Meet Fran, My Judgmental Inner Critic

It’s the start of new blogging goodness here at Stratejoy!

We’re bringing back real time stories from real life women.

This time I’m tapping the incredible ladies of my Elevate Mastermind group to share their dreams, fears, successes and failures with the Tribe.  Not all of them will be writing (since it’s totally not a requirement of Elevate!), but as I found out at our retreat — over half of them identify as writers!  And after getting to known their sassy selves and incredible stories over 4 days in Ojai, I knew we’d all benefit from hearing the ups and downs of their year of ELEVATING!

We’re going on a introduction binge this week — getting you familiar with with the ladies you’ll be hearing from this year.

After that, I’ll be writing early in the week and we’ll be featuring an Elevate Writer each Thursday.

Please join me in lovingly welcoming each of these brave souls!

They are going to be cracking their hearts wide open for us, to remind our entire Tribe that we are never alone.

XOXO

Molly-Sig211


moe headshotWITH LOVE FROM

Maureen , soon-to-be marathon completer, 2014 Elevate Sister.

Maureen is a hopeless optimist, reformed tomboy, and has a strong and snarky voice of reason. She roots for the underdog, which comes in handy being a Notre Dame fan. When not discussing U.S. foreign policy, Maureen organizes fundraisers for her favorite charity, the National Multiple Sclerosis Society, attempts to hold crow pose for more than two seconds, and is still trying to figure out who talked her into running a half marathon this spring. If not at work, yoga, or running, you can find Maureen watching shows about handsome vampires or discussing how cute sea otters are.

 

MaureenCollage

“Life’s not a test; Life is participation”

Hi y’all, my name is Maureen, or Moe to those in the know, and welcome to my inner most thoughts, brought to you by Stratejoy and the world wide web.

I’m one of the three Elevate ladies from the Washington, DC metro area, which probably says a lot about the state of our nation. But what can I say, we’re all trying to make the country better despite all the political topsy-turvy. I work in the frantic world of foreign policy and like most of the city, I’m not from here. I’m the product of the ever pragmatic state of Ohio, where we don’t deal with conflict or uncertainty. We just push it down and change the subject. Hey, what’s that over there?!?!

To kick off this year of blog posts, I’d like to introduce you to Fran, my inner critic.

Tribe, Meet Fran:

  • Fran is really loud and bossy.
  • Her judgments rush through my brain almost ten times a day.
  • Every time I think I did something wrong, Fran reminds me how I messed up.
  • When I think about applying to a new job or to a graduate program, Fran attempts to talk me out of it.
  • She makes me think I’m going to fail
  • She can drain me of my energy and make me want to just get back into bed.
  • Sometimes, Fran gets so bossy that I don’t do something that I want to do

Fran is trying to get me to be perfect and, holy hell, if she’s not really exhausting.

Don’t get me wrong, I believe that doing one’s best is a good thing. I believe ‘trying’ should be rewarded, even if it results in a huge belly flop.

I am competitive with others and with myself, and I think that helps improve my work and my health. If I didn’t force myself to get to the gym, I know I would feel sick and tired all the time.

I know that if I am not assertive in meetings at work my projects will be overlooked.

This baseline level of exertion is fine, it’s when I stand in front of my bedroom mirror and Fran reenacts the boot camp scenes from “Full Metal Jacket” that really hurt.

The part when Fran goes from:

“working out will make you feel better” to “you’re so fat,”

“why don’t you have a rainy day fund,”

“Why do you have another cold,”

“You ate that takeout last night, no wonder your face is all broken out,”

“If you don’t lose 20 pounds, no one will love you.”

To be perfect, according to Fran, I have to be thin, funny, busy, smart, professional, creative, assertive, beautiful, fashionable, with perfectly straight hair, a full face of makeup, and in charge of everything.Where’s the multi-vitamin for that?

 But why does Fran, or why do I think I’m failing? Is Fran grading me? Will she give me some sort of prize? Can I win the award for ‘best human living in Washington, DC who works in foreign policy’? Is that a thing? Why isn’t that a thing? I would totally win that.

But instead of looking for the ways I “win” during the day, Fran looks for something to fix. I keep trying to win life, and I’m pretty sure Fran has me over training.

 

How I Started Taking Charge of Fran

Enter Molly and the Elevate Mastermind sisters. I found Molly and Stratejoy two years ago when I found myself buried in the ashes of another failed relationship and an overall contempt for my life in Washington, DC.

I started piecing things back together, identified the difference between criticisms and what I was actually feeling, and, finally, ask the hard questions. 

The long weekend in Ojai, CA was exactly what I needed to start 2014 the right way: energized women who run with wolves, starry nights, and extreme friendship (hopefully appearing at the next Olympics).

Women who I would drop everything, rent a car, and pick up at a random coffee shop, then drive two hours singing along to Taylor Swift (yes, I’ll openly admit to that) despite never having met in person.)

Women who will sit down and talk about all the relationship drama, scary health problems, and hopes for the future.

Women who sleep and dance in a yurt without pause, storming the beaches of our lives.

I worked with these wild, willful women to come up with the a plan for 2014 starting with my life with Fran, and finishing the year with more strength, confidence, and a rock star attitude.

 

The Future For Fran and Me

This year, I think Fran and I are going to have a talk. We’re going to sit down and have an honest discussion on why she is being mean.

I will keep a list of my “wins” and review them with Fran. She will say that my hair looks pretty even when it’s curly.

She will reserve comments on my work wardrobe. She will tell me that I am smart and important. Fran will change her tone and quote “Pitch Perfect” instead of war movies. Fran will be proud of me when I finish a hard workout, but she will also respect my need for rest.

I’ll say “Listen Fran, your opinion matters, but it’s time for you to sit quietly for moment.”

But if I find myself wavering, feeling overtaken, I know that my sisterhood will have my back and run into the fire with me.

(click to tweet this gem!)

This year, I’m giving myself the ‘best human living and working in DC’ award, voted on–and confirmed by–the awesome ladies of Elevate.


moe headshotWITH LOVE FROM

Maureen , soon-to-be marathon completer, 2014 Elevate Sister.

Maureen is a hopeless optimist, reformed tomboy, and has a strong and snarky voice of reason. She roots for the underdog, which comes in handy being a Notre Dame fan. When not discussing U.S. foreign policy, Maureen organizes fundraisers for her favorite charity, the National Multiple Sclerosis Society, attempts to hold crow pose for more than two seconds, and is still trying to figure out who talked her into running a half marathon this spring. If not at work, yoga, or running, you can find Maureen watching shows about handsome vampires or discussing how cute sea otters are.

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