Seeking Authentic Connection for 2020

There are only three more months before 2019 comes to an end, and 2020 rolls in. I’m not one for New Years Resolutions, but I love the idea of setting intentions.

Forming connections as an adult is nothing like when we were younger. When we were kids, as long as you liked vaguely the same things as the other kid on the playground, you’d instantly form a friendship.

As an adult, I can’t even go to yoga class and get more than a sheepish “hi,” from the person next to me. And even on the rare occasion I get something I can work with, there’s an odd obstacle that faces anyone trying to form a new friendship with someone they met out in the real world.

Authentic connection—the kind where you understand each other on a more meaningful and profound level—seems near impossible to form nowadays. Living in Los Angeles, I’m constantly bombarded with people wanting to take group shots for Instagram or Snapchatting any event we go to. To each their own, but don’t get upset if I’m not interested in acting like we’re having the time of our lives the second you point your phone at me.

This year taught me one thing, though: there’s hope. I’ve met phenomenal human beings that I can hold thought-provoking conversations with; that support me, and I support them. And though I resent social media for the unwavering anxiety it brings me, it’s been a source for several fledgling friendships that I see great potential in.

With 2020 coming around the corner, I hope one thing for me and for all of you: authentic connections in your life.

Humans are social creatures and crave understanding. Social media created a more connected culture now more than ever. The catch is, through that connection, we’re feeling more alone than ever. No longer are we solely focused on what’s happening in our lives or our closest friends. We can literally see what a bikini model in Bali is eating for lunch. A mere tap on a screen can show us what everyone from our high school is doing on any given Saturday night. Instead of genuine connection, we’ve created a culture of comparison and FOMO. Our sense of wanting to belong is there, and social media creates a mirage of our deepest desires for intimacy.

So in 2020, I hope you— and I— find that deep connection we crave. Whether it initially sparks on social media or you find it at your local Whole Foods, I truly hope that we start to focus on real-life, meaningful relationships. I don’t want to die knowing I had a 12% engagement rate on Instagram (I don’t). I want to know I had an impact on the lives of those closest to me and that I was loved. Selfish? Perhaps. But it’s better than promoting a culture of envy behind a phone screen.

And if you’re thinking it’s too late-- that your prime years for life-long friendships passed— I implore you to think differently. People come into our lives when we’re ready for them. Perhaps you wouldn’t have been open to their kind of friendship in college; maybe you would’ve taken them for granted.

There are few people I’m still friends with from high school, and I cherish their friendships. The rest were never meant to last. We either grew apart or had a falling out; I made mistakes, and so did they. And for varying reasons, we never reconnected.

My intentions for making friends as a teenager were basically non-existent or shallow. I focused too much on befriending the popular kids in my high school, even if they were complete assholes. In college, all I cared about is if you partied. Or if you were in my sorority, because I thought that was a stellar way to make friends, ignoring my lenience towards male friends.

My motives then weren’t what they are now. Today, I want people in my life that are as down (if not more) to go to the farmer’s market as they are to hit up the bar. I’m more attracted to people from different walks of life; people that have interesting stories. Emotional intelligence is essential for me to form a connection with someone. All of which I would’ve turned away from or taken for granted when I was younger.

Age should be seen as obsolete in this endeavor. If you’re lucky enough to have found a life-long friend at seven, great for you. A friendship you form at forty is not less meaningful, though. If anything, you connected at a time when you were more aquatinted with your authentic self. A time well past the emerging, self-discovery years of your early twenties.

It’s never too late to create an authentic connection with someone new.

As the New Year rolls around, remember: don’t settle for friends that leave you feeling a void. There’s something to be acknowledged if your friends make you feel drained. You deserve friends that make you feel full; that leaves you feeling cared for and energized.

When you find that kind of connection, foster it. Put in the work to foster something beautiful and let the other person know they’re important to you.

Because authentic connection is a rarity in life, it’s not something we easily come across. But when we do find it, it’s part of what makes life worth living. It’s the people you call the moment you find out you landed your dream job. The ones you force to carve pumpkins with you around Halloween. The people that hold your hand when you’re nervous about a doctor’s appointment.

