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Check Out Kimberlee Naylor’s Story

Today we’d like to introduce you to Kimberlee Naylor.

Hi Kimberlee, we’d love for you to start by introducing yourself.
Brief, gotcha. Miracles still happen, right?

If I had been asked “way back when” where I would see myself in 10 years, having a blog would certainly not be on the agenda (amidst other things that ended up taking place – we might get to those later).To write boldly to an unknown audience on a platform that causes me to overthink everything?

My introverted-hermit-public-speaking-loathing self didn’t consider it a “preference”, let alone an option.

Little did I know, I would discover the creative outlet that is writing and fall madly in love with the process (sprinkled with a tinge of hate and confusion).It wasn’t limited to journaling where I’d spew out words stuck in my own head (a necessary and beautiful thing, I’ve found), or essays that were required to pass literature courses – but I longed to chase content with a finer purpose.

To scribble words in my own way with the hope it could affirm and support someone to pursue a path they might’ve thought unwalkable.

To share from a space that is my own, one that adjusts as I do. To be authentic while also holding boundaries to guard what is mine.

So that others can relate, however much as possible through this thing we call the internet, from a coffee-sipping, music-obsessed, working single mom who chases after positive growth, sits with hard feelings, and is figuring this version of life as I go. Did this “identity” as a writer present itself suddenly or come at ease for me?

Oh, heck no! It took months, years, even.

A fun fact about me that’s not actually fun is I know all too well what it means to regrettably allow your inner critic to take the mic and go off about what you’re doing wrong, and say nothing of the potential good you have done and are capable of doing. When this happens, I tend to get lost in spirals of depression and find it hard to grab onto what matters because the noise of doubt and comparison drown all else out. With the help of my chosen family, about 7 years ago, I got the nudge that girl inside me needed as I held the hand of my inner critic and decided to (literally) write a different narrative.

That narrative included the early stages of As Told by Kimber.

I created ATBK summer of 2015 in a Huntington Beach Starbucks during my early coffee runs before I ran back to my nanny job (for anyone who cares, my go to drink that would now give me insane cramps was a vente iced coffee with toffee nut and cream).

It’s now 2022 and, honestly, maintaining a consistent rhythm with ATBK has proven to be more challenging than I thought it would be, leaving me to rearrange its’ place on my mental priority list over the years. There were moments where I wanted to erase it compeltely, though I knew I didn’t want to let it go – that would be worse than the struggle to keep going.

It wasn’t until recently that I began to come to terms with and accept the fact that I won’t get it right every time. I won’t be able to write as often as my heart and mind long to.

Through all the modifications I’ve made in my approach to writing over the years, my “mission statement” stays the same. To share my experiences (the bad, the good, and the in-between) in hopes of encouraging readers to pursue authenticity in a world hungry for perfection, or even a skewed definition of “good”. That through the words I say (however fumbled as they may be), someone would be reminded that if we simply open ourselves up to it, grace and purpose can surely be found within the brokenness we see and feel so deeply. That as I’m going through struggles, triumphs, and all the awkward moments that got me to this present moment, I can utilize those past and present experiences to draw us back to the refreshing fact that every single day brings us a new opportunity to cling to and chase after our passions and purpose.

And like most other blogs that exist on the inter-webs, I love sharing some of my own ideas on how to brighten up and simplify our everyday: from minimalistic recommendations, semi-obnoxious motherhood content, and low-maintenance recipes.

Alright, so let’s dig a little deeper into the story – has it been an easy path overall, and if not, what were the challenges you’ve had to overcome?
What would this life be without our struggles? Simple, pain-free, and also a tad boring.

Not to say I’m extremely fond of my own challenges. They’re certainly not on the same level as a free round trip vacation to a dream destination. No – they don’t bring red wine or solitude in nature. But what they do bring is a lot of heartache, fear, doubt, and loneliness.

All of these, I would argue, allow us to see a bit more clearly and hold more tightly to the moments that are just beyond mundane. The ones’ full of what we would refer to as “life-giving”.

