The Gift that keeps on Giving

IMG_4980 “Avoid the Toxic Playground.” I read this today, in an email from someone I admire and follow.  There are many reasons I stopped to read this. And as I did, there was a lot that was relatable. Of top importance is that  I recognized myself in her words. My old self, and I do NOT mean my post divorce self,  I mean my old, much younger, trying to find my way in the world self. The thing about that younger self is I had absolutely no idea I was projecting my inner feelings onto others in my life. My un-easiness, my confusion in finding myself, my confusion in not knowing what I wanted out of life  and my own “dislike” of who I was becoming was coming out of me and onto others. Others that I cared about and considered some of my best friends in the world. My issues, issues with me, were pushed down and instead  I “let them loose” in the form of judging others, criticizing others and thinking I am sitting pretty here, I’ve got life all figured out. Hardly!

Over the holidays I was having lunch  with a couple of my oldest and dearest friends, one of whom has moved away so the holidays are the only time we get to squeeze this date in. It lasts for hours and is always so much fun to laugh, talk and catch up. This year the general topic of friendships came up and my friends went on to share some observations they have had about some things they have noticed from a distance, you know from the outside looking in. As the conversation progressed I had a full circle moment and looked at one of my friends and with a moment of tears in my eyes I said, what you are seeing and describing is exactly what I did to you, how I treated you “back then” and how I projected “me” and MY issues onto you. I had no idea back  in my 20’s that what I was “feeling” was envy and jealousy and uncertainty. And I was the one “doing the projecting.”

At this point in my life, I have been projected on and I have been the projector. I have been on the judging side and I have been the not always nice one. And conversely, I too have been judged and treated poorly. At the end of the day I have learned this. We are each responsible for our own happiness. It comes from within. If someone is judging me, talking badly about me, that’s about them., not me. If I am judging or saying hurtful things about someone then its time for me to look inward and fix whats broken, whats broken inside of me. When we are unhappy, when we have jealously and envy towards others, when we are hurting, and when we don’t “like” ourselves very much, we can’t help but leek it onto others. It seeps out, it carries over to those we care about, those we spend a lot of time with. We tell ourselves the problem is them, not ourself. We think changing our environment solves all of our problems. When we project, when we lash out at others, when we blame others we are stopping ourselves from looking in, getting to know ourselves mind, body and soul and we are doing ourselves a disservice in the long run. It’s self defense, its coping and it happens. To everyone. I  played that “blame game” for a big chunk of my life. Always someone else’s fault, right?  Until now. I know I am one of the lucky ones. I ‘woke up” and realized that no-one and I mean no-one is to blame for anything in my life but me. Not a spouse. Not an employer. Not a friend. Not a family member. Just me!  I have a brain, I GET to take credit for the good, the bad and the ugly and that my friends, is a gift. It’s a gift I plan to keep channeling, keep using and  I am working to turn it into the gift that keeps on giving!

I am happy to say that the friends from that lunch are friends I have had for close to 30  and 40  years, respectively. Our friendship made it from middle school and a cross country move, through our crazy city living  20’s, through marriage, lots of babies and one divorce  in our 30’s and 40’s and now in our 5th decade we are having some of the most real and heartfelt conversations we have ever had. What a testament to the cycle of friendship. Like in any relationship we love, we support, we have fun, we would do anything to make the other person happy and we want nothing but the absolute best for each other.  This is what true friendships, that stand the test of life, of change, of challenges and disappointments, are all about. In this self proclaimed period of growth I am in, I have been “forced” to go backwards and look at ALL phases of me. Not just the grown woman who got a divorce version, she doesn’t define me.  But also that young, getting life started version of me who helped shape who I am still becoming, the good, the bad and the ugly.  There’s a lot of digging to still be done, but at lunch in late December, the full circle moment of realizing  that I have recently had “a dose of my old twenty something medicine” came very clear. It gave me a sense of peace knowing that as women we are not alone in this growing phase of life. Grateful for my wake up call and life lesson. And grateful for life long friends who helped me to see the lesson and know that its absolutely 100% ok.

#bebrave

That Was Easy!

