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May 2, 2018 / Video Post Notes
GATHERING THE FIERCENESS WITHIN
Wisdom of a Candy Wrapper
I didn’t talk about this in my video, but I met a girlfriend for lunch last week, and I can’t stop thinking about something she read to me.
After we had finished our salads, she unwrapped and ate two small chocolates stashed in her purse. Then, smoothing out their two-inch green wrappers with her pretty, manicured hands, she read me the quotes printed inside of the crinkled but flattened foil squares.
This is the one that is still pestering me: “Be fiercely authentic.”
“That can be scary to do,” I said, thinking of all the times I’ve upheld just a simple boundary or told someone no, only to have them upset with me.
I hate disappointing people and, even more so, confrontation. When I think of actually being fierce in my life…it feels like then I’d offend people that much more.
The Rough and Tumble World of YouTube
It doesn’t take much to set others off. I know this by the angry, all-cap (use your imagination) comments I’ve received on my YouTube videos–thankfully there aren’t many of them–and yet, on all my social media platforms, including YouTube, I always try to be respectful and benign.
I understand that the angry comments reflect a long-festering discomfort inside those people themselves. Also I understand that their offendedness has nothing to do with me. As I learned years ago, if someone is hysterical, the issue is historical. Still, it’s dispiriting when others are offended by even the tiny bit of myself I show on social media–my style and my health journey. If the things I’ve posted so far get people riled up, I can’t imagine the kind of all-cap comments I’d receive if I shared some other parts of me.
What’s so…frustrating is, I want to be someone who brings healing, peace, and joy into the world. However, I also want to feel free and confident in expressing who I am–in both my relationships and in my creative pursuits like my blog and my YouTube channel–whether or not others agree with me.
Which circles me back to that quote and, more specifically, to the word fierce. Even though I’m much better than I was 10 years ago at not letting other people’s feelings and opinions about me get to me, I still cause myself too much stress over them, especially when it comes to my family, close friends, or clients.
That this quote has come into my life at this particular point is more than coincidence. I’ve been feeling for some time as if I’m at a juncture. I’ve successfully climbed a mountain, but ever since then I’ve been on a plateau, idling, procrastinating, looking at the rest of the mountain looming up in front of me. I could easily stay where I am, safe and comfortable, but I’d only regret it if I did.
The mountain and fierceness must be the way. My own kind of fierceness, that is, which may not seem fierce to anyone else.
One step in front of the other….
Thank you so much for listening. You can’t imagine how much it means to me.
All the best to you.
~Janis Lyn Johnson
P.S. Please share what you think about being fiercely authentic. I’d love to know, and I’m sure that others would, too. Are you fiercely authentic? If you are, please share how you do it. If you aren’t, please share if you think it’s for a good or not-so-good reason.
P.S.S. These photographs and the video at the bottom of this post are of a recent lunch-date with my husband OOTD. 🙂
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Please know that you do bring peace, joy and healing into the world. I find your videos so relaxing and enjoyable, I use them as escapism in the evenings after work and it is so lovely to just switch off and watch you talk about a variety of topics. I can totally relate about being ‘fierce’ – stepping out of comfort zones or familiarity can be tough.
Keep being you! We love it!
Holly (from London)
Dear Holly, thank you. I’m thrilled you find my videos escapism. I am just like that when I sit down to watch television or YouTube. I want to be happy, feel peaceful and relaxed and escape for a bit. It’s why I LOVED “Downton Abbey” so much. It was visually stunning and was so fascinating. So glad, too, you can relate to the fierce thing 😉 ~ Janis
I’ve often thought you could be my sister! I am also 57 years old, going on 58 this August! I love your classic style, punctuated by with tasteful accessories that are unique. I have even tried to let my graying hair grow out of my naturally dark hair- but with fine hair, I am finding the new gray hair to be coarse and even sticking out of my shoulder length pony tail! At the same time, I like the idea of being natural. What to do? Maybe you and your readers have advice?
I appreciate your vlog and love getting a new one- makes my day! Thank you!
Terri, I know what you mean about the grey hair being of a different texture! I, too, have very fine hair, but the grey hair is wiry and especially in the summer humidity it sticks out in a curly way that the rest of my not-yet-grey hair doesn’t. I’ve given up trying to do anything about it, because any oils just weight it all down too much. I’m so sorry I have no great advice. Maybe someone else does?? ~ Janis
There is a Facebook website called “Going Grey Gracefully”. It has a great support system from women going natural as well as hints of what worked for each of them in their transition. Good Luck I myself want to take the leap.
People can be so critical. It can be a form of judging, if you don’t think, act or be like them you must be wrong. To go to the point of typing in a caps is even sadder. Not everyone is raised with grace and poise or for that matter good manners. No one has to agree with everyone, but how people talk about it or shout about it in all caps is a reflection of them….not you. It’s also their choice to not watch or watch your videos. You are just sharing not forcing anyone to do anything. I am sorry people and the culture these days makes anyone think it’s acceptable. Your posts are always sincere and honest and represent who you are. I enjoy them, Thank you for them.
