A Manipulative Leader vs. A Good Leader

I've met many of both, have served and worked under both, and personally know both kinds of leaders. I don't necessarily believe that one is a natural born leader and the other isn't. Just like anything a natural gift and talent can only get you so far. But active knowledge, awareness, practice, and humility will get you further than sitting on natural talent can.

This morning I was thinking of a specific person, let's name this person "Anonymous" and how this person tends to be very passive and often misused and abused by those around them. I've heard Anonymous express their hidden and suppressed feelings regarding many different situations in their life. And though these feelings are expressed to me... they aren't expressed to the person they need to be expressed to. Which happen to be mostly leaders that are above Anonymous in work and life situations. I was thinking about how frustrating it must be to be Anonymous. How people often take advantage of Anonymous and their passive nature. And how Anonymous should really learn to speak up for themself. But then I thought - what if Anonymous keeps ending up in these situations partially due to manipulative leaders. Let me explain.

A manipulative leader is one who sees someone's passivity and uses it to their advantage. They'll keep that person stuck in their passivity by not speaking up for them, giving them an "out", giving them options, letting them know that they can speak up for themselves. You see, a lot of passive people are so extremely passive that they can't even find it in them to speak up for themselves. They will live their entire lives as a doormat and though they may complain to a close friend they trust, they would never say it to the face of those that "rule" over them. And yes I used "rule" because if you are a leader that is manipulating those who are under you... you are ruling like the queen or king you think you are and treating those under you like mere peasants.

As I kept digging through this topic in my mind, which honestly takes a few seconds but honestly feels like an hour with all of the conclusions and thinking that happens. But as I kept what I like to call "microscoping" this topic I started thinking about present situations in my own life. There is a group of people I've been surrounded by recently that I feel are suddenly trying to pull one over on me. And first of all if you know me, they have a sense of humor if they think they're gonna get away with it. I play no games. But anyways, I was thinking about how this specific group of people may be thinking they're getting away with it because they may view me as passive. Which side note, I'm not sure if I've ever been passive. Definitely aggressive, definitely passive aggressive but passive I'm not so sure about. I think I would call it "I'm so over this and annoyed by your lack of leadership qualities that now I just don't care enough to speak up about anything". A long description for how I feel a lot of times about most things. I consider myself very chill and indifferent when it comes to bad leadership mostly because I believe I am a natural born leader, always have been, even on the playground, and bad, manipulative leadership really irritates me. I hate when people take advantage of others because of a position they’ve been given. I've learned you can mostly just learn from them on how not to be a leader when you're given that opportunity to be one. It's very rare that you can lovingly correct a bad leader and they will happily and humbly take it and grow from it.

So back to me being passive aggressive and indifferent. A few years back I was these things as well as very unconfident in myself. And when leadership would try to push me out of my comfort zone, because I'm also extremely stubborn, they couldn't get me to do anything no matter how hard they tried. But thankfully I have grown over the years and frequently step outside of my comfort zone. But just like a parent will forever see their kid as a kid, no matter how grown they are, bad leadership will often more than not forever see you how you used to be and completely glaze over the fact that after a few years of knowing you, you have changed. But side note, thank God for change because as a leader myself being surrounded by people under you that never grow sounds absolutely horrible. As a leader, I'm not here to babysit your butt forever. All this to say that a manipulative leader can also, whether purposely or not, keep you where you're at so they are never surpassed. These kinds of leaders are insecure and therefore manipulative. They will keep a passive person where they are at and patronize you when you do speak up to make you feel like you haven't grown at all and what you have to say is "cute" but not welcomed and please don’t try again.

Beware of manipulative leaders. Pray for manipulative leaders. Like I said, they may not always be doing it on purpose. Sometimes it's so subconscious they don't realize they are doing it. But they will keep you stuck and make you feel like you will never grow or never have. A good leader will lead you on a path to becoming better if not as good as them.

A good leader will recognize a passive person's passivity and speak up for them in a way that gives them a safe space to speak up for themselves. A good leader will say, "You know you can come to me with any concerns you may have". They will say, "You know you don't have to say 'Yes' to overtime when I ask if you want more hours." They will say those "open door" words that give a passive person the freedom and the safety they need to be able to speak what is really on their mind because as a good leader you know they would never have the guts to do it. A good leader will also encourage a passive person to continue to speak up for themselves. They will affirm that what this person is feeling is valid and deserves to be shared with everyone around them. A good leader will also always see potential in those serving under them and will speak life into their potential until it becomes reality. And once it becomes reality will cheerfully encourage them to surpass their ability.

Good leaders encourage growth. Manipulative leaders stifle it. Which leader are you? Which kinds of leaders do you serve/work under?

Take inventory.

LETTING IT ALL OUT

Ahh… 2018. What a freaking year. I can’t say it’s been easy by any means. And I won’t necessarily say it’s been fun either. What it has been is a year of stepping outside of my comfort zone. It’s been a year of finally saying “yes” to what God has called me to do. In fact, I’ve said “yes” a lot this year. I’ve said “yes” to music. I’ve said “yes” to a touring cover band. I’ve said “yes” to my first single. I’ve said “yes” to recording on other people’s music. I‘ve said “yes” to love. I said “yes” to a relationship. I’ve said “yes” to leading worship. I’ve said “yes” to getting paid to sing. I’ve said “yes” to inner healing. I’ve said “yes” to God over and over and over again. But I’ve also said “yes” to fear, rejection, insecurities, perfectionism, anger, resentment, and unforgiveness. So many yes’, so much growth and so much pain. This year has been one hell of a year.

