Sometimes we just have to wait….

Hey Readers!

There’s been a lot going on in the life of your dear Friendly Felon, and I just wanted to touch base and let you all know I am indeed still with the living.

Between the day job and the writing, it’s gotten hectic. The payroll job keeps trying to worm its way into holding itself as the main priority in life – when it really isn’t.

Yes, it’s paying bills, but it’s not where I want my life to grow. Either way, right now, it’s sort of overwhelming everything else.

I’m also deep into the editing and beta reading phase of the up and coming ‘Letters of Love and War” (that title will change – it’s already been taken, sadly). Currently, I’m waiting for beta reader input and waiting for the appointment with a possible photographer for the cover. (I’d love to use photos of the letters that are the basis of the book) But, these things take time, and it’s time that I’m not in control of. (I have to remember to let this go sometimes as I’m a bit of a control freak)

So, this is my reminder, that sometimes – things have to wait.

We can still work toward our goals, we can still take baby steps in the right directions, and we can still get things done, even while we wait.

Just don’t get too caught up in the tasks you find while you’re waiting, or you might miss out on the perfect opportunity that’s just waiting to give you the best experience in your life! (Right after another hard fall – in some cases anyway)

Keep growing and rising above my fabulous felons – you’re amazing and capable! Go be awesome!

Love and Peace – Aza

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A Day in My Life…

Hey Again Readers!

I’ve been thinking that it might be time to share a bit more about myself. I have a hard time with that, but I’m working on it. This post is proof, and you can’t tell me otherwise. LOL

Anyway, I thought I’d start by sharing a day in my life.

Often, I’m up between 4:15 and 6 am every day. Sleeping in has become a thing I dream about, rather than do – mostly because my son trained me well when he was an infant – but also because the local farmers wait for no one when it comes to their breakfast…
No matter what time I drag my legs over the edge of my bed, I make sure to take my Thrive capsule with a chug of water. After trudging to the bathroom, phone in hand of course, I scroll and get the daily, boring hygienic stuff out of the way.

Once cleaned up and ready for public interaction, I make my way to the kitchen. Now, instead of coffee (which literally hates my guts), I make my morning Thrive shake. I use only half the full dose for this – as it both serves my need of helping me gain weight rather than lose it AND it saves me money (I don’t get my supplement for free yet – because I don’t like pushing products – even when they work for me).

Once I mix the half cup of ‘awesome’ powder into my cup of milk, I sit down at my desk and check over all of my projects. These projects range from the events at my work that I manage, my freelance sites (Fiverr and People Per Hour), my publishing sites (Smashwords, Amazon, and Microcosm), social media (Friendly Felon Facebook, Twitter, WordPress, and Reddit), and check on my marketing ideas for that week. If I’m feeling really froggy, I might do a post on here, or even add to one of the books in progress.

I spend between 15 minutes to 2 hours on this ‘first things first’ process. I call it ‘first things first’ because these things are dedicated to the work I really care about. I don’t mind my current payroll job, but it isn’t my true passion. I also have the most energy and focus in the morning (most of the time anyway) and I like to take advantage of that early burst of ‘Get It’ energy.

Then, depending on the day, I’m either off to work, or off to finish some sort errand for the house. Currently, I tend bar, serve food, and manage the front of house staff and assist with rental event details in a local bar and grill. It’s not a bad fit for me really, as bartenders often act as amatuer psychologists – my bachelor’s degree actually comes in handy for some of my regulars and has opened some wonderful interactions with customers. This helps both of us, as they find helpful advice and new information, and I’m reaching out and opening up to people about my past and changing perspectives about felons in person.

After work or errands, I like to hang out with my family. We homeschool our son, often using Time4Learning during the months that I’m earning enough, or Kahn Academy for the times that it’s just out of reach. He loves both programs, especially in combination because they each offer different aspects of education. He’s only ten and he’s already learning coding and basic animation, as well as his fundamental subjects. When he’s finished for the day, sometimes we’ll play games, or just relax and watch some comic related movies. We’re big comic geeks in my house – Harley Quinn, Thor, and the Turtles are all huge hits around here.

We love to cook together, and we like experimenting with food combinations. Last Thanksgiving, we made a Cordon Blue Stuffed Turkey Breast meal, so we could combine the things that we each wanted from the meal. My son’s favorite meal to help with is fried chicken. I think it’s only because he can get really messy with it – between the eggs, milk, and seasoned dry batter  – it’s a dream come true for him.

We have a good time, and make the best of what we have.

After the work, play, and relaxation, it’s time for bed. Often, I have the most ideas for blog posts, plot points in stories, and business schemes while I’m in that nearly asleep phase. I have yet to actually get around to writing more of those down (part of why I don’t post as often as I’d really like to), even though I have pens, pencils, and paper tucked away in just about every corner of the house. I think it’s mostly because I don’t want to risk waking myself up all the way again by reaching out and actually writing them down – because I like to keep my early schedule going and I know it can be rough to lose sleep the older I get.

