My dad is one of nine kids. Each one of those nine kids had kids of their own resulting in a ridiculous amount of cousins. Weirdly, the amount of girls in the group is significant. What seemed like a big age span as we were growing up has shrunk as the years have passed making this group of women a pretty unique bunch.
They, my girl cousins, have been taking a yearly journey together for the last 5 years. They all hop a plane and head off to somewhere for a new adventure, together. Each and every year, during the planning stages, I proclaim with great confidence, “I am so there!”. I’ve meant it when I’ve said it. Every time. It’s as if the sheer burning desire was enough to make it happen. Then each year as the travel days approach, I slowly but surely back out. Every time I did my bailing routine with my head hung low, I would shrink a little. It just felt so unlike me. Probably more so that first year but, as it was repeated over and over, it started to apparently become more and more….me. I had gone from this young, brave & bold, thirsty for adventure, addicted to travel, focused and “just do it” kind of chick to an anxious, disproportionately responsible, scared of being selfish, not willing to step of all that was supposedly safe and secure, put everything and everyone before me kind of lady. And it felt so damn crappy.
As this year’s trip inched it’s way closer and closer to becoming real, I, again, started to come up with 1,000 reasons to begin my slow decent off the “I’m so there” diving board. What is so amazing is that life started throwing me more material than I knew what to do with. Car issues that took an absurd amount of time and money to resolve, leaking ceilings, lack of employment opportunities, pricey kid’s activities that were too good of an opportunity to say no to, bad weather……and then of course, good ole fashion trusty, thorn in my side, anxiety. Life was telling me something, right?
I mean really. Isn’t the Universe supposed to support all that is good for you? Wasn’t that what all those Woo woo books I’ve read told me? These roadblocks were clearly my sign to cut the cord and just back the eff out of this. Not my time. Too much going on. I was needed at home. It would completely obnoxious and selfish of me to get on that plane. It was time to let it go. Next year…..I’d so be there.
However, I have two younger sisters who were just not buying it. Universe, shmooniverse. They know me. The old me, the new me, and all the me’s in-between. There would be no discreet backing out of anything. My ticket was bought and as far as they were concerned , my only job was to get my full of reasons why I shouldn’t/couldn’t, anxious ass on that plane.
To be honest, up until that plane landed, I wasn’t really completely sure it was real. I was so internally convinced I would somehow let myself down and anxiety would have the last laugh, once again. But….that is not what happened.
I had made it. I was there. I get that this is such a simple concept to get. I got on a plane in one place and it landed in another. So yes, I was there. In this new place. But holy hell, it felt monumental. I kept taking deep breaths of relief and disbelief. It was late when we got to Colorado, so that first night was spent in a close by hotel where we ate overpriced, greasy and pretty gross food……and it was beautiful. I was slowly letting some sort of out of my box freedom roll in. It was a tiny bit scary, sort of fun, and vaguely & sweetly familiar.
The next day, after giving and receiving a slue of hugs from the tribe of cousins, picking up our rental car, and calling home to send all my miss yous and love yous, we set off to our destination. The mountains were calling. As we drove towards those massive Rockies, I could feel my stomach begin to settle. I began to remember. I knew this road. I had been here before. The pine trees, the twisty and steep roads, the snowy peaks, the clean fresh air…..this, to my surprise, was what I had been so scared of leaving behind on this trip. This was what I thought I had lost. This was me.
Each moment spent laughing and crying with this born into tribe I am so damn lucky to call my own, 100% rocked my world. The days spent among those Rockies along with these gorgeous warriors have left me feeling both completely new and more like the old me than I have been in quite a long time.
Here is what I am churning over in my head and heart……
- Each one of us on that trip had to work for it. Each one of us has our own anxiety monster living within. They may look different, sound different, behave differently…..but they are all real. We all have our own brand of leaky ceiling to deal with. We just need to get our ass on that plane.
- The Woo woo books were right. The Universe is, and always has been, on our side. What I saw as my way out or excuse to shrink, was really my call to stand the heck up and fight for all the parts of me that have been aching to breath in that familiar and brand new way to far too long.
- Laughing loud and dancing big are my favorite kind of prayers.
- Each one of us has a story. It’s in the sharing of our stories that we can feel our own heart beating and remember all that is real and true.
- Women are mother freaking warriors.
- Women supporting women…standing up for them, even when (especially when), they are not able to stand up for themselves, taking the time to look and truly SEE them, listening to them, BELIEVING them….this is how we are going to heal this whole damn planet. I am convinced of it.
The gift of having a tribe like this, that I was born into, is not lost on me. I refuse to ever take it for granted again. I also know that, most likely, the stinkin’ Universe will throw some new leaky ceilings at me next year. It’s inevitable. It’s real life. It’s what makes the fresh air on the other side of it that much sweeter.
And no matter what, I know..next year? I am so there.