blue road bike

How To Be FEARLESS

From my blog archives with a few new edits, Fearless was originally posted on September 21, 2016.

Is it weird to say that I admire my childhood self? When I was younger, I did whatever I wanted without fear or hesitation. There was no letting my emotions cloud my judgement. I wasn’t afraid of the dark. No anxiety about getting lost when exploring new places. I wasn’t overly conscious of how I carried myself when meeting new people and making friends. If you need help with living without fear of getting hurt, physically or emotionally, let’s talk about how to be fearless.

DO WHAT MAKES YOU HAPPY

Channel your inner child, & do what makes you happy. My favorite fearless, childhood memory that I still reflect on quite often was the day I learned how to confidently ride a bike. I was ecstatic to be riding steadily, so I decided to explore my neighborhood. hills with my hair flowing and slowly becoming a tangled mess beneath my helmet.Little did I know, I’d return home about an hour later with a broken bicycle, sprained fingers, & a hideously bloody right leg.

The euphoric memory turned into disaster, as I was going too fast around a corner. My depth perception of how close I was actually riding next to a building was WAY OFF. With my left hand wrapped around the handle bar, I smashed it into the corner of a building, crushing my fingers. My handle bars spun counter-clockwise, & I was tossed from my bike through the air. I had a brief out of body experience, watching myself being thrown through the air. Immediately, I realized how blissfully stupid & careless I had been. I landed on my knees, slid a few feet, & didn’t stop until my right leg was trapped beneath a chain linked fence.

Despite the obviously dreadful state I was in, I didn’t shed a single tear. I still remember pulling the fence off my thigh and sliding my leg out from beneath. Slowly, I composed myself, limped back to my bike, & made my way back home literally laughing out loud at how much of an idiot I was. I still have a faint scar on my right thigh from the chain link fence, & whenever I look at my scar, I’m always reminded of my innate fearlessness as a child.

CHANNEL YOUR INNER CHILD

When adulting gets to be more than you can handle, it’s time to channel your inner child. We should all want to embody the fearlessness of childhood again. I want to live fearlessly. And I know it’s possible, because from my childhood memories, I know that I was once fearless. I don’t want to feel anxious anymore or be afraid to express myself. I want to be completely & unapologetically ME. Now, when I find myself paralyzed by fear, I do my best to remind myself that the fear only exists in my head. I’ve done so many scary things already, & I managed to make it through everything unscathed.

HOW TO BE FEARLESS?

Refuse to let fear stand in the way of your happiness. Everything I want in life is on the other side of fear. The most worthwhile things in life are beyond my reach, & outside of your comfort zone. If you want to live your life to its fullest & have everything I’ve ever wanted, believe in yourself & do it in spite of your fears & hesitation. You won’t become fearless overnight, but you can start by fearing LESS

XO Denise

macbook air flower bouquet and magazines on white table

Why I Blog

From my blog archives with a few edits, THIS IS WHY I BLOG originally posted on August 26, 2016.

I will be the first to admit that I grew up extremely nerdy & absolutely LOVED school! Every morning, I woke up eager to learn, & I couldn’t get enough. I still remember days I’d cry because I was forced to stay home because I was too sick. I was so proud of having perfect attendance, & I didn’t realize there was even the option to not do your homework until I was in high school. At one point, I even asked my parents to enroll me in summer school programs. Even when I was already excelling beyond my grade level, I wanted to attend school all year round. I still highly value education and do my best to continue to learn in every aspect of my life. Hopefully this gives you enough background to where my story begins.

Learning HTML

When I was 11 years old, I taught myself HTML. (Yes, you read that correctly. I taught myself HTML when I was 11 years old.) While other typical 6th grade girls were concerned about their acne, braces, & getting their crush to notice them, I created my first website.

My first website was called “Neecie’s Mystic Universe”. (I know right? My eleven year old self was IN LOVE with that one! LOL) The layout was simple, & the font was adorable & rainbow colored. My content included a lengthy biography describing myself (hair color, eye color, my likes & dislikes, etc.), random fictional stories & poems I had written. I also made these digital dolls (pictured below) that I would create and/or customize by request. 

It was hosted by angelfire.com (now angelfire.lycos.com apparently?). And despite the constant, annoying pop up ads, I was so proud of it & myself! I completely wrote the HTML code. The website design & content was created & shared by me. Not many eleven year olds at the time could say that. I eagerly logged on every day to see numbers on my guest counter go up & check for any new entries in my guest book.

