On being human

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I recently experienced a situation that left me feeling unprepared which then led to me feeling flawed and humbled.

The eternal optimist inside me has a “can do” attitude and usually thinks of every scenario so I am fully prepared for what may be coming my way.  I generally don’t like to be blindsided. What I realized is that I can’t be prepared for every scenario. This time I flat didn’t know what I was doing and it left me feeling exposed. Ouch, I thought I had done the research!

I headed to NYC Friday to have a meeting that I had pinned a lot of hopes on.  Even though I had thought things through, I still knew deep down that there where some missing puzzles pieces to what I was attempting to do.

What I did not realize was that I was missing was big gigantic, big picture part of the puzzle.  Oops! As I sat a bit shocked in my meeting, what happened next was a mix of God’s grace and my humanity.

The man I was meeting with did not seem remotely affected by my gaff as he patiently took his time to explain to me what I needed to know. As I apologized, he said he in his broken English, “No, I teach you.”  Gracious. 

When I walked out my brain was mush. I was second guessing myself. I was embarrassed and frustrated. My “soft type A” personality  wanted to crawl into a corner and lick my wounds. How could I have been so naive?

Fortunately, I was meeting some friends who took me to Serendipity to eat some ice cream! A girl might as well lick her wounds with some sugar! And no, I did not eat this alone!

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My mind was spinning, was what I was setting out to do was simply too complicated? I am a BIG vision person and when the details bite me in the butt, it stops me dead in my tracks. I asked myself if I should press forward or leave this idea on the table. Questioning one part of my  “passion plan” made me question the rest of what I was doing…let’s just say I was about to jump into the rabbit hole of sadness!

Once I got back home, I felt a sense of peace at the comedy of it all.   I again realized just how human life can make you feel, that along with all the good human emotions, love, joy, excitement that you get to experience there is no escaping the raw ones of embarrassment, frustration, sorrow, vulnerability. 

When I understand that I am human with an array of inescapable emotions is when I experience God the most. That’s where the peace and comedy come in (I live in a space where God not only loves me, we laugh a lot too!) I realize that it is His grace and mercy that have gotten me this far.

I am reminded that following passions,  dreams, goals whatever you call them, is not going to be without some human drama or what we often consider “bad” emotions. You know, the emotions that leave us asking, “Why did that just happen?” I remember that they are not bad emotions, they are simply  emotions and part of being alive. 

This glimpse at my humanity forces me to wonder if I am as patient and gracious to the people I meet with as I need to be. It reminds  me of the many times that God has seen me through other situations. 

It leaves me in awe instead of crushed as I lean on Him.

Embracing my entire human experience makes me less afraid and less vulnerable. It makes me feel alive in an honest way. It begs me to respond to myself with love because that is how God is continuously responding to me.

Have you been reminded of your own humanity lately? My guess is that if you are breathing you have been! Tell me what you think and how you picked yourself up!



  • Michelle Schneider says:

    For sure! I feel this all the time as I struggle to catch my technique and drawing ability up to my dreams. It constantly feels like there’s a gap I have to overcome each day to get my ideas down on paper in the way I had envisioned. Humbling? uhhh yeah. Big time. I just have to keep reminding myself to practice, practice, practice, and STOP- for the love of Pete- comparing myself to others.

    • Monica Lee says:

      OH MY GOODNESS, Michelle! When I rabbit holed, I managed to dig that very emotion up too! Thanks for sharing that!

  • Kell says:

    Really enjoyed this post because you sound exactly like me – though I admit I am probably not as forgiving of myself as you are are. I’ve had a few situations in my working life where I completely missed key information — truly “can’t see the forest for the trees.” Where the ultimate end game goal is so glorious in our thoughts, dreams and “plans” — you miss what is right in front of you and what can totally wreck the entire experience. From now on, if this happens again (what are the odds?? LOL), I bet I will look at it with a lot more forgiveness on my part – TO myself – and maybe get some insight…

    • Monica Lee says:

      Oh yes, the old forest got me. As far as forgiving myself, I have learned to do that more quickly. Wallowing and beating myself up in the past has not served me well! While laughing, shrugging and dusting myself off and being gracious with myself is more effective!