On January 1st, 2018 my grandpa unexpectedly passed away. And as I sit here crying I realize I’ve been really great at stuffing emotions down because well… I have to “adult” and get stuff done. Who really has time for emotions? Who has time to deal with pain? Who has time to sit in what feels like my world falling apart when I have bills to pay, work to get done, music to write? God has taught me a lot about his commandment of REST this year. He commands us to rest. And part of resting means sitting in the depths of what we feel and dealing with it. Rest and recovery are highly recommended by God. You should try it out sometime.

After I lost my grandpa, a month later I received a call from my mom. I was in rehearsal at the time so she left a voicemail. By the tone of her voice on the voicemail I knew immediately someone had died. I assumed it was my grandma as my grandparents had been married for 66 years and it’s common that when one passes, the other passes shortly after. How can two souls intertwined not need to catch up over some coffee in heaven after one is stripped away? Assuming it was my grandma I called her back but what she said made me fall to the ground in pain and a pool of tears. My 20 year old cousin with a bright future and one week shy of 21 was killed in a car accident. She had just accepted her dream job. She was kind, loving, a truly beautiful soul. At that moment all my fears, frustrations, and questions from the time my dance instructor was killed in a car accident came flooding back. I was 12 and never doubted anyone as much as I doubted God. How could a loving, all powerful God allow this to happen? If He was truly loving and all powerful He could have stopped this. Healed her. Not let her die. Something! Anything!? But then I’m reminded that God is sovereign and I am not. And I am to trust Him, not doubt Him.

With not doubting God also comes me not doubting who He says I am and who He’s called me to be. A month later I started recording my first single. It was a roller coaster process. I’m a perfectionist… well was a perfectionist. I’m trying not to claim that anymore. But because I am very detailed and like things done how I imagine them - I had a very specific vision for my first single. I knew what I wanted it to feel like, the sound, the timing, everything. It started out just so. Exactly what I wanted. I was excited and the process was enjoyable. Half way in, my producer messed with the song on his free time and it took a giant, fat, left turn. I hated it. It was ugly and not what I wanted at all. I suddenly hated the process and everything about creating music. My next session we fixed it. And in the end the song turned out just how I had imagined. I sit here reminded of how life is a lot like this process. It’s messy. Sometimes you’re enjoying every moment and the next you are broke, don’t know what’s going to happen next, and uncertain if it’s all worth it. And quite honestly not able to celebrate any part of it. I wasn’t able to celebrate my single or myself for taking such steps until a couple of weeks ago. Mind you my single came out in July. It is now November. Took me a few months to appreciate the piece of art I had created. Like I said - I’m a part time perfectionist. It takes me awhile to appreciate the good in things and sometimes even people.

During that time I met a boy. He was tall, dark, and handsome. Just how I like em. Dread-head, Christian music artist, loves God, loves people. And I thought loved me? At the time I was sure of it. Now… I’m really not sure of anything. I question if it was real. Did I not hear God right? Did I miss it? Was I disobedient to God? I could’ve sworn God revealed to me who he was supposed to be in my life. But right now in this moment I question if I heard God at all or were my ears cuffed in surrender to my hearts desires?

Anyways… this boy. He honestly came out of no where. Quite honestly at first I was only interested in him for music purposes. As I had just started my music journey I wanted to connect with more Christian artists. He ended up being one of them. After a phone call and FaceTime I was hooked. I wanted to spend all my time getting to know him. He became my best friend. We talked for hours every night about anything and everything. God, life, music, our dreams and ambitions. We were planning. And let me take this moment to say that dating is HORRIBLE. Period. I’ve always hated the idea of dating. I don’t want to waste my time getting to know someone to realize months later that “This just isn’t gonna work”. Thank you for wasting half my life! Major sarcasm and a bit dramatic… but you get my point. Dating in the world is boo boo. But dating in the Christian world is HELL ON EARTH. Everyone goes in with a “This is the one” mentality and it puts way too much pressure on both parties. On top of that the Kingdom of God does a catastrophic job of setting single people up for marriage success. Every community event, group, ministry, etc is focused on success after rings are exchanged. But let me just say if single people were the focus we’d have a lot more healthy marriages. Just. Saying. But that’s not my place.

Anyways - back to “the boy”. Let me just cut right to it. We aren’t together anymore. There is an issue us Millennials/Gen-Z have. We are a microwave generation with “relationships” at our fingertips. Who wants to be patient and work through an actual relationship when I can swipe left and find something that is “good enough” for the time. We patch up holes meant for true connection with instant cell phone reception and call it good. Basically, we suck. I say all that to say that I think he liked the “idea” of a relationship. But not the effort it took. And I’m not saying I was perfect and everything I did was right. To be honest, my perfectionism makes me judge other people harshly and almost everything he did for me was seen as “not good enough”. Perfectionism is like looking through foggy, scratched up lenses. All you see is flaws. In the end after awhile our relationship felt non-existent. With a lack of communication and effort combined with being on Instagram all day but not being able to have an important conversation… I ended it.

