I read My (part-time) Paris Life by Lisa Anselmo last year and it was more than just a book about my favorite city. I picked it up because of my slight (haha, that's an understatement) obsession with Paris and all things French. It's a beautiful memoir about the journalist who had spent a lot of adult like making decisions based on what other people wanted or needed. Her details and what I would call a "walking tour" of Paris are beautiful. I could feel myself there. But, the best part, the part that was a happy surprise, was her emotional process of grieving and finding her value. These were the lessons that meant the most to me. Because if we don't know our value how can we truly live our fullest lives?
I'm so glad this book found me at the library. It popped right up and said, "Take me home!" I dog-eared my favorite spots. I forgot I had borrowed it and underlined something. I was tempted to keep the library copy and pay a big fine. Or buy the library a new copy so I could keep my "original" but in the end, I did the right thing. I returned it, paid my fines, and bought my own copy. (But not before I dog eared my favorite parts.)
I have read the opening so many times.
"Who do you think you are? This probably stops more people from doing more things than any other question. Who are you to want more? You think you deserve it? Really?
People say greatness is inspiring, but what they really mean is only as long as it's someone else's greatness... but greatness close up? In themselves? Terrifying."
Wow. Read that again.
Anselmo hit the nail on the head for me. This is where I've struggled. That line between telling people what I do and feeling like a brag. Then questioning if I'm even doing anything right and feeling like a fraud.
I am entering my 20th year as a professional educator. I am a mentor. I am the creator and founder of the Lotus Project (a mentoring program for teens), and I published the curriculum to make it easier and more structured for women to mentor teens. I created LP Inspire so I could start connecting with women. I am a public speaker and workshop creator. I am a mother, a wife, a daughter, a sister and a friend. I have three publications under my belt, two are co-authored and I am working on writing a book of my own right now. (Get ready for Love Letters to my Students.) I am a small business owner. I write this motivational blog you're reading. I've designed two websites. I teach yoga and mindfulness. I create workbooks and printables. I am a cognitive coach. I do a lot of cool shit that is helpful and beneficial.
And I feel like it's never enough. I feel invisible and unnoticed. I feel like a phony.
And here's the thing. As I write these words, I am thinking this: YOU CHOSE YOUR REACTION. You choose to feel like this. Let's change that. I'm choosing this reaction which is leading me to these feelings of "not enough."
Like Lisa, I do hear that liar's voice in my head saying, "Who do you think you are?"
I need to flip my own script. I need to answer that question in a better way.
Who am I?
I am a smart, strong, diplomatic woman. I am a lifelong learner. I am a loving wife. I am a magical mom. I am an author and teacher. I work hard. I am successful. And I deserve to be happy and to enjoy this time of my life. I can be proud of my work while feeling vulnerable for putting myself out there. I can do all of this and be happy.
At the end of My (part-time) Paris Life, Lisa says, "All my life I'd been keeping myself stowed away, afraid to put myself out there, to connect with the world in a bigger way... I was afraid that if they really knew me, if they saw my worthless reflection in the mirror, they'd realize I was a fraud and kick me out of their paradise. But standing in front of that mirror now... I saw reflected back someone who had put herself out there." And found her value along the way.
So, that's my plan. I'm going to keep showing up. I'm going to keep putting myself out there. I'm going to reach out and speak my truth. I'm going to share my creations and they will fall into the right hands.
I'm going to do it for me. For that wanderlust girl that has always enjoyed creating and dreaming and learning. I'm still her. She brings me joy. I deserve to create my happiness. And I will keep telling myself this until I believe it.
For more information on Lisa's book, please visit HERE.
For information on Rise: In Pursuit of Empowerment visit HERE.
And if you'd like to connect with girls through your own Lotus Project, please visit HERE.