That was Easy. See how Easy that was? It’s Easy, you can do it. I say this. To my kids. To other people. To myself. In reality who am I to decide what’s “easy?” We ALL say this, in one way or another. Its a defense mechanism. It’s a way to encourage and motivate and say I believe in you, you need to believe in you too. It comes from a good place, a place of love, but also it’s an EASY answer, an EASY way out, when really the answer isn’t easy at all.  I happen to have that Big Red “Easy Button,” that thing they sell on Amazon that when you hit it it says  “that was easy!” I love this thing. My kids loved it when I first got it as a gift from a friend back when I was in that time I so affectionately call “in the thick of it.” I used it a lot back then for fun as a reminder that I could do hard things. So kind of the opposite of easy, right? But it worked, for me, to make progress on something then hit that button and be reminded that I can do hard things. But sometimes? Sometimes that hard thing was getting up, showering, and making some sort of attempt at working, “mom-ing,” and making it through a day anger and tear free. And you know what looking back? That was certainly not easy. To tell myself, “that was easy” is so far from the truth and nothing but that defense mechanism to keep us going. I have learned that easy doesn’t get us very far. It doesn’t stretch us. It doesn’t bring us all the life has to offer. It doesn’t bring us to the place we all really strive to be as human beings. And thats a place of living in love and in joy. Easy is a mask, a cover, a quick fix, a short term solve. Call it what you want, but its certainly not the answer to living as we were intended to live. Yes, each and every one of us.

As time has progressed, as it always does, my personal growth game is running strong. I say that with a bit of tongue in cheek of course. There are growth days, where I feel serious progress up this mountain I am climbing. Then there are days where I am pretty sure I have somehow slid back down, like a landslide that happened overnight. A stark reminder that, its not EASY. So it seems a little crazy to many, if not most, that I keep going. Believing. Pushing. Trying. Getting uncomfortable. There are days, the mornings after the “landslide,” that I ask myself the same thing. But then I stop. Because I know that Easy is not the answer. Easy doesn’t equal love, joy, personal happiness. I lived Easy.  I had Easy. I had what I was “supposed to have” to create that happy, joyful life. And guess what?  There was no living in love. There was no joy. And there certainly was no growth. I was someones wife, someones employee, someones mom, someones everything. What I wasn’t, was ME. The real, the raw, the authentic, the woman FIRST, the ME that I was born to be.

So growth it is. Hard is the new Easy. I can do hard things. So can my kids. So can you. Hard is climbing the mountain, even on the landslide days.Hard is digging deep in your mind, in your soul and asking the hard questions to and being willing to listento the answers. Hard means change. Hard means getting to know yourself. All of yourself. Mind. Body. Soul. Hard means doing things you never dreamed you would do in a million years. Hard means swallowing your pride. Hard means letting go of the stories we have created and writing a new story. Hard means doing things you don’t want to do, even when you don’t want to do them.  And sometimes, like today, it means popping out of bed at 5am on a Saturday and opening your laptop and writing, because you “woke up” with a vision, a dream(literally,) and the inspiration to sit down and just write. Look around. And then look inward. Take the time, no MAKE the time, to really look inward.  No-one, and I mean no-one ever said life was EASY…….and you know what ? I would have it no other way. Hard, really is the new Easy. IMG_4832

 

But really, I CAN and so can YOU

Can’t. A word I have learned to loath. Listen close for it. You will hear it all day, every day,  every where you go. Your kids, your spouse, a salesperson in a store, your friends and family, even yourself. I have been wondering lately how many times a day the phrase “I can’t” is used. And sadly, saying I can’t is a self fulfilling prophecy. As Henry Ford said, “Whether you  think you can or you can’t, you’re right.” One of my boys. “I can’t hit my 3 pointers anymore.” My daughter “I can’t memorize all of those lines for the play.” Adults, I can’t read there’s no time, I can’t workout, I can’t get up earlier, I can’t cook, I can’t go to bed on time, I can’t write,  I can’t sell, I can’t fix my marriage, I can’t deal with my boss, I can’t (insert anything) I have no time, I can’t find a good man/woman, the list goes on and on and on.

I am not innocent. I used to live in the world of “can’t.” As a matter of fact I stayed in a job that adversely affected all areas of my life because I believed I ‘can’t” leave, “I can’t”  get another job making the same money, with the same flexibility, that I can literally do in my sleep. I now shudder at the idea of how “comfortable and complacent” I was all because the deep rooted fear of making a change that I masked as “I can’t.” So instead I said “I can’t”  over and over and over again and I stayed. Miserable, unhappy and letting that job control my life, control my entire mindset. So much so that I never “left” so the Universe took my thoughts and my words and took the job away FOR ME so I would be forced to make a change for the better! Same with my marriage. Everything  was “we can’t.” I didn’t realize it at the time of course, because truth is NONE of us realize the negative place where we often reside, and its almost always unintentional! When we aren’t consciously aware of the negative, that there is a “problem” we don’t work to fix it. We don’t work to make a change. We often have zero self awareness that change is needed. We put our heads down, do what we “have” to do and trudge along like good little soldiers do.