Sandra, thank you. It does feel like our culture today thinks it’s acceptable to shout at each other. And, when people have anonymity it seems to bring out some…well, jaw-dropping sides of people.Gradually I’m getting used to it. 😉 Thank you for taking the time to comment. I appreciate your support and kindness ~ Janis
My Mom used to recite this quote whenever one of us were feeling frustrated with negativity from someone in the world: “Should you find yourself the victim of other people’s bitterness, ignorance, smallness or insecurities, remember, things could be worse. You could be them.”
Oh, Donna, I just got such a great laugh. Thank you for that. Your mom was so wise! I definitely will be making a copy of this quote to paste on my computer screen!! Hugs ~ Janis
Hello Donna, what fabulous words your Mother used,I too will remember them.
Thanks for sharing her quote.
Pamela from Wales UK x
I feel so much the same as you. I am working to simplify my wardrobe and my life. A simple “No, I can’t” to a lunch date that was really a recuitment to a club I had no interest in brought a rough reply I was not expecting.
It is hard to change our responses when we have been trained to be people pleasers
I do give my time to good causes, and I must choose how best to use my own time.
Stay the course Janice, only you know the best way to use your life.
My sympathy and encouragement to be YOU
Lee, isn’t it something how we can feel…actually feel their strong negativity. And yes, I definitely felt for so many years that I had to be a people pleaser. Not until I was in my early 40s did I begin to work on changing that. I didn’t even know I was allowed to, actually, until I met an amazing group of women who served as beautiful examples for me. You are so right in that we must choose how best to use our own time. We are the only ones who know what we really need for our mental, physical, and spiritual health. Thank you for your comment. Hugs ~ Janis
Sad, but true, “trained to be people pleasers…”, makes being authentic challenging…
Hi, Pam! Yes! I don’t know where along the way it happened but somehow, I think, that’s definitely what I became. I didn’t understand that until I was in my 40s. I’m a late learner, I suppose 🙂 ~ Janis
I’ve just recently stumbled upon your site, and I love it. Thanks for all your style tips. I’ve definitely updated and upgraded some of my wardrobe as a result, and it feels good. You are like a dear, sweet friend that I have online now, and it brings me comfort to watch how you lovingly talk about all your finds.
I feel as though you are very authentic in expressing yourself, and you don’t hold back in any way. That takes courage and acceptance of who you are. So glad that you can skillfully do that, and it gives me confidence watching you do it.
Thanks so much for your love, peace and authentic self. Good luck on your continuing journey!
Sandra, thank you for such kind support. I feel like I just got the sweetest hug from you. 🙂 Hugs back to you as well ~ Janis
I love that look! The white blouse, blue jeans, and tan purse and shoes 🙂
I have to say that I can’t imagine why anyone would leave you all caps comments. Your videos are some of the most lovely videos out there! Weird that people can be offended by loveliness.
I like “be fiercely authentic.” To me that just means that you stick to your guns and you don’t change how you do things because someone criticizes you. For me, that ability has come with maturity (I’m your age). When I was younger it used to hurt my feelings terribly when someone would meanly criticize me and I can remember accommodating a critic or two back then; I always hate thinking about those times. I’m not a confrontational person and don’t feel that I need to be, but I am persistent, so I would say I’m more stubbornly authentic than I am fiercely authentic! Life is too short to give the mean critics too much of my emotional energy. Keep being you. You are beautiful and graceful 🙂
I really enjoyed your post today. Like you, I hate disappointing people and I don’t like confrontation. However, it’s important to feel like you can say “no”. I think that I am fiercely authentic.
Thank you for a blog that I enjoy.
I want to let you know how much I enjoy your posts and videos. I especially enjoyed your recent video on skincare and makeup application and have purchased some of the products you use. For someone of my age (59), you provide an example of how to look stylish and you inspire me to put more effort into looking good (and feeling good as a result).
On being fiercely authentic, it’s a work in progress for me as I expect it is for many but it does get easier the older I get.
Please continue your inspiring work.