Do I miss him? Yes. It’s the worst pain I’ve felt in awhile. I didn’t realize you could actually physically feel heartache until now. I grew up being taught how to mask pain, hide it, don’t deal with, don’t cry, don’t show that you are hurt, suck it up, and move on. But God has been teaching me through conversations about how your brain actually holds on to pathways of trauma as well as how pain can be passed down through DNA that… “Spencer, you need to deal with this. Not just ignore it”. I miss him. I still love him. And I still deeply care for him. But sometimes letting go is the best thing you can do. Even if in the midst of it all your worst fears, doubts, and pain surface. Let’s just say I won’t be dating for awhile. My lenses toward men and relationships are foggy and scratched up. It’s just better for me and everyone else to stick to being single for now.

So now here I am at the end of 2018. Almost finished with my first EP. I’ve been offered to sign with a label. I don’t know what the future holds. I’m honestly scared to pieces. I still wake up feeling like the weight of the world is on my shoulders. I don’t trust people, men in particular. Some days I don’t ever want to get out of bed. Some days I ignore everyone. I don’t respond. I don’t pick up. Some days I wish I had more friends. Some days I pray for God to send me “my team” and “my people”. Some days I’m not suicidal but also don’t want to live. Some days I want to pack up and leave. Some days I want to say “Thanks but no thanks God. Give my calling to someone else”. Some days I feel like giving up on everything and everyone. Some days I wish I had never met him. Some days I wish I had never tried. Some days I wish I was better at life. But then I remember that God loves me because He loves me because He loves me and nothing could ever change that. No matter how good or bad I am at this game of life. So I keep going and I keep pushing and I keep stepping out of my comfort zone. Because God is worth it. Even if I don’t think I am.

xoxo,
Spencer Lee

Life is too short.

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Life is too short.


God has been speaking to me about this phrase. Often used in a way to do whatever you want without second thought towards how it might effect your life in the long run or those around you.

For me, it's an invitation from God to let go of perfectionism and fear of man in order to walk fully in His promises for my life. Perfectionism for a long time crippled me, destroyed me, paralyzed me. And though I've taken major strides to conquer it, it still lingers quietly, only to attack at the most inconvenient times. I also have a fear of disappointing people. In the past, if I was a disappointment, I was no longer wanted and I was verbally destroyed from the inside out. So, naturally, disappointing people is a fear.

But "Life is too short", God says. Life is too short to fear the opinions of those who didn't have even an opportunity to throw out suggestions during the process of being created. Life is too short to be afraid of making decisions that God has told you to make knowing they might disappoint someone.

Everyone has a plan for your life. But their plan isn't God's plan. Life is too short to listen and obey anyone BUT God. Fear of man is negative, Fear of God is reverence towards how amazing He is.

All that to say. I may disappoint some of you in the near future. And I don't care. I'm listening to God, saying "Yes" to God, and walking with God.

I don't care in the most loving way possible.

xx,
The girl who is finding her freedom.

goodbye, 2016

goodbye 2016.

2016 is quickly coming to it's end. This dramatic, over the top, extra, "Really?", "Why me?", year is finally almost over. I'm not one for the "New Year, New Me" movement or even "New Year Resolutions" because quite honestly they NEVER make it through to the end of the year. They die around the end of January and may make a few appearances throughout the year... but for the most part it's a pretty fickle relationship. This year, however, I am making what I like to call, "God Goals". But before we get into that, let me explain this year and why the start to this blog post itself was so dramatic. Here we go.

I went into this year by being forced on stage to sing on the worship team. It was your normal Sunday service. Songs, dance, prophecy, etc. Until my pastor called me to the stage, did some prophecy, and then proceeded to force me on stage to sing. Fortunately, because God is a loving and caring God, He told me minutes before that this was going to happen. So, shoutout to the big man upstairs for giving me a minute to panic & a minute to find my trust in Him again. That was my first time singing publicly. I had sung in choir, in the back row, where no one could actually hear me. But otherwise, up until that point, my only audience were those behind their screens on Instagram and Snapchat. I don't think people understand how easy it is to sing on social media. I can record, hate it, & delete it as many times as I want before I find a 30 second clip that is "alright". I don't know if you realize, but that isn't a thing when you're on stage in front of people.

My first official initiation onto the worship team was singing an entire song by myself. So let me summarize what just happened in case you're confused. I went from never singing in front of people, posting 30 seconds or less clips on social media to singing an entire song as a soloist in front of a live audience. Are you starting to understand why I said 2016 was dramatic? And this is just a small portion of the nonsense that went on this year.

At the end of January I lost my full time job to go on a 10 day missions trip to Thailand. Yes, I lost my permanent full time job that paid the bills to go and minister in a foreign country. That's what happens when you serve a God who doesn't abide by the rules of the prison that money can create for us. Of course what normally happens on a missions trip happened. Yes, my world was rocked and everything that used to matter, didn't, and everything that should've mattered before, was now at the forefront of my mind. Oh, and I sang that same solo song 7/10 days in front of an audience that didn't understand a single word I was singing. God likes to push the boundaries of my comfort zone quickly and on a large scale all the time. I guess He knows He created a tough girl. 

