Nearly every childhood photo of me depicts a display of a combination of mosquito bites and scabs; a product of being an adventure-seeking child of the midwest. As an accident-prone child, I would oftentimes fall, bleed from a gravel-indented lesion, and get little sympathy from my mother. While my friends could count on empathetic mothers to provide a “kiss for the boo-boo” and a fresh Band-Aid, my mom would shout, “Tell the ground you are sorry!” and then force me to get up, brush it off and move on.
Growing up in a home that enforced strength over self-pity, Mom taught that it’s not about the fall but rather about your resiliency in getting back up. As such, this accident-prone, curly-haired, little girl soon matured into an equally mistake-prone adult with a few higher learning degrees and a busy LLC to manage. I had used my inner strength and Mom’s old adage “Tell the ground you are sorry!” countless times to creatively encourage my business to emerge, rise and grow despite the early mistakes I made (and those I continue to make) in my business.
However, never in my life had I needed that lesson like I did the day I received a call from Dad telling me that Mom had suddenly collapsed in the kitchen, was rushed to a hospital and was placed on life support.
She was slipping away.
I begged and pleaded with the universe to bring her back to me so she could, just once more, encourage me to tell the ground I was sorry; to give me the strength to pick myself up, brush it off, and attempt to move on.
But she couldn’t: she was gone.
From the ground, covered in gravel and bleeding from my heart, I was in pain, lost, scared, and alone.
Then, as if sent by a guardian angel, a circle of women picked me up. Kind women who, by all standards, are considered “competition” for my businesses; women who could easily take a situation like this and use it to elevate their own businesses while mine crumbles. Yet there they were: coming together, lifting me up, embracing, holding me tight, and providing endless support.
The strength, coursing through their veins, enveloped me, emulsified my soul, revitalized my heart, and, ultimately, reminded me of HER. The presence of female strength; the dichotomy of delicate beauty and immense power came flourishing into my world and carried me from profound sadness to a grounded sense of peace.
You see, they reminded me that strength not only comes from within but also all around. Their strength healed me, their love brought my wounds to scabs and their unwavering love reminds me that these scars are just moments when I had to tell the ground I was sorry; they are the moments when I brushed myself off; they are reminders of the times when I kept going.
This segment is dedicated to the loving memory of Linda M. Sanders, the first woman, but certainly not the last, to teach me inner strength.