After blogging for almost 2 years now, I thought it’d be appropriate to delve into some questions that probe into my psyche- intriguing and entertaining questions I’ve been asked along the way.
Like many, we undergo life-altering events that modify and refine how we perceive, receive and respond to things consequently. It’s simple. The invariable inconsistencies in life push and pull us in every which way. I’ve come to believe that despite the nature of these inevitable events, we always come out stronger. We always come back a little bit wiser. This is how the story goes.
I’ll be answering 10 questions that disclose my innermost foundational philosophies, with a couple of light-hearted questions in the mix.
I pray that I am effective in empathizing and transparently unveiling my responses to some very difficult circumstances. I truly believe our paths are different for reasons far beyond anything I’ll ever be able to comprehend, although I stand firm with the premise that eventually, everything connects. Eventually, we are able to process these events and utilize its lessons for something positively unimaginable. Sure, I sound like an optimist. But quite frankly, there is no other way I’d choose to make sense of the circumstances that inevitably shape us.
This is how I choose to live.
Q.1 – “What are some of the things you struggle with?”
I wasn’t quite sure whether I wanted to share this, but since I’m a firm believer in transparency, I thought it appropriate to share my full story. “There’s beauty in our scars”, indeed. We are neither perfect nor whole in every moment, let alone every season. So it’s time we open ourselves up and initiate and/or extend the dialogue.
I can become nostalgic, wistful and daydream. At times, I can feel like I was born in the wrong era. At times, I feel like my mind is much older than my body. At times, I can feel overwhelmed in thought. Ironically, this is not because I’ve taken on many responsibilities but because I think deeply upon many thoughts instead of letting most thoughts pass. It’s a subconscious act that I’ve turned conscious, so that I am able to feel comfortable and light.
I yearn for reciprocated investments and relationships, sure, but I’ve lessened my expectations so that I may find peace with loving freely for the sake of that being who I am. I’ve gotten hurt a handful of times from expectations that were far-reaching for myself, let alone another.
I’m also a bit of a traditionalist when it comes to romance, sentiment and vocalizing how you feel that it can feel frustrating at times making sense of pop-culture and newer fads of concealment, suppression and disguising what lies below the surface. Additionally, even if and when someone has fulfilled their purpose in your life, doesn’t justify the animosity and bitterness that so popularly follows. Unfortunately many people come and go, this is why it’s so important to make the most of said blessed moments and move forward peacefully.
Q.2 – “How do you typically spend your pastime?”
I’m an interesting blend of an introvert and extrovert. I’d consider myself fairly outgoing, although my alone time serves as an integral recharge for the moments I do. Certainly, life events can make either or difficult, however, I do my best to try and blend the two.
I enjoy spending time with the Lord and my immediate family, this is because I’m fortunate enough to connect with them so purely and profoundly. I’ve been blessed to depend on such gracious and selfless individuals. Family is very important to me. They have raised me diligently and have taught me my innermost viewpoints and ideologies based on writers like Eckhart Tolle, Oprah and Robert Kiyosaki.
I enjoy writing and reading primarily. I enjoy all things mentally rejuvenating and restorative: meditation, drawing, organizing, talking with close friends, listening to podcasts, exercising, road-tripping and worship.
As I’ve grown older, I’ve learned to welcome change and this has manifested in multiple facets of my life, whether I’m embracing a new practice or simply trying something new. I love trying new things and I’ve been opening up to new experiences, considering that life is full of them!
Q.3 – “What are some projects you’re working on at the moment?”
A full-time student at Texas State University, I look forward to my new courses this semester and will continue to grow my newly founded club- “Blog Club,” which I am incredibly excited about.
I also intend to grow my website and maintain authenticity. I aim to connect with more individuals online and relate in some way through my writing, since figuring out this thing called life is seemingly universal! I really enjoy meeting new people and finding surprising commonalities, because as complex as we all are, there always seems to be something that unites each of us in one form or another. I have some uniquely-moving prompts in store for 2019 and I cannot wait to see them come to life.
Lastly, I am working earnestly and diligently on my completely mobile, Lightroom CC presets!
After befriending and working with various photographers and content creators for a couple of years, I’ve gained a “photography eye” of my own. Owning the Canon T7i and engaging in freelance modeling has allowed me the opportunity to dabble quite a bit with content creating and photo editing. I have since struggled to find a preset online that would cater to a professional, everyday feel (and it’s certainly hard to find one at an affordable price).
I’ll be creating discounted specials, working with philanthropic foundations and creating more presets that cater to specific looks. My “Routine” preset is rudimentary in beginning my preset line, since it beautifully suits many images. I will be requesting feedback on my Instagram account as well as showcase all the transformations of my current and upcoming mobile presets.
Q.4 – “What are 3 things you refuse to do?”
- I refuse to tirelessly force worldly circumstances and relationships to work.
