Learning to let go has always been my biggest challenge. To accept and allow things to be as they are is my life-long goal. Figuring out the importance of how to delight in small steps forward would aid me in that aim. Giving myself compassion for what I do and have done, versus being hard on myself for what I have not done or what I did incorrectly is a continual mental contest. When that opposing voice taps me on the shoulder lightly, I force myself to ignore it and move on.
Through the course of writing my S.H.E. Share, Heal, Empower book, I recognized many things. The first was the realization that there will never be a perfect manuscript. My editors and I went through more than a few modifications and rewrites, still we continuously found nuances that either needled them or me. My proofreaders, graphic designer, and I scanned the entire book just before it went to press to find missing commas and quirky sentence structures, yet the incorrect spelling of the word “Twenty” on the Contents page was missed by all of us. Surrendering to my perfectionistic tendencies was a constant game of whack-a-mole. A single error or unintelligible phrase would randomly pop-up and once resolved, four more would arise.
Somewhere during the whacking of my mallet, I realized time was up. So this three hundred and thirty-six page labor of love and I arrived together at the printers—perfectly imperfect. Isn’t that the way we are both supposed to be? A fragmented package of flawed and fabulous!
Trust me when I say, my hyper-neurotic self-wanted to squirrel the newly printed boxes of books away in my “babe cave” and white out hundreds of printed paperbacks, replacing them with a sticky strip of the correctly spelled “Twenty.” So when my husband asked me, “Why would you do that? At some point, you’ll just find something else that bothers you, and it will become the new issue.” Although his words were not very uplifting at the time, they were absolutely true. Still, while weeping into my pillow, I was not willing to accept his advice. My challenge every darn day is to accept my flaws and find peace within them—in response to an annoying habitual trait I am slowly unraveling.
Yes, I have learned a lot about myself during this journey of bringing S.H.E. into the world. My biggest lesson has been to accept the person I am in this very moment without judgment. Life has a sneaky way of reminding me things are not supposed to go as planned — actually, they pretty much never do. And that’s okay! I have officially decided to trust the process and also the people who come into my life to guide me. Please remind me friends, when I forget!
This last year while writing my book has been a whirlwind in many ways, testing my fortitude in both my physical and emotional capacity. While it is true that there have been numerous highs and lows, I have learned more from my lows than my highs; quite similar to the stories I have written about. Each woman’s wisdom holds conflict and contrast, strength and struggle. Entrenched within their life experiences have been pivotal moments of growth. This is real for all of us; how lucky we are to have these genuine morsels to glean. Together we are always stronger and our voices louder; it is precisely what the S.H.E. book emboldens.
Every day, the website and our social media pages display new feedback, and my favorite—authentic pictures arriving from readers of all ages. It brings happiness to my heart when I see a young person reading S.H.E. These images contain a crucial message for today’s on-the-go millennials.
On Mother’s Day, I received a photo of three generations of women standing alongside the Eastern seaboard proudly holding their S.H.E. black tote bags. What an honor to have this support and warmth of connection! Every single image received motivates me to move forward to bring additional compelling perspectives to you, the reader. The exchange of stories across time is and will always be about heartfelt connection, admiration and consolation. A community working together, as one generation pulls the next into maturity.
Educating the minds and hearts of our young men and women by presenting stories as guidance, is a generational gift. These short inspirational stories have nuggets of wisdom embedded in each, reminding all of us the importance of being brave through difficult times. The opportunity to learn how other’s live their lives, often helps us navigate our own.
We are all perfectly imperfect and all of our stories matter.
This is the spirit of S.H.E.
Forward your photographs with the S.H.E. book to firstname.lastname@example.org