Well, that’s a day in my life, and I hope you enjoy the peek into my world as it is right now. Who knows what the next ‘Day in My Life’ will bring! Keep Moving Forward, you’ll find your goals!

Love and Peace – Aza

No Rest for the Wicked

Good Afternoon Readers!

It has recently come to my attention that I’m basically working all of the time. When I talk about my life to my co-workers and other peers, they’re often left wondering how the hell I do all these different things and how I’ve picked myself up time and time again.

The simple fact is… I’m just constantly putting in effort in some area of my life. Even on my ‘days off’, I often find myself ‘working’ in some way.

Just last week, I cleaned an entire house of soot damage and repainted the ceiling in two rooms on a ‘day off’ from my payroll job.

Today (also a ‘day off’), I wrote out another round of postcards for the mailer marketing I’ve been running for ‘The Friendly Felon’s Guide to Life‘, am writing this post currently, and have also been adding content to not just one book in progress, but two completely different books in progress. (Spirituality and Perspectives (non-fiction exploration), and Letters of Love and War (fictionalized memoir) simply because those are my two favorite works in progress today) I’ve also read three Tarot spreads for clients online in the last 24 hours.

Point is…. there really aren’t any days off. Not when you’ve got something in mind to work toward.

Now, this doesn’t apply to just us felons…. My mom friends and work friends are also crazy busy between balancing their children, work lives (sometimes multiple jobs), and also building toward their goals – whatever they may be, some are in nursing school along with a full time job and the millions of sporting events that 4 children in middle school bring while others are working two jobs and attending college courses while living out of their vehicle to save on expenses.

The grind is real, for all of us.

Now, this isn’t to say, ignore everything else in your life while you run your nose into the metaphorical grindstone…
Just that you can’t stop going after your dreams. Even when things seem slow or pointless or even overwhelming simply because you’re so busy. (For instance, after a year and not even 50 followers, many people would have given up on their blog as a way to reach others… but here I am, still chugging along – slowly… but surely. Even if I had to take a couple breaks here and there to keep other things in life on track as well.)

So, when you’re feeling tired of the grind, remind yourself that the rewards are worth the lack of ‘rest’. And even if we aren’t all ‘wicked’, we all have those dreams that are worth chasing, and worth the lack of relaxation. We can relax once we’ve crossed our finish lines.

Love and Peace – Aza

 

 

The Early Morning Struggle

Good Morning Readers, it’s approximately 5:16 am, and I’ve been up for nearly an hour already.

It’s breakfast shift day at my payroll job.

Partly my own fault for volunteering, but I also have inventory to deal with today. Either way, thanks to the lovely cold in the Midwest right now, my car loves to not start immediately.

As I was cursing my volunteering spirit, and the poor, cold battery that has been struggling for its life for the last month or so, I realized that the sort of determination I was showing was part of why I’ve moved so far forward.

Are you the person who lets those moments of frustration overwhelm them? Or are you the one that pushes through the frustration and makes things happen?

No matter how many times my car has refused to start in this weather, I don’t let it quit, because I know I CAN’T QUIT either. It doesn’t matter if it’s just while I’m facing off with a loose battery post in 0 degree Fahrenheit for the eighteenth time in a morning – or going to that millionth interview where my background is going to get brought up again (even after an entire decade of good behavior) – I make the best of those situations, and push through them – because I have a goal.

And I’m determined to reach it.

Keep pushing forward guys! Even on those cold, dark mornings, where it seems the sun will never light your day.

Love and Peace – (a very cold and sleepy) Aza

The Coming New Year

Hello Readers! Tis the holiday season, and with the New Year coming up, I thought I might talk about those possibly annoying resolution lists. Some of us have them, some of us mock them, others might even forget that such a thing exists.

Personally, I’ve fallen away from the new year trend I recall being so popular, and tend to just go after new goals whenever I see an opportunity to do so.

However, I know that a lot of people like the feeling that a ‘new year, new you’ vibe has and what it can do for them. It might fall off for many of us after a couple months, but it can be a good way to ‘throw your hat over the fence’ on some goal you have. Use that initial burst of energy to commit to something you want to do with your life.

Then, once the euphoria fades away, you’re already knee deep and hopefully experiencing some perks from the work you’ve done so far. That’s sort of how my college degrees worked out, once I got the acceptance letter – I rolled with the fantastic sense of accomplishment as long as possible, and then just kept myself buckled down once it became frustrating and demanding at various points in time. I’d think to myself, “You’ve gotten this far, can’t really stop now.” … (and a new one I’ve heard at my work recently that I like too – ‘What are you gonna do, throw your hands in the air and give up??”).

It’s never easy tackling a new goal or plan for your life, but I can promise you personally – that if you don’t give up on it – you’ll be so thrilled and proud of yourself once you get there.

Never give up, and always keep moving forward.

I wish every single one of you the happiest holiday possible. If you need someone to talk to, I’m always here.

Love and Peace – Aza

 

Why I use a Pen name

Happy Friday Readers!

