The storm has brewed inside of me for some quite some time. Winds have roared, rain has poured and entire houses have been blown away. Everyone likes to say there’s a calm before the storm. But this is the storm before the calm. That day I walked into She Who Believes was the day thunder shook everything in my not-so-distant past. It was the day I couldn’t summon my storm to be quiet any longer. It was the day I had to toss my umbrella aside so I could get drenched once and for all.
But, first, rewind. Rewind to Wednesday, July 1 in the “living room” section of Founding Farmers when I sat with Roconia having dinner. Rewind to a moment when She Who Believes was simply an idea penned across several pages in a notebook. Roconia and I sat at dinner for almost two hours before she started divulging the gems about what she planned to do and precisely how she planned to do it. I quietly applauded her for protecting the vision that long. I rooted her on and I did that thing I do where I get way too revved up in a public place. I remember telling Roconia that I planned to attend another event on that same day, but I promised to be there in spirit.
Little did I know on Wednesday, July 1 just how much my spirit would need to be there on Saturday, September 19.
Fast forward to She Who Believes, an event with a simple objective: help women visualize our way toward our ideal lives. A simple objective, but a boulder of an undertaking when you consider the complexity of womanhood, the fragility of our dreams and the moving target of our ideal lives. Fast forward even more to halfway through the event when life coach and motivational speaker Ayana Coston commanded the room’s attention. I instantly liked her. Her energy. Her pacing. Her bright orange pants. She was someone I wanted to listen to. So, I did. And when she started outlining her idea of a successful life, I noticed just how much her definition contradicted my own empty one. I wanted the kind of success she alluded to, the kind of success rooted in peace, joy and freedom.
Ayana locked eyes with me for all of five seconds, and that is when I felt the storm.
I let the wind roar. I let the rain pour. I let all of the houses blow away.
I let myself be that awkward girl at the event who cried her hideous cry and required someone (thank you, Yetti!) to bring her tissues. I let myself buckle over and feel shittier-than-shit. I let myself finally acknowledge that the way I’ve done things hasn’t always worked. The things I’ve believed haven’t always yielded happiness. The goals I’ve fought for simply haven’t always been worth it. I let myself surrender to the storm and I told myself that it’s been a long time coming, but I know a change is gonna come.
There are moments that allow us to break chains we didn’t even know existed.
I gave Roconia the nickname R Squared for Revolutionary Roconia a few weeks ago. What she created with She Who Believes was nothing short of revolutionary. Since those few hours on Sept. 19, things in my life have been set into motion. I’ve felt a new blend of courage getting stirred inside of me, one that has propelled me to grasp things I shied away from just months ago. I I said yes to a spoken word opportunity that only a month ago I deemed myself unqualified for. I sit with my legs crossed in the dim hours of each morning silently preparing myself for the day.
I’ve committed to living my most fulfilling and creative life. Not an entrepreneurial life. Not a powerhouse life. Not a boss life. Not a life that looks great on the outside but feels hollow in the middle. But a solid, vibrant and creative life. With family. And friends. And things that make me feel good even when they’re not tethered to any sort of perceived success. A life rooted in the things Ayana mentioned–peace, joy and freedom. So, I wiped the slate clean of many of my upcoming plans in favor of spending autumn focused on just being happy. Creating the things that mean the most to me. Spending time with people who mean even more to me. Not holding my feet to the fire. Not kicking myself in the ass. But instead, enjoying the calm after the storm.
Thank you, Roconia, for starting a revolution and sparking my evolution.