This day has been so long, it feels like two.  No complaints though, I was just able to fit more extraordinary in it.  Bear with me as I try to engage my overtired brain.

It was hard to sleep last night. I probably got 4 hours sleep.   My mind wouldn’t stop and I got out of bed a dozen times to record ideas on my hand held tape recorder.

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Funny, my little sister sent me this comic a couple of nights ago too.  I don’t let the ideas get away anymore, hence the tape recorder.  However, sometimes that means sleep is a pleasant thought and nothing more.  I hate sleep really.  It feels like such an interruption in my life.  If I could just figure out how to NOT sleep, I could get so much more done.

Dragged my super duper trooper Meaghan out of bed 10 minutes before we left and made it to the Gibsons club an hour later.  (She was a superstar today- well behaved and respectful.  I was a proud mom.)

So listen, I have to tell you that I felt God speaking to me all morning and He was using the awesome people of Gibsons Morningstars to do it.  There was a speaker there giving her 10th speech, the BIG one.  The “Inspire your Audience” speech.  She did more than inspire me, she spoke directly to my heart.  She talked about the fear that had crippled her for so long, she talked about how important it is to TELL YOUR STORY because the world NEEDS that paradigm shift.  I couldn’t have agreed more and I felt such confirmation for me and the direction in which I am beginning to go.

She said to write with all the vulnerability you can muster.  This really spoke to me.  This, I felt, was the bravest thing of all.  Vulnerability takes courage and perhaps a pinch of crazy but without it, everything is a mask.  Nothing is true.

For those of you who have been reading me since the get go, you may have noticed that there has been a shift in this blog to the more personal.  It’s not just about Cincinnatti anymore.

I am only JUST beginning to talk about my past publicly.  Most of my friends here don’t even know about my past.  Only a select few have been privy to that information.  I have kept that largely to myself for the past 10 years because revealing it makes me feel incredibly vulnerable.  It doesn’t just make me FEEL that way, it MAKES me that way.  It leaves me open to stereotyping, labeling and judgement.  It is SCARY.  It is exhausting to have to try and climb out from under a stereotype because all your energy is now spent showing people that you’re NOT what they might think you are….even if you’re not sure of WHAT they think you are.   I dealt with those things on a daily basis for 15 years and it was very hard on me.  I resented the labels so much, even when I embraced some of them and then lashed out at people for calling a spade a spade.

When I first joined Toastmasters, I struggled with what to reveal about myself in my speeches.  It took me two years to finally say once, quietly, in my OWN 10th speech, my own “Inspire Your Audience” speech, that I had been a stripper.  What anxiety it caused me!  Whew!  Thank God I got that out of the way, eh?  But I didn’t!  I never DEALT with it.  I never acknowledged it again beyond that one second because I was so afraid.  And I have been so since.  I don’t define myself by that time in my life anymore.  But I am afraid that others will do so.

Keeping things to myself though, also means not acknowledging more than fifteen years of my life.  A full third of my life!  To me, that seems absolutely crazy.  It means compartmentalizing, it means hiding, it means not being all of me.  It means denying my experiences, the people I knew, it means not accepting myself.  It means not being able to draw from the deep well that exists in me.

DON’T LIE DOWN AND BE QUIET!  This is what I heard today.   Write with all the vulnerability you can muster.  Words to live by.  Yikes!  Some people won’t like it at all, this I know, and this is scary too, but I must be who I am, I must write more personally, with more feeling.  It is ALL about connecting.  Connecting with God, with other people, with my own self.  My Self.  Otherwise, what’s the bloody point?

I thank you Katherine Scott, for a greater gift than you are aware of.  I thank you for your courage and your encouragement.

One of the themes I am coming across in my old journals is how much FEAR I used to live with.  It seemed thoroughly perpetual.  Tonight at MY club, one of our members gave HER 10th speech, her “Inspire Your Audience” speech (seeing a pattern yet folks???? LOL!!!!) and it was about facing her fears- worrying about looking like a LOSER.  That’s what it’s all about isn’t it folks?  We don’t want to look like LOSERS to each other!!!!!!  and that is much of what has been holding me back from freedom.  Fear.  Fear of stereotypes, fear of the labels of LOSERDOM.  Fear of not being included anymore.

And so, I’m doing it here first, aren’t I?  Testing the waters.  Not quite brave enough yet to come out and talk about it with my voice, but I am using my pen, so to speak, and that’s where it begins for me.  I know people are reading this, I know a few of them, others I don’t so I won’t know WHO knows what and I will have to deal with that also.  That is SCARY too.  You can’t put the genie back in the bottle.

I don’t want to.  It feels awfully good to let this go.

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