Now, a little under 3 years later, I sit in this brand new year, grateful to the Universe for stepping in. What I know now is I helped to create this new plan, this new path, this path of look at all I CAN do. That I CAN be more, do more, have more!  Throughout my life I told myself all of these things and then some….. I can’t speak in front of a crowd, I can’t sell, I can’t dance, I can’t draw, I can’t bake, I can’t run fast, I can’t shoot (sounds like my son right now,) I can”t be open and vulnerable, I can’t lose weight, I can’t be a stay at home mom. One of the biggest beauties of the last almost 3 years is how much I have LEARNED. Some is listening to some amazing women speak and teach. Some is reading. Some is therapy. Yes, I FULLY believe in therapy, everyone should try it. When I slip up and say “I can’t” I catch myself, stop myself and redirect both  my thinking  and my words. Learning to believe that  I CAN do anything I choose to do, even though it’s not easy, has been such a blessing I NEVER saw coming. Easy gets you nowhere and nowhere fast. I promise you, take that to heart.

No, I haven’t mastered all of the things I said I ‘can’t’ do. And the best part is, I don’t have to master them! No one does. Perfect is overrated. The minute I gave up on perfect, is the minute I began down the path of happy. Believing in yourself? Believing you CAN? And trying? Getting out of comfort and complacency? Thats where the power is. That’s where the real growth comes from. Will I fail again? Sure will. Will you? Absolutely. You cannot fully succeed if you do not ever fail.  It’s time to TRY. To believe in yourself.  My passion is to help those that live in a world of  “can’t do.” I am surrounded by “can’t” daily. I hope you find that the learnings on the other side  of “can’t” is so much more rewarding.  I am grateful looking back. I am thankful for the hard lessons.  I no longer beat myself up and say what was I thinking! I am now grateful for that lifestyle as I know it was needed for me to evolve and grow to today and beyond and my hope is that you can too.

Happy New Year, here’s to an Amazing 2019!

 

Owning the Story

Who doesn’t love a good story? And who doesn’t look forward to a party, a work dinner or a holiday when you can’t wait to hear that funny storyteller tell some of their most funny and compelling stories? We all know those people right? The thing about stories is this. We all have one. But we aren’t all proud of our stories. And that often starts young, very very young. Sadly, many people believe their stories “are what they are.” It’s “just the way it is and nothings going to change.”  Many people don’t share their story. Not the details. Most common is to tell the surface story. The good stuff. The stuff we want people to see and know.

There are some that come out of that thought process. Those that for some reason realize that their story matters. That they are  even the actual author of their story and not the victim. In this stage they aren’t yet willing, and in many ways, emotionally able, to tell their story. It’s a phase of accepting their story and realizing they may not like parts of it but something inside is pushing them to bring it to the surface, to use their story for some sort of greater good. Shame, fear of judgement, fear of people leaving and plain and simple embarrassment is a part of the struggle. Positively growth is happening. Awareness and understanding are happening. I dare say even pride, pride in the good and bad chapters that make the story, the story of you. Owning the story is such a huge step.

Then theres this next step. It’s a next phase some get to. It’s a small number of people, yet they are so fierce and powerful you want to know them. You don’t always know when and how it happens. You don’t really realize when you get here. There isn’t always a defining moment. But one day you realize, I am rewriting my story.  Me, I am in charge. Not anyone else, just me. Your story becomes so much a part of who you are, so much a part of who you continuously strive to be, that you want your story to be heard. You want to share. You want to impact others so positively that they can be proud of their stories too. The good, the bad and the ugly. Isn’t that what makes a story so good? All the chapters? All the twists and turns? And when you are able to turn your shame, fears, embarrassments into a way of serving others, don’t you at that moment realize my story was all for the greater good? Not just your own greater good, but also for others.