And the people that will be standing by your side through the worst and best parts of 2020 and years to come.

We Accept The Love We Think We Deserve

And you deserve the best.

I wrote a fun little post based on a line from my all-time favorite movie, Perks Of Being a Wallflower. If you haven't seen it, watch it... or read it; since the film is based on a book.

The movie is profound. It touches on mental health, the idea of feeling like you don't fit in, domestic abuse, and other things I can't talk about without spoiling the book/movie.

I love the line when the main character is talking to his English teacher. The sage advice of "we accept the love we think we deserve," resonated with my fucking core when I first heard it.

What I know I deserve in love now is much different than what I believed I deserved before. You can read all about that here.


Happy Friday, ya'll.

We made it to the end of the week. Hopefully, you're not celebrating too much; at least not in that, I hate my job and live for the weekends sorta way. That's a sad way to live life. I hope that's not you.

This week's been filled with re-connecting with people, working on my media kit, writing articles, and makin' moves.

Oh, did I mention I'm going to be on the news on Monday? I'm going to be part of the "Style for Entrepreneurs" segment on Fox LA. This makes me giggle since technically, I'm one of the models.

I used to do a bit of promotional modeling back in the day. I even did a semi-salacious shoot; I'll add a photo below for sex appeal.

What's funny (but not so much) is that I starved myself for two days before this photoshoot. By the time the morning of the shoot came, I thought I was going to pass out. I figured I'd be okay if I just ate a granola bar, but boy was I wrong. I got the worse stomach cramps that I had to be carried down to the beach.

That was part of a series of very unfortunate events that led to a 4-year eating disorder.


Which brings me to another point: It's Mental Health Awareness Week!

THIS TOPIC IS SO NEAR AND DEAR TO MY HEART THAT I DECIDED TO ALL CAPS THE SENTENCE.

Did you know one in five adults struggle with mental health? One in FIVE. Think of you and four other friends. That means at least one of you is most likely struggling with some form of mental illness.

So why in the world is the topic so taboo? It's like periods.. half the population gets them, but god forbid I say the word "tampon" in public. But that's for another email. Let's focus on mental health.

The United States has a mental health epidemic, yet talking about our mental health is so taboo.

We need to change that, at least with the people closest to us. No more of this general "how are you?" bullshit. That basically equates to hello.

No, let's dig deeper. If you have a loved one that recently lost their job, check-in on them. If your friend's mother recently passed away, ask them how they're handling it. We need to stop tiptoeing around mental health. We need to dig a little deeper with those closest to us.

Because people who are suffering are scared to open up. The stigmas surrounding mental illness are so strong that it feels uncomfortable/intrusive to talk to other people about it. It's a vicious cycle of silence.

But no more. We can end that by focusing on those closest to us.

So reach out to someone you love and ask them more than just "how are you?"


Articles I wrote this week:

How To Experience Love When You Don’t Think You Deserve It

6 Questions To Ask Yourself Before You Can Experience Life-Changing Growth

How To Stay Sane While Using Instagram

At 53, My Mom Found Her Family She Never Knew Existed

Articles I loved:

Yes, You Really Should Unfollow Celebrities On Social Media

Here’s How Talking About Mental Health At Work Can Reduce Burnout

The Self-Esteem Tipping Point

Book Review:

Delivering Happiness

This book is written by the CEO of Zappos, Tony Hsieh. Yes, the narrative focuses on Hsieh's climb to success in creating companies like Zappos. But the message I loved in it is the importance of really connecting with people.

Zappos is famous for its company culture and valuing their employees. Their benefits package and resources to help train their employees are out of this world.

Not to mention, their top priority is their customers.

I'm not looking to start a business anytime soon. But the key concepts I took from this book apply to any interactions with people that you have. We underestimate how much people want to connect on a personal level. Even though we're all connected on social media, it's often superficial.

