September 28, 2017 1 Comment

Blog 2 - Chapter 1
Braving the Wilderness

In Chapter 1, Everywhere and Nowhere, Brene shares her story of not making the Bearkadettes drill team. She knew the dance but had no sparkle.

Listening to Brene's experience reminds me of my own experience of craving belonging.

I twirled the baton when I was in 3rd grade. A few Saturdays a year we had Twirl Days. All the twirlers from The Tennessee Twirlers Institute would meet in a crowded High School gym for a day of perfecting our twirling skills. After morning workshops we stood in single file lines in our red twirling outfits waiting for the opportunity to be judged. "Opportunity to be judged" Ugh! Third Grade! UGH!

I remember the bathrooms. Every corner of space was packed with girls chattering while their moms rolled their daughter's hair and perfected their twirler's make-up. These girls looked so grown-up, connected and put together.

My mom is mentally ill. We didn't really know it then like we know it now. But she was never really one of those moms that knew how to "make it all happen" for her daughters.

On one particular Saturday, my oldest sister Karen was assigned the task of taking me to Twirl Days. Before leaving the house I snuck into my parent's room while they were still sleeping and dug one finger into my mom's blue eyeshadow, and another finger into a square pallet of rusty red lipstick. I smeared it on my eyes and lips and raced to my sister's car.

At some point between home and Twirl Days, Karen must have looked over to discover my make-up mayhem. When we arrived at the school she walked me straight to the bathroom, the one with all the primping moms and daughters, got a paper towel with warm water and wiped the makeup up off my face.

The next time she took me to Twirl Days, Karen packed up her own make-up, and her own Clairol rollers and walked with me to the bathroom. She helped me look like the other girls.

I don't remember what score I received from my "judging" that Saturday, or even how I actually looked. I just know that thanks to my 16-year-old sister, I felt like I belonged.

What does Brene's story remind you of?

When did you feel like you belonged?

Be Brave,

1 Response


October 25, 2017

I always felt like an outsider growing up…a lonely, only child with working parents. As a latch-key kid, I envied friends with siblings and/or a mom at home when they returned from school because they had an obvious, identifiable “tribe.” It wasn’t until I was well into my 30s, that I started to ponder that we ALL belong, ALL of the time. All of the superficial identifiers that we use to label and sort are useless. We’re ALL in this together. What a relief – I found my tribe!! :-)

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