be THAT girl who shares her story…

When someone shares with you a piece of their story, they’re giving you a gift.

Tj Aneca

“Babe, I need to talk to you about something”…

Not the words I wanted to hear in that moment that night. I remember it like a broken record in my head. Those 9 words changed my life in ways I could never have imagined. Thirty-nine years, living a life that was working and with that one sentence my whole world flipped. Not how I saw my life playing out at all.

Thinking that he needed to talk to me about the kids, as we lay side by side in the dark as we usually do right before we fall asleep, I asked him “what’s up?” “Teej, I can’t do this anymore.” Silence. “I can’t continue to help lead a congregation when I don’t truly believe that this religion is true.” Silence. “I am leaving the church.” Tears. “If you and the kids decide you want to continue to go, I will support you and go with you but just know that my heart is not there.” More tears.

So many thoughts were swirling around in my head but none of my words would come out. Just tears. I don’t think either of us really slept much that night. You could feel the sad tension between us. In my mind I played out every scenario. We continue to go and I ask him to join us. The kids and I continue to go without him with us. I take the kids and leave. I kick him out. We get a divorce. Weeks went by where we continued to go and put on our brave face. I could see how miserable he was which broke my heart. So, I did what I had taught my young women to do, I questioned.

Now questioning beliefs within some religions is not exactly welcomed. I never had because I was the girl that believed what her parents, friends and leaders said was truth. I just trusted that they knew and that was good enough but those 9 words challenged me. They made me dig deep and go somewhere I had never even considered going.

I remember I was alone that day. I had several hours where I would have absolutely no interruptions. As I sat on my bed with my phone in my hand, I put my hand on my growing belly and made a promise to my baby that I would try to make the best decision I could, not only for him but for the rest of us. I landed on the official church website. As I pondered what to search, I thought about one of the many topics that I had always felt uncomfortable with but was too afraid to question. I’m not going to get into specifics about WHAT I read but what happened next brought me to tears. As I read, I actually couldn’t believe what I was reading. My heart broke. In fact, I think a piece of it actually died. I just sat there in silence, tears streaming down my face. I remember actually saying a prayer out loud pleading for an answer. Asking for a sign to help me in my decision. Looking back, I knew. I knew that that aching feeling in my soul was telling me exactly what I needed to know. In that moment, I knew that this religion was not for us anymore.

I could not imagine life without my best friend in the whole world. The one who holds me when I need holding, the one who humbly corrects me when I’m wrong, the one who has seen me at my worst yet still seems to love me, the one who supports my crazy whims and ideas. The fact that I entertained the idea of letting go of that amazing human definitely opened my eyes. I need to question EVERYTHING! I may not always find the answer. Sometimes I just need to trust ME. Trust my own intuition because most of the time my gut feeling is right. The beauty of it all….this is a gift we all hold. We all know “that feeling” that we try to ignore. Maybe try giving it a chance. You just might find the next chapter in your story.

There is so much more to my story and I plan on sharing it over time. One day, this will be a book. A book titled, “Free To Be That Girl”. A story for my children about my journey and how I discovered my authentic self and my true purpose . This is not easy to write about because I fear hurting people I love but those that truly know me and my heart know that this comes from a place of healing. If there is one thing that I have learned thus far is that I have a gift to share and by allowing myself grace and kindness, I can help others find their true purpose.

be THAT girl that doesn’t stress over things she cannot change

don’t stress yourself out with things you can’t control or change…

Well friends….I don’t know about you but I am still trying to wrap my head around our new normal. I think what is so difficult to process is the fact that this is uncharted territory for everyone. No one really knows how to move forward in the midst of this chaos. That can be a very scary time for all of us. So, here are my thoughts on the whole thing. STAY CALM.

A lot has happened in the last week alone and there is still more change coming. We can choose to lose our damn minds and let our thoughts spiral us into a tailspin of panic and depression OR we can calm the fuck down and process what our new normal is going to look like. I feel like this is the time to settle in…work together as a human race and as indivuduals. We are all in this together. We are more than just ourselves, we are a community that spans the earth. We need to be asking ourselves what we can do for each other. How can we help each other get through this epidemic as best we can? What does that look like to you? We can all play a part in the prevention and spread of this virus.

I read a beautiful statement by Kitty O’Meara that made me really think about how I’m going to handle this situation…..

And the people stayed home. And read books, and listened, and rested, and exercised, and made art and played games and learned new ways of being, and were still. And listened more deeply. Some meditated, some prayed, some danced. Some met their shadows. And the people began to think differently.

And the people healed. And, in the absence of people living in ignorant, dangerous, mindless, and heartless ways, the earth began to heal. And when the danger passed, and the people joined together again, they grieved their losses, and made new choices, and dreamed new images, and created new ways to live and heal the earth fully, as they had been healed.

Friends, we cannot change what is happening, but we can sure as hell control our actions moving forward as a human race navigating our new normal. What that looks like is completely up to you. For myself and my family, we will do our part in taking the recommended precautions to help aid in not spreading the virus. We will take this time to connect with each other, to strengthen each other and to support one another. There is strength in UNITY…which begins with U!