I am so thankful for the end of the week, it’s been a bit frustrating the past few days in some aspects. I even sort of raged out the other day, after hitting multiple brick walls in my attempts to work out a press release for the book, BUT I managed to find something on Fiverr that should help me push through the obstacles I’m currently facing. I was able to redirect my frustrations into a fuel to keep pushing forward and find my goal more effectively. (Instead of giving into the impulse to chuck my laptop at the nearest wall and watching it shatter…which would have ended all of the goals… it was a hard temptation to work  through for a moment, I’ll tell ya that.)

Anyway, enough about my She Hulk tendencies…we’re here today to talk about why I’m using a pen name for pretty much everything I share.

So, while I am proud of my work and love to share my experiences with you, I’m still terrified of putting myself out there. I have struggled with insecurity my entire life (and I’m just one of the many out there), and while I wanted to start something meaningful that positively influenced other people, I couldn’t get over that obstacle for a long time. I mean, I’ve wanted to do this since I first became really frustrated with the conviction in 09 (long before I found out everything I know now). Of course, I wouldn’t have been quite as helpful or knowledgeable as I am now, but I would have been sharing more of my early struggles and frustrations and connecting with more people in the same boat.

Some of you are probably shouting, but it’s the internet! You can be anonymous! Yes, I realize that, but I sort of backed away from it initially. I’ve always prided myself on honesty, and by using a fake name, I felt I would be going against a part of me that mattered to me and was one of my own keys to re-entering society. Eventually, my need to do something with the information I had found overcame my need to maintain a sense of a more idealized honesty. I discovered that many people in the same boat as me had absolutely no idea that they had options in their lives that would make it possible to live more fully, regardless of their past.

I couldn’t just sit there and do nothing other than improve my own conditions in life. I had to make myself reach out and put a part of me out there if there was the slightest chance of helping someone else that was struggling. I chose the name Aza Enigma because I think it flows pretty well, and it combines a sort of magical element with a puzzling element. Literally, enigma means puzzle. No, it isn’t a challenge to find me out. I really didn’t try that hard to keep my real self a secret, and some of the groups I’m in on social media are aware of my real identity. I just needed a sort of social blanket that allowed me to hide while in plain sight. Regardless, it has allowed me to be confident enough to put my goals into action. It’s certainly better than not doing anything at all. So, to all my fellow insecure people out there, there is always a way to overcome the obstacles we face, we just have to find what works for us.

Stay strong, stay positive, and rise above!

Aza

 

 

 

Graduating College with a Felony!

Guess what, I’m now a felon that has a Bachelors of Science degree in Psychology!

It’s been a long five years (had to take a break after family losses for mental health), but I made it!

I am living proof that our pasts don’t have to stop us from becoming better people. What’s even crazier, is that the background you have can even help you depending on the career you choose to study for.

In my case, I wanted to apply my experiences as a felon in a program that will help other felons (and non-felons too!). Because I have managed to get my life back on track (messy as it might be, its what I have and what I LOVE), I want every felon to know that it isn’t the end of their normal life to have a conviction. You can move forward and you can be successful. You just have to want it, and be willing to figure out how to get it the right way!

I have a theft record, so I had to work around what I knew I couldn’t work in. I have had to avoid corporate retail positions, because it’s often a waste of my time and printed resumes (precious, expensive printer ink and paper) often because corporate or state policy simply doesn’t allow a felon with theft to work for them (state seems to be picky about lottery too, so no gas stations either for theft records around here). So, I had to find something that I COULD work in, that I actually LIKED.

I chose psychology partly because I love the intricacy of the human mind and how our emotions drive us to behave in different situations. I also love helping people with their problems and have been the go-to for my friends – both online and in real life – for advice and guidance.

Then I realized that with my background and my new expertise in psychology and life coaching, I could actually create my own coaching career built on my experiences. Plus I get to write about stuff that matters to me – it’s seriously a dream come true.

I also realized that there isn’t anything in my area that is directed to helping felons get back on their feet (the halfway houses around here don’t offer coaching, counseling, or any other actual support other than housing), and I recognized that there is a need for more support services for struggling individuals.

All in all, I wouldn’t change a thing that I’ve been through. My felony might have made me stumble, but it can’t keep me down in the dirt. If I can pick myself up, time and time again, holding my head high and continuing to move forward in life, I know you can too.

If you need guidance finding your passion and need someone to hold you accountable (it helps to have someone rooting for you and keeping you on task, it really does),  I’d love to help you. I offer books, workbooks, and one on one digital coaching. Find the links to the books in the sidebar to the right, or scroll up to the top to find a link to the exclusive print edition from Microcosm. I even created a couple of workbooks to help walk you through the process of getting back on track and these are available on Shopify for only $3 USD each. If you need one on one help, click on Hire Aza and take a look at what I offer. There’s something for everyone who is looking for a little guidance and I’ve made it as affordable as possible – so check it out and let’s support each other!

Love and peace,
Aza @aza_enigma (Twitter)