Lately I’ve been told I’m glowing. And I’m not talking one or two people, I’m talking more like two or three - per day! All with the same word, “glowing". Each time it amazes me that others can see it because I honestly feel like I am glowing. I feel bright, determined and alive.
It has officially been a year since my baby, Vertical Blonde, was born. I remember on Mother’s Day last year being so excited to publish my first blog. The words flowed out of me like a gentle river, still a little hesitant, but not lacking passion. I wrote about being a “Disabled Momma”; something that has really been the catalyst towards the gratitude for the MANY blessings that have come from that life-changing moment as I flipped through the air on a four-wheeler. Holding on tight, feeling like I was screaming as loud as I could, yet only hearing the cracking of my bones breaking with each flip. Terrified, waiting for it to be over, yet not realizing the magnitude of my injuries, assuming I would walk away healthy.
Today I am still screaming, sometimes in shear panic as I embark on an intense amount of vulnerability with myself and others, and other times screaming in pure joy as I speed downhill after a victory. Butterflies in my stomach, and feeling the exhilaration of overcoming some kind of defeat, I’m amazed at just how much I can handle once I make it out alive and thriving on the other side. I guess not much has changed since that fateful day.
I can see clearly how everything I’ve gone through in my past, has completely prepared me for this moment, and that moment, and the next moment. I recently read a quote that said, “It’s never going to be just the right time, but that’s the point. It means that every moment is also the right moment” - and I couldn’t have read that at a better moment! I was completing my pre-judging paperwork for Ms Wheelchair America and it asked to list experience with public speaking, volunteering, and so on. I was in awe as I filled in each one, able to tap into past experiences that set me up to answer with confidence, from my TV show, to working in a spa and even to working at Frederick’s of Hollywood as I put myself through massage school, when my love of helping women feel beautiful and sexy really began.
Thinking about that right moment last year when I finished “The Disabled Momma” and how proud I was. It felt like I should have won an award. The feeling of pride was palpable and I was screaming in excitement as I read it over and over. However it was immediately followed by a scream of, “Oh shit! Now I have to make a website so I have somewhere to put this amazing article!!”
The article itself was so perfectly fitted for Mother’s Day, and I told my husband all I wanted was to not be a mom for the day. I was determined to create a website before the day was over, and I needed to have peace and quiet while I worked. So the boys went out and played, followed by the longest nap of their lives. I had my peace and quiet, and it was perfect.
I had never made a website and didn’t consider myself particularly creative in design. I immediately started watching Youtube videos on my laptop, while I texted friends for input on my phone and searched for web design on the iPad. This momma was a multitasking queen. I found WIX, a website builder, and tweaked one of their templates. At 11:51pm I launched my website and published my first article. I was on fire. The glow had ignited.
This past year was one of the hardest of my life mentally, emotionally and spiritually - was also physically challenging, but let’s just say I’ve been through worse. A few days ago I wrote on the last page of a journal I had started just before moving to Maui, and I was hesitant to finish it. I wanted to savor the depth, honesty and ah-ha moments that filled the pages. Looking at this past year, there are more things I wish I would have done. That’s just the competitive nature I have with myself - always wanting to do more, be better and aspire higher. However, not doing those things really made space for the emotional growth I didn’t anticipate. The truly honest work I have done within myself was anything but easy. I had some extremely uncomfortable conversations with myself and my therapist, and I didn’t always like what I needed to hear. There were multiple things that I had to really sit with and process before I could accept them, such as the fact that there is a part of me which may never be over what happened. I had been striving for the impossible feat of one day being blissfully happy, but I’d feel shame when I would experience gratitude for things that came from my injury. Shame is a nasty emotion. It makes you feel dirty for things you can’t always control and I had such an inner battle going on - the classic angel and devil on opposing shoulders. Getting those two to get along was impossible and exhausting. From around September through February, the inner battle was heavy and it took a lot out of me. Thank goodness for a good therapist.
The people-pleasing perfectionist in me always wants my therapist to tell me what to do and how I should feel, and instead, she’s careful to let me figure things out on my own time. I wish I had her patience. As I’ve dealt with my feelings of shame versus being happy and grateful, I was able to let go of the incessant need to have it one way or the other. Now I really make room for whatever feelings come up, allowing them to run their course. No longer shoving the difficult ones under layers of smiles. In turn, I am discovering who I really am and what I’m made of. I’ve been in great places before, but something feels more honest this time around. I can recognize how long I have kept on a happy face, trying so hard to will my way through. It’s amazing the things we can get ourselves to believe, which of course leads to that culprit of shame.
My therapist told me a quote from Brene Brown, “Shame cannot survive the light”. Giving light and awareness to the emotions I’ve denied enabled me to grieve them appropriately, and in turn, that grief melted into acceptance, making space for me to embrace it. I used to think if I accepted my injury, then it would somehow tell God and the Universe that I didn’t care if I ever walked again. Now I understand that acceptance is merely acknowledging that the story has changed and letting go of the expectation we had for how we thought each chapter should end. I still dream of the day I will hear the click of my heels as I walk, however in the meantime, I am embracing every twist and turn of my story with big eyes and an open heart. x