Vulnerability is Empowerment

“Vulnerability is the birthplace of love, belonging, joy, courage, empathy, and creativity. It is the source of hope, empathy, accountability, and authenticity. If we want greater clarity in our purpose or deeper and more meaningful spiritual lives, vulnerability is the path.” -Brené Brown

For the past three years I’ve used this blog as a journal to connect with others and document what I’m going through, what I’ve learned, and to share what inspires me.  Today I re-launched mindfulinstyle.com as a place to empower women to feel beautiful, inside and out. Through storytelling, journaling, and discovering your authentic style, my hope is to inspire others to own their story- no matter what other people may say about it.

I wasn’t always comfortable with being vulnerable, though.

For many years, I played chameleon and hid my insecurities.  I wasn’t open and honest about my fears, my alcoholism, and I certainly didn’t know how to own my shortcomings.  I played the victim and avoided people who hurt me- and those who I hurt, too.

Instead of letting the opinions of others get the best of me, I learned to take back my narrative and take responsibility for my past; for my past no longer defines me.  It’s made me the person I am today- the person who has overcome her challenges and is finally living out the life I always wanted to live.

Mindful in Style has helped me feel content in my own skin, and moving home to Michigan has been symbolic of no longer running from myself. Whether it’s helping women find their voice, their passions, or their personal style, I’m excited to see where Mindful in Style can go.

People Pleasing

I caught myself in a wicked web- and I’m not talking about Halloween spiderwebs.

No, I’m referring to a web of lies that went out of control- lies I knew at the time would bite me in the butt, just like a spider, actually.

I didn’t mean it.  I went along with assumptions about me and what my life in Boston was like, quickly to realize I was stuck.  With a new job opportunity and people supporting a path I wasn’t sure I wanted to take, I realized I wasn’t being authentic.

I was doing and saying things to please other people, not doing what was in my heart.

Half truths, I realized I need to have a conversation with one of my good friends.  A face to face conversation.  A conversation that may leave me with my tail between my legs, but would set me free.

Looking to re-integrate into the community, I began to connect with people and tried to appear much stronger than I am.  I didn’t want anyone to view my abrupt move as a weakness, to offer me help, or to view me as broken.

Things didn’t exactly leave off pretty in Boston.  I quit my job, I left my apartment, and packed my things up with my mom.  It wasn’t a move I expected, but it was the perfect time for me to come home nevertheless.

As I look at what aligns with my heart and my goals for my life in Michigan, there’s a lot of things I may have done in the past to gain acceptance- but today I don’t have to do those things.

I know what works for me for my social life, my sobriety, and my overall mental health.  I know who is supportive, what I want, and where I see my life going.  Dishonesty doesn’t please people at all, and it especially won’t make me feel content.

Oh, the tangled webs we weave- but now I can unwind them and be true to myself.

That’s true freedom.

The Beauty of True Friendship

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It’s clear that Traverse City has beauty, charm, and so much to offer.

Since moving home last Tuesday, I have loved strolling the streets, revisiting my favorite spots, and snapping photos of the new art.

But the best part about being home are the relationships I have been able to have once again.

I had no idea how much my friends cared over the years- and how worried they were about me as I bounced from city to city.  They knew I hid my loneliness.  They were concerned about my alcoholism.  They were sad to learn I spent holidays by myself.

I didn’t even realize I was missed- but now I do.

I’ve had some of the most priceless experiences with old friends this past week, meaningful conversations, and re-connection with people I have known since I was 12 years old.  I have filled my calendar with coffee and lunch dates, received hilarious Marco Polo videos from one of my best friends navigating motherhood, and have bumped into former coworkers.  Wanting to help me in any way they can, I have felt more love this past week than I have in years.

These are the people who knew me before I thought I had to put on a mask.

My mask of strength was a tool to keep me safe from the world- and to keep me from getting hurt.

Today, I finally know who I am- and that I don’t have to hide from good friends.  I don’t have to hide who I am here in Traverse City- I can simply be me.

Taking a deep breath of relief, I am beyond grateful I could fly home and show my face- and what is in my heart.