Those of you with Sorkin-like tendencies will recognize this post name as one that he’s used frequently. The season one finale of The West Wing, the series finales of Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip and The Newsroom all share this name. Sorkin uses it as a wrap up of sorts; an ending of one thing and potentially the beginning of another.
That’s where I’m at. The ending of one chapter and the beginning of another. It seems only fitting that with my word of the year being Shift, things were going to be upside down before the year was all over. Sometimes in a good way, and sometimes in a bad way. Before I start, I’d just like to acknowledge that I’ve been MIA from this space for quite a while. Like a college kid who’s moved out but not REALLY moved out, I’ve zipped in now and then, raided the fridge and dropped off my laundry, said hi and bye, and then went on my merry way again without really making a commitment to spend time with y’all. There’s been no plan, no structure and no idea when or what I’ll be posting about. I’m sorry for that. I plan on digging back in, and I’ve got the time now (more on that in a minute). For those of you that have stuck around for the last six years, thank you. I promise to give you better.
For the last two plus years I have been part of the events staff for a huge, women-focused content creators conference. The opportunity to work with some of the OG’s of the blogging world – those that literally created the platforms and the places for women to make money – excited me beyond words. I’d been a part of this community since I was a baby blogger and these women – and the community they helped to create – saved my life. Literally.
See, when you are a stay-at-home mom, married for a decade and in the span of twelve months you have a new baby, your marriage ends, and you lose your only parent you need to find a soft place to land before you just crack under the weight of it all. The things that used to keep your grounded in the grand scheme of your life have suddenly become so foreign and out of touch that you look around and wonder where you. As you’re literally standing in the middle of the thing that used to be your life. Arms outstretched, grasping at any straws to help you balance because you are sure at any moment you are going to topple over from fear and grief and motherhood crashing in to you. I stumbled in to social media as a escape from my life, diving in to ridiculous reality shows because if I could focus on the hilarity of television, then I didn’t have to deal with the pain that was my life. It wasn’t long until blogging came knocking at my door and I embraced it. Like a toddler learning to walk and eat solid foods, I was over-enthusiastic and messy with my blogging in the beginning, not having a clue what I was doing or what the possibilities were. As I started to settle back in to the new normal of my life, I needed to figure out how to do it on my own. This new version of my life. No husband, no parent. Who was I and what did I want to be when I grew up? And what the hell was I waiting for?
40 became the year of giving no effs, before it became the trendy thing to do. I did things that scared me – like reaching out to local bloggers on Twitter and attending conferences in Chicago about empowering women, blogging, and women’s entrepreneurship. I’ll admit that I felt like a phony for a while, but I faked it until I made it. It wasn’t long before the hard work and determination was rewarded with my own business, a great list of clients, and being asked to speak at conferences I had just participated in as an attendee the year before.
Along the way, I met more amazing women who GOT ME. They weren’t trying to compete with me, they weren’t fake or shitty. They were brilliant, amazing writers, making money for their families, working hard, taking no shit from anyone and living life on their terms. If they wanted purple hair, a tattoo and a nose ring, they had it. They were passionate and well-informed about the issues that were important to them. They were active, political, and fierce in the best possible ways. I was awestruck that I was judged for WHO I was and what I believed in, and not what social class I was in, how much money I had or where I lived – all of the bullshit that I had always been judged for the majority of my life. I’ve written several times on this blog about finding my tribe, and it’s true. They are. This community of women – and some men – are absolutely my people and I love them and will protect them will every ounce of my being.
Sidenote: If you don’t have friends like this, ditch the assholes that you are hanging out with and find better people. I wish I had someone tell me that when I was younger. It would have saved me a TON of heartbreak and drama. Most of my friends don’t live geographically close to me, but that doesn’t mean we aren’t connected. And don’t talk / text every single day.
So when I was given a chance to work on one of the largest events for this community, given how I feel about them (and that most of the people that I adore were already on staff) it was a no-brainer for me. I said yes, and was happily ensconced as part of the events staff for the last five shows. My colleagues will tell you that I was over-enthusiastic and messy on my first show (my need to prove myself can be desperately annoying to others) – a fact that we just laughed about while we were all together a few weeks ago. Over time, I’ve learned to settle down because I am REALLY good at what I do and I didn’t need to be so wound up about it. I took on more and more responsibility with each show and while show season is stressful, I’ve been incredibly proud of the finished product and the events that our #TeamSmallButMighty has put together.
This past show was different because I felt my position was coming to an end. There were changes earlier in the year that led me to believe that I probably wouldn’t have a job once the show was over, and I was correct. And while I am sad that I will no longer spend my days working side by side with some of the most incredible people I know, I am okay with it. I mean, I really have to be because there is nothing I can do to change it. But I could be pissed off and vengeful and filled with anger which I don’t feel serves anyone. Instead, I will embrace the shift, sitting in the knowledge that I gave my all in the moment, it was absolutely enough, and there is a new challenge waiting for me around the corner. I just have to walk towards it.