So I just got back from 4 1/2 days in Vegas, and what a ride it was! I was there for our corporate conference – “Hoopla” and I’m gonna be completely honest – it got off to a bumpy start. But I had so many tiny breakthroughs, I can tell you – I’ve come back a changed woman.
Let me preface this by saying I’ve always been terrified of flying. It’s not rational, it’s not logical – it just is. I know that it’s because I’m not in control of the plane and because I’m the type who’s always waiting for the other shoe to drop, and is there any bigger shoe-drop than plummeting 50,000 feet to your death? I don’t think so. So, 3 years ago when my husband and I were planning our trip to Paris for our 25th anniversary, I decided I was going to do something about it because I didn’t want to be sobbing and panicking for 8 straight hours on the plane. I found a great training course, completed it, and made my way to Paris with a minimum of tears. Fast forward to 5 days ago, and I got onto a plane again, and even though takeoff still has me a bit freaked out, I didn’t cry even once. Even looked out the window and saw the Grand Canyon on the way back (HOLY SHIT Y’ALL – it’s HUGE!) .
So there I go being all proud of myself and feeling like a badass in my short little wrap dress and sandals with all my KEEP jewelry on and as I’m leaving the plane, some jackass makes a comment about me being pregnant. Spoiler: I’m not. In one instant, I let all of that badassery slide right out of me. Notice that I said “I let” because that’s the truth of the situation. He didn’t do shit to me. *I LET* him make me feel small and ugly and ashamed. And as I generally do, I went to Facebook to rant, and as my friends list usually does, they propped me right back up. And I heard this tiny little voice in the back of my head saying, “Did you ever stop to think that maybe those people who actually know and love you are right and that random dude (who probably wasn’t actually trying to be an asshole) isn’t?”.
We got to Vegas, got all checked in, headed out to conquer the city and amidst a clusterfuck of missed communication and misunderstanding, wound up missing out on the group of girls I was trying to hang out with and as a result of walking 2+ miles in the 110 degree heat, got a ginormous blister on my foot which really had me in a foul mood. Hoopla hadn’t even started, and I knew I was going to have to do a ton of walking over the next 4 days and already my feet had betrayed me. What upset me most was that I had earned a special honor – Sparkle Reception – which is a dance party just for people who promoted into leadership – and I knew I wouldn’t be able to wear the heels I’d brought with me. And here comes my husband to save the day. After walking me to the MGM for my day of Bold Leadership (that’s our theme this year: “Be Bold”), he stopped at a shoe store on the way back and was sending me pics of sparkly sandals that I could swap out for my heels. Yes, while I was in training, my Prince Charming was out shoe-shopping for me. And no, I won’t share him, so don’t even ask.
So I went to the Sparkle Reception, nerves and all. Social situations like that generally make me want to crawl inside a shell and hide out, and I was still stinging from the day before (oh and I was rocking a killer cold sore – did I mention that?). A few drinks and a couple of line dances later and I ran into our Chief Happiness Officer Mike. And in a spontaneous moment of boldness (and maybe insanity) basically tackle-hugged him. Now I admire the hell out of Mike. He’s one of the happiest, most positive people I’ve ever seen. But there’s no way I’d feel comfortable approaching him normally and certainly not hugging him around the neck like I’d just been called to Contestant’s Row on “The Price is Right”. Bless his heart, Mike laughed and said, “Congratulations on being here! It’s great to meet you!”
And then came Friday. Friday is opening session for ALL of KEEP Collective – meaning there are hundreds and hundreds of women in the audience, and at the beginning, they have a parade for new promotions. Which meant that I had to walk across the main stage as a new Star (something that would normally cause at the very least anxiety and possibly the dry heaves as well.) I sat in the audience last year and thought for a split second, “I wanna be up there next year” and then just as quickly “There’s no way.” because in my mind, everyone on that stage was somehow something other than what I was. They were somehow better, smarter, more successful, prettier, braver, more outgoing – the list goes on and on. Yet there I was, lined up with my star wand (they freaking give us star wands – I mean, how perfect is that?!?) And somehow, when the time came, I was ready because I knew that I had earned that walk and I wasn’t going to let anxiety ruin it for me any more than I’d let it ruin my trip to Paris.
Me and my KEEP sisters Laila, Genevieve and Julianna getting ready to walk that stage! And believe it or not, smiling big is another bold move for me ever since getting braces at the age of 46. 😀 (Edit: No clue why this pic is sideways when you view this but it looks fine when I go in to edit it so screw it – tilt your head. Lol)
Over the next couple of days, I was forced out of my shell a bunch of times – meeting new people, talking to strangers instead of avoiding it by staring at my phone, dancing like a fool, crying and yeah, even getting pulled into the pre-show of “Zumanity” (the Circue du Soleil show) from my comfy seat in the audience to dance with one of the performers and be part of a sexy little vaudeville scene. I watched my personal heroine, Danielle Redner walk out on stage in skyhigh heels and jeans with a fauxhawk, black and grey eye makeup on point and head-banging to “Down With the Sickness”. And yep – I rode back on the plane without crying again.
Professional badass Danielle Redner at Hoopla and when I got the chance to meet her in February in Chicago.
But my boldest moment has yet to come. Because my boldest moment has been building for months and years now. I’m finally learning that there’s something fierce in me and always has been. Oddly enough, I was the last one to notice it. I’m not any different than any of the women (or men) who’ve inspired me – I just haven’t felt comfortable enough in my own skin to jump in with both feet instead of dipping my toe in the water. But I am so damn done with living life in half-measures. I’m tired of doing things the way I think I’m supposed to. I’m tired of living according to someone else’s rules. And I’m ready to do something about it.
I am ready to rediscover this little badass again, because I used to know that I was Wonder Woman without any doubt at all.
So watch out because here I come.