 Keep in mind, at this time, my parents limited my computer usage. (As any good parent should with all the technology preventing kids from playing outside nowadays!) I only had 2 hour blocks of time on the computer, according to a schedule that my dad had created. I’d beg my siblings to give me their computer time slots. My younger brother always gave up his time willingly as he never wanted to use it anyway, but my older sister often said no just to spite me. (Mind you, she wouldn’t even use her time on the computer. She just didn’t want to let me have hers! Older sisters… So mean!)

Silly Little Girl

The summer before I started high school, I decided my website needed an upgrade. It had to grow and change, just as I was transitioning into a new school. This is when “Neecie’s Mystic Universe” evolved into “Silly Little Girl”. 

Also, around this time, I received an offer to be “hosted” by the owner of “iwontbeignored.net“. I forget her actual name, but she was a bit edgy & was obviously obsessed with the band, Linkin Park. The only thing that mattered to me at the time was that she saw potential in me and my website. She wanted to give me free web space under her domain, and thus, I was officially pop-up ad free at “sillylittlegirl.iwontbeignored.net“.

My content was new (more short fictional stories, poems, etc.), and my layouts improved as I learned more HTML as well as simple Javascript. I was thrilling each time I updated my layout (Silly Little Girl version 2.0, 3.0, so on and so forth.) Whenever my closest friends were absent from school, I’d spend my entire lunch hour in the library coding away.

As my focus turned to prepping for the SATs & applying to colleges in my Junior & Senior year of high school. Silly Little Girl began to be more & more neglected. I also became more active in Dance, Cheerleading, Drama, & other clubs. Updates became few & far in between, until my host forced me to relinquish my domain space due to inactivity. In the years following, I focused majority of my creativity into Dance. I didn’t focus on coding or writing again until my first semester in college.

 Writing 101

One of my 1st memories in college was my first & last day in Writing 101. After brief introductions, I wrote a brief in-class essay. I was the first to finish. And in the time it took me to walk back to my dorm room, my professor had emailed me to inform me that he was moving me into the more advanced Writing 10 class instead.

I was ecstatic to be writing again. Even after getting my writing prerequisites for my major, I still took creative writing classes just for fun. I’ve always valued any way I could express my creativity. With so many thoughts constantly floating around in my head at any given moment, I have an irrational need to express myself in any way that I can.

Denise Joyce > MorganFreeman7

Most of you know the story behind my psuedonym “MorganFreeman7”. For those of you who don’t, when I initially launched my YouTube channel, I wanted a way to explore YouTube realm while remaining anonymous. This way, in the case that my videos & channel became a complete disaster, I could delete it without being embarrassed or anyone knowing. On the flip side, I fell in love with creating new video content & as my channel continued to grow, I decided to re-brand. MorganFreeman7 is a mask I hid behind. I wanted to be ME! And I wanted my audience to know the real me as well. 

I initially started this blog on June 8th in 2011, as a supplement to my YouTube channel, whenever I got too busy to film. It’s meant to be a place for me to connect with you all. If I wasn’t uploading videos, I was usually blogging & vice versa. Eventually, I revamped my blog & created the layout & logo you see now. I want to grow my personal empire as ME! I want you all to think of “Denise”, not Morgan Freeman when you view or interact with my content.

Express Yourself

Self-expression is a powerful tool, & I think it’s the most effective when you’re truly expressing who you are. MorganFreeman7 was a mask that represented my fear, my hesitation, & my self-doubt. This blog & me choosing to re-vamp, re-launch, & re-introduce myself proudly & fearlessly as Denise Joyce is the most important part of my story. 

XO Denise

yellow dead end sign during day time

How To Survive Your Quarter Life Crisis

From my blog archives with a few updates, DEAD END DREAMS was originally posted on September 23rd, 2016. Originally dedicated to my brother, but now dedicated to anyone currently going through their quarter life crisis. You got this!

 “I’ve got nothing to show for these dead-end dreams. My heart will ache again, it seems. Cause you’re not in my arms & all I want to do is keep my promises to you.” Dead End Dreams by Man Overboard

A week before I turned 26, I heard this song sitting in the passenger seat of my brother’s car for the first time. My brother & I don’t necessarily have the exact same taste in music, but this song will forever resonate with me as the anthem of my quarter-life crisis. Today, I’m sharing my advice on how to survive your quarter life crisis.

