This summer has gone by in an absolute whirlwind. They say time flies when you are having fun but sometimes I have to question who “they” are and how “they” define fun. I’m one of those people who are not good with things moving really fast. Whirlwinds just make me dizzy. Life, however, has its own agenda and doesn’t really care what I like.
Deciding to create a business out of my passion is one of the best things I’ve ever done, but I can’t lie, sometimes I have doubts. For someone with my personality having too many moving parts around me can make me feel overwhelmed very quickly. The older I get the more my ability to multi-task diminishes. My home has what is considered an open-floor plan in that our foyer and our family room are both two stories and open to the upstairs. There is only one room on the first floor with actual doors. Many people love that kind of layout but for me it is stressful. The sights and sounds and smells all flow through the house. This is how my brain feels when things get busy, like an open-floor plan home with lots of bustling activity. It makes me want to retreat to the coziness of my bedroom where I can shut the door and truly relax. Like a cell phone with too many apps open and a depleted battery I sometimes just need to turn it all off and recharge. I know how weird this may sound to some people but at this point in my life I don’t think I’ll be able to change.
Being a parent is a job. The rewards are truly priceless but you will work your butt off to achieve them. Actually these days just being a human being can feel like a job. You have all kinds of roles and wear all kinds of hats – wife, sister, daughter, mother, coach, volunteer, cfo, operations manager, planning committee, etc. Social media is a wonderful thing, to a point. Sometimes it feels like you have to be turned on and turned in for so many more people and events. Add into this a career and things can feel like a three-ring circus real quick. I am not complaining, I am just being honest that is not always easy and not always fun. And depending on your own personality you can quickly feel like you are drowning.
Enter the Village. The Village is what I call all of my girlfriends. I could not do my job or any of my jobs without them. Like a tree with multiple roots they all become a lifeline and give me strong support to keep growing and upright. This village of women that I have in my life is diverse in every sense of the word. When I was younger I hung around people who were very much like me. We came from very similar type of homes, had very similar types of families and we even looked similar. Making friends as an adult feels very different. Situations due to careers and your children put you in places with people from all different ages and backgrounds. At a certain point in our lives we become open to sharing more of our personal experiences without fear of judgment. We also learn that despite how different we may appear on the outside we are very similar in many of the experiences we have gone or are going through. We bond through discussions about our kids, health, husbands, lovers, friends, money, religion and being a woman. We laugh and we cry. We admit defeat. We encourage each other. We celebrate accomplishments. We carry each other when we fall. We make food for each other. We look out for each other’s children. We ask questions, the right kind of questions. We show up.
This last week came through like a raging hurricane on me. I was hit with a sinus infection and felt down for the count. My clients were starting to tire of summer and making plans for fall appointments. My kids were fighting like two opposing gang members in one prison cell. My sister’s surprise 30th birthday party was planned for Friday evening at our home and entertaining is so not my strong suit. Obviously these are very minor obstacles but in my introverted brain that requires serious amounts of down time it felt daunting. Without questions members of the village opened their doors and they showed up. One took my kids to the movies along with her own three children. A mom of six had my daughter over for another entire day. When it was time for the party my mother and my sister’s mother-in-law bought and prepared the food. Friends of my sister, (both of who I can proudly claim as my owns friends too), descended upon my home with boxes of decorations and over the top energy. My sister-in-law, after a busy work week and with a bustling family of her own, took my two children to her house for the night. Let’s be clear, I was not dying of cancer, I essentially had a very bad cold and was just really tired but these women, some of whom I haven’t even known very long or even that well, stepped in, and did so happily. This goes on all year, day in, day out throughout all of our different villages. The villages are constantly changing as women have to move in and out depending on what is going on in their lives but the doors are always open and welcoming. If you leave you can always come back. If you are a stranger with an open heart and mind you can walk right in. Together we help each other become better. It’s a beautiful village and oh so strong.
You never really know what someone has going in their lives simply by looking at them. My career of helping people to get dressed is so rewarding to me on a personal level because I feel like I am suiting them up to face life’s everyday battles, however big or small. It may seem superficial to some but if you can feel good about your outside it really helps you to feel better about what is happening on the inside. It’s ironic but when I work in someone’s closet around all of their clothes it makes them feel very naked emotionally. It exposes all of your issues that manifest themselves through your appearance. It is a privilege to be invited into someone’s personal space and I always try my best to treat them with respect, understanding, and most of all, no judgement.
*Insider Tip – Talk it out.
The death of actor Robin Williams shocked so many people, I think especially because he was funny people thought he was happy. Based on public reaction it is clear that depression, anxiety and mental illness still have a certain kind of public stigma. That’s terrible. When we are sick with a sinus infection we talk about it. We post it on social media to complain. We call grandmas and ask for home remedies. We ask for help. Why can’t we do the same when something feels off in our hearts and in our minds? After my son was born my anxiety levels went through the roof. Sometimes I felt sad, sometimes I felt angry. I just knew I wasn’t being the best version of me and it was affecting those around me. Medication helps for some, for some it is exercise and eating right. Others find solace in speaking to professionals to learn coping mechanisms. I have tried and utilized all of the above and I sometimes I still struggle. I am not ashamed. If you find fault in my choices then we probably don’t need to be in each other’s lives anyway. I do what I need to do for me and my family. I talk to people openly about my own struggles in hopes that they will feel less alone. I know my personal life shouldn’t necessarily be a part of my business life but as I said earlier I think I am living my life in an open-floor plan so I need to work within that layout. I “get by with a little help my friends” and sometimes it takes a Village.
Thx for reading!