Live Out Loud

by Cate on June 15, 2011

I was going to write a review on a restaurant I visited while in Atlanta this week, but I decided to shelve that for another day (coming soon though, promise!).  I wanted to get some more important words down here first.  Now.  For you.  For me.  I wanted to capture the energy I felt from the conference I just came back from.  To give you some of what was given to me.

The conference had 12 attendees.  All women.  Strong personalities.  Confident.  Passionate.  Joyful.  There were many other executives from BlogHer, Coca-Cola and the PR firm in addition to the twelve of us, maybe thirty or so at any given time.  99% women.  All with a common thread.  Everyone lived out loud.

When it comes to assembling a group of women, it’s anybody’s guess as to how well everyone will gel together.  Big personalities can quickly overshadow wallflowers.  Divas can rule the room.  Sarcasm can turn into meanness.  But this group?  Amazing.  Purely and simply amazing.  Somehow the personalities all worked magically together.  Camraderie was born.  Friendships were formed.  Inspiration was plentiful.  Quite possibly magical.

I consider myself a reasonably confident and outgoing person.  But I’ve changed a lot over the past few years.  I say yes.  To a lot.  A lot more than I used to.  Particularly to that which scares me. After The Ex left, I made one very quick decision.  Quite possibly the most important one.  I wasn’t going to let his decision dominate the rest of my life.  Nor my kids. Let me explain.

There are a lot of challenges when it comes to being a single mom.  Challenges regular moms have, but exacerbated ten-fold.  I’ve talked about this before.  It was ultimately most important to me that my kids (and I) not miss out on anything because of the new shift in our family dynamic.  Certain tasks and adventures will be harder, but I will not say no.  We will not miss out.  We will live out loud.

I will say yes. To journeys that make me squirm.  To things that may be hard.  To the path less traveled.  Because we all deserve more yesses.  Going down the shore for the weekend with the kids and Eli in the car presents many challenges.  The biggest one of which is what happens when we need to make a pit stop?  I can’t leave the dog in the car with the temps soaring past 100 degrees.  I can’t leave him outside.  It might seem like a tiny thing, but these are examples that we sometimes take for granted when we have partners.  But I didn’t want to miss out on our weekends down the shore.  So we figure it out.  I say yes.

A few years ago, I likely would have said no to attending a conference like the one I just got back from.  I won’t know anyone.  I don’t want to speak in front of strangers.  I hate flying.  Just ask anyone who has ever flown with me.  I could easily come up with a hundred excuses if given the chance.  But I would have missed out.  I say yes.

I purposely put myself in situations I would normally have wriggled out of a few years back.  I live out loud. For me.  And more importantly, for my kids.  I endeavor to raise kids that are passionate and intentional.  That live out loud (and Madeline has more than grasped that lesson).  But more importantly, kids who grab life by the horns and take it for everything its got.  And how can I expect them to do that if I don’t do it myself?

I lead by example.  Some days it’s easier than others.  But we say yes.  And work our way through it after.

The conference was filled with women who said yes. Single moms.  Divorced moms.  Women who blog passionately about race.  Weight.  Slow-cookers.  Kids.  Bedroom decor.  Pets.

I came back fully recharged, refreshed and ready to roll up my sleeves and continue to say yes with even more joy.  Talking with my fellow attendees and the presenters served to reaffirm the message I continue to work on delivering to my kids.  And to myself.

Matthew 5:15 says it in a way that we are all familiar with, “Neither do men light a candle, and put it under a bushel, but on a candlestick; and it giveth light unto all that are in the house.”

Who are we to hide our light?  How dare we.  Do that thing that makes you slightly uncomfortable.  Step out of your comfort zone just a bit.  Dip your toe in the shallow end of the pool.  Let your damn light shine.  We have but one wild and crazy life, and it’s our job to live it.

P.S.  Thank you for all your wonderful comments on my post last Friday.  I love each and every one of you for it.  There will be more posts coming about the conference, the other women bloggers, and heaps of positivity, so stay tuned.

P.P.S  The above image comes courtesy of Pinterest (but specifically originated from here).  For more fun stuff, you can follow my boards right here.  If you need an invite to start your own Pinterest boards, drop me a line.

June 15, 2011 – Bonus Photo
Loved By Kids
Took the kids to see this movie tonight. Usually non-animated kids’ movies are pretty decent (High School Musical anyone?), but this wasn’t one of them. The kids loved it. The adults not so much. Heather Graham has not done her career any favors with this flick, not that she was on the Oscar path to begin with.

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{ 8 comments… read them below or add one }

Joanne June 16, 2011 at 5:19 am

Ever since I recovered from my eating disorder, this is exactly my mentality I’ve tried to have about living. I put myself in situations that make me uncomfortable and I put myself out there a bit more than I used to. It’s a struggle sometimes, but I try.

I love this post, Cate! It’s so empowering and so very strong. I’m glad to see you had such an amazing time!


Sarah Caron June 16, 2011 at 8:47 am

Welcome back! Glad to hear that you had such a great time with what sounds like a great group of women. Can’t wait to hear more about it.


Stephanie O'Dea June 16, 2011 at 10:06 am

Good morning, Cate! What a fantastic post, and you completely captivated all that I took away from the coke trip. Usually when I return home from a blogging conference/get together I feel a bit icky for a few days.
Not so this time— I loved this mix of women—and I learned so much about how valuable women are–in all walks/stages of life.

One of the lines from the leadership session keeps floating around in my head: Lift as You Climb. We’re (women in general) so quick to dole out the assvice, but not so quick to actually HELP. To listen. to just be present.

I am so happy to have met you, and to have put a face and smile behind your blog name. and thank you for giving away your coffee packet! oxox


Stephanie O'Dea June 16, 2011 at 10:11 am

and hey—I took the big girls to see Judy Moody on sat and had the exact. same. thoughts. the only great thing was there wasn’t anything remotely inappropriate. about as vanilla as they come. ;-)


Mocha June 16, 2011 at 11:10 am

Lordy, but did that phrase creep RIGHT into my everyday use when I returned from Atlanta.

Lift as you climb.

In fact, I shared it with my boss this morning as we chatted over work. It reminded me to thank her for what she’s given me as a leader.

You are spot on in your writing. Everyone worked and it was glorious. I am happier for having gotten to meet you and see you work the heck out of your camera. It was a pleasure to meet you.


Ramona June 16, 2011 at 12:11 pm

Happy that you are back home. Sounds like an inspirational conference.


bonggamom June 16, 2011 at 4:38 pm

What a beautiful post, Cate. I am always the wallflower in any blogger conference because all you amazing, confident bloggers intimidate me, but everyone made me feel so welcome, so empowered, so confident of myself and my abilities. I have returned home from Atlanta feeling refreshed and inspired, and it’s all thanks to new friends like you.


Calliope June 17, 2011 at 12:44 am

I miss you!
And you captured the magic of the connections so perfectly. You really did.
{and obviously? that thing we talked about by the pool? OBVIOUSLY- you will work on that with me…yes? please?}


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