I've been working hard the last few months at overcoming my fears and following my dreams. So I'm running a series of interview with inspiring people to see what part fear has played in their life and how they've overcome it to live life their way...
This weeks interview is with Jenn Gibson from Kind Over Matter
I'm a photographer and writer, and one-half of the duo that created Kind Over Matter. I like to paint words on rocks and then tell stories of what those words mean to me. I'm a lacto-vegetarian with a healthy obsession for Mexican food and I will never give up cheese, quite possibly because of that. I steal snuggles from Bean the Boy Kitten. Daily parts of my life are paper journaling, talking to my dear sweet momma and sky-gazing. The beach owns me, lock-stock-and-barrel. I'm happier right now than I've ever been before and every day I give thanks for it all.
*What is the inspiration behind Kind Over Matter?
Amanda and I started Kind Over Matter almost two years ago, she had made some printable kind cards for her Etsy shop and sent me a few. We got to talking and decided to make a group on Flickr, to pool all of the photos, then we decided to make a blog. The rest, as they say, is history.
The core of Kind Over Matter is rooted deeply in celebrating the everyday type of kindness, the things that most people don’t actively notice but that make a difference – holding the door open for someone, offering a smile, engaging someone in a quiet kind of conversation, letting them be heard. So often that can make all the difference in someone’s day, I know it has in mine.
*Aside from Kind Over Matter what else do you do?
Mmm, lots of things! I love to make videos and take photos. I’m gathering ideas for my next video and so excited to share it with everyone. I dusted off my blog and have started writing again, sharing my thoughts and parts of my journey, I’ve missed writing so much, it feels amazing to get back to it. I love roadtripping – over the summer I went out to Tennessee and visited my Sister Sara -- so fun! But all of that aside, the main thing I’m doing right now is trying to find balance and I’ve been lucky enough to work with an awesome life coach, Danette has been such a blessing through this discovery period. She’s just the best.
*When you have faced difficulties, what has been your inspiration to keep going?
Sometimes the only thing that kept me going was the deep-seated belief that tomorrow would be better. Trusting in that and living inside each moment as best as I can, those help when things get tough.
*All of us have our fears, some rule stronger than others. What part has fear played in your life?
Fear has played a huge part in my life. I’ve lived with anxiety since I was 7 and for a very long time it controlled me, it designated where (and if) I went, how long I stayed, what I ate. My dad died when I was 21, for months after that I wouldn’t leave the house, with the sole exception of going to work, if that. I was terrified that something would happen to my family, I needed to be there to take care of them, I had to be there. Breaking out of that frame of mind was so hard and I’m so thankful that I was working with a grief counselor through that period, she was so gentle and careful with me. I was fragile, I was broken and had no idea how to fix things. Until one day, I wanted to drive up to this place outside Baltimore, there were waterfalls and I’d always gone there for a spot of peace. At that time I was living an hour away, so you can imagine how enormous even the thought of doing that was. But I got in my car, shaking and crying the whole way. I got there, stayed for a few minutes and then turned around and went home. I was terrified. I was proud of myself. My first victory, but not my last.
Each victory has been celebrated, each moment held dear.
And because I shared all of that, the beginning and middle, I want to share, not the end, but the present, where things are now. Two years ago I did cognitive behavioral therapy, or CBT. You see, I get the most wonderful cases of wanderlust and I sometimes need to drive places, far places, to see what’s out there, to experience life somewhere else, for a day or a week. That’s such a fundamental part of who I am. But, I wanted to go other places, overseas, and that required me getting on a plane. Which I’d never done. Which scared me to pieces. I would not get on a plane, even driving to an airport would cause really high levels of anxiety. I wanted this to change, though, I wanted to not live in fear anymore. So I did CBT and things were rolling along merrily, I made tentative plans to fly somewhere, but then I was told I was going to San Diego, for work. I’d have to fly across the country. I was terrified. I was thrilled. I was ready. The picture up at the top of this post, I took this when I was at the Pacific Ocean. This photo shows you how hard I’ve worked for the past 25 years on living with and overcoming anxiety. This photo is my triumph.
*What advice would you offer on following your heart and living your dreams?
The same thing I tell myself : Be brave, be fearless. We’re only here for a short time, go all out, live without regrets. If you fail, try again, and then try again.
*What do you think are the three most important things you need to lead a happy and radiant life?
Oh wow, hard to whittle it down to just three. I’d have to say, for me, those three things are eating really amazing tasty food, honoring my Truths and Values and creating things, anything. Those are the most important.
*Where can we connect with you?
You can find me writing at This Messy Life and Kind Over Matter, on Twitter and Facebook, and Flickr and Vimeo.