What if we came to each other without seeking rescue or even safety?
I had a situation at the close of the year with another woman that left me retreating back into the belief system that I am unlikeable by other women, that female friendships (maybe all friendships) are risky, and that I should go eat worms.
Experiences like those shape us. From middle school on, am I right?
At the end of it, I couldn’t stomach hearing myself speak of it. I promised myself that once the issue was resolved, I wouldn’t speak of it again. It was hurtful to my own self to recount it—and how I interpreted what it meant about me. My self-talk hurt more than what had happened.
That promise bloomed into a broader commitment that I would use my mouth differently in 2019. I would be careful with my words. Each word would be purposeful. Positive, or at least not negative—about others and myself.
So I don’t get to say things like: “I’m scared” “I can’t do this” “X woman hates me” and the like.
Instead, I say things like: “What an adventure” “This takes courage” and “Y Woman was really kind to me.” Certain opposing counsels are “creative” or “energetic.”
People of integrity don’t gossip. Eleanor Rosevelt said: “Great minds discuss ideas; average minds discuss events; small minds discuss people.” I told my best work buddy that my shop for gossip is closed. And he now sends me funny memes of cats instead of gossip.
Cheryl Strayed changed my life when she said:
“Fear, to a great extent, is born of a story we tell ourselves, and so I chose to tell myself a different story from the one women are told. I decided I was safe. I was strong. I was brave. Nothing could vanquish me.”
You have to insist on the story.
Last night I was at an event and saw a woman I had met years ago. She didn’t smile at me. She barely regarded me.
Me: RETREAT!!!! At that moment I was watching Milinda Ysasi announce her candidacy for City Commissioner. Mindy is the model of leadership. And I felt quiet. I felt alone. I thought about something that has guided my marriage: What if I didn’t need a man to fix my broken places? What if I didn’t need a man to complete me? So I looked at the woman and asked the same question: What if I didn’t need her to make me feel safe, valuable, whole?
It’s 2019, girl. Saddle up.
I walked over to her with a broad smile and greeted her with all the warmth and enthusiasm my little light could shine. Guess what.
She hugged me and was kind.
What if we were careful with our words—about others and ourselves? What if we saw our words like the bricks that build the house in which we live? What words would we choose? Would they be different if we didn’t expect others to be our ego EMT?
May your 2019 be filled with magic and your ears be filled with success, joy, and wonderment.