Hsieh challenged the idea of forgoing, focusing on profits in favor of top customer service and employee benefits. He describes how the latter brought the company great success, which included an acquisition by Amazon.

Hsieh is also a straightforward kind of guy. His narration is to the point and made even better through storytelling. Hsieh is the CEO of a company that sold for $1.2 billion, but he narrates like he's a friend.


I’d love to hear what you think about my newsletter. Feel free to respond with any thoughts or questions; I’d love to chat.

Until next time.

All the love,

Kirstie

Wednesday Writings: Your Younger Self

Happy Hump Day,

I’m all up in your inbox because of what I promised on Friday. I’m sending out Wednesday Writings prompts for you guys.

Don’t think of this as journaling, necessarily. Journaling is writing about your feelings about a specific event. It’s great to get it all out there, but I want to take it a step further.

It’s one thing to know how you feel about your past; It’s another to shape your understanding of its impact on you today and decide how you’ll move forward. Because when it comes to both of those things, you have control over them.

What I’m saying is, you have control over how your past affects your present. 

Freakin’ crazy, right!? I was quite shocked when I realized this too.

If you’re thinking... Kirstie, you’re insane. That makes no sense. I can’t possibly think of [insert traumatic event] differently than just plain awful. 

Then the Wednesday Writings are for you.

I’m going to push you a bit out of your comfort zone each week. And though you may feel uncomfortable, you’ll start to find the magic in it.

You’ll start to reshape your understanding of your past and, therefore, your present self.

But no more rambling, let’s get to it.


Wednesday Writings: Your Younger Self

All the articles I write are advice my younger self needed to hear. 

Prompt: I want you to imagine yourself either in high school, college, five years ago, or merely a year ago. 

Imagine your younger self as if they were alive today, sitting next to you. Think about their struggles, what they might not realize about life just yet.

Now, write to them like you’re giving advice. It may be as simple as advice on the guy they’re dating. It may be as complex as find happiness within instead of the toxic friend group they hang out with.

  • Write the advice you needed to hear at that time that you know now.

  • Use a tone of voice that is caring.

  • Don’t criticize or blame.

  • Talk about how their current situation is impacting them

  • Write about how things could look different

  • Explain how you’re currently experiencing that change.


That’s it! Make it as long or as short as you want.

Once you’re done, you decide what exercise’s meaning was for you.

If you want, simply reply to this email with your writing. I’d love to read it! Everything you send me remains anonymous, but don’t feel like you have to email me.


Enjoy your week, do some self-care, and remember that donuts are scientifically proven to taste better on Wednesdays— even more so when dunked in coffee.

Until Friday, happy musings.

All the love,

Kirstie

Friday Roundup!

Hey!

Long-time no talk. If you don’t know what my face looks like, I added a picture! Know you can put the proper arrangement of eyeballs, lids, nose, mouth, etc. behind the words!

I’ve been working hard at cranking out articles, figuring my book, and planning how I can connect with you all on a more intimate level.

I met with a woman that helped me a bit with understanding how everything I’m working on pieces together. I want to share the changes we talked about:

My overall goal with my writing is to help empower people to process their struggles and live life in a way authentic for them. To do so, I story tell. I share the knowledge I’ve accumulated. I tell you how I’ve fucked up. And I tell you what worked for me (or didn’t).

So that’s why we’re here. An anti-fluff, no-bullshit resource and guiding friend to get you living a life, every day, that you fucking love (or at least like most of the time).

Expect an email sometime next week explaining more about my journey and who I am. I realized, via the person I met with, I’ve never put my whole journey led me to do all of this kind of writing into one concise story. But no more! Look out for it next week.

Friday Roundup will be a consistent thing. I’ll include all the articles I wrote for the week, articles that I loved, and a book review all for you to consume and indulge in.

This last part, I want your opinion on. Since storytelling is so powerful for me, I’m curious how it would be for all of you. I’m not saying to write your memoir and post it for the world to see. I’m talking about writing prompts that help you process beliefs, past scenarios, perhaps traumas, that you have. In doing so, you make more sense of it all. And these stories remain private and purely for you.