We are all the authors of our stories. Our stories are constantly evolving. Changing. Having plot twists. Having good times and not so good times. And the beauty is this. We all get to guide the outcome by our thoughts, our words, our choices. By the people we surround ourselves with. By the types of relationships we cultivate. By growing into making choices that are right for us and not letting others control our choices. By saying no to things that don’t fill your bucket and by saying yes to things that do. By living in gratitude for all that we do have instead of focusing on what we don’t. By believing in the goodness of others, by learning to trust, learning to forgive and not believing that all people are bad and that all things work against us. And mostly, believing in ourselves.

We all know someone that is “stuck” in their story. Perhaps its even you. Stuck in a way of thinking that has you convinced it will never be different. It will never be better. That you will never have all that you dreamed of having. Constantly comparing to others and what they have that you don’t. And sadly this next statement couldn’t be more true….. believing you will never be pretty enough, skinny enough, smart enough….you name it, the list can go on and on about the stories we write for ourselves with our thoughts and words. There is a world full of adults walking around that believe their stories from their early years define them. These beliefs are often carried on into adulthood and for many, that’s where the story ends.

But what if for just a minute we all decide to believe we are the author of our own stories? That we can change the plot? That we can rewrite the future chapters and learn from the ones before? What if we step out of our comfort zone and decide to change our stories? We can all decide to be an author, an author of our lives. Its not easy. It doesn’t happen over night. It’s not without pain, soul searching or even loss. It takes courage, courage that is hard to have.It takes being brave.  It takes confidence, confidence that may be fully lacking on the inside. And it takes belief. Belief in self even if you are absolutely convinced no-one else believes in you. Here’s the thing about stories. Every good story has twists. Every good story has triumph. Every good story has an ending that has people cheering. Decide to be the best author you can be and get going on the rest of your story!

Alone is Underrated

A few days ago I was asked this question by a newer friend in my life. The question was “what the hell did you see in your ex husband?” Yes, direct quote. I won’t bore you with the entire conversation, but its prompting this entry so instead I am going to share some things I have learned. About myself and how I hope to channel that into my kids and their life long relationships with others. So here’s the big statement. I have learned to be ok and actually like those times when I am ALONE. Don’t get me wrong. I am not a hermit, hardly. I have a great work/life balance(now, thank goodness!) and I have 4 kids so alone is not often. But when I am? I CAN be alone. I don’t have to be in a constant state of motion, of go-go-go. I have learned that its incredibly refreshing, needed and a huge component of self-love to learn to be alone. Yep, self-love. Keep reading!

I have also learned that often when you say NEVER, it rarely means NEVER. I have learned that “those reactions” were all out of fear, anger, rage and hate. Yes, hate. Its a big word, a scary emotion, one that makes you say and do and truly have regrets and wish you could go back and handle things differently. But you can’t. And this is why its called learning and growth. You can only go forward. So this Thanksgiving week, tomorrow to be exact, will be my first Holiday without my kids home with me. For many, even those closest to me in my life, that is an unfathomable thought. I GET it. It was to me too. From day 1 the kids said they will NEVER go, they will ALWAYS be home, and I said I would NEVER let them. Guess what? They are going tomorrow. Not without a fight, but they are going. And even though a couple of my kids are concerned about me (love them!) I am totally ok because I have learned how to be ALONE.

I have found a way of living, thinking and hopefully teaching my kids that there is ALWAYS a solution. So we now have new traditions as a “party of 5.” Our tree is decorated earlier. Huge bonus! And they are getting TWO Thanksgiving dinners as we are doing ours a day early! But mostly, I hope over time they learn more important lessons. Some being, that  when fear sets in, as it did for me AND for them in 2016, severe hurt, anger and hate can change over time. All of those emotions are simply emotions. They are real and when felt they are intense and yes they are damaging. But, they can be “healed” and they can evolve into where we are today and where we are going. One piece is them seeing their mom say you have to go, you have to work on mending YOUR relationship for your long term happiness and emotional health, and I am TRULY ok. They get to see me  model self care and self love and forgiveness. Now, I am not saying its easy every day. I am human and I get my buttons pushed. But its such progress and them KNOWING I am ok this week is so very important. For them and yes, for me.

