This is harder than it seems. My first post. The first post of my new chapter.
It’s hard to be this vulnerable, which is exactly what I plan to be. I wonder, will I sound nuts? Will I sound cocky? Will people hate it? What if people really like it then I’m that lady who gets out of bed in the middle of the night to check her blog comments ‘cuz all of a sudden that’s where I get my self validation. Clearly I’m overthinking this. Whatever, here I go….
I am driven on vision. Actually seeing how things could be in mind’s eye. If you know anything about my past (this link will lead you to over 1000 blog posts circa 2009-2012 chronicaling the adventures of owning The Boudoir Divas) you know that I have a bold idea of what the future holds for myself and for those around me. I felt it was quite a gift, but a little bit ago it faded.
Three years ago I began the divorce process and I was sad. I can’t call it depression, because I felt just, well legitimately saaaaaad. My bones hurt, my smile felt forced. And while I felt grateful, all I saw for the future was gray. Let me clarify though, not like a sad gray. I mean I was sad, but my future wasn’t, it was just completely unclear. As if it didn’t exist. Like there was a huge fog and I had to fight through to understand where I was so I could know where I was going. Ever heard the song by CCR, “have you ever seen the rain, coming down on a sunny day?” That was me for most of those three years straight. I had this foundation of love around me, and I felt so loved, but something I couldn’t control was raining all upon it, hurting my precious foundation, and messing with my identity.
So there was this season of fog, then it just, um, lifted.
I wish I could tell you what the miracle was, I wish I could say that it’s gone forever, but all I know is I’m so relieved and grateful. Like get on my knees thankful for the millions of things that pushed me into this oh so clear direction and place that I can now stand at the helm at and navigate myself into. It won’t be easy, but I’ve never minded that.
I’ve been trying to analyze the why and how of that breakthrough. ‘Cuz really what’s the point of a “my life sucked for a chapter then it didn’t” testimony if you can’t pinpoint how you were able to move through it. Isn’t that what all of us want? Solutions?
The fog started to clear a few months back. (And I’m intentionally going to be a little vague about this as I have big plans to reveal each new little twist and turn of my intentions for my future right here on this blog). I kept hearing and seeing the word “Rise.” I mean everywhere. The synchronicity was apparent in songs, from conversations, in writings, in the bible, in my head, on the label of a pair of sassy thrift store heels my mom bought me for the studio. Everywhere. This word would whisper at me. In the back of my head, down a dark corridor of my mind I’d hear the word. Haunting me. Like just pick your ‘effing ass up. I was scared of it. The idea of figuring out exactly what the word meant felt like standing up with a thousand bricks on my shoulders. Just do it Marissa. Rise. You never been this lost at sea. You’re sitting still. Worse yet you’re floundering and you know it. So stand up. STAND UP.
But it didn’t really happen from that haunting voice. I needed more. And, see, I could have muscled through it. But I had no direction to muscle to. Why stand up when there is no reason? Or all the reasons seem unfathomable.
Until after a couple of months, the ideas in my head that were just flirting with me, that I could just barely see, like BAM, became a full in color vision of what my future held; both personal and professional. The spark I had known so well returned and I had a joyful reason to get to work to make a plan. To serve wholeheartedly again. It was magic. It was God. And also maaaybee had something to do, possibly coincidentally, with the super moon. I’d like to think it a combo of all those, mostly God.
And he did create the moon- so all God then.
I started to move forward with a new vision for my life. And all of the sudden the fear I had, started to disintegrate. Not quickly, not slowly, but once again like old times, I returned to who I used to be and who I so easily was, a person to whom risk seemed safer than the same. Rise started to feel not like standing up fighting crushing weight, but like standing outside of myself, able to see a more accurate picture of who I am.
I opened my journal to an entry from Jan 2016. Here is what it said, this time I believed it. I didn’t when I wrote it. I was just trying to spill thoughts on a page to motivate myself.
“Ever since I was younger people have always told me I see the beauty in people. I really immediately hone in on it. And I absorb it and then try to make something of it. The other day a respected client, who I’d had the honor of photographing, but didn’t know so so well, authored a gorgeous childrens’ book and I took her photo for it. As she was leaving my studio she gave me a signed copy of her book. She said something to me- and I continue to be in awe of the kindness and generosity people show me. Especially when I feel like I’m not putting my best self forward. Perhaps even my worst. I’m humbled that this broken spirit can still give enough to be gifted these words…..
I opened one of the most beautifully written and illustrated books I’ve held in my hands, and the inscription said, “To Marissa, who always sees the beauty.”
I think my breath caught in my chest a little. These past few years I’ve known extreme heartache that goes far beyond my divorce. And yet, it somehow also landed me in hot crippling anger, that I inwardly lash out at myself with unreasonable self frustration for not feeling grateful for all the blessings in my life. So many blessings. So much to be joyful about.
But this is a reminder (the beginning of the rise). One thing is true, even at my darkest. I always, always, see beauty. I latch on to it. Behold it. And want desperately for the world to see what I see.
Again, I said I didn’t know exactly where in the process of grieving, I was able to move forward and change up my life drastically. But I have some ideas and I wanted to share them:
- I allowed my imagination to run free. I had bottled it up, out of fear of getting my hopes up that it would all come crashing down.
- I stopped waiting until I felt strong enough or ‘put together’ enough to move forward, and just started putting one foot in front of the other. I wished I hadn’t waited until I had an exact plan to just start moving.
- I stopped beating myself up for not being as productive as I used to be. Actually I stopped beating myself up in general.
- I finally allowed myself to grieve. I stopped telling myself to suck it because I was blessed even in this season and just let myself unravel a bit.
- I had to let go of what people thought. This one is hard to admit, because I didn’t even realize I cared until I came across the incredible Brene Brown. If you don’t know her I encourage you to go buy all of her books NOW. (Daring Greatly, Rising Strong)
One of my favorite excerpts from her book…
“Owning our story can be hard but not nearly as difficult as spending our lives running from it. Embracing our vulnerabilities is risky, but not nearly as dangerous as giving up on love and belonging and joy—the experiences that make us the most vulnerable. Only when we are brave enough to explore the darkness will we discover the infinite power of our light.” ~ Brené Brown from Rising Strong.
Thank you to those of you who desire to begin this journey with me. Today marks the beginning of this 30-ish days of blogging as I journal some major changes happening with my studio, business and personal life that I am SO VERY EXCITED ABOUT!! I have had the immense blessing of getting to so many people throughout the years who follow our studio, I wanted to share with you and them what’s going on.