What Defines a Woman… [scratch that] a Person?

 

I’m sitting at the table tonight while my four children are getting ready for bed.

The eleven year old asks a question about something she’d like to purchase with money she has recently acquired.

Somehow, said eleven year old ends up weeping on her bed… overwhelmed by the choices she faces in the years ahead of her.

When she walks back into the kitchen, hair disheveled, nose red, eyes swollen, it is hard for me to breathe.

She is me. Crying as a child, the only daughter, realizing that one day, I would be the only one in my family with a different last name.

Why are you crying?”, my parents asked.

When I get married, I will no longer be a ‘VanBibber’. I will be different from the rest of you“, I replied.

Tonight’s conversation was that. And yet it also veered so far from those sentiments.

Why are you crying?”, we asked.

The girls in my class already know what they want to do when they grow up“, she replied.

But so do you. You want to own your own animation company and create cartoons. Have a cat of your own. See the world.”

(blank stare)

Oh…

Their plan is to get married, have children and own a big giant house.

Suddenly, my self-confident child, so sure of her purpose and dreams, is doubtful.

Her dreams don’t look like everyone else’s.

And that makes her a target.

We want everyone to look like us. Dream like us. Think like us.

It makes us feel better about our own choices, doesn’t it?

But that doesn’t make those choices better, or more right for us.

And that doesn’t make them any more likely to come true. If being my own independent-free-spirited self and having four children has taught me anything it’s this: We aren’t all cut from the same cloth.

We all have different purposes, hopes and dreams.

Mama and Riggy, can I call you anytime I need advice, when I grow up?

Of course, Sweetness. We are always here for you.

Just be you, my sweet girl.

Just be you.

linked up with Just Write

This Week At “Living the Life Fantastic”

I’m curious: Are you trying to doing everything possible to stay passionate about your dreams? Or are you neglecting them and becoming good at the things you don’t want to be doing?

We are born to dream.

Please share your thoughts on this post: Stay Passionate About Your Passions

a cautionary blogging tale: is ignorance really bliss?

If you haven’t already, be sure to read the intro first.

*UPDATED: I have commented on the response to this post here*

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Once upon a time, there was a blogger (Fantine), who had built a nice little home in the blogging meadow. She’d been through a rough period in her life and blogging had given her a spot to sort through it and figure things out.

She met many amazing, supportive women online; women who, like her, were raising small children or had already done that, and were willing to share their wisdom.

The internet meadow was beautiful.

Rainbows, sparkles, confetti and sunshine abounded.

One day, from out of the blogging forest, a blogger named BackStreet emerged. She was funny, charming and smart. They quickly became friends.

One conversation lead to another and soon, they were brainstorming names  and ideas for an online women’s magazine that BackStreet was wanting to start. Many play-date meetings took place at BackStreet’s home while they both worked hard on the magazine, hopeful that it would be a success and they would be set up in beautiful palaces within the Land of the Internets.

They knew they’d found their golden ticket.

For over a year, just about every waking hour was spent committed to seeing this happen. At the same time babies were nursed, children were schooled, babies were born, families were moved, dinners were prepared, sleep was back-burnered.

Early on, the discussion came up about making their partnership legal. After all, both of them had their fingerprints all over the project.

BackStreet said she would have her attorney draft papers that made Fantine a 50/50 partner, not just in name, but legally. They were both broke at the time, but Fantine completely trusted BackStreet, and was fine with waiting until it was financially feasible to have the papers drawn.

At some point, the decision was made that they would try to start a blogging conference to go along with the magazine. Earlier in the year, Fantine had met Fairy Godmother; someone who had a background in “the business”, and she introduced her to BackStreet as someone who might be able to advise or help them.

Despite the fact that Fantine started noticing less talk from BackStreet about “we” or “us” and more talk about “me” and “I” (clue 1) she focused on the goal, pushing aside concerns. She’d invested so much of her time and they were so close to making it.

Besides, BackStreet was her friend. She’d never had a friend like BackStreet. Ever.

Eventually, the conference went off very well [BackStreet and Fairy Godmother were the shining stars. (clue 2])

With the success of their mini-trial conference, the official one was on track for the following February, with the help of Fairy Godmother.

But conversations were happening  and decisions were being made without Fantine. There was a total disconnect between the public and private personas. (clue 3)

At the same time, crazy demands were being placed on her, followed by her loyalty and commitment being called into question.  The “we”s were starting to refer to BackStreet and Fairy Godmother… not BackStreet and Fantine. (clues 4, 5 and 6)

And so it continued.

Fantine was increasingly pushed aside, being moved further and further out of the picture. Having already invested so much into the projects and being so close to the goal, she struggled with what to do.

