I was part of something last week. It was Real – We were Authentic – We are Women.  Reality Moms hosted the Real Authentic Women (RAW) Retreat and I was fortunate enough to participate in this amazing event.

Every ‘real mom’ should run from the real world sometimes and that’s what I did. I hopped on a plane, not really sure of what I was doing, flew halfway across the country and put my trust in women I’d only met online.  (One woman I’d met in person before. Our friendship is now firmly cemented into a lifelong one.) We talked about hard stuff, laughed every second we could, and opened up with one another in unique ways.

From the second I walked into the door, I was given permission to be me. If I needed a break, I took one. I didn’t have to explain why I don’t like to touch people, why I wear sunglasses all the time, or why I drink copious amounts of water. No one cared that I woke up before dawn, made coffee, and then disappeared to run alone. Each woman in attendance had the same expectations. We were to just…be. Be ourselves. Own our issues, explore the whys, sit with the questions and thoughts we experienced, and acknowledge the positive attributes each of us possesses.

It’s funny. I didn’t realize I was living my life asking permission to be myself – not all the time – but definitely sometimes. Clarity is refreshing…and hard. FInding my path through the hard to the real was a struggle and one I needed to allow myself to experience. I owned what I offer to the world. I’m supportive. I’m strong. I’m real.

I learned about writing, creating pitches, hashtagging, and how to be vulnerable. I learned how to combine the technical aspects with the personal, and to recognize just how linked both pieces truly are in my writing.

As women, it’s easy to deflect compliments and achievements. We need to stop that noise and OWN IT. Let’s show the next generation of women they can be strong, they can own their accomplishments, and stand tall. By taking the time to work on myself, I can help my girls be their more.

I ran away from the real world by leaving home, running on a beach, and learning to hug a few more people. I ran away to find myself. And came back a better me.

 

Thanks to Reality Moms, Joey Fortman, and the other program participants – aka my friends. This was an experience I’ll never forget. And one I hope to repeat in the future.

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