My Journey

Stay Positive, Work Hard & Make It Happen.

Well hello there! I hope and pray that you and your loved ones are well in all of this. Things are stable on my end, thankfully. There has been a lot of adjustment, for myself and for Roqie. But for the most part we are doing well and moving forward as much as we can.

So it took a global pandemic for me to slow down and get back to writing. If I am being frank, it is something I have been avoiding, expressing my thoughts on paper (or in word processor, rather). It isn’t that I hate writing…on the contrary, it is something I was known for most of my life, being a good writer. But writing to me is like music and singing. It is a passion – and passions are personal. And sharing passions can be a scary thing. So this is me, acknowledging that fear and patting myself on the back for finally facing it and starting my blog (as boring and random as it may or may not be). I do promise that I will eventually get into my groove and make this something that is worth you clicking on and reading for 5 minutes or so. I also promise to work on keeping them short-ish, as I am known for writing really REALLY long pieces (sometimes I have a lot to say…and a lot of sarcastic commentary to add to it…like this one).

I have been working to stay positive and productive as much as possible, taking advantage of the extra hours available in my day (now that I am without an hour-plus commute to the office and back) and have been working hard to put my home office together in my apartment. It is technically my dining room, if you were to look at the floorplan. But, as much as I loved my dining room table, I admitted to myself that I never actually ate at my dining room table, and realized I needed and wanted a dedicated home office more than I wanted a dining room that mostly served as eye candy and occasional storage.

I moved my desk from its lonely corner in the living room and put it in its new home. I have been debating on whether or not I should get rid of my old couch. It is a really nice couch, just that it was too large for my new apartment. Currently, it is sitting beside my desk in my new home office. I have no immediate need to get rid of it, and kind of like having it there in case I get tired of sitting at the desk and want to cuddle with Roqie while I work…and Roqie tends to like it so she can nap closer to me or look out the window. I jokingly call it my Psychiatry Couch, since it is placed parallel to my desk and chair. So since it has earned a catchy nickname, it is probably going to stay.

I am trying to decide on where my artwork should go within the space, what should go where and how and what should be next to it. This space is meant to be a sanctuary of sorts. I write and work best when my environment is motivating and speaks to me in some great way – aka, a place with good vibes. Not trying to sound cliché or anything, but vibes are important. Vibes, energy, juju – whatever you call it, it is important. The photo in this blog is meant to be my center piece once it arrives later this week, and it will be surrounded by artwork with other inspirational messages. I’ll post a photo of my new inspiration wall once everything is done.

Aside from deciding which color to paint my desk, or where to put my fifth of ten pieces of art focused on coffee something else that makes me happy (#CoffeeIsLove), I am continuing to work hard both with my fulltime job and with my freelancing and Phoenix Star Creative. With my fulltime job being both a Federally-funded clinic and a top organization in the District providing housing services to low-income families and people who are homeless, things have definitely not slowed down as we work to protect the individuals and families in our programs, protect our medical and housing frontline staff, and find ways to support each other during these challenging times. I do miss being in the office with my team. But, as someone with a not so great immune system, I am very grateful to be able to work from home and focus on taking care of myself. And I am thankful to be able to make the most of this time and find productive ways to distract myself (aka, home office) from thinking the worst.

I see the articles and news stories about the people all over the country who have chosen to rebel against the Stay-at-Home orders, who choose to be aggressive and angry and spread negativity instead of finding ways to be safe and keep those they love safe. I get angry about them and I want to yell at them and tell them that what they are doing is not helping anyone. I want to find a way to make them understand this and make them realize that being angry like a two-year old is not going to change the fact that this virus is here and it is killing people all over the world. And then I remind myself that, even if I was able to get to them and scream some sense into them, it wouldn’t help any more than their actions are helping. It would only make things worse. So I take a breath, I say a prayer, and I work…I plan…I take care of my dog (who got sick because she is not drinking enough water)…and I listen to audiobooks, I take walks with Roqie with my mask on and play Dodge the Neighbors the whole way, and I pray. Just going back to audiobooks for a second, because they honestly are saving my life. I used to not be a fan, but a little before the pandemic started, I got into them and realized just how much they help with my productivity. So very grateful for audiobooks (and apps that allow me to borrow them from my local library instead of having to pay for each and every one).

So what are some ways that you guys are staying productive? How are you keeping positive during this pandemic? I would love for this blog to be somewhat interactive, so let me know in the comments how you are moving forward and making it happen in all this. Wishing everyone health, happiness and love during these difficult times. Stay safe and be well.

New Year, New Business: Progress & Reflections

This first year has been a lot about education, communication and connection. I have been diving head first into things — building my website, designing my new business cards, attending training and networking events, watching webinars, and researching about all kinds of things regarding freelancing, resume writing, web design, and being a virtual assistant.

This month in April, I have connected with various social entrepreneurs, folks who have launched their own mission-driven organizations to help folks in our communities. Having the privilege of meeting with these awesome people has reminded me of where the name “Phoenix Star” originally came from, and what it originally meant to me. Yes, I am establishing myself as a freelancer in the DMV Area. But I also have always had a deep compassion for community services and helping others. So this month, I have been connecting with not only people and companies looking for freelancers, but also with individuals looking to start non-profits that work with youth, as well as churches or volunteer-run organizations in need of help with their websites. And, though I wonder sometimes if I am trying to take on too much at once, deciding to focus Phoenix Star Creative around both for-profit freelancing and community service gives me a purpose that feels more aligned with who I am and what it is I want my business to be symbolic of.

April has also been about making new friends and hearing from folks who have been where I am now, who have started their own businesses and are now speaking, teaching, writing books about their struggles, accomplishments, and overall journeys to get to where they are today. One of the most recent events I attended was a panel discussion titled “Conquering Imposter Syndrome and Achieving Personal Success” — which I will be blogging about in another piece, as I have over four pages of notes that I have been reflecting on! Here, I met other independent contractors and business owners. Some of them were also new to the world of freelancing, and others had been entrepreneurs for some years now. No matter the end of the spectrum, though, it was a wonderful group of people and I learned something valuable to my personal and professional development from each and every person I engaged with there. Next week, I will be attending more community events around the DMV Area, where I am looking forward to meeting more interesting people, learning more and growing in my development as a freelancer, and making more meaningful connections!