I won't write a paragraph for each individual event that has happened this year. I'll end up boring myself and most likely you. So I'll briefly summarize and get to my point of this whole post. This year I've house/dog sat, been a production assistant on multiple tv/award shows, helped sort a friend's house/finances, and worked as a production associate for a iPhone case company. I started shooting photography this year, which I said I'd never do. I've started working on my body painting book again. I've shot videography for choreographers. I started being faithful to my YouTube channel and vlogging, which you should check out, by the way. I'll stop the list and just say that this year has been a winding road that crossed through many different cities.

Ending 2016, I am still being pushed out of my comfort zone. Just a year ago I was being forced to sing on stage and now last week God told me I was going to be the new youth worship leader. Sure enough a couple days later the youth pastors asked me to lead, sing and play the guitar. Yet again, another thing I do not do in front of others, play the guitar. But, I'm learning to be comfortable with the uncomfortable, maybe even enjoying it. It's where I do my best growing. 

I started this year by picking two words I wanted to define my year, "Limitless" and "Able". Those two words along side God have carried me through this year. I decided at the beginning of 2016 that I would say "Yes" to opportunities before the enemy had the chance to tell me I couldn't. And I can say that this year I've done the most growing spiritually and mentally than ever. 

As I go into 2017, I have "God goals". Goals I won't be trying to accomplish on my own, but with God. I have goals to travel, be financially sound, be spiritually more in tune, dive historically & hebraically deep into scripture, pray for my future, find the true meaning of being single in the Kingdom, and get my temple in order. By temple, I mean my body. My body is a temple... if you read scripture... never mind. Anyways, I'm ready for 2017 to be another year of growth. It's going to be amazing.

Say yes to new opportunities. Knock fear down on it's behind and step forward into what God has for you. I promise, He won't let you down. He'll actually surprise you instead.

this is a PSA: dream again

this is a PSA: dream again.

I've found myself forgetting how to dream. Dreams these days amount to wanting to be able to pay rent on time without the check bouncing. That's me dreaming big. Sad, isn't it? I know. It's embarrassing. I'm a disappointment to my 18 year old self. Living back in Oregon, big fish, little pond, the best there was because there wasn't many. My small dreams were easy and attainable, big dreams were not living in a small town. So dreaming big about my possibilities and opportunities when I got to the big city was easy, because I didn't know any better. Naive 18 year old, little Spencer was a blessing and a curse to herself.

At 18 I had huge dreams and to my small town, ignorant heart, they were possible. I didn't have a plan on how I was going to accomplish my dreams or even a starting point towards accomplishing them. I just knew my dreams were my dreams and they were going to happen because I said so. No "If's" or "But's" about it. I made bold statements and declarations about my future and gave no apologies for dreaming of such things.

I was going to move to Los Angeles and be somebody. I didn't know who I was going to be or what genre of art I wanted to be known for. I just knew I wanted to inspire others. I won't go into details of what dreams I had, 1) because they're mine & ain't nobody gon steal my ideas. (just kidding, kind of) and 2) it's just too much to type out. But you get the point. I had major dreams. And nowadays I don't even think about them.

It all started when I moved to Los Angeles. I realized my big fish, small pond confidence only works in a small pond. Big fish became "bottom of the food chain" little fish. It didn't happen all at once. My dreams didn't sink to the bottom of the ocean like a safe full of diamonds and gold, no, no... more like a feather from a soaring eagle that fell on top of the water, slowly drenched & submerged until it hit rock bottom. I'm the eagle and the feather was my dreams. And just like an eagle is still an eagle even with one less feather... I'm still that starry eyed dreamer that just lost sight of her dreams in the ocean called "the industry".

Why am I writing this? Well, I've finally come to the realization that this has happened. I didn't realize it happened until someone asked me what my goals and dreams are and I realized I didn't have any anymore. I'm writing this as a reminder that it's okay to dream. That a failure, a "no", a "not quite", isn't forever. It's a moment that passes in time. It's a closed door guiding me to the open door. This is a reminder to myself and to whoever is reading this that it's okay to dream again. Don't let a few disappointments keep you from dreaming altogether. Big dreams that are meant to last take time to build. So to myself and to those who feel the same, let's dream again. Shall we?

meet superficial spencer

meet superficial spencer

I used to be stubbornly picky in all the wrong ways. How can you be picky in the right way? I know, being picky doesn't give off good vibes or give you hope for a happy ending. Being picky usually disables you from enjoying the vastness, fullness, and depth of life. Whether it be food, friendships, relationships, career choices being too picky can often times jip you from having an interesting story to tell or an amazing life experience. But I used to be picky to a fault. Picky to the point of sabotaging a lot of opportunities, relationships, etc, for myself. But today I want to talk about one area of life in particular. Relationships. Men. Because I'm into men. Duh. I'm prepared for you to judge me. So judge away, Judgy. But let me introduce you to Superficial Spencer.

First off, if you don't know me, I'm stubborn. Aggressively stubborn. Depending on who you are and what kind of relationship you have with me, my stubbornness is either reduced or inflamed. But everyone I know, knows me to be stubborn to one degree or another. I am not big on being told what to do, how to do it, when to do it, or where. For the most part. I don't wanna come off as an arrogant, incapable of taking direction, type of girl. I can take direction and advice. Don't get me wrong. But when my mind is set, it's set. And that's that. 