- I refuse to feel indifferent and impassioned in my relationship with the Lord.
- I refuse to let any of my failures define me.
Q.5 – “How did you come to your faith?”
I’ve been asked this question several times over the last several years, and it’s quite possibly my favorite question. Christianity has become intrinsically foundational in every facet of my life but it certainly didn’t used to be this way.
I was raised Catholic and attended church periodically; it certainly wasn’t a place where you sing with your hands raised till your heart’s content kind of thing. It was more or less traditionalistic, in the sense of your discipline determining your relationship with the Lord. It was discouraging for me to feel that I would ever feel qualified to have His approval since neither one of us is behaviorally sinless. This is certainly not to say that all of Catholicism nor its partakers express themselves in this way nor do they all claim for that to be the standard, this is simply my experience.
My freshman year at the University level, I felt very far from faith. It certainly wasn’t a conscious decision but that I hadn’t found a church or felt a peculiar calling that led me to believe that there was more than what I was understanding. I believe that everyone’s path to any manifestation of spirituality comes at different times and yields itself from an array of life events. I also choose to believe that nothing happens by accident (especially coming to faith) and that your calling will look different for reasons far more complex than what I will ever be able to understand.
Midst freshman year, I was in a highly emotional, capricious relationship. Maybe you’ve experienced a relationship of this sort? It proved itself to be utter turmoil. Amidst the topsy-turvy nature of the relationship, I was having a very difficult time discerning whether this was something we could work through, whether this was something worth working through…whether it was love? This was before I read the bible, before I’d come to faith, before I’d met a community of selflessly-loving individuals, before I had any definitive resource of what love truly looked like, before I had softened up my heart and before I knew who Jesus was.
Before coming to my faith, I was a different individual in many regards.
Many people are quick to say “Oh no, Christianity isn’t for me,” or “I’m not good enough to be a Christian,” or “How could God possibly love someone as faulty as me.” I’ve heard it all and matter of fact, I’ve said it all. But if any of this inner-dialogue talk is detering you from ever opening up your heart to Jesus Christ, you have yet to understand what Christianity truly is.
I’ve been a member of the Austin Stone Church in Austin, TX for about two years now. After attending weekly worship, reading the New Testament, listening to numerous podcasts, relentlessly dancing to Gospel music, meeting other incredible individuals that found Jesus in so many different and profound ways- I realized, I had missed the mark.
I didn’t have to prove myself to God, Jesus already paid our debts. He wore our flesh and left the perfect world for the broken. He showed the undeserving mercy, love and patience- unlike anything you’ll ever see in our world. He chases after us again and again, even during times you feel ashamed and distant. He used the broken and the sin-ridden in the New Testament to deliver his utterly perfect word. So what makes you think he couldn’t possibly use you?
I’m so humbled and overjoyed to be loved by someone who’s pure and perfect in every manifestation. I welcome Him into my heart and into my life because I have learned how liberating and restorative Christianity truly is. It doesn’t make me cower in guilt but encourages me to repent and find everlasting comfort in His word. He knows I’m not perfect; He is here to help me make sense of this realm and underline what’s fundamentally important.
Simply learning of our Lord and Savior makes my heart soft. The depths he’s willing to go for me moves me to mimic Him at His core.
If you have any questions or would like to share your call to faith story, I’d love to hear: message me, comment below or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org!
Q.6 – “Who/what are some of your inspirations?”
- Reyna Biddy is a phenomenal woman. I’ve been following her on Twitter for about 3 years now, and I’d say she was likely one of my first follows subsequent to a trending tweet. Many of my foundational beliefs about peace and love have been reassured in me through her content. This is not to say anyone of us needs validation but sometimes it feels nice to see another person be strong in all the ways you’re hopelessly trying to be, or to simply know when to leave when all I could do was contemplate it. Especially before coming to my faith, she was an even bigger influence of how to discern and pick apart these difficult wars inside me. She normalized and initiated dialogue that others would coat, for retweet sake. I admire her transparency and seemingly making every moment of unease something necessary to confront, as if she needed to come to terms with it sooner rather than later. Her perceptions of things always give her power (she has tremendous wisdom), and needless to say, she has aided in people’s understanding of themselves, the relationships we enter and the world that encapsulates us all. Additionally, she is an author and creator of numerous podcasts, my favorite one titled “A Message To Women ft. Masego.” (LISTEN)
- This piece will likely sound cheesy, but it resonates to my very core. Partake in things you love to do. I get inspired easiest when the task sits within the parameters of my passions. It gets easier to visualize what I want, how I intend to get there and how I’ll continue to maintain it. Simply put- this life is too short and vast to feel indifferent to it. Losing passion and inspiration for many facets of your experience on Earth perhaps means you’re not engulfed in the career fit for you, the inconsistent man who claims to love you or the hobby you put down more than you pick up. Start by doing the things you look forward to and if you have to do some soul-searching to discover what that may be, then by all means.
