It was a Wednesday night.
That’s the night when I started to feel my whole world change.
I called home after attending my son’s kindergarten information session, and I suddenly felt my stomach turn to knots and my breath start to quicken. I had been home with both of my children for five years, and for the first time since they were born, we were going to be apart.
“I’m not ready,” I told my husband through a tsunami of tears. “I don’t know how to do this.”
That night, my husband sat with me at our kitchen table as I poured out all of my anxiety about this new stage in my baby boy’s life.
“What if something happens to him? What if he feels afraid? What if he doesn’t make new friends? What if his feelings get hurt and we aren’t there to be with him? I’m just not ready.” I held my head in my hands as the tears kept falling, creating a puddle of saltwater and sadness on the table just beneath me.
“I know,” my husband gently replied. “It’s hard. And at some point, I’m sure one of those things will happen, but going through the bad with the good is a part of growing up.”
I looked across the table at him, and I knew in that moment that my husband didn’t just mean the growth of our son. He also meant for us as parents, because there was a degree of change that came with unclenching your fist, of knowing that you had done the best you could do, of letting something you’ve created exist without you. This moment felt like an expansion of my heart and a surrender of my soul.
On the morning of my boy’s first day of school, we walked—hand in hand—to his classroom. It was bright and safe and full of lively energy. My son stood tall in the doorway of his new space and as I struggled to let go of his tiny fingers, his teachers smiled at me with a look of such sweet compassion.There was a look that said, “It’s okay…we’ve been doing this a long time and we promise to protect this piece of your heart.”And with that, my husband and I walked away, leaving our son to begin creating something beautiful in this world.
As a tear rolled down my cheek, my husband gently squeezed my hand. “We may not feel ready . . . but he is,” he reassured me.
Stepping back has never been easy for me.
Earlier this year, I made the decision to work with words in a professional capacity, and much to my surprise, making that decision felt a lot like sitting through that kindergarten information session for the first time: scary, uncertain, uncomfortable.
I only started to call myself a writer about five years ago, but looking back, I think I’ve always been one. From writing letters home at camp to creative writing classes in university to publishing my first memoir in 2016, I write because I don’t know how to not write. I need words the way I need oxygen, and without them, I slowly suffocate. For over a decade, I had been writing on public domain, stringing together the truth of my life as I quietly lived it. That writing has been a labor of love stretched over time; it is a relationship that has healed me in more ways than I ever thought possible. But all the while, I kept it mine. Protected and safe.
But here’s the thing…
Like my children, I have always treated my craft as a piece of my heart. The idea of walking my writing into unfamiliar territory induced the same quickening breath that I experienced every time the word “kindergarten” was uttered in our home. Because it’s hard to leave something you love in a room full of people you don’t know. For so long, it had just been the two of us, me and the writing, sending stories into the universe . . . and I was afraid of what would happen if I shared this part of who I was in a collective setting. I worried that my relationship with my words would change. I was scared to let them go.
The moment I crossed paths with Round Table Companies, my anxious heart began to settle. I knew working here would not only help me get through the challenging new adjustment, but that being part of this family would also help me grow as an artist.
It was the words “vulnerability” and “storytelling” and “connecting” that first captured my attention when I toured the website. It was the idea of having a purpose instead of just a goal. It was the desire to support not only leaders and book writers and inspirational speakers . . . but also each other.
It was like nervously walking into a classroom only to find it full of light, full of love, and full of people who wanted nothing more than to protect that special piece of my heart.
As I stood tall in front of that doorway, breathing deeply and slowly relaxing my tense muscles, I knew that working at RTC wasn’t going to be about losing my own unique voice. It was going to be about using that voice to help build someone else’s dream: their book, their business, their vision.
It was going to be about creating something beautiful in this world.
And on the day that I finally joined the team, my husband looked over at me with the same expression of reassurance he shared when we took our boy to school that first day.
“It’s okay, Gen. You may not feel ready . . . but your words are.”