Would a writing prompt for you to do every Wednesday be something of interest? LET ME KNOW! You can easily write to me by replying to this email.

Anywho, tis all I have to say about that.

As for the roundup, here you go:

I was on a podcast! Check it out here

My writing:

Creating Boundaries In A New Relationship

Feelings That Are Easily Mistaken For Love

Anxiously Awaiting For A Text Back From Your Date (Fiction)

The Hopeful Romantic’s Guide To Dating Slowly

Articles I loved:

How To Be Smart In A World Full Of Dumb People

Why Listening To Sad Music Makes You Feel Better

Write To Express, Not To Impress

Book Review:

I am in the midst of On Writing by Stephen King. If you’re thinking, Kirstie.. I’m not a writer. Why, WHY!? would you recommend this book to me?

Well, the book is about more than just writing. Lucky for you non-writers, the writing techniques are in the latter half of the book, too.

Stephen King is a prolific writer; having sold over 350 million copies of his books, there’s no arguing that. His skills in crafting thrilling narratives carry over into this novel.

I’ll be straight up: I’ve never read one of King’s novels. But I’m now a huge fan, regardless, purely because of this semi-memoir. King describes being in 6th grade, throwing together make-shift comics, and selling them at school. I mean, if that’s not a lesson about passion or grit, I don’t know what is.

Plus he’s in a writer’s rock band. A legit band made up of only writers that cover rock songs. Um, hello. That’s sick. King hooked me there.

I’d highly recommend giving this book a read/listen. Even if it’s just the first half, you’ll be highly entertained.

8 Ways You’re Causing Yourself Unnecessary Pain

The first two years after I graduated from college were spent creating more and more pain for myself.

I quite literally flew away from my problems — opting for a ticket to a foreign country rather than facing my issues head-on. I thought I could leave my problems behind; boy was I wrong.

I caused myself a lot of pain I didn’t need to endure. I’m no masochist though; I just had no idea I was doing any of it.


Everyone experiences pain; it sucks. Emotional pain sucks even more. But when it unknowingly festers or is the kind you just can’t place a finger on, you’re really in for an uncontrollable emotional ride.

There’s a variety of instances in which we unintentionally cause ourselves pain. Here are the most common ways people create suffering for themselves without realizing it:

Your Expectations

Expectations are mental beliefs we create for situations, ourselves, and other people.

But these become detrimental when they are unreasonable, unattainable, ill-founded, or driving your behaviors without you noticing.

Expectations are premeditated resentments.

You aren’t able to control how a person reacts in a situation. Going into a conversation and expecting to know the outcome, will only allow room for you to feel let down. In this case, expectations are premeditated resentments.

The same goes for our own life.

If you hang on every expectation you created in high school of how our life would turn out, then you’re setting yourself up for failure if you deviate. And that’s a lot of unnecessary pain because deviation in life isn’t a bad thing.

What we once thought was best for us can, and will, change throughout our lives. That’s part of growing.

Not Reflecting On Your Past

If you aren’t learning from your mistakes, you’re repeating them. And how can you create a better life for yourself if you’re not reflecting on what happened in the past?

For several years, I had the same dating patterns:

  1. Begin a relationship with someone I wasn’t that interested in.

  2. Allow the relationship to drag on.

  3. Endure several big arguments that never resolved.

  4. Become upset when the other person finally ended it.

Without reflecting back and realizing that I was going through the same dating routine, I wouldn’t have understood that I needed to change who I dated.

I wouldn’t have been able to see that those relationships looked eerily similar.

“Life can only be understood backwards; but it must be lived forwards.”
― Søren Kierkegaard

Reflection is a beautiful gift that human beings have the ability to do. So make sure to consider what has happened in the past to lead you to your current pains. Then consider how you can change things.

Living In The Future

Imagine: you’re in a river and have two options. 1. Swim against the current, and up the rocky rapids to try to collect fish. 2. Flow with the current, enjoy the scenery, and collect fish along the way.