So my mind used to be set on a very specific man. Not a man specifically, but a specific type, look, style, height, job, etc. Everything about my "future husband" I had planned out. I knew what kind of humor I wanted, what job he needed to have, how his hair, nose, eyes, down to his jawline should look like. Hello! Who is picky about a jawline!? Me. He needed to be 6'2" or up. That part still has not changed. Sorry shorties. But try being a 5'10" freshman in high school and having to look down at every guy in the school while also being hit with a mix of hormones and the constant question of "Am I beautiful?" being the theme of your female existence. Anyways, like I said. I was picky. Any time I would start to like a guy, I'd analyze. I'd find every reason not to like him. "He doesn't have this." "He doesn't look like this." "He isn't that funny." "He is too skinny." "His hands are girly." "His eyes aren't almond shaped." That last one is a bit exaggerated, but you get my point. If he lacked one physical or mental quality that I was looking for, he was out, immediately, no questions asked, no looking back. But when I did find the "perfect" guy. Well, let's say things weren't "perfect" for long.

I mean doesn't a saying somewhere go, "the good lookin' ones are always jerks." I don't think that is saying anywhere by anyone. I may have just made it up as I type. But I'm telling you, it's a thing. The good looking, "perfect", fits every physical and mental quality on my list, guys are always jerks. It's fact. I look back at my life and it's fact. 

I've learned a lot over the past four years of trying to find that "perfect" guy. He isn't real. No one is perfect. Life isn't a fairytale. And my list is too picky for the diverse, vast, unique world that God has created. We are not perfect beings. We will never be perfect beings. But that is true beauty, right? The imperfect perfection of finding an equally imperfect human being to live a perfectly imperfect but beautiful life together.

I've ditched my list. I've let go of trying to find perfection. That is impossible in a world of imperfection. There are maybe four things on my list. But they are open to interpretation. They aren't a + b = c. There is no definite answer. I'm no longer picky about my future husband. In the wrong way at least. I'm still stubbornly picky, but only when it comes to one thing. And that is being treated right. All I care about is being treated like I'm worthy of love. That is the one major quality I look for. And it's one of the most freeing and liberating choices I've made. There is so much freedom in saying, "No. I don't want to date you." to an attractive man who is a jerk.

Ladies, the man may be cute, but if he doesn't treat you right, what is the point? You get to flaunt around a shiny piece of "I'm a jerk." I'm not saying find the guy you're least attracted to and be happy. But lose the intricate, in depth, picky, superficial, list of perfection that you are never going to find. Believe it or not, there are imperfect, attractive, gentlemen still out there that will love you like the queen you are. You just have to be patient and be stubbornly picky in the right way.

you are a masterpiece

my queen, you are a masterpiece.

The worth of a woman cannot fit into the palms of a man's hands. It does not fit in his fingertips. He cannot grasp the vast nature of a woman's worth. He cannot grip it securely enough to have his way in shaping and molding her. He does not have the capacity to understand the depth and intricacies of a woman's worth. The strength it takes to safely hold her worth in his hands. He doesn't know. He has not been taught.

Let's teach the man that a woman's worth is more than the shape of her body, the lips on her face, and the sway in her walk. Let us teach him that a woman's worth is not found in photoshopped magazines, plastic surgery, or Keeping up with the Kardashian's. Let's school him on how a woman's worth should be respected and honored. That woman's worth is far beyond the opinion of a lonely man's late night thoughts. Her worth is not found on the tongues of her predators. It is not found in after thoughts, second place, or on top shelves to be forgotten. 

You see woman, you have been lied to. You have been misled. You have been told that your life story is being written by a man who does not care to even know your name. You have been picked apart and drowned in the misogynistic opinions of a man-run world. You have been retouched, blurred, healed, stretched, and shrunk to fit a mold created by the lustful eyes of men. You have been told to break your bank and put your face on. As if the face you have been given is not a face at all, it's just an empty canvas that an artist forgot to paint. Forgot to create. Forgot. You've been told you are forgotten. That you are forgettable. As if the greatest artist to ever walk the Earth didn't already paint a masterpiece.

My queen, you are a masterpiece. You are layer upon layer of brushstrokes, colors, and moments of adoration. You are breath after breath from the lungs of a King. You are the living expression of a man who died for how worthy you are. You see, you worth does not sit in the palms of a man's hands but in the palms of a King who became a man to show you your worth. Your worth sits deeply in the cracks of the King's hands like clay sits deeply in the cracks of a potter's. A potter who sits down and spends hours creating one vase, making sure it's shaped exactly how he imagined. Woman, God took His time on you. He breathed inside you and created a piece of art like no other. And He took his last breath to solidify His work in you. He calls you beautiful, He calls you daughter, He calls you worthy, He calls you woman. You are woman. And you are worthy.

chase your dreams?

chase your dreams?

The saying always goes, "Chase your dreams." What does that really mean? What does it mean to chase what your heart longs for and your mind constantly dwells on? What does it mean to pursue pathways and avenues that twist and turn, that can, on occasion, turn out to be dead ends, just to reach a fragment of what your purpose here on earth is? How does one do that? How does someone, "Chase your dreams."? Where do you start? How do you begin? What puts you on that path? I think it's a little naive to think that chasing your dreams is all there is to chasing your dreams. 