So back to being alone. (Don’t worry, I have invitations, no pity party needed!) Alone is about emotional health.  It’s about knowing that I don’t need to always have plans, or an event, or to be on the go. Growth is about being comfortable in your own skin. Mostly its being comfortable with your THOUGHTS. Is it a process? Absolutely! Is it needed to heal? You had better believe it. Other people don’t “complete us.” For the first time in my life I finally am starting to “get” what self love means. And thank goodness because my boys? Well they didn’t see that modeled by either parent at an early age and there is a lot of work to be done there. My daughter? Well she is seeing it so much more and my hope and prayer is this. That they see and learn that they need to love THEMSELVES first and foremost and be ok with “being alone” before jumping into a lifetime commitment with another person. So that original question that prompted this post? While this isn’t about the answer to that, my answer after pondering that for a few days is this. I did NOT have self love back then, I did NOT know what a real relationship should look like, feel like, be like. And in order to love others fully and completely SELF LOVE must come first. I hope to be a role model for my kids in this as they grow. A lot to make up for, but as I love to say (and of course believe) we are all a work in progress. Cheers to learning to be alone!

Happy Thanksgiving

Perception should be a Dirty Word

I have decided that perception should be a dirty word. If you think about it, it lives in the same family as judgement. We live in a world where the first thing someone does is form an opinion based on what they read, see or hear and decide they know all the facts and then immediately an opinion is formed. Now, nothing wrong with that, the human brain is meant to form opinions. Where this goes south, for so many and unfortunately it is mostly women(sorry ladies) is when we let what we perceive to know go dark and ugly and turn into judgement. Sometimes it’s passive judgement. You know the smile, the perfectly chosen words to sound nice, but its not, its full blown judging. Then there is just straight out, I know more than you, my perception is spot on, and I have no interest in hearing another point of view because I am better and smarter and my choices in life are so much better than what you over there are doing. If you stop and think for a minute we all know both types and we have all encountered both. Or even done both. Guilty. Not proud of it, but guilty for sure.  And the truth is its not nice and its not ok. Simply put.

I always considered myself a totally confident person. After all I was in a huge leadership role, responsible for so much in a large business, I was a mom of 4, surely I was capable and fact is people said to me ALL the time I don’t know how you do it, you are Super Mom, you never miss a beat. I remember it well. The sentiments were kind and appreciated but it’s not at all how I felt inside. It’s what I felt I HAD to portray on the outside. After all, if I wasn’t all of those things, my life, OUR life, would fall apart, right? I had to be ALL things to ALL  people ALL  the time. And aside from the “I don’t know how you do it” comments there were the others. The ones “Judging.” The, wow she works so much. Wow, she’s never home or around the neighborhood. Wow, she’s always dressed nice. Wow, she’s not very friendly. Wow, her expectations are so high.

Here is what I have learned out of all of this from  being on BOTH sides of this suburban life. I wasn’t that confident person I portrayed or even told myself I was. But I didn’t even know it. I had a story of my life, it was my perception and I believed it to be fully true. I had a lot of anxiety, a lot of fears and a lot of stress. We ALL tell ourselves bullshit stories and those stories become our reality. Over time and some soul searching and some self help work, I am literally writing a new story. One that has actually made me more raw, real, transparent and open to learning and growing. It’s freeing.  I am finding it’s “easier” to address the judgers because I know that perception is simply just that, their perception. Perception does not make something real. None of us know, what we don’t know unless we allow ourselves the courtesy of listening and learning and growing. Once again, it is that simple. Maybe not easy, but it sure is simple.

Now, I LOVE social media. It is how I do business now, its how large corporations market business, its how we connect and reconnect with others. But a side effect of social media is it makes the perceiving and judging faster and easier than ever. And social media has only magnified the fact that majority of people care so damn much about what others think of them, their life, their choices that it stops them from not only living their very best life, but it also stops them from making needed changes that could benefit so many. I was that person. Even though I didn’t know I was, I certainly was. Over the last month I have thought so much about something my now ex husband said to me when he left. He said  “you don’t really care that the marriage is over, you care what people are going to think.’ That stung, big time because of course I believed it wasn’t true. Well time yields perspective and turns out there was some truth in that statement after all and he was a little wiser than I gave him credit for on that one. I survived it, we all did and it helped me to learn a lot about the negative side effects of assuming my perceptions are spot on and that judging gets us nowhere and nowhere fast.

My wish, my dream, my passion is to help women stop the madness. Stop caring what others think of you. You only control you, your life, your dreams and your choices. There’s a big ole world out here waiting for you to share your greatness, to grow into the person you always dreamed you would be, to not just go through the motions and live for others and not for you. And for those of us raising children, I promise you that they need to see their powerful mamas get uncomfortable and take a stand. They want that. This generation does NOT think like those before them. They are onto us and our judging ways. Hats off to all the women making sure they don’t example that for their kids. As always, I, we all, are a work in progress. Learn before you judge. Most of the time the perceptions we have are so dead wrong. And if you must judge maybe practice keeping your judging to yourself. That’s simply practicing kindness.

