A year ago last Friday was a very hard day.

I wrote a social media post at the end of that day, in an attempt to cope and process it all.

Jan 20 2017

I spent the whole day in a mental fog. Grateful that I woke up and I showed up, but just barely. I felt so victimized. Like I am now bound to a four-year contract that I didn’t sign. I tried to show up for my loved ones, but I just felt numb. And so damn cold and tiny and powerless on my couch.

Then my inner queen showed up and said: “Hey woman. We have things to do. Remember? Right. Let’s go.”

So we, my higher self and my sad and depressed self, pulled ourselves up and off the coach. We turned on the speakers and blasted the “Who Run the World? Girls.” Spotify playlist. We made and ate healthy food from Kimmy‘s wealth of recipes. We craved salty carbs and wine so badly at the end of this hard day, but we didn’t go there because because days ago we decided to try Whole30 and we honored that commitment. Instead, we cracked open three pamplemousse-flavored LaCroixs, ate spinach tacos, hydrated and nourished ourselves, and handled our business. We stood in awe at the kitchen counter and scrolled through all the photos on social media of perfect strangers turned fierce allies in airplanes traveling to DC, proudly wearing pink pussy hats.

Then we put on our own metaphorical thinking pussy hats and searched for domain names for the perfect name for our new movement to empower women. [That movement is now called ‘Onward Woman’ and it’s a year old this week! Yay!]

Someone brilliantly stated on Twitter said that the USA has a new temp employee with a four-year contract and we are the boss of him. That resonates with me. This temp and everything that he and his followers stand for sicken me and then inspire me to go harder on mission of making the world a better place to be. The work to understand his supporters is nuanced work that will take all of my strength and patience. But There is no ‘us’ and ‘them’. There is only us. And I want to understand the perspective of the people who wanted such a man in office. I want to understand why they think that being a man mean showing up in heinous ways, doing criminal things, and saying the worst things about people is something that we desire in a leader. 

I’ll remember that my reaction to this temp is up to me and that I can be inspired to be the best version of me, a defeated version of me, or somewhere in between on the spectrum. I decide right then and there to honor where I am and do my best to let hate and vitriol remind me of who I am and what I’m here to do. I also remind myself that today’s surge of empowerment came after a very depressive fog. 

I’m here for you all, through the mourning and our juiced up togetherness. We belong to each other.

Lesson learned:

  • Feelings: let the feelings be heard. Name them. Feel them. Let them wash over. Hope for highest self to show up and take the reins, but first feel the feels.
  • Music is a quick conduit to transformation of mood and can quickly elevate feels. Or make them feel even more powerful.
  • Hydrate and nourish yourself when experiencing pain. Cook your favorite foods, especially if the recipes come from a friend you know and love.
  • Take the power back by rewriting the perspective. For example: “This person is a temp and he works for me”.
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Devon and me, fresh on the scene in a sea of pink textiles

The next day was the Women’s March. I met up with some friends and marched with thousands of other people in my city. The magic of the collective masses made any residual pain and isolation that I might have felt vaporize immediately. Here were thousands of people, in my relatively small city of 157,000 people, showing up for each other and for our common good. It was medicinal and powerful. It was free and it felt freeing.

 

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An incomprehensibly large crowd at the 2017 Women’s March

And I got a pussy hat! The popularity of the pussy hat had been building weeks prior to the Women’s March. I wanted one, but I also didn’t want to get one just for one day. I’m somewhat of a minimalist and I didn’t want to get one hat and not wear it, but as soon as I parked my bike and stepped onto the scene of the march, I saw them everywhere and so wished that I had one. I said so outloud to my friend who I was arriving at the Women’s March with. A woman overheard me say it and asked: “Hey, would you like mine? I’m not feeling very well today and I don’t think I’m going to march. My friend made this for me, but it doesn’t fit me very well.” I tried it on and it was perfect. It had one or two dropped stitches and I didn’t care at all. It kept me warm in the freezing cold Oregon rain for all two hours of the march. Its magic continued later. I was so cold when I got home, that I took a hot shower, but didn’t wash my hair. I put it back on after the shower and took a nap under some blankets, trying to get warm. I woke up a few hours later with 30 minutes remaining to get ready for a friend’s birthday dinner. I inspected my hair situation, thinking that it was going to be unlikely that I was going to make it on-time and have fly looking hair… but when I took the pussy hat off, it rewarded me with a set of perfectly shaped natural curls that were ready to go out. This hat is pure magic, I’m telling you. All I did was apply hairspray to this look et voila:

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Pure, pussy hat magic.

Lessons learned:

  • Surround yourself with your favorite trusted people (or in this case, a few thousand strangers) if you’re feeling powerless. Let them remind you just how great you are and how alone you are not.
  • If you want something, ask for it. Outloud. If you say nothing, the person next to you who wants to offload her pussy hat can’t know that you, in fact, would like one.
  • Take care of your basic needs and take a nap on the couch to rejuvenate yourself after showing up for your people. You may or may not have excellently-styled hair.

As two my favorite authors Glennon Doyle and Brené Brown always say: “First the pain, then the rising”. This is exactly what happened for me and so many others last year on this day. From the pain and discouragement came the birth of a movement. The pain ultimately put me and so many others in the driver’s seats and asked us: “What would you like to do with this? Your hurts and feels are real. And they are shared. Just look around you. Look even at the people who hold different opinions than you. Answers are everywhere. What would you like to do with this knowledge? What are you capable of doing right now? What do you want to do with it?”

Pain can be debilitating and paralyzing. Pain is also an informant and a teacher. I say this last sentence without the intention of trivializing anyone’s pain, nor their processing method. Pain like most other parts of life is on a spectrum and every person experiences it differently based on their unique situation, past experiences, their community of support (or lack thereof) and coping tools they currently have.

Pain has been transformational in getting me here with you. I have experienced the pain of loss and heartbreak. The pain of self-reinvention. The pain of losing community. As a coach, I’m not trained to help you cope with the trauma of pain. There are very good therapists, counselors, and mental health professionals who can help you with looking back on your pain. I am trained to help you move forward, get out of your own way, and get into the life that you most desire.

Lessons learned:

  • My mission: I am here to create an army of self-love revolutionaries. I’m here to guide people into fiercely loving themselves so that they can show up their people and do what fills them with the most joy. I’m here to understand the differences between feminine and masculine energy, the source of so many of the world’s misunderstandings, and teach people how to use this information in a way that creates understanding and helps us move forward.

What are the lessons that pain has taught you? I’d love to hear what you have to say in the comments.

As one of my favorite authors, Liz Gilbert also closes her writings, Onward. Let’s go forward together, my people.

Joy and patience to you, friends.

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