Somewhere in the past year the work that I loved so dearly became a job. It was okay - at times it was even downright spectacular - but it was no longer what I really wanted to do. It was what I had to do. It was a should.
I had no real intentions of leaving the job behind until the day I decided that should felt worse than the unknown.
So, 134 days ago I walked through the back door of United Way for the last time. The door clicked shut, locked and from that moment forward I became a person that used to work for United Way. It had been almost 16 years since I had been on the other side of that door - on the other side of SHOULD. I was scared, exhilarated and relieved all at the same time. I got in my car, said my goodbyes to Lee, the parking garage manager, on the way out and then started the drive home. I cried tears of sorrow and joy for a total of two miles before I just didn't feel like crying anymore.
It had been a long time coming.
I've spent as much time running from that place as running to the next. Today I stop running. The SheHive opens its door to the public in just about five hours. It's my new place - the next phase - the next fifteen years. It took me a lifetime to dream it and 134 days to bring the dream to fruition.
How did I get here so quickly?
Aleah asked me this morning if I was excited about the launch party tonight and my honest answer was, "No." I have been moving so fast and my mind is so many steps ahead at this point and time that the launch party already happened in my head. It's nearly a non-issue. So much in the past two weeks has become about the business of the SheHive - class catalogs, contracts, software systems, vendors - that I lost sight of why I wanted to do it in the first place.
My gentle snowflakes, never lose sight of the why. It's all that matters.
I started the SheHive because I want connection. I want community. I want to share my stories and have deep, interesting conversations with women who are brave enough to show up and share their own. I want to be reminded, every day, how much better life feels on the other side of should. I want to feel truly, deeply, alive. I want to be proud of the life I live and to never again wonder, "What if?"
And I want the same for every woman around me.
So, for this moment - and for the rest of the night - I put aside all thoughts of the business... of the past... of the future... of the next minute. It is all about the very moment, the community in front of me and the profound connections that can, and will never, happen again in exactly the same way. I will marvel in this thing that Andrea and I have created with our own two hands and the help of 100 others that share this dream. I will know that we have done all we can to get to where we are and it is good.
Tonight a new door opens and I am will enjoy every. damn. minute of it.
I’m winding down from a long weekend spent with some of my best girlfriends from grad school - my hive, my wolf pack, my ride or dies. Friday night we were talking about our first impressions of each other.
“I was so intimidated,” Barbara said to me.
“Of me?!” I asked.
“Yes, you were so put together!”
“Put together? I discovered halfway through our first day that my pants were on backwards,” I laughed.
Which is totally a true story.
It’s amazing how much of another person’s story we write in our own heads before we actually get to know them. They’re better than us, more put together, smarter, funnier, prettier…
And, truthfully, we’re not really writing their stories - we are writing our own. A story that says, “I am less than.”
Stepping into unfamiliar territory is, almost, always scary. I’m in Texas right now because the SheHive launches in three days and I am scared shitless. Scared that it’s going to fail, that I’m going to be a laughing stock, that it was a bad idea, that I’m going to bankrupt my family, etc., etc. I knew that I had to spend some time with a bunch of women that I trusted to help me remember that I am enough - now and always.
It is all I want for every woman that eventually walks through the SheHive doors. Which got me thinking…
Walking through the SheHive doors for the first time is going to be a scary proposition for a lot of women - for me, for Andrea, for the instructors, for the women that just want to be a part of a community. We’re all worried that we might not fit in and that we’ll stand out (and not in a good way).
I want to say to you, in no uncertain terms, if you want to be a part of the SheHive - you are welcome. Not just welcome, I really, really want you to be a part of my community and I want to be a part of yours. You are not a fluke, you are not the one women that is not going to belong and I will do just about damn near anything to help you find comfort in this community. Period.
We are all scared at times. We are all worried that we might not fit in. We are all worried that we are going to be the laughing stock when everyone else finds out what a fraud we are. I promise you that you are nowhere near alone in these feelings and if you just step a foot in the door, magic can happen.
So, please, tell me what it is I can help you step foot inside the SheHive for the first time. Do you want a personal tour? A coupon so you can bring a friend along the first time? A bottle of wine and a late night talk about how much I value you?
I’m game… because a whole bunch of women that mean the world to me just did the same for me and I am so very grateful.
There is magic and immense comfort to be discovered in the company of your future hive. How can I make it a little less scary to help you take the first step towards finding it?
Two days ago I started a blog post about how I was feeling scared and ungrateful and full of SHOULD. It started…
Today I’m feeling ungrateful, angry and scared. Three weeks away from opening the SheHive doors and all I want to do is run in the other direction and go get a job. I’m so tired and I can’t find any of the excitement I’ve had for this business anywhere. I feel like it might not ever come back.
I didn’t get a chance to finish the post because Mr. Adams called to tell me that our female Pitbull, Butters, had been taken from our backyard. You want perspective in the world? Have your fragile, senior dog stolen from your back yard and then spend two nights worried about what it is she is facing out there in the world without you to protect her.
For the last 48 hours we have been searching everywhere, calling everywhere, posting everywhere and we were never, never alone when doing so. Every time we went out looking for her, we’d run into a neighbor doing the same. My posts on Facebook had over 700 shares. People I didn’t even know called me to tell me they were worried about her and out looking for her.
Last night I just gave in and turned it all over to the universe and the neighbors and the friends and the people I didn’t know that were calling to say they were in my corner. Butters, the SheHive, life… all in everyone else’s hands. I joined Andrea at a class on small business taxes in the evening - an oddly welcome respite for such dry subject matter - and then came home and went to bed at a reasonable hour for the first time in months.
An hour ago a woman I have never met called to say she found Butters - seven miles away, dumped on the side of the freeway. “She’s okay!” she yelled into the phone as I answered it. In two hours I am leaving for a meeting with Andrea and a sweet, sweet woman named Amanda that is going to help us launch the SheHive. As I type this the HeHivers (Andrea’s husband and Mr. Adams) are at the SheHive laying down our carpet.
A few months ago, in a moment of clarity, I took a white board marker and wrote a love note to myself and my family on the bathroom mirror… “You will always have everything you need.” I believe it, but sometimes I forget. This week the “everything” I needed was everyone else - and they all came through.
What a powerful reminder that with the exception of one person, this world is made up entirely of other people. And what a powerful lesson that those other people are my people - people I can lean on, people I can trust and people who are rooting for me too.
With so much gratitude and love… thank you, my people.