Our amazing friend and incredible writer, Courtney Walsh, is oh-so-generously sharing her “Someone Threw Me A Rope” story with the Brave Girls Club today…this is such a timely reminder for each of us…why do we all have such a hard time grabbing that ROPE!!! You’ll see what I mean….
It was the week my debut novel, A Sweethaven Summer, was set to be released. I should have been ecstatic. I should’ve been floating through the sky, clinging to a brightly colored bouquet of balloons… this tremendous dream had just come true…
But a funny thing happened on the way to the party store…we discovered the book was out of stock…everywhere. It’s something of a thrill to know that your book has sold out, but what about all my neatly laid plans? The reviews that were scheduled? The giveaways? Would I be able to put those on the shelf for a week and regroup?
It threw me, I’m not going to lie…because I’m a planner. That’s what I do. I plan.
The stress of that was compounded by all kinds of other little things…the launch party I had no outfit for…the assignments I’d yet to start…the deadline that loomed right alongside that other deadline…the realization that we’d been paying car insurance in two different states…suddenly, it all became too much.
I sat on my bed the night before the launch that would never be, crying because the stress had gotten too great. How did I push past it when it seemed like everything was going wrong?
I wanted to be one of those people to just bask in this…to enjoy the joy…to feel elated that after two years of working on it, I finally held my book in my hands. It got to the point where I was almost beating myself up that I wasn’t properly enjoying the experience…as if there are rules in the way you celebrate.
See, the truth was, behind the scenes, I was like a duck, my feet frantically paddling under the water, trying to stay afloat, trying to appear on the surface like I was gliding. But between my regular household duties (which were suffering), my day job and the added pressure to market my debut novel, I felt more like a duck with a brick on its back. I simply couldn’t do it all.
To make matters worse, my husband slipped a disc shoveling snow, and suddenly I was not only a single parent…I was a nursemaid. And let me tell you, I am not a sympathetic nursemaid.
I floundered. In less than a week, we were heading out on a plane (my entire family, including my husband and three kids) from Illinois to Colorado, to attend a book launch party and my very first book signing. To say I was nervous would be the understatement of the century…and unfortunately, when I get nervous, I get cranky.
During that time, I discovered something about myself. Something kind of humbling…
I have Wonder Woman Syndrome.
While I talk and write about how “we simply can’t do it all…” there I was, trying to do it all. Trying to wear every hat at the same time…and I was failing. Miserably. And, as a result, it made everyone else miserable.
Why is it so hard to admit that we really do need the help of others? Isn’t that why God sent us friends and family? So we wouldn’t have to go on this journey alone? They’re sitting there like a nicely wrapped gift…and I practically flung them back in God’s face. “No thanks, God. I can do this myself.”
I refuse to ask for an extension on a deadline. I refuse to let my friends take the kids for a couple of hours. Me, in all my Wonder Woman Glory, has the hardest time admitting that I can’t do it all…
After a good three hours in Urgent Care only days before we were going to be flying across the country for one of the biggest events of my life…I simply couldn’t do it anymore.
I texted a friend “Sat in Urgent Care for three hours because Adam’s back is completely out. Guess we’ve got different definitions of the word ‘urgent.’”
She texted me right back…
“I’m bringing you dinner.”
For literally ten minutes I tried to talk her out of bringing my family the spaghetti and meatballs she’d been making for HER family. Ten minutes…but I failed. I failed because she insisted on helping me, even when I refused.
In the midst of this texting, my sister called and I had a little breakdown. (Funny how that happens when you talk to someone you love…) I told her about my week and in the midst of my tantrum, I said, “I can’t even find black heels for my launch party!” It was as if my life depended on the perfect pair of heels. “And forget about the jewelry. I have nothing.”
“I have shoes you can wear. I just bought them. And I’ve got jewelry too. I’ll text you a picture.”
Nobody gave me their kidney or saved my life…but these small gestures, dinner on a night when my family would’ve had bologna sandwiches…shoes and jewelry that saved me so many trips to stores with three kids in tow…they were my “rope…” my “lifeline…”
That night, over a plate of spaghetti and meatballs, I realized that sometimes I can’t do it alone. I finally admitted to myself that I’m not Wonder Woman. I’m not even SuperGirl. I’m just a girl who wrote a book who almost let the petty little circumstances around her steal her joy.
It’s okay to catch the rope someone is trying to toss your way… it’s brave even, to say “I could not have done this without you.”
Humility is brave. Accepting help is brave.
And perhaps I’ve had to learn this lesson the hard way…but I’m so much better for it.
The people around you want to help now and then. They want to be a part of your life and maybe even be your rope…
It’s okay…Be Brave. Let them.
Courtney Walsh is the author of A Sweethaven Summer, available in books stores everywhere or at Amazon.com.
Visit her blog to read her latest post and see how YOU CAN WIN a copy today!