Growing up, I imagined that I would be so much further along in my life by the time I was 25. I thought I’d be married, ready to start a family, with a thriving career. Instead, I still held the same bank teller job that I got right after graduating from college, & I had just broken up with my boyfriend of one year. It was the absolute lowest point of my existence.

Every day, I felt anxious & panicked, & I’d constantly berate myself with questions: 

  • Why am I still a bank teller?
  • Will I ever find a career that I love?
  • Why did I break up with him?
  • Is what he did to me really THAT BIG of a deal-breaker? 

Instead of enjoying the career opportunities that still awaited me and celebrating my new freedom as a young single woman, I was left frozen, questioning whether or not I was good enough. I felt absolutely worthless and pathetic. Up until this point in time, my life was a series of joyous accomplishments. I lived each day with optimism and positivity. I’d set goals, crush them, and make new ones. As someone who grew up so idealistically driven, it was only a matter of time before the reality of the economy and workforce I had been thrown into would catch up to me. It was the first time I had ever genuinely felt depressed about where I was in my life.  

YOU ARE NOT ALONE

If you’re experiencing your quarter-life crisis right now, the key thing to remember is: YOU ARE NOT ALONE. Experiencing a quarter of a life crisis is inevitable nowadays. I went through it. My family & close friends of mine went through it. I even know others who are going through it right now.

TALK ABOUT IT

Most of the happiest and successful people I know have had their own quarter-life crisis stories to tell, which leads me to my next piece of advice: TALK ABOUT IT. I personally LOVE stories! Talk to your friends, family, a therapist, or even random strangers from all walks of life. Everyone you meet has a unique story to tell, & I enjoy hearing the experiences of other people’s lives whenever the opportunity arises. What was your childhood like?How did you become the person you are today? What inspires you? What do you want to achieve in your lifetime? 

You may not be where you want to be right now, but talking to people who have been in a similar situation can help a lot. You never know whose story may inspire you or lead you to your next venture. The way I see it is things tend to balance themselves out over time.

THIS IS TEMPORARY

You can only pull an arrow back so far before it has to be released and launched, which brings me to my next point: THIS IS TEMPORARY.
Once I accepted that my situation was only temporary, I focused on strengthening my emotional intelligence. I became more self-aware of how I dealt with my emotions, & I did my best to empathetically and judiciously weigh my decisions involving others. I wanted to understand why I felt the way I did, and I wanted to accept them as they were, without letting them control me. 

 As long as you keep moving forward, new opportunities will present themselves in time. You don’t have to have everything figured out right now. Believe me. I sure didn’t have anything planned out the way I wanted it to happen. But with time & deciding to live mindfully and enjoying my life exactly as it was. 

EMBRACE WHO & WHAT MAKES YOU HAPPY

When I was 25, I started my YouTube Channel, created this blog, & found an amazing job in the Beauty Industry. The next steps you take in life will reveal themselves in time. The lyrics of “Dead End Dreams” still resonate with me to this day, but they have a different meaning now than they did when I was 25. I want to keep dreaming, even if I have nothing to show for it. I’m not afraid of getting my heartbroken, because I’m strong & I don’t need to be in a relationship to be happy. I want to keep my promises to everyone that I love, especially the promises I’ve made to the person I love most, MYSELF

XO Denise

golden gate bridge san francisco

Daily Positive Affirmations

From my blog archives with a few updates, FOR EVERY NEGATIVE THERE IS A POSITIVE was originally posted on September 13th, 2016.

While I try to portray myself as positively as I can, I’m human & prone to pessimistic thoughts. From psychology, I learned that it’s a common symptom of emotionally intelligent people. I overthink things & list out every possible pro & con before making any final decisions. It’s not necessarily a bad thing, but it makes certain aspects of my career & building interpersonal relationships difficult. I usually find myself teetering at the edge before making the final necessary leap, & that’s why I wanted to share my daily positive affirmations.

Growing up, success came very easily to me. I usually always thrive with plenty of others cheering me on. Now as an adult, that’s not always the case. There are people who will enter your life with their own agenda, & I unfortunately found out the hard way that the more you look outward for approval & validation from others, the more unhappy & lonely you become. Through failure, rejection, & toxic relationships, I’ve grown to love myself & build myself up more than anyone else possibly could. 

