pep talks

sweet girl, let it out

You’re smiling, yes. Your house is beautiful, your hair is shiny, but you’re floundering. You’re holding onto the  fire–clutching it to your chest so the world can’t spot the smoke–watching it burn your flesh away.


Dear strong, beautiful, pulled-together sister,

Looks like things are going well.

I saw your posts on Instagram. Your house looks beautiful.

Your kids are so smart!

Sounds like work is keeping you busy.

How are things going with that new guy?

Can we talk about what you’re using to make your hair so shiny?

No.

I see right through that half-assed grin you’ve got plastered on your face.

You’re falling apart. You’re trudging through.

 I’m just going through some shit.

It’s been a long week.

I haven’t been sleeping well.

The baby is teething.

The boyfriend is pissing me off.

Work is dragging me down.

That time of the month, you know!

No.

You are in it. You can’t touch the bottom and you lost sight of the top.

You’re smiling, yes. Your house is beautiful, your hair is shiny, but you’re floundering. You’re holding onto the fire–clutching it to your chest so the world can’t spot the smoke–watching it burn your flesh away.

You quickly turn the conversation around.

How was your vacation?

How’s your dad?

What’s next for work?

Are you hanging in there?

No. 

We don’t need to talk about me. And, really, we don’t need to about you.

But I need you to talk about you.

I know it’s easiest to hold what’s haunting you close and push everything else away, but I’m asking you to reconsider.

Sweet girl, let it out.

Open up the gates and let it pour.

Shout it from the rooftop.

Scream it into your pillow.

Wear out the pages of your journal.

Call your best friend.

Nuzzle into the nook of your partner.

Breath the heavy breaths.

Cry.

Sweat.

Clench your fists.

Yell until your throat is raw.

Say the words that sit on the tip of your tongue that you hold back with ropes and chains every damn day.

Of course, you’re scared. Of course, it hurts. Of course, it’s uncomfortable. It’s not pretty to sit in the mud with your pain–and it isn’t supposed to be.

Find your person, your place, your notebook–whatever it is you need– and pull the curtains on this bullshit show. Tell the truth. Get ugly. Drop your artillery, strip yourself naked.

Whatever it is you do, just please–let it out.

a plea to cut yourself some slack

We can't even begin to live a life with purpose, filled with work and hobbies that fill us up, loving the best we can and nurturing ourselves the way we deserve if we don't recognize when the thing we need the most is a break.


This weekend I found myself curled in a ball with a high fever and body aches totally unable to even begin to pretend that I was tackling much more than brushing my teeth. I knew it was coming too. I'd run myself ragged for the last 6 months, gambling with my body over and over again. To make things worse, I haven't been so hot in the emotional department lately. I've exhausted myself playing tug-of-war with my heart and my brain, and I'm just tired. 

This morning I am fighting through the flu-hell, buzzed from DayQuil and coffee, and I want to have something incredibly inspiring to tell you. I want to tell you that my fever nightmares showed me the path to happiness and I can now present the keys to life in 5 simple steps in the post below, but I can't. I am as tired today as I was yesterday. I am as heartbroken today as I was yesterday. 

What I do know is this: If you know you need to cut yourself some slack, please do it. 

If you are wearing down from life, physically or emotionally, please just pause. Take a breath. Go outside. Call a friend. Take a nap. 

We get so caught up in the hustle. We glorify being busy and fill our schedules to the brim with work, passion projects, self-improvement tasks, and chores. We push forward every day proclaiming our strength and power. We are women who can do it all, hear us roar. 

But can we really roar if we don't stop to catch our breath? Today, I argue strongly, no, we can't. We can't even begin to live a life with purpose, filled with work and hobbies that fill us up, loving the best we can and nurturing ourselves the way we deserve if we don't recognize when the thing we need the most is a break.

Here are a few ideas to get you started on how you can cut yourself some slack this week. Join me in picking one (or ten) and not letting guilt creep its way in. You not only deserve this, you need this. 

  • Cut one thing out of your calendar for the week. Reschedule an appointment, take a rain check on a social outing. There's always time to do it again. 
  • Get the coffee with the stuff you like. Just don't count the calories today, OK?
  • Watch Netflix on your lunch break instead of running errands. The post office will be there tomorrow.
  • Rock the messy bun. Use the dry shampoo. It's not the end of the world.
  • Skip spin class and go for drinks with your girlfriends. Talk about what's really on your mind.
  • Close your email. Call your parents.
  • Put your phone on airplane mode and go for a walk. Listen to your favorite music or podcasts. Don't you dare check your email. 
  • Cut some corners on dinner tonight. You don't have to do the Martha Stewart thing evvvvvery day. 
  • Take a mental health day. You know when you need it. Just take it.
  • Send the call to voicemail. You can handle it another time.
  • Plan a schedule-free weekend. No plans, no chores, no pants, whatever.

