New Years Tears: Grieving the Old Stories While Welcoming The New

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I have New Year’s tears.

I didn’t expect them.

December 31st represented the end of my career in finance. It was the job I started when I was 18, making $7.35/hour. It was the mentors and the five year plans and the rejections and the assertions and the decisions. It was the people who told a poor girl from the violent neighborhood who had seen too much bad that she’d never get to more than customer service and shift differential. Who then congratulated her when she became a Senior Vice President and managed billions of dollars. The girl who barely made ends meet and lived off of cans of corn and potato flakes from the scratch and dent store who just facilitated the largest single gift the Girl Scouts have ever received in their history. A new camp for generations of girls to learn how to be the girl she never thought she could be, but the girl she had to become, because you can’t go back once you leave. You keep going.

I’ve been going since the day I learned what happened to the women in my neighborhood if they didn’t get out.

That girl died on December 31st.

I officially changed my title on Linked In to represent the life I am creating out of purpose as opposed to fear. I am so grateful for the company that raised me, the bosses that led me, the mentors who changed me. I am thankful to them for parenting a girl from the worst part of town who had no direction. A girl with a need to survive and never go back. A girl who turned that into a beautiful life.

A girl who is now harnessing those years of experience, drive, and success to make a difference for the ones who come next.

On her terms.

 

All The New

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2017 was lumpy. It was a working year. A writing year. A holy hell, I’m 40 year. It was the year I was doing the ugly work that comes with manifesting the new; the details, the calls, the rewrites, the identity crisis, the growth. It was the year I saw myself in all my truth and recognized the things I do really well and the things I don’t. Yet. There may have been an existential crisis on a sailboat off the coast of South Florida over my birthday weekend. My most seasick friend held on to the mast for dear life and announced, “One day you are going to say, ‘remember when I was losing my shit on a sailboat when I turned 40? God, look at me now….'”

I almost see her, the woman my friend described. She’s in the distance, but coming into focus. She’s the woman who has wanted to write a book for as long as she can remember. She’s the one who believes her life’s purpose is to leave her words behind; to help the women and girls that come next.

This is the most vulnerable I have felt in a very long time. I’m almost there. That woman will be me in 2018. I’m still awaiting my pub date, but… it’s happening next year. No more wishing, no more dreaming, no more talking. It’s here.

I want the book done and out in the world like a pregnant woman at 39 weeks screaming, “Just get it out of me!” At the same time I remember the days after Olivia was born. She was no longer safe. I had given her over to the world. Other people would touch her, teach her, have opinions about her, and I could no longer hold her within me, keeping her safe. What feels like my life’s work is going to be outside of me soon. All the speeches I’ve given, all the workshops I’ve facilitated, all the articles and blogs and lengthy, long-winded oratory will be yours. In a book. In your hands. Out of mine.

I only hope that when you read it you will feel the love and intention from which it was created. I hope you walk away from the book feeling lighter, taller, more powerful, more… something.

I hope you welcome all the new that it offers.

Just like I will welcome this new year that I know in my heart is filled with so much joy, healing, love, blessings and a bunch of adventures I haven’t even dreamed up yet. I’m strong enough to take those wobbly steps into my new.

Will you join me?

Open hearts. Open minds. Always.

Somewhere Between The 10 & The 1

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I want tomorrow to come like a page in a book that I can’t put down because I have to know what happens next. I’ve always been this way; always wanting more, curious about the sequel, who will be left standing, who will sit out, who who who? My dad said I was in a hurry to grow up. He told me not to wish for time to fly because one day it would be gone, “Enjoy your youth, Catfish. You’ll never have this time again.”

Auld Lang Syne – times old long since

Beautiful lyrics, if you really listen. I stand almost on my tip toes every New Year’s Eve. I can’t wait to count it down. I want to yell, 10, 9, 8… I want my kiss. I want a picture. I want a moment standing on another one because new things are going to happen, don’t you know? Something is going to happen and something else. Maybe I’ll fall in love. Maybe I’ll travel somewhere exotic. Maybe all sorts of magic will happen that I can’t even imagine.

Maybe, maybe, maybe.

I come up with my New Year’s Resolution and assign my friends their own, “Your New Year’s Resolution is to be on time more often. And, you! Yours is to forgive yourself, it is about damn time.” I have to have champagne, we have to toast, you have to tell me what you loved about the year we are leaving behind us because I need to know.

Then we follow the traditions and we sing words that didn’t mean anything to me until recently. On the cusp of a new year the song changed. It isn’t a celebration of what is to come. It is a toast of what has been. All the time I spent jumping up and down and pursing my lips in Auld Lang Syne I didn’t realize that the people singing along to my left and to my right could be gone by the following New Year.

Should auld acquaintance be forgot and never brought to mind?
Should auld acquaintance be forgot and auld lang syne?

I didn’t think of the fragility of life or how I should spend a second between the 10 and the 1 thinking of the souls that have come into my life, taught me, loved me, molded me and then moved on. I didn’t think of how fast time would begin to fly; that time dad told me to treasure because it wouldn’t last as long as I thought it would. I didn’t know so many of my friends would spend the close of the year short one person they loved more than anyone in the world. One person that wouldn’t enter a new year with them. They had no idea when they sang the song together last year. None at all.

I had no idea that I’d celebrate the close of a year short people that were glimmers, whispers and heartbeats earlier in the season, some having left in body, others because it was time.

I couldn’t imagine it as we laughed, glasses in the air.

For auld lang syne dear, for auld lang syne,
We’ll take a cup of kindness, yet
for auld lang syne

I would like to believe they are there, spirits all around, as we look forward. I’d like to believe they are releasing us from grief and wishing us well as we build a new year without them next to us. I’d like to believe those that still walk this earth raise their glasses to our memories as well, thanking us for who we were to them.

And there’s a hand my trusty friend
And give us a hand o’thine!
And we’ll take a right goodwill draught

For Auld Lang Syne

Somewhere between the 10 and the 1.

Happy New Year, lovers. A toast to those who have taught and loved us and glasses up to a beautiful 2016. May it be filled with love and a little bit of magic.