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You guys … ERMAHGERD!

What just happened!?

One minute I’m in Stop & Shop with my oldest spawn – I mean my sweet seven year old son – who was quarantined to home due to a lovely case of pink eye, and then fast forward 2.5 hours, 114 miles later, I’m in Boston sitting in Faneuil Hall waiting for Glennon Doyle and Abby Wambach to take the stage. WTF!? Talk about a gift from the man upstairs! (If you don’t know who Glennon Doyle is you need to stop reading this NOW. Look her up and then, only then, come back to my blog).

It all started with a phone call from the better half while on his commute into work.

“Hey, I just heard on the radio that Glennon Doyle was coming to Boston.”


“I don’t know.”

“Cool…I’ll have to look it up when I get home from the grocery store. Have good day. Love you.” Click.

Laughing at the lie that I would wait until I got home to look it up, I consulted Siri. And that’s when I saw it. The tweet that it was happening TODAY.

ERMAHGERD. What ensued next was one Hail Mary and a flurry of text messages, emails, and phone calls to change, rearrange, undo, and redo childcare plans for said 2 spawns – err – lights of my life. Surely this must be what it’s like when the Vatican has to coordinate a papal visit.

And just like that – voila! There I was sitting 3 rows in as Glennon, the love warrior herself, took the stage with her wonderful wolfpack wife, Abby. Glennon’s gift to connect with her audience through empathy, storytelling, and humor is one of the shiniest stars I have borne witness to.  Here’s what I took away from hearing her speak today:

1.) “Mental health is NOT just for anxiety and depression; just like physical health is NOT unique to Olympians” We all have bodies; therefore we all have physical health. And guess what!? We all have brains. We all have mental health. We all have a role in ending the stigma around mental health and mental illness. If you’ve never struggled with your mental health (first of all WOW… that’s amazing and what planet did you come from!?) but more importantly, please recognize that those that do struggle, that do have a hard time – please know that those human beings are scared. They are scared as f***.  Sometimes they don’t know what to do or who they are. Trust me. I know. So please – hug them. Hold space for them. Sit in silence with them as they cry. Don’t try to fix it. Because you can’t. Just show up and be there for them.

2.) Empathy starts with imagination. Empathy is not a new concept, but it’s getting a lot of buzz in the world today. I first met empathy during nursing school. I would constantly wonder what it would be like if I were the patient lying nearly comatose in the bed, having the mechanical ventilator force pressurized breaths in and out of the tube gagging my throat. Or what it would be like to be the bleary-eyed family member hovering 24/7 at the bedside hoping for a miracle. Empathy requires us to climb into someone else’s shoes. Someone else’s pain. And for some people this is too much. It’s too close to the jagged edge and razor sharp point between breakdown and breakthrough. But if we can transform our judgements of one another into visions of what it must be like and then actually feel that … well yes, you might breakdown and cry – but I guarantee that’s where the breakthrough – the connection happens. And that my friend is empathy.

3.) The future is NOT female. The future is everybody. The future is inclusive. #kindness ‘Nuff said.

4.) This part of the conversation today cracked me up. But with the laughter came powerful prose. Pay attention to the shampoo bottles in your house. Glennon shared an anecdote about the vast difference between her daughter’s shampoo and body wash bottles versus her son’s products. The girl’s bottles were all creamy, pink, purple, tall, and slender adorned with ethereal words while Chase’s products were packaged in massive, sturdier patriarchal colored bottles with aggressive bold type words printed on them like “Drop Kick” and “Charge Up.” I mean that’s marketing, right!? But what’s behind marketing? Messaging. Look around. Our crazy society is constantly bombarding us and our children with certain messages. Do this. Be that. Eat this. Wear that. Buy this. Fit in this box. Girls go over here. Boys go over there. And if you don’t do any of this or if you don’t  become that – well – shame on you. I can see my 12 year old self now … So. Much. Shame. And such begins the deeply embedded story that we all share, whether we realize it or not, “I’m not good enough.” Right!?

So that’s it friends! May you go forth in good mental health, with endless amounts of imagination and kindness, and the ability to question the messages in front of you.

And most of all … may you know that you are ENOUGH.

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