Resiliency in Life and Moving Forward
The last year or two have been hard for me. There have been tears--gut-wrenching tears-- and broken hearts. The pain I felt over the last couple of years was worse than losing my kidney to cancer. It was the most wretched feeling I have ever felt and never want to feel again.
In the last two years, I’ve gotten divorced, ran for the state legislature and lost, and had to move…twice.
I have had to figure out who I was and where I wanted to be over and over and over again.
For me, putting my life back together meant taking time to rest, reflecting on what happened, putting boundaries around the life I want to create and finally, redirecting my time, talent and energy to create a life that serves me, fills me with joy and allows me to share it with people who truly appreciate me for just being me.
Rest, Reflect and Redirect.
Now let’s keep in mind I did all of this with a whole lot of help. I advocate for professional help for mental health and I have a therapist. I had a little bit of money in the bank from my endeavors, a place to lay my head on a pillow at night, and my community - a huge network of friends, family and chosen family to turn to and rely on for support.
It's taken me a lifetime to assemble this foundation, and wow, did I ever need it over these past two years.
The best analogy I’ve heard for this world I wanted to create came from an incredible artist I met in British Columbia last spring. Her name is Ecko Aleck. I’m going to paraphrase and add my own spin here – but click this link to hear how Ecko and some other amazing storytellers describe the power of story.
Each of us carries bricks with us. Each brick is a story. Those stories are the ones we’ve been told throughout our lives. They’re stories about what it means to be a good girl, a good woman, a good wife, mother, employee…. all the titles. (Note: I use she/her pronouns in this case but I believe all identities have the stories/bricks, so insert yourself into this narrative as you wish.) Those are stories other people have placed upon us. A brick for every description. Some of our bricks are the ones we tell ourselves. These bricks might be the ones we picked up along the way because someone said we were supposed to carry that one or this. And some of the stories are the ones we’d like to carry but are so burdened by the others they’re lost in the weight of it all.
But what if we could take a minute to drop all the bricks we carry? Just let those bricks fall where they may. And take a look at them – listen to every story they’re meant to tell. Take a deep breath and close your eyes and imagine the life you want to have. And then, very carefully and deliberately choose only the bricks that tell the story YOU want to tell. Leave the stories that are filled with guilt and shame on the ground as they serve no one and especially not you. It takes effort and practice to find your very own bricks. But my-oh-my it’s worth the effort.
That’s what I’ve been doing the last few months – looking at the bricks in front of me and carefully choosing which ones I want to carry.
For my long-time readers, you’ll recall before the pandemic we were in the process of creating quite the community here in the Queendom. I’ll pick up that process where we left off. This fall, we'll resume our book club and recipes from the Queendom’s kitchen on top of all the other adventures we get to have together. I will warn you however, some of those things will eventually end up behind a paywall. It shouldn’t be too expensive and that was always part of my plan – the difference now is, I actually figured out how to do it.
Speaking of adventures, I’m about to take off on the biggest adventure in my life so far. I’ve been invited to attend the Women Deliver conference in Kigali, Rwanda. Later this week, I’ll board a plane to take me to the other side of the world where I’ll be learning about women’s issues and rural health care from a global perspective. I’m traveling with the most amazing group of women with an organization called Revolutionary Woman Global. I’m entirely proud and honored to be in the company of these women and will be introducing you to them over the next few weeks.
As long as I have access to the internet, I’ll be posting here each week and updating my podcast. If you haven’t already, be sure to subscribe here for updates and follow me on all my social media etc.
Speaking of that podcast, here’s the bonus content that we didn’t have time for on the regular podcast. Here, my guest, ZeZe Rwasama explains Rwanda’s connection to the current situation in Congo.
Blessed by, my friends. I'll chat with you again soon.
What am I reading: Nothing For you Here by Fiona Hill. I met Dr. Hill at a conference last fall. She is amazing and one of the most fascinating people I’ve ever met.
What am I listening to: Billy Nomates. I discovered Billy recently – unfortunately because something awful happened to her. She performed at Glastonbury, but apparently there was a social media backlash and she’s asked for all the footage of her performance to be removed. I came across the story and had to look her up. I am really enjoying her music and it hurts my heart that internet trolls took such a heavy toll on her. Please check her out and support her work where you can!