I think it’s a no-brainer you’d choose the second. But a lot of people are actually living in the first scenario.

Instead of working towards goals and enjoying life along the way, they’re living for the future. Often, people are so focused on what more they can get, the next thing that will make them happy, that they let their life pass them by.

If you’re always fighting for a better future, you will feel like the present is inadequate.

Instead, try finding things in your life now that you can be grateful for. Start doing things every day that you enjoy.

Living In The Past

You can’t forsee the future and you sure as hell can’t control the past.

Ruminating thoughts occur when you incessantly think about something. Often, these thoughts create a lot of pain. You think over and over about something that hurt you or a time in life that you regret.

And though there is a lot to learn from our past, it’s not a place that is meant to be lived in. Life is happening now, in the present. What you can control lies solely in the now.

“We are products of our past, but we don’t have to be prisoners of it.”
― Rick Warren

Getting stuck in past events is a sure-fire way to cause yourself to miss out on the joy that the present is ready to give you.

Holding On To Grudges

The only person you’re hurting by holding onto a grudge is yourself.

I’m not saying that you need to forgive everyone and be their best friend. I’m not even saying you need to speak to them ever again.

But what I am talking about is the resentment you hold on to. The kind that gets you into ruminating thoughts about how you were wronged. The feeling of knowing there is someone out there that you very much hate.

All of those feelings cause you unnecessary pain. And though you don’t need to forgive the person to their face, you owe it to yourself to not hold onto those emotions anymore.

“To be wronged is nothing, unless you continue to remember it.”
― Confucius

Choose to let go of what happened in the past and move on.

Safeguarding Your Emotions

It’s scary to share your emotions.

When we were young, we were taught expressing feelings was wrong.

Whether it was being hushed when we wailed or told “men don’t cry,” the notion was ingrained in our psyche.

But now that we’re adults, we can see how that thought pattern isn’t serving us. Expressing our emotions is cathartic and allows us to form deeper bonds with other people.

Vulnerability takes courage but hiding your emotions is what you should be more afraid of. Bottling up what we are feeling can cause significant detriment to our mental sanity.

Creating deeper connections with the people in your life also requires a bit of opening up. People can sense when others are interacting from a surface level place.

Instead, dare to open up. Share how you’re feeling and feel a bit of a burden lift off of you.

Being Compassionate With Everyone But Yourself

If your friend got fired from their job, how would you react? If a little kid looked in the mirror and called themselves fat, how would you respond?

Now, what if it were you in those situations? What would be your thoughts then?

We’re compassionate with our friends and family but so quick to belittle ourselves. That little voice inside our head is the voice we will hear most in our life, and most of the time, it is also the meanest.

Cultivate compassion for yourself even during your biggest mess-ups. Allow yourself space to falter and be there to show compassion when you do.

“Remember, you have been criticizing yourself for years, and it hasn’t worked. Try approving of yourself and see what happens.”
― Louise L. Hay

Comparing Your Life To Other People’s

Logically, it makes absolutely no sense to compare your life to other people’s.

There are so many factors that play into how a person’s life turns out; family, friends, connections, abilities, mindset, and personality are amongst them. Each of those factors is so nuanced, have so many layers, that there’s no way two people’s can ever look alike.

So how is it that comparing your life to someone else’s makes any sense?

And this irrational habit wouldn’t be such a big deal if it didn’t cause people an extraordinary amount of pain. Feelings of jealousy, inadequacy, and self-loathing often come up when people compare their lives.

Instead of comparing your life to someone else’s focusing on loving and improving your own.

You can’t become someone else, but you can become a happier you.

“Stop thinking you’re doing it all wrong. Your path doesn’t look like anybody else’s because it can’t, it shouldn’t, and it won’t.”
― Eleanor Brown


Life is a messy rollercoaster. You never know what is right around the corner. Heck, no one ever really knows what they’re doing.

But taking considering the ways we cause unnecessary pain to ourselves and changing them gets us one step closer to enjoying the ride.

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