  • Susan Black says:

    Madam Universe, God … someone was up to their usual magic today because I SO needed to hear this post/experience today Monica, & to be reminded of the “human experience” we all are feeling. That along with feeling all the emotions we’ve labeled “good”, we must also expect those that we will feel those we’ve labeled “bad”. One of my favourites quotes I repeat to myself when I’ve fallen down that rabbit hole, or deep abyss follows – & when you think about this sentence it’s so very true. How many experiences that initially feel awful, in the end have a bright & shiny silver lining. Thanks brave girl for sharing this experience 😉

    “Everything always works out in the end … if it hasn’t worked out it isn’t the end”

    • Monica Lee says:

      I love that quote and you are so right! It isn’t the end!! That’s what makes it humorous. It reminded me that even though I think I am all grown up, I still get skinned knees every now and then. The best part is-I know where the band aids are!

    • BJ Lantz says:

      That is my favorite line from “The Splendid Marigold Hotel” and I remind myself (and my hubby) of it all the time!

      • Susan Black says:

        Thanks BJ for reminding me of that quotations origin …
        I’d forgotten where it came from. I so love it + it’s so very true !!

  • Yes indeed. Lately it's almost daily. It's a good thing because God is telling us something that we are missing. I feel that if we are tuned into who we are we share the blessings of knowing when something isn't right; but that can be only for the moment. We are being reminded to take a better look around at what we are doing. We are also being reminded that it will all work out the way it's supposed to. I had to giggle when I read your post because each and every time I watch your videos and the people you interview, I get the sense of being humbled. I am rolling under the bed at times thinking I am not doing something. How is she always so cheery – that's what I think when I see you. Then I read this and with all my heart I thank you for reminding us all that even the best of the best of the rest have their humble human moments. A friend of mine recently coached with you for (or had some type of call-lest I am incorrect) and said that you are "just as cheery and upbeat" as always. So, Monica, thank you for being real with us and I would bet that by now you have learned more than had things gone completely in tune with your initial plan. GOOD LUCK and blessings.

  • Bee Eastman says:

    Your have no idea how your experience has hit home. I’m excited but still feel as if I’m in the rabbit hole. I succeeded in selling an idea to someone huge and now frozen where to begin. I’m going with Susan Black’s positive sentence, I’m going to have a bright & shiney silver lining and it will be huge for Pushing-Papers.

  • Nicky Ovitt says:

    Oh. My. Excellent story to start off my week. Thank you for your honesty, insight and humility, Monica! You had me at *important meeting in NYC*— talk about putting on your big girl shorts! My upending moment happened when a freelance job recently “went south” on me— something I had taken just to fill in the money/time gaps in my regular work. I told the account manager that it was not my expertise but I was willing to do it. My brain said; this will be a stretch for you and you have not had good experiences with those kinds of clients in the past but you need to get some work in the hopper. I was ignoring my gut that was saying; don’t do it. The project ended up in an unpredictable loop I was not happy with. Then after a frustrating phonecall, I was reduced to tears and it made me question my skills and role in the entire thing, I felt so hurt. But basically, I too was unprepared, if only in a different way. These stories help. Thanks for all you make me think about, SCW!

  • Phyllis Harris says:

    Oh Monica…I loved this post so much! One of the many things I love about you is how authentic and real you are. Thank you for that! And YES, I have been there many times! I am constantly humbled and able to laugh about some of my lessons learned but it sure helps when there is someone to share these moments with. 🙂

  • Anahi DeCanio says:

    Every time I think I"m too busy to read all the posts in my mailbox… There you are…again! What an awesome (courageous) post… YOU ROCK! Most of us do not work in a large studio and it's so easy to think we are the only ones going through challenges in the "human" side of life. I try to look at it (on my better days) as working on a giant puzzle – a piece not fitting the spot is not a failure – it just means I have to keep working on finding the one that does… I hope you find many many pieces that fit your BIG vision and plans. Thanks for sharing! Serendipity always helps…

  • Monna Morton says:

    I so identify with this!!! I always have to remind myself the 1- I am human and 2- Its all according to His plan, not mine. He will lead, all I have to do is follow. God provides us with angels along the way to teach us, I just pray for open eyes that see, and ears that hear. Thanks for this post! It is refreshing to know I'm not alone

  • Monna Morton says:

    I so identify with this!!! I always have to remind myself the 1- I am human and 2- Its all according to His plan, not mine. He will lead, all I have to do is follow. God provides us with angels along the way to teach us, I just pray for open eyes that see, and ears that hear. Thanks for this post! It is refreshing to know I'm not alone

  • Yes, if a puzzle piece doesn't fit it is not failure-find a new puzzle or go looking on the floor where you may have dropped a piece, right? haha!

