"She has a free pass to get the fuck out of my life." (I threw that one away.) I have collected countless carps of wisdom, inspiration, insight, and empathy over the years. One day it occurred to me that a book of such reflections—and the stories that surrounded them—might bring others the joy and comfort and occasional laugh that they bring me. I started to seek out stories that wouldn't fit on a Post-it, but with final messages that could. Notes to self.
All of the stories were primarily about moments of redemption following what I call life's "Big Three": Humiliation, Heartbreak and Hardship. However, as in real life, sometimes tough moments cannot be so easily compartmentalized, so I put some stories into a category I like to call "Life's Constant Complexities," which can mean anything from coming to terms with a professional setback to accepting the width of one's thighs.
We all have a "story" that helps to define us, a piece of ourselves that reflects who we are today yet is somehow rooted in our past, perhaps holding us back. More often than not, we need to shed that outdated outer shell - that "story" - so that we may finally and fully move into the next phase of life with a lesson of wisdom firmly intact (and if you are like me, taped to a wall). So I asked my fellow contributors to not only share their stories, but also to sum it up in a final note to self, something that a reader could scrawl on a Post-it and keep somewhere she could access for a quick dose of wisdom. What they came up with will inspire you.
Each woman in this book has a defining story from which she has moved to a new pinnacle of life, renewed and redeemed by the lessons she learned and will share with you. Punctuated by tears and laughter, these stories are full of incredible strength, invaluable knowledge, insurmountable odds, helpful survival instincts, amazing willpower, humiliation on a national level, and a hefty dose of humor. Through them, I have come to realize that no matter what life presents—however unfair, ugly or murky it may seem-- if you are willing, you can actually learn from the biggest of life's challenges and find the light at the end in the darkest of tunnels. And once you go through it, the lesson, the take away, your note to self, can act as a reminder, a place holder, a bookmark just in case you forget, for one moment, how amazing you are and how awesome the journey has been, even with its difficulties.
It seems only fair that I now join this community of women in this book and kick it off by telling my stories of the "Big Three" which have defined me, emboldened me, and taught me lessons worthy of places front and center on my wall.
My story of humiliation came early. I should state that we all have moments of being humiliated, but I am talking about the one humiliation in life we experience that we never forget, the Super Bowl champion of embarrassing moments (think Janet Jackson).