When I look back at some of what I’ve gone through in just the last few years and how they inevitably impacted what and how I wrote, the struggles that came alongside the changes took me by surprise (as most unplanned and undesirable things do).

I’ll start with a common challenge: motherhood. One being because it wasn’t in my plans, and whether or not you want to be a parent, there will be hardships such as guilt, doubt, comparison, impatience – the list can go on depending on who you ask.

Another altering event was my father’s passing, which brought me prolonged grief, anger, a lot of unanswered questions and resentment.

Putting an end to a variety of relationships, most of which I at one time thought would last a life time, introduced me to a different form of grief, self-doubt and loneliness.

After approaching these altering events through other “outlets” (such as therapy, support from friends and family, exercise, and journaling), they have in some way inspire writings on ATBK (such as “to the ones who ghosted”, “why doing it solo isn’t always so low” and “in the space between”).

The undesirable has made me more resilient.

And though I’m careful to share details of my personal life in this space, it wouldn’t entirely line up with the “mission” I mentioned earlier if I just glossed over all the hardship and continued to only share things like “Top 10 items this Fall”. That may support the goals for some in this field – but it certainly doesn’t line up with mine.

Suggestion to anyone struggling to figure out what their niche is: don’t look to the outside or refer to what’s “trending” as the scope to which you compare your success or growth; look toward what you love and find joy in, then go from there.

One of my rules when it comes to publishing content is a “wound” in my life would need to at least begin to form into a scar before any type of writing with the intent-to-share can happen.

For my past, present, and future self. For anyone who needs to see or hear there is someone else walking a similar road and not finding it an easy one, but one worth paving nonetheless.

Some struggles backpack off the choices we make, and others are joined by the things that happen to and around us that are out of our control. It’s hard sometimes, but important to remember that the fact that a struggle exists is not a fault – it is a part of life, including the parts filled with enrichment.

As you know, we’re big fans of you and your work. For our readers who might not be as familiar what can you tell them about what you do?
Absolutely! As Told by Kimber (or ATBK) is currently a creative outlet with no a source of income. I’m sure there are ways to monotize what I do – and few have reached out with “offers” – but at least for now, my mind would see it as “work” and I’d rather keep what I do separate from that mindset.

For my “day job” (a.k.a.: what pays the bills and keeps my brain a bit more organized), I work as an Operations Coordinator for PayPal in the Global Talent Acquisitions department (Human Resources). It’s hard to really expand on this because I don’t want to bore anyone, but I’ll give it a quick go: essentially I do invoice reconciliation, manage relationships with vendors who provide tools for our recruiters, run reports, and provide support to the vendor management team where needed.

In my close circle of friends, I’m also known for (and really enjoy) being a Shipt shopper. How can one find joy in shopping for other people they don’t even know? If you tried it, you might know (or maybe you’d hate it, if so, sorry). I really love the fact that I can go out and pick up items for someone who is unable to get them themselves – because I’ve personally been there many times when ordering food from DoorDash or submitting a Shipt order from Target due to sickness, car problems, or because my adulting levels are at zero. I also love leaving notes when I drop off the order to hopefully brighten someone’s day in the smallest of ways. So if you get one signed by “Kimber”, it was a pleasure shopping for ya!

Where do you see things going in the next 5-10 years?
As for blogging, I don’t think it’s going anywhere soon. If you’re reading this and you think, “there are already so many other websites out there”, yeah sure. But yours isn’t out there yet.

Lisa Olivera recently shared on her Instagram feed , “if you see someone else doing something you want to be doing and feel a tinge of envy or jealousy or desire, please know it’s a reflection of your own calling, your own gifts asking to be shared, your own capacity to create what you want to create, and your own wants being expressed. Someone else doing what you want to do doesn’t mean there isn’t room for you to do it”.

No matter the shifts, changes, or trends that come along (because there are going to be some every day with every job, hobby, etc.), I would encourage people to do what feels right for them, not what they feel it should be like based on the assumptions or beliefs of others.

Contact Info:

Image Credits
CVC Photography and Kim Standal Photography

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