Be Brave

I DO. I DID. I’m DONE

I’m back. 7 months since my last piece but I am ready. Today anyway. Admittedly, still a work in progress.

I Do. I DID. I’m DONE. Cliche’, I know. Yet real and true and exactly how I feel a week after closing the chapter of a book that was mostly written for me. But was it? That’s the million $ question. A lot has happened and changed since my first “blog” entry. I was (and still am) winging it on this writing gig of mine. And I have decided that’s ok. I will do this when I want to, when I feel like it, when I have something to say and when I think there is something someone out there needs to hear. Clearly, that is today.

So here I am, in this new chapter. Officially Divorced. A word I never planned to be. Divorce happened to other people, people who didn’t have their shit together, people who should have never gotten married in the first place, people who clearly didn’t try hard enough, work hard enough or understand “real love.” Just going to state it here now. That’s all a bunch of BS in case my sarcasm didn’t come through loud and clear. None of that is true, anything can happen to anyone, and just because we all have a view of how we want things to be, doesn’t mean that the Universe, God and whatever else you choose to believe in presents it to us in exactly the way we mapped out and planned.

Now back to my statement and question above. Was the book written for me or did I play a role? While I am certain I am still and likely always will be learning and growing I can without an ounce of doubt say today that my answer is VERY different than it was when this book all began. I did life “right.” That version of “right” that so many of us fall prey to that is. I didn’t marry too young, didn’t have kids too young, had a great career, climbed the corporate ladder, dressed the part, traveled the world, made the big bucks, lived very well, played the part of working wife and mom, attended the social functions….you get the drill. I also had a career that I had no passion for, I spent money like it was water,  I never saw my kids or husband because I was on the road, I cared what others thought about my life, my clothes, my house, I cared if I wasn’t invited to the “right parties” and I had less  REAL friends than I wanted to have. I worried about so much, most of the time, things that seriously are so silly to me now that I can’t believe that was me. I also neglected my relationship with my husband. Now, before anyone that knows the whole story thinks I am taking the blame, don’t get crazy on me. I am simply saying it takes two to tango and being in a passionless marital situation takes 2 people, not just one and I am fully content with owning my role in the ultimate demise of my marriage. So yes, I did play a role in the book, and I know now that this book needed to play out just the way it did, in order for me to get to this much needed, much anticipated, life changing chapter.

My life looks very different today than it did all those years ago. I no longer work in a job I hate. I am no longer a slave to the corporate 60 hour work week. I no longer spend unneeded money on unneeded things for me or for my kids. I rarely “dress the part” before 2:00 pm.  I no longer have a daily argument with a spouse because it is the only way we knew how to communicate anymore. I no longer worry about the pretenses and people liking me and worrying about why so and so gave me the cold shoulder at the grocery store. Instead I now have my own business that I fully control. In time and income. I see my kids. They now know their mom. I understand now that life happens, change happens and no one is immune from this. I know that a “cold shoulder” has nothing to do with me. I know that I will not be everyone’s cup of tea and not everyone will be mine. I have learned that you can move past hate and turn it into indifference. I have learned that kids are as resilient as everyone likes to say. I have learned what TRUE friendship is and what surface friendship is like. I have learned that real support often comes from very unexpected places. I have learned that what makes some people not support you  has everything to do with them. And mostly,  I have learned that you can get over what you once thought would kill you and that there really are “more fish in the sea.”

I don’t know what this next chapter and the one after and the one after will bring. But I do know this. I am a much more accepting, loving and positive person than I ever was before. I have found passions I didn’t even know I had. I have a desire that is so crazy big to help other women who have no idea how to break out of a cycle of living a life that no longer fulfills them. And I know that pain is real. I know that when you have no idea how you will get out of bed that somehow eventually you do. I know that you become so much stronger after the pain is gone. I know that no-one and I mean no-ones experiences are the same and that love, support, a funny meme, a text,  a spontaneous adventure, a shoulder to cry on, lots of self help books, a therapist you actually like, too much wine or too much coffee and maybe even some crazy shenanigans every once in awhile can be the answer to overall long term healing. This chapter calls me to pay it forward and while I don’t know exactly what that fully looks like just yet, I. do know that my calling is to serve other women and I plan to find my many ways that I plan to do just that.