Learning to Trust My Journey, Baby Steps

When I went to Brave Girl’s Camp, I met all of these women who seemed so amazing and so special. We all had stories, including me, but they seemed so much more than me.

September

I remember listening to all of their stories and thinking about how blessed I was, even with all of my challenges in life. I remember wondering how I could ever possibly be like them. I left Camp a different person, thinking differently, and open to new ways of thinking about life and all it had to offer, but I really had no idea how that would happen.

When I got home, I felt like my life was just about the same. Sure, I had little day to day challenges, and big work challenges, and I did my work for these and got through them with the “Just do it anyway” phrase and a whole lot of art. However, I wasn’t really sure footed, and I really didn’t know if I was as amazing as those other women, let alone as amazing as dear Melody.

May BGC

As time moved forward, I started to get slightly stronger signs, such as in March, when I found myself donating my very favorite quilt to an auction to raise money for a safe house in the Philippines, but still I didn’t think I was doing much compared to others, but it sure felt good.

In May of this year, I had a situation come up that proved to be life changing. A friend from a previous job  reached out to me by email, sharing a message about an organization that teaches young women in The Gambia Africa how to be self-confident, have pride in themselves, obtain an education, have a career, and reach for their dreams. My career is in Technical Writing and my friend thought that I could give these girls a lot of wonderful information on what it’s like to be a technical writer and how you become one.

AFrica1

At first, I balked. I said I wasn’t the right person for this, I’d never done anything like this. In person, I come across as very brave, but inside, I’m not. I’m a little bit shy and I really have to push to speak up and be brave. Even after going to camp, I still have that bit of hesitation at the start where I wonder if I am enough. I prayed on it, I talked about it incessantly with my husband. I just tried to get comfortable with it.

My blessing of a friend also encouraged me and shoved me forward with a “Yes! This is exactly who you are, and you really need to do this. You’ll be great!” I talked to my husband and he agreed, telling me “Seriously, you know you have to do this.”

I contacted the lady in charge and we set up July 30th as my date. I had to be on Skype at 5:30 am. (that’s really early!) My heart was totally pounding, because I was so so nervous about the whole thing. I didn’t have a clue how to even use Skype, how was I going to do this? And would they like me?

she knew it would not be easy

I spent the next weeks getting the talk outlined, including slides, having a friend review it, and completely rewriting it because we weren’t sure the girls would understand all the technical stuff I put in. I felt so challenged. The talk had to be age appropriate, interesting, educating, and I kept hearing that the power might be out so be prepared. As the date got closer, I became more and more excited. I told just about everyone about it, in some form or another. My boss just smiled and said “That’s great.” Another coworker offered to read through it and made some suggestions about using a colorful slide template! (Never thought of that, used to corporate templates, tight guidelines. ooooo! Get creative, shine!)

On the morning of my talk, I was awake at 4:15! I was giddy with excitement. I had done my powerpoint deck, had various professional friends go through it, had my husband load it, had him help me with a skype account, I was ready to go! I was all dressed and cute and ready to go at 5:30 when the call came in.

For the next 10 minutes, we struggled. It seems that calling a village in Africa is a little different than calling a relative across the country! The call dropped out 7 times. Finally, we got a connection and I started doing my talk to this group of beautiful young women. I was mesmerized by the attention they paid, and how important what I was saying was to them. I have never felt the kind of emotions I felt that morning in my life! It was beyond description.

Africame

When I stopped talking 32 minutes later, the call dropped. The call dropped as I finished saying Thank you and do you have any questions. I took it as a God wink and called them back. We continued, with me answering some very serious career questions from one particular young lady who writes, day and night, in journals. She has the passion to write and she does, in private, without anyone knowing. Finally, the video part of the call returned, and the girls SANG to me!  A song of thanks and friendship. Right there and then, I gave a bit of my heart to those 10 girls in The Gambia. I told them I wanted to come and see them and be in a room with them. They said “Oh yes, Mrs. September, you must come and see us. Come next year, we want to meet you and hug you and talk to you.”  It made me cry. These girls, this call, it was part of my journey. Melody prepared me for it, with all of her teaching, and showing me who I really am. It was the craziest coolest thing ever.

September 1

I went to work that morning, unaware of anything other than that call. I floated through my day on a cloud of love. That day, I realized, however, that this was just the start of my journey. I need to go to Africa, I need to meet these girls. I knew it, and I told them before I hung up. I spent the next few days really thinking about it, and realized that something else in my life was tied to all of this. My weight was holding me back.

At the end of June, I had started an exercise program. I did It because, after several years of weight gain, I was about 300 pounds and very unhappy with my weight. I knew I needed to change and this program seemed like it might do it. By the time I did the call to the girls, I was down about 12 pounds and realizing that this WAS working and that I am succeeding. When I finished the call, I realized that a trip to a village in Africa would be MUCH easier and MUCH more navigable if I was much thinner. New resolve was born.

It’s now October and I am still on my program, with 25 pounds and 25 inches gone. I’m seeing changes in my strength and flexibility and I know that I am on the right path. I know that one day in the not too distant future, I’ll be visiting that village in Africa and meeting my girls.  The thought makes me shiver with excitement! I can’t wait!

In the meantime, I will continue to trust my journey and own my life. The program I’m on teaches you to live life at 90%, and, to be honest, is very similar to what we learn in Brave Girls Club, except it is not just for girls. I’m even thinking of getting certified to teach the program. I’m watching myself grow and realizing that my trip to Idaho in 2012 really was just the beginning of an epic journey!

Comments

  1. Nicole says:

    That was beautiful.

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