- Lastly, I’d say human connection and particularly long conversations with depth; the kind of conversations that leave each party lingering in thought. When you are able to click with someone, anyone, on a profound, almost abstract way, it reaches you in almost a revitalizing, foreign way. Many conversations you’ll have will safely mosey around surface level, so it’s almost astonishing to meet someone you connect with on several levels despite the differing courses of your lives. This in itself is inspiring to me and sits at the core of reasons as to why I blog and essentially put forth all the things I do. I’m really looking forward to strengthening current friendships in this way as well as meeting new people: readers, bloggers, writers, designers, photographers, content creators and Jesus-lovers!
Q.7 – “What’s some important advice you give yourself/anyone?”
Be yourself AND love yourself.
In a world that can easily feel governed by societal expectations, far-reaching standards and opinions from all over- it can become really easy to lose sight of yourself and the principles you stand for. If you lose people by embracing the qualities and quirks that make you, you, then good news…you are inching closer to the people that will come around and show you how beautiful it is to be you.
Don’t neglect yourself, belittle yourself, distance yourself, punish yourself or disrespect yourself. Take the experiences that didn’t go as planned, the failed relationships and lost efforts, and use their lessons in manifesting a worldly experience better fit for you. There’s enough people in this world saying we can’t achieve certain things or that we’ll never be good enough, please don’t be that person to yourself.
Q.8 – “How would you like to spend the rest of your life, given that you have all the resources and finances that you need?
I’d love to take my blogging platform to new heights. Writing sustains and fulfills every part of me, and so I intend to grow it and make the site more interactive with my readers and subscribers as well!
I would aim to live a very health-conscious, sustainable life and all my endeavours and partnerships would reflect this lifestyle. I would serve in several mission trips to unreached places where those individuals lack access in knowing and understanding our Lord and Savior.
I would begin a foundation for older children and teens that lack the adequate resources and education it takes to properly teach them how to write (and they’d be able to manifest it in however they so choose: poetry, short-stories, novels, editorials..etc). I would bring in professionals that would teach an array of lessons in linguistics, self-discovery, writer’s voice, technique and essentially make what I love to do an exciting and transformative experience for them.
I’d have the time to advocate, donate, march and raise awareness for causes that I wholeheartedly support as well: movements like the #metoo, #transrights, #lovewins and trying to mediate some polarized differences within our Nation- “We are all human and we all deserve equal respect and rights!”
Q.9 – What are some of your favorite places to shop at? Any beauty product recommendations?
I’ve found a lot of hidden gems (belts, name-brand shoes, dresses and sunglasses) at Uptown Cheapskate in Austin, TX. It’s a trendy thrift store that allows you to buy, sell and trade merchandise. The management does an incredible job choosing which items to put out onto the floor, considering I’ve purchased items for formal events, festivals, professional interviews and vintage day-to-day apparel (let’s not forget about their affordable prices!).
A couple of beauty products I’ve come to really enjoy is the REVLON Ultra HD Matte Lipcolor (comes in many shades- one of my favorite nudes to sport is their “FLAMME”) as well as the Urban Decay Shortcut On The Run Mini Eyeshadow Palette. I use the left 4 pots for an everyday look and enjoy the right 4 on days and nights that are particularly eventful. “Gash” and “Zone” look incredibly beautiful.
As for other items, I’m a fan of thick belts, statement earrings, oversized tops and high-waisted, distressed denim shorts and jeans. I pair these looks with platforms, vans or reeboks!
Q.10 – What are some adjectives that describe you?
You’d likely get this question asked in a job interview, although I intend to be a bit more thorough and personal.
I’d say I’m very optimistic, spiritual, consistent, passionate and kind. Although I’d also consider myself to be a hopeless romantic, reminiscent and an over-thinker. Some people are very black and white in their lifestyle choices (they are always certain of what they know or want, or perhaps they are certain of the things they know they do not want), but I tend to find peace with the grey areas of never fully knowing but always striving.
I have a very theoretical, conceptual and philosophical side of me that always keeps me wondering, that always keeps me on my toes. I’d say that’s fairly foundational to the woman I am and it’s why I enjoy thinking, reading and writing. I am eager to learn and will hardly sit complacently or contently with what I already know because this life is so tremendously vast in its lessons.
It would take me lifetimes to feel like I understand this realm, but that certainly doesn’t stop me from trying.
These 10 questions arose in various seasons of my life, and I tried to speak on behalf of the many dimensions that make up Charlize. We are all so innately complex that it can be really hard to understand where each of our thoughts derive from, let alone trying to piece together another human being.
With this said though, I hope I provided a bit of thorough insight as to who I am and the thoughts and interests that take up much of my energy. If you and I have something definitively in common, I’d absolutely love to hear in the comments below! It has been my pleasure getting to know some of my readers and I’ll continue aspiring to do so.
My very best, Charlize Figueroa