Oh, to pen a letter to the Tessa of 2017. On the outside, she was holding it together. She had become a master at wearing a mask that created an even greater divide between who she was and what she let others see. The inner turmoil, the struggle, and defeat, overwhelming leaving little room for peace, freedom, or joy.
While taking account of the past several years of life and setting my intentions for the months ahead, I discovered an exercise where I listed current fears I was facing. The fear that felt oh so real and daunting then, it’s clear in the turbulent wrestling of my heart. The uncertainty I felt. The ache and the pain. The crushing disappointment and blows I’d faced and the crushing turmoil my heartfelt.
The Tessa of 2017,
You had built an incredible wedding business that had taken her all over the US and beyond. She absolutely loved the couples she was working with and their families. She was literally working for clients that set her heart on fire, creating some of her best work, and yet behind the scenes, she was barely holding it together. The studio she’d launched had been so much harder than she ever dreamed it would be, yet she was determined to not give up. She had fought for friendships, to only find herself in the midst of betrayal and facing a reality she’d been in denial of for years.
So much of her fear was tied to how others would respond or show up for her. She feared how others might respond to her if she were to chase the exact thing her heart craved. Her happiness and satisfaction were literally tied to how she experienced other responses to her actions and choices. Oh, how those roots of pleasing and acceptance can run so deep and truly never leave!
Not the “instinctual fear”
but the ones her brain had done a really good job at making seem and feel to be her messy, uncertain, and crushing REALITY.
- If she were to specialize in a line of portrait work that fired up her soul, could it be successful? She’d already tried once and failed. Was it possible? She was paralyzed by the fear of failing (again) and the financial cost another failure would be.
- She desired a greater intimacy and connection in her marriage and yet, feared to embrace change in her husband because of the disappointment she worried she’d experience if the change didn’t last.
- She feared her greatness and success because of the way (she believed) others would perceive her.
- She feared to slow down, to avoid facing the actual reality of what she’d become a master at avoiding.
- She was afraid to ask the hard questions, certain the answers would align with her deepest fear and beliefs, she did feel capable of dealing with the possibility of being let down.
- She feared to dream big dreams because it may be even more lonely at the top, yet was greater loneliness even possible?
Yet, somehow in the mess, I found myself in, I knew- on the other side of FEAR was the LIFE my heart desired. Yet why did it seem nearly impossible to face and step into?!
To the Tessa of 2017- I’m so thankful for your honesty. For your courage to be honest with yourself and name these fears- to acknowledge them and then look for what else was possible beyond them. TO muster just enough courage to begin stepping into the life that your heart was calling you to!
I’m thankful you didn’t give up. You continued to lean in. You set loose the emotions you’d kept buried, the feelings you’d avoided, you sought them out. You dove in. You embraced the tears rather than shaming yourself for them. You let go of “should and shouldn’t” and the opinions of others and accepted and replaced them with personal truths.
You embraced the work and weight of facing your own pain. Realizing how much that pain, those beliefs, and all that you’d stuffed deep inside was perpetuating and creating the chaos and pain you’d worked so hard to escape. There were times it felt like the world was crashing down, and the weight of uncertainty would crush you and yet you persevered. You continued stepping forward.
You found the courage
to ask rather than live in assumptions and what you thought others’ expectations of you were.
That February you’d make what felt like the greatest request of your recent life to reschedule already made plans, miss your husband’s birthday and choose what your HEART needed, and for the first time (possibly ever), you choose YOURSELF over someone else. That trip was life-altering and the greatest catalyst to your healing, freedom, and growth.
You could have never guessed how life was preparing you for what was next. How choosing to lean into the fear, to explore the darkness, to commit to yourself and your truths in-spite of the uncertainty you faced would literally change your life.
It would humble you, break you, inspire you, leave you in awe while also giving you a sense of peace and freedom you’d never, ever known.
Not knowing the path ahead or the outcome, I don’t believe you could have even dreamed of what WAS possible as you choose to BELIEVE IN yourself. To take responsibility for your own change, healing, and contributions. Life no longer happened to you, you were no longer tossed by the sea but found yourself grounded and experiencing a life of peace, freedom, fulfillment, and connection above and beyond your wildest dreams.
Best of all, you’ve chosen to embrace yet another pivot and pursue again, what fires your heart up. You’ve stepped into your calling and have just only begun to see the impact and purpose in your own pain and suffering.
Healing for yourself, the healing of loved ones, and clients who trust you to lead them in their own journeys. This isn’t a life you saw coming, and yet you’ve never felt more present or confident in your purpose and place on this earth.
To the Tessa of 2030,
you’ve not only realized your greatest dreams and hopes for the impact you’ll make in this world but you’ve far exceeded them. You’ve MADE your dreams happen in showing up with consistency in the choices you make in the moments of each day.