  • Oh my! Thank you for thinking I am cheery all the time, haha! Guess we need to have a cuppa so you know that I can get in my own head to the point of getting in my own way- a lot! That's why I talk about it so much! You can be your own best and worst friend and the choice is really up to us, right?! So a bit of ice cream and a dusting off- and some really wonderful comments from some seriously kind women-like YOU! and I feel 100 times better!

  • Barb Gelotte Tourtillotte says:

    What a wonderful post, Monica. This hits home to so many if not all of us. The older I get the more I am finding when I hit a trial, dead end, or disappointment in my life, God gently reminds me that my course just may need redirecting. It is so easy to be a self sufficient island until I trip into that rabbit hole and realize how greatly I need Him and His plan. After I catch my breath, I can see that His grace is most often seen in the rearview mirror. Thank you for your humble transparency, Monica!

  • Oh look at your cute profile pic! Laughing-sighing- sharing it all helps!

  • Funny how people talk so badly about social media and the internet but sometimes it DOES make us feel less alone. Thanks for your comment!

  • Wanda Edwards says:

    completely relate to this one right now. In fact, just posted about my own bout with emotions over the last few days. A lot of wound licking going on. I need ice-cream 🙂

  • your words are too true…"self sufficient island" I know it too well!

  • Well, at least it is summer and ice cream will cool you off! Hang in there!

  • Kari O says:

    Monica, I love that you shared this. A lesser person would only share the “good stuff.” To me, this is some of the “good stuff.” I think you have such a devoted following because in all of your knowledge and experience and wisdom in the creative realm, you have a sweet, humble side that makes you so much like everyone else. I LOVE LOVE LOVE that about you! That’s why I keep coming back here for encouragement and good content. You’re one of us….just trying to use your God given talents and skills as best you can. God is using you in ways that, perhaps, you hadn’t even planned. Thanks for baring your soul and showing us that we’re allll normal. We all “scrap our knees” and we’re all in this together. Hugs to you…thanks so much!

    • Monica Lee says:

      Yes Kari, I would say God is using me in a way I had not planned! Thank you so much for your kind words and encouragement!

  • Kathy Weller says:

    Hey Monica! YES, I am with you, I am constantly reminded of my own “humanity” LOL! We have all been there! Some of us are there a LOT! I have to admit that, for me, especially this year, “setbacks” have been a force to drive me to create new opportunites. They are challenges and they are fresh clay for our own personal molding! Regarding the word “failure”, I feel like, if you haven’t given up, you can’t say you failed. Though I must say that I do not see the word “Failure” as a negative. Failure is progress. Failure is only really “failure” if its companion is “giving up”! If you stop, get shell-shocked, recalibrate and reassess what you are doing in order to get to point B, it is ALL GOOD in the HOOD. 😀 😀

    I absolutely LOVE your meeting companions kindness, enthusiasm, spirit and generosity too. What a wonderful catalyst! 🙂

    HUGS!!! XXOO

  • Linda Tieu says:

    Love it when folks share true thoughts, even if vulnerable, because it sort of brings me back down to Earth. Often we see people only sharing their wins but all the stuff in between might be missing from the picture… the reality… the humanity of it all. Perhaps that is why people always want things to happen faster, because they are not realizing there is so much in between that we often don’t see. Thanks for sharing and reminding me… thank you!

    • Monica Lee says:

      Faster, faster…that is how our brains work! Often we miss the “in between” part of peoples journey!

  • Amber Savage says:

    This was such a beautiful and honest post Monica. Isn’t it amazing that God turned your disappointment into a learning experience that has touched so many! Thanks for all the hard work you put into this site! I love visiting every week!!

  • Melissa AuClair says:

    I ate up this post Monica! Thank you for sharing something so personal; I too needed the reminder that God lavishes his grace and mercy on us.

  • Thanks for sharing Monica. It reminds me of why you are such an inspiration to so many people. You are authentic and spiritual. I have been taking some art e-courses and see my own humanity when I look at my artwork and realize that although I've been putting myself out there at trade shows, etc, it may be time to step back and focus on making my work better and to really meet my own aesthetic of what is in my head. It's humbling to see all the great work out there, but I realize God was probably telling me that maybe it wasn't time yet. Now, I just need to keep working and realize that there was some work I wasn't really as proud of as others, and that's ok. Thanks for sharing your story. It is encouraging and also nice to hear that there are kind people out there!

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