Fantine wrote up her thoughts on the pros and cons of walking away, so that she could talk with BackStreet.

After all, they were friends.

The conversation never happened. There was a confrontation on another issue; Fantine expressed her grievances, offered to stay through the conference and in the end, was told that, due to the grievances she’d expressed, she could not be trusted and that all she had ever been was “just an employee”.

Their working relationship ended that day. So did their friendship.

In the end, Fantine was shown something that shook her to the core: an email from earlier on in the project in which BackStreet stated she didn’t have any intention of having legal documents signed.

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So. There it is.

Even now, as I read this, I struggle with frustration. With anger. With jealousy.

All of this over a community whose mission statement was about empowering women. Helping them find their happiness.

I’ve struggled with the fact that from a business perspective, it happens every. flippin‘. day.

Every day, people make decisions that are “business, not personal”.

And this, apparently, was what my cautionary tale boiled down to from the outside.

Business.

So get over it.

But it’s not.

Because in the end, I think what I suffered with the most…

…even more than being stripped of something I’d invested an enormous amount of time and creativity into.

… even more than seeing the other person go on and get the praise, recognition and applause…

was the loss of so many other friendships.

People suddenly had no need for me. My twitter stream screamed with silence. My inbox sat nearly empty.

I experienced grief.

Mourning.

The very community that I was trying to help lift up and promote and empower turned their back on me for standing up for myself.

I made people uncomfortable just by my presence. So I was avoided.

No one wanted to reach out to me in public, for fear of ruining their own chances of success.

So, what the heck did I learn?

Where is the moral to all of this… my cautionary tale?

It’s this:

The moment you put your hopes and dreams into the hands of others, you screw yourself.

I gave all control over to someone else.

I take total ownership of that.

So much did I want this, that ultimately, I allowed my own dreams to become blended and co-opted by someone else. I helped make their dream come true while forsaking my own. I handed over control of my future and signed the check over to them.

I’m responsible for that.

Don’t do that to yourself.
Make your dreams your own.
Take charge of them.

Because honestly? I wouldn’t wish the last two years of trudging through this on anyone. Not even the other person involved. There is nothing pretty about it. No one likes a pity party. No one likes to be around someone who just sits in their own crap and misery.

So learn from me. Take my advice.

Do it your way. OWN IT.

*UPDATED: I have commented on the response to this post here*

(photo credit)

Telling my story

I’ve lately become more aware of my age and the fact that those around me are also going through that process (okay, I’m a slow learner… )

Along with that, I am becoming aware of the stories that will be lost, in our family, if not written down. Stories about dreams. losses. joys. testimonies. conversions.

So I am planning on doing something, for my family, that will allow us all to tell our stories.

I want to hear them.
I want to know when they first heard God calling to them.
Who first taught them about Jesus.
When they realized that their lives were headed in directions they never dreamed possible.
Or when they suffered a loss that changed their lives and how they got through it.

These are stories worth telling and stories that are a part of the fabric of my life.

There are so many stories and only so many moments of my day that I could spend compiling them. I’d never get it done on my own. My solution: I’m going to start a private (I think) blog, for each side of my family (Sean’s and mine) and open it up to all of my family members to share their stories. That way, we will have compiled, in one spot, a record of who we are, where we came from and the lives that touched ours.

Consider doing this for your own families. I haven’t nailed down all of the details, but if you are considering it for your own family, but don’t know where to start or how to set it up, email me (karla at fruition-designs dot com) or leave a comment and I’ll answer it here.

Blessings, K

Big Dreams

I’ve been thinking about goals/dreams in my life and I’ve noticed that others are too, as I look around blogdom. Several months ago, I made a list of goals. And then I updated that list, and was able to mark some things off.

There are a lot of things on that list that may never get marked off. However, I bet that when I reach the end of my life I will be surprised by some of the things that did get crossed off. There are things on that list that I’m not sure I can actually do: things that are “too hard” (MARATHON?? h-e-l-l-o!!??), some that are too expensive (trips around the world). And some of my goals may not even seem worth pursuing once I have a few more years under my belt.

I know that I have dreams that have stuck with me through many seasons of my life that I don’t see going away until they come to fruition (sound familiar?) These are the dreams that don’t go away, that just continue to grow… even if I try to hide them in a dark spot and not water them… they somehow grow.

Does the Lord plant these seeds? Is He the Gardener in our garden of dreams? I know that God delights in seeing us strive for things.

We must be mindful, however, that if our dreams do not alighn with His will, then they aren’t from Him and they aren’t anything we want to be shooting for.

So, keep dreamin’. There is nothing wrong with talking with the Lord about your dreams. In fact, that’s probably what He is waiting for.

Blessings,

~K