Today I find myself on the cusp of a pretty ginormous (ginormous being the professional word) life transition. My husband, son, baby-to-be, two dogs and I are moving. And I don’t mean down the road. We are packing up and heading east to Sea Island, Georgia.
To say my heart is broken is an understatement. To say that my heart is soaring with excitement is also an understatement. It is simply a whirlwind of emotions from this dream job offer that has appeared in the last 72 hours. A dream job we would be foolish to turn away. But the job comes with the heavy price tag of goodbye. From family to friends to people who have supported and loved our family all the years, where does one start?
I am a born and raised a Baton Rouge girl. I left home for college vowing never to return to the Red Stick. Little did I know the journey life had in store for me and that I would return home six years later. However, it hasn’t been until the past four years that I have truly seen the incredible people surrounding me all along.
My journey of recovery and self-discovery allowed me to be vulnerable, to put myself out there and discover what it meant to truly live. Recovery gave me the courage to stand out in a crowd, bare my soul and share my story of hope. People who had been in my life for years appeared different because I finally let them in. I let them love me and in return I loved them back with my whole heart. Childhood friendships suddenly seemed like new. I understood why everyone loved me because I finally loved me. I am blessed to have a group of childhood best friends patient enough to wait for me to see what they saw in me all along. And now my heart breaks to say goodbye.
In the last four years, I’ve found family amongst FitBirds, RocketKidz and especially my ever sparkly Girls on the Run. From a crazy group of Owls to an extraordinary group of SoleSisters, Baton Rouge has a fierce group of women who repeatedly prove age is only a number and that being brave is the new sexy. They defy expectations and stereotypes, finding strength, support and ShePower in numbers.
Southern Smash was born on the LSU Lakes and propelled forward with the love and support of the people in this great city. From family to friends to strangers, you all gave me the wings to take off and courage to brave the unknown. I am doing what God put me on this earth to do because of each of you.
And how does one say goodbye to her dearest friend and mentor? Her soul sister? Her therapist whose been there from the start of her journey? Her son’s “RiRi” whose loved him like her own for nearly two years and also been a wonderful friend? Women who’ve all changed my life for the better? No, no, no. I can’t even begin to go there.
And then there is my family. My loving, supportive and crazy family whom I love more than life itself. My amazing parents, my beloved aunt and of course, my best friend, GaGa. Nope. Definitely not going there.
The response from our news has been received with joy, pride, sadness and every emotion in between. Kind of like how I feel in this very moment (not to mention pregnancy hormones do nothing for emotion regulation). Leave it to the ever wise and fabulous, Susan Hayden, (my other hero and mentor) to reframe the gravity of a goodbye to simply “Expanding My Orbit.”
Yes, this is why I will forever and always call Louisiana home. There is always a silver lining and there is always, always a reason to celebrate.
So let’s fire up the crawfish boil, grab a cold beer (and tissue), it’s time for an Expanding Our Orbit Party.
Love you always, Red Stick. Sea Island, you’ve got some big shoes to fill.