And the thing that might be the hardest, but also the most important...

  • Let yourself feel whatever it is you need to feel right now. Stuffing it away doesn't do anyone any favors, especially you. 

declare your expertise

I recently attended a conference and heard a multitude of professionals speak on strategic marketing strategy for startup businesses. The information they shared was interesting, but something yelled louder in my ear than the data and stats they presented.

Each of these presenters was: a younger man, experienced, but still new in his industry, well-dressed, confident, and a self-declared expert in their field. Their Twitter profiles unabashedly listed their accomplishments, publications, and credentials. They navigated conversation with confidence in their knowledge. Modesty wasn’t even invited into the freaking room.

When I think about the female entrepreneurs that fill my life, the way they navigate the business world, and the way I do the same—I can’t help but recognize that more often than not, modesty is the first one to pull out a chair and sit down at the table next to us. We quietly share our opinions, hide behind cute titles like mompreneur and boss babe, and preface our hard work with “just”—I’m just a virtual assistant. I’m just a part-time writer. I’m just a daycare owner.

We all see the greatness in our female peers, brag about them, and shout out their businesses when we see someone who could benefit from the unique gift their bringing into the world—whether it’s a handmade pair of earrings, a life-changing service, or the best damn cupcake you’ve ever tasted. When you ask us for a recommendation we say, “I know just the girl you should talk to. She’s the best.”

But we don’t do it for ourselves. Not even close.

When was the last time you said, “she’s the best at what she does,” about yourself?

Our Instagram profiles don’t say, “badass cupcake making expert.” They say, “…just a girl who loves sprinkles.”

Today I challenge you, if you haven’t already, to declare your expertise. Write it in big letters on the page next to you, hang it on the wall and look at it often.

Add it to your social media profiles, print it on your business card.

Wear your credentials with pride. Share them with the world over and over again so they know just how powerful you are. Remind the world how much you’re adding to it every day. Remind yourself how hard you’ve worked, how far you come, and how valuable you are.

Stop saying “just.” Eliminate the word from your vocabulary.

Hold your head high when you speak about your gifts to the world. Own the information, the talent, the vision, the unique perspective that exists only inside your mind proudly and shamelessly.

Walk into the room with confidence and politely shut that door behind you. Modesty can take a seat in the waiting room.

you are amazing

The world is a complicated place to be right now.

I've made it a priority to keep politics out of the game (as much as possible) when it comes to my work, and I've never intended to create a place to air my personal agenda. However, I'm a firm believer that rules are made to be broken, and today I am tiptoeing around my own rules.

Nobody needs an update on what's happening around us. All that you need to know from me is this: I am struggling.

And I know you may be too.

I've found myself disconnected from the online world, uncomfortable in places that I once enjoyed, and deep in the throes of what feels like a full-blown life crisis.

Am I doing enough?
Does my work serve enough of a purpose?
Will I make an impact in this world?

I sit down in my office and prepare to dive into work—something that once brought me so much joy—and I can't do it.

I don't want to shake hands and network and go for coffee and chat over cocktails. I don't want to tell you how cute your shoes are on Instagram. I don't want to mindlessly browse Pinterest. I don't want to tell you how great I am and how you should hire me to help you out.

However.

I want to go for coffee or cocktails and talk about how we can change the freaking world. I want to tell you how amazing you are for doing what you do—no matter how small you may think it is. I want to be inspired. I want to be a part of something extraordinary in this place that feels so ugly right now.

I recently attended a conference and heard some incredible entrepreneurs speak about their businesses and their humble beginnings. I was transported back to the days when I owned my bakery. I thought about the feeling I'd get when I delivered a box of surprise cupcakes to someone from a close friend—that look in their eyes when they were shocked by an unexpected act of gratitude. That child-like smile that I remain convinced rainbow sprinkles were put on this planet to create.
You guys.

I just want to do something that brings people joy right now.

I don't know what is next—for our country, for our future, for my future. Everything feels so uneasy and vulnerable, and man I wish I could change that, but I can't.

Just know that while I may be quiet right here, my mind is just the opposite. I'm here and I'm managing every day, one day at a time, just like you.

I want to tell you that you are amazing. No matter what it is you do, no matter what your bank account looks like, no matter what you may feel like in this moment—you are amazing. What you are doing is amazing.

You can change the world. We can change the world together.

We can find joy—in each other, in our gifts, in our stories.

I promise it'll all be okay as long as we hold onto each other.