As a life coach, I get out and do live speaking events often. Just this past winter, I flew to Denver for a keynote presentation where I taught a group of educators some of my favorite tools when it comes to mindfulness around the stories (AKA thoughts!) that we so often tell ourselves. As I stood in front of the men and women in that audience, I also touched on my upbringing. I shared about how I was taken away from my mom when I was 13. I shared about how much I felt her love despite her drug addiction. I talked about the years that followed spent in foster care.
For some reason, when I am in front of others, it is easy to share these things.
I feel a bit of a safety in a room where I can see the faces in front of me. I feel more at ease talking about the hard things.
It happened again just last month at the Empowered and Free event where I gave another keynote presentation, this time in front of a group of women sharing all that I know to be true about self-care. I shared, with ease, how graduating from college was actually one of the hardest times of my life because I was completely on my own then. I shared about how I spent my entire life on the lookout for addictions and doing all that I could to avoid it. I shared about how I got sucked right in to an addiction of my own with the last thing I ever expected: food.
Publicly sharing with people in real-time feels safer- it always has.
Maybe it is because after I share the tough parts, it goes with people as they leave. They carry it with them. There are no traces of my story online left for me to see. Left for people to quietly comment on.
One thing I know to be true however, is that sharing our stories is what connects us.
I feel it each and every time I am surrounded by others in a room. Hearing their stories, hearing their struggles and challenges, their hopes and dreams is what makes it all worth it. It’s what makes sharing completely worth it.
I know now, that I also feel more ready than ever before to share my stories online. I think a big part of that is that I realize my direct purpose in sharing.
It is for you, but it also for me.
It is to share the parts of my being that were once wounded and hurting, and have since healed. It is to share the journey, the struggle, and the coming through. It is to connect, it is to meet in the middle. It is to feel fully.
I am currently writing a memoir about my childhood. I am writing about my mom. My beautiful, vibrant, boisterous-laughing mama. It is hard. It is emotionally-taxing. It is also the most gratifying and soul-filling thing I have done to date.
You see, I am learning to trust my own journey in sharing. That what I share and when I share it, is in some way purposeful, and that even just one person out there might deeply need to hear it.
Next week on First + Foremost | The Podcast, I will be sharing more about my foster care upbringing as part of National Foster Care Month. It will be my first time sharing certain details “online” so-to-speak.
And I’m ready.
I’m ready to share my story.
It’s interesting to me how you can feel so much shame around certain life experiences as you go through them. I felt so much shame about being a foster child growing up. Or having an eating disorder in my twenties. These were stories of my past that for a long, long time I was not proud of.
Now, I look back on them with love. I know that they served a purpose in my own healing journey to get where I am today. Without these experiences, I would not have learned how to fully take care of myself in the way I do now, or how to treat myself with love, compassion, and kindness day in and day out.
We all have stories.
You have stories too.
My nudge to you today is to reflect on your stories.
What experiences in your life can you look back on with love for just how much growth they have brought into your life? How have you become stronger because of those very stories?
I’ll leave you with that today.
Let’s love on what makes our lives rich with depth and complexity.
Let’s cherish the key markers of our lives that have ultimately brought us to a deeper, more profound healing.
Let’s trust that each experience truly was meant to give us something beautiful in return.