Whoever came up with the phrase, “Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words can never hurt me” was a liar.
A few years ago, my therapist introduced me to Brené Brown. (Yes, I see a therapist, no I’m not “messed up” and I’ve already unpacked that box and owned it so let’s move on shall we). At the time I was really struggling. I own a small business and the land I own was in the midst of a potential buy-out, which would have involved us moving down the road a few miles. The problem was that the proposal came after I had just announced that we were adding infant care. To make a long (very long) story short, the transaction never came to fruition. I eventually grew tired of playing negotiating games and proceeded with an addition on our current site instead.
But back to Brené Brown. At the time I was feeling very excited, but yet weighed down by the endless opinions that were flowing into my email box, walking into my office, or calling on the phone. You see, our state is in the midst of a child care crisis. One might think that adding infant care in the midst of a child care crisis would be easy – supply and demand equals easy bank financing. Wrong. Even my extremely high credit score could not combat the statistics on the rate of failure in my industry, aside from our solid financial history.
So, upon recommendation from my therapist, I went to Barnes and Noble and picked up a copy of the book Daring Greatly by Brené Brown. Less than two weeks later I had purchased and read ALL of her published work and was stalking her social media page like a child awaiting cake at a birthday party, hoping and praying she would have another book out soon. Her work was that life changing.
Although I have many favorite quotes from her, this one is by far the one that resonates the most with me. She says, “You either walk inside your story and own it or you stand outside your story and hustle for your worthiness”.
And I have to tell you, I am so tired of hustling. So tired.
I just can’t do it anymore.
Last night I read an 2016 article from Entrepreneur Magazine entitled, “How Crying Could Save Your Business”. The author writes about the weight of owning a business, but the one part that hit me the hardest is the following, “I cried this morning. I thought about how many people were relying on me to make the right decisions and how much those decisions had the potential to hurt the people I know and love if they went wrong. If I had a nickel for every night I fell asleep scared stiff about failure, I could fund my next five businesses”.
And it’s because I’m raw. Words have the power to heal, but they also have the power to hurt. It’s so hard to walk through life everyday with everyone just expecting that life doesn’t hurt sometimes. Or that if it does it should be a quick cry, hug, and move on.
But that’s not real life.
Of all of the things words have the potential to hurt the most, it’s the words that come out of people who I trust. People I work hard for everyday to protect.
It’s phrases such as, “I’m sorry that you’re going through this with the state, but my child can’t see the ocean because I don’t have any PTO left so your closing for a half a day is ruining my life.”
Phrases such as, “Your focus is off. You don’t care about kids”.
Phrases such as, “Don’t you think you can try and just advocate quietly, because I don’t want to hear about it”.
To which I say, if you are mad at me, could you please just throw a stone and get it over with? Maybe a stick? Because that was be less painful for me than those words.
I feel raw. There are days where I don’t want to get out of bed. Don’t want to open my email. Don’t want to answer the phone.
Days where I just want to pull the room darkening curtains shut, close anything that will let in the light, and sleep until night fall only to sleep again.
There has been a lot of discussion this past week surrounding depression and anxiety as a result of high profile suicides. But the truth is that suicide happens every day.
I am not saying that I am suicidal, but I am saying that our world needs a wakeup call.
Sometimes things in this world are hard. They are sad. There are some things in life that can’t be sugar coated.
Is it overwhelming at times to hear about people in hard times? Sure. But the door to my office is always open. I’ve had conversations with parents with tearful eyes, employees having a hard time navigating the pressure the state puts on us, and people who just need someone to talk to.
So, my friends, and those reading this, I’m breaking the silence.
I love my calling in life, but I can’t handle anymore words of hate. Words that tear down. Words from people and groups who are seeking some kind of glory war in this fight against DHS. If you want a trophy just take it. It’s not about that for me. I just want the joy back.
Some days the struggle is real. There are things in this life that cannot be ignored. And what is happening in child care in this state is one of those things. The rights of children, parents, and providers are being infringed upon by an out of control state agency. Sometimes the truth is hard, but it doesn’t mean you can ignore it, or it will get worse.
I’ve lived through a lot in my nearly 33 years on this earth, but one thing I know for sure; words do hurt. So please be careful how you use them.
And above all, at the end of the day, I care about children. I care about families. I care about my employees. If I didn’t, I would have stuck a “For Sale” sign in the front yard of Here We Grow and closed up shop. But I didn’t. I’m still here and I’m still fighting.
There are a lot of good days, but there are hard days too.
Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words, words hurt too.
I think we’d all be a letter better off in this world if we were a little more real. In the end, this world is not my home. My home is in heaven.
Until my time of grace has ended, I will stand inside my story, because I’m tired of hustling for my worthiness.
May God continue to bless the efforts of all of those who are fighting for change in the lives of the little people we serve, and those who care for them.
That’s the truth… in the raw.