What makes someone use that cliche phrase anyway? What kind of conversation brings that phrase up? What is the cause of that effect? What causes someone to use that as a "word of encouragement"? Because that's all it is. It's a cliche phrase we "advice givers" and "know it alls" like to use when we have no knowledge or solid bits of advice to give. We just resort to, "Chase your dreams." And as cliche and overused as that phrase is, there is a deeper meaning behind it all. So what deep conversation would encourage us to use it?

It's a conversation of hope and fear. It's a conversation about passion and unbelief. It's a conversation full of ideas, concepts, thoughts, expressions, uncertainties, lack of confidence, and last resorts. It's the "chase your dreams" conversation. It's that conversation most of us, if not all, have had at one point or another. And if we haven't yet, we will someday. It's the conversation that sparks up when you've had enough of following someone else's dream for your life, you're through with taking the "normal", college degree, route, and you are ready to be excited and passionate about what you're doing with your life. It's the conversation that arises when you are tired of letting fear rule you and your career. It's the "chase your dreams" conversation.

Chasing your dreams is not as easy and simple as the three word phrase itself. It requires chasing what scares you the most. It requires you to chase the chance that it might not work out. It requires you to chase the repeated "No's" and  "You're not what we're looking for's". It requires you to fail and try again. You are chasing your fears when you decide to chase your dreams. You are chasing the very thing that excites you yet at the same time puts the greatest amount of fear you've ever known inside you. We aren't afraid of chasing our dreams. We are afraid of chasing our fears. 

Fear is your dream's fake best friend and your assigned enemy. So don't chase your dreams, chase your fears. Chase your fears until they flee. 

to the woman who...

to the woman who...

To the woman who gets cat called on the daily. To the woman who is ugly if she says, "No thank you." To the woman who "must be on her period" when she stands up for herself. To the woman who has been told to smile more. To the woman who is grabbed, groped, and man handled. To the woman who is told her worth is in the way her hips move and how high her chest sits. To the woman who is shamed for her stretch marks, hairy legs, and lack of booty. To the woman who feels more like an object of pleasure than a human being. To the woman who just isn't enough yet is way too much.

You are not their words. You are not their actions. You are not their opinions, their stares, their ignorance. You are not a product to be kept on a shelf and only dusted off and used when a man needs satisfaction and pleasure. You are not a trophy to be shined and displayed for viewing pleasure. Your quality and beauty is not decided on your choice to share or not share your number with a man. Your worth is not on a scale of one to a dime piece. Your body is not his to practice with. You are not his personal property. He did not sign a life-time lease for your body. You are not his test dummy to be reckless with. You're not his. Woman, you are not his. You are not his.

You are a queen with a kingdom of your own. You are a thought out masterpiece painted by the most decisive of artists. You are a soul full of intelligence, beauty, and strength. You are a warrior with territory to conquer. You are whatever hair length, dress size, and amount of makeup you choose. You are all colors of skin. You are a scientist. An artist. A teacher. A free-spirit. A CEO. You are what YOU decide to be. You are a book full of chapters and stories to be told. You are anything and everything you want to be. You are capable. You are limitless. You are fearless. You are strong. You are woman.

accept yourself, except yourself.

accept yourself, except yourself.

The world is constantly telling you to love yourself, yet at the same time gives examples of the only type of person you can be, and unless you look or act like them, you can't love yourself. The world says you need to be yourself, love yourself, be who you are, don't try to duplicate anyone else. Yet, unless you have flawless skin, money, and a fat booty, you are worthless. The world says love yourself, but not too much or else you're cocky. The world is constantly saying accept yourself, except yourself. Be anyone but yourself, to love yourself. Stop absorbing the lies and letting them rule you. Be yourself and love doing it. It's okay to be more than okay with who you are. It's perfectly fine to be satisfied with and enjoy who you have been created to be.

When will we mute the world that is full of lies, deception, and ridicule? Do we even know that this is how the world speaks of us? Do we realize that we are being fed lies daily? Do we understand that photos are photoshopped and the disproportionate barbie doll on the magazine is fake? Are we blind to reality? The real reality. Not the facade we are fed. Are you aware?

Are you aware of the freedom you have to love yourself?

The world likes to say a lot. A lot about who you are, who you can be, where you can go, what you can and cannot do, what you are capable of, how you should look... The world has so much to say. But you have ears to ignore it with and a mouth with which you can stand up for yourself. It's all in a simple decision to enjoy who God created you to be. Will you ignore the world when it has something to say? Will you stand up for yourself? Will you even be able to have anything nice to say about yourself? Or have the lies confused you to the point of no longer knowing why you are special? Do you even know who you are anymore? Who you truly are?

this anxiety is relentless.

this anxiety is relentless.

I find myself in a constant irritation. This fiery flame inside my gut that boils and bubbles up to the back of my tongue and sits there, keeping me from releasing any harsh words. It's an unrelenting cloud of nausea and anxiety that bolts through my veins like electricity. It's frustrating to be in this space. I'm unsure of why or how this is happening. It's a season. I have to remind myself that my anxiety and irritation is not me. It's not who I am. It isn't my character. There is no attachment between it and me. We are not friends. We do not have a relationship with one another. And this will only last a very short moment in the overall span of my life. But it's here.

