Journeys & Destinations

I have been thinking quite a bit lately about journeys and destinations. If we focus too much on the end result, where or what we think we should be, we could easily lose sight of the beauty around us. The opportunity around us. The connections around us.

I was recently asked to give a commencement address to the graduating class of 2018! It was a real honor because it was the school where my son attended and graduated from…his preschool. When I told people about it, the reaction was always excitement, followed by the sentiment of, “Who knows where it will lead!”

Truthfully, I’m not thinking about where it will lead, because this event alone was a huge milestone for me; for everyone involved. This event was scary, fun, and exciting for me. I took a tremendous amount of pride in this event. This event is part of my journey. I’m not looking too far ahead because what’s right here in front of me is pretty spectacular.

In an effort to connect both the graduates (4 and 5 year-olds) and their families, I spoke about the top 3 three things that kids this age generally do, and what, as adults, we can learn from them. The top three things are:

  1. Do Something Scary
  2. Ask a Lot of Questions
  3. Be YOU

Thankfully, due to a minor technical difficulty, the video starts when I am telling the story of when I did something really scary – when I auditioned for Listen To Your Mother. It’s a good thing because for the first 2 minutes I was nervous and fumbled over my words. Just take my word for it…you’re seeing the better half!

I am reminding myself each day to enjoy every step for what it is and not worry so much about the final destination. I’ll get there – wherever and whatever I’m supposed to be – I have faith in that. So, until then, I will continue to challenge myself by doing something scary, I’ll keep asking a ton of questions, and I’ll stand firm in being my best self, and enjoy each step in this beautiful journey of life.

XOXO

Resiliency.

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This journey as a writer has been nothing short of fascinating. I have learned so much about the business, the process, and what it takes to be successful. I’ve learned even more about myself and what I am I made of.  Sure, submitting a piece and never hearing a response can be depressing; knowing that it either wasn’t good enough, wasn’t a good fit, the list goes on. But getting a piece accepted and then having it torn apart by the public is a totally different story.

Last week I had a piece published by Scary Mommy that I was pretty proud of. To even get accepted by Scary Mommy is a huge deal – their Facebook page alone garners over 3 million followers. Exposure like that is a new writer’s dream come true! I’ve published several things for them and I am honestly humbled every time they email me saying “book it.” It truly never gets old!

But that’s just it – exposure. You have to be willing to take on that level of exposure – your words in front of an audience of over 3 million people. In the past, the exposure was validating, as comment after comment people connected to my words and thanked me for having the courage to say them. In some cases, people contacted me personally to discuss the topic further or ask for advice. (PSA: I don’t make any habit of giving strangers advice! I’m happy to listen, though) Not this time. This time was different; probably the first time I’ve been filleted so publicly.

I saw there were over 70 comments after the article was published so I wanted to see what people were saying. “Stop reading the comments.” My husband would say from over my shoulder. But I couldn’t stop. Once I saw how bad they were, it was like I couldn’t walk away – I was watching a train wreck happen before my eyes and I was dead center.

I think most people missed the point of the article. I think some throw around mean comments because they think they can. Hiding behind a keyboard escalate people’s bravado. Most don’t realize the process of writing and submitting. Either way, the personal attacks hurt. I would be a big fat liar if I said they didn’t. But, (there’s always a but) they won’t stop me; in some ways it’s a motivator. I also find this experience to be a great lesson in life for my kids.

They are both still pretty young so some of this (social media shaming) will be over their heads. They aren’t, however, too young to understand what it feels like for someone to say mean things about them. They know how it feels when someone doesn’t like them or something about them.

So the lesson for them is that it happens to Mommy, too. I had a lot (the comment count continues to rise) of bad things said about me and my work AND I LIVED THROUGH IT. I took the hits and survived. I realized that not everyone is going to like me – I may be too much or not enough for some people – and that’s ok. The world will not always think our work is terrific. When we put ourselves out there, not all responses will be what we hope for, but that doesn’t mean we stop doing it. Not all feedback will be positive. They need to know that people can and will say all sorts of things about me but it’s my own feelings that matter. 

