Being friends with females is far out of my comfort zone. In many ways, socializing with anyone feels like torture to me. I am convinced that I have a very powerful, very anti-social hermit living inside me calling the shots. Females in particular are a rough bunch for me not only because I experienced bullying when I was younger, but also because I play the comparison game mentally. Usually I am convincing myself that said “other” female is prettier, smarter, skinnier or just overall more fun than me. Internally I am struggling to make interesting conversation and trying to make sure my face looks the right amount of friendly/attentive (usually concentrating so hard I have no idea what people are saying to me). Outwardly, I’m sweating and am pretty sure I look panicked. Interesting tidbit: most people who meet me for the first time think I give off total bitch vibe, not realizing that I am really just freaking out and trying not to vomit! #empathproblems
Somehow, I was blessed to be surrounded by absolutely amazing and awe-inspiring sisters. My sister by blood has this unparalleled eye for photography and can convey epic stories in a single frame, and has the biggest heart you will ever find. My brother’s wife is not only the mother of the world’s most perfect tiny humans (my nephews), but is a successful business owner and cop-wife. My sister-in-law’s by marriage are equally as intimidating. One looks like a model, is the nicest person you’ll ever meet, owns a successful digital marketing firm and “for fun” runs a blog AND an up-and-coming local event business. The other s-i-l is an Olympic athlete (she insists she’s not an “Olympic” athlete, but in my mind, anyone who kicks ass at “Olympic Distance” National Triathlon championships is a freaking Olympian), mother to twins, blogger and freelance writer (hello dream job!). I mean, come on with these resumes!
The me from 10 years ago would have likely curled up in a little ball and hid around all these powerhouses. Thankfully, that me is no longer in charge. The current me is GRATEFUL to be surrounded by independent, creative leaders. Each of these women has taught me something amazing about following your dreams, never giving up, and being #fearless. They have loved and supported me as I have grown to find myself and where I fit into the world. No one else believes in you more when you have lost your way, and loves you even when you mess up a bunch of times. I have learned sisters are your biggest cheerleaders!
During my wedding, my dad gave a speech where he gave my husband some advice. In regards to me, he suggested my husband “Never say no, and always say yes.” Over the years, this often makes me chuckle. But this week, as I reflected on all the amazing things my sisters accomplished, it took on a whole new meaning. When I asked what this race would mean for her career prior to her triathlon, my Olympian sister-in-law said to me “Nothing, I am doing it because I can. Because I want to tackle it and know that I can do it, and will do it.” Hearing this was so humbling, and of course triggered the immediate comparison: do I work that hard at anything? Am I that passionate?
The answer I came back with? YES!!! The truth in my father’s statement was not just sound marriage advice. It was also speaking to my determination and strength of will. I can’t remember the last time I took no for an answer. I also can’t remember a time I thought something was impossible for me to accomplish. I just do it with the mindset that “of course I can” – the thought that I can’t just doesn’t occur to me. How else would I have started my own business(es)? How else would I have created a marriage that is better than any I dreamed of? And how else would I have healed the parts in me that needed healing so I could shine my light fearlessly in the world? This time, the comparison game ended with me realizing that I do measure up, and it was only ME who was not seeing it.
So to all my sisters (blood or otherwise), my tribe, my mentors, my heroes, I thank you for being you. I applaud you for shining your lights, and teaching me how to shine mine. For the first time ever, I am excited to meet new women and see what they are offering the world. I honor your strength, courage and determination. Today, I know I am no longer an outsider. And I am so happy to be one of you.