It's here and it isn't leaving except in short bursts with the prayers I send up to God. It ends for a moment and hits me like a ton of bricks at any moment without warning. It's in silly moments that I feel anxiety. Ones that would never normally inflict anxiety even on the most anxiety rid person. Moments of changing the oil in my car or realizing I left my jacket in a building that I will be returning to a few days later. Moments of spending time with close friends. Moments of training in something I've been doing my entire life. These aren't moments to be anxious and yet I feel frozen in my mind, stuck on all the things that could go wrong with a belly full of butterflies that are on fire and screaming from the pain. 

It's aggressive. It's frustrating. It's relentless. And for this moment in time, it's here to stay. I just hope it says goodbye soon. Maybe without the good though. Since it will not have been a "good time".

respect my art, respect my hustle.

keep me alive, respect my art, respect my hustle.

Trying to create a career for yourself by doing the activities you love the most is difficult. We artists are crazy for thinking it is possible. Borderline insane, actually. And I mean the actual definition of insanity. According to psychologytoday.com the definition for insanity is:

n. mental illness of such a severe nature that a person cannot distinguish fantasy from reality, cannot conduct her/his affairs due to psychosis, or is subject to uncontrollable impulsive behavior. 

Us creatives can't distinguish between the reality of having to make an income to feed, clothe, and give ourselves a place to live, and the fantasy we dwell on that of which thinking our creativity could actually make a living for us. It's insanity, isn't it? To think that a talent I have, something I'm good at, something I love to do, could make money appear in my bank account. It's dumb. It's stupid. It's ridiculous. It's childish.

It's insanity. But it's the most amazing form of insanity I know. I'm insane for thinking I could move to Los Angeles, CA, the home of all creatives who are just as insane as me, at 18 years old and make a living off of some hobbies I happen to be skilled at and enjoy. It's ridiculous and almost laughable for me to even consider it. But I did. I considered it and acted on it. It was insane for me to do and I still feel crazy at times thinking that this is actually going to work out. Or at least it's starting to seem that way.

I've been getting gigs for videography, photography, and makeup more often. And most of the time they pay some pretty pennies. But then you have those people who carry that other type of insanity. The insanity that says I should work for free because what I do is just a hobby and I love what I do, so why wouldn't I jump at any opportunity to do what I love, paid or not. The type of insanity that tells me to work for them, and doesn't ask. The type of insanity that thinks editing a video takes five minutes instead of hours upon hours of staring at a computer screen to make sure their video is exactly what they want. The type of insanity that thinks photography is as easy as pointing and shooting when they don't realize that you have to consider light and shadows, depth of field, and editing. The type of insanity that doesn't realize how expensive good quality makeup is at $40 for one color of foundation and $200 for high end brush sets. This is the type of insanity that keeps my type of insanity from melding fantasy to reality. This type of insanity seems to attach itself to the people who don't know how to do what I do.

To those who don't do videography, photography, and makeup, to those who don't know what it means to want to build a career out of what you love to do, to those who don't have the itch to make sure every project they work on is as perfect as it can be or don't care to make sure they're client is ecstatic with the outcome, every single time, it is disrespectful to me as an artist for you to demand work from me and without pay. My art is me, it is my being, it comes from within, a part of my heart, mind, and passion are put into every project I work on, and it is hurtful and disrespectful to be demanded that who I am, should be used for free and without asking. 

On behalf of my heart, mind, creativity, passion, $700 camera, $500 lens, $300 editing program, $1,000 mac, $100's of makeup, $200 brush set, and my hours of work put into making sure your project is up to par, please remember to ask me, not demand me, and to not ask for free work. Yes I enjoy what I do and if I didn't have to make a living it would be a hobby I would do for free, but this is life and we have to pay for the necessities of life. So help me stay alive by respecting my art and my hustle.

xoxo, Spencer Lee

my perfectionism says I can't.

my perfectionism says i can't.

As a perfectionist, dealing with OCD & anxiety, and having the competitive spirit of always wanting to be the best it is extremely hard to admit failure or to disappoint someone. Especially someone that is important to you, someone you look up to and want to impress.

(Impress may not be the best word, it's 9:28AM and my mind is going 100 miles a minute and it's all I can come up with at this moment.)

I know as a child of God, I only need to worry about the approval from God. But as a lifelong perfectionist it's tough not to worry about disappointing others. 

Growing up, I've always been "the best" at everything. I never had to practice much, never needed to ask questions, never needed to spend hours or years at something to be good at it. I naturally picked up pretty much anything I put my hands to. Until my natural ability couldn't get me any further. So instead of trying, because I never actually knew how to try since I didn't need to, I just didn't try at all. So I found myself stuck and not moving forward, maybe not even moving back, but just stuck in one spot. I thought I was free from that until recently.

I find myself struggling to get anywhere with anything I want to be doing. I find myself not being able to say, "No" to people when, "No" is what I need to be able to say to get the break I need. But in fear of disappointing those around me, I just say, "Yes". I've realized I don't know how to say, "No" when it comes to opportunities that will help me look "more perfect" or "the best". That sounds really twisted and messed up. Possibly even a bit arrogant. But it comes from a place of never feeling adequate.

