22 of the New York Marathon looking flawless with a huge smile on her face pretty much sums it up – in the face of a challenge, Joy powers through. And no matter how much she’s struggling internally, she does it without anyone knowing the wiser. Which, coincidently, is the exact reason for Know Your Worth – to show you that everyone struggles, despite outward appearances, and the people we look up to are not so different from ourselves.
I consider myself lucky that in addition to being my cousin, I get to call Joy a friend (and a roommate if I get my way). I’m incredibly grateful that Joy wanted to be a part of the Know Your Worth series and was willing to share her story with us. Without further ado, here’s Joy (my future roommate 🙂 ):
Currently residing in:
New York, NY
The first thing I do when I wake up is:
What I want to do (5% of the time): spring out of bed excited for another day.
What I actually do (95% of the time): see if anyone texted me while I was sleeping, read work emails, check Instagram, maybe pop over to Facebook and then realize that I’ve been lying in bed for somewhere between 10-25 minutes, and then spring out of bed because I’m late.
I can’t live without:
Coffee or tea?:
I prefer coffee, but I usually only drink (herbal) tea because I have a caffeine sensitivity.
I just went to all my dream destinations at once, but I guess my *new* dream destination is Greece!
What I’m currently reading:
Just finished Start Where You Are: A Guide to Compassionate Living by Pema Chödrön, about to start Girl, Wash Your Face by Rachel Hollis.
A typical day in my week looks like:
It’s a little hard to say right now because I’ve just been on such an extended adventure! Usually when I’m working, it starts with a run, I get to work around 9:30 or 10 (always later than I want to be), I work until somewhere between 6-8pm (on a good day), and then evenings are either me making dinner at home or meeting friends out for dinner and drinks.
My favorite thing about myself:
Physically – my tiny boobs. Mentally / emotionally / spiritually – knowing that I can handle whatever life brings my way.
My least favorite thing about myself:
Physically – my weird armpit fat (which, ironically, is technically part of my tiny boobs). Mentally / emotionally / spiritually – how hard I am on myself.
[Side note: Why do women almost always go to “physically” first when asked about their favorite and least favorite things about themselves? (I blame the patriarchy.) Also, why did I give physically its own bucket and mentally / emotionally / spiritually was all lumped together? (Again, I think the patriarchy is the answer.)]
I feel most vulnerable when:
I don’t get to go through the learning process alone (i.e., failing in front of other people).
I feel most confident when:
I’ve surprised myself with what I’ve accomplished. Most often for me, this is related to feeling really good at the end of a long run. Also when I can teach someone something new.
I wish I were better at:
Not being so hard on myself.
Something about me that most people don’t know is:
Probably secret for a reason 😉
When I was younger, the thing I worried about the most was:
Everything! The main worry has changed a bit over time. For a good portion of my 20s, I worried most about when I was going to have kids. I don’t really remember what the worry was before that, but it was probably related to getting a boy to like me.
The advice I wish I could give my former self:
You have everything you need.
The accomplishment I’m most proud of:
I was going to write “surviving 2017,” but it’s a little more than just surviving. 2017 was a particularly hard year for me on a lot of fronts (as I’ve heard it was for a lot of people!), and I think I could have easily slid into a depression and either let things spiral negatively out of control, or just continued going through the motions just waiting for it to be over. Instead, I looked really honestly at myself and my life and fought to get where I am, which is a place of calm contentment that I’m hopeful will last the rest of my life. I’m sure it looks easy to people who don’t know the details, but let me tell you, it got very ugly for a while. But it was well worth it.
For me, having self-worth means:
Taking time to prioritize yourself.
A person who inspires me is/my idol is:
Oprah. Not only does she have a bangin’ vegetable garden, she’s worked really hard to live a life that means something to her, and tries to learn from everyone she meets. She also seems to meet everyone with compassion and an open mind.
The best advice anyone has ever given me:
This one’s too hard – I’ve gotten so much good advice from so many people!!
Has there ever been a time when you felt like an imposter?
All day, every day! (Not literally, but honestly, pretty often.)
If so, how did you get through it?
Well, several things. First, I had a yoga instructor when I first started practicing that would say “fake it ‘til you make it.” It’s good advice for everything in life, because you just keep going through the motions and trying and trying and eventually you’re just doing it and you don’t even know how you figured it out. (The one exception to this is orgasms. Don’t ever fake those. It sets a bad precedent and works in the exact opposite way this rule typically works.)
The second thing is that you can remind yourself that in order to feel like an imposter, you have to already be at the place doing the thing. And if you’re already that far, are you really an imposter? If you really still think so, you won’t be for long. (Everyone remember Lindsay Lohan’s character in Mean Girls? Just sayin’…)
When do you doubt yourself the most?
When I’m trying to make a change.
How do you overcome the doubt?
That’s a really good question! I was going to say that I just do it, but that’s not true – obviously it takes more work than that 🙂
First, I do everything I can to make myself comfortable. For me, this usually means planning, examining every option, thinking of pros and cons (including the worst possible outcomes). Once I’m as comfortable as I can be, I talk to people I trust, which usually is just my sister. She believes in me even when I doubt myself, and always gives me the pep talk I need to do the thing.
What is (or was) your biggest insecurity?
I’m a people pleaser, so probably being insecure about people liking me. Life kind of wears away at that, though. I’ve talked to most of my friends over 30 about how the older you get, your f*cks just seem to disintegrate until you don’t have any more left for anyone. Which is a really nice, liberating feeling. I wish there was a way to teach it to people in their teens and 20s! Also, don’t get me wrong, I still *want* people to like me, but I don’t worry or obsess about it anymore.
Talk about the biggest failure you’ve had. What did you learn from it?
The most overt failure I’ve probably had is the failure of my marriage (also known as getting divorced). It was a failure by society’s standards, by most of my family’s standards, and by connection to those things, a failure by my standards as well. I could talk for hours (maybe even days, honestly) about what I learned from it, which is actually the silver lining to any failure if you’re a person with the courage to look back and ask “why?” I’m actually still learning lessons from it over 5 years later. I think the biggest lessons are to listen to and trust myself and to be an active participant in every aspect of my life.
Do you have a mantra? If so, what is it?
I don’t, but maybe I should!
Is there anything else you think is important or that you wish people would know?
I think it’s important to understand that we’re all works in progress. We’re all just out here, doing the best we can with what we’ve been given. Knowing that everyone is on their own journey is a way of understanding that we’re all on one journey, and that we can move through that journey with compassion for others, and, more importantly, compassion for ourselves.
For more inspiration, you can find Joy on Instagram:
Check out this post for more on what the Know Your Worth series is all about.