Cindy (from Canada)
Oh Janis I love your blog because it brings peace and joy to me, now if you came across as a ‘’fierce person’ I just wouldn’t follow your blog.There are to many fierce angry people in the world as it is so please don’t change if you think you need to become fiercely authentic, then I am confused. You mentioned climbing a mountain and being on a plateau where you are now safe and comfortable, how truly wonderful, enjoy your safety and comfort , treasure it, don’t feel the need to change it or procrastinate as to wether you need to put pressure on yourself to climb another mountain. Maybe the peak of that mountain will turn out to be ‘fiercely authentic ‘ and then you may well regret having left the previous mountain which was your ‘Peace Haven’
A very special person I have known since I was a teenager is my sister-in-law Hazel, She was married to a wonderful man Jack, but he was taken very ill in his fifties. The reason I am mentioning this is because they named their happy home Peace Haven and everyone who visited them be it family or friends only felt love and laughter on their ‘plateau ‘ Peace Haven, Now had they called that warm loving home ‘Fiercly Authentic ‘ I would as a teenager with my boyfriend then ( Hazel’s brother, my husband) would have been quaking in my shoes walking up their drive frightened of meeting these fierce people, but hey a warm happy welcome awaited me. Hazel and I have shared a special bond over many many years and we have never changed or become ‘Authenticily Fierce’,
So be you Janis and if daft people want to be critical well that’s their problem, be a lamb not a lion as you always come across as such a delightful lady and very beautiful with a warm heart,
So to conclude , I am Pamela From Wales U.K. remember I mentioned to you before I am Welsh not English but British and you enjoyed my response to your blog, I only follow 3 American bloggers yourself, Susan after 60 who has been on an incredible journey in life herself and a sewing blog Goodbye Valentino a lady who will shortly becoming up to her 60th in a year or so. She is a fabulous seamstress and her creations are just wonderful.her name is Sarah. Guess what none of you come across a fiiercly authentic other than Sarah sewing creations as they a truly fiercly authentic, just great.
Believe it or not I only follow 2 UK blogs My favourite is CountryWives with Grace and Annabel,full of lovely interesting fashion, current topics, make-up etc. The other is MidlifeChic, who’s name is Nikki, again lots of lovely things going on.. Give them a try Janis I hope you like them. May be you could send ma e reply to let me know if you enjoyed the blogs
Now finally the only criticism I have of your blog is I wish you did it weekly as your classy style, make up etc is just gorgeous, and your Vlogs are so happy and cheerful and polished. When will you next do an outside Vlog in and around Florida gosh I love them, ones such as Hats in the Garden and other events.
Oh another I thought was sweet was when you had tea in Brambles with friends hek I felt a though I was there with you, I adore my cuppa of tea but never Fiercely Authentic LoL,
Lastly but not least , tell your friend not to buy those chocolates with daft phrases on again so the moral is who wants to be Fierce anyway and come to think of it what on earth is Fiercely Authentic. Never heard of it.
My word Janis it’s way after midnight in UK and my eyes are closing rapidly after this long reply, I didn’t realise the time, sorry it’s lenghty. Oh dear I’m Fiercely tired, Goodnight Janis,
Love Pamela Wales UK, Hey we have a fabulous Royal Wedding this month Prince Harry is marrying a beautiful American lady Megan Markle, I will be glued to the TV
. shame I didn’t get an invite, yeah in my dreams. LoL
PS I did mention your lovely blog in a msg to the Uk blogs I follow too that Ai spoke of earlier x
Time for Zzzzz now?♀️???Pamela and Tina&Taffi my two gorgeous longhair Chihuahuas xxx
Is just gorgeous
Dear Janis go fiercely and express yourself! I believe in kindness and its power…
Well, I don’t know if this makes sense to anyone or not but I do not want to be fierce. I just want to be me. I don’t need to be fierce but I do need to be strong, mentally and physically. My Mother was such a sweet and charming person, full of Southern grace. She taught me the art of contentment. She was content with what she had and who she was. And she would have never spouted off in all CAPS to anyone. Janis, you have such a beautiful, tasteful and elegant style. And your skin is to die for! I always enjoy your posts and graceful style.
PS, I guess I am authentic!
Kay from Australia here, congratulations on another wonderful OOTD you look really great.
I wish I had your confidence and self acceptance, at seventy years of age I still get bothered by what others think and say about me and how I think or act. Maybe when I “grow up” I will stop caring.
Keep the videos coming.
Hugs from Aus.
I find your videos refreshing , and they do bring me joy and peace! Thanks for the thought-provoking comments.
Oh janis, you are just perfect the way you are. You are a beautiful individual, sensitive, and caring. You don’t need to be fierce, clothes and makeup are supposed to be fun. Ignore the haters. Delete their comments and go on. No one needs that kind of negativity, especially a warm and thoughtful person like you. ❤️
I think that fiercely authentic means different things to different people. But for me it means feeling strongly comfortable with who who are and how you portray yourself. That doesn’t mean that you have to share all aspects of your life with everyone. Being fiercely authentic might mean keeping certain pieces of yourself to yourself or with those you wish to share with.
I like what you’ve said… it sounds emotionally healthy,… something I want/need to grow in.
