Last Thursday night I left my 4 kids and husband in Oak Park, IL to attend She Recovers L.A. and spend the weekend with 600 women to celebrate our recovery through yoga, meditation, inspiring speakers, and connection at The Beverly Hilton. I was asked to speak and share my experience, strength, and hope about my sexual assault on a panel called ‘We are all recovering from something.’ Without any hesitation, I said YES! Hearing other women’s stories is what helped my healing journey so it was an honor and privilege to do the same.
As my own publisher, PR rep, agent, and marketer I’m constantly hustling to partner with large platforms to break the silence of mental health and addiction. Media is so powerful and has the capacity to make a huge impact with a large audience. Someone once told me, nobody can represent us better than we represent ourselves so I’ve taken that encouragement and run with it.
Although I receive 100’s of no thank you’s when I pitch myself, sometimes I receive a YES! They say it’s all about timing so I guess the time was right and after pitching to Dr. Drew for years, 24 hours before I landed in L.A. I received a YES!
On Friday morning, Dr. Drew, Lauren Sivan, and I laughed, talked about addiction, and mental health. They gave me the opportunity to promote my book “MY self” an autobiography of survival, and I also pitched on air my interest in having Dr. Drew and Lauren produce the adaptation of ‘MY self’ into a series called ‘Surviving Myself.’ More to come on that….
When I arrived to the hotel Friday afternoon for the event I met hundreds of women I’ve been connected to through our She Recovers online community. Meeting these women face to face and having the opportunity to hug, cry and laugh until I was peeing in my pants, (have you ever seen hundreds of sober women dance at a silent disco?) and live in a utopian supportive community all weekend was surreal.
The absolute highlight was hearing Cheryl Strayed, our keynote speaker. She was just as amazing in person as she is through the pages of her books I’ve read – ‘Wild,’ ‘Tiny Beautiful Things,’ and ‘Brave Enough.’ She’s been my all time favorite professional role model and I gave her a copy of my book for her 50th Birthday which was 9/17 and she signed my copy of ‘Wild.’ My heart exploded! I hugged her and cried having the opportunity to tell her what an impact she’s had on my life especially as it relates to our similar experiences with our father’s. Stay tuned for a series I’m writing called “Women I Admire.” She’s agreed to do a phone interview with me on 9/27.
How could the weekend possibly get any better than this? I never imagined a life of recovery being THIS incredible. Our hearts were cracked open through yoga and meditation Saturday morning. It was truly an out of body spiritual experience that at this time I cannot even put into words.
A few hours later I spoke to the best audience a speaker could ever ask for. These women are my people. They are warm, supportive, authentic warriors. I was home. We gathered for lunch in the garden to the most magnificent array of fresh fruit, Mexican splendor, and decadent desserts that had white chocolate She Recovers logos on top of them. I sat next to women from all over the U.S., Canada, Europe, and Australia who shared their stories of hope and courage with me. I start to cry even as I write these words. I want everyone to have an experience like this we would have more empathy for one another and relate better. We are all the same.
As we transitioned to an afternoon of workshops, I saw the BBC set up an Emmy tea party in the lobby. Well, it was really booze but they called it ‘tea.’ As we attempted to see who was in attendance, we were being shooed away. One of the things Al (dad) taught me is to act ‘as if’ you belong and you will. It sounds a little entitled but it’s confidence boosting. His voice was in my head and 5 minutes later I came down from my room dressed 3 hours early for our She Recovers gala. I acted ‘as if’ I belonged. It worked out well.
I met Justin Hartley, Sandra Oh, Adina Porter, and got a smile from Henry Winkler and RuPaul. I’m forever grateful I had this opportunity. It certainly made watching the Emmy’s Monday night that much more exciting. It was an adrenaline rush, a natural high. The positive energy is contagious. Each and everyone of them couldn’t have been nicer. And yes, even celebrities are just like us only wealthier.
This week, I’m back at my office seeing clients on The Magnificent Mile. I’ve spent hours ‘mubering’ my kids to all of their activities. I’m stressing about what to make for dinner. Externally, nothing has changed yet internally, everything continues to shift. Because I choose to live fully through my experiences, I’m gifted the opportunity to be a better version of myself one step at a time.
My message to you is this…Show up. Be brave. Take risks. Do the work. What ‘they’ say is true… I AM manifesting love and light as a wife, mom, daughter, sister, friend, women’s media mental health expert, psychotherapist, author, and speaker. What I receive in return because of this comes back to me 100 times over and it can for you too if you have the desire. Set your intentions. Dream BIG and Get it Girl! Namaste.