Twenty-twenty showed up like tailgaters on game day and rapidly deteriorated into an unending emotional hurricane. We all have our own story on weathering the chaos of 2020 and the radical changes to our social and professional worlds. Notably, the addition of video calls and meetings to my everyday life, and I doubt I am alone in this, was both a blessing and a curse. One of the blessings for me was a virtual writing session with two of my best friends. At first, these meetups were a time to start a new writing practice, spend some time together though separated by state lines, and have something regular on the calendar that didn't require the use of a mask. However, these couple of hours every other week became so much more. They became a lifeline to keep my loneliness in check, inspired creativity, and fed a couple of my favorite relationships.
The holidays, a couple of years later, sent everyone whirling in different directions and our little sessions understandably dipped in priority. Our first call after a few months apart was shaping up to be a wonderful chatty catch-up with dinner and wine, but certainly didn't look like any writing would take place. Then Heather chimed in with the “let’s get to it" tone Jonna and I know so well. She had been participating in a journaling group that would take a picture and create a six-word sentence that fully embraced the image. It was the perfect little game to top off a fun, connected, girl power evening. (That is quite possibly the nerdiest line I have written! But... perfect it was!) Then she added, "The six-word sentence will be the first line of the story this photo inspires."
The feelings that came up for me during this journaling time were incredibly profound. What started as a fun six-word game turned into a metaphor for the journey we are on as we circle the sun and how we see ourselves when we look back. My life is notably flawed, but it is the ground on which I experienced the undying love of my family (though I tempted their limits!); road out the highs and lows of relationships; became a mother; made both incredible and dangerous friends; was introduced to new places and was gifted with fun memories all over the country. This road sparked the inspiration for Counter Talks, my recently launched community for growth and connection, and the purpose I hope to spend the rest of my life fulfilling. It is the path that brought me here, typing on this tablet trying to extract a little inspiration from my point of view and share it with you.
So… Here is the result of that new writing session with my friends.
I am strong and beautifully complete.
My windows are broken but I bare witness to the magic of the sun.
I am weathered from years of storms but my arms remain strong and invite those in the shadows respite as they find their way home. The shelter I provide is imperfect but covered in love for all who enter. My door is exhausted, the paint waning but the welcome mat is ever present and without condition. Watch your step as you draw near.
A full, messy, vibrant life is living here.
Some may underestimate as they appraise my immeasurable corners.But I know that in this place...The sun's reflection warms, the foundation steadies. The roots run deep and swell with the soul-feeding nutrients of the marsh. See, this is a home. Built board by board in the moments of life's litany of contradictions.
Bitter and sweet. Mundane and rare. Dullness and shine. Tasteless and salty. Angry and kind.
There are those who say the heat and salt in the Lowcountry air have taken too much a toll. But take a closer look. My collection of life-giving salt brings healing, acceptance, and joy to those who would be still and soak it in. I welcome you to walk up the long and overgrown driveway to sip tea and revisit the moments that tested your resolve and fed your spirit. The wind and rain of the past storms are silent. All that remains are walls that whisper of resilience. Of winning and nothing of defeat. Can you hear them?
Listen closely and you will hear their quiet unending refrain.
"You are strong and beautifully complete."
I hope you feel as welcome and loved as I do when I see this old house. Somewhere along the way most of us begin to feel the pressure of being flawless, however, I would argue our "imperfections" form our unique perspectives on both the joy and the darkness in life. It is in embracing and celebrating our one-of-a-kind-ness that brings true fulfillment and the soul-deep comfort that comes with knowing we are whole.
This article was published in the 30th Anniversary Edition of Skirt magazine.
Skirt is Charleston’s FIRST Women’s magazine and has been in publication since 1994 and is packed with inspiration from incredible women all over the Lowcountry.
This blog is a personal collection of my thoughts, wins, losses, memories, and crossroad moments. Almost all of which were hashed out around my kitchen counter and in my journals. If any of it resonates with you and you are ready to empower your inner badass and move into your Next with confidence, I can help. It’s time… Click the link and Let’s chat.