I was a speaker on Sunday for Woman For One’s Truthteller Tour. The event started a little after 6pm and went until 9pm but I left at 11:00 am to pick up some food for myself and to get to the location by noon so I could get my hair and makeup done, be interviewed for video, and participate in the pre-stage  run through. I said goodbye to my family in the morning because my son had a soccer game and I didn’t get home until 10:30 at night. It was a day of showing up as just myself, not mom me or wife me. I spent the day making deep connections with fellow speakers as we got to know each other during all the down time. I also had to use the bathroom every 30 minutes as my body was feeling the need to release something.

I didn’t feel nervous when I got up to spoke but I did feel a lot of energy and my legs shook a little from behind the podium. I felt something in my heart center, which is where I feel all my fear, but I felt grateful for it because it helped me drop into my body and speak from the most authentic and honest place I could, from my gut. When I finally got home, a bouquet of tulips was waiting for me along with a drawing and note from my boys telling me how proud they were of me. It filled my heart so much to know that even though I wasn’t there for my family for the entire day to take care of myself, they found a way to support and connect to me meaningfully.  It made me feel seen and recognized and also made me eager to see my kids the next morning . My husband and I stayed up to talk and connect that night, which we hadn’t done in a while.

It takes a lot of giving ourselves permission to create space for ourselves. I did briefly hear those old voices telling me that I was being selfish because my husband wanted to be at the event but I wanted to do this alone. I also had the thought that I should’ve gone to my son’s soccer game in the morning, which I could’ve left in a rush to get to the venue, but I wanted my mind to be calm and clear before I got there. I gave myself permission to be free from all these thoughts because this was an incredibly important event to me. While I wasn’t there for my boys, they watched their mom do something scary and show up for herself, which I hope will teach them to do the same for themselves. It also gave my husband the opportunity to show me he can give me the space I need and not make everything about him. It helped us connect meaningfully and helped me appreciate him.

If you showed up for the tour, thank you deeply from my heart. If you couldn’t make it, please read the stories from the women who spoke. They are raw and honest and have such important messages to share. I am sharing the stories in the same order in which we spoke.

Angela Caceres (Your Gift is in Your Gut) shared this beautiful and vulnerable story about how she learned to detach from her body and her intuition growing up, leading to struggles with diseases and how she finally reconnected to herself.

Beth Halleck (Galen’s Bath) shared an intensely emotional story of her teenage son’s suicide and the decision to bath this body before his funeral. There are a few details that really struck me and will linger for a long time.

I shared a story (It’s Okay to Feel Sad) about sadness and how I’ve learned lessons about sadness from my son’s adoption experience. I’ve shared this story before with you in this newsletter. This version has some edits so it can be better read as a stand alone story.

Nikki Gane (Do You Believe in Dignity?) shared a story of how she regained her freedom and dignity by leaving an abusive relationship but then found herself living out of her car. This led her to finding her nonprofit Dignity for Divas to assist homeless women in regaining their dignity.

Jaylin Harris (Dyslexia the Gift) who is 11(yes 11!) spoke about her challenges with dyslexia in public schools and finding an incredible private school that was just right for her but not right for her family’s budget. Faced with an insurmountable tuition and determination to attend that school, she founded the company Creations by Jaylin to fund her education.

Lisa Del Rey (Redefining Motherhood and Entrepreneurship after Loss) shared the heartbreaking story of her newborn daughter’s death and how she was able to emerge from the deepest of darkness by growing her company Black Tie Makeup Studios with the belief that her daughter was the cofounder.

Audrey Phillips (A Vulnerable Leap into Connection) shared the story of her sexual assault and how that lead her to feeling disconnected and alone. Through her journey, she founded her company 365 Meaningful Conversations, whose mission is to connect people with each other and themselves through vulnerable conversations.

This is from a personal journal writing shared in the newsletter and typically not shared on the blog. To read these, subscribe to the “I Matter” newsletter below.