I am so honored to write the very first post of the new official Brave Girls Club blog. First, I want to welcome you all here…it’s hard to believe that it has been just under a year since we launched this little idea with our first BRAVE GIRL CAMP and that already, we have thousands and thousands of women all over the world who are a part of Brave Girls Club. Kathy and I are OVER THE MOON EXCITED to finally bring you this blog…with so many surprises in store in the next few weeks. Brave Girls unite!!! This really is incredible…and there’s not a day that goes by that I am not profoundly grateful to be a part of it. So, once again…WELCOME!!! We hope you will come back every day…even several times a day…because there will be new and wonderful things to find and be a part of every day…and we would LOVE for you to be here with us!
Now…for what I have chosen to write about for our first post….I am going to write about GIVING UP.
This is going to be long and I hope you will read it anyway…because if I was going to die tomorrow, this is the last thing I would ever want to say to you…it’s that important. I promise that my upcoming posts won’t be this long…..:) And…bear with me as I talk WAAAYYY too much about myself…it’s going somewhere….
I have actually wanted to write about this for months…because every day my gratitude grows and grows and grows, until it is squished so tightly in my heart that hardly any more gratitude can fit…….and what I am thankful for is that I did not give up.
Because it was a close one. I almost did….lots of times…lots and lots and lots of times. And frankly, I would not have blamed myself….I had lots of valid reasons to give up. But….I can look back at that girl who woke up every day and decided to try one more time, and I just want to tell her……”good job, amazing girl…..you did it.” Does that sound braggy???? Well, too bad…I am proud of that girl, I really am.
Some weeks ago…I was in Chicago at a trade show for the craft and hobby industry that I am a part of. It was the first time in 13 years of going that I did not have to be working in a booth…and I just got to walk the show and see the products, see my friends, see what’s going on. I had a blast! When I got home…friends started to send photos…and when I got this one….I started to laugh…and I think I even shed a couple of tears………let me tell you why….
What is so extraordinary about this photo is that I did not know it was being taken…and therefore, I was not posing…I was not TRYING to look happy, relaxed and together. I was not psyching myself up, imagining happy and funny things so that I could pull off a real smile.
I was just sitting there…..BE-ing. And someone captured it……and let me tell you, I have not felt the thrill of victory so passionately many times the way I felt it when I saw this photo.
THIS is the melody that at one time, I thought was gone forever. Happy, confident, hopeful, colorful, funky, relaxed, fun…on track….dancing to the rhythm of her own drum….heck, DANCING AT ALL! I was not trying to be her, or find her……..THERE I WAS…I am HER AGAIN!
While I was in Chicago….I had the greatest time with friends….effortlessly enjoying life and doing things that made me happy….and FEELING happy….without trying. Does this all sound insane and ridiculous that it makes me so happy???? That it is such a victory? Let me tell you why this is all such a big deal to me….
For the last 3-5 years…a big string of horrible experiences came into my life..some huge and life altering, some small and seemly insignificant. I held it all together pretty well for a while…but then I ran out of steam. I am not sure when it started….how long it lasted…not sure of many huge details for certain…………but girls, I was in a funk. I was depressed. I was sad….I was devastated. I was SURE that I had lived my best years and that this was how it was going to be forever……..and I had lots of reasons to believe this…….stuff I will maybe go into later, …or if you are really want to know…go read archives from my blog about my totally awesome disaster of a life!!! That same life that I honestly wouldn’t change if I could.
Anyway…during that time…I pretty much isolated myself as much as I could…..and as more time passed…I ACTUALLY MADE A DECISION that I fully planned on living up to…that I would NEVER make another new friend (I had been very hurt too many times, and even unintentionally hurt others too) that I would NEVER have my own business again (I felt like a complete failure) and that I would just try to survive the state that my marriage was in……(my husband was suffering from a traumatic brain injury and our marriage pretty much went away) I decided that I would stay RIGHT where I was and not go anywhere else…literally and figuratively…that way I would never fail again, never get hurt again, never hurt anyone else again.
