There was a time not so long ago where I would sit at my dining room table and practice deep breathing to keep myself from having a panic attack. Calloused fingers would leaf through a stack of bills and I would write down the dwindling amount of money in my account and subtract it line by line piece by piece, a puzzle of sorts to untangle making all of it, all of us, stay afloat. Sometimes it would come on the winning side of within a few dollars. Sometimes it would sink below the surface of that. If I just write a few more articles… if I just ask for another advance… if I just sell something… if I ask for a little more time… if we can get by with a little bit less… then we will be okay… then it will be enough to get by just a little bit longer.
You learn so much when you are in a space of struggle.
The biggest lesson is that you cannot unpack and live there. You know that this cannot be your forever. But you also don’t know how to get out of the trench. And there is shame to talk about it. Everyone loves a story of overcoming but what do you do when you are still hanging and holding in the hard? How do you become someone else’s survival guide when you don’t actually know how you are going to survive?
It starts by digging into the most relentless and driven parts of you that are tucked so deep into your being that you might not even know that they exist.
You learn that you are worth rescuing.
You learn that you will do just about anything to get out of the trench.
You learn that as hard as it is to sacrifice, it is far harder to ask the people that you love for help.
You ask anyway.
You learn that not everyone wants to be or is worthy of being in your lifeboat.
You learn that you can get by on less sleep.
You learn that if you sell your television that it will be (just) enough to buy groceries that week.
You learn that if you lock yourself in your bathroom and turn on the shower that your children can’t hear you cry when you need to.
You learn that you can be a damn good actress when you need to be.
You learn that doing too many side hustles leaves you spread very thin.
You learn the art of saying no and not yet and maybe next month.
You dream of the day that you can say yes.
Yes, to them. Yes, to you.
You pick yourself up from the cold, bathroom floor. It was there for your grief. But now it is time to open the door.
You set goals. Small, baby step ones. Giant, scary ones.
You write them down.
You make vows to yourself.
You are enough.
You realize that you deserve more and the only one that can give that to you is you.
You begin to shift your mind.
You begin to believe in you and ignore the rear-view mirror of past mistakes and the voices that want to prove to you that maybe you don’t have what it takes.
You have it. You have it. You have it.
You go all in.
You live with a compass and a backbone and you rise with intention.
You take hold of the steering wheel and avoid the detours that have nothing to do with your goals.
You. Rescue. You.
On my goal list five years ago with the small things and the tremendous frightening ones, was to buy my own heels.
It may sound insignificant and materialistic but they were a metaphor for my life.
I wanted to stand taller on my own two beautiful, powerful heels that I bought for myself. For me. By me.
Like a boss living a whole full life with bold, stunning intention, supporting herself and her children, saying yes to the groceries and the adventures and crushing goals and seeing them see her do it by herself, for them, on her own.
That would be my story.
It started with the mindset of looking up and forward but having faith in the strong foundation of the visual of the footwear I would wear while doing it.
I sold our house and my kids and I downsized to a smaller one that gives me more space to exhale. I converted our dining room into my office and hung a piece of art. A drawing of a brunette at her desk looking out at a map of the world, wearing black heels with the smallest hint of red on their bottoms. I put together my desk that I made myself, spray painted gold stools carry a peacock blue door, a wide, confident surface that serves as a canvas to outline future chapters. A sparkly gold hustle sign that a dear friend gave to me hangs above a calendar that showcases important days in green ink. It is a gloriously unapologetic space that invites inspiration, evokes happiness and the grind and hustle that it takes to get us there.
To myself five years ago, thank you for not giving up. I know you were scared, but you woke up early, stayed up late and showed up and went after it carrying all that fear, despite the weight of it all. Your children watched you then. And they are still watching you, five years later, booking the plane tickets, buying the groceries, paying the bills and picking out the black heels with the bright cherry red on their bottoms that you will wear to every one of your settlements in 2022.
Set the goals, kid.
Your life is waiting.
And you deserve every great thing to come.
Happy New Year to You,