I always enjoy reading your posts. You have a great sense of style, and you seem like such a kind, gentle person that I gave a little gasp when I read that people sometimes write you all in caps. I’m 68, and there are many things I love about the new technology, and yet the distance enables people to be unkind to each other in a way they wouldn’t be if they were meeting in person, I think. The best bloggers (of whom I consider you one) show us their own vulnerability from time to time, and that’s such a brave thing to do, and often it’s the thing that makes the rest of us able to really relate! I don’t understand why anyone would leave mean comments, and yet I know that people do, and as much as one tries to ignore them, sometimes a mean comment from a complete stranger really hurts. When that happens I hope you’ll go back and read the comments from all of us who follow you and admire you. Because there are lots more of us than there are mean people, I’m sure. Thank you so much for taking the time to blog. You help more people than you will ever know, I’m sure.
Morning , hello again from cold but sunny Wales. Just read Donna’s reply to you, it was brilliant term her Mother used, I too will remember those wise words.
Another quote from Nikki from Midlife chic blog, used a few weeks ago ar the end of one of her interesting post was the Latin term Carpe diem, Sieze the day.
It’s 9 .30am in U.K. and I must sieze my day, chores to do etc.
So Carpe diem to you all when you wake up.
Love Pamela X
A friend just sent me this last night:
“The way people treat you is a statement about who they are as a human being. It is not a statement about you.”
Just thought I’d let you know. I learned years ago to start saying no to requests I had no time or desire to fill. We have value. It’s part of self care. It doesn’t mean we’re bad people. Even if others are disappointed.
Continue your journey. Ups and downs will come.
All the best,
You never disappoint us.?
You look absolutely gorgeous. Your outfit fits you like glove.
Thank you for yr beautiful channel which brings so much happiness joy love to many woman out their.
Never forget for my mum always said “jealousy makes you nasty” i have never forgotten that one even thou i am 60 years of age,
You make us and teach us how to look fresh elegant and look youthful with just a bit of attention which we all deserve.
Stay the gorgeous gracious lady you are & thank you.
You make your husband super proud ?
Fierce is not a comfortable word for me, either. May I suggest that you could replace that word with “tenacious”. Be quietly tenacious in following the path of your authentic self – so much harder to do than to say, especially if one is worried or upset by the comments (and sometimes inexplicable rage) of others. I have only realised in the last few years (and I’m now (65!) that when people are being nasty, that is the moment when they reveal so much more of themselves – it’s the moment when they start giving information about their own authentic self. So often, their flashpoint has less to do with what we are saying or doing, and more to do with something going on inside themselves. Psychologists say that all aggression stems from fear and I believe that spite springs from old hurts, jealousies, rivalries and feelings of low self-worth. So please go on being your positive, authentic self – la Bella Figura – presenting the best of yourself in thought, word and deed, and in how you present yourself to the world. Good luck and good health to you.
Dear Janis, It is difficult for me to imagine you being fierce, since you always exhibit peace and calm. Fierce , to me conjures up images of women warriors and that is such a negative option. No reason we can’t simply be, “authentic”. I prefer being “honestly authentic”. Having said that, I think the word fiercely used before the word loyal could be attached to me. I continue to enjoy my visits with you via your blog.
To me, your videos reflect a person who is already seriously authentic and strongly committed to what you believe in, such as wholesome and natural foods and the many wonderful organic products you have introduced to us. I say stay committed, but be careful when using the fierce—it can bite sometimes! Also, Janis, please keep the videos coming. Love the classic fashion and love the Gulf Coast—so beautiful!! Thank you very much!
Hi Janis, I just left hot humid Florida, and should be back in December to the best state to be in Winter, FLORIDA. The best part I brought you with me to the mountains. Thanks so much for making a positive difference in my life. Love to watch your videos….Alicia
Hi, Alicia! Thank you for your sweet comment. Hope you have a beautiful summer in the mountains and see you in December 🙂 ~ Janis
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Love the blog and your sense of always paying attention to what is said around you and more importantly TO you. Bottom line is that our intelligence causes us curiosity and sometimes angst….I read the disparaging comments in the last YouTube and I, and am sure, many others have returned comments telling you not to take it to heart…..whoever she is, I would NOT want her as my therapist and if truth be told good therapists NEVER comment like that as they do not have all the facts and it would be tantamount to Malpractice if they did. You are slim, beautiful, healthy and vibrant…you took your health into your own hands and found a program that suits you. Well done and Big Hugs…stay Authentic Janice and stay elegantly fierce…..we, who follow you enjoy your style and kindness 🙂
Thank you for blogging about this, I am baby stepping into living an authentic life for me, listening more and more to my inner vibration, trusting that I know what I want and can get it.
Most of my life I had learned to focused on the 5-10% of what was wrong, didn’t work, and was being judged by. This past year I decided to focus on the other 90-93% that is AWSOME in my life, instead of focusing on the body parts I didn’t like, I focused on all the things I do like.