Lastly, it’s also a great lesson to learn that sometimes, people are just simply assholes.

Resilience matters…take the hits and keep on moving along.

xoxo

 

 

 

 

Growth is Necessary, But Growth Can Suck.

During the time when we should have all been celebrating the joyous event of back-to-school, I noticed that several of us moms were all crying. Me included.

WHY THE HELL ARE WE ALL CRYING??

My latest for Parent.Co !

It’s been three weeks since my kids went back to school and I’ve cried twice. I talked with a teacher-mom-friend the other day and she cried. I’ve read several articles by fellow writers who are also crying.

Why the hell are we all crying so much?

Because sometimes growth can suck.

I believe in growth. I teach from a growth mindset. I have publicly declared how much I love that my kids are getting older. The physical growing and getting bigger is a great thing! Personal growth for me is essential in life. I need to grow in order to live. It may be hard but I know I can handle it.

I was recently faced with the terrifying experience of sitting in a courtroom to settle a case involving an accident. I was hit from behind by an 18-wheeler while driving over 60 miles per hour. Yes, you read that correctly. It’s not a typo. I was hit from behind while moving. Despite this fact, the ruling landed in the defendant’s favor. No, not another typo – I was found to be at fault. This was an excruciating experience that left me floundering and questioning everything I knew about life. My initial reaction was to curl up and wallow in a lifeless ball of fear, pity, and sadness.

Then I realized that I had to find a way to grow from this experience.

With the help of two glorious women and an emergency road-side stop at a local sports bar for a drink and solid conversation, I was able to piece back parts of my life that were beginning to crumble. With their push and my intentional movement forward, my faith in humanity has been restored intact and made stronger. Growth resulting from an internal struggle is a very good, positive thing. Except when I have to watch my children do it.

I cried this week when my five-year-old told me he was sad because his new friends didn’t laugh at his jokes. It was soul crushing, thinking how he may be feeling lonely throughout the school day. Another mom cried when her daughter was having a hard time getting her new high school schedule straight. The uncertainty for her, being placed in the wrong classes, learning to navigate self-advocacy, and the feeling of helplessness as a mom unable to solve these newfound challenges. I shudder at the thought of my daughter dealing with rejection. Another mom cried about her son playing alone at recess.

The thing is, I don’t mind this kind of growth because I have the life experiences to know I can handle it. I’m 42 years old and fully aware of what I’m made of and capable of. My kids know how to record 57 episodes of Alvin and the Chipmunks. Of course, they are more capable than that, but the thought of it scares me. I continually share with them the honest reality of the challenges in life but these experiences are mine, things I’ve gone through. Of course it helps to assure them that they are not alone, but truly, they need to experience all of these things themselves.

As a mother, it’s goes against everything within me to let that happen and I want to keep them protected and safe from hurt. As a logical adult, I realize that I cannot. The mother in me wants to stand in the middle of the den, eyes closed and arms waiving in the air, asking the universe to give all struggle, pain, and uncertainty to me. I will gladly shoulder all of the growth for my entire family. The logical adult, thankfully realizes that I, instead, should stand and beg the universe to give me the strength to let my children grow.

Letting them grow means letting them go.

I have a sneaking suspicion this is why we are all are crying. I want my children to grow, but I don’t want them to hurt in the process. I want my kids to grow, but I’m having a hard time letting them go. I want my kids to grow and become strong and resilient people of good character, but I still want them to need me. Currently, I would rather have someone hammer bamboo shoots under my finger nails, one-by-one. Slowly.

It’s the sinister paradox of motherhood. We are intensely there for them from the moment they are born and then suddenly our roles change. We once shielded them from every bump and bruise and now we have to allow them to fall. While I may be screaming for mercy on the inside, asking the universe “to give,” I will continually pack them up and see them off into their lives. I will wave from afar and wish them the best of luck and the happiest of days. I will be their everlasting champion. I will be there to wipe away tears, take in their hurt, build them back up, and send them back out into the wild, wild world of Kindergarten and fourth grade. I know we will all be better people for it, and who knows, maybe I’ll grow a bit, too.