Before conquering the world each day, I look at myself in the mirror while I’m getting ready, & I tell myself the following positive affirmations:

I am brilliant, bright, & beautiful.

Brilliant & bright have several connotative & denotative meanings. All of which I’m proud to be. I am radiant, clever, & I shine in the spotlight. To me, true beauty encompasses your mind, & this is why I choose to use these words together. 

I forgive those who have harmed me in the past & peacefully detach myself from them. 

In the past, I held onto the pain & frustration caused by others for far too long. It’s weird how you want to hold onto the shattered remains of what once made you happy, because it’s all you have left. Rejection & heartbreak will change you. It takes a huge toll on your ego, but once you come to terms with the truth & redirect yourself back on the right path, you gain clarity. 

You have no control over the actions of others, but you do have control over how you react, how you take an unfortunate situation, & how you learn from it. I actively remind myself to forgive those who have hurt me. I don’t want to let the decisions of others affect my happiness. If they don’t appreciate my presence, it’s in my best interest to let go.

I possess the qualities needed to be extremely successful.

Building a successful career has always been important to me. I know that I have to work my way to the top, & I know my journey will be unique. When I’m in boss mode at the office, I channel my talents & confidence to make my presence known & lean in at every Zoom meeting. 

Creative energy surges through me for new & brilliant ideas.

I need to stay creative at work as well as when I’m creating new content here on my blog and on my YouTube channel. Sometimes I feel like I’ve completely depleted my creative juices, so I like to remind myself to stay inspired. 

I am blessed with an incredible family & wonderful friends.

This one is self-explanatory. 🙂 

I acknowledge my own self-worth. My confidence is soaring.

How I perceive myself is more important than how others do. I’m not afraid to walk away from people who don’t appreciate my presence. I’m good enough exactly as I am, & I don’t need to prove that to anyone. 

Happiness is a choice. I base my happiness on my own accomplishments & the blessings I’ve been given.

Some days are harder to be happy than others, & that’s expected. When I force myself to think about how far I’ve come on my journey & how my life is filled with amazing people and experiences, it’s easy to choose to be happy every day. 

My ability to conquer my challenges is limitless. My potential to succeed is infinite. 

There’s always going to be bumps along the road, but I know I can handle them all. Whatever life throws my way, I’m ready & I’m willing to take it on. 

If you’ve never used daily positive affirmations before, I recommend you start immediately, especially if you’re lacking in self-love. It seemed weird for me at first, but I find that the more I recognize the greatness within myself, the more I’m able to love myself & openly share love & kindness to those around me. When I’m having a bad morning or if I’m running late, this morning ritual is invaluable. You don’t have to feel unhappy & alone. You can choose to be happy. We’re all worthy of love and happiness, & I refuse to let anyone feel the way I once did. I only hope that the love I have for myself inspires others to love themselves as well. 

XO Denise

down angle photography of red clouds and blue sky

Healing Childhood Wounds

A common conversations among my siblings & I is: “How do you think our lives would be different if we didn’t have loving & supportive parents?” I am incredibly blessed & grateful to have two amazing parents who gave me the best childhood. It’s common knowledge that your upbringing affects your behavior & habits as an adult. That’s why healing childhood wounds is so important.

Our brains are wired to choose romantic partners based on how you were treated by your parents or primary caregivers. Because of this, we tend to attract partners who possess similar qualities as our parents. So unless we proactively choose to avoid toxic traits & heal our childhood wounds, generational trauma is destined to repeat itself.

Identify Your Childhood Wounds

In my blog post about emotional triggers, I explain my fear of abandonment. I’m happy to share that I’m not afraid of abandonment or losing people that I love anymore. But know that it is important to recognize that the things that happened to you as a child can be carried into adulthood if you don’t take the time needed to heal that trauma. 

In another blog post, I highlighted trauma bonding & all the ways you can recognize if you’re trauma bonded to someone. If your parents wanted to control your every move, you may seek a life partner who behaves the same way. If your parents put you on a pedestal, as a shiny trophy, for everyone to envy. You may seek a romantic partner who does the same.

If your current relationship reminds you of the relationship you have with your parents, take it as a red flag. Does your partner want what’s best for you, or do they actually want what will work best for them? 

Don’t ever spread yourself too thin for someone who doesn’t consider your well-being in addition to their own. Are you just choosing love based on what your parents taught you love was?