Most people don't understand that most of what I do comes from that place in my heart of inadequacy and feeling like a failure. It's hard to explain to people what is really going on inside my heart and mind. I tend to come off as an arrogant, "thinks she's better" person because of how I carry myself. And there are moments where I may seem like I just don't care or am not giving any effort because I simply don't want to. When in reality I can't because my perfectionism won't allow me to.

So maybe I need to learn that my perfectionism doesn't get to give me permission or validation because I already have my permission and validation from God.

you can't keep waiting.

you can't keep waiting.

We're always waiting for the perfect moment. The next day. The right timing. That next paycheck. The right feeling. The perfect situation. We're always waiting. Why are we always waiting?

Sometimes I think we always say "I'm waiting for the perfect moment" so we don't have to say "I'm afraid of what will happen". We aren't waiting for it to be perfect because let's face it, timing will never be perfect. Perfect does not exist. So let's call it what it is, fear. We are afraid of what might go wrong, what may not work out, what could possibly be a "no". We are afraid of failure, we are scared to be wrong. We are afraid of the unknown; the future. We are afraid to be seen, to be watched, to have a spotlight. We are afraid to make mistakes that will be judged and magnified. 

When will we stop being so afraid of our own success? When will fear no longer hold us captive? When will we stop letting fear tell us to lie and say we're "just waiting"? When will we have enough of fear?

I am 21 years old. A little more than three years ago I was walking across a stage signifying the end of one chapter and the beginning of another. And my joyful, 18 year old heart could not be more excited. I was ready to take on the world. I knew who I was. I knew what I wanted to do, where I wanted to go, and what my life was going to be used for. I didn't know that for two years after that moment I would stumble around quickly losing sight of all goals and dreams I had. Fear crept in. It took my joy, my faith, my determination, my gusto, my hopes and dreams. Fear stole it all. And it's had a pretty tight grip on it ever since. So when will I stop waiting? When will you stop holding back? When will we break down the wall of fear?

Fear will end the moment you say your life is worth it to be successful. Decide on success and you'll decide on a life full of adventure, happiness, and zero perfect moments, only incredible mistakes and wonderful adventures.

2016, you will not know fear.

xoxo, Spencer Lee

the artists' life.

the artists' life.

I'm sure this can't be just me. In fact, I know it's not. I know I am not alone when it comes to the ups and downs in the life of an artist. Us artists sometimes see the world in vivid colors and patterns and other times see nothing but a mix of blacks and whites that turn into all shades of gray. This I call, the artistic roller coaster.

It's a constant, whether slow or fast, ride of ups and downs, ins and outs, loops, different speeds, and breaks. It's slow motion whiplash over and over and over again. It can be a painful thing, being an "arteest". But I wouldn't want to be anything else.

There are seasons in my life where I have creative thought after creative thought that slap me in the face. A whole bunch of lightbulbs are constantly going off and I write, paint, and edit like a mad woman. And then there are seasons where I lack all of the passion in the world to do anything creative. I feel dead. I feel heavy. I feel worthless. It's the artistic roller coaster.

It can be extremely frustrating to deal with. There are times where I wish I was a "muggle". A normal person with a normal, average job. But I've tried that, I'm currently trying that normal thing out and it's absolutely horrible. I feel dead inside. And that's when I remember that I don't want to be a "muggle". I love being this creative visionary that exudes creativity in every aspect of my life. 

This artistic roller coaster has scary, vomit inducing drops, but it also has it's "scream at the top of your lungs with joy" highs. And I couldn't be more appreciative to have been given such a life as this.

xoxo, Spencer Lee

why did i choose this life?

why did I choose this life?

Well, I didn't choose it. I in fact was born into it by the choice of my parents. As all of us were. We were all once just a moment of infatuation, lust and hopefully a little bit of love that turned into either a planned celebration or a surprise. None of us chose this life. We never had a say in whether we wanted to be born or not. I think it's lucky that our lives were chosen for us, whereas some aren't so lucky. Or shall I call it blessed, because I don't believe in luck. Luck is what those sarcastic jealous people call it when someone else one-ups them in the game of life.

Why did I choose this life? No, not the choice to be alive. No. I'm talking about the details that make up every inch of my life. The details that matter. That decision I made when I was 16 to get my first tattoo, "To live a creative life, we must lose our fear of being wrong." Which still holds truth in my life 'til this day. Five years later. It still matters. Or time after time where I decided to drop basketball, and then flute, and piano, just so I could continue training in dance. Or yesterday, when I decided to buy a plane ticket to New York for my birthday without any thought out plans of why I'm going, who I'm going to stay with, or whether I actually have the money to pay for it. (Thank you to my credit card, WITH air miles.) Why do I choose the things I choose?

I think this is a question we ought to ask ourselves more often. Why do we do the things we do? What about us triggers that thought, this action, those motives? Why are we who we are? What moment in our past aides in the decisions we make in the present? And what actions will we take to make sure we continue down that path or choose another path in our future? Are you happy with where you are? Are you satisfied or ecstatic to be where you are at? What drives you? What pushes you to go further? What allows you to feel free? What is it? What are the causes of all the effects in our lives? Why did I choose this life?

I'm still figuring it out.