I am Content with Second Place

Hello beautiful people! It’s been a minute since I’ve written anything on the blog, so thank you for continuing to follow along my journey and for receiving. I am committing to sharing something I’ve written on a weekly basis because honestly.. words are the best way I know how to make sense of the world. Yes, even more than photography. Even more than music! I recently completed my fifth journal in 4 years and God was like, “girl… what good is your magic if you keep it all to yourself?” Even when I’m not journaling, I’m scribbling on napkins, writing poems, doing spoken word in the shower, jotting things down on my phone, reading. I am a storyteller, after all. With that being said, subscribe to 3arly July’s (3.7 for short) newsletter if it resonates for you to do so and please hold me accountable! 

Taking us back to the beginning of the year, the mantra I set for 2018 is: “nothing is worth more than my peace”. I was working in the service industry at the time and did not want to let it turn me into something that I am not. At my best- I am not impatient, unkind, ungrateful or one to complain. With all of the shit servers go through though- God was definitely making me stronger… for what, at the time I wasn’t sure. I had to affirm myself again and again that nothing and nobody is worth more than my peace. Especially not something as trivial as a rude, entitled ass customer. It seemed like on days that I prayed for compassion and kindness- the worrrrrst people came in and I had to open up to be what I was praying for. Funny how we never receive what we ask for in the ways that we expect. 

There were definitely hard days. The flexibility with time and quick cash gave me opportunities to create and nurture 3.7 more than other jobs would but it still took its toll on me, mentally and physically. I am grateful to now be out of the service industry due to an interesting string of events. My Spirit was calling me to embark on full-time entrepreneurship and at the end of it all, I honored what working in service did for me. I was taught to remember who I am and not what others or my environments want to make me out to be. I can breathe through anything. 

and nothing is worth more than my peace.

The other mantra I’ve adopted this year is “I am content with being second place.” It comes from a bible verse that reads:

So, chosen by God for this new life of love, dress in the wardrobe God picked out for you: compassion, kindness, humility, quiet strength, discipline. Be even-tempered, content with second place, quick to forgive an offense. Forgive as quickly and completely as the Master forgave you. And regardless of what else you put on, wear love. It’s your basic, all-purpose garment. Never be without it.” - Colossians 3:12-14

“content with second place” really struck me because I always felt pressured to be the best at everything. We’re taught to strive to be “the best”: have the best grades, make the most money, be #1 in your field, be a boss, be the perfect woman, the perfect wife, etc. etc. Asian femmes especially have these notions forced upon them at a high cost. That’s just not tangible or sustainable for anyone. To be the “best” at everything… what does that even mean?

Learning to be content with second place has allowed peace to wash over my life in so many ways. It gave me the gift of my humanity. I’m always going to have something to learn and improve upon. I allow myself to make mistakes because I’m not pressed to prove anything to anybody else. And now, knowing that I can never lose love (because I AM love, and so are you) - making mistakes doesn’t seem so scary. They won’t result in punishment, rejection or shame. I’m only human. I even keep a list of ‘failures and fuck-ups’ in my jar of accomplishments to remind myself that what’s coming is going to be so much better than what I initially thought I wanted… It also reminds me that at least I am trying new things and pushing past my comfort zone. I can create things and share them without them having to be perfect or the most riveting thing that I’ve ever produced. It is what was in my heart at the moment brought into the physical.

Being content with second place, or third or fifth or last even isn’t an issue because I’m focused on my journey and defining what ‘success’ means for ME. If I’m putting my best foot forward and walking the unique path God has for me… there’s nobody there to compete with. Everything will happen on Divine Time. I’m not going to continue to force myself to be somewhere / someone that I’m not. Where I am is exactly where I’m supposed to be. Who I am is who I want to be. 

This doesn’t devoid me of ambition or wanting the best for myself… I’m just choosing not to put so much emphasis on getting ‘there’ and to honor my darkness and deficits. We are taught to demonize these aspects of ourselves when they are just asking to be acknowledged and loved. Also not saying this path is easy or that I don’t experience low moments, encounter doubts, and break-down on a semi-regular basis. I have been through enough to know that I can survive through anything. God was preparing me for this, remember?

To tie to the end of the verse that says “And regardless of what else you put on, wear love. It’s your basic, all-purpose garment. Never be without it.”… Every moment and encounter has been an opportunity to learn more about myself and to choose love. “Good” and “bad” is all subjective. Everything that happens has been designed by Spirit to allow us to be where we need to be, learn what we need to learn, see what we need to see, and do what we need to do. I am content with being second place because God comes first. What God has in store for me is so much sweeter than anything I can imagine. I surrender to that. 

All Praises Due,  

- Ellie Love 

Black Butterfly: A Story of Struggle, Renewal and Triumph

Black Butterfly is a story of struggle, renewal and triumph, told through original poetry and movement. It is a three part photo and video series that moves through darkness, stillness and taking flight - a process of self actualization that inspires and resonates with many. Destiny Polk, dancer, poet, creative director and founder of Radical Black Girl hopes her intimate story of healing will call others out of their personal darkness into the sacredness of stillness and further towards the freedom of taking flight. Produced and directed by Ellie Nguyen of 3arly July.

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