Treat Others How You Want To Be Treated

Growing up, my friends loved to tease me about how I had a “perfect family”. As a child, I was embarrassed, but now as an adult, I can recognize that they were honestly jealous. Instead of thinking that I’m not normal for not constantly fighting with my parents & siblings, I’m proud to say that I love my parents & my siblings are my best friends, because it’s a huge factor of who I am

My parents are never hypocritical. My siblings & I respect our parents, because they respect us. We love & trust each other unconditionally, and we set boundaries as needed. 

My father never yells at me or my siblings. When we do something bad or get in trouble, he speaks to us calmly, expresses his disappointment, talks through how to ensure it doesn’t happen again.

Because of how my parents raised me, I don’t tolerate disrespect. My time & attention is valuable. I firmly set my boundaries, & I’m not afraid to stand up for myself, without needing to yell, curse, berate, or humiliate another person.

Because of my upbringing, I’ve never said I love you & not meant it. I’ve never insincerely sweet-talked or manipulated someone to get what I want from them. To be loved by me is to be given complete freedom & trust. Your behavior when I’m with you or even importantly, when I’m not around, will tell me everything that I need to know about your level of care & respect of me.

Take the Time & Get the Help You Need to Heal

Once you’re able to identify what you need to heal & proactively try to be a better person, take the time to heal. Depending on your level of trauma, you may even want to get professional help. Through my blog, I’ve reflected on a lot of my childhood, & it’s helped me tremendously. By healing my childhood wounds, I know who I am, & I know how I deserve & want to be loved.

XO Denise

What Inspires You?

From my blog archives with a few new edits, I originally wrote this on October 14th, 2016. Enjoy!

Has anyone ever asked you a question that you were completely unprepared to answer? It’s weird how your mind reflects on what you should have said in the moment for days, weeks, months, or even years afterward. A friend of mine recently asked me “What inspires you?“, & I was surprised to discover that I didn’t have a ready, clear, & concise answer for him. Now that I’ve given the question more thought, I’ve found that it’s not necessarily “what” inspires me but rather “who”.

When I’m not focused on a specific task, I find that my mind is in a constant stream of consciousness, flowing endlessly from one thought to the next until I’m suddenly reflecting on something stupid & embarrassing I did when I was in the 5th grade. The most minuscule thought that crosses my mind can inspire a single blog post, but once I forced myself to think beyond that fact, I realized that my main source of inspiration comes from wanting to inspire others on a grander scale.

Last Summer, during a one on one check in with my boss, she asked “What work are you doing that’s most in line with your long term goals?” At the time, I felt a rush of panic wash over me. I knew that persistence and discipline in your every day routine brings you closer to your goals. Because of that, I found myself worrying if anything that I had been doing routinely up until then was actually worthwhile. 

I’ve always known that I wanted to be a successful leader in a field that I was passionate about. It was also imperative for me to help guide and inspire others to do the same. Little did I know that with the time and focus I was already dedicating to blogging & vlogging each day, I was already well on my way to achieving that goal. 

I ASPIRE TO INSPIRE INDIVIDUALS TO EMBRACE THEIR UNIQUENESS AND ENRICH THEIR EXISTENCE.

Since starting my YouTube Channel & blog in May of 2011, I am astounded by the influence I’ve made upon the lives of strangers. It’s empowering to see how my outlets for creativity & self-expression have impacted my family, friends, & several individuals I’ve never even met before.

It’s surreal to think that my content can influence individuals to dream, learn, & believe in themselves. I started my YouTube channel & blog in my early twenties, desperate to give my life more purpose & meaning. I’m honestly just sharing my thoughts & reactions to everyday life, but I’m so grateful to hear that my epiphanies can make such a positive impact. 

YOU INSPIRE ME.

And for that I want to say thank you. I’m so grateful to even have an audience. Without you, my thoughts would remain in my head. You make me feel happy & free to express myself without fear of judgement. I wholeheartedly embrace my unique story, because you make it feel worthy of being heard. You inspire me to keep improving, & in turn, I want to do the same for you. 

I promise to keep creating content & sharing my thoughts with you. If you ever need your spirits lifted, just remember that you are enough. You deserve to be happy. You deserve to live a life that you’re excited about. Don’t let anyone make you forget that! 

So now, I ask you the same question… “What inspires you?” Let me know in a comment below.

XO Denise