I remember during that time, working working working myself into oblivion. Every once in awhile I would accidentally bump the webcamera button and suddenly I would appear on screen. I would think “WHO IN THE WORLD IS THAT WOMAN?” I did not recognize the lifeless shell of a person that showed up on the screen……..so I started to take pictures of myself……….here’s a few…I will explain some of them…
The thing that strikes me about these photos is how many times I changed my hair. It is one of those things that women do when they want to feel better…feel different, feel anything…….and I remember I wanted desperately to feel better. I put some of the winners in here…..the jet black hair…the princess leah side buns….the wavy brown hair with big streaks in it…….the sad sad sad face….I want to crawl in the screen and wrap that girl in a blanket and hold her on the couch and tell her everything is going to be ok….wow, she was in a rough place…..and it went on for years.
Well….she didn’t give up. She kept getting up anyway. She kept trying to smile anyway. She kept trying to remember her old dreams anyway. She kept loving her husband anyway. She kept accepting the only kind of love he could give anyway. She kept trying trying trying anyway. Almost every day.
Then one day she took a risk….and she decided to reach out again……to her friends, to her family. It was scary…but she did it. She took a step toward them…they took hundreds of steps toward her.
After lots and lots of days of this….weeks months…she started dreaming again. She started trusting again…she even started smiling for real again……….
The people who loved her were patient and kind and wonderful. She would pray and ask God if she was still in there…..and who “SHE” even was.
And I learned that SHE was me. And that I was still in there……..
And THIS my friends….is why the dream of BRAVE GIRLS CLUB was born….because too many of us stay in that stuck place….that place that I was….that I didn’t think I could ever get out of…..the place that would have kept me from THIS:
It took a lot of years, but I am here enjoying the sweetest, tenderest, truest and most gratifying and comforting marriage I could have ever imagined. With patience and love and faith and suuuuuuch a long wait, my husband finally recovered and his soul came back to me. BUT I ALMOST GAVE UP. I did…I am not gonna lie…almost every day, I almost gave up. But I decided to give it one more shot…almost every day…and after years and years of that……..I have the best marriage ever.
And…..I would have missed out on this if I would have given up:
This one gives me the chills. WHAT IF I HAD GIVEN UP? There would be no Brave Girls Club…there would be no BRAVE GIRL CAMP. I would never have met the hundreds of women who have walked through the door of our cabin and became lifelong soul friends. THEY MIGHT NOT EVER HAVE MET EACH OTHER!!! ACK!!! There would be no DAILY TRUTHS and no midnight Creme Brulee and all those weird vintage funky things we bought to decorate with would probably still be at Salvation Army…..Oh man…what if I had given up? What if I had not accepted the miracles that came straight from heaven to set it all straight…what if I’d just given up?
And…I gave up on my art for the longest time…for years. I never touched a paint brush….I never stepped into an art store…even though art is my blood and my air and my joy…what if I’d given up?
Here’s what I want to tell you, beautiful women of the world……….PLEASE give it a chance to work itself out…please see it through. PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE don’t give up.
You just don’t know what’s ahead for you that you would miss out on if you threw in the towel. You don’t know about all of the things that are being orchestrated for you right this minute…there to greet you as soon as you cross the finish line of your journey over those high mountains. You never know why you are stripped off of the path you are on so that you can be put on another………….but PLEASE, give it a chance…SEE IT THROUGH.
Friend…it is worth it. I promise I won’t give up if you wont…in fact, I am just gonna come right out and say it…because sometimes we just need that in life…we need someone to grab our face in their hands….look us in the eye…and say with all the conviction in their voice…’DON’T YOU DARE GIVE UP!”
You have so much to look forward to. Keep going………I’m gonna tell you how I did it, I hope we can all tell each other how we do it every day.
Sending you SO MUCH LOVE, so much HAPPINESS…and so many funky dance moves……
Let’s live a big life!!!!!