As You Are
Raise your hand if you can’t remember the last time you said “yes” to yourself.
Fully and un-apologetically. Without guilt.
To something that served just you and your heart.
I’m not talking the treat yourself to an Instagram-ably intricate cocktail or the trendiest manicure kind of “self-care” - I’m talking about the kind of “yes” that truly recharges your batteries. The kind that demands work and requires reflection. That you submerge yourself in fully, even for a moment, and emerge anew.
When I scraped together just enough money at the end of last year to secure myself a seat in Yan Palmer’s virtual workshop, it was the first “yes” I had said to solely myself in entirely too long.
If you’ve been with me for a while now, you already know that the cross-country move growing pains have been real. I’ve spent the better part of the last ten months just trying to stay afloat, attempting to right side up a life I voluntarily turned upside down. As much as I wish I could report a tectonic shift of realities, throwing roots in my new hometown has been like trying to grow wildflowers on the sidewalk: every now and then a seed will fall into the cracks and grow into something, but the blooms are rare and fleeting, and always against the odds.
I was lost in the corners of my own darkness. Until I wasn’t.
Enter Teethkiss: The Class: the creative and spiritual super balm my homesick heart and beat up sense of self so desperately needed. Coaxing me out of my comfort zone, pouring light into the dark corners where I get stuck, befriending and handing a megaphone to the voice that’s been stifled, reminding me why I get out of bed in the morning, and holding space for me to show up entirely for myself.
Exactly as I am. No judgement.
For four beautiful, impeccably timed weeks, we walked through the virtual doors of our classroom, each with our own beautiful disasters in tow, and together we made progress. Slowly. Steadily. An army of strong women craving creative community. Finding it. Leaning into it. Imperfectly. Perfectly.
It was a place to ask the hard questions. To flaunt our failures. To re-define success. To dig deep. To come up for air. To be re-inspired. To be challenged. To ask for help. To accept it. The class was a four week long conversation - not a lecture. A permission slip to dive into our truths, our passions, the things that bring us joy, make us feel something, give us purpose… and I threw myself into the deep end.
I took a bonus assignment as an opportunity to open the doors to my new community. To throw more seeds at the sidewalk. To hold the same type of space for the women in my community that the women of Teethkiss: The Class were holding for me.
A place to come as you are.
To be loved wholeheartedly.
To honor your journey.
To be heard.
To be celebrated.
To be handed a megaphone.
To be reminded of your light no matter how long you’ve been in the darkness.
Because that’s what gets me out of bed in the morning.
So… to the women on paths forged in upheaval and blind faith…
To those choosing “both, and” in an “either, or” society…
To those trying to find their way back to themselves…
To those stepping fully into their light…
To those carrying the torch…
To the ones raising the next generation…
To the ones fighting battles we know nothing about…
I see you. I hear you. And I’m so glad you are here.
Come as you are. Whoever you are. Wherever you are.
Behind every strong woman are more strong women. And if you ever need an army, there will always be room in mine.
Happy International Women’s Day.
A heartfelt thank you to all of the women featured above who said yes to making art at the intersection of their stories and mine. I love what we created together. And a never-ending round of applause, happy dance, virtual high five to Yan Palmer for sharing her heart through this workshop and to all of the Teethkiss OG’s who were a part of this soul searching journey. Our month together left us all with the summer camp glow that lasts longer than summer ever will, and I’m gonna hold tightly to that warm hug for as long as it lasts.